The Remarkable Women of the Bible Book Study ~ Chapter 5

Rebekah-Eliezer

Rebekah ~ Ready, Willing, and Able

This chapter begins with a discussion of the Godly characteristics of a single woman.  Many of her qualities are a good example to us of a woman of valor (Proverbs 31).  In the Bible account Isaac was nearing 40 years of age, and Abraham sent his trusted servant to find a wife for him to continue to carry on with the promises that God have given to him to be the father of many nations.  What were the qualities that the servant looked for? What characteristics did Rebekah display, which can be embraced by our single women today?

Rebekah’s purity: She was a virgin – “No man had known her.” (Genesis 24:16)

Rebekah’s busyness: Rather than looking for a husband, languishing, moping, or mourning over the lack of one, Rebekah stayed busy serving her family and others. (Genesis 24:15-24)

Rebekah’s hospitality: Her home was open to those who needed her care. (Genesis 24:25)

Rebekah’s energy: Abundant energy is generally a sign of happiness, and Rebekah’s happiness empowered her with energy enough to serve other people far beyond the minimum.  Rebekah ministered to the maximum! pg 55-56

Before continuing, let’s look at God’s plan for single women.  God calls his special servants to a life of:

Purity: A single Christian woman is to remain “holy both in body and spirit.” 1 Corinthians 7:34

Ministry: A single Christian woman is to live her life in a way that reflects her complete dedication to God.  As one who is unmarried, she has the privilege of undistracted service to God and caring for “the things of the Lord.” (I Corinthians 7:34) Every day a woman is single is another glorious day to serve God wholeheartedly and without distraction.  Her singleness is a “green light” from God to go all out in service to others. (pg 56)

Checkpoint On The Journey

Is singleness a reality for you today dear woman of God? Although you may desired to be married, let not your longing slay your appetite for living. …Accept and thank God for what “is” given, not allowing the “not”  given to spoil it. (pg 56)

We also find a Godly characteristic of Rebekah in her willingness “to go.” Abraham then sent his 85-year-old servant on a 500-mile journey, back to where his people lived to find a wife for his son.  Rebekah was willing to go on that long journey to become Isaac’s wife upon being chosen by God. She followed the calling of God to move away from her family, just as Sarah followed Abraham wherever God was leading him. This is a characteristic of a Godly woman.

Let’s consider Abraham’s qualifications for a Godly wife:

She must not be a Canaanite.  (Genesis 24:3) No, she wasn’’t to be a wife of a godless people who might lead Isaac and his offspring away from the true God.

Do we struggle with the thought of marrying outside our own faith? God instructed His servants to marry within their own belief system, their own tribe, their own people.  Marrying outside of God’s way of life invited strange idolatrous customs to enter into their households. Those who did not take devoting their life to God seriously suffered serious consequences.

She must be from among Abraham’s own family. (Genesis 24:4)

She must be willing to follow his servant back to the land of Abraham and Isaac, a woman willing to forsake all – in faith –for the glorious future God had ordained. (Genesis 24:5) (pg 57)

How would you describe your devotion to God? Are you willing to forsake the worldly ways (I John 2:16) and follow God’s calling to take up your cross and follow Him, no matter how long, no matter how difficult it may be?

““And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.””

~ Luke 9:23

As a woman of God, you have a powerful influence on those around you.  One single match can be seen up to two miles away in complete darkness.  How much are you allowing your light to shine at this point in your life?

Notice that Abraham’s servant Eliezer spoke with God beforehand, entreating Him concerning His choice for Isaac,.  Eliezer was not focused on outward appearance or material wealth, but only asked for Godly characteristics and stamina for her to be able to make the grueling 500-mile journey and to flourish in a difficult nomadic life.

Women of God, what’s on your checklist?

Single or married, are you focusing on Godly characteristics, rather than on beauty or affluence? Pray about your desires and adjust your standards to match the qualities that God desires in women, not what the world’s call to modern feminism consists of.  Degrees, high job status, and total independence are not what God holds in high esteem; rather He looks for a true servant’s heart and a meek and gentle spirit. He looks for your dependence on Him to make the facing of life’s challenges more fruitful.

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.””  

~ I Peter 3:3-4

Imagine the want ad that Eliezer would write to find Isaac’s new wife:

Wanted: The Ideal Wife

Must be physically strong and healthy,

energetic and able to work hard.

Must be friendly and industrious,

kind and compassionate,

generous and love to serve –

and Devoted to God.

After Eliezer’s prayer to the Almighty, he sat down by a well at the time of day when the women of the town came to draw water. Weary from the long journey, he and his ten camels needed water to refresh and sustain them.  A young woman came with a pitcher on her shoulder to the well and offered him a drink of water.  Hospitality is one of the Godly characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman.  Not only did she offer Eliezer water to refresh him, she went on and watered all of his camels!  No small chore to do for anyone, especially a stranger.  How many draws of water from the well would you think she would have to perform to water ten camels?  A camel can drink up to 25 gallons of water after a long journey! Yes, Rebekah went the extra mile in service to a stranger. Then rather than leaving the exhausted stranger, she serves yet again by inviting Abraham’s servant Eliezer to her home to  find rest after his long journey.

Able

How much do we judge the other’s person’s character by our first impressions? Eliezer’s impression was definitely positive when it came to Rebekah.  Yes, he noticed that she was willing to work with her hands, drawing water for him, as well as his camels, and she also came at the appointed time.  Yes, she was on time! She didn’t drag her feet when the work was to be done.  The Proverbs 31 woman works willingly with her hands.  We see her rising up early to feed her servants!  She had servants, why didn’t she have them wait on her first? I find this remarkable.  Her attitude and willingness to do menial tasks.

“She rises also while it is yet night, and gives meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.”

~ Proverbs 31:15

We also see this in the case of Sarah.  When the messengers came to recount the promises to Abraham, he asks Sarah to go ahead and make cakes for them.  We don’t hear Sarah complaining, “Why are you asking me? We have servants? I’m the master!” No, we see her heart of servitude, just as we see with Rebekah.

“And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.”

~ Genesis 18:6

Checkpoint on the journey:  Do you think hard work is degrading? Do you think hard work is to be done by other people, not you? Do you dread rolling up your sleeves and working hard on some necessary task?  Here in God’s word  God praises the enchanting Rebekah.  So, if your are tempted to disdain your work, allow God’s thoughts about yet another remarkable – the Proverbs 31 woman – to correct your thinking.  She “willingly works with her hands….she girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.  Strength and honor are her clothing.” (Proverbs 31:13, 17, 25) God values women who work hard to serve Him, and the people He puts in their lives.” (pg 60)

“But I’m not strong.  I have a disability.  How can I strengthen my arms, when I’m weak?” you might ask. We might not have the physical strength to do hard labor, such as one who is aged, illness or debilitating disease, but our strength can be one of encouragement, support, a beautiful smile and being there for someone in distress.  There are so many ways in which we can strengthen our arms to do even these things.  A prayer of intercession made for someone, a card sent to someone sick in the hospital or a phone call is a menial task to some, but worth great wealth to God, and it will also mean more than you know to someone who is suffering through a difficult trial.

Willing To Go

When Eliezer states to her family the reason for his visit, to find a wife for Isaac, her parents ask if she might stay just a few more days (Genesis 24:55) with her family before leaving, but she said she would willingly go immediately (vs 58).  Even though she would probably never see her family again, even though she did not have time to prepare, even though life would be stressful as a nomad’s wife, she willingly went with Eliezer to meet her new husband.  That was an act of faith.

Take a serious inventory of your own life of faith.  Is there any act of faith you are postponing – even for “just a few days”?  Any decision you are putting off?  Any step of faith you are delaying?  Waiting may be easier, but the harder path of true faith is the path to greater blessing.  Delayed obedience is in actuality disobedience, and delayed action delays God’s blessing.  Every step of faith is a giant step toward the center of God’s will, and God’s abundant blessings. (pg 63)

So, what can we learn from our first encounter with Rebekah? We can challenge our spiritual and physical lives whether we are ready, willing, and able to perform the work God puts before us.  Let’s be ready and willing to receive the blessings God has for us as well for a job well done! 🙂

Next Chapter:  “Rebekah ~ Tests of Faith”

To Read Previous Chapter Posts See Below:

Chapter 1 “Eve ~ Remarkable Creation”

Chapter 2 “Sarah ~ First Steps in Faith”

Chapter 3 “Sarah ~ Advanced Steps in Faith”

Chapter 4 “Sarah ~ Rewards of Faith”

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

 

 

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The Remarkable Women of the Bible Book Study ~ Chapter 4

The Remarkable Women of the Bible

Rewards of Faith

In chapters 2 and 3 of “The Remarkable Women of the Bible and Their Lessons For Us Today” we peer into the life of Sarah.  We see in Hebrews Sarah mentioned as a woman of faith.

“Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” 

~ Hebrews 11:11

Indeed, Sarah was truly a woman of faith. We have seen Sarah uprooting from her homeland to be Abraham’s companion on his journey to wherever God led him.  She left her family and her people to follow him as he followed God, making us her “daughters” if we follow her example of submission to follow her husband as God led him.  Do we follow our husband’s lead as he follows God?  Peter states that we are Sarah’s daughter if we develop a meek and quiet spirit and are submissive as Sarah had become:

“But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

~ I Peter 3:4

“For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands.”

~ I Peter 3:5

Abraham's Journeys

We have seen that Sarah waited ten long years after the promises were made to Abraham, and then still being barren, assumed presumptuously that God may have had different plans as to how these promises would be fulfilled, that it must not be God’s will that she be the one to bear Abraham’s child.  Therefore, she gave Abraham her handmaiden Hagar to bear a child through her, which was a common custom in those days. This was not in God’s will, however, but we have also learned that Sarah herself was not specifically stated as being the “one” through which Abraham would be the father of many nations at the time she made this decision.

We can find comfort in the fact that while we can have faith in God’s particular promises for us, we may make mistakes in judgment in how to accomplish it along the way at times, but God is understanding and knows our weaknesses.  Yes, we can find mercy and grace in the God of all comfort when slip and fall, using our own human reasoning at times on our journey to the Kingdom.  We also learn through Sarah’s story that we, no matter how merciful and forgiving God is, have to deal with the consequences of our sins in this life.

Then we saw that it was 24 years after the promises were made to Abraham that messengers along with the Lord himself came to Abraham to restate the promises, but this time specifically mentioning Sarah as the one to bear the promised seed.  Previously, she was not mentioned by name, and now it was clear in her mind what the Lord would do.  Sarah laughed.  Yes, she laughed within herself.  Did Sarah lack faith when she laughed within herself.  In the last chapter I’ve stated why I think this was a reaction of amazement, a laughter of “Could it be so, after all this time?” “Could I find pleasure (joy) in having a child in my old age?” (Genesis 18:12) Sarah now being 89 years of age. The Lord encouraged her further, by telling Abraham “Is anything too hard for God?” (Genesis 18:14)

Sarah  and Abraham

Are we waiting for certain promises to be fulfilled in our own lives?

“A prodigal to return to his or her father?  Are you waiting for release of a physical affliction?  Perhaps you are waiting for a husband – or for your husband to return to the Lord more deeply, or to be a spiritual leader in your home.  Could it be waiting like your sister Sarah for a baby.  Or are you waiting for vindication of some unfortunate misunderstanding for God to come to your rescue to show forth His righteousness on your behalf? (Psalm 73:6)  Are you eagerly waiting for the (Kingdom)* for the groaning of your body to cease, for your ultimate victory?

“God bids you to wait – in readiness and expectation – on His riches, on His rewards, just as Sarah did, whose sister you are if you trust in the Lord. (I Peter 3:5-6) pg 48

What blessings can we gain by waiting on God’s “appointed time?”

Blessing #1: Increased value – Waiting increases the value and importance of the thing waited for.  Whether you’re waiting for deliverance from suffering, the discovery of God’s purposes, direction for your confused life, a home at last, a wedding day, a family reunion, a prodigal’s return, or a child’s birth waiting makes the desired object a greater treasure once it is received.”

Blessing #2: Increased time – No one has enough time.  But the one who waits is given the precious gift of time – time to embrace life’s circumstances, time to press closer to God’s loving and understanding heart, time to grow in the hard-won grace of patience, time to feel more deeply the pain of others who also wait with flickering faith.

Blessing #3: Increased faith – The writer of Hebrews defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) Please read the rest of Hebrews 11, and notice how the saints through the ages (including Abraham and Sarah) had their faith increased by waiting.  Faith grows and is strengthened through time.

So, while you wait, be encouraged.  We can believe Romans 8:28:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

He Who has promised is faithful to His own promises.  There are over 8,000 promises in the Bible.  I once had a little “Promises of God” book that I kept with me most of the time throughout my heaviest trials put together by categories.  I pulled that little book out any time I started to lose faith or anxiety overtook me.

What do you, by faith, believe to be true of God? Note the “miracles”:

*Eternal life — “I give them Eternal life” (John 10:28)

*Sufficient grace — “My grace is sufficient.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

*Strength for life — “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.”  (Philippians 4:13)

*His everlasting presence — “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  (Joshua 1:9) pg 47

What promises and miracles did Sarah receive after 25 years of waiting?

*The witnessing of miracles — The 100-year-old Abraham fathered a child!  The 90-year-old Sarah conceived and bore a son!  And still another miracle followed as Sarah’s worn out body sustained the life of her little one as she nursed him!

*The working of faith — Sarah inherited the promise of a child by”faith and patience:; she exhibited the full assurance of hope until the end (Hebrews 6:11-12)

*The fulfillment of God’s promise — Wrapped up in Sarah’s little baby was God’s fulfillment of His covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12:2), and the continuance of the family line that would give rise to God’s own Son, Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:2, 17)

*A child to love — God made the barren Sarah “A joyful mother of children.”  (Psalms 113:9)

Indeed, God Himself shared with Abraham and Sarah His promise of a great nation coming through Abraham and as we saw above great miracles.  They earned the place in Hebrew’s Hall of Faith.  What trials are you challenged with today that could be used to exercise your faith? Faith is hope in what is “NOT” seen yet. (Hebrews 11:1)  I sometimes see the small and great challenges that some women are facing, but along with it great faith – yes faith in huge trials and also faith in the day-to-day small battles they are faced with. Sometimes I share with them that perhaps someday they might be may be counted worthy of being placed along Sarah in the Hall of Faith.  Sarah gives us great hope that although we may make mistakes in our judgments at times, if we wholeheartedly are striving to live our lives according to His word, God is faithful to His promises and His rewards many.

One last note:

“Dear one, “with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)  Nothing is too hard for the Lord!  So, I ask you, what trials and temptations do you currently face?  Does some difficulty or affliction affect your every moment?  Do you live alone?  Are your days or your health waning?  Are you stretched to the limit by the demands of each day?  Identify your greatest challenge and then look to the Lord with the greatest of faith.  Remember, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  (Hebrews 11:1) pg 51

Be encouraged!

Your Comment Are Important To Me!

To read previous chapters:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

*This word was changed for emphasis.

 

The Remarkable Women of the Bible Book Study ~ Chapter 2

The Remarkable Women of the Bible

Sarah – Remarkable Faith

This extraordinary woman of faith in chapter Hebrews 11:11, Sarah, can be perplexing with the different viewpoints that are presented to us in books and sermons and as we read the many accounts in the Bible.  She, indeed according to God’s word, is held up as our spiritual mother if we are respectful to our own husbands as she was to her Abraham, “calling him lord,” a term of respect and honor.

“As Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.”

~ I Peter 3:6

This is brought home even further in Ephesians:

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the Saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”

~ Ephesians 5:22-34

I’d like to insert the following verse for later use in our discussions of Sarah and Abraham’s relationship:

“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God”

~ Ephesians 5:22

She not only is faithful to her husband but is also held up Biblically as a woman of Godly faith, in Hebrews 11:11:

“Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.”

As I read this chapter of The Remarkable Women of the Bible, it caused me to dig deeper into her life.  The author not only takes chapter 2 to discuss Sarah’s faith but also chapters 3 and 4.  Sarah’s faith was progressive, and it took the author two more chapters to explain it! As I said, there are many differing conclusions as to the true nature of Sarah’s life, and it was no different with this book study.  I would like to point some things with which I agree with the author.

Sarah And Abraham Nomads

Her Journey

We first encounter Sarah’s budding faith when she willingly follows her husband’s charge to leave her homeland and become a tent dweller. Abraham’s vision from God foretold the promise of Abraham to become the father of many nations.  Yes, according to God’s vision, he was to gather up all he had and leave his homeland of Ur, situated on the lush banks of the Euphrates River.  I have to insert here that Ur was no small village, but a teaming, affluent city, second in commerce only to Egypt at the time.  They probably had a very comfortable life in Ur.  Abraham had many cattle, servants, and possessions.  He was no pauper.  He and Sarah were very prosperous indeed.

