Tag Archive | God’s faithfulness

An Unexpected and Uncertain Journey

Vacations. Travels. Journeys. Most of us look forward with eager anticipation to the journeys of life that are on the horizon. We plan, pack, and thoroughly prepare for the journey ahead. But in life, we sometimes find ourselves on a completely unexpected journey, one that we had never planned to take.

Such is where we find ourselves in this season of life. Having recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, there is an unexpected and uncertain journey that lies ahead for my husband and I. Where this journey will ultimately lead, only our Lord and Heavenly Father know for sure. However, as unplanned as this journey is on our end, I see that the Lord is preparing our hearts and packing all that we need for this journey.

The first truth for the journey – ASSURANCE. As we received the diagnosis, I was immediately reminded in my heart that I am not my own, I have been bought with a price – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. What assurance it brings when you know of a certainty that you belong to God. Because you have been redeemed (bought by the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross) you are a child of the Living and Almighty God, and as such, your perfect Heavenly Father will care for you on every step of this unexpected and uncertain journey. From that assurance comes great rest and peace. Nothing else, nor anyone on this Earth, can give that kind of rest and peace. I know I will need to rest in the loving arms of my Father throughout this uncertain journey.

Interestingly, the second item for this journey is something that I am not allowed to bring with me. I thought about my travels to visit my son and his family overseas. There were certain items that I was never allowed to pack. Such would be the case on this journey. God spoke very clearly to my heart that I am not to bring FEAR with me. Fear is the natural and understandable reaction to the news that you have cancer. But immediately the Lord began bringing Scriptures to mind to FEAR NOT! As I took a concordance and walked through the Scriptures, over and over God’s people were instructed, yes commanded, to fear not. In addition, God gave the reason that they were not to fear. The overwhelming reason was that HE was their God and that HE was with them. I spent many hours in those Scriptures, with a greater and greater understanding of why fear should not be in my life. I believe Isaiah 41:10 explains it best: Fear not, for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yea, I will help you; yea, I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness. Again the reason that I am not to fear is because He is my God, and He has said that He will strengthen me, help me, and sustain me. He has also said that He will never leave me nor forsake me. Faith, in its very essence, is knowing what God has said and trusting Him to do what He has said. Therefore, I must walk by faith, and not by sight. He has said: Fear not, therefore my heart’s response to Him is: I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me! I know of a certainty that fear will want to creep into this journey because fear is such a strong, natural human emotion, from which I am not exempt. But I also know of a certainty that the Lord does not want fear on this journey. I will trust His grace to help me walk there day by day.

The third item the Lord prepared in my heart for this journey is CALLING. Every true believer should know his calling in life. It is God Himself who calls, equips, and places one where he is to serve. God has called me to Himself to be a child of His. That calling will not change – not on this upcoming journey, nor on any journey in this life, nor throughout eternity.

Secondly, God has called me to be the wife of one man – my precious husband. During our 39 years of marriage God has taught me much about being a wife, help, and companion to this one man. That calling will not change. I am to continue in this calling in every way that I am able, even through the ups and downs of the journey. As the Lord began to cement this in my heart, there was one day that I wanted to mope around. The Lord gently reminded my heart that I wasn’t having a mastectomy TODAY, and that I wasn’t having radiation TODAY, and that I wasn’t having chemotherapy TODAY, so what was I going to do TODAY? My heart’s response was: I am going to be David’s wife today! With that truth, I set about having a blessed day. Since that day, I have been frequently reminded to just continue to be David’s wife. That is my place in this life and that will not change. I was reminded of a portion of our wedding vows: in sickness and in health. That vow must be true, not only to the kind of husband David will be to me, but the kind of wife I am to be to him. Additionally, the Lord has called me to stay under my husband’s leadership (headship) as I trust the Lord with every step of this journey. The Lord has spent years teaching me to see the goodness of God in following a husband’s leadership. That, too, must not change. God had called me as David’s wife, and all that that means shall not change for as long as we both shall live.

And the third part of my calling in this life – As a Christian, God places us in the body of Christ. There He gifts us and equips us to serve one another for edification – to build up the body of Christ. That calling would not change either. Though it seems that I fail at this so often, I am still to be about encouraging fellow believers. Yes, there could be such a tendency to shut oneself away from all others, but that is not God’s design. Everyone has times of struggles, trials, hardships, and difficulties. No one is exempt. It is part of the fallen world in which we live. But as fellow believers, we are to encourage one another, pray for one another, comfort one another, help one another, and love one another. This calling would not change. As I walk through this unexpected and uncertain journey ahead, as God Himself faithfully sustains me, I am to encourage others facing the struggles of life. By sharing truth and proclaiming His faithfulness, may I be found true to that calling, as well.

