Biblical Womanhood · Discipleship · Women's roles

Your Modeling Career

(Lesson 4 in the Adorned Study)

Being only 4’9″, I never had any aspirations that I would ever be a model, but now that I’m an older woman, I’ve learned that a modeling career is indeed a part of my life! Unlike those who walk the runways, my modeling has absolutely nothing to do with physical beauty. Sound impossible? That’s what our God is all about – doing the impossible!

Paul wrote in Titus in chapter 2 –

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

When older women model the beautiful, winsome spirit of a woman who is filled with the Spirit of God, we also know that this did not happen overnight. This has come as a result of years of walking with the Lord.

What kind of things will we be modeling if we’re this kind of woman? What kind of woman will we be? Paul gives us six characteristics here in Titus 2.

Is this what you think of when you think of a woman who is “grave?”
  1. Sober – The first literal application that comes to our minds is being free from the intoxicating influence of alcohol.  But being sober-minded in a biblical sense is broader.  It involves not becoming drunk on any of the many excesses available to us in the world.This woman has learned what really matters and leans her heart in the eternal satisfactions instead.
  2. Grave – This means to be discreet and reminds us to be honorable and appropriately serious about life. Sounds boring, right? A woman like Katherine Brooks in Anne of Green Gables comes to my mind (see picture above). But this doesn’t mean we live life without joy, because joy is a fruit of the Spirit.  It means we see the seriousness of living with an awareness of eternity.  We realize that heaven is nearer, that our days to live for Christ are shorter and that gives us an appropriate seriousness about how we live out our days. We live out our life with dignity and that is always a lovely thing to behold!
  3. Temperate – This comes from sophron, two Greek words, one meaning saved or sound and the other, meaning a mind. Being temperate is to live out life with a sound mind. Phron is related to the modern Greek word for brakes.  The self-controlled person knows when to stop.  The Holy Spirit controls her.
    What do we need Him to stop?  
    Our words.
    The poor use of our time.
    A relationship headed in the wrong direction.
    Anything we might want to do in excess. A temperate woman will put on the brakes.
  4. Sound in (the) faith – The word sound implies health.  This is so encouraging when it is applied to our lives as older women who are experiencing declining health and strength!  Even as our bodies are slowing down, we should be (and can be!) in the best shape of our lives, spiritually speaking!
  5. Sound in charity – Love – This is having a great capacity for love.  We don’t just have this head knowledge of God and His Word.  We demonstrate it with His love.  This will show itself in how we live out the Gospel.  We will show kindness, sacrifice, and forgiveness. 
  6. Sound in patience – steadfastness

I’ve heard so many older people say, “The golden years are not golden!”  Their reason for saying that is because they are experiencing hardship.  Scripture doesn’t say we won’t have any trouble as we age – as a matter of fact, Psalm 90:10 says, The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off and we fly away.
To be patient is to abide under this heavy load.  We’re not going to cave in under this hardship that might be coming.  We won’t just be gritting our teeth and squeezing by, we will bear up and glorify the God we love and trust.

Sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, charity and patience – what a beautiful model for younger women to watch and imitate. Who comes to your mind when you read those characteristics? Would YOU come to another woman’s mind? These attributes can be a part of our lives as we walk with God, study His Word, and learn His character.

You will become like the One with whom you spend time!

Walk the walk. You are the model younger women need to see in this upside down world.

Biblical Womanhood · Discipleship · Women's roles

What Do We Teach a Younger Woman?

This is the second in a series, Adorned. We are highlighting the book, Adorned, by Nancy Wolgemuth.

Did you go to church last Sunday?  Did you read your Bible today?  Did you treat your neighbors kindly or go out of your way to make things right after you and
your spouse were at odds?  Why did you do those things?  Because of the soil in which you are planted.  Let me explain ~ 

I love having raised beds in my backyard.  In them I grow a variety of herbs and vegetables.  When we first added the beds to our backyard, my husband made sure to get the right kind of potting soil so that the plants would grow.  We know that all plants have to have some kind of dirt to grow in, and while I don’t know all the scientific facts about my garden, I do know that my plants need good soil that is full of rich nutrients.  A pile of dirt, or a ton full of sand won’t work.  Having a good harvest starts with good soil.