Just imagine your husband coming to you one day after work and telling you that he had a vision from God. You are to gather up everything you have and leave your family, friends, and neighbors, to become tent dwellers.  Many women today would suggest to their husbands that he had better see a therapist before they would give in to such a dramatic change of lifestyle just because of a dream.  The Bible is silent on her response to Abraham.

Many think this because in that day, men were in authority and women subservient, she just went along.  I think differently, however, because the Bible holds up Sarah and Abraham’s relationship as a type of relationship that was an example for us to follow.   The fact that Sarah is very outspoken on other issues and consults with Abraham on many important occasions tells me that Sarah’s silence means that she agreed without doubting that God truly came to Abraham in a vision and that she willingly went along with Abraham in his walk with God to help him fulfill God’s promise for them. (1 Peter: 3-4)

It turned out that Sarah’s minuscule seed of faith budded when they went out from Ur of the Chaldeans. (Genesis 11:31) Possibly with pain in her heart and tears in her eyes, Sarah reacted to God’s instructions regarding marriage.  ‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.’ (Genesis 2:24)

As always obedience to God boiled down to a faith issue.  However it happened, our Sarah took an important step in faith, and that faith grew and ultimately earned her a place of honor in God’s Hall of Faith. Are you wondering and praying, ‘How can I begin taking the steps Sarah took to develop greater faith?

Try these important first steps today:

Turn away from the pleasures of this world, “Do not love the world or the things of this world.” (John 2:15).

Turn to the unknown, the unseen, the eternal with the heart of faith – “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (Corinthians 2:5-7) pg 24

Famine

Famine

Most women won’t face a literal famine in their lifetimes as Sarah did in hers, but most will face some kind of trial, a lack of a different kind in their life that causes them pain.  We need to take the problem to God and put total trust in Him. Let’s look at Sarah encounter with literal famine in her journey of faith.

“Oh the heartache! Will it ever go away? Perhaps these words darkened Sarah’s thoughts the day she followed her full-of-faith husband out of Ur. Ur had been Sarah’s home, her life, but God told Abraham to go to Canaan.  Leaving Ur may have been bad, but the land of Canaan was worse! It was 600 miles away from her beloved homeland .  Just when she was getting use to it, then a terrible famine struck, and it was time to move on again.  This time to Egypt, another 300 miles away! Surely, if they would have stayed in Ur, everything would be alright! Maybe Sarah had thoughts such as this.  We really don’t know.” pg 25

Because her thoughts are not recorded, personally I think because of the lack of response, again, she trusted and had faith in God’s promises.  When circumstances in our lives seem to worsen, do we lose heart, lose faith? We all need encouragement to look forward and not back during hard times.  In Chapter 2, the author gives us some of her thoughts concerning those times in our life when we lack something that is truly needed and we are in great distress over a continual trial that lacks a solution.

“Face forward: Real life happens in the present, and God’s blessings happen there and in the future too.

Accept your circumstances – The circumstances of life are one primary way God works in you and works out His will for you.

There “do all things without complaining and disputing.”  (Philippians 2:14)

Again, it isn’t recorded that she was crying or complaining to Abraham because of the mess they were in.  She is silent.

If your circumstances find you in God’s will, you will find God in all your circumstances.

Trust in the Lord – God will keep you in perfect peace when your mind is stayed on Him in full trust.  Isaiah 26:3)

Hope in the future – Hope in God is always the bright star the lights your path in any present darkness.” pg 25

Abraham Talking To Sarah About Talking to Pharaoh

Facing Fear

Sarah was an exceptionally beautiful woman even into her old age, as we shall see.  Many women pay exorbitant amounts for body reconstruction, cosmetics, etc., all in an effort to be as beautiful as we shall see Sarah was.  She was so remarkably beautiful that Abraham pondered it before their travels, that it might pose a problem with the kings or pharaohs  that they ran up against, because, “What if they see you because of your beauty and want you, and kill me to have you?” Abraham talked with Sarah and asked her if that situation arose, would show him kindness by telling them she was his sister?  This was actually a half-lie, as she was his father’s daughter, but not his mother’s.

Notice Abraham didn’t command her to do this, he asked her to save his life in this way.  This shows me there was a strong bond, friendship between Sarah and Abraham? Would you do this for your friend to save his life? The situation did unfold just as Abraham feared.  Their caravan did run up against the powerful Egyptian pharaoh, and he noticed Sarah’s remarkable beauty.  When Pharaoh asked Abraham who this woman was, he said it was his sister.  The Pharaoh therefore took her into his harem.  Again, Sarah is silent.

Was Abraham wrong in saying this was his sister? God doesn’t give us the answer in His word, but He did plague Pharaoh and his household.  Pharaoh did not deal harshly with Abraham as he came back to him asked him why he did not tell him that he was his wife, that he would have done evil taking her as his wife and would have lain with her.  Obviously the plagues were a sign from a powerful god thought Pharaoh. What was Sarah thinking while she waited in Pharaoh’s harem? She must have been afraid.  She had a good relationship with her husband.  What if Abraham’s caravan left without her?

“Surely Sarah wondered with fear, “What will happen to me?  Will Abraham go on without me?  Will I ever see him again? What will life be like as a member of a harem?”  We don’t know, because scripture is silent.  But don’t you hope the silence indicates Sarah’s faith as she sat in her harem-prison, faced her fears, and waited on the Lord?”

“Strength for today and hope for tomorrow are sometimes realized – by you and me as well as by Sarah – in the silent  patience of faith.” Pg 27

The author continues:

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. (Psalm 27:14)

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. (Psalm 37:7) Truly my soul silently waits for God. (Psalm 62:1)

Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.  (Isaiah 40:31)

It is good that one should hope and wait quietly.  (Lamentations 3:26)

Blessed is he who waits. (Daniel 12:12) pg 27

At the perfect moment when things looked the blackest, God made a miraculous appearance.  Although He was never seen, it was not forgotten. What a scene! What a rescue!

Abraham receives Sarah from Ambimilech

Trusting God Again and  Again

Now, wait, the same performance happened again, almost the same word for word, event.  Sarah was noticed for her beauty and taken 25 years later by another ruler (Exodus 20:9-11), almost word for word.  Again, God came to the rescue.  Again, her faith was perfected.  God seemed to be asking Sarah to to face her fears, and her faith once again toward Him and to, once again trust Him. After all, what had she learned those decades ago about trusting the Lord?  What are some of the great lessons that we must learn in the making of great faith?

Lesson 1:  Pray – “The righteous cry out and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.”  (Psalm 34:17)

Lesson 2:  Trust – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding” – or any one elses. (Proverbs 3:5)!

Lesson 3:  Believe “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not see.”  (Hebrews 1:11)

Lesson 4: Wait – “I waited patiently for the Lord: and He inclined His ear to me, and heard my cry.”  (Psalm 40:1) pgs 30-31

Sarah’s Message For Your Life Today

The author comments that some of Sarah’s trials were repeated time and time again.  She asks,

“As you enter your new day, is something in your life a “repeat” problem?  Are there daily difficulties you constantly fact?  Are there people who regularly let you down or fail to follow through?  Are there seemingly impossible hardships to be endured day after day?” pg 30

She asks us to look at a multi-faceted diamond.  This stone has to be repeatedly cut to bring out its beauty.  God can also use the trials that befall us to shape and build our trust in Him.  Remember, in your life you have a constant power available, a constant help in time of need, no matter how alone you feel, no matter what odds your face, no matter who has let you down or forsaken you, you are never alone for:

Above you are God’s overshadowing wings (Psalm 91:4) Beneath you are God’s everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27) Around you the angel of the Lord encamps on all sides to deliver you. (Psalm 34:7) Inside you God’s peace that passes all understanding guards your heart and mind. (Philippians 4:7) pgs 30-31

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

To see chapter 1 of “The Remarkable Women of the Bible Book Study ~ Chapter 1” click here.

More articles and sermons on the life of Sarah:

Profiles of Faith:Sarah ~ A Story of Virtue

Hebrews 11 – Sarah’s Improbabilities

Sermon: Was There Faith in Sarah?

Psalms of a Woman

Woman of The Lord

The Virtuous Woman

Strong is she who knows she’s weak

….for on her knees her God she’ll seek

Wise is she who hears God’s word

….and puts to practice what she’s heard

Merciful is she who knows

….the grace of God, so kindness shows

Throughout the land, her virtue’s known

…reaping what she’s clearly sown

Her children rise and call her blessed

…this woman of the Lord

~ Diane Stewart

February 1994

 

2 Corinthians 12:10 “…..for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Proverbs 31:26 “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”

Proverbs 31:31 “Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

Proverbs 31:28 “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”

 Luke 11:28 “But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”

Christians And Violent Video Games

Is there any danger in playing a violent interactive video game?  We are play acting yes, but we are also being conditioned, conditioned to respond in a prideful way, taking things into our own hands, taking vengeance on the evil ones. As Christians we are admonished to let God fight the battles for us. God says “Vengeance is mine.”

