Monday, August 30, 2010

Pr 31:24

Pr 31:24 She maketh fine linen and selleth it, and delivereth girdles unto the merchants.

Girdles encircled the waist like a belt.

She helped bring in money to her household without neglecting all the other duties she had as a wife and mother. I wonder if she taught her children to work alongside her. I bet she did. She would want them to learn the skills they would need later in life. I doubt she would have been called virtuous if she neglected teaching her children the skills they would need later in life.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pr 31:23

Pr 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

Do you find it unusual that in these verses about a virtuous woman we find one about her husband?

If you think about it, in earlier verses it mentioned him and how she did only good to him.

It really isn't unusual that he was well known where her worked. He would not be able to devote the time to his work that was necessary for him to do the best job he could if she didn't do all a virtuous woman is called to do every day.

While the husband has been called by God to be the leader of the home, and yes even if he isn't saved, we are to have him lead, but not into sin, God has called us to be a help and not a hindrance to him in all he has been called to do in leading the family.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Pr 31:22

Pr 31:22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

She dressed well. She didn't think to be virtuous she had to look poor. Her outward appearance matched her inward beauty. No one suffered in her family or the poor she ministered to because of her clothing or coverings in her home.

While it is ok to have money to dress nicely, we are told not to trust in our riches.

We can have nice things, as long as we don't trust in them, or seek them for the wrong reasons.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pr 31:21

Pr 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

She wasn't concerned about the weather. Whatever came, they were prepared.

Here in south Louisian, we don't get alot of snow. But we do get hurricanes. And while we don't have to dress warmly when one comes (it is usually very hot here when we get one), we do have to have preparations made for food when one hits. We could be without electricity for a week or more.

I read this verse as a call to readiness, no matter what comes our way, or when it comes our way.

Oh, and the last part, about being clothed with scarlet. I see that as a call to be clothed with the blood of Jesus.

Oh, that we might walk daily under His precious blood. The precious blood He willingly gave so that I, and you if you have received Him as your Savior, might be called a daughter of the Living God!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pr 31:20

Pr 31:20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

She has compassion towards the poor, and she acts on their behalf.

Just as there are physically and financially poor, there are spiritually poor also. Even among christians. No one can progress as a christian until they accept how needy they are of what only the Lord can give them.

All through the word, God looks out for the poor and needy. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't be wise in who and how we help those in need.

Some would seem to need basic necessities, yet if you gave them money would you it on alcohol or drugs, etc. Sometimes the right thing to do is nothing. Be sure before you rush in to help someone you think is in need, you seek God first and what He would have you do to help them. The answer may surprise you sometimes. It could be do nothing, it could be give them money, buy them a meal etc. The only way we can be sure we are helping in the manner God wants us to help is to seek Him first.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pr 31:19

Pr 31:19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

These verses talk about her spinning fibers she would later use to make clothing or other things needed by her family and others.

Now while I don't spin (I tried it, but didn't like it), I do knit, crochet, sew and quilt. Do I think every woman should do those things? Well if they enjoy it they should. But I don't think you have to do those things to be virtuous.

What I think these verses show is our hands should be busy doing something that glorifies God. They shouldn't be idle or doing something God wouldn't approve of us doing.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pr 31:18

Pr 31:18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

Here she is reaping the reward of her hard work.

The last part of the verse says she was up at night doing things. She obviously gets some sleep because the earlier verse said she rises early.

So does that mean we can stay up all night and sleep all day? Not according to the earlier verse. She gets the sleep her body needs but no more. She is not lazy.

We must also be careful how we use our free time. All of our time belongs to the Lord. Sometimes we forget that. What ever we are doing is for Him. Are we glorifying Him every minute of our day?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pr 31:17

Pr 31:17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

She prepares her body for the work the Lord has called her to do that day and everyday.

As I sought the Lord this morning a few thoughts came to me.

Ever been busy all day, yet at the end of the day, felt like nothing, or not much was accomplished? Ever been busy all day doing things you feel is important, yet when you finished the task, felt no real accomplishment?

