Wake Up and Receive Your Reward

Tuesday, June 14

 Proverbs 31:31 "Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise."

“Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”(KJV) When this Proverb was first penned, it probably was culturally shocking in its citation.   Eerdmans Commentary states, “Solomon’s address to men in general: Give her the praises which she so richly merits…in public places.”  

Does it seem hard for you to accept praise?   Why or why not?

I’d like to also address this metaphorically.  The reference to “the gates” is a reference to the public arena.  Christ wants us as His prized possession, His Church to be conformed to His image.  He wants the world to see His glory upon us.  When that is done, society, will praise her and her reward will be God’s Kingdom at work in the hearts of mankind.  Psalm 24:7-10 says, “7Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 8Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. 9Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 10Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.” (KJV)

The Messages says it like this, “7 Wake up, you sleepyhead city!  Wake up, you sleepyhead people!  King-Glory is ready to enter.  8 Who is this King-Glory?  God, armed and battle-ready.  9 Wake up, you sleepyhead city! Wake up, you sleepyhead people!  King-Glory is ready to enter.  10 Who is this King-Glory?  God-of-the-Angel-Armies: he is King-Glory.”

If possible, find a resource, like a Strong’s Exhaustive Bible Concordance, hardcopy or by internet or go to http://www.biblegateway.com or www.youversion.com or www.biblos.com and reference scriptures relating to the word ‘reward’.

What are some rewards you are believing for?

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No Fear

  Tuesday, June 7 2011

Proverbs 31:30  "Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

The Amplified Bible continues it commentary on this passage, “When the summary of what makes her price far above rubies is given in verse 30, it is her spiritual life only that is mentioned.  One can almost hear the voice of Jesus (Luke 10:42), saying, “Mary has chosen that good portion…which shall not be taken from her.”  
The scriptures tells us hundreds of times to, “Fear not!”  Yet, here, in verse 30, we see the commendation to fear the Lord.  So, what’s the difference?
Here are just a few examples that Proverbs gives to describe the fear of the Lord, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil:  pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the forward mouth, do I hate.”  Proverbs 8:13
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” Proverbs 9:10
“The fear of the Lord prolongs days…” Proverbs 10:27 

The word ‘fear’ in all these scriptures, according to Strong’s, mean to ‘reverence’.  To have reverence is to have a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe.  Synonyms for reverence include admiration, adoration, devoutness, homage, honor, love, loyalty, praise, worship.  The Amplified Bible translates this verse as, “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!”  

I John 4:18 elaborates on the kind of fear we are not to experience, “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love's complete perfection].” (Amplified)  Isn’t it interesting that it’s the fear of punishment that holds torment?  Several weeks ago I went to a Beth Moore conference.  She told the story of visiting Billy Graham’s retreat center, of which she had long dreamed.  As she was touring the facility, she was overwhelmed with the life of this godly man.  Soon she began to feel ashamed.  How could God ever use someone like her?  Back at her cabin on the retreat grounds, she cried herself to sleep.  The next morning she shuffled to the coffeepot, still feeling so condemned.  She opened the curtains to see the ground blanketed with snow!  Isaiah 1:18 immediately came to her mind, “…thou your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow…!”  Her condemnation turned to jubilation!  

One of the attendees at the conference identified with Beth’s story and was so touched and encouraged by it.  To further minister to this person, I gave her a silver snowflake to be opened on Christmas day.  Can you believe it snowed in Alabama on Christmas day!  It was said to have been the first day it snowed on Christmas in Alabama in one hundred years.  Christ came to take our punishment!  

What do you live in the dread of?  

When I am plagued by fear, I try to follow fear all the way to its source.  My thought process goes like this… “What am I afraid of?”  When I get that answer, I ask myself, “Why am I afraid of that?” Many times, I find at fear’s root there is a control issue.  I want things to turn out a certain way.  Then I am faced with the real question, “Do I truly trust God’s love and care for me?”  I then come to this reality with a resounding, “Yes!”  God can be trusted!

What is it that you are afraid of?  

Why are you afraid of that?

Can God be trusted with the outcome?

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A Woman of Force

Tuesday, May 31

 Proverbs 31:29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”

According to The Pulpit Commentary,  the Vulgate (the Latin version of the Bible written by Saint Jerome at the end of the 4th century) and the Septuagint (The oldest Greek version of the Old Testament, probably translated by 70 -72 Jewish scholars at the request of Ptolemy II between the 3rd and 2nd centuries, BC) translate this verse as, “Many daughters have obtained wealth.”  It goes on to say, that it adds another rendering, “Many daughters have wrought power,” which it says, is nearer the meaning in this place.  The word virtuous in Hebrew is ‘chayil’ and means force.  Therefore, we can confidently say that the virtuous woman is a woman of force.  

