Friday, May 29, 2015

Dating Advice From A Married Woman

Hi Ladies,

Just as a disclaimer, I have been married less than 2 years and am in no way a Love Expert! Honestly, I gained a new understanding of this verse after I got married. But this verse shaped my view on marriage before I met my husband. So for all of you bachelorettes who are reading this, don't disregard it! In fact, any time you see a passage of scripture related to marriage (if you see marriage in your future...) ask yourself this question: Am I living a life that will attract a man that would allow our marriage to be a godly one? For those of you that are in that in-between phase, ask yourself: is this person allowing me to be a godly woman? Is he encouraging me in my walk with God? This verse is just as much for those who still that life-changing decision to make as it is for the wives out there.

Proverbs 31.11 

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her...

The main characteristic that this verse highlights is trustworthiness.

This godly woman is trustworthy. Her husband, her family, can entrust their most important possession to her - their heart. In other words, they "have confidence" in her. (Scofield)
Like all of the qualities that this woman possesses, they are based on the example and character of Jesus Christ. In order to be trustworthy, her heart must also be placed in secure hands, the hands of her Lord. To be a truly safe place, she must know what is it to be safe.* 
Trustworthiness is not just a Christian virtue that is taught in Sunday School, but it is part of one's character, demonstrated most strongly after it is experienced through a relationship with Jesus Christ.** 
And just like in any friendship, the highest form of which is marriage, trust should be reciprocated in order to be fully exemplified.*** Can he really place all of his heart with you if he is not worthy of the same trust from you? Probably not.

Consider this verse...
And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.                    - 2 Corinthians 3.4-5
We should be content in knowing that our gifts, personal and temporal, are from the Lord and not just our own righteousness. Because we trust in Him, He reciprocates with His Spiritual closeness that gives us wisdom when reading  and helps us to embody the qualities that Jesus possesses. 

I understand that there are people who are not Christians who are still loyal and trustworthy, but there is something different and powerful about a couple who is grounded in the same thing, in God. Imagine two people love each other, and love the Lord even more. They make decisions based on what Jesus taught in the Bible. They emulate love by looking at the sacrifice Jesus made for them. They know they are on the same page, and God is the author of their book. So when troubles come or he does something to disappoint her, they recover, knowing they are grounded in the same thing. They are able to forgive because they know what it is to be forgiven. Imagine that each of them are at the base points of a triangle with God at the top. The only way for them to become closer is to walk closer to God. This builds true trust. 

... so that he shall have no need of spoil.

You know that I am not an expert in Bible doctrine. There are many things in the Bible that I do not fully understand... including the second part of this verse! What I can do when I encounter those moments of "what in the world can this possibly mean?!" is to seek wisdom from other Christians. When asked what this phrase meant, my lovely husband paused for about 30 seconds, then eventually read me this verse: 

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.                                                                   - 2 Timothy 3.16 

To me, this means that every verse has a meaning and though I may not know the strict doctrinal meaning, I know what the Holy Spirit reveals to me when I read this. And if that revelation is in line with everything else I know to be true in the Bible, I am understanding what God would have me to know. 

So when I read this, my first instinct was to define spoil:
"Plunder taken from an enemy in war or from a victim in a robbery"     - Merriam Webster         "Pillage; to plunder; to seize, snatch away"                                - Vine's Concise Dictionary     

I believe this verse to mean that when we strive to emulate the example of Christ in love and trustworthiness we can create a safe place for our husbands (and families). They have no need to fight for their needs, whether that be acceptance, respect, affirmation, etc.  

Consider this verse...
But the soldiers of the army which Amaziah sent back, that they should not go with him to battle fell upon the cities of Judah, from Samaria even unto Beth-horon, and smote three thousand of them, and took much spoil.                                                                              - 2 Chronicles 25.13

Spoil is taken by someone who has won a battle. How often do we fight with each other just to have the last word, or be able to say "I told you so." How often do we feel like we are on the defensive when we are with each other, or discussing certain topics. Remember, you are on the same team. Sometimes this requires humility.^ Sure, you will butt heads sometimes, but your "reward" should not be the last word at their expense, but an understanding that leads to a stronger relationship. 
I also don't believe that this verse is pointing to a one-sided relationship that puts pressure for peace solely on this wife. You should never be alone in your path to a godly relationship. However, we are responsible for upholding our end of the bargain and creating a safe place for our loved ones, away from the battles where there is no need for spoil. 
Remember that you are are a treasure, a ruby, in God's eyes as one of His daughters. There is no spoil more valuable than you! Your love for God and all that entails will be enough for the man your Father has prepared for you. 

