Thursday Thoughts

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! Here I go, thinking again!

Sometimes those moments come out of nowhere—blank ones with actual time to think. Oh, our brains are in constant motion, even when we sleep. But actual thinking is a process that takes time.

In my mind, I see this cute photo of Pooh Bear thumping his head with a stuffed paw and saying, “Think, think, think.” Yeah, my brain works that well, too.

I’m forever amazed at the capacity we have for thought and engagement. I am constantly bombarded by…well, stuff for lack of a better word. Yesterday, I completely forgot what week it is and set out on a shopping adventure. Big mistake!

Why? Well, it’s Derby Week in Louisville, Kentucky. There are a gazillion cars on the road and the sky is filled with private jets arriving hourly. Noise.

So, the actual shopping was a pleasure because it was still early enough that the stores were empty, but getting there and back again. Super stressful!

On another note, it’s May and the locust trees are blooming in my backyard. The air is filled with their sweet aroma. Locust trees are common in Kentucky. They’re actually invasive, tend to be quite tall and skinny. Not really all that attractive, except when they’re covered in Wisteria-like blooms.

And then the white rain begins as the bloom petals fall. It’s really enchanting.

Last night, I was privileged to sit in a Bible study being taught this week by a missionary from Spain. I’ve known Tom Cook and his wife, Beth, for many years. His words last night were simple, but profound as he taught us how to pray the will of God. When you pray, and you have total confidence that what you’re asking is God’s will, you can expect an answer.

I am blessed to have such a fine couple as dear friends. Thank you, Tom and Beth, for your continued service.

So, that’s what I’m thinking about this morning. Very low-key and keeping it simple. May your day be blessed with joy and peace!

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15 ESV

Music for the Soul, Coffee for the Brain

Hello! Thursday Morning!

I am well into my second cup this morning as I worship with one of my favorite bands via YouTube — yes, I also own their music. I like to test out new music before I buy, so this is a good way to do it.

And, this is how I usually start my day.  A short devotional, a chapter or so of the Bible, while filling my heart with praise via music.

I’m not wasting time, it’s the equivalent of mental and spiritual exercise. It gets me ready to face the day and whatever comes.

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. — 1 Timothy 4:8 NIV

Most mornings, as weather and work permits, I’m out walking early. A great start to anyone’s day, if you can do it. All things, done in a good and proper order.

  1. Feed the spirit
  2. Feed the mind
  3. Feed the body
  4. Tackle the day.

It just feels good. Do you have a morning routine? How do you feel when you accomplish your routine in proper order?

It’s like making your bed as soon as you get up. You’ve finished something. If you can’t finish anything else the rest of the day, you done one good thing.

So who am I listening to this morning? Elevation Worship. Love their music!

What am I studying? Learning to pray simple prayers. Wait, what? Why does anyone actually need to learn how to pray simple prayers?

Well, it’s like this. I’m a writer and I tend to try to create beautiful passages, and outdo others when I compose (yes, I’m competitive).

But know this: when praying, simple is often best. You don’t need to worry about grammar or spelling, or sentence construction. Just speak from your heart. Sometimes it’s as simple as: “Lord, please save my daddy.”

That heartfelt prayer preceded a day when my dad ended a long career of binge-drinking. He finally started on a journey that led him to a better life. Not that I had anything to do with that, but I was hurting so badly for him, I had no words. I just prayed what was in my heart.

We truly saw God move that day. There was no other explanation for the sudden turnaround.

So today, I’m enjoying a cup of coffee, listening to great music, and getting ready to read and study. Looks like the rain has stopped, so I’ll hit the pavement afterward and breathe in the fresh morning air.

Thanks for stopping by. May God bless your day — that’s my heartfelt prayer.

[Click to tweet] Music for the soul, #coffee for the brain. What’s your morning routine? #HelloThursdayMornings

Next week – Author Sandra Ardoin is my guest. So grab a cup of your favorite morning beverage and pop by for a visit.

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This is in progress right now! Write Integrity Press (my publisher) has a fantastic sweepstakes going on. If you’d like a chance to win an 8″ Kindle Fire, along with $100 and many more prizes, you can enter the sweepstakes by clicking this link (or click the picture above): Write Integrity Press.

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Ruth’s Legacy

Beyond the Book of Ruth, Part 2

To read Part 1, click here.

