Study 5: God's plan for the world

Life is full of new beginnings.

beginningsWhether it’s what we do, who we are or simply the start of a new day, we are reminded from the old hymn that God's blessings are "new every morning." The most wonderful new beginning of all we may have experienced is new life in Christ  (2 Corinthians 5:17).

New beginnings are one thing but what will we do with them and where will they lead?

Study 3: Working with God

It isn’t always easy to see how God’s plans are unfolding. 

big storyThat’s particularly true when things don’t appear to be working out as we expect. Instead of the anticipated blessing and growth, we’re experiencing hardship and difficulty and the light at the end of tunnel seems permanently switched off.

God’s promises of “I can” and “I will” (see Jeremiah 29: 4 – 14) may seem hollow at times like this particularly when we’ve become accustomed to fast fixes and quick results in other areas of life. It’s important to remember that God doesn’t work to our timescale nor will He necessarily work in the way we expect.

Study 2: When God has it all sorted

Setting the scene:  Famine and Harvest

In Ruth 1 verses 1 we read that there was a famine in the land. Such an event not unnaturally concentrates the mind of the people, especially when you are dependent on your crops - you couldn't pop down to Tesco's nor would there be anyone to help; everyone was in the same boat. Later in 1:22 we read that the harvest began.
barley 1Harvest in Cana took place in April and May. It was a very different kind of operation compared to today; there were no combine harvesters, just the hard work of the whole community.

Everyone was involved, the men to do the hard work of mowing the corn alongside women and children to make sure that not a grain of corn was wasted.

Study 4: Waiting for God

Like many car drivers I am something of an expert in waiting.

I also have the full complement of McDonald's stars when it comes to not getting what I want, when I want it. One of the hardest things to experience in life is when we have to wait for something that we really want to get our hands on and we know deep down that it will happen, sometime.

Boaz waited simply because it was the right thing to do. He had to offer Naomi's land and her possessions (one of which was Ruth, her son's husband) to her closest relative, as was the law and custom. To be hasty in his actions would have caused problems from a personal and legal point of view.

Study 1: Who is God to you?

promise.jpgToday we’re beginning a series of studies in the book of Ruth.  

The book shows how God's promises were fulfilled in the lives and through the actions of ordinary people, through the faithfulness of a single family. It all takes place in everyday circumstances (e.g., a barley field, a city gate), where ordinary people (e.g., a worker, a landowner), were going about their daily tasks (harvesting, business, marriage, childbearing).

Nevertheless, they were being guided by the mysterious hand of God, who was using their uncommon faith to prepare the way for Israel's greatest king, David (4:22). No event in the life of God's people is truly common or insignificant, because He is always involved.