Thursday, May 28, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
thine ear; forget also thine own people, and
thy father’s house; so shall the King greatly
desire thy beauty” (Psa 45:10,11).
We do not see Ruth receiving any special calling from God but she realized that all she had learned of this great God, she learned from Naomi, and that there was nowhere else to go. “To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68).
“Intreat me not leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me” (Ruth 1:16,17).
Look at the background and the circumstances in which Ruth made this consecration. She has a home where her parents will be more than willing to accept her back, nourish her and find another husband for her to settle down with in life. In Canaan nothing was Guaranteed − no house, property, job, money, friends, relatives and no bright future. Her mother-in-low is repeatedly discouraging her − six times Naomi spoke discouraging words (vs. 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15). She could expect nothing good from such a mother-in-low. And there was the bad example of Orpah who returned to her land. In spite of all this, forgetting the things which were behind, Ruth decided to reach out to the things before her. From these, it is clear, Ruth was not following Naomi, but Naomi’s God. “The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the lord God of Israel, under Whose wings thou art come to trust,” Boaz was able to say (Ruth 2:12). To make a proper consecration, we need a proper revelation of our God. Without this revelation, we, like Orpah, will reach a point where we will no longer follow.
Making a consecration is ‘covenant-making’ with our God. Like a bride and bridegroom who make a covenant at marriage, a true child of God enters into a covenant with god. The couple says, ‘…till death do us part’; as for us, even death does not part us from our Load. On the contrary, death brings us into an eternal relationship with our Bridegroom.
The consecration made by Ruth are in particular the ones required from one who wants to serve God in a full-time ministry.
“Consecrate me now to thy service, Lord
By the power of grace divine.
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope
And my will be lost in Thine.”
“Whither thou goest, I will go”
When Rebecca was going to be the bride of Isaac, her parents asked her, “Will you go with this man?” “I will go,” she replied (Gen 24:58). This should be our decision. Isaac is a type of Jesus, Rebecca, of the Church, and Eliezer, of the Holy Spirit. We should willingly surrender ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit till we become the Bride of Christ, (ie.) till we attain the perfection of Christ. Rebecca knew that a rich bridegroom (Isaac) was waiting for her, but as for Ruth, being a widow, she had nothing to expect from her poor mother-in-low whom she was following.
Once we get started we should keep going. A man of God once said, “Our ministry is like a flying aircraft; if we stop, we drop.” We should always have a ‘go’ in our sprit, an urge to go forward.
“I am determined and made up mind,
I’ll serve the Lord;
I’ll leave the world and its pleasures behind,
I’ll serve the Lord;
I’ll follow wherever He leadeth,
I’ll pasture wherever He feedeth,
I am determined and made up my mind,
I’ll serve the Lord.”
Jesus told His disciples, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matt28:19). Of those on Mount Zion we read, “These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth” (Rev 14:4). Ruth did not have any particular place in her mind to which she could go. Ruth’s willingness, or rather eagerness, to go with Naomi is unique. She had never been to Canaan. She did not know what the place would be like, what she could expect there, and whether the Jews would accept her or reject her, she being a Moabitish woman.
Abraham obeyed and went, not knowing where he was going, we read (Heb 11:8). But, Ruth’s willingness and dedication are more prominent than Abraham’s Abraham was an elderly man when he left his homeland and went to Canaan. But Ruth was a young woman; she could have gone to Moab and got married to someone there. Abraham left his land and country and went out because God directly told him to do so. Ruth received no such direction; she must have got to know a little about God from her mother-in-low and she willingly surrendered herself to go with her. Abraham had his wife and nephew to go with him to canaan; Ruth had no one but her mother-in-low. Abraham did not go to canaan immediately; he wasted some time in Haran. We do not see Ruth delaying-she did not say, “I’ll go and consult my parents; you carry on.” Abraham made the mistake of going to Egypt after going to Canaan. Ruth never went away from Canaan; she kept her dedication and devotion to God and to the truth to the very end.
