Provision & Honor…Beyond I Do…Beth Farley

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Boy, Ruth is really walking in faith in chapter 3: 7-18. It is so humbling when I return to a scripture and see notes that I’ve made years ago. I love how God’s Holy Spirit speaks to me over and over again on a particular chapter or verse. As I read and re-read this portion of scripture a couple of things stood out to me.

In one commentary spreading the skirt over one, as in the East, is a symbol of protection, as in the case of a man’s doing it for a woman equivalent to a marriage contract.

First of all, I like the word protection. I am speaking to women here, sorry guys; ladies when we are married, don’t we look up to our husbands to protect us and honor us in all matters? Of course we do, but in doing so, we have to be very careful as to not put our husbands higher than God. He is the Great Protector. I think of Ainsley and her struggle about marriage causes her to think about protection and honor as well?
I would have to say that in my recent marriage, I never felt protected nor honored. I was called hurtful names and lied to over and over again. For ten years I dealt with this until I finally submitted my whole being to God’s direction. Once I did, I began moving past the pain and hurt.

The fact that I have had to start my life over again, on my own, has been a HUGE struggle! HOWEVER, God has provided for me every single step of the journey and has protected me from harm. My circumstances have drawn me closer and more faithful and conscious of decision-making. I think this is why I am so drawn to Ruth moving without knowing. She just kept taking step after step in faith.

My second thought was about the word honor: In verse 11 Boaz protects Ruth’s reputation and tells her that he will make sure the town knows she’s an honorable woman! As a Christian it is very hard to admit when you are separated or divorced because you do feel less honorable. For a long time felt like damaged goods. It has taken me many years of surrender and prayer to get over that feeling. I believe Ainsley’s surrender set her feet on the right path.

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, Fear not, I am the one who helps you. Isaiah 43:13 ESV

In verse 13 Boaz gives Ruth six scoops of barley into her cloak for both she and Naomi. When I re-read this and prayed over this scripture, God reminded me that yes, I am divorced, my reputation was ruined and it has been a big financial struggle, but I am still provided for by HIM and I give HIM the glory. God has opened up work, benefits and a place for me to stay. He has given me the opportunity to teach a women’s Sunday School class in church and continues to bless me with opportunities to serve Him even when I don’t feel worthy.

Has there ever been a time in your life where you didn’t feel protected?

Have you ever felt a little less respected/unworthy or less-honored by others because of something personal in your life?

Can you share a time where God drew you closer to Him through your circumstances?

As in Ruth’s situation, she held onto God’s direction and was not only provided for but was honored as well. We too can feel this way. God will always honors us when we are serving Him with the right motives and He always provides for us. Take a second to look at your life and the things that you have or the things He has taken away. Did you feel blessed?

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Honor and Provision…Beth Farley

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Making good choices is sometimes difficult to do when we are among the godless or our current easy-going life is not being compromised.

The Lord says, “I have put before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life, that you may live.

Deuteronomy 30:19.

As I begin to zip into December I have taken some time to journal and reflect on this past year. Normally I don’t do this until the end of the year, but today the opportunity arose and I took advantage of it.

During this past year I have lost my job, moved from Missouri to Texas, lost everything I’ve owned, had my house on the market only to be vandalized by an X family member and I’ve been separated. I’ve had a kidney disease, gained 40 pounds because of medications and have had to make new friends and find a new church.

I have hurt much and cried even more. But, I have not take my eyes off of God.

Trusting him to be all-knowing and all-powerful is my personal journey with Him.

Trusting him to be God is the most essential thing to do when we are faced with changes.

As I continue to work on our Beyond I Do Bible Study and learn more about Ruth, I see more and more how even in those times when she was weary and tired, she kept her obedience in check and kept her eyes on God. We can do the same.
Join us Friday and we discuss two words, in our Beyond I Do Bible Study; Provision and Honorable. I will do my best to line out the words from God that if we stay obedient we can trust God’s provision. We will also discuss how Ruth was honored and provided for and hopefully reflect on our own lives and reflect on our own provisions from God.

We will go over Ruth 3:7-18 if you want to pre-read.

The questions to ponder: frog-with-a-question-hi
Have you ever felt honored and if so, would you feel comfortable in sharing what that felt like?

Have you ever felt dis-honored and if so, would you feel comfortable in sharing what that felt like?
What When you feel provided for, what does that mean?
Hope to see you on our Beyond I Do FB page on Friday. beyond I do picture

Right Now!!! Beth Farley

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There’s nothing worse than feeling lost. I’ve gotten very lost several times here in the Houston area. I have relied on my GPS more than ever. I swore I would use nothing other than MapQuest but after taking numerous wrong turns, I knew I had to rely on something else to get me about my new surroundings.

When I am feeling lost, I feel like a crooked spine; out of alignment with my life. I most often end up in pain and sometimes couch bound for the day.

