Archive | January 2013

Love Revealed, Part I

2013 Theme

Our Women’s Ministry 2013 theme is “Love Revealed.” So, once a month throughout 2013, we will discuss this theme and look at ways to apply it in our lives. This month and next, we will explore specifically how to reveal His love in our own unique ways.

We know that our best definition of love is God, because God is love (1 John 4:16).

The word revealed means: to make known; disclose; divulge (to reveal a secret); to lay open to view; display; exhibit. It follows then that God Revealed means to make God known and to display or exhibit God.

1-31-13 Love Revealed

So really, our theme is “God Made Known.”

When we reveal God, we divulge Him as if He was a secret that all can now know. Revealing God also means making him openly viewable by all.

The question is, “How do we do this?”

We are all a unique part of the body of Christ, created for a unique purpose and function. Therefore, we will all reveal God uniquely. That doesn’t mean we won’t have overlapping elements, but it does mean that our unique combination of qualities (could be called our style) for revealing God will look like no one else’s.

It also means we should stop comparing ourselves in a way that looks as one as lesser than another.

Daughters of the King

All women are very different from one another. But we also have a lot in common, the most important being that we are all daughters of the most high King.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)

We are part of the royal family of Heaven as daughters of the King. As royalty, we have a tremendous inheritance!

God has revealed His love, that inheritance, for us in innumerably and immeasurable ways.

What are some of those ways?

  • Through a loving family member
  • By a new understanding of His character through His written Word
  • By giving you opportunity to demonstrate His love to others
  • By giving you specific encounters with Christ-following individuals
  • By stepping into your circumstances and providing what is needed

Crowning Moments

As daughters’ of the King, we reveal Him as we fall more and more in love with Him. Our love for Him comes out in our attitudes, actions and words.

To help us in sharing that love, we can build in triggers that create natural ways of sharing Him. We can also make sure we are always prepared and ready to share Him.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15)

How can we prepare ourselves? How can we make sure we are always ready? The ways are as varied and unique as each individual. Be creative. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal ways you can prepare yourself. He will show you those crowning moments, where your beauty as a daughter of the King can shine.

DISCUSSION: What are some ways we can prepare ourselves and make sure we are always ready to “give an answer to everyone who asks the reason for the hope you have”?

This entry was posted on January 31, 2013. 4 Comments

Finding Refuge in God

This is a guest post by Kathy Howard, author of God is My Refuge.

1-21-13 howard book cover

The other day I spoke with a woman whose husband recently left her after more than 30 years of marriage. The pain of loss and rejection etched her face. I longed to say or do something to help her, but I had nothing. The only thing I could do was point her to the only one who could help. So I prayed with her.

This encounter was not unusual. I know many Christian women in the middle of difficult circumstances. Believers are not immune to trials and struggles. “In this world you will have trouble.” Jesus said it and our life experiences prove it. Like everyone else, we will face hardship, loss, grief, serious illness, and broken relationships. But unlike everyone else, Christians have a place to turn in time of need. A place of safety and refuge from the storm.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1, NIV

Most Christians believe God has the power and authority to help them in their time of need, but a dramatic difference exists between intellectually acknowledging that fact and dependently leaning into His truth. We voice trust in God, but then try to fix things ourselves or deal with problems in our own strength.

God’s promises for provision fill the Bible. He offers to comfort us in our grief, give us hope in times of discouragement, cover us with joy in seasons of sadness, and replace our anxiety with His peace. But we must come to Him to experience what only He can provide.

This year has been a time of crisis for my family. God has been teaching me how to rest in His promises. When my emotions threatened to pull me under, I had to make the conscious choice to stand on the truth of God’s Word. There I found strength. When grief crashed in, I gave it over to the God of comfort. He has been my refuge and help.

In God’s grand sovereignty, when this crisis hit our family I was in the middle of writing a devotional book designed to help women discover, understand, and apply God’s promises in times of trouble. “God Is My Refuge” combines Scripture reading, commentary, personal reflection, and Scripture memory to help women draw closer to God and experience His help in a tangible way.

