Monday, August 29, 2011

The Godly Woman's Journey: Rebulding and Restoring, part 2

Memory/Meditation verse: " to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me." ~ Act 26:18 (NLT)Link

As you see I have changed this years study name from the "Proverbs 31 Journey" to the "Godly Woman's Journey". It is still the same journey, just a new phase based on the woman Solomon wrote about in Proverbs 31:10-31.

Paul had a moment on that road to Damascus which we find our memory/meditation verse from this week. God did a little rebuilding and restoring on his life didn't He? Do you think our Proverbs 31 Woman had a similar experience? Its really not recorded in scripture, however, what we do know is what her life was like before she became this popular (and not so popular) Christian woman. You can read about it here in 2 Samuel 11 & 2 Samuel 12.

She had a rough start, just like Paul. She fell into brokenness, just like Paul, but in a different kind of way. She may not have had that same bright light that Paul did but she came to know His God all the same. As Solomon wrote about his mother in Proverbs 31, we witness a woman rising from the ashes and becoming more than the sin most Christians associate her with. She became a godly woman despite her past through repentence.

Oswald Chambers in My Upmost for His Highest wrote "Repentance does not bring a sense of sin, but a sense of unutterable unworthiness". Referencing Matthew 3:11, he implies that baptism of the Holy Spirit is not just an act but rather a work performed by Christ Jesus. He continued to write "The only conscious experience those who are baptized with the Holy Ghost ever have is a sense of absolute unworthiness... I indeed was this and that; but He came, and a marvelous thing happened..."

Can't you hear the Proverbs 31 woman shouting a big "AMEN!" here? Can't you? Repentence is a beautiful thing. It's a helpless surrender that brings us to just the right place where God can take control and do marvelous things! The rebuilding and restoring begins.

Suddenly the ugly becomes usable, the brokenness becomes a ministry, the healing becomes a calling. Like I wrote last week, "a time in which ones pain is used for His gain. One's suffering is used for His plan". You know it wasn't easy for her to get out of that pit she and David created. It wasnt easy for David to swallow his pride and his regret but he did...she did...I have. Have you?

What Solomons mom and Paul became had to come from a brokenness that grew into the mindset of a slave.

A slave?

A slave. First impressions probably make you react emotionally like you did as kid sitting in front of a plate of broccoli. Look back into the Old Testament and take a quick look at a slave. They were:
completely sold out for their master
a possession of the master
had no rights-those were relinquished to their master
own nothing, everything belonged to the master
their daily agenda was set by their master
could be redeemed by their master
was provided for by their master
often loved by their master

A slave, a doulos (Greek in the New Testament), was also referenced throughout the Bible as a "servant" or "bondservant". Paul's took on the same attitude after his encounter,
his brokenness, with Christ. Like our Proverbs 31 Woman, he made God his master. You read it several times in his writings...

Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God" ~ Romans 1:1 (HCSB)

Paul, a slave of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness..." ~ Titus 1:1 (HCSB)

Christ too took on the form of a bond-servant to His Master to follow God's plan and submit to His will....

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. ~ Phil. 2:5-8 (NKJV)

A godly woman becomes a slave to her Master. She is...

completely sold out for her master

a possession of her master

has no rights-those were relinquished to her master

owns nothing, everything belongs to her master

her daily agenda is set by her master

she is redeemed by her master

her Master provides for her

and her Master loves her

And because of this, she seeks to "to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me" because her eyes have been open, she is completely broken with a sense of absolute unworthiness yet she has been forgiven and she has been set apart.

Oh Lord, be Master of my life. I desire to be your slave, your maidservant. I too have been broken. Like Paul when you spoke those words in Acts, I have been humbled to my own failures and sins. And like Paul and our Proverbs 31 Woman, I have been restored. As long as I take breath on this earth, I will forever be re-building my soul. And as long as you call me to, I will be seeking to bring your light and freedom to those who do not know you.

Living in His Embrace ~ Pamela

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Journey: Rebuilder & Restorer, Part 1

Memory/Meditation verse: If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:10-11 (TNIV)

This Proverbs 31 Journey never seems to the unfailing love of our God, His mercies, His grace, and His presence. The Proverbs 31 Woman is so focused on God in her life that others can not help but see it, even when she makes mistakes and has days when she is just too exhausted to "measure up". That's what makes her "godly".

Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
~ Prov. 31:31 (NLT)

To have that said about you and your life has to be of the highest compliments! My husband posted that of me today on Facebook...of course I do not feel deserving of it...

