I am no longer the things of my past...I am the daughter of the Great I AM.

Exodus 3:14
And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
2 Corithians 6:18
I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Comparing Two Women

As many of you know, I have been studying the Proverbs 31 Woman for years. It is my desire to be a Proverbs 31 woman... some days I am closer than others, but I am definitely still a work in progress. Recently a verse concerning another woman caught my attention...

Proverbs 7:11 (NKJV)
She was loud and rebellious, Her feet would not stay at home.

This verse has really stuck with me. I immediately thought this is the me that I struggle against ... Naturally, I am loud and rebellious. However, God has been working on me to be gentle and quiet.

1 Peter 3:4 (NKJV)
rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

Since it is my desire is to be the Proverbs 31 Woman, and I have some characteristics (loud and rebellious) of the Proverbs 7 Woman, I decided to do a comparison of the two.

Here is the list of what I have found:
Proverbs 7 Woman
Dressed like a harlot
Proverbs 31 Woman
Dressed in fine linen & purple

Proverbs 7 Woman
Had a crafty heart
Proverbs 31 Woman
A woman who fears the Lord

Proverbs 7 Woman
Loud and rebellious
Proverbs 31 Woman
strength and honor

Proverbs 7 Woman
Away from home
Proverbs 31 Woman
Wakes early and stays up late watching over her household

Proverbs 7 Woman
Has peace offerings and pays vows
Proverbs 31 Woman
Extends her hand to the poor, and reaches her hand to the needy

Proverbs 7 Woman
Seeking men (not her husband)
Proverbs 31 Woman
Does her husband good, not evil
The heart of her husband safely trusts her

Proverbs 7 Woman
Colored covering of Egyptian linen
(Egypt represents bondage)
Proverbs 31 Woman
Her household is clothed in scarlet
(scarlet represents salvation)

Proverbs 7 Woman
enticing speech and flattering lips
Proverbs 31 Woman
Opens her mouth with wisdom and the law of kindness is on her tongue

The Proverbs 7 Woman is a Woman living outside of God's plan for her. The Proverbs 31 Woman is living God's plan. As Women, we are designed to be a helpmeet to our husbands. We are to be busy watching over the affairs of our households. When we eat the bread of idleness, and wander from our households, we fall prey to the bondage of sin.

I encourage you to read the account of these two women. In case you missed it, they are found in Proverbs 7 and Proverbs 31.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Proverbs 31 Woman - Her Impact

Proverbs 31:23 (NKJV)
Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.

Verse 23 of Proverbs 31 discusses the impact of a virtuous wife. She is not simply known as her husband's wife: he is also respected as her husband!

For years this verse puzzled me. I could not figure out how me being a wife of worth could gain respect from others for my husband. Then one day, Jason shed light on it for me... and we weren't even discussing this verse. We were discussing a friend. This friend was struggling with his construction business. A business that had been thriving, but now he couldn't seem to stay on top of projects. He was losing respect among those working for him, and among those he was working for. (During this same time frame, this man and his wife were having difficulties at home. Divorce had been mentioned more than once.) I asked Jason why he thought this man was having such trouble with work. Here is the profound statement he made....

"When a man can't trust his wife to maintain his household, his attention is divided. He can't focus on his job, for worrying about his home."

Wow! All at once verse 23 clicked for me!!! When a husband has confidence in his wife to maintain his home and children, he can focus on providing for his family. When his focus is on his job, he will excel at it.... Thus he will gain the respect of those that he works with and for. I never realized that by me doing what God designed me to do, being my husband's helpmeet, I was impacting the reputation of my husband.

Some time after this revelation, I found a note tucked into one of my Bibles. It was a note written by Jason to me after some argument... I have no idea about what, but probably something trivial that I blew out of proportion... I am working on that. I am going to share that note now, I think that it explains this concept better than I ever could. (It is sweet ladies, so get ready to say awww!)

I love you very much my Dear. I don't like it at all when we are in opposition with each other. When I feel that all is right between us, then I feel I can conquer the world... You are my biggest supporter & encourager. If not for you, I would not be able to do my duties as a husband, father & provider. Thank you for your support.

