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12-19-01
Becoming A Woman of Virtue
Part 3

"She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servants. She considers a field and buys it;out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously;her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night."
--Proverbs 31

What strikes me in this verse is her diligence. She works with eagerness, not with a lazy attitude. Sometimes I can approach my work half-heartedly. She has a vivacity about the way she works...it reminds me of a joy and strength that comes from being near to the Lord carries over into her work.

Physically it can feel impossible at times to set about my work with that eagerness, but I believe it is the heart attitude that is most important. God gives the strength that is needed to complete each duty he has given us. Our burden is never to heavy for us to carry, unless we are carrying more than he has alotted.

Do I cheerfully and diligently set about my work? Or do I serve with a reluctant, dreary heart?

12-18-01
Becoming A Woman of Virtue
Part 2

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm,all the days of her life.
-Proverbs 31

"Brings him good all the days of her life" - wow! I have heard people interpret that as meaning even before he meets her, and I guess that makes sense. But I was struck by thinking about if I could say the same thing regarding my family. Do I bring them good every day, and not harm? Do they have full confidence in me?

In the little things of life that makes a household run, am I living to bless and help? Or do I only make trouble and create difficulties? Is my behavior outside the home bringing honor or reproach to my parents?

Do they have full confidence in me? Do they trust me - *fully*? Can they feel the freedom to ask me to do anything and know that I will carry it out in a proper manner?

*Always* bringing them good...full confidence in me...that is a goal to run after!!

12-17-01
Becoming A Woman of Virtue

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm,all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships,bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark;she provides food for her family and portions for her servant s. She considers a field and buys it;out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously;her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable,and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed;she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate,where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them,and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity;she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom,and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed;her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things,but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned,and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
--PROVERBS 31

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, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 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. 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, 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

Have you ever read a book that inspired you deeply to become all that God wants you to be...full of the beautiful virtues that he is calling us to?

A few days ago I pulled out a book of mine, The True Women, to read the chapter on compassion. Lately my tongue had been slipping into unkindness and I remembered that book had some good things to say. As it ended up I also read the chapter on piety. Both of these chapters gave me a renewed vision for the woman that God wants me to be.

Its like painting a beautiful, shining picture, and saying "Look, see the beauty of this work of art? You can be like that, too!" God has a lovely design for each of our souls. The virtues that he desires us to posess are what make our lives shine with beauty that pleases God. This is what I want, but I find that occasionally I have to be refreshed with vision.

In my next few entries, I am planning on copying some of my ramblings about the virtrues of a godly lady. I am not married, but I think the passages apply. After all, Proverbs 31 is a mother helping her son to know what kind of lady he *should* marry. :D But beyond marriage, I want to shine for the glory of God!

12-15-01
A Look At Kindness

"But the fruit of the Spirit is...kindness"
Galations 5:22

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with...kindness"
Col 3:12

"Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love."
2 Peter 1:5-7

"Love is...kind."
1 Corinthians 13:4

I'll have to leave this incomplete because I gtg!

12-14-01
Hope Remains

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded by my God"?
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
--Isaiah 40:27-31

For the LORD comforts his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.
But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me,
the Lord has forgotten me."
"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.
--Isaiah 49:13-16

Yesterday I was tempted to give in to doubt. I felt like most of my hope was gone my faith was running low. Was my cause disregarded by my Lord? Had he forgotten the affliction of his little one?

No, he had not. Eventually I followed his guidance and looked to His Word. There I found strength and comfort as I read about putting my hope in God. "Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed." (Isaiah 49:23)

I wasn't. Not only did the Lord bestow grace, but he also revealed that my cause was not disregarded. How could I have lost hope, simply because I could not see? "But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." (Romans 8:24-25)

My sight is irrelevant. Hope must remain. Faith must remain. And dependance on God must remain. He has showed me my foolishness and he has allowed me to see what was entirely unseen.

I serve a gracious God!

