Proverbs 31:21

Proverbs 31:21

AMP: She fears not the snow for her family, for all her household are doubly clothed in scarlet.

CEV: Her family has warm clothing, and so she doesn’t worry when it snows.

MSG: She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.

Notice the word ‘doubly’ in the Amplified Version.  This could refer to covering their physical bodies with nice, warm clothing, as well as covering them with her prayers.  The scarlet could represent how she pleads the blood of Christ over them, to protect them from the snare of the enemy.  It’s similar to the story we find in Josh. 2 about the scarlet cord.  As long as Rahab hung her scarlet cord in the window, she and her household would be protected.

It’s clear that this lady has taken inventory of what kind of clothing her family needs, whether physical clothing, or ‘clothing’ that she must provide through her intercession.  As a careful manager of her home, she is ever watchful to notice when someone is in need of an extra portion of intercession to help them through life’s battles.  As she does the tedious job of laundry, she takes time to notice when some garments need to be replaced or mended.  Once she saw a need, she was eager to get busy and complete the task, not giving in to procrastination.  I can even picture this dear lady praying for her loved ones, even as she handles each piece of their clothing.

As mothers, we can be so overwhelmed with the many duties that lie before us.  We must be careful to take the time to notice when our loved ones are in special need of our intercession.  It’s so easy to say, “I’ll pray for them later.”  In this most important area, we must not give in to procrastination, but be willing to adjust our schedules to do a ‘higher duty’ — the duty of getting on our knees before our Maker, and interceding for those God has given to us.

Praying over the Bible

Does your family need some ‘scarlet covering’ through your prayers?

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

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Cross Dressing

Matt Smith

Cross Dressing

When my daughter was just ten years old, we had the unfortunate experience of running into a drunken cross-dresser one day.  I really did not care to have her exposed to this kind of lifestyle at such a young age.  To complicate matters even more, I had to explain to her why this man who attends our church is dressed like a lady.

After returning home, the Lord revealed to me that all Christians, at one time or another, have been guilty of being cross-dressers.  The difference is that our cross-dressing does not affect our clothing, but our spirit.

Christians are commanded to put on garments of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and love. (Colossians 3:12-14)

As I read that verse, I began to think of the many times my husband has needed a compassionate, listening ear.  Instead, I dressed myself in a garment that said, “I am too busy to listen to you right now.”

How many times have we been in a long line at the grocery store, only to offer the cashier rudeness instead of kindness?

Instead of putting on humility, we choose a prideful garment.  Even though we many not be speaking our prideful thoughts audibly, God hears, and He is not pleased. (Proverbs 8:13; First Peter 5:5)

I can think of several times when my daughter has struggled with a new concept in school.  As her teacher, and even more so, as a Christian, I should offer her gentleness.  Instead, I put on harshness or a critical spirit.

When we are trying to get out the door, and the rest of the family is poking along, how often are we patient with them?  If we are honest, most of us would be embarrassed to admit how often we put on the garment of impatience.

Patience seems to be one of those garments that we would rather not wear.  It seems to fit about as comfortably as a tight-fitting girdle.  Instead, we opt for impatience, which often shows itself through anger, rudeness, rage, foul language, and very discernible body language.

We are to be dressed in love, yet how do we act when a dirty, smelly person visits our church?  Do we put on the garment of love?  Or do we turn aside, pretending they are not there?

When we get dressed, we may look through our closet and think, “I do not feel like wearing this outfit today.”  I think we also do this with the garment of love.  We tend to think that love is a feeling.  If we do not feel like wearing it, we will tend to put on bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, rudeness, selfishness, and a critical spirit.

I was really disgusted by the sight of the drunken cross-dresser.  However, after allowing the Holy Spirit to show me many occasions where I have guilty of cross-dressing, I am more disgusted with my own behavior.

Father, help me to daily put on the Lord Jesus so that I can cease to be a cross-dresser.  Amen. (Romans 13:14)

© 2007, Stacy R. Miller

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Proverbs 31:20

Proverbs 31:20

MSG: She is quick to assist anyone in need, reaching out to help the poor.

CEV: And she helps the poor and the needy.

AMP: She opens her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her filled hands to the needy (whether in body, mind. or spirit).

This verse shows us the importance of helping those in need.  So many times, we may find it easier to simply write a check and send it in the mail.  However, the Amplified Version shows us that sending a check isn’t a cure-all for every ‘needy’ person or every situation.  Sometimes we need to be ‘Jesus with skin on,’ reaching out to do something more than just writing a check.

We can show our children by example how to minister to those who are needy in mind or spirit by taking them with us as we search for a card to send someone who is going through a trial.  Another way to model a good example is by picking up the phone to call the person, and praying with them over the phone.  It can even be modeled by simply buying some chocolate candy and giving it to the one whose mind or spirit may be ‘needy.’ 

