Proverbs 31

itsawonderfullifeposter

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

In the classic film, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey meets his wife Mary as she would have been, if he had never been born. She’s a colorless, timid, doe-eyed, bespectacled librarian dressed in a dowdy suit, and clutching a shapeless purse. In short, she’s an old maid. As a single thirty-something, I hugely enjoyed the irony of attending a friend’s costume party, dressed this way.

Is Mary what you picture when you read this verse? Charm and beauty aren’t positive: I’d better be dowdy and meek. Hang on: let me briefly apply some Hebrew skills, and see what we can come up with.

“Charm” or “gracefulness” can describe a woman’s manner or her looks – not to mention a doe, or a precious stone: all genuinely beautiful creations of God. But as a human trait, it can be deceptive, false, or just disappointing. Once, a European chap thought I looked just like his favorite actress. That’s all he could see about me, which was ultimately disappointing to him, because I was a completely different person than the one he had constructed in his mind.

Meanwhile “beauty” as a human trait is just a vapor or breath of air: it’s so very evanescent. For example, I waited through my teens and twenties to get out of the awkward stage, and just about the time I liked my looks, white hairs started showing up.

A God-fearing woman, however: SHE will shine! Yes, that’s what the Hebrew implies. She’ll be celebrated, commended, renowned, and worthy of praise.

The most hilarious thing about my old-maid Mary costume was how very far from the truth it is. Whether I’m writing freelance articles, editing books, teaching and living abroad, or playing hide-and-seek with the four little neighbor girls, I’m a vibrantly alive and fruitful person. I don’t say that to brag, but because fearing the Lord is the gateway to that fruitfulness. He did it for this once painfully shy and un-ambitious girl.

You know, I think the best way to read Proverbs 31 may be backwards! Because being a God-fearing woman is the gateway to so much more: a whole broad spectrum of things she gets to be and do. She stands tall and strong. She’s wise and kind. She has huge influence. She’s an entrepreneur, an artist, a philanthropist. Single or married, we each have a unique blend of gifts, because God wakens these things in us.

The sweetest thing I see in this chapter is the promise: “she shall be praised.” It’s a promise God has fulfilled for me in very creative and unexpected ways. It might be my boss, my young-mom friends, or an elderly lady on the street. Isn’t this good news when you feel invisible, when there is no husband or children to arise and bless?

The God-fearing woman: she will shine! She’ll be celebrated, commended, renowned, and worthy of praise.

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elizabeth  Elisabeth

I’m Elisabeth, a thirty-something wanderer who is re-acclimating to the American northeast after several years in Israel. I miss the sun so much, but I’m intensely grateful to be with family, especially my baby nephew. When I’m not talking, reading or trying to grow my Hebrew skills, I’m probably writing, editing, or teaching some college-age girls to cook.

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Proverbs 30

outsider

Proverbs 30.12 “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.”

When I was saved, I was really disappointed. Everything around, beyond the walls of specific group of people from extended bible study seemed bleak. I saw a lot of people calling themselves Christians and believers who rarely ever seemed to live by what was theoretically their faith. That stung, since I wanted someone to keep me on good track. I started noticing duplicity that most of those people didn’t even seem aware of.

Then I joined a choir in my parish. I thought I was finally somewhere I would be understood with my passion (the kind we all have when everything is new and fantastic) for Christ and the Word. At first it all seemed great – we sang a lot, I learned to pray that way and I was hooked.

When I got to know those people better I understood not everything was as good as I initially thought. Not even as good as “good enough”. Most of this group was connected to the church for years, took part in youth days, camps, evangelization groups… But at the same time they were constantly avoiding confession, keeping with their sins and obviously being okay with that. They would say, at the same time, that Communion and God are the most important things for them, but they had no time to prepare.

Don’t get me wrong – I love those people, I pray for them every day, I think they are great people. I also think they do want to be with God, I think they really think they are just ok enough to be pure.  But I think they have a big problem – they think everything is okay, when it clearly is not. They live as if God was only with them during church hours. As if following his commandments and guidelines is old-fashioned, restrictive, unrealistic and simply not important.

