Feeling invisible

Do you sometimes feel invisible? That people just don’t notice you.

A visiting preacher from Turkey once told us that Mission begins with Seeing.

In chapter 2 of the story of Ruth we read in verse 5 – Boaz said “whose young woman is this?”

Ruth who was a foreigner, a stranger, a refugee who is destitute is noticed by Boaz. From that moment on when she is noticed – everything in her life changes.

When we notice someone or when someone notices us – things change.

There were a lot of reasons for Boaz not to notice Ruth or pretend he hadn’t noticed her- she was a woman from another culture. She was poor – not a worker in the field just there to pick up the leftovers – but Boaz noticed her. When he noticed her – he also did something to change her circumstances forever. He showed her favour, gave her advice, his protection and then redeemed her in marriage.

Ruth was a widow from another country who had gone to Bethlehem with her mother in law Naomi, also a widow, to escape a famine in the land. They had heard that there was food in Bethlehem. Ruth was a Moabite and was an outsider from a different culture. The Jews and Moabites were often in conflict. Ruth as a widow had no husband to represent her. She had no voice and no legal rights. She had no-one to protect her. She is living in a desperate situation having fled from a country suffering a severe famine. She has nothing other than her mother in law Naomi. She no doubt felt shame about her destitute circumstances.

Ruth was someone who desperately needed someone to notice her and help her.

Boaz was at the other end of the social scale. He is a wealthy landowner who has power, influence and privilege. He is a Jew. He has a voice. He has a position. Sometimes “having” can stop us seeing how others – the “have nots” are affected and living but Boaz does see Ruth though. He notices her situation and then uses his position to help her. He doesn’t ignore her plight.

This story is set in Bethlehem which is called the “House of Bread”. Hungry people come to the house of bread to be fed. When Ruth and Boaz marry and have children their descendants lead directly to Jesus. Jesus is from their line. Jesus who is and called himself the bread of life. Hungry people need Jesus who is the only one who can truly satisfy their hunger. Do we notice spiritually hungry people and signpost them to the true bread of life. Do we notice those who are actually hungry and feed them.

We are all refugees like Ruth in one sense in that we too as mankind lost our original place with God when sin entered the world through Adam & Eve eating of the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. We all need a Boaz – a saviour to step in and help us. Someone who notices our plight and has the ability to be able to save us from sin – there is only one who can truly do that – His name is Jesus the son of God who through his death and resurrection saved and redeemed us from sin. We are refugees no more as our home is now in heaven with God forever and ever. We are now part of the family of God as Ruth became part of Boaz’s family on marriage.

If you feel invisible, insignificant or overlooked then I want you to know today that God is a God who sees us – God sees you. God notices you. He is just waiting for you to notice Him. He sees you right where you are.

When Hagar fled to the wilderness and hid it was God who saw her – She called him “you are the God Who Sees” because God saw her in her predicament and helped her. Even if those around us don’t notice us, if our families don’t notice us – God does. God always sees us. He loves us.

We are God’s eyes too – who does he want you to notice today so that you can show His love. Who does God want you to see – mission begins with seeing.

Whether you identify with Ruth or Boaz in the story, I pray that you will be encouraged. You will know that God has noticed you – He sees you and loves you. That we will also notice those who God wants us to see and notice who are in need today.

Have a blessed day.

Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com

Memory Lane

Sometimes it’s good to reminisce. This week I’ve been having a look back through the family photo albums, prompted in part by our eldest having just graduated from university and returning home.

This has prompted many “do you remember when” conversations and laughter. It turns out the youngest then declaring she can’t remember some of these memories and even some of our holidays!!! A fortnight in Spain she hardly recalls-baffling.

Anyhow, I took a look back at the albums to remind her she had visited these places. It’s undisputed evidence that these shared experiences actually happened even though she has forgotten. Pre-Covid travel – will we ever get such unrestricted freedom again.

I enjoyed reminiscing and thought I’d share a selection of my favourite photos in the hope you’ll enjoy them too and it might prompt you to have a reminisce of your own.

God also loves it when we reminisce and remember His loving kindness and faithfulness to us. Psalm 103 is one of my favourite Psalms…Forget not all His benefits…

Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:2-5”

Today, there may be someone you know who is struggling and we can be that voice of encouragement to remind them of God’s loving faithfulness and to encourage them to keep going because God will bring them through. Sharing stories and testimonies of God’s love.