12-13-01
The Greatest Loss

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Of itself, suffering doesn't make people better. Sometimes it makes them bitter. But when suffering is mixed with faith and Gods grace, then it becomes a wonderful tool for building godly character (2 Cor. 12:110). If suffering alone gave people wisdom and character, then our world would be a far better place, because everybody suffers in one way or another. When we accept our suffering as a gift from God and use it for His glory, then it can work in us and for us to accomplish the will of God.
--Warren Weirsbe

I cannot give up when things get harder or else all the peserverance in the past is in vain. So I seek to make my soul right, to rest in that it is still well. If I lose my faith, then I lose everything.

12-12-01
Thinking is Dangerous

I have already done enough thinking for one day so I don't think I'll risk doing anymore for now. ;) Instead, enjoy a little story.

Have you ever been so deep in thought driving that you almost crash? I like to use my driving time to "think," and I've always thought it would be kinda funny if I was thinking about *something* and crashed because I wasn't paying attention.

Well, I got my laugh today. Only it wasn't so funny. I had a headache so I was leaning my head against my hand on the window and driving with one hand. The radio was playing and one of the songs got me *thinking*. I started going down the path of "what ifs" (bad path) and got so deep in thought that I practically lost consciousness or something because next thing I knew I realized the car in front of me had stopped moving.

Going 50mph I slammed on my breaks. The tires screached loudly but it didn't seem like the car was slowing down. I realized I wasn't going to stop in time and I jerked the steering wheel to the right to swerve off the road. At the same time the car turned to the left. Whew!!

Somehow in the midst of it the car had stalled (dumb thing) and so I started it on again. Feeling like a dork, I pulled back onto the road. Then I nearly suffocated in the stench of burning rubber.

Thinking is dangerous. It can be fatal!

12-11-01
Leaving It In God's Hands

"For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD;
I sing for joy at the works of your hands."
Psalm 92:4

"The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever--
do not abandon the works of your hands."
Psalm 138:8

Last night before I went to bed I was reading my Bible and journaling. I was journalling down something that I felt God speak to me, which was (to sum) that the problems I see and issues I am concerned about will go away in His perfect timing. Then I remembered something God has spoken to me last week and began writing that too, which was that everything is in God's hands and that he is working behind the scenes.

Suddenly I realized something - God was showing me how he has taken the whole matter completely out of my hands and he has helped me to let go!! This was so exciting for me to realize, because its been an area that I have really desired to grow in. I've often struggled with wanting to make things happen or in my heart attempting to figure everything out and work out all the roadblocks. But I've known that I have to release it from my grip and say, "Lord, you do it. Its in your hands now." Sitting back and doing nothing has been quite challening, but God has given me much grace to be able to resist doing any pursuing (the littlest things are the hardest) and he has taken it into his hands!!

Now it comes down to whether I am going to believe God's promises and have faith, or if I am going to doubt and disobey by not trusting God to work things out. What a test!!! I am so thankful that God loves to pour out his grace!

12-10-01
Sing Through The Pain

Once I heard a song of sweetness,
As it cleft the morning air,
Sounding in its blest completeness,
Like a tender, pleading prayer;
And I sought to find the singer,
Whence the wondrous song was borne;
And I found a bird, sore wounded,
Pinioned by a cruel thorn.

I have seen a soul in sadness,
While its wings with pain were furl'd,
Giving hope, and cheer and gladness
That should bless a weeping world;
And I knew that life of sweetness,
Was of pain and sorrow row borne,
And a stricken soul was singing,
With its heart against a thorn.

Ye are told of One who loved you,
Of a Saviour crucified,
Ye are told of nails that pinioned,
And a spear that pierced His side;
Ye are told of cruel scourging,
Of a Saviour bearing scorn,
And He died for your salvation,
With His brow against a thorn.

Ye "are not above the Master."
Will you breathe a sweet refrain?
And His grace will be sufficient,
When your heart is pierced with pain.
Will you live to bless His loved ones,
Tho' your life be bruised and torn,
Like the bird that sang so sweetly,
With its heart against a thorn?
--Selected

12-09-01
Friends Are A Blessing

"Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel."
Proverbs 27:9

"If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up."
Ecclesiastes 4:10

I want to thank the Lord for the gift of friends. I've gone through seasons when I had no friends with which to share sweet fellowship, and seasons when any real friends were practically non-existant. Those seasons help me now to appreciate the gifts of friendship that God has given me. He has always brought the friendships into my life and directed paths so that we would cross. I didn't have to frantically look for them. In fact, it wasn't until I let it in God's hands that they came.

