Ruth: The Daughter

by Carolyn Hope

One day Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go out into the harvest fields to pick up the stalks of grain left behind by anyone who is kind enough to let me do it.” Naomi replied, “All right, my daughter, go ahead.” (Ruth 2:2)

Not only did Ruth follow her mother-in-law to a brand new country, but she took care of her. She was faithful and considerate toward Naomi. We don’t know how different in age the two women were, but Naomi could have easily been 20 years Ruth’s senior. She was, most likely, an older woman, and Ruth was still on the younger and stronger side. Ruth went out to find work so that Naomi wouldn’t have to. Why? Because she was Naomi’s daughter.

Of course, Ruth was legally related to Naomi; but in her heart, she loved Naomi more than anything in her native country, and she claimed Naomi as her mother. Likewise, Naomi called Ruth as her daughter, not as her ‘daughter-in-law.’ Legal attachments and heart attachments are two separate things. Ruth and Naomi shared both, with the latter being the most prevalent in their lives and relationship.

Who is your family? How do you relate and interact with them? Are you a daughter, son, brother, sister, parent, etc. in name only, or does your relational position show through the way you speak to, listen to, give to, and love them? I challenge you today to identify the people God has placed in your life to be a family to you (whether or not they are biologically connected). Once you know who those precious ones are, let your heart become attached to them. Don’t stand at a distance; let them in. Get to know them, truly know them, until you love them so much that you will sacrifice for them. You can be a Ruth. Who’s your Naomi?

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Ruth: The Widow

by Carolyn Hope

Then Elimelech died, and Naomi was left with her two sons. The two sons married Moabite women. One married a woman named Orpah, and the other a woman named Ruth. But about ten years later, both Mahlon and Kilion died. This left Naomi alone, without her two sons or her husband. (Ruth 1:3-5)

We often focus on the fact that Naomi was stripped of her sons and husband. She was a widow; but so was Ruth. After being married for ten years, Ruth found herself without a husband. Her security and provision were gone.

Ruth could have gone back to her biological family, and in fact, Naomi encouraged her to do so. In a radical, relentless love, Ruth chose to stay with Naomi. The life of two widows was likely to be lonely and impoverished. That didn’t stop Ruth from walking in sacrifice and integrity.

Unfortunate circumstances don’t have to dictate you or your identity. When life gets hard, and your heart is in pain, you can still be the overcomer that God created you to be. You can always choose to love, to give, to sacrifice. What comes against you doesn’t have to stop you. You determine who will break: you or your obstacle.

You are promised trouble in your life (see John 16:33). It’s a promise that we like to forget but is still just as true. When trouble comes, as it inevitably will, how you respond is your choice and your responsibility. You can curl up in a ball and have a pity party (a rather tempting option sometimes), or you can press on. You can give up and quit, or you can rise above all you’re going through to shine as the light you are. Don’t give up. Choose and determine to keep going; you will make it through.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Ruth: The Moabite

by Carolyn Hope

So Naomi returned from Moab, accompanied by her daughter-in-law Ruth, the young Moabite woman. (Ruth 1:22)

Moab and Israel had a tempestuous relationship, as clearly portrayed in Scripture (see Numbers 25, Judges 11:14-28, and Revelation 2:14). If you look you’ll observe that the Moabites tried to destroy Israel through trickery instead of helping them on their way. Because of this, God instructed the Israelites that they must not let a Moabite enter the temple courts; nor were they to promote their well-being (see Deuteronomy 23:3-6). The name “Moab” left a bitter taste in Israel’s mouth.

Ruth, however, was a Moabite. When Naomi and her family moved to Moab to escape a famine in Israel, Ruth became the wife of one of Naomi’s sons. Then, when Naomi’s husband and two sons died, Ruth came with Naomi as she returned to Israel.