 “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” ~ Romans 12:19

“If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men.”   

~Romans 8:13

An environment where people are being tortured and slaughtered is not the environment that God wants us to provide for our children to grow up in. We certainly wouldn’t purposely pick a neighborhood with that sort of violence to expose your children too.  Does it make any sense then to bring that sort of violence into your home?

I went through the race riots in Detroit in 1967.  Let me tell you, real war and fighting is not glamorous. Driving through the streets intown, ducking from military gunfire is not a game. I continued to have flashbacks for years whenever there was fighting on the school grounds or in the neighborhood. 

If we surround ourselves with this type of thinking, we and our children can be conditioned to get back at (take revenge) because we feel justified, in other words we feel we have the right.  We may not wield a weapon, but our words can be just as deadly.  If we really think about it, we too as God’s people can be conditioned by society and by the media to accept that this type of fighting with our words is justified.  In God eyes however, it is not.

You may say, “Well, my child would never hoard weapons as the young men did at Columbine School and gun down their classmates just because they watched a lot of violent video games,” but there is something more to consider dangerous, that is the attitude that pervades, “Don’t tell me what to do.  I have the right to fight,” albeit with words instead of guns and ammunition.”

Our children look to heroes and try to emulate them, putting themselves in the place of the one who is taking revenge on the “bad” guys.  Today there are all kinds of powerful heroes and heroines in comic books, movies, and especially video games, not portrayed as normal everyday men and women, but disproportionately muscular, so that boys and men want to be invincible  and girls powerful and sexy.  The desire is to covet their build, sexy look and power.  However, no one can ever be like them. Nevertheless our children put themselves in the place of these men and women of war and connect with them in their minds. God says that as we think, so we are.  Why?  In the New Testament church, not only are we not to do harm to our enemies, but we are to love them. What we think matters, whether it is real or not.  God says if we lust after a woman, we have already committed adultery in our hearts. If we kill and destroy our enemies even in our imagination, we have also sinned in our hearts.

James and John wanted to call fire down from heaven.  Did they have a right to?  They may have, but what did Jesus say? 

“And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” ~ Luke 9:54-56

What being is full of this pride of life, lust for power?  We know that this is the spirit of Satan.

Why are these videos so popular in today’s culture? Why are they making mega millions and growing more and more popular each year? 

Too many children are embracing them, and too many parents are allowing it.

We have a New Testament covenant with Christ as our example.  His last words on the cross, “It is finished.”  What was finished? We know that He was the lamb of God, taking on what all of us deserve. There is more however.  He also finished His earthly example by not reviling again nor taking matters into his own hands, but leaving it all in the hands of His Father to the point of being beaten to death for the sake of his enemies.  This is the type of example your children should be looking to emulate.

“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” ~John 18:36

Then would my servants fight, but my kingdom is not of this world.  We are not to be part of this world or emulate its pride.  We are to train our young men to emulate Christ.  How are these violent video games fulfilling this admonition?

What kind of person are our children trying to emulate as a superhero?  Is Jesus Christ their Superhero?  What did Christ do when he knew that Satan would enter Judas? Christ washed Judas’ feet.  He did not take up his rifle and blast him at the last supper.

The world’s mindset is one of fighting it out and feeling justified when we take things into our own hands by fighting with our husbands or others with whom we do not agree, and we feel we are right because we know in our hearts they are wrong.  We kill with our tongues.  Is this not this same mindset? God says if you hate your brother, you kill in your heart. God admonishes us to turn the other cheek; don’t take things into our own hands, “I will repay.”  We are to Love our enemy, and do good to them that hurt us and despitefully use you and persecute us.  If a man slaps you on the cheek, turn and give him your other cheek.  Stephen followed Christ’s example and at his death said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  Acts 7:60 Don’t we not want to instill that attitude in our children?

Is God is in control?  He struck Herod down when he boasted and allowed people to think he was a god.  God has the power and right to take vengeance, not man. He was swelled with pride, what we do not want to allow into our thoughts or hearts.

In Revelation, Christ says to the church of Laodicea, “You do not know you are poor blind and naked.” [Revelation 3:17] 

He is speaking of our spiritual condition.  God admonished us to give to those who are hungry; clothe those who are naked, and destitute.  The world’s enemies are poor, blind, and naked. Do we feed them, or do we blast them? [Matthew 26:35-36]

Are we to retaliate or are we to give them what they need to become more like God?  Our lights are to shine, on the evil and the good.  We are ambassadors for Christ.  Do we teach our children to do this by watching video games that portray the opposite?

The Spartans trained their young men for war as soon as they could hold an arrow and bow.  They were trained in the art of war as some nations do today with their very young children.  As you know, some even strap bombs to their young children and send them into a building to demolish it. We look forward to a much different future.

“And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” ~  Micah 4:3  

Our children are now the princes and princesses in training for a world we will rule.  It is to be a world of peace. It is not a world where vengeance is entertainment. 

God does not want us to feel the rush of getting back at others or acting as saviors when He is the only Savior.  Superheroes only feed into our desire to take control ourselves even though it is only fantasy.  This fuels the fires of our human carnal nature and enhances the feelings of power and pride.  Isn’t that the mind of Satan? 

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:  A proud look…”  ~ Proverbs 6:16-17

#1 God hates pride. 

I feel that Satan can entrap our children with the world’s entertainment, especially in the form of virtual reality video games, encouraging them to embrace his ways. 

God IS real!  Let’s train our young men to emulate Christ in everything they do.

Published in: on November 27, 2012 at 2:44 am  Comments (1)  

30-Day True Woman Makeover Challenge ~ Day 2

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Let me just take time to read verses 10–31. Because many of us are familiar with this in some of the more common translations, I want to read from a different translation, the New Living Translation. Let me just read verses 10–31.

10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?

She is more precious than rubies.

11 Her husband can trust her,

and she will greatly enrich his life.

12 She brings him good, not harm,

all the days of her life.

13 She finds wool and flax

and busily spins it.

14 She is like a merchant’s ship,

bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household

and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;

with her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She is energetic and strong,

a hard worker.

18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;

her lamp burns late into the night.

19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,

her fingers twisting fiber.

20 She extends a helping hand to the poor

and opens her arms to the needy.

21 She has no fear of winter for her household,

for everyone has warm clothes.

22 She makes her own bedspreads.

She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.

23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,

where he sits with the other civic leaders.

24 She makes belted linen garments

and sashes to sell to the merchants.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,

and she laughs without fear of the future.

26 When she speaks, [And notice by the way, this is the first time in this passage that she does speak. We’ll comment on that when we get to this portion. But when she does speak, her words are wise,

and she gives instructions with kindness.

27 She carefully watches everything in her household

and suffers nothing from laziness.

28 Her children stand and bless her.

Her husband praises her:

29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,

but you surpass them all!”

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;

but a woman who fears the L ord will be greatly praised.

31 Reward her for all she has done.

Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

Now as I read that passage, maybe you have these recurring thoughts of, “Oh, this is so hard. This is so impossible. Who can imagine a woman like this?” Well, actually that’s what the passage starts out by saying. “Who can find a woman like this?” She is indeed rare.

There’s a sense in which the woman we just read about is a composite portrait of ideal womanhood. And yet, there’s another sense in which I believe she can actually be a real woman. If this woman is a real woman, if King Lemuel’s mother was describing a woman she actually knew, you can be sure of several things about this woman. Now these aren’t things you read about in the text.

—I can tell you something else—she probably sometimes feels like a real failure. Others can see and appreciate things about her that she can’t see in herself. I can tell you that sometimes this woman feels like giving up. She’s not just this perfect thing that we construct that just comes off the pages of Scripture and has no reality to her. She deals with the same issues that we do.

She has spiritual dry times, times when it seems that God is very far away from her. She’s a woman who does have virtuous character, and she does have an intimate relationship with God and her husband. But I can tell you this—she didn’t get there overnight, and she hasn’t yet arrived.

She’s a woman in process. She’s a woman who’s growing. And she’s a woman who, like most of us, often finds herself taking three steps forward and two steps back. You see, spiritual maturity is not so much where you are as the direction in which you’re headed. And here’s a woman who’s in process; she’s in direction.

So being a virtuous woman doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have the same struggles and challenges that we all have as women.

No We Can’t – Yes We Can!

