Tuesday, June 27, 2006


(It is best to read the post before this one, about Elimelech first. This post picks up where I left of with that one.)

After Elimelech traveled to Moab, he ended up dying. His two sons each married a Moabite woman. This is where Ruth comes in. She married Mahlon, who name means sickly. From his name we know Mahlon was a weak sickly person. We also know, from the context of the book, Ruth was a very beautiful woman. Have you ever wondered why Ruth, a beautiful woman, would marry this sickly weak foreign man? I personally believe it was because she knew this family that traveled into their land served the Lord God Jehovah! All of the surrounding nations knew about Israel and their God. They heard the stories of how they crossed the Jordan River. The heard how their God gave them victory at Jericho. They heard how, when Israel was obedient to their God, there was no stopping them. (The same is true in our life, btw.) I believe the Lord had been working on Ruth’s heart. Here was this girl, Ruth, living in an idolatrous land. A land where they had a god for almost everything. Yet, in the midst of this wicked land, she dwelt upon the God of Israel. The one true living God not made with hands!

Then one day, a new family moved into town, Israelites, Elimelech! Ruth ended up marrying Mahlon, Elimelech’s son, and sometime there after Mahlon died. Ruth was very close to her mother-in-law. (I did not know this was possible, until I read the book of Ruth. Just kidding! My mother in-law does read this blog from time to time and she is a wonderful person. :) ) I am sure Ruth desired Naomi to tell her all about her God. Maybe Ruth started from the begining with when God created the heaven and the earth. Perhaps, then she told her of the flood and Noah, and told her about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then told her of the faith of Joseph and the meekness of Moses. How Moses left the only life he knew in Egypt to serve the one true God. Ruth, by faith, believed what she heard.

The day came when Naomi announced to both her daughters-in-law that she is returning to Israel. At this time, not only her husband, but both her sons were dead. She tells them they needed to stay in Moab. She informs them that if they travel with her, they will never be able to marry again in Israel. (According to the Law, they would need a willing, able, near kinsman of Elimelech for them to ever marry again. Because of this law, Naomi, believed they would never be able to marry if they went to Israel with her. ) Naomi stressed that they needed to stay in Moab over and over. The daughter in-law, Orpah, kissed Naomi and stayed in Moab. Ruth, however, was not about to leave. One of the most important verses of the book is Ruth’s response to Naomi:

(Ruth 1:16, 17) And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.

These two verses have a lot in them. Ruth was not simply following Naomi because she liked Naomi. She was following Naomi because of the God of Naomi! Ruth counted the cost. She realized the idolatry she was taught was wrong. By her going with Naomi, Ruth was putting her faith in God. It was Ruth deciding to follow the Lord. She put self out of the way and put the Lord first! She decided to leave Moab and follow the Lord!

Oh, how the Lord deserves every part of our life, regardless of the cost! I wonder how many in our day today would have been like Orpah and stayed in Moab, not willing to pay the price. Ruth, by faith, decided to follow the Lord.

Remember, Ruth thought, by going to Israel, she would never marry again. She thought she would never have the privilege of having children and grandchildren. Yet she knew none of this compared to following the Lord. Little did she know, though, the Lord had amazing blessings awaiting her, including a kinsman redeemer! Yes, that’s right, a husband! If we would stay faithfull and serve the Lord with our whole heart, amazing blessing awaits us as well.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


(We are currently having a lot of phone trouble here. As I write this post, the phones lines are out, so I am not even sure when I will be able to post it.)

The book of Ruth serves two primary purposes. The first I believe is to show us a beautiful picture of redemption. The second is the important genealogy that is given in the book. I am amazed at how the redemption of Ruth pictures our own redemption in Christ.

There are a lot of amazing people and lessons in the book of Ruth. The book primarily focuses on Ruth. Before we look at Ruth though, I would like us to look at the very first person we are introduced to in the book, Elimelech. Elimelech lived in Bethlehem with his wife and two sons. A famine had come to Israel and he decided to leave town. He did not seek the Lord before making this decision. Instead of trusting the Lord and seeking wisdom from God, he rushes off to a place where, he has heard there is food. What place has he heard there is food? Moab! A place he has no business going to. Israel was to have no dealing with the Moabites. They were to “not enter into the congregation of the Lord.” His decision would cost him his life and the life of both his sons. He thought the country of Moab would help his family, instead it destroyed his family. Many times, we too run to a “Moab” for help instead of trusting God. (By our “Moab” I mean anything or philosophy that is against scripture or the will of God.) The results are devastating. The devil likes to paint “Moab” as a place that has the answers. As a place that can help. How often do we get ourselves into trouble by taking matters into our own hands? Elimelech tried to protect his family, but because of a very bad decision he ended up destroying his family. Beware of the “Moab’s” in your life.

Based on his name, I believe Elimelech was a good man who did desire to follow the Lord. However, as we all know, even the best of men can fall if we are not constantly guarding. His name means “my God is King.” The day he lived in was much like our own. He lived during the time of the judges. A time when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” A time when people were running away from moral absolutes. A time when people did not want to submit to the authority of the Bible. Elimelech finds himself compromising when trouble hits and following the philosophy of his day. He followed a path that was right in his own eyes, but not right in God’s eyes. Oh, how we need to be careful and guard ourselves against sin.

