He who loves purity of heart and whose speech is gracious, will have the King as his friend.
The current Hebrew month of “Elul” is such a beautiful time to celebrate the nearness of our King!
As I’ve meditated on this traditional Jewish time of preparation leading up to the “Days of Awe,” the Lord has drawn me back into the story of Ruth and Boaz. Within this ancient text are keys for how we must partner with our heavenly “Boaz” - King Jesus - today.
You may remember that like Christ, Boaz returns to his field at harvest time to check on his servants and reapers. Like Christ, he probably wonders: “Will I find faithfulness in my land? Will my fields be well tended and my full harvest come in?” (Luke 18:8)
What Boaz finds becomes the seed for an incredible story of redemption and new beginnings. Ruth is the eighth book of the Bible. While it is set in the time of the Judges, Ruth’s story has unique applications for us now.
In a time of economic and political instability as well as spiritual decline, a man named Elimilech (meaning “My God is King”), encounters a famine in Bethlehem. Yet instead of remaining in the Promised Land, he moves his wife (Naomi) and their two sons to Moab, a nation hostile to Israel. This is no easy, local move: Moab is at best 1800 miles from Bethlehem; roughly a month's journey on foot.
Whether motivated by fear or faulty human reasoning, Elimilech runs from a problem instead of facing it. His decision proves to be fatal: Elimilech’s two sons marry Moabite women (Ruth and Orpah) and eventually all three men die, leaving three widows destitute in a foreign country.
Naomi sums up the experience this way: “I left full (with a husband and two sons), but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi (“pleasantness”), since the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (Ruth 1:21)
Naomi and Elimilech's story is a picture of a curse in action.
After these deaths, Naomi hears that God has actually been taking care of His people in Judah, giving them food in a time of famine. It would have been better to trust God than to run from the problems!
Think about it: in the space of just ten years in Moab, Naomi loses not one but three intimate family members. She is abandoned by one of her daughters-in-law and winds up penniless except for an unredeemed piece of land in Bethlehem. To reclaim her inheritance, Naomi and Ruth must begin a long journey back home.
How does this apply today?
The journey symbolizes an urgent “return” to God that many people need to make right now, lest we, too, encounter worse situations in dire times.
God’s mercy is still available even to unbelievers - the “Ruths” among us - who are hungry for the Lord and His Word. But wholehearted return is often a long journey through death, grief, bitterness of soul, facing the fears, and encountering spiritual famine or impoverishment.
The journey is hard, but it is meant to restore.
Throughout the journey, Ruth remains a faithful, comforting companion to Naomi, even pledging her life to the God of Israel. The meaning of Ruth’s name is “Compassionate Friend.”
Like New Testament Cornelius, Ruth’s hard work during the harvest season, her bold loyalty, and her generous devotion are noticed by others. They earn her, in the end, a fruitful place in the lineage of Jesus. Ruth’s son becomes David’s grandfather.
Returning to God always carries a blessing with it, and Ruth’s story illustrates just how wonderful the blessings of friendship with the Lord can be.
From Boaz’s first words in Ruth 2:4, we see a Christ-like figure who speaks blessings over his people. He cares for the condition of his workers, not just his crops.
As this symbolic “King” returns to his field, Boaz hears of Ruth’s faithfulness and submission while she exercises the biblical right of the poor to glean at the edges of his field.
When Jesus returns to the field of this world once again, will He find your faithfulness, too?
Like the servants with the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), Ruth has used any skills or strength she possesses to labor from dawn to dusk for her food. As a result, Boaz blesses her with more.
Ruth is “promoted” from gleaning to reaping as Boaz commands his reapers to undo their work, pulling stalks of grain from bundles already gathered. She is promoted again when she moves from doing the work of reaping to bearing fruit herself.
Boaz’s interactions with Ruth release 12 blessings:
This is what Jesus does for His friends. While it’s easy to see the connections between Boaz and Christ in these twelve blessings, I believe that Ruth's story also holds significant prophetic weight for us in our current season.
Just as Boaz blessed Ruth with protection and provision, so God will protect and provide for those families who remain in or return to Him at this hour, even in times of famine. Whether this lack is experienced naturally or spiritually, the Lord intends to satisfy those who come to Him with bread from His table (Isaiah 55).
Christ teaches in Matthew 13 that the reapers are the angels. There is a powerful partnership with angelic reapers available to all believers at this time. Where you have labored tirelessly like Ruth, there is promotion and acceleration available to you as you lean in to the supernatural help God is providing through His Spirit. Ask the Lord for these ministering and reaping angels to bring supernatural help as you labor for your harvest!
