Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Principle of Being Honorable


"That was an honorable thing to do"

Have you ever heard those words? Or maybe even said them?

I can remember a time when I witnessed a young boy, about 5 years old, find a dollar on the ground in his Sunday School classroom. One of the other teachers in the room told him it was his lucky day because he just made a whole dollar. However, he made the decision to bring the dollar bill to me because he knew it wasn't his so he knew he shouldn't keep it. It didn't matter that he was the only child left in the class and the other teacher and I were on our way out as soon as he was collected by his parents. He knew that dollar wasn't his to keep. I told him, as I took the dollar, that he was doing a very honorable thing.

What made that young man, in that moment, worthy to be called "honorable"? What about his decision in that moment stood out? And how does that apply to our lives as women striving to live out the principles found in Proverbs 31? Let's dive in and see.

Defining Honorable

"Honorable" can be described as the quality of displaying a high regard or giving of great respect. The idea of integrity comes to mind when I think about this definition. Acting from what is within the heart rather than what is on the surface is what determines our level of integrity.  This means that when acting from what is within your heart your true motivations are shown. To be an honorable woman our motivation needs to come from the Lord and not from whatever perceived glory we may receive. 

Being Honorable in our Appearance

Proverbs 31:25 says:
Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come.

I have often heard that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Generally, that first impression is made without ever having a single word spoken. People make a snap decision about a person the minute their eyes meet the visual picture that is presented. The style of dress and the way a person carries themselves is usually the first impression that is made.

So what is it that motivates our clothing choices. If you talk to any person who is worth their salt in the fashion world you will learn that clothing is designed to draw the eye to various places. Prints, patterns, lines, and shapes are all used to draw the attention to any number of body parts. I remember a time when I was watching a popular television show and one of the main characters was being criticized for his over the top belt buckles. He (the main character) insisted that he wore them because they made him happy. The person criticizing countered that it made him happy because it caused individuals (especially women) to look in a region of his body that was less than appropriate.

I watched that scene in that show probably close to 10 years ago and it still stands out to me today. Why? Because it reminds me that the clothing I choose to wear matters. If I make a choice to wear a t-shirt that is a bit to low cut I am all but inviting men to stare at an area of my body that should only be reserved for my husband's view. I am also communicating that all I have to offer the world is my physical appearance. Psalm 119:105 reminds us that we are to allow God's words and principles to light our path. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 calls us to abstain from all appearances of evil. By passing our dressing decisions, the world's first
impression of us, through the filter of Scripture we are able to put not only our best foot forward each day but also that of the one we are called to represent.
physical appearance.

Reflecting Honor for Our Husband's Sake

The woman in Proverbs 31 not only acts in a way that brings her personal honor but we see that she is also able to bring honor to her husband. In the principle of trustworthy we talked about how this woman's husband's trust in her was so complete it was a reflex reaction. She worked hard to not put his name in the dirt. She used her influence in the community to bring him good as we will see when we get further on in our study. She embraced the principles found in Genesis 2:18. Here we see that God has a design and an intended purpose for the man and the woman. This particular woman, our example, embraced her role as a helpmeet coming along side him excitedly to work with him and not as a competitor against him. She was his partner in all things.

Excellence as a Craftswoman

God created us to be creative. We all have gifts to share and use with the world. Often times we (and by 'we' I really mean I) have bought into the idea that if I am going to produce something it has to be perfect. In our world of Pinterest and Instagram it seems that if we can't produce perfection then we can't contribute to the world. The truth of the matter is, that's just not true. See, what God wants is excellence, not perfection.

God wants us to give our all when using the gifts and talents he has given us. He wants us to excel but that doesn't mean that our products won't ever be without flaw. But what it does mean is that we present good quality. This doesn't have to be in the market place either. It can be in the things you make, do and prepare just in your home for your own family. In order to practice the principle of being honorable when referring to excelling as a craftswoman four characteristics are required: 
  • Humility: knowing we can't excell on our own but only through God's strentgh
  • Unselfishness: sharing what we have and can do with others.
  • Gentleness: teaching and training in a kind manner
  • Patience: bearing with others as they continue to learn and grow while you focus on teaching.
If these four characteristics are put into practice then becoming a woman of honor we can put our pride away and be able to develop relationships that will last long into the future.

