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 Lord open doors and gates for us. But the responsibility of going through and entering is on us.
I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Revelation 3:8 NIV
♧Staying in the proximity of open doors and gates is not enough. There is a call to trust wholeheartedly and push in obedience to His command to experience what’s beyond the open doors.
♧ Acknowledging our little strength or limitations is good, but what are you going to do about it? Excuses and complacency will get us nowhere.
Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. Acts 3:2 NIV
♧Like the man at the gate called beautiful, many are ok with the assistance we get to the gate, but it’s time to stir up a desire to go through the gates.
♧We got a promise, we are not alone, the one who opens doors is holding our hand. ARISE! GO THROUGH! HIS HAND IS HOLDING YOU!
“This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: Isaiah 45:1 NIV
Today I want to start by stating something that may sound like a cliché, especially for us believers.
That everything our God does is for a reason. Everything in His design has its own end. His commands, His deeds… everything that has its origin in God has an object, and a reason for being how and where it is. It’s supposed to exhibit something; to tend to something with a higher purpose. His deeds are ordained to answer to His original design for them. But our capacity for freewill often makes us miss out on this design.
And so for the next ten days, we’re going to look into this purpose, and more so with regards to the abundance that we’re launching into the deep for, this year. We need to know how we’re supposed to behave when we get to that level. Because God isn’t going to bless us for the mere sake of it or simply because we asked for it? There’s a purpose beyond our own interests. God expects something of us at that level?
And so to start off on our series this month which we’re calling the Test of Abundance, we’re going to look at a text we read last month on DAY 3 of Launching in to the Deep: Luke 5:4-7. And Luke says, towards the end of the text, that after they had launched into the deep as the Lord had commanded, they caught a great multitude of fish and called out to those in other ships. They beckoned unto them to join in and load the fish into their own boats. And this is where I want us to put our focus on because therein lies the perfect domino effect of a believers life. They needed a catch, and the Lord gave them a condition, a command to launch into the deep. And they obeyed and got their hearts desires.
But does it end there? No! Verse 7 carries a test. The Test of Abundance whose results are hinged on how they do in that test.
And Simon knows better than to keep everyone else from the limelight. He knows better than to hoard the blessings all to himself. He beckons the other ships to join in!
And this is where we fail most as believers. We pray for blessings, we pray for abundance, and the Lord is gracious enough to invite us into His secret places of abundance. He opens the seasons of abundance to us. But what do we do with it? We fail the test! We get excited. We become selfish. We forget how we were in the previous season and those who’re where we were back then. We want the limelight all to ourselves.
We want everybody to see how different things are for us that we forget there is a higher purpose for what God bestows upon us. We forget that everything that has its origin in God has a purpose. An original design to which we must subscribe.
And I want us to reflect and ask ourselves today; Are we failing the test? Are we missing out on the end goal of our blessings?
What is the purpose of what God is doing for us? May we learn to look beyond the edges of our own needs this year. To notice and beckon unto the next man or woman to join in on what the Lord is going to do for us this year.