1 TIMOTHY 3:16-17

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us...God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

RUTH - At His Feet

At His feet.

Doesn't that sound soothing?

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" provides a great introduction to pondering this statement:

"Then Ruth came quietly, uncovered his feet, and lay down. Around midnight Boaz suddenly woke up and turned over. He was surprised to find a woman lying at his feet! 'Who are you?'he asked. 'I am your servant Ruth,' she replied. 'Spread the corner of your covering over me, for you are my family redeemer.'"
(Ruth 3:7-9)

Can you just imagine Boaz's surprise?!

I remember one time when I was visiting my son for the weekend. Sleeping arrangements tend to be a little *haphazard* at his one-bedroom apartment! I usually put "dibs" on the recliner. My youngest usually conks out (unintentionally) on the couch.

On this particular night, as I was finally dozing off myself, my youngest was sound asleep, on the couch, with Marty (my adorable grandbeagle) tucked in nice and close to him.

Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, while it was still dark out, I moved to readjust my position. And lo and behold, I was no longer sleeping alone. I was now accompanied by one warm and cuddly beagle, tucked in all nice and close to me.

I looked down at him and smiled. He opened a couple of sleepy eyes, and I'm pretty sure he smiled back. I tucked the blanket over him.

It was a good feeling – downright soothing.

When I read these verses, I thought about that night. How Marty had made his way to me in the middle of the night. Desiring my company, wanting to be close to me, he had quietly found his way to my feet.

Just like Ruth, quietly making her way to the feet of Boaz. When he woke up, did he look down at her and smile? I think he did. Something in his heart moved, and he vowed to marry her.

Ah, is this not the most beautiful picture of our Lord Jesus?!

He is our Redeemer, the One who bought us back from slavery to sin and death. The One who spreads His covering of righteousness over us. The One whose presence we seek.

The One who looks down at us and smiles.

How often do I forget to make my way to His feet? Why do I forfeit the comfort that I find there? How is it that I sometimes prefer to be wandering about in my own ways – cold and lonely – when there is warmth and welcome next to Him?

All I need to do is tuck myself in – nice and close.

Ruth trusted Boaz.

Marty trusted me.

And I trust Jesus.

At His feet is rest. Protected by the Redeemer – the One who never, ever lets go.

"He alone is my refuge, my place of safety..." (Psalm 91:5)

How are you resting at His feet?

(I'm linked today with Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays, and Peggy at Soaking On SONday. And please feel free to visit me during the week at my other blog, Sharon Sharing God!)

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Sunday, October 23, 2011

JOB - Hope Lives


Can we really live life without it?

I love the movie, "The Shawshank Redemption" – such a great story, and it has one of my favorite quotes:

"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

The word hope can be both a noun (thing) and a verb (action word). The dictionary defines it this way:

Hope (noun) – desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment; expectation of fulfillment or success; someone or something on which hopes are centered

Hope (verb) - to desire with expectation of obtainment; to expect with confidence; to trust

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is a resounding statement of hope:

"But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!" (Job 19:25-27)

Yes, the statement comes from Job. And it is remarkable in several ways. I would love to share with you the things I learned while studying this passage.

What did Job's original readers (and Job himself, for that matter) believe about life after death?

Well, when the book was written, Israel did not have a well-developed doctrine of the resurrection. Job became one of the first people to talk about the resurrection of the body. Later readers of the book based their views on the Old Testament. Writers in the OT described the realm of the dead as a place beneath the earth's surface to which people descend.

In the OT, the afterlife is generally regarded as a gloomy, hopeless place of no return.

However, there were occasional hints of deliverance from the grave. And it is these intimations that gave Job the hope that death might relieve him of his troubles, and that a redeemer might justify him even after death.

This is remarkable faith!

This stirring affirmation of Job's confidence comes right at the *heart* of the book –smack dab in the middle of his terrible suffering, his unmitigated pain, his endless trials.

He sees a Redeemer – (with a capital "R"!!)

In ancient Israel a redeemer was a family member who bought a slave's way to freedom or who took care of a widow. In other words, the redeemer volunteered to take responsibility for someone else.

