Family Matters, Part 1
Pastor Gary Barteau
April 8, 2018
Book of Ruth: Naomi and Ruth
Ruth 1:5 Naomi loss her husband and two sons.
Your family still has a future.
It is an healthy thing to be able to grieve.
It is an inside process.
It makes a declaration
Becomes a deep outside expression of how valuable the person was to you.
Its never too late to go back and grieve something you didn’t grieve before.
When we don’t grieve it’s difficult to move forward.
Ruth 1: 19-21
So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”
Just because there is loss doesn’t mean all is loss.
Look for ehat isn’t loss.
For whats there. For God is bringing into the picture.
Naomi was gifted with two great daughters in law. She had a hometown to return to.
Dream of what God has put in your heart that matters to you.
Those values and beliefs do not fo away. They remain.
They may manifest differently than you imagined.
Is iy grace? Acceptance? Family as a safe place?
Boaz instructs workers to leave grain for Ruth yo glean/collect
As you look to whats loss and what is still present. Go build that family. You have a part in shaping what your family might be
We can choose to move forward.
Naomi’s grandchild is not the future she envision but she called herself blessed and Ruth better than seven sons.
We don’t get back what is loss from before but we are gifted with something beautiful and new. God remakes us and everything we need for life.
God my gift you with ife and joy that may be different that before but is a future for your family.
God always gives us a word to perform. We may not always hear it, see it or know what we’re doing when we do get it, but as long as we are sure to put our trust in Him, He will get us to where He wants us to go.
One consistent element of my writing, most especially my journaling, is that my written words regarding my life are often either prophetic or revelatory. I don’t have a sense of which words are defining my life when I write them, but in moments like now, when I’m editing a collection of my writings for my next autobiographical book, Desert of Solitude: Refreshed by Grace, I can see the results clearly. There are dots to connect from when I first received an urge (word or vision) to do something to my becoming aware that I am preparing (being prepared) to take action to the action being completed.
Today, I was reminded of a forgotten dream I had nearly three years ago. Today is the first Saturday I’ve spent in my new home. The end of the first week as a full-time resident of my new town. The seventh day actually. Today I received confirmation of a word that has been completed in my life. I really had no idea that I was hearing correctly, performing accurately or moving in the right direction. I struggled long and hard with taking the final step – moving from New York City to Tucson. There was no struggle with the first steps or middle ones. Only eagerness, a sense of purpose and a need to follow-through. The final actions carried the most anxiety because of their finality, perhaps because of the level of commitment and trust required to let go of the life I had been building for over twelve years.
I’m quite certain I would not have understood this until I was on this side of the executed instructions. The dots weren’t connecting while I was still in NYC. I didn’t see the fullness of anything there.
This week, I’ve been doing a final review and edit of my book, Desert of Solitude: Refreshed by Grace. Aside from writing everything in the book, I’ve read and shuffled the material numerous times. At some point I may have connected the line “building a structure” to my new construction home, but certainly not like I did today. My granddad died at the end of the year I received this message. Around that time I assumed my mom’s visit in my dream was about his departure.
However, mom has never visited before a death. She has often visited to provide a sense of comfort and insight. She always represents a pivot or answers an unknown question. I can’t always decipher with certainty what her presence in my dreams means, but there is always a very strong sense of what the message intends to convey. [Let me clarify here that I don’t believe my mom’s ghost or spirit is visiting me. I have long believed that God speaks to me through her image because she has been the best representation of love in my life here on Earth. When I see her there is purity and trust. Never any ulterior motive. She always comes for my good or protection.]
On the morning of March 15, 2015 I wrote down what I remembered of a dream the night before. My note stated simply:
“I dreamed about building a structure…. I was building a structure next to my bed in my home. It reached eleven stories. Then it started falling down. Mom was in kitchen cooking and then she was in her room. At the end of the sequence she took shower.”
Eighteen months later I visited Tucson for the first time. Three months after that I went into contract to build a house in a place called Dove Mountain which sits in the Tortolita Mountains (my translation: Little Dove or Dove of Peace). Throughout the home construction in Tucson, I posted images on my New York City bedroom wall of my lot as the house went up. Some of the pictures I took myself, but the majority were sent monthly by the sales agent and my real estate agent. At some point during this process, I moved my bed to put my headboard up against the “vision board” wall.
Things I know: I tried hard to build a full life in New York City. After nearly two years living in the City, I began working for the company I stayed with until the day before I left NYC for Tucson, AZ. At the time of my relocation and job exit last week, I was in my eleventh year of employment. The last two years of my employment had been rife with resentment and bitterness due to the lack of advancement opportunities despite my tenure, experience and education. Refreshment came after that and so has a cleansing. Building. Collapse. Shelter. Nourishment. Cleansing. The message and vision was received in March 2015. Understanding arrived in February 2018, when I was supposed to get it. Just in time to sum up the encompassing lessons shared in Desert of Solitude: Refreshed by Grace.
The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin,to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month.
The Call of Jeremiah
Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.”But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.”
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me,
“Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond[a] branch.”Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.”
The word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, facing away from the north.”Then the Lord said to me, “Out of the north disaster[b] shall be let loose upon all the inhabitants of the land.For behold, I am calling all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north, declares the Lord, and they shall come, and every one shall set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls all around and against all the cities of Judah.And I will declare my judgments against them, for all their evil in forsaking me. They have made offerings to other gods and worshiped the works of their own hands.But you, dress yourself for work;[c] arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them.And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land.They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you.”
Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith. ~ Habakkuk 2:2-3 NKJV
Are you familiar with the TV series, the Highlander? I think Adrian Paul is the reason I had a huge crush, not just for Scots men, but for Scotland! I watched the television series long before I saw any of the movies.
The premise of the show was that immortals inhabited the Earth. They didn’t know about their immortality until they died and rose up again. They were destined to roam the earth in solitude or fight to an eternal death when they encountered each other because they believed, ultimately there could only be one immortal left on Earth.
I mention this because the Highlander’s tagline helps to illustrate my thoughts for this post. There can be only one.
I am husband hunting. Over the past few weeks, people’s reactions to my blunt speech about my search have implied that verbalizing and taking action on my desires is somewhat inappropriate. Like, I’m somehow stepping outside of a box they assigned me to.
Well, I don’t fit well in boxes and other peoples discomfort with truth and purpose are not going to hinder me. I’m not ashamed. I’m not embarrassed. I’ve simply reached a point in my life where I’m ready for marriage, family and the whole kit and caboodle. I’m ready to fully lay my life down for my unit. First, I must acquire a partner. I am under no misconceptions that there can only be one. Despite popular opinion and practice, I don’t feel the need, nor do I buy into the hype, that I need to sample men. There’s no need to test flavors, acquire substitutes or play house, try out options or explore different models. I won’t be used for any of that. You’re either ready for the full purchase or you can keep on moving.
I would like to extend a heartfelt, sincere “Thank You” to the ones who are moving out the way and clearing the field for a sincere, viable prospect to step up and consider throwing his gauntlet into the ring. Their instant scurry has provided a better line of sight to that one.
For those of you sitting back, waiting to be approached – I guarantee you it won’t happen. I am not soliciting men; I am simply announcing my availability. A wilting, whimpering man too scared to speak up for himself will not attract my notice or my favor. However, one who boldly approaches and lays his plans on the table will certainly earn my ear. Note: Having access to my ear is not the same as earning my hand.
Those men running away in terror from a woman seeking her mate have no need to worry. I’m not looking for a scurrying mouse; weak character removed you completely from the opportunity to acquire this prize. It’s the man standing firm in his identity and his purpose, walking towards me that my eyes are glued to.
What’s so scary about marriage?
Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys His word, love for Godis truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. ~ 1 John 2:4-6
The more I think about it, the less I think that’s the true question. Perhaps I should ask, what’s so scary about honesty, commitment and nakedness?
Hmmm… I think that’s a recurring theme in my writing. I keep coming across people who are so deep in the fig leaves they don’t know how to perceive anyone who refuses to conceal themselves.
Myles Munroe stated, “Vision is personal, but it is never private.” In Habakkuk 2: 2-3, God tells us to write the vision He gives us plainly on a wall or tablet. We are to make our vision visible. Visions are not just for the seer, they are also for the surrounding community.
Now, the question running through your mind could be, “Why do others need to know about your vision for marriage?”
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, that since my vision is lined up with what God planned marriage to be (a committed, life-long relationship He is in the midst of), He’s pointing out a sore spot to a lot of “Christians” living in the world. Many people who claim to believe God and trust Him are exposing themselves as liars. Unfaithful. Untrustworthy. Undisciplined. Unholy. Selfish. Lustful. Liars.
Ouch. But that’s what self-proclaimed Christians become when they sample one another intimately and/or sexually outside the bond of marriage. You may think it’s love and you’re exonerated, you may think mutual agreement allows for a friendship with benefits, or you may just be honest enough to admit to your lustful nature. No matter how you’ve excused your immoral conduct, you are still violating God’s laws.
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
I don’t know…. Perhaps I’m flabbergasted that some people are truly opposed to commitment and marriage yet see nothing wrong with violating the Holy Spirit with their bodies. Or violating themselves with their bodies on a lesser level.
Over the pass few weeks, I’ve been told I am in error for even looking for a husband, let alone speaking aloud about what I want. Some people have laughed in my face. Others were shocked that I am serious. A few have asked me why I won’t just adopt as a single parent, why I won’t just have a child and skip the husband. Married women have asked why I want to complicate my life with a man. The simplest of the questions have been: Why do you want to marry?
My simplest answer is: God paired mankind from the beginning. The Bible is full of marriages that have changed the course of human history. The relationship God demands of us is a prototype for our relationship with our spouse. Everywhere in His word, I read about my partner and I read about what I am to be as a partner. I want what God has written about. I what what He has promised. And I am ready to receive it. Simpler still: I want to marry because I believe God.
To the “naysayers”
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[c] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. ~ Hebrews 6: 4-6
For the naysayers a.k.a. the nonbelievers, it’s not difficult for me to believe with someone who is believing for a manifestation in their life. I may have to come to grips with it, depending on where my understanding is, but I certainly don’t sit back with an air of judgment and an expectation to see them fail.
It’s interesting to me how shocked and, dare I say, offended people are at my boldness. Actually, their shock is offensive to me. Their timidity is disturbing to me. Why? Because they are attempting to blind me with their lack of vision. They are trying to restrain me with their own lack of purpose.
A person of purpose admires purpose in another. A person of faith recognizes faith in another. A Believer lifts other Believers up.
This is not to say that I need everyone’s support or hope for universal agreement in my quest. I am free of that need. The Word says that I need only join with one or two others in the name of Jesus when requesting anything in my life and it will be granted (Matthew 18:19-20). And whatever we ask for in faith, believing we have received it will be granted (Matthew 21:22). Those requirements have been met. I call this process done in the name of Jesus. What you see before you is a woman acting out her faith. The one who’s coming has already been prepared for me. Sharing this process is simply a creative way for me to wait for his arrival.