This weekend I went to Hobby Lobby to get something and encountered all kinds of people getting presents for Mother’s day. One particular family stood out – it was a  father and a little boy probably about five years old. The dad was asking his son what he wanted to get his mama. He pronounced boldly, “I would like to get her an owl feeder. Do you think they have owl feeders? ” I wanted to say “go next door to PetSmart and get a couple mice and they’ll come” but I resisted the urge and went on. 


Life is full of options isn’t it? Our moms had a way of pointing towards the better ones such as you can sit and shiver OR you can go put a sweater on.  You can lick that cake batter spoon and get a tummy ache OR you can wait till the cupcakes come out of the oven and have one. Maybe there were bigger decisions she shed some wisdom on like you can fear going to school tomorrow to face that mean ol bully OR you can trust God to make a way of deliverance for you.  You can stay In the dark about God’s will for your life OR you can ask Him for guidance and direction. Life is just full of options we can choose OR we can surrender those choices to the Lords will for His glory.


While reading the book of Psalms this past week I found another OWR – it’s the Hebrew word for light. It looks like this:  אוֹר     OWR

What it means is: Lightening, brightness and serene countenance, happiness, morning dawn, lamp, instruction and teaching. David used this word in Psalm 27 when he was talking about the Lord. He said, “The Lord is my OWR (light) and my salvation. He’s our OR (OWR).

Our family watched Thomas The Disciple after studying this and in that movie, the guard watching Jesus’ tomb sees a bright light in the night that changes his life forever. Though the guard was loyal to the Romans, after encountering that light made a choice to follow Christ. This Light of the world – it illumines our sin and Lord. We can press towards eternity daily. Isaiah talked about those who sat in darkness… have seen a great light!  Oh to embrace that light as being for us, willing to save, shield and illumine our way. People all around the world light candles to join in anticipating Messiah – we eagerly await!

David goes on to write that God is also our salvation (deliverance, aid, rescue, safety, welfare) and strength, the (place or means of safety, protection, refuge, stronghold) of whom shall I be afraid? He goes on to write about his enemies and battles but then boldly proclaims that even in the midst of battles he will be confident.  David, the singer has a much different definition of confident than modern day singer Demi Lovato. He means confidence as putting ones trust not in oneself but in Jehovah, trusting in God, being secure in God and putting His hope in God. Self-confidence is momentary, God-confidence is eternal.

One thing I ask from the Lord,  this only do I seek:  (verb here means to actively, passionately pursue)
that I may dwell (remain, stay) in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty (delight, pleasantness, grace, favor) of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. This isn’t just go to Sunday and hear a couple tunes or even to worship for an hour. This is to Inquire: ponder, reflect, plough, break forth, inspect, admire, consider who God is and what He has done. This PROCESS as a lifestyle brings David great confidence because he intimately knows the God he seeks. He’s getting to know God, reflecting on His goodness, pondering His greatness, enjoying His pleasantness, grace and favor.

Our culture often showcases self-made people, amplifies players and movers and shakers as if that was a sign of success. The song “Bad to the Bone” comes to mind. Those who define themselves and promote themselves seem to rise to the top. Yet David had success and focused on the Lord. Quite the opposite arenas. He wanted to be strong in the Lord – not himself. He knew his real source of strength.

For in the day of trouble
    He will keep me safe in His dwelling;
He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted
    above the enemies who surround me;
at His sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
    I will sing and make music (a whole bunch) to the Lord.

Hear my voice when I call, Lord;                         all imperatives !!!
  be merciful to me and
 answer me.

My heart says of you, “Seek His face!”
    Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Do not hide Your face from me,
    do not turn Your servant away in anger;
    You have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
    God my Savior.

I recently lost my dad and several years ago lost my mom . They were wonderful people and gave me a solid foundation in life. They were kind and honest. There absence has left a hole in my heart. One day that was especially filled with grief made me question where God was in all this. I felt kind of orphaned, abandoned. Does God understand this type of pain I wondered? This next verse was especially helpful to me and brought much comfort going into Mothers’ Day:

10 Though my father and mother forsake  (leave or fail) me,
    the Lord will receive me. (Gather, bring up the rear, assemble others around me).

I’m not sure exactly how –but there seems to be a promise there that HE will be our family and provide family for us when we are alone. That’s amazing. I’ve experienced that through our church and also in special encounters along the way. God should get His own day just for that! He’s Worthy of celebration.

11 Teach me Your way, Lord; (cause me to be taught PLEASE — imperative)
   You must lead me in a straight path
    because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
    for false witnesses rise up against me, (Slanderers) 
    spouting malicious accusations  (certainly anxiety producing if we allow it).

13 I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.                         Long-term HOPE

14 WAIT  for the Lord:
 imperative– To eagerly wait, hope for, linger, expect, tarry
    BE                             (Courageous, be of good courage- imperative)
 and He will strengthen your heart.
    and WAIT  for the Lord.         imperative – Double packed twice, really important!

David’s wisdom is poured forth in song and he has given us some great options to the times and trials in our lives. We can fear trials OR we can trust God. We can walk in darkness OWR we can choose the Light. We can be shaky OR we can be confident in God. We can rush around doing our own thing only to fail OR we can WAIT on God and be strengthened.

Good options – choose you this day whom you will serve.

Happy Gods’ Family day! RenaeRoche2019

PS. Bless all of you who celebrate this week and also those who mourn – you WILL be comforted.








Life Happens and is rarely fair. In our culture we see temper tantrums every day. Things don’t go the way we want, and we blame everybody and everything. The political arena has really been like that recently. People who used to be able to “ride the bumps” of life are going off the deep end. It seems that our “reserve” just isn’t what it used to be. I think that is why the book of JOB is more relevant than ever. I like the heart of this man who lost everything. It strikes me as odd that God showcases those with pain, disappointment and suffering to teach us. The Bible could be God’s collection of successful preachers and prophets. Like a winner’s guild or training posse. Instead we see train wrecks and nervous traveling ministers with sketchy backgrounds as his workers. Interesting, isn’t it? Let’s see how he responded to grief:
         1:20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and cried till his head hurt? No, not exactly. It ends with and  

“gave himself to worship.”