Anyone out there remember Blue Chip Stamps? We would save those stamps, stick them in a book, and then go to a store and redeem them for merchandise. The stamps bought us something else in return.

This passage, of course, foreshadows Jesus. Those of us on this side of the cross, know that He is the Resurrection and the Life. He is our Redeemer, who traded His righteousness for our sin.

But Job!

Without knowledge, without proof, without any reason to believe in the goodness of Godstill he trusted that God would rescue him. And that even if he died, God's justice would triumph – even if it took a miracle of resurrection to accomplish this.

Oh, what faith that man had!

So…how about me, how about you?

Are we exhibiting this kind of faith in our lives? Remember, Job never knew about the conference between Satan and God – he never knew the "reason" for his suffering. How are we doing when we don't understand? When we're in the midst of struggles, and pain, and trials? When we are discouraged and despairing almost beyond belief? Are we willing to trust God in spite of unanswered questions?

I'll speak for me. I have moments of strong warrior, moments of cowering coward.

Oh Lord, I want to live by this faith, this confident faithfaith in what I KNOW is true. I have met the Messiah – He is my Savior, He is my Redeemer. He is the Resurrection and the Life.

He is my hope – the best hope – my only hope – and though He died, yet HE LIVES!

And I know that someday I will see Him face to face…

… I am overwhelmed at the thought!

How are you living in the hope of Jesus?

(I'm linked today with Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays, and Peggy at Soaking On SONday. And please feel free to visit me during the week at my other blog, Sharon Sharing God!)

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Sunday, October 16, 2011

GENESIS - Light of the World

In the beginning, God…

Do those words thrill you like they do me?!


The Ultimate Cause.

The Great Creator.

The One Who Rules The Universe.

God's work of creation was an amazing, awe-inspiring, majestic, supernatural miracle. God made something – God made everythingout of nothing. His Wisdom stretched out and filled time and space with Himself.

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" focuses on the beginning of His incredible creative plan:

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. And God saw that the light was good."
(Genesis 1:1-3)

Here, in the beginning, God's Spirit hovered over a dark world.

The image of the Spirit of God hovering over the earth's surface is similar to a mother bird caring for and protecting her young (see Deuteronomy 32:11, 12/Isaiah 31:5). Don't you love that?

And in much the same way, the Spirit of God hovers over a dark world today. A world full of sin – a world full of people trapped by the darknessin their lives, in their relationships, in their hearts.


Several years ago, I visited the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. They are fascinating. A myriad of shapes and colorsintricate, massivea wonderland. A most interesting combination of water, and minerals, and lots (and lots) of time.

At one point on the tour, the guide turned out all the lights. And it was dark – pitch dark. So dark that I could not see my hand less than one inch in front of my face. At that moment, a great truth dawned (!!) on me.

Darkness is not an entity in itself.

Darkness is the absence of light.

It is the light that defines the darkness.

God saw the darkness, and He said, "Let there be light."

And it was good.

The Light of God makes its appearance in our lives in so many ways.

There is redemption Light – when the Light of God shines into the dungeon of our sins,and sets us free. The chains of slavery are removed by salvation – salvation that was bought by the death and resurrection of the Light of the World, dear Jesus. We are freed from eternal darknessa hell of separation from Godand walk into the light of eternity.

There is wisdom Light – when God's Word becomes a light on our paths, and a lamp to our feet. We are guided in our faith journeys, even when the way seems dark, by the sure and steadying guidance of His Word. We are corrected, and challenged, and encouraged, and inspired by Scripture. It enlightens our thinking, and brings illumination to our souls.

There is encouragement Light – when into a dark and lonely season, God's Light shines. Sometimes it bursts forth in glory, like the sun beaming through the clouds – and sometimes it's just the hopeful flicker of a candle, that lets us see His presence again.

God's Light.

Not the opposite of darkness – for the darkness is not equal to the light.

No, all the darkness of the world, and of our souls, is only the absence of the Light – the true Light of God's radiant Presence.

Could we take a step without it?