I literally took these photos with my phone from the album so the quality may be a bit ropey 😀 I still love the vibrant colours on show though and also the beauty of God’s creation in nature. You may recognise some of these places. Have a blessed day.

The Opposer

Satan is the opposer and adversary of God’s Kingdom and all things that are good and Godly. In the story of Job we read that he (Satan) had been walking about the earth -no doubt looking for things to disrupt and destroy. There are evil spirits – Satan’s princes and principalities who are opposed to the advancement of God’s Kingdom. Job did not know that Satan was the cause of his trouble but Satan will do what he can to disrupt and attack the work of God in our lives.

That is why as Christians we must take up the whole armour of God and stand firm and be in opposition to Satan. The fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives is every good gift which is in opposition to every sinful and perverted act of Satan who is the hater of all mankind but God is love. Satan is full of jealousy, resentment, pride and bitterness but the life of faith is one of selflessness, humility, love, grace and forgiveness. Satan is a liar and has always been a liar but God is and has always been truth. Jesus is truth and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth.

Watch out for the enemy is truly on the prowl looking for who he can devour. Let us not take our eyes from our Protector (Jesus) – the one who laid down His life for us. The Lord has His hand upon us and will be with us. Satan thought he could take Job’s life but he could not because it was not in his power to do so. God would not permit it.

If you are really struggling with life at the moment, you feel that you are of no value and may even have been having suicidal thoughts. Please I beg of you resist them. Satan will try and convince you to take your own life, waste it, end it as if it is of no worth or value but that is a lie – you have value. You are extremely valuable and precious to God. You are worth so much to God. God has made a way through Jesus for you to come into eternal life with him and He has given himself for you.

God has thwarted Satan’s plans and schemes and the offer of free everlasting life out of Satan’s grasp is freely available to all. It matters not that you once were part of Satan’s kingdom because the blood of Jesus is powerful enough to set free all – even if you think you are the worst of sinners included. There is not one person who is too deep in sin to be saved. The enemy will lie and scheme to keep you in his kingdom but there is a way of escape through faith in Jesus the Son of God who can set every prisoner free from a life of sin and death.

Do not waste any opportunity to take the offer of free everlasting life which is on offer. Why give the most precious thing you have every owned – your own life- into the hands of Satan. What has he ever offered or given that can be more precious than a life with God the Father and Creator of all things. The All Mighty, All Powerful God who will one day cast that evil liar into everlasting torment and damnation.

God’s grace is freely available to all. There is no-one who is beyond His redemptive power. There is no-one who, whilst there is breath in their body, who is beyond the power of Salvation. The blood of the Lamb (Jesus) can cleanse and redeem and blot out all transgression. God is love.

Satan is a liar, a deceiver of all mankind and he only wants to destroy and oppose everything that God has for believers. Resist him and let us not give in to his lies or false accusations. Satan can be overcome by the blood of Jesus, the word of our testimony and those who do not love their life unto death. Satan cannot take your soul as a believer because you are sealed in Christ for the day of redemption. He can try and kill the body but he cannot take your soul once that is in the hands of your everlasting Father in Heaven who holds you unto him. God is sovereign. God is on the Throne – not satan. Amen.

The right approach..

I read a really good post recently by Andy at http://www.BerryBunch.family about approaching God with respect. It was called God, You and Me S3 E19- I recommend a read of the transcript or you can watch the episode. It reminded me of when I was discovering the “Fear of the Lord”.

A few years ago I posted a few thoughts about rediscovering the fear of the Lord which I’ve reproduced with a few updates below:

The early church prospered and walked in the fear of the Lord.

In Acts 9:31 it says “and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit they were multiplied“.

As Christians we long to see people coming to know Christ, finding salvation and having a relationship with Father God through faith in Jesus.

The Holy Spirit spoke to us a few years ago during a time of prayer and intercession about the fear of the Lord being restored within the body of Christ.

I don’t know about you, but I had never heard a sermon about the fear of the Lord and didn’t really understand what it meant.

I did understand that fear in this context is not about being afraid of the Lord – I’ll stress that again:

IT DOES NOT MEAN BEING AFRAID OF GOD

but I didn’t really grasp that it is:

an attitude of complete reverence in response to the revelation of God.

The dictionary explains reverence as a deep and profound respect, worship of or being in complete awe of someone. An outward expression of that deep respect would be to bow or prostrate yourself before them. In worship times we sometimes kneel, bow or prostrate ourselves before God.