Not only was Ruth a foreigner, a challenge all by itself, but she also came from a country that wasn’t viewed too favorably by the Israelites. Even still, Ruth’s honorable character overcame the obstacles of her race and origins. She gladly abandoned her country, her lifestyle, and her religion in order to follow after Naomi. She was willing to sacrifice her culture, all she’d ever known, because of her love for her mother-in-law. She left her own flesh-and-blood family for a woman related to her only by marriage! Not only so, but when she arrived in Israel, she adapted to the Hebrew culture and way of life. She became one of them.

Some of the Israeli people may have regarded her as an enemy at first, but she quickly became family. Though her skin may have looked different and her accent may have sounded strange, her behavior was respectable and kind. Her identity came more from who she was and how she acted than from where she came.

It doesn’t matter where you came from or how you started. What matters is who you are. What does your character prove to others? How do your actions speak for you? It’s not for your ethnicity or your beginnings that you will be remembered; people will remember you for what you did with your life. The way you carry yourself is far more compelling than your outward appearance; the words you speak matter far more than the accent with which you say them. Even if you find yourself in an unfamiliar place, you can and will make a difference, because Jesus is with you, and He will empower you to be all you need to be.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Ruth: A Story of Redemption

by Carolyn Hope

The story of Ruth in Scripture is an especially beautiful one. Ruth was a woman who displayed the power of kindness. The Book of Ruth spins a charming tale of redemption, full of characters who lived with gentleness and quiet strength.

This week, I’d like to explore some of the different identifying titles Ruth had (or could have had). Ruth was a Moabite, a daughter, and a servant. She was also a widow and a wife. Throughout the many changes and adjustments in her life, Ruth remained faithful, compassionate, and humble.

My hope for you this week is that you can find the Ruth inside of you. Not that you would be exactly like her, but that you would see how her redemption story can be yours as well. There are many qualities to admire in Ruth, Boaz, and Naomi; but the greatest truth to see is the mercy and grace God extended to them, and how that same Father loves and cares for you.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

A Rightful Reality

by Carolyn Hope

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

As with yesterday’s post, these are the very last words Jesus spoke to His disciples before He died for us. Often, when someone speaks, we remember their first and last words the most. These two sentences were what Jesus left the disciples with, which means they are especially meaningful.

Our position is that of victory. When trials and sorrows come, we don’t fight for victory; we fight from victory. Jesus told His disciples that He has overcome the world. Not us. Not our hard work, nor even our faith. Our overcoming and victory are because of what He has already done!

By the way, Jesus spoke this statement before He was crucified, buried, and risen. He hadn’t even done the full purpose He came to fulfill, but He still said, “I have overcome the world.” The victory of Christ is timeless and eternal. It can’t be altered or diminished. And this same forever victory is yours.

When you face an obstacle or a trial, stand strong in your victory. Even if you don’t yet see it, believe the truth about who you are: you are a conqueror, an overcomer, and a child of the undefeated King. That breakthrough will come. Those problems will be solved. The pain and hurt will be healed. You have the victory now; don’t give up on it.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

A Rightful Repose

by Carolyn Hope

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. (John 16:33)

John chapters 13-16 record the words that Jesus spoke to His disciples during His last supper with them before His crucifixion and resurrection. These were, in essence, His last words to them. As the time of His death loomed closer and closer, He expressed with these dear friends the matters heaviest on His heart and most necessary to their future.

In His closing remarks, He includes this sentence. The entire purpose of all He said was for the disciples to receive peace. He wanted them to know what was coming, so they would have peace. He spoke about Himself, the Father, and the Holy Spirit, in order for them to take peace. It was for peace. It was all for peace.

Sometimes the Lord will tell you things that are important, serious, and perhaps even grave. He doesn’t share such things with you to scare you. His words to you are to bring you peace and security. Choose peace. You were created by a God of peace, saved by a Prince of Peace, and made new as a person of peace. Even when your emotions rage and your senses tremble, choose to walk in the peace that has been purchased for you. Peace will guide you and guard you. Don’t be afraid. You weren’t meant to live in fear. You were made for peace.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

A Rightful Role

by Carolyn Hope

Then you will ask in my name. I’m not saying I will ask the Father on your behalf, for the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God. Yes, I came from the Father into the world, and now I will leave the world and return to the Father. (John 16:26-28)

Jesus had a close, intimate relationship with His Father. More often than not, He referred to God as “the Father,” not ‘my Father’ as we would say or expect him to say. That implies something: God is not just a father, He is the Father. The one and only. The greatest, the best, the truest of them all. He is the Father who loves us more than we can comprehend. He is the perfect Father.

