Proverbs 31 Woman

Driven Publishing Logo

Proverbs 31 Woman

 
The Proverbs 31 Woman is an ideal and often feels impossible to obtain. As described in Proverbs 31, she belongs on the cover of Forbes Magazine as well as Cosmopolitan. Is she a fairy tale character?
 

Proverbs 31 Woman: Cinderella?

 
As some of you know, I perpetually work on my novel which I describe as the real story of Cinderella. Interestingly, I find many similarities between Cinderella and the Proverbs 31 Woman–at least in perception. Most people describe Cinderella as a meek, mild, hard working survivor who is saved by a handsome, powerful, loving prince. That may be true, but there is more to her than that.
 
Please understand, I consider Cinderella a real person, because she is–she is in every woman I know–just like the Proverbs 31 Woman. We struggle and we prevail. We wish and we work. We trust and we get hurt. We go to the ball and we run away. But in no way are we perfect…and neither is the Proverbs 31 Woman.
 

Chayil – H2428

 
In verse 10, this woman is described as noble, virtuous, excellent, and capable, depending on the translation you read, but these words fall short not only in meaning, but also in scope. The Hebrew word used to describe this ideal wife is chayil (H2428) and means valiant, strong, courageous, able, mighty, etc. This word is used to describe powerful armies such as Joshua’s (Joshua 6:2), qualities in a ruler (Ex. 18:25), and Boaz even used this word to describe the courage of Ruth. Is anyone singing Helen Reddy right now? Yes, we are powerful and strong, but only if we have courage.
 
Courage is the beginning of the Proverbs 31 Woman. All the positive attributes that follow in this chapter stems from her courage. She must believe she is capable and useful. She must believe she is worthy and lovely, and sometimes, she needs a reminder. The chapter ends with her receiving praise for her own abilities and not those of her husband’s. 
 

Eve

 
If anyone ever says that Christianity is chauvinistic, they haven’t studied the Bible enough. God created Eve to help Adam, but the Hebrew word for helper (‘ezer – H5828) is also used to describe the help from God and as such, has no connotation of man’s superiority.
 

Rahab

 
God chose Rahab to save the spies in Jericho. It took much faith and courage to stand up to the King of Jericho, but knew her heart and she said, “yes.”
 

Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James

 
Though there are many more examples of God’s love for women, my favorite is that He chose three women to be the first to witness Jesus after His resurrection. Using the examples God has given us in the Bible, The Proverbs 31 Woman is everything Helen Reddy says she is.
 

Courage of a Lion

 
Our courage must begin and end with God by accepting His power, strength, guidance, and love. Our motives must be to serve God and not out of pride or the misconception that we can earn the love we receive. We must be bold enough to speak out and at times, remain silent. We must have the fearlessness to say “yes” and also, “no.”
 
To be a Proverbs 31 Woman, you must love the Lord with all your heart, find God’s will for your life, stand firm in your beliefs and never, ever, ever, try to earn love; your perfection is not a prerequisite.
 
#AskSeekFind #MayChallenge #Proverbs31Woman

Proverbs 30: Need to Know Basis

Driven Publishing Logo

Proverbs 30: Need to Know Basis

I will never get to the point where I have all the answers–as much as I would like to–and Proverbs 30 reminds me of such. God does not promise to teach me everything I want to know, but rather everything I need to know–just like He provides for my physical needs and not all of my wants, because if I had everything I ever wanted, my life would be a mess.

Proverbs 30: Vision for the Blind

Like a vision impaired person who needs a cane or a dog, I need God for guidance because I am blind compared to Him…and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Proverbs 30: I Know Nothing!

Like in Job 38, I was not there when God laid down the foundations of the earth. I cannot hold the wind in my hand. I cannot shut up the sea behind doors. Nor have I gone up to heaven.

Proverbs 30: Need to Know Basis

But I can trust that every word of God is flawless, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, and Jesus is my Redeemer. That, my friend, is what we need to know and base our lives on. Keep reading and discovering. Keep relying. And be assured.

#AskSeekFind #MayChallenge

Proverbs 29 Leader: Logically Speaking

Driven Publishing Logo

Proverbs 29 Leader: Logically Speaking

All leaders make choices, but the Proverbs 29 Leader realizes the consequences prior to making those choices.

Proverbs 29 in Logic Form

In Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, his second habit is: Begin with the End in Mind. If we follow that rule as we read Proverbs 29, we have an interesting list:

  • If you want to be suddenly destroyed without remedy; ignore advice
  • If you want your people to rejoice; be righteous
  • If you want to squander your wealth; hang out with people who only want your money
  • If you want your team, company, or country to be stable; rule with justice.
  • If you want to be ensnared; be evil
  • If you want justice for the poor; be aware of their plight
  • If you want to stir up violence; mock and hate others
  • If you want to be a fool; vent your anger
  • If you want your officials to become wicked; listen and believe their lies
  • If you want your throne secure; judge the poor with fairness
  • If you want peace; discipline your child
  • If you want dissension; remain angry
  • If you want honor; remain humble
  • If you want to remain safe; trust in the Lord

The Beauty of Proverbs 29

The beauty of Proverbs 29 and, frankly, of all Proverbs, is that few words are used to describe large concepts and when you explore the complicated through a simple lens, revelation occurs and wisdom expands. Dare to view your leadership skills through the simple lens of Proverbs 29.

