Monday, June 30, 2014

Weekly Devotional: Why Listen to God?

Why Listen to God?
Why Listen to God?
If you have a relationship with God, your answer to this question should encourage you.

Psalms 77:11-12
11 I will remember the works of the Lord.
Yes, I will remember the amazing things you did long ago!
12 I will think about all you have done;
I will reflect upon your deeds!”

It is amazing how I am back at school. To any friend of mine whom reads this never let me forget how I returned. I give you permission to slap me on my back or arm and say “Remember God brought you here!!”

Return to Montclair State University
2012, I desired total change in my life, but didn’t know where to start. My car broke down and I began to save for a car. Saving slowly I cried to God whom spoke regarding my car “It will not be by my hand”. I received this word and walked a whole year then believing God would provide a car by a miracle.
At the end of the year, I got my car but it wasn’t miraculous or how I envisioned it. I became angry because God’s word seemed to fail. I asked God after getting home from the dealership about this word and he gave me understanding.

When praying asking for understanding, God reminded about the book I read the day before I went to the dealership. Through a book God exposed that I was weak and had no fight in life. Then suddenly I understood these flaws in me, as they were on display at the dealership. Also, reflecting on 2012 I realized all year I wanted God to change everything while I watched. God’s words, “It will not be by my hand” was a response to my prayer for a miracle of transportation. God was not going to do everything for me; it was time for me to grow. This understanding and realization of me was disheartening. Puncturing me to the soul. But God began to heal and transform me.

Then in the start of 2013, God gave me a dream that sparked a desire to return to school. Fears stood in my way, so God spoke to me “My presence shall go with thee and I will give you rest”. Yet fear still grasped, and God gave me another dream showing the impact fear had on my life. I then immediately from the dream awoke and began to fight in life. So, I made some calls to advisors and loan departments. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I no longer wanted to be fearful. A month later those random calls paved my way to community college.

At that college, according to my advisor, I had to prove I was ready to return to my former school. After, completing a semester, the same advisor told me I didn’t need to attend community. Right before I was going to say some choice/angry words God reminded me of the many frustrated nights. There were so many nights; I thanked God I went to community first, to dust off my skills. So I forgave the advisor understanding God was the orchestrator of it all. 

It was God that prepped me all along for my return to school in 2013. He knew to be successful, he had to move emotional, as well as financial hurdles. When I foundd myself in stressful situations I encouraged myself with God’s word, “My presence shall go with thee and I will give you rest”. This word was a life saver to me this past year, as I would sleep a half hour on the parkway before awaking to finish the drive to class. God’s word, silenced my worries allowing me to rest and have confidence in my ability to handle it all. I short changed God in this summary, but I hope the drift was caught. Had it not been for God,…I don’t even won’t to imagine without God. Through all the pain, all the worry, all the doubt, all the uncertainty it happened for my good. This is why I listen to God.

Monday, June 23, 2014

GUEST BLOGGER FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE: Suffering = Endurance + Character * Hope + Shamelessness

Romans 5:3-5 (ESV):
3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, 
because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Suffering = Endurance + Character * Hope + Shamelessness

My mother = Endurance + Character * Hope + Shamelessness

I substituted “suffering” with my mother because she is the product of that formula. Endurance.

Character. Hope. Shamelessness. Yes, I hate math too, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t come in handy

If you know me, you know my mother. I’ve been called her “mini-me” all of my life. I’ve always clung to
her, ran after her...heck, I even look like her! And I always always always wanted to be in her presence.
Her company wasn’t consistent, though. I can’t quite remember how old I was when she got sick, but
just know I was young (elementary school days). I’m the oldest of 4 so imagine that.

I won’t go into detail but my mom was in and out of the hospital majority of my life. (Here is the full story: ) She’s had over 7-8 unsuccessful surgeries that have caused her to be disabled. She can’t walk. She can’t work. And just last year, she had a stroke. So she can’t quite speak or think as well as eloquently as she used to either.

I’m not here to drone on and on of how difficult this is for my family. I’m not looking for pity but I’m
here to share with you the product of my pain.

Throughout all this, my mother has never once blamed God, cursed God, or turned her back on Him.
She THANKS Him. Isn’t that crazy? All these hospital bills., that never ending fight with her body, near
death experiences and yet she’s still implanting a mother figure and wife role and dependable friend for
children, a faithful husband and those around her. She still rejoices in the LORD! I know of many that are so quick to get angry at God when something goes wrong. But I also know someone who praises God when everything is wrong.

