Scripture reading for April 19th: Ruth 3-4, Psalm 37, Acts 4
Acts 4:18-21 “So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.”
The religious leaders were perplexed at Peter and John healing the crippled man and teaching salvation and resurrection from the dead in the Name of Jesus. They tried to stop them from this endeavor with a strong warning. They would have liked to do more but they feared the people who were praising God for what had happened. Peter put the ball back in their court when he told them they must decide if these followers of Jesus should obey them or listen to God. Authority and threats cannot stop people who have experienced salvation and Jesus’ healing touch! They boldly challenged the religious leaders to consider!
Psalm 37:7-9 “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the example of Peter and John and the healing that came through their simple obedience and faith in the Name of Jesus. They are also good examples to believers of Your amazing patience with those opposing You and Your followers. Help me to listen to You in each situation and wait for Your instructions. Give me boldness to preach the Gospel message and trust You for results!
Ruth 4:13-15 “So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, Who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”
God’s amazing restorations!
Scripture reading for April 18th: Ruth 1-2, Acts 3
Acts 3:6-10 “But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”
Our God specializes in amazing restorations. In this passage a man who had been lame from birth was begging at an entrance to the temple where Peter and John were entering. Peter and John’s attention became focused on this man and they spoke boldly by the Holy Spirit. The man was expecting to receive some alms but got much more! The disciples spoke the Name of Jesus over him and commanded him to rise up and walk! They took him by his hands and pulled him to his feet. As this happened, his feet and ankles were strengthened and he began to celebrate with leaps of joy and shouts of praise! In the passage in Ruth, God also did an amazing restoration for Naomi and Ruth that brough joy and ultimately the Son of God into the world!
Acts 3:16 “And His Name–by faith in His Name-has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the amazing power of restoration in the Name of Jesus. You are so good and full of mercy for those hurting and lost in sin! As I read the story of Ruth and Naomi, I am overcome by Your amazing restoration of two widows, one a foreigner who had to beg for food and sustenance. Use me to speak the Name of Jesus over the hopeless and helpless to see them redeemed!
Ruth 2:11-12 “But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done and a full reward be given you by the Lord.”
Generosity and Love!
Scripture reading for April 17th: Ruth 3-4, Psalm 37, Acts 4
Key Scriptures: Acts 4:32-35 “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’s feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”
The early church brought many diverse people together in unity around Jesus Christ and His vision to reach the world and make disciples. Material things took a lower priority and believers shared their goods. Great power and grace rested on the apostles and their preaching brought new souls into the kingdom. Believers’ hearts were filled with generosity and love for each other.
Faith Confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for this amazing revelation of the early church and its love and generosity. Help me to be powerful in Your grace through the Gospel message and generous to those in need.
Ruth 4:13-14 “So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, Who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, . . .”
Psalm 37:4 “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.”
Times of refreshing through repentance!
Scripture reading for April 16th: Ruth 1-2, Acts 3
Key Scriptures: Acts 3:17-21 “”And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago.””
Peter and John were going to the temple to pray when they encountered a lame beggar by the roadside. The man asked them for money, but they had something better: The Name of Jesus! Peter explained to the crowd that had gathered how this notable miracle had taken place and what their response should be. Many of these people were the same ones who had demanded the crucifixion of Jesus and asked for the release of a criminal. Peter called them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. They could enjoy a time of refreshing just like the healed beggar!
Faith confession and prayer: Jesus, thank You for the power of Your Name to bring healing, salvation and deliverance. Use me today to share the love of God and the good news of Jesus Christ, Lord and healer.
Ruth 2:12-13 “The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge! Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.””
Grace for the humble!
Scripture reading for April 3rd: Ruth 3-4, 1st Sam. 1-2, Luke 23
Key Scriptures: Luke 23:39-43 “One of the criminals who were hanged railed at Him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And He said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.””
Luke records a conversation between those crucified on Calvary that day. One thief mocked Jesus and His claim to be the Christ. The other pleaded with Jesus for mercy. One got no reply, but Jesus promised the second a trip to Paradise. Ruth, appealed to Boaz, and received her eternal reward!
Ruth 3:8-9 “At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”
Scripture reading for April 2nd: Judges 21, Ruth 1-2, Luke 22
Key Scriptures: Luke 22:26-30 “”But not so with you. Rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. “You are those who have stayed with Me in my trials, and I assign to you, as My Father assigned to Me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.””
Jesus encouraged His followers to lead by serving others, as He had done for them. Their reward for servitude would be a kingdom! They would recline at His table and sit on thrones! Ruth, a Gentile, clung to Naomi, a Jew, and served her. Her reward was the eternal kingdom!
Ruth 1:16-17 “But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your encouragement and promise of the kingdom! I cling to You today and always! Amen.
Rejoice in our Kinsman-Redeemer!
Scripture reading for March 14th: Ruth 1-4, 1st Samuel 1
Key Scriptures: Ruth 4:13-15 “So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age.”
The hand of our Lord directed Naomi, an Israelite, and her Moabite daughter-in-law to return to Israel after tragically losing their mates. God raised up a close relative (Boaz) to provide redemption and continue the family line. God also by grace made this Moabite widow the great grandmother of King David in the line of Jesus Christ!
Rejoicing in Redemption: God used Naomi’s and Ruth’s faith to further His purposes for bringing about the redemption of mankind through our Kinsman-Redeemer Jesus Christ! (Mary) “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me–holy is His Name.” (Luke 1:46-49)
The “close relative” connection!
Scripture reading for March 15th: Ruth 1-4
The story of Ruth is set in the time of Judges between 40-100 years before the time of David (1000 BC). This simple story unfolds as a famine forces an Israelite family to leave Israel for Moab. Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, stay in Moab. The husband dies. Both sons marry Moabite girls and they die as well. Naomi is left bitter, without her sons, and ready to return to her land and people.
Naomi told her daughters-in-law to go back to their own people. She was too old to have more sons for them to marry. Orpah went back but Ruth clung to her mother-in-law and made a beautiful confession of devotion and faith. (Ruth 1:16-17) Ruth was ready to follow Naomi and Naomi’s God until death!
Choices have consequences. In choosing to go to the land of Israel, Ruth, a decendant of Lot, was an alien and would not have had an inheritance. There was no welfare or jobless benefits so Ruth began to glean fields. (Deuteronomy 24:19) She would work as she could to get food for her family. But God’s divine providence placed Ruth in the field of Boaz, a close relative of Naomi’s. Boaz was also a descendant of Rahab, the harlot that hid the spies! Because of her hard work and humble spirit, Ruth’s good reputation became known. (Ruth 2:11-12) Ruth appealed to him as a “close relative” and he took her as his wife, spreading his covering over her!
Both Ruth and Boaz are mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ! (Matthew 1:5-6) Jesus Christ is our “kinsman-redeemer”. Ruth is a type of “Gentile” bride for Jesus. He is a “close relative” who has bought us back from slavery to sin. When we humbly appeal to Him in faith, He will surely make cover us and buy us back! When we closely read this beautiful story, we get a glimpse into the heart of God and Jesus Christ! Thank the Lord for being our “Kinsman-Redeemer”!
“Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.” (Ruth 3:9)