Maybe what you were busy doing, even though YOU felt it was important wasn't what God had planned for you that day. OUCH!

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pr 31:16

Pr 31:16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it; with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

She didn't rush out and purchase it because it was what she wanted to do. She considered it or counted the cost first. It wasn't an impulse purchase.

From what we have learned about her, we know she didn't act independently of her husband. But he did trust her to make the purchase without him. I am sure they discussed it first.

Then it says she planted it. The fact that it would require some work after purchasing was part of counting the cost. She again gets right in there and does the work. She doesn't expect others to do all of it for her.

Just as she gave alot of thought to her purchase, so should we. Are we willing to do the work involved after the purchase?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pr 31:15

Pr 31:15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

Some believe that in order to be virtuous, we need to be up before dawn. I believe some are called by the Lord to do this, while others aren't. Sometimes we are called to be up that early for a season of our lives. But I believe you can be virtuous and sleep in till 7 or 8. I think the important thing is what we do after we are up. It is easier when there are little children in the home to rise early before them and spend time with the Lord.

Also the last part of the verse says she gives a portion of the food she makes for her family in the morning to her maidens. These were her servants. Some may wonder wy they didn't get up and make food for her and her family while she slept in til later. I think it proves her virtue that she would come alongside or ahead of them and do some of the work she easily could have required them to do for her.

We always had our children help around the house. But rarely were they working alone. I was usually working along side or doing something near by. We did it together. It helped them to do it with a good attitude when they knew I was not wasting my time and neither should they. And it went quickly since we were all in it together. Also I was there to supervise and make sure the job was done correctly, or to instruct how it needed to be done. No surprises later on when they were off doing something fun, and I checked and something wasn't done or not done correctly.

All four of our children have always been complimented by their bosses on the job they do. We are always told how they can be taught what needs to be done and left to do the job. Their boss knows when they come back later it will be done and done correctly. They were taught at an early age to do it that way and now as adults they have great work ethics and habits.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Pr 31:14

Pr 31:14 She is like the merchants' ships: she bringeth her food from afar.

She gives her family a variety of foods to eat. She doesn't go to far off places to get the food. She has learned which merchant ship has the best quality and variety for the best prices.

Now today there are grocery stores on almost every corner. And my job as a virtuous woman is to decide if the sales each offer are worth the cost of gas it will take to go from store to store. Yes I know there are some stores that offer to match prices. But as I am sure you have noticed not all groceries at all stores are created equal. Especially fresh fruit and vegetables, or meat. So I must consider that also in deciding where to shop. I bet you thought shopping was easy lol.

When I was a young wife I would just shop at the nearest store. As a young wife and mother, that made sense to me. As I began to study Pr 31 over the years, the Lord began to show me that I needed to really consider my shopping habits. Now I usually shop more then a couple of stores each pay period. Once my large shopping is done, I usually only need milk, bread, eggs before the next shopping trip. We are paid twice a month, so I come up *usually* with a meal plan that will take us to the next check and purchase in the next two days anything that won't perish. Fresh foods are picked up every few days with the milk, etc. Thankfully I have 4 stores within a 10 mile area of my home, and one other that is a little over 10 miles.

How do you shop for your family? Just something to think about.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pr 31:13

Pr 31:13 She seeth wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

The next few verses can be intimidating and overwhelming. It is hard to believe that she does everything in these verses. And in verse 13 it says she does it willingly. Could that be part of her secret to getting all of it done?

Let's look at what willingly means. It is from a word meaning delight, pleasure. She enjoys caring for her family. It is not seen as a chore, but rather something she finds pleasure and satisfaction in having completed.

I know when I willingly do something it goes so much faster and easier then when I am unwillingly but do it anyway. Maybe part of it is my attitude. When I do the things like care for my home and family as God has called me to do, He is able to come alongside and give me energy and strength to do it.

I have done a study every year on this woman for many years now. And I don't ever remember picking up on the word willingly before. I just love how you can read and study the word of God over and over and He can show you something new. The word doesn't change, but hopefully I do, and I guess I wasn't ready to see that word till now.

