August 8

Today's Bible Reading
            Ruth 1
            Acts 26
            Jeremiah 36 & 45
            Psalms 9
            ''But Ruth said: Entreat me not to leave you, or to tum back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. (Ruth 1:16) The Lord, do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.'' (Ruth 1:16-17)
            Experts tell us that the family relationship where there is more distrust, jealousy, criticism, and even hatred, is that between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law; but it was a different story with Naomi and Ruth. Naomi and Elimelech were forced to move from Bethlehem with their two sons. They prepared to make a new start. They joined a trickle of refugees moving down into the Moabite hills where plentiful rains fed the Omon River and people prospered. They probably thought this was just temporary. Their boy's names were Mahlon (weak) and Chilion (wasting). This little family didn't have much going for them at all. They had left a physical family behind them, but now they faced a spiritual drought. Their new neighbors worshipped heathen gods and child sacrifice was common. As these two boys grew into adulthood, they took wives - Orpah and Ruth.
            A great tragedy struck this home. Naomi lost her husband and both of her sons.  Now, where would she turn? Her daughters in law were fine young women, but what could they do.  Naomi didn't seem to have anywhere to tum.  No one seemed to care.  You always learn your true friends on the way down, not on the way up.
            Orpah made the decision to return to her mother's home. That decision was understandable. Ruth, however, whose name means ''friend,'' could not be dissuaded. Refusing to bow to the ravages of circumstance, she responded, instead, in Naomi's strength. She decided to stay with her mother- in-law. We all know that beautiful verse that indicated her intentions. We have used it for our memory verse today. The tragedies in Naomi's life led her to call her ''mara'' which means bitter.
            But God was still El Shaddai, the covenant keeping God. He once again proved Himself adequate and faithful. Aging was not going to mean hopelessness for Naomi. Ruth 's faithfulness sustained and strengthened her; in fact, God wonderfully rewarded Ruth by allowing her subsequent marriage to place her in the lineage of Jesus Christ.  What a privilege.
            Now, how does her life speak to you today? Ruth, the brave and noble daughter-in-law, reveals the importance of family loyalty and genuine, lasting friendship.
            Naomi is the beautiful picture of a woman left alone, with economic pressure, who had the courage and tenacity to survive and to triumph.  She was able to rise above racial prejudice, and even to stand alone, when it was necessary.
            Naomi and Ruth had a beautiful relationship, and is a vivid example of what family relationships ought to be like in our homes today.  May your spirit be used of God to create an atmosphere of love, trust, and loyalty in your family.
            Pray again today for the nation of Turkey. One of the most effective means of touching the people of Turkey now are ''prayer walks." This is when evangelical believers go, and spend a great deal of time walking through major cities such as Istanbul, praying fervently for the Spirit of God to move upon this nation. Please pray specifically for the following needs in Turkey:
  • Pray for the few Christians to have courage to stand tall for their faith.
  • Pray that God would call out missionaries who would be willing to live and work as expatriates in Turkey and the courage to share their faith.
  • Pray for opportunities to share the Gospel. The recent political upheaval in other countries of the Middle East have given missionary groups with human concern agencies such an opportunity. It is sad that it requires tragedy for this to happen. So today, focus your prayers on these particular needs in Turkey.