Friday, February 18, 2011

Chapter 3~Discussion and Homework

We had a great study yesterday and there were a couple of things I took away from the discussion on Chapter 3 that I wanted to share before giving the homework.

Redeem vs. grace
One of the girls brought up a good question and asked "What is the difference in redeeming and grace?"
  • Redeeming is grace.
  • To redeem is a verb/something you "do" whereas grace is a noun.
  • Redeeming does not come without a cost or sacrifice. Grace is free.
Excellence and Stillness
The other interesting point that came up is the glaring contrast between Ruth 3:12 (woman of excellence) and Ruth 3:18 (Be Still!).
  • What does it mean to be a woman of excellence? As young moms and wives, our culture has ingrained in our minds that we need to "do. do. do." to be a woman of excellence. There is the pressure to make sure your children are perfect, your house is perfect, your cooking is perfect, even your blog is perfect (ha!) and there is a book, article or blog that you "need" to read on each topic and every topic in between in order to be a mom, woman, wife, friend of excellence.
  • BUT verse 18 tells us to BE STILL! The girls pointed out that being a woman of excellence (v. 12) and being still (v.18) are a very hard thing to balance in this day and time b/c they seem polar opposites. I think your homework may help understand how this can be balanced according to God.
Homework ~Ruth 4~Who turns emptiness into fullness?
  1. Do you know Jesus as your Redeemer? What specific areas of your life has he redeemed? Take some time and thank Him!
  2. How do we as women of God become known for women of excellence?
  3. Look at these two scriptures and write down what God's picture of excellence is:
Proverbs 31
Philippians 4:8-9

We would love to hear what you are taking from this study and what the Lord is speaking to you if you feel led to share!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chapter 3~Where are we supposed to go in a new place?

Happy Thursday! I'm excited to dig into Chapter 3 with you.

Are you keeping a running list of the attributes each chapter mentions about God? Remember that we will compare the list you made at the beginning with this running list from each chapter. So far we have 14 attributes of God and today we will add two more.

The attributes we see in chapter 3 are that:
  • God blesses individuals -vs 10
  • God lives -vs 13
Redeem=restore the honor or worth of person, exchange or buy back for money; under threat, save from sins

  • Boaz was a kinsman redeemer which means he had the social obligation to redeem his relatives and family who had fallen on hard times and returned to Bethlehem empty.
  • He took his responsibility seriously and we see him fulfilling it with integrity and grace.
  • He took his relatives that were empty in every way and blesses with provisions and a new life.
To better understand his position, let's read the scriptures that explain his responsibility.
  • Duet. 25:5-10-brother's obligation to take wife of dead brother.
  • Leviticus 25:48 48-they retain the right of redemption after they have sold themselves.
  • One of their relatives may redeem them:
But if that person has no close relative to whom restitution can be made for the wrong, the restitution belongs to the LORD and must be given to the priest, along with the ram with which atonement is made for the wrongdoer. -Numbers 5:8
  • Redeemer-one charged with the duty of restoring the rights of another and avenging his wrongs
(Lev. 25:48, 49; Num. 5:8; Ruth 4:1; Job 19:25; Ps. 19:14; 78:35, etc.).
  • This title is peculiarly applied to Christ as He redeems us from all evil by the payment of a ransom.
  • Boaz is a picture to us of Jesus being our Redeemer.
Here are some things scripture says about our Redeemer:
I know that my redeemer[a] lives,
  and that in the end he will stand on the earth
. -Job 19:25

 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
  be pleasing in your sight,
  LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer
. -Psalm 19:14

They rembered that God was their Rock,
  that God Most High was their Redeemer
. -Psalm 78:35

  • Do you know Jesus as your Redeemer?
  • What specific areas of your life has He Redeemed? Take some time and thank Him.
There are two other things that stick out to me in this passage.

1. What we should strive to be in new situations which we can only accomplish if we rely on God to help us.

Ruth 3:12 says,
"Now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence."

Ruth, a foreigner, had come to be known by people in her new land as a woman of excellence. It wasn't because of:
  • what she had
  • who her parents were
  • her achievements or social status.
Ruth was known as a woman of excellence because of her:
  • strong faith in God
  • faithfulness to Naomi
  • hard work
  • ...everything we highlighted about her last week.
By man's standard it didn't fit the perfect picture, but in this new place with new people, she had achieved excellence. How do we as women of God become known for excellence? Look at these two scriptures and write down what God's picture of excellence is:
  • Proverbs 31
  • Philippians 4:8,9
2. This second one is a TOUGH one for many of us women. Naomi gives Ruth a specific instruction that comes hard for most women and you find it in verse 18. BE STILL! Often, we will not know an answer from God until we are willing to BE STILL. The Bible says, be still and know that I am God.