I don't often tell you how proud I am of you, but the truth is, I'm very proud of you. You are one of the most selfless women I know. You are not a "high maintenance," "Must-go-shopping," "You keep the kids" kind of woman. I think you are a great teacher, educator, and encourager for our kids. I'm gad that we are a team, and you complement my "OCD" behavior very well. If not for you, I don't know that I would have pulled through this last year (2008) with a zeal for life and a warrior mentality that I have today. Thank you for your support, encouragement, love & prayers.

Please continue to pray for me as I battle demons inside my own head, as I'm concerned about finances, as I'm concerned about the direction I'm taking us in ... I know God has worked a true miracle in our lives in 2009 and he used your as a strong support for me. Thank you! Without your love for me, I feel terrible... I want us to work as a team, as a unit with a common goal. I love you so much, and I know I don't communicate it very well, very often, but I am proud of you; I'm glad, honored to have you as my wife & partner!

I love you,

In order for our husbands to have respect elsewhere, we must respect our husband at home. Are we setting our husbands up to "conquer the world" and giving him a "warrior mentality" ? Or do we belittle him and make him feel useless?

As you reflect on verse 23, ask yourself these questions...
How do I treat my husband?
Does my husband trust me to maintain his household?
Do I pray for my husband daily? (Does he know?)

What impact do you have on your husband? Is he respected among his peers because he excels at his work? Or is he distracted because he can't fully trust you to hold up your end of the marriage partnership?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Thoughts

Today is Valentine's day, and I have been watching the posts on Facebook. There are lots of pictures of flowers, balloons, and hearts. There is also a lot of posts about being single and lonely on Valentine's Day. There are many posts with Bible verses and other quotes about love. There are husbands remembering to post notes of love to their wives. And of course wives bragging about how good their husband did. It made me start wondering what do people really think about this day? So I thought I would start with what I am thinking about today.

*I think of how much I love my family.

*I think of ways in which I can show that love to them.

*I think of my nephew, that at the age of 12, went home to heaven on Valentine's Day 2003.

*I think about my sister, brother-in-law, and niece as they live each day since then without him.

*I think about my niece-in-law who is spending her first Valentine's day since burying her husband less than a year ago.

*I think about the 4+ years she stood by her man as he battled cancer.

*I think about my parents who divorced when I was 5 and wonder "what if?"

*I think about my husband's parents who have been married 60+ years.

*I think about my wedding day of nearly 19 years ago, and look forward to growing old with my man.

*I think about my children, and the delight in their eyes as they received small gifts from us this morning.

As I thought about all this, and realized how my emotions are all over the board, I realized that I must not be the only one. Valentine's Day is fun for those of us who have loved ones to celebrate with, but for others it can be a very depressing day. We need to be aware of those around us, and show love to them. Not just today, but everyday.

Now don't get me wrong, gifts are fun! It is wonderful when your loved one takes the time to get you something as a token of their love for you. It is great to give gifts, and do special things for others. The question we have to ask ourselves is why do we do it? Is it because the card companies told us we should? Or do we love daily because Jesus said we should?

I believe that we should remember the words of our Savior, Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39

Monday, February 6, 2012

Lesson Learned from the Super Bowl

I am going to take a break from my Proverbs 31 Study to post a quick blog sharing something I learned last night.

My family, like millions of other of families, watched the Super Bowl last night. We watch every year, even though our favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys, have not made an appearance in far too long. We do not go over board. Occasionally we will go to a small Super Bowl party, but most years we just stay home and watch it as a family. That's what we did last night.

The kids get excited because I try to do special "super bowl" food. Again, nothing over the top, but finger foods served buffet style. Last night I made ham and cheese sliders that I placed on a nice tray. I served chips and salsa, and placed them in a chip and dip tray. I also offered a couple of other chip choices which I placed in decorative glass bowls. Finally, I had some Wal-Mart iced cookies and some candy. I served these from decorative bowls also. See, nothing elaborate... However ...