A Final Thought

All of these thought can be boiled down to how we have control of our bodies. Our bodies, according to Romans 12:1-2, are to be presented as a living sacrifice to the Lord. This means that we are not to conform to the ways of the world and we are not to use our bodies as instrument of sin. When we make the decision to present ourselves as living sacrifices we are acknowledging that our bodies are the dwelling place of the Lord and that He has the control of what it is we are to be doing. When we filter our thought, actions, and motives through this context living a life of being honorable is within our reach each and every day. 

How do you filter your thoughts, decisions, and motivations each day? Do you live a life based on being a living sacrifice to the Lord? How can you make adjustments so that this becomes more of a practice? Join me next time when we talk about the Principle of Being Prudent.



Monday, March 20, 2017

The Principle of Being Prepared


Benjamin Franklin once said "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."

Each day presents any number of unique circumstances, events, and even challenges. How we prepare for the possibility of anything that could come up will determine how we respond when a new need arises.

I am a planner. I like to have a schedule. I like knowing what is going to happen next. I like being prepared.

And when we read in Proverbs 31: 21-22 and 27 we learn that the woman found in these verses also liked to be prepared.

Defining Prepared

The principle of being prepared, when we look at it from the context of the Proverbs 31 passage, can best be described as taking the time to cultivate a tender heart to be ready for any circumstance that may arise. The woman of Proverbs 31 has taken the time to be ready for any circumstance. She has the foresight to ensure that her family is well dressed no matter what the season. If it is cold and snowy their is no worry of getting trapped without a coat. If it is warm and sunny out, her family is prepared to stay cool and refreshed. This woman is ready for any occasion.

Living a Prepared Life

How do we, in our fast paced always on the go lifestyles, incorporate a life of being prepared? First of all, we have to learn to live in surplus so that we don't have to be constantly working in survival mode. There are areas of our life where we can get ahead of the game. We can work within our finances to have a cushion. If we take the time each month to evaluate our budget we can focus on saving money for emergencies and be properly prepared for what may come. When we stop and take time to plan out or day and our week we can know where we will have free time or "wiggle room" in our schedules for when a crisis may arise. 


Determining Appropriate Priorities

Staying ahead of tasks and finances and refraining from living a prepared life. In order to know what areas we  need to prepare in advance we need to determine and stick to our priorities. In our social media world, it is really easy to get caught up in the ins and outs of what others seem to be accomplishing. Living a life of preparedness reminds us that we will each have our own priorities, and while what our friends on Pinterest or Facebook seem to be accomplishing is wonderful, their priorities are not the same as ours. We can not spend our time comparing our priorities to those of others in our circle. Not even our best friends.

1 Thessalonians 2:1-13 serves as a guide for how we, as wise women in progress, can determine our priorities for our lives.  We learn in these 13 verses that our priorities should be filtered though four main filters as we determine what is important in our lives.  Paul tells us we are to be biblical with the scriptures saturating every aspect of our lives, we are to be authentic living a life that is genuine with no masks and games, we are to be gracious allowing the Holy Spirit to have control of our convictions being careful how we respond when it comes to confrontation, accepting people where they are rather than expecting more out of them, and we are to be relevant meeting people where they are at while ensuring our talk matched our walk.

Final Thoughts

Jeremiah 17:7-8 says:
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.
 The woman found in Proverbs 31: 21-22 and 27 has taken this verse to heart. Her trust is in the Lord and her roots are planted firmly near the banks of the living water that is the Lord. She is clearly not anxious about what is to come and she is able to bear fruit constantly.  While being prepared in terms of finances, material things, and even in daily plans are all things that we, as busy keepers of our homes, should be concerned about, the best way to ensure we are prepared for the things that are to come is to ensure we are firmly rooted in the Lord each and ever day.

How does your life measure up when filtered thorough Jeremiah 17:7-8? How can you ensure that you are more prepared in all things? Join me next time when I discuss the principle of being honorable. 


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Principle of Being Unselfish.


It's not hard to notice that we live in a very me-centric society. All you have to do is turn on the TV, log on to any social media site, or stand in line at the grocery store to be bombarded with advertisements, pictures, and products that are designed to help people look out for "# 1"

"Looking out for #1" That is a phrase I have heard often in my life from various people. They say Dthings like, "I gotta do whats best for me. I am always looking out for # 1" They say this as if they are truly the most important person to ever walk the face of planet Earth.

While I will admit we do need to look out for our best interests and do the things that will keep us healthy, safe, and cared for, the woman we have been discussion for the past several posts shows us that if we are really going to be "looking out for # 1" we have to learn to put others first.

