Pure & Genuine: A Tale of Two Ruths

Tonight in a little village near the shores of Lake Victoria, a young African widow named Ruth sleeps, uncertain of what the future may hold.

In two days her world will be rocked by the Almighty God, who today is “doing exceeding, abundantly beyond what she could ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

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I am Moses

Welcome my friend, Nali Hilderman, history professor at San Diego Christian College, as today’s guest blogger. I recently attended a wonderful women’s mini-conference she presented and asked her to share some of her insights with us.

So often when I read the Bible, I read about the characters passively as though they are stories from long ago and I cannot really relate or identify with them.  However, there are times when I identify clearly with the thoughts and emotions they seemingly had.  One such person is Moses.  I often read the story of him as a prince of Egypt—something I cannot identify with at all, or as a shepherd—also non-relatable, and even the story of the burning bush is one that I cannot relate to all that much.  There was a time however, last fall

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My Father’s World

Teaching the Book of Ruth has allowed me to spend delicious hours reading and studying and cross-referencing and pouring myself yet another cup of coffee. I’m tuning into tiny details, but also mindful of the bigger picture, looking for underlying structure and overarching themes. Stacked around me are lexicons and systematic theology texts, contemporary commentaries, and ancient tomes. As a natural-born nerd, big words and big ideas are my love language.

But ultimately, we are not training for a Bible Trivia Bee.

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Pruning Day

“The subject of pruning roses seems to strike fear into the heart of new rose growers. But it need not be so. If we remember that first and foremost, the goal of all pruning is to help the plant provide new growth and to keep it healthy by making it possible for air and light to filter into the middle of bush” (Pruning Roses – Rose Magazine).

“Prune: to cut off or remove dead or living parts or branches of a plant to improve shape or growth” (The American Heritage College Dictionary).

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (Jesus – John 15:1-2, NIV)

Pruning Day Teamwork

My husband has learned that, each year, on the last day of his Christmas vacation, I am going to awaken, give him what I hope is a winsome smile, and announce that it is rose-pruning day.

He hates rose-pruning day.

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Tidings of Great Joy

I’m still ten feet from the classroom door, my arms full of musical instruments, when the potent smells of cuisine from Mexico, Iraq, and Afghanistan accost me. Nine AM is a little early for raw onions and garlic, coriander and cumin, but today is the Christmas party and the beautiful women I am about to meet in this room have spent hours preparing their best and most festive dishes. My son Jonathan teaches an English class for adult immigrants, and he has invited me to share some different musical instruments and to sing for them the Christmas carols that are part of our celebration of this holiday.

Each day 40 adults, many of them refugees, enter Jonathan’s classroom eager to learn the language that will help them unlock their dreams of freedom and prosperity in their new home. As I look around the room I notice most are women, some wearing headscarves, and all dressed professionally. They take this opportunity seriously, grateful for the chance their new country is giving them to improve their lives. One smiling woman tells me she is from Afghanistan; another man cheerfully corrects my pronunciation when I repeat the name of his country, Iraq. They tell me what a wonderful teacher my son is, and I beam with pride as I see him living CrossWise, reaching out a hand to help these men and women, most older than he, with the difficult transitions they are experiencing as newcomers to our nation.

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