Friday, October 29, 2010

A Pricey Pearl, part 1


Sabattaras, the Macedonian merchant, threw his outer garment over his left arm and surveyed the coast where nearly a hundred expert Nabataean sailors prepared their dhows for the Red Sea waters.  Sabattaras had left his home in Pella two months previous, where he had sold his prosperous fur business and left his family to pursue a rumor.  Traveling south to Athens he embarked a Greek merchant vessel across the Mediterranean Sea to Alexandria.  There, within this prosperous merchant capital, he sold the remainder of his elegant furs and left, by camel, to pass through Gaza, Avdat and the Nabataean capital of Petra.  He followed the bitumen trading routes unto Madain Salih in the late June heat and by early July had reached the Nabataean oil fishery at the port of Leuke Kome where he now stood in silence.  The rumor he chased?  A pearl of great worth.  
This Red Sea pearl was said to be remarkable indeed, unlike any other… .and it was also said to be a mere tale, a falsehood, a made-up story.  However, at thirty-eight years of age, a man deserted by his young bride and with no children, Sabattaras was in the market for far-fetched, far-away dreams.  He would obtain this magnificent pearl and return home to boast that a beautiful reality does exist in this bleak world... .there truly was something priceless to lay hold of….
The Red Sea journey was pricey in itself; Sabattaras paid dearly out of pocket and could pay dearly with his life.  The inlets and reeds would undoubtedly be lurking with pirates.  The Nabataeans themselves were among the most ruthless tribes that pirated these waters.  Would they recognize one of their own trading vessels?  Would they care?  These particular vessels were to transport Sabattaras and a handful of other merchants to the Greek merchant port city of Berenice.  There, Sabattaras had been told, existed the remarkable Red Sea pearl.
Sabattaras wiped the sweat from his brow and squinted at the sailors.  How long? He wondered.  He was anxious to face the dangerous waters and know his fate.  Sabattaras stood tall, broad shouldered and of paler complexion.  He attempted to hide his skin color under a large flowing turban and a fresh layer of dirt.  Although the territory currently resided under Roman authority, best not, in this environment, to stand out so obviously different.  He stepped forward as he perceived a line of similarly dressed merchants approaching the Nabataean ship.  He dealt out his fare to the receiver at the embarkment and boarded, claiming a low profile position at the ships quarter-deck and he waited.
The Red Sea was populated at this time of year with several Arab merchant ships headed towards India and Asia to conduct trade.  Roman vessels sailed among them, conducting themselves with both pride and care.  Berenice served as a vibrant port, exchanging a number of highly valuable commodities, carried by ships headed both into and out of the Red Sea.  Sabattaras reached Berenice safely by the late eve of the day and sought shelter.  Tomorrow he would systematically and persistently chase the rumor….
To be continued...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Treasure in a Field, part 2

Today, Ah-Fahr had planted seed in his rocky field - seed that would probably not grow.  He kicked and yelled, threatened and fumed at the rough earthen terrain for several hours.  He carelessly threw his shovel to the ground and scolded his impoverished soil with a waging finger.  “O God of Heaven” he yowled upward, “Here my prayer….” And from a distance one could have comically enjoyed the display of thrashing arms and hopping feet on tipey-toe and a countenance expressing a number of exaggerated lines and tones.
All at once the desperate dance ended and Ah-Fahr stared at his fallen shovel.  There was a field on the other side of Katzrin still awaiting his observations.  Ah-Fahr retrieved his shovel from the earth and went back to the house of his sorrowful wife and six underfed children to eat a little and consider how he would journey again to see the field of yesterday….
Now was a good time.  Now was the best time.  When all slept sweetly in Katzrin.  The farmer led his way with a small oil lamp, past the neighbors, every fifth one, that would ask him no questions in the slumber of their night.  He reached the city gate, shovel in hand, and muscled his courage with a shoulderly breath and expansion of his stocky chest.  He set one foot to the road and strode to his field as a man with a mission.
Ah-Fahr could hear the familiar “crunch, crunch” beneath his feet as he neared the place of the field.  Dry, dusty, rocky.  He felt an unmanly tear threatening to break through his sweaty eyelids.  He choked it down proudly as he reached his destination.  There is was.  A field of course stubble.  Never mind.  Let’s dig, he thought, Perhaps there is good earth deeper down.  And so he dug and dug and dug.
Ah-Fahr was an inch thick in dust and surrounded by a small heap of rock, bristle and straw when his shovel refused to deep any deeper.  It halted with a hard thud pushing Ah-Fahr backward to catch his balance.  The words Ah-Fahr uttered are not repeatable but among them he revealed his thoughts about the hard object that must surely be the largest rock ever found in a farmer’s field!  Only Ah-Fahr would have such a fortune to dig deeper and deeper and find bigger and bigger rocks.
He nearly quit, but, having come this far, he decided to dig around the large rock to see if there were any others.  He began to scrape about its sides to know its size and, upon doing so, discovered that this was no ordinary rock.  It was no rock of any sort at all!  It was a large crate covered in pitch to secure it from intruding natural elements.  Ah-Fahr was surprised, of course, and dug up the crate.
The crate was unearthed and pried open before Ah-Fahr in less than twenty minutes.  So heavy it was that he could not remove it from its hole.  So he sat, gapping at the contents, in the deep hole he had dug.  There before him existed a measure of coin and jewel unknown to any man or woman in Ah-Fahr’s acquaintance.  This useless field contained an unexpected quantity and quality of treasure.  Ah-Fahr whistled long and low and uttered words much more repeatable but too many to record.
Ah-Fahr thought best to re-cover the treasure with his pile of excavated rock and dirt.  He pounded and pressed the dirt into form and leapt to the journey home.  He rushed through the streets of Katzrin, his shovel waving violently behind.  His friends and neighbor all watched him, smirking and commenting with there eyes.  What a sight was the silly Ah-Fahr covered in stench and dirt!  But Ah-Fahr did not mind them.  He raced his way home to sell everything and buy a field with no apparent worth.
As you can imagine, the townspeople laughed when he put his house and his fields up for auction.  Down to the last cushion, his sorrowful wife and six underfed children wore expressions of resignation as it was sold and they would own nothing on which to sit.  But Ah-Fahr gathered his finances and his family and purchased the wasted field hiding treasure….
Today, his wife is no longer sorrowful, his six… um… seven children are all well fed.  And the townspeople?  They don’t smirk or comment or laugh any more.  Ah-Fahr is the richest man among them.  Yes, Ah-Fahr is rich indeed, for, he has given most of his wealth to these townspeople and he has fed all of the poor in the Golan Heights.  Ah-Fahr is a man always looking for an opportunity to pour out his heart on one human life.  Ah-Fahr is a man who knows worth; a man always seeking treasure.
Matthew 13:44
The End.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Treasure in a Field, part 1

