Thursday, March 31, 2011

Be Prepared...

March 31, 2011

Proverbs 31:21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet

Snow here represents the cold that would have reached her home in early Palestine. Yet, she was not concerned about it, but she was prepared for it. Being prepared is not something that just happens, unfortunately. It is something that must be planned for. Prepared is defined as “organized or equipped; ready”. I have in the past few years discovered the blessings of living an organized life. Although, this is not my normal inclination; it is a state that I relish being in. However, for me this is work. I’m not one of those ladies that this comes natural for. I recently spent all our spring break cleaning up kid’s closets, rooms and our playroom. I felt so much better when it was completed but it was hard work. Not only was it hard to clean but it’s hard to make sure it stays that way. I believe there is no way to be prepared, or to have our family prepared, without being organized on a daily basis. And for some of us this means work and more work!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Opening Our Hands and Our Hearts

March 30, 2011

Proverbs 31:20 she opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy

It’s obvious that this lady is not in any way selfish; she freely gives of her time and money to her family. However, it’s one thing to sacrifice for, to work for, your family. It’s one thing to do all in your power to make sure that they not only have what they need, but they have it in abundance. Yet, it’s something altogether different to do it for someone less fortunate, for strangers. Here, once again, this lady is an excellent example for us. Since she has worked so hard for her family, God has given her an abundance, and she is choosing to help others with it. She isn’t keeping it, but giving it away. In order to do this, she must first see and recognize that there are others less fortunate; how easy is it to get in our own little bubbles of need and ignore that there might be others even worse off than ourselves? I think it’s easy to do that. I think that it’s probably easier to ignore others in need than to open our hands, hearts and homes to those with less than us. We try very hard to teach our children that what we have was given to us by God, and we have to take care of it because He has entrusted it to us. Part of the “taking care of” is helping others; is going outside ourselves and seeing that there is a whole world of people in need.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Her Hands were Dirty and Calloused...Sometimes

March 29, 2011

Proverbs 31:19 she puts her hands to the distaff and her hands hold the spindle.

These tools were used to turn wool to thread in order to make clothes. I find it interesting that even though this lady was wealthy, she still worked hard for her family. Never having actually used a spindle to make thread I’m just guessing, but I would assume that, this was hard work and not something glamorous or fun. I like knowing that she wasn’t afraid to do the hard stuff. She got her hands dirty in the fields, and her hands were calloused from her work at the spindle. Yet, she still had the finesse necessary to deal with the merchants when selling land and buying fine clothing. She wasn’t a woman defined by only one thing. She was a woman willing to do anything. I doubt that she was too concerned that working with a spindle was considered “woman’s work”, instead, I’d say she just looked at it as necessary work. I think many Christian women would prefer to pretend the Proverbs 31 woman didn’t exist because she portrays a hard ideal to live up to. Yet, I look at her as someone with great wisdom to add to our lives. We can learn great things from her, and I would imagine she would be glad we were learning from her.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Her Lamp Does Not Go Out at Night...

March 28, 2011

Proverbs 31:18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable Her lamp does not go out at night

I’ll admit to being confused a bit at this verse; so, I assumed that there was probably some deep meaning behind the words. However, they pretty much are literal translations. She makes sure that all the things she has produced for her family is good; she has no desire for them to have less than the best she can provide, no matter the cost to herself. “Her lamp does not go out at night” is also a literal translation. This lady who we learned a few verses ago gets up before dawn will also work until after dark. Her lamp is on to allow her to continue with the work she needs to do. There would be no way she would do this if her family was not her first priority, second only to her relationship with God of course. I also like knowing that these 22 verses are not a “day in the life of…” but more of a picture of what her whole life looked like. I’m sure (well, I’m hoping) that she had days that were less active; yet, for the most part she worked hard for her family whom she loved and sacrificed for. How easy it is for us to forget how much our families depend on us? How easy it is for us to fall into the trap of self-pity and laziness? Of course, we all need a break every now and then, but like this lady a life of working for the benefit of our families should be a picture of what our lives look like!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dressing with Strength and A Really Cute Outfit...

