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 Vol. 6, No. 2 

February 2004

Youth Page

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The Heart Protector

By Mark McWhorter

Image The Romans were known for their armies. Their soldiers were known for being well trained. The Roman soldier was known for his courage and willingness to fight. The soldier was also known for his attire.

One of the things the normal soldier had was a breastplate made of bronze. This breastplate was usually the size of one hand span. A hand span was the size of an adult opening his palm and spreading his fingers as wide as they would go. Each side of the breastplate was this long. That is not a real big breastplate. The soldier had a shield to protect himself in a larger way.

But the breastplate was very important, even though small. The breastplate was put over the heart of the soldier. In fact, it was known as "the heart protector." The Romans knew that it was very important to protect the heart. If the heart were struck by an arrow or javelin of the enemy, it would kill the soldier. It was of utmost importance to protect the heart.

In Ephesians 6:14, we learn that the armor of the Christian includes the "breastplate of righteousness."  We must put on righteousness to protect our spiritual heart. Satan will always be throwing darts at our heart. Proverbs 4:23, tells us to "keep thy heart with all diligence." In the Hebrew language, it says we are to protect or guard our hearts.

The only way to put on righteousness is to learn God's Word. We must read and study the Bible. And then, we must obey what we have learned. We must always be ready to put on the "heart protector" and go to war against the devil. We must be willing to be a soldier in God's army.Image

From Sweet to Bitter to Sweet

By Mark McWhorter

Ruth's mother-in-law was Naomi. Naomi means, "the sweetness of God" or "God is Sweet." Naomi lived during the times of the judges. There were times during the judges that the Israelites did what was right. During these times, God blessed the Israelites with much. But then there were times when the Israelites did not do what was right and God would punish them.

Since the name Naomi refers to the sweetness of God, we can assume that she was born during the time when God was blessing them. But then, Elimelech, her husband, moves Naomi and their sons to Moab due to a very bad famine in the land. We do not know for sure, but this may have been during a time when God was punishing the Israelites.

While in Moab, Elimelech and his two sons die. Naomi tells her two daughters-in-law that she is very grieved for them over what God has done to her (Ruth 1:13). The word grieved in the verse means, "bitter." Naomi is bitter over her situation.

Naomi hears that God is blessing her homeland once again. So, Naomi returns to her hometown with Ruth. When friends come to greet her, she tells them to not call her Naomi. She wants them to call her Mara, which means bitter. She says God has dealt very bitterly with her (verse 20).

Later in the book, we find out that Ruth marries and has a son named Obed. All of Naomi's friends tell her that she has been blessed well by God. They say that God has given her a restorer and a nourisher. Naomi is very happy with her life again.

It is very important not to become bitter toward God. When bad things happen to you, do not blame God. God only wants what is best for you. If you obey him and do his commandments, he will bless you.

Keep studying your Bible. Learn what God wants you to do. And if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.Image

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