JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Ruth 1:16.
The book of Ruth opens in the land of Moab, reporting the deaths of three men. The surviving widows were Naomi, and her daughters-in-law Ruth and Orpah.
Naomi was originally from Bethlehem. After her husband and sons died, she was bitter in spirit, and decided to go back to Bethlehem. Naomi’s heart was so heavy that she believed that the Lord’s hand was against her. Tragedies can lead us to believe that way sometimes. But God had not abandoned Naomi.
In her bitterness, she told Orpah and Ruth to return to Moab, so that they could remarry. But Ruth was tenacious in her commitment to Naomi. She uttered these famous words, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God my God.” She was committed to Naomi as a daughter for life. In addition, she was drawn to Naomi’s faith in the Lord and would follow the same God that Naomi worshiped.
Ruth would be grafted into the line of ancestors that led to the birth of Jesus. When we are grafted into the family of God through faith, our story becomes part of His story, which is our blessing for His glory.
Commitment is a vital-relationship building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the eyes of the Lord.
According to Second Chronicles 16:9, “the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
Let’s suppose for a moment that we are all children. The eyes of our parents or guardians on us may encourage us or disturb us, depending on the situation.
If they come to see us in a sports or musical performance, we might give our best effort because of their support. We are greatly encouraged by their attendance, which brings out the best in us.
On the other hand, we might not be inclined to welcome their focus on us if we are putting our hands into the forbidden cookie jar. The lawless one tries to hide their activity from the police officer.
Likewise, there are different reactions among people regarding God’s watchfulness over our activity. David, a man after God’s own heart, was in awe that God’s eyes would notice him. He said, “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down. You are familiar with all my ways.” Then he said, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.” That’s because David was fully committed to the Lord.
The eyes of the Lord on us are reasons to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the righteous causes that spring from godly desires.
These are words from Psalm 37:4 to 6. “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”
When we are fully committed to God, there is a purpose that is stirred in our heart that moves us to action. That purpose is the Gospel. God gives His followers different forms of ministry to represent Jesus to the community. One person might have the calling to confront racism, while another person might have the desire to serve at a homeless shelter. Another person might be moved to speak up and defend those who have no voice to speak up for themselves. Where the Lord plants desires in our heart, He provides a platform to shed light on the justice of our cause. God-given desires become God’s opportunities to fulfill God’s purposes through us.
The righteous causes that spring from godly desires is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.