When Jason went to fix his plate, he commented how nice my display looked. I said thank you, but didn't think much about it. Then, when he went back for something else, he commented on it again. That made me stop and think.

First, I realized that Jason truly appreciated the effort I put into the presentation of the food. Why shouldn't he? After all, we know that men are visual. Men are attracted to things that look nice. That is why we try to look our best so that we can be attractive to our man.

Second, I realized that when we have company I get out my best dishes, and try to make a nice presentation. However, when it is just my family, I often don't put that much effort into it. On a normal night, if we were having the same menu, I would have left the sliders in the pan they were cooked in, and the chips, dip, cookies and candy would have been left in the containers they were bought in.

Finally, I was ashamed at the realization that I would do more for others than I would for my family. I love my family. Why wouldn't I give THEM my best?

Now, I am not saying that I will never serve chips out of the bag again... I am saying that I am going to make a greater effort at going the "extra mile" for my family. They were pleased with my efforts last night, and I loved the appreciation and adoration it afforded me. My team may not have won the Super Bowl, but I was definitely a winner!

Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.” Proverbs 31:28-29

I got the recipe for the Ham and cheese sliders from Women Living Well... here is the site http://womenlivingwell.org/2012/02/super-bowl-party-ham-cheese-sliders/
They were wonderful, check them out.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Proverbs 31 Woman - Her Values

Proverbs 31:20-21 (NKJV)
She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.

Verses 20-21 of Proverbs 31 discusses the values of a virtuous wife. She has a deep concern for the needy as well as for the welfare of her family.

Verse 20 - the poor and the needy

Several years ago, I was working a chili supper fundraiser. In addition to the price of the ticket, we had a jar set up for additional donations. I will never forget the entrance of two men. The first came in, gave us his tickets, and then raising his arm really high, dropped a $100.00 bill to float down into the jar. While the money dropped to the top of the jar, he boldly (and loudly) announced his donation by saying, "I think a $100 will help this fundraiser along." The second man came in, presented his tickets, and while carrying on a conversation with us at the table, placed a donation into the jar without much notice. (I am quite sure that I am the only one that saw, and that was only because of where I was seated.) I don't know for a fact, but I am pretty sure that it was this second man who was responsible for the three $100 bills folded up together and placed in the jar. I have thought of these two men often. The first was giving out of a stingy heart ... He was giving to bring glory to himself. The second was giving out of a generous, concerned heart ... He was giving to bring glory to God.

I love the way the Message states Deuteronomy 15:10-11
Give freely and spontaneously. Don't have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God's, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.

You don't give so you can receive, you give because you want to give. THEN you are rewarded.

Verse 21 - welfare of your family

We can't always predict when trouble will occur. However, we can take measures to be prepared if or when trouble arrives. We can save money, we can have extra food and water on hand, we can have plans in place if something happens. Now I realize that we can not be 100% prepared for all things. You can however maintain a calm spirit in times of trouble. You can trust God to be your provider and seek peace from Him. Your family will either feel safe or panicked based on how you react to trouble.

clothed with scarlet

The color scarlet represents salvation. As mothers, we have a responsibility to train up our children in the word of God. We cannot make a salvation decision for them, but we can be models for them. We are to teach them God's word with our words and our actions. We are to pray for them, direct them, and answer their questions.

As we teach our children, it is important that we not forget the structure, set up by God, of our home. The husband is the spiritual leader. He is to oversee and confirm what is being taught and demonstrated. The wife is to teach the children how to know and have a relationship. The husband will have to answer for how he led the family. The wife will have to answer for how she taught her children. They each have a job, and there will be NO blaming each other when they stand before God.

A Servants Heart

For both helping the needy and for maintaining the welfare of our family, we must have a servants heart. We must be humble. We cannot serve others from a prideful heart.

As you focus on verses 20-21, ask God to help you answer these questions:
Who, in your circle of influence, is in need?
Is your home prepared for hard times?

Seek out other scripture passages dealing with poor/needy, generosity, and prepared. May God build in each of us the Values of the Proverbs 31 Woman.