'Don't Park Here' is a sign that you hate to see, especially when you think you've just found a parking place!
I didn't have that trouble in 1946-50 while I was a student at Oklahoma University here in Norman, as my only means of transportation was a bicycle that my folks gave me when I left for college.
Now at OU (and even the High Schools) parking places are at a premium as there are many more cars than there were in the 1940's.
I've heard of signs that read: "Don't even THINK about parking here!"
The Bible is replete with those who 'parked' for awhile (or even permanently) and were sorry later.
If you wish, you may check out earlier website articles that speak to this subject:
11-7-04: "Solutions to Stress"
11-14-04: "Walking Toward Your Fears"
1-1-05: "Why Suffering?"
7-9-05: "Needed...a Fresh Touch from God"
10-28-05: "Don't You Quit"
12-30-05: "Let Us Go On"
Samson is an example of the tragedy of a "Used to be".
Many today park at "I Used to Be" or "I'm Gonna Be" instead of "I am".
We learn from the past....'faith the future'....but live in the now.
The Apostle Paul could have 'parked' and become a 'Has Been' as he was:
Stoned at Lystra
Jailed at Philippi
The door closed to Asia
Had a thorn in the flesh that was never removed,
but became a 'prod to the positive' and a 'nail to the negative'.
Ship-wrecked at sea
Was in prison at Caesarea and Rome
Martyred in Rome, but victorious all the way!
He never 'parked' by his hurts, sufferings, sorrows, disappointments and trials.
If we do, it can cause festering bitterness, growing frustrations, damaging self-pity and guilt.
Worst of all, we lose our witness, success and usefulness.
(Philippians 3:12-14 and 4:11-14 and verse 19)
Next to our conversion, that which God wants most IN us, is growth.
The New Birth (John 3:1-16) is great, but becoming a New Creation is also great and expected! (II Cor. 5:17)
I'm sure the things which break the heart of God are the lost 'staying lost'.....
and the saved 'staying satisfied and stagnant'.
The Christian Life is a journey, but too many people park by the side of the road.
If satan can not get you off the main road (the Jesus and Bible Way),
he will get you on a side road and 'sidetrack you' from the Will of God.
The Israelites are poor examples at the Red Sea, Sinai and other times with their murmuring and dissent..and no progress.
They reaped the terrible results of this at Kadesh-Barnea and did not possess their possessions.... the Promised Land.
Some did later, but delay can be dangerous and detrimental.
I was wondering 'what' to share this week when God awakened me on Monday night...and told me to write on this subject from the the book of Ruth.
The next morning in our devotional book, Our Daily Bread, the subject was 'Naomi'...
so that further underlined what God wanted me to share.
The book of Ruth is only 4 chapters and would be well worth your reading, along with this study.
1) THEY DID NOT PARK BY THEIR SORROW AND GRIEF....(Ruth 1: 1-14)
We all have our griefs and sorrows, but what we do with them can bring either Victory...
I Peter 5:7 is my favorite: "Casting (continuous action) all my cares upon Him for He cares for me".
In John 11, when their brother Lazarus died, Mary and Martha went to Jesus with their grief.
In Matthew 26:36-46 when Jesus was in Gethsemane, He went to God with His cares.
II Corinthians 4:7-18 is a great 'recipe' on this phase of the Christian Life.
Naomi's grief could have whipped her, but God and she 'whipped it' with tremendous help from her daughter-in-law, Ruth.
I've shared before about our friend, Gene Bartlett, coming to visit us when La Moyne was in the midst of a bad Lupus flare. He wanted to share 2 songs that he had just written...
'Don't You Quit' and 'God's Grace is Enough for Me' in hopes that they would be of encouragement to us.
For 30 yrs. now, La Moyne has been a good witness in her struggles with a disease that is so unpredictable and she has tried to help others who call her when they have just been diagnosed with Lupus or other similar auto-immune illnesses.
Naomi knew Jehovah-God and did not park by other gods that were worshipped in Moab, where they lived.
She moved from 'testing' God to 'tasting' God's goodness, presence and provisions.
In all our circumstances, we need to taste and see that the Lord is good! (Psalms 34:8)
Please move from 'testing' to 'tasting and trusting' God.
2) THEY STOOD THE TEST OF CULTURE, CIRCUMSTANCES AND CRISES....
I'm sure that Naomi had some times of resentment and wondered if God was with them.
The famine in Judah and the deaths in Moab of her husband and their two sons had surely caused her to wonder...and even lack faith in God. She heard that things were better in Judah and prepared to return. Orpha decided to stay in Moab, but Ruth said, "Entreat me not to leave thee, for whither thou goest, I will go and where thou lodgest I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people and thy God, my God. Where thou diest, will I die and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me and more also if aught but death part thee and me."
This Scripture was used in our wedding in 1953 and as a pastor for over 50 yrs.
I have used it in many wedding ceremonies.
This is a great testimony of love and devotion and helped carry both of them through many difficult times.
Ruth was a strong believer in God and God was about to open a wonderful door of blessings for her.
Through the providence of God, Ruth met a wonderful Believer named Boaz.
Read the account of their meeting and God bringing the two together in Holy Matrimony.
They had a son whom they named Obed and he became the father of Jesse, the father of David (the Shepherd King).
From David's lineage, there would come at long last, a greater Redeemer than Boaz, the Christ through Whom redemption can come for all who will believe.
This story reminds me of Ephesians 3: 17-21: "God can do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask of think, according to His power, working within us and all for His Glory."
God's guiding Hand was bringing to Ruth a fulfillment beyond even her hopes, a place in which she could not have even dreamed.
God truly does reward faithfulness!
Remember God has no favorites, just intimates! Be one of those like Ruth.
The old song says:
"If I can help somebody along life's way, then my living has not been in vain".
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