One way that I’ve taught Rachel to minister to others is by fixing food when there has been a death in the family.  We’ve talked about why this is such a great ministry to the person during this time of grief.  I’ve also talked to her about how I send cards to people on special anniversary dates or birthdays, explaining that it will make them feel better to know that someone else remembered their loved one on this special day.

For the one who is needy in body, we can fix a meal for them, or if we don’t want to do a complete meal, we can at least bake some bread or cookies for them.  For one who is recovering from major surgery, she may do well to get a meal fixed, but may not have the energy to make a dessert.  Some ‘comfort’ food may be a real blessing to her family.

Another thing we can to for those who are needy in body is to clean their house for them.  When a friend of mine had twins, I made it a habit to dust her furniture when I’d go to visit her.  She was obviously ‘needy’ during those early months of raising twins.  It blessed me to be able to help her.

For several years, we have made it a tradition to do up a shoe box, filled with gifts, to send to Samaritan’s Purse, who sends them to a needy child.  This is a relatively inexpensive way to do something for a needy child, and also include your children in the process.  Rachel really enjoys being able to pick out which gifts.  Most recently, we decided to ‘adopt’ a family through our church.  I can’t begin to tell you how much fun it was to go shopping for them.  It was even better when we got to see them open their gifts!  It’s a memory that we will cherish for years.

Samaritan's Purse

Samaritan’s Purse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know one lady whose three children wanted to each do a shoe box of their own.  Being that it could get quite costly to do three boxes, she suggested that instead of buying the normal number of gifts for the children, they would get less for Christmas, allowing Mom the money needed to buy for three needy children.  This was quite a sacrifice for her children because they each only get three presents for Christmas. By sacrificing, they were now only getting two gifts each, but they were willing to give so another could be blessed.

Rachel and I would like to volunteer to serve a meal at the Rescue Mission, which helps homeless people.  Being that she is a little young for that, we are holding off until she is a little more mature, but we have both been discussing this idea for quite some time.  Being that my husband and I have made a tradition to spend Christmas Day at home, when Rachel and I do get a chance to serve meals, we will have to work it out to be on a different day, so that we are able to honor Dean’s wishes for us to all be home on Christmas Day, but at the same time, allowing us to minister to those who are less fortunate than us.

We have seen many times throughout Proverbs 31 how this dear lady was very creative in her daily tasks.  How can you be creative in ministering to someone this week?

© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

 

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Criticism

Criticism

None of us like to be criticized, and we like it even less when we are criticized by our own husband.  The Bible tells us that there are times when we should admonish others, but when our husband sees a reason to admonish us, we can turn on him like a viper, ready to strike.  We seem to forget the biblical mandate for admonishing others.  Next, we start hollering about how he has no right to criticize us.  Finally, we feel that carnal nature rising up within us to put him in his place and show him that if anyone in our household needs some criticizing, it is him!

 

Why would God choose to use our husband to admonish us?

1.  Sometimes we refuse to listen to God.

We are constantly surrounded by noise.  If it’s not the radio, TV, the phone, or the kids, then it’s the noise of things like the washing machine.  It’s no wonder we don’t hear God speak to us!

In Psalm 81:8, God tells the people that if only they would listen, He could admonish them.  How many times have I neglected to listen to the Lord?

2.   Sometimes God may use our husband to test us.

We may be thinking that we have a true servant’s heart, but God may use our husband to reveal to us that we only have a servant’s heart toward certain people, and it’s not those in our own house.  In testing us, God may be watching to see how we respond when our husband brings up a valid issue.

3.  Sometimes God speaks through our husband to correct us.

Our husbands often have a keen ability to sense when things at home may be out of balance.  Granted, there are times when the house may be in shambles when he comes home because we’ve been too busy taking care of sick kids.  However, if this is a common occurrence, God may speak through your husband to help you change priorities so that you will be more in line with Titus 2 where it talks about being keepers at home.

Our husband may sense that we are too immersed in outside activities, and it is causing chaos to reign in the home instead of making it a peaceful place of refuge for everyone at the end of a long day.  He may sense that while we may be physically present in the home, we have mentally ‘checked out.’  This ‘checking out’ could be in the form of reading excessively, talking on the phone endlessly, spending unnecessary time on the Internet, or becoming a news junkie.  It could mean that we have become an addict of soap operas or even the daily talk shows.  The result is the same – CHAOS in the home.

