A Happy Helpmate

Cheri_portrait-2Today we conclude our two-month Proverbs study with an insightful post by devotional writer, Cheri Salwall.  I like to think of the Christian marriage in terms of it’s missional purpose. We are our spouse’s helpmate not merely to make their life easier or to help them find intimacy, as important as those things are, but instead, God pairs us with our spouse so that we, combined, can fulfill a portion of His eternal plan.

In today’s post, Cheri speaks specifically to us wives, reminding us to encourage and uplift our husband’s daily, but I believe the overall principal–seeking to bring out the best in our spouses–applies to both husbands and wives.

The Happy Helpmate 

“Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31: 11-12).

 

I love marriage and family and all things related. When I was in second grade, I wrote an essay entitled, “When I grow up, I want to be a housewife.” I wanted to have a small farm and while my husband went off to work somewhere I would grow our vegetables, feed the animals, take care of our children, and keep the house clean.  In my seven-year-old mind, that was the perfect job.

Thirty-three years later, I am living my dream.  My husband grows a vegetable garden that I help maintain and eventually we will raise chickens for fresh eggs.  I’m privileged to work from home and take care of the kids while my husband goes off to work.  In our family, the children are very well aware their dad is the head of the household and their mom is his helpmate.

The Free Dictionary by Farlex describes a helpmate as “a companion and helper, especially a wife.”   Proverbs 31: 10-31 gives great guidelines of how to achieve the role of helpmate God placed inside the heart of women to fulfill.  Strong women are condemned at times in today’s society for emasculating their men, but I think it takes a strong woman to be the helpmate God designed us to be. Being a helpmate doesn’t mean never expressing an opinion; it means trusting your husband to make the final decision after you both have had a chance to discuss the issue together.  It means you use the resources God has given you, your strengths and talents, to come alongside your husband and help him be the best protector and provider he can be.  It means that you work together to help your family succeed.

Being his helpmate means that you intentionally seek to bring out the best in your spouse.  Being his helpmate means being his number one cheerleader, even if he makes a bad decision or two.  If the roles were reversed and you were in charge of leading, do you think you choose correctly every time?  When you blow it, what kind of a response is more likely to help you get up and try again – nagging and “I told you so” or the kind, gentle reminder that “I believe in you.”?

A helpmate is someone who will actively look to see what she can do to make the life easier for the one on the frontlines.  That could mean offering to pick up his clothes from the laundromat even if it’s out of your way, keeping the house “company ready” if his job is one that has people dropping by unexpectedly, or volunteering to balance the checkbook, keep the family calendar organized, and make the list of phone calls that keep a family running smoothly.

I have one friend in particular who willingly and lovingly steps into this role with her husband on a regular basis.  She casually mentioned one Sunday that she woke up early to fix her husband a hot breakfast before he left to perform on the worship team.  She supports his role in ministry and wanted him to have extra confidence by doing what she could to help him perform at his optimum instead of being jittery from too much coffee and no real sustenance.  Even though she is not actively participating on the team, in essence she is performing an act of service to God as well.

When I think of the Proverbs 31 wife, that is my mental picture.  She wakes up early, when necessary, to perform the duties she can in order to assist her husband in providing for their family – whether financially, spiritually, emotionally, or physically.  She sometimes goes out to work and earn money for extra expenses, without complaining, and makes sure that she wisely uses the income her husband provides to teach the next generation the importance of a budget and also to show her husband how grateful she is for his hard work.  She takes care of herself spiritually, physically, and emotionally so that she can perform at her optimal best, encouraging her husband to take time to do the same.

The last and most important part of being a helpmate is to have the right attitude.  When we lovingly doing our part to take over some responsibilities in order to lessen the load our husbands carry, we’re making his job easier.  Not just physically but emotionally.  When they knows we have come alongside them and truly want to help, they can then leave confidently, knowing they will be welcomed home and appreciated for their contributions to our families.  I think we would all agree that we perform at our best when we’re supported by those we love.

