A Woman of Action: Proverbs 31:12

Proverbs 31:12 “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

So far we have seen that a Godly wife is rare and a treasure to her husband and he can fully trust her in all areas. We will now look at her actions.
The Proverbs 31 woman “brings her husband good, not harm.” The word “Good” here means considering your husbands happiness and well being in all you do. This noble woman builds her husband up instead of tearing him down.

Where does this goodness come from? It comes from her walk with God – it is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit that is found in the book of Galatians 5:22-23.

Doing good is a part of her character. And who does she do good to? First and foremost – she does good to her husband!
She does not talk about doing good to her husband – she actually DOES it!

She WILLINGLY cooks, cleans, cares for the children and stretches a dollar. This is such important tasks and she recognizes that. She builds up their home and doesn’t tear it down.

She WILLINGLY submits, respects and praises her husband. She does not criticize him over and over for the same flaws but loves him despite his flaws.

She knows the power of her words and would not, in a moment of anger, use them to harm him. She speaks respectively to him, instead of being disrespectful to him through her actions and words.

She strives to have a quiet and gentle spirit (1 Peter 3:4), providing a refuge for her husband; instead of being harsh or rude. She asks about his day and listens for any struggles he may have to better help support him.

She does not speak bad or complain about him to others behind his back, (including your girlfriends). Instead she builds him up and speaks of his good traits to others.

If you have a hard time in this area of finding your husbands good traits, Please Pray for God to help you see your husband as He sees Him. Helping you change your perspective, how you view your husband. If you are still struggling in this area, possibly seek any advice or counseling from a wiser or trusted Christian source. And again as the saying always goes “If you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t say anything at all”.

Possibly praying and making a list of what you are grateful for about your husband. Like does he provide a roof over your head, active in church, helps around the house or with the kids? Sometimes we tend to overlook a lot of these things we can be thankful for.

The Proverbs 31 woman spends time in prayer and Bible study; deepening her relationship with God. Learning more how she can be a wife that is pleasing in Gods eyes. She knows that not just reading Gods word but applying it to her everyday life is the key.

A wise woman understands her power of influence to persuade her husband to do things that without her nagging, begging, manipulating or crying, he would not choose to do. We must not attempt to lead our husbands – but allow them to lead us (Ephesians 5:22-24).

She is modest in her clothing. Modesty means “appropriate”, “pure”. As our outward expression here is just a reflection of our inward purity. Our thoughts, heart, and what we believe will come out in our appearance.

She looks for ways to be his helpmeet. This could include anything like making sure he has his favorite food or beverage in the fridge, helping him in the yard, or anything that helps him out. Genesis 2:18 says “It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a helper fit for him”

For how long does the Proverbs 31 woman bring her husband good? “All the days of her life.” Are these words heavy to your heart? Is your marriage wavering? Let me suggest that a struggling marriage means you must draw even closer to God to see your marriage through.

If you are wondering how in the world you are going to love and respect this man you married FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE…let me give you the answer. By fearing God. Your walk with God is the key to having peace in the midst of a struggling marriage.
You cannot control your husband’s walk with God – only your own. But when you
faithfully pray, read God’s word and obey it, it will change the course of your marriage.
So do you need a change of course today? There are always things we can do to bring good to our husbands. Is there any area you need more strength in? What areas do you do well? Reflect on those and keep building on those things you do well!

Pursue God, pursue the Proverbs 31 woman and pursue bringing your husband good all the days of your life! We as women are here for each other! I know its a struggle some days. But love, support and encouragement not only from our Father but those women around us can help!

Blessings,

Christy C

Understanding leads to Wisdom

Beginning today with a quote from R.C Sproul he says “As the Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, so the denial of God is the height of foolishness”.

Continuing to study out wisdom in Proverbs 1, lets dive in to the next couple verses and what they mean.

Proverbs 1:29-30 says “For they hated Knowledge, and chose not to fear the Lord. They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them” (NLT)

First thing they did is “They hated Knowledge”. Knowledge is the foundation of the building block for understanding which leads to wisdom. The Hebrew word here is specifically referring to moral knowledge. If the basic fundamental knowledge or information is lacking, there is no hope for good or right behavior. A lack of knowledge will result in bad decisions and ultimately bad results.

Their hatred of knowledge reminds us of Jesus description of the unregenerate heart (not reforming or showing repentance); that is found in John 3:19-21 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

The second thing they did was “they chose not to fear the Lord“. Proverbs 1:7 says “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”. Ecclesiastes 12:13 says “The conclusion of the matter is to Fear God and keep His commands, this is the whole duty of man.

This verse says they chose not to fear God. They chose not to view God in the way He should be viewed. Fearing is not a scared fear but out of reverence, obedience and respect of His authority. Knowing God, His character and His love, grace, mercy and holiness. It is viewing Him the way he should be viewed.

Thirdly, they rejected advice, teaching or training. They were not interested in God’s Counsel. There is no hope for growth, improvement or learning if teaching is rejected. Who rejects the advice of God? If we were to set down and ask for advice and God gives it, who is the person that is going to reject that? Thats an indication of a heart attitude.

Lastly; they rejected and ignored correction. One often learns and grows the most through making mistakes and being corrected, its not easy for any of us but we grow the most in our mistakes.

A fool will continue to do the same thing over and over thinking they are going to get a different result. Thats the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting something different to happen.

Looking at it from a parents perspective, when a child does something wrong and we need to correct them and the kid looks at you and says “I understand what you are saying, but I’m doing it anyway”. As a parent how do we respond? How do we feel?

