Infusing Hope

My daily devotional from Our Daily Bread directed me to the second chapter of Ruth. Whoa! It’s been years since I have read this book. Actually it had been so long, that I had to look up in the index of my Bible, just to find where it was. It is tucked neatly between Judges and 1 Samuel.

As I began to read, I noticed something that said: Pay Attention! As I read, I begin to see God’s providence unfold in the story I was reading. Wait! Let’s skip back to chapter 1 of Ruth. The Book of Ruth is the story of devotion, dedication, hope, and redemption. All of that packed into 4 chapters.

As I re-read the second chapter, I couldn’t help but notice how God provided for his people. They didn’t have welfare in those days. If you were poor you gleaned in the field after the harvesters. Ruth came to glean in the field of Boaz. Backbreaking hard work. Where just enough was gathered to keep body and soul together.

But was it fortune that smiled on Ruth that day, or divine providence?

Boaz replied, “I have been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband — how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” (Ruth 2:11-12)

You see what he said there? Man! That’s hope! He said the right thing, at the right time. Affirmation.

Do we infuse hope into the lives of others? Today a bedraggled individual walked into a restaurant. You could read the dejection, humility, and humbleness in his face. He sat for awhile, to enjoy some cold water, and to escape the blistering heat of the Arizona landscape. I was beside myself. I didn’t know what to do. I said: “God my brother is in need here. How do I infuse hope?” I am not an evangelist nor did I feel he needed to see my mouth flapping.

I remembered how one day, a person did something for me totally unexpected. A random act of kindness. She purchased a gift card, came over to my table, and said: This is for you. And just walked away. I don’t know who this person was, or why she did that, but it has always served as a powerful reminder of God’s providence for me.

Yes that was the right thing to do. I went to my car, got some money, and purchased a gift card for him. I went to his table, laid the card there and said: This is for you. As I walked away, he said: Thank you! I was more then re-paid.

How are you impacting your world? How are you infusing hope into the lives of other people? Do people only see our mouth working, or do they see Jesus in our actions and deeds? I pray that I instilled in this man today, the love of God through my actions. My brother is in need, how can I help? That should be a daily prayer. Emily Dickenson said:

“Hope is the thing with feathers,
that perches in our soul.

and sings the tune without words,
and never stops at all.”


The Zombie Apocalypse

32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[c] is near, right at the door. 34Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[d] but only the Father. (Matthew 24:32-36 NIV)

A lot of us poked fun at the end-of-the-world doom sayers. The Bible tells us confidently that NO one knows the day or the hour, except God the Father.

When you hear someone giving a date, be it 1972, 1994, 2011, 2012… you can depend on what the Bible says. No one knows. When someone gives us a date for the end of the world, they are manipulating. The question is why? Publicity, folks. I did NOT see, or hear anyone saying repent. What I heard is, “The end of the world is coming.” The end is coming, but NOT on man’s schedule.
The rapture or catching away spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 WILL happen. I believe we are the final generation. The time to prepare, is now. But what if I am wrong, and the rapture doesn’t happen in my lifetime? I have lived with this hope, all my life. It is called the blessed hope of the Church. But what if I am wrong? Phillipians puts it best:

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. (Phillipians 1:21-24)

Rest assured Jesus will return for his followers. We shouldn’t follow anyone who sets dates. We should follow Christ, and his example. Be the best representative of Jesus and his love, to a lost and dying world.

We rush headlong sometimes, trying to get a person to the point of salvation. Instead, invest a little time in their lives first. Get to know someone, see things from their point of view, and share the gospel courteously, instead of cramming it down someone’s throat as happened to me this week. Be kind. Be gentle. LISTEN! We have 2 ears and 1 mouth. Listen twice as much! Let your life do the talking, not your mouth.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (Rev 22:20 NIV)