Katzrin lay quiet.  The town barely breathed.  The small Jewish community slept sweetly tonight, that is, all but one man.  The short stocky farmer waddled through the dark streets with a small lantern and an awkwardly large shovel.  The townspeople called him “ah-Fahr” or “dirt” in reference to his usually disheveled and dirty appearance.  He was a man of the fields and their soils.  Ah-Fahr had produced very little in his life.  He possessed very little to invest in production.  He had inherited from his father the worst soil in the Golan Heights.  Ah-Fahr spent his younger years clearing rocks from his little hillside fields, and still, rocks remained to be cleared.  They were small dusty chips, worth nothing, useless for the building of houses or any good thing.  Ah-Fahr had quite a quarry of those dusty chips and two very worn out hands and a sorrowful wife and six underfed children.  This was the life of Ah-Fahr.  The vineyards of Golan were the most productive in the land, but alas, Ah-Fahr tasted none of the juices.
Yesterday was a different day than today.  Yesterday Ah-Fahr walked in broad daylight through the Katzrin streets with his awkwardly large shovel.  His Jewish neighbors, never minding their own business, asked what he was off to do.  About every fifth individual he passed asked him this question.  He was happy to announce his desire to purchase another field.  He would invest his entire life’s savings into a new field he had discovered on the other side of town.  But, what everyone knew and therefore what everyone laughed at, was Ah-Fahr’s seeming ignorance of the field he was off to examine.  It was another field at the edge of a rocky slope.  It was a useless field, a fruitless field.  Would Ah-Fahr spend more of his vitality on useless fields?  He has produced nothing from what he already owns!  
Ah-Fahr was an optimistic man.  He was a man with merely nothing but willing to invest all.  He was a man who prayed for the opportunity to pour his heart into one thing and to give away its produce.  Ah-Fahr was a man with heart and available hands.  Once he had boasted, “If God would grant me a productive field, I will feed all the poor in the Golan Heights!”  But, his neighbors laughed - Ah-Fahr WAS the poor in the Golan Heights!  How could one with so little ever be capable of giving so much?  I interject: perhaps the townspeople should be more careful with their laughter, for, God answers the prayers of the poor…
Yesterday they laughed at his notion all throughout the Katzrin streets.  Silly Ah-Fahr!  Off to prove himself a fool!  Ah-Fahr had reached the edge of the city.  He stood at the brink of its gate and sighed.  His heart fell heavily.  All of his willingness could not carry him through the journey to the small field he sought to purchase.  The words plagued his optimistic spirit and he turned back.  He careened through every side road and alley to escape the ridicule of the marketplaces with his large shovel heaving upon his strong shoulders and humbled backside.  His jaw weakly sunk into his sad chest and his eyes darted to and fro looking for  a way out of more humiliation.  Perhaps this five foot three clump of human dirt really was a hopelessly silly fool looking for treasures in all the wrong places….
To be continued…

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Light and Darkness of the Eyes

“Your eye is the lamp of your body.  When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness.  Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness.  If then your whole body is full of light having no part dark; it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light,” Luke 11:34-36.  There is a continual theme of light and dark in scripture.  This light and this darkness is known to exist within the heart that resides somewhere behind the eyes.  For all concrete purposes, we are meant to understand that the darkness of the heart effects our vision as does the enlightening of our hearts.  These eyes of our heart actively light our perception.  They are the lamp that we use to light our way.
In other words, how well we are able to perceive Reality unalterably affects the choices we make, the words we say, the activity that we engage.  We will act upon what we perceive to be real!  If our eyes perceive the ruling hands of Death as a constant threat to our welfare, and if our eyes perceive humanity as a corroded mechanism that enforces Death’s power and actively threatens our ability to survive, well, this is the light that we will live by.  Our path will be determined by and fraught with enemies in the dimly lit perspective our darkened hearts.  We are enabled to see only temporal Death… .God is not among us… .He is not envisioned in image or in power.
This, my friend is a serious issue.  One that I face everyday.  Do the eyes of my heart see the inevitable restoration of creation by the activity of a powerful Divinity moving and weaving among us?  What the eyes of my heart see as a greater reality will determine my choice, my words and my activity on planet earth.  Like the Psalmist, I pray an honest plea that God will restore my eyes to good vision.  I want good eyes that perceive His ongoing resurrection of fallen flesh…
Good eyes go looking for this treasure.  They see the kingdom of God among us.. .within us.  They see the restoration of creational glory and God’s government in the flesh.  They envision a God-Man story culminating in future fullness.  They see Life as Divinity designed it - they see its manifestation in you and in me.  Good eyes go looking for lost life.  Let everything that has breath be revived and sanctified!  Let every creaturely coin be purified and reveal itself treasure once again… .by the powers of a merciful Savior.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Open My Eyes