So in all three of these, to God Himself, to my precious husband, and to fellow believers, may I be constantly reminded: the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable – Romans 11:29. Those things will not change.

I know this is only the beginning of this unexpected journey as God prepares my heart for this path. When one looks at our situation with earthly eyes, it seems as if there is a one way path ahead, from which we cannot turn away. Above this path is a dark and ominous cloud encapsulating the word “Cancer”. Earthly eyes would see that only darkness lies ahead on that path, but that CANNOT be so for the Christian because God is already ahead of us on the path, and of a necessity light must be there because God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.  

I know that I understand nothing yet of the path that lies ahead, but I know the God in whom I have believed. I have been reminded of words penned by Daniel W Whittle in one of his well-known hymns. I close for now, as I share those meaningful words with you.

Refrain:
But “I know Whom I have believed,

And am persuaded that He is able

To keep that which I’ve committed

Unto Him against that day.”

Qualities of A Good Wife

Whoso Finds a WifeWhoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing,

and obtaineth favor of the Lord

Proverbs 18:22

 Suppose we took a surveyThe question that we would ask is:  What makes a good wife?  I can just imagine all of the answers that we would  hear!  Some would probably make us smile.  Others would, perhaps, make us very sad. But, from the beginning, God intended the wife to be a “good thing.”

Before we address our answer to the question, let’s recall the Creation for just a moment.  Day by day, as God created, He viewed His Creation, and in each case, the Scriptures tell us that God saw that it was good (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25).  However, as details are given in chapter 2 of the creation of the man and the woman, we find, for the first time in the Scriptures, that God says that something is “not good”:  And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone.  Then immediately following that declaration, He announces His solution: I will make him a help meet for him.  In contrast to that which was not good, the wife, being a help and companion to the man, was to be a good thing.

And, when God finished His Creation, we find this truth:  And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good (Genesis 1:31).  Being a wife according to God’s intent and design truly is a good thing.

Listen to the truth of Proverbs 18:22:  Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.  Here we find the same truth again – a wife is to be a good thing.

Listen now to the question of Proverbs 31:10-12: Who can find a virtuous woman?  And then hear the answer to that question as it relates to her husband:  The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her … She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

So we can see that God not only created and designed the wife to be a “good” thing, but He commends the wife who gives all the days of her life to doing good, and not evil, to her husband.

A “good” wife – do you have a heart that desires to be a good wife to your husband?  Perhaps you are wondering in what ways you could be a better wife. Well, if God created the marriage, and He did, then let’s look at the three instructions that He gives to wives.  We will find that these three truths describe qualities that  truly do make a good wife.

1. RESPECT

… and the wife see that she reverence her husband (Ephesians 5:33).

Reverence – respect!  This reverence and respect – or the lack of it – reflects a wife’s heart attitude –  how she truly feels about her husband, from the heart.  It is from the heart that all of a wife’s words and actions will flow.  Respectful words and loving actions come from a respectful heart.  Let the wife see to it that she reverence her husband!

Also, did you notice that this is a command?  God does not make this optional.  Neither does He say that a husband must earn the wife’s respect.  Actually, the Lord requires this of us.  Listen again to the wording:  … and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Be careful that you do not fall into the error of negating the Word of God by saying “I know that this is true, BUT …”

God’s truth is always true.  We all have faults and failures.  A wife can respect her husband, in spite of his faults and weaknesses.  She can respect him just because he is her husband.  And, if a wife will make a list of his good qualities, she will be surprised how many ways that she can find to respect him.  As her heart toward him becomes more respectful, their marriage will begin to change.  See to it that you reverence your husband.

2. COMPANIONSHIP

The book of Titus instructs the older women to encourage the younger women to love their husbands (Titus 2:3-5).  There are misunderstandings as to what love really is.  The particular Greek word used in this passage is a friendship, companionship love.  It is the kind of love that focuses on the relationship between husband and wife.  This kind of love can only be fostered as a wife spends time together with her husband, sharing common interests, walking through life as friends and companions. A wife may feel as though she has nothing in common with her husband.  There is a sure way to build common interests.  Be interested in what he is interested in!  Yes, a wife can be interested in what he is interested in – if she is truly interested in him!  She can lay aside her desires, her schedules, etc., and love her husband.  She can be a friend and companion to him as she shares his life with him.  Through the ability which God supplies, love your husband.  It will be a blessing to you both!

