Come & study God's Word with the ladies of Journey Christian Church of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Session 3: An Encounter

This week is all about kindness & humility! Typically in this online study, I jump right to the daily assignments. However, this week I was truly moved by the intro. If you haven't taken time to read it - please stop and do so now.

Here is the video from our local New Orleans session.  Remember - the first 2-3 minutes are just an opener - please feel free to watch this - and then do you own study - or continue on to "join us" for our entire time of study!

Ruth Study - Session 3, Week 4 from Penny Franklin on Vimeo.

I love this story about how the probation officer took the time to be nice - to relate with Kelly's friend Lisa. Isn't it amazing how just one small statement - or even a look can make your day? We often look for someone to show us this kind of kindness in our every day lives - but how often do we look for others to show kindness to?

Today, really look that person in the grocery store in the eye and find a way to relate - to be kind! You just never know how it will impact their day!

Day 1 - Unexpected Kindness

Our text for this day is Ruth 2:10-12. Ruth wants to know why Boaz is being so nice to her. Ever wondered that about God? Boaz noticed Ruth for what she did, rather than how she looked! As Kelly puts it on page 68 - Boaz noticed her for her character rather than all the things she thought she would be known for - Moabite, widow, financial status.

Isn't it comforting to know that our Lord doesn't notice us by our sinful status - rather He wants to save us from it!!

Ruth was a very hard worker... and probably thought that no one noticed all that she was doing! Do you ever feel this way? Do you ever get weary & discouraged in thinking that no one sees all that you do? Read Isaiah 58:6-12 and find hope today!

Before we move on to Day 2 - I want to show you 2 more things...

On page 69 we read about how Boaz understood that God was Ruth's ultimate authority! He would do what he could to take care of Ruth - but in verse 12 we see him recognize that it would be the Lord who would reward & protect her. Read this verse and let the Lord speak to you as well.

I hope that no matter who you run to for strength and protection - that you too get that the Lord should be your ultimate provider!!

Read Psalm 91 - (yes the entire chapter!)
I love how it talks about the shadow of God. Imagine for just a moment what His shadow must be like! There is no shadow bigger than the Lord's - and we can find comfort in His shadow!!

Day 2 - Humility

Ok, I TOTALLY loved the story that Kelly told about her Dad shining shoes before he became a Pastor!!  If you haven't read it - go and do so now - it's on page 72.

This was my favorite quote, "the posture of his heart could be fully surrendered."  Where is the posture of your heart today?  It is in a place of complete and total humility and surrender?

Kelly talked about seasons of hardship and humbling and how they don't always make us feel good - but they do put us in a place to most be used and blessed by God!

I love the verses that she had us look up in this section of homework - Matthew 23:11-12, James 4:6, 10, 1 Peter 5:5-6.  It is from these verses that we learn that exaltation comes not from promoting ourselves, but from humbling ourselves!  God exalts us in His proper time!

In studying Ruth, we get to see Ruth's "proper or due time" - and we can have hope that God has a proper time to bring us up from that humble assignment and exalt us as well!  So hang on - it's coming in due time!

Day 3 - Invited to the Table

Read Ruth 2:14  Ruth had a seat at one of the best tables in the land!  Here is the beautiful part of this invitation - she was invited just as she was and got restored in the process!

Boaz had the authority to invite her to his table and to dine with him.  We too, ladies, have been invited to an amazing feast!  We have been invited to eat at the King's table!  Read Revelation 19:6-10.

We have been invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb!  And ladies we will be wearing fine linen - bright and clean!

I don't know about you - but that sounds magical!  Almost like a fairy tale that I ready to my daughter at night!  He (Jesus) clothes us in His righteousness!  Yes, we can come to the table as we are- but as we arrive, we find ourselves totally restored and clothed by the Lord!

Day 4 - A Generous Gift

Read Ruth 2:15-19

On this day, I was completely inspired by how hard Ruth worked at such a menial task.  And when given more to pick up - she actually does!  She goes home with so much food for her and Naomi.  I love how Kelly puts this on page 79, "God provides us with the gift of work yet still invites us to do the work."

Wow!  I want you to think about how you "work".  Is it a fun job?  Do you get a ton of accolades?  We never see Ruth complain!  Today, thank God for the work that you do have and that you have able hands in which to work!

Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-11

What was your favorite part of this passage?  Here's mine: verse 8, "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed."

Whew!  Did you catch the "all's" and the "everythings" here?  Now that is some energy to keep doing the work!  No matter how tedious or mundane!

