Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Virtuous Wife-Lesson Twenty-Two



"Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth."

John 17:17


Hello again ladies! Let's pray.......


Holy father, I come before You to bless Your name. You alone are worthy of our praise and worship. I lift up before You all that I do each day and pray that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart are pleasing and acceptable to You my rock and my redeemer. I pray for all the ladies reading this study today. May You bless them through the reading and studying of Your word. May You wash us clean through Your words. My You creat in us a renewed spirit and a clean pure heart like Yours.


In Jesus' name....amen.


************************


Today's passage: Prov. 31:29 "Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all."

As we come to a end this week of Proverbs 31, I pray that we will take into consideration all that we have studied here together. We have learned to submit and respect our husbands whether they are believers or not. We have learned to willingly work with our hands and remain strong through exercise. We have learned to spend the money we earn as well as our husband's money wisely for all belongs to the Lord.



We have learned to teach our children to do the same: respect their father, be wise with money, and work with their hands....thereby honoring God.



We have learned to care for others and give to the poor. We have learned not to fear the unknown but to trust in the Lord. And we have learned to rejoice in the Lord no matter what may come.



Here, at the end of our lesson, we learn that the Virtuous Wife excels all the daughters who have done well.



Let's look at a few of these daughters:



Please read:



1 Sam. 1:12-18

1 Sam 1:26-28



Our beloved Hannah. She had reasons to be sorrowful, but instead of leaning on her own understanding of the situation or seeking the counsel of another person.....she sought the Lord and honored His kindness upon her by offering her child back to Him.



***************

Heb. 11:11-12



Sarah- she could be feisty at times, but in the end her faith in the Lord was admirable even to this day. And she is called blessed for her faith.



***************

Heb 11:30-31



Rahab feared the God of the Hebrews because she had heard what He had done. Ladies, we serve the same God that Rahab heard about....yet how many times do we shutter from fear after what the Lord did to the Egyptians or to Jericho? Rahab feared God and so should we.



***************

Luke 1:46-55



Mary,a young child, believed what the angel spoke to her without question. She obeyed without arguing or complaining. She honored the Lord with the Firstfruit of her womb.



***************

Luke 8:1-3

Matt 27:57-61

John 20:1-18



Mary Magdalene- not a goddess that we should worship her like the non-believers say and do....no, she was a humble servant of the Lord Jesus and she worshiped Him as God. Her faith and loyalty was so strong, that the Lord chose her as the first person He would speak to after his resurrection. What blessings!



**************

Acts 16:11-15



Lydia worshiped God and the Lord chose her to host His apostles during their ministry. She obeyed without arguing even though this act was a great risk to her and her business as well as her family in the Roman province.





Strong obedience and faith made these women admirable. And these are just some of the women in scritpure who did well. Read about Esther, Ruth, Deborah, the Samaritan Woman, Elizabeth, Anna...... there are so many more examples for us to follow that we are without excuse.



But the main reason we are to learn from these women is their fear of the Lord.



***************



Life Application



Please read:



Gen 42:18



What is our reward for obeying God?



Numbers 14:6-9



Whom should we fear? Man who is finite....or God who is infinite?



The women mentioned above remained true to their faith even through some horrifying experiences. They learned to praise God through the good and bad times of His covenant.



They loved and trusted a God whom they had never seen. They trusted Him through great tribulation and suffering.



Deut. 4: 6-10



In this passage we see a personal God who wants us to be with Him. Here He instructs His people to obey Him and He will be there "for whatever reason we may call upon Him". How beautiful is that?



"Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and grandchildren..."



How fantastic is that?



Tell your children constantly all the wondrous things the Lord has done for you and is doing for you. Otherwise, you may forget.



We try to teach Nathan about the power of prayer that way when things get tough, he can remember that our God is a personal God who will be there "for whatever reason we may call upon Him."



Nathan's dog got sick with a large tumor on the side of his head about 4 years ago. We were told that to remove it would cost about $1500. Well, that was way out of our price range and going into debt for a dog didn't seem prudent. So, we called around many different doctors and found one who wanted to see our dog because he thought he could remove it for a reasonable price. Otherwise, we would have to put the dog to sleep.



Those of you who have an only child understand that their toys and pets are the absolute world to them because they have no one else in the house on "their side" so to speak. So, telling our son that we may have to put his dog to sleep was a horrifying and betraying thing for him to hear from his parents.



So, I told him that we would pray for the dog. Together, we sent a prayer up to the Lord. Nathan prayed out loud that the Lord make it possible for us to afford this doctor to remove the tumor.



The next day, the doctor not only said he could remove the tumor, but he said he could do it for $150 which was well within our budget.



To this day, I will never forget how happy Nathan was and how he truly believed God had answered his prayers.



Well, this year another tumor grew on the same dog and on the same side of his head. But because Nathan remembered how God heard his prayers before, he had so much confidence in God this time as well. He knew God not only hears us, but answers us. And the tumor was removed without incident.....all is well.



Using life lessons like this to teach our children about a personal God is something we can do everyday. Our children not only need to be taught the rules or laws of God, but they need to be taught the relationship part of God as well: that He Himself died for them to forgive them of their sins.



But serving a holy God isn't without the trials and tribulations.



Please read:



1 Pet 2:18-25

1 Pet 3:1-2

1 Pet 3:13-17

1 Pet 4:12-13



I call First Peter the "suffering" book. We, as Christians, should never be surprised when we suffer for our faith or when we are tested by God.



Phil 1:29

James 1:2-4

James 5: 10-11



All the women mentioned above suffered. Yet in their suffering, their faith remained.



We are not to be looking out for our own interests, but seeking to do the Lord's interests:





James 3:16-17



Phil 2: 2-4



And when we do fail...and all of us have failed......then we come together and confess our sins to one another:



James 5:13-16



I firmly believe in being transparent. I find comfort in telling my sisters-in-Christ about my former conduct and my sins because only then can I teach others about the Lord's forgiveness:



Psalm 51:10-13



One example, I was a part of a Moms-in-Touch prayer group and they use the ACTS form of prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.



One of the first few times I attended I noticed we always did the "confession" portion in silence. But one day the Holy Spirit was really convicting me to confess my sins openly before the group during prayer time. So, when it came to the "C" portion I began to confess that I had not submitted to my husband that week and I sought the Lord's forgiveness.



As a result, several other ladies began confessing before the group as well. Afterwards, they told me that they had been meeting for several years and yet that was the first time any of them had openely confessed before each other. I told them it wasn't me, but the Holy Spirit nudging me to confess my sins.



So, being transparent can lead to others coming before the Lord and leaving all that baggage at His feet. Then truly wonderful things happen! It can be humiliating at times, but it is worth it.



We have seen here that there have been many daughters who came before us. Many daughters have done well indeed.......



How are we doing?







Until next time........