Are you in the middle of an overwhelming situation or simply struggling with life in general? God sees. He knows all about your circumstances. And He cares. Immerse yourself in His promises. Choose to stand on them even when your emotions try to pull you down. Let go of your own strength and depend on His. He will be your place of refuge.

Want to read more by this Holy Spirit inspired author?
Check out A Safe Place, which includes the Week One, Day One devotion
from her new book God is My Refuge.

Also check out a review of God is My Refuge at Struggle to Victory.

This entry was posted on January 24, 2013. 1 Comment

A Wise Woman Builds – Concluding Session

Wise Woman in Circle Black and White (1)This final lesson in our series is very simple. We’re going to briefly summarize each week’s lesson and then look toward application for the year ahead.

In a minute, you’ll be asked to read through the description of the Proverbs 31 Woman one final time in your Bible. But first, let’s do a quick review of what we’ve covered so far during our study of the Proverbs 31 Woman.

Week 1: A Wise Woman Builds – Introductory Session

Week 2: A Wise Woman Builds – A Foundation
Virtue, Strength & the Fear of God

Week 3: A Wise Woman Builds – Her Faith
The Power of a Quiet Faith

Week 4: A Wise Woman Builds – Her Home
Inspiration Instead of Comparison

Week 5: A Wise Woman Builds – Her Marriage
Your Husband IS Your Ministry

Week 6: A Wise Woman Builds – Her Work
Develop & Grow

Week 7: A Wise Woman Builds – Her Family
Her Children Stand and Bless Her

Week 8: A Wise Woman Builds – Love
Authentic Love

Week 9: A Wise Woman Builds – Relationships
Deliberate Development

Week 10: A Wise Woman Builds – Community
Benevolence & Reputation

Week 11: A Wise Woman Builds – Concluding Session (today’s lesson)

Now, one final time for this study, please read through Proverbs 31:10-31 in YOUR Bible. There is deliberately no link to this scripture online in today’s lesson to encourage you to open your Bible.

As you read through the scripture, write in the margin at least one reference to each of the points we’ve covered. For example, in the margin next to verse 11, you may write “marriage” or “relationships” or something similar.

Let me encourage you to actually write these notes in your Bible. This can become an incredible resource for future application, perhaps as you need encouraged once again in these areas or maybe when you have the opportunity to encourage someone else.

Let’s now move on to personal application to conclude today’s lesson and our series.

Remember that our goal for studying the Proverbs 31 Woman was to have goals and standards for which we can work toward as godly woman. This description should not be a heavy burden. Please never forget that.

Since we’ve just begun a new year, now is the perfect time to set a focus for pursuing the example the Proverbs 31 Woman has set for us as godly women. To help in doing this, you will receive one suggestion a month through December 2013 to help toward a goal of deliberate application.

These suggestions won’t be a burden, but will instead hopefully be gentle reminders of the potential we all have Christian women.

Thank you for participating in this study.

Ready to dive into another face-to-face ladies Bible study? Check out what’s starting NEXT WEEK!

1-17-13 next study

This entry was posted on January 17, 2013. 5 Comments

A Wise Woman Builds… Community

1-10-13 communityThe word community seems to have such a nebulous (hazy, vague, indistinct, confused) meaning sometimes.  Perhaps this vagueness comes as a result of how community exists so very differently from one fellowship or church to another. To help get a firmer grasp on what community means and how a wise woman might participate effectively in that community, let’s again take a look at the Proverbs 31 Woman.

Read through Proverbs 31:10-31 and list all of the ways this woman impacts the world outside of her home. In other words, what positive impact does she have on the community in which she lives?

While a lot of suppositions could be made regarding her impact on her community, let’s focus on two areas that seem the most obvious, her benevolence & the impact of reputation.

Benevolence

Verse 20 provides a clear picture of this woman’s charitable nature by simply saying, “She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.” We don’t know the details of what she does to help the poor and needy, and really the details aren’t important.

What verse 20 tells us is that even in her busyness, helping those less fortunate than her exists as a priority.

To help gain a better understanding of the impact that benevolence has and why we too should make it a priority, please look up the following verses and note the impact of acts of kindness and charitableness.

In reading through the verses above, significant motivation for benevolence should stand out. Consider the following 5 points take from these verses.

