Where is Your Pulpit?

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Where is Your Pulpit?

As I was reading in Titus 2, I thought it was interesting to note that in verse 4, the first item on the list was for a woman to love her husband.  When we make a to-do list, we usually put the most important items at the top of the list.  For this item to be first on the list in scripture, the Lord is showing us that it is very important.  In verse 5, we find that she is to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to her husband.  In today’s society, men don’t get much respect.  Television makes husbands and fathers look like complete idiots.  Sadly, that attitude is even permeating Christian homes.  That must be why we are commanded in Eph. 5:33 to respect our husband.

For those who are newly married, or are struggling in their marriages, I wanted to give some practical advice on how to ‘love your husband,’ as the Word mandates.  We need to understand that our love for our husband is seen by how we speak to him and how we speak about him.  It is seen by how we take care of him and what we do to serve him.  Mt. 6:21 tells us that where our treasure is, our heart will be found.  Where is your treasure?  Do you see your husband as a precious treasure from the Lord?  Do you treat him as such?  What we do and say about our husband is often our ‘pulpit.’  People can learn much about us, just by observing how we treat our husband, whether he is present or not.

I find that my ‘pulpit’ is often in the kitchen.  Since our family room and kitchen are combined, I try to honor my husband by having my daughter straighten up the family room before he comes home.  I try to have a meal fixed and ready for him.  Entering a house that has a sense of order, and the pleasant aroma of food is inviting to a man.  (I am ‘preaching’ to him that he is important to me, simply by what I do for him.)  Sometimes I will even turn on some soft, soothing worship music to greet him as he walks in the door.   My daughter will often question why it’s so important to make the house look nice ‘just for Daddy.’  From my ‘pulpit,’ I am trying to teach her that Daddy is important, and that when he comes home at the end of a long day, he doesn’t want to see messes everywhere.  Chances are high that he probably spent most of his day working in ‘messes.’  He needs a nice, quiet, inviting place to relax and unwind.

Just a few nights ago, Dean didn’t get home until around 10PM.  He had worked about 15 hours that day, not to mention the long days he had already worked earlier in the week.  I have to admit, by 10PM, I was tired.  I didn’t feel like entering my ‘pulpit’ again, but because my desire is to honor my Christ in all that I do, I hopped up from the couch the minute I heard his truck door slam shut.  I met him at the door and asked if he had taken time to eat supper.  After he stated that he hadn’t, and that he was very hungry, I began pulling things out of the refrigerator, and in a matter of minutes, I had a big plate of hot food fixed and ready to eat.  I literally felt a second wind come into my body, giving me the energy to serve him, and to do it gladly.  I would venture to say that my attitude in serving my husband as if I were serving the Lord had a lot to do with that added burst of energy.  I enjoyed putting the meal together for him.  I think he could sense that because he was very thankful for the effort I put forth.

Backing up to the scripture in Titus, in verse 4, the children were listed as second on the priority list.  While in the middle of trying to get Dean’s meal together, Rachel approached me, wanting some attention.  I gently, but firmly told her that I was taking care of her Daddy, so she would need to wait until I was finished getting his food fixed.  This was another way of honoring him.  He heard me telling her, in so many words, that my husband comes before her.  It is good for children to realize that this world does not revolve around them.

You can probably think of some things around the house that your husband likes done, just by thinking of comments he has made.  If he complains of the clutter, enter the ‘clutter pulpit’ and try to work on reducing that clutter.  I don’t mean doing it all in one day, but do a little every day.  Before you know it, the house will look much better, and you will be honoring your husband.

If he complains that supper is never ready when he walks in, try your hardest to ‘preach’ from the kitchen by at least having the meal started when he walks in the door.

One evening, after a very long, hard day, I used some special markers on the bathroom mirror.  I wrote, “Dean, you are awesome!”  It was a small way of letting him know that I do take notice of how hard he works to provide for us.

Are there little things that you expect him to do because they appear to be a ‘man’s job’?  I’m talking about things like checking the air in your tires, filling the gas tank, raking, paying the bills, etc.  Those may seem like such little things, but when your husband works all day, he will really appreciate not having to do those kinds of things.  Dean is usually the one to do the in-depth cleaning of the laundry room.  I am not supposed to be moving heavy objects, but when we noticed a smell coming from the dryer, I knew it was time to stretch myself.  I recognized that he had more than enough to keep him busy, so I took a morning and tackled cleaning the whole utility room, down to even pulling out the washer and dryer, and cleaning the hose behind the dryer.  I was so proud of myself, and I could tell that Dean was very pleased that I was able to figure it all out and not break anything in the process!

Does your husband complain during the winter months about having itchy, dry skin?  Try rubbing him down with some body oil, even baby oil will work.  Another suggestion would be to purchase a body scrub for him to use in the shower.  If you get it from Walmart, it won’t cost you very much either.  Does he have a favorite kind of candy?  Buy a bag of the miniatures, then when he needs a ‘chocolate fix,’ it’s already there for him.  Do you know of a book he’d like to read?  Check the library for him, or see about purchasing the book for him.  Checking on ebay first may even save you money than if you’d buy it locally.

