Devotions

Author Archives: Chris Cain

Ruth

Lesson Five | Devotion #6: Ruth
Chris Cain

There Is Hope

I would like to introduce Ruth to you. Ruth is a true “World Changer” and an incredible “Proverbs 31 Woman.” Gasp! What? How can Ruth be a “Proverbs 31 Woman?” She did not spend all day making linens and clothing for her husband and home. She was widowed and homeless. Ruth did not go and purchase a field; she was a foreigner who worked and toiled in other people’s fields all day snatching up the leftovers. She did not even have any kids standing up and praising her, for she had no kids. This is Ruth, hopeless Ruth, the cursed Moabite woman.

“No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the Lord forever.” Deuteronomy 23:3

Here we see that if you were a Moabite that you could not enter into the congregation of God. Sounds pretty hopeless.  On top of that, Ruth lost her father-in-law, her brother-in-law, and her husband.  Now what? Her mother-in-law, Naomi who is deeply bitter and saddened, encourages Ruth to return to her own family and her gods, but Ruth chooses to go with her mother-in-law Naomi.

“But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.’”  Ruth 1:16,17

This would have been a pretty big deal in that culture for Ruth to follow Naomi.  That is some serious commitment to her mother-in-law.  But also, Ruth desired to follow after Naomi’s God, the God of Israel.  The story continues, and this is the part for which you have probably been waiting.  It is a love story, the beautiful romance! Ruth meets a wealthy landowner named Boaz who has allowed her to glean the leftover grain from his fields. She found favor in the eyes of Boaz because of what he had heard of her actions and character.

“And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character.” Ruth 3:11 NIV

She is a woman of noble character.  She is a ‘Proverbs 31 Woman.’ She earned that title even though she was childless, homeless, and husbandless.  No matter what our storms and circumstances are, we can choose to demonstrate noble character.  As we read on, Boaz and Ruth do marry, which means that Naomi gains a son.  Boaz and Ruth go on to have a son. This son is in the direct lineage of Jesus.

There is hope! And oh, by the way, if you are wondering about that curse, Isaiah 56:6-7 says, “And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” 

We see that Ruth chose to join herself to the God of Israel.  There was a turning to God. If you have had some troubles in this life, if you have lost a loved one, or have been living your life in such a manner that you feel there is no hope, you need to know this truth. There is hope, hope for all.  Hope is the great world changer!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13.

The Powerful Birth Story

Mary • Devotion #5: The Powerful Birth Story
Chris Cain

Have you ever noticed that when you are in the presence of a group of women, and one of them is pregnant, the bulk of the conversation surrounds one’s birth experience?  Details of due dates, choice of hospital, the method of induction, labor, and dilation are just some of the topics and stories being shared.  Some women will write down their birth story, while others will blog or scrapbook all about the experience.

I was asked to contribute to this book just two days after my third grandchild was born. My son and daughter-in-law had just experienced first-hand, one of life’s most powerful experiences.  It is a memory they have captured and will tell for many years to come.

Luke 2:1-7 says, “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And all went to be registered, each to his own town.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”

I read Luke 2:1-7 in several different Bible translations and most translations have titled this passage as, “The Birth of Christ” yet there were not many facts that made it much of a story. I wanted details. How did pregnant Mary survive the 60 plus mile donkey ride?  Did her water break?  How long did she labor?  Luke does not awe us with stories of booming fireworks in the sky and does not make mention of God’s mighty hand at work. Instead, he seems to share more on the Emperor and the governor of Syria. It is basically the powerful showing off their power while Joseph and Mary appear to be left quite powerless. But let us not miss the significance and power of Luke’s account.  What we think is a frightful and sad birth story is truly a delightful and humble circumstance of God’s powerful redemption plan.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

John 1:12-13 adds, “But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

If you have been born again, you have a birth story to share.  Do not underestimate the power of your story that can point people to God’s bigger story; the story of the Gospel of Christ which is the greatest and most powerful story ever told.

Promise Fulfilled

Miraculous conception and birth #5  November 10 Promise Fulfilled

I want what I want, and I want it now.  We have all heard that phrase in mainstream song lyrics, out of our children’s mouths, and of course on the movie screen spoken by the infamous Veruca Salt.  Perhaps you have spoken those words yourself.  And are you not glad that you did not get what you wanted when you wanted it?  God ALWAYS has a better plan.  We call that, “His perfect timing.”

We all know how challenging it is waiting and trusting in His perfect timing. All week long you have been reading and studying about Zechariah and Elizabeth.  Does God’s “perfect timing” have anything to do with them?  I mean, after all, Elizabeth was barren, and they were both at least 60 years-old which had meant their time to conceive had expired quite some time ago. Who cares about timing, it is a hopeless situation for sure.  Or is it? 

Luke 1:24-25 says, After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, ‘Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.’”  Verses 57-58 adds, “Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son.   And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.”

