I pray that my words will paint a picture of God's love for you, His treasure, as I bring encouragement from the Word of God and my perspective of events and life filtered through the lense of faith.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. II CORINTHIANS 4:6,7

Visit my webpage www.ruthmcmillanmayfield.com to learn more about my ministry, and my books. While you are here, enjoy God's presence.


Five Smooth Stones

In 1 Samuel 17 we read the story of David and Goliath, which most have heard in some form either in Sunday school or from the pulpit. I invite you to look into this familiar story with a new perspective.

Here is David, about seventeen years old. He had not long ago been anointed King of Israel in a secret ceremony by the Prophet Samuel. The youngest of eight boys, his duty since the time he was very young was to tend the sheep for the family. He ate and slept on the hills of Judea guarding the sheep, faithful to do his part with honor. We also know that David took his harp with him and was adept at creating songs expressing his relationship with God, many of which one day became part of the Book of Psalms in our Bible.

King Saul was the current King of Israel. Israel was at war with the Philistines, engaged in battle at Elah. But this time the giant, dread warrior from Gath, Goliath, was challenging anyone from the armies of Israel to battle--survivor wins the entire battle. This is where David comes to bring his older brother's some food supplies from their father. When David hears the challenge he is outraged at the defiance of this man challenging Israel, God's army. You see already David had a different perspective than anyone else. Because of the time he spent worshipping the Lord and faithful to his duties, he had God's perspective on the situation and God's favor!

Quite unbelievably the King allows a young lad to go against this giant with no armor and no weapons, just his staff and a sling shot. That had to be God's favor because if David lost, Israel would lose the battle. David reminds me of the many soldiers who go into the armed services in Israel today. He was the same age, he grew up with the understanding of the importance of being Jewish, honoring God and country. Well, most Israeli's today are secular, but there is still the freshness and passion of youth they share with David.

David is quite different from most because he had spent a great deal of time with the Lord. Not reading just the Torah--as the Priests and Levites did--but actually talking, singing, and meditating on God himself. Later, scriptures label him a friend of God. The result was that God was with David. He had slain a bear and a lion with his hands. He saw the challenge as God's and not his or the army's. 1 Samuel 17:40

David knows that a giant is but an ant compared to God. But he uses the wisdom that God has taught him in the wilderness as strategy. He knew that God was going to use him to defeat the enemy. He knew that in the best rocks for his sling were found in the river bed, right there at their feet. As he squats to pick them up he is studying the situation. He would have at most five chances to swing the rocks before he was overtaken by the charging giant. He knew exactly what he had to do--plant a rock squarely between the giant's eyes. No problem! God was with him! Goliath had no idea that he was facing the Lord's dread warrior, camoflaged in the form of a young man. A man with the wisdom and strategies of Almighty God--El Gibbor.

Today more than ever before in history we are in desperate need of God's strategies for war and the Lord's perspective for every battle we face. There are many giants, and the armies coming against us are numerous, armed with stealth and great evil. Many believers have found themselves in a wilderness, suffering in various trials--yet getting good at worshipping in all seasons and calling on the Name of the Lord, rather than attempting anything in their own strength. We are becoming dread warriors for the Lord. The enemy has no idea where we come from, and will not recognize us clothed in humility.

I picture David grasping the five smooth stones, turning them over in his hand. While he studies the giant and the situation, he places them in his pouch. His eyes are still fixed on the enemy, bright with the revelation of God's omnipotence, with full confidence in the outcome because he knows his God.

How can we know God like that? Read the Word. The Bible is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), in it are the Words of Life. Jesus is the Word made flesh. Read it until you can find five smooth stones without having to even look for them, weapons available at the ready for any situation, empowered and targeted by your relationship with our loving, heavenly Father--Almighty God.

Copyright © 2008 by Ruth Mayfield All rights reserved. These articles may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, by including this notice.

God says, "Fret not."

Psalm 37

vs. 1 Fret not...
vs. 7 ...fret not...
vs. 8 ...fret not...

In this Psalm God tells us the end of the wicked. It is not a desirable end, so much so that it challenges us to consider our ways that we would not be counted one of them.

We want to focus on the opposite idea. We, the righteous sanctified by His blood, can trust in the Lord and there are blessings that come, even when the wicked seem to prosper or when judgment comes. God is faithful. Trust Him.

Below are highlighted blessings from Psalm 37. Read it and be encouraged.

...Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and surely thou shall be fed. Delight yourself also in the LORD; and he shall give you the desires of thine heart. Commit your way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him...the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace....A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked....the LORD upholds the righteous. The LORD knows the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied....the righteous shows mercy, and gives....The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and He delights in his way. Though a good man fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholds him with his hand. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; and his descendants are blessed....the LORD loves justice, and forsakes not his saints; they are preserved for ever...The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of judgment. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide....Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee...Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace....the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.

Read the Word, pray the Word, believe the Word. God watches over it to bring it to pass. Trust Him.

Copyright © 2008 by Ruth Mayfield All rights reserved. These articles may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, by including this notice.

God's Book of Remembrance

How often do we as believers get together with friends and family for fellowship? It can be at a worship service, over a meal or coffee, or a chance meeting on the street--perhaps even on a cell phone! We find ourselves rehearsing the testimony that the Lord has given us of how He has spoken to us this week, or blessed us with health, wisdom or miracles! We can't wait to share how God continues to smile upon our lives even when we are so far from perfect.

