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."