Defining Unselfish

The Proverbs 31 would probably never be found on a list of people who would be classified as "selfish" In fact, most, in today's society, would say that she was just too giving and didn't take any 'me' time for herself. And that might be true. But what does the term Unselfish even really mean?

To define unselfish first we have to establish what fits into the mold of being "selfish" 

Selfish can be defined as someone who is so wrapped up in their own welfare and interests that the welfare and circumstances of the people around them simply don't matter. 

It would stand to reason, then, that the quality of being unselfish would be the opposite of selfish. A person who is unselfish could be considered a person who makes the choice to put the welfare, happiness, and needs of others before their own.

The Unselfish Proverbs 31 Woman

Proverbs 31:20 says,
She opens her hands to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
We have already seen as we have looked as several of the other verses in this 21 verse passage that the welfare and needs of this woman's family~those persons who live in her home~as well as the individuals who are employed in her home are cared for. Their welfare and interests are made a priority. But what we see here is that this woman is not so consumed by her own plans, projects, and affairs that she doesn't have time to help out others who cross her path.

In the post on being Economical we saw that her lamp never goes out at night. This wasn't because she was hard at work at all hours of the day and night. It was because she, along with her husband, wanted others in their neighborhood to know they were available. They had resources to share and they were ready and willing to be of service where ever they would have been needed. She also wasn't afraid to offer her help when she saw a need.




How to be Unselfish in our 'me-centric' society

How many times has a post on social media, or a prayer request in the church bulletin, or a random comment from a friend come across your path and you thought to yourself: "Hey, I could probably help with that." But then you keep scrolling, toss the bulletin in the trash, or change the subject in the conversation because really, if you thought hard about it, you didn't really want to get involved anyway? I know for me, that has happened more than I like to admit. But what makes us respond in that manner rather than taking a page out of the Proverbs 31 woman's book and extending our hand to the needy?

Pride, that's what makes us respond this way.

Proverbs 16: 18 reminds us that
Pride goes before destruction and an haugty spirit before a fall.
Our pride gets in the way and we think "I don't have time for that." or "If they really needed help they would come ask directly instead of posting this on social media just looking for sympathy."

So how do we get past that and learn to extend our hand?


  • First of all we can learn to be active participants in other's lives. This means being willing to step up immediately when someone asks for help. Instead of looking around the room hoping someone else will raise their hand, being the first person to say, "YES I can help with that need.
  • Secondly, learning how to take a more passive role. This means being acutely aware of what is going on in the lives of those around us and being willing to step in and offer help before someone has to ask for it. 
  • Thirdly, we have to be willing and able to follow though on the help that is asked for or offered freely. If you see that some is need of a meal but you really don't have time to cook something extra don't flake out at the last minute. Take some time and order that family a pizza or some other form of delivery food. If you were asked to babysit for a mom who needs to be at important meeting don't make the decision the day of that you just don't want to deal with another child. Be willing to follow through or don't offer/accept the responsibility!


A Final Thought

Scripture is full of examples of unselfish individuals as well as those who fall on the other side of the coin. If we turn again to Proverbs we see in chapter 16 verse 17 that Who ever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. You see, if we are going to be the hands and feet of Jesus then we have to learn to put the "me" away and start focusing on the people that God has placed in our path. Jesus, the ultimate example of unselfishness, said in Matthew 25:40 that "whatever you do to the least of these, you also do to me."  The best way to begin to transition from a life of  'selfishness' to a life of 'unselfishness' is to filter our decisions through this prayer:

\


Where do you fall on the "selfish" scale? Do you have an attitude of open handedness or do you keep your hands closed tight? How can you work to become less selfish? Join me next time when we learn about the principle of being prepared.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Principle of Being Economical


Budget.

I'll be honest, that is a word that I have never really been a HUGE fan of. Sure I went through the process of learning what a budget is and how to use one in high school (well, I actually learned about it in middle school but that was more of a happy accident due to extra curricular activities rather than a class for credit). I also knew that once I was out on my own in college or when I got married I would need to put into practice the use of a budget so that things that needed to get done got done.

The problem is all these things were just head knowledge but I never actually put them into practice. I would roll my eyes and mutter under my breath about how I had everything under control every time someone in my circle made a comment about setting a budget and getting on a good path. The truth was I didn't have everything under control and my husband and I were in a downward spiral of debt and we had a baby on the way. We were as far from "Economical" as we could get.

