Unselfish Determination

Ruth’s determination and faith earned her a prominent place in God’s Word. That did not come easy.

Ruth gave up her citizenship, left her people and turned away from her gods. It appears that her decision had been made much earlier, but Naomi’s attempt to shake off her two daughters-in-law gave Ruth an opportunity to declare her faith.

“Entreat me not to leave you or turn back from following you,” she pleaded. “…Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.”

That clear and bold expression of conviction settled it for Naomi. Heaven and earth took note; a major transaction had taken place. Ruth had changed her citizenship; she put her faith in the God of Israel and now belonged to His family. God in heaven released His grace and favor on the two widows as they went back to Bethlehem.

Ruth would soon meet her husband and literally become a matriarch in the genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ. What a treasure.

May our words, decisions and actions speak ever so clearly of our faith in the Almighty God. For then, He would unlock the hidden treasures of darkness on our behalf.

~ Ibrahim

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Outstanding Faith

Rahab rises from the rubble of Jericho and a life of harlotry to being a “hero of faith” on the Hebrews 11 roster. Her turning point began with the visit to Jericho by Joshua’s two spies.

Rahab not only welcomed the spies, she also hid and protected them. This was at the risk of her own life.

When Rahab got a moment to speak to these Israelites, she passionately expressed her faith in the Almighty God of Israel. “For the Lord your God, He is the God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” She also asked the spies to swear by the name of this God that they would spare her life and that of her family.

God’s grace and favor were immediately extended. This lady, up to that point, was not known for her reputable behavior. But she started an adventure that would not only lead to her marriage to Salmon but also to becoming the mother of Boaz and then entering the genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ. What a priceless treasure she received!

Our God is still extending His grace and favor to men and women whose outstanding faith would put them in the ‘hall of fame’ of His Kingdom. Will we be among them?

~ Ibrahim

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Unlocking Treasures

What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘treasure?’ To me, it is a locked chest in a secret place–maybe hidden in the ground or at the bottom of the sea. And of course there is money inside. Or gold! But what is ‘treasure’, really? Only material wealth?

With our Isaiah 45 theme, we have been looking at Bible characters who God took by the hand to lead them to treasure. Naomi is one of those.

What greater treasure could Naomi have received, after the death of her husband and two sons, than the declaration, “Naomi has a son.” In the Jewish culture, it did not really matter if Obed was her blood-line grandson. In that infant, God granted her the highest honor she could dream for.

When faced with tragedy, Naomi had refused to give up. She could have, that’s for sure! A refugee, a widow, a bereaved mother. Despite the bitterness, she took a step to go back to Judah. She mentored Ruth through cultural and relational intrigues. And she received a treasure that lasted for eternity.

Our treasures might be buried inside us as spiritual gifts and talents. They might be in the unnoticed loyalty of a friend, the sunrise that we are too busy to even see, or our secret and inner walk with the Risen Lord.

What do you treasure today? Where might it be hidden?

~ Diane

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Unwavering Resolve

In a world of compromise and indecision, God is looking for men and women of great resolve.

Esther comes in the kingdom at a time of great fear and a simmering holocaust. The king has just banished a queen who did not give in to a culture that saw women as objects of pleasure.

Esther has to be very careful how she will handle this demigod who could, at the snap of a finger, order her death. Yet the situation facing her and her kinsmen requires that she negotiate with him.

How would she do that? The gentleman has not even wanted to see her for a whole month. She is in quite some dilemma, I would say.

Yet it is this kind of dilemma that makes or breaks a leader. It tests the kind of mettle we are made of. Will we take risks or play it cool? Can we take a clear stand and be willing to die for it?

Esther did, and she saved the entire nation of Jewish people. “Please fast and pray for me. I will go to the king and if I perish, I perish.”

Oh, that we would have more men and women who would make that kind of declaration. Those who, like Esther, would have unwavering resolve, regardless of the cost.

The Almighty in heaven would not only grant your request. He would make all the hidden resources available for the accomplishment of His purposes through your determined life.

~ Ibrahim

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Photos of children needed

Calling all photographers, moms and dads, lovers of children and lovers of all things inspirational: I am in need of photos of children that can be used to illustrate the theme “Child-Like Faith”.

Just about any picture of a child-in-action (or inaction) that speaks of the wonder, innocence and enthusiasm of childhood would be wonderful.

 

Among the photos that are sent, some will be selected for a presentation and possible publication – but I would ask permission first.

Thanks; we hope to hear from you?

~ Diane

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Purity, No Matter the Cost

A pure heart is what God longs for.

In Daniel, we see a sixteen-year-old immigrant embarking on a journey that spans several dynasties. What drives him is God’s favor and a vow never to defile his spirit, soul or body. Daniel’s life of prayer and his commitment to be an example of purity makes his life an inspiration as God reveals to him not just the dreams and visions of those in power but also what is yet to come. None of this was based on Daniel’s ability. He had to trust God for the answers. He never expected to deliver wise words or accurate interpretations before waiting on God.

And even though a king may have forgotten him, God never did. When jealousy and envy from his detractors threatened his very life, Daniel still refused to compromise his life of prayer.

Even when confined to a lion’s den, it was another opportunity for God to come through and for Daniel’s pure motives to be vindicated. “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouth,” he told the king.

May God find your heart pure in 2018. Let Him not only shut the lion’s mouths but also lead you to all the treasures that have been hidden until now.

~ Ibrahim

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A Man of Integrity

Integrity is a characteristic that God will always honor.

From the bottom of the pit and the dark prison cell, Joseph rose to the highest office in the land. How did that happen?

“The Lord was with him, and whatever he did prospered.” His life and testimony of integrity singled him out for God’s favor. Through the dark time, Joseph became a man whose word could be trusted. But getting to that point took time; it was not easy.Being thrown in the pit by his brothers did not line up with Joseph’s dreams of becoming a dominant bright star. It did not match his coat of many colors. It was as if God allowed him to sink to the very bottom and remain there–forgotten.

Many of us may have felt like that at times. But God will never forget us. In His timing, our dreams will come back to us.

Joseph’s rise to power was as sudden as it was sure. His integrity gave him both spiritual and moral authority which were then reflected in political authority. Through it all, he remained steadfast. All the wealth of Egypt was put at his disposal.

As you determine to cling to integrity at whatever cost, let God himself break the iron bars and make the crooked places straight. Let Him lead you to treasures of darkness and riches in secret places (Is 45:1-3).

Whether there might be a pit to fall into or a prison cell to visit, do not lose courage. The God who we trust is faithful.

~ Ibrahim

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