Clothing choices

Pr. 31:25:  “Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come.”

Strength and honor are her clothing.  This is such an interesting verse to me.  I like the idea of being clothed with strength and honor.  What a beautiful attire.

I am not strong in body, but with God I can absolutely be strong in spirit.  It is the Lord that gives me strength.  It is in my weakness that the Lord perfects His strength within me.  It is the Holy Spirit that empowers and equips me.  The Lord, alone, is my strength; for nothing is impossible with Him.  No matter what this life brings, the knowledge that the Lord will never leave me nor forsake me gives me such strength that I can continue forward, in His care.

Honor can come in many ways.  When we do what we say we will do, we are being honorable: keeping promises and commitments, following through, showing up.  Telling the truth is honorable, especially if we can also understand that sometimes truth needs to be delivered in a loving and kind way.  (Sometimes the truth can hurt)  Treating others kindly and respectfully shows them honor, and thus brings honor back to ourselves.  I could go on and on.

Honor is a beautiful accessory to our wardrobes, for sure.  It is something we can ask the Lord to continue to grow in our lives.  I think it is something akin to holiness, which is never out of style.

“She will rejoice in time to come.”  When we have been wearing such beautiful things in our lives, of course when we look back over our lives we will rejoice.  What a wonderful legacy we will have been leaving behind us.  What beautiful footprints we will have laid down in which others can safely follow.  What a glorious testimony we will have given; one of glory to our God and trust in the One who gave us strength to make it through.  🙂

I can’t help but smile as I think about it.  The clothes in my closet certainly won’t bring any level of satisfaction at the end of my life, but this strength and this honor…Oh, Lord, let it be.  Help me, daily, Lord, to wear the attire that has been described in this verse.  I want to honor You above all, Father, and to bring glory to Your name.  I want to be able to show that it was by Your strength that I was able to do things that would have otherwise been impossible.  Help us all, Lord, in the matchless name of Your Son, Jesus.  Amen.

Richly clothed,

jamie

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Does your lamp go out at night?

Pr. 31:18: “She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night.”

I’m alright at perceiving that my merchandise is good, but I am Not a night person, so the second part of this verse has never been one of my favorites to read.  I love my sleep!  And not 4 hours… I’ll take 8 hours, thank you very much.

I just realized I’ve been overthinking it.  I’ve envisioned myself having to staying up, bonnet on head, sewing clothes, doing bills, and cooking a week’s worth of meals while everyone else was sleeping soundly.

At about 9:20 last night, my daughter was throwing up.  No matter how old she is, I’m not going to just go to bed and leave her alone while she’s suffering.  I stayed up with her, and even slept on the couch with her, checking on her and helping her through the night.  I didn’t even think twice about it.

Phew!  I no longer have to be intimidated by that verse, thinking that one day I’ll get to it.  I’ve had babies, and lost lots of sleep caring for them.

Although it’s thankfully not the norm in our house anymore, sometimes care needs to happen at night.  If you have ever had to respond to a need at night that you didn’t think twice about, then you’ve done the same.  Well done, you!

When a loved one needs us, whether they live in our house or not, we have to be available.  They need to know that like Motel 6, “we’ll leave the light on for you.”

Responding,

jamie

Scheduling love

Pr. 31:14:  “She is like the merchant ships, she brings food from afar.”

Recently, while I was preparing a meal plan for the week and the accompanying grocery list, my brother-in-law sarcastically asked, “I wonder where Kaili gets her planning skills?”  ha!

My daughter is the queen of planning.  Ever ready for adventure, she can instantly gather pen and paper and prepare a list of fun activities, things needed, or people to invite within moments of you mentioning any activity or the desire to have one.  It always amazes us and/or makes us giggle.

This morning, as I was reading through Proverbs 31, I was reminded what a great trait that actually is.  If she can plan like that in elementary school, by the time she has her own household, she will likely have her schedules running like clockwork.  I have every confidence that she will care for her household well.

Thankfully, we don’t have to be perfect planners to care for those around us.  We just have to pay attention to their needs and desires.  Simply planning to include others in our own personal schedules makes a huge difference in their lives.