This is what WE are doing when we reject and ignore the correction of God.

So here are some questions we can apply to our everyday lives…..

(These verses are truly about the unrepentant, those who reject wisdoms call, hopefully you aren’t in that boat. But it doesn’t hurt us to look at our own hearts in each of these areas as well.)

How might you be hating knowledge? How might that be present in your life?

How might you be choosing to not fear the Lord? How might you be ignoring Gods advice?

How might you be rejecting God’s correction?

As I set and thought of some ways we may not listen to Gods advice is being disobedient, we are not fearing Him. We are choosing not to do something God is directing us, why are we not doing that? What is driving that disobedience? Often its fear but not Fear of the Lord. So when we begin to fear other people, our own discomfort, or fear loss, or anything else more than we Fear the Lord; we need to repent.

God, I pray we don’t want wisdom for our own success but to Know You God better, love You better and love others better. Transform our hearts into the likeness of Christ.

Blessings,

Christy C.

Wisdom: Hearing vs. listening

Wisdom……. It is all something we desire and something we look for, but do we listen? Not just hear wisdom, or hearing the words; but listening requires not just hearing but action on our part.

Like I have always told my kids, there is a big difference in just hearing and actually listening.

As we search out wisdom, lets continue in the book of Proverbs 1:28 today about what happens when we do not listen or heed to the voice of wisdom.

To back up and summarize the last half of Proverbs chapter 1, it is a poem about wisdom personified as a woman. She first is crying out in the streets telling people to listen to her urgent message. As we see people refuse or reject wisdoms call, counsel and correction. She is then asking people to respond to her call because of a storm or calamity that will come in life (VS 27). Now today in (VS 28) we see if we don’t listen, she (wisdom) tells what will happen.

Proverbs 1:28 says “Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me” (ESV).

So when is THEN? If we back up to Verse 27 it is when and after that storm or calamity hits, its at that point in that disaster or distress; THEN they are interested in wisdom (VS 28).

And wisdoms response? She will not answer. They will seek wisdom, cry out for help, but at that point it is too late. At some point the door is shut, like that door of the Ark. God seals up that door of the ARK and that was peoples last chance or end of options to turn to Him. As we all have probably heard the story of Noah and the ark, we talk about the animals, noah and his family, their faith; but we may forget there was a whole world who lost their lives in the flood. Because it was too late.

This is the aspect of God’s wrath expressed in His abandonment of sinners. In the book of Romans 1:21-22&28 we see God speaking out “For though they knew God they did not glorify Him as God, or show gratitude. Instead their senseless hearts were darkened claiming to be wise”. (VS 28)”they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God. God delivered them over to a corrupt mind so that they do what is not right”. Those who have not listened.

But God leaves us with a promise. In Proverbs 8:17 says “I love all who love me, those who search”. God wants us to seek Him and find Him and He is not saying that searching will not lead us any where. but todays verse tells us there is a danger, there is a point where it can become too late.

Wisdom Was calling and they refused to listen. So now, they are calling and she does not answer. We need to listen and respond when she calls, the offer will not be forever.

So here are some questions to ask ourselves. ….

Are you willing and interested in putting in the work responding to wisdom when she calls?

Do you tend to be one of those who prepares for a storm? Or when you get in the middle of it you find yourself drowning and need rescue? (Certainly no one is perfect in this, and this is not saying you put all your effort in saving yourself; it can’t be done.”)

But those tendencies can show up in our spiritual lives too. We can be people who think we have to rely on our own effort. We do all this preparing and we will be prepared and it will go the way we want. Or we can be people who completely ignore preparation or spiritual work until we are in the middle of a storm.

If we are people who only look to God when it storms; are we really loving Him?

Do we really have an authentic relationship or is He more like a spiritual vending machine? (To clarify, God will rescue us from storms and allows them for reasons to get our attention. But if He has been calling and calling and our hearts are hard and unrepentant, there will be a point where He will abandon us to our own selves.) This is the warning of this poem.

Is there anything that God has been calling out to you about that you have been ignoring?

As I pray through these questions in my own life: I am thinking what does it mean to put in the work when wisdom is calling? As I go through these studies and other studies, I see there are things I haven’t done in the past that I should be doing to take and develop to listen to wisdom. It only takes one step in the right direction. One decision to develop habits to a better change.

What about You?

Blessings,

Christy C.

Trust & Confidence: Proverbs 31:11

Trust and confidence are two very important qualities we all desire in our important relationships. We all want that from others, but do others have that in us? Can they trust you and have confidence in you in all areas? Most importantly can your husband confidently trust you in the home and in your marriage?

As I study out the Proverbs 31 woman verse by verse and what those Godly values look like, I am on Proverbs 31:11.

So lets dive in to what this verse means and break it down.

Proverbs 31:11 says “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value”. (ESV)

Another version in the (New king james version NKJV) says “The heart of her husband safely trusts her, so he will have no lack of gain”.

This verse is the husband’s response to his wife, this is a reflection on her character as well as their relationship. This simply means that when a husband can trust his wife, because of her confidence in the Lord, there is nothing else that he needs.

Two words in Verse 11 stand out which is “Heart” and “trust” from the NKJV version. Breaking these words down, lets look at what they mean biblically.

Heart – The hebrew word for heart is leb = the heart; figuratively used widely for the feelings, the will, and even the intellect.  Also translated mind, understanding, wisdom.

Trust – The hebrew word for Trust is – batach = to hasten toward refuge; figuratively to trust, be confident, be secure in, be sure. 

