Friday, April 29, 2011

Happily Ever After...

April 29, 2011

Being a girl I was totally up at 4:00 this morning to see the wedding…or really the dress, hey, I’m being honest. I remember being a little girl, 7 or so, and watching Charles and Di’s wedding while on the phone with my BFF! I have always been a sucker for royalty, for fairytales. Little did I know at the time, what hid behind the fairytale of Charles and Di’s wedding. Apparently there was no love just duty. How sad is that? I firmly believe with all my heart that God constituted marriage, and in that institution He wants happiness and love for us. The main reason is that our marriages are a representation of His Church and His Son. There is no excuse for believers to be in a loveless marriage. God did not intend for that. He intended for us to find happiness in each other and…in the marriage bed (yes, I actually typed that!) The main reason, I believe, that so many believers live in marriages less than what was intended is that they have an unrealistic definition of love. Love isn’t emotion but choice. Isn’t it funny that we find it easier to choose divorce but not love. We must at times choose to not dwell on hurts or we must choose to be unselfish. It’s our choice to love; therefore, it isn’t something you can fall “out” of on a whim. If you do fall “out” of love, you choose to do so. Little did I know at the ripe old age of 7 that one day I would grow up and marry my prince. I love him with all my heart, but I choose to. I choose to love despite whatever might come our way, despite any anger or sadness that might creep into our marriage (and he does the same!) We don’t have a perfect marriage but we have a wonderful one!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Which to Choose?

April 26, 2011

Ecclesiastes 2:1-11

V 8 …the delights of men

In this passage, the author recounts all that he had accomplished and amassed during his time on earth. As he looks back on his life he realizes that no matter how much “stuff” he has, it has amounted to nothing. All that was gained is the momentary pleasure of what he had. Oddly enough, when I came to the phrase “…delights of men” what came to my mind wasn’t material things or any carnal delight of the flesh. What came to my mind was making choices to do the easy thing rather than the harder but more productive choice. For example, choosing to ignore the fact when our children need discipline and just letting them get by with bad behavior because it would require something of us. I think that in every decision we are confronted with a choice to grow in our dependence on God or to give in to our flesh. It is a battle, and we shouldn’t think that it is anything less.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Path of Understanding Leads to Trusting...

April 21, 2011

Ecclesiastes 1:12-18

Well I almost gave up on Ecclesiastes after this passage; I had decided that I didn’t posses enough wisdom to tackle this book of wisdom. How thankful am I that MacArthur’s Study Bible can be of great help! Solomon, who had been given great wisdom, decided to apply it to the natural world. He wanted to look around at everything and figure out why and how things happened the way they did. Yet, at each turn his perception became more foggy, and he couldn’t understand anything. Some paths that he tried to “see” down were too crooked and never became straight. The reason for this is God’s Sovereignty. Many times no matter how hard we try to figure out why something happened, we will be unsuccessful because only God really knows why things happen the way they do. Only God can see what will happen as a result of every action. Solomon realized this in his quest to understand. We must too. We will never understand all the paths of our lives; we will never understand why we hurt or why we laugh. We will never understand the blessings we receive of the blessings that are denied us. Only God controls that. It is futile to fight that, in fact, it’s arrogant to assure that we should be able to understand or control. If Solomon didn’t posses enough wisdom to understand, and he had been given an “extra measure of wisdom”, how can we ever assume we could understand? Instead, I think our responsibility is harder than understanding, it’s trusting. We must trust that God is in complete control and we must trust that “He will cause all things to work to the good of those who love Him.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pour Yourself Out...

April 19, 2011

Ecclesiastes 1:3-11

V 9 What will be is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun

In this section, the author laments on the vanity of the natural world. The seasons come and go, generations come and go and neither have any major impact on what will happen. Got to admit here I was a little bit depressed after reading this; I mean, if someone like Solomon did not feel as if he could make an impact what sort of one could I make. Then I remembered the author is making a point here. He is lamenting because he has spent a vast majority of his life pursing things that will not have an impact. The fact is we, as women, as mothers, as wives, can have a huge impact on the world. We may die with a relatively few people who know our name, but our influence could be felt from generation to generation. If we raise godly children who in turn learn from us and raise godly children who in turn raise godly children; think of the generations of godly men and women we have planted seeds for. Our family tree could boast many pastors, godly pastor’s wives, authors, and we impacted each of those when we choose to put aside our selves and poured our hearts and more importantly God’s Word into our children.

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Journey in Ecclesiastes...

April 18, 2011

Next on my journey through God’s Word, I’m heading to Ecclesiastes. Not sure why…it’s just one of those books I’ve never read in its entirety. Here’s a little background to get started.