This woman has taught me to not question God’s motives. I see the many hearts touched by my mother’s
story. I mean, everyone loves stories. But it’s rare to receive a message that sticks. My mom’s encouraging, joyous and uplifting attitude is how she survives. She moans in pain, but doesn’t complain. She prays, reads, and she smiles because she knows her purpose and she has the strength to live because her joy is in sharing the love of our Father. She has endured immeasurable hardships. Yet her character has grown in complexity and depth. She has hope that she will be delivered - if not here, then when she is called Home. And her shamelessness of the Gospel is revealed every single time she opens her mouth. There is joy in suffering because there is purpose and it’s the same for whatever God helps you overcome, too. I may not have experienced these pains throughout my own body but through the piercing of my heart, I know that her pain is mine.

Now...imagine the pains Jesus underwent and still undergoes when we sin? When we hurt Him? When
we neglect our purpose? He died so that we can live. There’s joy in that, right?


Weekly Devotional: LOVE

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered it keeps no records of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails” 1 Corinithians 13: 4-8. Love is many things but anything negative it is not. Love withstands the test of time and can overcome many obstacles.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  We love because he first loved us” John 4:18-19. And “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, so that whomever believe in him shall not perish but have ever lasting life” John 3:16.

We all have our own journey in life, our own God given purpose in which we should fufill. Our upbringings, environments, talents and interest make us unique, but with all the differences we still have a common goal. Amongst other things we are called to show love; “Love thy neighbor as yourself” Marc 12:31and “love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might” Deuteronomy 6:5.

We can show God we love him by being obedient to him and following his will for our lives. “11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” 1 Corinithians 11:13.

“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing and obtaineth favour from the Lord” Proverbs 18:22.  As I sit here on the balcony of my hotel room writing this blog, I cannot help but think how blessed and favored I must be. I just got married and it is truly a blessing from God.  Love is a beautiful thing.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Weekly Devotional: Courageous Faith

The bible has numerous stories of people with courageous faith. One is the well-known story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendnego who were cast into a fiery furnace because they chose to follow God instead of the King’s decree to worship his statue. Another story of courage is the story of Daniel who was thrown into the lion’s den because he honored God by praying which went against the king’s commandment. In both stories the men demonstrated that their relationships with God were more important than the ideas of society even when faced with fatal punishments.

At times, we will be encounter difficult and uncomfortable situations, it is during these times that God does his greatest work, when we trust him. In the case of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendnego while they were in the fire God appeared in their midst and they were not burned. As a result, the King made a decree for everyone to worship the real God. “ then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, that every people, nation and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendnego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.” Daniel 3:28-29  This example is extremely powerful because in their obedience to God they changed a nation! God delivered them, kept them from harm, and walked among them. King Nebuchadnezzar was so moved by the events that he called the entire nation to recognize the true God.

Through their obedience to God in the face of great opposition God protected them. Similarly, Daniel was thrown into a lion’s den because he worshipped God which was a direct violation of the king’s declaration. Daniel was forced to stay in the pit with lions for an entire night, but was not harmed. The King made a decree for all to worship the living God. “ …so Daniel was taken up out of the den, no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God…Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth… I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and steadfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.” Daniel 6:23, 25-26 Daniel’s decision to obey God resulted in a nation acknowledging the real God.

When facing the choice to make the right decision that may not be the popular idea of society and may come with punishment remember the heroes of the bible and the challenges they faced. Remember that God protected and delivered them out of their circumstances. Recall that God’s glory will be manifested when we obey him.


Monday, June 9, 2014

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL: When Living For God, You Are the Majority

We live in a world where we categorize one another as a minority or a majority. We see it everywhere: race, religion, politics, and even education. Those categorizations also come with different stigmas as well as different privileges. Consequently, if you are considered a "majority" you are essentially entitled to perks of the "majority" that are always bigger and better than perks of a "minority."

