A wise person hears

I began reading Proverbs again and was impressed by the purpose statement at the beginning of Chapter 1:

  • To know wisdom and instruction;
  • to perceive the words of understanding;
  • To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
  • To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion (verses 2-4).

Wow! We could study that list for a while. How do we get wisdom, instruction, understanding, justice, judgment, equity, subtilty, knowledge, and discretion? By reading God’s Word, specifically the book of Proverbs.

Chapter 1 continues with these statements:

  • A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
  • The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction (verses 5, 7).

Let’s pause and think about these. The wise person will listen and learn. What does he listen to? Wise counsel.

I don’t know about your life experiences, but I sometimes find it hard to listen to what someone tells me I need to do. When I take a second and ponder the advice, I understand that the statement was made with a concern for my wellbeing. It’s wise counsel. If I act on the advice, I am learning from wise counsel.

Verse 7 has a double message. The first is that respect for God is the beginning of knowledge. Do you want to be smart? Love God. Know important things? Love God. Want wisdom? Love God.

The second part makes a very strong statement: fools despise wisdom and instruction. Woah! Who doesn’t want to be taught and listen to wisdom? Who’s the person that thinks he knows it all?

A fool.

As we go through the book of Proverbs, we see many contrasts between wise and fools. And, I’m afraid all of us find ourselves more than once on the wrong side of these terms.

Wise people:                                      

  • choose to respect God        
  • dwell safely
  • quietly don’t fear evil                     

Foolish people:

  • love deception and folly
  • scorn Truth and its followers
  • hate knowledge
  • refuse wisdom and counsel
  • are fearful, distressed, and anguished
  • hate reproof
  • will reap destruction

All of this is in just the first chapter. We’ll do more studies in Proverbs in the future. What a practical book!

The virtuous woman: could you be one?

Near the end of the famous Virtuous Woman passage, we read: Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all (Proverbs 31:29). To be sure, the woman in Proverbs has me beat on many counts. I mean, when’s the last time I bought land and planted a vineyard, made my own clothes out of tapestry, or wove fine linen belts to sell? I’m afraid the answer is never.

But, I have done my best to make sure my family is adequately clothed and fed. I believe my husband safely trusts me. I try to do him good and not evil every day. I don’t work out as I should, but I have strong arms and can do what I need to. I even actively care for the poor. I strive to watch my mouth and say kind, helpful words.

Many daughters have done virtuously. Could this include me?

Oh, and the maidens part. Today, maybe it means we take good care of our dishwashers, clothes washers, dryers, and electronic kitchen gadgets, etc. I don’t know. But, maybe we’re caring for our helpers when keep those things clean and in good working order. What do you think?

The Virtuous Woman isn’t idle, and she is an example to her children. Her husband praises her.

Can this be us?

I think so.

I’ve heard this passage expounded by many people, each with a different view of this lady. Some say that she is an example for everyone, which is true. Some say she’s probably the composite ideal woman, which is probably true, as well. Others proclaim that no one woman could possibly add up to her. Well, maybe so, but she did have help to accomplish all these things. She supervised her household, and I can see that she—like a business owner today—might be able to accomplish all of it with a troop of helpers.

Can I be a virtuous woman? Yes, I think so.

Can you? Of course.

When we boil down Proverbs 31:10-31, the essence is that a virtuous woman cares for her household. She makes her husband, children, and home a priority. She works hard so that they’re provided for.

And, she loves God. Period.

Maybe the lady of Proverbs 31 truly excels them all—and outdoes the rest of us. But, maybe we qualify as some of the many daughters who have done virtuously. I hope so.

I love the end of this chapter. Such truth: Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised (verse 30).

The next verse speaks of the rewards of a woman who works hard: Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates (31). Remember, her husband is the city leader at the gate. He benefits from her care and hard work.

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies (verse 10). A perfect ruby is worth more than a diamond the same weight. This lady is worth much more than rubies.

I want to be a virtuous woman.

How about you?

Do you think she’s achievable? I do.

What are your thoughts? Please share.

Women of the Bible 8: Who are we?

S was shopping with Helena, who also went to her church and was in her clique of friends. “If E wouldn’t be so stubborn, she might be a nice person. Except, did you know … she has a special ‘friendship’ with that butcher man? Her husband hasn’t found out yet, but I thought I’d let you in on it, so you can pray for her.”

S continued on her way, picking up pomegranates to examine them for ripeness, pushing the tips of melons and choosing a large one, collecting rice, wheat kernels, and dried beans in cloth bags, and chatting it up with Helena all the while, lots of gossip in her wake.