There’s a beautiful and interesting commentary found in the Amplified Bible concerning this verse, “This is a very great deal to be recorded of her, a woman in private life.  It means she had done more that Miriam, a leader to a nation’s praise to God (Exodus 15:20-21) Deborah, the patriotic military advisor (Judges 4:4-10), Huldah, the woman who revealed God’s secret message to national leaders (II Kings 22:14), Ruth, Hannah, Queen Esther… In what way did she ‘excel them all’?  In her spiritual and practical devotion to God, which permeated every area and relationship of her life.”

It was not her accomplishments that caused her to be a woman of force.  It was her devotion to God that determined her force.  Her private dealings became her public testimony.

I sense the Holy Spirit dealing in such a ‘forceful’ way.
Journal the questions you are hearing the Holy Spirit ask. 
Include any illuminations.


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My Parents:)

Tuesday, May 24


Proverbs 31: 27-28  "She carefully watches everything in her household
 and suffers nothing from laziness. 
 Her children stand and bless her.
 Her husband praises her"

The Amplified Bible translates it this way, “She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat.”
Oh me, ladies, let’s chew on that!  It surely covers all our junk!
The next verse is the result of what happens when we observe to do verse 27, “Her children stand (Standing children is a wonderful image!) and bless her. Eerdmans Commentary expounds, “When they reach mature age, they bless her…”   Her husband also praises her.  “What a Woman Wants?”  I believe a woman wants children who are found standing on their own at adulthood and who have enough confidence to bless instead of criticize and a husband that is secure enough to encourage and validate his wife.  Whether married or not or with children or not, every woman has a need to be validated and encouraged.  
If that need is met mostly from the immediate family, then do we not have a great responsibility to encourage, validate and bless the single woman?  
What are some ways in which we can facilitate that outreach of encouragement?

Now, let’s look at this metaphorically.  We could conclude then that when the bride of Christ opens her mouth with wisdom and kindness, when she refuses to gossip, to be discontented and self-absorbed, the next generation will stand and will bless the church and will also bless God to whom the church belongs.  And Christ will boast, as in Ephesians 3:10 and 11, of His beautiful bride and the world will be drawn to the light of it.  


Record your insights.


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Rest a spell!

 Tuesday, May 10


Proverbs 31:25  "She is clothed with strength and dignity,
 and she laughs without fear of the future."

She is clothed with strength and dignity.  Verse twenty-two also describes her clothing, “She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.”   Ladies, obviously, the Lord intends for us to present ourselves well.  So, here, He gives us His permission to spend some time and money on ourselves!  Don’t make the mistake of getting so focused on others that you neglect yourself.  Care for the caregiver!  

Clothed with strength and dignity, dressed in fine linen and purple gowns, this woman is a picture of the Priesthood of God. The priests’ clothing were to be made of fine linen. Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary says of linen, “In Bible times, the finest linen allowed free circulation of air, keeping the wearer cool in hot weather. Because it was so expensive, it was owned by the wealthy, the powerful, and the priests.”  Ezekiel 44:18 gives more incite to the reason God chose linen, “They must wear linen turbans and linen undergarments. They must not wear anything that would cause them to perspire.”  Jesus reminds us in Matthew 11:29-30 “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”


What are some things in your life that you are ‘sweating’ about?


How much of your self-worth do you acquire from your ‘doings’?
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Live Fear Free!

 Tuesday, April 26

 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.

Our anchor scripture!  “She has no fear…”  Can you imagine what it would be like to live fear free!  The King James Version translates it this way, “She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet…”
As I stated in the introduction, “She is not afraid of the harshness of winter, along with its hardships.  In the Middle East, the place of this writing, snow was uncommon and could be disastrous for those unprepared.  The woman of Proverbs 31 did not fear unforeseen adversity considering she had prepared by covering her household with scarlet.   In scripture, scarlet symbolizes the sacrifice of the blood of Jesus that cleanses from sin.  We can face the future prepared and unafraid with the covering of Jesus’ blood.” 
Verse twenty-two gives us more incite into her fearlessness.  “She makes for herself coverings of tapestry”, says the KJV.  Strong’s translates the word ‘coverings’ to mean ‘coverlet’ which is why the NLT calls it ‘bedspreads.’  If a person is to be productive, a person must rest!  Have you ever noticed that fear seems to invade your thoughts with more ferocity at night when you are trying to rest?  I Corinthians 5:4 says that we are to, “Cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” The best way to cast down imaginations is to replace those imaginations with the truth of God’s Word: those thoughts that represent the thoughts of Christ.  The word ‘imagination’ translates ‘reasoning’ and is from a root word meaning to ‘conclude.’  Fear wants us to conclude the worst by bringing dreadful imagined pictures to our minds.  What we focus on, we become.  Prepare for the night by covering yourself and your family with confessions and promises from the Word of God. 
What reoccurring fear threatens you?
Cast down and replace those imaginations with promises from the Word of God.
Record and recite, out loud, those promises that cover and protect during times of rest.

