When my computer shuts down unexpectedly while I’m online, when I sign back on, in the corner of my screen there appears a button that says “restore.” This button is designed to take you back to the tabs and sites you were visiting or working on before the crash or shut down occurred. It is there to bring you back to the place where you once were.
Have you ever experienced a shut down moment in life? A time when is seems that the walls came crashing in and you lost sight of where you were? Has there ever been a time when you just need a refreshing? You needed to step back, evaluate everything presently before you, and start again? I’m pretty sure we can all raise our hand to attest to being in similar situations at one time or another. A time when you just felt depleted and needed to be restored.
Restoration is right up God’s alley. Everything in the Bible points mankind to His holy desire to see people restored. God cares about us. Not only the spiritual us, but He cares about all of us. Every tidbit in life, He is well aware of. Many people only look to God in the big and dramatic areas of life, but God is concerned about your well-being in the whole of your life.
John once wrote, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth,” (3 John 2). I believe that John wanted us to walk out the restored life in our daily living. Not just claiming it for our salvation (which, needless to say, is very important), but to have it as an active mindset that goes before us and prospers us in every part of our daily living.
Slumps are all around us, but we are not called to be slump dwellers. We have a choice how to handle the strains and afflictions we face in this life. Peter gives us this advice:
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (1 Peter 5:6-10)
In these few verses, Peter doesn’t hide the adversities one faces, but he highlights what to do with them. First, he states to humble yourself before God and let Him exalt you (vs. 6). When God is the one exalting you, you are restored! Next, in verse 7, he tells his readers what to do with all those cares that are weighing you down, all those things that are making you feel like you are in a shut down mode. He says to get rid of them. And, we are not to dispose of them any kind of way. We are to give these burdens to God because He is the One who truly cares for you. Once again, if God is caring for you and helping you to deal with your burdens, you are in a restored position.
There are things that can try to hinder and rob you of the restored life. Following the above two verses, we see some of the afflictions and dealing with the enemy that people face and how we are to be on guard against the advances of it and be steadfast in our faith through it all. We have a responsibility to protect our restored status while pushing forth in the faith.
And lastly, in verse 10, Peter lets us know that though there may be suffering at times, it will never compare to the glory that we inherit by our Lord Jesus Christ. It is He that will see us through. It is He that will make us perfect. It is He that will “stablish, strengthen, settle you.” It is through Him you can be restored!
In our everyday life, as well as in the time to come after we pass from here, in Christ, we live a restored life. Once in a while we may feel that we have been knocked off our rocker, but remember who you are and whose you are. In Him, we don’t have to stay in that “knocked off” state. Follow Peter’s advice and give what you are dealing with to God and ask Him to hit the restore button in your life.
God wants you to be blessed in Him. He wants you, more than anyone else, to live a successful Christian life. Let Him in your world, your circumstances, and your situations and lean on Him for complete restoration and healing. He will pick you up, polish you off, and make you like new again.
Here’s a thought for today: “NEVER GIVE UP!”
Many of us had beautiful dreams as a child. Dreams of how life would be and the things we would do. Some of those dreams were childish because we were children. But, some of those dreams were real aspirations to do something great in this life and to push past what’s before you right now.
I am here to tell you today, don’t let go of those dreams. They are still in you and they are still waiting to see their realization come to pass. Life may get hard sometimes in the race before us, but keep pushing on. Believe God has your best in mind always, and NEVER GIVE UP!
God bless you!
There is always something about the stories where the underdog comes out on top, where the least of all becomes the greatest that sends chills of inspiration up the spine.
The story of David and Goliath has long evoked a sense awe at the victory won and the hope of possibility in the soul still in the fight facing his/her own giants. The fact of the matter is that many things in this life which we face day to day can at times seem too much to bear. Our worries don’t necessarily have to be against the biggest guy around. Just the struggle of making it one more day, another try at giving it your best shot, can make it really hard for some people.
That’s why this article is not going to focus on the beast Goliath was or how David brought him down with just a stone and slingshot.
Nope. I want us to focus on the confidence that David had in God.
