Had a conversation last week with my aunt who worked for a long time in the ER. She said she could always tell when people were dying if they were Christians or not. She said that those who were not, would claw, and struggle and carry on as they passed on into the next life. I got goosebumps hearing her explain it... She talked about how their families would be left in chaos and without hope.
She said that the believers would pass in complete peace, their families grieving the loss but hopeful for the future and rejoicing that their loved one was with Jesus now. It reminded me of a good friend's experience. The husband/father quickly became ill and deteriorated over approximately one month. The immediate family and dear friends from church gathered around praying for them and encouraging them. The father/husband passed away very early one morning with his family gathered around his bedside. In his weakest physical state he found the strength to mouth the words to join his family in singing "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see". He passed into the glory of our LORD with a smile on his face, and although aching for their lost father, husband and friend, the family and church moved forward rejoicing for the life of a good man.
And my dear friends, this is the hope that Jesus gifts to us. Not hope only for this life, but even more for the next. And it is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
I Corinthians 15 has an excellent argument for the hope given to us through Christ's death and Resurrection which paid our sin debt. Here are a few excerpts:
19-If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?
57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I am so looking forward to going to meet the Lord one day...are you?
Titus 2: 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Ruth, Naomi, Boaz. You might want to consider naming your future kids these names one day...Lord willing they will follow in their footsteps. I am blown away by these timeless examples, of godliness, love, loyalty.
I think I would have to write a book to even mostly get all of my thoughts down and lessons God has taught me....but, I'll try to give you a few that will hopefully motivate you to do your own study on this beautiful short story. You may be tempted to write this story off as a chick-flick, but you should seriously consider the lessons to guys AND girls in this story. Plus...it's a true story.
1. There were fatal consequences for leaving the promised land--but Naomi followed her husband, and still modeled a godly character that caused her daughters in law to be willing to forsake their families, land, gods and all they had ever known. Even in her pain and sorrow she unselfishly tried to persuade her daughters in law to return to their families (realizing the very few options available to them in Bethlehem) Orpah returned after Naomi reasoned with both of them to return to their families and remarry. "But Ruth clung to her". She acknowledged God's sovereignty over her circumstances.
2. Ruth's incredible commitment to follow Naomi, knowing that she was forsaking all she had known (her family, her gods, her culture, her prospects to remarry, her comfort). She instead commited to care for Naomi who had nothing/no one else. She worked hard to provide for them. She graciously accepted Boaz' generosity and respected Naomi.
3. Boaz was a godly man who treated his servants well, went above and beyond the requirements to care for the poor and widowed, provided a safe environment for Ruth while guarding their reputations, and treated her with dignity (a woman, and foreigner). He accepted and even exerted effort to obtain the right to redeem Ruth (and even provided for Naomi too).
So grab your Bible--and a few commentaries if you want-- and tell me what you learned!