trust God

A Dark Fresh Start

I have read Ruth a few times and I know the majority are familiar with it, for you often hear women talk about meeting their Boaz and how like him, Christ is our kinsman-redeemer. My focus here though is in the beginning where we learn about the matriarch of the story, Naomi, who lost her husband first, then her two sons and back in those times, that meant that she pretty much lost her livelihood. What is your livelihood? Family? Career? Business? A talent? A dream? Times are different now, but there are things that make us who we are and like Naomi we get comfortable and believe nothing could go wrong. However, everything that could go wrong went wrong.

First, it is interesting that Naomi and her family went to Moab, because Israel and Moab did not have a friendly Image result for naomi and ruthrelationship and God had plenty to say about them throughout their history as well. Both Naomi and her husband were Israelites, but they left the people of God because of a famine and went and settled in unfamiliar territory for help where they probably should never have gone. Nevertheless, one can assume they didn’t trust God to keep His people in hard times, granted their story falls in the middle of when there was no king in Israel and people did whatever they wanted. Although, in the midst of all that happened, she was left with her two daughter-in-laws and was forced to go back home, learning that God was helping His people.

Naomi was a survivor and took whichever chance she had to keep her life in good standing, but it seems that she needed God to prove Himself to her that He could take care of her, and even after she returned home, she still wasn’t convinced. Not only had she changed her name from “pleasant” to “bitter,” but she made it known that God had let her down, and initially she wasn’t that fond of Ruth going back with her as if she wanted to sulk alone. Furthermore, she claimed that when she left home she was full, but it was the Lord who emptied her (and other lovely verbs), suggesting that she had no other expectations of God’s work in her situation than mere existence. But in fact, God had other plans.

By definition, you can’t blame Naomi or her family for the decisions they made and many of us have done the same thing. We make decisions in life, without ever really consulting or trusting God, even the “good” ones; we go with the flow without looking at things with spiritual eyes and we fill ourselves up and we lose focus on God’s plans, if we ever really knew what they were in the first place. This very thing happened to me. I never actually considered what God wanted for me vocationally, including my college studies, and it took a pouring out for me to get aligned; I had to be emptied. The Lord had to break me and take away my dream, my livelihood, of what I thought I was going to do with my life in order to open my eyes for His greater purpose, and by God’s grace, what I studied and experienced in school and other pieces of my life that seemed irrelevant fell in line with what He called me to do. Though, it was only His Spirit that could have revealed it to me, and I haven’t looked back.

For Naomi, she was bitter and had low-expectations, but little did she know that with all that had happened, the pieces of her past would bring her the greatest victory. Not only was Naomi apprehensive about Ruth, but it was the Lord who called Ruth, the Moabitess, into the lineage of the Lord Jesus. I can’t imagine that either of them knew God’s full plan, but Naomi was the first to notice things happening on their behalf when Ruth went to work, and hence, met Boaz. They were just trying to survive, but God chose them to change history.

Sometimes we have to start fresh when we get in dark places and go back to where we know God is, like when we have our “mountain top experiences” and we connect with God and lay our hearts out before Him, and ironically, Bethlehem, Naomi’s home, is in the mountains. So often we have to be broken and emptied in order for the Lord to build and fill us up again, which means whenever we get to the place where God is in our lives, we should live in high expectation that God will give us victory and conform our life to His best, which is always far greater than our own. In the same manner, we must ask for discernment and spiritual eyes so that we can recognize when God is moving in our lives in even the smallest ways, and if you are like me, I get so excited when I begin to see God working in the unnoticeable small ways, because I know that He is setting me up for something that is above I can hope for or imagine. So, as you be yourself for a purpose, if the Lord takes or is taking you through a breaking and pouring out season, let Him. By continually surrendering and letting the process happen, you are allowing God to pour back into you and fill you up with Heaven’s best.

 

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Imperfectly Perfect

He was a little snot, you may even say an arrogant snot. When we are first introduced to Joseph we see how the greater love he received from his father put him a bad place with his brothers, so much in so that within the first 11 verses there is a progressive hatred from his brothers. If I were Joseph I would not have worn the coat and would have tried anything to please my brothers, and I definitely would not have bragged or shared my dreams with them that I knew would make them salty, let alone be a tattletale.

