Archive for July, 2012

THE ROMANCE OF REDEMPTION(Pt.1)

“Do not persuade me to leave you or go back and not follow you. For where you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”(Ruth 1:16 HSCSB)

There has never been a greater stirring of interest and conversation like today regarding the coming together of Jewish and Gentile believers. This should come as no surprise for those who are careful students of the Bible. The Scripture foreshadows a true coming together of a “one new man” relationship.

This is no new idea in God. It was in the LORD God’s heart from the beginning and recorded in the Old Testament and confirmed in the New Testament that He would bring together His people (Jew & Gentile believers) before the Lord’s soon return. Gentile believers are awakening to the scriptural realization that they have a responsibility as receivers of grace to be restorers of hope. The apostle Paul reminds us that the teachings of the Word of God, the Feasts of the Lord, the Covenant promises of Salvation, the Messiah—All were given to Israel. Those who are Gentile believers have entered into all of these things not by merit of works but by grace through faith. We are debtors to Israel. The prophet Isaiah records, “Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and announce to her that her time of forced labor is over, her iniquity has been pardoned, and she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”(Isaiah 40:1-2 HCSB)There is perhaps no more beautiful a story and prophetic picture of this than found in the Book of Ruth. Ruth’s story truly gives hope and insight into what I call “The Romance of Redemption”.

STORY OF LOSS

The opening scene of the Book of Ruth introduces us to suffering and loss. Because of a famine in the land of Bethlehem in Judah, a man by the name of Elimilech takes his wife, Naomi, and his two sons down to Moab to survive. His name in the Hebrew means, “My God is king”. Yet, in spite of his efforts, he and his sons die in the land of Moab. He is a witness to the one true and living God even in the land of Moab. His sons’ names are equally instructive. Mahlon in the Hebrew means “Weak, sickly or afflicted”. Kilion in the Hebrew means, “Wasting away”. Is this not the condition that many find themselves in spiritually having moved or traveled away from their “Jerusalem”(City of Peace). Often what would appear to give relief from tough and difficult situations only increase heartache, loss and sorrow. Naomi’s name is equally instructive. Her Hebrew name means “Pleasant”. But she will change her name to “Mara” which means “Bitter”, blaming the LORD God for her condition. We have to be careful that decisions and harsh circumstances around us do not create resentment and projected blame onto God and others. A root of bitterness will defile the relationships around us. If we realize this to be true, we must repent and seek God’s forgiveness (And others who have been affected) lest it spoil our future in God.

A TRUE FRIEND

Ruth, the Moabitess, was one of Naomi’s daughters in laws. She did not let her losses bury her in bitterness or an early grave. Orpah (Naomi’s other Moabite daughter in law) made other choices. Her name in Hebrew means “Back of the neck”. She turns her back on Naomi after she swore she would not leave her side, returning to her people and to her gods (idols). Ruth responded differently. Her name in the Hebrew means “Friend” or “Clinging one”. Rather than turn away from Naomi, she turns her back on her past and pursues her future in the one true God and the people of Israel. Like, the apostle Paul exemplifies, she was willing to count all things of the past as loss for the excellency of knowing Jesus, the Messiah (Read Philippians 3:7-9,12-14). In the kingdom of God losses are gain when offered up to the Lord. SEEKING Ruth dared to believe that the God of Israel, Whom Naomi had bore witness to was worth pursuing. Somehow, in the midst of her own loss and suffering, she heard and received the good news that “God was visiting His people, giving them bread”! (Ruth 1:6). In the land of Bethlehem Judah, which means “House of Bread” and “Praise”, there was a visitation from God. Therefore, Ruth who had become a true seeker after God arose leaving the land of Moab (Compromise and mixture). Her example teaches us that in God our future is always bigger than our past. She also shows us the way of faith is the way of God’s reward (See Hebrews 11:6). The Psalmist was right who declared, “Trust in the LORD and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. Take delight in the LORD and He will give you your heart’s desires. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act.”(Psalm 37:3-5 HCSB)

© Copyright 2012, Walter Fletcher Jr., All rights are reserved. This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in anyway from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com.

