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Ruth and Boaz: A Match Made in Heaven

In the days of the Judges, a famine arose in the land of Bethlehem of Judah. A man named Elimelech took his wife, Naomi, and two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, to the land of Moab and they stayed there. Elimelech died and left Naomi with her two sons. They both married women from Moab. Their names were Ruth and Orpah. After ten years, Mahlon and Chilion died. Their wives survived.

Naomi heard that the famine had left the land of Judah, so she packed to go back to her people. She went out to return to Bethlehem. She told her daughters-in-law return to their people, because she had no way for them to find another husband. She kissed them and they wept. Orpah stayed in Moab, but Ruth went with Naomi. She pledged her love to Naomi in a poem that is sometimes used in weddings.

“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or from turning back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
Where you die, I will die.
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”

Naomi and Ruth went to Bethlehem. When they reached the city, the people rejoiced to see Naomi. She said, “Do not call me Naomi, but Mara, for the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me.” Naomi means bitter.

They arrive in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest. Naomi had a wealthy relative name Boaz. Ruth asked Naomi’s permission to go and glean the fields for food. God sent her to glean in the field of Boaz. He told his workers to take care of Ruth and let her glean all she wants. She worked hard all day and maybe several days. Boaz invited her to share a meal with him. He noticed she saved some food to take home to Naomi.

Naomi told Ruth to prepare herself and go to the threshing floor after Boaz had eaten and drank and made merry. When she found him asleep, she quietly uncovered his feet and laid there until he awoke. At midnight he moved and discovered Ruth. He asked who she was. She told him her name was Ruth, his maidservant. He praised her greatly and said all the town knew her virtue. He told her he was her relative, but there was one closer.

He asked the man who was a closer relative if he wanted to redeem Ruth, but he said he couldn’t or he would lose his own inheritance. So Boaz redeemed the land for Naomi and Ruth. Everyone at the gate witnessed the redemption and Boaz married Ruth.

The witnesses said, “The Lord make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel: and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore Judah, because of the offspring which the Lord will give you from the young woman.”

The genealogy of Perez:

Perez begat Hezron
Hezron begat Ram
Ram begat Amminadab
Amminadab begat Nahshon
Nahshon begat Salmon
Salmon begat Boaz
Boaz begat Obed
Obed begat Jesse
Jesse begat David

Although Ruth was a Moabite woman, she was in the line of David which made her a woman in the line of Jesus. God greatly honored her because of her loyalty to Naomi.

Ruth did the right thing for her mother-in-law. Boaz honored her for her sacrifice. Boaz loved her in spite of the fact that she was not Jewish.

My conclusion to my original question as it relates to the women in the Old Testament books of Judges and Ruth.

Just like now, some woman have a blessed life with a wonderful family and others have to struggle through life.

No one has a perfect life and there are hard times, but for those woman, especially Christians, who have a good life, we need help those who don’t.

We also need to share Jesus.

The Concubine

At the time of Judges 19, the Bible says there was no king in Israel.

A Levite man lived in the remote mountains of Ephraim. He took a concubine from Bethlehem, but she played the harlot and went back to her father’s house, where she stayed four months. Then the man went to get her from her father’s house and spoke kindly to her. Her father begged him to stay to eat and drink for several days. Finally he decided to leave, even though the hour was late. His servant suggested they stay in Jebus (Jerusalem, but he wanted to stay in Gilead because it was a Jewish city. He probably thought it would be safer.

No one offered him lodging. Finally an old man came from his work and let them stay with him. Perverted men of the city begged the master of the house to let the man and his servant come out. They planned to abuse them carnally. The master of the house gave them his virgin daughter and the man’s wife (concubine) instead. The men had their way and left the concubine lying on the doorstep in the morning, dead. The man put her on a donkey and went home. Then he cut her body into twelve and sent a piece to all the tribes of Israel, saying, “Nothing like this has been known in Israel.”

