Two thoughts on Ruth

This week I read the book of Ruth for one of my classes and wanted to share two things God revealed to me after reading it:

First, I would say this book beautifully illustrates the idea that sometimes God uses the least likely people to accomplish His will; in this book he used a foreign widow who had travelled to Bethlehem with her “bitter” mother-in-law. It’s likely that a man as well respected and important as Boaz could have had any available woman he wanted in such a small town, but he chose Ruth and the her grandson is was King David. From this lineage also came Jesus.

Second, I would say that you never know how your suffering will be used by God to accomplish His purposes in someone else’s life. Naomi lost everything! She was in the worst possible situation women could be in during this era (a widow with no husband or sons to care for her) yet God used the events in her life to bring her back to her hometown, with Ruth, so that the Davidic—and incidentally the Messianic—lineage could continue. The story doesn’t end with Naomi getting re-married, although she does get to hold her grandson, but Naomi was key to this story playing out the way it did. The point is that sometimes we don’t get the happy ending we want, but God uses our life as one small piece in His grand plan.

Never enough.

This is part eleven of a multi-entry blog series titled “Lessons I Learned in the Desert.”

I think this will be the last entry under the “Lessons I Learned in the Desert” series. One of the best aspects of my deployment was that I learned so much! It was an amazing experience. I learned a lot about God, the Bible, how to love people, and I learned a lot about myself. My deployment was a constant learning experience and taught me lessons I will carry with me through life.

But it doesn’t just stop there, I’ve realized that I will never stop learning. I am, among other things, a student and I always will be. We can never learn enough from God and we can never know God too closely. Late in his life, Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians. Paul is a super-star of the faith; he wrote 13 books of the New Testament and brought Christianity to the non-Jewish world! If anyone knew God you would think it was Paul, but in Phil 3:10, he says very simply that he wants to know Christ.

Even after everything Paul had done, he still desired to know Christ more and more. Our attitude must be the same as that of Paul. We must always pursue the relationship that we are free to have with God. In fact, Galatians 4:6 tells us that the Holy Spirit inside of us cries out to God like we would our dad. We must also have the humility to admit that we don’t know everything; we must remember that there is plenty of room for God to teach us and surprise us. I pray that I will always desire to have a deeper, stronger relationship with God… by the Holy Spirit, through the Son, to the Father. Amen.

Acts 17:26-27

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

It was March 23rd and we were having our fourth meeting of the Forgotten God study series. A friend of mine named Kat was sharing that she had never, ever seen a miraculous work of God in her life. She seemed pretty bummed and discouraged about it. Kat’s very hard on herself…perhaps too hard. Three weeks later, we had our final study session. There was a new guy there named Andrew. It was a little weird for us to have a new guy at the last session, but the Spirit was telling me to just let him be part of the group. To be honest, I wanted to kindly ask Andrew to leave, because I was afraid that a new person would throw off the group dynamics the group has spent the last two months developing. It did. A few people didn’t even talk during the discussion time and I knew it was because of the “new guy.”

Afterwards, I talked to Andrew for a little bit. We had another study, Rob Bell’s Nooma Study Series, that a buddy of mine named Kalob was leading. Andrew showed up at Nooma a time or two. I didn’t really notice when he stopped going and he quietly slipped off the radar.

Fast forward about a month and a half. During that time, the chapel ordered several copies of The Naked Gospel and I am excited to be starting that small group in a few days. I think The Naked Gospel is a book that ALL Christians should read. It has helped me immensely and deepened my walk with Christ. I’m not sure what happened, but Andrew had a conversation with the local wing chaplain last Tuesday. The chaplain gave Andrew a copy of the book and said he should read it. Andrew didn’t get a chance to read it Wednesday, but he read almost 100 pages of the book that Thursday. That night, he went to the chaplain and accepted Christ as his savior!

I find it amazing that, through a simple conversation, Kat invited Andrew to the Bible study and opened the door for him to get involved at the chapel. A few weeks later, my books came in and the Chaplain gave him a copy. The Holy Spirit used the book to put a need on Andrew’s heart to get saved. Andrew accepted Christ.

The part that was truly amazing is that Kat was supposed to leave Wednesday, but her flight got delayed and delayed so that she wound up leaving on Friday night/Saturday morning. I literally found out about Andrew minutes before praying with her and then she left. God kept her here just long enough for her to find out that she had helped lead someone to Christ, and then within the same our, she was on her way home!

God chose to bring Kat to this place just so she could invite Andrew to the chapel so that he could get saved. God chooses who goes where and when so that His master plan of salvation can be worked out.

God put me in Alaska in 2005 so that I would meet the right people and get saved. God sent me to Afghanistan in 2008 to teach me how to rely on Him and to re-affirm my calling to ministry. God brought me here to meet some great people and to help lead a dear friend to Christ. God has put you where you are at right now for a reason. Seek to honor and glorify Him, and He will use you for his purposes and for His glory.

Kat left that night with tears in her eyes, because her prayers to see God work a miracle through her had been answered. All to God’s glory.

The Naked Gospel: The Truth You May Never Hear in ChurchForgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit

My death.

In early June, I arrived in Alaska. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I’d never felt more alone. I had just gone through the worst heart break of my entire life, and I was struggling with a lot of things. The greatest of these struggles was my relationship with God.

Within a few months of being stationed here, I stumbled into a Bible Study group with young adults just like me who were full of questions and had an earnest desire to grow closer to God.

My main issue was that I didn’t trust God. I had heard people talk about surrendering your life to the Lord. I had heard people tell me that I had to trust my life to Christ. I had heard these things all my life, but they had never really seemed to click. One day, I realized how unhappy I was. I missed being in a relationship and desperately wanted to find my soul mate. I wanted my career to be successful. I was obsessed with my health. I worried about a lot of trivial things that don’t truly matter. Finally, I decided to place my primary focus on something greater. (Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be given to you as well. Matt. 6:33)

Things began to get easier. I learned how to smile again. I learned how to trust the Lord. I learned how to surrender my everything to the one true God, and to allow Him to work His divine plan in my life. He does, after all, have much better plans for me than I could ever come up with on my own.

I began to realize that my temper had melted. I wasn’t as uptight as I was before I arrived in Alaska (heck, my inner-child was making a comeback!). My language wasn’t as harsh as it used to be. God was making powerful transformations in me from the inside out! It felt good!

At about the same time, I began a very personal bible study that lasted a few months. One of the bible verses we discussed really struck close to home: Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38.

Wait a second, did this mean what I thought it did?

That true salvation wasn’t an option until after you’ve repented?

Well hey, I never truly repented until I arrived in Alaska!

And according to the verse, the next logical step would be baptism.

That’s the course of events that lead me to my death..and my rebirth.

On February 5th at approximately 11:40 a.m. Daniel Delgado died.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Romans 6:3

On February 5th at approximately 11:41 a.m. Daniel Delgado was brought back to life.

And you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. Colossians 2:12

Today I was baptized.

Therefore, is anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. The life I live in the flesh I live through faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave His life for me. Galatians 2:20

Since arriving in Alaska, its safe to say that I have done a lot of growing. I may be thousands of miles away from home, but God has given me a new family.