Defining Economical

The idea of being 'economical' is the concept of not being wasteful. This includes time, money, fuel, or any other resource. So if being economical focuses on not being wasteful then what is the best way to go about that?

We make a plan of how we will use our resources. And really, isn't that all that a budget really is? Making a plan of how, when, and where to use the resources that God has provided to each and every one of us. Not only do we make the plan of how we are going to use our resources, but we have to actually use that plan. We have to put it into action using that plan to guide and direct each of our daily decisions as we navigate through life. 

The Economical Woman

Now that we know what economical is, how do we see that being put into action in the Proverbs 31 woman? Proverbs 31:18 says,
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
First of all we see that she takes time to consider the product she is putting out into the world. She knows what good quality looks like. She has taken the time to learn the requirements of those who pay top dollar for things in her world and she does not put out anything less. She also does not accept anything less into her home.

You may be thinking that you don't have any 'merchandise' out in the world so how on earth does that apply to me? Well, to that I say, of course you do! You have talents and abilities that God has given you and you can and should learn how to use those to benefit your home and your family. You can learn what good quality is, you can learn how to look for a bargain, and you can become a good researcher. Learning to be a master researcher and practicing comparison shopping prior to making purchases can help you put that budget plan that has been created into action. And the better you get at it the more you can come along side someone and help them learn how to put those same tools into their tool belt.

The second thing we see is that 'her lamp does not go out at night.' Let me start by saying that this DOES NOT mean that she never goes to sleep. She does not stay up working for her family 24 hours a day. What this means is that she has budgeted her resources so well that she always had plenty to share. The light always being on meant that she was available to help those in need at any hours. It also meant that she managed her resources so well she had the oil that was necessary to keep a lamp running for that length of time. Being economical also means you project availability for those around you.

Becoming Economical

The first step to developing this principle of being economical is to start with checking your attitude toward money and your material possessions. Deuteronomy 8:18 reminds the reader that it is God who gives us the power to gain wealth. And in 1 Timothy 6:17-19 we are told to not set our hopes in the uncertainty of riches. Rather we are to place our hopes in God who provides us with everything that we get to enjoy each day. If we have that perspective on our money and the material possessions we have then we can remember that nothing truly belongs to us, but in fact, belongs to God and is just on loan to us to use for the purpose of building His kingdom. 

The second thing once we have our attitude in the right place it to remember that we are called to give God the first fruits of our labor. We must be in the habit and practice of giving our tithe on a consistent basis. God requires we give him our best and one of the ways we do that is through our tithe. This is the FIRST 10%  (at a minimum) of our income but we can also remember that we can, and should be giving God our first fruits of our talents and abilities that God has gifted us with. God tells us in Malachi 3:10 that if we will bring our tithe into the store house he will throw open the floodgates and pour out his blessings. I have not ever met a person that has said they wished the wouldn't have given their tithe because the just didn't see the benefits. If anything, I have heard story after story of God doing just what he promised in Malachi. Being economical means being responsible with the gifts God has given and giving credit where credit is due.

A Final Thought

Scripture is full of wealthy individuals who learned how to use their wealth for the glory of God's kingdom. Ultimately, they came to God with the right heart and the right desire to do good things with the resources God had given them. They lived with an attitude of contentment no matter what their material circumstances were and God blessed them for it. The Proverbs 31 woman did not see her possessions and her material things as the means for her security, instead she had a gracious humble spirit that allowed her to give to others generously and willingly. The principle of being economical is more than just knowing how to find a bargain and working within a budget. In truth, the principle of being economical is all about the attitude in which you choose to view wealth and material possessions.

What is your attitude toward money and material things? Do you look to the things you have for your security or do you find your security in the Lord? How can you start today to focus more on the Lord and less on the physical things that will pass away? Join me next time when we jump into the principle of being unselfish.


 

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Principle of Being Physically Fit

Physically Fit.

Ok. Let me be the first to say that when we got ready to study this principle I wanted to find an excuse to not be in class. I would not be the person that would fall into any real category of being "physically fit" and I haven't been since I was about 16 years old. Life circumstances, college, and 2 (almost 3) children have aided in my lack of what some would call "physical fitness."

However, I was pleasantly surprised (as I have been through each one of these lessons) that my clothing size doesn't really have much to do with how physically fit I am for the job that God has called me to do.

