Paperback version now available….

Ruth’s recent book, Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself, is now available in paper where books are sold.

Politics

Politics! Good grief! Can we get away from it?

There are times I want to pull the covers over my head and forget about it. But we cannot do that. We live in a world dominated by politics – it seems to contaminate everything – even the church.

What are politics? According to my dictionary it is: “the science or art of political government, the practice or profession of conducting political affairs, the use of strategy or intrigue in obtaining power, control or status”.

It seems odd that the definition contains the word politics or political. When I was in school that was not allowed. You could not define a word with itself. But so many things have changed, maybe that has too.

But politics seems to be a nasty business. A lot of maneuvering and manipulating to get others to do what you want them to. Truth gets lost along the way.

Is there an honest politician? I can’t answer that. I would certainly hope so.

But our solutions will not come from politics or politicians. They can formulate all the policies they want. Give all the speeches we can stand.They can stay in the basement or they can have public rallies. They can wave their banners and post their signs. They can organize us to the hilt. They can promise us the moon – which I think they do and can’t deliver.

Why do we get caught up in it?

I guess it’s in our human nature. We hope things will get better and we look for someone to make it better. The truth is there is no one on the horizon that can fix this country or world. No one. The is no policy that will solve our problems. It matters not if it is the “new green deal” or health care for all” or a new vaccine.

Nothing touches the real issue: man’s sin and need of a Savior.

While I can be fascinated with politics, I know that is not where my hope is. My hope is in Jesus. He is the hope of the world. He alone has the right policy: repentance and forgiveness from Jesus and loving your neighbor as yourself. Simple but hard to implement because our human nature is sinful. But we have a power the world knows nothing about – the power of the Holy Spirit. He convicts us of our sin and brings us to repentance. Then He comes to live in us to empower us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

That’s our hope – our only hope.

Living Free Online Conference

Make plans to join Ruth for the first Living Free Online Conference, “Sharing Hope In A Time Of Crisis” on Saturday, August 29, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. EST. Available via Facebook or YouTube.

https://www.facebook.com/LivingFreePage
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb7FRYL4Rk8

COVID-19

I have steered away from writing about COVID-19 because everyone was. I am not a physician nor am I an expert on viruses.

But there is a virus spreading faster than COVID-19 that I do know something about. FEAR! I think most of us, if we are honest will admit we have felt fear during this season. Fear of the disease. Fear that our family members may contract it. Fear of going outside. Fear of going into a store to get groceries. Fear of the unknown.

And some of you have lost someone to the virus. There is fear of how to go on without them.

I have a sign in my study that my mother gave to me years ago as I faced uncertain times: “Fear not tomorrow God is already there.” I eventually wrote a book by that title. The message is clear. God is in tomorrow. He is in today.

He has always been. And He knows what is happening. He is in control. Oh! It doesn’t seem like it but He is. Covid-19 did not take Him by surprise.

And He wants us – you and me – to trust Him. Trust Him with our tomorrows. Trust Him for our todays. He will take care of us. Jesus told us, “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1) Paul told us to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let you requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Those are big statements. God wants us to take them seriously – and Him seriously. God is able to fulfill His promises to you and to me. We have to memorize them. We have to make them our own.

King Solomon, considered the wisest man in the world said this “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.” (Proverbs 18:10) Study the names of God and you will find fear fades. We have a great God. A big God. A loving God. Study Him during this time of uncertainty.

Trust in the Lord

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5–6

These days it is hard to trust. There is so much uncertainty. But that is exactly what God is telling us to do. Trust Him.

Trust is not my default position.

When a situation arises, I am quick to fret over finding solutions. I am a fixer. I forget that God is already at work in the situation. I strategize, plan, work and when things don’t move fast enough for me, I try to help them along under my own power. I wear myself out in my futile attempts to change what I cannot change. That is leaning on my own understanding.

That is not God’s way. God asks that we trust Him. That’s not always easy when decisions need to be made. Which way to go? What to do? Certainly, there are times when we need to take action using our God-given problem-solving skills. But trust means recognizing that God is actively at work already and that He will shine the light we need to take the next right step.

He sees your past, present, and future. He knows you better than you know yourself. And He loves you totally. He will guide you step by step.

Now think about what you are facing today. Choose to trust God in this moment about this situation. This isn’t about answers or quick fixes; this is about choosing to put your finite understanding into His infinite wisdom and trusting God that He will show you the way.

Ruth’s recent podcast with Renegade Atlas!

