Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"A Woman of God" Devotional

A Woman of God Devotional

I gave this devotion at our Ladies Brunch May 19, 2012 at our church

If I were to ask you what it means to you, to be a “Woman of God”, I’m sure you would all come up with different answers, and most would probably be based on Proverbs 31. I have the passage printed out for me but if you have your Bible and would like to follow along, we’ll take a look at some of the qualities listed.

 

If you’re like me, some days I don’t feel much like a Woman of God. Maybe you didn’t sleep well, or life is just stressful. I read a book called “Life in a Fishbowl” about being a preacher’s wife/family and they likened it to a fishbowl because everyone is watching you-how you react to things such as stress, bad news, etc., what you say, what you do, how you dress, where you go, what music you listen to or what shows you watch on tv, etc. but let me just say that while that is true, it’s true not only for pastor’s families but in general for all of us as Christians. You and I never know when we might influence someone in a positive way so that they’ll want to get saved and serve Christ, or when we might influence someone in a negative way, so that when they look at us, they think “if that’s what being a Christian is all about, I don’t want to be one.”
Years ago, when our kids were little, I worked at Kmart as a checkstand supervisor. Everyone there knew I didn't work Sundays or Wed. nights, because of church. One day while at work, something happened that made me angry. I foolishly slammed my fist down on the counter and a lady I worked with told me, "your halo just slipped." At that time, I felt upset for several reasons when I heard that comment. I was upset because like I told her, I'd never said I was a saint (although God considers us saints when we get saved and are His children) just a sinner saved by grace. I was going to make mistakes, which I definitely did! I was also upset with myself because any credibility I had, went out the window in one fleeting moment. She didn't want what I had. I had ruined my testimony, at least, where she was concerned. I'm not saying that as Christians, we can't have feelings-we do, but I am saying that we ALL need to be aware of those around us, watching us and we need to be careful about how we react to situations.

She is Loyal to her husband. “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall 

have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” V 11 and 12

One of the first points Proverbs 31 makes is that the virtuous woman is one that is loyal to her husband. If you’re married, you have the obligation if you want to look at it that way, to be loyal to your husband, to support him, and be there for him. Some people look at my family and they’ve even accused my husband of holding me back from what I could be as a person, or ruling me with an iron hand so to speak. First off it’s biblical that if you’re married that your husband is the head of your household, and he makes the final decisions. Now, I know that may not set well or be a popular thought, as most of us are pretty independent thinkers. But, nevertheless it is biblical. In our relationship, my husband has never abused his position as head of the household. He always asks my opinion on things, or I just volunteer it. Lol He doesn’t always take my advice, and I’m honest with him in as respectful a way as I can be, if/when I disagree with how he handles something. But the bottom line is, our men will answer to God for how our household is run and for our spiritual conditions. (Honestly, I’m kinda glad it’s on his shoulders, not mine.) So we need to be the kind of wife that is supportive, loving, kind, and encouraging, not one that is constantly trying to get her way, or undermine his authority at every turn.
Now, if you’re a single mom (which mine was and my huband’s mom was for awhile), or if you’re a young lady who’s not married yet, and you hope someday to find Mr. Right, let me encourage you to look for a man who’s godly, who loves and wants to serve the Lord, and who is willing to be the head of his household. If you marry someone who is weak, or gives in to your every whim and doesn’t help you, trust me, it may seem nice now to get your way, but in the end, when serious matters come up, you’ll want someone who can help make a godly decision and be there for you. And once you find that man, then again you need to be as loyal to him, as the Proverbs 31 woman is.  

She’s not lazy. “She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a 

portion to her maidens.” V 15

Obviously none of us here has servants or maidens on hand to help with things or to feed, but the basic thought is she is not lazy. She spends her time trying to care for her family and her home in any way she can. She has a servant’s heart. I was talking to someone last month about our schedule at home, and he was surprised to hear that I get up every morning whether I have to babysit or not, to spend time with my husband before he goes to work. I make sure he has a shirt ironed and his lunch made. I’ve been doing it for the last 10 years or so, since he started days at Cabela’s. Now, I’m not saying this to brag or to try to make myself look good; it’s just something that the Lord burdened me to do. You never know when the last time will be that you’ll see a loved one. The attack on 911 really got me to thinking, when I heard victims’ families comment that they’d stayed in bed that morning, when a husband or wife got ready and left for work, and they didn’t get to say goodbye. Well, I’m not trying to be morbid, or think the worst all the time, but I just know I feel better when we get to talk and say goodbye before he leaves. I treasure that time, even if I’m tired. J I just want to add here, that as women, we expect our men to do things for us, to help us, and be there for us. But it’s not all about us. It’s a two-way street and if you want to have a long, happy marriage, as a woman, you need to put your husband first, and do things for him, and be there for him. You will be rewarded for it. 
Talking about feeding the household reminded me of this little story I heard:
A lady invited several people to her home for dinner.
At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said,
“Would you like to say the blessing?”
“I wouldn’t know what to say,” the girl replied.
“Just say what you hear Mommy say,” she answered, smiling.
The daughter bowed her head and said,
“Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?”