It’s like Isaiah’s response in Isaiah 6 when he sees God’s throne. Isaiah realises how sinful he is and holy God is. He feels completely undone. It’s like John’s response when on the island of Patmos whilst worshipping in the Spirit he sees King Jesus in all His glory and falls to his feet as though dead.

When we have a revelation of our awesome Holy God as revealed in His Word, we respond by living in humility towards God and in loving obedience to Him.

It makes me consider again how absolutely incredible it is that as the Apostle Paul teaches us in Hebrews 4:16 we can now “boldly” approach God’s throne of grace because of Jesus. Not arrogantly through anything I’ve ever done or by treating Jesus’ sacrifice for me in disdain, but confidently because my sins are completely cleansed in Jesus, I’m forgiven and righteous in Christ alone. God sees me as redeemed in Christ.

So I guess the challenge to keep before me and to regularly consider is. What is my attitude when I approach God. Do I have an attitude of deep love, respect, reverence, humility and thankfulness. Understanding again the power of the blood of Jesus that has cleansed me and made it possible to even be able to approach God.

The Bible has much to teach us about the fear of the Lord and the promises attached to it when we live in that attitude.

Psalm 111:10 It is foundational to wisdom as this verse teaches us “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.

Job 28:28 “Behold the fear of the Lord that is wisdom”.

Psalm 25:12 “Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses“.

v 14 “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him: and He will show them His covenant“.

Proverbs 10:27 “The fear of the Lord prolongs days, but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.”

Proverbs 14:26 “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence.”

Proverbs 19:23 “The fear of the Lord leads to life; And He who has it will abide in satisfaction, He will not be visited with evil

These verses from Proverbs help us discover the fear of the Lord:

Proverbs 2 1-5 “My son if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding, yes, if you cry out for discernment and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God“.

Jesus who is our example delighted in the fear of the Lord.

In Isaiah 11 verses 2-3 it says about Jesus- “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him, Spirit of wisdom and understanding, Spirit of Counsel and Power, the Spirit of Knowledge and the fear of the Lord – and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.”

Jesus delighted in the fear of the Lord…. I had not considered it that way before. It’s a delightful thing. I too want to delight in it and learn to walk in it.

At the time we prayed this simple prayer from the teaching materials on this subject. If you feel led then please pray it too:

“Oh God my Father, I come to you through Jesus Christ my saviour. You have put in my heart a desire for the fear of the Lord. I am asking you from now on to lead me, to teach me and to impart to me this wonderful treasure of yours – the fear of the Lord. In Jesus name. Amen”.

A Warning Dream-false accusations

Morning all, I want to share a dream which I had last night which I believe was from the Lord following on from yesterday’s post about being prepared.

I saw an armchair in the living room of a house with someone sitting relaxing in the armchair. I did not know the person. It was a high backed chair (a winged back chair they are called I think) with arms. Unusually the chair was placed in the room so it’s back was to the window. It was positioned so that you could not see out of the window. The person in the chair could not see what was happening behind them outside. Suddenly, the house was attacked with large rocks being thrown through the window. Then the attack intensified with more and more rocks being thrown. It was like a machine gun spraying these rocks at the house. I could not see who the attacker or attackers were or were they were positioned.

I believe the house represents a Christian believer or believers. They are relaxed and comfortable and unaware of an imminent attack. This surprise attack will be in the form of false accusations/slanders which are represented by the rocks. These words break the windows of the house and so will cause disruption and damage. It will be a serious and relentless attack against this person or persons shown by the machine gun firing a constant stream of rocks. It will escalate. The word bombardment came to mind.

However, the high backed chair which completely covered the person’s back and the back of their head is significant as it protected them from the attack and the rocks. They were also hidden in the chair (which came all around them) from the view of whoever was outside attacking them. This speaks to me of God’s promises from Psalm 91. We are hidden in Him. I believe the chair represents God in the dream who is confirming His promise that He has us covered and is our refuge, defender and will protect during this onslaught.

In my dream I did not see the person jump out of the chair when the attack happened, run away or retaliate. This I believe is key. Keep your position and your eyes fixed on God and His promises. Do not turn around in this season but keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Remain in God. Rest in Him and trust Him to protect and defend in this season.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
Psalm 91:1-16

Bless you my friends,