I remember growing up and living for God as a kid (I'm talking elementary school), I always considered myself a "minority." This wasn't because of the color of skin, my sex, or my political affiliation, this was because I was one of the few ones out of my friends who was living for God. To make it more obvious I also wore skirts every single day. As a kid you don't realize it because everyone in your church wears them, until you're at school and the other kids point it out. I was also one of the few kids who didn't celebrate Halloween out of all of classmates. Usually on Halloween I would miss school and either stay at home or go to church for "Holyween" where we would dress up as biblical characters and eat loads of candy. Also, I was one of the few kids who was labeled as a "church girl" because I was considered "good" because I didn't engage in the same activities as my friends engaged in. I can on and on about my childhood and how I harbored a feeling of being a "minority." 

Just last week I was feeling a little out of it. My mind was all over the place, my thoughts everywhere and nowhere at the same time, and I was worried about things that had no place in my mind. Well as I went to use the restroom on Sunday while at church I bumped into a lady. Now me and this lady never usually engage in conversation past the routine hello, how are you, how's school, that's good, take care. But on this particular Sunday this lady wanted to step outside of the routine and talk more than usual. I was a little shocked and happy at the same time. Immediately of course she asked me about school and things of that nature and then for some reason we got onto the topic of "worth," "facing fears," and "living for God." She began telling me how in her former employment she had to face so many challenges because she was a woman in an all-male field. As we talked I was exposed to how strong this woman was and still is and how she passed that strength on to her children. Her encouragement was exactly what I needed and what I had been struggling with throughout the week and now that I think of it, I was struggling with that for years in a sense.

She began telling me about the challenges I would face being a woman in the law and informed me that I too would have feelings of being a minority. From there I expressed my fears about life and she told me, "When you're living for God you are the MAJORITY." At first I didn't see how this was really true because there are so many people in the world who do not live for God. That's when she broke it down for me. Did you know that when you're actually living for God (not straddling the fence, but in a relationship with Christ wholeheartedly), you're blessed like you have some type of privilege in the world. Your blessings exceed your qualifications, your expenses exceed your income, your blessings exceed your trials and tribulations.

Because I live for Christ, I am a MAJORITY because of his grace and unmerited favor. That doesn't come with the perks of the world. I would rather be a majority living for Christ than a majority of the world. The doors that God has prepared to be open in front of you, no man can shut because you are the majority. Everyone knows that majority rules...that's true because God rules! And when God blesses us with that majority status he also blesses us with major power. Luke 10:19 states, "I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you."

So when you think about your life and fall into that toxic mindset of being a "minority," remember that the bible states in Matthew 22:14, "For many are called, but few are chosen." Majority doesn't always go by numbers or based off of the actions of the crowd, majority is based off of power. I vow to measure my majority status in the form of blessings. Everything that I have been given in life has been a MAJOR blessing and because of that I am a MAJORITY. And now when I think about growing up and living for God I am reminded of the simple fact that my friends and former classmates are currently seeking relationships with Christ. I refuse to fall victim to what the world categorizes me. Once we as believers realize that we have POWER, we will also be able to embrace our MAJOR blessings and MAJOR favor. So when you think that you're the only one living for God, remember that you are far powerful than you think because you have a MAJOR person in your corner and fighting on your behalf. You've already WON :) 

Let Your Power Fall - James Fortune
Let your power fall
When your name is called
Prove the doubters wrong
You’re still mighty and strong
So fight this battle for me
And help my unbelief
So I can tell all my friends
That you have won again

Romans 13:1 - Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.


Sunday, June 8, 2014


One of my favorite speakers was the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. Whenever he would speak he always had fire in his belly. Whether he was being comical or addressing Parliament, he always was fully committed to whatever it was he said. Sometimes when Im bored on the internet, I pop on over to this quote website I like and read some of the more remarkable things he has said. He once uttered these familiar words, If youre going through hell, keep going! Once when addressing the British resolve and commitment to World War Two, he said, We will never, never, ever give up!

His first ever speech as Prime Minister he addressed Parliament and the public with words that were hard to swallow. He saw something perhaps the rest the world didnt. Germany was rearming its military and steadily advancing toward what would become World War Two he said that their policy would be to wage war against its enemies with all the strength that God could give them. He would later go on to tell them that in the face of this crisis he could only offer them Blood, toil, tears and sweat. He knew that by being in opposition to evil he would be aligning his nation in the line of fire, but for the cause of the greater good. In this passage of scripture we find Jesus pulling no punches when addressing anyone who would be his follower.