I want to encourage all of us to strive to be loving helpmates to our husbands.  When we all work together to please God in our actions and attitudes, everyone wins.

Cheri Swalwell is a wife, mother, and avid reader, but first and foremost she is a Christ follower. She has a degree in Psychology and has been blessed to be a guest on a variety of blogs including Christiandevotions.us, Circle of Friends, and Crosswalk.com/family. She is a regular contributor to book fun magazine. If you want to hear more about the heart she has for marriage, parenting, and relationships from a Christian perspective, feel free to visit her website at http://www.cheriswalwell.com where you can connect to her blog or “like” her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/cheri-Swalwell. She loves to interact with her readers, so feel free to connect with her at clSwalwell99@gmail.com.  In addition, she has written two devotionals, A 40 Day Habit Between Friends: Because They Need You and A 40 Day Habit Between Friends: Taking it to the Next Level, available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

flatecover_1_ (3)A 40 Day Habit Between Friends: Taking it to the Next Level:

Do you ever feel like life is out of control and you just need a chance to stop and catch your breath? If you wrestle with questions such as fear versus faith or how to find balance in such a fast paced society, then A 40 Day Habit Between Friends: Taking it to the Next Level is a great solution.  Get ready to relax with a series of 40 devotionals taken from the author’s blogs where she just talks to you, friend to friend, about life’s challenges with a spiritual perspective.  It’s small enough to fit in your purse or briefcase, great to give to a friend who needs some encouragement, and reasonably priced so you can pick one up for yourself at the same time.   Available at amazon.com.

A 40 Day Habit Between Friends: Because They Need You:

A set of 40 devotionals taken from the author’s blogs where she enjoys talking to you, friend to friend, about the joys and trials of raising children.  It’s small enough to fit in your purse or briefcase, great to buy for a friend who needs a little pick me up, and reasonably priced so you can buy one for yourself as well.  Get ready to be encouraged and challenged in a lighthearted way while taking a deeper look at the heart the author has for her own children and those she loves.  Sit down, grab your favorite beverage, and get ready to be uplifted while journeying together as parents.   Available at amazon.com.

What is one way you can show your spouse you’re their cheerleader today? In a typical day, do you tend to speak more words of encouragement or condemnation? If the latter, what are some ways you can actively guard your words?

Choices–One Man’s Near Death Encounter

Today, my guest, James Willcox, author of Choices,  tells us of an encounter he faced that radically changed his view on life. Although you and Iimag001 likely won’t face a life or death experience, God gives us each the same choice: to live or die. There is only one way to truly live …

What will you choose?

***

Prov. 29:25

The fear of man brings a snare,

But he who trusts in the Lord shall be safe.

         Fear…does it move or paralyze us? The choice is always ours. Do we need fear man? Not really. Do we need fear God? For sure…if we fail to accept Him. Unfortunately, we usually fear man the most. No one wants to be rejected. Yet, when we seek after the things of God and not the world, we often fear rejection by others.

lighttunnelOn September 21, 2011, I had a life threatening heart attack. While still at home, I had a wondrous encounter with the Lord! Death was very near. At first, it terrified me! Suddenly, I found myself enveloped in a soothing light that is beyond description. Next to it, extending into endlessness was blackness beyond imagination. Every object I now saw was either white or black. Jesus asked me…“do you want to live?” Immediately, I answered “yes.”

You see, I was in an extreme drought stricken part of my life. This condition was due to family situations, business conditions, and other factors that, from time to time, we all face. For several months I had been asking God ‘why’ He continued to let me live. Interestingly enough, when first confronted with death, I still wanted to stay here.

The pain in my chest was excruciating! This rancher was now leaning against the tire of a tractor. For a moment, I reasoned if I were to lie down, I would feel much better. Something deep inside told me ‘no.’ To voluntarily do so would be giving up and result in certain death.

The car was about eighty feet away and getting it was one of my jobs that morning. This journey took me through ‘The Valley of the Shadow of Death.’ During this walk and for a short time afterward, I have no memory of chest pain. As I proceeded toward the car, the darkness tried to penetrate the wondrous light that protected me. At one point a voice spoke…“What if you fall down?” It was Satan himself who asked the question.

