All posts by Cheryl Raine

Attentive to the Stirrings

Wednesday, August 5, 2020
 
“Now Naomi had a kinsman on her husband’s side, a prominent rich man, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, ‘Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain, behind someone in whose sight I may find favor.’ She said, ‘Go, my daughter.’ Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, ‘To whom does this young woman belong?’ The servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, ‘She is the Moabite who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab.’” [Ruth 2:1-2, 5-6]
 
Ruth was fiercely loyal to Naomi, choosing to go with Naomi from Moab to Bethlehem even though she knew she would be an outsider. She chose to cling to her mother-in-law rather than return to her people. She chose to go to a place that considered Moabites enemies. Have you ever made a choice like this?  Have you ever entered a hostile environment out of loyalty to someone you loved? Continue reading Attentive to the Stirrings

Loss is Hard

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons…They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Chilion also died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.” [Ruth 1:1, 3-4]

The biblical book known as Ruth begins with loss upon loss. A famine causes the family to uproot and leave their home, not unlike many today who have become immigrants or refugees in foreign lands because their homeland had become inhospitable, unable to sustain life that would allow them to flourish. Then a premature death interrupts this family’s life, Continue reading Loss is Hard

Humanity First

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

“Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, “Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John” —although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized— he left Judea and started back to Galilee. But he had to go through Samaria.” [John 4:1-4]

When you organize a drive through a city, do you pay attention to the neighborhoods? Do you make sure your route doesn’t take you into “that” part of town?  Jesus left Judea and started back to Galilee. “But,” begins the next sentence.  The quickest way to get from Judea to Galilee was through Samaria, “But” his disciples would have preferred the longer route. “Those” Samaritans were not their people. They were the “other” Continue reading Humanity First

Seed of Faith

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

 “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” [Matthew 13:31-33]

 “The kingdom of heaven is like…” What metaphor would you use?  You can’t use the smallest of seeds or yeast! What we know about metaphors is that they attempt to describe something indescribable, for metaphors can never fully capture what they are trying to describe. What we do know from the various metaphors we find Continue reading Seed of Faith

How Beautiful!

Weekly Devotional – Wednesday, July 8, 2020

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the one who brings good news – who announces peace, and brings news of happy things, and proclaims deliverance, saying to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’” [Isaiah 52:7-10]

How beautiful! We have spent five weeks immersed in the beauty of God’s creation, of humanity and all creatures small and great. The natural world is indeed beautiful, if only we would simply enjoy it. Marveling at the amazing features of a humming bird paused in mid-flight and the majesty of snow laden mountains. Enjoying the mysterious depths Continue reading How Beautiful!

Beckoning Love

Devotional – Wednesday, July 1, 2020

I am thankful that these daily devotions have been a source of inspiration during this very difficult time in all of our lives. I thank God for making the room in my life to write these daily devotions, yet I hear God clearly calling me to a season of rest at this time.  Starting today, I will be sending by email the devotions once a week on Wednesdays. They will also be posted to Facebook and our website. The next edition will be sent and posted on July 8, 2020. The devotions will focus on the upcoming text for worship and preaching. Thank you for your words of encouragement these past three months as God gave me insights to share with you daily.

How beautiful you are, my love, how very beautiful! …Until the day breathes and the shadows flees, I will hasten to the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense. You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” [Song of Solomon 4:1a, 6-7]

 This coming Sunday our main text will be from The Song of Solomon or The Song of Songs, as some translations title this short book sandwiched between Ecclesiastes and Isaiah. The text is an ongoing conversation between of two lovers, although this song is not only understood as human love poetry, but perhaps, primarily as a description of the love relationship between God and Israel. Interpreters identify one lover as God Continue reading Beckoning Love

In Wisdom

“O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great.” [Psalm 104:24-25]

The psalmist sings, “In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.” In wisdom…really? I don’t know about you, but there are few creatures I could do without! Like mosquitoes and gnats to name a few from my perspective. Yet, through science we have learned that God’s diversity has a purpose. When a predator is eliminated in a natural environment, Continue reading In Wisdom

Beyond Description

“Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great. You are clothed with honor and majesty, wrapped in light as with a garment.” [Psalm 104:1-2a]

The image of “wrapped in light” caught my attention as I read this passage.  Jesus’ transfiguration immediately came to mind, “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” I also found myself in a darkened room draw to a solitary candle flame. The God whom we worship is beyond description, Continue reading Beyond Description

Many Names

“Alleluia! God is good! Sing praise to God’s name because it is beautiful.” [Psalm135:3 Inclusive Bible Translation]

 Sing praise to God’s name because it is beautiful! Have you ever done a word study on God’s name? We actually a worship a God of many names and many metaphors according to our holy texts. In Hebrew we find Elohim, Adonai, YHWH, El, and El Shaddai. We also find many images Continue reading Many Names

Want for More

“[The idols] have mouths, but they do not speak; they have eyes, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear, and there is no breath in their mouths. Those who make them and all who trust them shall become like them.” [Psalm 135:16-18]

I find the psalmist’s description of idols haunting.  Idols have mouths to consume us. Idols have eyes to shame us. Idols have ears to make us worry. Idols have power and yet no breath. They lure us into believing that we cannot live without them and trick us into serving them to be successful in our endeavors.  Have you ever been lured Continue reading Want for More