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Wings of refuge

Ruth and Naomi taste what it means to return to the LORD, to take refuge under His wings.

Last week, we saw their emptiness (Ruth 1). This week, we see their plenty (Ruth 2). God’s kindness comes to them through Boaz, a man of standing and a close relative.

Whilst God’s Law meant the poor had to be cared for, Boaz goes above and beyond in generosity. His generosity may surprise us.

But, then again, when we’ve met God and his kindness firsthand… we ought not be surprised by his generosity!

My prayer is that in view of God’s mercy and kindness to us in Jesus, we too would show kindness to those around us.

In Christ, Tory Cayzer.

Coming home.

The grass is often greener on the other side of the fence. At times it’s tempting to wander off in search of greener pasture.

The short book of Ruth is a call to come home to the LORD. Rather than trust the LORD, Naomi and her family had gone to Moab in a time of drought. Going to the country of Moab was clearly disobeying God’s Word (Deuteronomy 7:1–6). But the grass was greener.

After tragedy strikes her family, Naomi realises it’s time to return to the LORD and his people. Naomi’s story is one of repentance.

But this is also the story of God’s kindness to all of humanity. From Naomi’s family, in the town of Bethlehem, came the Saviour of the World. It’s always best to trust God!

In Christ, Tory Cayzer.

In view of God’s mercy

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1)

God’s mercy is the game-changer. Everything has to change in view of his mercy. The Christian (by definition) knows their whole life is a gift from God and so belongs to him.

Sometimes we think of worship as merely singing and praising God on Sunday. But the Bible says worship is all of life – your body (everything we are) is to be offered as a living sacrifice.

Our body is for the body of Christ, the church (Romans 12:5). I pray this will shape how we view our spiritual gifts and use them for the body of Christ.

In Christ, Tory Cayzer.

Authentic Love

Nearly everyone associates Christianity with love. Many would think you’ve come to church today to be told to be a nice person.

Few would realise the extent of Christian love.

In 1 Corinthians 13, the church is called to love one another with authenticity. Not just when it suits or is easy, but even when church is hard and costly… which ought to be always.

The key to “1 Corinthians 13 love” is Jesus. He first loved us in this way, and calls us to show his love. We do that by staying close to the Cross, remembering his love for us.

If you dare, I invite you to pray a bold and risky prayer with me today:

  1. Ask God to show you how awesome Jesus is so that you would want to live like this, “1 Corinthians 13 love”!
  2. Ask God to gift you in whatever way he sees fit for the common good of the gospel cause here in this town.

Wow, imagine if even a few of us in our town prayed this?!

In Christ, Tory Cayzer.

What are spiritual gifts?

When we hear ‘spiritual gifts’ we think of supernatural experiences like speaking in tongues, miraculous healings, prophesy etc.

In the Bible, though, gifts are simply ways that we serve one another in the church family. Usually, they are mundane ordinary experiences.

In Corinthians 12, we see that gifts come from God for the common good of our church family. It’s about serving and doing the work of God he has given to the church. That is, the work of proclaiming Jesus is Lord.

We also see that no one person, or their gift to the church, is more important than any other. Like a body made up of many parts, all parts are equally needed for the body to live and function.

Similarly, in the church we are all equally important and must use our gifts to serve one another.

In Christ, Tory Cayzer.

Handling Conflict

It’s a difficult topic for us all.

James tells us to take note: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (1:19). So often we fail to do this. And so conflict resolution is a relevant topic.

It’s important that we listen. If we are unsure, ask questions, rather than assume.

If we want to resolve conflict, we need to speak. Our words can heal or hurt. They can be words, or bombs thrown to attack. It’s helpful to choose our words carefully, avoiding ‘You…’ statements and instead start with ‘I…’ statements. If we are perceived as attacking, then the other person will simply duck for cover, and so there will be little chance of conflict resolution.

Finally, James says be slow to become angry. Of course we will all be angry at times. But beware of the anger that slowly builds up inside and is released like a volcano. It is better to speak about out and let people know what is happening, as hard as that can be. For some of us, it might mean receiving professional help in having control over our anger.

All this is hard work, but is worth it. We have the joy of being made like Jesus Christ as his Word changes us. We are also blessed as we live in the righteousness that God desires.

In Christ,

Tory