My response…“if I can’t help it, I needn’t be worried.” God’s safety was already surrounding and indwelling me.

Reaching the car, I leaned against it. Jesus again asked me if I wanted to live. Somehow, I knew my answer needed to be delayed. I now found myself in a unique room. It was rectangular, had a hard wood floor, a door with Jesus standing behind it at one end and the other end open to the world I knew. Colors could be seen out the open end but everything else was white and black. Having no desire to try and get to that familiar world, my focus became centered on the door to heaven and the figure behind it. I knew I could choose to go through that door and would be welcomed, leaving everything behind, including my troubles. Perfect peace dwelt deep within me in that amazing setting and it seemed as though time itself were standing still.

Have you ever been asked a question thinking there were only two possible answers? From a human perspective, that’s the kind of question I reasoned had been set before me. It wasn’t long before I knew it was time to answer Jesus’ question. Being led by the Holy Spirit, I suddenly realized there could be a third response. It was time to exercise my faith, knowing I would reside in absolute safety regardless of the outcome. My answer to the most important question I had ever been asked was, “You decide. It’s up to You.” Instantly, I was back in the world I knew, the chest pain once again overwhelming.

Our local hospital is a small, rural facility, not equipped to handle a major heart attack victim. A Flight for Life helicopter took me to a hospital one hundred miles away. Given the way our medical system works, I should have been taken to a hospital about half the distance. God went before me and prepared the way for emergency triple bypass surgery that same afternoon. Even though I had a major heart attack, there was no damage to the heart muscle. PTL!!!

Today, although life is still hard at times, I constantly abide in God’s comforting love, peace and safety. It’s my prayer that you openly seek God, bask in the safety only He can provide, thereby avoiding the snares of man.

James Willcox is a lifelong rancher in southern Colorado. He and his wife, Bobbie, have been married nearly forty four years. They have three adult children and enjoy being grandparents. James knows first had that God does give people second chances and is very aware of His love for us. Visit him online.

imag002About his book, Choices:

Does God really give us the freedom to make our own choices?

Even though Jim and Rick are lifelong friends, their lives have taken very different paths. Jim, as a devout Christian and follower of God, has spent countless hours trying to lead his best friend down the path to salvation. When Jim and Rick are involved in a terrible accident, the depth of Jim’s faith as well as the depth of his love for his friend will be put to the ultimate test.

Jim and Rick see and experience many incredible things as they discover that which awaits believers and nonbelievers alike. Follow these two friends as they realize the eternal consequences of their Choices.

***

This past month, during my morning Bible reading time, God has been sharpening my focus on those things that are eternal, encouraging me to not let my heart become dulled by the concerns of this life but that I would instead keep alert to His mission (and man’s condition) at all times. (Luke 21:34-36)

Because tomorrow is promised to know man.

 

Hidden Treasures

GE DIGITAL CAMERAToday my sweet friend and fellow Yahoo Bible study member, Beth Farley, is back talking about a verse I have long loved. The Word of God is unlike any other book we will ever encounter. Hebrews 4:12 tells us it is “living and active,” and I’ve found this to be quite true. When we open God’s Word, the Holy Spirit comes along 40762_reading_the_bible_1side us, making our reading a two-way communication between us and our Creator. At times, certain verses will appear to jump out at us, drawing our hearts or pricking our conscious. At other times, a passage will evoke a strong desire to stop what we are doing and pray. And yet other times, a verse or passage will prick a curiosity–no, more like a yearning–to go deeper, searching for the truth and heart of God. Our time in Scripture can become many things, but it is never, never intended to be a solitary or mindless affair. To the contrary! It is to be an intimate love affair between us and our Creator.

Hidden Treasures by Beth Farley

QuestionmarkI have to admit, that I feel very unworthy in sharing on this scripture because I must admit, that I don’t know what it really means? It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. NKJV

I did some digging and I can only pray that I am on target. For you that are participating in this study, if I am way off, please forgive me. If I am on target, Yay! Please, please share your comments.

