Tag Archives: Proverbs

A String of Pearls

Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She will not hinder him but help him all her life. She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. She is like a merchant’s ship; she brings her food from afar. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls. She goes out to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She watches for bargains; her lights burn late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. She has no fear of winter for her household because all of them have warm clothes. She quilts her own bedspreads. She dresses like royalty in gowns of finest cloth. Her husband is well known, for he sits in the council meeting with the other civic leaders. She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule when she gives instructions. She carefully watches all that goes on in her household and does not have to bear the consequences of laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise. Proverbs 31:10-31

What a list!

I’ve been told by many fellow Christian women that the Proverbs 31 woman is quite intimidating. She intimidates me…that for sure.

This chapter describes a woman of noble character. She’s pretty amazing. Here are some of her characteristics:

  1. Virtue.   Proverbs 31:10
  2. Faithfulness.   Proverbs 31:11
  3. Reverence.   Proverbs 31:12
  4. Goodness.  Proverbs 31:12
  5. Willing Worker.   Proverbs 31:13
  6. Good Manager.   Proverbs 31:14,15
  7. Industrious.   Proverbs 31:16
  8. Strength.  Proverbs 31:17
  9. Endurance.  Proverbs 31:18
  10. Well Rounded.   Proverbs 31:19
  11. Charitable.   Proverbs 31:20
  12. Provider.   Proverbs 31:21
  13. Well Dressed.   Proverbs 31:22
  14. Wife of a Good Husband.   Proverbs 31:23
  15. Good Business Woman.   Proverbs 31:24
  16. Honorable.  Proverbs 31:25
  17. Wise.  Proverbs 31:26a
  18. Kind.  Proverbs 31:26b
  19. Good Mother.   Proverbs 31:27a
  20. Busy.   Proverbs 31:27b
  21. Praiseworthy.    Proverbs 31:28
  22. Attains or Excels.    Proverbs 31:29
  23. Fear of the Lord.   Proverbs 31:30
  24. Fruit bearing.   Proverbs 31:31

Why is she this way? Because she fears the Lord. (verse 30). A woman who FEARS THE LORD is to be praised. This has been a common theme throughout the book of Proverbs. This woman is very strong and has an amazing character. But it’s not because she’s just developed a great work ethic. (Although that is true).

Becoming this type of person doesn’t start with a resolve to work hard. That’s what I tend to do. I read passages like this and think about what it would look like for me to become a woman like that. And I know it won’t happen overnight.

This woman was extraordinary because she feared the LORD. She saw that God had provided the means for her to help provide for her family, so she took advantage of those opportunities, and tried to be a good steward of what God had given her. She saw that there were poor individuals in the community and God has blessed her with the means to help them, so she did. But all of these characteristics were a result of fearing the LORD. She understood who God was and had a relationship with Him that transformed her character from the inside out.

I think sometimes I forget that God calls me to worship Him through my everyday life. That’s part of fearing the LORD and loving God with ALL of your heart. That means that I work hard at the tasks that he has given me (anything from respecting family members that I live with to being diligent and honest at my summer job as a witness to others) because I recognize those as opportunities that God has given me to use for His glory. It goes back to the idea of stewardship. How are you using the opportunities and resources God has given you? If you need to make a change in your life, the solution is not to determine to “do better.” The solution is to confess to God that you need his strength to glorify Him where He’s put you for right now. So (whether you’re a girl or a guy), how do you line up with these traits? Could someone say these things about you?

His Flawless Word

“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.  Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.”  (Proverbs 30:5-6)

When I read these wise words, I am reminded of how many times as a Christian I have neglected to read the Word of God, the Bible.  I’ve spent countless hours studying and reading books in college, mostly about things I’ll never need to know again.  I’ve read probably millions of headlines in the news, and I’ve read so many books for fun. 