What do we see?  A woman protects a mans heart and his name that he can be sure and secure in. A woman who has her husband’s complete confidence in her, not only in the way she manages their home and raises their children, but in their relationship as well.  She doesn’t use her strengths and abilities to try to undermine him, but to strengthen the unity between them.

When a man has full confidence in his wife, he lacks nothing of value.
That means this character quality is of great importance. A husband who has a wife who is solid EMOTIONALLY and SPIRITUALLY can rest on his wife’s steady support.

Can your husband trust you in these areas?

  1. Money – Can he depend on you to spend it wisely? Not putting the family into debt?
  2. Children – Can he trust you to train your children wisely? (Proverbs 22:6: “train up a child in the way he should go…..”)
  3. Home – Can he trust you to run an orderly home?
  4. Reputation – Can he trust you to not speak poorly of him behind his back?
  5. Faithfulness – Can your husband trust you to not build emotional connections with other men?
  6. Emotions – Can your husband trust you to be self-controlled when under pressure?
  7. Choices – Can your husband trust you to make wise choices when urgent situations arise?

Because the wife of noble character wants to love God, honor His ways and fulfill his commands, the husband has full confidence that the motivations of her heart will be pure. He knows that her aim will be to be a vessel of God in all that she does. Therefore, the important decisions that she makes as she helps to build a family and serve the community will also be those that lead to life and blessing.

She is a faithful bride. A Virtuous Woman respects her husband . She
does him good all the days of her life. She is trustworthy and a helpmeet . But first and foremost she is the bride of Christ. Just know You do not need an earthly husband to be a virtuous woman!

Whether in marriage or in singleness, God is more than willing to shape us into His character if we allow Him to. As we walk in His purposes and are guided by Him, we too, can be trusted!

No one is perfect, we all make mistakes. I certainly have not always made the wisest choices. There have been lots of failures but also getting back up and learning, growing and maturing along the way! 2 Corinthians 12:9 is a verse that keeps me going “For my grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in your weakness…..”

I am striving to be a Proverbs 31 woman and the Proverbs 31 woman is a woman whose husband has full confidence in her. Does your husband have full confidence in you? If not, what areas can you change in your own life so you can gain this character quality?

Study the virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman and ask God to show you how you
can implement them in your life.
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7

Commit these areas to prayer and Walk with the King!

Wisdom: Are you listening?

Starting off with a quote I came across that says “There is none so blind that they will not listen”

Continuing studying out Wisdom, lets keep looking in Proverbs chapter 1:23-26. Just like a proverb it is a wisdom packed full of truth helping us to live our lives well. So as we study these verses out we will apply it to our everyday lives by asking ourselves some questions as we reflect on ourselves.

Proverbs 1:23 says “If you respond to my warning, then I will pour out my spirit on you and teach you my words” (CSB).

Proverbs 1:24-26 says “Since I called out and you refused, extended my hand and no one paid attention, since you neglected all my counsel and did not accept my correction, I in turn, will laugh at your calamity.

As we have been going through Proverbs 1, we see wisdom has already taken a stand by yelling in the streets, she is calling out to those who should be listening. And now in this verse 23 we see that she is requiring a response back. In the ESV version, the verse says instead of “response” it says “a turning”. This is a repentance, or a change.

The actual Hebrew meaning for repentance means “to turn back” or “repent”. Basic meaning is a movement back to the point of departure. Going back and starting over; doing it the right way.

Henry Smith once said “To repent does not convey the most accurate sense to many people because one of the most common English dictionary definitions of repent “is to be sorry again”.”

God didn’t’ call the people to be sorry again but a complete change in their mental attitudes which would manifest itself into a changed conduct. Changed mental choice leads to changed behavior.

So going back to verse 23, what are we responding to? She (wisdom) is warning us. She is crying out in the public square with a warning and we are supposed to respond. But most of us don’t respond that easily to that kind of communication, right?

Its not easy to respond to a rebuke or a warning. But what happens if we do repent of being the people she (wisdom) spoke of in verse 22; that we are fools, mockers, scoffers?

What happens if we repent? “I will pour out my holy spirit” (wisdom) says. Poured out for us, that wisdom will be unleashed if her advice is heeded. What will pouring out do in us? It will make us wise, teach us the word, give us understanding of meaning.

In verse 24 “Wisdom says she called and extended her hand”. If you close your eyes and think of all the things that cross your mind as you imagine someone extending their hand. someone reaching out.

Do you think of help? Assistance? Wanting something better for someone and being able to do something about it? God does this for us over and over and over again. Extends His hand to us.

So the problem in the next line is “they refused to pay attention or listen or ignore”. One of the things you do when you refuse to listen is you turn away. Kind of like a child saying “Im not listening to that!” and turn away during a tantrum.

Clearly the verse implies the people heard what wisdom was saying because they refused. They ignored it, they did not like what they heard. The unrighteous do not like to hear the righteousness of God.

It also says “they neglect ALL of His counsel”. Not just a portion but All was rejected. This speaks volumes about the depravity of an unregenerate heart (meaning not reforming or showing repentance ). Its unmoving hostility toward God and His word.

So what does wisdom do in this case? She laughs. This is not a mocking laugh but of one who did not heed to their folly.

So to summarize, we will reap consequences. We can’t blame God for our disaster if we reject His word, we have no excuse in this case. Like in Galatians 6:7-8, “Don’t be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a person sows he will also reap. Because the one who sows to his flesh will reap destruction from the flesh . But the one who sows from the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit. ”

So here are some questions for us to reflect on:

How much time do we spend really listening to wise people, or to scripture, or to God himself?