Let me try to break it down. It is the glory of God to conceal a thing – This has been understood as referring to the revelation of God’s will in his word. We have been talking every week and praying that we would all seek out God’s will for our lives and do what He wants. There are some things that are hidden from us such as parables, allegories, metaphors so that we will continue to seek but His will is always readily available for us to see…if…we open our eyes and hearts.

In order to know God’s will we must really spend time with HIM and really get serious about studying HIS word…Before I became ill, I went through another rebellious time of not being serious about staying the studyingWord of God. I read it from time to time, but I was not intent on studying it and applying it. I know that being in God’s Word is His will for my life, no matter what! I am really ashamed of how I can get so lethargic in spending time in the Bible. When raising my kids, I was in the Word every morning. My children would wake up and find me on the couch, by the fire, with Bible and paper in hand. Now that they are adults they comment about it in positive ways. Back then though, they didn’t like it because it was taking time from them. I am thankful that I never gave up on that time with Him when they were in the house.

When I got divorced, and let me tell you, God was right there with me as I went through that difficult time in my life; He didn’t give up on me, but I gave up on being in the Word. When I had to move, I struggled finding a new trustworthy church that I could step into and they would not judge me because I was divorced. I carried that “D” on my forehead. I carried it way too long. I rebelled and stayed away from the Bible. I was hurt, broken, lonely and scared. How would I have ever known what he wanted from me if I didn’t seek him daily? His will was to know that I was walking in forgiveness and no condemnation. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

I don’t know why I have through my rebellious times. It irritates me. I am not proud of the few times that I have turned my back on God. I was not ever angry, just lazy, stubborn and scared. Come to think of it though, I can think of more times that I have remained in the Word than times when I shut the Word out. That’s a good thing. I guess I shouldn’t dwell on the negative here but rather the positive.

So again, if I am off on my interpretation of the verse, please set me straight. I am not one that is so prideful that I can’t be set straight on things. I am one that wants to learn as much as I can about God and stay committed to Him; allowing Him to reveal His will for me each and every day. How about you? Do you have times when you’ve taken a dive in your commitment to reading and studying His word? If so, what helped put you back on track? I know we are coming to an end of our study shortly, and I want to remind you that the prayer board is still open. If you have something you would like for us to pray about, please let me know; if you have a personal request and would like to just share it with me, I would be honored to pray. I can’t tell you what I would have done without the many who have prayed for me over the years at different times of my life. The power of prayer; it’s a beautiful thing. The power of the WORD; it’s a beautiful thing.

Beth Ann Farley is a dear friend of mine and one of our Yahoo Bible Study group members. She is married with three grown children. She lives in Kansas City, MO where she serves as librarian. She loves to read, write, decorate and spend as much time as possible outside with her Peek-A-Poo. Beth is a lover of the Lord. “He is my-everything and I can’t start a day without visiting with Him.” Beth came to know the Lord when she was 30 years old and has served Him on committee’s such as Missions Outreach, Local Missions, Diaconate Committee, Youth Committee, and was a church secretary for several years. Beth loves Women’s Bible Studies, has hosted several in each one of her homes that she has lived in and has led a few as well. Beth is now taking time in life to move forward with her writing in whatever way God directs her.

Visit her online at: http://firsthalfday1.wordpress.com/

Let’s talk about this. When reading your Bible, do you allow yourself enough time to really absorb what you are reading? To pray over what you have read? What are some tools you use to dig deeper into a passage?

Here are some tools/tricks I’ve learned to get the most out of my Bible reading time:

1. Begin with prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to use His Word to speak to you, guide you, correct, and grow you, then, read expecting God to communicate with you.

2. Ask questions: Who was the original audience? Who wrote the passage? What might the passage have meant to the original audience? (Sometimes these questions lead to a bit of a historical investigation.) What is the universal and/or timeless truth revealed in this verse or passage? What does this verse or passage show me about God (His character, heart, desires, etc)? What does this verse or passage show me about myself? Is there a specific action I can take or that this verse or passage points to?