If we took studying the Bible even ten percent as seriously as we took studying for school, we would probably be as wise as Solomon.  Yet in this busy culture, we often don’t take the time to really understand and learn to apply the only absolute, eternal truth we know – the eternal Word of God.  I’ve found that the words in the Bible are like a double-edged sword that cut to my heart.  There’s a supernatural power behind the words that changes my life when I read them and apply them, and when I’ve shown others passages of scripture, I’ve seen their lives transformed as well.  No other book, news article, or magazine can give me the encouragement and life that the Bible brings to me when I take time to read it daily.

I’d encourage you to memorize 2 Timothy 3:16-17 below.  Commit yourself to studying and applying the Word of God to your life this summer.  Pray and ask the Lord to use it to transform you and make you the person he created you to be.

“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Snare of Fear

The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.  – Proverbs 29:25 NASB

There are many reasons we might be afraid: wars and threats of war…concerns about terrorism, crime, or disease…problems with a job or boss…conflicts in our marriage and family…pressures in our finances…or simply fear of what other people might say or do.

Over and over, the Bible tells us not to be afraid. It also reminds us that fear of other people “brings a snare.” What does it mean to be ensnared by fear of people?

James Strong says the Hebrew word here means “a noose (for catching animals)…or a hook (for the nose).” In other words, fear of what others say or do literally can capture us and pull us further and further from our destination, as if we’re caught by a noose. This fear can distract us, trap us, and control us.

What is the answer? The Bible simply says the way to be “exalted” is to trust in the Lord. Trusting in the Lord means refusing to give in to worry or fear, no matter what circumstances come our way and no matter what others say or do.

Trusting God is our greatest defense and protection. And our greatest weapon is not resorting to revenge or anger, but resting in Him and letting Him defend and protect us.

In your life, does any person or situation cause fear in your heart and mind? Right now, commit it to the Lord. Turn everything over to Him—the people, the problems, the fears.

Place your trust in Him today. Don’t be snared by fear, but commit your needs to Him. Sow Seeds into His Kingdom with the resources He has given you, and make Him the Rock on whom you depend.

Integrity

Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways. Proverbs 28:6

Integrity is superior than riches. What we need most is an upright heart, not prosperity. If we measure our society against the Scripture, we can see how far off the norm is.

Integrity derives from the Latin root word of “integer”, meaning complete, wholeness. So, in terms of a person, we can say he is complete in the sense that his personality is not fractured, not double minded.

Of course, I am referring to integrity as singleness of heart in the good sense. We can not say a man who sell his soul to the devil wholeheartedly has anything to do with integrity. Whereas the opposite to integrity is hypocrisy (or corruption), doing things with a hidden motive behind a good cover.

We should pursue spiritual goals over material gains. Let our eyes be used as one.

Iron Sharpens Iron

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 (ESV)

I had a little difficulty in choosing today’s verse. Chapter 27 is jam-packed with great information (thanks to God and King Solomon milenia ago), from not praising oneself to how to accept encouragement from others…and everything in between. But..alas!…here I am with the old adage: as iron sharpens iron…because it is so true.

Most everyone knows a dull knife can be more dangerous than a sharp one. Although it seems contradictory, a dull-edged blade can actually do more damage!

That’s because when a blade is dull, it’s harder to use. Not only does it take more force to actually cut something, but also it’s harder to control. That’s why a dull blade can slice a finger quicker than a tomato, and why people spend hundreds on a great knife.

Every knife becomes dull with use. The sharp edge rounds out, and little chips develop. Cutting will render a blade ineffective, and on its own, it will never become sharp again. That’s the first truth about sharpening iron: a knife cannot sharpen itself. Nor can something weaker than iron, sharpen iron.

Proverbs 27:17 uses a practical truth about sharpening iron, to teach a spiritual truth about our relationships with others: “You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another” (Msg).

