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.

discipline · Discipline · Godly Character Traits · Refreshment

It’s the Little Things That Help

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Ever heard that it’s the little things that count? It’s so true!

I look at people who spend an hour or more working out at the gym and I groan.  That’s just not my style of working out.  Instead, I choose to walk the country roads of my neighborhood.  I also do a 15 minute calisthenics routine in attempt to tone my muscles.  While I might not be making the fast strides that those folks at the gym are making,  those little times of working out do help

I don’t spring clean my house each week, but every day I do something.  I may dust or mop the floors, clean the windows or scour the kitchen sink.  Also each night before I go to bed, I make sure that things are tidy and put away.  I might not clean everything all at once, but those little jobs keep my house in order every day.

Each morning for years I have read the Proverb for the day (there are 31 chapters, one that can be read each day of the month).  It doesn’t take long, but since I’ve made this a habit for so long, I can finish many verses before reading it.  Those little times of pouring God’s Word into my heart haven ingrained those practical truths into my heart. 

Memorizing Scripture passages takes time and I can only memorize one verse at a time.  I might only get one or two verses a week in my memory, but eventually I get the whole passage memorized by doing little bits, one verse at a time.

I attend women’s conferences twice a year and they are a blessing, but in order to help my spiritual growth, I create my own little daily “conference” by listening to Revive Our Hearts and Love Worth Finding.  That little time of hearing God’s Word while I get ready in the morning has probably done even more for me than conferences!

It really is all the little things that make my life richer – especially in spiritual matters.  It’s a reminder to me that I have no excuses for not doing what is right!  It doesn’t require BIG amounts of time (though when I can take more time, I want to take advantage of that!).  It really only requires making habits of doing little things consistently to have a life that is fulfilling and fruitful.  

When I look and see a tiny little bit more of a toned arm or a clean kitchen, I see how rewarding those little things were. But even more rewarding are the little things that push me towards being like Christ.  They all matter.  They all make a difference!

Are you taking time to do the little things?  If you’re not in the habit, pick one and watch the difference it makes in your life!

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!

Godly Character Traits · spiritual growth · Spiritual Refreshment

One Thing We Can Do To Grow Spiritually This Year

We are a family of “Foodies.” We plan out our meals. We anticipate them. We enjoy them. We record them. When a new, “successful meal” is complete, I make sure I’ve marked that recipe for future use. I have a written copy of that recipe either on-line, in one of my cookbooks, or in my recipe box because I want to be able to go back and re-do that menu!

I make notes about how I may have tweaked the recipe, a substitution I made, or even what I learned I need to do the next time I make it. I love flipping through my recipes and bringing up old recipes I’d forgotten about! Without that written reminder, it would have been lost forever because we eat lots of meal in a year’s time!

But even more than my physical food, the greatest “food” I partake of each day is the manna of God’s Word – the Bible. It is a feast that is never complete. There’s always more. It’s rich, sweet, and nourishing. I need it. I look forward to it. I remember it.

For many of us, we enjoy the taking in of God’s Word, but we do little in regards to making a memory of what we’ve read or what we’ve learned. Simply put – we don’t write anything down after we’ve read the Scriptures.
Here are four reasons I’m choosing to journal when I read God’s Word this year ~

  • It helps me remember the Truth I just learned. There’s something about putting it in ink that just cements it better in my heart and mind. That leads to the next reason…
  • It helps me meditate on those Truths throughout the day. As I’m driving, I’m thinking about what I wrote down. I talk to the Lord and ask Him questions about the things that come to my mind as I ponder it.
  • It helps me dig deeper into those Truths and add notes – things from commentaries or quotes from other authors that are a blessing.
  • It helps me see my spiritual growth. Just like the physical growth of a child isn’t seen day by day, but you see it when you compare it to last year’s growth chart, neither is my spiritual growth seen daily. However, my journal serves as my “growth chart,” if you will. As I look back a month or a year later on what I’ve written, I see how the Lord has increased my faith, taught me lessons, and revealed more about Himself to me. It’s so encouraging!

