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Naomi took the baby and cuddled him to her breast. And she cared for him as if he were her own. The neighbor women said, “Now at last Naomi has a son again!” And they named him Obed. He became the father of Jesse and the grandfather of David. Ruth 4:16-17 (NLT)

She was Ruth. She was just your normal widow and peasant woman. There was nothing special about her other than the fact that she was a foreigner and a hard worker. Nothing about her would attract someone’s attention to her at all.

He was Boaz.  A young, hardworking farmer who was well-respected by men and committed to the God of Israel. But there was one other quality about Boaz. He had a heart for people. His success hadn’t made him forget his God or people.

One day Boaz noticed Ruth gleaning in his field. Gleaners were women who followed after the harvesters to gather what little grains of wheat were left. Often this was the only food they had. On a good day they may even find enough to sell for a few extra coins to cover other expenses.

Moved to compassion for the young woman Boaz instructed the harvesters to leave a little extra for the young woman. He warned them not to harass here, a common occurrence in other fields.

Boaz had plenty of opportunities to push Ruth away. He could have viewed her as any other foreigner and widow and ignored her completely. She wasn’t like him after all. He could have had her stoned the night she slipped into his tent to sleep at his feet. He had a reputation to protect. He could have refused to spend the funds needed to ‘purchase the right’ to marry her.

No one would have blamed Boaz for any of the above actions. He had life made. He was young. He was rich. He was very well respected. But none of that mattered. He saw a person in need and did whatever he could to meet those needs.

Want to read a good love story? Read the book of Ruth. Eventually Ruth and Boaz become husband and wife. To this union was given a son and that’s the best part of this story. The son born to this couple was the grandfather of David, the greatest, most powerful King in Israel’s history, and the man after God’s own heart.

Even more important than David was another child born into this family line. His name was Jesus and he was born to take away the sins of the world. One small act of kindness led to my salvation.  

We never know where our small acts of kindness may lead. God may call us to do something relatively simple or something that will yank us out of our comfort zone. Whatever he calls you to do, no matter how simple can be used greatly by him. Reach out to those in need. Be willing to take risks. Go the extra mile in showing God’s love. You never know where it may lead!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father. I thank you for the story of Boaz and Ruth and how it shows me that my small acts of kindness can have eternal rewards. I ask that you would help me today to see someone who needs your touch. Then give me the courage and wisdom to reach out to them for your glory. In Jesus name, Amen.


When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:14

Sometimes we have to read between the lines when we read the Bible. Sometimes just looking at print doesn’t tell us the whole story. Sometimes, we need to remember that what we call stories in the Bible are much more than mere stories, they are life events. Disney, the Grimm Brothers, Pixar and others tell stories. The Bible talks about life events of people like you and I who are just trying to make the journey as painlessly as possible.

Forget for a moment that Jesus was son of God; that he was deity; that the creator was living among the created as one of them. He just received word that his cousin had been brutally murdered by a lust-filled king because of a stupid promise made during a drunken stupor. They were only a few months apart. They held the same passion for God, the same message for the people. Now John was gone.

Jesus got into a boat to get away from the crowds that were pressing against him. There motives were self-absorbed. They had sick and crippled children; they were the blind, the lame, and the demon-possessed. They had needs and saw Jesus as the fulfillment of those needs.

Jesus’ escape, so to speak was much-needed. Nothing like a boat ride on a quiet lake to give you time to think, time to remember, time to worship. Time alone with your God is never a bad thing, but especially when you are hurting.

His trip was short and when he arrived on the other side another crowd was waiting for him. If it were me, even though I love being with people I’m quite sure I’d look at the crowd on shore and drop anchor. Although he was man, he knew these people. He knew that some would not even say ‘thank you’. He knew that NONE of them were deserving. He knew that some of them were simply there to see a good ole’ fashioned healing service.

In the midst of his sorrow and grief, in spite of the things he knew about the crowd, Jesus had compassion. Read that again. He had compassion. It wasn’t compassion built on the status of the people; it was compassion because of the character of God.

Jesus hasn’t changed. Although he is in heaven at the right hand of his Father he still sees your need. He doesn’t look at whether you deserve healing. He isn’t concerned about how you got to where you are on the journey. He isn’t expecting any payment in return. He may not choose to heal you physically, but his touch can give you the strength to endure. He’s not interested in your ‘get me out of this one and I’ll …” promises. He only wants to make you whole.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. When I read this story I am once again reminded of your great love. What a wonderful Savior who reaches out to us in your own sorrow to lift us from despair. Thank you for loving me. Touch me with your hand of grace and mercy. Empower me to live free of the inner pain I’m in. In your name I pray, Amen.


Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace. Daniel 12:2 (NLT)

On a lonely hill just outside of town stand three crosses. As the sky grew dark a crowd gathered. Some gathered in disgust. The Roman form of execution was too painful, too degrading, to harsh.

Others gathered in mockery. They threw profanity at the trio. It was about time they got what they deserved. The world would be a better place if more criminals were treated this way. Great deterrent, that death penalty.

Some gathered in curiosity-A sort of Bible time gawkers. They had no opinion either way on crucifixion or the trio hanging naked as the darkness descended.

A few gathered in somber silence. Right or wrong, good or bad, these were their friends, their siblings, their children. The crowd gathered at the middle cross seemed somewhat larger, more emotional. In fact, it seems the form hanging in the middle was drawing most of the attention that day. Rumor has it that he was completely innocent of the trumped up charges the Jews leveled against him.

One of the trio began to mock this counterpart in the middle. Even in his dying moments he remained arrogant, loud and angry. Ignoring his own guilt he yelled obscenities at this stranger in the middle.