"Jesus spoke to the people…and said, 'I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life." (John 8:12 – NLT)

"For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light."
(Psalm 36:9 – KJV)

Take some time, and search your Bible for its many references to Light.

They will wash over your spirit with refreshing rays of warming SONlight.

And it will be good!

Where do you need the Light of God to shine in your life?

(I'm linked today with Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays, and Peggy at Soaking On SONday. And please feel free to visit me during the week at my other blog, Sharon Sharing God!)

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Sunday, October 9, 2011

NAHUM - Our Awesome God

My dad was a big guy.

Six foot, three inches tall – about 230 pounds.


5' 4" – around 110 pounds (in high school!).

I thought it was great that my dad was a little (a lot) intimidating. Kept me safe.

I vividly remember one night when a couple of guys thought it would be *real fun* to egg my house. They drove up our driveway and launched a salvo of poultry grenades at our front door and windows.

My dad flew out of his chair.

At the time, he was wearing this robe that his mother had bought him on a trip around the world. It was black, with little Chinese letters on it. It made him look like a Ninja warrior.

So, you can imagine what happened when Father Shogun threw open the front door and blasted out onto the driveway!

I have never in my entire life seen a VW Bug speed away so fast! I think it set a land speed record of 0-60 mph in 2 seconds flat.

Fortunately, my dad did not recognize the car or its occupants. I had my suspicions. Only later, much later, did a guy from our church 'fess up and relate that evening from his perspective.

"Man, Shari, I thought your dad would kill us if he got his hands on us. I've never been so scared in my life!"

I smiled.

For you see, I knew that my dad's *bark* was worse than his *bite*but I was often glad for his bark…

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is from the book of Nahum.

Before sharing the verses, let's explore a little background. Remember good old Nineveh? The city that repented after hearing Jonah's warning of judgment? Well, it seems that (only) a hundred years later, they had forgotten the message, and evil was again reigning.

God called Nahum to pronounce his judgment on the wicked nation of Assyria.

"The LORD is…filled with vengeance and rage. He takes revenge on all who oppose him and continues to rage against his enemies!...he never lets the guilty go unpunished. He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm. The billowing clouds are dust beneath his feet. At his command the oceans dry up, and the rivers disappear…In his presence the mountains quake, and the hills melt away; the earth trembles, and its people are destroyed. Who can stand before his fierce anger? Who can survive his burning fury? His rage blazes forth like fire, and his mountains crumble to dust in his presence." (Nahum 1:2-6)

God has *bark* – and He alone has the power to *bite*.

The world has lawsboundaries and rules that are set up by God. But people regularly flaunt these regulations. God calls this willful disobedience, this rebellion against His control – SIN.

Sometimes it seems that the wicked are escaping justice. That they are succeeding in their evil ways.

But, there is a day coming.

A terrible day of wrath.

Justice will ultimately be served. God will settle all accounts. He will not let sin go unchecked forever.

And woe to those who are not under His grace at that time.

"It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:31)

Nahum's words are terrifying even to me, a follower of Christ. Sometimes I think it's a good idea to get a healthy dose of the reality of God's power His awesome might – His jealous fury. He is not a God to be trifled with – or ignored.

Today's verses serve as a warning to those who remain arrogant and resist God's authority. They will one day face His anger. No one will get away with rejecting Him – no one will be able to hide from His judgment.

For those of us who are believers, today's verses are an admonition. We are not to take the Almighty God lightly. He is a fearsome God who must be feared – worshiped with reverence and awe.

But, to us, He is also something more than a Judge.

He is Mercy Incarnate.

God is compassionate, slow to anger. Praise His name for His patience with me, a sinner who had nowhere to turn but to His salvation.

Jesus took the *bite* out of God’s *bark* for all those who believe on His name.

And those of us who trust Him will be kept safe forever.

"The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him." (Nahum 1:7)

How do you fear the Lord? How is He your refuge?

(I'm linked today with Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays, and Peggy at Soaking On SONday. And please feel free to visit me during the week at my other blog, Sharon Sharing God!)