It’s probably one of the most dangerous things we can find. Those are people we may look to as they seem to be spiritually mature – how couldn’t they, they have been in the church forever. But what we see them doing is something wrong. We need to listen to the author of proverbs and heed his warning. We may encounter this kind of people everywhere we go, but we need to have our own mind and seek our own wisdom. The author gives us warning, shows us foolish people, but he also gives us direction. We need to seek God’s Word and heed it. The Word that is PURE. That’s what we need to heed, not the example of those who consider themselves pure and are anything but. We need discernment.

And something more important. Maybe we sometimes need to examine ourselves as well and check those areas we think are ok? Maybe we don’t see our own problems because we think we got that part of our life under control?

Join the conversation!  Can you relate to the above or what struck you from Proverbs 30?

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anna Anna

Hello everyone! I am an almost 30 yo single woman living in Europe. Professionally a civil engineer, off hours I live to write and sleep😉. After struggling a lot with my singleness I try to live the fullest live that God gives me. Medieval reenactment is also a part of my life so I consider my life filled by the Lord to the brim.

Proverbs 29

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“The fear of man lays a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord is safe.”~Proverbs 29:25

How much pain would we spare ourselves if we simply trusted our Heavenly Father instead of fearing what people thought?

Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to explain that you’re single and nearing 30, in your 30’s, or even older. There are people who find singleness strange or even unacceptable, especially beyond a certain age. That attitude can cause us to feel pressure to get into relationships. When all those surrounding us seem to be dating, engaged, or married, we can also feel the pressure to get into a relationship.

The key question we need to ask in all of our decisions is this: Am I trusting the Lord wholeheartedly, or worried about what others think?

As Proverbs 29:25 reminds us, what other people think can deceive us in our decisions and thought processes. Here are a few of the “snares” that fear of men lay for us around relationships.

-That it’s time to settle once you turn the age of __ because it is unlikely to find someone after that

-The belief that being single equals being inferior

-The belief that if we were to lower some of our standards, it would be easier to find that special someone

-The belief that God’s laws about intimacy and marriage are outdated

These are only some of the snares that we must dodge! Doubtless, you have encountered other snares as you’ve undertaken your journey. These snares only keep us from living the abundant lives that the Lord is waiting to give us. They keep us trapped in doubt and negativity. Instead of being safe in God’s will, we open ourselves up to all sorts of heartbreaks, including premature or wrong relationships.

Trust in the Lord and His will for our life brings peace. Trying to fit our lives into society’s framework when God has another plan only brings unnecessary heartache. Following God’s will brings blessings (not always immediate) and peace.

I grew up in a very conservative area where it is the norm to get married in one’s early 20’s. God’s will for my life definitely did not follow that pattern. Have I had opportunities to jump into relationships or even be engaged by now? Yes—but the Lord revealed other paths, and I had no peace until I made the decision to obey Him.

If we trust in the Lord around our future marriage and in every area of our lives, we will be protected from much pain. Though trusting God and awaiting a husband for long years may open us up to criticism from people, the Lord will surely bless and protect us as we seek His heart above all.

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lianna-headshot Lianna

Hello! My name is Lianna. I am 27 years old and live in Cleveland, Ohio. I am a case manager for refugee mothers. My favorite things are traveling, learning other languages, singing, and journeying with others. I blog and hope to inspire others at sunflowersojourn.wordpress.com.

Proverbs 28

college

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered. – Proverbs 28:26

The fall of 2005 was one of the best seasons of my life.  I had just begun my freshman year of college studying astronomy and astrophysics, and I was loving it.  On top of that, my walk with the Lord had never been better.  I loved the challenges of the classroom, the joys of embracing Christ daily and being filled with His Spirit.  It wasn’t always easy, but it was totally awesome.

A month or two into the fall semester, I met an attractive young woman (I’ll call her “Sarah”), and we hit things off quite well.  In fact, we hit them off a little too well; Sarah immediately started pursuing me, going out of her way to spend time with me, and sometimes even chasing me down on my way to the cafeteria.  And as someone who had never had a real girlfriend before, I loved the attention that she paid me.  So it didn’t take long at all until we were, for all intents and purposes, dating.