She is smart. “She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a 

vineyard.” V 16

Now, I don’t know about you, but I would not buy a field or any major property without discussing it with my husband first and making sure we had the money to make such a purchase and that we were in total agreement. Afterall, that’s a huge commitment. But again we can take away the idea that she’s smart. No matter how old we are, we need to always be learning and growing not only spiritually but mentally as well, and then applying it to our everyday lives. The second part of that passage says “she planteth a vineyard.” I think here, we just have to realize the time frame this passage was written in and I don’t believe that God expects us women to plant vineyards. But, again I think the analogy here, is that she is smart and capable.

 She’s a strong woman. “She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.” 

V 17

We may not be able to run triathlons, but we can still work on our physical and spiritual strength. The Bible tells us that our bodies are the temples of God, and we need to care for them like they are. Our spiritual lives also need to constantly be fed and renewed as well. If we read our Bible and pray daily for our family, friends, and the lost, it shows. We need to exercise our bodies and our faith.

She tries to help those that are less fortunate. “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, 

she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.” V 20

She tries to minister to the needs of those around her, those that are less fortunate than she is, whether it be food she gives, comfort she lends, prayers she says for that person or whatever she’s able to do, she tries to help those in need.

She is brave. “She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed

 with scarlet.” V 21

I’m obviously not saying we have to be brave in every situation. Men aren’t even brave all the time. But the Proverbs 31 woman is not worried about her family being taken care of, because she knows the Lord is watching over them. As women we especially tend to worry about our families and if they’re safe or not, if they’re not in our sight we worry about whether or not they’re eating right, if they’re healthy, etc. But, hard as it may be, the bottom line is that we need to be brave enough to turn these situations over to God in prayer.
Queen Esther was a brave woman. She helped save her people, the Jews when Haman, the king’s right-hand man tried to have them all killed. She requested a time to speak with the king and even though she was married to him, that act alone could have had her killed, but she did it anyway. The king loved her and respected her enough and the way she handled it, bravely but humbly, that he had Haman executed on the very gallows that he built for Esther’s cousin Mordecai and the rest of the Jews! Had she not been brave enough to talk with the king, the Jews would have all been executed, including Esther.

She’s Thrifty. “She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.” V 22

Now, I do not sew. I can do simple things like buttons, and hems. And I have made at least one dress, but I don’t really sew. I’ve made a few crocheted things or cross-stitched items in the past, but that’s about it. But what I take away from that part of the passage is that she’s thrifty or tries to be, by making clothes for her family. These days there are other ways a woman can help out her household expenses other than making clothes for the family to wear. Watching our buying habits, looking for bargains, realizing what a need is and what is something we just want, are a few  ways we can help out with the finances. We need to look for those ways and incorporate them when we can.   

 She is kind. “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” 

V 26

We see here once again that she is smart or wise. But she is also kind. That doesn’t mean she’s a doormat, just that she’s kind to other people, especially to her own family. A kind word spoken, a simple “I love you” or “I’m proud of you” can work wonders in a relationship. She puts other people and their needs ahead of her own. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t at some point, take time out for ourselves. We have to, or we’re not able to keep up with all that surrounds us daily. But it just means that she is caring; the things she does on a daily basis are done with her family and friends in mind, as to how she can help them.
The virtuous woman is so many things, she wears different hats at different times, and as ladies, we all know what that is like. But the basic thought I want you to come away with today, is that the Proverbs 31 woman puts her relationship with Christ first, and He rewards her for that.   

She is thought highly of: “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

 V 29

So, in conlusion, How are you doing compared to the Proverbs 31 woman?
How do you feel your family and friends see you?
What areas of your life do you feel you need to work on? Commit these areas to the Lord today and He will help you become that virtuous woman we all want to be.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hannah's "Duck" Tape contest entry

Wow, it's been a little bit since I've posted and now Blogger has this whole new look!
I'm gonna have to get used to it! lol

Our daughter Hannah, is participating in a contest Hyvee and Duct Tape are running right now, on Hyvee's website. The contestants had to make something spring related out of duct tape and she made a picnic blanket and basket. Please vote for her, if you don't mind!
You can vote every day till May 23rd! She worked really hard and is very excited.
Find the one with my name, Gwen P. and click on it and vote! Thanks!!