Monday, August 22, 2011
"She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard." Proverbs 31:16
There are many daunting passages of scripture for women and Proverbs Chapter 31 is, perhaps, at the top of that list. Verse ten begins with a mother's question to her son: "Who can find a virtuous wife?" Oh dear, yes...indeed...who can? The description laid out by King Lemuel's mother suggests the impossible woman. Who can find her? Does she even exist?
Isn't it just like our LORD to keep the bar raised high? The challenge put to His daughters starts with a simple question. It grabs your attention, the question WHO. It seems to be a list of qualities in a woman that is utterly impossible to obtain. I have prayed over this list for years now and have asked the LORD just what those verses mean to me today. What does GOD want from me as a wife for his son? What does GOD expect of me when I read this beautiful description of The Virtuous Wife? Because, I want to be her. And if you are married and a woman, don't you desire to be her, too? Husbands, don't you want her as your wife?
Over the years, I think God has revealed different aspects of this passage to me. But, last week...I think He gave me the absolute clincher. And I HAVE to share it with you...man or woman...married or not...it doesn't matter. You will see the magnitude of it.
I have listened to many teachings on Proverbs 31:10-31. I have read books, ad nauseum regarding it, as well. As I said, I have prayed and pondered and wondered all about those things I do not fully understand. What, in essence, is the gist of it all?
Love God, Serve Him with a loyal and willing heart. Stay humble. Stay close to Him. Cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you. Take the utmost care of those He has put in your charge. Do not fret, it only causes harm. Worry is like sitting in a car, needing to go, but without any keys. Praying is like having the keys to the car. You can go. Worrying is silly and accomplishes NOTHING. Prayer is POWERFUL and accomplishes MUCH! Without Jesus, you can do nothing. With Him ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.
The Virtuous Wife knows these things and lives by them. So, with the understanding of that info above...that is where I am now. But lately, I have been asking God for a whole lot of financial help. I have been asking Him to help us get ahead instead of just the daily bread. Is that wrong? I don't know. I have asked Him to forgive me, if it is. I fully realize that He gives us just what we need and when. I will share an absolutely marvelous example of this with you. Sit down. (Or you will fall down, if you are standing.)
I was going to start this sentence with "Rod and I", but I know who makes these decisions...so that wouldn't be fair. I decided to stop our tv service with a wonderful Christian company called Sky Angel. We used to get this service thru a satellite dish. It was wonderful. Several years ago they changed their technology and told us that they would no longer use the satellite dish but they would give us the service thru our modem and use the high speed internet to deliver our tv programming. We got a new receiving box and that ugly dish sat on our rooftop without any use. (No biggie, really).
For us, the new IPTV (internet provided television) thru Sky Angel was an absolute disaster. The feed skips constantly and there was no enjoyment in Christian TV anymore. Every other word was "buffering" or "retrieving". Watching TV was like listening to a broken record (or for those of you who do not know what a record is....think: a skipping CD). The service was $25.00/month. It was no longer a good deal and proved to be a big pain. So, after months of phone calls to their tech support...we finally gave in the towel and canceled our service. We had been with them for more than five years. We were all bummed out. Especially Gracie who is six and really grew up on Sky Angel. She loved all the Jesus cartoons and Bible stories. Rod and I really missed Christian World News. It was a total blessing hearing the news from a Biblical perspective.
I got on Sky Angel's facebook page to see if we were the only ones with this problem. No, many others were also having the same issues with the "improved" technology. One lady said she had switched to DirecTV's "family package". I looked online and within two days, after discussing it with Rod, we signed up...a two year contractual agreement. For just $10.00 more per month we could have some
Christian channels and some kid-friendly channels (or so I thought at the time) for Gracie. You know where this is going, don't you?
Now, before we got Sky Angel...we had NO TV service for three years. We had not seen network TV since 2003. A LOT HAS CHANGED ON TV SINCE 2003!!! Apparently, you can say or do or show ANYTHING you want to now on TV...even in commercials. Everything we saw was smut, indecent, inappropriate, full of innuendo, godless, despicable, raunchy or vulgar. The "kid-friendly" networks provided continuous lessons on being deceitful and also disrespectful to not only your siblings but also to your parents. And all the parents are total boobs. The kids are brilliant in the most devious ways. The reigning authority on all kids' programming seems to be the ever-present worldview "Do what you want if it feels right to you." Gracie's behavior began to repulse me and shock me. And it was my own fault. I felt like we allowed a demon to move in to our home. And I felt obligated to "entertain" this demon because we were paying for it.
Two months. It took us two months of being continually upset over WHAT NOT TO WATCH that I finally said to Rod, "I'm getting rid of it." He said, "You signed a contract, didn't you?" I said, "I don't care. Whatever it costs to get out of it...will be money well spent. This was the biggest mistake we have ever made. We are using God's money to be entertained by watching people sin." It sounded like words coming from God's lips. I knew I didn't make that up myself. And those words rung in our ears for days afterward. Rod even used them in his class at the Mission with the guys in the recovery program. It was the LORD.
Guess how much it cost to get out of the contract? $440.00. No kidding. They told me they would give me discounts and rebates if we would just stay. I refused. I stayed on the phone that night until Midnight with a customer service rep who could not understand that we did not want the service...even if it were FREE. I told her we made a mistake. It is not right for our family. It is not right for us as Christians who desire to please God. Every channel is laced with impropriety in some sort...even the FOOD NETWORK. Why do you have to have your cleavage spilling out towards the camera to make "Everyday Italian" food? Why? "Because sex sells, Mom". That was Rachel's seventeen year old wisdom.