Sure, I don't have a *lot* of friends, but that doesn't matter. Its not the quantity but the quality. I have two friends in mind who have been such great sources of encouragment and blessing to me lately...praise the Lord for his graciousness!!! They have inspired me and picked me up when I have been in need of extra encouragment. They weep with me when I weep and laugh with me when I laugh.

I hope that I can/am as good a friend to them. But all this is really by the Lord's hand, it is *his* loving kindness that so graciously provides us with human comanionship. Thank you, Jesus. :)

12-08-01
Storing for the Future

PSALM 126

"When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion,
we were like men who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
'The LORD has done great things for them.'
The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.
He who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him."

"For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield."
Psalm 5:12

"The one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
Galations 6:8-10

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I have been dwelling lately on how my obediance to the Lord now will reap blessings later. Sometimes when I follow the Lord's ways, it feels like it only makes life harder. But I know that I am storing up for myself eternal rewards, and these blessings will far outweigh any struggles now.

"He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him." I *believe* this is true. I am counting on it! I must sow to the Spirit now, and at the perfect time I will reap a harvest from the Spirit. God promises to bless those who do his will. He will not forsake his promises.

So I must press on with perseverance remembering that one day I will see the fruit. I will set my eyes on eternal gain, for it makes everything else worthwhile.

12-07-01
He Hears Me

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.
Psalm 130

But I call to God, and the LORD saves me.
Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.
Psalm 55:16-17

God has been faithful to bestow his grace upon me and help me. I am not left as an orphan, but I am surrounded by his ever-present love to strengthen and guide me. He hears my voice in the night. I cry out and he answers me...he *will* answer me! So I wait for him, wait in faith, wait in hope, and wait expectantly. At the right time he will answer.

12-05-01
Dependant Discipline

When Solomon, God's choice for Israel's king, proceeded to be crowned, the hearts of the people were filled with joy. The procession down to Gihon, where Solomon was officially declared king, was filled with the sound of music and celebration. This is the way it should be with us too. Obeying the will of the Lord is always a cause for rejoicing, not a cause for mourning.

Satan would have us believe that God is a killjoy. He lies to us and tells us that the farther we stay away from what God wants, the greater our chances to be truly happy. But countless people have been ruined by Satans lies. Only the Lord is able to give true, lasting joy. The closer we walk with Him, the more cause we have to rejoice.

Discover for yourself what a joy it is to walk in God's will. You will learn that there is a direct relationship between obedience to God and joy from God. Let the joy of the Lord fill your heart. Ask Him to remove anything that is preventing you from fully experiencing His joy. Then discover the delight of obeying Jesus.
-WOODROW KROLL

This evening I was reading in Disciplines of Grace (an awesome must-read) and the chapter I read was called "Dependant Discipline". It was talking about how we have to be disciplined but to do it in dependance on God. The author used the example of a farmer.

A farmer has to plant, fertilize, tend, weed, water, harvest, etc. But the farmer has no control over the weather or making the plant grow. And making the plant grow is the crucial thing!! Yet, it could not happen if he did not do his responsibility. And of course, God is the one who makes something grow, like our character. We must do our part, too, but recognizing the growth will come from his grace.

Another illustration he used was that of an airplane. One of the wings stands for discipline and the other wing for dependance. You need both to fly. It made me think about how I have been living recently. I think that I have been trying to fly on just one wing. When that wing doesn't work I switch to the other wing, but of course that doesn't work either so I give up wings all together. The result of each: I crash! With God's grace I need to get my act together and take up both wings.

Back to God, back to discipline. With *his* strength I can win the race set out for me!

12-04-01
Joy In God's Will

When Solomon, God's choice for Israels king, proceeded to be crowned, the hearts of the people were filled with joy. The procession down to Gihon, where Solomon was officially declared king, was filled with the sound of music and celebration. This is the way it should be with us too. Obeying the will of the Lord is always a cause for rejoicing, not a cause for mourning.