Now, I want to make two statements that I’m going to repeat probably many times throughout this series because I want this to get into the fiber of your thinking. Here are the two statements. First of all, no woman can be like the woman that we read about in Proverbs 31. On your own, you cannot be; on my own, I cannot be like this woman.

Anything we do try to do on our own in our striving and efforts is not pleasing or acceptable to God. The only way we can ever please God is through the righteousness of Christ, through His excellency. He’s the only One who has ever measured up to God’s standard of holiness. So here’s the first statement: No woman can be like this woman on her own.

But here’s another statement that sounds like the opposite, and it’s just as true. Any woman who is a child of God can be like this woman. Any woman who is a child of God can be like this woman because Jesus lives in us, and He’s the One who fulfills the righteousness of God. So as we’re filled with the Holy Spirit, you and I can be a virtuous and excellent woman.

You see, the most outstanding thing about this woman as I read this passage (and I’ve read it many times over these recent weeks in particular), the most outstanding thing about this woman is not all the things she can do. As we’ve said, it’s her heart. It’s her priorities. It’s her values.

There are three bottom lines that come to me out of this passage. I’ll just touch on them here, and then we’ll come back to them throughout this series. But first is the fact that she fears the Lord. She’s a woman who reverences God. And that is more important than everything else she does.

As we’ve said, everything that she does flows out of this reverence for God. She’s seeking to please Him first and foremost. That’s at the heart of the matter. Don’t lose that when you get stuck in these things about her spinning wool and flax. Don’t get lost in all those details and forget that the big picture is that here’s a woman who reverences God.

You can reverence God. And many of you women I know personally, you do reverence the Lord. That’s why you’re reading this, because you want to be a woman of God. That’s the core of the matter.

And then I see—although the word isn’t used in this passage—here’s a woman who is a lover. She loves. She’s got the fruit of the Spirit in her life, which is love. It’s a love that’s joyful. It’s a love that’s peaceful, that’s patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled. All these qualities we’re going to read about—it’s the fruit of the Spirit. It’s a woman who loves God and loves her husband and loves her children. And the fruit of that love is seen in all these different qualities.

Proverbs 31 Women ~ A Servant’s Heart

Then she’s a woman who has a servant’s heart. That strikes me as I read this passage, that she’s utterly selfless. There are hardly any references to her doing anything for herself. Now our culture would tell us that makes a miserable woman. But I just read that passage. Does that sound like a miserable woman to you?

Here’s a woman who has joy. You see the world has sold us a bill of goods. It has told us that if you look out for yourself then you’ll be happy. But look at all those women out there looking out for themselves. Are they happy? It’s the women who live for God and others, who serve, who are the women who are truly joyful.

So I want you to be encouraged as we open up this portrait, as we see the picture painted. Whether you’re married or single, whether you’re young or old, you can become an excellent woman such as the woman in the portrait that we see in this passage.

I’ll say it again. You cannot become that woman on your own. Apart from Christ, you can never be virtuous or excellent. But through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, the gospel of Christ, we are able to be transformed one day at a time, one experience at a time, one step at a time into the likeness of Christ.

And the day is coming when I’m going to be like this woman, and you are too. So be encouraged. Put the next foot down. Take the next step and let God make you, make us, into this kind of woman.

We’ll see that there’s a husband involved here, very much involved. And the passage tells us that the woman who has this virtuous or noble character, that her husband trusts her, that she has her husband’s heart, and he has her heart.

And at the end of the passage we’ll see that when a woman demonstrates these qualities, these characteristics, that her husband and her children are motivated to rise up and bless this woman and to praise her not only privately but publicly as well.

Tomorrow, we want to hear from some men who are rising up and calling their wives blessed men. Listen as I read verse by verse beginning in verse 10 and then as these men share their tributes to their wives., men who are thankful for the way that their wives illustrate some of the characteristics we’re going to be seeing in Proverbs.

We described that the Proverbs of 31 women who has a servant’s heart. Today we will listen to their husbands’ praises of their virtuous wives. Their quotes will be in [ ]. We know that all husbands are not this gracious, but here are a sample of praises from men concerning the conduct of their virtuous wives with the accompanying scriptures.

“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain” (Proverbs 31:10–11, NKJV).

[Linda, I thank God for you every day. I thank Him because you are His gift to me. He made you just for me.]

[This is to honor my wife Jeanette. She is constantly dying to herself and her own needs and desires to serve me and to serve our children. And there’s just a graciousness that is always wrapped up in the way that she treats us.]

[Theresa, my wife, Scripture asks the question: Can anyone find the excellent wife? Through God’s grace I can say I have found her, a treasure beyond any jewel. She is priceless.]

“She does him good and not evil all the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:12).

[As I look back on over 23 years of marriage, I realize that I was not always the easiest guy to live with. My wife Terri has prayed for me, encouraged me, and loved me unconditionally over these past two plus decades.]

“She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands” (Proverbs 31:13).

[Some things I appreciate about my wife are she is a hard worker. She hustles all day long, and she’s mindful that her hard labor is an asset to what I do, and so she works even harder.]

“She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar” (Proverbs 31:14).

[This is for Diane. You’ve always been up for challenges, like when we moved to Sweden when we’d just been married for a month, and you had to learn the language just to be able to go grocery shopping.]

[One thing she likes to do is cook meals and have people over. Recently we had a party for the youth at our church, and she cooked for two days straight to prepare for this thing.]

“She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants” (Proverbs 31:15).

[Cindy just always gives of herself personally. She gets up before me. And she’ll get up and fix the lunches for our kids and for myself.]

“She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard” (Proverbs 31:16).

[In the summer of 2002, my wife and I decided we were going to build, buy some property and build a house out in the woods. And my wife Christi really helped me consider the field, find the piece of property, and then begin to make plans.]

“She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms” (Proverbs 31:17).

[I appreciate my wife’s diligent effort to keep herself healthy and strong by eating right and exercising. She knows that if she eats right and stays fit, she will have the strength to take care of us and those in need as well. She also encourages us to do the same. I have always appreciated that encouragement from my wife.] DS

“She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle” (Proverbs 31:18–19).

[My wife Renee loves things are done well and done with excellence and done with creativity. She loves to find examples in nature of things that God has done with excellence. She loves to do things with excellence herself. And we won’t ever have to go back and fix anything that she’s done because she’ll make sure—whatever it takes—she’ll do it right.]

“She extends her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy” (Proverbs 31:20).

[She has Fridays off. If I had Fridays off, I would spend them completely on myself. I would go fishing, or I would sit around and read. What she does is she goes and serves in a woman’s home who has eight children, and she irons for her for about three hours. She just sits and irons for her. That just displays her servant’s heart.]

[I was amazed when we were married for a few years. She’d be wanting to fix meals or wanting to give money to people who were in need. I suppose it was the pride in my own self, maybe my own selfishness that made this stand out so much that this was something I wasn’t used to. But she has such a generous spirit about her.]

“She is not afraid of snow for her household” (Proverbs 31:21a).

[One of the great experiences that we’ve had is the recovery process from our car accident where Jennifer took on everything in the marriage, in the family, for eight months.]

“For all her household is clothed with scarlet. She makes tapestry for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple” (Proverbs 31:21b–22).

[I appreciate about my wife that she is willing to, at times; she will make clothes for the family. Either there’ s nothing that she can find in the stores that is modest enough for the girls or feminine enough, that type of thing. She still knows that it is a skill that’s valuable and helps save the family some money. She clothes our children well and herself.]

“Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land” (Proverbs 31:23).

[Her character and personality enhances my life as a minister. Your character enhances my own reputation. People respond so favorably to me when they know I’m your husband.]

“She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants. Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come” (Proverbs 31:24–25).

[Susan has trusted me in some very big decisions. Most recently, we had to move for the sake of a new job, and it meant a new city, church, family. And yet she never wavered in her trust in me, in listening to God and my trust in God. And that’s really meant a lot to me. ]

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26).

[Actually, a year and a half after our first child was born, she got the vision for educating our children at home, which she continues to do today.]

[As far as home schooling, it’s not all academics. It’s about their foundation and relationship with the Lord. She spends a lot of her day teaching them the Bible. They’ve gone through the Old Testament.]

[We have three teenage boys at home, and she’s always thinking of ways to speak to them about God, giving Him honor and praise.]

“She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness” (Proverbs 31:27).

[Despite Mary’s chronic pain and fatigue, she’s diligent and dependable. I seldom have to be home and miss work even though she’s not feeling well.]

[She’s just such a wise person with finances, with resources. She manages our home so well, and so it makes my job as the breadwinner in our family much easier.]

[To better help her organize, she went through a year-long calendar, a full page, and she makes sure that everything is organized so that each of our girls gets to the right place at the right time and that dad does too.]