"Dear privileged-and-called-by-God mother, our role of "teacher" is not optional. No, as we learned in the previous chapter, it is commanded by God. It's another one of His high callings to women who have little ones (and big ones, too....and grand-ones also!), So, do you, precious mom, seek to fulfill His command to you to teach your children about Him? And do you love your children enough to sacrifice...



yourself (it will cost you personally to put this discipline in place)

your time (lesser pursuits will have to make way for the greater)

your energy ( training is rewarding work...but never easy work),

and

your money (Bibles and books and music and materials will have to be obtained to help aim your teaching of God's truth straight into your youngsters' hearts)?



It will cost all of this-and more- plus adequate preparation and consistent scheduling to ensure that your children know all about the greatest thing in the world-God's love for them and His instructions on how they should live their lives."



Elizabeth George, (A Woman's High Calling, 2001, pp.173-174)







Blessings,

Ruth

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Virtuous Wife-Lesson Twenty-One











"The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty;




The Lord is clothed,




He has girded Himself with strength.




Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.




Your throne is established from of old;




You are from everlasting."




Psalm 93:1-2













Good day! Let's seek the Lord.........






Father, I come before You today in gratefulness for all You have done for me. I thank You for my husband, my son, our home, and our church. I thank You for You word and how it heals us and convicts us to confess our sins before You.






I praise and thank You for each lady reading this study here today. I pray for peace in her life and in her home. I pray for her marriage that You make it stronger. I pray for her children and grandchildren that You use her words and deeds to reveal to them who You are.






I confess my sins before You and my sisters-in-Christ. I confess my selfishness and stubborness. I confess my unwillingness to submit to my husband. All of these are sins against You and only You. I pray that You will wash me clean today through Your word. I pray that You will clothe me in humility and Your strength.






In Jesus' name......amen.






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"Establish the worship of God in any house, and you erect around it a new barrier against the corruption of the world, the flesh, and the devil."






-James W. Alexander (1804-1859) Puritan Minister. (Thoughts on Family Worship, 1998, p. 27)






*****************************






Today's passage: "Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her..."









When I was in college, I lived with three Christian young women: Two sisters and their friend.






We were friends, but not close friends. My three roommates, however, were very close. They attended the same church and knew the same people. I attended a different church and did not know their friends at all. Needless to say, there were times when I felt like an outsider.



But I was grateful to have a place to live that I could afford. We got along most of the time.






The main reason we were not close was because they were strong Christians who decided to wait until marriage to have sex and I was a Christian in a sexual relationship with my boyfriend.






My sin caused a big gulf between us. At first I thought they were being judgmental and mean, but looking back on it I see that they were putting their First Love first. They were being obedient to their Savior. I wasn't. I had willingly abandoned my First Love.






I truly admired the close relationship the two sisters had with their parents. They would often come over during the day and have lunch. They talked and laughed together. They even sang together with mom at the piano! The sisters truly called their mother blessed. I had honestly never seen a family who loved each other so much. It was strange to me, but I truly admired and envied it.






Many years later, I received a phone call from a friend who told me that one of my college roommates had been killed in the Wedgewood Baptist Church shootings in September 1999. Sydney Browning was the oldest sister of my roommates. She had graduated with honors from Grand Canyon University and went on to earn her Masters degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.






Syndey decided to teach at one of the most dangerous schools in the country. She taught at a high school for juvenile delinquents in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area. She literally risked her life everyday she went to work.






The Lord was using Sydney at her church as well. She was the leader of the youth choir and also taught a women's Bible study. She had a lovely singing voice and had recorded a CD of Christian hymns. She was teaching a women's Bible study when she was shot and killed by a mad man who entered the church that fateful Wednesday night.






I was so perplexed as to why the Lord would take a 36yr. woman in her prime who was serving Him with all her heart, mind, and soul. She lived the life of "singleness" in a godly way. She wasn't perfect, she had a sarcastic humor that often hurt people's feelings, including my own. But her students, family, and friends loved her.






At her memorial, thousands of people attended. One after the other, people got up to tell anecdotes about Sydney. One said that Sydney was running the race toward Jesus. She was a fast runner, so if you couldn't keep up, she would not slow down for you. That was the perfect way to describe her!






After attending her memorial, I sat there in shame looking back on my life. I had wasted so many years NOT serving God in comparison to this young woman's life of service. The Holy Spirit truly convicted me that night and I decided to begin to serve the Lord for His glory.






But the one thing I will never forget about Sydney was how close her family was. How she and her sister truly blessed their mom and dad by words and deeds. I wrote a letter to Sydney's mom telling her about how I will always remember her sitting in our little apartment kitchen laughing with her daughters and about how I admired her family so. Oh how they loved her and she loved them.









The reason I am writing about this part of my life is because these sisters praised and blessed their mother, but they also blessed their heavenly Father as well with their obedience and with their actions.









That is the type of woman I want to be.









Please read:






Prov 10:6-7






There are blessings ahead for those who are righteous. Sydney has received her reward for all her hard service to God. She is in His presence for eternity.






Who does Jesus bless?






Matt 5:3-12






The poor in spirit



The meek



Those who hunger for righteousness



The merciful



The pure in heart



The peacemakers



The persecuted






The Virtuous Wife seeks not for her own glory, but for the glory of the Lord.






Please read:






Matt 11:6






We are to tell others about Christ and take that risk. Then we shall be blessed.






******************






Life Application






I included a quote from James W. Alexander because he wrote a little book about Family Worship many years ago. In this book, he writes about how the husband and father is the Pastor of the Christian home.






That makes us the Pastor's Wife.






All of us know or have known a Pastor's Wife who just delighted us. She was or is a picture of patience and grace and love. She knows her husband's flock and their concerns. Always is she welcoming and kind in word and deed. She is a prayer warrior.






Then there are those who are only interested in the position of Pastor's Wife and they hardly know their husband's flock. She only is involved or interested in social events at the church and not much more. All of us have probably known a Pastor's Wife like that.






So, if we are called to be a Pastor's Wife inside our home, which woman do we relate to more?






How is our speech when it comes to our husband, the Pastor of our home? How do our children treat their Pastor?






I know I am guilty of being critical of my husband in front of our son. It is a sin to teach my son how to denegrate his father, the Pastor of our home.






Remember why God created? To be known.






Our children will know us by what we do.






Please read:






Ezekiel 34:25-26






If we obey, there will be blessings. Disobey.....no blessings.






Ezekiel 33:28-29






Think about it.......






The work of a wife, of course, is never over. There is always laundry to do, food to prepare or purchase, rooms to clean, toilets to scrub, noses to wipe. Sometimes it seems as if the work will never end.






But remember, we serve a God who rewards hard work.






I remember Dr. R.C. Sproul talking about when his daughter went into labor with one of his grandchildren. He waited at the hospital while she delivered her baby. He could hear her screams from the pain.....but unfortunately, she wasn't screaming from the pain of the labor.






Instead, she was crying because her baby was born dead. As Dr. Sproul walked into the room to see his daughter in agony over the death of her child, he could see that she was most distraught over the fact that there was no reward for all her labor. And it seemed so unfair.






I always remember that story because we all can identify with that young woman's pain in a way. All of us want to be rewarded for all the pain and work we go through in life. What if that reward never comes???