Ruth provided for Naomi and never complained.  She never once told Naomi she would just go her on way once they got to Bethlehem.  She never once asked Naomi to get up and help her!  She didn't even question if Naomi was going to do anything to help bring in money or food.

Basically Ruth gave from the very place she had need herself!  Ruth never wallowed!

Ouch!  I know this was a moment of conviction for me!  I wallow when I should be giving.  I want to give you a challenge today:

Don't wallow - instead give from that exact area!  On page 81, Kelly says, "We all have something to give even if we're broke or broken."

Today, find someway that you can give instead of wallow!

Day 5 - A Kinsman-Redeemer

Read Ruth 2:19-23

I love this section of study!  Mainly because I see my Lord in so much of what we learn about Boaz.  Let's see...

Naomi asked Ruth where she had been and Ruth answers with a "who" instead of a "where".  On one level I think this is kind of cute.  Perhaps she has Boaz on the brain.  Perhaps he was all she was thinking about so when Naomi asked where she gleaned - "Boaz" is all that could come out of her mouth!

{insert laughter and smiles here - remembering our first crush and such}

But on to a more serious correlation...

Kelly says on the bottom of page 83, "she knew the significance wasn't in the where, but in the who".  Oh that we might see the same thing in our Lord!  It's not about how I'm going to find the money to pay my bills, it's not about where to go to work, it's not about why is all this happening... instead it's all about the Who that can deliver and provide for it all!

This week we learned about what a kinsman-redeemer can do for their family!  We get to see how Boaz has the opportunity to fully restore and redeem Ruth.

We also get to see some restoration happen in the heart of Naomi as well.  Strange how going home - going back to the place where you know the Lord to be - can restore your soul.

When Naomi first left Moab she was very bitter because she felt that God had brought about all the hurt she was experiencing.  Then look and see what she says in Ruth 2:20, "May he be blessed of the Lord..."

What?!  We see Naomi talking about Boaz being blessed of the Lord!  I some healing is going on in Naomi's heart!  What can we learn from Naomi here?  If you are bitter, sad, overwhelmed by all that's happened to you.  Go back to where you know the Lord is working - church, your Bible, etc... and wait for the Lord to restore you.  If it can happen to Naomi - a mother who lost both of her children, her husband, her home - it can happen to you!

Let the Lord be your Kinsman-Redeemer today!

To end our session - we listened to Kelly's song "Redeeming Love"

Monday, September 20, 2010

Session 2: Arriving

While in the last session we saw Naomi "get up" and arise, this week we will see Ruth "get to work!".

This week, as we journey with Naomi & Ruth, we finally arrive in Bethlehem.  Our text for this week's worth of study comes from Ruth 1:19-21.  I can hardly wait to share with you some of the wonderful truths that I personally took home from this portion of our study!!

(In this video - there is a small 2 minute intro.  Please feel free to stop the video after this intro.  Otherwise feel free to watch our entire local bible study session).

Untitled from Penny Franklin on Vimeo.

Day 1: Coming Home

Did you notice that the town was stirring about Naomi "coming home"?  I wonder if she was well known and well like.  I wonder if the women were noticing Ruth and talking about who she was and why she was with Naomi.  The scripture doesn't share these details with us, but as women, who love to talk - you can only imagine what was being whispered behind the tents of Bethlehem.

Also take note that Naomi changes her name.  Naomi means "lovely" and in verse 20 she says to the women of the city to no longer call her by her given name, but rather to call her Mara - which means bitter.

Did you notice who she blames for all her hardships?  the Almighty!

Look at verse 21 - "I went out full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.  Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?"

I want to ask you two things here...

1.)  Can you be "lovely" and afflicted by the Lord at the same time?  Naomi didn't think so.  Was she on target or did she miss an opportunity to rise above her circumstances?

2.)  Is it okay to be honest with God about your feelings about what He has allowed or caused to happen in your life?

I believe that it is okay to be honest with God.  The fact is, He already knows your thoughts.  If we would take the time to be honest with Him, about how we feel about Him, we would more than likely come to a place of dependance upon Him.  And in dependance we find power!  Power to rise above the junk that we're living through.

I hope you took the time to go through the verses where Job & David got honest with God.  Seeing how our heroes of the faith dealt with affliction helps to guide us through our painful experiences - yet with their wisdom!

Day 2:  A Hopeful Glimmer

In this day's homework we begin to see a light far in the distance.  The tide changes in these verses.  But before we look at that glimmering light - I want you to see a wonderful summary of Ruth Chapter 1.

