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