Now, in and of itself, there would have been nothing wrong this.  However, I knew that I wasn’t really in a position to pursue any kind of romantic attachment at that point in my life: my coursework alone kept me far too busy for any kind of relationship, and I knew in the back of my mind that Sarah and I were in very different places in our walks with the Lord.  In fact, if I were entirely honest, I wasn’t even sure that Sarah had a walk with the Lord.  Even worse, I managed to keep the relationship a secret from my parents – whom I knew would not approve – until well into the spring semester.  But, despite all of this, I was enjoying myself too much to call things off, and continued to spend every spare minute I had with Sarah.

When my parents finally did find out – well, I’m sure you can imagine what that was like.  My parents were devastated that I had lied to them, Sarah was crushed at my breaking things off with her for hardly any reason at all, and my daily closeness with the Lord now felt like an unbreachable chasm.  It was one of the best, followed by one of the worst, seasons in my entire life.

But I learned a deeply painful lesson in that season.  Proverbs 28:26 says this: “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered.”  To this day, I regret the choice I made to trust in my own heart, and I regret the pain that it caused to those I cared deeply for.  But that season is also sweet to me, because in it, as I repented, I encountered amazing grace.  Today, my relationship with my parents is restored, my friendship with Sarah has been healed, and most importantly, my walk with the Lord is again moving in the direction it needs to.

Whether or not you are currently tempted to trust in your heart—perhaps, as I was, by compromising on your principles in the hopes of acquiring a spouse—the message to each of us today is the same: embrace wisdom.  Walk with Christ.  And you will be delivered.

Join the conversation!  Does this speak to you or what struck you from Proverbs 28?

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meandallysonheadshot Chris

I am a postdoctoral scholar studying theoretical nuclear physics at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where I live with my wife Allyson and nine-month-old daughter Georgia Clementine.  I am a regular blogger for various Christian ministries and blogs, including GotQuestions.org,blogos.org, and CompellingTruth.org.  I also have a (rarely updated) personal blog which can be viewed atcaelienarrant.blogspot.com.  I love learning about theology, philosophy, science, and apologetics, and then sharing what I learn with others.

Proverbs 27

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“A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike; to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one’s right hand” – Proverbs 27:15-16

The first thought that went through my mind in response to the above verses was that it is unfair and harsh towards the ladies. However I took time to reflect – in honor of God’s words, why was it addressed to women? In a book called The Female Brain published by the University of California claimed that women speak about 20,000 words per day nearly three times the mere 7,000 spoken by men.

There are times when I’ve been told that I’m opinionated. Being the eldest in the family had taught me to navigate through life pretty much independently, and I graduated from law school. One of my favourite TV show is  series is an American legal drama series called  ‘Suits’ – need I say more?

Admittedly, it can be confusing at times to strike a balance between being a single lady in the legal /corporate world and at the same time internalizing the values of being a woman of Christ exuding graciousness, meekness, gentleness and to certain extent submissiveness in my speech and conduct. No one taught us how to ‘talk or act like a Christian gal’. Not in my Church at least.

The analogy of ‘continual dripping’ and futility of ‘grasping oil in one’s hand’ represents annoyance. The Message Bible used the analogy of a nagging spouse. In a nutshell, the verses speak of a woman who is combative, aggressive, and belligerent while nagging means constantly harassing someone to do something. No one (men or women alike) enjoys the company of a quarrelsome or a nagging person. Whether single or married it is prudent to take heed and reflect so that we could serve others better.

I was reminded by a friend that at times we may win the battle but lose the war. In a situation where conflict arise for instance, the satisfaction of winning an argument because of a minor issue may cause us to say hurtful words and ultimately lose the respect, trust, and closeness with the person  i.e. we missed the bigger picture. That does not mean that issues should not be addressed, but rather to tackle it tactfully and choosing the right time to do so.

So, how can we not be women who are ‘quarrelsome’ but women of graciousness, wisdom and dignity? My exhortation to you my fellow sisters in Christ whichever season you are in now (and note to self) would be that we are to continuously and prayerfully strike a balance between being the ‘Jessica Pearson’ or Hillary Clinton in the midst of pursuing our careers versus emulating the example of Ruth, Esther, and Mary (the matriarchs mentioned in the Bible) in relationships. No wonder women are known to be better multi-taskers! 🙂

The apostle Paul taught us in Romans 12:3 “for by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” May the people around us savour the fruits of the words of wisdom from our lips and blessed by the sincerity of our actions. Amen.

