Category Archives: Faithfulness

Taking Care

Proverbs 31:27

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

Dutifully Looking After

As we continue our look at the virtuous, godly wife, we see that she takes care of her home.

She makes sure her family is taken care of, that the chores are taken care of, that obligations are taken care of, and everything is in order.

“[She] eateth not the bread of idleness.” She does not see the mess in the living room and think, “That can wait.” Instead, she makes sure it gets picked up. She does not see the dishes in the sink and think, “I will do that after dinner.” She knows that putting something off until later generally keeps things put off until later.

I also think that all of this means that she knows when to put aside all of the work that needs to be down around the house and have some fun and share some love with her family. The cleaning and remembering to get things done keep the house in order, but she knows her family (and friends!) need attention, too.

The Loving Bride

As the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the Church, we must remember to take care of our household. This is why having at least a basic understanding of church history and theology is important.

Just as we would not allow a sexual predator near our children, we do not want bad teaching about God to take hold.

Just as we would not allow our children to run out into a busy street, we do not want bad teaching about holy living leading people astray.

We cannot allow these to last long, because once they are entrenched in church culture and understanding, they are nearly impossible to get out. For evidence of this, just look at what happened within the Church in the past couple centuries to see all of the division and disagreement.

Heavenly Father, give us wisdom and endurance to care for each of our households. Help us keep our family strong and safe and Your Church strong and holy.

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Beautiful Hands

Proverbs 31:10, 13

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. … She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.”

Mixed Memories

A long time ago my mother and grandmother (on my dad’s side) would go shopping for fabric. I will never forget those days, for they were some of the most miserable of my young life.

I was forced to endure the summer heat as they drove around town looking for sales in a ’71 Ford Maverick with no air and little ventilation. I walked beside my mom for what seemed like an eternity as they searched for patterns and fabric that would become my school clothes and their dresses. Women used to be proud to be called seamstresses, but not anymore. But there are exceptions, and my wife is one of them.

A Hard Worker

I have never met a harder worker than my wife, Valerie; she works rings around everyone, including myself. Until she became ill, she was always the first one awake and the last one asleep. She is still the last one to sit down when visitors come to eat, the last one to finish cleaning after a church social, and the only one who can handle a phone call, fold laundry, do dishes, and complete an income tax return at the same time.

On many days my wife hurts so much that no pain medication will touch it. Sometimes one day’s ordinary activity will leave her bed-ridden half of the next. Yet, she never gives up. She enjoys the duties of running a home and only complains when she can’t complete them to her own satisfaction.

Scarred, but Beautiful

When I first read 31:13 I thought of my wife’s hands…of how she loves to sew…of how she always brags on how her grandmother was an excellent seamstress, and how she always dreamed of being like her. I think of how she sewed her own wedding dress and then taught our girls to sew.  Now, because of her fibromyalgia, there are mornings I must rub her fingers before she can even move them, but it isn’t long before they “worketh willingly.”

20 years ago this June!

20 years ago this June!

The hands of a virtuous woman are not the flawless hands of a supermodel; they are scarred. They are scarred from oven burns, needle pricks, tire swing ropes. They are dry from folding laundry, wrinkled from dishwater, and paper-cut from clipping coupons. They are even bruised and sore: bruised from spanking bottoms and applauding home-runs; sore from pushing a discouraged husband out the door and up the ladder.

When I think of the hands of a Proverb 31 woman I don’t think of perfect hands, but I do think of beautiful hands. I think of Valerie’s.

Yes, I found a virtuous wife, and I wouldn’t trade her for all the rubies in the world.


Misjudged

Proverbs 28:21
To have respect of persons is not good: for a piece of bread that man will transgress.”
To show partiality is not good, Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress.” (NASB)

Being Wary

Sadly, we live in a world dominated by people who like to take advantage of others.

This is important to remember.

There are so many friendly faces and wealthy people to whom people turn in trust for the simple reason that they appear trustworthy or might be able pull some strings.

Another example that comes to mind is of all of those people out there who add to their resumes to get jobs. Through their resumes, they pretend to have received certain degrees, awards, and accolades, or they insert false positions at companies to make it appear they have more experience.

There are also stories of people who are passed over for promotions, and they end up stealing from the company.

It can be easy to misjudge people if we only look at face value and never dig beneath the surface.

Ultimately, only God knows the heart of people.

The Disciples’ Misunderstanding

I could not help but think of one famous biblical story as I read this proverb.

Jesus sat down for His last meal with His disciples before His arrest and crucifixion. Toward the end of the meal, Jesus is breaking bread with them, and then He sends Judas Iscariot to do what he would do.

The other Eleven disciples thought perhaps “that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor.” (John 13:29, NASB)

Instead, Judas went to the Jewish leaders to help them arrest and kill Jesus.

The other disciples misjudged their friend, and Judas sinned against the Bread of Life.

God, help us to not show partiality or favoritism but to treat others with justice. Give us the strength to do what is right even when we disagree or are wronged. Help us to show Your love and grace in all circumstances.


Constant Contending

Proverbs 28:4

“They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.”
Entertainment Shock

The entertainment world is a never-ending circus display of freaks and oddities. Normal is never good, only what is abnormal and shocking. The more outrageous, the more likely it is to get ratings.

At the time of this writing, several female entertainers have been competing with each other over how far one can go without going too far. Long gone are the simple, clean-cut days of Elvis’ gyrating hips and the mini-skirts of the 60’s. We are even beyond the days of “wardrobe malfunctions.” Today is the day of full nudity, graphic sex, and animalistic behavior – at music concerts!

