Our dear friend Arnold Muwonge spoke yesterday at Ivy Manchester.
His main text was Ruth 1.21 I went out full, I came back empty. The title was RHYTHMS OF CHANGE.
Here are my notes on what he shared ; great stuff – and see the end for an important prophetic word from Arnold.
A man he knew came from Africa, when he was at home he could smell gas, but he got used to it. It took another guy coming in to be able to alert him. When you are cooking, you may not smell how good it is: needs a stranger to come from outside to smell it.
Arnold brings an outsider’s perspective!
There are three main actors in Ruth. It’s a great story.
BOAZ – A type of Christ. His character was integral. Dependable. He is faithful, rich (psalm 24), able to help, our provider. We must learn to trust him. He gives us everything. He will always turn up. We can be confident in him. He operates according to covenant. Our salvation is based on covenant.
NAOMI – a type of Israel. Goes away from God for what she wants. But God brings her back! She goes away from God because of her insecurities. To get her needs met. Ends up where she is not to be. Goes through the wrong doors. The wrong door can take 5 mins to open, & 10 years to close. Naomi is a type of israel. She left a place where she was actually full. We forget how blessed we are. Vs 21. Thank God for life, for salvation. The grace of God which keeps you.
RUTH is a type of the church. A Moabitess. A nation founded from & conceived from terrible immorality, considered cursed to the 10th generation. A rejected bloodline! Now we find ourselves on a place where we were never meant to be. There is grace. There is nobody God cannot save!
Ruth is a book of encouragement, of survival, through all the pain; they bounce back, by the grace of God. The devil takes hold of us in times of trouble. The devil tells you, ‘you are not loved by God, but if you follow my way, I will help you.’
But pain is not always negative : it can keep people together. We think pain separates; These three women, all they had in common was their pain & struggle, it was their only story- at the beginning. Loss. Bereavement. Whatever you go through – God still loves you! Through their pain, they stuck together. Not all pain leads to death; it can lead to redemption! We can learn through our need, to seek until we find.
God may not say what we want, instead he says, ‘Be strong! Circumstances have no anointing to change the call on your life.’
One day, Naomi woke up and said, ‘I am going back to Israel – leave me alone.’ She realised there was something shifting, she was going! In Gods timing. We have created an intellectual God. But our God is a miracle worker!
People who are moving Gods way are not necessarily bothered whether everyone else comes with them. Its not about getting a vote. They say, ‘It’s my time now to step into what the Lord is leading me into.’ We may be misunderstood when we do that, even by the ones closest to us. Cf Hannah & the priest. Rom 8:25
Orpah kissed her and decided to go her way. That’s okay. She doesnt get condemned for that. She gets a blessing. We have to be big enough to do that; If someone chooses to go, that’s okay. They are out of your story, their contribution to it has ended – but God is still writing it! He is writing it in colour. We can become bitter that someone walked out, or we can look who’s coming in!
Naomi says; “Your God will be my God.” The commitment is what God uses, to use us. Ruth makes a commitment. There are people you meet, a community, who are different, but your prophetic destiny is mapped with the people next to you in church. You are not just here because its a good church. My breakthrough is in how I connect. Plug in!
Ask God, ‘How am I to play my part in the story?’
What made Naomi want to go? She recognised Gods timing; recognising what God is doing in my life, church, family. Ask God today, ‘What are you doing?’ and join him in that.
Is there a shift, a shaking inside you? God is going to give you a kick in your pants. You have been dormant long enough! God can use you!
Ruth, who was supposed to be rejected, ends up in Jesus lineage/ story. At the end of their life, they look back and see His hand was at work. But we must take a step!
Arnold closed his talk in the second service with a prophetic word for Ivy Manchester which he said he has had for two years for us: