Friday, April 29, 2016

Characteristics of a Woman of God Part One: The Virtuous Woman

What makes a woman of God? Is it the way she dresses? Is she modest? What about the way she speaks? Does she speak words of truth, kindness, love, and encouragement? Or maybe it's her actions? Does she reach out to help others? Is she giving? Does she give to those in need or does she expect someone else to take care of them?

A true woman of God is a true worshipper of God. It shows through her words, her actions, and, yes, even the way she dresses. She is strong, faithful, submissive, modest, she knows her worth, and sticks to her truth. Thankfully we can learn to grow into such a character. God provides us with a perfect template for a true woman of God. He also gives us many biblical women figures that we can model after, but the main passages that God has told me are Proverbs 31:10-31 and Titus 2:3-5.

This will be a two-part post. Today's post is part one and it will focus on The Virtuous Woman (Proverbs 31). Part two (which will be posted next Tuesday!) will focus on The Woman Who Leads Other Women (Titus 2).

So lets go!

When reading Proverbs 31:10-31, twenty main traits of the virtuous woman stood out to me.

  1. She is valuable. (31:10) She is more worthy than rubies and diamonds. Just like such precious stones, they are just as beautiful as they are rare. They are treasures that one would really have to dig up and find. Just like diamonds are made under pressure, sometimes the most beautiful women are created by the toughest adversity. It shapes and strengthens them; they become unbreakable. They know their worth and where they come from.
  2. She is trustworthy. (31:11) She puts her husband's heart at ease. He trusts in her. He trusts in her abilities. He knows that he will never lack anything good in life because he knows the woman that God blessed him with. (Proverbs 18:22) Her friends and family trust her as well.
  3. She is good. (31:12) She is good to her husband, her children, and to everyone else, even to strangers. Most importantly, she is good to God (because by being good to others, you are being good to Him [Matthew 25:40]). This goodness she has inside of her never seems to wear off. It follows her all the days of her life no matter how ungodly this world gets because a virtuous woman stays rooted in God, who is good. She allows the goodnes of God to flow through her.
  4. She is hardworking. (31:13) The woman of virtue is no slacker. When she needs to, she seeks work and pursue it. She is a productive woman who works for others as if working for the Lord. She is not afraid of hard work. She handles responsibilities and gets things done.
  5. She is provisional. (31:14) It is mainly the husband's job to provide for the family. The virtuous woman, as the man's helper (Gen. 2:18-22), helps her husband to provide food for the house. She goes great lengths to find the best food she can and put it on the table.
  6. She is a homemaker. (31:15) Wow! "She also rises while it is yet night." The virtuous woman is highly dedicated to her work and loves a good, early start to her day. She wakes up a dawn, says a prayer--I'm sure--and begins with her hously duties. If you have your own business or if you work from home, this point can also apply. This just reminded me of my late grandmother's domesticity. Now my grandmama was one of the strongest women of God I've ever had a pleasure to know. She truly loved the Lord with all her heart! Every summer I would stay at her home in Virginia with my cousin. Every morning--and I mean every morning--she would rise at 5am, go into the kitchen and turn on her favorite gospel station on the radio. Sometimes her habits would wake me and my cousin right out of our sleep! She would then begin cooking breakfast while worshipping God and spending some well needed alone time with Him. Of course as I got older, I respected her routine more and more. It is also a woman's job to keep the house in good shape (in a practical sense) by doing tasks such as cleaning and cooking.
  7. She plans wisely. (31:16) The virtuous woman is a planner. She is considerate, conscientious, and thoughtful. She is self-controlled and is careful not to act on impulse. Surely she asks God to intervene in her decision making so she can stay on the righteous path that He has for her. "From her profits she plants a vineyard." She is rewarded for her wise choices.
  8. She is strong. (31:17) The virtuous woman is a confident soul who looks to God for strength when she is weak. She wears strength; she puts it on before she begins her day. "And she strengthens her arms." She embraces a good challenge and welcomes it as an opportunity to grow stronger and closer to God.
  9. She is content. (31:18) The virtuous woman looks around at her possesions and is content with what God has blessed her with. She looks at where she is in her life and is thankful for the present moment and for how far God has brought her. She does not covet others for what they have nor does she compare herself with other women or compete with her. She is at peace with herself and with her life even with the flaws because she serves a God who is flawless.
  10. She is selfless. (31:20) She is mindful of the poor. She is compassionate and filled with empathy and love. She has a huge heart for the needy and gives without even thinking twice about it. She is a reflection of God's heart, Whose eyes are always on the needy. She allows God to work through her so she can bless the poor and nurture them. She does not leave people helpless, but the God in her leads her to reach out.
  11. She sees the big picture. (31:21) Intuition. This wiman is sensitive to what God tells her and does her best to be prepared for whatever life throws her way.She is a visionary who works towards what God has destined for her. She is not afraid nor is she doubtful of the challenges ahead because she puts her trust in God. She knows that He will be there.
  12. She is creative. (31:22) She has a unique sense of style when it comes to dress. She is expressive. She embraces who she is. She is well put together and is modest with her clothing.
  13. She makes her husband look good. Her man is not ashamed of her at all. Her character seems to have quite an influence on him, his friends, and the church. Because of her popularity in the community, her husband is also well-known. He is very proud to call her his wife.
  14. She is gifted. (31:24) She uses the talents that she was given to bless others and she knows how to use them to serve God and others. She is a generous entrepreneur who is serious and dedicated to her business but also keeps God first in Her life above all else.
  15. She is optimistic. (31:25) She has a positive outlook on the future because God is already there. She has no reason to fear the unknown...but instead, she looks at the mysteries of tomorrow with joy.
  16. She is wise. (31:26) This woman of virtue speaks wisdom. Her primary source of wisdom is God; He is the Living Word. She also gains wisdom from experience, failures, and mistakes. She does not hold back anything the Holy Spirit is prompting her to say. She just opens her mouth and speaks words of encouragement and wisdom to those who encounter her. She lives and she learns.
  17. She edifies others. (31:26) The virtuous woman is always kind to others. She has a heart that is full of kindness that bleeds onto her words. She is a humble woman who lifts up others and not herself. She genuinely praises others and make them feel great. She encourages, uplifts, and inspires others.
  18. She is praised. (31:28) She is praised by her husband, by her children, by her friends, by other women, and anyone else involved in her life. She is praised for her character, her faith, her words, and her good works.
  19. She is rare. (21:29) It is very rare, indeed, when great virtue meets great beauty. She stands out like a rare diamond. She is a unique thinker and a unique leader.
  20. She is God-fearing. (31:30) This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible because it talks about how meaningful it is to have a relationship with God. It does not matter how attractive a person is or how charming, those qualities are empty if that person does not love or serve the Lord. Being God-fearing is the most vital trait of a woman of God. Not only is she favorable and beautiful but she has a relationship with the Lord, and that makes a woman stunning.
Of course the standard of a Virtuous Woman that God gives us is the perfect one and we may never reach this perfect standard. But the goal, though, is to get as close as we can possibly get while staying in touch with our uniqueness. In no way is this post telling you to be perfect, but in every way I am encouraging you to be the best woman of God that you can possibly be.