It takes good eyes to really see.  One who lingers upon the corrosion with blinded vision will only see the sickening reminder of their own failing humanity.  In our human blindness, we are prone to focus only upon the pains and failures we have experienced in this world at the lacking mercies of corroded flesh… .and, therefore, we are prone to fight for survival against it.
  But if one has good eyes, he or she will see a very different thing….
There is a wonderful reality among us.  It is the reality of an Eternal Life poured out.  It is a gracious gift of free forgiveness that has chosen to forget the creational corrosion.  The corrosion does not matter anymore.  There are eyes that sink deep.  They burrow through the corrupted flesh and view the human.  They see you.  They see me.  They see a life wanted.  They see a desirable being once known as the very image of God.  They see a coin - a valuable entity.  They see an opportunity to fuse heaven and earth.  They see a possibility for holiness in the flesh. 
Amidst the blurry perceptions of a fallen world, a Psalmist made a prayer to God, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.  I am a sojourner on earth; hide not your commandments from me!” Psalm 119:18-19.  With a whole hearted plea, he asks to see the boundary lines of Reality again!  He desired to look at Life the way that Divinity created it!  He prayed to once again realize the sanctity, the wholeness and holiness, of Eternal Reality.  The Psalmist cried out for the vision to perceive the Law of Life all around him.  His own heart desperately needed to be governed by an understanding of God’s Life in all things.  He needed to see his Creator and the creation the way God saw them.  
And so also, we need to see.  We desperately need our eyes wide opened to the activity of a merciful God amidst a dying and merciless humanity.  We need the heart and mind to dismiss the survival of our own welfare for the taking up of our brother and sister’s deep need for holy revival.  We are called to answer the groaning; to seek out the treasure of a God-Man fusion on planet earth…. .the kingdom of God vibrant among us.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Blind Men

Can a blind man lead a blind man?  Will they not both fall into a pit?” Mark 6:39.  Our frailty has fallen far away from God.  Can we even help each other a little from here?  Blind men only lead blind men into pits…
The gospel of Eternal Life simply tells us that human life has eternal value.  Divinity desires flesh and blood to be fused with heavenly holiness and glory for Eternity… .a resurrection to Reality.  Here, on planet earth, in a sphere of understanding departed from Reality… .here, where the rule of Death is quite considered the norm… .here, we easily settle for fading and dying.  Here we easily struggle to fight for survival and lead others to do so as well.  It is a race against temporal existence and the finality of total loss.  This has become our normal reality.  Wars are fought on every plain of human existence, battles produced of to comfort and control the ache of our flesh while we fast approach impending doom.  In simple terms, we are afraid to lose our life…
Yes, with this vision of “reality”, one would most certainly need to struggle for existence.  Blind men everywhere struggling while running into temporary walls.  And Oh the cut and bruising the comes when no one knows where to go or what to do.  We walk along the wall groping together for answers.  We make independent decisions based on our blurred perception of Life and we lead others into pitfalls with us.   Ouch! We deny our very blindness  and nakedness and yet feel its cruel vulnerability just the same.  We know that others are blind and naked as well.   But the eyes of our hearts are dull and blurry, so concerned with our own welfare, that we have little regard for the flesh of our neighbor.  Our retina has focused on the wounds of our own flesh and we cannot perceive the wounds of our brother.  Humans beware!  We are a lost race in fear for our survival! 
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother let me take out the speck that is in your own eye, when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye?’” Luke 6:42.  Until the eyes of our hearts are open, until light is shed abroad in our understanding, we cannot help, we cannot protect or provide for the frailty of others.  “I was naked and you clothed me…” Matthew 35:6.  Life has lost its brilliancy in our perspective.  We have eyes but we do not see.  This world swirls with a need to survive against loss of our temporary livlehood.  Ah, with this perspective one could not possibly see Divinity’s beautiful image in the earth.  We can’t see Him peering through the eyes of our neighbor asking to be covered and fed.  Our dust and ashes have become heaps of disposable souls.
I am very sorry; thus far, this is not a lovely story.  It is the story of Humanity’s great loss of Reality….  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Looking for Lost Life

I have found that it is easy, in this world, to catch sight of only the corrosion.  The gold is gone.  The creation is corrupted and undiscernable.  I have found that it is easy to dismiss the corroded coins.  There is not much to look at that has any resemblance to it’s Maker.  The muck and mire of defiled centuries arouses our hearts to concern very little.  It is unsightly, ghastly, a disfigured disgrace.  Our looking into the matter of corrupted creation may only invoke the pain of lost treasure in our own being.  There is nothing good to see; nothing pleasant to look at… .so we look away…
Our eyes, our hearts, our hands become more occupied with temporary, yet lovely things.  Why waste a day of needed welfare over a ruined, fallen, defiled, sin-stained humanity?  Why look into the matter?  We have discovered treasure somewhere else.  I have found that this is easy to do.  It is easy to look away.  It is easy to busy my heart with other things and ignore the simpering groan of a fading existence.  “…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” Matthew 6:21.  And I have to wonder: is my heart really in this gospel from God?  Have the lives wrought with so much value before God become of any value in my own evaluation?  I have often found that the creational corrosion averts me.  Poverty, helplessness and homelessness may play upon my heart stings and beckon a response, but the raw sinfulness of my neighbor and my enemy disgusts me and it is all too easy to dismiss their lost life.  I, perhaps, have missed a calling so profound and sincere.  I can help the poor but can I love my enemies?  Though I hate their sinfulness, can I love their lives enough to effect a deliverance?  Can I perceive their value and deep need for sanctification?  Could I die for their opportunity to live?  Am I one in heart with the Seeker of human lives?  He who looks intently for hearts and minds buried beneath years of corrosion?  
This gospel goes beyond feeding corroded flesh.  This gospel seeks to save lost coins.  It searches to discover unknown value and God ordained worth.  Every coin has its origins in the hands of its Maker.  Do I really know this… .all the way from my dearest companions to my darkest enemies?  Have I discovered, in them, an opportunity to revive and sanctify lost life?  Have I considered their creational groaning?
It is not always easy.  It is far easier to catch sight of their corrosion.  Therefore, I wonder, have I really seen?  Have we walked about with eyes open?  Are we looking for lost life?
Questions that beg our response…. .my response.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost,” Luke 19:10.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Groaning