Here, Proverbs 31: 28 tells us that her children rise up and call her blessed, and her husband too!






So many of us hope and pray that our day will come too when we hear our children praise us for all that we did for them. But is that vanity?






Ecc. 2:10-11






What is our true reward?






Please read:






Ps. 19:7-11






Ps. 91:9-11






Prov. 25:21-22






Matt. 10: 40-42






Luke 6:35






1 Cor 3:8






2 John 7-8






Finally.....






Rev 22:12









Let's do our work for the reward that will come from Jesus, like the apostles did....like my friend Sydney did. Yes, it would be great to hear our children bless us and our husband's too.....but we must labor for our eternal reward through Christ.






Remember the works that we do in our home. Remember that we are a Pastor's Wife even if our earthly husband is not a believer, we have a heavenly husband who is The Pastor of our homes and our lives.






Let's strive to do our works in a way that please God, like my friend Sydney did.






Let's strive to teach our children about their eternal reward from Jesus.






That's what it means to be a Virtuous Woman.....a Virtuous Wife.









Until next time..............


"God will sovereignly send His people into your life with words to spark your growth....but your responsibility is to be available and willing to hear their words with an open heart.


The God of the Universe will communicate with you through prayer, sovereignly leading you along the path He has marked out for you....but you are responsible for setting aside time in prayer.


God will teach you through the Bible, sovereignly customizing the lesson to the student's needs....but it is your responsibility to study and meditate upon His word...."




-Donna Partow (Becoming a Vessel God Can Use, 1996, p. 138)












Blessings,


Ruth





































Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Virtuous Wife-Lesson Twenty


"Blessed be Your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise!

You alone are the Lord;

You have made heaven,

The heaven of heavens, with all their host,

The earth and everything on it,

The seas and all that is in them,

And You preserve them all.

The host of heaven worships You."

Nehemiah 9:5b-6









Good day, Ladies! Let's seek the Lord's blessings..........


I come before You, Lord, to seek Your face this morning. I pray that You will speak to us through this study so that we may learn more about You and what You have done for us. I pray that You will teach me how to watch over the ways of my household in a way that pleases You. I pray for each lady reading this lesson that You will speak to her and change her heart through the reading of Your word.


I seek forgiveness of my sins for I know it is against You that I have sinned. I pray that You will blot out my transgressions, my selffishness, my arrogance. I pray that You will wash me clean through Your word and renew me this day. I pray that You will fill me with Your Holy Spirit.


In Jesus' name..........Amen.


*********************


Today's passage: Prov 31:27 "She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness."


We have covered work, exercise, money issues, use of talents and time, respecting our husbands, being wise......all these facets of being a Virtuous Woman and Wife.


As we complete the "work" portions of Proverbs 31, we see that her final destination is back in her home where it all counts.


The Virtuous Wife travels afar for food, she sells her wares to the merchants, she works in the home with her hands as well as outside the home. She is a good steward of all that she has. But her final resting place or destination is ultimately her home.



Please read:


Titus 2:3-5


Here we Christian women have our calling.


1 Cor 14:34-35


We are to be learning, but yet submissive.


But what about our household? How are we managing that?


Today our kids have it better than we did, but they also have it worse. Remember how I mentioned about the dangers of having too many choices? Kids today are in constant danger from the many choices put before them.


As a mom and grandmother, you and I have the awesome responsibility to manage what comes into the home as well as what leaves the home. Our husbands are at work all day and they trust that we are respecting their authority in the home while they are away.


Prov. 31:11-12


When my husband requests that our son not watch certain types of shows on TV when he is at work, he has to trust me that I will ensure that these rules are followed. When that trust is annuled, then the home becomes troubled.


I do enforce these rules out of fear of God and respect for my husband even when I am in disagreement with him. It is far better to be in obedience to the Lord than to win an argument about whether rules are right or wrong.


I know! I found out the hard way.


Fearing the Lord is what leads to obedience.


Please read:


Joshua 2:1-24


What was Rahab's occupation?


Was she a believer in the God of Joshua?


Joshua 2:10-11


Did she fear the Lord? Why?


James 2:24-26


Remember that God was known for His works. Therefore, we are to be known for our works as well as our faith.


Gen 1:27


Rahab had heard about what the Hebrew God had done and she greatly feared him. As a result, she obeyed and it was accounted to her as righteousness.


That is the kind of woman I want to be!



"She does not eat the bread of idleness..."


As a young mom, when I was home with my son I found it tempting to just plop him down in front of the TV and get some housework done or just nap. But I knew all that TV would turn my son's brain to mush. Getting him out of the house was hard, at times, especially in the summer time, but I knew it was essential.


We'd visit every part in town so often that Nathan named them all. There was the Blue Park, the Yellow Park, the Peacock Park, the Orange Park, etc. I started taking him to the library when he was 6 mos. old! Walking at the mall worked until I was too tempted to purchase things everytime we went, so no more mall! But our time together was fun and I cherish those memories now. I drove by the Yellow Park earlier this week and got all teary eyed!


Please read:


Prov. 6:6


Prov 15:19


Prov 15:24



**************


Life Application


"Home is where the heart is...."


A very common saying that we have all heard before.


Watching over the ways of our household includes many things like the food our children and husbands eat, where and how the money is spent, how time is spent, etc. But it also means what is being taught and administered in our home.


I hear many moms say that they want to "home school" their children because there are no good schools out there anymore. I agree that in Arizona, we have a shortage of good quality schools, but I disagree that there are no good schools out there anymore at all. I know this because my son attends a very good charter school.


But that doesn't mean that I do not "home school" my son as well. I firmly believe that as moms, we are to home school our children whether they attend school outside the home or not.


One of my former classmates was recently married. She was asking us moms in the class about being parentally involved in our children's schools. She didn't think it meant having to know the teachers and the principal and the curriculum. She thought just volunteering a few hours a week should suffice, but I told her that it did mean all that and more. Our children are far too important to send them on their way for 8 hours into a place we know nothing about.


Once my son leaves school and comes home, his education does not stop. He is always being taught by me constantly. I do this by being prepared to answer any and all his questions. This means I have to know what the curriculum is at his school and what is being taught. This takes time and research. Substitute teaching at his school has helped me immeasureably! I know, you say, "But Ruth, you only have one kid!" And I am sure if I had four kids I probably wouldn't even know the name of the school they attended let alone the curriculum taught there. Yes, having one kid does make it easier to be involved in his education. But it also means we only get one shot at getting it right!


But just because you may have a brood of kids doesn't get you off the hook! You remain their Master Teacher while they are home with you. Being a Master of anything requires research into any topic. Trust me, I know about this from spending time researching one topic over the last year and a half.



We teach Nathan art lessons, about computer software, about history. But, by far, the greatest education Nathan receives at home is in the Bible. Scott and I both teach Nathan about scripture so that we can show him the God we worship. Nathan asks some pretty tough questions because he is a very smart boy. He keeps us on our toes!