We are in a time of “winnowing,” where wheat is clearly being separated from the chaff. Yet for Ruth and for believers today, the time of winnowing can become the time of promotion! It is at the threshing floor that Ruth receives her greatest reward: the promise of a covering and full redemption by her soon-to-be bridegroom.
Notice that Ruth had to walk in a precarious place of integrity and trust throughout her difficult journey. While she grieved, she retained honor for her elders; worked tirelessly for little pay while obeying the laws of the land; had the boldness to approach her “redeemer” undercover, in the darkness of night; and found courage to invite Boaz to partner with her.
Deep trust and strong faith are necessary components for relationships that work in difficult situations. Steps of bold faith - not running from hard times - will lead you into God's current places of provision.
It is through this tiny “community” of three faithful people - two of them extremely broken but yielded to God - that healing, restoration, and the continuation of a family line are preserved. It is through these three faithful people - Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz - that healing and restoration are made possible for the world as the generational line of Christ is continued! (Matthew 18:19-20.)
Faithful, intimate alignment with God in today's “winnowing” season is a key to receiving the fullness of your inheritance! God is waiting for you to ask Him for your full inheritance in prayer. Alignment with others who share a similar commitment to excellence and integrity is essential to your survival!
THE "KING IN THE FIELD" SEEKS FRIENDS
Proverbs 22:11 describes the type of person who has the King as his friend. It is someone whose heart, like Ruth’s, is pure, and who celebrates purity of heart in others. It is someone whose words, like Boaz’s, are governed by the law of kindness, even in times of deep loss, hardship, or alienation.
When the “King is in your field,” as He is in this beautiful story of Ruth, you’ll see a shift from poverty to blessing. Widowhood to marriage. Bitterness to joy. Gleaning to reaping. Scraps to sheaves. Famine to harvest. Isolation to friendship. Barrenness to fruitfulness. Vulnerability to protection. Alienation to covenant!
My prayer for you today contains words from the book of Ruth:
Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a Redeemer!
May His Name become famous through you. May He be the One who restores your life and sustains you in old age as you devote yourself to serving Him faithfully; in season and out of season.
May you never be afraid to stand your ground when famine or loss strikes. May you have the courage to always return to God, even if your soul must journey from very far away.
May you receive the fullness of your own inheritance in Christ as you seek to remain intimately within the protection of His covering. May you find refuge under His outstretched wings. Amen.
For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
~2 Corinthians 4:6
Early in the morning on November 14, 2021, I was worshiping Jesus, inviting Him to share His heart. He began speaking to me about “The watch of the Lord.”
Intercessors often describe the “watch of the Lord” as an all-night prayer meeting; watching and praying for Israel; or perhaps being “watchful” against the enemy. All are essential!
Yet at this particular time, I felt a strong desire in Christ’s heart for us to remember to WATCH HIM.
On 7.27.21 I had a vision of the Lord Jesus, followed by two encounters in the Spirit which the Lord asked me to describe to you exactly. Please know that it is not my desire to call attention to the encounters themselves, but to the messages contained within.
I saw the Lord comforting those who were suffering from trauma.
We are living in increasingly difficult times, and as trials increase, the manifest Presence of the Lord is also increasing to release grace and peace to His people!
I believe the Lord wants to impart hope and healing to those who face trauma and opposition for His Name, and I am praying that these words will impress you as deeply as I was impressed when I heard them.
At the end of this post you will find a recorded prayer you can use to receive ministry yourself or share with a friend. (Click here for audio podcast or scroll down for YouTube podcast)
“It happened that the father of Publius lay sick in bed with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him, healed him. And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island (of Malta) who had diseases also came and were cured.”
Acts 28:8-9; ESV
I believe the Body of Christ is entering a “sweet spot” in time. Despite all evidence to the contrary, we are beginning a bright new Kingdom era full of miracles and favor!
I believe that this will be a season of marked increase in healing and deliverance ministries that honor Christ and help bring in the harvest.
In this new era, I hear the Lord issuing an age-old call to His Body to return to our First Love:
“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.” (Revelation 2:2-4)
There is a place at the top of the mountains in Switzerland where one can stand and see nothing but pure, untouched beauty. Heaven’s sun kisses earth’s snowy peaks with brilliant light until they radiate whiteness. The air is crisp and clean. Every cell in your body comes alive with invigorating breaths.
It is a steep climb to reach the top, which in winter is only accessible by lift or helicopter, but from this place where three nations intersect, one can ski down a southern slope into Italy or a western one into France. The villages seem like storybook pictures below, so tiny and peaceful from a heightened vantage point!