That means he gave it ALL in worship, holding nothing back. That is shocking. Even normal grief says you cry and fuss a while.  Now my curiosity is piqued. How? How is it that this man’s response and reaction to devastation and suffering is so unique and beautiful? I think he must have developed an intimate relationship with God beforehand. Worship would not have been my first thought. He punched the wall, he drank, he screamed, he kicked the cat, yes. Worship? It almost seems foreign, yet this godly man knew exactly what to do in a time of trial. I’ve only seen that response once or twice in my life but when it happens you connect with Heaven.

We like to spiritualize. When hard times come our way maybe we go to church or read a few more scriptures but Job threw himself into worship – the wholehearted praise of God. He didn’t first take a day of vacation or get everyone’s input. He goes to his ONE Source – God. Not a priest, prophet, leader or spouse but God Himself. He went to the One who could make a difference. Maybe this book is not about Job. Maybe this book isn’t even about his suffering. Like Esther where God is not mentioned but we see God’s sovereignty, maybe this is a book that talks a lot about God, yet it is about Him being Lord.

Let’s check his friends out:

2:13 “So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spoke a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.” Those are amazing friends if they can listen and keep silent for that long! At first, they didn’t try to fix Job – they just listened. That’s a rare gift to find someone to sit with you in your pain and just share your heart. Job was closest to his divine friend: 16:19 “my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend. Job goes on to declare who this friend is: Job 19, “I know that my redeemer lives,
 and that in the end he will stand on the earth.  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

This may be key to everything – this suffering WILL END. There WILL come a day where torment stops and we encounter GOD Himself. Hope increases.

While many commentaries focus on what Job lost, it is interesting to me to realize what he first had. Surely God’s favor had been on him before tragedy struck: Job 29; “Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me, then my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.”

It seems that what Job missed most, what Job wanted most, what Job sought for most – was God’s friendship to be restored. He knew God as friend, so he could turn to HIM. He knew God was good, so he could worship Him. I think the greater suffering is not having hope that things will get better or knowing what that would be like. Job knew what was possible because he had been close to God in the past. He could picture in his mind what restoration and return looked like. His point of reference, his baseline, his life was wrapped around God.

The middle chapters of Job are good but wearisome as his friends do some intervention type meetings that fall short. He calls them worthless physicians, everyone. I like this poem that one of my supervisors shared with us this week:

A New Serenity Prayer
By Fr. James Martin, SJThe Jesuit Post

Nov.10, 2012 

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the people I cannot change,
which is pretty much everyone,
since I’m clearly not you, God.
At least not the last time I checked.

And while you’re at it, God,
please give me the courage
to change what I need to change about myself,
which is frankly a lot, since, once again,
I’m not you, which means I’m not perfect.
It’s better for me to focus on changing myself
than to worry about changing other people,
who, as you’ll no doubt remember me saying,
I can’t change anyway.

Finally, give me the wisdom to just shut up
whenever I think that I’m clearly smarter
than everyone else in the room,
that no one knows what they’re talking about except me,
or that I alone have all the answers.

Basically, God,
grant me the wisdom
to remember that I’m
not you.



I need this. Job’s friends need this. Maybe… someone sitting next to you needs this?  After reading it I read this in Job: “Job 37. The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress. 24 Therefore, people revere Him…”

Giving our whole selves in worship no matter what the circumstance, sitting with people in silence, hearing God speak over the shouts and screams of our suffering may take a lifetime to understand. We often hear about the patience or perseverance of Job. I’d like to tweak that just a bit. After studying this book, I think it speaks to my heart more like this, “the posture of Job”. I want that. I need that, because it seems that everything else is irrelevant if we have that one thing in place. God is BIG, WISE, Wonderful. I’m not Him, nor do I speak for Him or direct Him. Oh, the POSTURE of Job.

The song that ministered to me while studying this book was I’m listening by Chris McClarney and Hollyn. I want to hear Him, I want Him to hear me. I want to hear others and pray for them to the God that hears all. The next book we study is Psalms. If our hearts are postured before God, the praises and worship can flow. Wow, God’s word is so connected, and its purpose is to bend our hearts to God’s will.

So, Lord:

We posture our hearts, lives and will before You now.

You are the Lord God Almighty and we surrender to YOU. We are listening, listening, listening.

We are ready to hear and obey. We don’t want to miss one word YOU speak, so quiet our hearts we are





“Another immigrant. She came to our country from God knows where (literally) and wins the grand prize and beauty competition. She must have spent a lot on all that perfume and make-up. What’s she got that I don’t? Then she gets chosen to be the queen and she is sweet but she won’t be as grounded and liberal as Vashti. Imagine that! She’s not even originally from here. I think she’s just another pretty face, using her beauty to get to the top. Let’s shut her out, she’s not one of us for sure.”

We don’t know what the women of Persia said but the above paragraph might be pretty close. We don’t know if she was scared, scrawny or sick. All we know is that she had a praying older cousin named Mordecai. His Hebrew name meant warrior and the Talmud lists him as a “prophet”. What was so great about this exiled older relative? Why didn’t the book get named after him?  I mean by tradition and because of his lineage it would normally be a guys name. The Targum says he was from the birth line of Mephibosheth which was a relative of Jonathon and King Saul. In Israel he would have been quite popular but here – he’s just another Jewish guy sitting by the Kings gate. Did he sit there longing for the good ol days? Was he there praying for the Temple and Kingdom back home to be restored? Were the 60 years missing in Ezra and Nehemiah being fulfilled as he sat and prayed?

