Friday, December 28, 2012


It is quite obvious from verse 30 of Proverbs 31 that the virtuous woman fears (that is, is constantly in an awareness of the presence of) the Lord. Therefore, He erases the fear of everything else. (1 John 4:18) With that knowledge, we can dive into the next verse of our study (Proverbs 31:21).

"She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet."
 not afraid: The Hebrew word for fear in this instance is closely related to the word used in verse 30, the difference being "to frighten." In other words, there are two kinds of fear: a good, moral fear; and a frightening, terrifying fear. Here we can see that the virtuous woman trusts the Lord, and therefore is not afraid of the snow. (Trusting God is truly the only way to eradicate all fear. Ps. 5:11, 9:10, 34:22, etc)

snow: Literally. Snow is mentioned a few times in Scripture, and apparently is not a rare occurrence in Palestine. This is literally referring to winter.

household: This word includes all who live in the house- family and servants.

clothed: It is the same meaning of the word today, to wrap around, put on, to clothe as with a garment.

scarlet: Now HERE is an interesting word. Some versions change the Hebrew word and therefore it's meaning to doubly-clothed, because it seems to make more sense. However, with careful study, there is validity to the word originally used. (Imagine that! God knew what He was saying!)
This word scarlet refers to a specific color made by crushing a bug to make dye. (The same word is used to describe Jesus. Psalm 22:6) Scarlet was a fast color- it didn't wash out or fade. Historically, scarlet referred to a specific material that was made out of wool, which included the scarlet color but also others as well. This is where the word came from.  So, being "clothed in scarlet" was definitely a preparation for winter. Wool is very warm, and apparently, this material didn't fade or look worn either.

The next logical question is, "How does this apply to me, today?"

I think the key here is trust and preparedness. The virtuous woman trusts in the Lord. She is also prepared.

I don't believe that the Bible teaches trusting God by sitting back and doing nothing. Quite the contrary. Faith is active according to the book of James.

Trusting the Lord with your eternal soul is THE MOST IMPORTANT way that you could be prepared. Make sure that you know Jesus personally, and that you have asked Him personally to save you from your sin. Today is the day of salvation! Don't wait, for then you truly have something to fear.

With that step done, you can see how you need to help prepare your home for various tasks, trips, or tragedy.... or anything else.

When the weather begins to turn cold around the end of October, our family prepares for winter. (Yes, you read right, October. We have about six months of winter.) The winter boots, coats, hats, and gloves come out of hiding. We check the woodpile that has steadily grown over the year, to see if we have enough, and to make sure it is all chopped and ready for the wood stove. Then, we make sure there is a "winter survival kit" in every vehicle we own (which is about 6 currently, including us kids').  In the winter survival kit is extra clothing, a blanket, flashlight, granola bars, and shovel- those are the basics anyway. My mom is very vigilant to ensure that we are prepared in any situation, especially since we live so far away from town.

Are you prepared both spiritually and physically?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

What Can I Do?

Recently, I've had young people asking me about their future. -What does God want them to do? What gifts do they have? How are they unique?

Seeking God's face and direction.
Quite honestly, I don't know the answer either; but I do know God, and I can pray with them over what God has for them. One thing is for certain: GOD HAS A PURPOSE for each one.

It is hard sometimes to see what God wants from you, because we get so caught up in ourselves. My dreams. My abilities. My entertainment. However, this is not God's design. His goal is that we center all our activities around HIM and HIS PURPOSE.

When I was younger, people always told me "You're good with kids." Great. Everyone and their dog is good with kids, I thought. I want something SPECIAL God. What I didn't understand at the time, was that

not everyone is good with kids.


God had given me something special.

Yesterday, I went to a near-by small town to get gas for my truck. Though it is relatively nearby, I don't usually go to this town for anything- it's too small anyway. But, I needed gas and couldn't make it any farther.

Walking into the gas station, I was greeted by two young boys, running up to me to show me that they won their video games. I greeted them politely and paid for my gas.

No. I didn't know them.

They didn't know me.

And no, this is not the first time this has happened.

I often have children that come up to talk to me at a Walmart or a grocery store. They will chatter away at me like an old friend while I'm thinking "I'm going to get in trouble for kidnapping a child who is following ME." Eventually, we find their parents, and I wave goodbye.
Sharing God's plan for
relationships with two
3rd grade girls. 
Kids at the school where I substitute will say to their best friend "No, I don't want you to do it, I want her to push me on the swing." (They don't even know my name.)
Random kids on the street will wave me over to play with them. It's really quite hilarious.
There is something in me that my mom calls "a magnet to kids." It facilitates sharing the gospel and speaking God's truth and love into countless little lives.

