Tag Archive | faith

Every Wise Woman – Introduction

The wise woman builds her house,

But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

Proverbs 14:1

 

The year was 2017. The diagnosis was bilateral invasive breast cancer.  The events of the year were certainly unexpected and unpredictable, but the Lord, in His faithfulness, love, grace, and mercy, carried us through by His amazing strength.  As of today, following much prayer, many doctors’ appointments, and two surgeries, as far and we know medically, my body is cancer free.  But 2017 also brought some other things into my life.

We all know that the Scriptures teach that our life is but a vapor and will fade away.  We know that it is appointed to each of us a time to die, and we know that our days are numbered. But 2017 brought a time of examination into my life. With a clear view that my life could have ended here on earth, I had to ask the Lord what He would have me do with the future days that He has graciously placed before me. The Lord has so blessed my life through His Word over the last 33 years. He saved me, totally changed our marriage, helped me raise our son, taught me so many truths, and essentially gave me a new life. I cannot keep these blessings to myself.  I must share them and allow the Lord to bring them into the hands of those who need encouragement in truth. I also leave these writings, with great love, to the next generation.

So … for 2018, I have been led to write devotional posts entitled Every Wise Woman.  Simple devotional thoughts will be written to encourage women in their walk with the Lord, in their marriages, and in their homes with their families. We will build truth upon truth through these simple devotions. The posts are not already written.  I will write as the Lord leads. I do appreciate your prayers.

I invite you to join the journey and to invite others to join us, as well. You will be able to  find these posts on our blog at http://www.wisdomandkindness.com and can follow the blog there to have the posts sent to your email address, or you can have them show in your Facebook feed by liking our Facebook page entitled Wisdom and Kindness.

Looking forward to the journey. Praying that you will join us.  May the Lord bless!

 

Living for the Great Things

But the Greatest of These

Every human being who has ever lived has had the same number of hours in each day.  From the most famous president or king to the least-known person of all time, each has had the same amount of time given for each day.  Our Lord Himself, as He entered time and walked upon the earth, had twenty-four hours in each day.  Do you know how our Lord spent His time?  Jesus said that He always did those things that pleased the Father (John 8:29).  What are the things that please the Father?  What are the things that He considers “great” things?  How should we spend each day that we have been given upon this earth?

When asked which was the greatest commandment in the law, Jesus answered: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets (Matthew 22:37-40).

Do you want to live for the greatest things?  The greatest things in this life will never be the grandiose, showy things admired by men.  The greatest things that one could ever hope to attain to are loving God and loving others with the love of God.  This love will require all of your heart, all of your life, and all of your time.

The Bible speaks of important and great things, yet none is greater than love.  And now abideth faith, hope, charity (love), these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).

How great is faith?  Certainly, it is a great thing.  The Scriptures teach that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), and that by grace are ye saved, through faith (Ephesians 2:8).  Most surely, faith is a great thing, but the greatest of these is love.

What a wonderful thing hope is!  Hope is that confident, sure expectation that God will do what He has said – and that confident assurance that He will come again.  Truly peace and rest come from hope, but the greatest of these is love.

Why is love the greatest of all things?  Perhaps it is because it brings much glory to our Lord, for it reflects Him as He is.  But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6).

Look closely:  it was because of His great love for us, even knowing how sinful that we were, that He died for us.  You see, He did what was for our true good, no matter the cost.  And indeed, the cost was great – it cost Him His only Son.  In this act, we see such demonstration of His love (Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:9-11).

Did you know that on the very evening that Jesus was going to be taken and eventually be crucified, He called His disciples together to emphasize some things to them?  Listen to the words of Jesus:  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another (John 13:34).  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:12-13).  These things I command you, that ye love one another (John 15:17).  And the final words of the final prayer of Jesus to the Father:  And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it:  that the love wherewith Thou has loved Me may be in them, and I in them (John 17:26).  Yes, the greatest of these is love!

Listen as the Apostle Paul teaches why love is the greatest of all things: … For he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  For this, “Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet”; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  Love worketh no ill to his neighbor:  therefore love is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:8-10).  The Apostle Paul speaks this same truth as he writes to the Galatians:  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (Galatians 5:14).  Yes, the greatest of these is love!

Do you want to live for the great things?  The greatest thing you can do for anyone is to love him or her as God has loved you.  No matter the depth of their sin, no matter the cost to you, no matter the response, you do what is for their truest good.  That is how God has loved you!

What is the greatest thing that you can do for your husband?  Love him, as God has loved you! What is the greatest thing that you can do for your children?  Love them, as God has loved you! What is the greatest thing that you can do for whoever comes to your mind?  Love them, as God has loved you! The Apostle John, who was taught by Jesus Himself in those final hours, declares:  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love (1 John 4:8).  And speaking of the sacrificial love of the Father in sending His only Son to bear our sins for forgiveness, John says:  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another (1 John 4:11).

