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Archive for December, 2014

Inspired by prayer for a sister in Christ, a new friend, I rewrote a selection of Proverbs 31 to personalize and modernize the Scripture for application.

First, in New Living Translation:

A Wife of Noble Character

10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

13 She finds wool and flax
and busily spins it.
14 She is like a merchant’s ship,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She is energetic and strong,
a hard worker.
18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
her lamp burns late into the night.

19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,
her fingers twisting fiber.
20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
and opens her arms to the needy.
21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
for everyone has warm clothes.

22 She makes her own bedspreads.
She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,
where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24 She makes belted linen garments
and sashes to sell to the merchants.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.

28 Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

 

 


 

May this be said of you and I, alike:

God is molding you into a wife of noble character…

Your value is far beyond that of rubies.

Your husband’s heart is safe trusting in you.

You do him good and not evil all the days of his life.

You work with your hands to supply the needs of your house.

You find and prepare him his favorite foods.

You are kind to those who help you serve your husband, and also to guests of the house.

You plan in advance to meet the needs of your husband.

You keep your body in shape, to honor your marriage, and strong enough for the labors of the day.

You do not purchase goods that go unused, for the lights stay on all the hours they are required.

You give attention to what needs fixing, and do what you can to help restore the house and belongings to good condition.

You extend a helping hand to the poor and open your arms to the needy.

You have no fear of harsh conditions for your household is prepared.

You treat your household possessions and yourself with great esteem.

Your husband will be recognized with honor and respect from those whom he works with.

You build up his confidence and speak highly of his abilities to others.

You are clothed with strength and dignity, and laugh without fear of the future.

When you speak, your words are wise, and you give instructions with kindness.

You carefully watch over your household and are never lazy.

Your children will stand and bless you.

Your husband will praise you:

“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.

You will be rewarded for what you have done.

May your deeds publicly declare your praise.

Praise be to God.


If you would like to download a cleaner copy of this:

A wife of noble character

My prayer for all of us ladies, those who are married and those the Good Lord has planned to be married (of which I am included in the latter), may we all clothe ourselves with strength and dignity, and laugh without fear of the future.  God bless all the daughters of our Abba Father, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

 

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Tonight, just minutes after writing about my recent conversation about God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit with my father, I spoke with a young man about the purpose of life.

As he spoke of reasons why he plans on taking his life, I focused on the, “You know how God uses different tools, I’m an encouragement tool, but maybe life would be better if I weren’t in it.”  Based on the laws and standards of my work (volunteer position), I am unable to volunteer information of my personal opinions or beliefs.  I cannot disclose that I am a Christian or that my answer to why should I continue to live? is “because God has a purpose for your life!”

And yet, I paused, and said out loud, “I’m about to break some rules.  Do you mind if I share my interpretation of your tool belt analogy?” As I began to explain the functions of the Body of Christ through an analogy of a construction worker building a house with fewer tools than necessary, the line went dead.

Quickly, I began to pray that the young man would find his way to call once more.  All the while, thinking, out of the last year I have not had a government listener, but today, the day I chose to break the rules, perhaps, he/she heard me and discontinued the call.  Prevented me from speaking God’s Truth into this man’s life.  Worried partially for myself, but more so for the salvation of this young man, I prayed.  And the phone rang, here he was again, “I don’t know what happened, but the phone line got disconnected.  What you were saying was very interesting.  Can you continue?”

My inner Spirit wanted to scream YES! I would love to share with you, I was overjoyed! I continued with the story, and as I spoke, he reiterated time and time again, “You interpreted that perfectly..”  This coming from a young man who was under the impression that no one cares to get to know the real him.

God knows each of us intimately, we cannot hide from Him.  In this particular conversation, the Spirit revealed insights that led this young man to reconsider the existence of God and instilled within him the desire to study the purpose of life.

This young man was considerate and said, “I would like to know what you think the purpose of life is, but don’t want you to break any laws.” I gulped and continued to speak.  I technically did not break any laws.  I praise God that He worked in the conversation and temporarily saved the physical life of this young man, and am delighted to know He has been invited to work on the spiritual life of him as well.

The young man, lets call him J-, was able to see that the job could not be completed without all the tools, and that God has a use for his encouragement.  He agreed to meeting with a chosen pastor to discuss the purpose of life, his parent’s love, death and life, and where God is in the midst of darkness.

As our conversation ended, I began to consider the threat of sharing the Gospel with this young man.  If I were in Afghanistan, I could be beheaded.  In another country, I may be imprisoned.  But as it stood, I could have been fined and fired. Still not a desired end, but so worth it if this young man were truly saved and met Jesus through our shared words!

Let us pray for the persecuted and be mindful of the authority of our lives.  My authority is God’s Word.  Let what is Caesar’s be Caesar’s and God’s be God’s (Matthew 12:17) … J- is God’s!  Who do you claim as God’s in your environment?  Have you begun to share God’s gift with them?

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Five and a half years ago, I received a letter from my father’s mother claiming that my baptism was the ultimate act of disrespect towards my father.

From seventeen to twenty, I had no contact with that side of my family, until April of my freshman year I was asked to be the maid-of-honor of my aunt’s wedding.  A ceremony which incorporated Jewish and Scientology practices.  That day opened the door, my grandparents stopped me to say, “We really appreciate your being here.  This means a lot.”

My last year of undergrad, I called my grandmother and spoke of Jesus.   We discussed the anticipated Messiach and Jesus the Messiah.  A beautiful dialogue grew our respect and compassion for one another.  Truly, she had been forgiven in my heart as God already forgave her years ago.