When we talk about being a mentor or a discipler of a younger woman, we understand the “what” of our task.  The Lord has told us to teach – that’s what we are to do.  However, the next question is What are we to teach?  Usually older women ask that with a fearful look on their face, because they don’t think they have anything to tell a younger woman, but be relieved, Paul gives clear direction in Titus 2 – 

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine.

We are to teach sound doctrine.

You may ask, “Woah!  Wait!  Doctrine?  Isn’t that some deep, theological word preachers use?  What does that have to do with teaching a younger woman?”

Let’s start by defining the word.  Doctrine is simply What we believe.  Everyone lives by some sort of doctrine.  Even an unbeliever in Christ has doctrine that they live by.  In her book, Adorned, Nancy Wolgemuth quotes a man who said,

“At our church, we don’t preach doctrine.  We just love Jesus.”

Perhaps this man’s church doesn’t teach doctrine, but they do have some, and they are living it out, as each of us is.
Nancy says,

“Doctrine is the soil that provides the context for growing character.” 

Just like the soil in my raised beds enables my herbs and vegetables to grow and be beautiful, right doctrine will enable us to adorn the Gospel that saved us.  We will be able to show a watching world how wonderful it is to know Christ’s character and to live a life following His Word. 

It’s important to remember that Paul says we need not just any doctrine, but sound doctrine. We must be planted in the Truth.  That Truth is found in God’s Word and it must be the foundation that gives us deep roots as a believer. 

If the doctrine is bad, what kind of fruit will it produce?  Bad fruit.

Let’s answer two big questions in this post ~ Let’s answer the “Why?” and “How?”

#1 Why do we have to teach doctrine? What’s the big deal about teaching sound doctrine?
Why is it important?  Can’t we just jump to how I’m supposed to love my husband? Can’t we just talk about how to be a Christian woman?
Doctrine is important because all the things we think and do are connected to what we believe about our God.

Wrong thinking and behavior all stem from wrong thoughts about God. That means if we can help a woman have the RIGHT thoughts about her God, her thinking and her behavior will both change!

Our feelings aren’t the boss of us; our Bible doctrines are!

  • If a woman believes that after she’s saved she’s on Easy Street, how will she survive when hardships come?
  • If a woman believes that she needs to work to stay saved, she’ll come close to dying an early death trying to do enough to please God.
  • If a woman fails to understand that Christ lives in her after salvation, she will fail to see that she can have His victory over the sin to which she feels in bondage.
  • If a woman doesn’t know that she’s secure in Christ, she will live a life of fear and insecurity.
  • If a wife doesn’t feel in love with her husband any more, she will think the best thing is to leave the relationship.

However, when women learn Bible doctrine that applies to their lives and to their roles as women, they live lives that show the beauty of the Gospel!  When we do this, we will be living lives that are radically different from the unsaved world.  

Question #2 – How will we learn Bible doctrine?  We learn it as we read God’s Word. We learn it as we sit in a church that teaches sound doctrine.  This is the watering of the soil.  We must put ourselves in places where we will learn the solid meat of what the Bible says, rather than the fluff that sounds good but has no substance.  

When we don’t act on the Bible’s solid foundation, it’s  because we have either not been taught it, or we know it and are not living accordingly.  When either one of those are true, we will have wrong thinking and wrong actions.  However,

Right doctrine is so freeing! 
Right doctrine is applicational to our everyday lives!
Right doctrine is beautiful because it reflects the nature of our God.

Nancy says, “Our ultimate purpose is to make much of God.  We do that as we experience, enjoy and reflect the loveliness of Christ, making Him known to a world that is starved for true beauty.”

Do you know Bible doctrine?  Do you know what the Bible teaches about salvation?  Eternal security?  Forgiveness of sin after salvation? A short study of four essential doctrines of salvation is The Exchange.  This would be a great place to start!

Friends…

  1. We need to know sound doctrine so we can grow.
  2. We need to know sound doctrine so we can think and react biblically!
  3. We need to know sound doctrine so we can teach it to another woman.