Look back on page 42 - first paragraph...
"I say quickly because we can read the first chapter in a couple of minutes, potentially hindering us from giving proper weight to the famine, the move, the marriage of two sons, the death of a husband, the death of two sons, the beginning of a return journey, the turning back of one woman, and now the arrival in Bethlehem."

Wow!  Now that is a lot to cover in one small chapter.  Recently I wrote a "Decade in Review" on my Living Above blog.  It was quite amazing to see all that happened in a 10 year period.  Chapter 1 of Ruth is in essence the same thing.  Remember they stayed in Moab for 10 years.  So in just 10 years - Naomi went from complete joy to complete devastation.

What about you?  What have you experienced in the past 10 years?  What would your "chapter 1" look like?

Now on to the sowing & reaping...
I love this quote from Hubbard told by Kelly on page 43 - "When God is at work, bitter hopelessness can be the beginning of some surprising good."

Look at Ruth 1:22 - "So Naomi returned, and with her Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, who returned from the land of Moab.  And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest."

I want to focus on the "barley harvest".  This was were it all starts turning good for these two ladies!  I'm sure they knew or understood the extent of the "good" that was to come... but a harvest is almost always a sign of hope!  Seed has been sown and now produce is to be harvested or reaped!

I want to ask you today - When was your barley harvest?  Have you experienced a time in your life when everything was all bad - all the time - and then something happened that made it all good?

Today - look for and identify your barley harvest!  Thank God for sowing those seeds and reaping them for your benefit & good.

One quick thing... if you think for a moment that it's just not your season for sowing or reaping... THINK AGAIN!!!

Read Genesis 8:22.  While the earth remains, shall not cease - these are pretty good indicators that it's always a time of sowing and reaping - for everyone!

At this time in the workbook, Kelly inserts a song for us to enjoy that goes along with our study.  As you listen to the song, follow along on page 46 of your book.  I want you to imagine Ruth & Naomi - arriving in Bethlehem, tired, weary and emotional, and yet understanding that it was time to reap the barley harvest!

(If you want to watch our local Bible Study in session - feel free to click here.  If not, skip over this video to continue reading our homework summaries!)

Ruth Study - 9-15-10 - Part 2 from Penny Franklin on Vimeo.

Day 3:  A Mysterious Relative

I just love history.  You really can have a better understand of what's happening today - when you understand what's come before you!

We get to see a little of the history behind Ruth's story in this day's homework.  We learn that Boaz was from Elimilech's family.  Remember that Elimilech was Naomi's husband.  We also learn that Boaz was a wealthy man.

Read Ruth 2:1-3

I want to focus on verses 2-3 for just a bit.  Did you notice that in verse 2 and also in Ruth 1:22 - the author of Ruth refers to Ruth as the Moabitess!  As if we had forgotten that she was from that sinful place!!!  Why do you think they refered to Ruth in this manner?

I love what Kelly has to say about this on page 48 - at the bottom - "it's a tarnished heritage she is powerless to change."

I want to ask you today - do you have a "tarnished heritage" that you too are powerless to change?  Perhaps it's a life style, or a life status?  Or maybe it's more about your current living location or conditions?  Or maybe it's more about the results of a sin in your life?

I want to give you some hope today!  Keep reading Ruth!  Ruth overcomes her "Moabitess" status and you can overcome your sinful status as well.  Don't let it linger and identify you!  Ruth finds a redeemer in Boaz (sorry, I know I'm getting ahead here - but I want to sow some seeds of hope for you!) and you have a Redeemer as well that accepts you in your sinful status and makes you clean!

Again just a few more things... before we move on to Day 4. (I'm really trying to keep it short - but it's just stuffed with too much good stuff to learn!)

In Ruth 2:2 - look at how respectful Ruth is to Naomi.  She basically asks permission to go out and find a way to provide for the two of them.  Don't miss this!  Notice that there is always room for us to be polite - no matter how desperate our circumstances are!  There is no need for us to transfer our heartache onto someone else by being rude!

Glean.  What a word.  Ruth asks if she could go out and glean and basically find someone to be gracious to her.  Do you know what the word glean means?  It means to gather or to pick up.  Basically Ruth was asking Naomi if it was okay if she joined the other poor people and gather and pick up what was left behind by the servants or hired hands in someone else's field.