Many believers including myself have seen tsunami “waves” of revival coming in the Spirit: waves of God's power and glory crossing the earth to wash away evil, corruption, or sin.
Yet this morning as I prayed I heard the Lord say, “Look at this wave, Deborah.” When I looked, I saw waves of people - worshiping armies - moving across the earth, bringing refreshment and restoration to dry places.
A few weeks ago, the Lord asked me to set aside some time for Him, as I do several times a year, for a prayer retreat. Several days became a week, then two, of deeper encounters with Him, and I am now in the third week of intensely seeking His heart.
I have never felt more of an urgency in the Spirit, especially for our nation and the world, and I know many of you are feeling the same desire to draw close to the Lord in repentance and prayer. I believe our prayers can change even the worst outcomes predicted by man!
During the course of these weeks with the Lord, I was awakened one morning at 2 am. I often go downstairs in the early hours of the morning to worship, read, or pray, but on this morning I was led to go and share communion with Him with no Bible or notebook, just heart to heart.
I feel strongly impressed to share with you what happened during this time because I believe it is an urgent call for all of us as His Body.
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Throughout history, God has looked for people who were either curious enough or sensitive enough to turn aside from their daily routines and spend time with Him.
Just as the Lord longs for us to turn to Him, so He also draws near to us when we do so, revealing Himself in greater measure.
Abraham showed hospitality to strangers and entertained angels. Moses turned aside to see a burning bush and encountered God. Joshua, Samuel, Daniel, Anna, Zaccheus, Mary, and so many others made quality decisions to seek God, and were rewarded for pressing in.
Their reward? To hear God's voice and to know Him personally.
As I listened to the Lord last night, I felt His heart of compassion and I believe strongly that He asked me to simply pray for you today. Prophetic words are wonderful, teaching and devotionals help us grow, but there is nothing like the powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit in prayer!
There is no distance in the Spirit (see Colossians 2:5; 1 Cor 5:3a). God is omnipresent and unlimited in His ability to reach anyone, anytime, anywhere. As I pray in the Spirit for you, and you agree with me, I believe I am effectively standing beside you, IN HIM. Our unity with the Savior means we are never alone!
Please join me in agreeing for these very biblical promises and blessings to take place in your life today! Read them out loud over yourself; insert your name if you'd like to make them more personal. They represent God's heart for you!
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
There’s a catchy song being sung in our churches today called “Let Revival Come” (“Revive Me”) by Kevin Jones and Joshua Sherman. (You can listen to it here). It is the product of a generation that is seeking revival on a large scale. Not just ministries but entire movements of people are now gathering together to pray (like The Send gathering in Orlando in February this year), asking God to send revival.
This in itself is amazing. In my lifetime, I have not seen such unity and focus all across the Body of Christ, and it inspires me! Unity carries the promise of God’s blessing (Psalm 133). Prayer almost always precedes revival. Yet we must be careful to avoid the flawed theology which believes revival is something only God does. The truth is, we have a part to play.
In the next few posts, I will be focusing on three spiritual roadblocks that can hinder your revival. These three are not the only barriers to revival, but they are things I felt the Lord wanted to us to focus on here at His Inscriptions. The first barrier? Unforgiveness.
2019 has been dubbed by several prominent Christian leaders as “A Year to Plow.” To plow the spiritual soil of our hearts is an essential precursor to revival*, and many people, including myself, believe we are on the brink of revival in this nation. We must both plow and sow in order to reap a harvest!
There are some Bible stories that are so powerful, they have the ability to change your entire perception of who God is and how He feels about you. For me, one such story is found in Luke 24.
In the midst of great grief, turmoil, and confusion, two disciples encountered the Wonderful Counselor and were forever changed. In places of pain and confusion myself, I reread this story and see such beauty in it. Take a walk with me along the Emmaus Road to see how brokenness is turned to beauty.
On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, followers of Jesus were gathered together in Jerusalem to pray. They had no idea what to expect; they only knew what Jesus had told them: “Wait until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
That first church prayer meeting resulted in an outpouring of the Holy Spirit so great that it enabled every person present to hear, see, and experience personally the power of God! That day alone, 3,000 people were saved.
Our tendency as modern-day believers is to leave the Pentecost story in the history books. After all, we think, God was just beginning to establish His church; He had to do something amazing like that!
Too many years of powerful encounters and answers to prayer have convinced me: that kind of thinking is nothing more than a cop-out. God’s power is alive and well, and the only reason we don’t see more of it is that we don’t pray for it!