If you want to go a little deeper in this study…

  • Start keeping a notebook: What I know about My God. 
    Every time you read a verse that tells about God’s character, write down the character trait and its reference.  For example, God chooses not to remember my sin.  Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.
  • Memorize Titus 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
Biblical Womanhood · Christian growth · Godly Character Traits

BEST Bible Journaling

Recently when I was using a feature on my iPhone, the person with me said, “There are probably so many features on my phone that I don’t even know to use! This is what they had just heard me say ~

Siri, add ketchup and baking soda to my shopping list.

Alright, it’s added!

It’s so helpful to just speak and add a note to my ongoing shopping list! I need that list when I get to the store because I’ll remember things like milk or chicken, but forget things like ketchup and baking soda!

There’s another “list” that I make as I go through my week that is even more helpful, and that’s what God is teaching me each morning as I read His Word. I keep this list, for the most part, in my journal. It’s written with pen and ink. Why do I do this? It’s truly all glory to the Lord as an answer to a prayer that I asked Him for. It came from this passage ~

Jeremiah 15:16

Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

I realized at one point in my life that God’s Word needed to be a higher priority, that I needed to love it more. It was then that I began to ask the Lord to give me a greater desire for it. God will answer a prayer like that, and I’m so thankful! It’s been a blessed journey!

Are you realizing like I did that you need greater doses of God’s Word? How can you know? Well, ask yourself these questions:

The answer for all of these needs is found in God’s Word. Then when we get God’s answers, it’s so important that we do something with those answers…and that includes putting it into a journal – that ongoing “list” so we won’t forget!

Last week I posted about the importance of writing down what God says to us in our Quiet Time with Him. Today let’s talk about some ways to make it easy and fun to write what God is teaching you. There are lots of ideas out there, but this is what works BEST for me. (Note the acronym that will help you remember the tips)

  • Best method – Use the method that works for you. You could use a paper journal, but if you hate to write, then type it up on your lap top on a Google Document. Or as in my opening illustration, you could even speak your note into your phone. “Hey Siri, make a note in my Bible notes.” What do you want to add? “Joseph is a reflection of Christ.” Typically iPhone notes are tricky because of misunderstanding your words, but my point is, look for the option that works best for you.
  • Equipment – Use good tools that will help you. I keep this little pouch filled with colored pens, highlighters, a straight edge for underlining, and a pencil. I buy the tiniest tip of a marker that will not transfer through pages. I also like buying colored ink and a pretty journal to make it more interesting.
  • Simplify – Keep your writing simple. I like to make bulleted points most of the time, rather than writing lengthy paragraphs.
  • Together – Keep everything in a basket, bin or tote so you can pull it together quickly in the morning. Having to go look for your highlighter or your notebook will only serve to frustrate you instead of encourage you.

Take your time as you read; be still before the Lord. It’s not the amount of things you’ve written down, but what you’re learning that is the most important. As you faithfully listen and the note what you’ve learned, you will look in time to come and see that you have grown deeper in your walk with the Lord. You have God’s Word on that!

I Peter 2:2

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”

Did this post encourage you to begin journaling or to pick it up again? I pray so! Let’s keep growing until the day we go home to heaven!

Biblical Womanhood · Conflict

Wisely Dealing With Conflict

“I Just love conflict!

said no one.

Ever.

We all avoid it. We’d rather put up with someone, overlook what might be rightfully ours, or look the other way at a grievance, just to avoid the stickiness a confrontation would bring. While it is wise at times to turn the other cheek, to overlook a transgression for the sake of love, there are times/situations that demand a confrontation.

I was encouraged recently to read what sort of seems like a little side story in the life of Abraham. In Genesis 21 we read the beautiful answer to Sarah and Abraham’s long-awaited prayer request – the birth of their son, Isaac. God “did as He said He would do.” What a God!

Then the chapter moves on to tell about a little “sticky situation” that involves Abimelech the King and Abraham. We read about it beginning in verse 22. See the bold verse to read about the conflict.

And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest:
23 Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.
24 And Abraham said, I will swear.
25 And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away.
26 And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing; neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day.
27 And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant.
28 And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.
29 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves?
30 And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well.
31 Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them.
32 Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.
33 And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God.
34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines’ land many days.

Wells were very important because water was scarce because Canaan had no significant rivers. A well had been dug on Abraham’s land. It was rightfully his, but it had been taken away. I find in this passage some good advice when dealing with a conflict.

