Category Archives: Kindness / Gentleness

Contrast the Upright and the Wicked…Again!

YHWH has a lot to say about righteousness and wickedness. We should listen carefully, ask for His help and turn from wickedness and toward righteousness.

Proverbs 11

Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

1A false balance is an abomination to the LORD,
But a just weight is His delight.

2When pride comes, then comes dishonor,
But with the humble is wisdom.

3The integrity of the upright will guide them,
But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.

4Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
But righteousness delivers from death.

5The righteousness of the blameless will smooth his way,
But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.

6The righteousness of the upright will deliver them,
But the treacherous will be caught by their own greed.

7When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish,
And the hope of strong men perishes.

8The righteous is delivered from trouble,
But the wicked takes his place.

9With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor,
But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.

10When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices,
And when the wicked perish, there is joyful shouting.

11By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
But by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down.

12He who despises his neighbor lacks sense,
But a man of understanding keeps silent.

13He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets,
But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.

14Where there is no guidance the people fall,
But in abundance of counselors there is victory.

15He who is guarantor for a stranger will surely suffer for it,
But he who hates being a guarantor is secure.

16A gracious woman attains honor,
And ruthless men attain riches.

17The merciful man does himself good,
But the cruel man does himself harm.

18The wicked earns deceptive wages,
But he who sows righteousness gets a true reward.

19He who is steadfast in righteousness will attain to life,
And he who pursues evil will bring about his own death.

20The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD,
But the blameless in their walk are His delight.

21Assuredly, the evil man will not go unpunished,
But the descendants of the righteous will be delivered.

22As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout
So is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion.

23The desire of the righteous is only good,
But the expectation of the wicked is wrath.

24There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more,
And there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want.

25The generous man will be prosperous,
And he who waters will himself be watered.

26He who withholds grain, the people will curse him,
But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.

27He who diligently seeks good seeks favor,
But he who seeks evil, evil will come to him.

28He who trusts in his riches will fall,
But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.

29He who troubles his own house will inherit wind,
And the foolish will be servant to the wisehearted.

30The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
And he who is wise wins souls.

31If the righteous will be rewarded in the earth,
How much more the wicked and the sinner!

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

How We Approach the Needs of Others Matters

Contrast the response to David’s request by Nabal and by his wife, Abigail. It is clear which is pleasing to the LORD. The LORD’s anointing was on David and his men had acted honorably and been helpful to Nabal’s servants. Nabal reacted with selfishness and arrogance and spurned them. Abigail interceded with grace and wisdom and a servant’s heart.

Let us reflect personally on how we respond to situations like this in our lives, even if they are not quite so dramatic as 400 armed men coming to get supplies from us. People around us do have needs. We should pray and ask the LORD to give us the right attitude.

1 Samuel 25:2-38

Nabal and Abigail

      2Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel; and the man was very rich, and he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And it came about while he was shearing his sheep in Carmel 3(now the man’s name was Nabal, and his wife’s name was Abigail. And the woman was intelligent and beautiful in appearance, but the man was harsh and evil in his dealings, and he was a Calebite), 4that David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. 5So David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, visit Nabal and greet him in my name; 6and thus you shall say, ‘Have a long life, peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. 7‘Now I have heard that you have shearers; now your shepherds have been with us and we have not insulted them, nor have they missed anything all the days they were in Carmel. 8‘Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we have come on a festive day. Please give whatever you find at hand to your servants and to your son David.’”

      9When David’s young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in David’s name; then they waited. 10But Nabal answered David’s servants and said, “Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants today who are each breaking away from his master. 11“Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men whose origin I do not know?” 12So David’s young men retraced their way and went back; and they came and told him according to all these words. 13David said to his men, “Each of you gird on his sword.” So each man girded on his sword. And David also girded on his sword, and about four hundred men went up behind David while two hundred stayed with the baggage.

      14But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, “Behold, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, and he scorned them. 15“Yet the men were very good to us, and we were not insulted, nor did we miss anything as long as we went about with them, while we were in the fields. 16“They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the time we were with them tending the sheep. 17“Now therefore, know and consider what you should do, for evil is plotted against our master and against all his household; and he is such a worthless man that no one can speak to him.”

Abigail Intercedes

      18Then Abigail hurried and took two hundred loaves of bread and two jugs of wine and five sheep already prepared and five measures of roasted grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19She said to her young men, “Go on before me; behold, I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. 20It came about as she was riding on her donkey and coming down by the hidden part of the mountain, that behold, David and his men were coming down toward her; so she met them. 21Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have guarded all that this man has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him; and he has returned me evil for good. 22“May God do so to the enemies of David, and more also, if by morning I leave as much as one male of any who belong to him.”