“Where thro lodgest, I will lodge”
Naomi was going back to her hometown after many years, without a husband. Would there be a home for the young Ruth to live in? Ruth’s decision revealed her understanding that it did not matter where she was; so long as she was with Naomi, she knew she would be preserved. The basic purpose of a home is to shelter us, and Ruth realized that she would be best protected by being under the covering of Naomi.
This shows abiding in God’s will, living in the presence of god. This is a beautiful life. Many have a wrong understanding of the consecrated ministry. It is difficult to run in the wilderness. But consecrated ministry is the experience of having the Lord carry us through the wilderness. “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto Him; if thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence” (Exo 33:14,15). Living in the presence of God makes all the difference. If the presence of God goes with us, then God will carry us. In doing God’s will we do not have to walk or run. “When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy own hands, and another shall gride thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not” (John 21:18). ‘Stretching forth (our) hands’ shows surrendering our own will. To do God’s will, you will be carried. But when you do your own will you cannot abide in His rest. ‘Young’ shows being spiritually immature. When we are young, if we want to do something, we do it with our own strength. But when we are old or, ‘spiritually mature’, someone else girds us and carries us. Whether we are sleeping, walking or talking, the presence of God should cover us. This is rest, and we get it in the wilderness.
Jesus, speaking of His place of stay, says, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head” (Matt 8:20). The Creator God Who created all things, had no place to rest his head. What a consecdation! Love to live in the presence of God. Then, no matter what the problem or difficulty you are facing, you can be restful.
“ZION, I LOVE YOU!”
Zion is the name given to the Lord’s dwelling place. “For the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation. This is My rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it” (Psa 132:13,14). Servants of God are chosen to stand on Mount Zion with Jesus. “Where I am there shall also My servant be,” said Jesus (Ju 12:26). We are called to dwells. We should therefore have this desire ─ “Lord, You dwells in Zion. I also want to dwell in Zion. Where You are, I want to be.” If you are diving a car, you should have a destination in mind; otherwise through you may drive all day, you will end up nowhere. We should love Zion.
Why should we love Zion?
Only those who love Zion can be humble. Zion, the highest place in Eternity, is meant for those who take the lowest and humblest place on earth. Before Jesus ascended far above all heavens, He descended to the lower parts of the earth (Eph 4:9,10). ‘Far above all heavens’ is Zion. Dear servant of God, do you want to be found with Jesus in Zion? Then take the last, lowest and humblest place on earth. Always think you joined the ministry only yesterday. Why do we something get hurt, offended or wounded in heart? It you are proud, you will be offended when you are admonished and rebuked; but if you are humble, you will be happy.
If you love Zion, a special glory will shine on your face. When we love Zion, our whole character will change. Only those who love Zion can keep their lives pure. “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined” (Psa 50:2). The beauty of Zion is the beauty of holiness. “Greatly to be praised…in the mountain of His holiness” (Psa48:1). Now we praise God for healing, health, food, etc, but in Zion, we are going to praise God for His holiness. Holiness should therefore be like a mountain in our life.
QUESTION: Previously I used to do Japa andmeditation for 20 to 30 minutes both in the morningand evening but now I am not able to concentratemore than 10 minutes. My mind remains restlessand I cannot concentrate on the Ishtam (one’schosen form of God). Please suggest how my mindmay think of the Ishtam during Japa and meditationand not think of other things.
ANSWER: Japa and meditation alone arenot enough for spiritual advancement. In theYoga Sutras of Patanjali, as well as in theBhagavad Gita, it is said that both abhayasa(repeated practice) and vairagya (dispassion)are required for attaining the goal of Yoga. Ifone does only Japa and meditation and has norenunciation, one cannot make any spiritualprogress. This is a mistake which most peoplecommit: they do Japa and meditation but donot try to detach themselves from worldly entanglements.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
QUESTION: According to my knowledge,‘yearning for God’ is spontaneous—we cannot force it on ourselves. Is it not so?
ANSWER: In some fortunate people,yearning or longing for God may be spontaneousand natural. However, in most of us,longing can be increased by spiritual practice.Some people turn to God and long for Himafter getting blows in life. Others developlonging when they listen to God’s glories. Stillothers by develop holy company. Reading ofnoble literature also helps in keeping longingfor God and higher life in general.