Jesus wanted there to be no misconceptions about what it meant to follow him. He would reveal the truth about what it meant and those who accepted His terms could be true followers of Christ.  They would need to take up their cross, be willing to lay down their life and live by the example He set.

This gospel has been used by so many people to justify suffering. Got a rotten marriage, a child addicted to heroin? Hey, take up your cross. Your mother wont speak to you, your nephew schizophrenic? Thats your cross. Bad boss, lousy neighbors, a toothache? Hey, Take it up, bear it, bow your head and walk your road.That the horrors and indignities visited on human beings by fate, by chance, or by accident are somehow to be carried around without complaint, like a cross.
Now its true that we all do have our crosses to bear Christ Himself tells us that we must take it up. Now it isnt that as Christians we are called to be in despair of our situation and be in constant dread because of our circumstance, rather quite the opposite. His commands are that of a dying man but orders to pursue a purpose driven life. Jesus, unlike us, knew exactly what his purpose was. In Matthew 10:34 Jesus says, Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Jesus came to defeat death and make eternal life accessible for all those who would grasp their cross, take it up and acknowledge Him as Lord and savior. Our cross is the call to purpose.
Jesus is telling us that its not going to be an easy road and if we wish to come after Him we will endure all of what He did for His sake. We often remember the event of the cross and resurrection and dont consider the road that led to them. Jesus didnt simply die on a cross and miraculously rise on the third day. He was beaten, mocked, ridiculed and deserted.

We are called to approach our cross with the same dignity and courage to embrace the consequences of fully devoting ourselves to the cause of Christ. Jesus tells us to take up our cross. In order to take up anything we must first lay a few things down.

Not everyone has ever been down. I dont mean that sad, or momentary feeling of defeat. Im talking about that (using scaled hand gestures) defeated (move down), rock bottom (move down), desperate (move down), then hear kind of down. Its in those moments when we are so beat up my the world and circumstance that we do either one of two things. We either give up or we look up. Christ tells us to look up and even more so to look ahead. Scripture tells us that, Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? In this instant salvation, holding on to your life is like trying grab sand, the more you squeeze the more sand that escapes from your hand. Jesus is telling us to let go of the sand because when we do we will then be able to enjoy the beach.

What is it worth? What is the value of your soul to you? In ancient times the Egyptians would bury their pharaohs with all kinds gold, jewels, spices, royal clothing and other riches so that his prestige and wealth may be carried over into the next life. Well I hope the economy in the afterlife is better than it is here because even will Bill Gates dies, he will have as much money in his pockets as he did when he was born, zero dollars and zero cents. Christ poses for us a very real question for us. What does it matter, the wealth we accumulate when even our bodies will fade? All the riches in the world cannot come close to the value of one soul. All these things will pass, but the soul is eternal. The truth is that everyone of us will live forever, but the value we place on our eternal soul now will determine how we spend the rest of eternity.
Jesus says give up everything in this life even your life itself if necessary because at the end of the day it is the most cherished and valuable possession you will ever have.

You ever meet a person that has an answer to everything? Isnt it annoying? When I think about it, it doesnt so much bother me that the person has an answer for everything, it bothers me when they are right. When we make excuses, the last thing we want to hear is logic. Good, sound logic and reasonable judgement can ruin a good excuse. Thats what we dont like; to be backed into a corner by reason.
Jesus did exactly that in Luke 9:57-62. As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, 'I will follow you wherever you go. Jesus replied, Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. He said to another man, Follow me.” But he replied, Lord, first let me go and bury my father. Jesus said to him, Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God. Still another said, I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family. Jesus replied, No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.

These verses are telling us that we need to take up Jesus mission and lay down what concerns us. Once we have done these things then we can be ready to live like Him. Jesus didnt take up His cross and stand there. He took it up and went forward. We too mustnt stand there, rather live out how Christ has commanded us.