THIS is God's gift for me.

I don't understand it, and I definitely do not know why, but it is unique. Sometimes it seems small and unimportant to me, but God sends many reminders that His plan is always good, and IMPORTANT in God's eyes.

Boys and girls, young and old alike: God has a purpose for you. You are special. There's a unique way that you are designed to serve God -that NO ONE ELSE can do.

Seek the face of Jesus. Really seek Him. As you do, He will fill you with His love, which will overflow into service, hand-tailored by the Master Himself for an expected end. (Jeremiah 29:11,13)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Reaching Out to Those in Need

Christmas is a time of giving- of thinking of other people, and reaching out to homeless, orphans, and needy homes.There are so many people today who need some thing, or some one, to care.

A friend of mine caring for a little
orphan boy, left alone because
he had chicken pox.
When Jesus came to earth, He came to a lowly manger, identifying Himself with the meanest and dirtiest of status. (Philippians 2:5-8) Several times throughout the Gospels, Jesus is actively seeking out the poor, the leprous, the despised, and healing them. He came not to help the healthy, but the sick; not the righteous, but sinners. (Mark 2:17) This theme is continued on through the New Testament, and we find in James 1:27 that a basic part of true religion is to reach out to the fatherless and widows. -The base of the world.

This idea was not new, even if slightly obscure. Jesus declared that He did not come to destroy old laws and teach new ones; instead, He fulfilled and explained what was already there. (Matthew 5:17) This principle of loving the needy is found in the Old Testament as well, particularly in the 31st chapter of Proverbs that we have been studying.

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

Giving hugs to the many
orphan girls in a small
Guadalajara orphanage.
The Greek word stretcheth carries the idea of dispersion, separation, and breaking something apart (in this case her hands). That sounds crazy, but if you put it together with the Greek meaning of poor it makes more sense. Poor, in this instance, refers to a person who is depressed whether from circumstances or in mind.
Translated to straight-talk lingo of today, it means: GIVE A HUG to someone who is discouraged. Find someone this season to whom you can give cheer and support by giving them a hug.

An orphaned baby boy.
In the second part of the verse, we find a traditional way of caring for the destitute. The virtuous woman reacheth forth, or sendeth, out her hands. Have you ever played the "game" where you take a bag of groceries or a plate of cookies to a neighbor's house, set it on the door step, ring the bell, and run away? This is the idea of the virtuous woman- she finds ways to help, serve, and provide for those who truly need food, clothing, and shelter. Do you know a family who is less fortunate than yourself? Find a needy family that you can include in your Christmas giving this year. Invite them to Christmas dinner, provide groceries, give cookies, and make sure to find them appropriate nice gifts! 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Different Season

There's santa, and presents, 
And eight little reindeer.
There's a tree, and festivities,
And lots of cheer.

But what most forget
In this special event
Is that this season is so different!

It's not about vacations
Or even decorations.
But about the SAVIOR who was sent.

About two thousand years ago
God left His throne above 
To show to all the sinful world
His gift of endless love.

You've heard the story-
Of Joseph and Mary
and how the babe was born.

About the shepherds 
And the wisemen:
Christ with gifts they did adorn.

Furthermore, about the angels
Which the Lord did send:
To all the earth they did proclaim
That God to earth did bend.

No royal clothes
No fancy speach
From the kingliness within

God came down
To reach out
Into the filth of sin

The birth of Christ is so much more
Than parties, gifts and song
He came to bring us peace and love
To last the whole year long.

And so you see
O'er the manger
The shadow of a tree,

That all who come
To Jesus Christ
Indeed! will be made free.

So, forget the hustle 
and leave the bustle. 
Forget all the business Holiday brings

And stop to consider
That babe in the manger
And with the angels sing


God's perfect gift for you awaits
A choice today which effects forever
Receive His free present-
Salvation from sin;

And the love, joy and peace that Christmas brings will enter your heart and leave you never!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holding the Distaff

At first it seemed puzzling to read the characteristic:

"She layeth her hands to the spindle and her hands hold the distaff."
Proverbs 31:19

What does this mean? And how does it apply to me? Though I understood what a "spindle" is, I needed to look up the word "distaff" in the dictionary. Google can be so helpful sometimes! As I read about this ancient yarn/thread spinning method and mused over pictures, I began to see the implications of this verse.

In the last verse, we saw that the virtuous woman is wise in her evening hours, after most lights are out and people are not watching her every move.  Here, we see her wise use of daylight hours. She uses every spare moment to effectively care for her household.