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us….” We shall see holiness and we shall be fully whole, integral, healed, restored…  “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God…”  All of creation waits to see what wholeness and integrity, healing and restoration looks like.  It waits to be seen by eyes of discernment; to be heard by ears that are truly listening; to be touched by hands that preserve, protect and produce goodness.  “For the creation was subjected to futility…” It has lost its dignity and fruitfullness.  It has become barren, sorrowful and joyless.  “…not willingly, but because of him who subjected it…” It was given to man, from the dawn of creation, to subdue and tend it, care for it and honor it, multiply and reproduce it’s goodness; but man became subject to sin.  Therefore this present creation has become subject to our sins.  “…in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God…”  And those who become children of God become free.  They are free from subjection to sinfullness.  They are free to return to holiness.  They are free to respond to creation in righteousness.  They are free to do right and liberate their sphere of influence in creation from subjection to man’s sinfulness.  “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains childbirth until now…”  Creation has been in pain.  It has sorrowfully groaned and longed, waited, sighed and faded.  It has been waiting for you, son and daughter of God to become known and freely give God’s graces to creation.  “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies…”  Our own created bodies grown - they are part of creation.  They wait for the fullness of redemption.  They wait for bodily resurrection.  They wait for complete return to wholeness with the Spirit of the Living God.  All of creation groans and waits for a baptism of Eternal Life.  “For in this hope we were saved….”  We received this call to perfect holiness; we took up this cross of serving the rights and needy cries of others because He promised to raise us up and restore all things for eternity.  We give our whole being to restoration because we have the hope of being restored eternally.  “Now hope that is seen is not hope.  For who hopes for what he sees?”  We do what we do for creation in total trust.  Our only guarantee that God will keep His promise is the Spirit that He gave us - this Spirit that groans for full eternity.  “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” And He who promised is faithful.  So we trust.  And we obtain holiness.  And we walk in it.  And we invest ourselves wholly in the restoration of all things in our sphere of infuence.  We revive creation from its deadness.  We speak to it the gospel of eternal life.  We suffer and lose much in trust of what we will gain.  And what we will gain is so much more.  It cannot compare to our losses Today.  This is our hope and for this personal restoration, we wait… .patiently. Romans 8:18-25.
Creation also waits…  .on you.  It groans for your revelation as a son and daughter of God.  It longs for you to reveal Eternal Life.  Live, Today!  Look for and purify all created treasure…. .bring to it the words of Eternal Life… 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Holiness

…it is not an unreachable standard of conduct demanded by a perfectionist deity.  Holiness is the way things used to be.  Once upon a time Life was eternal and integral.  It was pure and undefiled.  It was pleasurable and peaceful.  Life healed immediately and reconciled constantly.  It communed regularly with God and fellowship joyfully with humanity.  It is a once upon a time reality that we have never known.  Life as God designed it!
Holiness is a return to reality.  It has not been demanded of you, it has been given to you in the form of liquid gold - His precious Holy Spirit.  God wants you to experience this purity and peace so badly that He has invested His Holy Life in anyone who will receive.  At the risk of personal grief, He has placed Himself within you to restore you to reality… .to make you eternal and integral again.
Do not run from holiness.  “…And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption,” Ephesians 4:30.  Do not perceive it as a perfectionist command.  Do not think it is a matter of attainment; it was gifted to you, now receive it.  “…He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life,” Titus 3:5-7.  Holiness, this Holy Spirit, will consume your corrosion when you free fall into its grace.  Let God have His Holy way in you.  “…and be holy, for I am holy…” Leviticus 11:44.  Be holy because He is holy and longs, deeply, deeply longs for peaceful, undefiled communion with you.  You have been invited into real life with God and man… .receive it, honor it, enjoy it…
“Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood ad clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable use.  Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work,” 2 Timothy 2:20-21.  Let Him restore your original value… .let Him find your good treasure again…