March 26, 2011

Proverbs 31:17 She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong

I believe that this woman was feminine; I believe that she took great pains with her appearance, and that of her family (we’ll get to that verse soon). Yet, her femininity was not an excuse to avoid the hard work. I think there can be two extremes here: I think that women can use their femininity to get out of hard work or they can totally ignore their femininity, deny their woman-ness. I am a firm believer that in this one area women can have it all. You can be as feminine as you want to, go ahead be an all out girly girl, but you can also be strong. You can do the hard work, you can get dirty (true you may not like it, I don’t), but you can do it.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Being Resourceful...and Good at Math!!

March 25, 2011

Proverbs 31:16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard

Let me start off by saying that Terry handles all our financial stuff; mainly, I think because his mind is geared to that much better than mine. I freak out at any and all thoughts of math; however, I love money!! I think this lady I’m learning so much about was resourceful, and just maybe pretty good at math!! I’m not a biblical scholar but I wonder if she did these things because that’s how her mind was geared, like Terry’s. But just because this might not be my strong suit gives me no excuse not to use my gifts to better my family’s life. That’s what I think the Proverbs 31 woman is doing here; she is taking a gift God has given her, her entrepreneurial mind, and using it to make her family prosper. I may not be able to comprehend how to sell a field and buy another one, or really anything in the realm of “business” but perhaps, God has other ways for me to help my family. I’m sure that He has; I just have to open to any possibility that may present itself. Also, I’d like to point out the fact that this lady obliviously worked outside her home. I’m not sure because the bible isn’t specific of exactly what that entailed, but I can be sure of one thing. Her family never suffered for her extra activities. She did what she did not out of a sense to be a better “woman”, but to make her family better. There was no selfish motive behind her; instead, there was great selfless-ness (is that a word?). I can say that because it was done with a great amount of self-sacrifice. Yesterday’s verse is a great example “She rises while it is yet night…” she willingly sacrificed her sleep to see that she accomplished all she needed to.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

She Rises While it is Still Night...

March 24, 2011

Proverbs 31:15 She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens

Since this was not the age of microwaves and cold cereal, this lady had to get up before dawn in order to make sure that her household, her family, had food. I’ll admit to being in awe of that. There was a time in my life that I had myself “trained” to get up early, and I loved it. However, once lost it’s a very difficult habit to get back in to. MacArthur states that the Proverbs 31 woman did this “gladly.” This is a sacrifice that’s difficult to make grudgingly, not to mention gladly. One of my favorite sayings is, “God gives you exactly what you can do in the twenty-four hours He grants us…”; if we “run out of time”, perhaps we are doing things He hasn’t meant for us to. I doubt very seriously that those “things” are extra work; for me at least, those “things” could certainly be in the realm of lazy or selfish. I have often wondered if maybe one of the reasons God called us to home school our children was to show me how selfish I was with my time. I also think that one of the reasons this year has been so difficult for me is because I am rebelling against the constraints placed on what “I” want to do. “She rises while it is still night..” symbolizes, for me at least, a woman willing to give what is necessary, even as a sacrifice of herself, for the betterment of her family. To her, her family is worth it; is mine?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

An Excellent Woman, Couponing, and Kroger

March 23, 2011

Proverbs 31:14 She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar

This verse reminds me of a few years ago; one Sunday night, we come home from church, and caught the very end of a program on the Food Network. It was about this lady who had made couponing and stockpiling her life’s work. Well, after some research, Terry and I decided to give it a shot. I well remember my first trip, ever, to Kroger. For some reason I was so nervous, yet, that trip changed our lives, as far as grocery shopping went. Then like most things that are hard and require work, I gave it up or rather wasn’t diligent in it anymore. Then through the life of my great sis-in-law, Jen (read about her couponing adventures here), I was convicted to give couponing another shot. Sadly, it wasn’t that I decided that couponing wasn’t working or worth the effort; I had just gotten lazy. This is a great way for our family to: a.) eat great food and b.) save LOTS of money. Despite the amount of time couponing takes I am determined to see this through (this time.) “Excellent women would go far to secure the best food for their families (MSB).”