Two things stood out to me as we read this book this week. Overall, God’s sovereignty and the power of prayer is seen. Anyone who thinks God isn’t in this book doesn’t know Him or His people because He is everywhere! The first thing was that wine and drinking were mentioned quite a bit. After reading Nehemiah and the importance of the cup bearer this became clear. Nehemiah was called more often a eunuch or castrated one than he was a cup bearer. He really gave his all to protect the King and help his people. Go back and read the mention of wine and insert an extra person and it makes more sense. The king left his wine…    true but the cupbearer would have stayed there. Who was that guy and is that where we get the rest of the story and validity to Esther as she talked to Haman? Who shows up and puts a hood over Hamans head?  Why was that part redacted? These unwritten guys seem to do an awful lot of work behind the scenes. How many of them came forward for such a time as this? Ready instant in season and out plays  out for many men and women in this book.  There are several guy heroes yet Esther is the star. Are we ready for God’s appointment for us in our generation? Will we be found faithful doing what He has called us to do? It just seems that those who are in step with mundane, insignificant things step into being a “star” not by planning to be front and center but by walking into obedience to the Lord. Fame comes with a steep price but faithfulness… that’s something very different for a martyr, a child of God. On the other side of death comes success. On the other side for taking a stand for Christ comes either persecution or victory. Some walk into grandiose glory as they obey God and others get beheaded. Hebrews 11 and 12 declare that some don’t get a reward until Heaven. I wish we could to choose which one of those we got. It’s hard to  choose the joy of Heaven when we haven’t seen it. Many are afraid not to die but to struggle or suffer in pain until they get there. I recently read the end of the lives of the disciples and was shaken at how NOT ready I am to suffer like they did. Boiled alive, beaten, thrown down a cliff, Esther was not merely being bold she was risking her life. Her precious life, her only life. Her parents would NOT be proud of her on that day. Why?

Esther was an orphan. No mom, no dad. There would be no one to walk her down the aisle or mourn that she was exiled to another country. No one to give her that woman talk when she married a Persian king. Mordecai stepped up to honor God and give her a heritage. He committed to pray for her. While everyone else celebrated the wealth, Mordecai would have been mortified that she married a Gentile. So he prayed, and prayed and prayed. When we adopt orphans we give them a new heritage, a new name. No longer are they on the trajectory of their birth but they are positioned for blessing from the prayers of their new parent(s). Mordecai marked Esther (The star) for God. Mordecai would have prayed God’s blessings over her. Mordecai would have asked God to use her for His glory and their people. Boy, did he not fully see what he was praying for? They were words, words he meant but did he realize how big, how bold, how prophetic those words really were in those days?

Our friends are celebrating the adoption of their little girl today. We had to stay home and finish some funeral arrangements and family things so we could not attend. I was so disappointed as I had prayed for that day for over a year. I pictured in my mind the shoes, the dresses, the books that would be carefully wrapped and tied with a bow given to the girl and her new family. I could just hear the well wishes and see the pink ribbons. I missed out on buttercream frosting and ice cream and cake. She would be loved, celebrated and honored. Secure in their love she will have a childhood of giggles and dancing and joy. I wonder how many Hamans will be sent her way to make her strong, test her resolve, display her spiritual power? Does God see this even now? If we truly believe God answers prayers when we pray for spiritual blessings, gifts and fruits –will we be surprised when she challenges governments, faces armies, moves mountains? Already we can see a tenacity in her little spirit. What battles will she fight in the name of her God? Did God place her in the loving care of her new home because of her parents and grandparents prayers or did God place them in her hands so she would one day deliver them? Awesome is the Lord God Almighty, sovereign over all.

James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Orphan. Immigrant. Woman in a home where the last wife died due to domestic violence. 

Mordecai had religious things to do, he was a descendant of King Saul after all. What was he thinking taking on the care of a little girl? But he was also from the line of Mephibosheth, the crippled one. I’m so glad in the family line there was mercy, grace, compassion enough to care what happens to others. Somehow that care and concern grew enough for an old Jewish guy who was not a yes man, to muster up the courage to single handedly raise a little exiled girl. He’d have to learn how to braid hair, kiss boo-boos. I’m thinking Torah school didn’t teach those things! Who cares about immigrants, orphans, women in danger? Those who PRAY. It’s a mark, a signifier, a tell tale sign that something holy is going on in their lives and hearts. Prayer stirs hearts to action.

We have two amazing little boys that we took the challenge to raise and we are so thankful. I don’t know a lot but after watching our lives and the lives of our friends, my guess is that the battle for Esther and her destiny started long before she arrived on the steps of the palace. No wonder they call Mordecai WARRIOR!  The first battle is always waged in the HOME.

God bless all you adoptive parents. God bless all you who take your pro-life energy and invest it into children that are born and need support. God bless all you who pray for orphans that God will accomplish everything in their lives He intends and wills to happen for His kingdom and glory. Build YOUR kingdom in all the orphan kids and their parents Lord we pray. For the rest Lord – bring them forward as shining Stars in Your season, for Your purposes and in Your time (2 Peter 2:12). The Kingdom needs those who pray — to be Mordecai type praying warriors more than ever before. Help us Jesus today! Amen.

RenaeRoche 2019

   Comforter and cup bearer

The cup bearer to the king was an immensely important task. If the wrong person got near the wine the King would be at risk for poison and death. The Kingdom depended on that cup of wine being pure, not diluted or filled with toxic chemicals. His job was to make sure that what was inside that cup would bring refreshment instead of certain death. Nehemiah, whose name means “comforting one” took his job seriously. The inside was important. What was inside was critical. While others may look at the beauty of the outside, the cup bearer to the King knew that what mattered most was the purity on the inside.

The temple was in ruins when a holy immigrant named Ezra came to declare to the people that God did not dwell in temples made with hands. He presented the law and called them to holiness – on the inside. Nehemiah was also born in Babylon and dwelt in finery. He wanted God’s city to look nice on the inside but he knew that Ezra was crucial to that happening because what was INSIDE was what mattered the most. How do you make an individual great again, a church, a city, a nation? The trio of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther knew the secret to build people, cities and nations – getting in the word, worshipping, wonders and deeds remembered of Yahweh and the collective “we” dwelling together in unity. Triple power pack leaders.

Neh.8  – “All the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel. So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. He read it aloud from daybreak till noon (six hours plus) as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law. …. Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. 10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food (means fatty meats) and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the JOY of the Lord is your strength.” 11 The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a holy day. Do not grieve.”