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Sunday, October 2, 2011

REVELATION - What's In A Name?


Interesting things.

Some people hate theirs – some people love theirs.

I was given the name Sharon when I was born. But when I hit elementary school, I thought Sharon sounded too "formal." So I changed it to Shari. Everyone knew me by Shari, except my family – they still called me Sharon.

Then, when I graduated from college, I kinda swung back the other way. Now I thought Shari sounded too "frivolous" – so I changed it back to Sharon. I've been known by the name Sharon for about 33 years now. But my husband, who knew me in elementary school, still calls me Shari! (Cute, huh?!)

My brother's kids called me Aunt Sharon – and I've always thought it sounded like an old-maid spinster. I'm not sure I like it so much. So when my sister's son was born several years later, I told her to let him come up with his own name. That's how I came to be called "Uncle Sharon" by her kids!

Now, we have our names, and then we have nicknames.

Nicknames are a mixed bag.

Sometimes they're a good thing – sometimes they're a bad thing – sometimes they're both.

For instance, "Honest Abe" is a good nickname if you're Abraham Lincoln, and you're kinda known for your integrity and trustworthiness. "Honest Joe," who lies about everyone and everything – maybe not such a good nickname.

Good nicknames might include calling a guy who's 6' 6" tall, and weighs 270 pounds"Tiny." Or calling a guy with red hair well, yeah, "Red" I was thinking "Rusty."

But nicknames can be cruel, too. They can be used in taunting and damaging ways.

I was called "Lightweight" and "Spoke" when I was growing up because I was so skinny (healthy skinny, by the way – thin just ran in my family). At the time, the name hurt…a lot. Now it might not be so bad.

I was also called "Flower Hitter" because of my singularly unskilled skills in softball.

My worst nickname was "Railroad Mouth" – given when I was a dorky 10th grader with curly hair (a sin in the early 70's) and a mouth full of silver, metal braces. NOT a good memory…

Sticks and stones may break my bones,
But words will never hurt me.

Who came up with that???

Words are the things that do the MOST damage, because they wound deep inside where the bruises and bleeding and scars don't show.

What about the names that life has given you?

Do you have some?








Oh yes, life deals out its names like branding irons that sear their way into our very character. We become those names – we are victims of the reputations they bring to us.

We end up damaged and wounded – hurt and hopeless.

Must we stay like this?

Of course not!

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is a very interesting passage of Scripture:

"To everyone who is victorious…I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it." (Revelation 2:17)

I'm not sure exactly what this verse means – but it thrills me!

It's unclear what the white stones are, or what the name on each will be. But they are significantfor they will each bear the new name of every person who truly believes in Jesus Christ.

They will be the evidence that a person has been accepted by God and declared worthy to receive eternal life.

Oh, what a wonder!

I picture this moment –

Jesus calls me to approach Him. I come and stand before Him. I kneel. He lifts my chin up so He can look me in the eye. He reaches for my hand, and places a cool, smooth, pure-white stone in it.

I see His scars as He closes my fingers around the stone. He holds my closed hand with both of His and He says,

"This is your new name. It is a name that only you and I will ever know. It is your true character. It is who I created you to be. Open your hands and behold!"

And there, on that stone, will be…well, ME.

Can you picture opening your hand to your new name?

It will be glorious!

But what about now?

You know, Jesus wants to change some of those wrong names in this life, too.

So, will you let the Lord's love reach into your heart today and change the names you've lived with for so long?



Never Forsaken.

Person of Truth.



Deeply Loved.

There are many more good names an endless list to replace the old. Jesus provided them all – just for you. He is the One who can give you a new name and a new heart.

And He's the One who died and rose again – and He waits in Heaven for you. Rumor has it that He's got a bazillion white stones just waiting for His faithful, redeemed ones.

Um, that would be you and me!

What new name do you need Jesus to give you today?

And how do you feel about that "Forever Name" waiting for you in eternity?!

(I'm linked today with Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays, and Peggy at Soaking On SONday. And please feel free to visit me during the week at my other blog, Sharon Sharing God!)

"When in doubt, search God out!"