Ladies, we will find excellence in the new places in our lives if we will take some time to be still before Almighty God!

I am praying that you are able to BE STILL.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chapter 2 (continued)

I just realized I failed to post the questions as you study this week! I'm so sorry!!!! Before we start chapter 3 and discuss where we turn when we are empty, let's talk more specifics on Chapter 2. Take a moment to re-read it.
  • What does Boaz show us about Jesus?
  • In what specific ways has God surprised you with personalized acts of kindness?
  • What other attributes of God do we see in this passage?
  • In what ways does this passage illustrate John 3:16?
  • Now, read Ruth 3 and write down what it highlights in your mind.
Tomorrow I'll be posting the notes on Chapter 3. See you then, ladies.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ruth 2~Where do we turn when we are empty?

Hi ladies! I'm amazed at the new things the Lord continues to reveal to me in a book that I thought I knew like the back of my hand. I've been excited to share it with you. I love that His Word is inexhaustible!

Let's start with what Chapter 2 says about ...

The attributes this chapter shows are that He:
  • is with us-vs. 4
  • blesses individuals-vs. 4
  • is the God of Israel-vs. 12
  • is a protector-vs.12
  • sees our work-vs.12
  • rewards-vs. 12
  • shows us where to go-vs. 20
Key Words
Boaz=in Him is strength
Glean= gathering of what was left behind after crops were harvested
Kinsmen=the eldest blood relative had the responsibility to redeem family member that had fallen on hard times.

Naomi's heart was different when she returns to Bethlehem. When she left with her family in the beginning of Chapter One, it appeared she had a determined, self sufficient heart that was setting out to a godless land. Her heart upon returning was broken and dependent on God for her every need. She returned with Ruth and a deep feeling of emptiness. The fact that women that met her in Chapter 1 Verse 19 said, "Is this Naomi?" meant that 10 years had taken a toll on her and she did not even look like the same person.

Where do we turn when we are empty?

Take a moment to think-have you ever moved out in your life because you wanted to? Did you turn to others for advice first or did you seek God first? What happened?

Up to this point it has almost seemed like the book we are studying should be named Naomi. Alas! RUTH comes into full view as we study chapter 2. Without further ado...

  • She is a new believer in a new land.
I can only imagine how hard it was for her to leave what she had know her entire life.
  • She was poor.
Only the destitute and poor gathered the left over in the fields after the harvesting.
  • She was patient.
Ruth shows her patience in asking her mother in law for direction and in gathering and then threshing or beating the seeds out for grain.
  • She persevered until she had gathered a whole bushel.
Most people just gathered a couple hands full.
  • She was willing to work.
Ruth did not just sit around being proud of the fact that she had been so faithful to her mother in law and expect God to dump everything else in her lap. Her and Naomi were going to need to eat and she was willing to do whatever she needed to get food. The scripture "work out your salvation" comes to mind here.
  • She was willing to take instruction.
We see Ruth listening to Naomi and Boaz in order to know where she was supposed to go in this new land.
  • She was willing to step out in faith.
It is easy in the boldness of a new believer to just chart your own course, but in Ruth, we see a picture of a woman that listens to instruction and then is courageous enough to step out and trust that she is doing the right thing.
  • She is generous. 
Ruth works hard to glean but she takes the fruits of her labor and the provision Boaz gives her and shares it with Naomi.
  • She was faithful.
Ruth's faithfulness to God and Naomi brought her favor with Boaz. That favor brought her blessing and protection.

  • Are you poor?
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. -Matthew 5:3
When we walk humbly recognizing an Almighty God we can live a life with a heavenly perspective.
  • Are you patient?
Love is patient. -1 Corinthians 13:3
When we have experienced the patient and gracious love of God,  it changes us. We can extend the same patience to others.
  • Are you willing to work?
So then, my beloved, even as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own  salvation with fear and trembling. -Philippians 2:12
As believers we are to work out our salvation in front of a watching world. We are different because of what Jesus has done in our heart. As young moms, you are working out salvation in front of your kids. As a student, you are working out your salvation in front of your teachers and peers.
  • Are you willing to take instruction?
Apply thy heart unto instruction, And thine ears to the words of knowledge. -Proverbs 23:12
Every scripture inspired of God  is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in  righteousness. -2 Timothy 3:16
The most obvious place for us to turn with the Holy Spirit's help is the Bible. It would often make life so much easier if we went there first.
  • Are you bold enough to step out in faith?
in whom we have boldness and access in confidence through our faith in him. -Ephesians 3:12
We often do not embrace the confidence and boldness that our faith in Christ gives us. We have received a great inheritance when we come to faith in Christ. We need to embrace it.
  • Are you generous?
For I have given you an example, that ye also should do as I have done to you.  John 13:15
Jesus shows us generosity in every facet of His life. He is our example to follow.