Satan would have us believe that God is a killjoy. He lies to us and tells us that the farther we stay away from what God wants, the greater our chances to be truly happy. But countless people have been ruined by Satans lies. Only the Lord is able to give true, lasting joy. The closer we walk with Him, the more cause we have to rejoice.

Discover for yourself what a joy it is to walk in God's will. You will learn that there is a direct relationship between obedience to God and joy from God. Let the joy of the Lord fill your heart. Ask Him to remove anything that is preventing you from fully experiencing His joy. Then discover the delight of obeying Jesus.
-WOODROW KROLL

I have been struggling lately to be joyful. You probably wouldn't notice if you were around me, because I keep a smile on my face and an element of cheer in my voice, but inside my heart is blue. I'm not always *sad* but its rarely *joyful*.

I think I must be viewing God as a "killjoy", because I see my melancholy as being caused from walking in his will. If obediance is supposed to bring joy, than why am I not happy?

I think I need to remind my self that it *is* a joy to walk in the Lord's will - and so much better!!! If I did not walk in His will, then I would have a guilty conscience to torment me. That would make me truly miserable! Instead, I need to remember that I am pleasing God and bring him glory by walking in His ways. And when I remember that, then I too will find joy.

12-03-01
Holiday Spirit

Today I decked the stairs in green garlands, complete with white lights. Mom & I decorated our 9 foot Christmas tree. Christmas music played in the backround, and I even sipped an eggnog latte (yuuum!). But, despite all the holiday activity, I just can't get myself into the Christmas spirit this year. :/

It could be blamed on the weather - December 1st I was wearing a sleevless shirt - hard to feel like Christmas when its so warm out! Or it could be blamed on getting older - some people say Christmas spirit is just for kids. Or, it could be something else...

A something else that will go undefined and vague. Yes, that's it. I suppose its still going to be Christmas even if I don't have "warm fuzzies" inside and am not dancing around the house to the tune of "Mary's Song". Maybe next Christmas will find me less of a grinch and back to my sentimental self. Then again, being sentimental is the whole problem this year! Hah! :p

12-02-01
Looking at the Waterfall

I wanted to share about something from my church worship this morning. It encouraged me, and I thought it would be encouraging to others as well.

We were singing about God's goodness to us, and somebody had a word that they shared. The person said that they saw a picture of two people looking at a waterfall. They were looking at it through different binoculars, but the same waterfall. However, one person saw a gushing, pouring waterfall and the other person saw a waterfall that was just a few drips barely spilling over the edge. What made it different? The lense of the binoculars. The first person saw themselves as they were, and when they were aware of their true state of sinfulness and pitifulness, then the waterfall of God's grace and blessings was an overwhelming river. The second person did not see their sinfulness or recognize their depravity, and so it was like a desert with God's blessings only seeming like a few drops.

This convicted me. I am so ungrateful!!!! Its as though I think I deserve more, and I fail to see how utterly sinful I am apart from God's grace! He died for *me*! - This wretch, this worm! Surely when I look at it that way I will be astounded at the mercy and blessings God has poured out on my life. If it is just a trickle I see, then I am looking at myself through the wrong lense. :/

12-01-01
Focus on the Positive

"If we complained less, and praised more, we should be happier, and God would be more glorified. Let us daily praise God for common mercies--common as we frequently call them, and yet so priceless, that when deprived of them we are ready to perish. Let us bless God for the eyes with which we behold the sun, for the health and strength to walk abroad, for the bread we eat, for the raiment we wear."
- Charles Spurgeon

"Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits"
Psalm 103:2

Its a new month!!!! Yay!! You can always be sure to find me in a good mood the first of the month. ;)

But seriously, it is easy to focus on the challenges of life and to dwell on everything we wish were different. Life is hard, after all. :/ That isn't the attitude I should have, however. God has showered me with grace and lovingkindess!!! There are so many evidences of his common grace around me. If I set my eyes on all the little gifts of his love, and praise him for them, then I'll be so much stronger to deal with the trials of life. Why focus on what I can't change? I'll think about the blessings instead!