      23When Abigail saw David, she hurried and dismounted from her donkey, and fell on her face before David and bowed herself to the ground. 24She fell at his feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the blame. And please let your maidservant speak to you, and listen to the words of your maidservant. 25“Please do not let my lord pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is with him; but I your maidservant did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent.

      26“Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, since the LORD has restrained you from shedding blood, and from avenging yourself by your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek evil against my lord, be as Nabal. 27“Now let this gift which your maidservant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who accompany my lord. 28“Please forgive the transgression of your maidservant; for the LORD will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD, and evil will not be found in you all your days. 29“Should anyone rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, then the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the LORD your God; but the lives of your enemies He will sling out as from the hollow of a sling. 30“And when the LORD does for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and appoints you ruler over Israel, 31this will not cause grief or a troubled heart to my lord, both by having shed blood without cause and by my lord having avenged himself. When the LORD deals well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.”

      32Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, 33and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand. 34“Nevertheless, as the LORD God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely there would not have been left to Nabal until the morning light as much as one male.” 35So David received from her hand what she had brought him and said to her, “Go up to your house in peace. See, I have listened to you and granted your request.”

      36Then Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; so she did not tell him anything at all until the morning light. 37But in the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him so that he became as a stone. 38About ten days later, the LORD struck Nabal and he died.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

A True Friend Is Closer than a Brother

A true friend is closer than a brother and infinitely more valuable than a large collection of companions or those who would call themselves “friends”.

Proverbs 18:24

   24A man of too many friends comes to ruin,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

David and Jonathan were true friends. We should all consider praying for such a friend for ourselves and for others. So, too, we should strive to be that friend for others who are truly seeking the LORD in their lives. If you are fortunate enough to have that friend, give thanks to YHWH.

1 Samuel 20:1-29

David and Jonathan Covenant

     1Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said to Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my iniquity? And what is my sin before your father, that he is seeking my life?” 2He said to him, “Far from it, you shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. So why should my father hide this thing from me? It is not so!” 3Yet David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your sight, and he has said, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, or he will be grieved.’ But truly as the LORD lives and as your soul lives, there is hardly a step between me and death.” 4Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” 5So David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I ought to sit down to eat with the king. But let me go, that I may hide myself in the field until the third evening. 6“If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city, because it is the yearly sacrifice there for the whole family.’ 7“If he says, ‘It is good,’ your servant will be safe; but if he is very angry, know that he has decided on evil. 8“Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the LORD with you. But if there is iniquity in me, put me to death yourself; for why then should you bring me to your father?” 9Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! For if I should indeed learn that evil has been decided by my father to come upon you, then would I not tell you about it?” 10Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?” 11Jonathan said to David, “Come, and let us go out into the field.” So both of them went out to the field.

      12Then Jonathan said to David, “The LORD, the God of Israel, be witness! When I have sounded out my father about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if there is good feeling toward David, shall I not then send to you and make it known to you? 13“If it please my father to do you harm, may the LORD do so to Jonathan and more also, if I do not make it known to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. And may the LORD be with you as He has been with my father. 14“If I am still alive, will you not show me the lovingkindness of the LORD, that I may not die? 15“You shall not cut off your lovingkindness from my house forever, not even when the LORD cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the LORD require it at the hands of David’s enemies.” 17Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, because he loved him as he loved his own life.

      18Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be missed because your seat will be empty. 19“When you have stayed for three days, you shall go down quickly and come to the place where you hid yourself on that eventful day, and you shall remain by the stone Ezel. 20“I will shoot three arrows to the side, as though I shot at a target. 21“And behold, I will send the lad, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I specifically say to the lad, ‘Behold, the arrows are on this side of you, get them,’ then come; for there is safety for you and no harm, as the LORD lives. 22“But if I say to the youth, ‘Behold, the arrows are beyond you,’ go, for the LORD has sent you away. 23“As for the agreement of which you and I have spoken, behold, the LORD is between you and me forever.”

      24So David hid in the field; and when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. 25The king sat on his seat as usual, the seat by the wall; then Jonathan rose up and Abner sat down by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty. 26Nevertheless Saul did not speak anything that day, for he thought, “It is an accident, he is not clean, surely he is not clean.” 27It came about the next day, the second day of the new moon, that David’s place was empty; so Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has the son of Jesse not come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28Jonathan then answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem, 29for he said, ‘Please let me go, since our family has a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to attend. And now, if I have found favor in your sight, please let me get away that I may see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Yeshua Wants Us to Do Good Deeds and Reject Evil

As I continue to read the different introductions to the letters to each of the seven churches, I begin to notice that Yeshua introduces Himself a bit differently in the letters. In one He highlights the sword (word of YHWH). In another, He highlights the eyes like a flame of fire and feet like burnished bronze. I am almost sure there is significance there to be unlocked through further study and prayer. The symbolism has meaning. I have not conducted a truly deep study of Revelation, however. If you feel led to do so, I encourage you to test multiple sources and ultimately test everything back to scripture itself.