There are seasons of life where we plain ole feel lost. We may be suffering a loss of a loved one, job loss, empty nest, or a new move. Feeling lost can be debilitating.

Most days I walk in victory but today, I am feeling lost. I’ve been hurt by a loved one and I feel out of alignment.

BUT….I refuse to stay in this emotion…This person does not have victory over me! I have victory in Christ.

Right now I’m remembering I’m HIS child.
Right now I know I am safe in HIS arms.
Right now I know I’m protected by HIS love.
Right now I know that my needs are provided for by HIM.

2 Peter 1:4 (NIV)…Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Do you ever feel lost and when you do, how do you keep your focus on Christ?

Let’s chat at Living by Grace a Facebook community.

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There’s Good in Redundancy! Beyond I Do Bible Study…Beth Farley

Ruth 2:18-23 Beyond I Do

Please read Ruth chapter 2:18-23. There is so much to absorb in so few verses.
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How often do we feel as though we’re repeating the same old tasks? I remember as a young mom feeling bogged down with dirty diapers and if I had to sweep the kitchen floor less than three times a day, I was having a good day. So often we are challenged with getting through the mundane in life. It doesn’t matter what age we are, what our marital status is or educational level.

Sometimes God calls us to mundane.

Sometimes He’s testing our endurance through redundant tasks.

Ruth 2:18-23

Before getting to our scriptures for today, I would like to back up and take a quick look at verse 17.

Ruth gathered barley ALL DAY(v 17 )
Ruth beat out the grain until EVENING(v 17)

     Okay, I’m exhausted just thinking about these laborious tasks.
Ruth carried it back into town (v.18)…(carried it? Ouch my back)… and showed it to her mother-in-law and she shared her left over lunch with her.

Can you imagine what it must have been like to gather barley all day and then beat it until it was grain by evening? Some days, I find it difficult to put 4 ingredients into the bread machine; I can’t imagine what perseverance she must have had to have in order to continue these tasks over and over again.

In vs. 19-23 We see that even after a long day and evening, Ruth still takes the time to explain to Naomi where she worked,( another words still took the time to visit with Naomi after a long day of work) (where Boaz strategically placed her) and Naomi says,

“May the LORD bless him!” (v 20) “This man is showing his kindness to us as well as to your dead husband. That man is one of our closest relatives, one of our family redeemer’s.”

     Here’s the return for her labor: Ruth replies in vs 21: “What’s more, Boaz even told me to come back and stay with his harvesters until the entire harvest is completed.” They would be provided for even into the winter.
Ruth dutifully continued to glean to the end: not only with the barley harvest, but with the wheat harvest too, which meant to gather food in harvest into the severe winter. (Proverbs 6:6-8)

I don’t want to do anything in the severe winter but hunker down under a blanket until the first thaw. Can you imagine working outside in the extreme temperatures and working such a hard labour? Maybe some of you do, if so would you share that with us and what it’s like?

     Perseverance: When God calls us to something, we have to respond and we have to be obedient to the bitter end. It may only be a day or it may be for years. However we CAN be reminded in Philippines 1:6 that God is always working on our behalf and will see us to the bitter end of the mundane tasks of life. “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”(NIV)

There is a question that Ainsley asks herself as she is in the diner with her fiancé. She is rubbing the diamond with her thumb asking, Lord, Am I doing the right thing here?

1) How many times have you asked God if you’re doing the right thing when you’ve had to continue to do the same tasks over and over again without understanding?
2) I’m curious, when you are stuck in a rut, how do you  ind God in it with you?

Lord, may we never get lost in the mundane tasks that you set before us.

 

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Beyond I Do…Going Without Knowing

Ruth 1:8-22

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What is it that keeps us from our calling? I have often asked this question when leading a devotion or Bible Study. The #1 answer has always been fear and self-preservation.

We try to protect ourselves from any danger that we THINK might be lurking behind the will of God.

Ainsley’s greatest barrier in surrendering in the book Beyond I Do by Jennifer Slattery was her inability to totally surrender to God; but she eventually learned how to die to herself to serve Him. Does anyone know that feeling? I know I do.

Just four months ago I was living my life in Missouri feeling much self-pity, when I felt God prompting me to move to Texas. I didn’t know why. With much fear and trepidation, I tip toed towards Houston by faith but also asking God why.

I am now teaching a Bible Study that I’ve written for a women’s Sunday School class in my church, and I am guiding younger women in their walk with the Lord. I had NO idea I was going to be doing this nor did I feel even feel worthy.

I am also serving as a Senior Care-giver and have a precious client that has been diagnosed with only one year left to live. I drive her to her chemo appointments and it breaks my heart watching her.  I hate needles…I didn’t know I was going to do this and asked why me God? Through my own fear, I realize now that God has put me in this woman’s life to bring her joy on her journey.