As Jesus knew His Father intimately, now we can too. Just as the Father loves Jesus, He loves us. We are the dearly beloved children of God (see 1 John 3:1-2)! There is no need for any distance. Jesus came to this earth and lived a perfect life for us; He is our example. His greatest, deepest relationship was with God, His Father. If we are to follow Him, shouldn’t we draw close to our Father as well?

The Lord longs to be a Father to you. Let Him into your heart. He desires to know you intimately and share Himself with you. Whether you have the best father you could hope for or none at all in your life, there is a Perfect Father who can and will meet every need of your heart. All you have to do is let Him. Sometimes it’s scary. Many times it’s hard. I encourage you to press through that and discover His radical Daddy’s love for you. It’s truly unlike any other.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

A Rightful Request

by Carolyn Hope

At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy. (John 16:23-24)

Under the old covenant, communication between God and people required a mediator. This role was fulfilled through the priests of Israel. Now, we’re under a new and better covenant. Jesus came and paid the price for us once and for all. While He remains our perfect Mediator, interceding on our behalf, we also have the ability to approach our Father ourselves. When Jesus sacrificed Himself for us, the veil was torn and our access to the King was restored. We have the freedom to walk in boldness and confidence right up to His throne. Our authority – our right – to come before our King is found in Jesus’ work for us.

Every time we pray in Jesus’ name, we remind ourselves, the world, and God the reason for our qualification: the Blood that Jesus shed. Our prayer is acceptable, because of Jesus. Our hearts’ desires are right, because of Jesus. The goodness within us and the greatness we can become are because of Jesus.

What’s holding you back from approaching your Creator? The door to the throne room is unlocked and opened. Enter freely; your King is waiting for you. He loves it when you come near and whisper your requests to Him. It is His delight to hear you and to answer you. You don’t need a pastor, a prophet, or one of the ‘greats’ to pray for you. Your voice is powerful and strong, and your Father longs to hear from you. You are acceptable. You are enough.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

A Rightful Reaction

by Carolyn Hope

I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith. For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God. (John 16:2)

Just before this passage, Jesus told the disciples how the world would hate and persecute them. He forewarned them so that when the hard times came, they would not falter in their faith. His words proved true. The disciples and the early church suffered much persecution for their faith, but they clung to it. They did not give up. They were so utterly sold out to Jesus that they submitted to even the most horrific tortures and deaths. Peter was crucified upside down; John was boiled in oil; Paul was stoned. Early Christians were thrown into lions’ dens and gladiator arenas. Later Christians were burnt at stake as martyrs.

I believe that the reason these strong men, women, and children could endure such trials was not only their determination but, more importantly, their surrender. They could have reacted in anger, defiance, or rebellion. Certainly, they had ample reason to feel justified in revolting against their persecutors; but that’s not what they chose. When tribulation came, the sons and daughters of the King reacted in surrender.

Regardless of your situation, surrender is the right position. That’s not to say that you let people and life’s troubles walk all over you; you are not a doormat. However, your response to everything that comes your way should be radical surrender to Jesus. What does He think? What does He say? What is He wanting to do in and through you? Search for the answers to these questions; you’ll find them in His Word and in His heart. Determine to do what He says is right. Submit yourself to Him, and let your life be one of full and total surrender.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Rightful (John 16)

by Carolyn Hope

Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. (John 16:10)

The work that Jesus did for us has made us right with the King. We are rightful (just and correct) because the righteousness of Jesus Himself has been imputed to us.

As a follower of Jesus, there are some things in your life that are simply right. Victory, free access to your Father, and surrender are a few. This week, I’ll be pulling some of these truths from John 16. Hold fast to who you are. Walk in your identity and in power. Don’t give up, for victory is yours.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.