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Take the Risk & Reach!

Hello Great Ladies!
Tomorrow's devotion is centered around reaching out to others and the risk we take when we do. However, actions of faith always involve a certain amount of risk. Friday, April 22nd, I will be in two county high schools in Kentucky speaking to over 1,000 students. Talk about taking a risk!!! But, by faith, I believe I can communicate hope, love, acceptance, along with the importance and value of their lives. Please pray for me and for Jason from Mirror-Mirror. http://www.onemirror.net

Devotion for Tuesday, April 19
Proverbs 31:20 "She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy."
This woman not only gives to the poor but seems to employ the ministry of touch, reminiscent of Jesus when he prayed for others. It is said there are 2500 nerve receptors per square centimeter in the human hand. Her actions not only express benevolence but compassion, empathy and involvement. There are many different categories of poor and needy people. Obviously, there are the socio-economically poor. But there are also the emotionally poor, the spiritually poor, the mentally poor, and the lonely and given-up-on poor.

What are some causes and effects of getting involved in giving to the poor?
Without editing your thoughts, list as many as you can think of, even the negative ones.
Are you surprised as to why you may be reluctant? 
How do the benefits outweigh the negatives? 

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Tell your Daylight what to be!

 

Tuesday, April 5 

 

Proverbs 31:18  "She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night."

The Pulpit Commentary comments on the second sentence, “…she finds work for the hours of darkness.”  It is imperative we speak to the darkness before the daylight is formed. Genesis 1:2, “The earth was empty, a formless mass cloaked in darkness.  And the Spirit of God was hovering over its surface.  Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”  Just as the Lord told Ezekiel in Ezekiel 37:4, “Speak to these bones and say…” we also must speak to the darkness and tell it what to be!  The Holy Spirit is waiting on our voice to recite His Word back to him! 
Some take, according to The Pulpit Commentary, the lamp here in an allegorical sense as signifying life, happiness, and prosperity, as in Proverbs 13:9 and Proverbs 20:20.  Jesus, my sisters, intends for us to prosper and be in health.  (3 John 2)
What dark circumstance are you in right now?
Find a promise from God’s Word to shape your coming daylight.
Record your responses.


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Go Treasure Hunting!

Life’s a Beach??
I’m not sure about that metaphor but I do believe that life is a treasure hunt! This week’s scripture talks about the Proverbs 31 woman inspecting a field. I can assure you that your heart is a treasure and there is “treasure in them thar’ hills!” Our Father is so sure of that fact that He spent the Gem of Heaven to buy the field of your heart. I encourage you to embrace that fact this week…and don’t forget….whatsoever you have received, give.

Tuesday, March 22

Proverbs 31:16
“She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard.”

In Matthew 13:44, Jesus shares a parable about a man finding a treasure hidden in a field and when he discovers it, the man sells everything to buy the field and gain the treasure. We are that treasure and the man who sells everything to purchase the field is symbolic of God. Just as our Father, God, has the capacity to look beyond the obvious, the common, the dirt, and see the treasure in the field, we have that ability, also.
Ask the Holy Spirit to heighten your ability to see His hidden treasure in yourself and in others.
What “field” are you inspecting?
What treasures do you discern in the field?

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Enrich Christ?

Tuesday, February 22

Proverbs 31
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.

There are two major ways of reading the Word of God. Eisegesis is taken from a root meaning ‘to lead’ and implies the reader leads the reading of the Bible in such a way that expresses the interpreter’s own ideas. Exegesis is taken from a word that means ‘to guide’ and suggests the reader allows the text to guide their interpretation.
Allow the Word of God to guide you in its many layers and symbols. Today, let’s look at the woman in Proverbs metaphorically. “The spiritual expositors see in this description of the virtuous woman a prophetic representation of the Church of Christ in her truth and purity and influence.” (Pulpit Commentary) Jesus is our bridegroom. Can He confidently make the declaration of us, His Church, which is found in verses 11 & 12?
Proverbs 12:4 says, “A worthy wife is her husband’s joy and crown; a shameful wife saps his strength.”
In what ways do you think, we as His children, sap His strength?
Record some ways in which you think that we greatly enrich His life.
List ways in which we ‘do Him good’ all the days of our lives.

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