My life has been powerfully impacted by prayer. The prayers I pray and the prayers others pray for me bear amazing fruit. There are countless stories I could share of God’s faithfulness to answer prayer, but I want to remind you, instead, of God’s stories.
As I meditated on what to write to you this week, the Lord impressed on me that I should release the full prophetic word He gave me just before Thanksgiving. I shared some of the key thoughts from that word in last week's Thanksgiving post, but as I reread the word this afternoon I felt it needed to be shared in full. The focus of His message was this:
God's desire is to continually refresh you on your journey!
The Lord will always lead you, satisfy you in a parched land, and strengthen your bones. You will be like a watered garden and like a spring whose waters never run dry.
I hear the Lord saying: “At present, you are more like a water spigot than a fountain. You are connected to your Source and can access My power, but you enjoy the ability to turn on or off the water at your own good pleasure. I would rather you be a fountain flowing continuously, not a spigot flowing sporadically. For this, you will need to yield full control to Me.”
What is your first response to pain?
In the span of just one week, several of my close friends experienced heavy losses. One friend was betrayed by someone close to her. Another dear friend was faced with the emotional pain of feeling unloved in primary relationships. When a third friend broke her foot in a roadside accident on vacation, I spent a number of hours with her in the ER, hoping to relieve her physical pain.
In each case, my first response was compassionate action: I reached out as best I could with prayers and practical help.
I know for a fact, though, that when I am the one in pain, my first response is very different. When hurt increases, compassion vanishes. I have a new goal: avoid that pain at all costs!
I had a powerful dream this morning which was so evidently from the Lord that I felt compelled to write it down and share it. This dream revealed the Father's heart for healing the next generation, our youth, and could not be ignored. The reason? The children of today are both the most anointed and the most assaulted of any previous generations. Even in their schools, the places where they should be receiving mentoring and training, they are not safe. The enemy sees the call of God on this generation and is trying desperately to take them out before they can step into their destinies as miracle-working, revival-awakening instruments of God.
The crucifixion of Christ is a reminder that all of us have to deal with times of death in our lives. We may have to face the death of a loved one, or the death of a dream, or the death of a hope we hold dear. At some point, we all come to our tombs, as Mary did in the resurrection story, and we have to confront the harsh realities of our mortality.
I have prayed for people in some difficult situations lately. I’ve talked with people who are struggling with significant changes in their lives that leave them wondering, ‘What now? Did I do something wrong?’ Life suddenly threw them a curve ball; something unexpected sent them spinning, wide-eyed, into what felt like a dusty, dry, desert season.
One of the reasons why I began writing His Inscriptions was to strengthen believers - especially Christian leaders - who are weary and exhausted for various reasons. You may be feeling that way today. It is not uncommon, in an increasingly hostile world, to feel tired or discouraged. Once we are weary, it becomes harder than ever to maintain the good habits we have of connecting with God. Self-discipline eludes us and our communication with God ebbs at the time we need it most.
What makes one person thrive while another barely survives? Why do some people seem to live almost effortlessly, while others go through life hanging on by their fingernails? Even Christians are not exempt. We cling to the Gospel's wonderful hope of heaven. But is that all there is? What about the problems in this present life? What do I do between now and eternity?
I believe there is a key difference between survivors and those who thrive in life. Or for Christians, between the survivors and the revivers! It's not just a difference between rich and poor. It's actually a different state of mind.
To describe this, let's look at the law of the jungle.
There's a big lie that the devil has promoted among God's people since the beginning of time. It is so big, and so successful, that his strategy really has not changed much over the years. From Genesis to Revelation and right into the present day, Satan and his minions have invested untold amounts of time and energy into marketing this lie. Do you know what it is?
It is this: "Did God really say...?"
One of the enigmas of Christian life seems to be the dichotomy between what we are promised in the Bible and what we actually experience on a daily basis. If you have ever wondered why you haven't been healed (even though you believe the Word says healing is for today), or why you still struggle with problem areas of sin (despite Jesus' promise of abundant life), you're not alone. For many of us, the source of this conflict is a mystery, and we have resigned ourselves to daily living within the "status quo."
Many people think of faith as a noun: something that we have. True faith, however, acts more like a verb than a noun. Biblical faith holds mountain-moving power on earth when applied. 2 Timothy 3:5 cautions us not to be like those who "hold to an outward form of godliness but deny its power." Real faith requires both confession and action, not just a passive acknowledgement of God's guidelines. Faith without works accomplishes nothing (See James 2:17).
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.