I am recently reminded of this principle applied today. My cousins have been visiting our farm for a few weeks. These girls amazed me on many counts with their abilities and character, but I noted one thing especially specific to this study.

In the evenings, my mom would read a chapter of a Lamplighter book as we sat around the fire place. My youngest cousin, not wasting a single moment, quickly found needlework to employ her hands. Knitting, crocheting, and embroidery have gone almost extinct with the invention of machinery. Though I agree that factories and machines are great time savers, they ought not replace diligence in the current generation. My cousin exemplified this in her choice to use her time listening to create an embroidered bib for a baby. She is not yet 12, yet she is developing a characteristic absent from many adult women.

Does this verse mean literally to return to the ancient form of spinning? As before-mentioned, I think that innovative inventions are great. However, is there something you could be doing in those extra spare moments? Moments quickly multiply into minutes, hours, and days. It is imperative that we, as women, guard the clock, that we may give account to our Heavenly Father as wise stewards.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What Do You Do in the Evening?

After almost a week of studying Proverbs 31:18, the Lord hit me with it's meaning just this morning. Though there may be many applications of this verse, this is the one God knew I needed. First however, let's look at some basic definitions and references:

"She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: 
her candle goeth not out by night." 

Strong's Hebrew Dictionary
perceiveth- to taste, to see, to discover from experience
merchandise- (from primary root "to peddle"), profit from trade
good- good, well, in the widest sense
candle- to glisten, a lamp, (a burner), light (literally or figuratively), by extension: life
goeth not out- negation of expire or extinguish
night- twist (away of the light), night, figuratively adversity

*English Note:
In the King James Version of this verse, there is a colon between the first independent phrase and the second independent phrase. Grammarically speaking, a colon between two independent phrases means that the second phrase gives additional information to the first phrase. In Hebrew, there is a "causal" word in this sentence which indicates the relationship. The colon in this case represents the word "therefore." 

Cross-References: (-read these verses before continuing the study-)
Matthew 25:3-10
1Thess 2:9
2Thess 3:7-9
Matthew 5:15
Luke 2:35
Job 21:17
Proverbs 3:14
Psalm 34:
Ephesians 5:15-16


At first, I thought, Okay, this gal is super-woman. "She riseth also while it is yet night (v 15), and her candle goeth not out by night." Just when does this gal sleep? However, the Scripture often mentions sleep, that God gives His beloved sleep (Psalm 127:2), and that when we trust God, we can sleep (Psalm 4:8). Scripture does not contradict itself.

Then there's that word "night." Night does not mean very, very late. It means twist, as in the sun twisting away from the surface of the earth. The sun goes down. How many of us are up after the sun goes down? Even I, though I try to go to bed early, find myself up until 9 or 10 many nights. The sun is NOT up. It is night.

But, when I noticed the significance of the colon in this verse, then it "hit" me. WHY was this woman up late? -Because she perceived (knew from experience) that the fruit of her labor was good -worth it.  She diligently worked until she was satisfied with a job well done.

Wait a minute! WHY am I UP at night? WHY is my candle NOT extinguished?

I'm afraid my answer is not so glamorous, frugal, or diligent as that of the Proverbs 31 woman. How many times do I find myself on facebook, doing "nothing" just sitting on the couch, watching a movie, or surfing the web. It's not that I don't have things to do, but the sun is down, so I feel justified in not working. This is NOT God's ideal.

No, the virtuous woman works every waking moment. When God returns, he will find her cheerfully, diligently serving.

"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-16

What about you? Are you accountable for every waking moment? Even after the sun goes down?

Take advantage of every minute for the service of God!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mexico Memories

Many of you have asked how my mission trip to Mexico went. Thanks for asking! God is so good. He provided all the funding I needed, plus some extra to help others. He kept us safe during the hurricane that was supposed to hit.  He taught me so much through the people and missionaries there. What a gift to be able to serve the Lord and the people there! Here are my favorite shots and memories from Mexico:

Los Cabos, BCS, Mexico, from the Bus Station

Bus Visitation, Insurgentes, BCS, Mexico

Dinner with the Lockwoods and another national pastor. 

Sunshine and flowers!

Hurricane Paul came right in the middle of my visit, but the Lord protected us, and the storm skirted our town, minus the rain.

The Lockwood kids love to read.

And read...

The three youngest, 5, 4, and 3

Insurgentes is much like Montana, except the cactus replaces our cottonwood trees and the mesquite replaces our sagebrush.

