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This is a reprint of the article I had published in the Delivered Magazine for January. I wrtie a monthly article for Moms in this wonderful free Christian publication created by Zach Thomas, a friend from my church. This free magazine can be picked up in most of our local churches, Kroger stores, and other venues where local newspapers are available.  I hope it will be a blessing to you.

In the opening passages of the  Book of Ruth we are introduced to the family of Elimelech. He and his wife, Naomi had two sons. Elimelech and his family teetered on the brink of extinction. Rather than finding rest in God’s will, Elimelech took matters into his own hands and moved his family to Moab. Moab was a foreign land that worshiped a pagan god. Elimelech sought help in the enemy’s camp (so to speak); a very dangerous response to God’s unfolding purposes and plans.
 
A short time after the family had relocated in Moab, death struck without warning and claimed Elimelech. Without Elimelech’s strong hand of restraint, the boys made unwise decisions and took Moabite women as their wives. Within a span of ten years death struck twice more claiming Naomi’s sons, Mahlon and Chilion. Naomi found herself bereft of her two children and her husband (Ruth 1:5).
 
Naomi’s loss threatened to swallow her up in the wake of her inconsolable grief. The prospects for a foreign widow in an inhospitable land were bleak. Her will to live was nearly obscured by her unimaginable pain. As the surviving matriarch of the family Naomi was responsible for providing for her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah.. Naomi’s personal loss made it nearly impossible to minister to their hurt. Three women were left with nothing in common but widowhood.
 
Naomi heard in the land of Moab that the Lord had visited His people in giving them food (Ruth 1:6). Naomi was in Moab outside the center of God’s will. The time had come to change the direction of her life. Naomi knew her only hope for survival hinged on her decision to return to her homeland. Naomi remembered her former days when she and Elimelech served the Lord with gladness. She recalled the sweetness of corporate worship and fellowship with like-minded believers. Naomi was genuinely sorry and she determined to arise and return home to the place of God’s blessing. Bankrupt, bereft, and broken, Naomi made plans to return to the land of Judah (Ruth 1:7).
 
Elimelech and his family left Israel without God’s divine direction. They abandoned God, but He did not abandon them. Our God is a God of redemption and restoration.
 
As Christians we will continue to sin because of the principle of indwelling sin called the flesh. Our indwelling nature of sin is an unhappy consequence of Adam sin in the Garden of Eden. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please (Gal. 5:17). While this does not give us license to sin, it is a reality of the Christian experience. Until we see Jesus face-to-face and receive our glorified bodies, we will continue to wrestle with the downward pull of the flesh.
 
When sin has crept into our lives the first step towards reconciliation with our Heavenly Father is to remember the fullness of Christ. This action must be followed with genuine repentance. Repentance involves denouncing our sin and returning to the Father. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteousness to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).We must remember, repent, and return to the Lord. Even if we have been seeking refuge in the enemy’s camp for an extended period, the remedy is the same; remember, repent, and return.
 
As we mature in the Lord, we should learn to recognize the snares of the devil, the temptations of the world, and the lusts of the flesh. We should become attuned to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit cautioning us against sin and calling us to obedience. When we sin we should remember, repent, and return. We will find the Father full of grace and willing to restore us to the fold.

If you would like to do more study on Ruth and Naomi, you can find my archived messages at www.bellevue.org. Follow the prompts to Women's Ministry/Jean Stockdale/Ruth. For information on my resources for individual study OR for starting a ministry to MOMS in your discipleship group or church go to www.jeanstockdale.com. Blessings.
 
 
 
Posted: 1/11/2011 1:37:16 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments


I am not trying to teach the Chronological Bible on this blog but I thought I would share some of my insight and ask Did You Happen to Notice as you are reading along with us.

In Genesis 2:16-17 God gave the commandment that prohibited eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to Adam before Eve was created. God was creating man as the spiritual leader of the home and bestowing authority for headship on the husband even before Eve was created and before sin had entered the Garden.

In Genesis 2:24 God gave the key to a happy home even before in-laws were even on the scene. God was establishing the need for adult children to separate from both sets of parents in order to cleave to one another in the holy covenant of marriage. If you want to be a great in-law, if you want to have a great relationship with your adult children, then you need to be the one to initiate the separation and CUT THE APRON STRINGS. Don't make your adult children wrangle their freedom out of your tightly clenched hand. Set them free!! They will love you for it and so with their spouse. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2:24).

In Genesis 3:3 Eve reveals that she did not have a good working knowledge of the Scriptures. She was relying on Adam for second-hand knowledge of God's Word. Every believer is responsible to be diligent to present themselves approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the Word of truth (2 Tim. 2:5). Did you notice that Eve was deceived by Satan. Adamwas not deceived as Eve was. Adam sinned with his eyes wide open. In 1 Timothy 2:14 the BIble says,  And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into temptation.

