The Blessings of Proverbs

Our adult children share the benefits of being taught Proverbs…

In my last blog post, I shared the importance of sharing the book of Proverbs with your children.  I recounted how my husband had read through and discussed Proverbs with each of our four children.  He met with them individually one month each year until he or she graduated from High school.  This began after each had become a Christian, so Proverbs was read 8-12 years depending upon their age of salvation.  We found this to be a very fruitful study for them and began to see the Word really take root in their daily lives.

Our four children are all now grown and married with children of their own.  I posed this question to them recently.  “How did reading Proverbs with your Dad over the years affect your lives?” I now will share each of their responses to this question in their own words…

Our oldest, Billy, replied in this way. “It showed me what Godly discipline looked like in watching Dad’s consistency as he read Proverbs every January for years. It revealed Dad’s desire for me to read the Word and apply it to my life. It helped me in my achieved goal of saving myself until marriage for my wife.  And it showed me the need for Godly wisdom in my day to day life.”

Our second son, Timothy, shared these thoughts. “Reading Proverbs so often with Dad was very helpful through my life in teaching me about making wise decisions in every aspect of my life, whether in choosing my friends or my wife and just choices in life in general. It showed me the importance in seeking wisdom from the Lord more than worldly thought or things. Erin, my wife, and I are going through Proverbs right now and I will definitely read it with my four sons as they become older.”

Katy, our oldest daughter, responded this way. ” Proverbs is still my favorite book of the Bible.  I liked being able to ask Daddy questions as we read through the chapters.  That helped me understand it better.  I still often read my Proverb for the day and I will definitely read it with my children.”

Kristen, our youngest, share these thoughts.  “I appreciate it now as an adult that Dad took the time to go through the Word with us consistently each year.  I knew it was coming and that it was important, though I often did not appreciate it as a kid. (Dad was consistent in telling proverbial jokes too. (ex.- the leach has 2 daughters, crying give, give). These times of reading Proverbs helped me come to an understanding of the importance of having wisdom and knowledge in my life as the greater concept. I saw Dad’s spiritual leadership in our family.  He took time to do this . It was a great example to me of a Godly father who wanted to expose me to God’s Word. And it was also a picture that helped me see what kind of husband and father to my children that I would want.”

So whether it is Proverbs or any of the Bible…. teach your children the Word of God and it will not return void but bring fruit when they are old….

Teach Your Children the Proverbs

Hear my son; hear my daughter the instruction of the Lord.

In a previous post, I pointed out the benefits and blessings of seeking wisdom as we are instructed to do in the book of Proverbs. I continue now to look at the value of teaching the wisdom of this book to your children.  Children are likened to little sponges.  They are going to soak up whatever you pour over them.  Your three year old can use technology as well as you can, or at least as well as his grandparent can. He can sing songs, repeat commercials and many of your own comments.  And.. he can also learn God’s Word!  Do not neglect teaching him verses beginning at a young age.

When our children were elementary school age my husband began reading Proverbs with each of them.  He chose the month of their salvation to be the month that he would read through Proverbs with them. Of course, we had other times of verse memory and Bible stories, but this was each child’s special time with their daddy to read Proverbs.  Each day 1 chapter would be read and discussed, so by the end of the month they had finished the 31 chapters. Year after year this was their practice through high school.

We saw how, over time, these words really sunk into their lives and hearts. For example, Proverbs was a platform for teaching sex education for one son as “rejoice in the wife of your youth” and “have nothing to do with the prostitute who awaits in the street.” were read and discussed.  Our daughter commented on why she had turned down a date with a certain young man because…”she was to have nothing to do with an angry man”. There were numerous such applications that could be seen in their lives.

So I encourage you to teach your children Proverbs. Use whatever method God leads you to use. Be consistent and do it when they may not be all in… It will definitely be worth your time. God’s Word will not return void. Prayerfully trust God to work these truths into their hearts. An added benefit will be that you will come to know this book really well.

After writing this, I asked each of our now grown children how studying Proverbs in this way affected their lives…  Their responses to this question will be in my next post.     So stay tuned….

