Friday, September 17, 2010


As I have been teaching through Ruth, I have been giving a weekly synopsis of the entire plot. I've used different methods (including a song to the tune of the theme song from Gilligan's Island). As I started writing this one I notice my first sentence had several words starting with "F" so I just kept going ...

Facing a famine, a fearful family failed to find food, so they said farewell to their friends. Elimelech forfeited his fortune and fields to flee to a foreign land. His family, including Naomi, followed forth. They found a flawed foreign culture where their faith wasn’t feasible. The two feeble sons married foreign females, which was forbidden. There were three frightful fatalities of the men, and after a few funerals, Naomi and Ruth, two forlorn females, fled back to Bethlehem.

The females had to fend for themselves and were famished. They faced a frugal future, so Ruth found food by following a few folks into the fields. Fortunately, she also found favor in the field of Boaz, a fabulous farmer. It was no fluke that he was fond of her and more than fair; so he fed her full with free food.

Naomi figured that Boaz was fated to be a family kinsman, and could free up the family’s forfeited fields with his finances. She framed a plan to get the fine fragranced Ruth in front of him. During a festival Ruth followed the flow of farmers to find Boaz. Following the feasting Ruth finally found him asleep on the threshing floor.

He woke up a bit fazed to find a female at his feet. She focused on the farmer and finally found the fortitude to frame the fateful question, “I have feelings for you; will you favor me as my fiancĂ©?” He fired back his fervent reply, “Fantastic!” But then he frowned with frustration and said “Another fellow has first family foreclosure rights. But don’t fear, I’ll fix it.” The other fellow didn’t fight. He favored the fields, but not the female, so he forfeited the farm with no fuss. Finally the fair Ruth and faithful Boaz formed a fine family. God favored them with a son who was fated to fulfill God’s future in the fullness of time as foretold by a few prophets. This isn’t a fictitious fable about the fickle finger of fate. It is a factual story of our Father’s Faithful favor toward us. He frees us from a frightful future by fixing our failures and flaws forever through His forgiveness!

Okay, I know that deserves an "F" but frankly, friends, it was fabulous fun to formulate!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


The evening air was chilled as Ruth covered her face and followed the sound of the noise and the smell of the smoke toward the threshing floor. It wasn’t hard to find because it was on the highest hill outside Bethlehem. As she looked around to make sure nobody recognized her she remembered the instructions Naomi had drilled into her head earlier that afternoon.

“Don’t let anyone see you. Wait until all the men have finished threshing the grain and have had their food and drink. When you see Boaz, watch where he lies down, but don’t go to him yet. Let him fall asleep and then when it’s dark, make your way to him. Lift his cloak off his feet and then lie down there.” Ruth had memorized every word, but when Naomi stopped Ruth had asked, “What do I do next?” Naomi smiled and said, “He’ll tell you what to do.”

That uncertainty was driving Ruth crazy. What WOULD he tell her to do? Would he say, “Get out of here, girl. Don’t you know nice girls don’t come to the threshing floor at night?” Would he try to take advantage of her? Would he just laugh at her and ignore her and go back to sleep? The uncertainty was killing her.

Three hours later Ruth was shivering behind the rock outcropping. She glanced toward the threshing floor and saw the fires were dying down and it was all quiet. Silently, she made her way through the rocks, being careful not to dislodge them and make a noise that would awaken the men. Finally, she reached the threshing floor and her nerves were tingling. So many questions remained. For a moment, she had the urge to turn around and run back to Naomi. She would just have to be content to glean grain as any other beggar. But her reluctance was soon replaced with a sense of resolve. She had trusted the God of Israel to protect her. She had asked Him to give her a husband. There were many to choose from, but only Boaz qualified as a kinsman-redeemer who could save her family.

