Biblical Womanhood · spiritual growth · Uncategorized

The Blessings of Reading Through the Bible in a Year

In a couple of weeks, I will have completed another read through the Bible. That’s saying nothing about me, but I do want to say something about God’s Word – it changes me!

The reason I started reading through the Bible many years ago is because I had not really gotten the “whole story” in my head. I had broken up segments of the Old Testament happenings I’d heard since my childhood. I knew some of the psalms and loved Paul’s epistles, but reading all the way through the Bible has taught me and profited me so much!

  1. Reading through the Bible has shown me the thread of redemption that is woven throughout all of Scripture. After the fall of man,, we see God providing, not just Adam and Eve’s present needs, but telling He would provide a sacrifice for mankind. Then all through its pages, we see pictures and types of Christ, coming to save us from our sin. From Abraham, Joshua, Moses, Joseph and the psalms, we are pointed to His suffering, death and resurrection!
  2. Reading through the Bible has given me a greater love for God’s Word. I see the way Scripture commentates on itself. I see Christ on each page. I see the way the Word is knit together like the yarns of a scarf through the weaver’s shuttle. It’s a Book like no other book! It is alive! It is powerful! It is life-giving!
  3. Reading through the Bible has caused me to grow spiritually. Oh, how dear it is to open my Bible and hear God speak Truth to my heart! The Spirit of God teaches me His character, gives me hope for the future, and convicts me of sin so I can get it right. All of this causes growth.
  4. Reading through the Bible has given me a greater desire to memorize Scripture. Because I see its value to change me, I know it’s essential to have it hidden in my heart. Psalm 119 is full of reminders why I need to memorize – it gives comfort, it gives me words to answer others, it guides me, it keeps me from sin…and so many other reasons.

I will definitely be reading through the Bible in 2022. Whitney shared on her blog this week that she’s going to be doing The Bible Recap. That is a chronological reading. I’m praying about whether to do that or to repeat the Bible in a year on you version. It takes you through the old and New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. I love the variety. Through this plan I’ve also seen the redemption thread woven so beautifully.

Have you ever read through the Bible? If it seems daunting to you, realize you just take it one day at a time. I believe having a plan doesn’t overwhelm you, but it keeps you on track. Pray and ask God to give you a hunger for His word, and then make a plan to dive in come January 1, 2022.

You can go here to see a tool that has helped me as I’ve read the Bible.

Biblical Womanhood · Discipleship · Mentoring

The Final Chapter In Mentoring – How & Why

Final chapter of Adorned

Do any of these describe you?

  • A young mom fought for control of her children. Not knowing how to make them obey, she promised rewards, and also threatened they’d lose everything they owned. The children won; the mom was disheartened and worn down.
  • A husband and wife are on two separate pages. He does his thing, she does hers. The co-exist under one roof.
  • Self-control is on the back burner. Whatever she wants, she has, not even thinking of the long-term personal cost.
  • Depression is a way of life for her. She doesn’t even know how she’ll put her feet on the floor tomorrow.

On and on the scenarios go. It seems that every single day I’m reminded of the reasons behind books like, Adorned. Many times I’ve been one of the women I described above. But how I thank the Lord for the Gospel – the fact that Jesus Christ lived, died and rose again to give me eternal life and also abundant life in this present time. My life can have purpose, my marriage and parenting can gain direction. I am able to have wisdom to move forward and strength to overcome sin. That’s the story of the Gospel and the message behind Adorned that we’ve been studying for the last 15 weeks.

Who do you know that needs the truths we’ve talked about? Once we know these truths, we are responsible to share them with another woman so she can walk in growth and victory.

Titus 2:5

That they (the older women) may teach the young women…

Women need women to help them.

What’s the benefit?

  • Informally teaching these lessons can make an older woman realize she has purpose.  She won’t be lonely as she pours into younger women. She will look for ways to reach out. Even if you can’t leave home, you can call, Facetime, or chat with Facebook video.
  • Younger women won’t feel desperate as a single woman or wife.
  • Young moms won’t feel isolated or at a loss for what to do.
  • Women will be filling the need for relationships and conversation.