Please read:


Deut. 6:1-9


Prov. 13:13


We are to teach our children the commandments of God constantly. Their education begins at home.


As a result, I have no fear of Nathan hearing about evolution or philosophy or entering into the world. I know he has heard from the beginning the Truth and the Gospel of God. Oh, he may turn away for a time, but if he truly belongs to the Lord he will come back to the Lord having tested the scriptures. But I have no fear of the world....


Matt 10:28


Deut. 6:24-25


For in fearing the Lord we obey...and if we obey we have covenant with God...and when we have covenant with a holy God, we have protection and covering....and in that protection there is peace.


Romans 5:1-5


Tribulations will come into our homes....but the hope of God will also be there. That is where the peace comes from.


1 Pet. 3:13-17


1 Pet. 4:1-2


Material things can be great, for a time. Spending time or money decorating a home with beautiful things can be fun. I know, I am presently redecorating our bathroom and it is hard work, but fun too.


But what is more important than the mere asthetically pleasing parts of the home are the spiritual parts of the home. I have learned that there is only momentary satisfaction in material things around me because they are finite. Children's "good behavior" or "good grades" may be great, but as with all finite things....they can change. What happens when suddenly those good grades plummit or the good behavior goes away? Teaching them the eternal is what matters. What is eternal never changes or goes away.


I have found that the eternal satisfaction of listening to my son tell me he read the book of Revelation chapters 19-22 in church on Sunday is far greater and sweeter than anything bought or sold in a store because I know the Lord was speaking to my son in a personal way that was just between the two of them.


That softens my heart and brings me great peace.


Matt. 6:19-21


That is where my heart is.



Until next time...............



"Behold, all souls are Mine;


The soul of the father as well as of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die. But if a man is just and does what is lawful and right.....if he has walked in My statutes and kept My judgments faithfully- He is just; He shall surely live!" Says the Lord God.


Ezekiel 18:4-9




Blessings,


Ruth


Monday, June 25, 2007

The Virtuous Wife- Lesson Nineteen





"Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us." Psalm 62:8






Good day again Ladies...Let' s begin our study in prayer:




"Dear heavenly Father, I seek Your face this morning as today we discuss discernment in speech and decisions. Help us, Father, to remember who You are: holy above all. And to remember who we are: unholy and unjust. I pray that You will convict us today of any sin in our lives that we may come before You to claim it. I also pray for each lady reading this study that she will be forever changed through the reading of Your word.




I seek forgiveness of my sins this day. I know my tongue has displeased You, Lord. I pray that You will wash me clean of my transgressions. I pray that You will create in me a clean pure heart ready to serve You. Please restrain my tongue and guard my speech that I may not cause harm to those I love. "




In Jesus name.....Amen.




**********************




Today's passage: Prov. 31:26 "She opens her mouth with wisdom; and on her tongue is the law of kindness."




This lesson was especially hard for me as it deals with discernment in speech and also in kindness. As I have confessed here before, my mouth has gotten me in alot of trouble in the past and it is a weak spot for me now. But I know that this study is necessary in a Christian woman's walk if she wants to become a Virtuous Woman.




So, get your Bible and get a comfortable chair because we have a lot of scripture to read today!







Please read:




Acts 18:24-28




How did Aquila and Priscilla help Apollos?




How did Apollos respond to their instruction and correction?




2 Tim 3:16




What is the purpose of scripture?




Prov 10:8




This verse is translated as: "The wise heart will receive commands, but the foolish of lips will be ruined."




Prov. 9:7-9




To speak wisdom takes discernment. As we have read here before, the Lord gives us discernment through His word.




I had a bad problem with gossip and attitude when I worked for the Superior Court. I heard so much gossip that I had trouble keeping it to myself. I almost lost some friendships as a result. But the Lord worked on me through His word. The more involved I was in Bible study, the more convicted I became about gossiping.




One time, I truly prayed for the Lord to help me not to gossip and He answered my prayer. My boss, the Judge's secretary, had a friend who would come into our office to tell about her problems. She saw me sitting nearby at my desk and asked if I could be trusted with the information she was about to say. My boss assured her that I could be trusted.




Hearing that made me feel so good and I vowed that I wouldn't tell anyone the information I heard that day. To this day, over 7 yrs. later, I can honestly say I told no one what I had heard. My heart was so happy that there were people out there who could trust me with their secrets. That was only because of the Lord and it took many years for it to happen.




As a result, both women are still my friends today even though I left the office 7 yrs. ago. Praise God.




Please read:




Prov 4:5-7




Gossip is a horrible sin in that it ruins lives. Words are like nails into wood: they can be taken out, but the holes remain.




Words can be forgiven, but the scars are deep and those remain forever. I grew up in a house where I was told I was dumb almost everyday. I was told I could do nothing right. When I said I wanted to do something, I was told, "you can't do that" regularly. And I was told to shut up often enough.




If I confronted my parents about this, they would say they were "just kidding around." But words hurt and they remain in a child's mind. It took many years of being in God's word for me to realize I wasn't dumb and that I could do something if I prayed about it and sought the Lord.




I cannot tell you how great it felt to graduate from college Summa Cum Laude: with honors. I finally felt like I was smart.




1 Kings 3:1-15




What did Solomon ask God for?




How did God respond to his request?




Can we ask God for wisdom as well?




James 1:1-7




What happens when we doubt the Lord will answer our request?




Wisdom is given from God and He rewards our faith in Him doesn't He?




James 1:17




I know I am not telling you anything you do not already know, but it is important to be reminded of these things regularly for our growth in the Lord.




******************




Life Application


Words matter.

God desires for us to get wisdom....to ask Him for wisdom. I try and ask Him everyday because I know it would be so easy for me to hurt my son with words as I was hurt when I was a little girl his age. I praise God that my son has never heard his parents tell him he is "dumb" or "stupid" at all in his life. God does answer our prayers and gives us wisdom liberally.




Please read:




Judges 13:21-25




Notice how the wife understood how God worked. Samson's parents were honoring to God. Yet, what happened to Samson?




Judges 16:1-31




Samson's love for the wrong women caused his fall, but the Lord used it to destroy the Philistines. Too bad Samson didn't seek wisdom.




I had told you about King Edward of England who took the throne at age 9. I always remember that story because at age 9 he sought to be a wise ruler. He wanted to rule with wisdom and so he sought wisdom in books. Amazing at age 9 a boy would know that wisdom is important.




Please read:




1 Cor 1:20-24




According to verse 24, who is the wisdom of God?




Col 2:1-3




1 Cor 3:18-21




Wisdom is not found in books written by men.




Many people I know are against higher education and see it as a waste of time. Not me. I love education! I should since I teach college.




But I know what it takes to finish college. It takes a great deal of discipline to get up in the morning and head off to school with all your assignments completed or projects completed. It takes discipline to pay attention to a 3 hour lecture after working all day and get a good grade on a exam. I know, I had to do all this at age 35-40. It gets harder the older you get!




I shared a classroom with many a young mother who had to bring her baby into the classroom because she did not have money for a babysitter.