…..18 Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God. (Talk about strengthening the people, wow!) They celebrated the festival for seven days, and on the eighth day, in accordance with the regulation, there was an assembly. The law is often thought of as binding or legalistic but here we see it as the basis to keep up their heels, dance, eat and celebrate. I think that’s a pretty good regulation. This is kind of what was said, “As your father, I demand that you rest and enjoy me and each other.” That sounds like a pretty good idea. Did God really have to tell people to enjoy Him and life? It would seem so.

The word joy is not the regular word for rejoicing (simcha) nor is it a word to be happy or exultant (shashown). It is the word Chedvah which means the process of resting, working and being in God’s presence. It’s a life lived for Him, not just a mere emotion or feeling. The only other time that phrase is seen is in 1 Chronicles and refers to being in fellowship  with God (Presence).

Note that they celebrated for 7 days. That is quite the party. The puritan prude in me cringes when I hear the party lasted for 7 days. The kid in me loves to hear the exhortation to drink Hi-C for 7 days. We have celebrated all of the Jewish festivals so we could experience the Old Testament and the last years have been filled with such awe and wonder for not only who God is but what He has done among us. When we walk out these commands there is always fruit. This year we decided that Easter – the better covenant because of Jesus on the cross should equal MORE celebration, MORE sweet drinks and more celebration. We are intentionally celebrating 7 days of Resurrection joy. God is not a killjoy. God is not a sterile demagogue. God is not a disappointed party crasher. If anything He has opened the Heavens to the family of God and the celebration there is unending. We get to practice for seven days. Break out the sparkling juices, bring out the brisket, cakes and cookies. Hosanna is risen and God is HAPPY. Do you hear me, GOD IS HAPPY.  It almost sounds blasphemous because the only partiers in our culture are thought to be rogue. No wonder God has gotten a bad reputation with tired, weary people.

Thank you Jesus for cleansing my sin, not just covering it. Thank you Jesus for welcoming me in, though I don’t deserve it.  Thank you Jesus for forgiving me when I forsook your law, your word and your ways. Thank you Jesus for making me born again from above, something I could never earn or deserve. Thank you Jesus for rising from the dead so I could know and have eternal life. Thank you Jesus for ascending to the Father and sending your precious Holy Spirit, the comforting One.

Truly God wants us to be clean and filled inside. That is the beauty and secret to a great church, a great home, a great nation. It is more important to be connected to God and in intimate holy relationship with Him than to have a beautiful building or town. The comforter is doing that work on the inside of us and that work is ongoing and necessary.

Praying you see all that God has done, is doing and will do in your lives.

Celebrating with you,

Renae Roche 2019



The book of Ezra in our new generation Bible is one book but in the Hebrew Old Testament it was a two- part (or more) book Ezra- Nehemiah. The names Esdras one and Esdras two in the Greek version were continuing stories and part of that can also be found in the Catholic Apocrypha. Basically, they are similar but there are stories that were thought to “out there” or different to include in the canon. One of those stories is Darius’s dream. The tradition goes that there were these bodyguards and they debate over who is the strongest and the wisest as they protect a prisoner. Looking backwards we can see shadows of the Messiah on the cross. At that time, it didn’t seem to “fit” the narrative of the day, so it was left out.

Tradition also tells us that Ezra the Priest helped in choosing which books would be included in the Canon of scripture. He not only knew the law, proclaimed the law but helped put the law together in an easy format so people could understand the themes and character of God. Pretty impressive man.

The book includes shouting, singing, rejoicing and celebration as God’s people come back to Jerusalem. One of the exiled couples when they were exiled to Babylon had a baby. Amid a perverse and pagan culture, they raised him to know and believe God and His word. Though far away from the temple and everything they treasured they kept their eyes fixed on Jehovah and made sure His principles and decrees were known and followed. That was Ezra’s parents. He was born in Babylon. One return of exiles took place and then this Holy Immigrant Priest leads a parade of Exiles back to their promised land. Ezra was one of them but was born on foreign soil. He came back not only among the crowd – he came back with a passion and purpose. That purpose was to reform the Temple – God’s people.

Some things to note about this godly man:

Ezra 6:22 – He celebrated and remembered the wonderful things God was doing among them. He was a man of joy and thankfulness.

Ezra 7:10 He not only studied and knew Gods word, but he taught it to others He was intimate with God because He knew who He was.

Ezra 8:22 He fasted and prayed for God’s will to be done – not his personal agenda. Ezra trusted in God and postured himself before that holy God in intercession.

Ezra 8:32 He rested for three days. Ezra was a man of self-care and gentle care of those he led. Ezra was not a taskmaster or overbearing leader, he knew how to have seasons and days of rest.

Ezra 10:11 He called people to make confession to the Lord. He was a priest, but he knew that it was only God who could forgive peoples sin. Ezra pointed and worshipped God and did not take Gods glory.


One thing that I cannot prove or have not studied but want to mention here is that there is about a 60-year gap in this story. When you plug in the story of Esther you find the missing years. This man was the authority in his day and he could have included her story in the midst of his but instead she gets her own book with her own name on it. That strikes me as being humble and giving honor where honor is due. I have not had time to check this idea out so please email me if you have a different thought on that. It is in line with the other things Ezra has done. All Israel came together as “one man” and that seems to also signify that unity was important to him and them.

This saint was destined for greatness. A holy immigrant born in a very pagan culture takes a stand and goes to another nation to make changes and try to make them “great”. No wonder there was opposition and rebellion!  What a task, what a leader.

Don’t you wish you had a priest like that leading you? Consider:

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  Hebrews 4:15-16

This Easter week take time to compare this priest to Jesus. They both wanted to point the church to God’s ways – one thru the law and one thru grace. The only way to personally be reformed, the only way for our families or churches to be reformed, the only way for our nation to be reformed is to call out to the High priest who has walked the heavenlies, paid for our sins and resurrected that we could live with God eternally.

Then consider what Peter said:

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;  1 Peter 2:9

What reform will you bring to yourself through the leaning on the Spirit? What reform will you bring to your culture and generation? Your church or neighborhood?