#AskSeekFind #MayChallenge

The Proverbs 27 Coach | Iron Sharpens Iron

The Proverbs 27 Coach: Iron Sharpens Iron

As much as Proverbs 26 tells us what not to be, Proverbs 27 tells us what to be and reminds me of advice from a coach. The Proverbs 27 Coach teaches life lessons for both on and off the field.

The Proverbs 27 Coach – Pre and Post Game Interview

Players need to control what they tell reporters and The Proverbs 27 Coach says, “No boasting about your perceived outcome of tomorrow’s game (v1), for it will become a burden on your playing (v3). Praise others and let them praise you (v2), for anger and jealousy will destroy the team (v4).”

The Proverbs 27 Coach – Practice Field

For team improvement, The Proverbs 27 Coach promises honest evaluations (v6) and dedication to both the team unit and the individual (vv8,9). “Lean on each other,” the coach says. “And if you have a problem, come to me first, for if we stand together, we cannot fall–regardless of the score (v10). For we are in this together (v11).”

The Proverbs 27 Coach – Pregame Speech

Now the final words before entering the field: “Don’t let the referees bother you, arguing with them is like restraining the wind and holding oil in your hands. Let it go and leave them to me (v16). We know our jobs and have honed each other into powerful weapons (v17). Your play is a direct reflection of your belief in that preparedness (v19) and nothing at all in the praise you have received (v21). You have worked hard and your reward is on that field waiting for you to take it (v18).”

The Coach’s Reflection

The team runs out of the locker room and The Proverbs 27 Coach takes time to gather his thoughts. He reminds himself to be aware of weaknesses in the opposing team as well as his own (v23). He charges himself to take care of his players, for their time with him will pass and their future is a direct reflection of his (vv24-27).

#AskSeekFind #MayChallenge #GoBucks #TheProverbs27Coach

What is a Fool?

We have been reading about the folly of fools and the wisdom of the wise for twenty-five days, but what makes someone one or the other? The easy answer is the wise seeks knowledge and understanding and the fool seeks instant gratification from selfish desires, but don’t we all do both? Are we all wise and foolish? Yes. No one is perfect, but the pursuit of wisdom is in balancing our actions toward the wise and not giving in to our selfishness.

Again, an overreaching answer.

Is wisdom subjective? Is folly? According to Proverbs it is not, but how, as flawed human beings, do we determine if our words and actions are in pursuit of wisdom or folly? Through prayer, acknowledgment, and surrender.

If you dare, ask The Lord to weigh your heart and open your eyes to your selfishness. Have the guts to say, “take away my folly and leave me with peace and joy.” Be bold in your reading of His Word, listen to His lesson, and ask for the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

…and then, repeat daily.

#AskSeekFind #MayChallenge

What’s Next?

What happens when you do extensive research? If done properly, you have assurance of the facts and the confidence to defend them. There is security in searching to the depths that skimming the surface will never provide. Just like taking a test after much studying, your answers flow without hindrance and the questions seem easy.

In John 5:39, Jesus says to search the scriptures, for in them you will find life and also testimony of Him. As we approach the end of Proverbs, a decision must be made as to what to do next. Will you repeat Proverbs? Study Psalm 119? Read through a different book of The Bible? Or find a Bible study? It is time to decide–especially if you need to order a study guide.

Don’t stop your new habit of reading scripture everyday, but reinforce it and search the scriptures. Ask for guidance. Seek His voice. Find truth.

#AskSeekFind #MayChallenge

Location. Location. Location.

We have all heard the real estate rule of location, location, location. You can change everything about a house except the placement of its lot. The same rule applies to your spiritual house. Where is your spiritual house?

We know the importance of the foundation for soundness of structure, but where you build it is what really matters. If you build a house at the corner of Prestige and Wealth, where it is easy to see the rewards and comprehend the earthly blessings, you have built your house in the wrong location. Better to start a wee house smack dab in the middle of God’s Way, where you study and question, read and listen, learn and understand, in order to know where you should place your foundation.

Once you have your foundation and it is strong and solid, because it is built on the Holy Trinity of God, continue to trust His word, both promises and commandments. Only then are you ready to build the structure using the wisdom God granted you at your bidding.

