The Book of Ruth, Part 3: Insistent Devotion

In this episode we explore a difference in Orpah and Ruth, learning a key point that may have inspired Ruth to accompany Naomi at all costs.

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Ruth 1:7 (NET) Now as she and her two daughters-in-law began to leave the place where she had been living to return to the land of Judah, 8 Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Listen to me! Each of you should return to your motherʼs home! May the Lord show you the same kind of devotion that you have shown to your deceased husbands and to me! 9 May the Lord enable each of you to find security in the home of a new husband!” Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept loudly. 10 But they said to her, “No! We will return with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi replied, “Go back home, my daughters! There is no reason for you to return to Judah with me! I am no longer capable of giving birth to sons who might become your husbands! 12 Go back home, my daughters! For I am too old to get married again. Even if I thought that there was hope that I could get married tonight and conceive sons, 13 surely you would not want to wait until they were old enough to marry! Surely you would not remain unmarried all that time! No, my daughters, you must not return with me.For my intense suffering is too much for you to bear. For the Lord is afflicting me!”
Ruth 1:14 Again they wept loudly. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung tightly to her. 15 So Naomi said, “Look, your sister-in-law is returning to her people and to her god. Follow your sister-in-law back home!” 16 But Ruth replied, “Stop urging me to abandon you! For wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, I will live. Your people will become my people, and your God will become my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die – and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I do not keep my promise! Only death will be able to separate me from you!”

The Book of Ruth, Part 2: The Levirate Marriage

In this episode we continue our study in the fascinating book of Ruth, learning a bit more of the back story and some of the motivation of why Orpah and Ruth might have wanted to accompany Naomi back to Bethlehem.

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Today’s scriptures are:

Ruth 1:7 (NET) Now as she and her two daughters-in-law began to leave the place where she had been living to return to the land of Judah, 8 Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Listen to me! Each of you should return to your motherʼs home! May the Lord show you the same kind of devotion that you have shown to your deceased husbands and to me! 9 May the Lord enable each of you to find security in the home of a new husband!” Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept loudly. 10 But they said to her, “No! We will return with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi replied, “Go back home, my daughters! There is no reason for you to return to Judah with me! I am no longer capable of giving birth to sons who might become your husbands! 12 Go back home, my daughters! For I am too old to get married again.Even if I thought that there was hope that I could get married tonight and conceive sons, 13 surely you would not want to wait until they were old enough to marry! Surely you would not remain unmarried all that time! No, my daughters, you must not return with me.For my intense suffering is too much for you to bear. For the Lord is afflicting me!”Deuteronomy 25:5 (NET) If brothers live together and one of them dies without having a son, the dead manʼs wife must not remarry someone outside the family. Instead, her late husbandʼs brother must go to her, marry her, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law. 6 Then the first son she bears will continue the name of the dead brother, thus preventing his name from being blotted out of Israel. 7 But if the man does not want to marry his brotherʼs widow, then she must go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husbandʼs brother refuses to preserve his brotherʼs name in Israel; he is unwilling to perform the duty of a brother-in-law to me!” 8 Then the elders of his city must summon him and speak to him. If he persists, saying, “I donʼt want to marry her,” 9 then his sister-in-law must approach him in view of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, and spit in his face. She will then respond, “Thus may it be done to any man who does not maintain his brotherʼs family line!” 10 His family name will be referred to in Israel as “the family of the one whose sandal was removed.”

The Book of Ruth, Part 1: Background and Introduction

The book of Ruth is a fascinating book of the Bible that contains many facets worth exploring. Over the next several weeks we’re going to do just that. Today we’ll spend a bit of time setting the stage for the rest of the story though.

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Today’s verses are:Ruth 1:1 (NET) 1 During the time of the judges there was a famine in the land of Judah. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah went to live as a resident foreigner in the region of Moab, along with his wife and two sons. 2 (Now the manʼs name was Elimelech, his wife was Naomi, and his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were of the clan of Ephrath from Bethlehem in Judah.) They entered the region of Moab and settled there. 3 Sometime later Naomiʼs husband Elimelech died, so she and her two sons were left alone. 4 So her sons married Moabite women. (One was named Orpah and the other Ruth.) And they continued to live there about ten years. 5 Then Naomiʼs two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, also died. So the woman was left all alone – bereaved of her two children as well as her husband! 6 So she decided to return home from the region of Moab, accompanied by her daughters-in-law, because while she was living in Moab she had heard that the Lord had shown concern for his people, reversing the famine by providing abundant crops.

Deuteronomy 23:3 (NET) An Ammonite or Moabite may not enter the assembly of the Lord; to the tenth generation none of their descendants shall ever do so, 4 for they did not meet you with food and water on the way as you came from Egypt, and furthermore, they hired Balaam son of Beor of Pethor in Aram Naharaim to curse you.

