Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. (Proverbs 14:1)
Perhaps when you read that verse, you think something like, “If I want to be a wise woman, I need to build my house. Hmm…how do I build my house?”
I’ve asked for people's thoughts about this verse on social media before, and all of the answers I received were along the same line. Everyone was thinking something like, “A woman can build her house by doing a, b, and c” ; and the a, b, and c were things like:
Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with doing these things. Speaking kindly to your family, spending time together, and using your time wisely are all beneficial things to do for the ones you love.
But if we are not careful, we can fall into a great big trap of believing that our godliness as a homemaker is proven by how many boxes we can check off on a list.
I want you to understand that the “godly homemaker list” only brings bondage. The more things you manage to check off the list, the more things you will think of to add to it. – “I did a, b, and c, but my family would really benefit if I also did x, y, and z.” If you believe that you must figure out ways to build up your home in order to be a wise woman, you will forever find yourself unsatisfied (because you will always think of some good thing that you're not doing!)
When you measure your success or failure by a list, you are setting yourself up to fall into one of two ditches:
1. Perpetual guilt that you can't seem to do all the good things on your list.
2. Pride that you are doing good things better than someone else is.
When you measure your success or failure by how many “homemaker-y” things you do and how well you do them, you've got things backwards.
You see, when you try to figure out ways to build your house and work hard to do them, you are living life out of our own wisdom and strength.
We can never build our houses apart from the Lord, and we cannot be wise apart from him.
For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6)
So, my friend, how do you build your house?
You walk in the wisdom of God.
Through wisdom is an house builded: and by understanding it is established. (Proverbs 24:3)
Listen to the words of Jesus:
•Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
•Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (John 15:4)
And here’s what Jesus says will happen when you listen to his words:
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27)
Do you see? When you try to build your house on any other foundation, it will not stand!
When you try to check the boxes of what you think a “godly homemaker” is supposed to look like, you’re building your house on the wrong foundation.
But when you build your life on the rest that Jesus Christ offers you; when you abide in him; when Jesus IS your life – everything else will flow from that!
The foolish woman focuses on DOING. Yet all her best efforts will fail.
The wise woman focuses on BEING. And because she is not living through her own efforts, but through the power of the resurrected Savior, she can never fail.
A plant doesn’t have to try hard to bear fruit. The only way a plant bears fruit is to simply be. The roots do the work of providing everything the plant needs to flourish and be fruitful. Likewise the fruit we bear can only and ever be a result of simply abiding in the vine.
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him…” (Colossians 2:6)
Does it feel impossible to do *everything* you're *supposed* to be doing?
Maybe it’s time to ditch the checklist and simply abide in the vine.
*Doing* all the things to build your house is not what makes you a wise woman. That's backwards.
But when your life is hidden in Christ – when you rest from your efforts to do, and you learn to simply be who you are (a new creation, filled with all the fullness of God!) – you will find freedom and rest like you’ve never experienced before!
Be a wise woman, my friend, and follow Jesus’ invitation to abide in Him.
When you do, your life will bear much fruit! You can cease from your efforts and stop living in either guilt or pride, and the people in your home will experience the power of Jesus' grace as it fills your own heart and spills over onto them.
If you want to read further on this subject, here a couple of great suggestions:
• Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try Hard Life by Emily P. Freeman
• The Naked Gospel by Andrew Farley
One of my all-time favorite hymns is Great is Thy Faithfulness.
Every line of the lyrics contains such encouraging scriptural truth. One of my favorite lines, though, is “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.”
God gives strength for today
God gives bright hope for tomorrow
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me
Yesterday we spent some time as a family reading and discussing the scriptures from The Power of the Resurrection collection.
My heart is always blessed to read and think about Christ's sacrifice for us on the cross. But this sacrifice would mean nothing if it weren't for the victory over sin and death that he proved through his resurrection.
As I thought about the sequence of the scriptures, I identified 5 major things that Christ's resurrection provides for the believer.