Revelation 2:18-29

Message to Thyatira

      18“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write:
The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this:

      19‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. 20‘But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21‘I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. 22‘Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. 23‘And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. 24‘But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you. 25‘Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. 26‘He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; 27AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; 28and I will give him the morning star. 29‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Yeshua reminds the people that He knows their deeds and that their deeds matter to Him. He wants more than just acknowledging Him with words! That goes for us as well.

He is not pleased that the people are tolerating a false prophetess among them, who teaches them to do things which are displeasing to Him. Notice she is not a witch, who outright claims to follow Satan. She is a “prophetess” who would seem to present herself as part of the church. He gave her time to repent and now judgment will follow. He offers the same to those who follow after her.

Let us not miss that He searches our minds and hearts, but also gives us according to our deeds. Living for Christ is so much more than a short sinner’s prayer and coming to the altar once. There is an expectation that we change and live according to His ways. We should not tolerate false teaching. We should not mix and mingle or blend good with evil.

Yeshua clearly tells us here that it is not enough that we live according to His word, but we also reject those who are leading fellow believers astray. We are not to just sit on the sidelines, but speak against and separate ourselves from them.

Those who hold fast to His teaching and overcome the world will be rewarded. There is a blessing of obedience and a curse of disobedience, which is consistent throughout scripture.

Deuteronomy 28:1-68 ESV

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. …

Deuteronomy 30:19 ESV

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Walk in the Truth

 

I find the introduction of 3 John to be interesting indeed. John is reaching out to a community of fellow believers, and there is conflict. There is a difference of opinion and approach. We should not be surprised that we see such things even today if it was so even when Yeshua’s disciples were leading the people.

We must seek to walk in the truth. We must recognize that not everything taught or said by a leader in the church is correct. We must test everything against the Bible.

We are also encouraged to help our brethren, even when they are strangers.

3 John 1

You Walk in the Truth

     1The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.

      2Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. 3For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth. 4I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

      5Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers; 6and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. 8Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth.

      9I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. 10For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.

      11Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God. 12Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself; and we add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.

      13I had many things to write to you, but I am not willing to write them to you with pen and ink;

14but I hope to see you shortly, and we will speak face to face.
15 Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grow In Pursuit of Christian Virtue

I could get lost for awhile in the opening introduction of 2 Peter 1. In our society we really don’t understand today much about what a bond servant actually means. I found a helpful study on Shoreshim Ministries podcasts series ‘Returning to our Roots’. To summarize with great simplicity, it is a servant who has been released by his master after a certain number of years and then chooses, willingly, to devote his life to serving his master as a bond servant because he loves and trusts his master. This is a far cry from what we might simply think of as someone who is “trapped” or “forced” to be a servant. He chooses to serve his master with permanent commitment.

There is much more in this chapter of course. We receive faith. We do not accomplish this simply on our own. We seek grace and peace in the knowledge of our Creator. We are encouraged to grow in Christian virtue and to remember that eternity waits for us beyond our fleshly bodies. Reflecting on eternity always stretches me in my natural thoughts to be more long term focused and less focused only on this world. It is too easy to think of 30 years from now as “long term”, but really it is quite short compared to eternity. Let us remember that in guiding how we live our lives.

2 Peter 1:1-15

Growth in Christian Virtue

     1Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: 2Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

      12Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. 13I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.

Glorify the LORD Through Your Actions And Words

Do not continue in the desires of those who do not follow Yeshua, in sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties, and idolatries. Do not expect them to understand why you do not continue in these things with them. However, remain fervent in your love for Yeshua and live according to the Father’s ways, as Yeshua did. Act in such a way that Yeshua is glorified through our actions and words… in how we treat one another. But do not let this be an excuse to accept sin as we should continue to help one another to move away from our previous godless ways so common in culture around us and move ever closer to the LORD.

1 Peter 4:1-11

Keep Fervent in Your Love

      1Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; 5but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.

      7The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 8Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 10As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Instructions for Godly Living, Not For the Faint of Heart

We are continuing in 1 Peter 3 after he writes about servants honoring and obeying their masters in chapter 2, even if they are unreasonable masters. He writes about how Christ is our example in how we react to the way in which others treat us. Then we pick up in chapter 3 and continue into some important and deep guidelines for how we are to live in a godly way.

1 Peter 3

Godly Living

      1In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

      7You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

      8To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

10For,
“THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS,
MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT.

      11“HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD;
HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT.

      12“FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS,
AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER,
BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.”

      13Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? 14But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, 15but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 17For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. 18For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.

Sadly, our culture continues to depart from godly virtuous living. Women are taught they should not obey their husbands, or only if the husbands deserve it. Peter paints a very different picture and with a purpose that goes well beyond ego or pride or hurt feelings that one may struggle with while submitting… Peter points directly to how this behavior may win souls for Christ.