Bowling with the young people of the church.

The whole group of young people.

The beach in La Paz.

Playing in the water.

More cacti.

Explanation: to flush the toilet, you must fill the bucket with water, dump it in the toilet tank, and then flush. Showers are taken about the same way, with cold water in a five-gallon bucket.

The church nursery. 

This is my buddy.

Children's choir

Abraham- he called me "La Muchacha."

Church cleaning day.

The pile is at least 5 feet- packed down several times by the boy's version of "king of the mountain." 

A grass roof. -Typical of kitchens, porches, and some houses.

Building picture frames with Bro. Alvero.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What Does God's Kingdom Look Like?

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

What is the kingdom of God?

As I read Matthew 6:33 this morning, this question plagued my mind. If I am to seek His kingdom and righteousness, wouldn't it be nice to know what the kingdom is? God brought to memory the verse where Jesus tells Pilate "my kingdom is not of this world." 

His kingdom then, is a spiritual one. -An heavenly kingdom. 

If you're like me, you're thinking "Great. I don't get to find out until I get to heaven." 

Not so, my friend! For, as God so graciously reminded me this morning, He has given us an entire book that tells us about His kingdom. The New Testament specifically tells about the era of grace and God's intent for our lives before we reach heaven. Just the preceding and following verses give a picture of "seeking God's kingdom."

But, in all this, don't forget to also seek "His righteousness." Obviously, God's righteousness would be perfection, which is humanly impossible. God sent His perfect Son so that we could have "His righteousness." It's a free gift. All you have to do is ask!

What Does God's Kingdom Look Like?
*most concepts taken from the Sermon on the Mount, not in any particular order. 
- Loving Christ and pleasing Him defines all other activities.
- No worrying over provisions.
- A single purpose of "Christ be magnified."
- Emphasis on loving other people when and as they need (as opposed to sticking to a schedule.)
- Consulting God on a matter before asking advise of others.
- Constant awareness of the presence of God.
- Actively seeking out souls that need Jesus.
- An understanding of and alertness to spiritual warfare.
- A passion for Jesus evidenced by speech, attitude, and actions.
- Forgiveness
- Humility, Openness, and Genuineness.
- Total surrendering of my desires, ideals, and plans to Christ.
- A light in my eyes.

These are the challenges that meet me as I "seek God's Kingdom" first and foremost in my life.

What do you think? Is there more you could add to the list? What has God been teaching you? I'd love to hear from you! God's Word is so exciting, and His presence is addicting- it really is!!!

Virtuous Strength

WARNING: This post covers a very "hot" subject. I am aware that many people will not agree with me. If you know of Scripture that points out otherwise, drop me an email: I'd love to hear from you.

Many people today struggle with the idea of feminism, that is, women being equal with men in strength, ability, and position. Often, when I have asked girls about why they feel they should be equal with guys, they answer it is because they have a problem with being the "weaker vessel." (1 Peter 3:7)

Hey, God said it, not me.

Then you have this verse:

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

What is God saying? What is His intent?

1. God made woman as an ornament to her husband. A good wife adds honor to her husband by depending on him, submitting to him, and encouraging him.

2. Girls need protection. Even my secular psychology text books acknowledge that boys are more aggressive than girls. God made them that way on purpose.

However, girls are not to be literal "ornaments" sitting in the room doing nothing. That is NOT what Proverbs 31 describes.
She is busy, making her husband or father proud to say "THAT is MY wife/daughter." 
3. God made woman to be a help meet for her man! She is working out, and mindful of her health, making sure she is capable of the tasks that surround her. She is NOT a wimp. She is NOT a complainer. The virtuous woman is strong, physically and spiritually, so her husband/father can "safely trust in her," knowing she can get the job done.

Monday, November 5, 2012

3 Tips for Workplace Success

1. Be Punctual.
Be respectful of your boss and co-workers' schedule: show up on time. -And remember that on-time often means early. Leave yourself 5 or 10 minutes to take off your coat, put away your lunch, and take care of personal belongings before checking in to work. Also keep in mind weather and traffic, leaving appropriate time to accommodate each.
ex: I work as a substitute elementary teacher. If I show up in time for the first bell with the kids, I will be frazzled trying to keep them organized while I get ready for the day. 

2. Be Positive.
Be the example to those you work with of a good attitude.  Wear a smile. Look for the positive acts of your coworkers, and encourage them accordingly. Praise is an important key in communication. Watch your tongue: don't speak ill of anyone, and never assume the worst about a person.

