Naomi and the Incorrect View of God’s Character

Ruth's mother-in-law concluded prematurely that God was punishing her for venturing into pagan territory with her husband who later died in Moab. Clearly, that was not the case. God orchestrated her life circumstances so that she would meet Ruth, and her daughter-in-law would be in the royal line, an ancestress of Christ.   Likewise, we sometimes…

Choose Whom You Will Serve

We celebrate last week's SCOTUS decision that allows states to ban abortion. Nothing much will change in Oregon. In fact, our state will function as a “sanctuary” for women seeking the procedure. How would God want us to respond? I am glad you asked. First, we must continue steward the blessing of living in a…

The “U-Shaped” Plot of Our Lives

I use that expression to refer to the comic plot of the book of Ruth in the Bible. A comic plot does not mean the story is comedy (or funny). Contrary to a tragic plot, the story of Ruth has a happy ending. You can visualize the storyline like the letter “U.” The main character…

Christians Should Be the Happiest People on Earth

In the beatitudes, Jesus used the Greek word for “extremely fortunate” to describe the position of believers. Being indescribably blessed does not mean we will not experience sorrow in this life; it means we are identified with the man of sorrows, who overcame the world and encourages us by saying: “in this world you will…

Don’t Focus on What you Don’t Have

The author of the book of Hebrews tells us to fix “our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). According to the same author, we also have “so great a salvation” (Hebrews 2:3). We have the Holy Spirit who indwells every…

The Purpose of Suffering

God may use suffering and difficulty to get the attention of His people, but His goal is always our restoration and maturity. Paul confirmed this when he wrote to the Galatians 6:1: “If anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.” Jesus told the…

Does God Enlist Difficulties?

God wants to purify our affections and desires. He wants to wean us from the world so that we can learn to want Him more than relief from suffering. We would never desire heaven if everything were perfect in this life. God also uses difficulties to mold our character so that we can resemble His…

The Kindness of God in Tragedies

The story of Ruth features a journey of faith: from famine to fulfillment, from sorrow to joy, from destitution to redemption. We are on the same journey of faith. All of us will experience affliction (hopefully not the same intensity as Ruth and Naomi), but if I understand the Bible correctly, God wants to mold…

The Dark Night of the Soul

Last year I was a guest on many radio shows and podcasts to talk about my book, Ruth and the Kindness of God. In preparation for the interviews, my friend Don Otis suggested I address specific questions. Here's the first: You and your wife went through your own dark night of the soul. What happened…