Have you ever had one of those days when you just needed you some Jesus? Well today has been one of those days for me. In fact, this week has been one of those weeks where I just needed me some Jesus. Monday, the 22nd, was the second lesson of the "In Pursuit of Proverbs 31" online Bible study that I'm doing and today, Friday the 26th, I'm finally getting around to doing it. And, let me just say people, it has been worth the wait. God has spoken a Word to me tonight.
We had our normal Friday night family night by wrapping a two week home school study on The Story About Ping (it's a story about a duck named Ping who lives in China). The kids and I decorated the dining room with homemade Chinese lanterns and flags to set the mood and then we enjoyed some yummy Chinese cuisine. After dinner the kids shared the lap books they made with dad, practiced tae kwon do, and snuggled with dad on the couch while he read to them. I opted out of story time, as it was getting late and I wanted to get my shower so that I could have that much needed time with Jesus. I got my shower, put on my comfy jammies, made myself a yummy pot of carmel truffle coffee, grabbed by Bible, pens, and notes. And, well... here I am enjoyin me some Jesus time with some nice Praise and Worship music softly playing in the background. Can it get any better than this!?!
I'm not sure if there is a "right way" to tackle and post what the Lord has shown me tonight in my time with Him, so I'm just going to go through my notes as I recorded them and pray that they make sense to you. Let me go ahead and give you a heads up, this is long, looonnnggg people. When God speaks we are to write it down, right? "This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD." (Psalm 102:18) Well it appears tonight that we may have a session instead of a post. You may want to grab yourself a cup of coffee before you get started. :)
So, without further ado...
Amy made the statement in the introduction of the study that we may have to retrain our patterns of thought and overcome some mindsets we may have formed and possibly even unlearn some things about the P31 (Proverbs 31) woman we may have been taught in the past. I know for me, anytime I would hear the P31 woman mentioned, I would cringe and get this sickening feeling in my stomach. But, that 's not at all how the Lord intended for us to react to this beautiful passage of Scripture. Rather, I believe the intended meaning of this passage is to encourage us, not to necessarily sew or go out and buy a piece of land, but to pursue an intimate relationship filled with reverent worship and respect for the God of the universe.
Another thing that Amy said from the intro was the "God speaks to each and everyone of us on a daily basis. We must learn to hear and obey Him." Hummm. We must learn to hear and obey Him. For me to obey God's voice I have to know what His voice sounds like. When I was pregnant with my kids they would kick and move when they heard the familiar voices of my husband or me. Why? Because we were constantly talking to them and singing to them. They got used to the sound of our voices; they knew who mommy and daddy were. Our voices were the voices they heard the most so when they were born, ours were the ones that more often calmed their cries. Their ears had been tuned to hear us speak. It is so very important for us to tune out the noise of this world, whether it's the media, music we listen to, books we read, opinions of friends who think they know what's best for our lives, and turn up the volume on the voice of God so that we can clearly hear Him speak Truth to our hearts.
We were to read chapter 6 of the Gospel of Matthew. My first thought was, "uh, why?" After I read it I understood. One of the things I like to do in Bible Study, after reading an entire chapter in a book, is in a few words (the less the better) write down a theme for that chapter. The theme for Matthew chapter 6 is HUMILITY. It brought to mind Galatians 1:10, "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." So what does this have to do with P31, you ask? The P31 woman did nothing to seek the approval of her neighbors, the women at her church, or the other soccer moms. Her number one goal was to please her heavenly Father and no one else.
I have struggled with "doing" in order to gain the approval of men. There have been times when I have jumped on the bandwagon because it was the "thing to do", knowing all the while that I was in absolute defiance of God's will. This is not just something that happens outside of the church. It can and does happen amidst God's people; that's why it is so important for us to know intimately the voice of God and obey what it is the HE is telling us.
Another great point of Amy's: "If we put our effort into growing our relationship with Him, then we will develop a deeper understanding of who He is and what He is showing us through His Word" (emphasis added). I can desire in my heart all day long to be the woman of noble character, that virtuous woman, but unless I do my part to deepen my relationship with Christ, my relationship with Him won't grow but will become stale and stagnant. What is the effort I must put forth? Laying aside those things that enslave me, like the TV, phone, computer :), etc... so that I can spend that quality time with Him getting to know Him more intimately.
Whew! This is getting long. I told you I needed me some Jesus time. For those of you who are still with me, I need to refill my coffee cup. Be right back. :)
Ok. I'm back. I decided to go ahead and start the dishwasher and visit the ladies room while I was up. Can I just tell you that it drives me NUTS, nuts I tell you, to sit down upon the porcelain throne only to realize that the last person there left only ONE sheet of toilet paper! ARGGGG!
Anyway, where were we? Oh, yes. We were told that P31 is not a set of guidelines or a to do list for the Christian woman. Amy gave a few verses for us to look at that were guidelines for us as Christian women: Titus 2:3-5, Ephesians 5:22, Proverbs 14:1, and 1 Peter 3:1. Just a few quick things on Proverbs 14:1 and 1 Peter 3:1 that were PoW (Pearls of Wisdom, as Amy calls them- I just love that, don't you!?!).
When I study God's Word I often times will read different translations. I looked up Proverbs 14:1 in the Contemporary English Version and this is what it said:
"A woman's family is held together by her wisdom, but it can be destroyed by her
Proverbs 14:1, CEV
Foolishness. Just let that soak in for a minute. Foolishness. Ever made any foolish decisions that not only affected you, but also those within your family?
"1) Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of
them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior
of their wives, 2) when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3) Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4) Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 5) For this is the way the holy women of the
past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were
submissive to their own husbands, 6) like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called
him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give
way to fear."
1 Peter 3:1-6, NIV (emphasis mine)
Our Scripture verse for memory is John 5:30.
"I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous,
because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me."
John 5:30, NKJV
Everything Christ did/does is solely dependent upon the Word and will of His Father. Oh, how I pray that everything I do and say is solely dependent upon the Word and will of my heavenly Father.
One can't leave John 5:30 without taking a look at verses 19-21 of that same chapter.
"19) Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the
Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He
does, the Son also does in like manner. 20) For the Father loves the Son, and
shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works
than these, that you may marvel. 21) For as the Father raises the dead and gives
life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will."
John 5:19-21, NKJV
One of Amy's last questions for this session was, "what is the one verse in Proverbs 31:11-28 that you would most like to accomplish? I hope it's ok that I picked two.
"She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness."
Proverbs 31:26, NKJV
"She rises while it is yet night and gets
[spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks."
Proverbs 31:15, Amplified Bible
Wow! That was a lot. Lots of challenges and areas that need improvement. Thank you, Lord for Your Word!