  • Are you faithful?
for we walk by faith, not by sight...  2 Corinthians 5:7
It is hard to be people of faith when we can't visibly see answers.
May we move out in faith as Ruth did knowing that we walk before a faithful God that sees our every move and knows what's best for us. May we look at the book of Ruth as an example to us of how to walk humbly but faithfully with an all knowing God.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ruth 1~Where do we go when life gets tough?

Happy Thursday! Welcome back to those that are joining us via email, on Facebook and here on this blog. If you have Facebook and would like to connect with this group there, be sure to to add yourself by clicking here because we'd love to "meet" you.

Ready to dig into Ruth 1? I've been excited for today!

We know Naomi knows God/Yahweh/Jehovah.
"He that is"=old testament name for God

Chapter one sheds light on attributes of the Lord. He:
  • comes to peoples aid-vs. 6
  • provides food.-vs.6
  • shows kindness.-vs. 8
  • can turn against us.-vs. 13
  • God is a personal God.-vs. 16
  • has control of our lives-vs. 17
  • the Lord can bring affliction-vs. 21
Key Words
Elimelich=God is King
Naomi=pleasant one
Bethlehem=house of bread
Mara="sea of bitterness

Where do we go when life gets tough?

We will answer this question for ourselves.

I mentioned last week that we may have always looked at Ruth as a sweet story of faithfulness and love, but it is so much more and it applies to our daily lives!

2 questions:
1. Like Elimelich and Naomi, do you find yourself in a land of famine?
...Famine in your soul
...with your finances relationships
...or just life in general

2. If so, do you turn to God or do you look for places where the grass is greener (Moab)?

This chapter shows us a family looking for a place where the grass seems greener. We can learn soooo much from then as they left a famine in the "house of bread" for "God's washpot."

"Moab is My washpot reduced to vilest servitude...." Psalm 60:8
(Thank you to Melanie who is following along online and brought this scripture to our attention last week.)
A washpot was the dirty water left in a basin after people washed their feet. And think! These are the feet of people that walked everywhere. Those were some DIRTY feet!

Lesson for us in FAMINE:
1. a severe shortage of food, as through crop failure or overpopulation
2. acute shortage of anything
3. violent hunger

In Scripture:
We see Naomi has already gone once and then goes again to where the grass seems greener.
It is always a challenge when we experience famine in our land or soul to try not to move to place of more comfort.

In Scripture:
Naomi decides to leave Moab when she hears that Bethlehem is having ample crops. Upon her return, people greet her and she mentions she left that land full but is returning empty.
Question--Didn't she go Moab to BE full? Ended up the spiritual devastation of Moab had  the opposite effect and made her spiritually empty.
It is possible that when WE are trying to make our life better without seeking God that we become empty and experience a darkness that is like no other.

Lessons for us in GRIEF:
Naomi was grieving. She lost her husband and two sons. I think that Naomi had an emptiness because she had lived in a godless land and she had lost her family. She needed a base of support and a relationship with a living God that she had previously known in her life.

I can relate to Naomi's grief on two levels through the loss of my own son. One, YOU don't want to be with yourself so you can't imagine why anyone else would want to be with you. Two, you don't want to be in the condition you are in. Hardship and grief have a way of causing you to depend on God for everything in this life because He becomes your complete strength.

Naomi returns and the harvest of barley was the first crop harvested in the spring. Barley is the only grain that will survive a drought. Hence it is known as "the overcomer."

When we come to Jesus empty as Naomi returned to Bethlehem empty, he becomes our overcomer. Isn't that a beautiful picture!?!?

Today, Naomi has taught us:
  • It is possible to know God and not experience all He has for us.
  • It is possible to exist fruitlessly in a land of our choosing.
  • He is our light in a dark situation.
  • What an example of faith can be to our family and others around us.
  • Faith in a living God changes everything.
Ruth has taught us:
  • Don' t settle for what you've always known if it's not helping you grow.
  • Being faithful to God brings blessing and makes you full.
How does this change you?
Where do you go when life gets tough?

For next week:
Where do we turn when we are empty?
Read chapter 2
What does it say?
What does it mean?
What does it tell you about God?
What do you learn from Ruth?
How does it apply to you?

God  bless you!