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pure Gold

Scripture speaks of sanctifying persons or objects to God.  “Sanctify” is not a word we throw around in the American English language very often, therefore, it requires a concrete explanation if we are to pursue its application.  To sanctify something or someone is to restore it to wholeness and then actively preserve it as a whole, complete and clean entity.  It is simply to preserve something as undefiled and valuable.  Once an object or individual has been made integral, lacking nothing and totally undefiled, it is set apart for purposes that will never remove value and defile its cleanness.  
 To sanctify an object or individual requires a process of “sanctification” for the reason that the original object has become defiled and devalued.  When speaking of humanity, sanctification it the process of returning the individual and the human race to its original purity and valuable condition.  Sin has contaminated us, universal fallenness has belittled us, therefore, we need to undergo a process of cleansing, healing and returning to our originally designed condition.  Life as God designed it!
The Healer and Restorer has come into complete contact with the human race for this very purpose.  His many works of grace have returned the born again believer to a state of value and cleanness in Him.  We who believe are returned, in Spirit, to the quality of integral and undefiled Life that God designed.  We are filled with this Life; this Holy Life.  We are filled with the sanctified Life.  We are filled with this sanctified Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit knows no other Life except a Life of highly valuable and unadulterated pure gold!
The human individual who receives the filling of this Holy Living Spirit is like a conduit of liquid gold.  Something undefiled, pure and sparkly resides on the inside.  It is uncontaminated by humanity’s sin and fallenness and the human container is unable to contribute any contamination.  This Holy Spirit will always be pure and undefiled - and it lives in you!
The great destiny of the human, filled with this Spirit, is to transformed into its purity.  This liquid gold hotly burns and flows in your being to consume any spot of contamination, any sign of unrighteousness, any form of defilement that pervades your heart and mind with death.  Death is like corrosion on a beautifully formed gold coin.  This Living Holy Life intends to swallow that coin whole, burning away the corrosion and melting it into the mixture of Life.  You are the coin.  This Holy Life in you is more precious than gold.  It refines you for a Life more precious than gold - a coin of undefinable worth in human terms.
Sanctification has come to the human race through the Living Holy Spirit - it has come to all who will receive this destiny of refinement, this call to purity.  The human race is valuable.  It’s original design is a desirable treasure beyond comprehension.  It should not be defiled.
“…He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this we rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith - more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” 1 Peter 1:3-7.
“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.  And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure,” 1 John 3:3.
Let Him purify and set you apart for an Eternally purposeful Life!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Treasure

“Treasure” is a word that brightens our senses.  We delight rightfully in the idea of beautiful sparkly things that may potentially bless our welfare. We see prisms and colors; rubies, diamonds, dazzling gems refracting light in secret vaults and caverns.  Circular gold coins clink and chime against a heap of more circular gold coins.  Fascinating.  Naturally, our eyes have been deeply mesmerized; our hands are dually engaged.  We have discovered treasure!
Where have we found it?  Where has this thing of great value been discovered?  What, truly, is this fascinating heap of value?  The answer to our question will determine the course of our whole lives; for, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” Matthew 6:21.  The eyes of your heart will seek this treasure in every circumstance and decision of life and your hands will rush to engage it….
There are many things that are described in scripture as valuable to God.  Among them we find a host of spiritual words such as righteousness, holiness and faith.  It is tempting to assume that God only values spiritual ideas, however, those spiritual ideas are manifest in material form.  For instance, to be righteous is also to do righteousness.  We can now say that God values the coming together of the spiritual and the material, or natural - the secret to discovering true treasure is in the fusion of the two.  Simply said, our treasure is Real Life itself.  It is Life as God designed and planned it.  We assign value to this God-designed Life and therefore, pursue its restoration and sanctity or undefiled preservation.  With every laborious effort, we elevate Life to its most valuable station.  We get our hands dirty to add to Life’s worth and exaltation.  We live to keep Life pure and undefiled…. .because Life has so much value in our eyes.
In our evaluation, his life and her life are a fascinating human mass of value.  God’s Life in humanity is worth all of our sweat and blood.  We have discovered treasure in our own bodies and personality.  God has granted His spiritual self to fleshly humankind, therefore, we do anything and everything we can to restore and preserve its quality.  As believer’s, our heart and soul desire is to see Life really alive again - resurrected with the Living God.
You will work and fight, labor and sweat for the beautifully sparkly thing you have your heart set on.  You will give your full force and resource to its apprehension.  Will you apprehend Life Today?  Will you lay hold of its wealthy fusion in your own being?  Will you run your fingers through its restoration and preservation in the peoples about you?  Clink, Clink… .will you give yourself to worthy sanctification, will you sanctify others; a return to pure gold?  Where the eyes of your heart perceive treasure, your love and personal resource will sacrifice all.  Your heart will be fully invested in the labor, for, where your treasure is, there your heart will be also….

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Eyes of Your Heart

It is true: we want to be practical.  We want to know what to do with our hands.  We seek occupation and activity, but, we are often deceived of its value.  We do things we know we ought not to do.  Our hands get busy elsewhere.  We become entangled in striving for things that do not last.  It is just the way of this world and we row with it.  Worries, fears, pressures, ideas, desires - they dominate the busyness of our hands.
It appears that our hands and their pawing about for treasure is the prime enemy.  If only they would be still!  Ah, but this is not true.  Our hands are not the problem.  It is our eyes.  Yet, I speak not first of the two bobbles positioned on either side of your nose.  I speak of the eyes of your heart.  
This phrase, “the eyes of your heart”, receives a good deal of scriptural consideration.  So also does the concept of spiritual ears.  As a matter of fact, your spiritual senses seem to precede your physical ones in scriptural reality.  In reality, your personality is infused with divine senses.  Your perception begins within.  What your physical eyes see, your spiritual eyes interpret.  I am not suggesting a brand new teaching; I am speaking of what you know.  The scriptural authors spoke of the inner man in concrete sensual terms.  Your heart, your inner being, sees, hears, smells, touches; in other words, it perceives and interprets.  
Matthew connects your pursuit of treasures with the sight of your eyes.  He positions these teachings of Christ next to each other in chapter 6, verses 19-23.  The way that your personality sees will determine the value of both worldly and eternal treasure.  If your eyes are bright and filled with reality, you will see the eternal things of value and you will labor in eternal work.  You will see where to go and what to do, what to say and how to say it.  You will perceive true value, because, your spiritual eye, as Jesus said, “is healthy”.  However, if your eyesight is darkened, if you cannot see Eternity and eternal value, you will not know where to go and what to do.  You will grope for temporal security.  You will fight and claw for the treasures of earth.  Value is misplaced.
The idea is simple.  Do not disconnect your spiritual eye from your natural one too much - they affect each other.  Truly what your heart perceives your physical nature will respond to.  You will see with spiritual and natural eyes.  You will engage Eternity with your natural hands and Eternity will be pervaded with treasure that lasts!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Practical Life