Defining Physically Fit

The best way to think about the concept of physically fit when we are putting it in the context of the Proverbs 31 woman is that she is in good physical conditions. This has 3 criteria that goes with it:

  1. She is suitable. She has assessed the job requirements and determined where she needs to adjust and adapt to get the job done.
  2. She is proper. She has taken her suitability and combined it with good judgement.
  3. She is fit. She has learned to work within the requirements of the job and made adjustment when needed.

An Attitude Adjustment

Proverbs 31:17 says:
She dresses herself with strength and makers her arms strong.
Here we see this woman has a realistic attitude about the condition of her body. She takes the time to evaluate the things she can do and she doesn't dwell on the things she can't. She realized, like we have discussed in previous principles, that she has limitation and she has abilities. She has learned to work within those parameters.

Often times we think that we have to go to the gym and have a lot of intentional focused "work out" time if we are going to get any type of exercise done in our day. However, if we were to take the time to sit and really think about the things we do to manage our homes each day we would realize that the activities that take place in our home are the same that take place in the gym. You rush up and down hallways and stairs (if you have them), you bend over and pick things up several times a day. You squat to kiss a boo boo, clean up a mess, or communicate with a child. If you are like me and can't reach the top shelf well, you climb, stair step, or jump to reach things high above you. Exercise can, and does, happen anywhere if you think of things in the right manner.

An important area that we as women who are striving to become "physically fit" is to learn to read our own bodies. Each one of us has a cycle that ebbs and flows. We will have good days where we are sure we could take on anything and we will have bad days that leave us wanting to do little more than climb into bed, hide under the blankets, and wait out the return of Jesus. How we respond to each of those peaks and valleys as well as whatever happens in between will also determine how well we are 'fit' for the job we have been given to do. When we take the time to really know our body we can learn to plan for various occasions and set our schedules (to the best of our ability) around the good days and the bad.

A Living Sacrifice

In Romans 12:1 Paul reminds us that we are to present our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord. Our bodies are to be holy and pleasing to the Lord. When the Israelite people brought their sacrifices to the Lord in the Old Testament the were called to bring God the very best. He wanted the first and the best each time they presented a sacrifice. This is no different for us today. God wants us to give Him the very best of ourselves. We can only do this if we take the necessary measures to care for our body. 

Eating the right foods, moving in some manner each day (as a busy wife/mother/homemaker this should be an easy aspect), and getting enough rest are all important areas that must be maintained to be a presentable sacrifice to the Lord. This means we need to learn and understand the importance of recreation. Having fun and taking some down time is ok. It is a good thing to do. We all need time to rest and recharge so that we can function at the best of our ability. 

We also have to learn to be managers of our time and not become a frazzled, stressed out version of ourselves. Through managing our time, planning out our days, weeks, and months we can in essence "gird our loins". We can be prepared for what might come by knowing what will come. If we know our schedule and have a basic routine down it is so much easier to adjust to the sudden onset of illness, emergency circumstances, and days just not going quite right. When we take the time to present our best to God, preparing for anything that might come along, living in the realm of being physically fit for the task God has assigned to us we are able to create a welcoming environment that provides rest and refuge for those in our care and those who cross our paths. 

A Final Thought

The idea of being "physically fit" has been so distorted by the world's view of what a 'fit' person looks like. Any time I hear the term being 'physically fit' I automatically begin to shrink back hoping that no one notices me standing in the crowd. But God has a different perception. Should we take care of our bodies? Absolutely! But are we required to be a size 2 in order to say we have done that? Not at all. At the end of the day, what we are required to do is have the capabilities to complete the task that God has given us. We need to be able to effectively manage our homes, be present and active in the lives of our family and those around us, and give the absolute best to God as we present ourselves as a living sacrifice each and every day we are granted time here on earth.

Are you giving God your 'first fruits'? Is the living sacrifice you are presenting to the Lord each day your best and brightest? If not, what can you do to ensure you are caring for your body so that you might be 'physically fit' enough to give God the best you have to give? Join me next time when I talk about the principle of being economical.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Principle of Being Energetic


Energetic.

Usually, when I think of this word I think of my 4 and 6 year old children. I often think that if I could just bottle up even a fraction of the energy they possess in their small bodies I could make a fortune selling it to mom's all over the world. But it seems this woman found at the end of the book of Proverbs has found a way to tap into that energy and use it to it's fullest potential.