17So Ruth gathered barley there all day, and when she beat out the grain that evening, it filled an entire basket. 18 She carried it back into town and showed it to her mother-in-law. Ruth also gave her the roasted grain that was left over from her meal. (The Book of Ruth, verses 17-18)

As soon as I read that Ruth had leftovers from the dinner provided by Boaz, I knew she’d share them with Naomi. This tells a lot about Ruth’s character. She didn’t hoard the leftovers, she took them home to her mother-in-law.

Ruth-likeWhen Ruth told Naomi about her day, Naomi pronounced a blessing over Boaz. “He is one of our family’s redeemers,” she told Ruth. What did this mean? It meant that he was a near kinsman of Elimelech. Through his acts of kindness, Boaz was also showing respect for the dead.

I believe this is when Naomi began to form a plan. We know she trusted in Jehovah, so we’ll assume she prayed for direction. When the barley harvest was coming to an end, she gave some very specific instructions to her daughter-in-law:

“Tonight he [Boaz] will be winnowing barley at the threshing floor. Now do as I tell you—take a bath and put on perfume and dress in your nicest clothes. Then go to the threshing floor, but don’t let Boaz see you until he has finished eating and drinking. Be sure to notice where he lies down; then go and uncover his feet and lie down there. He will tell you what to do.” –Ruth 3:2-4

C+B-Agriculture-Fig12-WinnowingAfter a grain harvest, the men “winnowed” the grain, which separated the grain from the stalk and chaff (the breeze or wind blew away the lighter outer covering of the grain). Then they must guard the grain until morning when it would be bagged or otherwise stored. Of course, after all their labor, they celebrated by “eating and drinking.”

Because Ruth trusted Naomi, she obeyed her. This obedience placed Ruth in a precarious position, but Naomi knew Boaz was a man of integrity, so she didn’t worry. While Boaz slept, Ruth “uncovered his feet, and lay down.” He woke around midnight and became alarmed when he found a woman lying there. He was confused. Had he drunk that much?

pink-1431073_1280When she identified herself, and spoke as Naomi had instructed, Boaz knew what was happening. In a way accepted by the customs of their time, she’d proposed to Boaz. He was impressed. You see, Boaz was not a young man. We know this because he says in verse 10, “You are showing even more family loyalty now than you did before [in following Naomi to Bethlehem], for you have not gone after a younger man, whether rich or poor.

So if you were always thinking Boaz was a young hunk, sorry to destroy your fantasy. He was probably less like a Chris Hemsworth, more of a Harrison Ford. Oh well. Older guys have value, too. Maturity counts for something. Established, reliable. A man who is able to provide for both Ruth and Naomi. Hey, he was a landowner with servants. She could do worse.

sandals-462870_1280
Men removed a shoe to signify an agreement.

Even though Boaz wanted to marry Ruth, there was a nearer kinsman. So he promised to have a word with that guy. Naomi had confidence that Boaz would take care of everything that very day.

And that’s exactly what he did. He spoke to the man who was a closer relation of Elimelech’s. This man was definitely interested in the land belonging to Naomi, but he was unwilling to take on the widow of Mahlon (Ruth), since it would threaten his own children’s inheritance (according to Levitical law). Boaz was unencumbered by such concerns. There is no mention that he had a wife and/or family. So he was willing to take them in, with full knowledge that his first offspring would be considered the child of his deceased kinsman, Mahlon, son of Elimelech.

The happy ending: Boaz marries Ruth. He gets the property and the mother-in-law as well. And when the time came, a son was born to Boaz and Ruth.

baby-499976_1280Naomi took the baby and cuddled him to her breast. And she cared for him as if he were her own. 17 The neighbor women said, “Now at last Naomi has a son again!”–Ruth 4:16-17

They named the baby Obed. Obed grew up and had a son named Jesse, who grew up and had many sons. The last of those was named David. He was a shepherd who was later anointed as king by the prophet Samuel. David would become known as one of the greatest kings of Israel, and he and his great-grandmother Ruth would always be included in the lineage of Jesus.


A little bit of trivia

Mahlon, Ruth’s first husband, was Naomi’s second son. His name means “man of weakness or sickly”. If he was given this name at birth, he must have always been weak. His older brother’s name, Chilion (pronounced Killy-on) literally means “wasting away” –so this gives a little insight into Naomi’s early life. Her sons were not hale and hearty. She may have realized they weren’t going to grow old, so took wives for them early, hoping to have grandchildren to inherit Elimelech’s property.

Elimelech had also died early. Perhaps if the sons had produced children, they would’ve inherited the weakness of their fathers.

branch-304088_1280(All scriptures from the New Living Translation, via biblegateway.com)

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