Fast forward to the-day-after-Thanksgiving, where my family gathered to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday which she so happened to give birth to my father, a double birthday.  What a gift it must have been to give birth on your birthday!

My grandfather rose to toast his wife, “To my magical wife…may this not be our last,” as tears began to overflow, my aunt chimed in, “Glenn would you like to add anything?” “No, lets just eat.” See, this celebration may truly be our last.  My mother’s parents both passed away years ago, and now my father’s are struggling to hold on each day.  With several surgeries on his resume, my grandfather continues to battle cancer, and now my grandmother’s heart is just too large.

A medical issue: an enlarged heart.  But truly, it is what makes her “magical,” as her heart is dear and full of compassion and kindness.

The night included several conversations about spirituality, cooking, traveling, and desire.  But it also, served as another chance for God’s plan to be made known to my family.  My aunt, “Your dad tells me you want to have a retreat for troubled youth.”  My uncle, “You are a saint.”  My grandmother, “Thank you.”  They asked about the people I hope to minister to, they listened as I talked about anointing the individuals who attend, so that they leave with acknowledgement of their God-given purpose.  They asked what I say to keep someone from taking their lives.  They praised the patience it takes to work with kids with special needs.  I do not know how to tell my story without praising God.  I do not know how to pitch my retreat center without highlighting it as God’s ministry and intention for my life.  I do not know how to speak with a barren woman without speaking of God’s intent to provide care for all the orphans.

God was made known, as Jesus was the support, my Friend in conversation and my strength that kept me pushing on, despite the aching body.  No sickness can nor ever will keep me from glorifying God as King and writer of my life.  Praise be to Him.

I thank Him for answering my prayer and for allowing me to be the witness! May it continue as long as I have breath in my lungs.  For truly, we do not need eyes to see nor lips to speak, God can and will be known through whatever we have to offer Him!

 

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My car is in the shop, ready to be picked up, but they close 30 minutes after I finish at work.  Small group in an hour, will I make it?

I asked God that timing would allow me to fellowship that evening, but He had another plan.

I jumped in my father’s truck and heard him say, “…when two are gathered…,” I insisted, “You opened the door.  Yes, when two are gathered, the Lord is present.” In this instance, the Scripture was not completely applicable, as we were not gathered together in God’s name (Matthew 18:20).  However, my father followed up with, “Isn’t your god always present?”

I stammered just a moment.  I made sure my father could not sense that I began feeling inadequate to answer.  This was only our forth dialogue about God. The first, I asked him what he did when he came to visit my Christian college and we bowed our heads in prayer. He bowed his head in respect.  The second, while my parents visited me in Italy, my younger brother got a tattoo of a cross entangled in a Star of David.  My parents were angered when they heard of the event, and I took it as an opportunity to speak of the entangled heritage and non-religious upbringing we came to know.  The third, I was visiting home for a holiday.  On our drive from the airport, we stopped at a Crepe cafe.  As my mother excused herself, I complimented my father, “Do you know of the Apostle Paul?”  He did not, so I explained about his selfless services to honor God.  I said, “I know you do not serve people, in serving God, but I thank you dad, for you are the Apostle Paul before my eyes in that you serve others selflessly.”  Still, no response that allowed for deeper consideration of accepting God into his life.

So this forth time, was big to me.  Just two weeks prior, I was anointed during women’s group with the purpose of being Jesus to my family.  I asked God, may something incredible take place in my family before I leave.  Make yourself known.

So… “Isn’t your god always present?” In my head, I’m screaming, but God you know this is the one thing I question you about all the time! I know you are present, but how do I explain the Trinity to someone who doesn’t know?  I love that you are the Spirit that encourages me and enlightens my path, Jesus- the friend who leads by example, and a loving Father who delights in His children.  But God, how can I convince my father of these things?

Out comes, “The Christian God is three in one.  The Holy Spirit is the being that is breathed into the body following baptism.  So once someone prays to God the Father that they want a life with Him, want to follow the life of Jesus and the laws of the Bible, they are cleansed in the water and redeemed, made new.  So yes, the Spirit is always with someone who believes in Jesus.  The Holy Spirit aligns us with God, so that we become more like Jesus Christ, the Son.  The Scripture I referenced in the joke, “When two or three gather in my name, there I am with them” is Jesus offering a promise of His presence among us.  So a conversation amidst two or three believers can come from the Truth of the Spirit within, while also in the presence of Jesus Christ.  And God the Father is listening intimately, for He cares deeply for His children…”

I honestly cannot remember the response or how the conversation ended.  But I know that I had always asked God to give opportunities to evangelize to my family, and have through service, but thought my conversations about God would be encouraging, compassionate, and enlightening.  Rather, they have left me feeling I need to know more, be better prepared before I engage with them again.

This thinking is not of God.  For God truly is all-knowing, and He has a plan of capturing each of my family member’s hearts, as well as the unbelievers in your families.  I praise God that I have faith in Him without full understanding.  That He allows me the knowledge and wisdom necessary to share truly of His will for all His people.  I pray to God that I lean not on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)!  I will, however, devote myself to the further study of the Trinity for myself, but also, in preparation for a possible future conversation on the topic with an individual considering Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Please continue to pray for our families, the loved ones who are not yet saved by Jesus.  Also pray for me, and for yourselves, that we remain close to God and enriched by His Truth, prepared at any moment to delight in sharing His love, His gift with others, anywhere.

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