More than ensuring every needed supply on hand and every thing is perfect, if we plan to include our family in our routine, they will know without a doubt that they are loved, appreciated, and cared for.  Sadly, those who are closest to us are often the ones who are pushed off the list first.

Today, let’s put our loved ones on our list in ink, planning to include one of their needs or desires in our day.  Talk about a good investment of our time!

Anticipating my day,

jamie

Watching over the household

Pr. 31:27:  “She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

As a woman whose job is to care for her home, her children, and her husband, this verse runs through my mind quite often.  Although we all need breaks where we rest, we are urged not to be continually idle.  There is a big difference between a 1 hour break and a 1 month veg-out where little to no work is done at all.

No worries men, hang with me.  I have a different take on this verse today.  I want to talk about not watching over the ways of the household of God.

After Stephen was stoned, Christ’s followers were greatly persecuted.  Stephen had just been stoned for preaching the gospel.  Saul was making ‘havoc’ of the church, dragging off men and women to prison.  Now, the rest were being scattered throughout the regions of Jerusalem and Samaria.  I would imagine this would not only have been a sad time, with the death of a friend, but also pretty scary and uncertain.

It would be natural for those scattered to go into hiding.  Grief has many stages and effects, and it wouldn’t have been out of the question for some to simply tend to their own well-being at the time.  However, we don’t see that taking place.  Acts 8:4 says that those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.  It tells specifically of Philip going to Samaria and preaching Christ to them.  There were miracles, deliverance from unclean spirits, healings, and baptisms.  Vs. 8 says, “And there was great joy in that city.”

Wow!  What I notice is that instead of giving in to their feelings and emotions, those who were scattered were determined to take care of the household of God and not use this time to eat the bread of idleness.  When there is work to be done, someone has to do it.  It seems these followers took their work seriously.

We all need breaks from time to time.  We were created to rest and the Lord even modeled that for us.  It is good to spend Sabbath time where we rest, renew our strength, spend some deliberate quiet time with God in prayer and in the Word, and re-create ourselves in His strength.  However, we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into idleness.  We must care for our Father’s house and our Father’s children.  There is work to be done.

We can take notes from those early followers and remember that there is great joy to be spread.  Our family is counting on us!

Inspired,

jamie

Another day to persevere

Pr. 31:25:  “Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come.”

Do you know what this verse doesn’t say?  It does not say that she shall rejoice every moment of every day.  It says she shall rejoice in time to come.

As I read this verse this morning, I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 11:6, which says, “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.”

This reminds me that diligence, persistence, effort, and perseverance are important qualities of our nature.  We must continue to press forward.  Some activities in our lives seem mundane and routine at times.  Some responsibilities feel overwhelming or paralyzing.

It is the completion of the tasks before us or the persistent effort to do so that brings us honor.  It is the husband who continues to get up and go to work daily, when he would rather do anything else, who receives honor for his perseverance.  It is the student who trudges through their schoolwork, with consistent effort, who receives honor for not giving up or giving in to lesser things.  It is the mother who sweeps the floor for a 3rd time in one day who is doing what is honorable, through her diligence.

There is a lot to be said for not giving up.  If we do not sow any seed, no prosperity will come forth.  However, if we continue to daily sow seeds, something will eventually take root.  We may not see the results right away.  We may wonder if anything will ever come from them.  We may even notice that, other than our own personal satisfaction, not much comes from some of them.

The point is; however, that in order to see the growth of the fruit, we must sow the seeds.  Strength comes when we persevere.  Honor comes from the same.

As we say good-bye to 2014, let’s remember all the ways in which we have been consistently diligent and persistent and rejoice that we have increased in strength.

As we welcome 2015, let’s remember that honor comes from not giving up, and continue to sow our seeds.  Let’s continue to release those things in our hands and watch what comes forth from them.  It will be worth the effort.