We didn't have $440.00 to pay the bill. They assured me they would debit the money from my card they have on file. Great. It's a debit card. No money in the account equals...many problems. Of course, I prayed like mad that God would forgive us for our incredible stupidity...mine especially. I prayed that He would cause them to reduce the early cancellation fee. But, His Divine answer found it's way into my tired ears that night on the phone..."No". Okay, if He says "no" then, it doesn't matter. He has a lesson to teach us. It's an expensive lesson, but we will manage somehow. I was sick about it, but soooooo relieved to remove the demon from our home.
I prayed for days. In the meantime, my mom returned a gold bracelet to me that she had borrowed. I had plans (more like a fantasy) to sell that bracelet so that Rod and I could go to the beach. I knew it would not pay for a whole beach vacation, but it probably would have contributed to a nice dinner out in St. Augustine (ahhh, someday). I left the bracelet in it's box and decided to just forget about selling it. I actually forgot about the bracelet, too.
And then my mom called one afternoon last week. The EXACT day I got the bill from DirecTV...$447.36. UGH! I hated that our overdraft was going to be used for THAT, but whatever. My mom asked me what I had done with that bracelet. I told her where it was. She told me to get it right away and take it to this man she had just done business with. "He will give you a fair price, I promise. I bet you'll be able to pay that dumb "cable" bill."
I ran right home. I got the bracelet. I took it to the place she suggested and they said, they could offer me...$440.09. TEEEE-HEEE! With God All Things ARE POSSIBLE. If they had reduced the amount of the early cancellation fee, then I would not have been praying so hard that God would help us. It's true. So, I am utterly convinced (yet, once again) that God is absolutely sovereign over all that happens and He is totally in control. Hallelujah and Amen.
So, what does this have to do with The Virtuous Woman? I have been praying this prayer, "Please multiply what we do have. Please teach me to be financially wise. Please give me wisdom to "consider a field and buy it". Teach me to make a good investment that pays off in the end." So, I'm thinking real estate or a small business of some kind. I don't know. But, I've been keeping my eyes open for that field. A field. Some kind of field to purchase after I've considered it. I've been praying for wisdom regarding the field. And of course, I've been hanging out in the Book of John. Can't stay away from there. I can't even tell you how many times I've read it.
John considered himself to be one of Jesus' best friends. John completely loved his Jesus. Jesus must have considered John to be his best friend, I think. Because He entrusted John with the responsibility for the care of His own mother while dying on the cross. Like, He made His will out...then and there... as the Firstborn Son of the family. Why didn't Jesus entrust Mary to one of His brothers? Have you ever thought about that? He said He didn't entrust HIMSELF to any man because He knew what was in the hearts of men. (You know...that gross truth from Jeremiah 17:9..."The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings." I say: "Yick and YIKES" to that!
Consider a field. Jesus said, Consider the lilies, how they grow. They grow in a field. Jesus talked about a field. He talked about a field being white and ready for harvest. But, the laborers are few. And...we are supposed to pray to the LORD of the harvest to send laborers......consider a field. She considers a field and buys it. She buys the field. She pays for the field that is ready for harvest.
And then my dear friend Kim Pavlich went on a mission trip to Guatemala to help orphans there. She urged me to follow her trip by reading her blog. I read it and I prayed for her and then she began posting pictures of these orphans. Smiling...all smiling and calling her "Mommy". And that night, I sat here at my computer and just lost it completely. I haven't had a crying jag like that in ages. (I had been praying that God would break my heart again because I had been feeling lukewarm after all that TV watching!) So, I'm looking at these orphans and weeping like a waterfall and I send a message to my full-time missionary friends, Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon (also stationed in Guatemala). I told them about my blubbery ordeal looking at Kim's pictures and they both sent me emails telling me I wasn't losing it, but perhaps God was trying to tell me something. Dennis encouraged me to remember that the GOERS are not more important than the SENDERS.
And then the LORD revealed it to me...She considers a field and buys it. Jesus said, "Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored and you have entered into their labors." John 4:35-38
He also said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21
Ding-dong...I hear the door bell. Oh, look, it's Jesus! He has not asked me to sit back and enjoy my stay here in the "waiting room". He has asked me to be a servant. The virtuous woman is as busy as a bee. She does not eat the bread of idleness. And she is secure in the winter because her home is covered in scarlet (the blood of Jesus). The "field that I am to consider for purchase" is to use God's money to support the gospel...it is an eternal purchase where moth and rust cannot destroy. You can never ever take away a person's salvation. It is the gift of God and it is irrevocable. Those orphans may not have much in this world, but they could have everything God has to offer in His Kingdom...IF I would only consider the field and buy it.
Email me, if you'd like at firstname.lastname@example.org.
God bless you.
Thank you for reading and praying.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Here is a copy of the first post on my new blog: My Sugar Free Kitchen. I will be making a recipe post this week (Sugar Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies...they were the Bomb, by the way)! Here is the link. Let me know what you think!
I have had some comments from my readers that making an actual "comment" on this blog is difficult. From now on I will leave a link to my mail box so you can comment that way, if you'd like.
God bless you and thanks for reading!