New series: Self-discipline

I have had this idea for a new series rolling through my mind for a while now. I hesitated to post about it, because I am not the most disciplined of persons. However, the objective of this blog is for us to learn together. Therefore I am starting this new series with the hope that I can become more disciplined as I research for the posts. Here we go!

There are many areas of our lives where we need self-discipline. This is especially true if you are a single person, mainly if we don’t do it, it doesn’t get done! These areas include, time management, emotions, spiritual life, our tongues, etc. In this post, I identify some steps to help us know where we need self-discipline. In the following posts, I will work through some tools that have helped me become more disciplined.

What is self-discipline?

Many people confuse the word discipline with punishment. Part of discipline may imply punishment, but in the main it is different.

Discipline according to Webster’s 1828 dictionary is:

  • Education; instruction;
  • Instruction and government, comprehending the communication of knowledge and the regulation of practice;
  • Rule of government; method of regulating principles and practice;
  • Subjection to laws, rules, order, precepts or regulations;
  • Correction; chastisement;

So self-discipline is doing all of the preceding to one’s self. Not any easy thing to do.

Identify strengths and weaknesses

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Before we can strengthen our weaknesses or depend on our strengths, we need to know what they are. Most of us like to look at our strengths, but not at our weaknesses. God made us with both. If we were only strong, we would never need God, and if we were only weak, we could never help others.

There are several tools available to identify our weak and strong points. We will take a look at some of them in a later post.

Recognize the need for outside help

Discipline ourselves is not easy and we will need outside help in order to accomplish our goal of being self-disciplined. Accountability is a word we often do not want to hear, but is very beneficial in establishing self-discipline. It may not be easy to ask for this help, but we will need it.

Choose someone who will be a help and encouragement. This person may be in your face and business a lot. Think about who in your life could and would be willing to handle this responsibility. This may even be someone else who is trying to be more self-disciplined. Even the wisest man who lived recognized this fact.

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Set yourself up for success

This is an area in which many of us fail, myself included. In your struggle for self-discipline, don’t shoot yourself in the foot putting yourself in a situation where you will fail.

Example: If you are trying to eat with more discipline, and you know that you will eat the chocolate, but not the fruit, don’t keep chocolate in the house.

If you know that certain situations will make you fail, remove them from your life, if possible.

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Set small goals

There was a song by Patch the Pirate we sang as teens. The chorus goes like this: ‘Little by little, step by step, by the yard it’s hard, by the inch what a cinch.’ By setting small goals or by breaking a large goal into small steps, it makes the job manageable and achievable. I am a list maker and listing each step is great because I am motivated to finish by marking of another item on my list. Before I know it I am finished with the big job.

There are more steps that will help you on the road to self-discipline, but these are the ones of which I thought. Next blog post will be about one of my worst areas of self-discipline, time-management! I will share some tips I have been using to good effect in managing my time. Until then may God bless you as you serve single.

Does God demand perfection?

I recently had a conversation with one of my young people about a service that did not go as planned, Some of the things planned were done out of the planned order and frustrated this particular person. No one that had not been in on the planning knew that something had gone ‘wrong.’ In fact, the service was actually better for having been done ‘out of order.’ I told the teen later that this was the exact reason the teens were given charge of the service. Because not everything goes according to plan in a normal service and we have to learn to be flexible. Experience is the best teacher.

Both of us are musicians and both of us have had extensive musical training in different areas of music. Musicians are trained to be perfectionists. When something does not go right, we feel profoundly embarrassed. I know that with me, something seems to happen every week that is just a little (or maybe a lot) outside the plan. This unplanned event can and usually is very embarrassing. Maybe one of the dates is wrong on the announcements, or the song projected is a different song from the one planned.

The conversation stuck with me all day and finally, I am writing down some of my thoughts from this day of reflection on what was said.

1. God is glorified through imperfection. 

How do I know this? Because of 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. Paul asked the Lord to remove his ‘thorn’ in the flesh. This ‘thorn’ was something that bothered Paul enough that he asked three times to have it removed from his life. However, God had a different plan for Paul. God told the apostle:

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

We bring glory to God when His power is shown through our weakness, even our imperfections. I hope my response is the same as Paul’s was.