3. Follow bunny trails. 🙂 Many Bibles have foot notes or verse references in the inner or outer columns of the text. If a passage mentions a previous account or character in the Bible, take the time to review the event/person referenced. If you notice a verse reference in the text, footnotes, or inner or outer columns, take time to read the correlating/supporting verses.

4. Read the passage in a few different translations. (You can find alternate translations online at Biblegateway.com or Biblos.com

5. If a particular verse stands out to you, look it up in the Lexicon. You can find a Lexicon on Biblos.com

6. Read a commentary or two expanding on the verse or passage. You can find commentaries on Biblegateway.com

(If you would like help using any of the above tools, please, shoot me an email at jenniferaslattery(at)gmail(dot)com. I’d love to walk you through it!)

Do you have any other tools or resources you like to use to go deeper into Scripture? Tell us about them! 

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on Living by Grace, or join our online Bible study. We’d love to have you!

Click to join ProverbsStudy

Click to join ProverbsStudy

Though You Trip and Fall

The other night, my husband and I were talking about the state of our marriage, and we’ve noticed a surprising trend. SteveandIWhen times get tough, we grow closer. Now, I know, according to the oft spoken clichés, that’s the way it’s supposed to happen, right? But I suspect it doesn’t always. During times of trial, families either grow closer or farther apart. In my opinion, the deciding factor is whether or not they have God’s holy, wise guidance and ever-present hand. Well, that and whether we honestly give Him an obedient ear. Because God is about unity. Peace. Love. Intimacy. And when you have God-given intimacy with those around you, an amazing thing happens. Though you fall, though you trip seven or seventy-seven times, you will get up again. Though it feels as if the world is spinning ruthlessly around you, you can and do endure.

I’ve shared, and will share again, this has been a rough year for our family, perhaps the most difficult we’ve faced instorm some time. For a while, it felt like the storm clouds pressing around us would never lift. But they did, and we’ve stepped out of our storm shelter stronger, closer to one another and to God, wiser, with one more wound healed and one more emotional layer peeled back.

The other day, as I was walking through our neighborhood, the sun bathing my face in warmth, the temperatures a pleasant fifty degrees despite the fact that we are in the middle of winter, I realized I was joyful. At peace. It’d been a while since I’d truly felt joy. And in that moment, I realized my storm had lifted, and reminded myself that storms don’t last forever. While we’re in them, they feel as if they will never let up, or as if they will tear us to shreds. But they won’t, because God won’t let them. And one day, they will lift and we will again feel the soothing warmth of the sun on our face.

Because though we trip, though we stumble, though we slide backward, we will get up again.

This morning I was reading in Psalm 18 and was reminded afresh of my heavenly Father’s ever-guiding, training hand.

Psalm 18:32-36

praiseGod arms me with strength, and He makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle; He strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. You (God) have given me Your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; Your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping (NLT).

Scholars believe King David may have written this psalm toward the end of his life, during a time of peace. If you are familiar with David’s life, you will remember, much of it was anything but peaceful. In fact, he spent a fair amount of time in caves, hiding from King Saul who tried to kill him. And during his times of hiding, David cried out to God in despair. I imagine it felt as if his storm cloud would never lift.

But it did, and upon looking back, David was able to see God’s hand in every hurdle, storm cloud, and heartache.

If you are standing on the mountain top, rejoicing in God’s faithfulness, pause to remember some of the more difficult times in your life. How did you feel during those times? Did it seem like your struggle and pain would never end? But it did, right? Because God brought you through. Look at that/those experience/s through a God-lens. What did He show you about yourself? About Himself? Who did He bring alongside you during that tough time?

If you are still sheltering a storm, look up and look around. God is hovering over you, watching you, loving you. He friendswill bring you through. And, I would almost guarantee, He’s brought you someone to come along beside you. Are you accepting their aid and support, or are you building barriers around your heart, barriers that may seem protective–safe–but in essence, are blocking the very love and care you long for?

