Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Looking for Boaz?





In 2004 I married the man of my dreams.  He was there for me, treated me like the princess I am, and loved me for who God created me to be.  We have been through a lot together, which has challenged us and taught us who we are as husband and wife.  I would have to say, one of the biggest lessons I have learned so far, would not only be learning who I am in Christ, but learning who my husband is in Christ.  And, consequently, learning who he isn’t!  As you may have guessed, this entry is from a lady’s point of view but is beneficial to anyone who wants a stronger relationship.
Over the last 9 years (we’ve been together 9 but married 8 in March of 2012), I have tried to make my husband a Boaz, a Joseph, a Barak, and an Abraham!  Why?  Because we heard one pastor, evangelist, preacher, teacher or another talk about who men are supposed to be.  (Before I go on, these preachers all had valid points and I am not criticizing them or their teaching.  I am, however, pointing out how wrongly the information can be applied!)
In turn, there have been numerous teachings about “waiting for your Boaz” to all the single ladies out there.  Just as much, if not more so, than the teachings about who these men are supposed to be!  So we heard a series about relationships and we hear about the leaders of the home and what slowly begins to happen is resentment and disappointment because my husband does not mirror the exact characteristics of any of these men!  As much as I pushed, pulled, nit-picked, nagged, begged, and pleaded, my husband is not Boaz!  Then, as I began to ask God why he sent me Ehud instead of Gideon (still trying to compare my husband), he began to show me a mirror.  “Um, God?  We’re talking about Joe.  Not me!”
God began to have me look at the partners of the men I was trying to turn my husband into and the specific reason they were matched (married or not, they were put together for a specific purpose).  I would like to share some of them with you today.






The first couple is the one used the most when looking at potential spouses.  Why?  Because, everyone wants a successful spouse.  The Doctor, the Lawyer, the Astronaut, the Pastor, and the list goes on and on. (As a pastor’s kid, yes, there was a phase where we knew we were going to go to CBC or Evangel and find our ‘soul mate’!  He had to be a pastor or evangelist, sing, play piano, and love kids!)  However, Boaz was not exactly the first choice for Ruth.  Remember, her first husband passed away, she was widowed, poor, and alone but she quietly, and humbly followed God.  She worked hard doing manual labor to provide for herself and her mother-in-law!  She kept her virtue, even when she had the opportunity to take what was rightfully hers.  She continued to follow God and was noticed by Boaz.  He was the wise business man, wealthy, powerful, and an upright, honorable man of God.  He wasn’t looking for someone who would drain his resources but someone who would put them to good use and work hard to maintain them!  Boaz was a leader!  Yes, he sounds good but when you look in the mirror, do you really see Ruth?  Some say yes but remember, there are other women with other characteristics God has created.  We are not all Ruth.
The next couple is one I love to relate to.  Why?  Because she is strong, wise and a leader in her own right!  Deborah and Barak are my favorite couple in the Bible because in their story, he does not leave her behind to wait.  Even though they are not married (She is married to a man named Lappidoth), they still exemplify a couple who depend on each other in times of war and peace and are not threatened by the strength the other possesses!  They are not power-hungry or drunk by glory-greed!  They simply want the victory for God’s people!  Deborah is a judge and a prophetess; a respected leader among her people.  She could hear God clearly which meant she spent time with Him in prayer.  She had people coming to her to settle disputes, which meant they respected her and thought her to be honest and fair.  Barak was a military leader and even though he commanded thousands of men, the fact that he insisted on Deborah accompanying them does not show weakness but wisdom.  Knowing that God heard her prayers and she heard God’s voice was, I’m sure, one of the deciding factors.  He wanted to be sure to hear from God clearly with confirmation from ‘God’s girl’ to ensure victory!
Abraham and Sarah is another couple I love to see.  We all know how Abraham was a great leader called by God.  He would be the great spiritual leader of his day (not unlike Billy Grahm, or TD Jakes) that began a great thing.  He was a friend of God (James 2:23), which meant not only did He hear God, God liked to spend time with Abraham!  Sarah was a simple woman who, I believe, loved her husband.  She was content to be his wife and run the house.  However, when she wanted something, she pushed until she got it.  Then, later she regretted it.  Ladies, even if we are married to a great leader, we must respect their leadership and trust that they are following God’s instructions, even when things are not going the way we had envisioned them to go!  In the end, consequences were had but God’s promise was fulfilled!