Because she willingly works with her hands, and as we learned yesterday, her husband can safely trust her to always have his best interests in mind, he can go about the work he does knowing all is taken care of at home. How big a relief that must be for him!

I that this says she works with wool and flax. These are used to make clothing etc. Does that mean God wants us to make all the clothing for our family? I don't think that is it, but He may call some to do that. Remember back then it wasn't easy to buy clothing. But He does want us to use our time wisely and work willingly with our hands caring for our family. He gave us the family He did because He knew we were the perfect person to care for them. Whether you have a large or small family, whatever your situation, that is the one He has called you to be faithful in. Keep in mind while you are doing the things you may not always find pleasure in, who you are really doing it for. We are not really doing it for our husband or children even though they benefit, we should be doing it for the Lord cause it is what He has called us to do. I know that will give me encouragement as I do the things I would prefer in my flesh to not do today. What about you?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pr 31:12

Pr 31:12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

Good means morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; of high quality, excellent; well-behaved; kind, friendly; agreeable; pleasant; honorable or worthy; genuine, honest, not counterfeit; reliable; dependable; responsible; beneficial; not spoiled or tainted; cheerful; optimistic; amiable.

Harm means physical injury or mental damage; hurt; moral injury; evil; wrong

Looking at verse 12, I see that my attitude toward my husband is as important as my actual deeds. Maybe more so. My actions are going to be a direct reflection of my attitude toward him. But in this verse it says all the days of my life. That is hard to do on days when I am upset with him. Even if I have a right (or think I do) to be upset with him, it still says I have to do him good. Well forgive me Lord cause in the last week, I haven't done that. I was upset with him about something and I didn't want to do him good. Now don't get me wrong I didn't do him evil (or at least I didn't mean to if I did) I just didn't want to do him good. When I am upset with him (and I know NONE of you are like this, just me), then I may do him harm with my words and actions either to him or to someone else about him. OUCH!

Look at the definitions above. The only way any of us can do only good to our husband all the days of our lives is through Christ Jesus and with His help. Obviously I failed in the last few days. I will have to ask the Lord's and hubby's forgiveness.

A man is really blessed if he can trust his wife to be honest, discreet, and dependable. Being the woman our husband can trust is one of the things God has called us to do. It is not always easy, especially when we are upset with him.

We must not only be honest with our husband and others but with ourselves also. That is sometimes the hardest.

In doing good to her husband, the Pr 31 woman is consistent. It says all the days of her life, not just the days she feels like he deserves it. (okay Lord you can stop stepping on my toes this morning, I get it). Her godliness toward him is consistent.

Eph 3:14-19 This is where our daily and lifelong faithfulness comes from. From Christ being in our hearts by faith. That we are strengthened with might by His Spirit, that we are rooted and grounded in love for God and others.

The Lord's faithfulness to us is daily and constant. Not depending (Thank GOD!!) on what we do or don't do or how we feel at the moment.

Jer 29:11 says the Lord has thoughts of peace and not evil toward us.

Doing good and not harm is the very definition of love and what God demonstrates to us.

Aren't you glad the Lord wants only good for us all the time even when we don't deserve it? I know I am.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Virtuous Woman Continued

Before I start my notes today I thought I would give you something to think about as I do this study. Like Pr 31 isn't enough to think about right :-)? Well this goes along with the study really.

Have you ever compared the woman of Pr 31 with yourself or the woman of today? Or of any day? God's wisdom is timeless and she is very much like us or any woman of any other time period.

She runs a household, makes important decisions for her family, juggles meal planning, shopping, helps worthy causes, and cheers on her children and is a helpmeet to her husband.

Wisdom is not just timeless but it takes time to get wisdom.

I don't know of anyone who can honestly say they have it all together. I surely can't. But I think we need to be striving daily to become more like her. We need to keep moving forward even if we are moving slowly. The problem comes when we start moving backwards instead of forward, or when we aren't moving at all. Just as water becomes stagnant and smelly so do we. If you have ever past by stagnant water you know what I mean. That is how we must smell to God when we are not moving forward. I know the word says be still and know that I am God, this is not what I am talking about.

