In the book of Ruth, there was a man by the name of Elimelech , he was Ruth’s father-in law. Elimelech was married to Naomi; they had two sons Mahlon and Chilion . Elimelech was wrong when he decided to take his family and leave Bethlehem, he was not looking up, What made the decision so wrong was that he walked by sight and not by faith.
He moved his family from Bethlehem into the pagan nation of Moab, the Moabites were a despised people they worshiped the pagan god Chemosh. Elimelech died just a few short years after moving there. Sadly his only sons, Mahlon and Chilion died also.Mahlon was married to Ruth a Moabite woman. Chilion was married to Orpah also a Moabite.
Naomi lost her trust and faith in God, she and her husband should never have moved to a Pagan nation, they then encouraged their sons to marry pagan women. things did not go well for her------------------- this was a tragedy she felt she could not endure. It was not a time in history where women could take care of themselves, their very existents depended on the support of a husband or a close kinsman which is a close family member. Instead of repenting she became resentful, Naomi wanted to go home! Back to the safety of friends and family in Bethlehem.
She felt God had dealt bitterly with her. Naomi acted as so many of us do, we look at the circumstances and say how can this happen, when we should be looking up and saying I don’t know why this has happened to me but I know your Spirit is in this I know you will take my hand and walk me through this.----Faith
Of course God did see her through all of the pain, Ruth was a blessing from God that Naomi did not count on. Naomi tried to discourage her from going to Bethlehem with her, she wanted Ruth to stay in Moab with her people, Ruth would not hear of it, she loved Naomi and wanted to learn more about this Hebrew God of theirs. I believe Naomi underestimated the strength and conviction of her young daughter-in-law.
Ruth was a woman of her word, she was young, she was courageous, she knew and embraced commitment. Unlike the very world she was raised in Ruth was a woman of strong moral standards. She was ready to give up her past life for a new future in a very unfamiliar land.
Ruth knew what she was sacrificing and giving up, Mom and Dad, brothers, sisters, girlfriends, grandma and grandpa, the streets she played in as a child, everything so familiar to us that makes home a home. how many of us I wonder would have left the safety of our own personal cocoon and stepped out on faith as she did.
She was a Mobiate, she would be despised and hated, her culture worshiped a god who accepted human sacrifices, they promoted immoral behavior. This would be an unclean woman moving into their midst. Don't speak to her, don't touch her above all don't befriend her or we might be defiled, let her struggle to get her own water out of the well. These would be just some of the obstacles Ruth would be facing. It did not detour her.
Ruth was ready to leave on this journey for Bethlehem and nothing was going to stop her.
She did not allow her mother-in-law to talk her out of leaving with her.
This is what 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 If anything but death parts you and me.(Ruth 1:16-17)
It was Ruth’s faith in someone or something unseen that changed their entire future and ours-------God's plan for Ruth was a far greater plan than anyone could have imagined. She was to be the great grandmother of King David.
At that very time could anyone have actually seen God's plan in this? I don't think so. Ruth wanted to learn about this God she had heard about, He had touched her heart, Ruth was walking in Faith. Through God's divine intervention He not only richly blessed both of the women but also set the lineage for the coming of our Lord and Savior.
In Matthew 17:20 Jesus said if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mountain move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
The word Faith is used in the Bible 245 times.
I had been raised in a strict Catholic family. I attended catholic schools for 10 years. I was considered a dyed in the wool catholic, as was my family. When I married at the age of 19, life opened some doors for me that were to, of course, lead to Jesus. It did not seem so at the time. My new husband was an abusive man, just 2 weeks after we were married I received my first slap in the face. The abuse worsened and went on for 2 years before I left the marriage. Being from a family with such strong beliefs in the church, my mother pointed it out to me that we were Catholics and Catholics did not get divorces. I had a choice to make-- stay in the marriage or take the chance of remarriage and going straight to hell for living in adultery. I was only 22 years old I knew I would remarry some day, I made a very deliberate decision I said I'll take hell. This was not an easy choice I truly believed in hell then as I do now and I believed I was headed there.
I met my 2nd husband a couple of years later. I was so in love. We dated for a few years then started living together, the only child out of 5 children in my family living in sin. What did I care? I was going to hell anyway. It was at that time that my soon to be brother and sister-in-law had started attending this church in Costa Mesa, these people had actually been meeting in a tent. Wow. From a Catholic up-bringing to listening to (what seemed to me at the time) a bunch of holy rollers in a tent. I listened to the stories about Calvary Chapel and heard their on-going witnessing about receiving Jesus as their savior. They were driving everyone in the family crazy, no one wanted to be around when they came to visit. But the Holy Spirit was working in my life. I started paying attention to them and asking questions, then to their surprise one Saturday afternoon I said yes to going to church with them. I accepted Jesus into my life. I found out about forgiveness. I discovered I was not headed for hell after all. I came home a changed person.
My live in boyfriend (his name was Roger) said to me, "did you get this out of your system?" I answered that I had indeed accepted Jesus as my savior. His comment was "make a choice, its either me or God". I said "I made my choice, I chose God". But still, we were married shortly after. Unfortunately this marriage was headed for disaster also. Roger and I were divorced after 12 years. I am going to back up a few years here in my testimony. I was not from the typical 60's era, I had no desire to try drugs. The thought of not being in control of my senses just did not register with me. Also, I simply would not have wanted to face my dad if he ever found out. He was a very loving man, but boy you did not want to cross boundaries with him. In looking back now I can see God's hand in this, I didn't know it at that time though.
After Roger and I were married for about two years, he started bringing some very unsavory people into our lives. My husband had become a latent drug user, and the men he brought into our home were drug dealers. I was beside myself. How could he possibly allow this to happen right here in my home with my teenage daughters in the next room?