Suddenly, she spotted E, the woman she was gossiping about, and ducked behind a fruit stand, finally silent. No way did she want to meet that person.

But E had seen her. She and S went to the same church, but they were archenemies. E couldn’t believe how S acted. Why did she always have to take the other side of every issue? Why did S have to seek the limelight, even publicly putting her down? Oh well, E would do the Christian thing and greet her, even though she’d rather stab her in the back—which she often did with her words.

E embraced and kissed S as if they were friends. It was good no one could see her facial expression. Oh, how she hated pretense—but in order to look good, she’d stoop to anything.

Apparently, word got out that E and S made trouble in their local church. The traveling leader called them out by name in his letter. I beseech E, and beseech S, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. How embarrassing!

Seriously, what right had he to name them?

Who were E and S? These are their real initials.

Who was the traveling leader?

For extra credit, where was the missionary when he wrote the letter naming these women? And, what authority did he have to call out two contentious people in the church?

Can you think of another Bible verse about divisive people in the church? Please share.

Why is it so serious when Christians don’t get along in a local church?

Do you think E and S changed their ways and made peace?

What’s the lesson for us today?

Do you like yourself?

Many women don’t like themselves. Maybe they look in the mirror and scowl, but for the majority, it goes much deeper. They simply don’t like who they are … and they don’t know how to be what they want to be.

What’s the problem? It could be many things, for example:

  • Emotions—Ups and downs, the rollercoaster of women’s lives
  • Health issues—Underlying health problems and/or pain can greatly affect how we feel about ourselves.
  • Comparison—Social media shows one side of people’s lives, but women still tend to believe what they see—and want it.
  • A lack of biblical perspective—An accurate look at Scripture will help us improve and accept ourselves today. It will also give us goals and purpose.
  • Lack of contentment—Contentment helps us be happy with ourselves as well as what we have.
  • Unachievable goals—Many women set their goals as if they were someone else. They think they have to achieve something great in order to succeed.

Let’s look at the Bible to see who you are and what you need to strive for.

  1. You are an amazing creation. God planned you from the very beginning, when you were in the womb. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them (Psalm 139:13-16). Therefore, since God made you wonderful and marvellous in His divine plan, you can praise Him for exactly how you are.
  2. To God, you were worth saving. It was because of Jesus’ payment for sins and not because of any merits on your part. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5). For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). I don’t think I will ever fully comprehend how a holy God could love sinners—but He does. Praise Him!
  3. God cares about every little detail of your life. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered (Matthew 10:30). How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee (Psalm 139:17-18). Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (1 Peter 5:7).
  4. The Lord promises to meet your needs—all of them. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
  5. If you trust Him, He will also be your guide. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass (Psalm 37:5).
  6. Contentment can be learned. The Apostle Paul said, Not that I speak in respect of want (lack): for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Philippians 4:11). He goes on to say we should be content with what we have right now. Let your conversation (lifestyle) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).
  7. Understand that God loves to use weak things, and be thankful He wants to use you. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
  8. Set a simple goal: to bring glory to God. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Love God, and accept yourself as a masterpiece of divine artwork, created for His glory.

God bless you today!

Ask your husband.

Even in Christian circles, women constantly ask other women what they think. While that’s not wrong, and it’s extremely helpful to brainstorm certain subjects with other women, we’ve lost an important custom that dates back to biblical times—and the wisdom behind it.

Ask your husband.

Let me explain. In Numbers 30, we read that a husband may nulify a vow made by his wife. This protected her. The Bible teaches that the husband is the head of his home, and in that position, he has God-given authority. This concept carries on throughout Scripture.

When a woman goes to church and she has a question about what she’s heard, the Bible says she should ask her husband at home instead of speaking out in the service (1 Corinthians 14:35). This also protects her, and if her husband doesn’t know the answer, he can find out for her.

When a lady asks her group of Christian friends what they think, some will reference Scripture, but most give off-the-cuff personal opinions. She probably should also ask her husband. He has a different perspective and will help guide her. An added benefit to asking her husband is that he’s encouraged because he sees that she values his views.

Respecting one’s husband basically means that a wife seeks and considers his opinions.

Many women forget to ask their husbands at all.

In my own marriage, it has been an eye-opener to ask my husband his thoughts on hundreds of topics. Many times, it’s a totally different perspective. When I ask him what his priorities are for the day, a lot of times I am surprised by his answers. This is freeing. I understand what’s important to him—and that’s important to me.

In 1 Corinthians 7:34, we read that there is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

How does she know how to please her husband?

She asks.

Try it today!