Ruth Kuck-A Woman who Loved God

“Mark, I have a place for you to stay this summer.”  Pastor Doyle McDaniel said these words with great pleasure.  I was anticipating spending the summer in Charlotte to fulfill my final requirement to graduate from Olivet College. This last requirement would an internship at Calvary Baptist Church.

Pastor McDaniel had convinced  Ruth Kuck, a widow in the church,  that I needed a place to stay. Because of her kind heart, she accepted me in her home for the summer  I didn’t know Ruth well, but that would soon change.  It would be the beginning of a thirty-five year relationship.

Ruth had been a long-time member of the church.  she was faithful to attend all the church services, and she loved to sing in the choir.  The characteristic that stood out in Ruth’s life was her prayer life.  She was a “Prayer Warrior”.  She also loved to read her Bible.  While staying with Ruth, she introduced me to the idea of reading the Bible and praying together.  This was new to me because I had only become a Christian the year before.  She taught me through  her life and her love for the Lord and others.

Ruth also had a keen sense of hospitality.  She always invited people over for a small meal or ice cream after church.  She enjoyed having people in her home with conversation that centered around the Lord Jesus Christ.

One Sunday afternoon, I had decided that I would go out and mow the grass.  Ruth did not approve.  She told me that we don’t do such things on the Lord’s Day.  The point she made to me was that the Lord’s Day was special.  It was a lesson I never forgot.

My summer was soon over.  I was grateful for all that Ruth did for me that summer.  She continued to keep up with my life.  She attended my ordination service.  When Sharon and I served overseas she faithfully prayed for us and our ministry.  She would even ask about specific people in our ministry.  Every birthday she would send our children a card and $7.00. She always signed the card “Love, Grandma Kuck”. She never missed a birthday, whether we were in South Africa or Portugal.

In 1996, we returned to the States and I became the pastor of the same church where I met Ruth.  Ruth was  now in her eighties, but she was still very involved in the church.  Her prayer life was still as vibrant as ever.  Her love for the Lord also increased as she moved into her nineties.

Ruth eventually could no longer take care of herself.  She went to live in an assisted living home.  Even in her last days, she would still love to talk about her Lord to the residents and anybody who would visit her.

Ruth entered into the presence of her Lord in 2009 at the age of ninety-five.  Ruth is greatly missed, not only by me, but by the many people for whom she prayed.

At Ruth’s funeral, I placed a pair of her shoes on pulpit.  I asked who would fill her shoes, especially in the area of prayer.  She certainly had very big shoes.   Unfortunately, many of us are too busy to stop and take time to be a prayer warrior like Ruth.

Ruth taught me much by her example, including the importance of prayer and a love for the Word of God.  She also taught me that in spite of the trials of life, I can always keep my eyes on the Lord.  Truly, Ruth lived up to her namesake in the Bible.  Ruth reminds  of  a verse in Proverbs that says:  “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” (Proverbs 31:10)

I thank the Lord for bringing Ruth Kuck into my life!  I have a richer life as a result of Ruth’s example, her prayers, and her words.   Her life made me realize that I also can have an impact upon the lives of others.

A Weary Soul in a Busy Life

Do you ever find a time in your life when you feel like saying: “I need to wait for my soul to catch up with my body.”  Our life is full of activity, and yet there is an emptiness and a great weariness of soul.  God seems to be quite distant.  We have lost the joy that we once had in Jesus Christ.  What does the Word of God say?   “For consider Him (Jesus) that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (Hebrews 12:3)

The great remedy of weariness of soul comes when we consider Jesus and keep our focus upon Him.  There are many occasions in life when we need to “Consider Jesus.”  As we “consider Him” we will find the strength of soul to carry on with our life.

1. Consider Jesus in times of temptation.  Jesus understands our temptations.  ” For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:18)  Jesus was tempted, and yet He stayed faithful to His Father.  As we “consider Jesus” we will find His grace and strength to help us overcome the temptation.
2. Consider Jesus in times of failure.  Jesus never failed, and His compassion never fails.  He restored Peter after His failure. (John 21:15-17).  He will restore us if we come to Him in repentance and confession of our sin.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
3. Consider Jesus in times of fatigue. Jesus understands our fatigue because He experienced fatigue and hunger as He walked the earth.  He gives His strength to our weary souls and bodies.  “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
(Isaiah 40:31)
4. Consider Jesus in times of spiritual dryness.  Jesus alone can quench the dryness in our soul.  “Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” (John 7:37)
5. Consider Jesus in times of loneliness.  Jesus understands loneliness.  He spent much time alone in His life.  Also, as He was tried, convicted, beaten and placed on the cross, He experienced loneliness.  “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:20)
6. Consider Jesus in times of indecision.  Jesus knows that there are many voices crying out to us; however, are we listening for his distinct, wise, and loving voice?  To him (Jesus, the Good Shepherd) the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. (John 10:3)

As we walk this life, may our hearts and eyes always “consider Jesus” in every path we take.  He is there to bring rest, comfort and direction to our weary soul.

The Truth Shall Make You Free

July Fourth is a time of thanksgiving for our freedom.  Our freedom has been bought with the blood of many a person who died on battlefields around the world.

Two thousand years ago, there was One who came to earth for the purpose of sacrificing His life; so that we can enjoy the freedom from sin and death.  “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

What does it mean to have spiritual freedom?
 1. Spiritual freedom means a life controlled by truth and motivated by love
2. Spiritual freedom means are able to use our lives for the glory of God.
3. Spiritual freedom means the privilege of being able to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.

Why do we need spiritual freedom?
Our need for spiritual freedom is caused by our bondage to sin. “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” (John 8:33)  Sin keeps us from entering into the presence of God.  Sin brings eternal death.

How do we receive spiritual freedom in Christ?
1. We must see our need for Jesus Christ, because we are all sinners before God. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Our sin places us under the wrath of God. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (Jon 3:36)
2.  We must understand that Christ’s  death provided the payment for our sin.  “But God commendeth His love toward in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ” (Romans 5:8)
3. We must turn from our sin and  receive Jesus Christ as our Savior by faith that His sacrificial death  alone can pay for our sin and bring spiritual freedom. “For by grace our ye saved through faith and that not ourselves, but it the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.”  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

What are the results of our spiritual freedom in Christ?
1. We receive freedom from the penalty of our sin. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
2. We receive freedom from Satan’s power. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” (Colossians 1:13)
3. We receive freedom from the fear of death. “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Hebrews 2:15) See also
1 Corinthians 15:51-58
4.  We receive freedom from the curse of the law. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13)

The doorway to spiritual freedom is wide open.  As Jesus said: ” I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9) Let us accept and enjoy the freedom that Christ bought for us with His blood