The love story of Boaz and Ruth is a fascinating one.

It’s a story of FAITH, HONOR and REDEMPTION.

Ruth was a woman of faith, Boaz was a man of honor while God is a God of redemption.

FAITH

Ruth went back to Israel with her mother-in-law, Naomi, after her father-in-law and husband died. She did it even though she wasn’t an Israelite. In fact, she was a Moabite, a bitter enemy of the Israelites.

She declared, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)

She uses the word “Elohim” for God but for the title Lord, he uses a personal name God used to introduce Himself to Moses while he was in the desert through a burning bush – “Yahweh”.

No other person can address Him that unless that person has a relationship with Yahweh.

She stepped out in faith, moved to Israel not for a better life but for a potentially worse one. Because she was a Moabite, she could get ostracized, possibly hurt.
But she followed her mother-in-law because of her faith.

While doing this, in the background, God was already setting something up for her.

Ladies, allow God to write your love story. Bloom where God has planted you and continue to fix your eyes on Christ.

I love what Max Lucado said,

“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God
that a man has to seek Him just to find her.”

HONOR

When Naomi and Ruth got to Israel, to sustain themselves, Ruth had to go to a grain field to harvest leftovers for themselves.
While doing this, Boaz noticed her and asked his other workers who she was. He found out that she was a Moabite who came with her mother-in-law out of love and friendship and stepping out in faith to live for Yahweh.

Boaz then protects her by saying that he has ordered his men not to lay a hand on her and to be kind to her. (Ruth 2:9)
He was kind to her without any romantic intentions. This was partly what made him a man of good standing, a man of honor. (Ruth 2:1)
Furthermore, since he was not the closest kinsman redeemer, he gave the closest one the first right of refusal before pursuing Ruth.

Men, let me encourage us to be the first to protect the women. We should be the ones to protect their heart, not ravage them. The Bible says to guard our hearts for it determines the course of our lives. (Prov. 4:23, NLT) And we shouldn’t just guard our own heart, we are to guard theirs as well.

I love how Joseph Bonifacio put it,

“Don’t make a woman fall for you
unless you’re ready to catch her.”

Even in business, common sense will tell you not to invest in something you know you won’t be in for the long haul.

REDEMPTION

Boaz, being a relative was qualified to be a kinsman redeemer.
A kinsman redeemer is one who is a relative who would be willing to buy back property that was mortgaged or lost, marry the widow who lost her spouse so that the family lineage would continue.

But for a kinsman redeemer to redeem, he needed to be near, willing, and able.
In fact there was another relative who was nearer than Boaz. However, he was not willing.

There are 3 redeemers in this love story.

1. Boaz was the formal redeemer who rescues Ruth from her lot.
2. Ruth who was the surprise redeemer who rescues Naomi from her bitter fortune.
3. And the real redeemer, who like Boaz took us all in even though we were outcasts and in debt (because of sin), who like Ruth left her homeland to be near to us (from heaven to earth)… The real Redeemer I’m referring to is JESUS.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. (2 Cor. 8:9)

Behind this fascinating love story was a greater love story of our redemption.

God loves you the way you are but He loves you too much to let you remain the way you are.

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PHOTO CREDIT: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lutherankorean/

 

My son and I were driving through Pasig one Valentine’s Day. He was about 9 years old at that time. As we passed by Canley Road where there were lots of motels advertising “QUICKIES”, he asked me why the rooms were so cheap and why they were rented out only for a couple of hours.

Good thing I was already able to explain to him about the “birds and the bees”.

I told him that it’s unfortunate that people no longer wait for the officiating minister to say, “Now, you may kiss the bride.”
They end up saying, “I did” rather than “I do.”

Genesis 1:26 says that we were created in His image and in His likeness. What does this mean? This means that you and I have value. We are valuable not because of the clothes we wear, the car that we drive, the title on our business card nor the village we live in.

We are valuable because we were made in His image. Our value is intrinsic.