When we are listening, do we have a heart open to respond? Are we willing to change? Are we willing to learn and consider things that we might find challenging?

How well do you respond to criticism or correction? How likely are you willing to repent when faced with the need to?

What difference would that make with the idea of wisdom pouring out her spirit on you?

Have you ever refused to listen to the advice of parents, teachers, boss’s or true friends and later wished that you had?

Have you ever failed to listen to God’s wisdom in a particular circumstance? What was the result of that?

How might wisdom be calling you in your own life right now? She’s reaching out her hand to you today. What is she saying as she reaches out with her wisdom?

Are there any ways you are refusing to listen to God’s call on your life? If so what do you need to do about that? Ask God to search your heart to make sure. Then let Him find you listening.

What will you do with what you learned today?

We need wisdom to know God better, to love Him better and to love others better. the kind of wisdom that transforms our heart and our lives. To be more like Christ each day.

Blessings

Christy C.

A woman of noble Character

Studying out Proverbs 31, I have asked myself: “Who is this woman anyways?” I used to think this was a perfect woman who had it all together and could do everything!

But……….We’re not talking about the perfect Pinterest mom. {Who is she anyway???} Or the perfect wife. {Never gonna happen.} Or the perfect Christian woman. {She doesn’t exist.} We’re talking about a woman who knows who she belongs to and every good work she does comes from living a faithful life guided by Scripture.

This was actually a poem written by King Lemuel mother for what kind of a king he should be in verses 1-9 of Proverbs 31. Then in verses 10-31 is all about what to look for in a wife someday! Others say in Jewish culture this was memorized by the men and sung to all women as an encouragement. (Please note that these passages are not just for the married woman. They can be for all women to practice daily in any walk of life) . In any stage of life we can learn to live out these good virtues as we live a faithful life.

I would like to start in Proverbs 31:10 and just go verse by verse in these blogs.

So verse 10 in the NIV version says “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies”.

The first word that sticks out to me is noble. The websters dictionary definition of noble is: “having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles”.

Some translations say “Virtuous” in the place of noble. Both words mean the same.

The Proverbs 31 woman is described as a virtuous woman or as a wife of noble
character. She is also described as a woman of valor.
I don’t know about you, but the word valor brings to my mind a strong woman who knows what she needs to do and she sets about doing it. She has a purpose!

definition of Valor: great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle
As women of valor, as Proverbs 31 women, we are fighting a spiritual battle.

Remember, it is a woman’s faith that makes her virtuous – not a list of tasks completed or to do lists checked off. It’s her pliable heart in response to God’s persuading.

As virtuous women, as women of valor, we are called to put on the armor of God and take every thought captive in obedience to Christ! Isn’t that inspiring? Do you see how God sees you ?

She is ready to go to battle for those she loves and she wears the armor of God.
Ephesians 6:10-18 says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 has great courage. She’s woman on a mission.
She is ready, willing, and able to face each task and trial. She knows God is on her side.

The next thing this verse is telling me is that “she is worth far more than rubies”.

A noble wife is rare and extraordinary like a ruby! She is a treasure to her husband! A Virtuous woman is worth far more than jewels! This is telling women, You are precious and worthwhile! And when she is found, her value is priceless. God calls us to be virtuous and capable.

To learn to possess a NOBLE character we have to put off some of our fleshly sides.
Lets look at what a wife of noble character DOES NOT look like:

  1. She does not rival her husband.
  2. She does not mope around and complain about her housework.
  3. She does not overspend and put her family into debt.
  4. She is not bored, discontent, greedy or selfish.
  5. She does not gossip and slander others.
  6. She does not spend her days doing leisurely shopping, texting, emailing, web browsing, watching late night movies, and sleeping in.
  7. She does not criticize, mock, or disrespect her husband.
  8. She does not have children and a husband who embarrass her.
  9. She does not let her outer beauty take precedence over her inner beauty.
  10. She does not take God’s word lightly.

I know this is a lot to take in. But giving ourselves grace and understanding that grace through Christ IS a gift, not anything we can do to earn it.

Humbling ourselves to see some of our flaws. We must be WILLING to change some things – our attitudes, our thought patterns, our work ethic, our words, and what we spend our time on. Lets start today looking at some of the character qualities we may be weak in. Application is also the key to change, applying what we have learned to our lives.

We can’t be good on our own. But with Christ all things are possible. One of my personal favorite Bible verses is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me.”

In our weakness God says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 . He gives us the strength needed!

Being a Proverbs 31 Woman isn’t about being perfect or trying to live up to a list of
impossible standards. It’s about living with purpose. And your purpose, ultimately, is to serve a risen Savior.

Study the virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman and ask God to show you how you
can implement them in your life. Pray and ask God for the strength to change where needed. Understand what we are called to do and how to achieve it. Even when we fail, God’s grace is there to help us get back on track. Pray over everything and work hard.

Blessings,

Christy C.

Wisdom Calls Out

As I write more on the wisdom needed in our everyday lives and in the lives of others around us; the real Godly wisdom. I’m am going through the book of Proverbs which is packed full of widsom written by the author the bible calls the wisest king; King Solomon! Lets look at Proverbs 1:21 today!

Albert Einstein once quoted “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but a life long attempt to acquire it”

A proverb has been known to help teach us how to live our lives well.

Starting in Proverbs 1:21, it says “At the head of the noisy streets she cries out, at the entrance of the city gates she speaks”. As I wrote about in my last blog, we are talking about wisdom in these verses as we see referenced as “she”.