Go forth! 
RenaeRoche 2019




This is the book that is a summary of all the good stuff in the Old testament. It is not for the casual reader as it is filled with genealogy and battles. It reminds me of the Vineyard I toured in New York years ago. The caretaker Bob led my friend and I around and showed us the vines and grapes. Do you now that each vine has dead looking branches around the newer ones to make predators think there is nothing there to grab? It’s fascinating. Well, Chronicles is like that. You read the first couple of chapters and it looks like a boring history book – and then you are surprised with the beauty and awesome loving God. I recently read the first five chapters in preparation for a sermon. I had committed to the Lord that I would preach the “whole counsel” of God. I wanted each chapter to read my heart so I plunged through. In the midst of these chapters were many foreign, difficult names. Three things stuck out to me during this time.

  1. A guy named Heshbon loved his wife. What an odd side note. God and Ezra (The supposed author of these books or some other priest) makes mention of this one guy loving his wife. It drew attention in the midst of long, violent battles. It doesn’t say he was great at business or the warrior of all warriors. It doesn’t say he was the biggest tither or usher or charismatic speaker just simply “he loved his wife”. 
  2. Jabez has extraordinary prayers. He prays that God would extend his border and enlarge his tent. Sounds prosperous. There have been books written about this guy. Thousands of chapters of surmise and speculation over just a few verses. In the past I kind of blew that off but when I read it afresh this past week I noticed something new. His mom bore him in miserable pain and named him “the one who causes pain.” What kind of a half wit mother would name a child something like that? It’s absurd and cruel to do so. Before this little guy even had a start his mom tried to define him by her experience. She placed a whole load of blame and shame on a kid before he could even crawl. That’s a messed up family system. Jabez cried out to a holy God in spite of everything and God not only blessed him but defined him in new ways. Miserable baby gets mention and miracles. We learn about God that what family says about us does not define us or change the destiny God has planned for an individual. That’s good to know.
  3. Then there is the collective group of people who cry out to God in 5. I realize that the main theme of this book is God’s sovereignty over events and the focus is worship in the Temple. The last of this book tells us about the undoing of the Temple. We’ll get back to that in a minute, but first read this:

20 They were helped in fighting them, and God delivered the Hagrites and all their allies into their hands, because they cried out to him during the battle. He answered their prayers, because they trusted in him. 21 They seized the livestock of the Hagrites—fifty thousand camels, two hundred fifty thousand sheep and two thousand donkeys. They also took one hundred thousand people captive, 22 and many others fell slain, because the battle was God’s. And they occupied the land until the exile.


Most of the Christians I know are going through some type of warfare or battle right now. It is a season to contend for what God is doing in our lives and guarding our families in the Spirit. In the midst of the list of families in the Bible are these simple words – God delivered them because they cried out to Him DURING the battle. The battle was fixed, the battle was GOD’s. Regardless of the messed up people and family systems, God was still active and glorified. Those who called on Him saw His mighty hand and were helped. I need that help, my family system needs that help, my friends and nation need that help.  We are not alone in battle. Not matter the event or circumstance, we are NOT ALONE and God is SOVEREIGN over the events of our lives.  That is Great news.


The genealogies from Adam on prove that the Bible is true. If anyone was going to write a fake historical account they certainly wouldn’t include all the mess-ups, yet the Bible does. It is accurate and traces each family so we can prove these biblical characters were not fictional or just mythical people for story or parable sake. What is really fun is to thread those historical figures through Messiah.


Back to the Temple – it was a shame to be destroyed and the Jews lost heart when they came back to see the renewed version. It was quite the disappointment. When the historical record returns in the book of Matthew it ends in the church (spiritual and filled with Gods priests) being released for His glory. This is our heritage, this was God’s plan. In the midst of Divine order and purpose is a man who loved his wife, a miserable boy who cries out for change and a people who turn to God for help. That’s Gods currency by the way, what draws Him near – Love, faith and hope. We are book 67 In the people of God’s story. What will future generations remember about us? That we loved our spouse, that we let God define us, that we cried out to God for mercy and help?


On Thursday of this week I was going to start the dash diet. I had big plans. Instead I went into a critical care unit and could have died. I was born in one year – and only God knows my last year. The dash in between can be filled with wickedness or goodness. God is there in the middle, He is there in the dash and that space matters very much to Him. My prayer for me and for you is that our lives will be obedient and postured towards God. I pray that our love, faith and hope will draw God’s ear near. I pray that between our birth and death will be many years of worship and wonder, trusting God with every decision and circumstance because He not only KNOWS but He knows BEST.


Thank you for seeking God and His word with me on this blog. We are trying to keep in God’s word and learn His heart and that is worth something in God’s economy.


Glad to be alive – Love ya friends!  RenaeRoche2019



If I could summarize this week’s blog in one word it would be wisdom. Many think they have it, not everyone desires it and we all need it.  I read some children’s ideas of it recently:

Never trust a dog to watch your food. – Patrick, age 10 
When your dad is mad and asks you, “Do I look stupid?” don’t answer him. – Michael, 14 
Never tell your mom her diet’s not working. – Michael, 14 
Stay away from prunes. – Randy, 9 
Never allow your three-year old brother in the same room as your school assignment. – Traci, 14 
Puppies still have bad breath, even after eating a tic tac. – Andrew, 9 
Never hold a dust buster and a cat at the same time. – Kyoyo, 9 
You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk. – Armir, 9 
If you want a kitten, start out by asking for a horse. – Naomi, 15 
Felt markers are not good to use as lipstick. – Lauren, 9 
Don’t pick on your sister when she’s holding a baseball bat. – Joel, 10 
Never try to baptize a cat. – Eileen, 8


Wisdom advice comes on the news, in the classroom, at church. Sometimes even on billboards or graffiti. I read a quote today that said, if at first you do not succeed, skydiving is not for you. That cracks me up. What does it mean to be successful or prosperous? Is it for everyone or just a select few? Whosoever wills applies to everyone when it comes to salvation. In 2 Kings, the book about King Solomon we find out his secret to success within the first few chapters:

2 kings 2:2-4

 “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he (David) said. “So (Solomon) be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to Him, and keep His decrees and commands, His laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’

Boy, oh boy does that mean that if EVERYONE did that, America would be great? That sounds like an awesome political promise as well as a spiritual one. Hmm. It was a gold deal for Solomon that can apply to us today. John said it this way, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 2. 