“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

My need for perfection is definitely an infirmity in my character. As my mom used to tell me, “Practice makes good, not perfect. Only God is perfect.”

2. Because God is glorified through our imperfections, does this mean I should stop striving for excellence in what I do?

Absolutely NOT! God wants us to give our best, but is much more forgiving when we fail to meet the standards we have placed upon our selves. In fact, I believe we sometimes put standards on ourselves that God does not expect. After all, He is our Creator and He knows us much better than we know ourselves. Psalm 103 says:

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” (Bolded areas were added for emphasis.)

I like that last part ” he remembereth that we are dust.” God knows we will fail Him. That is why He sent His Son in the first place, Man had failed God. We are only dust into which God has breathed life. This fact should humble the proudest person and lift the head of the lowest sinner. 

3. Perfection may not be possible this side of Heaven, but God does want us to give our best. 

Because I am a musician, I will use a musical analogy. The temple musicians were instituted by King David who is one of the most prolific writers of songs in the Bible, if not the most prolific. His requirements for the musicians were to be led by someone with skill (which is not the same as talent, but is instead something we learn), they were to practice, both singers and instrumentalists, and they were to glorify and worship God in song. No where is perfection mentioned. However, with practice and skillful leadership, God was glorified and worshiped. 

Lessons learned from today’s meditation on perfection

1. God can use our failings to bring glory to Himself.

2. Things will go ‘wrong,’ and I need to remember, I am only dust into which God breathed life.

3. Perfection is only possible in Heaven, but is a good goal at which to aim.

4. I WILL miss the goal, but if I don’t aim high (or aim at all) I will get nowhere.

5. Dear perfectionist, Remember, don’t sweat the small stuff. Do your best and leave to God the rest. (YES, I know they are cliches, but that does not negate their truth!) 

One last passage before I sign off. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29:

“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.”

When your students teach you


The last year and a half, I have been teaching one of the Moral and Religion class in two local schools.  This last Monday, my students taught me. Not in the sense of teaching something new, but more in the sense of reinforcing something I knew and about which I needed to deepen my understanding.

Photo Credit: Alyssa L. Miller via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Alyssa L. Miller via Compfight cc

This year in the local school, we have been studying about the Bible and about the Trinity. This has allowed for other subjects to be addressed while we studied these major doctrines. The last few classes have been about Jesus Christ. Who is HE? What did He do? What should be our response to Him?

Last Monday, we talked about being a fan of Christ or being a Disciple of Christ. A fan is out for what they can get from the object of their adoration. A disciple, however, makes a decision to follow the teachings of a particular person and dedicates their whole life to following that person. In a Christian’s case, this would be Jesus Christ.

Monday’s topic was on the cost of following Jesus Christ. With our text in Luke 14, we talked and discussed what following Christ actually means. Because I know myself the best, I sometimes use myself as an example. (NOT that I am perfect by any stretch of the imagination.) I told them of the cost for my personal following of Christ.

  • Three grandparents have passed away while I have been on the field.
  • My parents in Mozambique need a lot of help that I could supply.
  • My sister was a single parent with two babies while my brother-in-law was deployed with the US Army.
  • My best friend has dealt with a lot over the past eight years and I could only communicate by Facebook.
  • Sometimes I wish I could be split into multiple people to supply the need for each one!

I am sure if you ask any missionary or pastor who has been in ministry for any length of time, they would have similar stories.

The point of this post is not to have a pity party. The point is, at the end of listing what my personal cost has been, I said, ‘I am here because I love you and I count the cost as worth it to be here.’

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Photo Credit: Max Garçia via Compfight cc

Through the class this week, I learned about myself. Yes, it is painful to be far away from family when painful things happen. Yes, the cost hurts to do what we do. BUT, the reward of seeing just one soul learn about Christ and what He did for them, is worth all of it.

My question to you is ‘Have you counted the cost and is it worth it to be where you are?’

Resource – Flash a Card Series

In an earlier post, I talked about being prepared for anything while on the road. Today, I would like to review a resource that has been a great help here in Portugal and can be used over and over again on deputation/furlough. It is the Flash-a-card series from A Beka Book Publications. (To find the Flash-a-card Series, type flash a card in the search function on the website.)