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all’”(Proverbs 31:28–29).

[God gave me a wonderful wife. I love her because she leaves the Bible open on the breakfast table. She uses a highlighter to mark the good parts in the books she reads. I love her because she cries when she prays sometimes. After my wife says things like, “We should do such and so,” she actually does them.]

[I love my wife because she won’t take Holy Communion carelessly, and because she sleeps on her side so we can snuggle like spoons when it’s cold outside.]

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).

[When I think of my wife Tracy, she truly is the wife of my youth as we met when she was 15 and I was 16. As I think back to those days and what attracted me to her, at first obviously was her physical beauty. She just took my breath away. But over the years as we have grown together, it’s been her inward beauty that I have fallen deeply in love with. And I know that comes from her relationship with Christ.]

“Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates” (Proverbs 31:31).

[Although we know we are saved by grace, I truly notice that people would take notice of your works and be drawn to Christ through them.]

[You are an excellent lover. Your beauty will always turn my head. Your smile and the glow of your face will always attract me. You are becoming more and more beautiful on the outside as well as within. I am falling deeper and deeper in love with you. Sue, you are my wife, my gift from God, my soul mate, my lover, my partner in life; and I thank God for you. I love you.]

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been really moved as I’ve listened to these men honor their wives. Now I know that some of you have a husband who would be quick to say these kinds of things about you and to verbalize his appreciation and his admiration for you as his wife.

Yet I know that there are others who really may be seeking to live a virtuous life, and you may be thinking, “My husband doesn’t talk that way about me.” Well let me just give you two words of encouragement. One, be faithful regardless of whether you ever get praise from men. And then second, let me remind you that ultimately our greatest praise comes from God.

If you’re looking to your husband, no matter how godly he may or may not be, to be your source of identity and security and praise, chances are you’re going to end up disappointed from time to time. But if you’re looking to please the Lord and to be His servant and His daughter then you will receive your praise from Him.

And ultimately I know the greatest praise you or I could ever receive is to hear the Lord saying to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” So live for His praise even above the praise of men.

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*We are going through Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ 30-Day Challenge, helping us to gain more insight into the Proverbs 31 woman, the counter-cultural woman.

30-Day True Woman Makeover Challenge ~ Day 1

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We’re going to be going through a new look at the Proverbs 31 women through Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ 30-Day Challenge, helping us to gain more insight into the Proverbs 31 woman, the counter-cultural woman.

Womanhood:

Where do you get your ideas about what it means to be a woman? Who has the most influence on your behavior and attitudes? Learn what the Bible has to say about being a woman!?

We want to be women who, in every area of our lives, are controlled by the Word of God. That is what will make an impact on a world that desperately needs to see Christ lived out through all of life.

As older women, we can hold up the hands of younger women. We can encourage them, and we can direct them to Scripture and help them flesh out what it looks like to be a woman after God’s own heart.

In Proverbs 31, we get a picture of this woman’s character, priorities, values, daily routine, marriage, and family life. All of this flows out of the fact that this woman has a reverence for God.

Where are you getting your ideas of womanhood? Who shaped your standard? Was it shaped by the world, or has it been shaped by the Word of God?

Well, today we come to that portion of Proverbs 31 that makes most women a little nervous. I was reading an article on Proverbs 31, and this writer said, “Does the Proverbs 31 woman have a name? I vote for Mrs. Get On Your Nerves, or Mrs. I Have No Friends Because I’m So Perfect.” And this woman went on—the article was called “Not Her Again”—she went on to tell why it was that she feels so intimidated by this Proverbs 31 woman.

And then Jill Briscoe writes in her book Queen of Hearts,

“The Proverbs 31 woman has long stood as the Statue of Liberty at the harbor of the City of Womanhood, welcoming all who flee from being anything less than perfect. But what if I have runs in my stocking? (I’m sure they were all right when I left home.) What if I consistently lose one of my husband’s socks in the washing machine, and I regularly misplace my car in the supermarket parking lot? “It’s blue, sir, I know it’s blue.”

“Is there any hope for me if I dream of writing a book about my small children called From Here to Insanity, and if I’m shaped like a pillow instead of a post? Is there any hope for a woman, if she’s not everything she ought to be, facing this description of an excellent woman?”

Well, true confessions here. When we read or hear about the Proverbs 31 woman, it’s with mixed emotions. I hear, and have thought myself, some of these words in terms of responding to this woman.

The word “tired” comes to mind as I read this chapter. You’re familiar with the passage—on and on and on about all the things this woman does. She gets up early in the morning; she stays up late at night; she just burns the candle at both ends, and she is so busy. You can read this passage and just feel tired. If you weren’t before you read it, you are after you read it!

Another word that comes to mind is the word “overwhelmed.” How does she do it all—and with no technology in her day and age such as we have today? It’s easy to feel defeated or to feel like a failure. It’s easy to look at this standard—this picture of a woman of virtue—and feel, “This is impossible!” Then the next thought is, “I guess I’d just better give up. I can never be this kind of woman.”

So we have feelings of comparison, feelings of guilt. In fact, I have to confess to you that as a young woman, I really did not like this woman. But I want to tell you that over the years—and even more recently, over recent weeks as I’ve been preparing for this series—I have learned to love this woman. And I want to tell you that you’re going to learn to love her, too.

You may hear that we’re doing a series like this that’s going to last for weeks—several—and you first might think, “I’ll tune back in after this series is over.” I want to ask you to hang in there. I believe you’re going to come away with a great sense of encouragement and thankfulness that God has put this chapter in the Bible, to help us become the women that He wants us to be.

I’m going to challenge you to jot down notes in your personal journal about what the Lord shows you by His Spirit as you open this passage.

I’m going to share with you what God’s been teaching me, but God will show you, as you read this passage, things that I haven’t caught—things I haven’t picked up. Then note how this applies to your life and how God is changing you through the power of His Word.

I’ve just got to tell you that over the last few weeks, as I have been meditating and swimming in this passage—just living in it—that God has been doing in my own heart. That’s what the Word does for us. It liberates us; it sets us free. This passage has been encouraging my heart in my pilgrimage toward Christ-likeness.

So we’re going to take our time—as we have already with the first nine verses—now, as we pick up at verse 10, this portrait of a virtuous woman. We’re not going to hurry through this passage. I can’t tell you exactly how many sessions it will take. We’ll finish when we’re finished. Even last night, as I was falling asleep . . . turned out the light, and was meditating on this passage, God was giving fresh and new insights. And I thought, “We’d better stop and teach this, or it will be a year-long series.”

You take time to look through women’s magazines to see what a beautiful woman, a beautiful home, a beautiful marriage looks like. I want to challenge you to put down those magazines. Put them away. I’m not saying they’re necessarily sinful or wrong; I’m just saying they’re what this world has to offer in terms of a picture of beauty.

Instead, pick up this picture. Matthew Henry called it a looking glass which every woman ought to look into as she dresses herself. Pick up this picture and examine it. Take time—spend time in it studying it—and then ask yourself, “Where am I getting my picture of what it means to be a woman?” Where are you getting your ideas of womanhood? Who shaped your standard? Was it shaped by the world, or has it been shaped by the Word of God?

My prayer is to raise up a whole new generation of women who look in this looking glass—who look in the mirror of God’s Word and say, “This will be my standard. This will be my ideal. This is what, by God’s grace, I will allow to be the pattern for my life.” And then, women who can teach their daughters and teach their sons, even as this passage . . .

Remember the Proverbs 31 verses are the words of a king remembering what his mother taught him when he was a young prince. She was teaching him the qualities to look for in a wife, and saying, “It’s important that you think about who you marry. You’re going to live with that person a long time, and she is going to shape and mold your life for better and for worse. So make sure that you look for a wife who has these kinds of qualifications.”

I’m sure that this mother also prayed that these would be the qualities that her son would look for in a wife. Be sure to be teaching your children by your example—but also by your instruction—teaching your sons what kind of qualities to look for in a wife.

I was with some friends recently who were telling me that when their daughter, in her early 20s, brought home the young man she was interested in (who ultimately became her husband), these parents, Tom and Jeannie, said, “We have been praying for 20-some years for our daughter’s husband-to-be, long before we knew him. We had been praying for this young man, and when we met him, is it any surprise that we knew that he was the one? We recognized him because we had been praying for him all these years.”

What a role to have as a parent!

Now, just by way of introduction to this section of Proverbs 31—and some of you will be aware of this—verses 10 through 31 form an acrostic poem. There are 22 verses, beginning at verse 10, and each of those verses begins with a consecutive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters. These are really—in English we could say—the ABCs of a godly woman.