What to do to get started:

  1. Get a copy of Adorned and read it through.  Mark it up.  
  2. Keep growing in God’s Word yourself.
  3. Ask for the Lord to bring someone into your life – young or old.
  4. Read separately, then get together and discuss it.  
    ~What questions came to your mind while reading?
    ~How can I pray for you regarding this topic (loving your husband, submission, or kindness?)
  5. Pray together.
  6. Be available.

Or you could listen to the broadcasts that I’ve recorded that highlight each chapter of the book, Adorned.  Listen and then discuss the lesson together.  Stop it and talk.  Share from your own life experiences. Pray together.

Another idea is to do a version of Apples of Gold. I’ve shared lots of post about this ministry. You can search Apples of Gold in the search engine here on my blog and find LOTS of ideas.

The point is, there is no cookie cutter way to invest in another woman.  Pray and then allow the Lord to direct you.  Be watchful and open.  Then live out this passage of Scripture and be used of God to Adorn the Gospel – show the new life you have in Christ because He died and rose again!  Show the purpose you have as a godly woman whose life has been changed by the Gospel!

I’d love to know – are you currently mentoring another woman? If not, what’s holding you back? If you are, I’d love to hear how it’s going!

Refresh someone else by mentoring them!

Biblical Womanhood · Discipleship · Mentoring

This Changes Everything

Adorned #14

I don’t know if your mother had a saying that you remember, but my mom used to tell me and my sisters to “Act pretty.”  It has nothing to do with outward appearance, She was telling us to be kind.  We all have to be reminded of that…even in our adult years!

Paul tells us in Titus 2, Older women are to teach what is good, and to train the young women to  love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, and kind.

Why does he have to remind us of this?  Because it’s so easy for us to DO all the things we should be doing, but with the wrong attitude.  We can do the laundry, cook a meal and make the house spotless, but be huffing and puffing a bad attitude while doing so. (I’m So guilty!)

In her book, Adorned, Nancy paints the picture of Mary and Martha in Luke 10.  She reminds us that we  are sometimes “distracted with much serving, worried and bothered about so many things.”  We become stretched thin and stirred up, bothered and brittle.

On this occasion, Jesus and his followers gathered at the home of Mary and Martha and Lazarus.  There could’ve been two or three dozen people! Martha, with her take-charge temperament, moved into hostess mode for this impromptu gathering.  

I imagine that she is excited to see Jesus and others there in her home, thankful for the joy of hosting her friend here where she lived with her sister Mary and brother, Lazarus.  Martha began to clean and cook and make sure everyone was properly served and comfortable while Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to Him teach.  Can you just imagine the thoughts that were running through Martha’s mind when she spots her sister sitting while she’s working?

Nancy reminds us that her thoughts included popular sins we all deal with:

Self-centeredness – Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Tell her to to help me. Notice the words pointing to herself.

Insensitivity – People had gathered around to listen to Jesus teach.  But that didn’t keep Martha from barging in, interrupting Him, disturbing everyone.  She was more concerned with how she was being inconvenienced.   

Accusation –  Asking if someone would give her a hand would have been  an understandable request.  But her words were accusatory – both towards Jesus and Mary.

Resentment –  Can you just hear her in the kitchen loudly and purposefully banging the pans around in her disgust? Her inner martyr had likely been muttering under her breath for a while now.  What tone does she use?  Is she whiney, loud and unkind?  Probably so.

Serving was no longer her joy and privilege – it was a burden.  

It’s so easy to get to this place where Martha is.  It’s easy to feel that we have a heavier load and then to feel resentment towards the ones we are serving.  But when we feel this way, we must stop and ask ourselves the question we have been pondering in this passage – Is my thinking sophron right now?  Am I thinking sound, biblical thoughts?  Realizing that we are serving and doing what we are doing for the Lord can bring our thoughts back to solid ground.Our thinking will change our attitude and our attitude will show in our changed actions.  Out will flow acts of kindness rather than resentment.