Avoiding Mental Detours

I’ve heard it said and believe, most often, our greatest battles begin and end in the mind. Today, fellow Yahoo Bible study member and dear friend, Beth Farley challenges us to keep our thoughts on that good, straight path.

Avoiding Mental Detours by Beth Farley

The guilty walk a crooked path; the innocent travel a straight road (Proverbs 21:8 NLT).

directionsignsWhen I read and re-read this verse, I thought about the choices that I’ve made in my life. Some of them were not the best but I think we can all reflect and say the same thing. I think there are things that we wished we had done differently. We know we shouldn’t dwell on the past; Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past (Isaiah 43:18 NASB).

The crooked path brought on a different meaning to me today. Many times I have allowed my mind to travel down the crooked path. I believe we can go down the crooked path not only in action but in thought as well. After all, sin originates in the mind first. (Ephesians 6:12) I love the Amplified version of this verse.

I read something the other day that really struck me. In the past I complained about my job. I didn’t like some changes, some people, some circumstances and I quickly fell into the trap of allowing my mind to travel on the crooked path. Daily, I had negative thoughts and words. I was consumed with work-related stress and allowed it to rob me of my daily joy. This is so ironic to me because now I am only to work part time due to my health and there are some things that I really miss about working full time.

         The Art of Getting Well by David Spero, R.N.

“The meaning we find in our work also affects us deeply. Suppose two persons deliver bottled water for a living. One might think, “This is great. I get out to different parts of the city, and I get to meet different people. I’m not stuck in an office or factory. I’m bringing people this good, healthy, water. They’re always happy to see me. I wish it paid more, but it beats welfare.”

                                    OR

“I hate this job. I could have been a lawyer if I hadn’t dropped out of college. The company doesn’t respect me; the managersstress never ask my opinion or let me plan my own routes. I can’t raise a family on this pay. My back and feet hurt from lifting. The water is a rip-off; it’s no better than tap water.”

Have you ever allowed Satan to take your positives and meld them into negatives? We can choose each day to travel the straight road with a positive mindset. I liked the analogy of path vs road; to me the path is short and the road is long. We are in this for the long haul until God calls us home to be with him. Yes, we will have sinful days, moments of defeat and minutes of sinking, but thank God we are all saved and have the power of the Holy Spirit to keep us going.

Are you dwelling on past mistakes? Don’t allow Satan to take you there. They have been washed away and forgiven. Don’t allow past hurts and mistakes to manipulate your walk with God. He loves you, broken or unbroken. He LOVES you!

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2).

***

GE DIGITAL CAMERABeth Ann Farley is a dear friend of mine and one of our Yahoo Bible Study group members. She is married with three grown children. She lives in Kansas City, MO where she serves as librarian. She loves to read, write, decorate and spend as much time as possible outside with her Peek-A-Poo. Beth is a lover of the Lord. “He is my-everything and I can’t start a day without visiting with Him.” Beth came to know the Lord when she was 30 years old and has served Him on committee’s such as Missions Outreach, Local Missions, Diaconate Committee, Youth Committee, and was a church secretary for several years. Beth loves Women’s Bible Studies, has hosted several in each one of her homes that she has lived in and has led a few as well. Beth is now taking time in life to move forward with her writing in whatever way God directs her.

Visit her online at: http://firsthalfday1.wordpress.com/

Let’s talk about this. Pause to consider the things you think about in a given day. How often do you cut yourself down? Focus on the negative? Camp out in regrets?

How might your day, your service, your effectiveness change if you were to reroute your thinking, focusing on God’s truth, love, will, and faithfulness?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on Living by Grace, or join our online Bible study. We’d love to have you!