There seems to be a theme threaded among these books – listen and obey. Whether it was to sons, judges or Kings, God required their obedience to HIS ways vs. their own.

Kings 3: 3-9

 And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places. (Lord take out all the “excepts” in our life!)

Now the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place: Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?”

And Solomon said: “You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an b]understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”

10 The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, 12 behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. 13 And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. 14 So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthenc] your days.”

The second wisest man that ever lived as we have learned by reading these verses had exceptions in his walk – sin. He married dreadfully wrong and got carried away with his decorating skills. However, this man, the son of the man known for being a man after God’s heart had a lot to say about wisdom. Proverbs shared a bit of that wisdom with us.

Psalms tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 9:10. A life lived after God will display God’s signature on humanity. We can choose our folly or God’s wisdom. The results will glorify us or God- we choose daily whom we will serve.

This week I needed guidance and my friend Betty looked at me and said, “God gives wisdom to those who ask for it.” She is so right. James says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”  Our response of love is to walk in the wisdom given.

We can read these passages and learn about the Kings, but we can also get a glimpse of THE King and surrender our lives to Him and His Kingdom. Lord, give us your wisdom and give us a discerning heart to know Your will.  If the King is on the throne of your heart you will be lead by Him in His ways. To ask Him to be your Lord and Saviour visit the website and look under the Spiritual rest section. That decision of obedience makes the difference in everything.

Jesus, be the king of our hearts, the obedience of our lives and the leader of our wills. Amen. 



Since becoming a full-time employee, I’ve noticed it is a lot harder to “soak” in the word. While I once used to set a timer to limit my devotions and study times now it is harder to plug them into a regular work week. We intentionally set aside time on the weekends to spend more time in the word and daily we have a quiet time, but I miss the extended devouring of the text and drawing out charts and diagrams with the husband. A “happy place” in my mind is sitting around a table covered in butcher paper and fleshing out the meaning of the text. I liken it to eating a good meal of chicken – not at KFC, where you get the bucket special. I’m talking about my moms fried chicken, dripping with oil and seasoned goodness. The time when you savor every bite and pull off every bit of chicken off the bone. A good meal is like that, a good sermon keeps giving flavor upon flavor until it’s all gone, and you just wait for some more.

This weekend we had a full course meal that is still satisfying our spiritual bellies. The boys came home from children’s church talking about the “box”. I was weaving something in my mind, so I initially thought it was my train of thought . At home we were studying 2 Samuel and at church they studied the ark of the Covenant. God’s box carries His presence was the theme. They had sister Bonnie telling them about Jesus and they (the boys) just seemed different. I guess God’s box has that effect on people. I saw the results before I heard what they had learned. 

Then we went into the service and the worship time was sweet. I had come off a 16 hour shift and had been praying through the night. In my tiredness my filter to be reserved was absent. It was fun to fully enjoy the presence of the Lord. (Yes, it is sanctified and holy to have fun in God’s presence).  It was an extension of that time and as I poured out my heart to God it felt like the release of prayer and praise reached the Heavens, more importantly God’s heart. We had a huge outpouring of people crying out to Jesus for healing and the pastor took his time following God. There was no rush to perform. After many weeks of snow cancelled services, the sheep just needed time with the Shepherd. It reminded me of 2 Samuel 24. The cost for the altar in the Old Testament was often born by those in leadership in ways the sheep may never see. David says, “24 But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”  In the New testament we know the “cost” of the offering was Christ. Leaders bringing that sacrifice to the people still requires their effort in teaching, time and gathering the saints. It comes with a price, sometimes even in spiritual attacks, resistance or distraction. I was convicted and stirred to pray more for those in authority.

I’m thankful for men and women of God who go before a holy God on behalf of their congregations on a daily and weekly basis. Ministers who present their lives as a sacrifice, so others can be healed, saved, discipled. When I was younger this text was often heard as a call to humility and not “numbering” the folks. The appeal was to trust in God and not the arm of flesh and we do see that in this text. I wonder though in all our aim and effort to focus on the negative we miss the beauty of what David provided by way of bringing the sheep to the altar. The compassionate God was working through this young shepherd boy, now warrior King to reach His people. I don’t believe David ever forget the lambs in all his life and ministry.

Over the years you see the struggles of leaders and the ebb and flow of ministry. I’m thankful for the New Testament and that we don’t have bloody wars like those in this precious book. There definitely are still spiritual wars that continue to affect God’s people however. God does still get angry at sin and leaders still encounter lots of hard things. This focus of this book can be studied in commentaries and encyclopedias, etc. and I’m not trying to summarize every book on this blog. That’s french for those of you looking for this blog to be perfect will be disappointed. My hope is to stir interest to read more of the Bible – awards for best scholar I gave up years ago. 

What I noticed in 2 Samuel was that David inquired of the Lord – and God answered him. The prophet Samuels work and ministry continues in David’s life and God’s anointing was David’s secret to success. The royal line is promised to David and I don’t think he had any clue that it would be the Messiah. Like Hannah presented Samuel to the Lord, like Ruth presented Obed to the Lord, like Mary presented Jesus to the Lord, God will use those surrendered to Him for His glory. We don’t know what God has in store for us or our legacy’s, but we can look at David in this book and find similar patterns: we go to God, He answers, and we follow His directions. That equals success Kingdom style. In order to build God’s kingdom rather than our own, we need to seek and serve the King.

What will we push aside to make room for the Lord? What will we leave undone to do the things the Lord requires? What will we not buy or sell in order that we have money to increase the time and prayer at the altar? How will we make room for the God box in our lives?

24 But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” What is the point of all the wars in Israel? What was the point for all the power struggles? God wanted a people for Himself, a worshipping, obedient people for His kingdom. Lord have Your way!