Chapter 20 describes how all the children of Israel came out from Dan to Beersheba and beyond. They asked how the wicked thing happened. The Levite explained how the men wanted to abuse him, but the master of the house sent out the concubine and the men left her for dead. This led to a great battle against the tribe of Benjamin. At first the tribe of Benjamin was winning, but God gave the other tribes victory when the tribe of Benjamin turned and saw their city burning.

The men of Israel grieved for the tribe of Benjamin, because the Lord had made a void in the tribe of Benjamin. They had made an oath at Mizpah saying none of them would take a bride from Benjamin’s tribe. Then they wondered what their brothers would do if they had no wives. They realized no one came to battle from Jabesh Gilead, so they sent valiant men to Jabesh Gilead to kill all men, women, and children. They utterly destroyed every man and every woman who had known a man intimately. They found four hundred virgins and brought them to Shiloh. They needed more, so they remembered there would be a feast of the Lord in Shiloh. When the women went out to dance, every man came out of the vineyards and catch a woman and made her his wife. The children of Benjamin had found wives for themselves and they all went back to their homes.

My thoughts on the story of the concubine: It surprises me that in this story about a young woman who had been terribly abused, she never had a name or said a word. We don’t know why she played the harlot or went back to her father’s home, but I wonder if her master had mistreated her. It appears so, since he decided to speak kindly to get her back. Then he allowed the master of the house to sent her out to be abused by the evil men of the city. They tortured and murdered her with no regret.

I don’t understand why it was worse in the Old Testament when evil people man abused than a woman. It seems it would be worse for a woman since she might become pregnant.

The concubine could not help herself. Her husband refused to protect her. He ignored her plight. The pain for her loss belonged to the Levite, but I saw no regrets, just anger. I don’t see any love lost for this poor woman.

The Israelites treated the people of Jabesh Gilead horribly. The way they caught the women of Shiloh disgusted me.

Even though the situation caused war and great loss of life between brothers, in the end they worked together and grieved for the children of Benjamin. The men worked out their differences, but the women had no say.

“In those days there was no king in Israel: everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

Please give me your ideas about this story. How are things different for women now?

Does everyone do what’s right in their eyes? Are we any better off as women than the women in this story?

Please keep the conversation going.

A Look at How Deborah in the Old Testament Book of Judges Was Treated by Men

In the last few days my quiet time brought me to the books of Judges and Ruth. Three stories, which I assume are true, made me ponder the the treatment of women in the Old Testament. I will bring the stories to light with my thoughts, which you may or may not agree with. I’m not a Bible scholar. I would love to hear your thoughts as well. I will post Deborah today. Tomorrow the Concubine, and finally Ruth. I hope this will be fun and enlightening. The news about Brett Kavanagh and his accusers gave me the idea, but this is only about the women in the Old Testament history.

Deborah

Judges tells about the men and two women who served the Israelite people in the years before Saul became king. God wanted to be their king, but the people begged for a man, so God gave them what they wanted.

In Chapters 4 and 5, Deborah, a prophetess and wife of Lapidoth, sat under a palm tree between Ramah and Bethel, where the people came to her for judgement. She called for Barak in Kadesh and told him the Lord gave him a charge to go and deploy troops at Mt. Tabar. He needed to take ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and Zebulun. God promised He would route Sisera into Barak’s hand. Barak said he would only go if Deborah went with him. She agreed, but she told Barak there would be no glory for him if she went, for the Lord would sell Sisera into the hands of a woman. Barak summoned Zebulon and Kedesh to Naphtali. He went up with 10,000 men, and Deborah.

Heber, the Kenite, of the children of Hobab, Moses’ father-in-law, had a from the Kenites. His tent was near the teberinth tree beside Kedesh. He told Sisera that Barak had gone to Mt. Tabor. So Sisera gathered nine hundred chariots of iron and all the people who were with him. Deborah said to Barak, “Up! for this is the day the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hands.”

The Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army before Barak, but Sisera left on foot and went to the tent of the Jael, Heber’s wife. “Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me. Do not fear,” she said. He entered her tent and asked for a drink, so she gave him some milk. He told her to sit at the edge of the tent, and if anyone asked if there was a man there, she should say no. While Sisera rested Jael drove a tent-peg into his temple and he died. When Barak pursued him, Jael showed him where she left him after she killed him, so Barak didn’t get the glory. The Lord gave the two women glory for the death of Sisera, which is rare in Bible times.

My thoughts on the story of Deborah: She was a brave and powerful woman with a tremendous amount of influence on the people and leadership of Israel.

My thoughts on Jael: She was in the right place at the right time, and she wisely used her God-given advantage to help save the Israelites from Sisera.

Both women deserve applaud for their work.

Both women were probably well-respected and treated well.

God guided both women to make decisions that would bless their nation.

I  urge you to read Deborah’s story in Judges 4.

You might also enjoy The Song of Deborah in Judges 5.

Please comment and tell me what you think about Deborah and Jael.

It could lead to some interesting conversations.

Come back tomorrow to find out about another woman in Israel, The Concubine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“And it shall turn to you as a testimony.” Luke 21: 8-19

In the sixties a preschool age girl repeatedly endured the horrors of ritual abuse that left her with about seventy personalities. She is now integrated. She is happily married and has adult children.

On October 12, 1972 my husband’s F-4 Phantom plane was shot down over North Vietnam. He became a number in the Hanoi Hilton. For that, I am grateful. He could have been killed, but instead he came home. Now we have two grown children and two precious grandchildren.

In October of 2016 Pastor Andrew Brunson was taken prisoner by Turkey, the country where he had lived for 23 years, preached, and raised his children. Until last week, he had no idea what the charges are. He was indicted, and his court date is April 16. The prosecutor is demanding a life sentence. The crime, Christianization.

What do these people have in common? First, they have been through a horrendous ordeal. Second, they survived to give their testimony. To be sure, Andrew’s testimony is still in progress, but he knows whatever happens, God will guide him.

Andrew’s mother posted on Facebook last night, Read Luke 12-18. So I did. I will post it here, so you won’t have to look it up.

“But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasions for testimony. Therefore settle in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, and relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name sake. But not a hair on your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your soul.”

His mother added, God has heard all your prayers. But maybe God has a greater plan in this trial. He is not where he is by accident.

Let’s add to our prayers that the Holy Spirit will speak mightily through Andrew’s mouth; that JESUS WILL BE MADE KNOWN AND GOD GLORIFIED through Andrew’s testimony; that Andrew will have great peace and authority to speak the truth in love; that he will have his feet firmly planted on the rock of God’s faithfulness; and that all of us will see past this short life through eternal eyes, knowing it will be worth it all when we see Jesus. This is an unparalleled opportunity for any army of prayer warriors to join Andrew in glorifying Jesus.

She added, “Please send this out so others who feel discouraged over the turn of events will know how to pray and not give up.”

This morning I read in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11.

“For we do not want you to be ignorant brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia; that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired, even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that he will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us by many.”

Hundreds, if not thousands all over the world have prayed fervently for Andrew. Many prayed for my husband. Until recently no one prayed for the little girl.

My husband gives his testimony of how God helped him through his time in Hanoi to anyone who asks. The little girl has given permission for me to write her story in a book that will come out soon. For her safety, she has not given permission for her identity to be revealed.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/03/20/us-pastor-faces-35-years-in-jail-in-turkey-for-terror-links.html

Andrew’s testimony is in limbo at the moment, but soon he will have the opportunity to witness to everyone in the room where he will be tried.

Please pray for Andrew and his family.

What Can Be Worse than the Worst Abuse of All?

Since my last blog was entitled The Worst Abuse of All, you may think I’m crazy. You would be wrong, because if you remember, I ended it by saying, “This may not be the worst abuse of all.” In my opinion, it’s horrible, but not the worst. Spiritual or cult abuse by a parent is worse. Can you imagine a mother who would take her baby child to cult meetings in the middle of the night, just to allow the leaders to drug, rape, shame, and twist the truth beyond recognition?