What a lowly job!  In today's standards, it might be getting in line at a soup kitchen.  Or standing in line to apply for unemployment.  I don't know this for sure... but I would imagine that coming from Moab, Ruth didn't do too much "gleaning."  And in doing so - she was hoping to find someone that would show her some favor.

Where are you today?  Are you hoping & praying someone will show you some favor?  If so, don't give up!  Ruth didn't and as a result... she just so "happened" to come to Boaz's field.  Has God ever provided for you in a "just so happened" kind of way?  Praise Him for His provision right now if He has!

Day 4:  A Day's Work

Here we see Ruth get to work!  I loved this day's homework.  Ruth, yes was a Moabite - but she was also a very hard worker.  Look at what Kelly says about Ruth and the foreman on the bottom of page 53.  "The foreman reminds us that where we come from and what kind of blood runs though our veins is not nearly as impactful as our character and reputation.

Ruth saw no task beneath her (gleaning) and she arrived early (she had been there since early morning!).

I want to ask you today - Is there work, or an assignment that you have not embraced because you think it is too beneath you?  If so... you might just be missing not only a HUGE blessing - but God's rescue for you!

By Ruth humbling herself to be a gleaner - she put herself in just the right location to meet Boaz!  And from the union of Ruth and Boaz we get King David and eventually Jesus!  Think about this for a moment.  What amazing event are you missing out on in the future - all because you will not bow low to what God wants you to do today!

Don't wait sit around and wait for things to "just happen to and for you" - be like Ruth & get to work!

On page 56, Kelly asks us what was meaningful to us in the lesson.  My answer was this:
"No task is too small!  You (God) provided even in the what seemed like the mundane!"

(I did have a small little aside question for God... Ruth 2:7 - the foreman takes note that she had been sitting in the house only for a little while.  I asked God would I ever get to sit in the house - if just for a few minutes of rest - :) LOL!)

Day 5: A First Encounter

We finally get to see the romance get started!  Don't you wish you could watch this story unfold on the big screen?!

Read Ruth 2:8-9.  Wow!  He talks to her!  Let's listen in...

"Listen carefully, my daughter.  Do not go to glean in another field; furthermore, do not go on from this one, but stay here with my maids.  Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them.  Indeed, I have commanded the servants not to touch you.  When you are thirsty, go to the water jars and drink from what the servant draw."

Wow!  I think he likes her - what do you think?  LOL!

He wants to stay with him.  He wants to provide for her.  He wants to protect her.  He wants to bring some ease to her life.

Boaz did not condemn Ruth for her Moabite status.  It's as if he completely overlooks this about her moves right into taking care of the innocent!  My sweet sisters... this is EXACTLY what Jesus wants to do for us.  I want you to read Ruth 2:8-9 again.  But this time, imagine Christ saying this to you!

Jesus wants you to stay with Him.  He wants to provide for you!  He wants to protect you from harm and evil.  He want to give you living water that will quench your dry spirit!  Please let Him!  He doesn't condemn you - He loves you so!  Drink from His well of kindness.

Close your Bible study time listening to Kelly's song - Arriving.  It's an upbeat song that will put a spring in your step today!

See you all later!  Session 3 is going to be GREAT!!!

Your sis in the faith,

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Session 1: Two Journeys

Welcome to our first real week of studying Ruth!  I'm not sure if you've already done your "homework" or if you're checking in with the blog first... but I would like to encourage you to go and read & work through the first 5 days of assignments in Session 1.

You're going to read about 2 very different journeys.  Come on back and let's talk about them when you're done!

If you've already completed the daily work - then let's dive right in!

I'm having a journey of my own through this study... it's one of a technical nature.  We do have video this week!  Yeah!  However the video for the entire study somehow (operational error) did not record.  I promise for week 2 - you'll get to see and watch and hear the entire local study!

But for now - please listen to this introduction and summary of Session 1.  In this video - I point out a few things that I saw that are not necessarily in your book.  They're just a few things that seemed to just jump off the pages of my Bible and I want to share them with you!

Okay, let's get started.  I've outlined just a few things (day by day) that I hope you picked up while doing your own study.  Please feel free to leave your comments here.  I would love to build a community of new friends and sisters in the faith - right here on this Bible study blog!

Day 1 - Fleeing Home

I loved learning about how Naomi & Elimelech "found" themselves in Moab.  It's interesting to me that they choose to go to such a place.  Based on the other verses that we read in this chapter, I'm guessing that every good Israelite knew that the people of Moab were not God-fearing folks.

They left Bethlehem because there was a famine and decided to go to Moab - where there was food.  I wonder if there was another more pleasing option for them to choose - some place other than Moab.