Monday, March 21, 2011

Works with Willing Hands

March 21, 2011

Proverbs 31:13 she seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.

An “excellent” wife in this day would seek out the materials necessary for making clothing. This would have been a pretty big necessity for her family. They depended on her. Mostly, I’d say that we all do what is necessary in our homes. Mostly we don’t allow our children and husbands to go hungry, or to go naked because the laundry isn’t done, or live in complete filth because we won’t clean. I’d say that we get done what is necessary with moderate success. Yet, the second half of that verse brings in another aspect of doing what is necessary…”works with willing hands.” She willingly does what is necessary. Willing is defined as “cheerfully consenting or ready”. Now, maybe we should ask ourselves if we are willing to do what is necessary.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What is Evil?

March 19, 2011

Proverbs 31:12 She does him good and not evil all the days of her life

I can’t imagine doing something evil to the man your married to; I mean aren’t we supposed to love and honor that man. Yet, perhaps, I put too nice a spin on evil. Maybe, what I would consider just a bad mood, or PMS, or maybe “his fault”, God would consider evil. Maybe, what I would consider a blah day and avoid my responsibilities God would consider evil. For in His word He does tell us in 1 Timothy 5:6 “…but she who is self-indulgent is dead while she lives”, and by the way, I didn’t add the “she’s” in that verse those are God’s. Furthermore, what are bad moods, PMS excuses, blame, and laziness if not self-indulgence. Maybe I should judge my standards by God’s and not my own.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Heart of Her Husband Trusts in Her...

March 18, 2011

Proverbs 31:11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain

This verse deals with a couple of things that at first glance we might just skip over. “Heart of her husband trust in her” has a couple of different meanings. The first is the obvious; she is loyal in her attentions to only him and doesn’t seek the attentions of other men. The second meaning wasn’t so obvious to me; “He does not keep his valuables locked up so that she cannot access them as was a common ancient practice in a house of distrust (MSB).” So, apparently there were some wives who couldn’t be trusted with the house finances, and would take advantage of them. I have seen, even in believers, this happen. Wives going behind their husband’s back to spend money that they don’t have; not only is this hurting families but it is also telling God that we aren’t happy with what He has given us. It’s hard in today’s society to be happy with what we have; to not always want more, and more. Yet, God says “…And my people shall be satisfied with my goodness declares the Lord (Genesis 31:34).” The Proverbs 31 woman believed this, she lived this, and she worked for the best of her household.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

An Excellent Wife Who can Find?

March 17, 2011

Proverbs 31:10 An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels

Who hasn’t sat in the morning and thought of all the things left to do and gotten overwhelmed? For me, this has happened a lot lately, and sadly, many things just get left undone. So, to help me I decided to turn to the place where all questions are answered for some help, God’s word. The place that came to mind automatically was Proverbs 31; so, for 22 days I’ll be discovering what God desires for us as wives and mothers. The first verse lets us know how truly hard it is to be a godly wife and mom, but it’s not impossible. “She is far more precious than jewels,” meaning that although rare they do exist. We can be the mom and wife that we want to be or more importantly that our husbands and children deserve. However, it will call for much self sacrifice, and a great dependence on God’s strength to make this happen. However, I think that if the comfort of our families is our only motivation we have already lost. The title for this passage in the ESV is “The Woman Who Fears the Lord” and this I think must be our first and main priority. We must make the sacrifices, do the work, keep up with all the things we are responsible for merely because God has called us to this duty. To honor and be obedient to Him should be our first priority. If that is our foundation, then our houses will be strong.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No Screaming Allowed...