Starting in verse 20 this section is a poem entitled “The call of wisdom”. It is wisdom calling out to us personified as a woman. She is calling out in a place that is a public area either in the square, at the entrance of the city gates, or on the streets. This is where people everywhere would gather to do all kinds of business, trade, marketing, the business of the city, judicial and court stuff was done here.

I have just finished going through the book of Ruth and if you have ever read it if you remember, the bible says Boaz did his business here in the public square as the next kinsman redeemer. When he publicly declared he would redeem Ruth as the next kinsman redeemer since the next of kin declined. This happened here in the city gates.

So why is looking at this public place here important? Wisdom is found where you need it. It is not hidden, it is public, available for and to all people. Not just for privileged people but everyone. Wisdom is shown taking a stand here as she is calling out and crying out.

Wisdom is available in busy places, in meeting places where relationships happen. Where homes and business’s are in public and in private. This is not something that is hidden and far from us.

So let me go back and say that Proverbs is not just a book that expires or just a set of handy tips to upgrade our life. Wisdom is known and available but remember its a knowledge applied; that applied is the key. The method that God uses for wisdom to develop, is experience.

So proverbs gives us shortcuts to that experience, but its not going to do ALL the work for you.

Pastor Tim Keller says “It is inaccessible for people too busy for its method. It comes through first with experience, then deep honest reflection on that experience. It emerges only as we ask searching questions. As wisdom makes herself known in the public areas, so we obtain the fullest wisdom in real life experience by applying Godly scriptural wisdom to our decisions and our behavior”.

Really reflect on that last sentence in that quote as it is so important. : As wisdom makes herself known in the public areas, so we obtain the fullest wisdom in real life experience by applying Godly scriptural wisdom to our decisions and our behavior”.

In life we will be confronted with decisions all the time that challenge us. And we need to choose wisely. Wisdom is available but folly and evil are also there to tempt and test us.

How do you make decisions? What does that process look like for you? Who do you turn to for council?

If you look at your life, to what degree is wisdom present? Why do you think so?

Wisdom is there for the finding. It surrounds us if we want to find it. Are you looking and listening? What do you think you need to be able to do to find it in your life?

Jesus frequently responded to a question with a question or parable . He was constantly asking people to think and reflect, to evaluate their lives, beliefs and their decisions.

How often do you reflect on your life looking for growth opportunities? How often do you have an experience and reflect on it? Think about it, what could that look like in your life?

Why would it change things for you?

If I reflect on the question “to what degree is wisdom present in my life?” I can look back on my adult life in the past in making major decisions, I see where I have learned to make wiser decisions and certainly looking more to God for guidance before making decisions. But I can still see huge gaps where wisdom should have been in areas.

but if we only look back on our past decisions to answer these questions that we may be forgetting that God’s presence and His infinite wisdom is available and it surrounds us today! Much wisdom is available in a process of experience plus deep reflection.

So focusing on that today, How can i become a person who reflects on an experience in order to learn from it. What does that look like in my life?

Blessings,

Christy C.

Wisdom: Where does it come from?

In some daily reading I came across a quote from an Author named Christopher Hitchens: “We can always be sure of one thing, that the messengers of discomfort and sacrifice will be stoned and pelted by those who wish to preserve at all costs their own contentment”

Looking into what wisdom is and what that means for us, lets look at Proverbs 1:20 today. It says “Wisdom cries aloud in the streets, in the markets she raises her voice. (ESV)”

If you go back and read the first part of Proverbs chapter one, we see a father that is speaking to his son, probably a younger boy about how to avoid enticement. This boy may have not yet committed to a lifetime path of righteousness or a life of wickedness. This father is trying to guide and pour some of that wisdom into his sons life to avoid temptations.

A “Path” is a continuous action, not stopping but traveling, headed toward something whether good or bad. It puts life on a particular destiny that you will wind up in.

Starting in Proverbs 1 verse 20 is a section called “Wisdom shouts in the streets”. Its a poem of a plea to not reject wisdom, to listen to her and apply this wisdom to our lives.

Uniquely we used the word “she/her” as to describe wisdom. Why is that? Why does the bible reference wisdom to a woman? The author uses a term called personification. That is attributing a personal nature or human characteristic to something that is non human. In this case, personifying wisdom as a woman. If you can remember in your english class this may have been taught.

Now why would an author do that? It makes the writing more vivid and helps the reader better understand the concept that they are talking about.

So lets break this verse down to understand the meaning. The first part says “Wisdom cries aloud in the streets, in the markets she raises her voice”. What do we learn from this? First that the author is personifying wisdom as a woman. Next we see that the plural noun of cries aloud is stressing the excellent elevated wisdom of God.

So where is she? She is in the streets, market, square. This is a public place, she isn’t in a private quiet place like in her living room at home. This is a very public invitation not some secret kind of knowledge. Lifesaving truth is available for everyone. She is saying it in places where people of all sorts gather. She is like a prophet that would preach on the streets that would call people to repentance .

How do we particularly receive people on the streets, like street preachers? Probably most times not particularly well. We tend to brush by them. This wisdom doesn’t’ care at the risks she may be taking or embarrassment she may be taking on the streets yelling. Because its worth it.

Now this would be totally unlike women at this time. This is not something that ladies would do. We do have women out right now in this time protesting things they care about. But this was not what was appropriate at the time.

But She is willing because her message is urgent, its life and death, it is important. What is she actually doing? She is speaking, crying out, lifting her voice as different translations may say. She is giving her voice, shouting loudly.