**Part 2 (Titus 2) will be posted next Tuesday!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Sola Scriptura: Knowing God Through Scripture

Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable."
                  ~Isaiah 40:28

Photo Credit: Pinterest

I find it amazing how much of God's character is revealed in this one verse. We get to know who He is mostly by means of prayer, meditation, and reading His word.

The verse above tells me me so much about His character. God has told me to segment this verse for a richer understanding.

"The everlasting God..."
I would like to begin with this line, although it is not the first one. This segment tells me that God is eternal. He was here at the dawn of creation and will be here even until the end of age! He is with us when we laugh, when we cry, when we travel, when we are lonely, when we are away from our family and friends, when we are afraid, when we fail, when we are vistorious, when we are rejected, when we succeed, when we are lost, and when we lead.

I could think of many, many, many, more. He is eternal. His love is eternal. His knowledge (for us, especially) is eternal. His presence is eternal. His word is eternal.

God ain't going nowhere. But we must keep Him close. We must keep Him first in our lives.

"...the Lord..."
The Lord of all. The Lord of all things living. The Lord of all the earth. The Lord of the universe. Lord of all Lords. Jesus is Lord. Lord above all.

"...The Creator of the ends of the earth..."
"Creator" is the key word. The Lord has created all things (Colossians 1:16-17). He created you. He created me. He created the earth, the planets, the sun, the stars! He created Heaven. He created nature, the weather, rainbows, and all creatures. He created language for all to speak. To speak to Him, to speak to one another, and to rebuke the enemy.

He created the ends of the earth. A God who created this entire world by speaking everything into existence has thought to create you! The same God who created mountains, waterfalls, sunrises, the moon, and stars created you and me! We are so small compared to the footprints of His glory. So small. Yet He lives in us. He wanted us! He called us! He saved us!

The fact that the same God who created it all with such majestic beauty is the same God who created us and lives in us should make us feel like so many things:

  • Loved
  • Beautiful
  • Strong
  • Courageous
  • Valued
  • Blessed
  • Accepted
  • Secure
Secure, because a God who created the world in only a week will never stop looking after you. He will always protect you. He will always provide. He will never forget about you, dearly beloved. He loves you like crazy!

"...neither faints nor is weary..."
How incredible is it that God, who created the entire universe out of nothing in 7 days, never gets tired? Unlike us mortal beings who get weary from a normal day (work, school, parenting, chores, cooking, etc.), God doesn't even pant after looking after billions of people!

We may faint and become weary with exhaustion--mentally, physically, emotionally, and even spiritually--but we serve an eternal, loving God who never does. Just like we feed off the energies of those around us, we must take our weary souls elsewhere, isolate ourselves, come near God and feed off of His revitalizing presence. It is He who can refill us. He is our source of strength. We lay our burdens on Him and He will lift our souls. Rest in Him and He will renew your strength. 

"...His understanding is unserchable..."
The knowledge of God is so vast, so deep, so lofty that we cannot comprehend it with our mortal minds. His love for us is the same way. It runs so deep and so wide that we cannot begin to make sense out of it. All we can to is praise Him for this gorgeous love and let it consume us.

No one can fully fathom His ways, how He works. We may not always know why God does what He does or how He does it, but that is one of the many things that makes Him so wonderful; He fills us with wonder, He keeps us wondering. Because we are not meant to fully understand God's ways, we call some some things "miracles," because miracles cannot be explained. They just are. Sometimes the most beautiful things in life cannot be instead, we can just marvel at them.

God is marvelous...

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wake Up Ladies: Dorcas, the Generous Disciple

Scripture Passage: Acts 9:36-42

"Dorcas" = gazelle, a small, graceful, and swift antelope with glowing eyes.

Many individuals turn out to live up to the meaning of their names and Dorcas from the book of Acts is no exception. Dorcas (or "Tabitha," as it is in Hebrew) was a dedicated disciple of God who was very generous, charitable, and faithful with her work. She seemed to be quite graceful, much like a gazelle. Very selfless with a huge heart for God and others, she, being highly gifted with her hands, made tunics and clothing to provide for those who desperately needed it. Dorcas was a very modest and simple woman of God who allowed His goodness to flow from His heart through her hands (I love how many endless, unique ways God uses His people!). She was not afraid to use her God-given abilities to bless others--especially those in need--and, therefore, give back to the Lord (Matt. 25:40).

Also important to note: God's glory is revealed in Dorcas' story. I'm not talking about what God did through her talent, but what happened after Dorcas died. The news reached Peter and he went and found her body in the upper chamber. When Peter saw Dorcas' body, he knelt down and prayed for her to wake up. What happens next is incredible. God puts life back into Dorcas' body and she wakes right up! When the tidings of this miraculous moment spread throughout Joppa (the town in which they lived), the people were amazed and became believers of God. Just witnessing miracles (unexplained occurences) will convince an unbeliever that there is a God. One thing this passage tells me is that the glory of God can be seen in anybody's life and His incredible glory is enough to birth believers all around.

What Can We Learn From Dorcas? 

  • Being a disciple, she was a true follower and worshipper of God
  • Humble (crafting clothing for others with the work of one's hands is a humble task)
  • Served God with her talents; she put her heart in everything she did (Col. 3:23)
  • Selfless 
  • Grounded (never forgot where she came from and why God put her on the earth)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Sola Scriptura: Knowing God's Power

Credit: Christian Media Ritchie

"For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth."
~Exodus 9:14

While reading these passages of Moses, Pharaoh, and the plagues of Egypt, I always wondered, "why did God express His anger on Pharaoh and his people if He knew that He was going to harden Pharaohs heart? What is God doing here?"

I finally got my answer while reading chapter 8 of Exodus. God spoke to me subliminally. God wanted to show Pharaoh His power (Ex. 9:14). God also wanted to show Pharaoh that He is the one and only God and that there is none like Him (perhaps because Pharaoh did not know God [Ex. 5:2]  nor was he acquainted with His mighty power).

But Pharaoh was stubborn. In fact the more stubborn he was, the mightier God's power was in Egypt.