Ruth was recently interviewed by Matt Doud and Chad Hawk of Renegade Atlas. Listen here:

https://www.therenegadeatlas.com/episodes/interview-with-ruth-graham/

Ruth on The Huckabee Show

Ruth recently appeared on The Huckabee Show with Mike Huckabee. In case you missed it, here’s a link to the segment.

FEAR!

Faster than the corona virus is spreading, fear is spreading. Fear has gripped our country – our world. It’s a scary place right now. There is nothing and no-one not talking about it. When you meet someone on the street (10 feet apart) – it is the main topic of discussion.

And the more we discuss it, it seems the less we find solutions.

The experts have been wrong. All the cleverly designed models by the experts have proven to be wrong and yet we based all this national shut-down on those models and experts.

Yes, the virus is bad. I know some who have contracted it. Yes, people have died. And my heart goes out to the families who were not able to be by their loved one’s side. It’s tragic.

But worse than the virus is the fear and what it is doing to our mental health – the rates of suicide, depression, abuse, alcoholism… And what are the long-term effects on our children as they stay home from school losing ground academically.

So much to consider and fear. But God tells us not to fear. He say “Fear Not” 366 times. One for each day and one for Leap Year! He is serious about this message getting through to us. FEAR NOT!

Easier said than done. Just exactly how does God expect us to do that?

We need to battle back. And feed our joy. Our hope. Our confidence in God.

The Apostle Paul tells us how: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God. And ht peace of god, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there be any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” (Philipians 4:6-8)

That will transform our fear into faith.

Shelter In Place

We are all sheltering in place and doing our part to defeat this COVID-19. When the dust settles and we are allowed to open the country back up, we will see the devastation that it caused not only in lives lost but in relationships strained, livelihoods destroyed, finances decimated and a country deeply in debt.

A cataclysmic storm hit us in the form of a germ we cannot even see. The President calls it the “unseen enemy”. We may not see it but we can see the destruction in its wake.

We are staying home – going out just for essentials. And it seems to be working. But, to be honest, that is going to be the easy part. Picking up our lives afterwards will be the hard part. And it will take a long time. We will never be the same.

But I have above my sink, a scripture verse that is so relevant.”He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and fortress, my God in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2

Let’s dwell, live, in the shelter of the Most High. According to my dictionary to dwell means to live or stay as a permanent resident. And a shelter is: something beneath, behind, which one is covered or protected as from storms or danger.

So let’s take permanent residence in the protection, covering that God Most High is for us. And we will be in the shadow of the Almighty. To be in one’s shadow you have to be close. Let’s get close enough to God that we are in His shadow. He is our refuge and fortress.

And while we are there let’s praise Him for being a shelter for us and for being the Almighty! There is nothing he can’t do. He is all powerful, all knowing. We are safe with Him.

Birds and COVID 19

It is Spring! And the birds are singing as they claim and protect their territory as they nest.

I have a Cardinal, who for the past 5 weeks, has banged himself against my sunroom window, my kitchen window, my living room window and my study window. The cat at first thought this was exciting but now has grown bored by it!

Outside my front door I have a tall shrub – not sure what it is – but a small house finch built a nest there. I became aware of it when each time I’d step outside to get the mail, the mother bird flew out. One day I peeked in and saw the nest and 4 eggs. The next day, I saw 5 eggs.

She sat on them faithfully. Each day I’d check on their progress – careful not to disturb her. And one day I saw 3 baby birds – naked and ugly! Then two more hatched. I was concerned how they’d all fit in that tiny nest as they grew. I watched them grow and develop beaks, real feathers… It was fun.

Then we had a terribly windy day. And I noticed the nest had pitched over. Three baby birds were cleaning tightly to the shrub branch. One was on the ground beneath. I don’t know what happened to the other.

I continued to watch. Then I noticed yesterday, all were gone. Just the empty nest was there. It made me sad. But maybe they had grown enough to fly off on their own.

But in all of this process I could help but think of Jesus’ words in Matthew’s Gospel: “Are not too sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” (Mt. 10:29) and “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (Mt. 6:26)

With the COVID 19 there is much anxiety, fear, worry. I understand that. There is much uncertainty. The one certainty we have is that God is in control – this did not take Him by surprise. He is on His throne. He loves us – that’s what Good Friday was about – “God so loved that He gave…” He has a plan. And we can trust Him – totally. Is it easy? No. Does it come automatically? No. Do we feel it all the time? No. That’s why it is called faith.