There were times when I would say I couldn’t imagine such a terrible thing. Then in my counseling office, I met several counselees who experienced such human tragedies when they were small children. The mind of a child has no place to put this type of abuse, so they dissociate it away. It’s similar to creating an imaginary friend. Children who have not experienced those circumstances may create an imaginary friend. It’s normal. In fact, it shows a good imagination. Children who have experienced cult abuse are different. Sometimes the cult leaders trick them to create alters by calling them differenct names at different times. Alters is another word used for multiple personalities, which is now called DID or dissociative identity disorder. God created their minds to use the alters so they could forget or dissociate away the abuse that happened while they were children.

As they grow to adulthood, memories come back. They still may not know why they have such strange thoughts and voices in their heads. At first, the alters help them make it through the day. If the abuse continued for a long time, the adult parts of the person may go for years wondering why they struggle so. They don’t remember that part of their lives. I have read it takes about five years for the psychiatric community to recognize a person has alters. Yet they need help to find their real self, the self they were born to be. They need to remember the past in order to forget the past.

It often takes years for the abuse victim to find the help they need. In the meantime, they struggle to survive. Most do survive, because God has wired them to be survivors. People with dissociative identity disorder are still children at heart, children in adult bodies who feel shame and fear in most circumstances. They need caring people to help them learn ways to manage life. They are not dangerous to others, but they may be dangerouse to themselves at times. If you happen to know a person with DID, please be kind and helpful. Once they trust you, they will do anything to keep your friendship so be sensitive to their pain. They are some of my favorite people.

Hurricanes, Trauma, and Helping Kids

Before writing this post, I checked to see where Irma is now. I heard this is the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic. It will soon be hitting several islands. This while just beginning the rebuilding after Harvey.

https://jeanbrunson.wordpress.com/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php?action=imgedit-preview&_ajax_nonce=841bb00489&postid=24832&rand=69272

We already have thousands of people traumatized by the loss of their homes, their jobs, and in some cases family members. Not the least of these is children, children ripped from their homes and schools in little boats with strangers. Children waking up to a sea of water where their playground use to be. Hopefully they had time to bring their favorite toy, the one they sleep with. They don’t understand, and they are afraid. They may not show it, but their parents are traumatized too. Children know when their parents are scared.

What can be done?                                                                                                                  
Authorities say it may be months or longer before the families can get back in their homes, so people need emotional help.
I hope there will be counselors, but certainly not enough for everyone who needs it. Parents, you can help.

Take care of your own trauma                                                                                      
This involves finding a place to live and providing as much normalcy as possible.        
Talk about your emotions.                                                                                                                  
Let yourself feel them.                                                                                                              
Recognize the anger.                                                                                                                    
Then release it. (See the previous post on Anger, What Do I Do About It?)                            
If you don’t release it, it will make it harder on you and your family.                                
This is a natural disaster.
Maybe there were some things authorities could have done better, but that is hindsight. It can’t be changed.                                              
Whatever you do, don’t take it out on your children.

How to Help Your Children                                                
First reassure them you love them.                                                                                            
Reassure them they will be taken care of.                                                                                  
Allow them to regress for a time.                                                                                                    
They may need to return to the coping mechanisms they used at a younger age.          
That is normal for a while.                                                                                                            
Try to limit exposure to TV to keep them from being re-traumatized.                                      
If they are old enough to understand, tell them what happened at a level they can grasp.
Allow trauma-related play, but supervise to keep it from getting out of hand.                    
As much as time allows, play with them.                                                                                        
Let them guide the play. If it gets out of hand, you can stop it.

Whether you are a victim or a helper, take care of yourself or you won’t be able to help others. 

Divorce or Death: How To Help Grieving Children

Taken from Growing Seasons: How to Help Children Heal from Divorce and Other Losses, a small group curriculum  by Jean Brunson. 