Ecclesiastes is among what is known as the Bible’s Wisdom Literature. The author is most likely King Solomon but there is some debate about that. Those who do believe that King Solomon penned this book believe that he did so in his later years. They believe that he was talking to the younger population and he was telling them to not make his mistakes. He retells his past history of squandering God’s blessing for personal gain and not God’s glory. He doesn’t want those who follow him to make those same mistakes. So let’s see what we can learn from him.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-2 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

Vanity is a major theme of this book. The word vanity is used 38 times and each time there is a small shift in its intended meaning. This, of course, makes interpretation more difficult. Vanity in Hebrew means vapor. And considering that Solomon is looking back on his life he sees that all those things he thought were so important were but vapors. Only those things that will further God’s kingdom have substance. I wonder if at the end of my life how much will I view as smoke. How much will I have to wish I had done differently? I think that for the most part we all will have things we wish we could redo, but the goal, I believe, is to limit what those things are. Limit how much we will have to regret. The only way we have to accomplish this is to live lives that glorify God, live lives that leave no doubt who we live for.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Being a Woman of Excellence...

April 15, 2011

Proverbs 31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates

A woman of this magnitude who is excellent in her love for God, her taking care of her family, and her strength of character is known by those around her. In an earlier verse, it was noted that because of her taking such great care of her family her husband was well known in the city gates. Well the same is said for her here. Perhaps it is a case of others being able to “look” into her life and see all the riches, and I don’t just mean monetary, found there. The bible calls us, as believers, to be lights in a dark world; to show the world what living a life for Christ looks like. What sort of picture would we be if we act as if life is horrible for us? If we act as if our lives are lacking something, how can we show what an awesome savior we serve. As women, how can we point others to Christ if we act as though our lives are terrible? We can be women of excellence; everything we need in order to live like we are has been given to us. Remember earlier I noted that these verses are a picture of what her whole life looked like…if we were to look at what the total sum of all our days show what would we see? What would we need to change in order to be women of excellence? I don’t think that this great lady is someone we can never aspire to be but I do think that in order to exemplify some of her characteristics we must decide to let go of our self’s and put what we have into the family God has given to us.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What Makes Us Worthy?

April 14, 2011

Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised

Of all the many wonderful and inspiring things we could say about this lady, and there are many, the most important is her godliness. This surpasses them all; in fact, without it the others are worthless. That is what is meant by charm being deceitful; obviously there is nothing wrong with being charming, but if your charm is not tempered with godliness it could be used as untrue flattery to only get your way. The same is true for beauty. We, as women, should relish in our femininity, we should love to accentuate our beauty. However, if it is not tempered with godliness, beauty like charm will become a distortion to what God intended. Proverbs is a book full of wisdom for living a life full of godliness, and as the author points out, this wonderful, excellent lady was praised for fearing, or loving, God as her utmost character trait. If at the end of my life, others could say the same about me, that I loved God most, I will have lived a fulfilling life.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Needing the Words...

April 13, 2011

Proverbs 31:29 Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all

This goes along with verse 28 where we see that both her husband and her children praise her for how she takes care of them. This is an extension to that verse. “Words of Affirmation and Love” is one of my love languages, or for those who are not sure what that is, “Words of Affirmation and Love” is a way that I feel love, a way that makes me realize that others love and appreciate me. (If you have no clue what I’m talking about google Gary Chapman 5 Love Languages.) I wonder if this woman was the same; I wonder if hearing this beautiful praise out of the mouths of her husband and children gave her a wonderful sense of love. Yet, as I had that thought, I realized, she would have done all she did anyway, despite a lack of praise, because she did it out of a sense of loving God. He was the reason she sacrificed, she worked, and she toiled day and night. Had she lived her life without knowing how much her family loved and appreciated her that would have been fine; not to say she wouldn’t have missed it, but God’s glory would have been more important to her. Having said that, I must say that I’m sure hearing these words of praise from her family must have swelled her heart. Is there anyone in our lives that deserve hearing some words of praise? If so…give it to them!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Better Than Cinderella...