"A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds.... Proverbs 31:10 I LOVE YOU!!"
It may be the highest of compliments but it will also keep you humble won't it? I thought about re-naming this journey the "Godly Woman's Journey". Almost seems more fitting. Like being referenced a "Jesus girl"!! So many woman are intimated by the Proverbs 31 woman and they shouldn't be.

You just never know where this "Godly Woman's Journey" may take you but your focus remains on Him, trusting Him, leaning on Him. This journey has lead me to our memory verse where I felt that whisper again..."This is for you...this is a part of being a godly woman, a Proverbs 31 Woman".

It captured my heart so much that I dug deep into it. Though the chapter is referencing a country's need to fast it is also speaking of a promise to those who earnestly seek to please Him. Earnestly seeking Him though life and being His beacon of light for others, for hurting souls, souls lost from knowing what He can offer them. A beacon of light a light house.

I love lighthouses. They intrigue me. They fascinate me. They hold a story and they tell a history. They have such great value and worth because they lead and they protect. And they are surrounded by the majesty of the ocean, something that so screams of God's magnificence and power.

Thomas Kincaid can paint a light house like no other. In his paintings they are beautiful and warm. It gives comfort, safety and protection. Just like the l
ight house, the Proverbs 31 Woman can be described like this and she is surrounded by the majesty of God's presence and work in her life.

Which brings us back to our memory/meditation verse and the stirring in my heart..."to spend". I again felt the Spirit of God saying "I want you to to give reflect me more.. serve me more...and not just to anyone, but especially those in needs...just as you have once been".


Link Glowing...Radiating...Guiding... like a light house.

This stirring has become a stirring that just won't leave. I seem to be looking in every direction for every opportunity to fulfill this. Its an anticipation of a "coming", an arrival of a long awaited announcement or promotion. I don't know about you sister, but I am embracing this stirring after such a season as I have been in.

A godly woman is often led into a season of
rebuilding and restoring, not of her own life but also to help others rebuild and restore their lives. The godly woman knows that healing only comes through His Word...memorizing it, living it, believing it, hoping for its promises.

A time in which ones
pain is used for His gain. One's suffering is used for His plan.



I am finding my life can be found in these verses and I pray I am truly sensing His lead as recorded in verse 12 of our memory passage. Read it again in the Message version:

If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people's sins, If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places— firm muscles, strong bones. You'll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You'll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again.

If you have lived in oppression and rejection, then you know that even
in the worst of times you can live in His peace. You can conquered your past with His grace and His mercy. Read it again...

Then when you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes. (NLT)

A life of service for her King. It's not about how full her earthly life is, or how well she is living with material things, or how much money is in her bank account...its about being filled by her Master and living accountable to Him. It's about allowing God to turn her life inside-out, messing up her plans and growing her in ways that would be impossible for her to do herself! Rebuilding and restoring...the Proverbs 31 Journey...the Godly Woman's Journey.

She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.

~ Prov 31:20 (NLT)

This week I boldly challenge you to step outside your comfort zone. Each day make a genuine effort to reach out to someone in need and act on God's behalf. Be silent and listen to his voice then act. Walk your faith. Be His beacon of light.

Living in His Embrace~Pamela

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Journey: The Capable One

Scripture Memory/Meditation : For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. ~ 2 Peter 1: 5-7 (HCSB)

This month we have looked at the Proverbs 31 Woman and how she dresses from her spiritual wardrobe. As she dresses from the characteristics of Christ we find in scripture, her inner spiritual beauty becomes her outward beauty. We find that her inward spiritual beauty surpasses any outward flaws she might have like that extra weight, the bad hair days, her too short or too long statue, etc. Lets go back to Proverbs 31 and look at her again here and then focus on this verse...

"Many women are capable, but you surpass them all!" ~ Prov. 31:29 (HCSB)

What does it mean to be "capable"? Is it an evaluation or measurement of the ordinary? Merriam-Webster defines capable as "having attributes (as physical or mental power) required for performance or accomplishment; having or showing general efficiency and ability". Being capable could be an "ordinary" thing I suppose. However, I don't think many of us want to be just "ordinary". There's that innate desire deep within us, given to us by God, to be more and to do more. Right?

The Proverbs 31 Woman was by no means ordinary. Look at how the different versions of the Bible referenced this same verse replacing the words capable and surpass:

TNIV version replaced capable with "noble".
The message replaced capable with "wonderful", and surpass with "outclassed" ASV use "Worthy" and "Excellence"
The NCV states "fine", "Better"

But I like the Amplified version the best:

Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all.