After we’ve discussed subjects that are weighty like sophron thinking and being sober and reverent, isn’t it a little trite to end by talking about being kind?  Hardly. Why? Because women set the tone of the home. We’ve heard the saying, If momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy. There is much truth to that!   

Kindness begins at home! Our family should get the first of our efforts and energies.  The baked bread, the home cooked meal, the kind gestures that we fuss over for our guests.  Let it be done FIRST for our family. 

We must remember that we first learned kindness from our Savior. 

Titus 3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.

4 But after the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, He saved us not by works of righteousness which we had done, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration, and by the renewing of the Holy Ghost,

Kindness is at the end of the list of traits in Titus 2. It’s a fitting ending, reminding us that all that comes before it must be done wrapped in the beauty of kindness, the type Jesus has towards us every day. Having a kind attitude truly does change the atmosphere. Even if you have to do something hard, like rebuke a child, entertain guests when you feel ill prepared, or have a conversation on the phone with a needy person, if we ask the Lord to give us His kindness, the situation will be far more pleasant for our own heart, as well as the one we are encountering!

Look back over the last couple of days and ask the Lord if your attitude has portrayed kindness or resentment. The blessing is that even if we’re convicted of wrong motives, the kindness of our Savior forgives us when we confess!

Refresh your attitude of service to one of kindness.

Biblical Womanhood · femininity · Godly Character Traits · Mentoring

Safeguarding Your Purity

Lesson *9 in Adorned, by Nancy Wolgemuth

We use locks, safes, fences, banks, and fresh, new passwords to keep our valuables secure. But what do we do to keep our purity secure?   Have we given it as much thought? Do we set up protective measures so that it won’t be stolen? 

As we have been making our way through this Titus 2, I see these verses having a waterfall effect. 
The top of the fall is the instruction to teach the younger women.
Then each subject is addressed and one just trickles right into the next one. 

In the previous study, we talked about being discreet. The word we used was sophron – from the Greek  meaning sound mind.  It’s thinking that is solid and based on the Word of God.  The overflow of that kind of thinking leads us to our next characteristic – Discreet or pure.

Titus 2:5 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet (sophron), chaste – pure. One commentator says,

Pure” refers primarily to moral purity, and, especially in this context, to sexual purity and marital faithfulness. Christian women as young wives are “to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly,

As older women, remember that we are modeling before the younger women each of these characteristics.  As we teach them, we are giving them someone to walk through the journey of godly womanhood with them. 

We must also understand that this life of purity involves more than preserving our marriage and sexual purity. This touches every area of our lives –

  • What we thinkPhil 4:8
  • `What we look atPs. 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: 
  • `What we sayProv 4:24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

Scripture tells us why we should be pure. I mean, what’s the big deal, anyway?

Titus 1:15-16 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Nancy Wolgemuth admonishes…
Unbelievers are slaves to their passions and lusts. Our world is full of this kind of living. It’s everywhere we look.Because it’s so prevalent, it’s easy to lose our shame of it.  It’s easy to be casual about it, rather than being concerned.  We’re used to it. If we’re not careful, we become desensitized to coarse language in books and movies, we overlook sinful conduct on television that we would never invite into our homes.  What has happened is that we’ve opened the vault door of our purity and let thieves come in to take whatever they want.  We can’t think that allowing this to go unguarded won’t have an affect on us.

If this concerns you, her book listed five practical ways that we can “safeguard” our purity. I’ll list them without any explanation here but if you want the details you can listen to the podcast I recorded on this chapter here.