Love you girls,

* He that dwelleth 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 shall I trust... He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.                           - Psalm 91.1-2,4

** But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because Thou defendest them: let them also love Thy name and be joyful in Thee.     - Psalm 5.11

*** But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.                        - 1 Thessalonians 2.4

^ Better it is to of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.   

                                                                                                            - Proverbs 16.19

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Why Rubies?

Hi Ladies,

I wanted to tell you about the creation of this blog title:
  • I needed a title for our Bible Study Book,
  • So I found a nice statement from Proverbs 31, which we studied this semester.
  • Then I read your testimonies, and many related to your "worth,"
  • Which led me back to the title I had previously chosen which fit pretty perfectly!
  • Hence, this title stuck when choosing a title for our Bible Study Blog.
Ironically, I have been doing a Proverbs 31 study the last few weeks. I have been researching each verse, doing word studies, and making applications. So since you all already have a background in this passage and it has been a recurring theme, I would like to share some of it with you!

Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start...

Proverbs 31.1-9

A little history: King Lemuel is thought to be another name for King Solomon, the author of Proverbs. If this is true, his mother that is speaking to him is Bathsheba, with whom King David committed adultery but was later forgiven by God and blessed greatly. Notice that his mother is giving him godly advice, showing him the way of the Lord even though he is all grown up and ruling Israel. It is kingly advice, but advice we can learn from and apply today. It is important to note the influence she has and godly wisdom she is giving. This is such an important part of being a mother and a leader. 
This passage has been described as "...divine wisdom applied to the earthly conditions of the people of God."                                                                               - Scofield Reference

Proverbs 31.10 

Who can find a virtuous woman, ...
This woman is "rare, but not entirely wanting."                                  - Scofield Reference

Consider these verses... 

Whoso findeth a good wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of The Lord.      - Proverbs 18.22
A godly woman is a blessing to others and can help bring others closer to God.
Houses and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from The Lord.   
                                                                                                                                        - Proverbs 19.14
Earthly wealth can be given by your earthly father to provide security and comfort. Spiritual wealth and heavenly gifts are given by your Heavenly Father. Godly women are literally gifts from God that are given to provide wisdom and guidance to others through what she has been given.
A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband...                                                               - Proverbs 12.4
Notice this says that this woman is a crown to her husband, not a trophy. A trophy is a "decorative object awarded as a prize for a victory or success." A crown is something that "imparts splendor, honor, and finish." Christian men are told to honor their wives.*^ The Lord tells us He honors those who call upon Him.^* A virtuous woman is worthy of honor from her family and from her Father. But what does the Bible mean by "virtuous"?

Virtuous: Of strength and moral courage; potent, powerful, effective; having the power to produce a desired effect                                                                                                                              - Webster
A woman who is powerful and effective, yet is strong and moral? Sometimes I struggle with being an effective Christian, especially when it comes to moral issues. It seems like anything goes today and morals are not considered a strength. Sometimes Christian values are even looked down upon as being closed-minded or at least out of date. This makes it hard or sometimes illegal to stand up for the things that are right and Biblical. It is important to realize that this is how Satan is bullying Christians into being passive about things that are completely contrary to what The Lord says. But if we overcome this we will be that effective person, fulfilled by God and confident in our faith. 
When I read this definition I imagined a woman who was effective and powerful in her impact on others while having strength and standing by morals. A woman who was so unashamed and walked so closely with Jesus that others desired that kind of relationship with Him.^ 
Our example should be a powerful and positive one. As Christians we need to ask ourselves, What affect am I having on others?
If you are feel you lack knowledge, pray for knowledge and read His answers.                              If you feel that you don't have that kind of courage, pray for courage and look to His example and the examples of others.   
Consider Ruth...

~ She was virtuous. This was known by everyone around her.*
~ She affected change in those around her. She led Boaz to follow the Will of God.**
~ Her willingness to be bold led to powerful results. Naomi was saved, she became the great-grandmother of King David, and the ancestor of Jesus Christ.***
~ Her virtue was the product of her decision to follow God, even when it was difficult.****

... for her price is far above rubies.

~ Preciousness
~ Great value
~ Costly glories
~ Wisdom
~ Though not the largest gems, they are the hardest besides the diamond symbolizing the solidarity of marriage

Consider these verses...