Being ethereal and other-worldy, eternity appears to have no practical application to our everyday lives.  Our imagining faculties may inspire us to flit and float, but, doubtfully to practice.  How is the eternal life a practical life?  
Eternal Life is very practical.  Once conceived, it actively moves and breathes within our members to raise up every part of our being.  Every thought, every word, every decision, every desire, and so much more, is changed.  It is renewed day by day.  It is transformed and reformed.  It is redeemed and restored to the reality of eternal things… .eternal living.
One who is eternal cannot also be temporal.  One who contributes to Life cannot also contribute to Death.  One who seeks heaven’s kingdom cannot seek the kingdoms of this world.  One who loves the sanctity of Eternal Life cannot love the defilements of the Earthly Life.  The New Creation lives in a new reality.  The Spiritual Creature invests in a wise style of living that is not of this world system.  The perspective is altered.  The hope of Eternity is grand indeed.  There is a whole new program to pursue and engage because Life goes on forever.
How is this practical?  Why, it is practical in every shape and form.  If my contribution to this Eternity is unfading, unfailing, undying, I have no worry whatsoever about losses.  I do not need to fight, scratch, preserve, or survive.  I can release my fears and earthly longings.  I can invest my person,  here on earth, without care of cost or lack of reward.  This perspective inspires a practical action that invests in what will never be lost, eternally; those things that bless beyond our time and space.  My investment, my contribution is Eternal, therefore, it will come back to me.  I will inherit a reward.  Nothing is lost.
This is the practicality of Eternity.  It cannot be measured in charts and rules.  I cannot tell you that this or that will gain this or that and this or that will lose this or that.  I can only tell you that your intercession concerning Eternal things will not be lost…. .not in the least.  I can only tell you that He will keep His promise of eternal rewards… .all of them - beyond our imagining faculties.  I can only tell you that this world will be lost and all of your attempts for security in it.  But, I can hopefully tell you that only what’s done for Christ will last.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth… .but, lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven…” Matthew 6:19-20.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Gospel of Eternal Life

Think on this: you have been completely changed.  You have been irrevocably altered.  “…Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.  He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life,” John 5:24.  It has already happened.  Life works in all of your members to raise you… .eternally.  “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh.  Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come,” 2 Corinthians 5:16-17.  Very realistically, you are regarded as a new life form.  You are an eternal creaturely container of a continually transforming and elevating power.  Eternal life is raising you up, Today!
The Spirit of the Living God moves and breathes in you and you have a deep down guarantee of Eternity.  “He who has prepared for us this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee,” 2 Corinthians 5:5.  You are still human and you will still taste death, but it will not have you.  “Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day,” 2 Corinthians 4:16.  Death’s grip is loose.  “‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?’” 1 Corinthians 15:34-35.  It’s power, though it wrestles to keep hold, has been overcome.  “We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him,” Romans 6:9.  It fights but it fails in the face of its Overcomer.  Legally, the Father will raise us in acknowledgment of the Life of His Son.  “..he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus…” 2 Corinthians 4:14.  I promise…. It is a spiritual guarantee.
This Spirit intercedes within you.  “…we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved,” Romans 23-24.  It is an undying intercession throughout your earthly existence, even into the grave.  It is eternal intercession.  “The Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words,” Romans 8:26.  And the Father of your Spirit will answer your spiritual cry with resurrection.   “For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened… .that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee,” 2 Corinthians 5:4-5.  It’s a promise that He has made to all His children.  This is your rest, Today: He will keep His promise.
We are very dependent on His graces. We cannot conceive this Spirit.  We cannot raise ourselves.  Eternity is in the powerful hands of the Father.  We, the children of the Father, have been called to live a life dependent on His promise.  We have been invited to receive an eternal inheritance that we cannot see.  “…As we look not to things that are seen but things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal,” 2 Corinthians 4:18.  A Life that begins to raise us at the very moment of its conception.  We are to move and breathe, work in agreement, groan and intercede with this Eternal Life that we do not see.
This is the gospel of Eternal Life… .for Today.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Today

Eternity can seem very far away; a distant shadow of what should be but is not.  In our linear brains we have no room for its operation.  It feels heavenly and our timeliness, earthly.  It strikes our conscience as something that will come with a dramatic kingdom from a distant corner of the universe.  However, this kingdom has not been preached to us as dramatic and distant.  This eternity has not been hidden in secretive halls.  We are told that it is “here”, “among us” and have been admonished to enter it “today”.  There is a scriptural inclination that the Divine heart has invaded our time and space with this eternal authority and He has become a responder to its viceroys Today.
In the cosmic story, the Great Redeemer has already considered us and sought out an opportunity to purchase our welfare.  He has made a bargain and grasped the fallen shoe.  He has run to our side to unburden our load.  The Great Redeemer has purchased rest for us - Eternal Rest.  The bridal day has arrived for Ruth to throw down her barley sling and cast off her barrenness. She has become a laborer of posterity, no longer a servant to poverty.  She has entered rest Today.
“The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say. ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you,” Luke 17:20-21.  It is our privilege to understand that Divinity has revealed Himself.  He has come close in the person of His Son.  He has deeply burdened Himself with our personal causes and He has bargained to be our personal Restorer.  Eternal restoration has been dispersed to the sons and daughters of God.  Consider, He is here to unleash Eternal Life within you, Today.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Reality

And when I close my eyes…
Health and thriving, rewarded work 
Deep appreciation, looking forever into the heart of compassionate eyes
When in meditation…
Are protective brothers, satisfying sisters 
Unhindered celebration, violent expression of a love that never dies
Within the most average longing…
The deep desires to pour out
And pour out, to plant, water and pour out all the fruitfulness of soul’s seed
Ah, when I look into eternity…
It is not like a mystery
It is like the reality of wholeness and goodness that always should be
When I consider dying…
It feels like an enemy
It intrudes like a liar in the flesh that never should have been
Is this so surprising?
That I expect eternity?
Or is this mere reality that I envision without any mystery
As so God has said that He has put it in the hearts of men?
“…He has put eternity into man’s heart…” Ecclesiastes 3:11.  We are longing for reality.  Don’t settle for less.

