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.

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.

The Heart of Hospitality

     Plunged into the middle of Paul’s exhortation of how we Christians should be living in Romans 12 are these words in verse 13, “pursue hospitality”.  It is as much of a definite command as ; be constant in prayer in verse 12, love one another in verse 10, or bless those who persecute you in verse 14.

     Why does practicing hospitality get relegated to the bottom of the list of God things to do?  As I looked at this recently, I was challenged in new and deeper ways and here is why…

      Hospitality must be a discipline that is theologically driven.  Our practice of hospitality should be drawn from the very heart of God.  Think of the amazing hospitality of God.  How, as recorded in Genesis 1, God  went about preparing a place in creation in order to welcome His honored guest—man.  God, in His very nature is fundamentally hospitable.

       Think our Lord Jesus, as He moved among earth people, again and again practiced hospitality.   While preaching to the multitude, He said, ” We must feed them”.  He gave invitation after invitation, (and still does today) saying, “Come unto Me”.  He tells the story of the father welcoming his wayward son home with the party of all parties.  He said to Zacchaeus, “I am going to your house today”.  He knocks at the door of our heart because He wants to sit down with us and spend time together.

     As welcome is fundamentally in the nature of God so it should be in us.  As He is so very hospitable to us, so we should be to others.  Isn’t grace really the unearned hospitality of a loving God?  Isn’t it the outstretched arms of our Savior?  How can we not be hospitable?  As we invite others into our homes, we reenact the divine love we have received  And our practice of hospitality will grow us into the likeness and desire of our Lord Jesus.

     What blessings we miss when we fail to obey this command! So fling open the door, cook the fatted calf (or the chicken), prepare your part of creation, and welcome with the open arms of Jesus those who come inside.  After all,one day we will gather around the Table of all tables and feast upon the very presence of our Lord…. so why don’t we practice some now?

 

A Gift For Your Husband

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             My husband never seems to want any gifts and if he does, it will certainly be something very practical.  I love to give gifts so this can be frustrating at times.  So what is it that I may give him that shows my love and would also be happily received by him?  I think Ephesians 5:33b  informs me of a precious gift which costs no money, but would be priceless to my husband.  That gift is RESPECT… This is what it says:

“let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband (that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.)”     Ephesians 5:33b Amp.

       Wow… that verse in the amplified version says much!!!  God knows what my husband needs, so He gives me as his wife this command to respect him.  Notice that there are no adjectives describing what kind of husband to respect.  I am to respect him in his God given role in our marriage, whether he is always fulfilling that role or not.  I often share with young women to marry a respectable man because it makes it much easier for her to obey this scripture. I believe that your husband will grow and blossom as you share with him daily this biblical gift of respect!

         So whether it is Valentine’s Day or just each ordinary day remember to respect your husband in the way that Ephesians 5:33b describes. This may help you or you could write your own reminder.

R–Rightfully honor your husband

E–Esteem him above all others

S–Shine when you are with him

P–Praise him often, preferring him

E–Eyes looking at him when he speaks

C–Calling his name out in prayer daily

T–Treating him with love and kindness

        If a  little respect goes a long way,imagine what a lot of respect does?  So wrap up RESPECT for your husband and let him receive it each day.  You both will be glad you did!

 

Resolve


Years ago I made resolutions; the usual physically fit, eat healthy, organize my life kind.  Then later, I gave up making resolutions, finding they were short lived and non-productive.
This year, however, I have been challenged to look at resolutions in a new way.  A devotion by John Piper encouraged me to do so.  He stated that our problem is not in making resolutions, but in the purpose of those resolutions and how those resolutions come to fruition.  God tells us in His Word to be “fully persuaded, to “set our hearts”, and “to work out our salvation”.  All of these are very resolute statements.  So we are not to be irresolute!  God wants us to have spiritual resolve, not just the beginning of the New Year but the beginning of each new day.
Resolutions are too often powered  by our own determination or our own willpower.  II Thessalonians 1:11-12 contains the theology on resolutions…

“To this end (the glorious return of Jesus) we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you and you in him according to the grace of God and Lord Jesus Christ.”

So, because, our Lord is returning one day, Paul prays that we may be worthy of our calling.  We are to resolve to do good, obey God, to love more, to walk in integrity, etc. and it can only be accomplished by God’s power and grace.  Again we have our part and He has His part.
Make resolutions this year that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified. In what area does God especially want you to work on intentionally?  Ask Him!  Only, always remember it takes His power and grace to bring us to the place of fulfillment…..