Let’s look at two women in the book of Ruth who had every reason to walk in fear. Naomi had lost her husband and her sons and everything she had.  All she had left were her daughters-n-law. However, even though they were dedicated to her and wanted to stay by her side, Naomi’s pleaded with them to leave. Oprah sobbed and left but even in her fear, Ruth stayed by Naomi’s side. Can you imagine the fear these two women must have been experiencing.

They were “going” without “knowing.”

In Ruth 1:16, Ruth says to Naomi, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. I will go wherever you go and live wherever you live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” NLT

When is the last time you said to God, “I will go wherever you go?” 

God may not be asking you to move from state to state or out of the country but he is probably telling you to get moving on the task He has set before you. God had to MOVE me. I would have stayed right in my own pity party and would have missed His calling…Not only did I have to surrender and die to myself but I had to literally move towards His calling in Houston, TX.

Are you answering God’s calling?

Are you walking in fear and self-preservation?

Do you think that Naomi and Ruth were fearful and would you have been in that situation?

I pray that you will all be listening to God’s calling and be able to walk without fear and doubt knowing that He has ordered your steps in life.

What stops you from moving forward with God?

What does self-preservation mean to you and has it affected your walk with the Lord?

What are some ways you can know what God is calling you to?

Suspicious Minds…Beth Farley

Singing Elvis Presley With a Friend

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I was assigned to a new client today. Another blessing in my pocket; may I add. This woman is 92 (I believe) and has so much spunk and became a huge blessing to me.

After visiting for a bit at her little kitchen table, she said, “Let’s get out of here!” So, with keys in the ignition and our seat-belts on, we headed towards town.

I spent the most amazing time with her in the second hand store watching her try on all sorts of crazy hats, scarves and gloves. But what really threw me for a loop was that she wanted to get onto a bicycle that was for sale. When I explained that we probably shouldn’t do that, she looked at me and said, “It’s okay, I already have one.” I laughed.

While sliding hangers and lifting small tchotchkes to check for the prices, she asked me if I liked, “Suspicious Minds.” I wasn’t sure what she was referring to until all of the sudden she began to sing the song by Elivs Presley. She sang it incredibly loud with her bottom teeth jutting out. (She told me that opera singers sing with their bottom teeth out as to sound louder and to have their words more pronounced.)As the people in the store began to listen to her sing, rather than tossing her some incriminating looks, they were smiling instead. I believe her singing lifted their moods; it did mine.Laughingboy

Why are we always so concerned with other people think of us? Why was it so easy for this 92 year old woman to sing an Elvis Presley song in the middle of a store and not care what people think?

God’s Word tells us not to worry about what others think but rather what He thinks. For example,

Proverbs 29:25 tells us: The fear of man is a snare, but the one who trust in the Lord is protected.

And IICorinthians 5:9 says: So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.

What my new friend shared with me was that she was taught at a very young age, to always be kind and to always bring a smile to the faces of others.

After shopping and as we finished our lunch at the diner, we proceeded to walk out the door, holding hands and singing, “Suspicious Minds.”

Let’s make an effort to spread a little joy tomorrow. Hold a door open, pay for a coffee, sing a song; whatever it is that God places on your heart, please don’t miss the blessing.

Numbers 6:24-26 NIV
“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.

My God will Consider me Worthy…Beth Farley

My God Will Consider Me Worthy

In preparing for our first week of Beyond I Do Bible Study by Jennifer Slattery, I can’t help but ask myself, “Am I worthy to do the will of my heavenly Father?”ID-10083723

I have the desire to serve Him but am I listening?

Jennifer prompted me to study and pray over II Thessalonians 1:11 before starting this study. In doing so, I see the importance of God considering me worthy of His calling. I am keeping my focus on Him especially now as I am co-hosting this study.

And in view of this, we always pray for you that our God will consider you worthy of His calling, and will by His power, fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith.
II Thessalonians 1:11 HCSB

Is it by coincidence that I am currently studying II Thessalonians with a group of women? Is it any coincidence that I am teaching a class based on my Bible Study, FOCUS? God is not coincidence, He is TRUTH.

As we study the characteristics of Ruth from the Bible you will see the necessity of praying for God’s will. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. [Matthew 6:10] God was preparing my heart for this study several months ago, and I had no idea.

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In the Bible, we read how Jesus had a habit of strategically going alone into a solitary place to pray and to receive daily instruction. This is what we are called to do. Corporate prayer is good; quick muttered prayers are good; but solitary prayer is best!
What do we have our hearts on when we come to pray?living by grace

How would you describe the intensity of your own prayer life?

How important do you think it is to pray about something you believe God is calling you to?

Come and walk the 4 week journey with. Let’s study and grow together.