The last couple I want to point out, even though there are so many others, is Mary and Joseph.  I studied them last because I did not want to compare myself to the simplicity of Mary.  I wanted to be the great warrior, or the wife of a great leader.  However, the greatest gift of all of these was given to Mary and Joseph.  The simple, humble, pure girl, who was obedient to her parents, obedient to her husband, and obedient to God, got to see Jesus every day, hold Him, look into His eyes, and watch Him fulfill the will of the Father!  Joseph, a man who loved his wife, worked hard to be a virtuous man of God living according to God’s laws, was also in alignment with what God wanted from a man of righteousness and integrity!  He did not seek the fame and fortune but the nice house, successful business (enough to live comfortably), and the love of his family and God!  These humble people won God’s favor through their sincerity and willingness to be used by God, no matter what that may look like, big or small.

In the end, I realized, my husband, Joe, is not Boaz.  I am not a Ruth.  He is not Barak.  As much as I would like to be, I am not Deborah.  He is not Abraham!  I am certainly not Sarah.  He is not Joseph (despite the name similarities) and I am not Mary, the mother of Jesus (again, despite being given the same name).

Joe & Mary Runion
Christmas 2013
I am Mary Runion, the one and only.  I am who God made me and I must obey Him to fulfill the plan He has for me (Jeremiah 29:11).  I married my husband Joseph Runion, the one and only.  Whomever God is molding him to be, is not for me to try to intervene and make him someone else, because “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it…” (Philippians 1:6, NKJV).

I challenge you this week to allow God to show you who you are in Him.  Allow Him to set the mirror in front of you to see the beautiful detailing and accents He has created in you.  Then, allow Him to hold your husband/wife up for you to see the excellent work He is doing in their life.  Why would anyone want to change that?  God is a great God and His ideas are greater than ours (Isaiah 55:9), and they are always for our good (Romans 8:28).  Be blessed!



·         Ruth & Boaz  (Ruth 4:1-22)

·         Deborah & Barak  (Judges 4 & 5, specifically Judges 4:8-10)

·         Abraham & Sarah (Gen. 18:11-14)

·         Mary & Joseph  (Matthew 1:14-21

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Over-Stimulated & Desensitized

Mark 6:31-32
"And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. 32 So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves."




Busy.  Life is Busy.  Sometimes there is so much in front of us that we can't see past the pile of obligations that seems to get bigger and bigger.  Church, work, family, recreation, eat, sleep and then try to do it all over again.

We can get so busy that time we spend quiet with God gets smaller and smaller.  His voice becomes more and more quiet until all we can hear is noise.

I know this all to well.  Nathan has a sinus infection, is having his ear tubes put in and adnoids removed.  Maya is starting physical therapy for turned in toes.  Donavon is now seeing his pediatritian, Neuro-psychiatrist, Urologist, as well as dealing with IEP meetings, parent-teacher conferences, homework, and Royal Rangers (Christian scouting group).  Add to this volunteer work on Wednesday nights with the Kids' groups at Church, Women's Bible Study on Friday nights (my girls' night in) and making sure my husband gets all the spousal attention needed (definitely not a chore but time that must be scheduled in!)  Sound familiar to you?  Add a career on top of that with bosses, co-workers, subordinates, and various dynamics therein and there is a beautifully laid web of life.

