Proverbs 31 Woman

Over the years I have heard so many women bemoan the fact that they don’t even come close to being like the Proverbs 31 woman.  I have to say she does set the bar pretty high.  She takes excellent care of her household.  Does well with her own business.  She takes care of the poor and is honored and praised by her husband and children.  What a woman.  What an example.  What a tough act to follow.  

Let’s fast forward a number of centuries and see the  example of womanhood that the world holds up to us as what they think should be today’s modern woman.  If you were to believe certain celebrities and things we see glorified in the media, the music industry, and Hollywood we get a quite different opinion of what  a woman should be.  

According to our current culture the more profane and vulgar a woman is somehow that is supposed to make her more powerful.   More influential. More popular.  Young women and little girls are shown that there’s no need for modesty as they see their idols on stage wearing next to nothing, while sometimes  making gestures that are  crude to say the least.  Yet, according to the world, that is what is supposed to be progress for womanhood.  

Those women who do dress modestly, profess their love of God and country and refuse to participate in the profanity or refuse to perform in things that would  dishonor the Lord are often mocked and criticized.  Even our First Lady was called nasty names for saying the Lord’s Prayer before a meeting. Talk about an upside down world.  

Thankfully, I don’t believe that is an accurate representation of the majority of women in this country.  There are many women out there today young and old and everywhere in between who see through that nonsense.  Who have a moral compass.   Women who work hard to make sure their daughters and  are not influenced to believe that this behavior is normal and something they should strive for. Women who daily seek to do the best they can without compromising what they believe in.  

I am so grateful to the many women I have in my life today and those I had in my past, who were and are great examples.  Women whose goal is not to glorify themselves, or to put themselves first but to  be a servant.  To help others and offer a hand in love and friendship.  To offer encouragement when needed and to speak the truth in love when that is what was needed.  To put the needs of their families and friends before their own.    

My mom would be someone who probably didn’t even realize she was influencing me.  I don’t recall ever sitting down and talking about a lot of things.  Yet, she taught me morals by being moral, by setting a good example.  Honesty.  Respect.  Helping those who were in need.  Hospitality- her door was always open.  She taught me what it means to be a strong woman-even in the face of adversity.  All of that was taught by example while she was just going about her everyday life.

I don’t think many of us realize, especially if we profess to be a Christian how often people are watching us.  Our actions speak so much louder than our words.  Are we walking the walk, or just talking the talk?  We have the ability to help change peoples lives by being a godly example.  By making it possible for them to see Jesus in us by the way we conduct ourselves, and live our lives.  Sometimes without ever speaking a word to them.

And to those sisters who are still dismayed that you don’t live up to the example of the Proverbs 31 woman, give yourself a break.  We are not supposed to compare ourselves to anyone including that well known woman.  I’m not sure if she was  a real woman or just an example of a virtuous wife.  But why do we think we are supposed to do the same things she did?   We may not have maidservants or plant vineyards or get up while it is still night to provide food for our household.  But I’ve seen some of your schedules and the things you do for your families and you could give her a run for her money!

Many of us if we compared ourselves to the Proverbs 31 woman, looked first at all the tasks she accomplished. Or at least I did.  Honestly, if we were going to try and emulate her, shouldn’t it be more important to look at other aspects of her life besides  her businesses and her household duties?

What about things like, “The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”  Verses 11-12.  Or, “she extends her hand to the poor” Verse 20.  Then there’s Verses’s 25-26 “Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.  She opens her mouth with wisdom,  And on her tongue is the law of kindness.”  That’s the kind of woman I would like to be.  

We all have different lives and different things the Lord has called us to do.  Not all are called to business.  Not all have households to take care of.  We can be good examples while  diligently working as unto the Lord in whatever He has called us to do.  I believe our character while we are about our business is more important to the Lord than adding more tasks just because we think we should or we think  it looks good on our resume.  

Be who the Lord made you to be. And don’t let anyone else tell you who you’re supposed to be.  You are beautiful to the Lord just as you are.  One of a kind.

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Decisions, Decisions

 

Are you one of those people who makes decisions quickly and easily?  Or are you like me who when it comes to big decisions I can  have a hard time.  Especially those decisions where you want to be absolutely sure it’s the right decision according to God’s plan, not just what seems easiest.  It can feel like a tennis match with all the back and forth, back and forth day by day.  

Don’t you just love those times when you know which direction you are supposed to head?  You’re moving forward,you have a plan, it’s feeling good.   You might not know all the details; but at least you know the first step or the general direction in which you should go.

Then of course there are also those times we  can feel as if we are in a holding pattern.  We know there is something the Lord has for us to do, but He hasn’t revealed to us what it is yet.  It can be hard and frustrating to be in that place. Waiting is not something that most of us enjoy.  It’s in those times that we really need to exercise our faith.  God has the perfect time and season for what is next in our lives.  We just need to learn to rest in Him, while we are waiting on Him, to show us our next step.  