Ok here we go after much chatter over the last couple of days on just the first verse lol. This may be a long few days.

Even if we don't do everything listed in the verses 10-31 we can still be a virtuous woman. As we have been learning it is a heart attitude.

God does have a set of standards for us as women, and they are found in these verses. These verses will be the outward result of a heart following after God.

In Phil 3:12-14 it says: Not as though I have already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

It doesn't happen in one day. God knows we are not perfect and haven't fully arrived. We won't be perfect until we are with Christ and transformed.

Sitting at the feet of Jesus daily gives us the strength to face our day and whatever is in store for us that day according to God's will.

With these thoughts in mind let's look at 31:11

Pr 31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

Dependable, steadfast, trustworthy, wise

Dependable means That may be depended on; as dependable friendships.

Steadfast means 1. Fast fixed; firm; firmly fixed or established; as the stedfast globe of earth.
2. Constant; firm; resolute; not fickle or wavering.
Abide stedfast to thy neighbor in the time of his trouble.
Him resist, sted fast in the faith. 1 Peter 5.
3. Steady; as stedfast sight.

Trustworty means deserving of trust or confidence; dependable, reliable

Wise means 1. Properly, having knowledge; hence, having the power of discerning and judging correctly, or of discriminating between what is true and what is false; between what is fit and proper, and what is improper; as a wise prince; a wise magistrate.

Do our lives reflect these words? If not are we self-focused? Are we over committed? Do we think we won't make that much of a difference in someone else's life so why bother?

Even the most responsible person can slip into being undependable if they become self-focused.

If we have over committed then we need to start to say no to the people and situations that distract us from where and what God wants us to go or do. We need our priorities to line up with God's.

Many problems arise when we fail to live up to the responsibilities God has called us to, or we take on responsibilitites He has not called us to.

If we take on things we shouldn't here is what happens:

1. We don't have the time to spend with God that we should.

2. We can't serve as our husband's helpmeet as God said we should.

3. We don't have the time or energy to train our children according to God's word.

4. Everything else we are called to do, minister to others, housework, etc suffers.

You can't be there for everyone all the time. I am not talking about for your husband or children. You have to say no sometimes to people. Being truly available and trustworthy to the few God sends to you is more important then being available and untrustworthy and superficial to everyone.

Let's look at two wives. Noah's and Job's.

We don't know much about Noah's wife. We don't even know her name. She isn't mention very much at all.

In Gen 6 God tells Noah to build an ark.

Can you imagine what she must have thought when he came home from work one day and said God told me to build an ark? What would have been your reaction? Or mine? Then in chapter 7 he tells her they all have to get in the ark with all these animals and live that way till God says differently.

Can you imagine what the other wives said to her while he was building the ark? They must have ridiculed her horribly.

But no place does it say she ever complained. His heart could safely trust in her to support him. But remember he probably made it easy for her because the word says he and his family were spared because Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord in Gen 6:8. He wasn't selfish, overbearing, untrustworthy.

Now by contrast let's look at Job's wife.

Job was perfect and upright according to Job 1:1. This is why the devil wanted to test Job. Now I understand that when his wife told him in Job 2:9 to curse God and die he had lost everything. But Noah's wife had to leave her home to live in the ark. The big difference here is obvious. Noah's wife loved and trusted God and Noah enough to know Noah wouldn't be doing it if he wasn't sure God had told him to do it. Job's wife on the other hand had enjoyed their life till God let the devil test him. When things got uncomfortable she no longer trusted God or Job.

It is easy sometimes for us to brush off those who care about us and we care about. We figure they will understand. But what about when we brush God aside because we would rather do something other then spend time with Him? Or we want to do something we know He wouldn't approve of but our flesh wants to do it anyway? Remember He sees you no matter what you do or where you do it.

As we develop dependability and trustworthiness in our relationship with God, it will spill over to our relationships with our husband, children and others.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pr 31 part 2

The Virtuous Woman - continued

Pr 31:10b for her price is far above rubies.

Value is to esteem, to hold in respect, to highly regard, or to have great significance.