To me, it doesn’t matter if what you face is big or small. Sometimes the hardest stuff is the routine, small stuff that gets on your nerves every single day and makes you want to throw in the towel and quit.
Yes, David did the impossible in the name of the Lord. But, what I have found out in my own life is when we evoke that same confidence in God in every area of our lives, big or small, God tends to step in and work it out for us. And, you know it was Him because that very area in life that used to be a source of hardship and frustration now becomes a place of peace and productivity.
David, before confronting Goliath, declared, “The LORD delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine,” (1 Samuel 17:37, NKJV. emphasis mine). I want us to focus on “He will” of that statement. David expressed in those two little words the amount of confidence he had in the God he served.
Confidence in God the key no matter what. Many of times we misplace our confidences in the things and the people we see around us, allowing them to become our focus and control, when God should be at the forefront of the battle with us. Over and over again we are told in His Word, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man,” (Psalm 118:8, NKJV); yet, man seems to always get more of our attention and we wonder why we falter in the battle and don’t end up standing as victor over the giants and circumstances we face.
We have to rely more on God than anything else in this world. He truly is the only one who can get in there and fight with us and for us and bring us to a victorious end on the other side.
Below are some reminders to trust God and have confidence in Him no matter the size of anything we face. Knowing this will improve our day to day struggles in life and turn them into day to day victories.
- “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5
- “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” – Isaiah 26:4
- “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” – Psalm 37:3
- “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.” – 2 Chronicles 20:17
- “Never be afraid to trust in unknown future to a known God.” – Corrie Ten Boom
- “Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” – Martin Luther
- “So many of us limit our praying because we are not reckless in our confidence in God. In the eyes of those who do not know God, it is madness to trust Him, but when we pray in the Holy Spirit we begin to realize the resources of God, that He is our perfect heavenly Father, and we are His children.” – Oswald Chambers
“THAT’S IT, I HAD IT!!!” We have all had those moments in life. Don’t lose your cool, lose your problems instead. Jesus invites us to “CAST” everything on Him because He “CARES” for us! Take that encouragement with you as you go through this day. Make it up in your mind that whatever irks you, gets under your skins or makes you want to wash your hands of it all, give it to Jesus and let Him help you with this day!!!
Father God, thank you for Your Sovereign hand at work in my life today. Thank You that you are willing to be my burden bearer and my heavy load sharer. Thank You that you are concerned enough about me to lend me Your ear to hear my prayer requests that come up before You. You are an awesome and amazing God. Time and time again You work to pull me through. I am ever so grateful for every drop of Your love, Your peace and Your anointing in my life. Apart from You, I can do nothing and without You I am nothing. Into Your hands, I commit every prayer request. In the name of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ, I pray – AMEN!!!
Text Free Photo: Pixabay
VERSE DISCOVERY: Ruth 1:1-18 (KJV, Public Domain)
Few relationships in life are stronger than a mother and her child. A mother would rarely have to think twice before making a sacrifice that would better the life of a child. So, too, would a child be more than willing to go out on a limb to care for and love on their mother.
Their relationship has been bound together from the womb to the point that love and sacrifice spoken between the two is not a foreign language.
But what is this familial attachment didn’t come from womb binding? People, every day and all over the world, make the heart decision to love another as their own. They willingly step into that vacant position of another’s life to fill it with the love and support the other so desperately needs.
The story of Ruth and Naomi is such a relationship. When she has nothing to gain and everything to lose, Ruth turned her back on everything comfortable and familiar and walked into a life unknown because she had connected herself and committed herself to love and care for a mother who was not her own.
All decisions have an end result and little did she know it at the time, but the decision that Ruth made on that day would bless her life greatly.
Ruth 1:1-5 “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 Beth-lehem-judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Beth-lehem-judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there. And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.”
The time of the “judges” start when Joshua, Moses’ successor, passes off the scene and continues to the time of Samuel who became the last judge of the people. This time period is filled with a lot of ups and downs involving Israel’s history. The downs came by way of the heart of a people that constantly strayed from the will of God (Judges 2:10-12). People refused to be governed by what was holy and right and decided they would all live according to their own ways and what they thought was right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25).