  1. Approach the situation under the control of God’s Spirit and not in your flesh. Abimelech told Abraham in verse 22, “God is with you in all you do.” He didn’t come with an angry spirit. His attitude made it obvious that he was walking with God.
    It’s sometimes hard to get our emotions in check, but we will be received so much better if we will be walking with God so that we come with a peaceful, loving spirit.
  2. Ask questions, rather than making an accusation. A question will soften the heart, but an accusation hardens the spirit. It appears that Abraham probably asked Abimelech about the well because of his response in verse 26.
    Saying, “You always,” or “you never!” will only make a person bristle up and be on the defensive. Asking a question like, “It seemed like this is what you were saying, am I correct?” is so much softer than telling it like you assumed it was.
  3. A loving gesture, such as a gift will pacify anger. Abraham gives a generous gift to Abimelech. He gave sheep, oxen and lambs. The gift was to prove that the well did indeed belong to Abraham. It was kind of like a consolation prize! It sealed the deal they made. The matter was taken care of and this was proof.
    The gift is not to be a bribe. This is a gesture of love and given with a heart to mend the wrong.

    Years ago I had a neighbor who was just a mean-hearted woman. She was offended by my husband by something that was totally innocent on his part. We tried and tried to explain and make amends. Finally one day the Lord put something on my heart that I could do for her and I decided to make one more attempt at breeching the situation.
    Because she kept her young grandchildren every day, I thought she might appreciate some toys my girls had outgrown. I knew her grands would enjoy these toys that were still in great condition, so I boxed them up, along with a loaf of bread. I crossed the street, my heart pounding. When her husband opened the door I asked if I could speak with his wife. He looked quite surprised, but went and got her. She came to the door in a huff. I quickly offered her the box of toys for the children. She started to resist, but I implored,
    “I’d love for your grandchildren to have these. They’re all cleaned up and in perfect condition.”
    She finally did reach out and take them. I assured her that we truly wanted to be friendly neighbors and were here for her, should she ever need us.
    That was the last time I spoke with her before we moved. Though we were never “close friends,” I’m thankful that the last time we had a conversation, it was a civil one, and that I had done what the Lord prompted me to do in an attempt to mend any offense.

Sometimes the conflict will be mended, as it was in Abraham’s case. Sometimes, as happened in my case, only our own heart will be mended because we did what the Lord required of us in this difficulty.

When it was all said and done, Abraham Called on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God. One commentator said,

Even through this time of conflict in his family and among his neighbors, Abraham kept a real, live walk with God. Conflict did not drive him away from God, but he allowed it to push him closer to the LORD

Your conflict can do the same thing for you! Just keep walking with the Lord.

.

Biblical Womanhood · Motherhood

A Mother’s Strong Influence

The following is not my post, this is from Our Daily Bread, but I was so touched as I thought of the great impact mothers have on their children’s hearts. I wanted to share it because I thought you would be encouraged by it, too.

My son, keep thy father’s commandments, and forsake not the law of thy mother.

As I read Proverbs 6:20, which refers to “the law of your mother,” I recall some of my mother’s unique “laws” that have helped me many times.

The first I call “the law of the warm kitchen.” When we got home from school on a cold winter’s day or when the holidays rolled around, the kitchen was always so warm from baking and cooking that the windows were steamed. It was also warm with a mother’s love.

A second law I call “the law of a mother’s perspective.” When I would come to her all upset over some childish matter, she would often say, “Pay no attention.” Or, “Ten years from now you’ll have forgotten all about it.” That helped me put things into perspective.

But above all was my mother’s “law of faith.” She had an unswerving trust in God that kept her strong and gentle amid fears, pressures, and sacrifices of the war years and of the 1950s.

Mom’s been with the Lord now for many years. Yet I’m still grateful for her “laws,” because they have helped me through many difficult days.

Christian mother, you too are writing “laws” for your children. Are they worth remembering? – D C Egner

That question is truly worth considering…”What ‘laws’ are you writing on the heart of your children?” Are they the kind of laws that will help and encourage them as they mature and move on in life? Your personal life has everything to do with whether or not you have anything to pass along to the next generation. Walk with God today. Let Him fill your heart with His joy, His Word and His directives.

Refresh the heart of your children with your “laws.”