Maybe this mother taught her son in this way to aid his remembering what it was that she taught him. Mom, look for creative ways to help your children remember. This woman did it by means of, “A means . . . B means . . . C means . . . and each of these is a quality of what is a godly woman.”

Now, it’s easy, when we’re reading this passage, to focus on all the things that this woman does—all the skills that she has, all her accomplishments, all her achievements. But can I tell you, that is not the heart of this passage.

The heart of this passage is the woman’s heart. It’s her relationship with God, and out of that relationship comes flowing all the things that she does. It’s a picture of her character, her conduct, her priorities, her values, her daily routine, her marriage, her family life. But all of that flows out of the fact that here is a woman who has a reverence for God.

That reverence for God is at the core of who she is; it’s at the core of her being; it’s what defines her. And that reverence for God is what then expresses itself in all these different ways that we’re going to look at when we pick up in our next session with Proverbs chapter 31, verse 10. A virtuous, an excellent, and a noble woman, who can find?

Older Women As Mentors:

Each generation of women has to grapple with issues of femininity, and we have a burden for pointing younger women to God’s Word. A younger woman states that her peers receive a lot of conflicting ideas on what femininity really means.

Sadly, I think so many of the younger women who are the daughters of my peers have not been spiritually mothered—in the best sense of that term—to understand the ways of God, what it means to be a woman, what it means to walk with God.

My generation has not set a great model and a great example. We have tended to be much more preoccupied with our own ways of thinking and the busyness of this life—and not to have modeled what it means to have a fruitful and right relationship with God. In so many areas—marriage and family, our views of these things, our practice of these things—we have not been the kinds of examples and the kinds of teachers I think we need to be.

So now we have a younger generation of women who I think are very open, very hungry, very eager. Some of them, very honest. In fact, that’s one of the things they’re looking for: authenticity and reality—not just a message, but a message that’s demonstrated and lived out. They’re honest with their thinking, with their wrestling, and with their issues, and I think there’s such an open field there.

We’re taking a two-pronged approach: one is to train the women who are the older women—and you can decide if you qualify for that. (We’re all an older woman to someone.) It’s to get the older women not only to experience themselves what it means to have a revived heart, but to model that to others—and then to give women the tools to train their daughters, granddaughters, and the next generation.

We also, thankfully, have a lot of younger women who are actually listening to God’s words. Some of them are really willing to be radical. And I think, as older women, we can hold up their hands; we can encourage them; we can help direct them to the Scripture what it looks like to be a woman after God’s own heart.

Then if we’re living something that creates thirst in them, all the better yet. It’s kind of salting the oats for us to live the kind of life that these younger women can look up to and say, “There’s something in that woman that is not the typical stressed-out, overwhelmed, anxious, uptight woman—that so many of us can become without the Lord—but there’s a purposefulness there. There’s a freedom; there’s a fullness; there’s a sweetness; there’s a radiance; there’s something in that woman that draws me to Christ.”

So we’re speaking to both sides of that—and even to the grandmothers and the older women whose parenting job may be years past, but some of those women are getting a burden to pray and to mentor. I just was at the funeral, not too long ago, of a 90-some-year-old friend who was still mentoring a young woman—who was 20-something age range, or maybe younger 30s, but a much younger woman.

This 90-something-year-old woman was saying, “I’m not going to just sit on a shelf and be useless, but I’m willing to invest.” She wasn’t a Bible teacher; she didn’t have any special training for this, but she’d lived a long time, and she knew a lot of things about the ways of God. She took this younger woman under her wing and said, “I want to come alongside you.”

The Counter Revolution

I met a younger woman an older woman’s funeral, and this young wife was just so thankful that some older woman would take her under her wing, love her, encourage her, and teach her the ways of God. So we encourage the younger women to be pressing into the older women’s lives and asking for this, but also for the older women to be coming alongside and being available and willing to share—not only out of your successes, but out of your failures: “Here are some of the things that God has taught me…..”

That’s how we grow together. And if we don’t, I fear for what will be the next generation, the children of today’s younger women. There’s going to be a lot of confusion, a lot more dysfunction, than we’ve already bred. But I believe that tide can be reversed—at least among those who are Christian women—and that we can go a different course.

That’s the counter-revolution that we’re talking about: setting up a whole new way of thinking—it’s not new; it’s biblical; it’s old; it’s the ancient paths—but applied to 21st century living and issues.

A women after God’s own heart is knowing God, and it’s your personal relationship with Him—having one that is vital, growing, intimate, real, personal. To be a woman after God’s own heart starts in my own relationship with the Lord—having one. It’s not just what I know biblically, but a relationship that’s being lived out, pursuing God and intimacy with him.

Then, how does that affect every other area of life, and what does it look like to say, “I’m a believer in Christ; I’m a follower of Christ; I believe the gospel”? How does that affect the way that I view all of life? How does that affect the way that I respond to pressure? How does that affect the way I treat my children or my husband? How does that affect the job that I have or don’t have?

How do I make decisions? What do I give? What do I save? In my financial habits, in my moral habits, in my TV-viewing habits, in my use of my computer, in my friendships, in my use of free time . . . I mean, just diet and exercise! How does my relationship with Christ inform and affect and impact every single area of my life? Because if Christ lives in me (and if I’m a child of God, He does; His Holy Spirit does live in me), then He’s supposed to be in control of every area of my life.

People shouldn’t be seeing and experiencing me. They ought to be seeing and experiencing Jesus Christ. When I worry, when I fret, when I get steamed because somebody crossed me the wrong way, when I am frustrated because I can’t control a situation at work—or somebody is not performing according to my expectations, or somebody says something that is hurtful to me—my reactions and my responses reveal who and what is in control of my life. And far too often, it’s me.

When we say we want to be women after God’s own heart, we want to be women who, in every area of our lives, are controlled by the Word of God, by the Spirit of God, the gospel of Christ. Living that out—what it means for Christ to be in us, what that looks like—that is what makes an impact on a lost culture, on a lost world, on a world that desperately needs to see Christ in us, lived out, through all of life.

That’s the way we think, the way we feel, the way we act, the way we respond, the way we choose—everything coming under Christ’s lordship and beginning to be a reflection of Him. What does it look like uniquely to be a woman? That’s where I go to the Scripture—and I think I’ll spend from now until Jesus comes trying to unpack all of these passages. For years I have been searching through God’s Word. Whenever women are mentioned, there is instruction regarding women.

You think of some of the key passages, though there are many others: Proverbs 31, 1 Peter chapter 3, Titus 2, 1 Timothy 2, and many illustrations of the women of Scriptures. There were many examples of women in the Scriptures who were dedicated to God.

Who can you think of that are good examples of Christian women in the Bible and how do they teach us how to become women after God’s own heart?

I am always asking myself the question, Why did God make women? What is His purpose for us? How is it different from His purpose for creating men? Now, there are some purposes that are similar or the same, but there are some purposes that are unique and distinctive. Why did God create the man first, and then the woman? What does it mean for man to provide a spiritual covering and protection for a wife, and for a woman to be a responder to male initiative? Why is this a biblical way of thinking in a culture that thinks you got two heads if you talk that way, in a culture where it’s very politically incorrect to see any but the obvious physiological differences between men and women? Why are there differences? And why are they more significant than the physiological differences? What does that mean for a woman in dating, in courtship? What does it mean for a single woman who wants to be married? What is her role? What is her responsibility? Does she go looking for a husband? How does she respond, when she has a husband, to his leadership? What does it mean to be the woman 1 Peter 3 talks about who has a submissive who has a gentle and a quiet spirit? Does that mean she never talks? Well, it doesn’t. But what does it mean? Does it mean she does have an outgoing personality? Well, it doesn’t mean that. But what does it mean? What does it look like for women to reflect the image of God in ways that are distinctively feminine for us as women and for women to be women in the body of Christ? That is what we’re continually studying and trying to unpack for us as women. I hope you find a new friend in this last chapter of Proverbs.

*We are going through Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ 30-Day Challenge, helping us to gain more insight into the Proverbs 31 woman, the counter-cultural woman.

Proverbs 31:20 She Stretches Out Her Hand To The Poor

 Lifelong service award ~ Is your name on a plaque?

Looking at the front page of my local paper today, the words “Algonac Couple Honored for Lifelong Service ~ Citizen of the Year.”  We are very fortunate to have them in our community. Many projects would not have taken place if not for their sacrifice. Then I began contemplating my life, what I had done in my community.  I must say, I felt rather ashamed of myself.  Having taken on the name of a Christ – Christian, was I following in Christ’s service? It struck home. Will my name someday be there? Is God only concerned with the noticeable works of service to our community? Will there be a reward when Christ returns, such as on the front page of my newspaper? For a few seconds, I began to think maybe this could be a measure of my service.