At the age of 17 we pick up the story of who would become one of the greatest Biblical heroes. However, before we see the transformed life of snotty teenager, we also learn see the work of God in one of his elder brothers, so much in so that he initiated the bloodline of the Messiah, Judah. It is no secret that all the brothers of Joseph hated him, however, two of them, Reuben and Judah, were empathetic, especially toward their father, for it was Reuben who stopped the brothers from killing him and it was Judah who stopped them a second time and suggested they sell him as a slave. Even though he hated his brother, he knew it was wrong to kill him and put Joseph in the place where God needed him to be to elevate him. It is because of this that I believe the Lord chose to usher in His Son through his bloodline. Even in Judah’s imperfections, he came to a place of humility and tried to do what was right, not only with Joseph but with Tamar as well. Back to Joseph.

Just like his brother, Joseph had to be humbled in order to be ready for the calling God had on his life, which took 13 years. From being the favored son to being a slave, accused of sexual assault and jailed, Joseph became a man who trusted the Lord and did well in whatever work he was in while he was in Egypt. His story reminds us that even when we find ourselves in the most unfavorable situations that God orchestrates, we must do them honorably to our best ability, because we do it unto the Lord and there we will find favor with both man and God.

Judah was jealous and hated his brother and had enough drama with his sons’ indiscretions, but it is the tribe of Judah that brought forth Christ. Joseph was a snotty spoiled teenager, but God used him to rule a nation and establish the beginning of a people we know as Jews. They were both imperfect, but God still used them for His glory. This is so pertinent for us, because we all have vices and character flaws that cause others to look over us, but God is famous for taking the imperfect to fulfill His perfect plan. Continue to live and be you for a purpose with your imperfections, and allow God to transform you and take you higher than you ever imagined. Remember this, if only God knows your name, that is all that really matters and it won’t be long before the rest of the world knows your name.

Tattoo or Testimony??

Wow. How long has it been?? Here we are again, and I must say, tattoos are like testimonies of saying “yes” to the Lord. Let me explain. And for
starters, yes, I have tattoos, four to be exact. Who would have thought?

There are times you know exactly end goal of where Lord desire for you, so as you would a tattoo, when you already know what t should look like, you let the Artist go for the gold. In other cases, the plan of God is not always clear and you may just have a bunch of pieces floating in your head, so you go to the parlor and talk with the artist and it can take time before the final art piece is finished and everyone knows what will happen. This is often what happens with us in our walk, most times we juggle the pieces of our lives, believing they will be a part of a great testimony, but Image result for tattoo ink and needlesit’s not until we bring them before God and spend time that it all makes sense and He creates something beautiful. We build a trust in His judgment and that He knows what He is doing.

But it doesn’t end there. It’s a process.

The best part of this story though is that it’s already paid for, Jesus paid for your story on Calvary. Nevertheless, God had to prepare you, as an tattooist has to do. Clean, shave even, and get the color and needles and equipment together, and it’s all to protect you. Still, there is pain, sometimes a lot other times not so much, but any time the Lord is moving us there is discomfort because your whole being is being changed, but it doesn’t last long.

But it doesn’t end there. You have to heal.

When you first get the tattoo it looks great, but the artist will tell you that you have to take care of it so that it doesn’t get messed up. The calling on your life is now real, but you have to protect it and nurture it. And it can take a while. But in the process, you have to be disciplined to follow instructions you were given when you left, and it still may feel raw. You are a new person. But, whether it’s prayer, studying, taking a break, or whatever the Lord instructs us to do to protect anointing, we have to oblige. We have to trust the Artist and His expertise. Now in this healing time it will itch, and peel, and it must be cleaned, just like we have to be purged and remove all the excess that is not in line with the masterpiece the Lord is working on, whether habits, people, dreams, your past, emotions, mental and spiritual growth, etc. And their still will be some discomfort. And truth be told, you may even start to reconsider or question why you said “yes,” and if it is really worth all the extra.

Image result for tattoo ink and needles

But it doesn’t end there. The glory will be revealed.

When it’s all said and done, the dead skin is done, no more itching or discomfort, and you can put the scented lotion on again lol, when you have healed and have been cleansed and or purged, the beauty of that piece of will look better than you expected and you will want to tell you story. And even better, people notice the change and ask you about your new beauty marks, or calling and you get to tell them all about the Artist that created it, and if you stayed faithful and obedience, it will turn out to be far above your expectations.

The next time you see a person living a blessed and abundant life in Christ, it’s a result of intentional efforts. The time, the discomfort, the healing, the purging, it’s all worth it. God is creating a masterpiece for eternity’s sake.

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