Which begs the question, “What would it take for your partner to get you in bed?” What would your boyfriend or girlfriend need to offer you to get you to sleep with him/her?

Let me propose to you that it should nothing be less than 2 words. Three won’t do.

“I love you” shouldn’t be enough.

You are worth waiting for.

Not 3 words but 2. And those 2 words? “I do.”

Until he can back it up with a ring, don’t give in.
Until she says “I do”, you can’t give in.

Jackson Pollack, an abstract expressionist painted a painting. It looked like my 5 year old can do the very thing he created. However, a man named David Martinez bought the painting on November 1, 2006 for a whopping $151.2 million.

You see value is determined by how much one is willing to pay for.

And the value you place on yourself will determine what and who you will give yourself to.

Now if you don’t think you’re worth that, you’ll give yourself for a whole lot less, then you’ll wonder why you feel cheap and he doesn’t treat you with the value you deserve. You gave him what he wanted at a discount.

Remember, you are no longer your own, but you were bought with a price.

You are so valuable that Someone sacrificed and died on your behalf.
Now THAT is real love.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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PHOTO CREDIT: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kelehen/

LOVE THAT WASN'T MEANT TO LAST

Many if not all desire to be in a relationship that would last a very very long time.
The wish is actually forever.

But if a relationship begins on a selfish note, desiring to get rather than to give, then it begins on a faulty foundation.  When you find yourself in a relationship that only desires to consistently get and not give, then it really is just a matter of time before it crashes.

Over and over again, I’ve referred to Ed Cole’s comparison between love and lust.

Love desires to benefit others at the expense of self, because love desires to give.
Lust desires to benefit self at the expense of others, because lust desires to get. 

Relationships don’t need to be complicated. It does unfortunately when it becomes about SELF.

But when it moves SELF-CENTEREDNESS to SELF-SACRIFICE, then you discover the beauty a relationship.

The following video is a message on this topic. I pray you will be blessed by it.

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PHOTO CREDIT: http://www.flickr.com/photos/little_pebble/

And it’s magic when two people fall in love…

When we listen to songs on the radio, watch movies in the theaters
or read romance novels, it is possible that the way we view love and relationships have been swayed by them?

Until reality hits…

It is possible that we’ve believed the wrong notion in the first place?

When we look at Genesis 24, we see a love story orchestrated by God Himself.
Isaac and Rebekah met, got married and fell in love.

Genesis 24:63. He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. 

At this moment, this would be a cool scene from a movie. She looked up. And as she did, look at what the next scene uncovers. You could almost hear the background music slowly fading in.

Genesis 24:64-65. Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel…

Now notice the next verse.

Genesis 24:67. Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her.

She became his wife. And THEN he loved her. Notice the sequence of events.

Often times we rely on feelings first then that’s what validates our desire for marriage.
I want you to note that as I say this, I am not negating emotions but if it’s the only basis for the relationship, then it is almost always doomed for failure.

When emotions become the primary basis
for our decision to get married,

then emotions will also become the primary basis
for our decision to separate.

You hear people say, “I just don’t love her the way I used to.”
Or you’d hear him say, “I no longer feel the magic when we first dated. I don’t think we can stay together anymore.”

Emotions may be the trigger but it cannot be the sustainer.
How come? Because emotions are not that reliable. God’s Word is.

We have relied on affection, attraction and affinity.
These three change through the years, don’t they?

There are moments when you don’t really feel being affectionate. You had an argument. He didn’t follow through on his promise. She said something hurtful.

Through the years, attraction may diminish. Physical attraction, I mean. She may not look the way she did 15 years ago. He may not be as buffed as he was 20 years ago. Physical attraction may fade.

Neither can affinity sustain. Likes and dislikes change through the years. You both may like Crossfit now but later she might start liking Zumba or some other fitness regimen. Affinities may change.

It is not the love that sustains the covenant
but it is the covenant that sustains the love.

Rebekah became his wife and then he loved her.

Just lodging this thought.

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PHOTO CREDIT: http://www.flickr.com/photos/littleny/