Nicholas Cage, despite all his financial woes, still has it in him to every now and then to put out a good movie. I look pass the Ghost Rider blunder and both of the National Treasure spoofs and see the Face Off Nick Cage. A few years ago he put out a so so movie called Next. He played a Las Vegas magician who actually could see the future in short two minute burst if they involved him. I wish that when I was younger I had a way to know what was going to happen next to keep myself out of trouble. We dont have to wish do we? In fact, Jesus tells us exactly what will happen in verse 38, If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Fathers glory with the holy angels.
Jesus doesnt warn of the several possible scenarios that may occur if we choose not to heed His warning. He tells us exactly what will happen. He says if you, THEN I. Jesus doesnt give ultimatums. He just makes promises. We must remember that not everyone who came to Jesus chose to follow Him, quite the contrary, we learn of many who actually and literally turn their backs on God. To follow Him is a choice. As they say, no one is hold ing a gun to heads and forcing us to look at our lives and live it out for Jesus. However, the alternative is far more severe. Jesus tells us that if we are ashamed of Him than He will be ashamed of us, but if we live for Him than He will be sure to remember us before our Father in heaven.

Keith Hernandez is one of baseball's top players. He is a lifetime .300 hitter who has won numerous Golden Glove awards for excellence in fielding. He's won a batting championship for having the highest average, the Most Valuable Player award in his league, and even the World Series. Yet with all his accomplishments, he has missed out on something crucially important to him; his father's acceptance and recognition that what he has accomplished is valuable. This is  what he had to say in a very candid interview about his relationship with his father: "One day Keith asked his father, 'Dad, I have a lifetime 300 batting average. What more do you want?' His father replied, 'But someday you're going to look back and say, "I could have done more."'" 
How terrible it must be not to be recognized by your father and how much worst by your heavenly Father and to look back at life when its too late and say, I could have done more.

Jesus told the people, hey, you know that cruel and unusual way to die the cross. Well, Im headed that way and if you want to be my follower look forward to it in your own lives. By the way, its going to dangerous and trying. Oh and did I mention that you might die! Can you imagine hearing that? I can safely assume that it weeded out the less committed. He would have told them that they would be mocked, wrongfully accused, abused and betrayed. Then I can imagine the Lord saying, But it will be worth it.
He commanded us to take up our cross and all that comes with it. We are instructed to be prepared to lose everything including the very lives that we are to live out for Him. When we put these things into history we know that to take up a cross wasnt a noble feat. It was a severe form of capitol punishment that was reserved for the vilest offenders. Why would Jesus command us to be associated with such a symbol?

 To be set apart.

Jesus lived and commands us to live in direct opposition to the world. We are to be in the world but not of it as He was not. To take up our cross is a call to holiness. We are to take up our cross and embrace the separation from the conformity of this world. To take it up, sets us apart, to lay down ourselves is to forsake our former selves and live out the life that Jesus commands us to. The song says holiness is what I long for; holiness is what I need. The scripture agrees.

The end result is acceptance by the Father through holy living and faith in Christ, but the path can be long and hard, but its worth it.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Weekly Devotional: With God You Are Good Enough: Equipped for Success

When I was in school, I think the thing I hated most was showing up to class for a test or quiz when I knew all too well that I was NOT equipped to succeed. Whether it was a pop quiz and I knew I hadn’t paid attention in class or it was a test that I was completely unprepared for because I didn’t take the time I needed to study. Since I am the type of person that prides myself in being prepared and organized, I feel especially inadequate when I know that I am not prepped for success. Unfortunately, that feeling where your heart sinks and you just know that you aren’t going to do as well as you would like, is one that I have experienced on multiple occasions. Even worse are the times when you’ve studied for hours and you feel confident in your grasp of the information, but when you get the test back in has a huge F marked in red. It makes you wonder if you were actually as prepared as you thought, and whether you are smart, and ultimately good enough to succeed.

I’m sure that’s how Moses felt when God told him that he would be the one to lead his people out of Egypt—inadequate. He was the fallen “prince of Egypt” living out in the desert when God led him to a burning bush and told him, “Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:9-10). Crazy right!!!!??? Moses protested FIVE TIMES (yes, I counted lol) and even asked God to send someone else before he begrudgingly agreed to return to Egypt. He was an outcast, accepted by neither the Egyptians nor Israelites. He didn’t feel like a leader. He didn’t feel smart, eloquent, powerful, persuasive or probably even “spiritual” enough. Although Moses didn’t know that he was or would become all of those things, God knew who he wanted to deliver the Israelites, and he knew that Moses was more than capable.