The ups they experienced as a people came when, despite their sinfulness, God raised judges to deliver them out of their circumstances (Judges 2:16).
Storylines like these show mankind’s pull away from the will of God. But with God being the Author of all, the hardest storylines can have the sweetest of endings, as the story of Ruth will prove.
One hard part of the storyline is dealing with life-changing circumstances. A “famine” was in the land and caused one man, one family, to make the hard choice to leave everything behind and go where there is the possibility of something better. One must believe that’s what drove “Elimelech” to uproot his family and to plant them in a strange land such as “Moab.”
The desperation they were facing must have been strong because the children of Israel and the people of Moab don’t exactly have a cordial background toward one another. Earlier in their history, when the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness from their exodus out of Egypt, they were not well-received by the Moabites. At one point, there was even an attempt at cursing them (Deuteronomy 23:3-6; compare Numbers 22-24).
Leaving their home, Elimelech and his family settled in this new place “about ten years.” During that time, Elimelech died (vs.3), leaving Naomi alone with her two sons “Mahlon and Chilion.”
How Elimelech died is not recorded, but what is noted that the two sons of Naomi married women of Moab by the names of “Orpah and Ruth,” which was also a direct violation of the Law (Deuteronomy 23:3). Time passed, and the sons of “Naomi” also died (vs. 5) and now this family has dwindled down to three lowly widows.
What’s a girl to do? A question we may flippantly toss about in our day during times of frustration, but it was a real question, following real circumstances, that must be answered if there were any hope of a brighter future coming from this dismal past.
Ruth 1:6-13 “Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread. Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah. And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me.”
So, what’s a girl to do? Naomi, taking inventory of all that transpired and where she is in life, made the decision that now it was time to return to her own homeland “from the country of Moab” where they have been dwelling these past ten years. They came to this land during the desperation of a famine, but while in this land she lost even more. It was time to pick up the pieces and move on.
How she heard it, we don’t know, but Naomi got wind “that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread.” Although famine was often used as judgment from God, we are not sure if that’s the reasoning behind the famine that drove Elimelech to leave. But, one thing is for sure, it was God who is credited with giving the people bread again. God “visited” His people. God ended the famine. God provided their now plentiful supply.
Therefore, Naomi “arose with her daughters in law” to head back home. Perhaps there she can find solace among her own people. Perhaps there help for the hopelessness she faced can be found. Perhaps there this worst-case scenario can have a happy ending.
Please Note: Let God in on your story. Let God in your decisions. Elimelech left his homeland because he thought Moab could answer his woes and provide more. Naomi left Moab to go back home for the same reasons. How much could this story have been impacted further if they looked to God first before making any moves? Thankfully, God is Sovereign, and through His providence, He redeems this story to bring about the most beautiful and timely end that glorifies Him alone.
Rising with her daughters in law to begin her journey, Naomi, thinking about not only her future but the future of these two women she has come to love as her own, suddenly realizes it’s not best for them to follow her into a future unknown. What positive reception would she receive, if any, after being gone so long, let alone, how would these Moabite women be received? What of the perilous journey? Surely, it’s not best to have three unguarded women traveling alone. Even after considering all of that, what kind of future would they really have if they followed Naomi?
“Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house.” She gave them a lifeline. She gave them free course to go back home. She released them from any obligation they may have felt tied them to this dear woman. “Each” one had a choice. “Each” one had the option to move on. “Each” one, I’m sure she felt a motherly concern for and was seeking their best outcome with this announcement. They were still young and had many years ahead that could be filled with so much more than what Naomi could offer. Therefore, she spoke, “The LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.”
Through all of the loss and uncertainty, they have stood by Naomi’s side. In the camaraderie of widowhood, they have shared in the pain and concern for one another, but now it is time to move on. Staying as things are now will help none of them, so Naomi spoke again, “The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband.” A future with her remains in the unknown, but if these daughters would go back to their own land and find “husbands” there they could have “rest” and the security they so needed in those days. For this reason, she urges them away because she genuinely loves them.