I admire students who can work, handle kids, and still get good grades in college. That takes discipline.




But the Lord wants us not to lean on that education because, as with all things of man, it is finite or temporay. That is why I have learned to lean on God's Word which is eternal and never changes. There is comfort in knowing God's word will never change.




Please read:




2 Cor 1:12




Prov 12:1




Pride keeps us from receiving correction and therefore we lose knowledge when we do not receive correction. Wisdom from God helps us know when to receive that correction in humiliation.




Ecc. 9:16-18




Let's pray that we open our mouths with wisdom and on our tongues are the laws of kindess.




Col 4:5-6




The Virtuous Wife speaks with kindess. So should we!




Prov 15:28




We should study how to answer.




2 Cor 6:3-10




We should show kindness and sincere love.




Titus 3:4-7




Gal 5:22




2 Pet 1:7




We know that this kindness comes through the Holy Spirit. I ask God to fill me with the Holy Spirit daily so I can speak kindness.




Tell a younger woman you know today about who is wisdom, where we get wisdom, and how we can speak in kindness to one another. You can save her from alot of pain and anguish caused by her tongue. She'll thank you for it!




Until next time.........







"The biblical word for slanderer comes from a Greek word diabolos and it means malicious gossip, slanderer, or false accuser. It points to bringing charges against another, and usually with hostile intent.




But here's the really ugly side of the word:

34 times in the New Testament as a title for Satan

One time regarding Judas

One time to describe the behavior of hardened unbelievers in the end times.

Two other times, in reference to women, that can literally be translated "she-devil".


Not very good company, is it? I mean, slandering, gossiping women who are called to godliness and to holiness and to godly behavior...lumped in with Satan, Judas, and hardened unbelievers? As James exclaimed elsewhere, "These things ought not to be so" (James 3:10)!

...Instead, my sister who aspires to godliness, God calls us to His higher standard. He calls us to grow up in this matter of the mouth, to mature speech, to strive for godly speech."

-Elizabeth George (A Woman's High Calling, 2001, pp.41-42)







Blessings,




Ruth








Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Virtuous Wife- Lesson Eighteen






"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.'" Psalm 91:1-2


Hello again, Ladies....Let's pray:


"Our Father, I come before You this day to seek Your wisdom and Your grace. I pray for each woman reading this study today that You will speak to her heart and reveal to her more about who You are and what Your covenant is. I also pray for her marriage, her home, her children, and her time alone with You. May it be life changing.


I seek Your forgiveness of my sins this day, Lord, because I so much want to serve You and hear from You. I know my sin keeps You from me, and so I pray that You will wash away my sins, cleanse me with Your blood, and fill me to overflowing with Your holy spirit. May You overflow into my home and restrain my tongue from causing harm to those I love.


In Jesus' name..........Amen.



******************


Today's passage: Prov. 31:25 "Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come."


We have read in previous verses that the clothing of the Virtuous Woman is fine linen and purple, but here we read that figuratively she is clothed in strength and honor.


Please read:


1 Chron 29:12


Where does her strength and honor come from according to 1 Chron. 29:12?


2 Sam 22:3-4


Here we have David in the presence of the Lord. Who does he give credit to for his strength?


Job 6:11-13


How did Job feel about his flesh? Did he put his hope in himself? Should we?


Psalm 96:6


As women, we can have the strength of the Lord as long as we acknowledge that it comes from Him and not ourselves. God does look upon us and honor our hard work. He is a God who rewards His children for serving Him. He remembers us........


Please read:


Gen. 6:22


Noah obeyed God and completed all the hard work he was appointed to do.


Gen. 7:1


Gen 8:1


Gen 8:20-22


Gen 9:8-9


God remembered Noah and blessed him.


Please read:


1 Tim. 5:17-18


Lev 19:13


Deut. 24:15


Scott and are currently teaching Nathan about work. Like all preteens, he hates chores. But we are trying to teach him to respect work as a means to an end. He wants to purchase a video game but he has no money. So, we are allowing him to earn more money by doing more chores around the house.


By doing some of my chores, he is learning to respect the work that his mother does around the house so hopefully, when he is married, he will respect the work his wife does for his household. Plus he is learning to earn money for the things he wants to purchase.


But the main thing we want Nathan to learn is how God honors hard work. So much so that he included protection for the worker in His laws.


Of course, Nathan cannot do all things by himself just like we cannot do all things alone. Our strength must come from above:


Please read:


Isaiah 45:24


Psalm 18:1


Psalm 27:1


Psalm 28:8


Psalm 29:11


Phil. 4:12-13


The Virtous Wife received her strength to do all the good works she did from the Lord. Only then could she have completed anything.


**************************


Life Application


I went running 3 miles a few nights ago and boy was it hard. Not the distance so much as the heat. I went way to early: 6:30pm. The sun was low in the sky, but it sure gave one last blast of heat before heading down over the mountains.


I decided to run north of Happy Valley road along 23rd ave. There are many new homes out there and new roads. It was so very quiet and peaceful in the desert. What a treat to only hear my breathing and my footsteps. Nothing else!


But the run was hard because of my weakness. I hate, HATE the heat. I think next time I will run at 7pm instead. It was much cooler after the sun made its way over the mountains. Oh well, live and learn.


I have learned through the years that I cannot do anything without Christ. I went through hell on earth to bring my son into this world, so I am giving him back to the Lord to honor the Lord for all that He has done to me. That is why Scott and I work so hard to teach our son so much about the Lord before he leaves our home.


Please read:


2 Cor 12:9


Jer 16:19


What about the honor of the Virtuous Wife?


Esther 6:7-9


How did the king honor the man "whom the king delights to honor"?


Psalm 49:20


What about a man who does not understand honor?


Psalm 66:2


How are we, God's creation, to honor the Lord's name?


Psalm 91:15


Prov 3:9-10


Prov 15:33


John 5:23 & 8:48-49


Being a Virtuous Woman is more than taking care of the house and managing our time well. It is having an understanding of what honor is and where it comes from. We must also know that our strength never comes from ourselves, but from the Lord.


Please read:


1 Thess 4:4


We are to honor the Lord because he alone is worthy:


1 Tim 1:17


2 Tim 2:20


1 Pet 2:17


Remember Ruth? Because of her honor, her reputation preceded her:


Ruth 3:10


Oh how I remember my bad reputation for being a contentious woman preceded me. I remember one church outing at a friend's house where all the husbands went outside to talk and all the wives sat at the dinner table talking. As I sat down at the table to enter into the conversation, all the other women left me there alone. I then joined them in the family room, but they all left again. Taking the hint, I then went upstairs to a sitting room and remained there alone for the rest of the night! All because of my reputation...

God has had to work hard to eliminate all the harshness, bitterness, and just plain ugliness in me that was useless to Him. That process has been very painful to me and at times lonely. But His work has also brought me much joy. It hasn't happened overnight and He is far from being finished with me yet!


Psalm 126:5-6


Ruth and Naomi worked hard and had much sorrow, but their hard work and virtuous reputations brought them much rejoicing.


