My sister lost her husband to cancer last July, leaving her behind with four children. When I visited her at the end of March in Canada, we started talking about loss and grief. She told me that in our western culture we have a great difficulty in handling our heartache. We don’t properly express our sorrow, and we run to various addictions to escape it.
On my drive home from Canada, my yearly Bible reading schedule placed me in the book of Ruth. It is always remarkable how the Spirit of God can take a simple Bible reading schedule and make it so relevant to what I am facing daily in my life. God speaks directly to us. He knows where we are struggling and searching. And He has the answers. It is up to us to seek and hear His voice, to search out His glory in the heart of a matter, and to trust His loving wisdom and care.
The book of Ruth starts off with three women losing their husbands. Utter. Devastating. Loss. Yet one of the ladies, Ruth, ends up clinging to her bitter mother-in-law, Naomi, and leaving her own country of Moab. Of course, this was a courageous act of trust on her part. How was she going to survive financially? She was destitute.
Thankfully, the ancient country of Israel had a plan for helping those in poverty. Farmers would leave portions of their fields for the poor to harvest so that they could eat and survive. In application, I am thankful for business owners in Idaho Falls who provide working opportunities for the poor to glean from their business abundance.
So in her poverty, Ruth ended up gleaning in the fields. This started a chain reaction of God’s powerful redemptive care. Boaz, the owner of the fields, noticed her and ended up marrying her. Yet the story does not end here. In the family line of Boaz and Ruth, there will come King David and eventually King Jesus.
For my sister and all the ladies who have suffered loss and find their way at the door of the women’s shelter named the Ruth House in Idaho Falls, I like this note in the Gospel Transformation Bible.
But death of loved ones is ultimately the result of living in a fallen world; it comes to all. Far from being against her, the Lord is working through Naomi’s grievous circumstances to bring into the world One who ultimately will redeem her and all his people from death forever.
In our loss, Jesus triumphs!
Some quick highlights from the trenches
- Currently, I case manage seventeen men.
- I am leading a half dozen weekly Bible studies and devotionals in small groups. One of those Bible studies involves getting together with teenagers after school. I am delighted to provide a pastoral reference for one of the young men as he desires to attend Jackson Hole Bible College in the future.
- Recently, CrossPoint Community Church celebrated in the baptisms of two residents living at the ARK.
- I had the privilege to preach the Word at Berean Baptist Church on Sunday, March 19, and Emmanuel Bible Church on Sunday, April 2.
- Very thankful for Eagle Rock Baptist Church initiating new ministry to the ladies and children at the Ruth House.
- I am excited to teach on the humanity of Jesus in the upcoming Emmaus Road Church Men’s Retreat at the Sleepy J Cabins in Swan Valley, April 21-22. Also, I will be leading the community prayer breakfast at First Presbyterian Church on the National Day of Prayer, May 4.
On the home front
- This summer, our oldest boy is heading off to China for a business internship. Please pray for his safety.
- And in four weeks, our oldest daughter is flying back to Idaho after completing her first year of college. She is excited that she has been officially accepted into the clinical nursing program. Please pray for her in the search for a summer job in Idaho Falls.
My Prayer Requests
- Would you please consider having me share in one of your ministry groups?
- I am seeking to gain monthly financial support as a missionary chaplain to the poor in downtown Idaho Falls.
- Pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will be lifted up during Passion Week in Idaho Falls.
My four main ministry objectives
- Partner IFRM with local churches
- Ongoing discipleship among IFRM staff, volunteers, and residents
- Provide pastoral prayer, encouragement, counsel, and Biblical preaching and teaching
- Help facilitate discipleship components for the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission and the future Renewed Life Recovery Program
Thanks for the prayers. God bless you all.
roots by the river,