A Life that Works
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
Proverbs 14:12, nkjv
The first seventeen verses of Genesis 9 are a direct quotation in God’s own words giving principles for you and me and the entire human race to live by. If we want to live a life that works, overcoming the weakness that resides in all of us, we must heed these principles. If we do not want to heed these principles, we have that freedom, but we will never live a life that works as it was created to work in the beginning. It would be similar to having a new computer with a Pentium processor but using it only as a typewriter. It would do the job, but it wouldn’t even come close to fulfilling its potential. If we do not heed God’s principles for our lives, you and I can exist on this planet yet not even come close to fulfilling our potential or experiencing the abundant life God intended for us.
One primary reason for the collapse of society all around us is due to indifference and outright rejection of God’s principles. Our human weaknesses have become dominant, and life just does not work. So . . . for your own good, read God’s Word and live by God’s principles and enjoy a life that works!
God’s Story, (Nashville: W Publishing, 1997).
©2012 Anne Graham Lotz. All rights reserved.
THE KEY TO A LIFE OF IMPACT
What are the secrets to a life of impact? Daniel achieved greatness in the eyes of his contemporaries, in the eyes of history, and most importantly, in the eyes of God. His faith did not waver as he faced his critics, as he served new kings in power, or even as he confronted hungry lions. How can we achieve that kind of faith today? Twenty intentional, key choices made all the difference. Daniel’s choices can be ours, such as:
• The choice to listen
• The choice to forgive
• The choice to pray
Cultivate a life-changing faith when you learn to implement The Daniel Key into your everyday life. Request your copy!
For more from Anne Graham Lotz please visit AnneGrahamLotz.org.
Think of a wise woman you know personally. What makes her wise in your mind? Perhaps she is knowledgeable, hospitable, charitable, loving, nurturing, self-controlled, kind, content, financially savvy, generous, a teacher, mentor, an example to the next generation, faithful friend, lover of God, etc.
Personally, I have always been inspired and captivated by strong, wise women, both in real life and also in literature and movies. As a child and even into my teen and young adult years, I wanted to be like Nancy Drew, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Anne of Green Gables, and many others. Women who were intelligent, independent, imaginative, engaging, admired, strong-willed, gifted, secure – these were my heroes growing up. But what does the Bible say makes a woman wise?
Photo Credit: Unsplash/BenWhite
The Bible exalts strong, capable and wise women! Does that statement surprise you? Think of the female heroines of the Bible:
Jochebed courageously saved her infant son, Moses, and allowed Pharaoh’s daughter to raise him which resulted in the deliverance of the nation of Israel. Esther put her own life on the line to save her people, the Jews (“If I perish, I perish.” – Esther 4:16). Ruth, in a time of great personal grief, remained faithful to her mother-in-law and married a kinsmen redeemer to save the family line. Rahab risked her life by hiding two spies of Israel in her home. Deborah was a godly woman and one of the great judges of Israel.
Abigail saved the lives of many after her scoundrel husband, Nabal, angered David endangering them all. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was obedient to God, enduring slander and scandal to be the mother of Jesus. Mary Magdalene ministered with Jesus and his disciples were the last person to leave the cross and the first person to the empty tomb.
And there are many, many more. Wise women are praised in Scripture and have much still to teach those of us living thousands of years later.
Photo credit: Getty Images/Seksan Mongkhonkhamsao
Proverbs is one of the books of the Bible that scholars categorize as wisdom literature. The first verse of Proverbs lets the reader know that the book contains “The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction…” Solomon was a man who prayed for wisdom and God granted him his request. 1 Kings 4:29-34 describes the wisdom of the author of Proverbs:
God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite—wiser than Heman, Kalkol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. From all nations, people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.
We could certainly look elsewhere in the Bible for characteristics of a wise woman and find plenty, but the final chapter in Proverbs grants us a thorough description in verses 10-31. This wisdom is compiled into a poem entitled “The Wife of Noble Character” or “The Virtuous Wife.” It is, therefore, referencing a married woman, but there is enough wisdom in this poem to apply to any woman in any state of life.
Photo credit: Getty Images/Marjan Apostolovic
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.
“The Proverbs 31 Woman” as she is referred to by many is, first and foremost, a woman who fears the Lord (v. 30). She loves and worships God, prioritizing her relationship with Him above all others. She possesses rare virtue and noble character “worth far more than rubies” (v. 10). She is trustworthy and faithful (v. 11). People who know her well have full confidence in her. She is full of goodness and does not harm others(v. 12). Her inner beauty far surpasses her outward beauty as she reflects the beauty of her Lord.
