One summer, years ago, I had the great privilege of working at a Christian camp ministry in Colorado. Sometimes I worked on the maintenance crew, and some weeks I worked as a counselor with kids in my own cabin. I didn’t realize it at the time, but during my times as a counselor, God was teaching me some very important parenting lessons. Continue reading
She is always a blessing to her husband and by extension her household.
Proverbs 31:12 “She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
She is Love Incarnate
Like love, “she suffers long and is kind, does not behave herself unseemly, she is not self-seeking, thinks the best of others, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.” (See 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.)
Included in doing good and not evil, is this woman’s ministry to her husband, and by that I mean her ministry in keeping her husband right. Husbands need that because they tend at times to be slope-headed Neanderthals. Men are stubborn. Men are brutish. God gives them wives to keep them straight for all those times they do not hear that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. When big decisions need to be made, husbands would do well to hear their wives because often God will speak to men through their spouses (and vice versa). It is how God has ordained that relationship.
She is a Constant and Stable Influence
“All the days of her life,” means she is there for the long haul, through the good and the bad. The blessings don’t make her greedy for more, and the hard times don’t make her long for better. She is faithful no matter what.
Her goals and aspirations are in support of her husband – and her husband’s job is to faithfully love her in return. (God tells us husbands this twice: Ephesians 5:25 and Colossians 3:19. Why? Because of that whole slope-headed Neanderthal thing.)
(13) She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
(14) She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
(15) She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
She is Industrious
She looks for opportunities. “She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.” That’s not to say that a woman’s work is limited to things like knitting and crocheting. The point is that this woman takes whatever talents she has and uses them for the benefit of her household. Maybe it’s not knitting, maybe it’s web design, or freelance programming, or writing, or brain surgery. Whatever the talent is, it’s being put to good use for the benefit of the family.
There’s nothing wrong with a career, but for both husband and wife, the career needs to be aimed at benefitting their God-given responsibilities to their family, not their ambitions for climbing the corporate ladder.
“She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.” This verse is not just about food preparation. This is about how this woman is not about the status quo. She is creative. Imaginative. She is a real contributor to the home and family life.
“She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.” She is a good steward of all that she has, including her time and sees to it that her household is well taken care of.
What you don’t see here is a woman working under duress. Her husband is not holding her in abject servitude. In fact, as we’ll see later, she is a very independent woman. She does not see herself as shortchanged because she is a wife, and she is not oppressed, depressed, or distressed. She thrives in her role as wife, because she and her husband complement each other.
“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed…nothing shall be impossible unto you (Matthew 17:20).
This is the second passage where Christ uses the mustard seed illustration. In this passage Peter, James and John were returning with the Lord from the Mount of the Transfiguration where Christ revealed Himself in His glory.
During that return trip the three asked the Lord a theological question about Elias: “Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?” (Matthew 17:10). Christ responds by saying that Elias had already come in the form of John the Baptist whose ministry was in the spirit of Elias (Matthew 17:12). Elias’ ministry was to set the people’s mind right when it came to their understanding of the Messiah. Up to the time of John the Baptist there were many misconceptions. John the Baptist’s ministry was the instrument of reformation used of God to help those truly seeking Messiah to recognize him when He appeared. He capped off his ministry in no uncertain terms when he declared: “Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:33-36) on the day Jesus appeared for baptism. Continue reading
I’d like to end this series on prayer in the Book of Acts with some general observations, and I think the best way to sum up the prayer life of the early church is to look at what they did not pray for. Continue reading
(13) Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
(14) And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
(15) And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
(16) And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.(17) And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
While this is not specifically a prayer passage, what we see here is mock prayer, prayer in which someone is just going through the motions in hopes of getting some sort of answer. We’re quick to criticize these men for doing something so foolish, but how often do we do exactly the same thing when we pray before a meal, or pray for a need? How often do we just “go through the motions?” Prayer can’t be half-hearted. It must come as the outgrowth of a personal relationship with God. It must be first person. Continue reading
Luke 10:19 “Behold, I give unto you power…over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
Christians are powerless because they fail to claim what they already have in Christ. This is either through neglect, ignorance, or unbelief. Paul had no such hesitations because he was completely “sold” on God. The fact is, we have no excuse to be just like Paul. Continue reading
(7) After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.
(8) And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.
(9) And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.
While this is commonly known as the Macedonian call, it didn’t happen without some Macedonians praying. It’s how missionaries get to the mission field:
Matthew 9:38 “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” Continue reading
I have to admit, praying I can do. Fasting is a difficulty for me. So this post was a difficult one to put up. But in Scripture fasting and prayer go hand in hand. Those who did it, did not always fast and pray. It was usually reserved for times when real guidance was needed. In the book of Acts there are at least three occasions when fasting and prayer are specifically mentioned: Continue reading
(1) Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.
(2) And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
(3) And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
Peter was on death row for his faith. Because he was imprisoned during the Passover (the time of unleavened bread), his execution was not immediate, but as far as Herod (Agrippa) was concerned, it was certain. In response to the crisis, the church held an all-night vigil, burned candles, and alerted the media in order to raise awareness of Peter’s plight. Oh, and thankfully, they had their lawyers on speed dial. (They has Sprinticus.) No. That likely would have been our response today, but for Peter “…prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him” (Acts 12:5). Continue reading
When Cornelius prayed to God in Acts chapter 10, the Lord answered his prayers by telling him: “Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.” Then he told him to send men to Joppa and look for Simon Peter (Acts 10:1-5) who was lodging at the home of Simon the Tanner. God was preparing to change Cornelius’ perspective by revealing to him salvation through Jesus Christ.
The next day, God was also answering Peter’s prayers. Continue reading