Our worth and value come from what is inside us.

We should be more valuable as we get older just as jewels are mover valuable as they get older. The world sees things differently. Thankfully God sees us as very valuable.

Precious gems are hard, and have rough edges when they are first found. We see them after they are buffed and shiny. But we don't see the process they go through to get that way. When we first begin to walk with God we are the same way. We are hard and have rough edges. We will always have some rough edges for God to work on. But they should get smaller and fewer as we grow in the Lord. He uses people and situations to file our edges down and sometimes, alot of times it hurts or is uncomfortable.

Gems sparkle in the end and so should we.

If we look up to other christian women and want to be like them, we need to find out what it took for them to get there. It was a process for them just as it is for us. And we will most likely find that it was a hard and difficult process. Are we willing to go through whatever our process will be? It will be different for each of us. Each of us are different, we will have different struggles we will have to face and deal with.

God has always valued us as women. Virtuous women are hard to find, just as rare jewels are hard to find.

6 Strategies of the enemy to come against women

The enemy will try to rob us of our value.

If we don't see our value we can't pass it on to others to see theirs.

1. He will come to attack your identity.

Most women don't place enough value on themselves.

Gen 3:1 He questioned what God said
Mt 4:1-3 He questioned who Jesus was even though at the end of chapter 3 God made it very clear He was the Son of God

If he questioned Jesus about His identity he will surely question us.

He will make you question your salvation and your walk with God.

Jn 1:12 says those who receive Him become children of God. Have you received Him? There is your identity. Don't let the enemy tell you differently.

2. Comparison

He will try to get you to compare yourself with other women. That is a no win situation. There is a difference between comparing yourself and aspiring to be more virtuous because of something you see in someone.

If in comparison you find you are better then them, that leads to being prideful. If we are equal to them, that leads to being competitive, if we are less then them, you become inferior.

We have all compared ourselves to someone at one time or another. We need to take a stand against the enemy and not do it anymore.

Ps 139:14

We need to thank God for the way He made us. Doesn't mean we can't strive or aspire to be better. Doesn't mean we have always taken care of the body He gave us the way He wants us to, but we should be thankful He created us the way He did in the beginning and strive to be all He wants us to be.

3. Insignificance

He will make us feel unworthy. He will point out how far we have left to go instead of how far we have come.

You listen to one lie of the enemy and end up under a wave of insignificance and unworthiness.

Jer 1:4-5
Jer 29:11

God gives us a little at a time of the plan He has for us because He knows we couldn't handle all the great things He has planned for us at one time.

4. Unrealistic expectations

He will try to get us to carry an undue weight and responsibility.

90% of the responsibility we have, we took on ourselves. If a responsibility comes from God, He will provide everything I need to handle it also.

When we take on responsibility that God hasn't given us, we are trying to take the place of God. When responsibilities are to heavy for us to carry, they are not from God.

You will have peace and strength for anything He has called you to do. If we take on responsibility that He didn't give us, it can weigh us down even when we are trying to do the things He has called us to be responsible for.

5. Doubt

Alot of times we carry on a conversation in our minds and we think it is ourself but it is the enemy.

This is the same thing that Eve did in Gen 3. She had a conversation with the enemy. And we know how that ended. Our conversations with him won't end any better.

The enemy will try to make us doubt the very thing we know God has spoken to us about.

In MT when he is talking to Jesus, just two verses before God said Jesus was His Son.

A woman of resolve dispels fears and doubts.

The more we have discussions with the enemy the more we become defeated.

God will never question or change what He has told you before.

If you haven't heard from God lately, what is the last thing He gave you to do? You must not be completed finished with that yet.

James 1:6

6. Discouragement

He will remind you of your failures and mess ups.

It doesn't all happen in a day. He does it a little at a time.

When you are discouraged it is hard to witness or do anything else for God because you feel unworthy.

Ps 121:1-8

Discouragement keeps your eyes cast down.

Remembering where your help comes from will cast out discouragement.

No one will value you as God does. No matter how great they are. Your value and worth come from who you are in God.