Defining Energetic

Here we are again turning to our trusty friends Miriam-Webster to see what they have to say about energetic. They define energetic as "operating or being marked by vigor or effect" I think that can go a bit further by adding in "strength or power efficiently exerted."

There is an important word in that second definition. "Efficient" can be defined as 'production without waste."

I think that fits the woman we are talking about in Proverbs 31. We see, peppered all throughout these 21 verses, examples of this woman's efficient nature. 

Proverbs 31:13-16, 19

She selects wool and flax and works with willing hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from far away. She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and portions for her female servants. She evaluates a field and buys it; she plants a vineyard with her earnings..... She extends her hands to the spinning staff, and her hands hold the spindle.
This woman knows her talents and knows her limitations. She knows what she can physically accomplish and she is willing to do the hard work. However, she is also aware that she can not do it all, all the time. This means she has to delegate tasks.

In our culture today we like to look at this particular passage and think to ourselves that we don't have female servants so there is no way we could do all she does. While it is true that we don't all have actual people in our home doing daily tasks, what we do have are appliances that have taken the place of the need for those extra hands. We have things like washing machines, dryers, electric or gas stoves, and dishwashers. All of these take the place of a person that at one point would be found completing the designated task. Rather than having to hand wash each piece of clothing we can delegate the task to our washing machine and trust that it will get the job done.

Proverbs 31:24

She makes and sells linen garments; she delivers belts to the merchants.
Here we see her using her energies to provide income for her family. She is out in the community providing a service. She knows that she can put her energy toward activities outside of the home as well as doing what she needs to do for her family. She uses the materials that she constructed in the passage earlier to create a product for not only those under her roof but also for those within the community. This is an area that she is skilled in so she ensures to place her energy toward the activity.

We can do the same things. If we are skilled in an area we can use it to better our family. This may not mean being out there in the marketplace bringing in income, but that might just be what you can do. If you bake, provide a service for parties and get-togethers. If you sew, offer to hem pants and skirts, repair damaged clothing, or make alterations. If you are drawn to children, open your home to a family that needs childcare. We can use our talents if we know where to focus our energy.

Proverbs 31:27

She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle.
 She watches over her household. This points back to her delegations. She doesn't try to do it all but she is an overseer. She is alert to the things going on around her. If she is needed she is available. She knows what is being accomplished and what still needs to be done. She jumps in and helps with tasks. She is a worker, not a shirker. She is willing to teach and train and allow some to make mistakes to learn from them.

Do you oversee the activities of your home or are you too busy doing all the things in your home? I know I am often guilty of this. I have 2 children, with one on the way. My 2 are absolutely old enough to be getting in there and helping out with the daily tasks of the home. Chores can be done by all in the home allowing me to focus my energy to the areas I need to be focusing them in and not stretching myself too thin. It is my responsibility to teach and train, just as this woman did. And even though it may appear (and often times is) easier to just do it myself to make sure it is done right, I have to be willing to step back and allow things to not be done perfectly in order for learning to take place.

Final Thoughts

Being energetic is more than just mainlining a bunch of caffeine each morning and running around getting things done as quickly as possible.  The principle of being energetic is about knowing your talents and your limitations then using those to direct your day. By taking time to accept the areas where you are limited and seek assistance in those areas you are more able to maximize the areas you are talented in. We are not designed to accomplish everything, everyday all on our own. We are community people and we need each other to make sure tasks are accomplished and things get done. If we focus on efficiently exerting our power and our strength we are able to be productive without waste each and every day.

How can you exert your power and strength efficiently each day? What are your talents? What are your limitations? Join me next time when we talk about the principle of being physically fit.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Principle of Being Trustworthy



Turn on the Television and you will see show after show all about couples seeing the need to hire individuals to follow and take notes on their spouse's daily activities. There are hidden cameras placed through out homes and offices, secret apps installed on technological devices to gain access to social media accounts and communication records, and a constant lingering question of whether or not a husband can trust his wife or if a wife can trust her husband.

And sadly, in most of those television show scenarios we find that there was just cause for the tracking down of a spouse. Trust is lost and often times the relationship is ended in an ugly and bitter manner.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

Today's passage, Proverbs 31:11-12 tell us that a marriage can and should be the exact opposite.

Proverbs 31:11-12 says,
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will not lack anything good. She will reward him with good, not evil all the days of her life.

This woman is trustworthy. She is worthy of the trust that her husband has in her.