April 12, 2011

Proverbs 31:28 …her husband also, and he praises her

It’s funny how early we get our ideas of love and what it should be and what it should look like; those who are fortunate enough to have it displayed in their homes by their parents are blessed immensely. But if you’re not so fortunate, many times you turn to fairytales; I love fairytales, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White (this is only one of the many reasons I love Walt Disney World). However, as fun as each of those stories are to read and pretend; they are not a very honest interpretation of love. Being “in love” is not exactly like that. Instead, being “in love” is both more complicated and easier than that. Honest true love that should define a marriage of believers is one of choice. You choose each day to love your husband no matter what. You choose to show him love in small and big ways each day. Hopefully the same if being done for you too! How much more liberating is it to rest in the knowledge that your husband’s love isn’t based on some fleeting emotion that might leave as quickly as it came, instead, his love is based on his choosing to love you. One of my most favorite verses in the bible is Song of Solomon 2:17 “My beloved is mine and I am his…”. What an intimate portrait of marriage is this. We, husbands and wives, are not just two people who live together, raise children together, but are not together. Nope, we are a couple, we are two people whose lives are so intertwined that you cannot separate the two. I am deeply in love with my husband, and our marriage is not perfect, we fight, we make up, we argue but every day we choose to love each other more. This is the marriage I would guess that our Excellent Woman enjoyed with her husband!

Monday, April 11, 2011

What will make us blessed?

April 11, 2011

Proverbs 31:28 Her children rise up and call her blessed…

Is there any greater blessing a mother desires? For me, no, there is nothing I desire out of my life more than this. I mean, of course, I want to be of great use to God and I want to be a wonderful wife for my husband (I’ll deal with this tomorrow.) Yet, to hear my children say this is something my heart desires greatly. Proverbs 30:11 says “There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers”, we have two options here. We can be a mother worthy of blessing or one who is not. The choice is ours. The Proverbs 31 woman is a woman who embodies being a great mother while at the same time is hard working, entrepreneurial, and not in any way selfish with her time and abilities. I would have to say she was a woman who felt fulfilled with her life. I doubt she ever felt like her life was missing something; yet, she is a woman defined by motherhood and a strong desire to make sure her household prospered. I’m going out on a limb here and say that as a woman with children this should be our greatest desire. We may, as women, have many things that we will love in each season of our lives, but above it all should be a desire to be a mother worthy of praise. MacArthur says, “There can be no higher joy for a mother than for her children to grow up to praise her as the source of the wisdom that made them godly.” No sacrifice is too great, no work too demeaning, no morning to early to get up that should keep us from this. In today’s society, it’s sort of taboo to admit that being a great mom is all you want out of life; as if I should be ashamed to not want more. Well, I don’t; this is the greatest desire of my life, to be a Mother worthy of praise. Can’t we have it all as women; well, of course our Excellent woman did many things but she never lost sight of her family’s well-being as her first priority. So, I guess we have to ask ourselves what do we mean by “having it all.”

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Taste of Idleness...

April 8, 2011

Proverbs 31:27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness

One of the more recognized verses associated with The Proverbs 31 Woman, right. I mean we’ve all read this; we’ve all compared ourselves to her in this matter and come up short, right. Well let me just say that I have. Again, I think it’s important to remember this embodied her whole life, this was a characteristic that was woven into each day. Maybe for us we can’t say we never “eat the bread of idleness” at some point, but we could say that we strive very hard not to. I have a great friend who once shared a story with me on how she came to be the immaculate keeper of the home she is today. What did she do?...she prayed about it; she prayed that God would make her a good housekeeper, and you know what, He did. Many times when we pray there is a sense of uncertainty, like we don’t really know if God will answer in the way we want. However, I believe that if you pray for biblical things to be added to your life, God delights in answering those. If you no longer want the taste of idleness on your tongue, pray it away. Pray that God would make you a woman who looks well to the ways of her house hold and who does not eat the bread of idleness. It worked for my friend and it will work for you. How did it work for me? Well, pretty good; I’m so much better than I used to be but not where I want to be yet!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Loudness of Our Actions...The Kindness of Our Speech

April 7, 2011

Proverbs 31:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue

For most of Proverbs men have been used as “concrete examples” of the holders of wisdom. The Proverbs 31 woman is our example that women are 100% capable and responsible for understanding and having the wisdom found here in the book of Proverbs. We, as women, can’t use the excuse that the Bible is sometimes seen as masculine to neglect reading, understanding, and obeying what it tells us to do. The fact is God’s word is full of wonderful examples for Godly women for us to learn from; this great woman is only one of them. Not only is she wise, but also kind. The MacArthur Study Bible uses the word mercy instead of kindness. Though this lady is wise, she also tempers her wisdom with mercy. Mercy is defined as “Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish.” Mercy is a fruit of the Spirit and is given to all at Salvation. So, even though it may not be your spiritual gift, it is yours in Christ Jesus. Knowing what God’s Word says for us to do on any given subject is great, it’s really half the battle, but if we can’t express that wisdom in a way that will not alienate everyone we talk to, what good are we. As Mom’s we have a great burden to make sure that our children have a right view of God, because make no mistake they will have an opinion, it is up to how we live that will show them how important He is to us. As the old saying goes…actions speak louder than words. But remember, when we do speak, do so in love and kindness along with wisdom.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Strength and Dignity are Her Clothing...