Crying and shouting out loudly gives a picture of some sort of urgency and desperation; this is important. Like “You’ve got to listen to what I am saying”! Shouting is meant to disturb people going about their business. She is trying to disrupt their daily routine. This message is so critical that she would put herself on display and be a target; “just hear me” is what she is saying.

Author/Speaker Adrian Rogers said this “Wisdom is speaking with a tear in her voice“. There is a sense of urgency; there is a sense of emergency. Wisdom is giving her invitation, lifting her voice, crying.

So lets ask ourselves some questions:

Why do you think God chose to personify wisdom as a woman?

How and when have you heard wisdom calling out /shouting to you? Have you listened?

Are you open and available for that kind of interruption in your day?

How open are you to understanding wisdom?

Are you willing to hear and consider instruction?

Do you need to slow down, pause, or reflect on what you are hearing? Or are you too busy and too distracted?

Why do you think her message is so urgent?

Charles Bridges quoted: “A fathers instruction has warned against enticement. Wisdom’s voice now invites us to her school. And if there be danger in listening to the council of satan, not less is there slighting the invitations of God.”

Are there any ways you may be slighting the invitations of God? Slighting means (disregard, disrespect, treat someone with indifference; ignore)

I can’t help but think, How may I have slighted the invitations of God? The idea of me possibly slighting God is so hurting. So as I go about my day and each day; I will think about the invitations God has given that I might have declined or ignored.

So what about you? What will you do with what you have learned today?

Blessings,

Christy C.

How to live Forgiven and Set Free

Shame began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit and then hid from God.  Adam and Eve had lived in a perfect world until sin entered and their eyes were opened to their brokenness, guilt and shame.

We too live in a broken world.  We all have sinned and we all have ways to deal with our shame.  Some of us hide in our busyness and work, others hide in food, fun, relationships, alcohol, the iphone, humor, introversion or a myriad of other ways.  We all have our own coping mechanisms.

But God’s way is different. He wants to set us completely free!

Join me as we look at Psalms 103:12 and how to live forgiven and free from past sin and shame.  

I have known women and I have personally been there where we may get to a place where we feel like we have blown it! Messed up so much in life and that our life is now a wreck! thinking we have done too much, the unthinkable, the unforgivable. We can never be forgiven!

We may get to a place where we just feel like “God can never Forgive me for what I have done. I have ruined my life and there is no sense in me trying.” We essentially just accept that and throw in the towel. We get to a place where we just live condemned, guilty, with remorse, with regret, with bitterness, angry, and just DEFEATED that just consumes us in this belief.

What we don’t realize or others realize at the time is that because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we are forgiven! We don’t have to live like we are not.

there are many verses in our bible on forgiveness but Psalm 103:12 comes to mind that says we are indeed Forgiven! The verse says “As far as the east is from the west, so far as He has removed our transgressions (sins) from us”.

God says when you confess your sins to Him, He removes it from you so it never touches you again!

1 John 1:9 says: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Once we experience the forgiveness of our sins – our life is new!  Our old selves die with Christ’s death on the cross and our guilt should no longer linger.

A changed life is evidence of genuine repentance.

A change should take place, as we break free from old habits and move forward into obedience to God.

But sometimes, we find ourselves off the path God has for us and we are out in the weeds…lost. 

Our God is faithful.

He truly forgives those who humbly ask for forgiveness and he cleanses us from all of our unrighteousness, so that we can live free.

Yes there may be natural consequences in this world from our sins or choices, but there are not eternal consequences. You are forgiven and you do not have to live in guilt and in shame and condemnation. You can live free knowing you are forgiven!

That is what Romans 8:1 says “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. Its for those who are in Christ Jesus. You see the only difference between a believer and a non believer, is that we as a believer are forgiven, we’ve repented of our sins, we’ve accepted the blood of Jesus on the Cross covering over our sins. So we can live in forgiveness and we can live free from our past sin.

That is what the grace of God looks like. That is what the mercy and Love of God looks like. This is what Forgiveness looks like.

Maybe we think, “I have never done something so big and evil as someone in prison”. But I have to say we have all sinned. Maybe small, but something like gossiping, loosing our temper, having an impure thought. Or maybe we have sins of regret that really have changed our lives. Or maybe we have done something that have hurt others that we can’t take back or we cant forgive ourselves and it is just holding us back.

If that is you today that you have a past sin that you are living in and it is holding you back. I want you to know you can live free today. I want you to see these verses, I want you to be able to say with confidence that when you confess your sin you can live forgiven and free. You do not need to live in condemnation.

You know the enemy works overtime on us as to hold us back. If I let every mistake i ever made hold me back I would never be able to do anything in life or be used in God’s work. I am very flawed, people can tell you I am not a perfect person. So the enemy wants to hold us back and say “No, look at you. How could you be used by God?”

But when we know we can live forgiven and we can be humble with that, we can be FREE.

Free to to be used by God. Free to have a new future, to make new plans, and to follow God’s plans for our lives. We can be OVERCOMERS! But we need to TRUST God, that His Word is true. If He says that He casts your sins as far as the East is from the West, then Indeed He does!

We can stand on that with Confidence and we don’t need to question it. We can move forward in freedom. You see we all fall down. You may have fallen and can be 10,000 steps away from God right now today. Maybe you are living in a life of sin, a habitual sin that happens over and over and as much as you are trying to break free from it, you keep falling back into that sin.

I can say with confidence today, although you may be 10,000 steps away from God, it just takes one step back. ONE STEP of repentance. ONE STEP that takes you into a right relationship with your Creator.