3. SUBMISSION

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22).

Did you know that this is the most frequent command in the Bible given to wives?  Yes, it really is.  No other instruction is given to wives as often as this one.  It must be the one that we need to hear the most often – Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands.

What does submit yourselves actually mean?  It means being arranged under the authority of another.  This is not the teaching of the twenty-first century, but it is most definitely Biblical teaching.  Additionally, it is an outflow of a Spirit-filled life (see Ephesians 5:17-22).

Once a wife acknowledge, from her heart, that the  husband is the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:23), she will find submission an easier thing.

No matter what the world says or how a wife may feel personally, the Word of God is true – even submit yourselves!

There is a key to learning to be arranged under a husband’s authority – simply learning to really listen.  Husbands say what they like and what they do not like.  They say what they would like for the wife to do or not do.  It really is that easy – learning to listen and, without arguing, walking in agreement with him.

From my experience, I have found that my struggle will always be that I prefer my own way, that I think I know a better way, or that I think I am more spiritual.  But not so!  The Lord always knows the best way, and He is the most “spiritual” of all – and it is He who says submit yourselves.  And, for those wives who have husbands who are not obedient to the Word, the words found in 1 Peter 2:21-3:6 will be an anchor for you!

The timeless truth of submission will take the tug-of-war out of a marriage.  When a wife ceases from pulling against her husband, the struggle will stop.  When, by faith, she arranges herself under her husband’s God-given authority, she will be pleasing to the Lord.

What makes a good wife?  I guess we really did not need a survey. Respect, companionship, submission – three qualities of a good wife —  three truths that will transform a marriage – three truths that bring glory to God.

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing,

and obtaineth favor of the Lord

Proverbs 18:22

 


 

What Is a Meek and Quiet Spirit?

image … whose adorning … let it be the hidden man of the heart

even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit,

which is in the sight of God of great price.

1 Peter 3:3-4

 

We hear much of the Christian woman having a meek and quiet spirit.  Many loudly object.  Others rigidly attempt to conform.  But what is a meek and quiet spirit?  Do we really understand the meaning of that phrase?  Or – have we taken someone else’s meaning, or – have we even invented a meaning of our own?

Let’s look at those words in the Scripture to understand, first of all, what a meek and quiet spirit is, and then, how that kind of a heart will affect the whole of our lives.

Meekness is not a word that just describes what a woman is to be.  The word, in actuality, describes what every Christian should be.

  • Moses was described as a very meek man, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3).
  • Jesus said of Himself:  I am meek and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29).
  • In His teachings, Jesus Himself declared: Blessed are the meek:  for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).
  • The wise man who is endued with knowledge is described as a man whose behavior demonstrates the meekness of wisdom (James 3:13).

We can readily see, then, that meekness is a quality that should be possessed by all Christians.

What, then, does this word meekness include?  Meekness is referred to in 1 Peter 3:4 as being in the hidden man of the heart.  It is an inward quality – something hidden – hidden deep within the Christian heart.

The heart of meekness knows of a certainty that God’s dealings with us are good.  The Scripture declares:  If God be for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?  Therefore, meekness does not resist, meekness does not fret, meekness does not worry, and meekness does not dispute.  It is a heart that is settled upon both the goodness and the power of God, upon both the love and the might of God.  It simply trusts God to do as He wills, according to His good pleasure.  This quality of meekness should be evident in all of God’s people.

Quietness will, of a necessity, accompany meekness.  Because meekness dwells in the hidden man of the heart, quietness will result in that life.

Does this mean that the meek person will never speak?  Although meekness will certainly affect the way that one speaks and the extent to which one speaks, the primary meaning of this word does not deal so much with speaking as with the demeanor of one’s life.  With a heart that is settled and resting in God’s goodness and His control of every situation, a calm assurance will be exhibited in any and all situations.  To grasp an understanding of the word quietness, we will again return to the Scriptures.  (Note: The word that is underlined in each reference is the same word translated as quietness.)

