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The Secret Power of Love: The Book of Ruth

The Secret Power of Love: The Book of Ruth

by Susie Shellenberger

Here’s your invitation to the Dance

Like Cinderella, sometimes it’s easy to feel left out and ignored. Maybe things with your family aren’t right, or you don’t feel very lovable. But something amazing happens when you discover God’s love. Journey through the book of Ruth and study one girl’s real-life “Cinderella


Here’s your invitation to the Dance

Like Cinderella, sometimes it’s easy to feel left out and ignored. Maybe things with your family aren’t right, or you don’t feel very lovable. But something amazing happens when you discover God’s love. Journey through the book of Ruth and study one girl’s real-life “Cinderella story,” and see how God transformed her world. On your own or with a friend or two (or three!), unlock the secrets to a life filled with God’s goodness and love, and learn what it means to be a Secret Power Girl.

Product Details

Publication date:
Faithgirlz! Bible Study Series
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.63(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Secret Power of Love

Faithgirlz! Bible Study
By Susie Shellenberger


Copyright © 2012 Susie Shellenberger
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-72838-2

Chapter One


A Move, Two weddings, Three Funerals, & Another Move

Ruth 1: 1–22


Where is it? Ruth is the eighth book in the Old Testament. You can find it between Judges and 1 Samuel. It's a tiny book with only 85 verses, but it's packed with a powerful message that ministers to everyone who feels left out or hopeless or who is looking for love.

Who wrote it? Lots of people think Samuel wrote it, but there are hints that Ruth was written after Samuel died. So we're not actually sure who the author is.

To whom is this letter written? It was specifically written to the people of Israel. But we can also say it was written to us because everything in the Bible is relevant forever.

The scene: This book was written during a dark and evil time in the history of Israel. Most people didn't care about pleasing God; they were only interested in themselves. Sound like today's news?

Sounds kinda like: a Cinderella story. One of the main characters—Ruth—goes from poverty to great wealth, from great sadness as a widow to great delight as the wife of an incredibly wonderful man.


In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. Ruth 1:1

Israel had no kings at this point in its history. Judges ruled the nation. Before we go any further with this verse, let's take a step backward to the book in the Old Testament before Ruth. That book is Judges. It ends with some of the most horrific scenes in the Bible. Why? Because people were only interested in themselves.

Let's take a look at Judges 17:6: "In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit."

What's the problem with doing whatever we want? _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

You can imagine the chaotic conditions that permeated Israel during a time when everyone was doing their own thing! Some Bible commentators have called the last few chapters of Judges the "sewage of Scripture." This section of the Bible contains physical mutilation, rape, murder, and other horrendous acts.

But interestingly, immediately following the book of Judges, we find the book of Ruth—filled with hope and promise. What a stark contrast to what Israel had been experiencing. As Christians we need to remember that even in the darkest days, God can provide hope and healing.

Describe a time when you were in the midst of dark days yet experienced God's hope, healing, and promise. _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

The man's name was Elimelek, his wife's name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there. Ruth 1:2

We're told this family is Ephrathite. Ephrath is a word often linked with Bethlehem. Places where Ephrath is used throughout the Bible suggest there was an importance, or a special dignity, to being an Ephrathite. Because it's used to describe this particular family, they may have been a well-established family. Perhaps the family was wealthy or held prestige among their neighbors.

This verse also talks about a move. Have you ever moved to a new city?

______ Yes

______ No

If so, what was the most difficult part of your transition? _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

Question to Ponder

Think about the transition—or change—you experience when you begin a new school year. You enter new classes and encounter new subjects. What's the toughest part of this transition? _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________


Let's think about the Ephrathites' move for a moment—where they're from and where they're going. They're living in the country of Judah, in the city of Bethlehem. Bethlehem means "house of bread."

Let's enter an imaginary world for a moment. Pretend you live in a house than cranks out fresh, hot bread every single morning. You can choose whatever kind of bread you want.

Jot down the kind of bread you would choose for the following:

Breakfast: ______________________________

Sandwich: _______________________________

Simply to snack on:______________________

Again, Bethlehem means "house of bread" and it's the city where Jesus would be born centuries later.

Choose the letter that best describes the connection between Jesus and "house of bread."

______a. Bethlehem is the "house of bread," and Jesus lived on bread alone.

______b. Jesus ate only bread for the first five years of his life.

______ c. Bethlehem is the "house of bread," and Jesus is the Bread of Life.

______ d. Jesus ate a lot of raisin bread.

Judah means "praise." So this family is living in the city of bread in the midst of praise. Sounds like a great place! And we can assume the family described in Ruth 1:2 is happy. Take a look at their names and what their names mean:

Elimelek: "God is my King"

Naomi: "Pleasant"

Have you ever seen those miniature license plates in novelty stores with people's first names on them? Or plaques in Hallmark stores featuring a person's name and what that name means? Our names are important! And the business executives who create money-making products know this. That's why they've created all kinds of novelty items with our names on them. They know we like to purchase things that display our name.

Do you know what your name means? _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

How does your name describe you? _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

Why would a happy family choose to leave such a great place and journey to Moab? They left Bethlehem, Judah, when a famine hit the land. But how could a famine hit such a wonderful place, you may be thinking, a place filled with praise for God? Let's take a quick peek at 2 Chronicles 7:19–20:

"But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my name."

In this passage we learn that if people turn away from God ...

______ a. God may take the Israelites' land away or force them to move.

______ b. God probably won't notice.

______ c. they'll never eat bread again.

______ d. they'll only have bread to eat the rest of their lives.

List the two things God warns the people not to do in the above passage.

1. __________________________________________

2. __________________________________________

What does it mean to serve other gods? _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

List some idols that Christians often let slip into their lives. (Remember—an idol is anything in your life that becomes as important as God or more important than God.) _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

What idol have you struggled with? _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

Let's also look at 2 Chronicles 7:14:

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

This verse lists four things that we must do to draw near to God when we have fallen away or walked away from God. What are they?

1. __________________________________________

2. __________________________________________

3. __________________________________________

4. __________________________________________

Have you experienced a time when you walked away from God but came back to him later? If so, describe the situation. Why did you walk away? How did you feel when you returned to him? What did you learn? _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

Question to Ponder

And what is the promise when we come back to God? _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________


Excerpted from The Secret Power of Love by Susie Shellenberger Copyright © 2012 by Susie Shellenberger. Excerpted by permission of Zonderkidz. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Susie Shellenberger es la directora de Brio, una revista para adolescentes publicada por Focus on the Family (Enfoque a la familia). Ha sido tambien pastora de jovenes y profesora de oratoria y teatro en la escuela secundaria. Susie tambien es co-conductora de Life on the Edge-Live! (Vida al limite - Vive!), un programa de radio semanal con participacion telefonica, especial para adolescentes de todo el pais.

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