We live in Indiana, but Dean’s favorite NBA team is Utah.  We can’t find any T-shirt, sweatshirts, etc., in our area that say “Utah.”  One year, I had my aunt, who lives in Salt Lake City, pick up a couple of Utah Jazz sweatshirts for him when they were on sale.  Last year, I bought him a Utah Jazz watch, along with several other Utah things.  He was really impressed with my ingenuity.  He knew that I spent some time searching for the items, which ‘preached’ to him that finding his preferences was worthwhile to me.

In Titus 2:5, we are admonished to be busy at home.  So Sister, find discover where your ‘pulpit’ is in your home.  Now get busy showing your husband that he is your most precious treasure, next of course, to your wonderful Savior!

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

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Titus 2 Moms

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Titus 2 Moms

“Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.  Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”  Titus 2:3-5 (NIV)

We have discussed this portion of scripture in previous mailings, but as I pondered on it the other day, I saw it in a whole new light.  When I have studied this before, I always thought of it as meaning that the older women of the church should be teaching and mentoring ladies like us, who are in the midst of raising our children.  And yes, that is true.  But let’s look at it from a new perspective.  If we are mothers of daughters, then WE are the “older” women, and the daughters are the “younger” women.  (For those of you who have sons, please continue reading.  You will find some information that can be applied to sons as well.)

We teach our daughters more by example than by our words.  We have all heard that phrase “actions speak louder than words.”  Children are smart, and they can pick this up at a very young age.  So, we need to be very careful of what our actions (and our words) are teaching them.  Are we modeling a good example of Biblical love to our husband?  If not, then dear daughter is learning an unbiblical way to love her future husband.  Are we careful to honor and respect our husband?  If not, we are teaching our little ladies to do the same thing when they are older.  Do we whine, nag, and manipulate to get our way with our husband?  If so, then by our poor example, we are teaching our daughters to do the same thing to get what they want.  Do we find ourselves screaming most of the time?  If we are, then we are teaching them to react to situations from their flesh rather than responding to them through God’s Spirit who lives in us.  Do we refuse to submit to our husbands?  Here again, if we struggle in this area, we are showing a poor example to our children.

It is very important for daughters not to be allowed to back talk to their fathers.  They must learn to respect Daddy.  If we don’t train them to respect him, then how can we expect them to respect their future husband?  If we don’t take a strong stand in this area, then they will perceive that this behavior is acceptable in a marriage.

Sons must not be allowed to walk all over their mothers or be disrespectful toward them.  This is a critical thing for them to learn.  If we don’t train them correctly in this area, we may end up raising a son who could lean toward being abusive to his future wife, be it verbal abuse, mental abuse, or physical abuse.

Let’s keep in mind that a child left to himself/herself disgraces his mother.  (Prov. 29:15)

I have read many times that the person who has the most influence on people is their mother.  That is a heavy load for each of us to carry.  That is why it is so important for us to learn to stay connected to the vine.  (Jn. 15)  We must remember that apart from Christ, we can do nothing.  (Jn. 15)  But, with Christ, we can do all things!  (Phil. 4:13)

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Intimidated by the Virtuous Woman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intimidated by the Virtuous Woman

Do you ever feel intimidated by the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31?  I sure have!  She was the model of perfection.

I remember going through a time when I couldn’t seem to do anything right.  I went to cut off a pair of Rachel’s pants to make Capri’s out of them.  I cut the same leg twice!

Another time I got really energetic and was trying to do some in-depth cleaning.  In my haste to get as much accomplished before my energy level dropped, I used the wrong cleaner on a door and ruined the finish.  Shortly thereafter, I ruined our evening meal.

Everything within me was screaming, “YOU ARE A FAILURE!”  I had to stop and tell myself the truth.  While Rachel was not going to have Capri’s from that one pair of pants, she was able to have a pair of shorts.

So maybe the finish on the door was ruined, but that is something which can easily be corrected.  Plus, I looked at all of the other things I accomplished that day.  I wasn’t a failure!  Actually, I was quite productive!

I ruined one meal out of how many?  In other words, that meal was a failure, not me.

Now back to that virtuous woman….She may appear to be the model of perfection.  In reality, she had mastered being perfect as our Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) In this verse, “perfect” means mature.  The virtuous woman learned not to let mistakes master her.  She learned what she could from them, and that is what made her perfect.

Instead of being intimidated by her example, we need to follow her example.
© 2008, Stacy R. Miller

Proverbs 31 e-book

 

Proverbs 31:30-31

Proverbs 31:30-31

AMP: Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain (because it is not lasting), but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates of the city.