In what way did she "excel them all"? What did she do to "surpass them all"? I think it is obvious we can find this from her spiritual and practical devotion to God, which permeated every area and relationship of her life. Read again our passage from 2 Peter but look intently to the verses following our meditation/memory verses:

5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, 6 knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, 7 godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted, and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. 11 For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly supplied to you.
~ 2 Peter 1 (HCSB)

The Proverbs 31 Woman is a woman of faith. She is not useless for God. She supplements (to complete of make addition to) her faith with goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, affection, and love. And because of this, she is fruitful for God...and the eternal is her her ultimate goal in life. It's not about her's not about the wrong that has been done's not about the here and's about her purpose, God's plan for her life.

This week pray for God to supplement your faith with goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, affection, and love. Look at the eternal significance on every action, decision or reaction you experience this week. Pray to see daily how you can be fruitful for Him. It's all about Him.

Living in His Embrace ~ Pamela

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Journey: Dressing for God

Memory/Meditation Verse:
12 God has chosen you and made you his holy people. He loves you. So you should always clothe yourselves with mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Bear with each other, and forgive each other. If someone does wrong to you, forgive that person because the Lord forgave you. 14 Even more than all this, clothe yourself in love. Love is what holds you all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking, because you were all called together in one body to have peace. Always be thankful.16 Let the teaching of Christ live in you richly. Use all wisdom to teach and instruct each other by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. ~ Col. 3 (NCV)

We have been looking at the Proverbs 31 Woman, most recently how she can hear the whispers of God. We discussed how she is so familiar with God she knows His voice and He is so familiar with her He entrust her with His work. We identified her daily ritual of cleansing that is manifested from what I referenced as saturation reflections-breathing in and living by the Word of God. This active process of seeking God and being so intimate with him also has another vital component...dressing for God.

She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry. Her clothing is of linen, pure and fine, and of purple [such as that of which the clothing of the priests and the hallowed cloths of the temple were made].
~ Proverbs 31:22 (Amplified)

When the Proverbs 31 Woman steps up to her closet or wardrobe, she if faced with many challenges. What to Can I so boldly suggest that she carefully selects from the Colossians 3 wardrobe?

12Clothe yourselves therefore, as God's own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].

13Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].

14And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].

15And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ's] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].

16Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts. ~ Col. 3 (Amplified)

Before she even opens the door to her wardrobe, she knows she is loved...

I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me].." John 15:9 (Amplified)

THEREFORE BE imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]. 2And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.
~ Eph 5:1-2 (Amplified)

and chosen...

For you are a holy and set-apart people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a special people to Himself out of all the peoples on the face of the earth. ~ Deut. 7:6 (Amplified)

You are My witnesses, says the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know Me, believe Me and remain steadfast to Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.
~ Isa. 43:10 (Amplified)

But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.~1 Peter 2:9 (Message)

And as she reaches into her wardrobe, she takes hold of the undergarment of holiness and carefully pulls it over her head. She knows this covering will wrap her in her Masters love. Also on this particular day she may reach for a garment of compassion or a covering of kindness, knowing her outreach may be healing to someone in need.

Some mornings may require her to dress in gentleness or humility, keeping her in tune to God's direction for her life. And yet other mornings may require her to wear the covering of forgiveness even when the pain is great. Many mornings she will find her hand reaching for the garment of patience, for life tends to pull her from so many directions.

She knows that most days requires her to accessorize with grace, and mercy, and love. And nothing fits so well as the peace that only God can give. Before she leaves her room, she chooses that special fragrance, the fragrance of Christ which is the wisdom of the knowledge of Him flowing from her life and influencing those around her. She takes one last glance in the mirror and knows that she is beautiful in God's eyes!

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. ~ 2 Cor. 2:14-15 (NIV)

This week, soak in the different versions of this Colossians 3 passage listed here below.

Col. 3:12 (Message)
Col. 3:12 (God's Word Translation)
Col. 3:12 (HCSB)
Col. 3:12 (NASB)
Col. 3:12 (NKJV)
Col. 3:12 (NLT)
Col. 3:12 (NIV)

Take one of the pieces of wardrobe mentioned in the versions of this passage: holiness, love, humility, gentleness, kindness, compassion, gentleness, meekness, forgiveness, patience, long-suffering, quiet strength, discipline and search out verses pertaining to it then dress in it beautifully for God. As you seek Him each morning in your quiet time, ask Him to choose the spiritual wardrobe He wants you to wear that day. Then go out in this world, beautifully dressed for Him.