Once completed, maintain your structure by accepting the house rules and continually making repairs and cleaning it and just like a house, clutter needs to be removed and walls need to be painted; the beliefs that start our journey of following Christ need to find deeper meaning and understanding. I have found that the more I learn about God, the less I know and if you own a house, you understand this analogy: there is always something to fix or do within its walls and The Bible is the handyman’s guide.

Now it is time to fill the house. Some people stop at the maintenance of the house, but filling it with treasures is where the glory of following The Lord comes. Quotes of inspiration etched on the walls. Photos of loved ones lining the staircase. Answered prayers covering your chairs. Feeling the warmth of Jesus’ love under a blanket of faithfulness and commitment. These treasures take nurturing time and often a professional to help with the design. That help can be found at a church with the proper location, firm foundation, and proof of lovely treasures.

If you do not belong to a church, you are missing out of a treasure trove of life. Your church, found through seeking and much prayer, will change your house and its members will not only help you build your sanctuary, but will also give you the joy of helping others build theirs.

#AskSeekFind #MayChallenge

Now What?

Earlier, in Proverbs 4, the words seemed geared toward a student going off to college and now, in Proverbs 23, we get the advice for the graduate. As most of us know, when released into the world of work, bills, and so called, freedom, we are entering a new world and the newfound freedom holds new temptations, distractions, and goals.

Up to this age, we have set our minds on pleasing our parents, but there comes a time when we start trying to please ourselves. Though I have never stopped wanting to please my mother, I make decisions based on my life and my circumstances and, I must admit, not all of them have been good ones. But I have been blessed with learning and, though some of the lessons were painful, I have come out of them a more understanding and, ideally, sympathetic person.

But some choices are not future lessons, but life destroyers. When you base your life on pursuing the seven deadly sins (gluttony, pride, lust, envy, wrath, laziness, and greed,) unless you break that cycle, you and everyone who loves will will share your grief. Understand, though we think our choices are our own, they affect all who care about us. Choose wisely.

Seek to Understand

In order to make a sound judgment, there must be research. Judging on stereotypes and secondhand knowledge is flawed thinking and leads to a path filled with thorns and snares. You must seek truth and understanding before you reach a conclusion. Seek understanding as if a hidden treasure (Proverbs 2:4).

Just as your reputation is based on what you do, so should other’s, but a marred reputation built on false information is unfair to both the victim and judge. Do not trust gossip and hearsay. Discover the facts for yourself. Seek to understand truth.

It we approach all conflict with a heart toward understanding, imagine how different the outcome would be–both in circumstances and in our hearts. Knowing truth and seeking the prospective of another’s heart is love and is the cornerstone for all relationships–whether family, friend, or even stranger. Seek to understand motive.

In our society today (and maybe always,) we expend so much energy on judging, rebuking, and downright hating strangers that we lose sight of truth and understanding and become lemmings. And if that weren’t enough, we demonstrate our hatred for the world to see in inappropriate forums. Do we truly understand what we hate or are we judging by stereotypes and preconceived ideas? Seek to understand others.

Before any judge can make a ruling, the laws must be clear and well defined. There are absolute truths and when we alter those truths, we are moving the boundary stones and spreading chaos and confusion. We may not like the placement of the stones (or laws,) but it is not our right to arbitrarily move them. Seek to understand God’s law.

We often hear the mainstay Christian terms (i.e. Fear The Lord, God is in control, Trust in The Lord, We are in God’s hands, etc.) but do we understand them? When we move a boundary in order to please or be accepted, we are moving a cornerstone God has placed and questioning his authority and power. Seek to understand God’s will.

#AskSeekFind #MayChallenge

Understanding, Opportunity, Courage, and Faith

One person’s desires are not greater than another’s, but those who understand how deep and difficult their goals are to obtain, will work diligently to “draw them out.”

Both the KJV and NIV interpretations use “draw them out” in verse 5 and is a terrific visual: Imagine a well that you were told provided water. You look down the well, but it is too dark to see anything. You drop the bucket regardless of confirmation and let it fall until the rope is slack. The well is too deep to hear a splash, but you know the bucket has reached something. Slow and steady you draw up the bucket, wondering if it is full of water. Sometimes the rope catches and you hope you haven’t spilled its contents–if there were any to begin with–but you continue with assurance while listening for any sloshing.

It takes so long for the bucket to reach the top. Are you wasting your time? No, you are faithful your efforts will be rewarded. Finally the bucket is in view and you try to control your excitement and keep the rope at a steady pace. The bucket escapes the darkness and sun light dances off its contents. Water!

It may be more than expected; it may be less, but there is water. And that water, which you faithfully believed would be there, quenched your thirst with life giving comfort.

What is your “water”? Where is your well? Do you dare drop the bucket? Do you faithfully anticipate the contents of the bucket or do you rush the process or, worse, give up?

Pray for eyes and ears of great understanding, opportunity, courage, and faith, but also for humility and thankfulness with every tug of the rope.

#AskSeekFind #MayChallenge