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding... She [wisdom] is more precious than rubies: and all the things that thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her... Her ways are of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace... and happy is he that retaineth her. 
                                                                                                                           - Proverbs 3.13,15,17-18
The Bible refers to a collective group, male and female, as "He". However, when the Bible refers specifically to Women and Wisdom, the word "She" is used.
 The Bible is God's Holy Word, breathed upon by the Holy Spirit, and every word has meaning. I believe it is significant to note that Wisdom is given a female attribute.''' On the other hand, we should strive to gain Wisdom through studying His Word. 
No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.   - Job 28.18

For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.          
                                                                                                                                          - Proverbs 8.11                                                                                                                     
The Bible compares Women and Wisdom to rubies. God chose the to describe a godly woman as virtuous and to compare them to rubies, both meaning strong, rare, honorable. Isn't it amazing how perfectly the Word of God fits together? 
The Lord also says that nothing is to be compared to her, meaning Wisdom up in Proverbs 3. He also starts that chapter with the words "My Son." In my mind I can just see God the Father giving the Dad Warning before His daughter's first date: "She is a precious one, you hear? You better treat her like the princess she is... or else." Yes I have quite an imagination, but after all, 
He is my Father, my Protector,  and He loves me enough to die for me. 
This is how He thinks of me, His daughter. And if you are His daughter, this is how He thinks of you too. Remember this when you start to question your worth. 
But also remember that we also have a responsibility.  As His daughter we are to represent Him, honor Him, with our actions and with our affect on others. He tells us to walk worthy of the situation He has given us, and with humility.^^^ 
Let's start walking like we are worthy of Heaven
Worthy of the sacrifice Jesus made for us
Worthy of the responsibility we have to be a light for Him.

Love you girls,

*^ Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.                                                                           - 1 Peter 3.7
^* He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation.
                                                                                                              - Psalm 91.15-17 
For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done unto you.   
                                                                                                          - Jesus, John 13.15
... for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman. 
                                                                                                            - Boaz, Ruth 3.11 
** And he said, who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman. And he said, Blessed be thou of The Lord, my daughter for thou hast shown more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requires...    
                                                                                         - Boaz and Ruth, Ruth 3.9-11
*** So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife... And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be The Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that His name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be a restorer of thy life and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, born him.                                                                                                              - Ruth 4.13-15
**** And she [Naomi] said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall by my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: The Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.                                                                 - Ruth 1.15-17
''' Read Proverbs 8 and notice that Wisdom is referred to as "she", then speaks in first person as "I". 
^^^ I therefore, the prisoner of The Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forebearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling, One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.               - Paul to the church at Ephesus, Ephesians 4.1-6


Monday, May 11, 2015

Let's Take A Look Back...

Hello girls :)

The last two years have obviously been amazing. God placed 18 girls in a PT program that would allow us to help others physically while also creating this Bible study to help us spiritually! 

I felt led to start this blog as a continuation of what we had at our academic time at Mercer. As usual, I don't really have a plan, just a nudge from the Lord that we should have this. I would love to continue sharing what God has shown me and what I have heard from other Christians. It can also be a place for you to share as well. Feel free to comment or post yourself! 

Do you remember our first Bible study of the semester? 

We talked about how God led the Israelites across the Jordan River, their last huge obstacle between them and the Promised Land. It seemed impossible, so God parted the River like He parted the Red Sea and allowed them to cross. 
BUT, they were not alone. 
The Ark of the Covenant - where God's Spirit dwelt - entered before them, stood in the midst as they crossed, and did not leave until they had crossed. We talked about how we were in a similar position (comprehensives and finals before going to clinic) but the Lord had led us here and He would not leave us to fight a battle alone. 
"If God be for us, who can be against us?"* Isn't that a glorious promise?! I can tell you that I thought back to this passage almost every day and it helped me tremendously when I was having anxiety and sleepless nights about our final week. 

The Israelites found faith by looking back on what God had already done or them
God proves Himself faithful to His children.** He never changes.*** 

Maybe you have excited anxiety about starting clinic. I may camp out at my site so I won't be late for my first day! #PTschoolPTSD Or maybe you have some personal Jordan Rivers. Remember this promise. Remember what the Lord has done for you. He will never leave you or forsake you.^ Keep looking back to be reminded of the security you have right now, and for your future, in Jesus Christ.

Love you girls, 

* What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?..Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?..Nay, in all things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.                                     Romans 8.31-32,35,37 
**  The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.                                   Lamentations 3.22-23 

*** For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. 
                                                                                                 Malachi 3.6 
^ Let your conversation 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