 

A Wise Woman

Wisdom is life to my inner self…   Wisdom is  a gracious ornament to my outer self…

Our world today does not put much store in wisdom.  Knowledge, education, power, success, prestige and independence are some  of the qualities today’s woman pursues. But, I say above all these pursue wisdom.  The book of Proverbs is filled with  instructions and lessons of wisdom.  We do well to read its’ words, soak in its’ truth and give life application to it. Join me as we look at just one chapter in the book of wisdom.  We will see the many blessings of being a wise woman. Look with me now in Proverbs 3.

Personalize these words to your own heart, as you hear your Father speak them to you. “My daughter… forget not my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments.” (verse 1) AND THE BLESSINGS WILL BE; “My days and years will be worth living. Inward and outward tranquility will continue through old age.” (verse 2)    “I will find favor, good understanding and high esteem in the sight of God and man.” (verse 4) “It will be health to me physically.” (verse 8)

“Happy (blessed) is the woman who finds skillful and Godly wisdom.  She gets understanding as she draws it forth from God’s Word and life experiences.” (verse 13) “Her ways are highways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace.” (verse 17) “She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her.  Blessed is everyone who holds her fast.” (verse 18)

Wisdom is life to my inward self. Wisdom is a gracious ornament to my outer self.” (verse 22) “(In wisdom) I will walk my way securely and in confident truth and not stumble.” (verse 23) “The Lord shall be my confidence, firm, and strong and keeps me from being caught in a trap.” (verse 26) “I will not be afraid when storms come.” (verse 25)

” God’s very own confidential communion and sweet counsel are with those who are upright and right standing with Him.” (verse 32)  “He declares our home joyful and favored with blessings.”  (verse 33) So… why don’t we pursue wisdom if all these blessings can be ours as a result of apprehending it?  Proverbs 3 also includes our problems in the pursuit of wisdom.  I “lean on my own understanding instead of acknowledging Him and letting Him direct  me”. (verse 5-6)      I am often “wise in my own eyes.” (verse 7) and  “I forget God’s law.” (verse 1)

In order for these problems to not keep me from becoming a wise woman, I must hold….”Godly wisdom as more precious than rubies and nothing I can wish for can compare with Her.” (verse 15)

Question:  Do you value God’s wisdom like this? Is wisdom more important than that new dress, piece of jewelry, or new home?  Do you shop for and seek wisdom more than anything else?

As we read Proverbs, we find not only wise sayings, but we also come to see Jesus in it’s pages, for He is Wisdom personified.  His Life in us gives us the grace, the power, and the strength to become a wise woman. “And a woman who is wise inherits glory.” (verse 35)

Feeling Invisible?

You are not invisible to Him. He sees. He knows and He loves you. And when all is said and done, He is the Only One who really matters.

Do you ever feel invisible?  Maybe you are a stay at home mom with your baby or toddler or several little ones. Maybe you are homeschooling your older kids.  You change diapers, wipe noses, settle quarrels, and clean spills.  Many days may go by without hearing a thank you, you do not get to punch a time clock or get that pay check…  Or perhaps you are an empty nester and just not quite sure what to do with yourself at this new place in life. Maybe you are working at your job day in and day out, but no one seems to notice and promotions pass you by.  Who sees, who cares, who notices, who knows?

In Genesis 16 we find God revealing Himself to an unlikely woman. Hagar has been banished by Sarai after it was found out that she had conceived a baby by Abram. The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness. She is given instructions by him and also promises, but the part I want you to see is the truth that God saw her. He knew where she was and what was happening with her. One of God’s descriptive names is revealed to Hagar; El Roi, the God Who Sees. Hagar says in verse 13,”You are a God of seeing. Truly here I have seen Him who looks after me.”

You are not invisible to God. He sees. He sees you right where you are at this moment in whatever place that may be. Whether in your wilderness, your emptiness or your pain. When you feel invisible, you are not invisible to your Father God.  And who better to see us, to meet us, to know us than the One who loves us. He sees what you do; the way you love and teach your child, the lullabies you sing to them at night, the thankless jobs you do day in and day out. He sees the kingdom work you do in your own home and He sees the Kingdom work He is accomplishing in your own heart as you go through these days.

You are not invisible to Him. He sees.  He knows and He loves you. And when all is said and done, He is the Only One who really matters.