The other person hung silent for a moment. Watching. Listening. Replaying the episodes of his life that brought him to this point. Finally, he spoke. “Jesus, have mercy on me.” The figure in the middle raised his head and looked with compassion at him. Painstakingly he spoke, “Today you will be with me…” and grace was born.

How could a God of love allow Jesus, the man in the middle to die such a horrific death for crimes he didn’t commit? Rewind the story a few thousand years. A man and woman listen to the deceptive words of Satan. Their decision to disobey God destroyed the balance of divine nature as well as a relationship with the Creator God.

Hell was never created for men and women. Hell was never created for innocent children of abuse, catastrophe or illness. Hell was created as the home for Satan and all his demonic followers. But the sin of Adam and Eve made it impossible for mankind to enter heaven. A sacrifice had to be made and that sacrifice was made complete when Jesus died and rose again.

Our Heavenly Father has no choice when it comes to dealing with sin. He can’t, by his own nature overlook anything that isn’t perfect. God is fair and just. Grace is neither.

What can be fair about a prisoner going to heaven because his last words were begging forgiveness? What can be fair about someone struggling with addictions and constantly receiving forgiveness for the same sin, over and over again? Nothing. It’s not fair. But it wasn’t fair that Jesus died for me either. There was nothing I could do to deserve forgiveness, yet he forgave me anyway. That’s grace.

God would give everything he has to keep you from living eternity in the shame and disgrace of hell. In fact, he already did that day on the cross.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father I thank and praise you for the reminder that I am completely and freely forgiven of my sin because of Jesus. I deserve nothing that you’ve given me and yet you did it all so lovingly. Empower me to live for you and to show others the way to life in eternity with you. In Jesus name, Amen.


He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 1 Corinthians 1:8 (New Living Translation)

I’m not an artist at all. Not an artistic bone in my body. I’m not even good at doing paint by number projects! But, in spite of my inadequacy in the performance aspect of art, I’m an admirer of the talents other people have.

Those who do chalk art, or pencil art particularly amaze me. They start with a piece of paper (or canvas) and begin making a few strokes here and a few strokes there. Nothing seems to be coming together. I can’t make out a shape or any semblance of order to their work. Then, almost like magic a few more strokes and you see the scene develop. Simply amazing.

I have no idea what the ‘trick’ is to making drawings like that. My stick figures are even pretty indistinguishable to be honest. But I have learned one thing about watching such demonstrations. While standing off to the side and watching it’s important to wait until the picture is done before judging the quality of the work.

The same is true in our lives here on earth. We are the drawing pad for the master creator. His goal is to make a masterpiece and we are the subject. Could he, in all his power and wisdom, snap his fingers and make us a complete work of art? Perhaps. But he doesn’t choose to do it that way. Jesus prefers to take his time in making us the perfect masterpiece he’s envisioned.

The downside to this is that from the day of our birth until the day of our death we are a work in progress. That’s where we run into trouble. We expect perfection in our first steps and if we don’t expect perfection there will certainly be others around us expecting us to be perfect. We struggle to get things right. We get discouraged when things go wrong. We let the opinions of others dictate who we are.

Take another look at today’s verse. Whose strength do we rely on? Religion? Physical stamina? Financial resources? Nope. Jesus. It’s all about him. Now take another look. When will perfection come? To be blunt, when we’re dead. Does that mean I don’t even try to be perfect? Of course not. What it does mean is that if I decide to rely on me I’ll only run into frustration. Relying on Jesus is the only sure way to success.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I’ve been struggling under this load of frustration and guilt and sin long enough. No more trying in my own power. From this day forward I’m asking you to empower me with your Spirit so that I can allow you to keep me pure until the day you come for me. In your name, Amen.


The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18 (NLT)

Tragedy brings people together. Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and the devastation of conflict or famine awaken a part of us that says, “I’ll help you”. Those motivate to help aren’t limited to social class, race or ethnic groups or religious orientation. In fact, sometimes those who are the most financially insecure are the ones who will give more (percentage-wise) than the wealthy.

All of that is good, but sometimes the biggest hurts people experience are the ones where they suffer alone. A broken heart doesn’t show itself in public. We’ve learned how to hide that behind a false smile, and various activities like drugs, new relationships, political and social action or even religion. Some people spend their entire lives doing ‘things’ to try to cure the pain of a broken heart.

Perhaps one of the hardest things to deal with in relation to a broken heart is that we often suffer alone. Oh, we have friends and neighbors who bring food and comfort during times of mourning and illness. There’s often community and government help to rebuild houses and businesses destroyed by natural disaster. But while that may help soothe the pain, it doesn’t cure the pain.

All the food and all the human comfort and all the financial support in the world won’t heal a broken heart. That’s where Jesus comes in. Well meaning friends and compassionate governments can restore physical property, but only Jesus can come alongside you and completely understand your pain. He may not remove the obstacles in your life, but he can give strength to endure in the battle.

It was Jesus who stood beside the mom who’d lost her daughter. It was Jesus who wept over the death of a dear friend. It was Jesus who stood by the desperate father of a demon-possessed, seizure stricken little boy. It was Jesus who brought hope to the woman at the well, a victim of broken relationships, who’d not only had five husbands, but after five divorces she could no longer take the chance of failing again.  It was Jesus who provided the food for over 5,000 hungry men, women and children. He calmed storms, gave hope to the crippled and restored those victimized by religious intolerance.

What is your struggle today? What pain are you hiding because no one else understands? Jesus Christ promises to come along side you. He understands your pain like no one else. He alone can bring peace in the midst of your storm.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. Although I’m smiling on the outside for the world to see, my soul aches today. No one understands how I feel. I’m afraid to share my true feelings with those around me for fear of being misunderstood. Thank you for understanding me. Comfort me in my distress. In your name I pray, Amen.

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