Lesson 7 was titled Measured Words and was based on Proverbs 31:26
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. (NIV)
She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (NASB)
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly. (The Message)
When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. (NLT)
Nancy points out that here we are, all the way at verse 26 and this is the first verse that mentions this woman talking. I think that's pretty important. This woman is not known for shooting her mouth off. She is know for her servant's heart and her compassion, but not for her frequency of speech. And when she does talk - it's deliberately, with wisdom and clothed in kindness and love.
Isn’t it sad that we’re so much more careful about the words that we say outside our homes than often we are inside our homes?Oh how painfully true this often is. There are sooo many verses in the Bible that speak of the tongue - how powerful that one little body part can be. It can be used for good and it can be used for evil. It can build up and it can tear down.
I want to say that no matter how many domestic skills you have, no matter how well you can cook and clean and sew, no matter how creative you are, no matter how efficient and organized you are in your home, no matter how capable you are in your workplace or in your home environment, no matter how clean your house is, no matter how beautifully decorated your home may be, you can destroy it all with one little instrument called the tongue.And it's so important to realize the words we say are a reflection of our heart.
I think this is often a pretty big struggle for women. I know that I personally need to work on this! I need to correct my children in love and with kindness - teaching them immediately, instead of waiting until they're on my last nerve. And if I am upset, to stop and wait before speaking. Words, and the damage they can do, last a lifetime. And it's not just the words themselves, it's the tone in which they are said. That is really the area I need to work on. Tone of voice is huge!
Lesson 8 it titled What Does Your Home Communicate? and is based on verse 27.
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. (NIV)
She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. (NASB)
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive. (The Message)
She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. (NLT)
As women, we need to be knowing what's going on in our household. We need to be in tune with our children and our husband. We need to have eyes on the back of our heads!
We need to know both physically and spiritually - which is why we need to be praying for our family, and that God would reveal things to us that we need to address. Catching things early on is key - and we won't do that if we're not really tuned in. The first part of vs 27 is a good reminder of the importance of this!
The second half of that verse is where it gets convicting. To not be idle or lazy. To be on task and get things done - not just think about getting things done, not procrastinating about getting things done. Just doing it! Flylady has helped me with this a bit, but this is still a work in progress. I need to keep my priorities my priorities, and everything else needs to be secondary. First things first.
Am I talking on the phone instead of taking care of my household? Perhaps more to the point for me, am I on the computer instead of taking care of my household?
I have found that the days I am diligent and take care of the stuff that has to be done - there often does end up to be time to do the fun stuff. But it doesn't seem to work so well the other way around.
And the thing is, everything we do - the way we live, the way we keep our house, the way we spend our time - all of it, reflects on ourselves, our husbands, our families and most importantly on Christ. We are a witness at all times in all things. I don't want to let Him down.
Lesson 9 is called "High and Holy Calling" which continues to focus on vs 27.
Prayer is such a huge responsibility and priviledge for us as we watch over our households.
I loved this quote...
I want to be that blessing for Nathan and our children.
What a blessing it is for a man to know that back home there’s a wife who’s watching and praying on his behalf, and praying that as he goes out into that world, God will protect him and God will keep his heart pure.
Ladies, if you’re not going to pray that for your husband, who do you think is going to pray that for him? Who’s going to watch and pray for his soul? You can protect him in that way, and you protect your children as you watch and pray. Ask the Lord to show you things that you need to be alert to, in their lives.
The woman in this passage - well, Martha Stewart has nothing on her! She can sew, make things from scratch, she has all kinds of skills and abilities. Yet it is not these skills and abilities that make her a virtuous woman. It's her heart. Her heart is centred on her home, and it's focused on serving God by serving her family.
We cannot allow ourselves to define success the way the world does. Success should not be defined by what we do outside the home - on a career, or on a volulnteer job, on something we "do". To be successful as God defines success, we need to have a heart for our home. And this means that we are a support and help to our husbands, and a servant in our homes. This obviously does not mean that we do every little thing, but we need to manage it. And we need to train our children to do the same. We need to be lovers, givers, servers - this is our high and holy calling.
Attending Bible Study doesn't make you spiritual, memorizing verses doesn't, teaching Sunday School doesn't - all of those are good things and, if we have have the time, are worthy things to do - but what makes you spiritual is living out a heart that is dedicated to God.
Another quote I loved...
What you’re doing in that home may not seem very important. It may not seem very meaningful. It may not seem very fulfilling. Where did we get that word? Fulfilling— everything today has to be fulfilling. That is so selfish!
The question is: Are you fulfilling God’s purpose and God’s plan for your life? Not: Are you fulfilling what you want to do with your life? If you want ultimate joy and ultimate happiness, then set yourself to do the will of God, and you will find there is, long-term, nothing more fulfilling.
And, finally, here is Proverbs 31 from The Message - I rather enjoy this version.
Speak Out for Justice1The words of King Lemuel, the strong advice his mother gave him:
2-3 "Oh, son of mine, what can you be thinking of! Child whom I bore! The son I dedicated to God! Don't dissipate your virility on fortune-hunting women, promiscuous women who shipwreck leaders.
4-7 "Leaders can't afford to make fools of themselves, gulping wine and swilling beer, Lest, hung over, they don't know right from wrong, and the people who depend on them are hurt. Use wine and beer only as sedatives, to kill the pain and dull the ache of the terminally ill, for whom life is a living death.
8-9 "Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!"
Hymn to a Good Wife10-31 A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises.
She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking.
She's quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn't worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing, and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant, and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise:
"Many women have done wonderful things, but you've outclassed them all!"
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!