Recently we were privileged to spend the better part of a day with a very good friend. We shared our plans, our burdens and difficulties and then spent some time in prayer asking for God's Wisdom and Guidance, healing and grace. We continued talking of how God has been faithful to us through the adversity each of us has walked through during the past year. Each of us has some very difficult things we are currently going through--burdens which could really shake our faith. Yet we shared and encouraged each other God's Faithfulness. He is amazing! He intervenes and takes big impossibilities and turns them into blessings for His Glory. It is so exciting to sit and watch, with our minimal participation (and sometimes in spite of us), God will accomplish His plan and purpose in our lives as we allow Him to. The more we cooperate the easier the path may be, but that doesn't usually mean easy paths and abundant provision. The Lord has orchestrated a beautifully complex mosaic of people's lives that interconnect and His purposes are often to purify and beautify us from the inside out, all the while desiring to have more intimate relationships with us. That we might get to know Him more and more.

Most of us understand that the Lord desires to commune with us, even as He communed with Adam in the Garden of Eden. He sent Jesus to die a cruel death so that we might receive forgiveness through His shed Blood and be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus as Messiah. Jesus taught us to pray after the pattern of what we refer to as the Lord's Prayer. The Gospels tell of Jesus' relationship with the Father, drawing away from the crowds to spend intimate time with God. All that Jesus accomplished, was because He said and did only what He saw the Father saying and doing. Jesus is our example. It is absolutely essential for us in today's world to separate ourselves and spend time in the presence of God, even as Jesus did--if we want to walk in the Spirit as the Apostle Paul admonishes us.

But did you realize that Father God is also pleased when we boast in Him? When we share how our faithful God is blessing us and impacting our lives, intervening as we appeal to Him in Jesus' Name, when we tell others about answered prayer--God is listening with a smile on His face. Sharing testimonies, telling how we see God as Awesome, sharing our wonder and delight in His Word are all things that delight the Lord's heart.

Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. Malachi 3:16-18

A Book of Remembrance--a record for all eternity. You are considered a jewel in the Lord's eyes as you speak His praises! How He delights in our delight in Him! I pray that each of us will spend more time expounding on the goodness of God, His wonderful provision and protection--and most of all His Glorious Magnificence. May His presence manifest more and more in our lives that we might multiply our magnification of Him!

Copyright © 2008 by Ruth Mayfield All rights reserved. These articles may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, by including this notice.

God's Love towards Us

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us...
1 John 4:10
I realized today that I don't really know the love of God. I have not understood it, nor have I embraced it. I have been reluctant to receive the fullness He offers, and most horribly, I have not loved others with the love of God, as He would love have me love them. Thankfully the Father's love towards us (towards me) does not condemn my failure, nor my weakness. That's the whole point.

My version of love has been based on soulish, selfish gain. I loved to be loved--by my parents as a child and later by God. It didn't matter to me if my spouse, children or friends found me unlovable--I didn't care because I knew God loved me. I was willing to totally dedicate myself to pleasing God. Any sin or selfishness--weakness--in me was put under control of my spirit--submitted to the Holy Spirit. God's strength came through to overshadow my weakness with His strength--for His glory. I hate my weaknesses. I even encouraged others to trust God to overcome any weakness that might beset them. All good and scriptural, however: The wholeness and fullness of God's love fills our weakness without always necessarily removing it.

I recently heard Pastor Tom Smardz say, "God himself has a weakness, it is us." God loves us! This is in spite of our weaknesses, our ungodliness. While we were yet sinners, God loved us so much that He sent His son Jesus to die in our place so that we could be reconciled to a holy, righteous, and just God. I only need to accept Him for who He is--my Lord and my God. He loves us in an unconditional way beyond our comprehension. I am my Father's weakness--yet he accepts me and loves me, filling my weakness with His love, for His glory.

My own weakness is my husband's current illness. His illness has made him very different than the man I married--at least temporarily. Our changed lives, my responsibilities and my caring for him exhausts me so much that I feel I have no energy to be who God has called me to be. In fact my personality and character flaws are now brought out by him, instead of my gifts, talents--my best--as it once was, when we would minister together. I often abhor myself when my attitude and sharp tongue fall far short of God's love and mercy. I sometimes miss the opportunity to honor my husband--when he needs it most.

Yet, I am absolutely powerless to change--for the first time in my life I feel really powerless in this situation. I trust God, I have faith that He can do something to redeem the situation. However, I can only throw up my hands in further frustration, as I seem to sink lower instead of rising above my sin and weakness. My life has not been easy, I have often felt a bit like Job in the Bible. But for the first time in my life, I really feel as if I am sitting on an ash heap--scraping my hideous boils with a sharp rock--alone--with no one to really confide in. Friends encourage me pointing out my godly responses and basically perpetuating my hatred of my weakness--yet this weakness is the cross that I am to take up, to embrace, so that God can transform me and the situation.

Jesus took up His cross submitting to an unjust death, rejection and torture. In His submission the entire scenario transformed from what appeared to be Satan's greatest victory--into Satan's ultimate defeat. The cross is a heavy, back breaking burden--too much to bear. Yet we are told to take up our cross and follow Jesus. Denying yourself the little things in life prepares you to carry the cross the Lord has destined for you in your path towards Christ-likeness. Jesus' motivation was His love, that must be ours--to love as He loves. Pure and unquestioning love for God, trust and obedience, are indeed pleasing to God. However scripture states:

My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

His grace is His love gift that cannot be earned and is never deserved. This perfect(mature/complete) love fills to overflowing as we allow Him to fill our weakness that we might reflect His glory in the midst of any trial. He is worthy of our trust. He is worthy of our praise. Always...

Copyright © 2008 by Ruth Mayfield All rights reserved. These articles may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, by including this notice.