Friday, December 27, 2013

Proverbs 31:25-31 She is to be praised!

As promised, today’s verses which describe the “excellent wife” of Proverbs 31 turn from what she does to to the essence of who this woman is, to what makes her tick. Today we look at her heart. 

Strength and dignity are her clothing,

    and she laughs at the time to come. 
She opens her mouth with wisdom,

    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 
She looks well to the ways of her household

    and does not eat the bread of idleness. 
Her children rise up and call her blessed;

    her husband also, and he praises her: 
“Many women have done excellently,

    but you surpass them all.” 
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,

    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 
Give her of the fruit of her hands,

    and let her works praise her in the gates. (Proverbs 31:25-31)

This woman has an inner strength that carries her through all of life’s circumstances. She conducts herself with dignity. She is not one who lowers herself to the common denominator in a world of gossips. She holds her tongue when others rush in to fill the void with words. When she does open her mouth, it is to add wisdom or to say something kind and encouraging. That reveals her heart more than anything else!

Jesus told us that “out of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34, 15:18-19) Her words reveal a heart of kindness and compassion. Of all of her traits, this is the most challenging one for me. Anyone can be busy. Many can manage to multi-task like crazy. But few have the self-control and kindness that can rule the tongue! That takes a heart that has been transformed!

This woman has the love and devotion of her family. Even those who live with her day in and day out, who see her without makeup, who see her tired and in her worst moments, praise her! Wow!

I love that she laughs at the time to come. She knows where her future lies, she is certain of her eternal destiny, because she fears the Lord. She belongs wholeheartedly to Him first, so she knows that she need not fear old age, or, worse, illness.

You have followed the news of my sister, Jodi, and you have prayed for her over the past three years with the sudden loss of her son, Justin, and through her battle with multiple myeloma. On Christmas Eve she received news from her doctor that the cancer has spread to her lungs. This was a blow to the stomach! There is never a good time to receive bad news, but on the day before Christmas it just sucked the air out of all of us.

I spoke with her a few hours after she heard this. We both shed some tears on the phone. There is much Jodi would still like to live to see. Jodi has fourteen grandchildren of her own, and five more were just added as Justin’s widow, Stephanie recently married a widower with five of his own who join her four! Talk about the Brady bunch on steroids! So, the news of cancer in the lungs hit her hard. She’d love to see them all married.

However, Jodi is a woman of great inner strength and she is trusting the Lord with her days, weeks, and, hopefully, years ahead. She spoke of the multitude of blessings she has had in her life and was able to laugh with me about much. All in our family call her blessed! Please continue to pray for her as she goes forth with a lousy chemo regimen that zaps her physically and requires her to fight to remain positive. I know for certain that her husband says with the husband mentioned in verse 29, “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.

Finally, in the last two verses of this wonderful, practical book of wisdom, we see the key to being the woman of God we all hope to become: the “excellent wife” is a woman who, above all else, fears the LORD! We were told in Proverbs 1:7 that the “fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” And here, the book finishes with the same thought. This is wisdom: it is all about Him! He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end; He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Apart from Him we can do nothing!

When Jesus stepped into history, taking on the form of a helpless baby, with the sole purpose of saving us from our sins, He offered Himself as the greatest gift of all. He offered this gift of salvation to ALL, but few receive it. He said that the way to destruction is broad, and many choose to take it. Few take the narrow way. There is nothing in the Bible that says we will all be in eternity with Christ. Only those who choose to receive Jesus as the only way to the Father.

With all of the wrappings off of the gifts under the tree at your home, did you leave that one package unopened? I read somewhere that the Christmas tree of God is the cross. It didn’t have lights around it, but it carried the Light of the world. Look to Him even as the Proverbs 31 woman does. He is all we need!  Don't deny that most precious of gifts!

Praying you will come with me into 2014. I’m heading into the book of Galatians for some strong teaching from Paul. I can’t wait! Meanwhile, I covet your prayers for Jodi and her family. Praying 2014 will bring her physical strength and miracles from God.  

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