March 15, 2011

Revelation 2:2 I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false

Two times in this passage in Revelation patience was used with endurance. This is the first time I’ve encountered this in my word study of endurance. And quite frankly it scares me to death…I can deal with just endurance much better than knowing I have to be patient about it too!! I can look out at my life and knowing the things that might come my way and be prepared to face it; yet, knowing I have to patient and quiet through them adds an extra burden to me. I look at patience as quietly accepting any and all things that might come our way. I guess what I’m trying to say is, that knowing that I could scream my way through a trial makes enduring seem easier!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Running Our Race...

March 14, 2011

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

“Endurance is the steady determination to keep going despite the temptation to slow down or give up (MSB).” I really like this definition of endurance. It paints a great picture. I laugh each time I put on my horrendous running shoes, my shorts and shirt and grab my phone and earphones to go running. I laugh because that is so out of character for me. I’ve never been an athletic type of gal; I never played basketball and P.E. was pure torture to me. So, that God would so change my desires and make me a runner is funny to me! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a marathoner or anything; I huff and puff, I barely make the meager miles around my back yard. However, with each step I know that God is teaching me something. He is teaching me to keep going; He is teaching me to make myself keep going. He is using my new-found love of running to show me how to make myself do something that it really doesn’t want to do. Each morning when I come in drenched in sweat, and proud of it; He teaches me that living the “faith-filled life is a demanding, grueling effort.” In this verse Paul uses the Greek word for “agony”; that word alone tells us that sometimes we will be called to walk paths filled with pain, but we never walk alone, or run alone as the case may be

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Being Prepared...

March 12, 2011

Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised

God is being totally up front with us here…He is telling us we will need endurance. He is letting us know that some things we will go through will be hard or difficult. This being the case, we should not be surprised when hard times come our way. In fact, we should prepare for them. We should be daily going to God’s word, hiding it in our hearts for battle. Not only is God alerting us to bad days ahead; He is also giving us what we need to endure. He is giving us His power, His strength, His patience. He is also giving us the reward of salvation.

Friday, March 11, 2011

God's Grace...

March 11, 2011

“God does not witness to the world by taking His people out of suffering, but rather by demonstrating His grace through them in the midst of pain”—C. Samuel Storms

A friend of mine recently sent me this quote. I was really amazed at how it reflected my recent walk with God. I have personally experienced this in my life and although, it was hard and painful, it was also awe inspiring to see God work. I love the verse in Lamentations “But though He cause grief He will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love (3:32). He has showed this to me, and I praise Him for His amazing love.

Living in His Power...

March 10, 2011

Colossians 1:11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy

I love the first part of this verse…”power according to HIS glorious might…), not mine or yours but HIS. What comfort and freedom there is in knowing that we will not have to depend on what we can do, but on what His strength will enable us to do. The NKJV uses the word longsuffering and the ESV uses the word endurance in the second part of this verse. I’m not sure but I think that perhaps longsuffering gives a better description to what the verse is referring to. According to MSB, the terms patience, endurance (longsuffering) are called to be our attitude during trials. For us trials are a daily experience, I mean is there a day that goes by without some type of trial? True some are worse than others. Patience is used to refer to how we deal with difficult circumstances and endurance (longsuffering) is used to refer to how we deal with difficult people. I love how God knew in our lives we would encounter times and people that would try us; He knew that left on our own we could not handle the hard situations or the hard people in our lives. So, He gave to us His strength to help us.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Actions Really do Speak Louder...

March 8, 2011

2 Corinthians 6:4 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities

How can we convince the lost world that what we say about God is really true? “The patient endurance of character (MSB)” while in the midst of turmoil. How we react to what the world would see as tragedy will tell if what we say with our mouths we really believe in our hearts. This is our proof. This is our legacy to our children if when they see things not going just right if we react in ways that reflect our godly character. It’s sort of like that vase your mom had growing up, and when you threw the ball and broke it, you never could get it back to normal. If we have a negative reaction; it’s hard to come back from. This is why it’s very important to take every thought, and every word captive. To own it; to make sure that nothing but edifying words will come out of it. And once again I’ll end with acknowledging that this is hard!