  1. Choose discretion
  2. Value modesty
  3. Check your emotional attachments
  4. Guard your electronic communications
  5. Lean on your trusted female friendships

As a pastor’s wife, I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had people sit on our living room sofa  and weep and say through their sobs, “I so regret what I’ve done. If only I had made a different choice!”
BUT I’ve never heard anyone ever say, “I so regret staying pure!” Never.
You won’t regret it, either.  Not only will you have the joy and peace that purity brings, you will have a testimony to share to a younger woman and a watching world. 

Guard your purity – so much is at stake.

Ask yourself which of the five safeguards you need to put into practice.

Refresh your purity by making it safe.

Biblical Womanhood · Mentoring

If Your Thoughts Are All Over the Map

Adorned Study 8

One spring day in my East Tennessee backyard, I took my grandsons out on our acre of property, with both excitement and kites in tow!  We were going to fly their new kites for the first time!  They were ecstatic!  It had been many years since I had done this and I wondered if I could remember how to get this piece of plastic and string soaring into the air!  

I held it up with the current, let out a little string and watched the kite lift for a minute, and then it began to jerk, bob and then take a dive downward where it crashed to the ground.  I tried it all again, this time letting out more string so the wind could carry it upward.  It soared.  I handed the string over to my grandson.  As he held it in his small hands, the string began to unwind further and further until it was totally unwound.  The kite had lifted to the its full extent and was happily steady and flying smoothly!  It stayed up there until we were ready to go inside!

Just a couple weeks after that fun event, I went through some typical struggles that all women experience in life.  I was walking and praying one morning and the Lord brought to my mind the picture of that kite when it was bobbing and crashing to the ground.  As my emotions engaged, this is  exactly what I had allowed my mind to do. Rather than them being tethered to the string of truth, my thoughts were all over the place.

We’re all tempted to fall into that same kind of reaction when the winds of adversity blow or when a storm is descending upon us.  But I’m thankful to know and learn that we don’t have to bob and crash! There is hope for us and we find it in God’s Word. 

As we have been going through the Book, Adorned, we’ve learned through the study of Titus 2 that we are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, under control of our desires, teachers of sound doctrine.  We’re to be using our lives to teach younger women.  None of this can happen if we are out of control, if our lives reflect someone who looks like my out of control kite – happy one minute, depressed the next.  Content and peaceful one day, screaming at God and everyone around us the next. 

Titus 2 goes on to instruct us…

The older women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things,
that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,5 to be discreet,

In many modern translations, “be discreet” is translated, “self-controlled or sensible.” The Greek word is Sophron. It comes from two other Greek words – soos, meaning either sound or saved and phorn meaning outlook or mind. When we put the two together, it means to have a “sound mind.” 

In chapter 3 of this study we learned about sophron – and we referenced it keeping us in control so we can be modeling for a younger woman a godly life, controlled by the Spirit of God. Sophron means “to be able to put on the brakes.”  We are led by the Spirit to stop our words – to stop our attitude, to stop our wrong response. We put on the brakes.

Nancy says that a sophron lifestyle begins with a sophron state of mind – a way of thinking that affects everything about the way we live.  We are what we think, so a sensile, sound, self-controlled mindset will result with a a sensible, sound, self-controlled life.

God’s Word is so practical for our everyday lives and this word shows us how to live out this sophron life – We must ask ourselves moment by moment, Is my thinking sophron?  Were my words sophron?  Is my response sophron?

There’s a spillover from not thinking sophron – our responses and appetites will lend themselves to excesses and addiction, as we talked about in the last lesson of this book.  

How do we acquire this kind of sound thinking?  Do we will it to happen?  Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Remember my kite story?  I had to let the wind have control over the kite.  This is a beautiful picture of God’s Spirit controlling us when we just surrender to the Christ who lives in us.  The Christ in us will always respond correctly. 

Surrender – let Him have complete control. Be a woman with a sophron lifestyle – sound thinking that will control you, your thoughts and your responses.  Your testimony as a godly woman will soar!

What do you struggle with most in regards to reining in your thoughts? You can go here to listen to the podcast on this chapter.