The Proverbs 31 Woman…

2004-01-18 21.19.49The following passage was part of my Bible reading today… When I read it, I found this lady’s picture next to it as the illustration of its truth…

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her…

“‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all!’ Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” (From Proverbs 31:10–31 ESV)

On this Thanksgiving week I want to say how thankful I am to God for Sharon Barnett Bartel, my wife! She is more than beautiful and charming! I am not exaggerating when I say, she illustrates and models the truth of this passage in every way! Oh how I love her! Thank you, Lord, for bringing her into my life! What a wonderful ministry partner she has been for over 51 years!

An encouraging word… Put God first and blessings will follow!

Matthew 6[33Let me give an encouraging word of assurance to someone today…

After experiencing the consequences of rebellion… after reaping the painful results of sin… the opportunity exists for restoration and blessing if there is genuine repentance!

I challenge you to read the prophetic word of Haggai in your Bible today (two chapters)! Here is my brief summary of it – my personal paraphrase of Haggai’s God-inspired message to the exiles who had returned to Jerusalem after 70 long years in Babylon as a consequence of their sinful ways… (Check it out – see if you think I’m right)…

The prophet’s message? Put God first and blessings will follow! Obedience will lead to overflow! Frustration will lead to fulfillment! Poverty will be overcome by plenty!

Hey, there’s hope! God will bless those who turn from their sin and selfish neglect and do His will!

“This world is not my home! I’m just passing through…

This world is not my home

Being an alien or exiled in a strange land is an unpleasant experience! People who have experienced it will tell you that their “homeland” is always in their hearts.

Heaven is “homeland” for Christians! There’s an old gospel song that captures the feeling: “This world is not my home, I’m just a’passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore!”

Peter addressed the emotions of spiritual aliens and exiles from their homeland, because of their faith and devotion to Christ, at the beginning of his first letter… Here is his Holy Spirit inspired affirming message to them…

“From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ… to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy [or set you apart as His very own]. As a result, you have been obedient and have been cleansed by [or sprinkled with] the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace!”

What an encouraging, affirming word for disenfranchised, marginalized, persecuted, and scattered Christians from their earthly homelands! Their situation “known by God” – their Heavenly Father … Thy are “chosen by Him”, set apart as His very own through the Holy Spirit, they’ve been cleansed – sprinkled by the blood of Jesus Christ, they’re assured of more and more of God’s rich grace and wonderful peace!

Gotta tell you… As a God-honoring, Christ-following, Bible-believing, Holy Spirit empowered believer, I often feel like an alien in this old world! I affirm the reality that God has placed me here to share the message of His redemptive love. Sometimes that message is embraced by those who hear it… but at other times it is rejected! I’m just telling you, I needed to hear Apostle Peter’s inspired words today – I need to embrace them with all my heart! One more time… “This world is not my home, I’m only passing through!” But with God’s help and the Holy Spirit’s power I intend to make my time here count for the glory of God! He’s got a purpose for my life and yours!

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