So much so, at the announcement of her decision, “she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.” This expression shows that their love for one another is as real as if they had come from her own womb. Although Naomi’s suggestion of this separation was for their good, it was still heart-wrenching and they “wept” because that’s what you do when something is hurting you like it was hurting these women. To lose so much in such a short amount of time, and now this. Their sorrow was overwhelming.
Overwhelming or not, the women couldn’t fathom doing anything but staying with Naomi until the end. They said, “Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.” They just were not ready to let of this dear woman so easily. Originally, they both claimed they would give up everything to follow her. Originally, they were both unwavering in each of their personal commitments to their mother-in-law, but Naomi stepped in and explained in further detail how that decision could affect their future happiness and well-being.
She, herself, is well-advanced in years. She has no husband of her own any longer. She has no more “sons”. She has nothing to offer these women. No one to step in place for her. No one to fill the void her sons left in these widowed women (see Deuteronomy 25:5). As far as she could see, the only way for them to have a happy ending to this sad story was to go back home.
Even if she were to marry tonight and have sons, would it seem reasonable or fair to ask these women to wait until they are of age? “Would ye tarry for them till they were grown?” she asked. Would you refrain yourselves from having the love and security of a husband now, and for all those years?
That was a heavy burden to bear, especially for women in that day. Without a husband or older children to care for them, times were very hard. For these women, with so much possibility ahead, Naomi couldn’t ask them to stay as they are just for her. Naomi grieved over her situation and for her daughters’ sake. She felt as if the “hand of the LORD” was against her. Little did she know, God’s hand was working something wonderful out for her in this time of despair.
Ruth 1:14-18 “And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.”
Weeping, and saying her good-bye’s, “Orpah” headed back to her people and her mother’s house. She reluctantly agreed with Naomi’s take on their dire circumstance and sought something more for herself by returning to her home.
But Ruth, not seeking to make life easier for herself, could not bear to leave Naomi. The Bible says, “Ruth clave unto her.” She would not let her go without her. She would not detach herself from her. She loved this woman and refused to walk away from her.
One must ask, what of Ruth’s own mother? What of her family and the chance to see them all again and to live with them again? Surely, she could have had a comfortable life by staying in the comfort zone of the familiar. But, she feels the pull to walk away from it all, declaring, “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.”
She stood her ground on her original commitment. She committed herself to Naomi, her people, and her God for life! “Nothing,” she declared, “but death part thee and me.” That, my friend, is genuine love. Due to her husband’s death, she could have been cleared from all of this, but genuine love and commitment caused her to hold on and go all the way with Naomi and God, wherever that future may lead.
The Bible tells us, “Happy are the people, whose God is the LORD,” (Psalm 144:15b). The one who willingly attaches themselves to God attaches themselves to the best. They are truly blessed regardless of everything they have left behind. Ruth, a faithful woman, refused to have it any other way.
Naomi no longer tried to stop her. “When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.” Ruth’s heart and mind were made up and she would not be dissuaded from her choice. Seeing her commitment and love, not just in words, but in action, moved Naomi’s heart also to allow this beautiful daughter in law to follow her home into the new life that was waiting for them both.
Ruth’s story will continue beyond the verses covered in this lesson. In the end, her faithfulness to Naomi and God brings about a blessing she could have never possibly foreseen.
Stay faithful, dear friends, for every decision, just like those in this lesson, brings about a certain end result.
PDF Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes): Sunday School Lesson – Ruth and Naomi
Adult Journal Page: Adult Journal Page – Ruth and Naomi
Kid’s Journal Page: Kid’s Journal Page – Ruth and Naomi
Blank Journal Page: Blank Adult and Kid’s Journal Pages
Draw the Scene: Ruth and Naomi Draw the Scene
Game Ideas for Ruth 1 from Jesus Without Language
Lesson ideas to support your class can be found at Ministry-To-Children
“When my spirit was overwhelmed…” those are the words David wrote at a very tumultuous time in his life. He spent many days on the run, hiding, with his life hanging in the balance because the current king, Saul by name, had it in his mind to kill David without a second thought. Therefore, David ran with many days running together into a blur of trying to stay out of Saul’s target range just to remain alive.