1. Deliverance from the penalty of sin
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (I Corinthians 15:19-22)
2. Hope of eternal life
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25-26)
3. Freedom from sin's power over us because Christ, who conquered sin, now lives in us
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:8-11)
4. Security that once made alive with Christ we can never be condemned
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:31-34)
5. Comfort that we will spend eternity with the Lord along with our believing loved ones who have died before us
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
(I Thessalonians 4:13-18)
There is so much to ponder and be grateful for when we consider Christ's resurrection! Easter time means so much more than a special service or new clothes. It's about the abundant, new life that is provided through The Power of the Resurrection! (Click here for the entire collection of resurrection verses.)
What does the Bible say about injustice? This is the question I was asking myself today as I found myself angry and discouraged once again about the evil that permeates our world.
Every day I become aware of more abuses of power and more blatant lies that are being told – lies which benefit the powerful at the expense of human beings who have no value to the powerful other than to be used as their pawns.
When I see this I feel so helpless. I want to scream out to anyone who will listen and warn them of the lies they're being told. I do not want them to be harmed by evil people who pretend they are there to help them.
As I pondered today, “What can I do? What should I do?”, I asked God to bring to mind scripture that would guide me.
The two scripture passages that he brought to my mind when it comes to what the Bible says about injustice were Psalm chapter 2 and Ephesians chapter 6.
Psalm 2 speaks about powerful people who reject God's authority. If they continue on this path, their end is destruction. And yet, God in his mercy continues to be long suffering. Just as in the days of Noah – the people had 120 years to repent until finally God's judgment fell – even now wicked people feel that they can continue to reject God without consequence, but it is only because of his long suffering and kindness that judgment has not already occurred. (2 Peter 3:3-8) The conclusion in Psalm 2 is a warning for the powerful wicked people to submit to God's authority because otherwise they are headed toward destruction, but those who put their trust in God will be blessed.
Ephesians 6:10-20 speaks about the need to put on the armor of God because our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the devil and supernatural forces of evil. The conclusion is that God's children need not be discouraged and afraid, but instead should be strong in the Lord, should continue in prayer, and should preach the gospel.
The thread that ties all of this together in my mind is the gospel – the good news that God loves the world, that he is merciful, and that he continues to be patient in giving his enemies a chance to repent.
While it seems that evil is having the upper hand, it is merely because God loves ALL, and his patience is far beyond our human understanding. When we compare ourselves to people who do terrible things, it is easy to feel we deserve God's goodness more than they do. But the truth is that compared to a holy God, even people who might score far higher on the goodness scale than others can still never meet God's standard of perfection. It is when we realize that we did not deserve God's forgiveness ourselves that we can accept God's patience with and desire to forgive even those who are so wicked.
So what do we do while we wait?
We tell others the good news that there is salvation in the name of Jesus. We proclaim the truth that God loves the world and that he is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
I wish I could fix all the injustice in the world. I wish I could silence lies, stop oppressors, and right all the wrongs. And while I firmly believe in speaking truth boldly and standing up for what is right, the most important aspect of truth that I must shout far and wide, to every creature, is the truth of the gospel. After all, the gospel is the only thing that will bring peace, that will teach people to love one another, and will end oppression and abuse of power.
How do I know this? Consider the following:
When Mary learned that she would be the mother of the Savior, she said, “…his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.” (Luke 1:50-53)
The Christmas song O Holy Night alludes to this idea in its third verse:
Truly he taught us to love one another,
His law is love and his gospel is peace.
Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
And the words from its chorus, “Fall on your knees” and “Christ is the Lord” remind us that one day every knee will bow and proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Philippians 2:10-11)
It is so tempting to want to fight injustice in the world with my own strength. I wish I could singlehandedly take out all the bad guys and rescue all their victims. But the truth is that I can't do that. Only Jesus can change hearts – both those of moral people and those who participate in very wicked practices. And God loves each person so much that regardless of how wicked their deeds, he patiently waits for them to repent of their pride and to be reconciled to Him through faith in Jesus Christ.
One day every knee will bow before Him. One day the wicked will be judged and the oppressed will be vindicated. Until then, let us tell the good news to everyone that Jesus saves.
