Friday, December 28, 2012

Prepared

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.

And,

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.