I hope you did your homework and discovered how the nation of Moab came to be!  It all goes back to Lot in Genesis.  Take to to dig this out if you haven't had a chance.

I love this from Kelly, "Perhaps the Lord has you in difficult circumstances and the attractive land of Moab is an alluring decision away.  Escaping to easier terrain is all too tempting when we're weary in hardship."

Are you weary today?  Do you just want to escape and you're willing to throw caution to the wind just for a "piece of bread?"  As we read more about Ruth's story I hope that you can learn from their mistakes and cling to your God no matter how hard the times get!

Don't lose heart!  Galatians 6:9 - for a wonderful harvest is waiting for you if you don't give up!

Day 2 - Returning Home

Naomi made the first journey - from Bethlehem to Moab with her husband and 2 sons.  Then she returned to Bethlehem with a completely different group of people.  Naomi was the only one who made both trips!

Upon arriving in Moab, Naomi's 2 sons took for themselves Moabite wives.  Makes sense, it's where they are living.  Does this make it okay or even right?  No way!  And very quickly in our reading of Ruth, we find all the men gone!  First Naomi's husband and then later both of her sons die.

Think about this for a moment.  You lose both your husband and your 2 sons within a very short period of time!  I was amazed this week to see how Naomi handles this!  What would be your reaction?  How would you handle this extremely tragic loss?

Let's look and see what Naomi did.  Read Ruth 1:5-6.

What did Naomi do right after reading that her sons died?  You can answer this within the first 2 words of the verse!

She arose.  She got up!  I found this to be amazing!  I would probably be in the bed not answering my phone or talking to anyone!!!  And we see Naomi get up!

I want to ask you today - do you need to arise?  Do you need to get up from where you are - a place you should have never come to in the first place?

Let's look and see what she did next... (same verses)
She packed her bags to head back to Judah, for she had heard that the Lord had visited His people!

She got up and decided to go be where she knew she could find God!!!  The Lord has visited Judah and had released the famine.  Naomi made a decision to return to her people, her God, at a place where she knew she could find His provisions.

Today, I want to ask you a similar question... do you need to get up and go back to where you know you can find not only His provisions for your life - but God Himself?!  If so... pack your bags and do not delay!!!

Day 3 - Weeping Forward

Don't you just love chick-flicks?!  They allow us women to cry without guilt!  I love a good tear-jerker movie!  And we get to see the waterworks here in Ruth 1:7-14.  (go read it again if you want!)

Naomi just wants to get home - to her people and she tried four different times to urge her daughters-in-law to go back to Moab.  It's interesting that she doesn't urge them to stay in Moab - rather they immediately go with her and later Naomi wants to send them back!

And eventually Orpah decides to go back home to Moab while Ruth decides to travel on with Naomi.  I learned a new phrase in this day of study - weeping forward.  Orpah wept and went back to her old life.  Ruth wept and moved forward to a new life.

I'm sure we've all wept over our past life and probably even continued in that very life that made us cry... but have you ever wept forward?  Discuss this with us!  This is usually a positive thing!!

I love the very last sentence on this day, "It's possible to cry and walk."  Don't let your tears keep you from moving forward!

Day 4 - A Long Obedience

I have to admit something personal here... the study from this day has helped me in my morning exercise program.  Kelly talked about a "sustained obedience."  Four times Naomi tried to persuade her daughters-in-law to go home, to turn around and go back where they came from!  And finally... Orpah gave in and Ruth pushed forward.  Ruth dodged every bullet coming from Naomi and was persistent!  You can almost here the determination in her voice in Ruth 1:16, "Don't urge me to leave you or turn back from following you."

To put this in modern day language it might sound something like this..."Enough already with the "returning"  I'm going with you and that's that!"

Oh to have that kind of persistent determination about doing what God has told us to do!  I want to ask you today - do you have sustained obedience or spotty obedience?

I realized this morning that I have spotty obedience when it comes to running every morning.  So today, even though my iPod needed to be charged up - I went and ran.  I thought about running in a sustained manner as well!  And I love the freedom I felt as I got on the scales upon my return.

Kelly says this on page 26 of your workbook, "when we grasp His love and the truth that obedience is for our freedom, we will change our circumstances to protect our environment to obey."

Do you need to change your circumstances so you can find freedom in your obedience?

Day 5 - Wherever you go

AH!  Ruth's voice... finally!  Read Ruth 1:16-17
This is the first time we really get to hear from Ruth.  I love hearing her strength - right from the get go!