  1. Helping the poor and needy is not optional. God’s Word clearly commands that we do so.
  2. We honor God when we help the poor and needy.
  3. Helping the poor and needy brings blessings from God.
  4. We can avoid corruption by focusing on helping others.
  5. Helping others proves that God’s love exists within us.

As it does with the Proverbs 31 Woman, our fear of the Lord and desire to honor Him with our lives comes through in our actions. In other words, what we do proves whether or not we truly belong to him.

Reputation

We’ve talked in past studies about the Proverbs 31 Woman’s reputation, and here we focus on how that reputation might impact her community.

Please read through Proverbs 31:10-31 once again and write down every reference to her reputation. Then, go back through your notes and highlight the references specifically to the impact in the community.

Now, let’s look at a couple of the most obvious examples of the impact of her reputation in the community.

One way in which the Proverbs 31 Woman’s reputation impacts her community comes through her servant girls (v. 15). Most likely, those girls lived in her household, but consider the impact that living and working for a godly woman had on their lives. Verse 15 tells us she planned their day for them, and verse 27 indicates that the entire household is free from the impact of laziness. (See A Wise Woman Builds… Her Work and A Wise Woman Builds… Her Marriage for more study on the importance of avoiding laziness.)

If we suppose just a bit here, we see that the Proverbs 31 Woman impacted her community through the type of employer she was, much like an employer impacts a community still today, as well as through the positive example she set for the young women who worked for her and would one day have families of their own.

A second way the Proverbs 31 Woman impacts her community is how her family sees and bears the truth of her positive reputation. In verse 23, we read that her husband “is well known and sits in the council meeting with other civic leaders.” He appears to have a solid reputation, which flows to a great extent out of the trust within a marriage as verse 11 & 12 indicate exists in the Proverbs 31 Woman’s marriage. (Please see A Wise Woman Builds… Her Marriage for a detailed study on this topic.)

We know that both her husband and children publicly praised (v 28) her for the type of person she was. Further, we also know that her actions, which always eventually over time reflect a person’s character and values, also greatly impacted her reputation (v 31). (See A Wise Woman Builds… Her Family for more on these verses.)

Through the Proverbs 31 Woman and the people closest to her, we see the tremendous impact that reputation can have. If we take the liberty to suppose again, we can imagine the impact that positive reputation had as this woman went about her tasks in the community of the marketplace as well.

Look up the following verses and note what God’s word says about how to build a good reputation as well as why doing so is crucial to our impact on our community. A hint has been provided for you after each scripture, but please feel free to go beyond this indication to where the Spirit leads you.

The Proverbs 31 Woman’s life certainly exemplifies what God’s Word says about the value of reputation as well as how to build and keep a positive reputation.

Conclusion

Through the Proverbs 31 Woman’s life, we see the importance not only of serving and helping others but also of building and maintaining a positive reputation within the community. We can also see that the affects of doing so are far reaching.

For further study & discussion:

  1. While women tend to struggle with admitting what they do well, please take a moment to list 2-3 ways that you positively impact your community. Spend some time reflecting on your impact on your community, and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you in this area.
  2. Read Ruth 2:1-13 again and list ways Ruth’s reputation brought about blessing?
  3. Read Deuteronomy 4:1-14 again and list all the reasons Moses gave for asking the Israelites to obey God’s commands.

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A Wise Woman Builds… Review and Catch Up

After 9 lessons in the “A Wise Woman Builds…” series, we are going to take this week to review previous lessons and to catch up on any lessons you might have missed. To help, the lessons in the series are listed below. Just click on the title for a direct link to the lesson.

A Wise Woman Builds… A Study on the Proverbs 31 Woman11-1-12 A wise woman builds

A Wise Woman Builds… A Foundation

A Wise Woman Builds… Her Faith

A Wise Woman Builds… Her Home

A Wise Woman Builds… Her Marriage

A Wise Woman Builds… Her Work

A Wise Woman Builds… Her Family

A Wise Woman Builds… Love

A Wise Woman Builds… Relationships

As you review these lessons, take time to look over any previous notes you’ve made as well. The series will return next week with “A Wise Woman Builds… Community” and then will conclude the week after that with a concluding session. Have a great week!