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.

Biblical Womanhood · Discipleship · Mentoring

The Damage Of Diabolical Words

Continuation of the book, Adorned, Lesson #6

What would you say is the easiest way to determine a person’s character?

Listen to them talk.

Our Savior said that what is in our heart will come out of our mouth.

As we continue through Titus 2, we read,  The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers .

Our last lesson spoke about  being reverent in our behavior.  Could a woman have behavior that is reverent – realizing that God is present and acting in a way that reveals His character – and also be a false accuser?  No, of course not.  Another type of speech a false accuser uses is slander.  To slander someone is to simply spread harmful information or lies about another person. 

Slander is so harmful.  It hurts the one we’re speaking about, and it will also harm or discredit our testimony as a woman who should be adorning the Gospel.

Often we run another person down, perhaps sharing something we perceive about them, but don’t know to be true.  We might also share something that is true about them, with an intent to make ourselves look better, or to discredit their reputation.    

If you’ve ever been the one talked about, you know the pain involved, yet we must admit that we are guilty. Where does this come from anyway?

The word “malicious gossips” or “false accusers” is the Greek word diabolos, from which we derive our English word diabolical.  This word refers to Satan.  In other words,

Slander is devilish.

The first time we meet Satan in Scripture is in Genesis when he is speaking to Eve, and what kind of speech is he using?  Slander.  Against Whom?  God.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

So, Satan slanders God to humans.  It’s one of his tactics.  Have you ever had him tell you things like, “If God loved you, this wouldn’t be happening!”  Or “Why didn’t that happen?  God is not on your side!”

Satan also slanders believers to God. In Rev. 12:10 John called Satan the accuser of the brethren. He constantly brings slanderous accusations about us before the throne of God.

Here are three questions to ask ourselves before we share information:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it kind?
  • Does it need to be said now?

All three questions need to be answered affirmatively before you should speak it, and even then it might be best not to let it from your lips.

Wow, slander is easy to speak, but its damage is widespread, both to ourselves and the precious Gospel. Let’s ask the Lord to set a watch before the door of our lips so that our words adorn the Gospel and speak of our much of our Savior .

You can listen to the full broadcast on this lesson on my podcast by going here. You will also find all the posts in our study of the book, Adorned, by Nancy Wolgemuth.

Ask the Lord to refresh your speech so it will run from slander in any form.

Biblical Womanhood · Discipleship · Mentoring

What Does a Reverent Woman Look Like?

Lesson 5 in the Adorned Study

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If you know a woman who
~is godly in her conduct,
~wears clothes that are tasteful and appropriate,
~uses speech that is gracious,
~and shows that she loves the Lord by the way she speaks and acts,
then you know a woman who is reverent in her behavior.

If you go out shopping, walk the streets in a city, or go to a public event, you are likely not going to see these kind of actions present in excess, or even being applauded. But that’s to be expected in the world, right? Why? Because sinners sin.

But let’s think about the behavior of women in your church, and more specifically the woman who sits in your pew…in your seat. Do you and I typify the command Paul gives to women in Titus 2?

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, 

Reverent behavior isn’t something we put on and take off. It isn’t wearing long robes and walking around with our hands folded. It’s showing that our relationship with Christ has an effect on every single day and every single thing we do. 

It will show in the way we carry ourselves, in the way we respond to people in public, the way we go about our daily responsibilities.  We will consistently realize each moment of our day is a high and holy calling.

In her book, Adorned, Nancy Wolgemuth references Anna in Luke 2, who was daily in the temple. It seems she lived there because she loved God and His people. She was there when Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus.
And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
She realized this child was God’s Son, the promised Savior! She recognized God’s work in her midst! If we are reverent in our behavior, it will be because of what’s in our hearts. That means that we, too, will be aware of God’s work around us! She used her words to express her joy in the Christ child and then she told everyone who would listen! What a beautiful example of a reverent life

Nancy asks: Does this kind of woman appeal to you? Would she fit in well among your circle of friends?  Would they admire her brand of perpetual reverence and want to be like her?  Or would she be the object of condescending comments and rolled eyes – just a bit too serious about her faith?

Maybe we wish we could be “cool” as we age and be able to relate to the younger women by doing so, but Nancy reminds us that,

They don’t need your relevance; they need to see your reverence.

That’s stinging, isn’t it? How will younger women see our reverence? Like Anna, it will be through

  1. Our appearance
  2. Our attitude
  3. Our lifestyle

This happens when we spend quality time with Jesus. We will show the radiance of a life who daily lives in the presence of a holy God.

May there be a revival of reverence in our hearts so we can show our Savior and adorn the Gospel and may it affect the woman who sits in each of our pews…in each of our seats!

As you consider being “reverent in behavior,” what attitudes and actions come to your mind? Does it seem out of the question to live in the way Paul admonishes here?

Refresh reverence!

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Biblical Womanhood · Discipleship · Mentoring

Spiritual Hoarders

Lesson 4 in Adorned study

If you’ve ever watched one of those television reality shows about hoarders, you will remember seeing pictures of homes overflowing with stuff.

Cleaning a Hoarder's House: Everything You Need to Know - Home Tips from  the Experts

I want you to consider whether or not you’re a hoarder. Don’t look in your house…look in your mind and your heart. I’m referencing being a hoarder of all the biblical knowledge that you have acquired over the time of your walk with God.

If you’ve been saved for more than a couple of years, consider how many
sermons you’ve heard,
how may biblical podcasts you’ve listened to,
how many revival meetings
or conferences you’ve attended and
how many Bible studies you’ve completed.

Is your heart full of wonderful truth? I can say, “Yes!” What a blessing has been given to so many of us. But what are we doing with that knowledge? Are we, like the hoarders in those reality shows, stuffing it away, piling it up higher and higher, or are we taking what we have and spreading that wealth with others?

Our Titus 2 passage that we are studying admonishes 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

We are to teach that which is good. 

You might be tempted to shake your head and say,
Not me!  I’m not good enough.” 
We must remember that we are not pointing to ourselves and our goodness when we disciple or mentor a younger woman.  If we point to ourselves as the example, that would be to fail, but we are to point her to the Only One Who is good. We must point her to our Savior, the Lord Jesus!  

When I look at all the evil that is going on in our world today, I marvel at the blessing that is ours to carry out this mandate here in Titus! This teaching is to be what is good – and the phrase in the Greek is related to the word we talked about  in an earlier lesson – Sophron, meaning sound mind.  It means to make of a sound mind; to instruct or train someone to behave wisely and properly.  Again, this teaching of good comes not from ourselves, but from our good God! Psalm 100:4 For the Lord is good, His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.

Ladies, we have the blessed privilege to give a younger woman the Truth that we have been taught. As we open God’s Word and simply share with her how to apply this truth to her life, we will know the inexpressible joy of this ministry that is gender specific – women teaching women, life on life. Oh, how we need each other in this world that is upside down. What hope we have to offer! What joy! What peace!

Simply be open to the possibilities!

  • Open your heart to another woman.
  • Open your home and invite her in.
  • Open your Bible and share what you’ve learned.
  • Open your prayers and include her.

To younger women Nancy asks,

How willing are you to seek out and receive the involvement of older women in your life?  

Do you have a teachable spirit?

Do you leave the impression that you can figure life out on your own?

Younger woman, take the initiative. If no one has reached out to you, seek out an older woman who seems to possess the qualities you’d like to embody one day.  Ask if she’d be open to visit with you on occasion, answering questions and allowing you to learn from her experiences and together form God’s Word. 

May we each be willing to step up and speak up so a younger woman can grow up!

Let’s not be guilty of being spiritual hoarders!

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.