Wow. Promise fulfilled. The shame, the disgrace, the reproach, and the disappointment has been taken away. God does accomplish His perfect will in His perfect timing and sometimes in very unexpected (perfect) ways. Our God is a God of the impossible. There are thousands of promises in the Bible, and they help carry us through times of support and need. If you are in a difficult season and craning your neck to look ahead, please do not miss out on seeing what God is trying to show you during your time of waiting. Keep praying as Zechariah did. Remember God is faithful. He is true to His people; He is faithful to His Word and faithful to Himself.  He is Perfect, each and every time.

Chris Cain

Women’s Ministry Director

Sharables – Testimony

Sharables – Testimony
Chris Cain | 
Women’s Ministry Director

The year was 1995, and I was invited to go to church. I had been awaiting an invite. I wanted my kids in church. You see, I had been doing all of the “right” things; reading them Bible stories, praying with them, even enrolling them in a preschool that was held inside a church building.  So, now I just had to get them to church to be baptized, and that would be it, they would be set. Right?  Kind of funny how I thought it would be good for them to be in church, but not necessary for me. It was not necessary because there was no hope for me.

I was raised in a home where we went to church every Sunday. My loving parents worked hard and had solid values. Summers were filled with VBS, and for most of my childhood a Gingellville Baptist Church bus picked me up for AWANA every Monday night.  I was a good kid. But then, in 1983, at age 17, I did something that would change my world. I messed up. And I was going to straight to hell. The guilt and shame that would follow me for over a decade were overwhelming.  I hated myself. I deserved hell. There were people along the way who tried to help me. They would say, “Oh you just need to learn to forgive yourself” or “Time will heal all things” or “Do not be so hard on yourself.”

The day arrived. I managed to get myself and four kids ages three months to five years old, fed, dressed, and ready on time.  That sweet church in Waterford was so welcoming to us. They were so helpful.  I even signed up to be on the ladies’ softball team. Wow, this was exactly what I wanted for my children.   They loved it.  I loved it. Week after week we went Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, midweek services, any time that the doors were open.  This was home.

As I began to fall in love with the Word and with Jesus, I began to see that there really might be some hope for me.  Those Scriptures I had memorized as a child in AWANA started to come alive. The love and grace of Jesus were so powerful, but I still could not seem to transfer what I knew of Him and His Word into my own past circumstances and life.  Again, I heard from others, “You need to forgive yourself” or “Time heals all wounds.”  That did not make sense to me.  But it did drive me deeper into the Word.  And somewhere between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21 I saw that God’s promises stand. I saw the ways He brings His promises to fulfillment and my trust in His faithfulness grew. I can stand on those promises, even when I do not understand the circumstances that seem to contradict it.  No, I did not need to forgive myself, I just had to trust in His proven faithfulness. I was determined that I was no longer going to allow my past to become greater than what Jesus did for me. I did not need time. I needed The Healer! He forgave me; He delivered me, He loves me, then and now.   

How to Give #1 – The Price is Right

How to Give #1 – The Price is Right
Chris Cain | Women’s Ministry Director

In an attempt to teach a lesson, a mother gave her young daughter a quarter and a dollar for church. She told her daughter to put whichever one she wanted in the offering basket and to keep the other for herself. When they were leaving the gathering, the mother asked her daughter which amount she had given. “Well,” said the child, “I was going to give the dollar, but just before the offering, the pastor said that we should all be cheerful givers. I knew I’d be a lot more cheerful if I gave the quarter, so I did.” 

How many of us are like that little girl? Oh, we would be much happier to keep that money and grow our 401k instead of our 401h (h for Heaven). We would be much happier to go the dentist than to volunteer.  We wear a Grinch grin when looking onto our hoards of possessions. We squander our resources. If the Pastor preaches on tithing. we roll our eyes and think, “That’s what I thought, that guy only wants MY money!”

If that is your stance on giving, oh how you are missing out. Giving is an expression of love, an act of worship to God, the ultimate giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Paul is teaching us that we are not to give reluctantly and not to be insincere in our giving as those actions have no place in the lives of those who follow Christ. Think about it, would you really want to receive a gift from a reluctant or forced giver?  What is your heart attitude when the offering basket passes by?  Is it part of your worship?  God desires our heart to be in the right place.

 Paul is teaching us to do more than just give.  He says to give cheerfully, to give joyfully. The last time I checked, the word joyful meant “feeling, expressing or causing great happiness and/or pleasure.”  One of my all-time favorite game shows is The Price is Right.  The over-the-top crazy antics of excited contestants who leap for joy then tackle Bob Barker is the kind of enthusiasm that I imagine Paul is speaking of.  A cheerful giver of time, treasure, talents and resources is what God desires.

Do you know the joy of giving? Be a cheerful giver. . .you can’t afford not to.

The price is right!



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