Empowered with Eternity

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you rejoice…” 1 Peter 1:3-5.
O the practicality of the resurrection!  Jesus Christ passed through death and came out the other side victorious!  This is reality.  Life is Eternal.  You may not remember, but you have a secure inheritance.  It waits for you.  Full restoration is yours… .forever.
Whew!  Let out your breath.  The one you have been holding through all your earthly circumstances.  I have good news.  You may have thought the world was ending; your poverty, your tears, your losses have won, but… .Divinity has a plan…
He implemented this Divine conspiracy over 2000 years ago.  He entered the flesh and blood human race and became a flesh and blood Redeemer.  Now He holds something very instrumental in the vaults of heaven: your inheritance.  You see, life is Eternal.  It goes on and on and on.  After this age passes, another begins.  It is an age of “all things new”.  It is the age of the New Heaven and Earth.   “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind,” Isaiah 65:17.  An age designed for the spiritual children of God to make all things new with Him.  You will get your hands dirty.  You will work this earth with lovingkindness.  You will build and plant and weep no more.  “…No more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress…. .they shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit… .my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands,” Isaiah 65:19-22.
Yet there is better news than this.  This eternal age that seems so far off is among us.  We have begun eternity today.  Our contributions of love and mercy, of justice and service are never lost.  They live on eternally.  As we follow Christ, moving and serving with Him, we are preparing for the reception of an inheritance that resurrects all things in Christ.  Jesus Christ is now empowered to give us eternity; to work eternal life into the fading existence of Earth.  Restoration has begun.  He is working its life and power into us and we in turn do likewise.  When He returns, all things infused with His life, our bodies and spiritual service, will be raised with Him.  You have nothing to lose in this kingdom!  He will raise it all for eternity!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

They Named Him "Obed"

It was a neighbor woman who looked over the cradled arms and, spying the child, declared him to be “Obed”.  She declared him to be “a worshipper”, “a servant” and “a follower”.  He would follow in the bowed low steps of his birth mother Ruth and the lavishing love of his birth father Boaz.  Their narrated union is a blessing to us.  They have shown us how to serve and worship; how to give all for the cause of another; how to offer one’s whole ability; how to bless until another is full.  Obed, you will follow these Redemptive Streets of Gold.
And that is how the story ends… .with a heritage.  In the heart of Israel a legacy of servants and worshippers are born; from King David to King Jesus.  God would spend a lifetime forming the first king right before our eyes.  We would observe the story of a patient God teaching a young boy to grow in service and worship.  Divinity would pound, maneuver and caress this lump of human clay to reveal that one ought to lay down their own cause and take up the cause of others.  David learned some to be a servant and a worshipper.  He is a good example to us…
But King Jesus learned all“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.  Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.  And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal, salvation to all who obey him…” Hebrews 5:7-9.  Being fully human, being our brother in all respects, it was not easy for Christ to lay down His own causes - the causes of demanding His own way or taking up His own rights.  He did so with loud cries and many tears; with great patience and a trust in eternal restoration.  He suffered when learning to serve, to worship and to follow.  
Before His coronation as a King, before any exaltation, He bowed low as a human and took up the cause of the human race.  He became a foreigner among us.  He became our closest kin.  He became a servant.  He became as Obed….
“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” Philippians 2:9-10.  And because He perfectly accomplished this low position, He is exalted.  He now receives full restoration for all the losses He incurred in His earthly service.  It is commanded that He receive grateful honor and service of the human race.  It has become His right to receive it.  We are taught to bow low for His cause.  And, more beautiful yet, He is positioned to eternally restore us.  He is positioned to take up our cause.  We, who choose to bow low will receive the full restoration for all losses incurred in our earthly service.  He has become our Eternal Great Goel….

Monday, October 4, 2010

He Restores My Soul


Where words of doubt, piety and snobbery had gathered in the Bethlehem streets, there was now silence.  A little more than a year had passed since the first redeemer cast his sandal, in an act of relinquished right, at the feet of Boaz.  The delighted Boaz took up that sandal swiftly and pursued his bride to be like a whirlwind.  In unmatched acts of generosity, he bestowed upon a foreigner the wealth and stature of a Sovereign in his heart and household.  She was the twinkle in his eye and the receptor of all his goodness.  He held nothing back.  
The women became hushed within the market place.  Who dares to speak a word on this subject?  This foreigner had proved praiseworthy in conduct and become the single desire and wife of a prominent Jewish citizen.  All were equally amazed...
...and it ought not be surprising to we who know the deep truths of this story.  The “once upon a time” fairy tale of an eminent King who has cared not about the whisperings of others, but, has sought lawfully and strategically to gain the hearts of foreigners.  He who has become our Brother in all respects, has also pursued His right to be our Kinsmen Redeemer, our Great Goel….
The story continues... 
In a small part of Bethlehem a saintly drama was taking place.  Ruth, the restored and exalted, gave birth to her first born son.  Her face shown with the pride of full restitution; everything lost had been redeemed and rewarded a hundred-fold.  She gathered up the ruddy infant and gently placed him in the arms of Naomi.  “Your son,” she whispered.  Naomi’s heart staggered.  She inwardly groaned and sighed; she rocked and stirred with deep, precious feeling.  The soul was moving and waking to lost pain.  Her depressed belly of emotion began to resurface words of real thanksgiving as she held all of her sons in this one child.  Jewish prayers of Yahweh’s goodness and faithfulness poured in whispers from her lips.  In ascending strength and volume they rose.  Whispers.  Prayers.  Songs.  Songs.  Songs!  
The vocals went up into the halls of heaven and filled the Bethlehem streets.  The women of all ages heard them.  Their ears received the sound of God’s graces; His sweet vindication upon those who wait.  They gloried in remembrance.  Yes, Yahweh was the helper of foreigners.  He was the restorer and vindicator of all the oppressed.  He makes the barren woman glad.  This was the Lord!  These were His ways!
“Then the women said to Naomi. ‘Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel!  He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him,” Ruth 4:14-15.  From that day forward, in the Bethlehem neighborhood, it was proclaimed, “A son has been born to Naomi.”  The words danced upon the tongues of women.  Both young and old gave testimony of what the Lord had done to restore Naomi and satisfy Ruth.  A young foreigner was exalted.  An old Jewess had been revived.  Blessed be the Lord of Israel!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Taking Up Your Powers