I watched yesterday as the altars filled with people. I saw people there recovering from addictions, struggling with family issues, people that others would not have received in their churches, I saw them weeping and calling out to a Holy God. I watched as men and women who had sacrificed time and money praying over them. People who were once faulted for welcoming “those people.” People who could have gone to a more popular, better built church stood there ministering. People who could have been golfing, shopping or sleeping were laying their hands-on people, entering their struggles and pain without any thought of reward. All needs were considered equal and all people loved and welcomed. That gathering did not come without a price – emotionally, spiritually and relationally. A price that Jesus paid long ago that we could identify with and claim. I don’t think the intercession or anointing was there just because of placement or titled authority. I think it came from years of choosing God, facing their own struggles and hearing from God in seasons of darkness. It was beautiful to behold. I don’t know their cost, but it seems that their seasons in God produced beauty that could not come any other way.

David’s life was not calculated. David’s life was not planned for career success. He was a shepherd boy that was called into leadership and warfare by a wandering prophetic priest. His claim to fame was sticking to the script- God’s script and building God’s kingdom. His failures and highlights in this book serve as reminders to us to fulfill God’s call and obey His will.

Please forgive my running train of thought this morning. It is not the usual exegetical focus I try to keep. I want God to imprint these words on my life, not just my mind. My heart is moved by this book – a weary soldier and a BIG hearing God. Life was anything but orderly for him. He kept his relationship strong despite the jealousies, competition, cynical voices and war around him. He kept moving towards relationship with God and loving on his sheep. The bookends of his life are prophetic and speak of sacrifice and obedience. I pray my life; our lives will look the same.

What is the cost for your altar today? Your churches? Those who minister to you? How does the “God Box” (God’s presence) in our culture, in our churches, change those things?

Seeking and studying with you, RenaeRoche2019



Have you ever wondered why there is no book of the Bible named after David? I mean after all,  he was a big player in Israel’s’ history. After the darkness of the period of the Judges, the last judge comes into authority and his name was Samuel. Lots of leaders, lots of crazy nonsense takes place and then in walks Samuel. We are given a clue that things are soon going to change because the last part of his name EL means God. The first part Samu means “heard”. God heard what was taking place.

The books of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel are not divided in the Hebrew Old Testament. In our Bibles they are divided just to make the content easier. First Samuel covers the time between Samuel finishing as the last Judge and then Saul becoming the first King. The people were demanding a king like the “other nations” have and they got a similar leader like the “other nations”. Eventually it becomes obvious that one man in authority that is jealous, paranoid and crazy takes its toll and King David, a man after God’s heart, unlike the other leaders, comes into power.

Every time I read this book I am amazed at how clearly God spoke and how his voice was directed to the leaders. There is such an awesome responsibility that goes with being a leader. The mantle, the weight, the warfare… you just can’t appreciate that from the church pew. God requests that we pray for leaders because He understands the full range of what they endure.

It is also interesting to read how clearly God spoke to those still rebelling against Him. Saul gets a lot of bad press when he does things his “own way”. Less than obedience is still disobedience and he found out that “cutting corners” was still not following God.

This book is written so we can see the struggle of the people who were in a dark season – they wanted a leader to tell them what to do. Mistake number one. When in the dark – look for THE Light. If we look to others instead of God, THEY WILL NEVER BE BRIGHT ENOUGH to understand our plight or everything that only God can see.  It’s a good idea to get wise counsel but this was more than that- they sought direction from a human being and did not inquire of God to lead them -again and again. These folks wanted to see a person and hear from a human. Mistake number two- when feeling out of control, get your security from the King of all kings. It may feel more secure or expedient to have someone giving directions, but God doesn’t want to speak thru a mediator.  He wants to speak to individuals and in the New Testament clearly tells us there is only One mediator and that is Christ Jesus. When others block that direct line of prayer it gets murky and others motivations get in the way. 

I write often about women in ministry. This may be a little risky, but this book reminds of when young women want their pastors to “release” them into ministry as if God’s chain of command comes from the leader or pastor of the church. Promotion comes from neither the East or the West but from God. What if the ministry God has is on the streets or in a foreign country or just being still?  Guidance is very different from commands. Leaders should confirm what the Lord is saying, not replace God’s voice. I worry when leaders get pulled by all kinds of people to give them “ministry” rather than people praying and following Christ.  Isn’t that skewed a bit? We start looking like each other rather than the One who anoints, appoints and calls us and the church becomes a circus or competition. If the King is in charge, He has specific assignments for each man, woman and child. Following Christ should look like turning from sin and to one’s purpose in life. Sometimes we choose men and women to direct us rather than the King and then we are surprised when there is no fruit.  Freedom may be relinquishing all our manipulation or pulling on leaders and returning to the King and asking for HIS assignment over our lives. I’m not judging anyone – I know this because I have lived and experienced this. Chasing carrots and pipe dreams have wasted many of my years. Seeking God and His pathway is so much more fun and yields so much more fruit.

So, what does it look like to serve a King? Maybe recognizing that we are children of royalty? Knowing He is the boss and His ways remain. Loyalty is certainly a theme in this book. Saul misses the boat in that regard, but David chooses the high road and proves over and again that he was loyal.

How do you worship King Jesus? Loyalty to Him would be part of that. Worship is honoring God not for what He has done but for who He is. He is faithful, kind, compassionate, etc. Praise is worshiping God for His mighty acts and deeds. Both are important. Two examples:

A man was in a car accident with his wife and 2 daughters. He was found by paramedics after the wreck worshiping God in a ditch. He told them he was thanking God for the time he did have with them rather than being angry about the time that he had lost. That’s worship. It’s thanking God without expecting anything in return. It is thanking Him for who He is and His character.

My brother-in-law recently helped our family as we struggled with grief. What a huge blessing he was to all of us in our time of need. It was not only special to have a new family member but an extra bonus to get one that loves God. When he went on a business trip this week, we sent him off with hugs and prayers. Less than 24 hours later, a tractor trailer crossed the median and hit him head on. It totaled the trailer and his car, throwing him and his business partner 50 yards in the air until they landed in a field. When people ran to the car, they both got out- without a scratch. The national news reported that the people  who witnessed the accident said, “there must be a God because of what we have seen here.” That is praise, thanking God for His protection and help. Extraordinary things happen when we put our trust in God. Woo-hoo.