  • We are instructed to pray for leaders and those in authority so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (1 Timothy 2:2).
  • We are commanded and exhorted by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work and eat their own bread (2 Thessalonians 3:12).
  • Again, we are exhorted to study to be quiet (1 Thessalonians 4:11).  This verse has the meaning of:  Make it your aim to exhibit this calm, undisturbed demeanor.
  • Listen to the same word used in Acts 21:14:  And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”  One can hear the heart resting in God’s will.
  • Again, listen to this same word used, though translated in a different way: And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment (Luke 23:56).

The word quietness seems to carry with it a meaning of:  undisturbed, peaceful, calm rest.  Think back to the word meekness.  Can you see how easily these two words go together?

As we join the meaning of these two words, we find a meek and quiet spirit to be that inward heart attitude that is assured of God’s love and control and rests peacefully in Him, no matter the circumstances.

As we look back to 1 Peter 3:1-6, we find the context of this passage to be for the woman who has a husband that does not obey the Word.  What is to be her heart attitude?  Should we see a fretting heart, a resisting heart, or a complaining spirit?  According to the truth of the Word of God, no.

On the contrary, we should see a woman who, by her pure and chaste behavior, adorns the doctrine of Christ so that her Lord may be seen in her life.  From that meekness and quietness that is within, comes a calm outward demeanor, fully trusting in her God.

Did you notice that 1 Peter 3 began with the word likewise?  That word is saying that just like what has been previously described, she should exhibit the same attitude.

Look back into 1 Peter 2:18-20.  Wouldn’t a servant with a harsh master also have to possess a meek and quiet spirit to respond in a godly manner?

Then read on – in verses 21-24, we see the wonderful example of that meek and quiet spirit demonstrated by Christ Himself as He entrusted Himself to Him who judges righteously.

And for our final thought – Do not think that meekness and quietness will only be exhibited in the husband and wife relationship.  In all circumstances of life, and in every situation that arises, the Christian woman should find her heart resting in the goodness and the power of God.

From this meek heart will flow an undisturbed peace and calm that will be exhibited in her life.

Truly a meek and quiet spirit is an adornment that is precious in the sight of God!

It is evidence of simple faith, trusting in the Faithful One.

The above post was first printed in Dawning Light © 2002.

Vanessa’s Story: God’s Faithfulness to the Single Woman

Sharing Your Story, one of the components of Wisdom and Kindness, provides a place for women to anonymously share their stories.  This category was developed with the ultimate intent of emphasizing God’s faithfulness, even in the difficulties and struggles of life. Each story is true. Each story is anonymously written.  Each story is written to proclaim the hope that is found in The Lord! May The Lord bless!

Vanessa’s Story – God’s Faithfulness to the Single Woman

Being single in a world where couples are “the norm” is not very easy and can present challenges in life.  It seems that everywhere you look there are couples or pairs in some form or fashion.  There are couples sitting together in restaurants, church services, ballgames, or other events.  Then there are the challenges that continually remind you that you are doing something by yourself.  For example, there is the waitress who asks:  Table for just one?  There are hotel rate packages based on double-occupancy.  And there are actually increased rates or up-charges for a single person going on a cruise alone!  Add this to the well-meaning people who are not satisfied that you have not married yet.  It takes a cultivated strength to keep a smile on your face when you are asked many times over:  So when are you going to get married? Are you seeing anyone?  It is easy to feel left out, like the “odd-ball” or that you are swimming upstream.

But, there is the upside!  I love the freedom I have to be impulsive and make plans at the spur of a moment.  My time is my own.  There is no coordination of schedules before accepting invitations to attend various events.  There is no one with whom to compromise on what I should cook for dinner or what color the house should be painted.  There is no one to get aggravated at me if I choose not to clean the house but rather spend the day visiting friends or family.  Yes, there are definite advantages that I certainly enjoy being single.

I love good food, trying new restaurants, and traveling.  Many people would never eat at a restaurant, tour a museum, or take a vacation alone.  They would choose to stay home.  But I had determined a long time ago that I would never let my single state prevent me from doing something that I really wanted to do.  I want to live life and not miss great opportunities because I feel funny doing things by myself or because I can’t find someone to go with me.  So, with a good book in hand, I’ll eat at a restaurant and enjoy a great meal.  With a prayer for protection, I’ll visit sites, museums and open air memorials in places like Washington DC, Paris, Monterey and others!  Over time, a certain independence, strength, and confidence is built within. Not an independence from God, but a healthy independence and confidence that was given by God.