We’ve all had the experience of friends who inspire us to be better than we are, and friends who don’t. A godly Christian friend can sharpen you in areas they are strong. For example, a wise friend can make you wiser. A loving friend can expand your capacity to love. A biblically knowledgeable friend can enhance your understanding of Scripture. Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”

When we think of sharpening a blade, or sharpening ourselves, it’s always done for a purpose. A chef doesn’t sharpen his or her knife so it looks better lying on the kitchen counter. Sharpening is done to make it more effective and efficient. If we sharpen a knife for years and never put it into use, it will eventually be sharpened down to nothing, with nothing to show for all that honing.

This is just like Christians. We are to be sharpened, and to sharpen others, in order to advance the Kingdom of God. Whether we are talking about a knife, a sword or ourselves, sharpening isn’t done for a passive activity. A blade is sharpened to accomplish a purpose. One reason Christians need sharpening is to be effective in the spiritual battle against sin surrounding us. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

Growing as a Christian is important. Choosing friends who will sharpen us is one practical way we can grow. God designed us to need each other for fellowship, and for advancing His kingdom here on earth.

Little to Fear

Have you ever had a time–maybe even now–where things seem to be closing in on you and you don’t know what to do? You question why you of all people should have to deal with such a thing? After everything you’ve been through, you ask, “When will it all end?”

As difficult as it is going to sound, I’d ask you to just step back and believe that you are going to get through it. Whether it is a threat of something due to not having enough money or losing a job while you have debt or struggling with temptations…whatever it is, just pause and give it all to the Lord. Tell him that you’re believing this isn’t for you and that you will rise above it by trusting that God has bigger and better plans for you and that he intends to prosper you rather than harm you just like it is revealed in Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Don’t let the deceit of Satan the liar get the best of you. All sorts of calamity may appear to be raining down upon your head or your house, but do not fear. Stuff is always going to happen around you, but you have been given faith in order to have hope and know that there is always a positive outcome in the works of the Lord.

Reflect today on the words of Proverbs 26:2 this time from The Message translation:

You have as little to fear from an undeserved curse
as from the dart of a wren or the swoop of a swallow.

Believe the curse is undeserved because God would not cause you harm! Treat it as if you were being descended upon by a tiny little sparrow. Obviously, the much-smaller sparrow would not intend you to be its target so you would not be concerned. In Christ, you are bigger than anything any devil would throw at you. It’s time to take a stand and profess in the name of Christ that you are not going to give in to the lies and fear and the stress of this world. Trust in God and he will see you through anything. Even though the sky is dark and the clouds look ominous, you may see the light of day before you see any rain.

Courtesy of http://www.daveingland.com

Concealing a Matter

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings to seek it. Proverbs 26:2

This verse reminded me of the film One Night with the King, which depicts the story of Esther. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it.

There is a contrast here between the King of Kings, God and earthly human kings so we might better understand God.

It is the responsibility and honor for a human king to inquire, research, investigate, and interrogate to be able to come to an equitable and honest ruling in a matter. In fact that king’s honor is at stake in each ruling.

The contrast here is that a human king is trying to dig out all of the facts possible, but God Almighty hides and covers all of the details of our life of sin when we lay those sins before Him. It is the ‘glory’ or fullness or beautiful heaviness of God to choose to cover over those confessed sins.

David uses the same word Hebrew word ‘caphar’ when he wrote in Psalm 51:9 “Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities.” It is clearly God’s desire to forgive a person their sins. Isaiah said the same in Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. ” So when we come to God confessing, repenting, believing then God pardons as in Isaiah 55:7, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly [pardon]. ” When we come to God we never cry, ‘Justice God, justice!” but “Mercy is what we need O God.”

Like the story of a mother’s plea to Emperor Napoleon for her son’s second desertion. ‘Emperor I implore you for mercy.’ ‘But he doesn’t deserve mercy’ The wise mother answered, ‘If he deserved it sire, it wouldn’t be mercy ‘ Napoleon is said to have replied, “You are correct madam, so I grant your son mercy that he does not deserve.” And the son was set free.

Mercy is not getting what we deserve but grace is getting something even better than that. We don’t deserve the rich blessings that God desires to bestow upon us. However He does so that we might give Him a spontaneous response of praise from our heart.

