Days of Grace-Day 25

     Sometimes God just takes me by surprise, for instance the weather today. It started off much like yesterday; dark, cloudy and drizzly. We are currently working on a small project getting a house ready to sale and Saturdays are ‘work’ days to finish up the projects that need doing. The wetness of the day really did not matter because there was plenty that could be accomplished inside. There were blinds to hang and an area of the hall ceiling to prep for painting; carpets to be cleaned, so there was not lack of work to be done.  Later, about mid-day, the weather broke, the sun came, the day warmed and it was a beautiful afternoon. Finally, about 6:30, the wind picked up, clouds rolled in and the sky began to darken and prepare to release more rain. Now I bet some of you are thinking just what does that have to do with grace?

      On the way home I read today’s grace passage and when I did I just laughed aloud!  Today’s passage is all about the beauty of grace. It also talks about trials and struggles. I laughed thinking about yesterday’s statement regarding the weather and my topic of the day. When I was focused on beauty it was rainy and when focused on grace through difficulty, it was sunny and beautiful. My first thought was of how our God must have a wonderful sense of humor; followed by a sense of awe thinking about His character and diversity. Why? God created man in His own image or likeness, yet He also created us with much diversity. Our likes, dislikes, attitudes, interest, appearance are all different. The most amazing part to me is that even in our diversity, we are all very similar. We all need sustenance; we need love; we are relational; we all seek acceptance; we all face struggles, disappointments, and at times heartache; and lastly we all have times of victories, disappointments, and failures. Honestly, for most of us, we are more alike than different.

      Today, we are in Romans chapter five. This chapter has grace written all over it and I recommend when you get a chance just to spend some time lingering in it and soaking it in. For now, we will just be looking at the second half and it speaks for itself.  My prayer is that this passage will wash over you and give you great joy and comfort in knowing no matter what is going on in our lives God is here and He is for us. He went to great lengths to show the abundance of His love for us and this is one of the many proofs of that love!

                 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.        

              But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.                                          

              The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.             

              For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.                                                                                                

             So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.     

             For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.                                                   

            The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.   Romans 5:14-21

May grace and blessing abound to you this day!


Days of Grace- Day 5

     Let’s look at a slightly different view of God’s grace, His grace shown through one of His own people. This particular example of grace comes on the heels of tragedy and much sorrow at a time when its recipients are feeling alone and burdened, perhaps even a bit forsaken. To begin, a little back story is in order.  Israel was in a time of famine, people were suffering. A man named  Elimelech decided it would be prudent to take his wife Naomi and his two sons into the land of Moab. While they were in Moab, Elimelech died. Naomi’s sons also each took for themselves a wife from among the people of Moab; their names were Orpah and Ruth. After about ten years, Naomi and her daughters-in-law suffered the death of her two sons. Naomi by this time had heard that conditions in her own homeland had improved, and being a widow in a strange land, she decided to return home was her best choice for survival. Naomi spoke to her daughters in love and encouraged them to  “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. “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.” according to Ruth 1:8-9 (New American Standard). Both young women declined and opted to return with her to her homeland but as time came for their departure, only Ruth traveled with Naomi. Scripture tells us that at this point in the story, Naomi was feeling old, used up and feeling that the hand of God was against her. Ruth was dedicated to Naomi and very loving toward her. They began their trip back to Naomi’s homeland.

     Safely back in Bethlehem, Naomi and Ruth settled in. Ruth asked permission from Naomi to glean wheat along the edges of a field so they would have food. It was the tradition of the day that the land owners would leave the edges of their field so that the poor could come and gather some of the harvest so their family would have some food. The field where she stopped belonged to Boaz who was a kinsman of Elimelech.  Interestingly, Boaz visited his fields that day and saw this young woman gleaning in the field, he first inquired about who she was from his servants. Next he spoke with Ruth letting her know she was safe in those fields and his servants would make sure she had water while she was working. He asked her not to glean in any other fields and left her to her work. When mealtime came, Boaz called her to eat with the others and when she returned to the fields they were instructed not to insult her and to intentionally drop some of their grain that she might find it.

     At one point, Ruth inquired of Boaz as to his great kindness and favor toward her because she was a stranger in the land. Boaz’s response is recorded in Ruth 2:1-12, “Boaz 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. “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.” Ruth had left everything familiar because of her devotion to her husband’s mother after his death. Not only  did she leave her land and family, she had been so touched by this family’s devotion to their God that she wanted to serve God just as they did. Boaz’s kindness and these words were confirmation that she had chosen wisely.

     This beautiful story doesn’t end here, it is just beginning. Boaz and Ruth marry and from that marriage comes a son named Obed. Obed has a son named Jessie, and Jessie has sons, the youngest named David who becomes the best known king of Israel. Grace continues to flow and be traced throughout the generations, even among tragedy and sorrow, grace continues and is found in the new life of Obed. Ruth 4:16-17 says, “Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap, and became his nurse. The neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi !” So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.” Naomi, who had lost her husband and both sons now had a new start with this grand baby, the one who had previously said call me ‘bitter’ had hope, healing and joy through the grace of God shown to both her and her daughter through her kinsmen redeemer Boaz.