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timmie-liew Timmie

Hello, my name is Timmie and I’m from Malaysia. I am a lawyer by profession. I am a charismatic, passionate person and enjoy beautiful things in life such as travelling to different cities to appreciate the culture. I love fashion and appreciate ‘coffee time’ with people to talk about life and build meaningful relationships. I’m passionate about the things of God, the Church and authentic leadership. My deepest desire is to embrace all that God has called me to be and be a blessing to whoever that God has placed in my life past, present and future. Our God is a GREAT God, and the best is yet to come !🙂

Proverbs 26

dog

Ever have one of those moments when a close friend tells you something that you really don’t want to hear but really need to hear? That moment when those hard truths smack you in the gut like a sumo wrestler?

Yea, me too. And I feel like Proverbs 26 is that well meaning friend. Truth bombs all over the place!

One thing I love about the word of God is that it’s not sugar coated. There are moments when truth is spoken with love and grace and other moments when God just lays it all out there.

Because here’s the thing: sometimes we NEED to hear the truth in a way that might not seem loving. Sometimes we NEED the truth to hit us in the gut and wake us up!

Like all of Proverbs, it’s hard to have tunnel vision on just one or two of the verses because it’s all just SO good. But as I was preparing and studying for this post I went through John MacArthur’s commentary. Here’s how he sums about Proverbs 26, “Most verses in this chapter compare the aspects of natural order that are violated with the behavior of a fool.”

Yep, pretty much sums it up! We are fools who try to take things into our own hands only to then find out we are wrong and need our Savior.

In verse 11 it says, “Like a dog who returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.”

Can we just agree that the imagery here is powerful? I love the strong imagery here! Basically saying that if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you have always gotten.

This hit home for me because while I was praying about a husband and praying that God would bring a man that I could spend my life with, I continued to fall into the trap that being with someone was better than being with no one. Which meant I caused myself a lot of heartache that I could have avoided by simply trusting that my Father had it all figured out.

Ladies, if you are praying for a husband, if you are praying about the current relationship you’re in take a good hard look at your track record. Are you meeting men and dating them just because you’re lonely? Are you praying for a husband but not putting yourself in the position to meet new people? Or are you like me and trying to trust in yourself to find someone?

I urge you to meditate on the wisdom of Proverbs 26 and to allow God to shape your heart and mind based on His word.

Are you violating the natural order of God’s plan by trying to take things into your own hands? Or are you finding the wisdom in the Word and living your life by it.

I know that today’s chapter in Proverbs didn’t just happen to fall into my lap. I was supposed to read it, because I desperately needed to hear it. Even now in married life I am truly like a dog going back to it’s vomit – I try to do things my way even though I have learned time and time again that I am indeed a fool whose wisdom can only come from my Father.

Trust in your Father ladies, lean on Him and allow Him to give you wisdom. Only then can we leave the days of going back to our vomit and truly live freely in Him. And then maybe He might open our eyes to a possibility we didn’t see before.

Blessings,

Keri

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Josh&Keri Keri

I’m Keri! I’m a lover of Christ and receiver of His unending grace. I love all things book related and might have an addiction to white cheddar popcorn and Dr. Pepper. I am recently married to Josh who, frankly I just don’t deserve it. Isn’t God GOOD?! Most of my life my passion has been children’s ministry but the past few years God has been shaping my heart for women’s ministry. My sister and I started Little Light on a Hill with one goal in mind: women. We want to challenge women to dig deeper into their Word and to create a community of all different types of women who can lean on each other and help each other grow. I hope you join us there!

Proverbs 25

For a change, I am going to link to an interesting post I found on Proverbs 25 on one of my favorite Christian blogs, Incourage.Me.  Rather than narrative, this is a pictorial journey using photographs to illustrate verses and display God’s wonder.  I hope you enjoy it!!

Throughout history, man discovers the secrets God chooses to reveal. Sometimes they make Bible verses come alive with meaning not understood by the divinely inspired men who penned them or those who read them in the centuries that follow.

“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing . . .” ~Proverbs 25:2

Sometimes we make the discovery ourselves and gasp, awed by the unmatched creativity of our Creator God, who breathed our world into being by His spoken word.

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Read more here!