Click to join ProverbsStudy

Click to join ProverbsStudy

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

GE DIGITAL CAMERAIntrinsically, we know lying’s wrong. I think that’s part of our inner compass. But then, we get older and socially “aware”, and somehow the lines become blurred. We might even be tempted to believe some lies are good–if they are told for a good reason, perhaps to protect someone’s feelings or create a positive, altruistic outcome. And what about deception by omission? Those times when, perhaps we don’t verbally lie, but we allow others to believe a half-truth? Today my sweet friend, Beth Farley digs into Proverbs 19:9, challenging us to honestly evaluate our honesty. 🙂

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire by Beth Farleyliar

Proverbs 19:9: NLT
A false witness will not go unpunished, and a liar will be destroyed.

What is a false witness? I looked up the definition and it read that it is a person who deliberately gives false testimony, someone who has lied or lies repeatedly. Why do you think people feel they have to lie? We see it so often; at least I do working with the public. I can’t tell you how many people are dishonest about library fines. You read that right. LIBRARY FINES. It shocks me.

You know, I’ve always thought about Proverbs 19:9 pertaining to telling lies all of the time as being a false witness, but just recently I had an opportunity to really think about it more. I began to monitor myself the other day and caught myself “stretching the truth” about something to a co-worker. I had to stop in mid-sentence and evaluate what I was saying and the worst part of all was that this co-worker is a Christian, so there was no need to do that. Do you ever do that? Do you allow things to fly out of your mouth before you even consider if you are about to bear false witness?

Look at what the following scriptures say about false witness: all taken from the KJV:

Proverbs 19:5: A false witness shall not be unpunished, and (he that) speaketh lies shall not escape. (ouch!)

Exodus 20:16: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. 1 John 2;4: he that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. Revelation 21:8: But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Ephesians 4:25: Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.

If we are members of one another, then why do we feel the need to tell those little white lies, bear false witness, say things and give ourselves the glory rather than give God the glory? I think we need to do an honest assessment of ourselves and see if we are really being truthful in who we are. It’s easy around the house with family, praying in safe environments, at church and with other Christians, but hey, maybe not. I almost fell into it amongst a fellow Cristian.

Look at the second half of the scripture: Liars will be destroyed. Let me say it again, BE DESTROYED. It doesn’t read, bad liars, huge liars, consistent liars; it reads LIARS…All sorts of liars, the little-white liars and the fibbers. I think in order to effectively mirror God with our whole self; we must find and use our authentic voices. We can reflect in unique and distinct ways, however, without our voice (telling the truth), then we are not walking in the image of God. I don’t know about you, but I really need to work on this. I don’t consider myself a liar; however, I see how easily I can get caught up in the snare of a lie.

Lord, we thank you so much for all that you do for us. We thank you that you loved us to send Christ to the cross for our sins. Please forgive us for falling short of walking in truth. Please forgive us when the little white lie rolls off the tip of our tongues. We long to be more like Christ. Have your way with us. In Jesus’ precious name; amen.

Beth Ann Farley is a dear friend of mine and one of our Yahoo Bible Study group members. She is married with three grown children. She lives in Kansas City, MO where she serves as librarian. She loves to read, write, decorate and spend as much time as possible outside with her Peek-A-Poo. Beth is a lover of the Lord. “He is my-everything and I can’t start a day without visiting with Him.” Beth came to know the Lord when she was 30 years old and has served Him on committee’s such as Missions Outreach, Local Missions, Diaconate Committee, Youth Committee, and was a church secretary for several years. Beth loves Women’s Bible Studies, has hosted several in each one of her homes that she has lived in and has led a few as well. Beth is now taking time in life to move forward with her writing in whatever way God directs her.

Visit her online at: http://firsthalfday1.wordpress.com/

Share your thoughts. Do you believe white lies are ever okay and/or appropriate, and if so, why and when? If not, why?

Share a time when someone lied to you or deceived you. How did you feel? Did that affect your relationship? If so, how?

If you are a parent or grandparent, do you model integrity and honesty? Before you answer, pause to consider: Do you ever ask others to tell a caller you aren’t home when indeed you are?