In a culture of many opinions and opposing factions who should we serve and give our loyalty to? When we don’t know what to do and fear bigger armies, who should we run to? When we feel danger and need a safe refuge, who will we put our trust in? All these questions have the same answer – King Jesus. He is the only one worthy of being our King.

This past weekend two beautiful worshipping ballerinas danced in our church to the song “King of my Heart”. Every movement was directed to God in worship. It was amazing. It reminded us that there is a God who is in control of the Universe who also wants to be in control of our hearts. It was a visual demonstration of grace and beauty. Hear the words:

Let the King of my heart
Be the mountain where I run
The fountain I drink from
Oh, He is my song
Let the King of my heart
Be the shadow where I hide
The ransom for my life
Oh, He is my song   (Bethel Music)

This King does rule from the Heavenlies, but He also rules from the love inside my heart. I have chosen to make room for His kingdom in my heart and life.  He is the One we seek, serve and obey. David may not have had a book named after him, a palace or army but his title, “A man after God’s own heart” is much more impressive. I don’t care about the titles so much, but I do want God to know that He is MY king. I want Him to know all my hope is in Him and that I will be loyal to Him Forever.  How about you? Who is your king and how will that affect your life? How will it affect others lives?

Oh come, let us worship and bow down…




The last week I have not watched the news as much. The few times I did check it there were heinous crimes being reported. Parents murdering their kids, adults harming one another, wild police chases and crashes, etc. It reminded me of the book we read last blog – Judges. Everyone was doing what their political party would approve of, no one checking in with the Lord of all lords. The dividing line has really been set in our country – those in both parties who want to see God’s will done. Things are so dark. The actions of many in every sphere of our culture are – RUTHLESS. The word means devoid of pity, compassion, kindness or any type of relief.

The setting for the book of Ruth is during Gideon and Samsons’ generation. Famine has driven people to new territory, some questioning if God is still provider or even involved. That is one of the reasons I love celebrating a spiritual rest day or Sabbath. At sundown we remind ourselves every week that God is still awake – neither slumbering or sleeping. We light a candle to declare that a light STILL SHINES IN THE DARKNESS. We light a candle to remember Heavens light awaits us…

During this time of spiritual evil and gross darkness, God sent someone to display kindness, compassion and beneficence. We are told the story of someone who would not act according to religious affiliation or culture but according to the love in her heart. Her name is Ruth. Her father-in-law had walked away from his people to get a better financial portfolio, then died. Her husband and brother-in-law were named “sick and ailing”. Not exactly men of the hour type guys. I suspect her husband however must have had some good upbringing because he selected such a kind woman and she later dedicates her life to his moms God. Even mother-in-law Naomi succumbs to the barrenness and cynicism of the day when she gives up hope and wants everyone to call her “Mara”. 

Regular life can cause us to get discouraged. Regular life can cause us to be afraid. Regular life can cause us to look at our situations, our aloneness, our limitations and problems rather than up to a loving and supporting God. Add grief – a husband, a son, two sons and the burden of sorrow gets multiplied, overwhelming. Grief causes us to forget reality, grief blocks grace and joy. Grief robs us of connection causing our souls to get isolated and lost in pain. At the beginning of Ruth, we are faced with the question – is God also ruthless? Because of our choices has God left us alone and walked away?

Then someone, a young girl who has every right to act forlorn and forsaken, makes the bold choice to love again. She determines in her spirit to be – different. She acts according to the memory of her heart and what she knows to be true rather than what she sees or hears around her. Faith is like that – it is a plucked string of a guitar in a key no one expects. It is a song in the night when all the world is silent or in discord. Ruth’s love and actions were shocking and out of step with the narrative the enemy was trying to write on Naomi’s life.

In great generosity this book is named Ruth, when easily Boaz or even Naomi could have taken center stage or the credit. It is humble and Godly when older women step aside and let the younger women come into their own. It is mature and healthy to let the younger generation take the lead. Working with the generations is so important. Older women grasping onto their younger years or younger women rejecting older women as if they had nothing to offer – both cause emotional and spiritual pain. So often we talk about women in ministry having trouble with men or being marginalized but sometimes the deeper pain comes from those of the same gender. Those things may not get mentioned as often as would help us. (As with other blogs, there are no personal or intentional attacks here just general information to remind us of what people go through.) we don’t see that struggle in this story, instead we see an older woman opening doors for, encouraging and praying over a younger woman. We see a younger woman learning from, caring for and ministering to an older woman. That’s a sign that God’s in the house.


So, in the middle of this book we get a glimpse of the real hero of it: “May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” It is God that has overseen Naomi and Ruth’s life. Kindness is another name for Jesus. Compassion is another name for Jesus. Pity and love are more names for Jesus. In the darkness, God has shone forth light. When light shines forth, God tends to reciprocate. It’s His language, currency, good pleasure.

The rest of the book is the miraculous reward of choosing to love when life feels broken, barren and cruel. It’s the reward of knowing God’s love and favor when it took every ounce of strength within you to give someone a smile, a hug a kind word.

Heaven notices those things.

When God smiles on someone it looks like hospitality, it looks like favor, it looks like open seats at a dinner table, it looks like new family, it looks like fellowship, it looks like a baby of promise.

The setting dictated more ruthless acts. The setting dictated more judgement. The setting dictated more barrenness, isolation and abandonment. A kind word turned away wrath. A kind deed averted emptiness. Naomi may have felt forgotten and forsaken, but God remained faithful and His character remained true. Thank Heavens God is not bound by setting, culture or rotten feelings!

Lord, help us to keep our eyes on YOU. Help us to look for Your kindness and favor. Help us to be kind, loving, compassionate and merciful – regardless of what is going on around us. Put that spirit in us that Ruth had – to be kind, to cling to what is good and to keep walking and trusting, no matter how bad things look or turn out to be – temporarily.

Love in and through us Lord. Amen.


Ps. Print out this blog and give it and a Baby Ruth candy bar to whoever you catch doing something loving or compassionate. It only takes a spark…