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Houston Pastor Pens First Book

May 31, 2008
We have all been at a crossroad at some time in our life. Whether it is the death of loved one, losing a job, or a natural disaster, we have all come to a point in our life when we feel that we cannot go on, and the struggles of life are simply too much to bear.

Over the last five years, this great nation has survived the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and devastating hurricanes such as Katrina in the summer of 2005. However, throughout every tragedy we have endured, it seems that people have made it through the storms of life, and overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles by leaning on faith to survive the journey of life.

Nevertheless, many people do not know where to turn when their life turns upside down.

Where do you go when you lose the financial security that you relied on so heavily? Where do you go when you lose that spouse that was the rock and foundation of your family? What do you do when you have tried everything to get your life on track, but you just cannot seem to get a brand new start? Ralph Douglas West, founder and senior pastor of Brookhollow Baptist Church in Houston, recently released his much-anticipated book Finding Fullness Again, which teaches readers what the biblical Book of Ruth instructs people to do when you are looking for a fresh start after overcoming tragedies in life.

After the death of her husband and two sons, the biblical figure Naomi believes she cannot stand the trials and tribulations that life throws her way. She had always counted on her late husband Elimelech for emotional and financial support, and without him in her life; she did not believe that she had the strength to carry on.

Unfortunately, Naomi had put all of her faith in her family and material things, and simply did not have much hope for the future.

However, through West's book, readers learn that the biblical Book of Ruth teaches us that every person deserves a new beginning. Naomi's story teaches us how to survive when poverty invades our wealth. It teaches us that God's love is the most important thing in life, not material possessions or even family.

West emphasizes that life deals harshly with anyone who substitutes material possessions for spiritual vitality. He states, "Maybe your past is casting an elongated shadow over your present as well as your future. It seems you can't escape disappointments ... Probably you have attempted to forget and move forward, only to be reminded of what you left behind. If this describes your situation, let me recommend that ... New beginnings have everything to do with reorientation of attitude."

Ruth persuaded her mother-in-law Naomi to allow her to move back to Bethlehem so she could regain some resemblance to her former family life after the death of her husband, Naomi's son.

While in Bethlehem she met an eligible bachelor by the name of Boaz, and Ruth was able to repair her broken heart and start a new family.

Finding Fullness Again teaches that the adversity we sometimes face is simply God trying to prepare us for a future blessing and our spiritual purpose in life.

"The story points to the truth that men do not control events, but the hands of God is working his purpose out. Often new beginnings are immersed in waters of adversity," West said. Not only did Ruth receive a blessing with a new husband and child, she became an ancestor of Jesus Christ.

Choosing Ruth, a Gentile, to be a part of Jesus' lineage is significant because it suggested that no matter what ones background is, God can use that person for a divine purpose in life.

Although Naomi was initially against Ruth accompanying her to Bethlehem after the death of her two sons, Ruth showed Naomi the truth meaning of faith and loyalty as she gave birth to Obed and allowed Naomi to be his nurse, giving her another chance at a family.

Although peoples' struggles may vary, West's book Finding Fullness Again informs readers that no matter how difficult the times may be, there is always hope for a better future when you include God in your battle.

Whether one is battling a drug addiction, alcoholism, or some other external force, ones past mistakes and disappointments will never prohibit them from being granted a brand new start if God is the head of their life. It is important to remember when it feels like you are running on empty; you can always find fullness again with a little help from God.

Ralph Douglas West's book is currently at all bookstores or at www.ralphdouglaswest.org.
About the Author
Todd Smith is the web master for Regal Mag The preeminent Online Magazine for African American Men
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