Ruth: Her Story

Enjoy the following excerpt from Kathleen’s Ruth Bible Study.

“Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine In the land.  And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.”  Ruth 1:1

This true story begins with a young Jewish family living in Israel during the Old Testament time of the Judges.  

This family had so much going for them.  They had a hometown, Bethlehem, where they had family and roots, tradition, and they knew the Words of God, passed down to them from generations of Jewish families.  They had land, a place to live, a way to make a living.  

Unfortunately they had to leave their home and move to a nearby country, Moab, when they ran short of food because of a famine.  Then the father of the family died.  The 2 sons grew up with their widowed mom in Moab, got married, and then they both died, too.  Three widows were left, staring wordlessly at each other across the kitchen table.  

Ruth was one of those three widows.  She was young, had no children of her own, and was a Moabite.  Her future was tied up with what was left of this once thriving Jewish family. .

Naomi, the mother of the family, nearly paralyzed with grief, knew there was no future left for any of them.  She begged her two daughters-in-law to go back to their Moabite families, because she was going to make the dangerous trek back home to Bethlehem, resigned to be a pauper – a starving widow the rest of her life.  .

Orpah, the other daughter-in-law,  loved Naomi, but she felt she had no choice but to go back to her father’s house in Moab so that she would have a future.  There possibly would be a Moabite idol-worshiping man who would want her to be his “used” wife, possibly a second or third wife…but still…children someday, and a future!

But Ruth said:
“Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn 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,
And your God, my God.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.”

At this point in the story, I can’t help wondering…

Can we actually come to the conclusion that Ruth, a woman who grew up in a culture of idol-worshipers, married into a Jewish family who lived through the agony of the father of the family dying, but somehow making it through that, were thrown into the added pain and anguish of both sons dying also, and ended up staring across the kitchen table at a grief-stricken mother-in-law, and a grief-stricken sister-in-law, feeling like her own insides had just been ripped out by the death of her husband….can we really conclude that going through all of that actually prompted Ruth to trust in the God of Israel…who, if He was as powerful as this family said He was, could have protected this sweet family from all this grief?  Do we actually think Ruth put her trust in this God after that?  

Yes, we can.  That’s exactly what happened.  That is Ruth’s story.  

Ruth didn’t see wonderful, sweet and problem-free living.  No, she didn’t see that at all.  But what she did see, what she did live through with this small family, was Jewish people trusting in their God no matter what happened;  Jewish people serving their God no matter how horrible their life looked compared to the idol-worshiping lives around them;  Jewish people knowing that their God had a plan for the salvation of not just the Jews, but of the whole world, and being willing to trust Him forever.  

That’s what she saw, in life’s worst moments, and that convinced her of the reality of the One, True, God.  And she believed in Him – not to keep her life from trouble – but to bow before Him, thanking Him for loving her.  She put the rest of her life in His hands.

What happened to Ruth?  She and Naomi walked back home to Bethlehem.  They were poor and had to beg for food.  They just happened upon the field of a rich man who had known Naomi years ago.  He reached out with kindness to these two women, and in the process he fell in love with Ruth, and Ruth fell in love with him.  They married, and their union produced a little boy named Obed who was the delight of Naomi, and the future grandfather of King David of Israel…and the future great, great, great,….etc., grandfather of Jesus Christ!  

I know that’s an over-the-top happy ending, and none of us expects so much for ourselves, but that’s not the point.  The point is, when I read Ruth’s story I am encouraged and strengthened and my faith grows.   Why?  Because it is really Jesus’ story.  

All of us has a story.  I have a story of believing in Jesus, and I know there’s lots more to add, more faith-filled years to come.  In my own family, I have two sisters and a brother, each of whose story of meeting Jesus, of nearly unbearable heartache and faith-growth have been so different than mine.  But our stories are still the same – because they are Jesus’ story.  

Ruth has a story, Naomi has a story, I have a story, you have a story.

And when we share our stories we touch lives.  Because they are not primarily our stories, they are Jesus’ stories.  

So, tell your stories.  Look for opportunities to tell them.  Plan to tell them.  Ask to tell them.  Irritate people by telling them over and over and over.  Speak of your love for Jesus, and how you came to believe in Him.  Sing it.  Write it.  Post it.  Wear yourself out telling your story.  

Want to get started?  Do this:  

  1. Write out your story.  
  2. The next time you are talking with someone…anyone…just take a deep breath and say:  “Have I ever told you my story?  Can I tell you?”  And then jump in.  

In the midst of a time when many people need something to live for and SomeOne they can trust, give your friend/sister/neighbor/co-worker a chance to hear about Jesus by telling them your story.  

Study all four chapters of Ruth, or gather a group of friends and discuss together.

From “Come” to “Go!” – An Introduction to the Book of Acts

Here’s what we’ll be reading as we study through the book of Acts:

Chapters 1-12 (First Ten Years)

Major Emphasis: The Jerusalem Church

Major Topics Covered: Church, Gospel, Holy Spirit


Chapters 13-28 (Next 20 Years)

Major Emphasis: Churches Spread Throughout the world

Major Topics Covered: Missionary,  Paul,   Local Churches


First Ten Years:

  • First Five Years:  Pentecost, Healing, Preaching, Arrests, Ananias & Sapphira, Choosing leaders, Stephen martyred, Persecution begins, Scattering
  • Second Five Years:  Philip & the Ethiopian Eunuch, Saul is converted = Paul, Peter sees vision in a sheet, many Gentiles hear the good news, Jerusalem leaders accept that the Gospel is for the Gentiles, church established in Antioch, James martyred, Peter arrested & set free.