Christianity is not just a story of laying rights down, it is also the story of picking them up…
There is someone to fight for, someone to pursue.  There is a Naomi to feed and a Ruth to cover.  There are individuals everywhere in need of dedicated restoration.  Ruth went to the threshing floor.  Boaz went to the city gate…
Naomi said, “Wait my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today,” Ruth 3:18.
With the heart of a redeemer he went.  In haste and with purpose he strode and sat himself down at the city gate to await the passing by of the first kinsman in line to redeem Ruth and her mother’s property.  “So Boaz said, ‘Turn aside, friend, sit down here.’  And he turned aside and sat down.” Ruth 4:1.  All the elders of Bethlehem were gathered at the gate to observe the dealings of these two redeemers.  The second redeemer, Boaz, locked the gaze of the first. “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech.  So I thought I would tell you of it and say, ‘Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.’ If you will redeem it, redeem it.  But if you will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you,” (4:3-4). The first redeemer strained no thought and lost no words, “I will redeem it,” (4:4).  But of course, it is his duty and right!  However, Boaz was not finished with his discourse.  He had saved a morsel of information that was sure to turn the bargain in his favor: Ruth, the Moabitess, came with the property.  The first redeemer would be expected to carry on her husband’s family name with children, and yet, she was distastefully a foreigner!  
Boaz was shrewd; for, in speaking the following, he reveals that he knows what is expected from this first redeemer.  He reveals that he is able to hold this redeemer accountable to his duty… .He reveals it before all of the elders… .Then Boaz said, “The day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead, in order to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance,” (4:5).  The eyes of Boaz danced keenly.  Yes, that was all it took.  Then the first redeemer said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance.  Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it,” (4:6).  But, of course, why would an Israelite frustrate his own Israelite inheritance by entailing part of it upon foreigners?
But Boaz did not mind entailing his inheritance to foreigners in another man’s name.  No, he bestowed his generosity upon Ruth with enthusiasm, for, this humble foreigner had caught his eye.  Boaz made full use of his powers, full use of Israelite law, full use of shrewdness and wisdom to secure the right to generously redeem….  

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Seek and You Will Find

The Bethlehem streets buzzed and whirred with the latest news: “Have you heard?  Boaz keeps an eye on the Moabitess!”  “Shocking!” interjected another female tone, “I have heard and I am astonished.”  “And with so many lovely Jewish women to consider!” exclaimed another.  Noses huddled.  “I have heard that he intends to marry her!” Heads shook and old women muttered quick and anxious prayers to the Almighty.  “But she is a foreigner!”  “Yes, yes!  A disgrace!”  Mutter.  Mutter.  “And have you heard that Boaz is not held responsible to redeem her former husband’s seed.”  Silence.  The huddle got smaller and ears got bigger.  “The responsibility falls on another, yet, Boaz will seek to purchase the right from him.”  “Ah!  And such a nice looking man to be peddled away to a foreigner!”  Jewish hearts sighed and prayed all through the Jewish streets and markets, houses and fields.  Why would this man choose a foreigner?
It all began with the scheming of a mother-in-law; a wise and hasty command from Naomi.  To be lawful also means to make full use of the law…
And Jesus told this parable in Luke 18:1-8 of an unjust judge and a persistent widow.  “Give me justice against my adversary!” was her cry.  Yes, the widow knew where to go: Go to the judge and make full use of the law.  Don’t go to your adversary and demand your rights; go to the Judge.  “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night?  Will he delay long over them?  I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily,” Luke 18:7-8.  So it was that Ruth went at the command of her mother-in-law to make full use of the law - the Law of a Kinsmen Redeemer.  She sought the Law of Yahweh as her source of restoration.  She sought out Boaz as a lawful refuge from her adversary; the adversary of poverty and barrenness, homelessness and foreignness.  “I am Ruth your servant.  Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer,” Ruth 3:9.
Ruth’s motive is alas revealed in the following lines of the narrative.  She had not sought Boaz in particular for youth or wealth.  She was not looking to gain exceptionally from the institution.  Ruth sought what was right.  She sought what was lawful and good.  “And he said, ‘May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter.  You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.  And now, my daughter, do not fear, I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman,” Ruth 3:10-11.  Ruth sought the welfare of all involved in her circumstances; a refuge for Naomi and a generational heritage for her deceased husband.  She was persistent as an intercessor for justice.  She offered herself as its means.  In this way, she is to us a fervent foreshadowing Cross-bearer.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  Or which one of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:7-11.
“…when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:8.

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