Some of those running experiences took him to a certain cave. David was known for staying in a cave referred to as Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1). This was a hiding place for him, but it was also a gathering place for his brothers and those of his father’s house to join him. Some others who were also in “distress” and dealing with other issues of discontentment of the way things were joined forces with him as well in that place (1 Samuel 22:2). There, David became a captain over this group of men, but also there, David prayed.
A life spent hiding in a cave and on the run is not a life anyone with a promise on him would deliberately sign up for. But, this is where David found himself and it was overwhelming. He has already been driven into the wilderness. He had already escaped the throw of a javelin more than once that was purposed to end his life. He had already dealt with a king whose anger, fear, and jealousy was eating him up and caused him to eye David with a suspicion that made his every step miserable. He knew if he didn’t flee he would die and if he didn’t pray to the only God who could comfort and strengthen him through this whole situation, he would collapse because he was weak from it all.
That was one of the special things about David: he knew how to pray (Psalm 142:1-2). He knew how to take everything he was facing to the Lord without hesitation. It didn’t matter if he was dealing with enemies such as Saul, or if he was dealing with his own sin (Psalm 51) – David knew that there are times in this life that are just plain old overwhelming and rather than get crushed, he prayed to the true God who could redeem him from the crush; who could lift him above that trials and the storms, and strengthen and heal the brokenness he was dealing with.
In that, David knew all that he was going through has never escaped God’s notice. Every heart-rending prayer, every night of dealing with the unease of another attack from Saul, every moment that caused him to be anxious over his situation, David confidently believed and stated, “When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path,” (Psalm 142:3). Trouble may have seemed like it was following him everywhere he was going, but so were the eyes of God. There was never a time when he was off of God’s radar, and neither are we.
Listen, we may not be hiding in a cave, but there may be other things that we are dealing with that cause us concern, make us feel weak as if the world is crashing in us. We may be in our own cave experience without a cave, but the same God who knew the path David was on, is the same God that knows the way you take also. Psalm 139 assures us that God sees every part of us and He knows everything about us. He knows our beginning from our end. He sees. He knows. Our paths are not hidden from Him. Everything is opened before Him! Every trial, every test, every burden that you carry and every overwhelming thing you are facing, God is very much aware of it all. As our Sovereign, Heavenly Father, you dear child of God, are on His mind, and He knows.
He knows how hard it is for you right now. He knows when the paths they push you on is unfair. He knows the tears that you have cried all night long. He knows the heartbreak that you constantly face. He knows when some are against you and try to tear you down. He knows it all.
When overwhelmed, David found comfort in releasing the pressure of everything he was feeling into the only hands that could truly help. He released all his worries and pent up frustrations into the hands of God. He prayed and poured out every burden he was carrying at the throne of grace. When nobody else stood with him, he prayed to the only God who would be there with him through the thick and thins of life, and he placed his confidence in Him.
Though situations may have tossed him about, it never tossed his faith. David stayed planted with his hope steadfastly anchored in God. Friend, whatever overwhelming situation you are facing today, I pray that you would mimic the steps David took in dealing with the hardships of life, and take it to the Lord in prayer. And, not only take to Him in prayer but keep your hope anchored in Him as well.
At the end of David’s Psalm 142 prayer, he stated boldly and confidently, “For thou shall deal bountifully with me,” (vs. 7). David knew, in the end, faithfulness always wins out. We may not be able to personally do anything about some of the stuff we face, but God can. If we don’t quit; if we handle our “overwhelming” moments by remaining secured in the God who can save, heal, and deliver – no matter what distress or hardship we currently face, in the end, God has the final say over it. Believe as David believed and trust God through it all.
Life can feel overwhelming at times, but nothing we face will ever overwhelm God. When everything seems to come crashing down all around you, God is the one that can raise you above it all. Every dark night, He can turn into day. In the times of mourning, He can bring comfort. In the days when you see nothing but ashes, He can make it into something beautiful. In the cave experiences of our life, we can find hope, because He knows and will be there with us through it all. “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I,” (Psalm 61:2).