CEV: Charm can be deceiving, and beauty fades away, but a woman who honors the Lord deserves to be praised.  Show her respect — praise her in public for what she has done.

MSG: Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.  The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.  Give her everything she deserves!  Festoon her with praises!

We have studied many verses regarding this dear lady, and we find that only one verse is dedicated to talking to the outer beauty of women.  That is one verse out of twenty two verses.  One dear sister gave me a good way to put this into perspective.  There are 24 hours in a day, so we should only be spending one of those hours in concentrated effort to exercise, shower, do our hair, and our make-up.  This gives us a better perspective regarding the status of outward beauty verses the inward beauty.

Our Proverbs 31 lady has learned the value of having that unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.  She knows that her outer beauty will fade.  She knew that she would develop wrinkles, and have added pounds due to bearing many children, not to mention from the transition of going through menopause.  She knew that gray would eventually take over as her primary hair color.  She was wise enough to invest in unfading beauty, rather than the beauty which is fleeting.

This is a woman who is well-balanced.  She has made God her very top priority.  Putting Christ first has enabled her to get all of the other things in life in the right order.  All of the good that is in her is a result of the Christ who dwells in her heart.

© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

Thank you for joining in on this study.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Proverbs 31:28-29

 

 

 

Proverbs 31:28-29

CEV: Her children praise her, and with great pride her husband says, “There are many good women, but you are the best.”
MSG: Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise: “Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all!”
AMP: Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied), and her husband boasts of and praises her, saying, “Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well (with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness), but you excel them all.”

This woman has gained the respect of those who matter most — her husband and her children. Her words and her actions, which were godly in nature, have earned her that respect. (Prov. 11:16)

How many times have you seen a woman who has worked hard, trying to earn the praise of men, while neglecting her husband and her children? Some have fallen into the trap of wanting to ‘have it all’ — the nice house, fancy car, designer clothes, fine jewels, only to find that they ‘lose it all.’ Her husband is disgusted with her selfish pursuits and her constant nagging for more ‘things.’ The children are so unruly that mom has no control over them. She gets no respect from them because she has failed to be busy at home, carefully managing the household. She hasn’t kept her lamp filled with fresh oil, enabling her to have something worthwhile to speak to her family. Nor has she allowed herself the blessedness that comes from trying to do her husband good, and not harm. She’s worked vigorously, but for all of the wrong things. While her trading may have seemed profitable for a very short season, she now finds herself disillusioned and feeling empty. She may receive many compliments and praises from others regarding her beautiful home, fancy car, nice clothing, etc., only to discover that her husband and children have aren’t singing her praises. In fact, they hardly talk to her because she has failed to make them a priority in her life. Because of her selfish pursuits, she has missed out on hearing praise coming from those who should matter the most — her husband and her children.

Whose applause do you desire?
© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

 

Proverbs 31:27

Proverbs 31:27

AMP: She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat. 

CEV: She takes good care of her family and is never lazy.

MSG: She keeps an eye on everyone in her household and keeps them all busy and productive.

In looking at Titus 2:5, I see that we are to be self-controlled and pure.  Part of being self-controlled is learning to be busy at home, as opposed to being a busybody.  I don’t know about you, but I have a very hard time being self-controlled in many areas.  What about the call to be pure?  That isn’t possible to achieve without God’s help. Once again, we learn from this lady that it is imperative to spend time with the Lord.

I think many of us could admit to having some difficulty in learning to discern the difference between being idle and relaxing, and the  difference between being productive and being busy.  Afraid of being idle, we tend to run in high gear all the time.  Busy, busy, busy.  Yet, much of what we accomplished during that time could have, or should have, been left undone to pursue more relaxed activity.  That is why it’s so important for us to stay in tune with the Holy Spirit, letting Him help us to stay on top of the things which really do matter.  How many times do we find ourselves with a huge pile of ‘stuff,’ only to realize that it doesn’t amount to anything when measured against the eternal value of it all?

We can’t possibly be self-controlled, pure, busy at home, managing the home, and keeping an eye on everyone in the home without God’s help!  Let’s take a look at some of the many ‘hats’ we are called to wear:

Arbitrator, arrow polisher, Ambassador for the King, bookkeeper, construction worker (we are building a godly generation), counselor, chauffeur, children’s pastor, coach, cheerleader, dietitian, Director or Home Affairs, entertainer, educator, First Lady of the Home, fashion consultant, investigator, janitor, judge, librarian, movie critic, nurse, nutritionist, psychologist, personnel manager, referee, switchboard operator, security guard, shepherd (shepherding you own flock), time management expert, and warrior (fighting spiritual battles in prayer).

Seeing the above list makes me tired, just thinking about it!  Yet, this Proverbs 31 woman was a woman, just like us.  The secret to her ability and success in taking good care of her family and managing her household was learning to be dependent upon the Lord.

Are you dependent upon Him?  Or are you dependent upon yourself?

© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

 

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