Just like our trash that is picked up by the Trash collector, he removes it from our home and we never see it again. We don’t see a pizza box we threw out a month later, no none of us ever see our trash again. The trash collector removes it. That is exactly what God has done for us through Jesus blood on the cross. He has removed our sin from us.

So we need to live in Freedom! We need to forgive ourselves and not let it hold us back, we need to trust! Even if we might not feel it. Even if we might be wrestling through some of the consequences that come as a result of it. We need to not live in that condemnation and shame any longer.

Freedom in Christ is not the same as the world’s definition of freedom.

The world sees freedom as living independently and doing whatever we want. But the freedom that comes from Christ is a freedom from the penalty and power of sin over us. 

When we repent of our sin, we no longer face the penalty of eternal consequences.  As we believe and trust and follow God – sin loses its power.

Past sinful habits, thoughts and attitudes begin to disappear. Past worries and fears and guilt and shame dissipate.

As we obey God and his Word, doing what is right becomes easier and easier and love, joy, peace and freedom – true freedom – appear!

Do you want to be free today?  Jesus said, “Repent and believe.” (Mark 1:15). Do this and live free.  Jesus Loves You!!!

Let it not hold you back. Live FREE! Trust that God has forgiven YOU! That is my challenge today for you, if that there is a sin you have been holding on to, and you have not repented of, I urge you to do it right now! REPENT & BELIEVE!

I love Verse in Isaiah 43:1 “Do not fear for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name; you are mine”. (Redeem means to buy back with a price, restore to original intent. ) Just as Christ has done for you and I ! He has called you by name!

Live forgiven and live free from your past sins and mistakes because God loves you so much! That is why He sent His son so that we can live free!

Keep moving forward! do not give up! Just one step in the right direction is all it takes!

Blessings,

Christy C.

Self Care: Proverbs 31

Do any of you find yourselves overwhelmed by an endless to do list?   How about feeling insecure because you dont’ think you’re good enough?

You might need more self care……. or BETTER SELF CARE

You see self care has over 20 different ways of positively impacting our marriages and those around us. From increasing your availability to your spouse. To preventing burn out. To increasing your health!

It can decrease worry, increase confidence, it can help You be your best self!

We are looking at Proverbs 31 and taking a look at how the excellent wife does self care for a number of reasons today.

#1- This passage is in The book of Proverbs, also known as the book of wisdom. It is not a set of promises but instead a book of sound advice.

#2- Even if it was not written for women to look up to, this passage has certainly been looked to as such and therefore needs to be addressed accordingly as a considerable starting point, for how we as wives and women are meant to live our lives.

#3- Proverbs 31 has great examples of setting positive boundaries, self care and walking as women of God.

The poem starts with a huge set up for mixed emotions. I don’t know about you but I think the first question says it all. Starting in Vs 10: “An Excellent Wife, Who can find?” Christian women all over the world want to be this wife. Who wouldn’t want to be talented, productive, strong, caring and fearless as this woman?

But not everyone has the talents for business opportunities, gifts and creativity to make clothes for the family. I don’t know of anyone that may be a morning or night person like this Proverbs 31 woman!😊

Its the standard that can never be reached. So shame begins to creep right in. Other emotions may show their face too, anger, disappointment, sadness, fear, stress to visit our days just to remind us how far we are from succeeding as an excellent wife.

As the stress rises, so does the discouragement. And we have to wonder is this the life God meant for us to take out of His Word?

A wise author once quoted God never urges us to feel guilty for not having Gifts we’ve not been given. Or for not doing good that we are physically unable to do”. 

So if the Proverbs 31 woman only makes us feel guilty or inadequate, we are likely not understanding her and the way God designed us all.

These mixed emotions comes from stressing out over the wrong things. I have been there in life stressing out over what I can’t do rather than what I can and are able to do.

So what is really going on here in Proverbs 31 and what can we as women gain from it?

I found something from several authors as I studied out who wrote Proverbs 31 and the background behind these verses.

You see, this was written by the mother of King Lemuel in the bible for her son to learn what to look for in a Wife some day. Some say King Lemuel was actually King Solomon. 

Also In Jewish culture, Proverbs 31 was meant for men to memorize and sing as a song of Praise to the WOMEN in their lives. That is WOMEN (Plural), from little to big, daughter to friends and for the men to sing to them. That is women of all gifts and talents.

These verses could be written to indicate a summary of a fruitful life of a woman over many productive years, highlighting faithful things she did at various times throughout her life.

It is not just some high bar set up for us to achieve and shame us when we don’t. It was said as something to encourage us. Can we get a big SIGH of relief!!!  That sounds better than it seeming like we as women have ALL that to do at once!

Proverbs 31 is not just a laundry list of “to do’s”, rather than for the SPIRIT and motivation that drives this virtuous woman.

What guides her heart of wisdom in everything she does, the most important motivation can be found in the last verse of Proverbs (31:30) “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”!

This woman fears the Lord! In other words, she sees the wisdom in wanting to obey what God tells her to do and to honor the Lord her whole life. It is her heart for honoring the Lord with her life, and living with true wisdom that God wants us women to imitate and follow.

Lets keep going to the next verses:  Vs 11-12: Is more of how we as wives are to be trustworthy. A woman who fears the Lord wants to love and honor her husband. Clearly the Proverbs 31 woman’s husband affirms her efforts because it says his heart trusts in her. In Verse 12 it says “She does him good and not harm all the days of her life”. She doesn’t just do him (her husband) good on special occasions, but every day. Even when she may feel upset with him. It is important to her that her husband trusts her. To confide in her and know she will keep his words private.