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SUMMER REFLECTIONS(#4)

THE ACROBAT

“All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons”. (Romans 8:14 HCSB)

The little squirrel climbed the Oak tree

And ran along the tree line. It took no notice

of how high up from the ground, scampering

from it’s network of limbs. It moved forward

with purpose and a certain destination in mind.

I saw it catch up with another squirrel. At first,

I thought they’d chase each other. But no.

The little squirrel kept moving forward’ with

the precision of a trained acrobat upon a wire.

It jumped and sprang across the forest which

was its playground and home.

Faith at times may seem, to some, to be kind of…

“squirrelly”. You hear a word from God that causes

the acrobatic “leap of faith” into the outstretched

arms of God. You know He is there to catch you

and carry you forward (As long as you don’t look

down or around, like Peter!). You can move safely

ahead in Him.

Like an acrobat you are trained to hear His voice

Saying, “Come!” and then…you follow the Spirit’s lead.

© Copyright 2012, Walter Fletcher, Jr.

SUMMER REFLECTIONS(#3)

SHELTERED

“The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty.”(Psalm 91:1 HCSB)

The lightening flashed in the distance.

The thunder continued to roll

Like bowling balls hurled down an alley.

Yet the little Warbler did not leave her post,

Guarding her precious treasure within her nest.

Although the clouds continued to gather

And the winds shook the leaves of the trees

Like hundreds of cheerleaders,

Waving their pom-poms in a parade.

Still,the little Warbler remained vigilant at her post.

Where does she get her serene confidence?

And calming trust?  She knows that she

and her eggs are safe.  For she has

built her nest on high—under a roof!

If you would take your lesson from nature,

You must not fear the gathering storms in the land.

Build your home in God, rest in the assurance of

His sheltering love on high.

Oh, dear one, who may be storm-tossed

With many a great trial, do not attempt

To control the storm around you.

Rather, Hide yourself in Him …

Until the storm passes by.

 

© Copyright 2012, Walter Fletcher,Jr. All rights are reserved. Permission is granted to reproduce free of charge provided that It is not altered in any way from its original content. Address all Correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

SUMMER REFLECTIONS(#2)

A PAIR

“My dove, in the clefts of the rock…let me see your face,

let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet,

and your face is lovely”(Song of Songs 2:14 HCSB).

“The blossoms appear in the country side.

The time of singing has come, and the cooing of the turtledoves

is heard in our lands”(Song of Songs 2:12 HCSB).

 

“Did you see the doves as they flew!” She asked.

Together, they winged through the air

and gently lighted upon the ground nearby,

cooing their approval of the other.

 

Together, they fed among the grass

and huddled closely while gazing

with singled-eyed affection for one another.

 

Together, they arose toward the sun,

fluttering with snow white wings, dipped in silver,

oblivious of any one who was watching.

They are a pair, devoted to each other.

 

© 2012, Walter Fletcher,Jr

Summer Reflections(Pt.1)

MAJESTIC

“Does the hawk take flight by your understanding and spread its wings to the south?”(Job 39:26 HCSB)

Majestic, it sat perched upon a limb, gazing upon me as I gazed up at it. Suddenly! It stirred, lifted its wings and vanished out of sight. It was a large Red-breasted hawk. Not quite the size as its majestic cousin, the eagle, but equally as agile and adept in the hunt in flight.

The sky is this bird’s native environment (as should be ours in Christ). How our heavenly Father longs for His children to “lift their wings and soar” into new heavenly territory. But alas! We too often are stunted in our growth and heavenly perspective; perched on a limb and held captive by earthly things. If only we would embrace our true nature and seek those things which are ours from above where Christ is seated. Then we would fly swiftly and effortlessly to vast regions beyond…we each are called to be majestic!

(c) Copyright 2012, Walter Fletcher, Jr., All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy without charge provided this article is not altered in any way from its original content. Address all correspondence or comments to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com