Passing It On…

“One generation shall tell of Your works to another and shall declare Your mighty works.”  Psalm 145:4

” They shall tell of the Lord to the next generation.  They shall come and declare His righteousness to a people yet to be born that He has done it.”  Psalm 22:30

” Then, we your people, the sheep of Your pasture will give thanks forever, we will show forth and publish Your praise from generation to generation.”  Psalm 79:13

” The older women are to teach the younger women…” Titus 2:4

     I think we have made this command much more difficult than it really is! God says we must pass Him and His works and His Word on to those who come after us.  Of course, we first must know Him, for we can not pass on what we do not know.  We must  know His wonderful work of salvation and God’s on- going sanctification in our lives.  We must also truly believe in the power and life of His Word.  But we are to obey this command!

     To whom do we pass it on?  Well, first of all, if you are a parent, you must pass it on to your own children.  First and foremost, God wants us to teach of Him to those with whom He has entrusted us.  Friends of your children that hang out at your home will catch this teaching also. As grandparents, you too  have a role, though not primary, to teach God to your grandchildren.  Then we must pass on God’s Truth to those who have not heard; whose own families did not teach God and His ways and word.  We must be spiritual moms to those.  If you do not have children, ask God for those spiritual children, who need you to share your life with them.

     So now you may say, I am not qualified to do this.  I will leave it to the church, the teachers and pastors, the Christian school to pass it on.  All of these are secondary to what God has called us to do first…especially with our own children. What qualifies us?

Do you have the Holy Spirit living with you?

Are you a mother?

Are you an older woman, not as much in age, but you are just a little further along               in your Christian walk than another?

Have you learned lessons from life experiences, both the successes and the failures?

Do you have a heart to pass on God’s Word and His mighty works in your own life?              Why not?

    None of us have it all together.  We all need Jesus each and every day.  We each have our own path, but we can encourage others along the way and point them to the Author and Finisher of their faith.  (Hebrews 12:2)

    What are the rewards of passing it on?

Nothing blesses me more than seeing my children teach their children in the ways                  and words of God.

Nothing refreshes me more than to see God’s Word received by a new believer with               great enthusiasm.

Nothing is more important than  sharing in that which is eternal; the Word and                     Love of God.

Nothing is more satisfying than knowing I have obeyed my Father.

      It only takes one generation to drop the ball and not pass it on.  I do not want to be the one who fumbles and fails to pass on the Truth of God.

      It is a great privilege to come alongside others and teach them how to live life, nurturing them to godliness.

      And more than even all of this; I think it makes my Father God smile…

Inward Adornment

1Peter 3:3-4 tells us to, “Let not yours be the (merely) external adorning with elaborate interweaving  and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or change of clothes; but let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a quiet and gentle and peaceful spirit, which (is not anxious or wrought up, but) is very precious in the sight of God.  (Amp. Version)

How can we adorn ourselves inwardly?  Seems the world around us focuses entirely on outward adornment, especially the adornment of women.  The fashion and  cosmetics industries make millions, promising to make us beautiful on the outside.  Not that I don’t appreciate a little makeup or a flattering garment, after all the verse says our adornment is not to be ” merely” outward.  But the attention, time and money given to outward adornments often greatly outweigh the time, thought, and prayer given to inward adorning…

We know God looks on the heart and not on the outside.  So how are you adorning your heart?  What am I doing to adorn my hidden person, that deepest part of my heart that only God sees?  These words in 1 Peter tells us clearly what is precious, so precious to our God, and with which we are to adorn our hearts.  It is the incorruptible and unfading charm of  a gentle and peaceful spirit.  Who would not desire unfading charm? Who would not desire to be ruled by a peaceful spirit? Who would not want to be gentle with our words, our lives? These verses are not talking about a certain personality, but a matter of ones’ spirit, of ones’ hidden person.

Later in 1 Peter 3 it speaks of the women who have gone before us who “HOPED in GOD”.  This is key to having that gentle and peaceful spirit. As we put our hope, our wholehearted trust, our confidence in our God, then and only then, will we have this inward adorning. When we trust Him, our fears and anxiety are driven away and His gentleness and peace rules our hearts.  We can even trust God with our husbands and their decisions when our hearts are ruled by Him.

Will our hearts look like this every day? No, it is a fight to go deep and trust long. We will fail. We will want to cover up and adorn the outward and show others how beautiful we are. But when the makeup comes off and we look at ourselves in the mirror we will be encouraged to look deeper. We will not want to stay the same, but lay that hidden part of us before our Creator Father God and let Him add the strokes of beauty, the colors of His life, and the Truth of His Word as He adorns us inwardly.