Next 20 Years:  

Paul’s Three Missionary journeys and trip to Rome.


Pentecost

Countries Mentioned at Pentecost:  Rome, Crete, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Pontus, Cappadocia, Mesopotamia, Parthian Empire, Media, Elam, Arabia, Egypt, Cyrene.  

Why are these important?  Because all these people from all these countries took the Gospel back home with them from the Day of Pentecost.  Some of them believed in Jesus right then, some simply carried the story back home as a curiosity.  in Acts we’re going to see the Lord reach those same people in the years that followed with help to form churches so the Gospel could continue to spread.  

Map:  www.conformingtojesus.com   

As you read and study this book, keep asking yourself these questions.  By the end of our Acts study, maybe you’ll have a good idea of how God wants you to serve Him for the rest of your life :

  1. Is the church necessary?
  1. What does the church do?
  1. What does the Holy Spirit do?
  1. What is my part in the church as the Holy Spirit does His job?  
  1. Do I have to do anything about the Holy Spirit?  
  1. How can I obey the Great Commission?

John Chapters 12-21 Bible Study Available for Free Download or Purchase

John 12-21 front coverOver twenty years ago my husband, Ken, had a business acquaintance ask him:  “What difference would it have made if Jesus had never risen from the dead?”

Jack and Ken had worked together on many projects, and been friends over the years.  When he asked Ken this question it was because he knew he didn’t know God at all, and was a little stumped about how to go about it.

Ken was only too glad to sit down with Jack that day, answer his question, and also tell him what it meant to put his faith in Jesus.  When Jack realized all that Jesus had done for him, and that Jesus was without a doubt God Himself, that He had been murdered, but then raised from the dead two thousand years ago, and was alive today, Jack gave his heart and life to Jesus Christ.  Two years later Jack died…but didn’t.  His body is in the grave, but Jack went to be with His Lord.  He’s living with Jesus today, and will for eternity.

This 10-lesson Bible Study of John Chapters 12-21 looks at the last week of Jesus life on earth, and then at the unbelievable significance of His rising from the dead.     – Kathleen

Click here for a Free Download of this study.

Click here to Purchase the John Chapters 12-21 Bible Study on Amazon.  

Click here to see Kathleen’s complete store of For-Sale Bible Studies on lulu.com.  

John Chapters 5-11 Bible Study “Is Jesus Really God?” available for free download.

John 5-11 icon cover page

Click HERE for a free download of this Bible Study.

Jesus came to earth as a baby, grew to manhood, and then began His three-year ministry on earth.  During those three years, on every street corner and grass-covered hill He told people He was:

The Healer (John 5:8)

The Son of God. (John 5:17&18)

The Life-Giver (John 5:21)

The Judge (John 5:26&27)

The Bread of life. (John 6:35)

The Living Water. (John 7:37&38)

The Forgiver and Freedom-Giver. (John 8:11)

The I AM. (John 8:58)

The Light of the World. (John 9:5)

The Good Shepherd. (John 10:11)

The Resurrection and the Life. (John 11:25)

Could there have been any doubt in anyone’s mind that Jesus was saying,

“I AM GOD!!” ??

This 8-lesson Bible Study of the John chapters 5-11 will challenge you to think about how your life should be different because Jesus is God.  –  Kathleen

Click here for a Free Download of this study. 

Click here to Purchase the John Chapters 5-11 Bible Study on Amazon. 

Click here to see Kathleen’s complete store of For-Sale Bible Studies at 20% discount on lulu.com.  

John Chapters 1-4 Bible Study : “How Great Thou Art” is Available for Free Download or Purchase

John 1-4 front coverA few weeks ago I was sitting outside a nursing home with a friend of mine. It was a beautiful day, and she was loving getting out into the fresh air after many days not even seeing the outside. I read the first five verses of John’s Gospel to her: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:1-5 She started singing, “Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands have made…” I joined in, and together, traffic noise and all, we sat out in front of her nursing home and sang all the verses we knew of “How Great Thou Art”. This 9-lesson Bible Study of the first four chapters of John is all about the One we were singing to. – Kathleen

Click here for a Free Download of this study. 

Click here to Purchase the John Chapters 1-4 Bible Study on Amazon. 

Click here to see Kathleen’s complete store of For-Sale Bible Studies on lulu.com.  

Galatians Bible Study “Free!!!” is Available for Free Download or for Purchase on Lulu and Amazon

Galatians iconThis 10-lesson Bible Study in Galatians shows us that, as Christians, our own sinful nature plays a little trick on us. Our pride starts us to thinking, “Well, yes, I need a Savior…yes, I’m a sinner…but I’d rather not feel like such a loser. I’d rather feel like my Savior loved me because I’m so lovable. I will do better in this area, or in that area…or I will do this extra good deed, or that one….and that will make me better in His eyes…I’ll be more worthy to be saved.” And in so thinking we slide away from the side of the One Who died so that we could be worthy. We begin to listen to another Gospel – the Gospel of works. We begin to love another savior – the one we’ve made up in our minds. Paul writes to them from a heart of love – reminding them that they are not slaves to works – they are…..Free!!!

Click here for a Free Download of this study.  

Click here to Purchase the Galatians Bible Study on Amazon. 

Click here to see Kathleen’s complete store of For-Sale Bible Studies on lulu.com.  

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