She selects wool and flaxand works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still night;she provides food for her family and portions for her female 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.
In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poorand 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.
She is capable (v. 13, 19, 22), an eager and willing worker (v. 13), resourceful (v. 14, 16, 21), diligent (v. 15, 17, 18, 27), a provider for everyone in her care (v. 15), financially conscientious (v. 16, 18), strong (v. 17, 25), compassionate and generous (v. 20), prepared for the future (v. 21, 25), and well-spoken choosing wise and helpful words (v. 26).
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.
Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
A wise woman does not need a husband or children to be praised. She will be praised and honored for her noble character and deeds. Those privileged to know her, will seek to emulate or imitate her way of life and her fear of God. Nothing given to her by God will be wasted. Her goals and standards for herself will be set high and she will live accordingly.
These above depictions of a wise woman must be understood as character traits, and not interpreted as specific actions to be implemented. For instance, you do not need to plant a vineyard or know how to make coverings for your bed in order to be a wise woman. Your relationship with God and character though, matter above all!
Photo credit: Unsplash/Diana Simumpande
If you desire to be a wise woman or are praying for a young girl or woman in your life, this is a great list to pray through for yourself or someone else.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10).
“But wisdom is proved right by her actions” (Matthew 11:19).
Additionally, wise women will mentor other women. Truly wise women are rare and valuable and their wisdom needs to be shared! Mentoring does not necessarily require extra time; it involves inviting others into your everyday life, allowing them to watch and learn and grow.
Perhaps you are someone in need of a wise mentor. If in reading this article, you sense you are lacking wisdom (as we all do at times), the Bible gives very simple advice.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).
“Walk with the wise and become wise…” (Proverbs 13:20).
First, pray and ask God for wisdom. He promises to give it to those who ask! Second, identify a wise person and intentionally spend time with them until they rub off on you. Third, read through Proverbs 31 asking God to use it to transform you. Like Solomon, may wisdom be our prayer!
Photo credit: Unplash/Rosie Fraser
Kristi Walker has been a missionary in Berlin, Germany for over 15 years working with an international church as the Director of Student Ministries. She is the author of two books – Disappointment: A Subtle Path Away from Christ and Convinced. Applying Biblical Principles to Life’s Choices.
A Prayer to Thank God for His Sovereign Control
By Meg Bucher
He set the earth on its foundations,
never to be moved.
You covered it with the deep like a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
At Your rebuke the waters fled;
at the sound of Your thunder they hurried away—
the mountains rose and the valleys sank
to the place You appointed for them—
You set a boundary they cannot cross;
they will never again cover the earth. – Psalm 104:5-9
When my kids were still little, I longed for a magical solution to cure all aches and boo-boos. The constant clamoring for Band-Aids, boo-boo bunnies, and mommy hugs was everyday life for a long time. Long after the initial hurt had passed, that little Band-Aid on their finger or on their knee would remind them the rest of the day why they needed me, if only just to whine about what happened or add pity to the pain.
One day, I decided to use the clear, thick baby ointment that cures everything… maybe this would be the magical, cure-all solution? Clearing up a diaper rash is no joke, so I figured a paper cut should be a cakewalk for that stuff. I figured right, and they bought it. Problem solved …for a while.
In the search to heal what ails us, there are plenty of worldly solutions claiming to right wrongs and undo hurts. But, today’s verse reminds us of God’s sovereign healing. He secures the world. God set the borders of the ocean and perimeters of the sky, the depths of the ocean and heights of mountainous ranges. The sun rises and the sun sets, day after day, dependably.
Max Lucado wrote this about God’s power and control: “What controls you doesn’t control Him. What troubles you doesn’t trouble Him. What fatigues you doesn’t fatigue Him. Is an eagle disturbed by traffic? No, he rises above it. Is the whale perturbed by a hurricane? Of course not, he plunges beneath it. Is the lion flustered by the mouse standing directly in his way? No, he steps over it. How much more is God able to soar above, plunge beneath, and step over the troubles of the earth! As Matthew 19:26 tells us, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”
We need each other for comfort, and we benefit from the medicine the earth provides, but neither is as powerful as His sovereign hand of love. It is a love Jesus died for on the cross so that we may come to Him and be healed …over and over again. When solutions seem senseless, look to Him.