God, we thank you for another day…another year to serve You.  Help us this day to rejoice in You and in the blessings that have come from You.  As we face the possibility of another year, give us the daily strength to persevere in Your will and in Your service.  If tomorrow does not come, help us to give ourselves over to You once again, receiving Your salvation and forgiveness, and living a life that honors You.  Our diligence in serving You will not go unrewarded, and for that we give You praise! 

Happy New Year!

jamie

What’s on your tongue?

Pr. 31:26:  “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”

Being around children all day, I am acutely aware that kindness on the tongue is not something that happens by accident.  We are born pretty selfish, self-serving, and self-absorbed.  Tenderness, affection, and courtesy are attributes that take time and training to develop.

That training should not end when we are grown.  As adults, we must make sure that we are still training ourselves to be kind.  It is something that can still be lost if not nurtured.  Where can we find kindness in this world?  I’m glad you asked.  The Word of God teaches us in Eph. 4:32, “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Eph. 5:2 tells us to, “walk in love.”  Ph. 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”  Col. 3:12-13 urges us, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering:  bearing with one another, and forgiving one another…”

I could go on and on.  There are numerous verses about kindness, affection, forgiveness, and bearing with one another.  Why so many?  We were born selfish.  Just as when we were kids, we need constant reminders.  If we are to have the law of kindness on our tongues, men and women alike, we must be sensitive to the rebukes and reminders we find from the Lord.

Also, when we are walking in the Spirit, it is evident by the fruit He produces within us:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  With God at the helm of our lives, this fruit will naturally be brought forth in our lives.

Wisdom and kindness come from the Lord.  If we are tarrying in His presence, studying and absorbing His Word, asking for His guidance throughout our days, and listening for His still-small voice to speak His wisdom, then we will be full of Him and walking in the Spirit.  This is when we will be one who opens their mouth with wisdom, and has the law of kindness on their tongue.

If you want to be someone like that, stick with God.  If He can bring forth water from a rock to refresh thousands, He can certainly help us speak kind words to refresh those around us.  🙂

Blessings,

jamie

 

 

Strengthen yourself

Pr. 31:17:  “She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.”

This morning I also read Ephesians 6.  Vs. 10 tells us to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”  Since we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but  against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this age, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places, we are encouraged to take on the whole armor of God.  With the armor of God we will be able to withstand in the evil day.

So, how do we strengthen ourselves against things we cannot even see?  The armor keeps us covered for it all:

Gird your waist with the truth of God’s word.  Satan will try to use the word against you, just like he did with Eve and Jesus, but his words are always twisted.  You must read the Word and know the truth for yourself.

Put on the breastplate of righteousness.  When Jesus died and took our sins on the cross, we were made His righteousness.  Wear that righteousness confidently!  Do not let Satan take from you what is rightfully yours.  Jesus died for YOU!

Shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel peace.  The shoes of the armor come with spikes to help you stand firm on the foundation of the gospel.  Believing in the Lord’s promises give us the peace to walk confidently, not worrying about what lies in our path.  No pain or fear can overtake us as the peace that passes all understanding keeps us going forward.

Take the shield of faith.  With this shield you will be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one.  Satan will not relent in his attack on us until we are called home.  Your faith in God and in His Word is what will quench every attack as you fully trust in and rely on the Lord of Lords, who is greater than he who is in this world!

Put on the helmet of salvation.  Salvation is not something we can earn.  Salvation is a gift from God, through the sacrifice of Jesus.  We must use the Word to renew our minds and remind ourselves of that gift.  Satan will try to attack our minds, and bring us low, but the truth about the gift of our salvation will protect our minds.

Take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  The sword is the only part of the armor used for attack.  You must know the Word to use it.  When Satan tempted Jesus, Jesus used the Word to attack.  When Satan tempts you or talks nasty to you, you can use your sword to cut through his deceit.  Remember that the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.  It can pierce through division, deception, and lies, getting to the joints and marrow of the truth.  It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Know the Word!  Use your sword!

When you think of strengthening yourself today, think about the One who gives us strength.  In Him, we can do all things.  Without Him, we can do nothing.  Strengthen yourself in the Word and in the confidence we gain from the truth.

Getting stronger,

jamie