Sometimes we also have times when we think we are standing, just waiting on the Lord. But that might not always be true.   A friend said to me the other day, you’re not waiting on the Lord, He’s waiting on you. She might have a point.   There may be times when the Lord has already shown us the next step to take and we haven’t taken it yet.  Maybe its something we don’t really want to do and so we tell ourselves, surely that wasn’t the Lord, that must have been my own mind,or the enemy, or whatever excuse we use.  Perhaps He’s prompting us to take a step of faith and let something go so we can move on to our next thing, but we are so afraid that if we let it go we will be left with nothing, so we just hang onto that thing all the more.  Or, we are so afraid of taking a wrong step that we take no steps at all.  

 

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It helps to remember that the Lord is not hiding things from us. To remember that our part is to stand in faith and believe, and not rush in and try to make things happen before their time.  While we are doing our part, God is working everything out on our behalf so that when He reveals to us the next step, we can walk into God’s perfect plan, not our own.

Another helpful thing to remember is Isaiah 50:7 “For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.”   The scripture says the Lord God will help me and therefore I shall not be confounded.  Another opportunity to exercise faith.  If the Word says I shall not be confounded, then I can have faith that the Lord will show me the right way to go when I have a decision to make.  Sometimes, I think we make it a lot harder than has to be.  Do we honestly think that if we make one wrong step  the Lord can’t get us back to where we are supposed to be?  

There’s something about that phrase “set your face like flint” that reminds me of Clint Eastwood or Leroy Jethro Gibbs.  That unflinching, icy stare they have, that you know means they have no intention of giving up.  No matter what anyone says, or what  circumstances may come, you know they are not moved. That’s how we need to be.  Determined.  Persevering. Our face set.  Trusting the Lord, waiting for our instructions.  Having done all to stand; stand therefore.  And while we are standing, we can also be listening, so when the Lord gives us an instruction we can be ready to move.   

And in all that we do as long as we follow  Proverbs 3:5-6 we know we will end up where we need to be, and in the right time.   “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

Hold Fast To That Which You Have

I was thinking about that line of scripture  (Revelation 3:11),the other morning as I was going back and looking at journal entries I have written over the past few years.  

What really surprised me, was how many things I had forgotten.  Things the Lord had shown me that I had not held fast.  Important things. Things I didn’t think I would forget.  Some, I had even walked in for a while, until other things pushed them out of my mind.  Maybe it was the cares of this world.  Or, maybe at times it was  just the opposite. Have you ever noticed that when things are going along well,  we can tend to let go of things we have learned, because we think we don’t need them at that  particular time? 

Whatever it may be that causes us to  let those things go , it can put us in a dangerous position.  We can forget to keep watch over our territory. Suddenly we might notice that things are not going so well.  We realize that we haven’t kept our armor on. (Ephesians 6:10-18).  We haven’t been wielding our shield of faith and some of those fiery darts may have gotten into our lives. Perhaps we weren’t wielding the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God; but instead we may have been speaking negative things over our lives.   

Or maybe we become aware we aren’t where we want to be with God. We have gone along not paying attention to what’s happening, then it could be we notice that  we have things in our body that need healing.  Or we are having difficulties in relationships with friends, family or co-workers.  We may think these things happen “all of a sudden”.  In truth, many of these things happen little by little, over a period of time so we don’t notice until it becomes a problem.  

Sometimes my pastor will take some time and go back and preach on basic subjects.  He tells us he does this  because we have a “leaking problem”.  Things that we know or once knew can tend to “leak” out of our remembrance.  Just like the things in my notebooks did to me.  

The dictionary gives us a couple of definitions of what it means to hold fast.  The first definition says it means “to remain tightly secured”. The  second definition says it means  “to continue to believe in or adhere to an idea or principle.”  Maybe its the continuing part that we most need to work on.

There are many places in the Bible where we are told to “hold fast”.  Hebrews 10:23 tells us to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering”.  1 Thessalonians 5:21 tells us to ” examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;  Hebrews 3:6 tells us to “hold fast our confidence”. Reminders that our part is to not let go.

Even as we are still learning we  need to remember to hold fast to all that we already have.  All that we already know, all that we have learned.    The enemy is always looking for ways to steal the Word from us.  Our job is to make sure we don’t let him.  And isn’t it easier when we are staying on top of things then when we have to start all over again with what we know to do?

One thing is sure.  We need to have daily manna from the Lord.  Reading the Word every day can help us in remembering to hold onto those important things.  That in itself is a habit we need to hold on to.  I know from my own past experience that when you don’t keep up with reading the Word, and too many days go by, each day gets easier and easier to just let it slide until you realize weeks or even months may have gone by.  

When I stand before the Lord I want to make sure that I have held fast to everything that needed to be held  onto and let go of everything that needed to be let go of!

I’m very grateful to the Lord for the times He gently reminds me that I’ve let things slide.  Like any good Father, He wants to keep His child from being hurt or making mistakes.  I’ll take a reminder or correction any day over consequences that could happen if I continue on the way I was.  Wouldn’t most of us?