Join the conversation here, in the comments below, or join our Yahoo Bible study group. (It’s not too late! We’d love to have you. 😉 )


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You might also enjoy: In Absence of Integrity

Seeking Wisdom–An Intimate Affair

jude-urbanski-headshot-smallHebrews 4:12 tells us God’s Word is alive and active, penetrating deep to our soul. It has the capacity to speak to our very depths in an intimate and miraculously personal way, becoming a two-way conversation between the Holy Spirit and us. In the following devotion, multi-published author, Jude Urbanski, encourages us to attune our ears to God’s wisdom, to God’s heart, as we seek to learn and grow from His Word.

As a fun treat, Jude is giving away one of her books (winner’s choice) to a reader randomly selected from the blog comments.

The Babbling Brook of Wisdom by Jude Urbanski

Today’s focal verse: Proverbs 18:4

         The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a

         babbling brook.

Focus:

“Discernment versus foolishness”

        

The whole chapter of Proverbs 18 is one of contrasts. A chapter depicting wise versus contrasting, foolish actions. Yea, even a chapter pitting our purpose to choose our own follies against desiring a wise and discerning heart.

I related verse four, in which it speaks of the words of a man’s heart being deep waters and the fountain of wisdom being a babbling brook, to the words of my pen. Left to our own devices, our words may plunge to the deep and profound, which isn’t always bad, unless we drift to the obscure. When our writing muse (Spirit?) is at work, or words feel like the free flowing fountain of a babbling brook.

There are times I feel God’s word to be deep and obscure and I don’t understand. There are times God’s answer to my prayers is silence and I readingBiblewonder if He even heard. This is when I work, as verse 15 says, to persuade my heart to listen, to be discerning and to have wise ears seeking to acquire God’s knowledge.

I often wonder why God works this way, but the chapter ends by telling me there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). I’ve always equated God as this friend, which brings great comfort.

Proverbs 18 leaves a lot to ponder. Some of it is hard to understand. Some of it becomes special memory verses, but all of it admonishes me to let the words of my page be joyful explosions for God.

 

 

Jude Urbanski loves to be a wordsmith woman and to weave stories where strong characters, with God’s help, spin tragedy into triumph. While writing has been a passion all her life (and also for many others in her family), she is delighted to have been able to write seriously for the past seven years. She wears many hats in her family, church and community and is wife, mother and grandmother. She is published in both fiction and nonfiction by Desert Breeze and LangMarc Publishers.

 

JoyRestoredCoverArt72dpi_(1)Joy Restored:

Kate Davidson purrs along in her remodeled life, but inwardly wages war with God, whom she thinks snuffed out her husband’s life on that mountain curve. Not acceptable. Clayton may as well have died in the jungles of Vietnam as in a car accident on Wolf’s River Bridge.

Buy it here.

***

Let’s talk about this. This past fall, I went through a difficult time and felt the lowest I have felt in quite some time, if ever. But looking back, that was also a precious time as each morning when I curled into the corner of the couch with my Bible, God met me. He told me He loved me. He promised to care for me. He asked me to trust Him. And each morning built on the previous, as if He was revealing yet another layer of His loving character, as if He was peeling back yet another layer of my fear and covering it in His soothing love. Honestly, I can’t quite explain how incredibly beautiful that period was, how real God felt to me, and how deeply I felt His love.

I suspect we all have God moments to share–times when, when we needed it most, God showed up and spoke words of love to our very core. Regardless of how He answered our prayer. And in that moment, encountering God in our very being, we suddenly know, the peripheral no longer matters, because we have God Himself, and that is enough.

We’d love to hear from you. I know some of you are going through some very difficult times. You’re pouring your heart out to God, asking for aid, for a miracle. For comfort. In your deepest sorrow, how is God making Himself real to you?

And for those of you on the hilltop or perhaps strolling through the meadow, I know you’ve had trials and sorrow. Can you think back to a time when God met you during a time of difficulty? Let us gain comfort from your experience.

It’s important for us to share our God stories. When we do so, not only are we reminded of God’s faithfulness, but we invite others to rejoice with us as well–not in our circumstances which are often mired by a sinful world, but in the unchanging, never-failing, always loving nature of God.

You can share your “God-moments” in the comments below or join our online Bible study group:

 

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