Then verses came to mind to comfort me and encourage me, and I hope they will do the same for you.  The fact is, you and I will probably never receive a plaque, but your name will be in the Book of Life.  Here is what God considers worthy of reward:

Matthew 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms (giving of service) before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 6:2 Therefore when thou do your alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.

Matthew 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

Matthew 6:4 That your alms may be in secret: and thy Father which see in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

So, here God is saying to me that the plaque they had been awarded was no measure of my service in the eyes of God, but that God has a plaque in the form becoming like our Father in heaven.

Alms can be physical, items people need that you can supply, such as in Paul’s day, the church experienced severe need.  Working at a food shelter would be wonderful way if you can spare a few hours.  

 

You could even give to those in need baking an extra loaf of bread or extra casserole to freeze for someone who falls ill, so that you would be ready to serve. 

 It can mean buying an extra hat or pair of mittens alongside your own to donate to the women’s shelter, etc.  They may seem minuscule and not much, but together as a body of Christ, we can do great works, just as the New Testament church did.

Acts 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common.  Also, see I Cor 16:1-5.

There are many ways to serve in this way, which men do not see — but God does!

Alms can be or spiritual, such as praying for those who are afflicted or spiritually are in need.  It may be listening intently to someone who needs an ear during their trials.  It could be calling a shut-in during the week to see how they’re doing.  Perhaps it is sending a card to those who are dealing with sore difficulties in their life. These alms God is well pleased.  Above all, it has to come from the heart. 

Luke 21:2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.

Luke 21:3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:

Luke 21:4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

 

This brings to mind some billionaires whom you read about who have given millions of dollars to charity.  Although, this is a great service, I am not impressed with their giving just on numbers alone.  The widow’s mite is more even than these, because it was all that she had.

The reward God has is not just with Him on His return.  He provides for those widows who pray for those in need.

1Timothy 5:5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusts in God, and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.

I hope that this post encouraged you ladies to continue with the service you give to God and to continue to be God’s arms, legs, and mouth in taking care of His children for our citizenship award in heaven.

 Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Women Of Valor And The Gospel

Young women of God, the gospel message is not just for preaching to the nations about the coming Kingdom of God through telecasts, internet, magazines or booklets.  The gospel is also the message of the Kingdom of God that we live in our lives.  You need both! Christ told the Pharisees, “The Kingdom of God is among you.” He taught them that the Kingdom of God is also a way of life.  He was the example.  Preaching without substance is  Pharisaical, and God condemned them.  Why?  Because they were to represent God in the way they conducted themselves. Consider this.  God calls people into the church, but what happens when they get here? If we are not the example of living God’s way of life, if we bear no fruit, our proclamation is in vain!  Do you take this seriously?  It is a heavy responsibility.  YOU are part of the gospel message!

Proverbs 31 talks about the virtuous woman.  The word virtuous is a term that means “valiant.” It is the same term used for warriors in the Bible

What are the weapons of war that you need to become valiant? What is your amour?

Psalm 34:14 “Seek peace, pursue it earnestly.”

I have to say that for the first 25 years of our marriage I didn’t study or pray everyday, but I did write poetry, journal and read the Psalms to help me relate to God.  I began listening to the Bible on tapes while driving and while doing housework for the last three years.  I have noticed my relationship with God has been stronger and stronger.  I had a hard time praying.   How do I relate to God? Will He hear me?  I also began to converse with Him via my writing.  At the end of my writing, I would try to find a verse that related, a promise of God that I could gain courage from.  At first, I did not always believe all of these promises, but in time I began to.  That was my beginning.  God’s word is truly amour. Here are two ways you can use to put on that amour.

~ Study ~

Never give up seeking God.  Read God’s word daily! There are many good books out there written by Christian women that have good avenues to consider in your life, but remember – you have a very wise and wonderful instruction book from God Himself, the Bible.  Take the time to read it everyday.  If you don’t have the time to read because your day is too hectic, then listen to the Bible on tapes or CDs.  You can listen while you drive or do housework, anyway you can. When I first began listening to God’s word daily, it significantly changed my life.  So, it’s all very good! Read the Proverbs daily, even if it’s just a few verses.  The kings of Israel had to write (copy) the whole Bible by hand as one of their duties as rulers.  Why? So that could instruct the people and rule their nation in a Godly way.  They had to put those in charge who would carry out those laws in his kingdom as well.  

De 17:18 And it shall be, when he sits upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites.

The priests were to be skilled in God’s law, teaching his chosen people how to live a Godly life.  The people were also to teach all these things to their children.  This was and still is a command of God.

Will we someday be heirs together with Christ and help Christ rule the nations? Will we also be priests? 

 1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

Mal 2:7 For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

Re 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.

We have the responsibility to train up a future army of Christian men and women of God in a world of darkness.  That’s your children!!!! Don’t ever take that lightly! They are holy because you are holy.  I use to put verses on paper and attached them around the kitchen wall.  As they memorized them, they would get a sticky star.  🙂

~ Prayer ~

Prayer is a mighty tool in the hands of Christians today.  What a privilege to have open communication with Him.  This is one of the very purposes for His sacrifice.

Heb 10:19  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.

Don’t forget that God hears our prayers!  God honors women who seek Him, who keep returning to Him, beseeching Him.

Why pray? You might say, God wouldn’t hear me.  I’m so far from doing the right things that God would not take notice.

It is hard to admit our failings.  I will be the first to admit that I have had a lot of failings as a wife and mother.  There was a time that I wouldn’t even mention what they were in fear of brethren thinking that I wasn’t really called by God. However, that is for another post. 😉  Nevertheless, God brought me through my failings and made me stronger.  I can say with certainly that He answers my prayers even though I am imperfect.  God is looking at the heart, not the failings.  So, continue to go to God in heartfelt prayer, no matter what you are having difficulty with.

Lu 18:1 And he spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

Lu 18:2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

Lu 18:3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

Lu 18:4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

Lu 18:5 Yet because this widow troubles  me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

Lu 18:6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge says.

Lu 18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

Lu 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Well, you might say, that was then and this is now! Prayers aren’t answered in a direct way anymore! I beg to differ with you.

God is still alive and answering prayers.  We may not like His answer at times, but He always answers.  Many times God does this for our benefit or the benefit of others whom He is working with. It’s not always about US.  He also waits to answer prayers to give us patience. “Let patience have her perfect work.”

Yet, when He does answer, God certainly builds our faith in Him.  For example, I read in the Old Testament that you were to offer your firstborn son to Him because the firstborn sons are God’s for His service.  Of course, that doesn’t apply today; nevertheless, it was in my heart.

Numbers 8:17 “For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself.”

When I brought home my only son from the hospital, I got down on my knees and I told God that this is my offering to him in faith.  I never told my son what I had told God so many years ago until he applied for job at church headquarters. He now works for the “Work,” helping to send out the gospel to all nations.  God still hears prayers! More importantly, I prayed that my children would be caring and loving individuals, and all four are a blessing in that way and much more! I couldn’t have asked for a bigger blessing!

~ Make Ready! ~

There are so many distractions that can consume us and keep us from putting on this amour of God, making us susceptible to Satan and his fiery darts.  Studying God’s word and prayer will make us strong.   Study and prayer are not easy things to do all the time, especially if you have a job or children to care for – but remember that God promises to bless you if you do.  God blesses those who tithe monetarily.  How much more will he bless if we give God our time as an offering in study and prayer?  God knows that He will have a closer relationship with us and will help us through our day.  He can empower us with the Holy Spirit and can give us strength and encouragement to deal with any problem or situation we find ourselves in.

FOR TODAY:  Let’s remember that we have a vital part to play as women in God’s church to preach the gospel by the way we live.  Let’s put on the armour with prayer and Bible study to guard against Satan’s influences.  This is so important that God has given us the title, “virtuous woman ~  woman of valor.”

Be strong, women of God.  Put on your armour!

 

Women of Valor

They say that man is mighty,

He governs land and sea;

He wields a mighty scepter

On lower powers than he,

But mightier power & stronger

Man from his throne has hurled,

For the hand that rocks the cradle

Is the hand that rules the world”

Thank you ladies for your selfless sacrifice for the welfare of your family and for our society.

What Is Your Destiny?

Find out what God has in store for you personally, to become God’s very sons and daughters, to be heirs with Christ, awaiting his wonderful world tomorrow! Their booklet is free of charge.

http://www.gnmagazine.org/booklets/WD/default.asp