Father, my Holy and Sovereign God, I thank you that I am clothe as Your own chosen one, hand picked for Your kingdom work. Only though you can I be purified and holy. I thank You that I am well-beloved by You. Whisper into my day the behavior, the clothing of Your choice for me. I know that in You choosing, You are equipping me, covering me, and marking me to be the fragrance of Your Son in this world. Beautify me for You and You alone. I choose to step into each day dressed by You and for You.

Living in His Embrace~Pamela

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Journey: Saturation Reflection

Memory/Meditation Verse: The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will. The Sovereign Lord has spoken to me, and I have listened. I have not rebelled or turned away. ~ Isaiah 50: 4-5 (NLT)

Saturation Reflection. Ever heard this term? I found it in the Bill Hybels book I mentioned from my last post and shown here. I love this term as it so represent the journey of my freedom in Christ.

In my last post I wrote of the whispers and nudges the Proverbs 31 Woman receives from God when she knows Him and He knows her. Remember the statement I posted that God laid on my heart?

"She is so familiar with God she knows His voice. He is so familiar with her He entrust her with His work"

How does the Proverbs 31 Woman get to this point? Saturation Reflection. A simple step of being in the Word. A daily cleansing by reading His Word, abiding in His Word. Starting your morning in it, taking it with you throughout your day, and touching it again before you close your eyes to sleep.

Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts. ~ Col. 3:16 (Amplified)

More of Him, less of this world. More of Him, less of you. More of Him, more like Him! More of Him, more conversations with Him!!

Years ago when I started this blog I had come up out of a horrible pit. It resulted in a brokenness and embrace from God I had never experienced before. In that moment I heard "I need you to just need me." and that began a new journey for someone who grew up surrounded by the Christian world. Each day, each year, has drawn me closer and more intimate with the God
of grace and mercy I call Father and Lord.

From that experience He laid on my heart a passion to minister to others with broken and bruised lives. He gave me our meditation/memory verse
of Isaiah 50:4-5 (posted above) as my prayer for this ministry. The verses I have saturated my heart and mind with over the years have been the salve and comfort my brokenness needed, the strength and armor behind my transformation, and the healing and redemption that this woman of God, the worst of sinners, needed to be able to hear Him...really hear Him.

Yes there have been times of respite in which God seemed
silent. I have found that if I keep focused on Him, these times of respite are right before the light of His revealed will. Author Henri Amiel said "The stationary condition is the beginning of the end"...the end of one era, the beginning of another....the end of one calling...the beginning of the next calling. Though you may feel God has called you to a certain task or ministry, He may call you away or lead you in a different direction as time progresses. Sometimes these periods are just stepping stones to the preparation of a treasured calling for Him. You have to " to love Him as He has never been loved" as Mother Teresa puts it in her book Come Be My Light.

No doubt, the Proverbs 31 Woman had moments of stationary conditions with her God, moments of respite when His voice fell silent. Yet she would chose to seek Him anyway knowing His sweet words would again fall on her heart and she would choose to willingly embrace them...being blessed...and being called blessed.

Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” ~ Proverbs 31: 28-29 (NLT)

This week saturate yourself in these verses that speak about listening to His whispers...His nudges. Begin each morning in His word. Carry a verse with you throughout the day. Replay the scripture you are meditating on before you close your eyes and see what happens....whispers...His voice...just for you, His chosen and beloved daughter.

Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,”
whether to the right or to the left. ~ Isaiah 30:21 (NLT)

But whoever listens to me will dwell safely,
And will be secure, without fear of evil.” ~ Proverbs 1:33 (NKJV)

"Now therefore, listen to me, my children,
For blessed are those who keep my ways.
Hear instruction and be wise,
And do not disdain it.
Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at the posts of my doors.
For whoever finds me finds life,
And obtains favor from the LORD..." ~ Proverbs 8:32-35 (NKJV)

Listen to Me, O Jacob, And Israel, My called: I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last. ~ Isaiah 48:12 (NKJV)

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive. ~ Jeremiah 29:11-14 (NKJV)

Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” ~ Isaiah 6:8 (NLT)

He who is able to hear, let him listen to and give heed to what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches). To him who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant to eat [of the fruit] of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. ~ Rev. 2:7 (Amplified)

Oh, my precious Father, Sovereign and Holy God, I choose to dwell in your Word so much that it is at home in my life and it is reflected in my words, my actions, my thoughts. Dwell in me. Ingrain your truths into my soul. Be my everything. Be my Master.

Living in His Embrace~Pamela