The Bible verses I referenced in this article are not in any way an exhaustive exploration of the topic of what the Bible says about injustice. These are just a small sampling because the entire theme of the Bible is the gospel, which overcomes all oppression (remember the song? “In his name all oppression shall cease.”) I hope that when you find yourself discouraged about the injustice and evil in our world that you will look up these scriptures and study them further.
As I compiled these Bible verses for a new year, I started to see a storyline emerge. It's a storyline that reaches into the past, gives us strength for today, and a bright hope for the future.
Can you look back and see the record of God's faithfulness? He was faithful to Abraham, Moses, David, and Daniel. He has been faithful in my own life. Every morning the sun rises and every evening the sun sets because God is faithful. As we look forward to an unknown future, why should we doubt that he will continue to be faithful?
Looking to the past strengthens us and gives us confidence. Looking to the future gives us hope that one day all things will be made new. The promise of our salvation will be fulfilled completely as we leave behind this sin-cursed world.
And in light of both the past and the future, we find numerous instructions from the Bible that tell us how we ought to live in the present moment.
With the past, the present, and the future all in mind, here are some Bible verses for you to focus on as you head into a new year.
1. Trust in the unchanging faithfulness of God
Lamentations 3:22-23 It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
2. Find your strength in the Lord
Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
3. Allow the Lord to direct your steps.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Proverbs 16:9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.
4. Remember that life is short and we must use each day wisely.
Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
James 4:13-14 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
Ephesians 5:15-16 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
5. Spend time encouraging other believers in their Christian walk.
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
6. Turn your anxieties into prayer.
Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7. Seek the kingdom of God above all else.
Matthew 6:30-33 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
8. Live within your identity as a new creature in Christ.
II Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Ephesians 4:22-24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
9. Preach the gospel with your words and your testimony.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Psalm 96:1-3 O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.
Psalm 40:3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.
10. Watch for Christ's soon return
John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
11. Be strong in the Lord and keep your spiritual armor on
Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
12. Look to the promise that God will one day make all things new.
Revelation 21:1-5 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
I'm excited to live today for God's glory because he has been faithful in the past, and he has a bright future planned for those who have placed their faith in Jesus!
This is such an interesting time in our world. To have a common interest with every other human on earth is a strange feeling isn’t it? Whether you’re concerned about how the virus itself may affect you or your family, wary of what opportunities your government might take right now to remove some of your freedoms, or unsure of what the economic ramifications will be for your family , we’re all experiencing some form of uncertainty as a result of this virus.
But the truth is, virus or no virus, the same God who has always been in control is still in control right now. If nothing else, I hope this virus reminds us of that and causes us to turn our hearts to a greater dependence on the Lord.
For me personally, I’ve had to re-evaluate how much time I spend in prayer compared to how much time I spend trying to come up with my own solutions to the world’s problems. (As if that’s going to do any good anyway!)
I hope you’ll join me in praying for our world rather than overthinking everything that’s going on. I’ve collected a list of specific ways you can pray during this pandemic.
1. Pray for government leaders to have wisdom in making decisions for those under their leadership.
I Timothy 2:1-2 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
2. Pray for the health of your loved ones and for the healthcare workers who are caring for the sick.
James 5:14-16 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
3. Pray that the Gospel would be spread to a dying world.
I Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
4. Pray for persecuted Christians around the world. Many have been freed from prison as a result of the virus, while others are facing even greater difficulties than they had previously.
Hebrews 13:3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
5. Pray for victims of spousal and child abuse. For many, staying home for weeks on end with an abusive parent or spouse will be psychologically and physically damaging without the reprieve of work or school.
Proverbs 31:8-9 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
6. Pray for the emotional needs people will have during times of isolation, especially those who will be cut off from family.
Psalm 147:3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
7. Pray that God would comfort those who have lost loved ones and give peace to those who have ill family members.
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8. Pray for God’s provision during a time of economic hardship
Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
9. Pray for revival in the church. Pray that believers would exhibit unity and love to one another, that our hearts would be alerted to the urgency to spread the gospel, that God would increase our faith in Him.
Ephesians 5:15-19 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
1o. Pray that God would give you personal opportunities to show His love to others during this time.
Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Matthew 5:14-16 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
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