I‘ve had seasons when I didn’t journal and I truly feel I didn’t grow like I should have. See if you resonate with my reasons for not doing so. I think there are four basic explanations as to why most women don’t journal ~

  1. I’m not a writer. I think that can mean two things – 1. I don’t enjoy using a pen…it’s just not my favorite thing to do the process of writing. It’s tiring. It’s messy 2. I’m not really good at expressing myself creatively.
  2. I used to, but I’ve just gotten away from it. I got tired of the habit.
  3. It takes more time and that’s one thing I don’t have!
  4. I really don’t feel like I need to do that. I’m good with just reading. I can remember it without writing it down.

As we think back to all the physical meals we’ve eaten this past year, there’s no way we could give a commentary on each one. How could we answer, “What was the best part? What did you enjoy most?” However, if we had each recipe card in front of us, we could be reminded and have something to share, right? Let’s make the analogy – As we think back to all the spiritual meals we’ve been exposed to in this past year, (preaching as well as personal devotions) could we share one truth we learned from each one? Only if we wrote something down.

Oh how much more value there is in God’s Word than our physical food! Job said it well in Job 23:12 ~

Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

Could you and I really say that? It will show in how we value the Bible. Ask God to give you a greater love for His Word so that you will treasure it more than ever before!

Next Wednesday I’m going to share some practical answers to our four excuses and also share a guide in Bible journaling that can be simple, and effective!

Refresh your response to God’s Word,

Encouragement · friends · Godly Character Traits

For a Lifeline, Call a Friend

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Did you ever watch “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?”?  The contestants answered questions, each one getting progressively harder and taking them closer to a million dollars.  If they were unsure of an answer, one option they had was to call a friend.  This would be a person, who, obviously had lots of knowledge and could be their “lifeline,” helping them reach their hoped-for goal of becoming a millionaire!
It would be quite an honor to be asked to be your friend’s life-line!  That would mean the contestant had full confidence in your ability to give them the correct answer at a very crucial moment!
I recently heard a preacher say that at a time in his life when he had to make a decision about whether or not to accept an important position, he spent many hours in prayer.  He weighed the pros and cons.  He talked with friends and associates and asked their advice.  One night after spending time with godly friends, trying to come to a conclusion about the right decision, he came home and found his wife had already gone to bed.  When he laid down beside her, she rolled over and held up two fingers, signifying that she rated the decision he was going to make only a two.

“That was all I needed to hear.  My wife walks so closely to the Lord, I knew that if this only ranked a two, then the Lord would have me not accept that position.”

Talk about being a life-line! This godly wife was so trusted by her husband in her walk with God, that it altered the course of his life!  His story made me stop and ask myself a couple of questions:

  1. Could my husband trust my response to a decision that fully?
  2. Do I walk so closely to the Lord every day that at any given moment I could be asked a question by my husband, my daughter or a friend, and I would give the right answer because it would be God’s answer?
This dear pastor’s wife I mentioned had walked with God.  She’d been faithful to read and study God’s Word.  She’d spent time in prayer.  She was sensitive to His directives in her own life – that’s how she could rightly guide those around her!
It really doesn’t matter that no one has asked me to be their lifeline on a game show.  I’m not that smart!  However, I want to be able to know the Lord’s heart so well that I could be a lifeline to my husband, or to any friend that the Lord brings across my path today.
How about you?  Have you spent sufficient time in God’s Word this morning that even through what you read today you could give biblical counsel?  
Know God so that you can lead others to Him, too!
Psalm 119:1-7
Blessed are the undefiled in the way,
who walk in the law of the Lord.
 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies,
and that seek him with the whole heart.
They also do no iniquity:
they walk in his ways.
 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
 Then shall I not be ashamed,
when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart,
when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
With love,