Ruth 4:13-22


Is. 25:9


In order for me to be a Virtuous Wife, I have to be clothed in strength and honor from the Lord. Obedience is how to get that strength and honor!


Now that I have learned what a haughty spirit and a contentious tongue earns me (Prov 16:18 and Prov 18:12) I desire more than anything to rejoice in the Lord always.


1 Thess 5: 16


That is what I want to teach my son:


Respect hard work because the Lord does.


We are strong in the Lord because His strength is made perfect in our weakness.


Honor is something to be understood and it comes from the Lord.


Honor the Lord always with your firstfruits and with your mouth.


Rejoice in the Lord always no matter what hard times may come.....rejoice!


Tell a young woman you know today that she can be clothed in God's strength and honor today. Then she will learn to rejoice in the time to come.



Until next time.............


"Before His plan can come to full fruition in our life, He must eliminate all that is old, dead, diseased, and useless in our character. When we first meet Sarah in the Old Testament, for instance, she is impatient, contentious, angry, manipulative, and unbelieving. Her life with Abraham, Hagar, and Ishmael is characteriazed by tension and unfulfillment. But God works in her life and uses failures, consequences, time, and even unhappiness to bring her to a mature faith in Him. In fact, she is listed in Hebrews 11 as an example of faith. While siuch a pruning process as Sarah underwent can be painful, it gives us an opportunity to love God by trusting that He is at work in our life to bring about the beauty He has promised."


-Elizabeth George (Loving God With All Your Mind, 1994, p. 165)




Friday, June 22, 2007

The Virtuous Wife-Lesson Seventeen




"My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up." Psalm 5:3


Hello ladies! Let us pray..........


Thank You, Father, for another blessed day. I seek You this day to worship You and honor You for You alone are worthy to be praised. I pray for each lady present here reading this study today, Lord. I pray for her needs and her desires that they become Your desires for their life. I pray for her marriage and for her family.


I seek forgiveness of sin this day, Lord, because I so desperately want to hear from You. I pray that You will renew a steadfast spirit within me and give me Your strengh from my weakness. I ask for the Holy Spirit to fill my home so that it overflows to my husband and my children. Please fill my heart with the Holy Spirit and guard my tongue that I might not cause pain to those I love.


In Jesus' name...Amen.


*****************************






Today's passage: Prov. 31:24 "She makes linen garments and sells them and supplies sashes for the merchants."






As part of prison ministry, there were many things we would try to teach the inmates before they were released in hopes of getting them ready to face the world and not return again to prison. Many of the ladies we taught were Christians and many were there just because there was nothing else to do.






But we still wanted to prepare the inmates for when they were released because they had become adapted to life inside the prison walls. The one thing they no longer had was a choice. Inside the prison, they were told what to eat, drink, and wear, when to sleep, where to go, what time to go, and how to get there.






Suddenly, outside the prison walls, there were often overwhelmed with the many choices they had to make. And the thought terrified them. Usually, they were not able to handle the sudden ability to make so many choices.....and so they would fail in the outside world and head back to prison.






The Virtuous Wife obviously worked inside the home as well as outside her home. We have read how she made good use of her time inside her home, but now we see that she made and sold her own merchandise.






The Virtuous Wife knew her role: helper to her husband.






Please read:






Gen 2:18






What she made with her hands helped her family. Remember how she considered a field and bought a vineyard with her profits? Wise woman.






We are to be helpers to our husbands as well, but can we do that when we work outside the home? Should Christian women work outside the home at all?






Remember how Paul wrote to us that there are things the Lord predestined for us to do:






Eph 2:10






Can we work outside the home and still do these works the Lord has given us to do?






I know I have been called to work but only part time outside of my home. I know working full time would be detrimental to my family right now, but I cannot say that for every woman.





I recently had to undergo an ultrasound because I have fibroids. Once a year I have to have them checked to make sure they are not growing bigger which would indicate cancer.





This time, there was a computer glitch and while the ultrasound technician was using the scope inside of me, her computer crashed. We had to stay still while she re-booted the computer. As embarrassing as it was to lay still in that position, I was so glad the technician was a woman who worked full time outside of her home! Had it been a male technician.....well, I just do not think I could have handled it.





I have never had a male gynecologist. I thank the Lord for female doctors who have been called to work full time. I know it isn't easy, but I sure am thankful that I have a choice not to see a male doctor.





So, I firmly believe some women have been called to work outside the home: doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. I am glad they do!




But sometimes having too many choices can cause us to fail miserably. That is why the lie of feminism has hurt our society so much. The feminists lie to you and tell you that you have the "freedom to choose" what you want to do in life. Hey, I am all for freedom and I appreciate the women who fought for our freedoms, but I also know that with God there is no Free Will.


Don't believe me? Let's visit the most famous man who thought he had Free Will to choose to disobey God:


Please read:


Jonah 1:1-3


"But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord...."


The Lord ordered Jonah to go to tell a people that if they repented, God would forgive them. But Jonah did not want these evil people to receive repentance.....so he disobeyed.



You may be wondering how this lesson ties into Prov. 31:24, but all I know is that the Virtuous Wife understood whom she served and so should we. We can learn from Jonah's mistakes in that he thought he could escape God.


Jonah 1:4-9 Who caused the storm? Man or God?


Jonah 1:10-17 Who created the fish that swallowed Jonah? Man or God? Could Jonah have chosen not to enter the fish's mouth? Why not? He had Free Will, right? WRONG.


Jonah 2:10 Who caused the fish to vomit out Jonah? Man or God?


Jonah 3:2-3 Notice this time that when God ordered Jonah to go, Jonah "arose and went to Ninevah...."


Jonah 4:5-6 Who made the plant? Man or God?


Jonah 4:7 Who prepared the worm? Man or God?


Jonah 4:8 Who prepared the vehement east wind? Man or God?


In the Book of Jonah we find that man has little to do with the events around us. Jonah thought he had the Free Will to reject God's orders and go where he wanted to go instead. But God caused moral evil and natural evil to turn Jonah back to the way he should go: God's way.


********************


Life Application


Please read:


1 Sam 23:2-4


Notice how David, in comparison to Jonah, respected God and "inquired of the Lord once again..."


1 Sam 30:8


Now contrast that with:


2 Sam 11:1


Notice that is says, "But David remained at Jerusalem."


2 Sam 11:2-5 What happened when David disobeyed the Lord and remained at Jerusalem instead of being at battle?


If you feel that you have been called to work outside the home or you know a young woman who is working outside the home, you must remember that to be in the presence of the Lord is your number one priority.


Are you working for the money?


Prov 13:7


After I graduated in April, I posted my resume on one large search engine and a fantastic job opportunity came up: Instructional Designer for Anthem College.


I could help create curriculum and train employees there for very good money. That's what my graduate degree was in! I was so tempted to apply. But my first thought was: what about Nathan?


Could I really enjoy my work knowing my son was home alone from 7 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon all summer at age 12? Could he handle all the temptations of being alone all day? Would the extra money be worth it?