Published by Living Free Ministries. http://store.livingfree.org/Small-Group-Curriculums_c_51.html

Ages and Stages

Infants: Babies believe a person or thing only exists when it is in their field of vision. Grief for an infant is caused by breaking the bond. If bonding is broken in the first two years of life, babies need to quickly bond with someone else. This is essential if they are to establish trust in their world. Infants and toddlers also respond to the emotions of those around them.

Preschoolers: Little children still do not fully understand object permanence. They think death is reversible, like it is on cartoons. This is an age of much magical thinking. They may believe they did something to cause the the loss.

2 Kids Walking on Red Tulip Garden Under Blu Sky

Ages Six to Ten: Early elementary age children are still concrete in their thinking, so it is important not to use euphemisms in explaining death. They understand that death is final but may think of it as a ghost they can outsmart.  After a death or divorce, they feel much sadness but they think they can control it. They need to be encouraged to express it. Boys tend to be more prone to expressing their emotions of anger and acting out while girls seem to show more sorrow.

carefree, child, enjoyment

Eleven to Teenage: Preteens tend to act angry because it seems more acceptable than sadness. They may long to retreat into childhood and look for meaning in the the loss. Any adolescent rebellion that occurred before the loss can cause feelings of guilt. Children this age may have difficulty concentrating in school.

adult, beautiful, blur

Grief from a loss of any kind does impact children. I hope this blog will help some readers who are dealing with a grieving child. Please feel free to ask questions or make comments. I am here to help. However, each situation and each child is different, so any suggestions I might make are only suggestions. They are not to be considered as counseling. Please help me start the conversation.

How to Teach Preschoolers to Say “No” to Unsafe Touch

How do we teach preschool children the difference between good touch and unsafe or uncomfortable touch?

Little children trust easily, too easily. They learn to hug their grandparents when they leave and how to shake hands with their parents friends when they meet them. We try to teach children good manners at an early age. It’s part of parenting, but so is teaching them how to protect their bodies against unsafe touch, whether it be from a babysitter, a cousin, or a pedophile who lives down the street.

Teach them about their bodies.  

You can do this in the tub or when they see someone change a baby’s diaper.                        

“Let’s talk about how everyone’s body is different. God made Susan’s body different from your body or David’s body is not like your body. Each person’s body belongs to him or her and each person has the right to protect his or her body from unwanted touch. If you are a Christian,  you can add,  “God made each body a little bit different for a reason.”

This is a good time to teach modesty.

Draw a child in a swimsuit or put one on the child. “Do you see the parts of your body that are covered when you wear a swimsuit? When someone tries to touch you in the area of the swimsuit, they are not giving safe touch. The only time someone should need to touch your body in the area where a swimsuit touches is when a doctor or your parent needs to help you. I think you are old enough to know when someone needs to help you in that way.

Senses are the way we learn about the world around us.

“Do you know what the five senses are?  We call it the five senses that help us know about our world. Can you tell me what they are?”                        

1. Seeing – “Tell me something you like to see with your eyes.” Wait for answer.                  

2. Hearing  – “Tell me something you like to hear with your ears.” Wait for answer.            

3. Smelling – “Tell me something you like to smell with your nose.” Wait for answer.            

4. Tasting – “Tell me something you like to taste with your tongue.” Wait for answer.          

5. Touching – “Tell me something you like to touch with your skin.” Wait for answer.

Discuss as needed.

“I like hugs from people I love. Which sense do I use when I give a hug?  (Touch)                

Do you like hugs? Who do you like to hug?” Wait for answers.                                                  

A hug is a loving touch. A loving touch makes us feel warm and comfortable. Sometimes there are touches that don’t make us feel comfortable. They might make us feel scared or hurt or confused. If someone touches you in a way you don’t like, you can tell them to stop. If they don’t, tell an adult you trust.

