You can’t see me, but I am jumping up and down and grinning from ear to ear. A dream has just come true right in time for my 55th birthday!
Yes, I’ve always wanted to do something like publishing a book. No, I never really expected to see it actually happen. Of course, it didn’t just happen. It was a lot of work. A labor of love born out of my real life journey with Jesus.
I’m sitting here in my prayer/writing room trying to wrap my brain around the extraordinary goodness of our Father God. I’m pondering today. What I’m feeling is the JOY of pressing my face up toward refreshing rain falling on dry cracked famine land.
Do these feelings come close to those of Naomi as she heard the breaking news out of Bethlehem in Judah – harvest has returned to God’s people! Do these feelings come close to the peace Ruth felt when Boaz expressed his desire for her to glean in his fields and commanded she be kept safe among the harvesters? How about the surprised delight which surely overwhelmed Ruth at hearing she, a foreigner, had found favor with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
God’s ways are not our ways. Those words are not just memorized scripture from Sunday School. I know it experientially. He is faithful, whether I am or I am not. And I have definitely had my wandering moments.
If you join me on this 31-day journey through the book of Ruth, you’ll learn about some of the ways I’ve empathized with Naomi. We’re both mother of two sons. Our hearts have been torn open by the painful joy of mothering. Day 1 – I shared about worship through tears and heartache. Two sons. Two wandering paths. Two Scriptures offered often in prayer. A sacrifice of praise.
Soon after signing a contract to publish 31 Days of Gleaning with Ruth, I learned from our oldest son that he has returned to his faith roots. He’s come back home to His Father’s open arms of delight embracing this precious son. Additionally, within another week, my husband found a Bible belonging to our youngest son. Within the pages, we found a hand-written covenant commitment of faith to his Lord God and Savior.
Bitterly at times, I’ve wept over these two precious seeds. And yet I know faith is not inherited. Young men must go and find truth and faith for themselves. So many times I’ve begged the Lord to let me know the greater JOY of knowing our children walk in TRUTH. Suddenly bitter tears are turning sweet. God is truly a promise keeper. And His words to me have not returned void.
And then there’s Ruth. In so many ways I have felt a kindred spirit with Ruth, the foreigner, seeking to be accepted into God’s family. I’ve pondered long the truth of trying to fit in and learn the ways, the culture and the language of people belonging to God.
If it’s true for me, my friend it is true for you. Are you feeling dry? Have you been walking through a famine season? Have you wept bitter tears? Is it hard to imagine refreshing rain could ever fall upon your parched and cracked heart?
Will you come join me for 31 Days of Gleaning with Ruth? Come and bring all your questions. I’ll walk with you to the Throne of Grace where we can lay all our fears, doubts and bitter tears in the pierced hands of Jesus. He’ll take them all because He already bore them all within Himself on the cross. Jesus’ grace is sufficient, and He will give you rest.
Here’s a snippet of what to expect if you join me on this 31-day journey:
Let’s start with the most important ingredient for getting the most out of this book – Holy Spirit. Please take time each day to ask Holy Spirit to be your teacher as you read and study through this devotional and God’s Word in Ruth.
Next, let’s take a look at the definition of gleaning. Perhaps this is a word not commonly used in our modern day, however, my hope is that it will become as significant to you as it has to me in recent days.
“‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.’” Leviticus 23:22
Gleaning: to pick up after a reaper; to strip of the leavings of reapers; to gather (something, such as information) bit by bit; to pick over in search of relevant material; find out
The Lord God has commanded that those who are poor and foreigners to His Kingdom should be fed by gleanings left behind. The workers, the people of God, are to do this in obedience the field Owner.
Very simply, the Lord, my Kinsman Redeemer, has been good to me as I’ve come to His field seeking to be fed. Workers of the field who have gone before me have left gleanings. I’ve been fed on the richness of God’s Living Word.
As I now belong to Him, I too am a harvester of His field. It is the desire of my heart to leave gleanings behind for others who are coming behind. Yet I am not finished. I am still hungry, and often take my seat at the feasting table with my fellow harvesters, foreigners, and best of all our Kinsman Redeemer.
Wherever you are on your faith journey, I know you will find a place for gleaning the truth of God’s Word. His desire is for you to be fed from His field and at His table. He longs for you to know Him intimately as Kinsman Redeemer. And His desire is for you to become a joyful worker in His harvest field leaving gleanings behind for those who will come after you.
One-word: Let me leave you with one other helpful note. In each of the devotions, you will see one-word highlighted. Each daily devotional is focused through the lens of one-word. The one-word is used to zoom into a particular aspect of the scripture for the day, and to highlight the applicability of God’s word to our daily lives.
Credit for each of the 31 words goes to Kate Motaung, blogger, and coordinator of the Five Minute Friday community of faith bloggers. You can find out more about Kate and the Five Minute Friday community by visiting these websites. www.katemotaung.com and www.fiveminutefriday.com
Ponders: At the close of each day’s devotional you will find a section titled ‘Ponders’. This section is intended to be a time and place for reflection. You’ll find several questions along with Scripture highlights meant to lead you into a time of prayer and journaling. I hope you will find the Ponder section an encouragement for your walk with Jesus, and possibly a helpful discipleship tool.
Thank you for taking this journey with me. May God bless you richly with a desire to be tucked under His great Wing and covered by His Feathers. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. (Psalm 91:4)
May you experience His tangible presence and an overwhelming sense of security no matter where you are or what tasks He’s placed in your hands. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
May you find yourself, in the example of Ruth, often lying at your Kinsman Redeemer’s feet. May you listen intently as you have learned to recognize His loving Shepherd voice calling you by name. He says to you, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)
Finally, I bless you dear one with this prayer…
“… that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by His power He may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. (I) pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12