Despite the way things looked and the way Moses felt, God had already given him the tools to succeed. He gave him a mouth to talk, feet to walk, family to encourage him, a brother to help him during the journey, that useful staff of his that he parted the Red Sea with, and most importantly, a mind to call on God for help in his time of need! Although Moses ultimately did not enter the Promised Land, I’m sure we all know the story. He fulfilled the purpose for which he was chosen of God by leading his people out of a land of oppression, depression and false gods so that they could one day make it to a land flowing with milk and honey. Like you and me every day, he was confronted with a decision. He made a decision to do what God wanted him to do, and with God, he was good enough, he was well-equipped, he was strong and he was successful.

In many ways, like Moses Ruth also seems to have struggled with being good enough. God lead Ruth, and ultimately those around her, to success despite all evidence that the contrary would in fact come to pass. Ruth’s life seemed to be headed down a path of sorrow. Her husband (and his brother) had just died, and to make matters worse, her mother-in-law, Naomi, whom she had grown very close with, was urging her to move back in with her parents because Naomi planned to abandon her and move back to her own hometown. Naomi had heard that God  had blessed the people of the town with good crops. If I were Ruth I would’ve felt unequipped to succeed in life in general! I’m sure she didn’t plan on her husband dying or her mother-in-law wanting to move far, far away. At that point neither of her two options—to take the long journey to Bethlehem with Naomi or to move back home—seemed very promising.  Even so, Ruth decided that she would stay with Naomi.

I think most would agree that the logical thing for Ruth to do would have been to move back in with her own family and hope for a husband, especially in a time when women were seen as second class citizens and unable to handle their own affairs. Widows had especially low social status. That’s why it is so significant that she decided to follow Naomi, a decision that I believe was due to divine inspiration.

Although it never says in the Bible that Ruth heard the audible voice of God (as Moses did) when she was presumably at her lowest point, I think there is evidence that proves that God made her strong enough to sustain both her and Naomi while in Bethlehem. Ruth found the strength to obey Naomi, despite the fact that she didn’t understand. She had no knowledge of Naomi’s God or his power, yet she listened when Naomi told her what God was doing. And in a time when I’m sure she felt vulnerable (and let’s be honest, probably longed for a man) God strengthened her to resist the temptation to deceive Boaz into sleeping with her, and instead she followed Naomi’s direction to sleep at his feet. In the end, Ruth married Boaz honorably, and birthed Obed, a key ancestor of Jesus!

Both of these examples go to show that no matter how insignificant you may feel or how terrible your situation looks, God can always make something out of you if you listen to him. I’m sure that while Moses stood before that burning bush he never imagined that he would one day be read and talked about so frequently and with such high regard, or that he would become some great Biblical titan. And I doubt that Ruth, a Moabite who knew nothing of God, ever thought that she would birth an ancestor of Jesus—the Savior of humanity. Because God equipped her with a loving mother-in-law, smarts, and humility, she was able to overcome the shame of being a widow and lead a successful life. She was the first in her family to create a linage of believers in God.

Like Ruth, you may be the first family or group of friend to create a line of followers of Jesus. You never know who you might affect by just believing in God. Believing that because of him, you are good enough. Each of us has an opportunity and a duty to affect the lives of those around us. We have to come to the realization that if God asks us to something or leads us in a specific direction, it is because he believes that we can do it!

Nearly every day at work I feel overwhelmed. I feel drained by individuals that call my office seeking help, an outlet to vent their frustration with the state of our government, or just an ear to listen. But I have to keep reminding myself that God gave me this job. I didn’t obtain it of my own merit, because I didn’t have the best grades, the best resume, the most political connections, and I wasn’t the most outgoing, but God saw fit to place me at the job that I am in. So that must mean that I am strong enough to work events on nights and weekend even when I’m dead tired and to take the calls from people lambasting Congress and spewing racial epithets about President Obama. I have seen God strengthen me to help individuals with their problems even when I feel like I can’t help myself.

Despite our faults, sorrows, and various journeys, we are never too unworthy, too small or too unimportant to be used by God. Even if you aren’t aware of it yet, there are things that are in store for you that you cannot afford to squander. Just believe that God has already made a way for you to do his will. <3

“Now may the God of peace—
    who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great Shepherd of the sheep,
    and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—
 may he equip you with all you need
    for doing his will.
May he produce in you,[e]
    through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him.
    All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21)