No doubt, when Elimelech left Bethlehem, he reasoned in his mind why this was the right move. Why it was necessary to go to Moab? Just this last week I counseled with a newly married man who was getting ready to make a horrible decision that would have hurt his marriage. He had his reasoning of why this was the right move for him. However, his reasoning, just like Elimelech’s, was directly against scriptural principals.

We all need to look at the example that Elimelech provides for us, and see the danger of not trusting God. Even when we are in the midst of a “famine” in the will of God, we still need to follow the Lord. He will bring you through it! It is better to be in a famine in the will of God, then to be in the most abundant place on this earth outside of the will of God! Proverbs 3:6 is always true! “In all the ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” Elimelech should have acknowledged God and followed Him.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Interesting Week

The past week has been pretty interesting here. The part of the island I live on is doing a “culture show.” (I tried to post pictures for this post, but blogger was having trouble.) There are no tourists here to look at such things. This is all for themselves. Perhaps the closest thing to it in the states would be a county fair. However, this is not like any fair you have been to. As I sat down looking at the tribal dances taking place, the Lord used this time to remind me why he has called me here: there are still so many people in total darkness. The tribal dancing was taking place walking distance from my house. As I arrived, I was quickly ushered to the very front by a group of men. They saw I had a camera, and I think that is why they took me to the front. (Everyone on the island knows I am the Baptist missionary. Had they not took me to the front I would not have seen anything. People were everywhere.) One of the dances they did was describing eating another human. Cannibalism is now over with, but just as few as 50 years ago, it was very much a part of the culture on this little island. The first missionaries on this island were chased out by cannibals. Some of their dances are for calling in “spirits” to give them strength and to help the men find women for their lust.

Another interesting event was with my truck, again! This time my battery started leaking battery acid all over. I did not know it until Sunday morning when my truck would not start. The road bounces the battery all around, so it was just a matter of time before this happened. My family and I push started my truck. The lights of my truck have also decided not to work now. When coming back from the village one night, every time I would hit a bump, the lights would go out. Now, there are no street lights to light the road here, so when your truck lights go out, it is just pitch black. The only way I could get them back on was to hit another bump, which was not all that hard considering the lights were not working! Soooo my family and I drove for over an hour hitting bump after bump as the lights went off and on. Pretty entertaining, actually!

This week I also attended a bride price ceremony. This is the wedding custom here in PNG. Here, the man must buy the woman from her family. The amount he has to pay is called the bride price. It can be very expensive in some parts of the country. The man also needs to buy anywhere from one to six pigs as well. A pig here is worth a lot of money. You do not mess with another man’s pig! The ceremony is very simple and it is also a sad occasion, not a happy one! There is some joy in it of course, because two are getting married. However, the people at the wedding cry and mourn because they are loosing the woman from the clan. Once she is married she goes to her husband’s clan. One thing I like about that idea is when I think of it terms of our Christian life. When one gets saved, he needs to leave his old “clan” for good, and only follow the Lord. He needs to leave the ways of this world behind and follow his new family, God’s family. No reason to look back! No reason to dwell on the past, just look to your future and follow the Savior!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Loyalty or Truth? Which do we follow?

I have been sick for the past few days, so unable to post. I am doing better now. I am also having trouble accessing my own blog! My web filter that I use has blocked access to blogspot. I have emailed the company and it should be fixed in a few days.

On with the post…
This post was in a response I made to a thread on Sharper Iron. I edited it for this blog.
The thread was dealing with the arrest of Dr. Bob Gray.

It is scary to see, for the sake of "loyalty", how much sin is swept under the rug. Too often, we are more loyal to our heroes, institutions, and positions, than the Lord. If our heroes, institutions, and positions are not in agreement/submission to the Lord, then our loyalty needs to stay with God. To do otherwise reveals one’s true motivation for their service to God.

Ministry is not the end, God is. Our ministry should flow from our love for God. When our "ministries" are our purpose/ our life, and not God, our churches become more like machines. Yet, the churches should be "the pillar and ground for the TRUTH.”

From my own view point, I see two outcomes, in churches, when there are misplaced priorities/loyalties. (I am sure there are many more.) Which way one goes, would depend on their particular philosophy. Some churches become more like social clubs: church is about exercise class and choir practice on Wednesday instead of hearing truth. Ministry over rides truth! Compromise is common place. Decisions, in the church, are made based on what the people “want” instead of Biblical principals. The other road is more performance based. Numbers, numbers, numbers!!! Bigger, Bigger Bigger!!! “If you haven’t seen 273 saved this week you are not right with God!” The emphasis is all performance based for the sake of the “ministry.” Ministry is only seen as successful, if there is physical growth. When this takes place, truth will be compromised, because ministry is priority and not truth. Ministry over rides truth!

Both of these positions are equally dangerous. Both lead to a mentality of protecting the MINISTRY at all cost, instead of protecting truth.
Oh, how we truly need to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and might.”