As you can guess, this did not get past my girls, they started smoking marijuana (which I discovered later they had found in their dads dresser drawers). Talk about a mother being in the dark. I wasn't even aware he kept drugs hidden there, but they knew!
My daughter Shelly started getting into trouble; running with the wrong crowd, ditching school, etc. Then one February night, just a few days before her 16th birthday, Shelly ran away. She left in the middle of the night with a girlfriend and our truck. We heard from others they were headed for Lake Charles, Louisiana. Where that idea came from was beyond us. Doing our own police work we were able to track her down just as she was driving into Lake Charles (teenagers are not that smart, they tend to leave clues). My husband was there waiting as she pulled to a stop. It happened that it was her birthday so when he opened the driver's door the first thing he said was "Happy Birthday. Now move over".
Shelly ran away again, a total of three times. Trouble always preceded and followed these very difficult times. The worst came when she and another friend decided to run away to Hollywood. That sounded like a lot of fun to them. They had no money and nowhere to go. In a local coffee shop they struck up a conversation with a couple of seemingly nice guys who offered to let them use the phone in their hotel room. Once in the room the door was locked behind them. My daughter was held hostage for three days, was continually raped by these guys, injected with various drugs and at times they tried to put her on the street for prostitution. That was the only thing they weren't successful at. The afternoon of the third day Shelly was able to call the police and was rescued.
When the police called to tell me they had Shelly at their precinct and filled me in on what had happened, my response was she's lying. She's been in trouble again don't believe her. I had become cold and hardened against my own daughter.
My marriage ended two years later. So much trouble. Where was my God throughout all of this? It seemed I was all alone. He was there I just didn't recognize it then. I do now.
Here I was single again at the ripe old age of 44 years old. It seemed old at the time anyway.
When you are in your 40's and single, life just is not as easy as it was when you are in your 20's. There are some strange people out there. It was a very unhappy and difficult time. I did not want to be alone again, its just downright scary.
But my Lord and Savior was always there at the ready just waiting on me to ask for his help, which I did constantly. I discovered the blessing in unanswered prayer. I prayed time and again that my husband would accept Jesus as his Savior and our marriage would be healed. It never happened. As of this day he still refuses to accept Jesus.
I remember going to various bible studies throughout the years and prayer breakfasts with my sisters. Sometimes the speaker would have a word from the Lord for someone, I always thought "why doesn’t that ever happen to me? I would love to hear an encouraging word from the Holy Spirit". It never seemed to happen. Oh poor me!
One Saturday morning my sister Judy and I went to a prayer breakfast. It was so long ago I don't remember who the speaker was or what she was teaching on. I was sitting listening when I happened to glance out the window and noticed my car, which was probably parked in the wrong place, I was looking at my car thinking I wonder if its ok to park there, I hope I don't get a ticket, when my sister started nudging me saying she's pointing to you. This women had a word for me!!
I have never forgotten what she said and I depended on it. The word was from The Song of Solomon Ch. 2 verse 11 -- For lo the winter has past, the rain is over and gone. The Lord was telling me my difficult years were over. I lived on that promise. It came true on July 4, 1996 when I met a man who was to become my husband, his name was Ken Rude
Ken was a chief on the California Highway Patrol. We were pretty much on the go with his job up and down the state of California. After a couple of years we bought a vacation home in Lake Alma nor Ca.We spent summers there, winters back here in AG. We loved it! We also bought a time share in Cabo San Lucas where we would visit once a year. We had what seemed to be a great life. Boy how things can take a turn!
In March of 2006 I had been patting myself on the back for getting all of my checkups out of the way for the year. Eyes, Thyroid, paps smear, blood tests. I had this one under control. What a woman! We were planning a trip to Cabo when my doctor called to say he saw something and wanted to get a better look. It meant surgery. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The only up side - if there had to be one - was the fact that I was always on top of my check-ups so this was found in the first stage. That almost never happens. Ovarian cancer is considered to be the secret killer of women, it's usually not diagnosed until the 3rd or 4th. stage. God is always in the details.
After surgery I started chemotherapy treatments. As some of you know its a nasty thing to go through for six horrible treatments. You become weak and experience flu like conditions. I was not able to think for myself. Your immune system drops to dangerous lows leaving you open to catching any infections which could lead to immediate hospitalization. For a woman the worst part was losing my hair! Thank God for anti nausea medications, there's no need to get terribly sick any more. My God and my prayer partners got me through this nightmare. Ladies if you are not in a prayer group I want to encourage you to join one right away. I was given the advice to join a cancer support group, I didn't need one I had my support from my sisters in the Lord.
In August my husband started complaining about not feeling well. He was becoming weak, he started losing weight. He was diagnosed with AML a leukemia that is usually fatal in older people. My husband was given 6 months maybe a year to live. Here we were both going through surgeries at the same time and chemotherapy, Ken was being treated in the City of Hope and I was here in San Luis Obispo. He passed away after only five months.
I was blessed and I still am, my husband was a wonderful and thoughtful man. We shared 9 years and four months together. He prepared the way for me in a future without him. Ken walked with the Lord and is now standing in His presence.
When David felt betrayed, he was so troubled he cried out to God " O that I had wings like a dove, I would fly away and be at rest". David wanted to hide, escape his personal problems. Its easy to feel that way.
Boaz after meeting Ruth said. the "Lord God of Israel under whose wings you have come for refuge will repay your work".
Several years ago there was a popular country and western song, the words went like this--- "On the wings of a snow white dove, He sends his perfect love, a sign from above on the wings of a dove".
Isaiah though says Wait on the Lord for wings like eagles and by Faith, Soar above the storms of life. I want to encourage you to enlist the Holy Spirit every day, Soar like eagles, walk in faith, trust in your living God.