With all the things that are swirling around my head, and the layers of ink accumulating in my organizer, it is so easy to sleep in as late as possible (usually 7ish) and crash as soon as my immediate obligations are fulfilled.  This was the case for some time.  However, I felt myself slipping into chaotic monotony.  So busy all the time but going through the motions, numb and dazed.  Sleepwalking!

Overwhelmed at times to the point of exploding or imploding all over my family, I would sit and ask God "Why can't we just be normal?"  I could just hear God chuckle.  What did God say though?  Absolutely nothing.  You see, what I had neglected was to come away with Him and allow Him to minister to me. 

In the Bible, Jesus was trying to teach His disciples and spend some quality face time with them. 
*Side note*  I think a lot of people forget that Jesus spent A LOT of time praying and doing what the Father showed Him to do.  There were times (Mark 1:35-36) when Jesus would go and pray and the disciples would go out looking for Him! 

Jesus spent time with the Father and then, in turn, spent alone time with His disciples!  He told them, in Mark 6, to come away to a "deserted place" to be with Him and rest!  They were caught up in the hustle and bustle and the demands of ministry but in the midst of it, Jesus called them to a quiet place to meet with Him!

Is Jesus calling you to a quiet place?  Absolutely.  It's so important to go to a quiet place, a secret place where it's just you and Jesus.  It's hard sometimes to just sit and allow Him to minister to you.  We tend to have our minds racing, and life calling (or texting) us.  But isn't it worth the rest to shut it all down for a time of rest with Jesus, the one who loves us so much that He died for us just to be with us! 

I challenge you to take some time... As much time as is necessary.  Sit.  Be still.  Deep breaths and set everything aside.  All the business, all the obligations.  They can wait.  Jesus is calling you to a quiet place with Him.  Don't leave the "Lover of your soul" waiting too long.  He longs to be with you!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Stand


This past year has had its ups and downs.  We have seen people come together to pray on December 1st and have seen evil rise up to challenge us shortly after.

On December 23rd, Fort Wayne, Indiana endured its 27th homicide.  The story about the brutal death of a 9 year old girl, Aliahna, has spread around the world putting Fort Wayne on the global map, but not in the way we had anticipated.  As a close friend and woman of God once told me, “Fort Wayne is not the city it presumes to be.”  As the 4th listed “City of Churches” on Wikipedia, we practically have a “church on every corner”, as many residents have professed.  However, what good is the message if it is never heard outside the four walls of the church?  What good are the words we speak if there are never actions behind them?  God’s word says “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22, NKJV)  We have been deceived by the deceiver, the devil that “It is okay to go to church and pray, but it is not okay to live what you know to be true.  You may offend someone!”  This is a lie from the father of all lies!  Paul proclaimed, proudly, in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” (NKJV)

On February 14th, at 7:14am, Fort Wayne will host its second 7:14, as God has laid it on my heart to do so.  You may ask the significance of February 14th… 2/14 equals 2nd Chronicles (the 14th book of the Bible) @ 7:14am (chapter 7, verse 14).  We are humbling ourselves and repenting for being hearers of the word only and not living what we believed.  We are asking God to intervene. 
In Bible study last week, we looked up the word ‘intervene’.  The Encarta definition is: “Become involved in situation:  to involve yourself deliberately in a situation, especially in a conflict or dispute, in order to influence what is happening and, most often, to prevent undesirable consequences”.
On February 14th, we will be doing what 2 Chronicles 7:14 instructs us to do, which is to humble ourselves, pray, turn from our wicked ways (repentence) and seek God’s face!  This is a public request to ask God to intervene in every way possible in our city, our state, our country and our world. 
I ask that anyone and everyone that will, join us in this public declaration that we MUST have God intervene if we are to be healed and walk in His purpose and peace!  This also serves notice to the evil that would try to claim our city.  We will not lie down and surrender.  We will stand, according to Eph. 6:13 which states, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Thank you for your sacrifice and service for the Kingdom!  I pray that God reveals Himself in a mighty way as you continue to seek Him and His righteousness!
Mary Runion