Finally she arrived at Boaz’s feet. He was snoring gently as he lay there covered by his thick cloak. Ruth thought, “this seems crazy, but I’ll do what Naomi said.” She quietly bent down and grabbed the bottom of the cloak and gently folded it up until Boaz’ feet were exposed. Then Ruth curled herself on the hard ground at Boaz's feet. It seemed like hours before she heard Boaz move and then wake up. Ruth couldn’t sleep because she was so nervous as she rehearsed the words she hoped to say when Boaz awoke. It was so cold she would have thought he would have noticed his feet were cold before now. Finally he rolled over and sat up. In the dim light saw Ruth curled at his feet. He said in a loud whisper, “Whoah! What’s going on? Who in the world are you?” Ruth sat up. This was the moment. This would determine her future. She breathed a prayer asking Yahweh for strength. She said, “I am Ruth, your servant girl….” She paused for a moment and finally blurted out, “Please, Master Boaz, I desperately need a redeemer and a husband. Will you place your cloak of protection over me? Will you be my redeemer and husband?” She held her breath as she waited for his reply. The seconds seemed liked hours. She looked up at Boaz and he was rubbing his eyes. He said, “Am I dreaming this? Ruth, is that really you? It is! May God bless you, girl! You have shown me more kindness than I could have expected. There are plenty of younger men who would love to marry you, but I am humbled and honored that you would have me. Don’t be afraid, I will marry you and take care of you.”

She couldn’t believe her ears! He had said, “Yes!” She was swooning with delight when she heard him say, “But there is one problem ….”

“That’s it.” She thought, “I knew there was no way this could happen.”

Boaz continued, “There is another man who is a closer relative. But I will speak to him. If he doesn’t choose to be your goel, then as sure as the Lord lives, I will be your redeemer!”

Boaz told Ruth to sleep there for the rest of the evening. He covered her with his cloak and slept at a discreet distance from her. Ruth fell asleep dreaming of a wedding.

After several hours of blissful sleep, she felt someone gently shaking her, and she opened her eyes to see the smile of Boaz. He said, “Be quiet, my love. We don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression, so why don’t you return home before people arrive? And here, take a full load of grain home for you and Naomi. I promise that you’ll hear from me today about this matter.”

Ruth skipped home with her cloak full of grain and her heart full of hope singing, “Please, God, make a way!”

And God made a way.

And God can make a way for you.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

OBAMA'S BUDGET - He's baaaaaaaaaack

Last year I raised the alarm about President Obama's budget proposal that would penalize those who make the largest gifts to charity.
At the time there was a groundswell of opposition to the idea, and it seems that it had died.
Well, it's back.
Read this editorial and let your voice be heard once again:


The Obama administration’s fiscal 2011 budget proposes cutting the tax deduction for charitable donations, alarming both philanthropists and non-profits across the country.

The White House is expecting to collect an additional $291 billion over the next decade by reducing the write-off for families earning over $250,000 despite the fact Congress roundly rejected such a measure last year. While the administration is portraying this as a populist move, experts have said the end result will be a significant blow to charities and non-profits already reeling in the midst of the recession.

“It’s frankly surprising to see this proposal come back this year, it was very controversial last year,” said Tom Riley, vice president for communications at the Philanthropy Roundtable. “This of all times isn’t the time to take actions that would discourage charitable giving. The need for non-profits hasn’t been higher for a generation.”

Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center said the rule change would make it about 10 percent more expensive for individuals affected to donate to charity. He estimated that would correspond to a $10 billion drop in donations out of the $300 billion Americans give annually.

“From the perspective of charities, they’re in a tough time right anyway,” Williams said. “Some charities have been seeing a drop-off in donations and charities themselves that have endowments are seeing a drop-off in return from investments. It’s a double whammy.”

Last year the Obama administration defended the move, claiming that the $100 million included in the Recovery Act for charities and non-profits would help cover the gap, along with the natural rise in donations following the economic recovery. Those arguments will be even tougher to make this year with the country still mired in double-digit unemployment and no second stimulus for charities in the works.

“I think that can be a naive view, that charities will be specifically helped by getting potential government dollars instead of private dollars they are getting right now,” Riley said. “The idea that private money will be replaced by growth that may or may not happen, government programs that may or may not happen, seems at best a risky bet.”

The cut is targeted to include families that are the largest donors to charitable organizations. Riley pointed out that many members of Congress united with the philanthropic community last year to defeat the measure and he expects a similar outcry this year. Among the most vocal critics on the Hill last year was Sen. John Thune, South Dakota Republican. If the proposal fails, the Obama administration will be forced to look for other savings to avoid tacking another $300 billion onto the already multi-trillion dollar medium-term deficits.

“I think people in charitable world are going to be very alarmed to see this come back,” Riley said. “We thought this was a battle of ideas that had been won.”

If you still think this is a bad idea, contact everyone you know in Washington!

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