April 6, 2011

Proverbs 31:25 Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come

Strength and dignity, what powerful words used to descried our “Excellent Woman.” Perhaps dignity is a word commonly associated with Christian women, but I doubt seriously that the world considers Christian women strong. After all, are we not called to submit; how can someone in submission be strong? Yet, here in God’s word, this big word is used as a character trait of this woman; it is so much a part of who she is that she wears it like clothing. It covers her; every decision, every attitude, every emotion is bathed in her strength. Strength is defined as “moral power, firmness or courage.” She has what it takes to face her future because she is strong enough to trust God and His will for her life. Yet, at the same time her life, attitude, and emotions are bathed in her dignity. She is able to be gracious in her strength. Her dignity balances out her strength. Dignity is defined as “inherent nobility and worth, poise and self-respect,” her dignity came from within.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Learning and Living...

April 5, 2011

Proverbs 31:24 She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchants

This is yet another example of her skill, entrepreneurial abilities, and responsibility to her family. Not only is she able to make beautiful things worthy to be sold in the market place, many people probably had the ability, but what is more impressive to me is that she had the self-drive to do it. I can imagine that this being several years ahead to the electric sewing machine that one didn’t just whip out clothes easily, I’m sure that even with an electric sewing machine one doesn’t whip out clothes easily; nope, I’d say she had to be diligent in planning her day to make sure that along with all her other responsibilities there was time for her sewing. I would love to know this lady’s heart; I would love to have seen her children. To know how they were impacted by living with such a woman. To expect to live up to this standard every day is unattainable and unnecessary. This “poem” is an “ideal” that we look to but realize that we will never truly be like every day of our lives. Like I’ve mentioned before I’m sure there were days when she was a little off; yet, for the whole of her life the desire for her household to thrive was greater than all else. The ability to put others in front of ourselves is a hard lesson but a necessary one. So, instead, of looking at this lady’s life and getting immediately depressed because our lives look nothing like this, and then giving up; pray about then pick one aspect of her life and add it to ours. If we have problems in the area of time management, or our appearances, or our self-discipline, work on one area until it’s complete. Then move on to the next one. Life is a learning experience, and will be greater for our having the patience to grow.

Monday, April 4, 2011


April 4, 2011

Proverbs 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land

This verse, to me, really is totally opposite to what the world would say is necessary for women today. Most women today either would not realize or would not care that their conduct would affect their husband. However the basic fact is, how we conduct ourselves is a reflection on our husband and family, whether we admit it or not. Each aspect of our lives is like a mirror reflecting back on those that we love. Denying it does not mean it is not true. The Proverbs 31 lady knew this, and she used this to the betterment of her husband. Her conduct furthered her husband’s importance in their town. More to the point she wanted it to. This is also contrary to what the world teaches. This lady was actually able to put aside any selfish desire to look good and willingly promoted her husband. This doesn’t mean she was unknown or always in the background; it is obvious from what I’ve read so far that she was very well known and respected in her own right. Yet, she never selfishly set out to promote herself. She willingly desired that her husband be known “in the gates”. I think that it’s important to realize that this lady was not without sinful flesh herself. She would have had to battle the desire to promote herself just like we do; yet, she was successful. She was able to put aside what “she” might have wanted and embrace God’s will for her life... And lived happily for it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Strength in Softness...

April 1, 2011

Proverbs 31:22 she makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple

The fact that her clothing was “fine linen and purple” shows us how successful she was in all her activities; as these were expensive materials to have your clothes made from. I cannot imagine that this woman who has been so diligent in every aspect of her life would let her personal appearance go. I love being a girl; l love dressing up, putting on make-up, jewelry, you name it, if it’s girly I’ll love it. I relish in that aspect of my femininity; it doesn’t define me but I believe it adds to who I am. I often wonder what causes women to lose this about themselves. I wonder why women can’t see that there is strength in softness. God created us to be feminine, but that does not mean He made us weak. Of course, as believers, both male and female, our strength comes from God’s indwelling spirit, and to think otherwise is pride. I’m not talking about that, instead, what I’m referring to is how many women refuse to be women. They refuse to embrace what makes us feminine, makes us soft. Then of course you have the opposite woman who thinks it’s necessary to show every asset she has at the ballpark. I’m not talking about that either; there is beauty in modesty also. What I’m getting at here is be the “woman” God created you to be. Take care of yourself, take care of what you wear (make the clothes you go to bed in be different from the clothes you go to wal-mart in!) take care of that you look like when you go out the door. This lady did, and I think she did so because she knew that she represented her husband, her family, her household and most importantly her God.