3. Be Professional.
Be the epitamy of grace and truth in word, deed, and dress. Use proper language, act with integrity, and dress appropriately (and a step nicer, if possible) for the job. Treat everyone you meet with respect, and do not compromise your character to "fit in" with your coworkers. Above all, keep a servant's heart, ready to help in even the lowliest of tasks.

Remember, people are watching you. They DO notice. And God is watching you, and he will reward every man according to his deed.
"...Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." 1 Peter 3:15

Monday, October 29, 2012

What kind of house do you have?

"What kind of house do you have?  How big is it?Do you have electricity? Running water? Can you get internet?"
These questions were among the first questions that Mexicans asked me during my brief trip to Baja California del Sur.  At first it seems that these are just normal questions of one person trying to get to know the other through butchered English and Spanish communication. However, I learned that these questions give them an idea of my wealth and status.

under a grass roof
Many homes in the part of Mexico I was in were made out of cardboard, blankets, presswood, sheet metal, random pieces of wood, and grass. The nicer ones were made with brick walls and adobe roofs. Some are fortunate enough to have cement houses. Though they may have a cellphone, they don't have running water or electricity.


I came home to a soundly built, heated house. When I hit the switch, light flooded the room. When I entered the kitchen, the dishes were overflowing the sink and counters. No cockroaches or mice were scampering away. Washing the dishes was facilitated by running water from a faucet. In fact, there is also running water in the bathroom- I can take as long a HOT shower as I want, and the toilet flushes without the aid of a bucket of water poured in the tank. I have my OWN room, and a comfortable bed with plenty of blankets.

Yes indeed. I have so much.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am grateful for the fresh perspective. How much I often "take for granted" by never thanking God for what He's given me. I have so MUCH. Thank you Lord for your rich blessings. I don't deserve anything, yet you provide all my needs and so much more.

"...for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
Philippians 4:8

more on Mexico to come later...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Thrifty Servant

"She is like the merchant's ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard."  Proverbs 31:14-16

The virtuous woman is overall diligent, and in these verses, she is also thrify.

Thriftiness is marked by good management and frugality; and allows myself and others to spend only what is necessary.

Our Proverbs 31 woman is not afraid to work hard to save her family money. She shops wisely, helps prepare meals, and plants a garden. This passage gives principles which apply to a young single woman at home:

~perhaps a virtuous daughter could run errands for her mother on her bike or car
~she can learn how to save money on groceries through coupons and sales
~she can help with the cooking; and as able, cook meals for the family. this frees up mom to do other things around the house
~though not all girls live where they can have a large garden, it is possible to find natural, organic foods for the family to eat
~if possible, a girl can care for a garden plot (or pots) with tomatoes, carrots, lettuce or other such greens to help save on the grocery bill.

These are just a few possibilities. Ask your mom how you could apply Proverbs 31:14-16 in your home. How can you best help your dad and mom by being thrifty and diligent?

As I've been in Mexico, I've had to be on the lookout for ways I could help the family here, whether in saving time, money, or other resources. -And though I've missed some opportunities, God gives grace and helps me to grow as I ask Him to help me be a servant, constantly looking for ways to be a blessing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Whistle While You Work

Proverbs 31:13
"She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands."

Greek study:
She seeketh- to tread or frequent, to follow (search or pursuit); by implication to seek or ask, especially in worship
wool- root noun meaning to be shaggy- wool
and flax- comminuting, linen (carded thread)
and worketh- to make or to do, in the broadest and widest sense
willingly- pleasure, desire; a valuable thing, a matter
with her hands- hand or palm

Concordance (on working, willingly):
1 Thessalonians 4:11- be diligent, work
2 Thessalonians 3:10,11,12- cook, work quietly
Colossians 3:23- do all work heartily to the Lord
Ecclesiastes 9:10- work with all your might

Scriptural Examples:
Sarah- Genesis 18:6
Rebecca- Genesis 24:18-24
Exodus 2:16- Zipporah
Ruth- Ruth 2:2,3,23
Dorcas- Acts 9:39

There is so much to this verse, that I felt a little overwhelmed at first. In essence though, there are two parts to this verse:

1. She seeks wool and flax. The Greek word for seek means to frequent or search out for something. Whether you frequent the fields for material to make clothing (or the fabric store), sew your own clothes,  search out the best deals at second-hand and department store, or do the laundry, be a part of taking care of the clothing needs for the family.

2. She works willingly with her hands. Not only does she seek for work, but she does it wholeheartedly and cheerfully. Do you look for ways to help mom around the house? Are you filling the house with a pleasant attitude and joyful song?