How could things have come this far? Why aren’t people like Miley Cyrus , Lady Ga Ga, and Madonna arrested for public indecency? It is because their fans have long forsaken the law of God and have learned to praise what is wicked. The critics are only critical of those who “contend” with them.

Constant Contending

Those who stand in opposition to the wicked in a society that praises vulgarity, violence, and vice will always find themselves in conflict. The mom that opposes sex education for her young child will always be considered the enemy of “good.” The dad that tries to prevent his daughter from leaving the house looking like prostitute will always be considered a prude. It never ends.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” – 1 Peter 3:15-17 NIV


Down on the Farm

Proverbs 27:23-27 

Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.

Tibhall cowsVery good friends of mine have a family farm. Over the years they have had to diversify in response to changes in farming. The dairy went a while back, but they still raise cattle for other people. There are several holiday lodges now on part of their land. While the father continues to run the farm, ably supported by his wife, their daughter lives next door, and she and her husband have invested in a high-tech egg business involving far too many chickens to count. The son and his wife live in an annex to the main farmhouse, and they are also involved in the farm, although the son’s wife also works full time as a nurse. I haven’t done the family justice in these few words, but the point is that the hard work and diligence of each generation on this particular farm has, in the words of Proverbs 27:24, meant that the ‘crown has endured (to date) to every generation.

If you managed to find this farm, which is accessed via narrow country lanes, you would see nothing unusual. There is a collection of buildings with the houses on one side of the road, and the farm buildings on the other. There may be a tractor and other farm machinery parked up. It looks every bit the working farm that it is!

TibhallWhat you would not see when you drive past the farm is the hearts of the people who live and work there. It is much more than the farm that is passing down through the generations. John and Jean, my friends, have been faithful in many ways. In addition to contributing to the life and work of the Baptist church in the nearest town, they have also been faithful supporters of the local Methodist circuit, with special involvement in the nearest small chapel. Their son David attended Baptist College and trained for full time ministry. Although David still works on the farm, he is also an agricultural chaplain serving others in the farming community. I know a little of what David does and it blesses me greatly to see this young man investing not only in the family farm through his labor, but also in the lives of others in an industry that is struggling for many reasons.

Investing in the lives of others is what Jesus did during three years of ministry. Jesus described Himself as the Good Shepherd, and gave examples through His teaching of the way that He loves and cares for His flock. This is an example we need to follow. It is also an example we must show not just to our children and our grandchildren, but to our neighbors and colleagues, and to anyone who may cross the path that God has set us on. David the farmer’s son is sowing different seed as a chaplain. But if you think about it, Jesus calls us all to be chaplains.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)


The Eyes Have It

Proverbs 27:20

“Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.”
“Death and destruction are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes.” – NIV

I, I

I enjoy video games. I have done for a long long time. I have worked in a video game shop. When a new big game comes out I find it hard to resist: I want to play it, to experience it. I knew the latest Grand Theft Auto would be a well deserved 18: but I am a sensible deserving adult, right? However upon playing a portion of the game I just simply decided that I didn’t want this kind of thing in my life. I can appreciate that it is a good game: the mechanics work well but for me the mechanics are implemented in a dark fashion. So I got rid of it. To be honest it was a sacrifice. I enjoyed most elements of the game but when it forces me in a direction that I don’t want to go in and have no chance to skip, I have to make a choice.

Why? Because what I fill my life with dominates it. What I let my eyes see affects my actions. Or as Jesus put it: what I fill my heart with will eventually come to the surface. Let me be clear – I’m not suggesting that playing dark or violent video games will turn a person into a killer: just that at some point, on some level, it will have an impact on their mood and outlook. That’s why despite me enjoying parts of the game, especially the chance to play online with friends, I have decided it’s not for me. I guess it crossed a line that I didn’t want to. Now I still have games in my collection that involve things like shooting so what does this verse have to say about them?

Balance in Favour of God

The eyes are never satisfied. They take everything in and the more they see of one thing the more they want it. Be that video games, films, porn or purity. People talk about our lives being in balance but for me the key is to make sure your eyes see enough of God that they just keep wanting more. The times I have genuinely spent focusing on God are the times when all other things in my life take a back seat. You may not like video games but I guarantee there is something in your life that is your go to thing when God is not central. The thing you spend most of your time doing, or thinking about when you aren’t doing it. If we could make God that thing, a lot of our other problems would fade into insignificance.

Matthew 6:33 ‘But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’


Doing Our Duty

Proverbs 27:18

18 Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured.

Lazy or Hardworking?

Perhaps you have heard the fable of “The Grasshopper and the Ant”.

The ant works hard all summer getting food ready for the winter. The grasshopper merely enjoys his lazy summer days lying around making fun of the ant for working so hard. When winter comes, the grasshopper has no food, so he goes to the ant. Depending the version of the story you find, the ant tells the grasshopper “If I give you food to eat that you did not earn, I will not have enough to get through the winter. You cannot have any of my food.”

If we have a garden and do not tend it, there will be very little food to eat at harvest. If we tend our garden and work hard at protecting and nurturing it, we will have an abundance of food at harvest.

Serving our Master

Likewise, if we work hard at what we are tasked to do (at work, at play, in anything that requires doing something that may be hard), we will be honored – respected, and rewarded.

This can be seen through promotions or bonuses at work, new friendships, getting awards, or another other number of good things.

Also, if we serve our Lord and Savior faithfully by sharing the gospel and helping those in need, we will one day get to hear Jesus say to us in persons “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-34, NIV

Dear Lord, give us the strength and integrity to do what we must and to do it well. Empower us to share Your love and healing with our world that we may One Day hear You say “Well done!”