The ten plagues of Egypt. This was all part of God's plan for Moses (his calling to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt), for Pharaoh (to witness God and His power), for the Egyptians (the plagues being God's judgement), and for the Israelites (for deliverance out of the hands of Pharaoh). At the beginning of Exodus, Pharaoh was overwhelmed with the massive amounts of Israelites in Egypt; they were too many (Ex. 1:7-14) so he made them toil as slaves. But the more they were burdened, the more they multiplied. The Israelites then cried and groaned because of their heavy burdens. God heard them and He had a plan for them to be delivered.

God then wanted to use Moses to execute that plan--to bring the Israelites out of the land into the wilderness so they can serve Him. But God knew Pharaoh's heart and that he needed to be humbled and more believing. Pharaoh's people suffered terribly because of his stubbornness. He had to see over and over again that God and His power are real and it was only because he refused to let God's people go. The more Pharaoh refused God's command, the more God unleashed His wondrous power. But Pharaoh finally released the Israelites after the tenth plague, only to change his mind about it later.

God's power is also manifested in Moses who was believed to have had a stuttering problem (Ex. 6:12). He was not very eloquent and very fearful, but God still chose to use him anyway and He gave moses the words to say to Pharaoh. God also gave Moses power in his rod to show Pharaoh God's mighty power. This shows that when we are at our weakest, God is at His strongest (2 Corinth. 12:9); I cannot stress this enough! He used someone like Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt (by means of splitting the Red Sea in half and ultimately drowning Pharaoh and the Egyptians) into the land flowing with milk and honey. A new law--The Ten Commandments--was then established by God.

It is amazing how God works. He can use anything for His glory. Anything! In Exodus, He used flies, locusts, and frogs under His command. He used a bush to speak to and call Moses. God used the forces of nature (hail, fire, waters to blood, and darkness) to show His limitless power. I also love how God kept Moses, Aaron, and the Israelites untouched by all of these plagues (because they were God's people).

A few more insights I pulled from this:

  • There is nothing too big or too small that God cannot handle or use for His glory. He never ceases to amaze us..
  • God used Pharaoh's situation as an opportunity to show everyone who He is (and also to expose Pharaoh of his ignorance and stubbornness).
  • God has wonderful reasons behind everything He does. Anything we go through is only for our good and for His glory to be seen.
  • God uses ugly circumstances for His stunning beauty to pierce through the darkness of the situation.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Wake Up Ladies: Anna, The Prophetess

Hello everyone and welcome to my newest blog series, Wake Up Ladies: A Biblical Women Blog Series. Because my blog is all about teaching women of God and empowering and encouraging them with devotions, teachings, and personal stories, God has told me to focus more on the women in the Bible in a way that we, as women of God, can learn from and be influenced by them. The mission of this series is to teach about the women in the Bible and encourage today's women of God to live in such a way. I believe one of the most important things in learning to be a true woman of God is learning from the best (and yes, even the worst) women in the Bible. I will be posting a new episode bi-weekly on Wednesday mornings. I'm so excited about this and I pray that you will be blessed, encouraged, and positively influenced by the studies of these women!

Here is my first official episode of the series: "Prophetess Anna."

Main Passage: Luke 2:22-38 (v. 36-38, especially)

'Anna' means: favor, grace

Anna, a strong and faithful woman of God, was a prophetess who was believed to have known the Messiah had arrived right when Simeon presented Him in the temple (v. 27-32). She often talked about Jesus and His coming to those who looked for Salvation in Jerusalem.

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84 years of age and widowed after 7 years of marriage, Anna was an extraordinary woman of God who led by example. She was heavily connected to and committed to her service in church and the church itself. She was so devoted to God, was a woman through whom God spoke, and served Him through prayer and fasting day and night.

That eventful moment when baby Jesus was presented in the temple, Anna gave thanks to God right then, at that moment, because she knew that the Son of God had come. She knew who he was. Because of this, she wanted to tell others about Jesus (witnessing) and His saving power.

Anna was a very selfless woman who valued God and others above herself. She served God with all her heart and served others with love and faithfulness.

What Can We Learn From Anna?

  • Committment and dedication to God, especially, and her service to others
  • Her love for the church and faithfulness to her work (v. 37, "she never departed from the church")
  • Serves God with prayer day and night and with fasting
  • Was not afraid to speak to others about Christ; she warned them of His coming. She wanted lost souls to know Him before His glorious return
  • She thought about others and put God and others before herself
Although every woman of God may not be a prophetess, we can still emulate Anna by her strength as a woman, a teacher, by her faithfulness to God, the church, and others, especially lost souls.