Today, I went through my photos, and each had a story. Beyond what the eyes can see, each brings back memories. I guess that is why Thursdays are called TBT. ( Throwbacks Thursday) I went down the memory lane, and all I can say is that through it all, the Lord has been faithful
This reminded me of a sermon I recently shared with the Women Ministers Network. Enjoy the sermon notes as compiled by our network secretary Irene Njoroge.
• “I am in your story” that is what God is saying. In a story there is the plot, the venue where the story is taking place, and the end. God is in our story from creation, to now, and to the end. You may not know what lies beyond the corner but God the author knows. The story gets twists and turns and you wonder where the story is going. Sometimes you ask, “Where was God when this was happening?” But just know that God is in the story.
• Ruth gets married and her husband dies before she gets a kid, then gets married to Boaz. God was in her story.
• Orpha on the other hand got married, her husband dies, but she goes back to her home place, and that was the end of her story. Don’t quit before God writes your story.
• Ruth follows Naomi. She tells her, “Your people will be my people.” She wanted to know where her story was heading. She cringed to Naomi
• Think about Ruth. Your situation where you didn’t know what is happening. Our stories are read at the end of our life experience, at our funeral. It is our prayer that none of our story will be cut short because God is in our story.
• Ruth 3: 1-5 God had said that when you harvest leave some for the poor. Ruth and Naomi are the poor. Naomi says, “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara.” But Ruth reaped in a rich man’s farm. There is another chapter in her life. I don’t know how you are dealing with your chapter but there is another chapter because, God is in your story.
• Verse 5, “All that you say to me, I will do.” This is an attitude of obedience. Naomi knows Ruth wants security. God in our story knows what we need. At Highest praise international, in Pst Lucy Paynter’s sermon, Mary said to the angel, “Let it be as you say to me.”
• Naomi gives clear instructions. Some chapters in your story makes you down trodden, some are for preparation: wash anoint yourself, put on the best garment. Your attitude should portray the glory of God even if the chapter isn’t good. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Naomi is showing Ruth that there is no time for pity partying. Wash yourself, anoint yourself and put on garment. Are we prepared for the next chapter; the latter glory cum revival. This network is a fulfilment of 100 years ago prophesy that said that women would bring the latter glory.
• “Go down to the threshing floor.” It would be in vain if Ruth prepared but didn’t go out. In the threshing floor is where wheat and barley are threshed. Go where the action is.
• Some complain that they are not noticed or are not given an opportunity. Go to the action.
• God makes everything beautiful in its best time. Some don’t have the discipline of secrecy. We get to the threshing floor and start announcing ourselves. God help us wait for the right time. Waiting is a virtue. Some are there but keep saying, “I am coming out.” Don’t talk until Boaz has finished eating. David said, “I waited patiently….” Some have moved their eyes from the threshing floors that when it’s time to occupy, they didn’t know. Be focused and know that “My help comes from the Lord,” not people. Ruth focused on Boaz.
• It’s not everywhere you are supposed to go in. She had to notice the place, then go in. “Go in, uncover his feet, then you will find a place to lie down.” At the feet of Jesus, like in the case of Mary, is a very secure place.
• Ruth follows Naomi’s instructions. She lies and waits. At midnight, Boaz realized there was someone at his feet. How much time do you spend at the feet of Jesus until God realizes there is someone?
• Boaz asked, “Who are you?” You should be intimate with God until He asks, “Who are you?” like the lengthy wrestling with Jacob until God had to ask, “Who are you?” God knows its Jacob but there is a place you tarry: under the feet of Jesus until God asks, “Who are you?”
• In Form Two, Pastor Lucy Paynter was told to write, in the Social Ethics subject, “Who am I?” It was so confusing.
• Ruth said, “I’m just your maid servant, take me in your wing.”
• Boaz however calls her, “My daughter.” The angel addressed Gideon as, “Man of valor.” And Gideon wondered, “Who are you addressing? I am not mighty!” You will not observe your story as if it is of someone else, for you will tarry at the feet until God notices you.
• Verse 11: And now my daughter, do not fear. For all in my town know you are a virtuous woman. Even Boaz knows. Ruth thought they were calling her servant, maidservant, widow etc. but know you are a virtuous woman.
• Doesn’t matter which chapter you are in. God is saying, “Daughter, do not be afraid. I will do all your request, for you are a virtuous woman. Do not be afraid. At the feet of Jesus, you will encounter God.
• Probably you are wondering, “How about this anointing? All the prophesies in my life! Just know you are at the feet of Jesus. Thank God for you are in our story and are calling us virtuous woman. We are not defined by the chapters in our story. We will not drive through, we will tarry at the feet of Jesus.
• The next chapter, Ruth became the land owner. In the next chapter we will sing the song of victory. It can only get better, after tarrying at the feet. The story of Ruth doesn’t end there. She ends as the grandmother of Jesus. There is a next generation. There is a shift in our story. Doesn’t matter how it began. My next chapter is interesting. It is only getting better.
• At this point all arose and sang, “ /Look at me I am a wonder/ Doesn’t matter what you see now/ I’ll shine with glory/ Coz I know who I am/ I am walking in power/ I am walking in miracles/ I live a life of favor/ Coz I know who I am/ We are a chosen generation/ Called forth to show His excellence/ all I require for life God has given me/ Coz I know who I am/ I know who God says I am/ What He says I am/ All He says I am not/ I know who I am.”
The best gift of this holiday season is to spend time with the one you love. I know we all go an extra mile this season and use money to buy gifts but nothing beats spending quality time with those dear ones.
My childhood memories of this holiday season entails more of the things we did together as a family not necessarily the gifts I got. The tradition or let me call it the family norm of Maina’s Family was to receive a new outfit every Christmas. There was no feigning surprise or checking under a tree, to see if Santa brought you something. We knew the truth, Mum and Dad went shopping on Christmas eve and got the six of us what would be our next Sunday best for a whole year. Considering, the weight of matter, the choice was not easily made and so they would spend hours shopping. Looking back at how precise and accurate they were, I feel greatly indebted to them. On Christmas morning we would all dress up and attend the Christmas service. I loved Christmas service because it was the only service in a year we got driven to church as a family. All the other sundays we got up and walked to church for either Sunday school or those teens service and mum and Dad would drive to church later for second service with the baby. But Christmas Service was no separation it was a family service.
Now you know why at Glorious Power Church we do not hold sunday school or Tweens and Teens on Sundays but on Saturdays, so that no child will feel what we felt on Sundays. To me Sundays are family Days.
From the service things just got better, mum and dad allowed us to participate in the cooking and Christmas was always the day we ate more than we needed. From the era of record player to cassette player music and dance always crowned the day.
To the Maina’s Family it was not about the gifts it was always about having time together as a family. Last year I shared with you a tradition that mum introduced later on when God continued to bless us.
We learn from our parents mostly through observation and just like the other tradition we borrowed, we can borrow this one too.
During my years of youth and Teens ministry, the words used as the title of this article have been said more times as a form of a complaint. As a parent I understand we may not be able to be there 24/7 for the children but just like my parents did we can create special memories where they have our undivided attention.
As we give gifts let’s add time to the receiver. The gift of time is not only wonderful to children but to all people, your spouse, your friends, relatives, neighbors.
Merry Christmas and Remember to give not only gifts but Time.
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