Yes, the greatest of these is love!  Die to yourself, and live for the great things.  You only have twenty-four hours in each day.  And living for the great things is the most fulfilling life that you can find!

On that fateful night before Jesus was bound and taken away, He said to His disciples:  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full (John 15:11).

Lord, renew our minds.  Remind us that we need not spend our lives consumed with ourselves.  You are a perfect Heavenly Father, and You care perfectly for Your children.  You will care for our needs.  Help us seek the great things – the truly great things.  And thank You, Lord,  for the great love wherewith You loved us. 

Word for the Day – Faith

FaithI have been reflecting for the past couple of weeks on the word faith.  I can recall, as a young Christian, being plagued with many doubts about truths in the Scripture.  I vividly remember softly appealing to The Lord to increase my faith. I am sure that I didn’t really understand what I had prayed.  But The Lord put me on a path to do exactly that – to increase my faith.  

Shortly after that simple, but heartfelt, prayer, The Lord placed me in a Bible study. I went into the study keenly aware that this study would be a part of the answer to my request to increase my faith.  Interestingly, I met a young wife and mom who openly talked about her faith.  Almost everything she said she expressed as “believing for this” and “believing for that”.  It seemed as if most of the things that she was believing for were physical things – material things. She had her sights set on a piece of property that she wanted, and she was “believing” for it.  She already had the house plans that she was “believing” for as well.

Although I was such a young Christian, something just didn’t seem right. But I did not have enough of an understanding to sort things out.  So I just wondered about it, and continued on in the Bible study.  God was growing me so much through the Bible study and I just couldn’t get enough of it.  I looked so forward to the time that I had set aside each day to study.  I had a young child and each day when he took his afternoon nap, I studied.

One day as I was in the book of Romans, God opened up a passage of Scripture to me that forever changed my life.  The implications of this passage continues with me till this day.  We were studying the life of Abraham, known as the Father of Faith, and here is what I read: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God: and being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able to perform.  Romans 4:20-21

What I saw opened my understanding to such a greater place.  Abraham was described as being strong in faith, but what he was trusting was not in what he wanted.  He was trusting in what God had said!

I pondered those verses over and over.  Faith was not about me!  It was not about me deciding what I wanted from God.  It was about me learning what God has said, and being fully assured and confident that He has done what He said He would do, that He is doing as He said He will do, and that He will do in the future what He has said that He will do.  No matter what the circumstances around me may look like, I must trust what God has said! Remember Abraham considered not his own body now dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb. In spite of the circumstances, he trusted what God had said! That is what strong faith looks like!

I have learned that circumstances will betray you.  Circumstances will cause you to doubt.  Circumstances will cause you to forget what God has said. Circumstances will cause you to give up hope! I understand a little bit more of what the Bible says that, for the Christian, we walk by faith, not by sight!

Then my understanding of faith grew yet again.  We all well know the verse: Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Romans 10:17. If faith is being fully persuaded that God would do as He has said, I now saw the absolute necessity of knowing what He has said.  I could not be fully persuaded of something that I did not know.  His Word became of supreme importance.  It really didn’t matter what I thought or what someone else thought or said,  the only important thing was what has God said.  Then, I needed to be fully assured of that truth, no matter the circumstances and no matter the arguments.

I was back in Romans again, and decided to read the book in its entirety.  I smile now at the naivety of my young Christian life.  The depths of doctrine! But off I went reading throughout! When I got to the end of the book I found a phrase that that I had also found in Chapter 1: the obedience of faith. Actually, I was a little bit confused.  If faith was simply trusting what God had said, what did obedience have to do with it?  I asked a couple of people my question, but they were about as “knowledgeable” as me, so I didn’t get my question answered.

But I continued to study.  I ended up in the well-known passage called the “Hall of Faith” of Hebrews 11. It was here that I saw the obedience of faith exemplified. And again my understanding grew.

What I had learned so far:  To live by faith 1) I must have heard what God has said and 2) I must believe it, being fully persuaded that God will keep His Word

What I was about to learn:  Obedience would be the proof that I had actually heard God and believed Him.

I reflected on several of those saints of old named in Hebrews 11.

By faith Abel:  Abel had heard God, believed Him, and did what God had told him to do.

By faith Noah:  Noah had heard God, believed Him, and did what God had told him to do.

By faith Abraham: Abraham had heard God, believed Him, and did what God told him to do.

By faith Moses:  Moses had heard God, believed Him, and did what God told him to do.

The list goes on.  But what I saw was that faith and obedience are inseparably linked.  When a person has heard God, and believed (trusted) Him, it will be seen as that person does whatever God has spoken to him.

So let’s get very practical:

Have I heard from God about the Creation?

Have I heard from God about His Son?

Have I heard from God about my sin?