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Meaning of ALL

If you look up the Hebrew words and definitions to study Proverbs 31:12, you will find that it means quite frankly what it says.

"She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."

In Bible times, a girl became a woman at about 14 years of age. However, according to this verse, she didn't wait to begin preparing for a husband until 14; instead, she (or her mother) began preparing from the earliest age possible. -ALL the days of her life.

Many of us girls have a list of qualities that we are "looking for" in a guy, ranging from characteristics to character, from salvation to specific doctrinal issues. Technically, there is nothing wrong with having a list to keep you focused, so long as "finding" the right guy is NOT your focus.

Girls, it is of utmost importance that you work on BEING the type of girl that would attract that kind of "perfect" guy: and you must start now.

Are you neat and tidy, but not overly concerned with your outward appearance? Do you know Christ personally? Are you able to make bread, wash dishes, purchase groceries, and other necessary household chores?  Are you good for him ALL the days of your life?

I know, it seems like a lot; but really, he will appreciate it. The last verse (Proverbs 31:11) talked about how trusted a virtuous woman is. Her preparation is part of her trustworthiness.

Another implication of this verse is purity of heart.

When I turned sixteen, my father gave me a gorgeous sapphire and diamond ring. He told me that the ring was to serve as a reminder to keep my heart, to let my daddy lead, and to trust my heavenly Father.

I'm female, okay. I notice cute guys just like any other girl on the block. But purity is more than a physical abstinence. Purity is a choice to keep my heart- my emotions, my thoughts, and my dreams- on Christ, and wait for Him. He knows who is best for me, and when it would be best for us to meet. I have every confidence (albeit, I DO have to remind myself) that God never writes a poor love story.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mission- MEXICO

It is humbling to see God answer prayer. Time after time I come to Him (even a little frustrated) with complaints, questions, and challenges. Yet, time and again, He is patient and faithful.

Six years ago, I joined a mission team to Guadalajara, Mexico for a month. As a team, we taught children "VBS style," helped orphanages and missions with cleaning projects, and gave out hundreds of pint-sized hugs. I have always known God wanted me in Mexico, and that trip, which got exended another month, cemented the calling.

This trip to Mexico would be classified "Mission Impossible" in my perspective. I had no connections, no free time to go, no funding,- most would classify it as catastrophic. God on the other hand, delights in turning the impossible to not only possible, but miraculous. He has provided every step of the way and proven a trustworthy Father.
Isn't God amazing!

Currently, I am in Seattle, awaiting a flight to San Jose de Cabo, Baja CA Sur, Mexico. My excitement is overflowing, making me tremble from head to toe. (And unfortunately, my pet butterflies are making their arrival as well.) God is so good! I can't wait to see what He has in store!

sunrise in the air

the view entering Washington state

Monday, October 8, 2012

Full House

The weekend flew past with an encouraging whirlwind visit from the Staddon family. Esther Staddon is a good friend of mine, and her brothers, parents, and sister-in-law have all become a joy as well. Baby Sauntina included, there were 16 people in our house!

The temperature dropped to a crisp 40 degrees, but that didn't slow us down from roasting marshmallows around the fire pit, going on a late night hunt, or a sunrise photoshoot.  The guys hauled grain and mucked out the goat pen, (a HUGE blessing!), and everyone went out to pick buffalo berries before lunch. Perhaps the sweetest part of fellowship to me, was when we played instruments and sang together. Though we tried, we didn't get everything in, so they will just have to come back again sometime!

Thanks for making our weekend special!

-and no, I didn't take pictures this time. I was too busy enjoying friends and conversation to hide behind a camera. However, James Staddon did take plenty of pictures, as well as teach me a few things. I'm looking forward to seeing his shots of the Big Sky Country.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Worthy of Trust

Security is hard to come by these days- at least in an earthly sense. With the government going bankrupt, you cannot trust banks.  Promises are worthless. Labels on clothing, food, and storefronts lie about their products. So, what can we trust?

God. He alone is dependable to do what He said, even when the odds seem impossible. He WILL take care of His own.

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

A virtuous woman must be constantly dependent upon God, and wise with her resources. Why else would her husband have sure, confident, trust in her? If a man knows that his wife has a close relationship with (his) God, then he knows he has nothing to worry about. God will take care of them both. Therefore, he has no need of dishonest gain: God will bless those that follow His principles.