I talked to my husband about it and he was completely in support of my working if I wanted to apply for the job, but when it came to Nathan, he had no suggestion either. I felt as though I would be abandoning my son. Nathan was all for the idea, of course. What kid wouldn't be for being home alone all day to play video games or computer games and eat whatever he wanted?


I still was unsure what to do even after praying about it.


Then, one night, I stayed up late and saw a show about a young man who was addicted to meth and heroin. He was tall and thin living on the streets and he was so sick from the drugs. His father was his enabler and so was his girlfriend. They staged an intervention and he willingly went to rehab. But several months later, he relapsed and was again living on the streets doing drugs.


After that show, I cried out to the Lord and took it as a warning of what could happen if I sacrificed my son for a job that earns good money. I remember my sister, who worked full time while her daughters were little, telling me to be careful about working full time because you get used to the money and then you cannot quit your job even if you wanted to. She had such remorse in her voice when she warned me. She missed out on so much of her daughters' lives. But they had the big house and all the toys: trailer, 4 wheelers, fancy vacations, swimming pool.


And her daughters succumbed to drugs and sexual sin.


I knew then that the Lord was telling me to wait on Him and remain at home with our son. Nathan is worth it.


The Virtuous Wife obviously had skills and talents that she used to provide for her family, but she also made a home for her family as well. She had come to learn how to do both. That comes with age and wisdom. I know when my son is older I can go back to work full time. One thing about work: it is always there waiting.


Today, women are given more choices of whether to stay home fulltime, work full time or part time.


As long as the Christian woman knows that she is to be homemaker FIRST and be in the presence of the Lord DAILY.....then working outside the home can be done. It is far harder to do laundry, cook meals, correct homework, listen to problems, buy school supplies, drive to sports events, after having put in 8 hours at the office! But it can be done. Although, something will have to be sacrificed and it usually is the children who suffer. You miss field trips, school concerts and plays, you cannot volunteer at school and you miss talking with teachers. And, ultimately, your daily time with the Lord suffers as well.


That's why it is important to remember King David. Remember what it cost him to be out of the presence of the Lord: his children suffered.


We have plenty of work to do for the Lord.


John 17:4


My prayer is that someday I can pray this prayer to God as Jesus did. Until then, I will strive to seek the Lord early in the day.


Psalm 119:147


I am blessed in that I have all those precious memories of my son: school concerts, field trips (except this year....he said he did not want me to go. Sniff...) and getting to know his teachers well.


For all you young moms reading this lesson: I do not wish for you a big house, fancy cars, far away vacations or lots of money......Instead, memories of your children are the greatest gift I could wish for you.




Until next time..........


"It is true that many "perfect jobs" may come and go during the child rearing years, but only one will absolutely never come along again- the job of rearing your own children and allowing them the increasingly rare opportunity to grow up at home."


-Dorothy Patterson (The High Calling of Wife and Mother in Biblical Perspective, p. 375 as cited in Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, 2001, p. 129)



Blessings,


Ruth


























Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Virtuous Wife-Lesson Sixteen






"My heart rejoices in the Lord;


My horn is exalted in the Lord.


I smile at my enemies,


Because I rejoice in Your salvation.


No one is holy like the Lord,


For there is none besides You,


Nor is there any rock like our God."


1 Sam. 2:1-2






Good morning, Ladies! Let's seek the Lord..........




Father, I thank You for Hannah's prayer. Her words are so true and so right. I praise You for being holy above all others. I praise You for being my rock and my salvation. It feels good to know that I can rely on You no matter what happens. I will bless You at all times. Your praise shall continuously be in my mouth.




Because You are holy, I know I am not. I seek Your forgiveness of my sins. I know that it is against You and only You that I have sinned. Please wash me clean this day. Please fill me with Your holy spirit this day to overflowing. I pray that You will fill my home with Your spirit as well. I pray that You will restrain my tongue and keep me from causing pain to those I love.




In Jesus' name............Amen.




********************




Today's passage: Prov. 31:23 "Her husband is known in the gates, when he is among the elders of the land."






Here we find that the Virtuous Wife's husband is a known man. Remember when we studied Prov. 31:11? Her husband's heart safely trusts her. He sits among the elders of the land.




Gates in scripture have important meaning:




Please read:




Deut. 22:15




Deut. 25:7




The gates were a place for a public forum or commerce. There the elders made important decisions, gave counsel, or judgment to the people.




Ruth 4:1




2 Sam. 19:8




Today we have city hall for commerce. But back then, the people had the elders of the land to help them with counsel.....to seek wisdom:




Prov 1:20-22




But even the enemies of God had gates:




Gen 24:60




Destroying the gates of a city showed ultimate destruction:




Neh. 1:3




When rebuilding the wall, Nehemiah took great care in making sure all the gates were in order:




Nehemiah 3:1-32




The Sheep Gate


The Fish Gate


The Old Gate


The Valley Gate


The Refuse Gate


The Fountain Gate


The Water Gate


The Horse Gate


The East Gate


The Miphkad (recruiting) Gate


Ending with the Sheep Gate




Gates were very important to God.




Psalm 24:7-10




Psalm 87:1-3




Psalm 118:19-21




Matt 16:17-18


So, we can easily see in the Bible how important gates were to God, His people, and His enemies.


When Prov. 31:23 states that the Virtuous Wife's husband "is known at the gates" , we can safely assume he was a man of importance.


**************



Life Application



All of us have husbands who work and have friends. Many of us have husbands who are known by the elders at church or perhaps they are an elder in the church.



Therefore, all of us know that who we are greatly affects our husbands.



As I have mentioned before, I used to have a reputation for arguing and making sure I got my way by being contentious. How I was acting was affecting my husband. Now, thank the Lord, I know better and pray very hard for God to restrain my tongue and keep me from causing harm to my husband. It isn't easy, but it helps that I remember who my husband is and what his reputation is.



Please read:



Eph 4:29-32



I have learned through other ladies' actions and through God's word that I am not to corrupt my husband's reputation, but instead I am to "let all bitterness, wrath, anger, loud quarreling be put away from me."



Eph 5:1-2



Instead I am to imitate God.



How do you work hard to ensure your husband's reputation is represented well with you? It is difficult at times isn't it? Allowing bitterness or resentment to take root can cause you not to care. Allowing bitterness and and resentment to take root is a sin. Confess it now before the Lord. I know from the past what happens when you let it take root: pain and anguish.



Yet, we read in our opening verse about Hannah:



Please read:



1 Sam. 1:1-18



Imagine her hurt in seeing another woman give her husband, Elkanah, children.



Notice how Hannah handled her disappoinment in her husband: she prayed.



In Psalm 73: 1-17, we see the Psalmist is resentful of the wicked who always seem to prosper in their ways. He was distraught about it and envious of the boastful until.....he "went into the sanctuary of God..." Then he "understood their end."



Hannah could have been resentful, but instead she was obedient like Ruth and many other women of God. She sought His face in her sorrow. And our holy and all powerful Creator of the Universe heard her and answered her prayer.