Afraid to Fall

No matter how many times you trip them up, God-loyal people don’t stay down long; Soon they’re up on their feet, while the wicked end up flat on their faces/ Proverbs 24:16 NLT

I’ve always admired people who aren’t afraid to fail. You know the ones who don’t even consider defeat when they blow it; people who see a personal setback as just another goal to conquer.

I’m not always so courageous. In fact, I can be really hard on myself when I fail, and it doesn’t even have to be a biggie. I’m constantly replaying my mistakes over and over, reminding myself of how badly I’ve disappointed someone, or how impatient I was with my dad, or how harsh I was with my siblings, or all sorts of ways that I fell short that day.

But the greatest defeat comes when I allow a mistake, a bad decision, sin, or a broken relationship to convince me that I might as well give up. Perhaps you have also allowed failure to knock you down, tie you up with the ropes of regret and hold you hostage like I have.

My verse for today, Proverbs 24:16, has helped me release the regret, guilt, fear and shame that have weighed me down and held me back. Take a minute to read it now and notice how it says the righteous will fall. That is right. Even those of us who have received the gift of Christ’s righteousness and redemption will fall down. But we were never intended to stay down.

Instead of giving up Jesus empowers us to get up again.

In getting up, we can apologize and ask for forgiveness. In getting up, we can choose to try again with our kids, in our jobs, in our ministries, in our marriages, and in all of our mistakes. Because we trust that although we fall, God will help us up. Listen to His promise in Psalm 37:23-24 and as you read it insert your name in the blanks: “The steps of ____________ are established by the Lord, and He delights in ____________ way. When ____________ falls, __________ will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds ________ hand.” (NASB)

When we get up again failure can actually help us become the confident women God created us to be because it makes us stronger and better — when we go to God for help. Failure can stretch us to do more than we think we can and push us to try other methods of doing things when one way doesn’t work.

Yes, failure can be hurtful but it can also be beneficial. Failure produces wisdom when we ask for it and maturity when we learn from it.

The Word of God doesn’t say you will never fall, but it does say you will never lose – as long as you get back up. In order to become all that God created you to be, you are going to have to do things you have never done before. And when trying new things, you will fall down from time to time – just as you did the first time you learned to ride your bike. But that’s okay as long as you get back up, try again, and learn from your mistakes.

The truth is, following Jesus is not about avoiding failures and being perfect. It’s about accepting our weaknesses and becoming more dependent on God’s perfect love and power at work in us. So the next time you fail to be the woman He calls you to be, or the woman you expect yourself to be, ask God to remind you of this truth.

We will sometimes fail to be who we want to be but we will get closer to who we are meant to be every time we fall and then choose to take God’s hand so we can get up again!

Don’t be afraid to fall; only be afraid to have never tried.

An Attitude Adjustment

Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you react to it. ~ Lou Holtz

Next to knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior, nothing is more important than the attitude in which I carry my life out. My attitude can make or break me. It can heal and it can hurt. It can make friends and enemies.  It can make me (or others) happy or miserable. It can lead to success or failure.

Have you ever been around anyone whose attitude projects that the world sucks? That they are the only victim? Perhaps you’ve seen that same person in the mirror.

Ninety times out of one hundred, when we begin to feel that our life stinks, the problem is not with the world or with others, but within ourselves. Our attitude has become negative and you have the power to change it. Once it becomes positive, God will enable you to change your world.

I want to take a look at three facts about attitude before I wrap up today’s entry.