4. Sometimes God will use our husband to caution us about unhealthy friendships.

I know that my own husband has keen insight a lot of the time regarding my friends.  One time he cautioned me about a certain ‘friend’ with whom I was spending a lot of time.  I did not heed the wisdom in what he shared.  The price to be paid was great, for this ‘friend’ turned on me and stabbed me in the back.  She was a conniving, manipulating person.  For me to try and defend myself from her attacks would only add fuel to the fire.  I had to stand back and let God take control and let Him vindicate me.  Sad to say, but it was nearly two years before I got the confirmation that He had indeed vindicated me.  I have learned a lot through that experience, but how much better off would I have been if only I had listened to the wise words of my husband?  I have no doubt that it was the Spirit of the Lord speaking through him, trying to caution me against a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

If your husband speaks to you about your friends, please seriously consider what he is saying to you.  We are wise when we are cautious in our friendships, and sometimes a man’s perspective can save us a load of turmoil later.  (Proverbs 12:26)  Because I failed to listen, I suffered much emotional and mental anguish.  Is it any wonder?  We are told in Proverbs 13:20 that if we hang out with fools, we will indeed suffer harm.

What should be our response when we feel our husband is criticizing us?

1.  First, let your spirit rule you, rather than your emotions.  When you do this, you will be more apt to follow the biblical mandate to be quick to hear, but slow in speaking or becoming angry.  (James 1:19)

2.  Don’t repay him with evil.  (Proverbs 20:22)  Keep in mind that love isn’t rude.  Even if we feel our husband is completely out of line with his comments, it does not give us the right to turn on him and be rude and hurtful.  Nor is it the time to do a history lesson, bringing up a record of the many criticisms that you may have built up against him over the years.

3.  Don’t become stiff-necked.  If we become stiff-necked and stay that way, scripture tells us that we will be destroyed.  (Proverbs 29:1)  If we are destroyed, who may be destroyed right along with us?

4.  Be receptive.  We need to open our heart to instruction and insights from other people.  If we do, we may learn some vital truths that can really help us to grow in the Lord.  (Proverbs 23:12)

5.  Remember the load of responsibility that your husband carries, as the head of the house.  God will hold him responsible for what takes place in the home.  (I Timothy 3:13)  Since he is the head of the household, God may very well use him to correct some things taking place in the home, and some of those issues may involve admonishing you.

6.  Be adaptable.  The Amplified Bible tells us in Titus 2:5 that we are to adapt ourselves to our husband.   That may mean that we need to adjust to a new way of doing things.  Just because we’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t mean that we can’t change that.  When we are adaptable, rather than cantankerous, it keeps the Word from being discredited.

7.  Get ready for glory!  As God’s children, we are being changed from glory to glory.  Sometimes God will use the words spoken by our husband in an effort to achieve a major transformation in us that allows His glory to shine brilliantly through us.

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

Proverbs 31:19

Proverbs 31:19

AMP: She lays her hands to the spindle and her hands hold the distaff.

CEV: She spins her own cloth.

MSG: She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking.

This verse is referring to doing some very tedious, mundane work.  I doubt that it was a job which one would consider enjoyable.  I would liken it to chopping vegetables or cutting the fat off of several different packages of meat before freezing it for later use.  Another thing I find very tedious is hemming garments.  Almost every shirt for my daughter requires cutting off several inches of the sleeves, then re-hemming them.  It’s never an enjoyable task, and becomes very tedious after only a couple of shirts, BUT when I get them all done, I can see that my work is valuable.  I can finally see the end result – a daughter who is dressed nicely, in clothes that fit her well.

We are all called to do the tedious, mundane work. We all do things which nobody notices.  We all clean the house, only to find that a very short time later, it needs to be done again.  Even so, this woman gives a clear picture that we are to be diligent in the area of ‘homemaking,’ even if no one but Jesus takes notice of our labors.

© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

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Drip…Drip…Drip…

Proverbial Thought

Proverbs 27:15-16

“A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.”
“A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day. Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold something with greased hands.” – NLT

Water Torture

Chinese water torture is a process where a person is strapped down and forced to endure a steady, continuous dripping of water on one’s forehead. I have never experienced it, but I’ve read that it’s pretty horrible.

mythbusters.jpg mythbusters.jpg (Photo credit: LVCHEN)

As a matter of fact, a popular television program decided to put water torture to the test. MythBusters (seen on The Discovery Channel) convinced a couple of their people to allow themselves to be subjected to Chinese water torture, and the following is…

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~Nag, Nag, Nag~

Peace of My Heart

Ladies, I hate to do this to you but if I didn’t write about the quarrelsome wife at some point during our Proverbs study then it really wouldn’t have been an accurate depiction of all that the book covers.  I’m going to make this easier on you by focusing on my own experience as a nag.

I have a happy and fulfilled marriage….now.  Let’s just say that hasn’t always been the case.  Now I was always an excellent homemaker.  My home was never dirty, the laundry was done daily, my cupboards were never bare and meals where prepared right on schedule.  I was taking very good care of my man and providing for most of his needs.  But, and you all knew the but was coming, I was not doing any of these things with a cheerful heart.  My husband was coming home to a picture perfect house with a…

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