Our husbands are not perfect. But neither are we! We should focus more on how we can protect our earthly husband like we are called to protect our heavenly husband. The Virtuous Wife understood this.



Please read:



Prov 7:10-11



Prov. 9:13



Prov. 22:14



Instead of being clamorous or simple minded, we are called to be wise:



Prov 21:5



Eph 5:17



Col 1:9



1 Thess. 4:3-6



Are minds are to be renewed through the reading of God's word:



Ro 12:2



The word "con-formed" means "formed with" and the word "trans-formed" means "changed from". We are not to be formed with the world but changed from the world that we may know and do that perfect will of God.



So, remember that our husbands are known. Who we are affects them. Teach this to a younger woman you know so she can know how to please the Lord with her actions and words and not suffer the harsh consequences like I did!



Her husband will thank you for it!!



Until next time...........



"A choice to love your husband is a choice to love God by obeying His high calling. And a choice to love your husband is also a choice that honors the Lord and is a testimony to His glory.

When we choose to love our husband, we become a good advertisement for the Christian faith."



-Elizabeth George (A Woman's High Calling, 2001, p. 138)










Blessings,

Ruth










Monday, June 18, 2007

The Virtuous Wife- Lesson Fifteen




"From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I." Psalm 61:2








Good day, Ladies. Let' s pray to the Lord:


Oh Father, this day I come before You to worship You and adore You because You alone are worthy of any praise. I thank You, Lord, for giving us Your word that we can know You better and be comforted by it.



I seek forgiveness of my sins this morning so that I can be released from the bondage of sin. I pray that You will release me from the bondage of unrighteousness and from selffishness. I pray that You will purge me of my sins and make me new again this day.



I pray for each woman here reading this study that she will be changed, healed, and renewed through the reading of Your word today. Bless our marriages, our husbands, and our children this day.


In Jesus' name.........Amen.




****************





Today's passage: Prov 31: 22 "She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple."





When I used to go into the prisons for women's Bible study, the one thing I remember the most about the experience was the appearance of the inmates. Most of them had not colored their hair since they entered the prison so the blondes had long black or grey roots and the redheads too. Some were able to purchase make up from the store in the prison or have their hair cut short to avoid spending time trying to style it. Basically, what prison did to these women was strip them of all worldy pleasures: grooming, styling, clothes, jewelry, etc.


The Lord really spoke to me about this in my heart. He warned me not to get too attached to this world or He will take it away in order to get my full attention. That was the subject of one lesson I taught them: How God will take things away to get our attention!


The Virtuous Wife understands that appearance is important, but not most important. She also understands that style or taste is a necessary thing to have when your husband is "known at the gates."


Please read:


Prov 11:22 The word "discretion" in this verse is translated as "taste".


A woman who has worldy things but does not possess discretion or taste on how to wear them or appear in public is like a gold ring in a swine's snout. I think all of us can think of someone in the spotlight right now who fits this image.


Tapestry- the word implies a sort of craft-like art that was created in the ancient past as a sort of wall art used to tell stories or depict an era. Most tapestries depicted scenes from life. They were handmade and took many months if not years to complete because of the intricacy of the design.


Here we learn that the Virtuous Wife made "tapestry for herself". This woman had talents that she used to improve the look of her household as well as document scenes from her life.


Please read:


Prov 12:4


Prov 14:1


Prov 17:22


Because she clothed herself in fine linen and purple, we again are safe to assume she and her household were wealthy. Because we know her husband is known at the gates, she is careful to dress in fine quality articles of clothing to honor his reputation.


Prov 22:1


I like to tease my husband about how he represents our family out in public, so when he wants to wear shorts with sandals and black dress socks to go to the store.....well, let's just say he isn't representing his family well! Whenever he heads out to go running, I always say, "Don't fall down and embarrass the family!" and we all have a good laugh at that one. We joke with each other about how we all represent our little family out in public, so looking appropriate is important. Nathan is never allowed to wear shorts and sandals to church. I try not to wear too much makeup, and Scott never wears those black socks with shorts and sandals!


It's the little things that show how much we care.....



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Life Application


Let's look at a woman in Scripture who exemplified grace and beauty by acting appropriately in public because she understood who her husband was in society:


Please read:


Esther 1:1-2:18


Contrast Esther with Queen Vashti. How did attitude affect each woman's treatment of her King?


Esther 4:13-17


How did Esther show respect for her King's position?


Esther 5:1-8


What reward did Esther's respect earn her?


Esther 7:1-10


What was the final result of her obedience?


To this day the Feast of Purim is observed in honor of Esther. Whatever happened to Vashti??



Our duty is to teach good things to the younger women. That includes teaching them to respect their household and look the part!


When I was in high school, I used to draw all the time and won awards for my work. I was tempted to draw mystical and magical images of fairies, witches, and elves because they were fun to draw. But, as a Christian, I knew in my heart that these drawings were not honoring to God.


Even today, I could easily make a fortune drawing things that were evil or sexual because there is such a huge market for those images. Even Nathan asked why I didn't try to get into drawing for Hollywood studios that made such movies like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. I told him that in order to do that, I would have to compromise my beliefs and I cannot do that.


So, I try to make sure the images I draw and paint will be pleasing to the Lord no matter what. I make sure the art in my home is also pleasing to Him. I make sure the images do not bother my husband, but instead create a pleasant respite for him.


Our appearance is important as well. If our husbands have good jobs and are known among men, then we are to make sure our appearance represents him in a good way. We are to dress modestly, but not dowdy. Make up and jewelry in moderation is a good thing and should be taught.


Prov 19:20


I had the pleasure of working with 3 lovely older women and although they were not Christians, they helped me as a young 20 something woman to dress well at work. I learned how to look professional and yet remain modest. They also taught me to talk well about my husband to others. I had an awful habit of degrading my husband to my friends at work. It took a non-Christian friend to show me how badly I was behaving by consistently talking well about her husband in front of us. The Lord used my friend to convict me of my sin and I repented. I learned to talk about all the wonderful things my husband is and does around my friends. And I try to do it to this day. Even though I still fail at this from time to time, I still remember my friend and how she respected her husband in front of others and still does.


Please read:

Prov 22:14


Prov 18:22


I want to be that "good thing" to my husband and represent our family well. I would rather be obedient than disobey and be like the prison inmates who lost everything (appearance as well as their husbands) because God wanted their complete attention.


So, I will try and represent my family well in everything I do: appearances and respecting my husband.


...and not fall down and embarrass the family when I run!!





Until next time.........




"A wife is to respect her husband- We've learned that we are to help our husband and we are to follow our husband. And now, according to Ephesians 5:33, we are to also to respect our husband.


And what does that mean? To respect a husband means actively demonstrating and showing high regard for him in ways that all can see. A wife's esteem and admiration for her husband should always be on display, on parade, so that no one can miss it. Such respect encompassess all of the things- both little and large- that she does to create a visual expression of love."


-Elizebeth George (A Woman's High Calling, 2001, p. 128)




Blessings,

Ruth