Monthly Archives: April 2014

My Kinsman Redeemer

Who doesn’t love Ruth’s story? It’s a beautiful account of self-sacrificing love and loyalty. It’s about virtue and consideration of others, helping those in need. I imagine most of us can even quote Ruth’s declaration of love for her mother-in-law, Naomi.

I love how Boaz describes what Ruth did. He blessed her and said, “May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.” I know I have taken refuge often under those very wings.

But what I really love about this story is the picture of Jesus, my Kinsman Redeemer. I love how Boaz, as Ruth’s kinsman redeemer, accepted her, provided for her daily needs, covered her with his blanket, and paid the price to make her his own. 

And that’s exactly what Jesus did for me.

Ruth humbled herself when she laid at Boaz’s feet. The result was he lifted her up and brought her into his family. I humbled myself at the foot of the cross when I repented of sin and asked Jesus to forgive me. He lifted me up and brought me into his family, the family of God.

He paid the price – his own dear life – to grant me forgiveness, to place his own righteousness on my shoulders so I can fellowship with my Holy God.

I love my Kinsman Redeemer.

Playing the Part

In Judges 17 we read about Micah’s mother who dedicated money to the Lord. She called on the Lord to bless her son. Then she turned around and had an idol made.

Micah knew about the Lord and he wanted the Lord to bless him. So he hired some random Levite as his personal priest and set up a shrine for his household idols.

The men of Dan wanted the Lord to help them win a battle so they stole Micah’s shrine and hired his priest to be their priest.

All of these people were religious. But they didn’t really know the Lord. They may have sounded like believers, they might even have considered themselves believers, but they were not.

People who are religious, who follow rules and say the right things aren’t necessarily Christians. Saying it, or living a good life doesn’t automatically make one a believer in Jesus. You can look like a Christian, act like a Christian, quote Scripture and sing hymns. But if you haven’t confessed your sins before a holy God and asked him to forgive you, if you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are not a Christian.

It’s a heart thing. Not a part in a play.

Even Satan can quote Scripture. A Buddhist can walk around all day with a smile on his face and talk about peace. A person can meditate, and evoke an aura of spirituality. But they will go to hell without Jesus.

Christianity is more than a religion. It’s more than rules and church attendance. It’s a relationship with the living Lord, the Creator God, his precious Son Jesus Christ. 

Do you know him? Have you experienced his grace provided by Jesus’ work on the cross? Have you repented of your sins and accepted the Savior? Remember, it doesn’t matter how religious you are. It matters how forgiven you are and whether or not you’ve chosen to let Jesus into your heart.

Dear Jesus, I thank you for salvation. I thank you for dying on the cross so that I can enjoy a relationship with you right here on planet earth. Forgive us if we go through the motions, play the part of “Christian”, without first bowing before you, humbling ourselves and repenting of the sin in our lives. May we forget about looking religious and nurture that sweet relationship with you. May we walk with you today.

Samson: Too Good to Sin?

Samson is such an interesting man. He lived a life set apart for God from a very early age. Even his mother, while pregnant with this baby boy, didn’t drink wine or eat anything unclean. Samson must have grown up to look like a crazy man with all that hair. And even though God was with him in a very visible way, Samson wasn’t perfect.

When you read about him in the book of Judges, it becomes clear that he suffered from a sense of entitlement, pride, a short fuse. Samson was more than a little cocky. And as good a life as he lead according to the Nazarene Law, Samson was not too good to sin.

His life reminds me that none of us are immune. Temptations exist. And too often we fail. We sin. 

Reading the Bible, going to church, abstaining from ungodly activities, even sharing Christ with others, do not prohibit Satan’s arrows from attacking us. Sometimes we can get proud of ourselves for living such good lives. And pride is a sin.

Living a sinless life is not a one time decision that occurs when we accept Jesus as our Savior. Living a sinless life is a daily, moment-by-moment choice. You don’t submit yourself to God at an altar, than walk away in a bubble that shields you from sin.

But we do walk away with the armor needed to fight sin. God would have us recognize sin in our lives, confess it, repent of it, and be forgiven every day. 

I wonder what kind of story we would read in Judges had Samson recognized his own sin and repented early on. I wonder what other amazing things God could have done through him.

Father, I pray for your children today. May we recognize sin in our lives and be quick to confess it and receive your forgiveness. May we turn from sin and live lives pleasing to you in every way. Make us useful for your kingdom for Jesus’ sake. You have an amazing plan for each of us that involves leading lost souls to your saving grace. May you find us faithful.