In Genesis 3:6 Adam was with Eve when she sinned. He did not speak up or intervene in order to protect her from the enemy. Although Eve sinned first, God assigned original sin to Adam. Again God was demonstrating the authority structure of the home. The husband is the head and responsible for the spiritual well-being of his family. The wife is to submit to his authroity, along with the children. All generations following would inherit Adam's sin nature. In Adam all die (1 Cor. 15:22).This is why the virgin birth is central to our faith. If Jesus was the child of Joseph and not the Son of God, He would have inherited Adam's sin nature. He could not die for our sin because He would have to die for  His own sin. Beloved, do not let anyone talk you into discounting the virgin birth. It is a cornerstone of our Christian faith!

Sin led to shame, guilt, fear, separation, and ultimately death.

In Genesis 3:14 God prophesied the coming of Christ as our once for all atonement for sin. Satan will bruise His heel (a reference to the cross) but Christ will bruise Satan's head (a deadly wound executed by the cross and proven by Christ's resurrection).

In Genesis 5:22 did you notice that Enoch walked with God after he became the father of Methuselah. There is something about the staggering reality of becoming a parent that causes many to turn to God!

In Genesis 6:5 the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually. The heart is more deceitful than all else and is deperately sick. Who can understand it? (Jer. 17:9). Belief proceeds behavior. If you want to act right, you have to belief right, think right, meditate on God's Word, know God's thoughts and think on them.

Just wondering. Did You Happen to Notice Any of These Things?
Posted: 1/8/2011 6:27:48 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments


I have been a serious Bible student for nearly 30 years but I have never read the Bible chronologically. In fact, that concept was new to me until I was introduced to it by Donna Gaines (my pastor's wife) and Iva May (a former missionary to Africa). Iva described how most people approach the Bible with random reading and study. How true! Because of this, most Christians do not know the full counsel of God, are unfamiliar with most of the Old Testament, rely heavily on Bible teachers and preachers to do most of the digging for them, are unable to rightly divide the Word of Truth on their own, and are woefully ignorant of where they fit into GOd's divine plan and purpose.

Iva said if she asked a group of believers to put together a jigsaw puzzle that was in a box without the picture of the finished product AND had had the border and corner pieces removed, they would find it difficult if not impossible. But if the same group got a puzzle with a beautifully detailed picture AND all the pieces, the assembly would be quite simple. Apply this same exercise to how most believers study the Word of God and the results are obvious. Most the body of Christ have fragments of understanding of the Word, but lack the BIG PICTURE.

I have been a Bible teacher for over 20 years and am concerned for those who sit under my teaching. Although my ministry is designed to teach women how to study God's Word and then apply is practically to their life circumstances, I am well aware that many finish my study and then wait for me to teach them the next study without becoming a student of the Word apart from me and without reproducing themselves as disciple makers.

Our church, Bellevue (Memphis area) is going to study the Chronological Bible for all of 2011. The Life Group teachers (our Sunday School classes) will be teaching from the same weekly reading assignment from the 2 year olds on up. How exciting to see families studying and reading the same passage together. If you are not in the Memphis area you can join us on line and study along with us. Check out the details on Bellevue's website at www.bellevue.org. You might also want to read Iva May's blog. She posts daily questions to go along with the reading at http://ivamaystories.blogspot.com/.  I will not be teaching this series per se, but I will be blogging about what I am learned. So join in and let's see how the body of Christ is impacted by a growing literacy rate of Biblical understanding. 

My Chronological Bible is still in storage, packed up with most of my stuff. So I am reading the daily assignments on line. If you are interested in doing this check out www.examen.me . This is a free service and also has a function that will actually read the passage to you. Do your reading then let it read to you several times as you do laundry, cook a meal, etc. Love it!!

So, join us as we learn the whole counsel of God and the revelation of His Son in the Old Testament and the New. I believe it will be LIFE CHANGING!
Posted: 1/4/2011 4:18:48 PM by Global Administrator | with 1 comments


Craig and I returned from a mission trip to Asia on June 21. We managed to set aside all the mental distractions of the impending financial ruin in order to minister God's Word to our precious students. Once back in the States, it was time to resume the good fight of faith.

In July, a friend from our Life Group at church, shared with Craig a desire to help us with some design options for the cottage. Ronnie McFarland, is an architect and although our little garage workshop was only 850 square feet he felt it deserved to be the best we could make it. He and his wife Donna met us at the little metal garage and set about sketching. Over the next few weeks he came back with several radical thoughts, none of which had never crossed our minds. We were focused on simply making the garage liveable, but God used Ronnie to enlarge our vision to make it into our home. Praise God for gifted people that God can use to redirect and redefine our vision!

Ronnie recommended we consider putting an 8-foot front and back porch on the little rectangular shaped garage. Creating outdoor living spaces is key when working with a small home. He told us the original roof line would make it easy to extend, creating some much needed space. He then suggested we do the same on one side of the structure to create a carport. Again we had never considered this as a possibility. He presented us with drawings that showed how this addition would dramatically change the look of the building from a garage/workshop into a quaint country cottage!!

Craig and I were ecstatic over Ronnie's suggestions. He further showed us that the intersection of the carport roof and the back porch roof would create a small space for the addition of a closet, laundry room, and a full bath - all things the garage was lacking. Now we're talking!

Posted: 1/4/2011 3:58:40 PM by Global Administrator | with 1 comments