Monday, March 7, 2011

A New Spin on Endurance...

March 7, 2011

Romans 15:5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus

I found this verse surprising in light of my former verses on endurance. At first glance one would think this isn’t a good example of enduring, yet, if you think about your relationships with others it really is. When more than one person gets together for anything there can be friction; even if all of those persons are professing believers. Yet, in Romans 15:6 scripture says “That you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” this is why we endeavor to get along with those who annoy us, and perhaps why they endeavor to get along with us! To quote MacArthur “Paul urges the strong and weak despite their differing views on these non-essential issues, to pursue loving, spiritual harmony in regard to matters on which the Bible is silent.” And how difficult this is for us to do sometimes! It’s easy for us to want to apply what the Holy Spirit has taught us in certain areas to everyone. We just can’t do that. God calls us all too different paths; what He denies one person He will give to another. These are not under our control or influence. Whether or not we agree, unless it is clear scripture is being disobeyed, and we can prove it; we have to stay out of things that are not our business. That’s how we live peaceably with others. Is this easy? NO, NO, NO! Perhaps this is why endurance is necessary.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


March 5, 2011

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

For Christmas my children got these cool little things in their stockings; they were sponges in the shape of pirates and princesses and when we put them in water, they expanded to well over three times their size. Our hearts are like those toys, as we live our lives, and let’s face it, life is hard, life is painful, life can even sometimes be brutal; life drains our hearts till it is small and shriveled and can’t hold anything else. Yet, as we daily pour God’s Word into it; it grows and grows and expands. A funny things happens after that, life still has its problems, and still hurts, yet, we are able to manage. We are able to handle the problems and not break under the strain. There’s a funny thing about peace; peace isn’t the absence of problems, instead, it’s a calm in the midst of your problems.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Proof of Endurance...

March 3, 2011

Romans 5:4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

The Greek word for character simply means “proof” (according to MSB, I don’t really know Greek.) This word was used to determine the qualities of metal, their purity. This is what tribulation produces in us; this is the result of enduring, Christian Character. A character that shines through the pain of your tribulations for all to see; we rarely “suffer in silence”, most likely someone knows of our problems. Our Godly or Ungodly behavior will be noticed by someone, and most likely by the little ones who live with us. What will they see? Will they see someone who rests in the sovereignty of God or will they see someone who wails at the “injustice” experienced. We are responsible for our actions; we are responsible for what character our tribulations produce. We may not have any control over what those tribulations look like, that is in the realm of God, but we are very much in control of what others see.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Obedience + Suffering+= Endurance

Romans 5:3 more that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance

As I got out my trusty MacArthur Study Bible to read about this verse, I realized that this verse did not exactly mean what I thought. My mind immediately ran to the problems of daily life or perhaps the BIG deal things that occasionally loom over our horizons. Yet, here scripture is speaking more specifically. According to the MSB this verse if referring to, “Not the normal pressures of living, but the inevitable troubles that come to followers of Christ because of their relationship with Him.” This refers to the problems caused when we just obey God’s will for our lives and try to explain that to a world that has no understanding of why we would obey. These situations produce endurance; how can we ever expect endurance to be present in our lives if we consistently refuse to obey God in the difficult situations. If we never step out and do what He wants; to live a life of just honoring God’s will for our families.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Holding Fast...

March 1, 2011

Luke 21:19 By your endurance you will gain your lives

Matthew 24:13 but he who endures to the end shall be saved…

As I read these verses on endurance this morning, how very glad I was to know that my salvation is dependent on God not me. As my recent life can attest to, if my endurance secured my salvation I’d be in trouble. However, that is not what these verses are suggesting. Instead, God keeps and secures our perseverance. Jeremiah 32:40 says, “I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.” I’m not passive in my endurance, however, I have responsibilities in order to maintain or holdfast to what I know. This is where I have fallen; where I have failed in the area of holding fast.