“Who does your body belong to? (the child) Do you have to let anyone touch you if you don’t feel comfortable? (no)

“Are there times when a grown-up might need to touch you so they can help?” (yes)          

“Tell me some of those times.” (skinned knee, something in the eye)

“Are there times when an adult might need to touch your private parts?” (Yes, only when a parent or doctor needs to help you for a good reason.)

“If a person wants to touch your private parts without a good reason, do you have to let them?” (No) You are getting big now and you can think for yourself, can’t you?
If a person wants to touch your private parts or touch you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, what are some things you can do?”

1. Say “No”
2. Run away from them and scream if you need to.
3. Tell someone you trust. If they don’t believe you, tell someone else.
4. Remember, it is not your fault and you didn’t do anything wrong if that happens.

Children need to learn to think for themselves in an unsafe situation. Keep this conversational and let children answer.

“Do you remember yesterday I reminded you that you are getting big enough to think for yourself? I am going to ask you some questions that you will really have to think about.”

“We taught you to obey grown-ups, right?”

“What if your aunt told you to jump into the river, what would you do?”

“What would you do if your teacher told you to dive off the school building?”

“What if you are at the store and the store owner told you to steal a bag of potatoes? What would you do?”

“Most of the time when a grown-up tells you to do something, it is for your own good. But, you have to think. If it doesn’t seem right or makes you feel uncomfortable or scared, you don’t have to do it. It is your own body. If that happens, you go to a person you trust and ask them if you have to do it.

What kind of person might ask you to do something that is not for your own good? (Child describes what he or she thinks.)

Answer:                                                                                                                                                     1. They could look and act nice.
2. The may try to trick you into thinking you can trust them.
3. They may be young or old.
4. They can be someone you know and care about or they could be a stranger, someone you don’t know.
5. They could be someone in your family. It could be anyone. You can’t tell by looking, only by feeling.

“Remember, your body belongs to you and no one has the right to touch it without your permission, unless it is your parent or doctor trying to help you. If someone does, what do you do?” (Say “no” and tell someone.)

Continue reading

Teaching Children about God

What spiritual messages do you want your child to hear?

Infants                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You need to answer that question almost as soon as the precious bundle of joy comes into the world. Why? Consider this. From birth to age two children learn more about the world than at any other age. They learn whether the world is safe or scary and hurtful. Right after birth they may think, What is that bright light and why am I hanging upside down?  They need tender touch and soft words to feel secure. Infants who don’t feel loved will have a difficult time learning to trust.

Age Two                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Around the age of two their world view takes a quantum leap. They seem to change overnight. They may think, My mommy will give me an apple when I ask for one. Two-year-old children believe everything they hear and see. They have no way to know if the messages they receive are true.  They begin to understand they have choices. The word “No” sometimes gets them in trouble and sometimes helps them feel as if they have some power. They think concretely, so be sure you explain spiritual words, such as God and heaven. My two and a half-year-old son came into the room one Sunday morning as I was getting his sister ready for church. He said, “That man on TV said God is a Holy Ghost. God isn’t a ghost, is He?”

Preschool                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As children approach the preschool years, they think for themselves more and more. They open their hearts to new ideas about spiritual issues as their spongy minds seek to understand the world they live in. They learn from many sources: their families, their friends, their teachers, and even television. Truth and lies vie for their attention. They still think concretely, yet they start to learn and love the traditions of the religion practiced by their parents. Preschoolers may not remember exact things that happened to them, but parents can help till the fallow ground of their spiritual beliefs, thoughts, and emotions. At age four, my son said, “I am going to dig a big hole and push the devil into it.”

Elementary Children                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Children as young as six can make religious decisions that will impact their entire lives, including where they will spend eternity. Spiritual beliefs and decisions made in the early elementary years tend to stand firm. Josh McDowell said on Point of View radio, “If you don’t reach a child for Jesus before the age of twelve, you have only a four percent chance of reaching him (her.)” My children both accepted Jesus as their Savior at age six.

What spiritual messages do you want your child to hear? What are you doing to make sure your children are hearing the truth?