Defining Trustworthy

So what does being trustworthy mean?  Again we start by turning to Miriam-Webster to see what the basic definition of the word means. Miriam-Webster says that 'trustworthy' means 'worthy of confidence; dependable'

Not a bad way to describe this concept but I think that we can probably do a little bit better.  My professor, Dr. Pat Ennis, defined 'trustworthy' as
A firm belief or confidence in the honesty, integrity, reliability, and justice of an individual. 
Wow! There is so much packed into that little sentence. So let's break it down.

First of all lets look as "confidence." Confidence can be described as the quality or state of being certain. That is a great word picture. This means my husband can be 100% certain that he can trust me. Looking at the verse we see her husband's whole heart trusted in her. He was certain, completely.

The next word that needs to be unpacked is "integrity"  Integrity is best known as being complete, unimpaired, or perfect condition. It is also known as uprightness honesty, and sincerity. So again, looking back at our focus verse we see this woman's husband is 100% certain in his wife's unimpaired honesty and sincerity. He has no reason to question the things she says or the activities she participates in because she is walking in uprightness.

 The Character of a Trustworthy Woman

What does a trustworthy woman look like? 

First of all, her past dictates that her husband's trust in her is a reflex reaction. He doesn't even have to think or process through the trust he has in her. It just happens because there has never been any reason for him to not have his full faith in her. He has only ever received good things from her and the reputation that she carries in the community.

Secondly, because he has a reflex reaction to completely trust his wife there is no need to make provision for 'checking up' on her. He doesn't have to sneak around to see what she is doing, He doesn't feel the need to ask friends or others when out and about what they might have seen his wife up to. She knows that her actions have an effect on the character of her husband and children. If she is out roaming the town being untrustworthy she will be starving their character. On the other hand, if she is continually walking in uprightness she will feed their character and help to make them into the people God has intended them to be.

Developing a Trustworthy Lifestyle Within The Home

There are seven key areas that we can focus on to work toward cultivating a culture of trustworthiness within our homes. Those areas are security, service, encouragement and affirmation, nurturing a lifestyle of affirmation, nurturing a lifestyle of love, setting boundaries and limits, and nurturing a lifestyle of faith. Each one of these areas, when applied properly within the home, can instill a culture of trustworthiness for our husbands and families. When we provide security and put other's needs first our family knows we will always be there for them. When we nurture our culture of affirmation through encouragement and love our family is aware that we are their biggest cheerleader, knowing they can accomplish anything with God's strength. When we set boundaries we teach others that there are lines that can't be crossed. And lastly, when we nurture our lifestyle of faith others around us see that we can only accomplish any of these principles is through the faith we have in God.

Characteristics of Integrity

Integrity is a big key of this idea of being trustworthy so lets take a closer look at what the characteristics of integrity really are.

First of all, you have to have an attitude of excellence. You have to make it a priority to strive to have an attitude of excellence. When you are serving your family you have to remember that it is your ministry and we are to serve in our areas of ministry excellently.

Secondly, you are in a season of life. At some point that season will change, but no matter what we are to walk in diligence and faithfulness within that season. We need to be 100% present in the season not looking back longingly at what once was or looking ahead dreaming of what is to come. Planning for the future is fine, but not if it means that your entire focus will be drawn away from the present and the things that are happening now.

Third trait is is to make a choice for personal purity. And often times this requires finding a level of accountability. Having those people in your life that will hold you accountable helps to build and establish the trustworthiness that we are trying to cultivate.

Lastly, cultivating a consistent walk with the Lord. If your heart, mind, and lifestyle is tuned in and focused on the things the Lord has given you there will be no time, desire, or opportunity for the trust that has been built to be destroyed. When your walk with the Lord is strong and consistent it is easy to remain walking uprightly.

Final Thoughts

While this particular areas focuses a lot on the marriage relationship it is important to remember that you don't have to be married to develop a principle of trustworthiness. Bosses in the work place, individuals in leadership positions over you, and other types of relationship also need to have a level of trust in you. Your boss should know without a shadow of a doubt that you will perform your job duties to the best of your ability all the time. If you are under someone's leadership in church or other ministry organizations that person should know you are there to do what needs to be done. Trust is principle that is valuable no matter what your marital situation. 

Have you cultivated a lifestyle of trustworthiness in your life? Can those around you trust you completely? If not, how can you begin to develop that principle in your life today? Come back next time when we talk about the Principle of Being Energetic.