Ruth was honest and yet kind, persistent and loyal all at the same time.  What we say outloud has amazing power.  Our words can bring both life and death to someone's spirit.

Kelly took us on a journey of our own on this day regarding what we say, how we say it and when we say it!

Just for review - here were the verses: Proverbs 16:23-24, Proverbs 18:13, Proverbs 25:11, Proverbs 27:5-6

Which one spoke to you the most and why?

Mine was Proverbs 25:11.  "Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances".  Wow!  I need to mindful of the timing of what comes out of my mouth!!!

Kelly says this on page 29, "Lack of honest communication has to be one of the ultimate destroyers of relationships, while learning the quality of gracious but bold speech can be a balm in bitter and complicated situations."

Do you need to have an honest conversation with someone today?  If so, be bold, like Ruth - and yet gracious and healing in the words that you choose.

My charge for you today is this - Love God's people!  Ruth did.  She loved His people so much that she wanted to stay with Naomi and make her home with her mother-in-law wherever that took her!  Make your home with God's people and love them!

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this first Session!

To end our local time together we listened to Kelly's song "Wherever You Go".  Follow along in your book on page 31 and let God speak to your heart with this modern day version of Ruth 1:16.  Keep in mind that the context of this verse was pain and sadness and yet filled with determination & loyalty!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Week 1 - Introduction

I am so thrilled that you have decided to be a part of the wonderful Ladies Bible Study.  I that if you give God the opportunity, He is going to show you some amazing things about Himself, about you and about His plan for your life.  Yes,  all that can happen through the 4 very small chapters of Ruth.

So how will this work exactly?  I hope that you have your book right beside you!  If you do... I would like to "introduce you to your book."  (don't you just love new books and the promise that they bring!)

This book/study has 6 sessions.  Within each session, there are 5 assignments, which are separated out into "days."  Please feel free to work through these daily assignments at your leisure - whatever best fits your schedule.  Of course I would recommend that you fit the assignments into one week.  Not only because that is how we are going through the study here locally - but you will more than likely stick with this study and get the most out of it if you put yourself on a disciplined schedule.

Here, online, we will address some of the discussion questions that are found throughout the book.  Please feel free to truly "voice" your thoughts and the things that God tells you and shows you within the pages of this book!  Make this book PERSONAL!  I do this often and am constantly amazed at what I learn, when my pen begins to write!

Now turn to page 31.  Kelly Minter has written an entire album to go along with this study!  You can find the music at iTunes or you can purchase a CD at the same place you found the book.  I would highly encourage you to get this!  Your spirit is going to truly be touched when you hear the music that matches Ruth's journey.

Now turn to page 32-33 - RECIPES!!!  Yummy!  If you're doing this study with a group (in your location) you might consider making these meals together!  Cooking and eating together brings a whole new level to bonding and relating.  I wish we could do this in our local group - but space, location, and schedule are not allowing us to do so.  However... all in one book we get Jesus and recipes - you can't get much better than that!!!

So with ALL that said.... now let me introduce you to Ruth.

I'm curious, before we reference the book... how much you know about this girl?  Yes, she was a real person in the Bible!  Her story is truly amazing.  I hope you have your Bible right beside your computer!  If so, please turn to the book of Ruth.

Find it?  Don't worry if you had to use the Table of Contents!  It's a great story - but a small one.  She's tucked away in between Judges and 1 Samuel.  If you're not really looking for it - you'll probably miss it and skip right over it as you're turning the pages of your Bible.

I want to share with you a little commentary I found in my own Bible about her story.

(yes, this was originally recorded via video - but at the time we're having some technical difficulties... I promise to have those resolved for the next session)

Listen to Introduction to Ruth

Okay... we're almost done for today...
I want you to read pages 6 & 7 of your book.  I want you to know go back to the first paragraph on page 7 and circle every description of Ruth that relates in some way to your life.

Have you...
longed to be loved?
                been devastated by loss?
                                      struggled as a stranger?
                                                         lived with bitterness?

You see ladies, once we can connect on a personal level with the people in the Bible, we can come to an understanding that our Bibles are more than just history books - but that it is a book about ourselves and how and Almighty God loves us very much!

I hope you've been encouraged by Ruth's history so far!  I want you to know from the beginning... her story ends well  and yours can too when we walk with God!

In our local group, we concluded our time together in prayer and asked that God would show us something special in this study.  We then watched the following video of Kelly.

I'll see ya next week!