Similarly, husbands are guided to dwell with understanding with their wives, not to dismiss them and run roughshod over them.

All together we are to be kind and humble and, when necessary, suffer for doing what is right. We are not to trade insult for insult, but rather return blessing.

Prayerfully reflect over this guidance and how to apply it in your life today. Let our lives preach the gospel to our spouses and to the world.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

 

Gracious in Giving, Willing to Work to Receive

Boaz is gracious and kind to Ruth when she is in need. A good example for us to consider in making help available to those in need. Ruth works for her food, and does not simply sit around looking for a handout. Further, she does not demand or expect it. She does not resent him for having more than she does.  She is grateful. She is good example for those receiving help.

Ruth 2

Ruth Gleans in Boaz’ Field

      1Now Naomi had a kinsman of her husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. 2And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after one in whose sight I may find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” 3So she departed and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers; and she happened to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech. 4Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the reapers, “May the LORD be with you.” And they said to him, “May the LORD bless you.” 5Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” 6The servant in charge of the reapers replied, “She is the young Moabite woman who returned with Naomi from the land of Moab. 7“And she said, ‘Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.’ Thus she came and has remained from the morning until now; she has been sitting in the house for a little while.”

      8Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Listen carefully, my daughter. Do not go to glean in another field; furthermore, do not go on from this one, but stay here with my maids. 9“Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Indeed, I have commanded the servants not to touch you. When you are thirsty, go to the water jars and drink from what the servants draw.” 10Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” 11Boaz replied to her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previously know. 12“May the LORD reward your work, and your wages be full from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.” 13Then she said, “I have found favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and indeed have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.”

      14At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here, that you may eat of the bread and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.” So she sat beside the reapers; and he served her roasted grain, and she ate and was satisfied and had some left. 15When she rose to glean, Boaz commanded his servants, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not insult her. 16“Also you shall purposely pull out for her some grain from the bundles and leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.”

      17So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. 18She took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also took it out and gave Naomi what she had left after she was satisfied. 19Her mother-in-law then said to her, “Where did you glean today and where did you work? May he who took notice of you be blessed.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The name of the man with whom I worked today is Boaz.” 20Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed of the LORD who has not withdrawn his kindness to the living and to the dead.” Again Naomi said to her, “The man is our relative, he is one of our closest relatives.” 21Then Ruth the Moabitess said, “Furthermore, he said to me, ‘You should stay close to my servants until they have finished all my harvest.’” 22Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his maids, so that others do not fall upon you in another field.” 23So she stayed close by the maids of Boaz in order to glean until the end of the barley harvest and the wheat harvest. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

Unselfish

Naomi had some difficult trials in her life. She lost her husband and she lost her sons. We can certainly reflect that for Israelites to take Moabite wives that did not worship YHWH was not good judgment, but none the less Naomi found herself with only her Moabite daughters in law as she desired to return to Israel.

There are several facets that I find interesting in Ruth 1. Naomi is trying to encourage what is best for her daughers in law. That is selfless and to be admired. Of course it is easier for her if they stay as she continues into old age. Additionally, Ruth remains loyal and sticks with her. On a selfish level, this is probably does not appear to be what is best for her… but YHWH has other plans to use her as we will ready further along in Ruth.

Ruth 1

Naomi Widowed

      1Now it came about in the days when the judges governed, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the land of Moab with his wife and his two sons. 2The name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife, Naomi; and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah. Now they entered the land of Moab and remained there. 3Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left with her two sons. 4They took for themselves Moabite women as wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. And they lived there about ten years. 5Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died, and the woman was bereft of her two children and her husband.

      6Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the land of Moab, for she had heard in the land of Moab that the LORD had visited His people in giving them food. 7So she departed from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. 8And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the LORD deal kindly with you as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9“May the LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10And they said to her, “No, but we will surely return with you to your people.” 11But Naomi said, “Return, my daughters. Why should you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12“Return, my daughters! Go, for I am too old to have a husband. If I said I have hope, if I should even have a husband tonight and also bear sons, 13would you therefore wait until they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters; for it is harder for me than for you, for the hand of the LORD has gone forth against me.”

Ruth’s Loyalty

      14And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

      15Then she said, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. 17“Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” 18When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.

      19So they both went until they came to Bethlehem. And when they had come to Bethlehem, all the city was stirred because of them, and the women said, “Is this Naomi?” 20She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21“I went out full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

      22So Naomi returned, and with her Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, who returned from the land of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

In a very simple way, let us reflect on how Naomi and Ruth were loyal to each other and unselfish in the midst of difficult personal trials. Let us try to live this way with one another as well, considering others even when we are facing hard times.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.