Have I heard from God about how I am to treat others?

Have I heard from God about the necessity of forgiveness?

Have I heard from God about my words?

Have I heard from God about being a loving and helpful wife to my own husband?

Have I heard from God about how to raise the children that He has given me?

The questions are many, but I would encourage you to write a list of the things that God has very clearly spoken to you and taught you. Then trust Him with all of your heart to bring them to pass. Next, change the things in your life that He shows you that need to change to get in line with His will and His Word!  I plan to do the same. Remember, James 1:22 says that if we are hearers only, we deceive our own selves.

Lord, you have spoken to us about so many things.  Help us be strong in faith, in spite of the circumstances and in spite of our own weaknesses.

Humbly, I pray once again, Lord, increase my faith!

Wisdom of An Aged Grandmother

The Simplicity of ChristBut I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety,  so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:3

A number of weeks had passed since her stroke.  The ninety-three-year-old grandmother lay bedridden in the nursing home.  No longer able to even turn herself in the bed and unable to see, the only means of communication that existed was failing hearing and impaired speech.  But that is the physical description.  Within this aged shell there yet remained soul and spirit and an active mind.

Occasional visitors came her way.  Many left discouraged over her condition, while others sensed the futility of life.  Not so as I visited the aged widow, for as I left that visit, the Lord spoke deeply to my heart, with a message that I pray stays with me for a lifetime.

On a prior visit, we had discussed the Lord and her favorite passages of the Bible.  I asked if she had her Bible there, with the thought that I might read to her.  Though she had much hearing loss, she could still hear and what’s more, understand those things which were being discussed.  Therefore, I told her that on my next visit, I would bring her Bible.  My intention was that I would read to her, and I would leave it on the bedside table where she could request of other family or friends that they, too, might read to her, if she so desired.  We completed our visit; I kissed that frail forehead and slowly and thoughtfully left the nursing home.

As I had intended, I got her Bible and brought it for our next visit.  We talked of family and friends for a while, of her younger life, of special memories that she had.  I rubbed her arms and shoulders with lotion as we talked of things that were special to her.  I asked if she remembered what I was going to bring her.  She knew well; “My Bible,” she said.  I was going to read to her, but no need.  She began to quote me Psalm after Psalm, without missing a word.  How foolish!  I thought I had something to offer her, but it was she who had something to offer to me.

It was then when she made an amazing statement.  She said, “I am making a list for you.  I’m going to write it down for you.”  Knowing the impossibility of the task of writing for her, I simply replied, “Why don’t you tell me your list, and I’ll write it down.”  In my naivety, I felt that she was going to tell me of a few more items that she would like for me to bring to the nursing home on my next visit.  To my surprise and delight, her list was far different from my thoughts.

The list began: “Remember the power of prayer.”  A little taken aback, I then knew that I was to be very attentive to this list and to the wisdom that this aged grandmother had to offer.  “OK,” I said, “I put that at the top of the list.”  Her reply came quickly, “Trust in the Lord at all times.”  Again, I was speechless, as I realized that she indeed had a message for me.  I asked if there was anything else that she wanted on the list.  “Not right now,”  she answered.  Realizing that she was tiring, I told her that I would keep the list and that we could add to her list later if she would like.

I continued with a few little matters in the room.  As I was preparing to leave, very faintly, I heard, “One more thing.”  “One more thing for the list?” I questioned.  “Yes, love one another.”  I paused, and she said “That’s all.”

There – the list was complete.  Remember the power of prayer.  Trust in the Lord at all times.  Love one another.  As I left the nursing home, I pondered these truths on the drive home.  I was utterly overwhelmed at the simplicity, yet the fullness, of these quivery words.  Over and over, within my spirit, I heard, “The simplicity of Christ.”  It really is that simple, isn’t it, Lord?

In Christianity, we complicate the Word of God and the truth of the gospel.  We get entirely too intellectual, too argumentative, too denominational.  No wonder the Apostle Paul feared that the believers at Corinth would be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3).

Perhaps you, too, are questioning:  “Is it really that simple?”  After a long life, with all that the world had to offer, the great King Solomon summed it up in this way:  Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:  Fear God, and keep His commandments:  for this is the whole duty of man (Ecclesiastes 12:13).  The prophet Micah explained it as such:  He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?  (Micah 6:8).

The Apostle Paul, told the believers at Ephesus, as he did with many other churches:  Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints … (Ephesians 1:15).  And our Lord Himself taught:  Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:37-40).

What a simple little list came from that feeble ninety-three-year-old grandmother.  But what profound truths!  And how her words resembled the words of the Lord, and of prophets, apostles, and kings!

I cherish that brief visit, and look forward to our next visit, should the Lord allow.  Will she have more marvelous nuggets of truth?  I wonder if she is lying in that bed making a list for me!

How precious is the simplicity that comes from Christ!