Hebrew study:
the heart- heart, feelings, will, intellect; the centre of anything
of her husband- master, husband, (fig.) owner
doth safely trust- to hie [go quickly] for refuge, trust, confident, sure
so that he shall have no need- lack, fail, want, lessen
of spoil- booty (prey, spoil,) [as in plunder]

Concordance study:

1 Peter 3:1-6- a reference to "her husband" as master. When a wife honors and respects her man, he will love and trust her. Ex: Abraham's Sarah
Proverbs 15:17- "better is a dinner of herbs [a little] where love is, than a stalled ox [much] and hatred therewith."

At first glance a single woman may be perplexed. "How do I do that?" The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 7:34. A Christian young lady who is unmarried has more time to love on Jesus and serve Him. She is to depend on, honor, and respect Him. Above all, she is to seek to love Jesus with her whole heart. For "thy Maker is thine husband." (Isaiah 54:5)

Also girls, I would add from my own observation; practice on your dad. Honor him. Respect him. Make his favorite meal. Listen to him recount his day at work. Ask him for advice, and follow it. Then, when and if God sends the gift of marriage, you will find it easier to submit under a husband through a transfer of authority. My mom says "If you can be open, honest, and honoring with your dad, you will find it easier to be respectful and open with your husband simply from practice."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Above Rubies

There is a saying around here, that "cats are a dime a dozen." Why? Because the country air seems to be a natural habitat for them grow and multiply; it's easy to find one. Similarly, we could say that ordinary women are "a dime a dozen," because the world is a natural habitat for sin to abound. It is easy to go the way of the world; but being a virtuous woman like the one described in Proverbs 31 takes work.
"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies." (31:10)
Hebrew study:
who- person (interrogative)
can find- come forth, appear, exist, attain, find, acquire. (fig: occur, meet, in person)
a virtuous- force (man power, means, or resources) army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength
"[The virtuous woman is a] weaker vessel made strong by wisdom and grace and the fear of God." ~Mathew Henry
woman- feminine form of man
for her price- merchandise, value
is far- remote (distance), specifically precious
above- from or out, a part of
rubies- (from root meaning turn or angle) as pearl

Concordance study:
Pro. 12:4- a virtuous woman is a crown to her husband
Pro. 19:4- a prudent wife is from the Lord
Rut. 3:11- all the city...doth know that thou art a virtuous woman
Ecc. 7:28- ...but a woman among all those have I not found
Sol. 6:8,9- there are...virgins without undefiled is but one

*note: other verses that mention "above rubies" or such like, refer to wisdom. apparently, a virtuous woman and wisdom are without price.
Pro 3:15, 8:11, 20:15

virtue- morally good; acting in conformity to the moral or divine law. Chaste.

A ruby is the second hardest gem, and is one of the four most precious stones. It is graded according to color, cut, clarity, and carat, as well as size and origin. (Wikipedia) 
A large ruby that is deep red, transparent, and cut beautifully (though not flawless,) is very precious indeed. What a challenge to be a godly woman in the midst of worldliness! As I continue to study the Proverbs 31 woman, I'm looking forward to learning and being equipped in God's ways. -To working toward being the kind of woman that is priceless as a fine jewel.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

People You Shouldn't Marry 5/5

Part Five
This is part five of "People You Shouldn't Marry" by Richard Rohlin

Don’t Be a Jezebel (Cont’d)
Thirdly, a Jezebel exalts physical beauty over spiritual beauty. I want to be careful about how I say this because I don’t believe for a moment that being spiritually beautiful means that you can’t keep up with fashion, or that you don’t take care of yourself or your physical appearance. Sadly, there are women who think and operate this way, overshooting modesty and hitting frumpy instead. To make sure we keep things in balance, let’s take a look for a moment at the original Jezebel and where she went wrong.
In 2 Kings 9, the reformer Jehu has ascended to the throne and is now on his way to destroy the last of Ahab’s household. Upon hearing of his coming, Jezebel promptly begins putting on her makeup to prepare herself to meet him. Now, here’s the key: there is nothing inherently sinful about makeup. There’s not even anything wrong with putting your best foot forward when you are about to meet someone important.
The problem here is that Jezebel is trying to use her physical appearance to compensate for the wickedness of her heart. She wants to charm and impress her way into Jehu’s good graces – something she’s probably been able to do herwhole life. And that’s the problem – using physical appearance or charms to compensate for lack of depth of character.
I think that most girls probably do this without realizing it. It’s the ones that realize what they’re doing that worry me the most – the girls that proclaim modesty to others while pushing the boundaries themselves. But the hyper-modest are equally guilty.
Don’t get me wrong – modesty is important. But it is not the be-all, end-all standard of good Christianity. The woman who obsesses over her modesty and snidely condemns the immodesty in others is still guilty of the same idolatry as the girl who dresses to attract or impress men. It is the idolatry of physical appearance over inner beauty. Here is what Peter says:
Do not let your adorning be external–the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear– but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands… (1Pe 3:3-5)
Peter is not telling women that they cannot braid their hair or wear jewelry any more than he is telling them that they cannot wear clothes. The key is in these words: “…but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart…” It is not that you should not look nice or wear nice things. But that is not your adorning. That is not the standard by which you will judge your own worth or the worth of others.
So there you have it, my little Tirza. Do not marry an Ahab. Do not be a Jezebel.  I hope that wherever you are, whenever you are reading this, that you are well and that you know that your Daddy still loves you with all of his heart.
Your Doting Daddy