Our God is Worthy, Part 1: Let Everything That Has Breath …

Why do we exist? To succeed in life? To make a difference? To win souls? In today’s episode we get to the very essence of our existence – why we are here.

Today’s verses are:

Isaiah 43:7 (KJV) Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

Acts 15:12 (NET) The whole group kept quiet and listened to Barnabas and Paul while they explained all the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 After they stopped speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simeon has explained how God first concerned himself to select from among the Gentiles a people for his name. The words of the prophets agree with this, as it is written, 16 ʻAfter this I will return, and I will rebuild the fallen tent of David; I will rebuild its ruins and restore it, 17 so that the rest of humanity may seek the Lord, namely, all the Gentiles I have called to be my own,ʼ says the Lord, who makes these things 18 known from long ago.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NET) So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.

1 Peter 4:11 (NET) Whoever speaks, let it be with Godʼs words. Whoever serves, do so with the strength that God supplies, so that in everything God will be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

Colossians 3:23 (NET) Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people, 24 because you know that you will receive your inheritance from the Lord as the reward. Serve the Lord Christ.

Are Christians Better? (Part 2): Be Humble, Not Arrogant

Today we the short series on whether Christians are better than everyone else. You can find today’s episode in your favorite podcast app or in the player below:

Today’s verses are:

Luke 18:9 (NET) Jesus also told this parable to some who were confident that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else. 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself like this: ʻGod, I thank you that I am not like other people: extortionists, unrighteous people, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.ʼ 13 The tax collector, however, stood far off and would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ʻGod, be merciful to me, sinner that I am!ʼ 14 I tell you that this man went down to his home justified rather than the Pharisee. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Luke 14:8 NET “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, because a person more distinguished than you may have been invited by your host. 9 So the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ʻGive this man your place.ʼ Then, ashamed, you will begin to move to the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, go and take the least important place, so that when your host approaches he will say to you, ʻFriend, move up here to a better place.ʼ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who share the meal with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Philippians 2:3 (NET) Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself.

Proverbs 11:2 (NET) When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Are Christians Better Than Everyone Else? Part 1: The Humbling Truth

Today we begin a new series on whether Christians are better than everyone else. You can find today’s episode in your favorite podcast app or in the player below:

Today’s verses are:

Psalms 103:10 (NET) He does not deal with us as our sins deserve; he does not repay us as our misdeeds deserve.

Romans 3:22b (NET) For there is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23 For the payoff of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Titus 3:3 (NET) For we too were once foolish, disobedient, misled, enslaved to various passions and desires, spending our lives in evil and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But “when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, 5 he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior

Ephesians 2:8 (NET) For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 it is not from works, so that no one can boast.

1 Corinthians 1:27 (NET) But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong. 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something, 29 so that no one can boast in his presence. 30 He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 4:7 (NET) For who concedes you any superiority? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as though you did not?

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Training to be a Christian – Part 4: The End of the Game

Today is our final episode on training to be a Christian, and this time we’re talking about the end of the game.

Today’s verses are:

2 Timothy 4:6 (NET) For as for me, I am already being poured out on the altar; yes, the time for my departure has arrived. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 All that awaits me now is the crown of righteousness which the Lord, “the Righteous Judge,” will award to me on that Day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for him to appear.

Romans 8:12 (NET) So then, brothers, we don’t owe a thing to our old nature that would require us to live according to our old nature. 13 For if you live according to your old nature, you will certainly die; but if, by the Spirit, you keep putting to death the practices of the body, you will live. 14 All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.

Training to be a Christian – Part 3: Listening to the Coach

Today we continue our discussion on training to be a Christian, getting into the real day-to-day activities we should be implementing.

Primary Verse:

Philippians 3:12 (NET) Not that I have already attained this – that is, I have not already been perfected – but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, 14 with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let those of us who are “perfect” embrace this point of view. If you think otherwise, God will reveal to you the error of your ways. 16 Nevertheless, let us live up to the standard that we have already attained.

Other verses:

Romans 12:1 Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice – alive, holy, and pleasing to God – which is your reasonable service. 2 Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.

John 8:31 (NET) Then Jesus said to those Judeans who had believed him, “If you continue to follow my teaching, you are really my disciples.

John 13:15 (NET) For I have given you an example – you should do just as I have done for you. 16 I tell you the solemn truth, the slave is not greater than his master, nor is the one who is sent as a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you understand these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Training to be a Christian – Part 2: The Training Regiment

Today we continue our discussion on training to be a Christian, getting into the real day-to-day activities we should be implementing.

1 Corinthians 9:24 (NASB) Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

 

Training to be a Christian, Part 1: What You Give Up

In this first episode of season three, we are diving right into an important topic: training to be a Christian. Today we’ll focus on what we give up.

Hebrews 12:1 (NASB) Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.