Guarding the husbands honor and not speaking unfavorably of him before others. Managing the home in a way he feels secure entrusting it to her. We do not need to have special gifts to be trustworthy, we simply need to value our husbands in a way that honors them and the Lord.

If this is a hard area for you that you struggle in: Pray for God to give you a different perspective. To view your husband the way God sees him and not through our limited view or raw emotions at different times.

The excellent wife sets priorities as seen in Vs. 13-16–  She is hard working with willing hands. We see the Proverbs 31 woman has many gifts and can do many things.

But the point is not to make every woman feel like they have to do EVERYTHING this woman does. The point is that we need to be WILLING to work hard at what God is calling us to do, and that it pleases God when we desire to do our labor as excellently as we can in whatever season we are in.

How should we do good work? With WILLINGNESS. Willingness comes from the heart, its driven by LOVE. Not to be confused with desire. when we have willingness we can be ready to do almost anything.

Remember each women may be in a different season of life with different gifts, talents and priorities; with each having a different calling. If we are in the baby/toddler season; do that work as excellently as you are called to do. If you are in a teenager season, do the same. If your season looks like the empty nest phase with no kids or just starting out thinking of growing a family; still do your responsibilities with excellence. Each season looks different with different priorities, but still doing them with the same willingness and love that God requires with our own individual gifts and talents.”

This Woman does not waste time, rather she fills her time with productive, helpful activity. There is no indication of her complaining about her responsibilities. She is concerned with serving her family and others, bringing a spirit of openhanded willingness to her work.

With God’s help we are able to work hard, resist wasting time, bring a willing gracious spirit to the things and people we are entrusted with in our lives.

In Verse 17-strength . This woman dresses herself with Strength. She knows taking care of her body is a priority. She is up and moving, eating right and tackling everyday tasks.

Where does the strength come from? It comes from the Lord. What does putting on strength mean? Fearing God, walking in the way of the Lord, Praying and seeking the Lord, keeping your body fed with nutritious food, meditating on Gods word and gaining wisdom. Faith and Hope in God and most importantly salvation and trust in God.

Aside from taking care of our physical body, the majority of self care that increases our strength comes in the form of spiritual disciplines including prayer, worship and meditating on Gods word. Taking care of your new creation and walking in the strength of the Lord allows you to continue making sacrifices and serving the Lord and loving on your family weathering well the stress of life.

Vs. 25 we see Dignity. Dignity is defined as the state of being worthy of respect as well as a composed manner. We use dignity by deciding what is worth doing. Clothing yourself in Dignity looks like taking care of yourself and whats in your control. You have to have self care in order to be composed, and when you are composed you are demonstrating self control, your actions are trustworthy, and your words are thoughtful. She is not a worrier- in fact, she laughs at the future to come. She has trusted God with Her life and future.

Vs 26- She is strong in Wisdom and Kindness. “The teaching of kindness is on her tongue”. We see evidence of this truth when she daily does her husband good (Vs 12) and her children rise up and call her blessed as she teaches them (Vs 28) and she opens her hand to the poor and needy (Vs. 20). 

Do those around us delight in our kind and caring spirit? We can all with God’s help work to deal kindly with the people that God places in our lives, and we can make it a point to devote some of our time, talent and gifts to helping those less fortunate.

A woman who trusts in the Lord is finally free to be truly strong. she isn’t worrying over things which she has no control. She trusts God to help and care for her and her family in all the ways she cannot, then she works to do the things she can.

Her part is to live, work and love in a way that honors God. He is responsible for the rest, and His Son has covered her many shortcomings with His own blood.

The nature of how this proverbs 31 woman does things matters. Each task the excellent wife completes throughout the days can be summarized by fearing God. Clothing, food, decision making and generosity . Lets set an expectation that we will serve out of love and not out of desperation. We will work out of the abundance the Father has supplied for us. And not as a slave to our fleshly desire to be praised.

The proverbs 31 woman does not present an impossible standard; she presents a godly standard-what we could actually call “Christlike” today. These verses should inspire us to desire her fear of the Lord, her dedication to earning the trust of her husband, her work ethic, her strength and kindness.

The time the Virtuous woman spends is wisely, she works diligently to complete her daily tasks . She does not spend her time dwelling on those things that do not please the Lord . To summarize it all, as a virtuous woman, we are called to continue doing good all of our lives in each stage and season we are in. We do not need to grow weary in doing good because we have God.

Proverbs 31 is not a reflection of someone who is running themselves into the ground. Nor is it a reflection of someone with super powers. Our self care is gaining appropriate support, seeking wise council and friendship if needed.

Self care is setting realistic goals for ourselves in each stage of life, knowing what we can and cannot do, not taking on too much or things God never meant for us to take on. Not stretching ourselves too thin that we have no time for our own responsibilities. We can become overwhelmed when we do not set boundaries, recognize our priorities, and not live within our values we will feel constantly stressed.

No matter what others are doing around us, not comparing ourselves but recognizing the women God created us to be with motivation from the Spirit and doing life with honor and love.

Now, say goodbye to comparison!!  Rely on God to lead and provide in your life in each season we find ourselves in. The proverbs 31 woman had confidence knowing who God is and who she was. Taking care of yourself is less about being self centered and more about being God centered. Let your works speak for themselves. Set your priorities with God at the head and stop looking for praises . Your Father in heaven knows everything you do and will provide for your every need. Be strong and courageous.

You are loved! Never give up!

Blessings,

Christy C.