So, have I ever felt lonely, or like an “odd-ball”, or confused and pained about being single?  My answer is ABSOLUTELY.  Singleness is not something I expected or desired.  There are not many days that my single state does not come to mind.  Sometimes it is as a fleeting thought, but other times it is more than that.  Often I review my life to figure out where I went wrong.  Was it always intended for me to be single? Did the wrong decisions I made earlier in life lead me to this place?  Or does God have someone in mind for me?  Occasionally it has been a weight sitting on my chest making me feel that I am being smothered.

And then there is Satan.  My enemy has used this vulnerability to drag me into a pit of depression that I’ve stayed in for weeks at a time.  These are dark days of deep pain.  The thoughts he has spoken to my mind have been vicious, demeaning, and have ultimately caused me to question the goodness of my God.  It has brought me to the edge of resentfulness and bitterness.  It has caused me to consider quitting the Christian journey of walking in obedience to Christ.  But deep down, I have a reverential fear of taking my life into my own hands and choosing my own way.  Proverbs 14:12 says: There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.  I do not want to put myself outside the umbrella of God’s favor, blessing, and protection.  With that in mind, I reach deep and by faith alone start climbing out of the pit.  That is where God’s Word comes in.  What a precious Book!  Never has the Word of God been so real to me than when I am hurting and searching for relief.  God has been so faithful to me through His Word by healing me, nourishing me, and defending me against this enemy.  It has been my salvation and stronghold in times of discouragement, confusion, and pain.  Once I recognized the attacks of Satan in my life, I began using the weapon of the Word against Him.  James 4:7 says for us to …resist the devil and he will flee from you. Second Corinthians10:4 says: casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.  First Peter 5:9 says: whom resist steadfast in the faith.   I used these scriptures to resist the attacks that would come upon my mind and emotions.  It worked.  The Word of God works.

So, how has God been faithful to me in practical, everyday matters?  Well, He has blessed me with a great job with which I am able to support myself very well.  Finances can be a challenge for a single woman.  From the earliest days of my career, God has opened doors of opportunity, promoted me, given me favor with my superiors, and granted me the knowledge and understanding to do a job well.   Any time I start to get bored, a new project would be assigned to me.  I have also been able to travel, meet people, and make friends in new locations.  He alone has done this – not me.  I truly marvel at His blessing to me in this area.  I tell people that God handed me this job on a silver platter.  Many women have a husband with a good job.  But in my case, God has provided me with a good job.

Many may think that you have to live a sub-standard life as a single woman, but that is not so.  God has always given me “the best”, it seems, in many facets of my life.  I love Psalm 32:19 which says: O how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee.  One of the words for “goodness” in the Hebrew language is “the best”.  The word “laid up” in this verse means “to hide, hoard, or reserve.”  What a great picture!  I can just see God reserving all of these wonderful blessings specifically for me.  An example of this is the opportunity to build a house.  Several options were considered, such as renting an apartment or buying an existing home, but things never seemed to work out.  God put it in my heart to buy land and build a house and that is what I did.  This was “the best” that God was giving me.  Although I was very intimidated taking on such a major investment on my own, I foraged ahead asking for God’s continued help and guidance throughout the whole process.  I was able to select flooring, countertops, and paint color without considering anyone else’s opinion!

I have a great family that loves me and accepts me as single.  I have wonderful friends, both single and married, with whom I can fellowship.  These friends are ones who make me feel valued for who I am at this point in time, not ones that try to “fix me” because something is “wrong” with me.  These people are a great blessing and I thank God for each one.

Lastly, and most importantly, is the opportunity to serve the true and living God.  Being single does provide the advantage of being able to spend time in the Word of God and in prayer to receive instruction, guidance, and knowledge.  He has put a hunger in me to learn more about Him.  God has been faithful to use me in His Kingdom’s work by providing me the opportunity to study and teach others.  I’ve been able to encourage others on an individual basis, counsel them, and point them to the Word of God.  I’ve been able to sow seeds in the lives of unbelievers.  To Him alone be the glory.

I realize there are many views about being single.  Some believe it is a dreaded curse and fear it.  Others wished they were single again.  Although I do not understand the why’s and wherefore’s of remaining single, my desire is to make the most of it and please Him.  Psalm 37:4 says: Delight thyself also in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.  The word “delight” actually means to be “soft” or “pliable.”  My encouragement for single women is to be soft and pliable under the hand of God.  Surrender yourself to God and ask Him to put HIS desires in your heart.  He will fulfill the desires He puts there when we surrender to Him.