Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My message yesterday came to me in a dream last week. The dream was like I was having a conversation with God and he was telling me some answers to things I have had questions about recently. In the dream I was talking to people and God was like the Director or Narrator, because he would explain the meaning of the scene, but I could also communicate with his voice. I woke up covered in sweat with this
tremendous feeling of being in someone's presence even though I was in the house alone. Then as I got up and started walking around I heard the voice say to me "are you bitter or better?" And that that was a message for people to hear and ponder.
I came from Ruth 1:19-22 and James 1:2-4. By way of introduction, I talked about how unpredictable life often is, and how it is often filled with disappointments, setbacks, and unexpected turns. Such was the life of Naomi; I suggested that Naomi's life was almost as tragic as Job's. Naomi's life definitely didn't turn out as she expected or wanted. So, when life doesn't turn out they way you want it to, when you life is assailed by unexpected tragedy how do you respond to it? Do you get bitter or better from these misfortunes? I gleaned three points from Naomi's story that inform us about how to be better instead of bitter. In this story, we see that Naomi grows bitter from her tragedy, she says as much to the village women as she returns to Bethlehem-Judah, {Ruth l.20), whereas Ruth gets better. Further evidence that Ruth grows better while Naomi grows bitter is that bitter people are often difficult to get along with; they shun human companionship. This might be said of Naomi (Ruth 1.11). Naomi seems to have given up hope at this point and becomes bitter.
The first point we glean from the story is that bitter people focus on what they have
lost, So, don't focus on, what you have lost.
The second point we illustrated was realize you never had what you lost. One way to not focus what you lost is to realize you never had it in the first place. It is an illusion that things can be possessed. All material things are temporal, in flux, and deteriorating. They cannot be possessed; people, cars houses, jewelry, money cannot be possessed. Once we know this it should not be so difficult to let these things go when they are lost. The third and final point of the message was be thankful for what you still have. Ruth is thankful for what she still has, a relationship with Naomi, and this is why she clings to her.
I concluded the sermon with James's entreaty in 1.2-4 to embrace troubles trials, and disappointment. In fact, rejoice, don't be sorrowful, because enduring these things make you more spiritually mature -- better.

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1 Comment:

Mirm32 said...

how do you capture full length posts like this into one picture?