1)      Your attitude reveals the real you.
Your attitude is more important than facts, circumstances, what people say, your past, your education and your money. It goes much deeper than thought. It comes from the core of your being. Your attitude represents your disposition, your outlook, your very character.
Proverbs 23:7 reads: For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
Your attitude always becomes actions or reactions.
Picture a jack-in-the-box. You turn the handle and hear the mulberry bush tune and…snap…the lid pops open and…SURPRISE!…there he is. Our attitudes are like that. When we least expect it, they pop out and cause others to dislike us.
This is actually quite sobering for me. Looking back, when I’ve acted out in a way that wasn’t right, I simple shrug it off by saying sorry and that I didn’t mean it; and wonder where on earth it came from.
It came from inside…within our heart. We need to understand that it may not be because we had a bad day, but that our hearts may have gotten rotten over something.

2)      Your attitude determines the success/failure of relationships in your life.
Know that your attitude affects every relationship in your life. Think of a jar with a loose lid. A bad attitude is eventually going to spill out into some negative actions, destructive words and deeds.
Read through Numbers 12:1-11. You’ll find the story of Moses and his siblings, Aaron and Miriam. Check out the difference in attitudes. See what I’m getting at?
Often times, the things we criticize and get all stirred up about are not the problem at all. The problem is our own, bad, sick attitude. We’ve all seen bad attitudes destroy relationships (marriages, families, etc.).

3)      Your attitude is always your choice.
Picture this: Two men in prison. One looks through the bars and sees only mud. The other looks through the bars and sees the moon and stars. They are both in the same place. So, what is the difference? It’s the attitude of choice.
Beyond any doubt, the human mind is the most awesome creation of God. With it, God has given us the ability to think, reason and choose whether we will focus on positive thoughts or negatives thoughts. The choice is up to us.
Understand that you can’t choose what will happen to you today, but you can choose how you will perceive it; how you will react to it; and respond.

Maybe you’re feeling broken; your life having taken a turn for the worse. A lot of things have gone wrong and it seems like everything else is about to fall on top of you. You’re weary, overwhelmed and it seems that your hopes and dreams are fading fast.

I know from personal experience that it’s not easy when life knocks you on the head. Believe me, I’ve been there and I’m there now. By the grace of God I can choose to get back up; to dust myself off and move forward, taking it one day/step at a time.

No matter what has happened, that attitude choice is still yours.

Train Up a Child in the Way

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 ESV

Let’s say that you are training your body to run in a marathon, or maybe you’re training yourself to play well on the basketball court. First, you have a goal that you’re trying to accomplish. There’s some result that you want, whether it’s being able to make a jump shot every time or being able to run a mile in five minutes.

Second, you have some type of training curriculum; you have a plan that you’re following to reach that goal. This involves repetition. You have to do it over and over again so that you’re trained to do it. So now let’s apply this to what scripture says. There is obviously a goal we try to reach with our children. Now, while I may not personally be a parent, I’ve seen this evident in how my parents raised me and my younger siblings. There’s a result that they wanted, which is for their kids to be Godly, mighty, and blessed seed in the earth. And the curriculum that they needed to use in training us is and was the Word of God.

This of course involves the need for repetition.

I’ve learned by watching them and seeing how other parents my age that what this scripture is really talking about is similar to programming a computer. What’s being done is a programming of their spirits. They’re being taught the Word of God so that this becomes a part of their own spiritual programming. As parents, or as persons involved in influencing the children around you, we need to keep giving the Word of God to children so that the Word abides on the inside of them, becomes a part of their programming, and eventually they can automatically make the right decisions.

We have to keep teaching them the Word of God and making sure that they understand the boundaries that the Word has given them. If we don’t give your children boundaries, they will absolutely ruin their lives. They have to learn about boundaries in the home before they’ll really be able to stay within the boundaries outside of the home. We have to teach them about things that they can and cannot do, and then we have to repeat it over and over.

Training requires constant attention. Sometimes we can get so caught up in regular life—and in many cases just surviving–that we forget about training. And before we know it, our child’s all grown up and we never really trained them, and then we wonder about the result that we see. One of the most important things that each of us, individually, will ever do on this planet is train up our own children.

Doing that should be a high priority in your life. So ask yourself: what kind of job am I doing in training my children so that they can be the type of person that God wants them to be and therefore a person that will be blessed?