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Good 'Ole Fashioned Music

We are enjoying the services and music of the Benjamin Everson family at our church. Mr. Everson is known as the "one man quartet" and has traveled as an evangelist for about 10 years. He has a heart for educating today's church about music and longs to see revival in God's people. If you are in the area, we'd love to have you join us here at Bible Baptist Church, Sidney, Montana, as we listen to his singing, piano playing, and teaching. Services will be Sunday at 6:30 and Monday and Tuesday evening at 7.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

People You Shouldn't Marry 4/5

Part Four of the's People You Shouldn't Marry
Don’t Be a Jezebel
Lastly dear heart, as important as it is that you should not marry an Ahab, it is just as important that you should not be a Jezebel.

Jezebel – Even the mere mention of the name conjures up images of a woman who is morally-loose. As a culture we associate Jezebel with the temptress, the sorceress, the seductress. There are vague impressions of too much makeup, of muslin veils and dimly-lit palaces. But, when it comes right down to it, Jezebel is really much simpler than that. Jezebel is probably a very nice girl to hang out with and it’s quite likely she goes to church. She has a normal family, and given time she will almost certainly marry, or at least date a good deal, because she is the kind of woman for which the Ahabs of the world are looking.

First, Jezebel attains her self-worth and self-identity through idolatry. In ancient times, a person’s name carried great power and significance. It told you something about that person, and in a very real way it was their identity. Jezebel’s name, literally-translated from her native tongue, means “The Prince Baal Lives,” or “The Prince Baal Exists.” As I’m sure you know by now, Baal is a Canaanite fertility and weather god, worshiped by the same Syro-Phoenicean religion of which Jezebel’s own father was high priest before he became king of Sidon.

But in Hebrew, and this is a most unfortunate play on words, Jezebel’s name can mean, “There is no nobility.” The point, whether or not you put stock in the meaning of Biblical names, is that Jezebel was a woman who found her identity and her fulfillment in promoting her false religion – in promoting idolatry. In this way, she is not so different from the Jezebels of our own time, who seek for their fulfillment and self-worth on all of the pagan altars of the world: On Facebook, in their career, in their physical appearance, in ministry, and in men.

Of course the problem with this is that looking to any of these things for the fulfillment that you can only attain via a personal and vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ is the very essence of idolatry, not less than Jezebel’s altars and asherim. A woman who does this is not just rejecting her God-given purpose as a woman, she is rejecting what it means to be a Christian. Such a woman I hope and pray that you will not be, and such a woman is not ready or fit to be a helpmeet.

Secondly, Jezebels will cater to a man’s selfishness. Going back to 1 Kings 21, we see Ahab sulking because Naboth would not violate the Mosaic law and sell his ancestral inheritance out of his tribe. Jezebel, perhaps history’s worst example of an enabler, took matters into her own hands and had Naboth brought up on trumped-up charges and promptly executed.

Tirza, if you remember nothing else of this little talk, remember this: A woman who will cater to her husband’s selfish impulses will be the single most destructive influence in his life.

One of the things that I have always admired about your mother, and one of the things which first endeared her to me, was the fact that she has quite simply never put up with my crap. Lovingly, gently, she has maintained high expectations of the man I ought to be, and she is ever holding me to them. I think it is something that she does unconsciously, and frankly I find it unnerving at times. But she expects manhood of me, and that affects my behavior because I love her and want her to be happy.
I don’t mean to sound as though your mother somehow bullies me into Christianity, because that is not the case. But you need to understand that very much of how a man behaves is based upon the expectations that people have for him. If people will tolerate or reward his selfishness and unrestrained ego, then that is how he will behave. But if you treat your man like a Man, and lay upon him all the commensurate responsibilities and rewards, he will very quickly grow into them. If he doesn’t, then he’s not the man you are looking for.

To be continued...