The Flash-a-card Series is a collection of Bible stories and picture cards put together in several packages. The quality of the materials is excellent. The pictures are professional paintings used to illustrate the story. With only a little work, you can have a Bible story prepared for whenever you need one. They have sets available from Genesis to the Life of Paul. Also available are some sets of various stories grouped together. For example, the Salvation Series has stories dealing with the life of Christ and why He came to earth.

I was able to buy most of the sets they offer. I have been very happy with the way they tell the story and the pictures that accompany the story. Because my sister worked for A Beka, I found out that they have other languages available than just what is on the website. (If you want to know if they have anything available in your language, talk to a representative.) Best of all, the majority of the pictures have no English written on them. This makes them usable for various languages and cultures.

The price is a little on the high side but for the quality is reasonable. The picture cards are lifelike and not the cartoonish illustrations you often see in children’s Bible literature.

On the field, they can be a big resource. The stories are set up so that the teacher can read directly from the book. This helps with new and beginning teachers. The pictures can be used separately with a more experienced teacher telling the story.

Getting them to the field may be a bit of a problem though. The sets are HEAVY! At least they are when all piled up in one stack. (Ask me how I know!) However, with all of the sets, I have enough Sunday school /Junior Church/Bible Club material to get through at least 2+ years. Possibly the best way to get the sets back is to buy them a little at a time and take them with you on the airplane.

Disclaimer: A Beka has not asked me to review the Flash-a-card Series. This review is from a happy customer. All of the pictures were taken from the A Beka Book Website.


Great Motto: Be Prepared

After reading about some of my fellow missionaries’ adventures in deputation, I came up with this idea for a blog post. Hope that it is a blessing and help to you.

The Boy Scout motto, Be Prepared, is well known in many parts of the world. They believe in being prepared for every emergency and practice the techniques they learn regularly.

Be Prepared is a good motto for a missionary to have. I will be writing a series of posts on being prepared for ministry, not only on deputation/furlough/home assignment, but also for ministry on your chosen field.

Photo Credit: charamelody via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: charamelody via Compfight cc

This first post will be about being prepared for ministry while on deputation/furlough/home assignment. (From now on I will only use the word deputation, but it will refer to any time you are in the States or your home country reporting on your work or raising funds.)

Today, I will be dealing specifically how you can be prepared for any ministry eventuality by taking some time before hand to prepare. Ministry opportunities abound when one is on deputation. Sunday school, Main service, Evening service, Mid-week prayer meeting, Vacation Bible School, Missions conferences, Youth rallies, etc. All of these afford an opportunity to share your field and burden. However, each instance may use different materials. For example, the tools you use in a main service will not be the same ones you use in Junior church. Preparing your tools ahead of time will make you less stressed when five minutes before service the pastor tells you, ‘You will be teaching the 5-6 year old Sunday School class.’ Less stress is good in a life style that already has a lot of stress built into it.

What to prepare

Ok, so I have convinced you that you need to prepare materials ahead of time, but you ask, ‘what do I prepare and how do I fit it into my little deputation car?’ This will require a bit of mental exercise. Think of all of the activities you have participated in while attending a church. Write them all down on paper/Word Document (Take your pick). Then analyze your list. Which activities use the same or similar materials? Example, Sunday school, VBS and Junior church use the same or similar materials. For them I would prepare a game, a song to teach, a lesson that can be graded according to age group, and a memory verse. This is what I would do. Can’t sing? Prepare an object lesson. Think outside the box a bit. You never know what God will use to touch the hearts and lives of children. There are some excellent materials that have a series of lessons that fit together nicely. (I will be reviewing some of those materials in a later blog post.)

Main services, evening services, and mid-week services tend to use the same tools as well. The obvious is a video presentation. This should present your field of service, your calling, what you intend to do when you get to the field/what you have done on the field, and your background. Most of this is covered by classes offered by your mission board/mission agency.

Teaching Vacation Bible SchoolWhat if you don’t have time to set up for a video presentation? Have you written down your testimony so you can give it at any moment? Have you adjusted your testimony so you can fit various time constraints? Do you sing or play an instrument? Can you start a question and answer session? Sometimes life throws you for a loop, and just like the Boy Scouts, we need to be prepared for anything. The lights went out in the middle of your video? Surely you have seen it enough times that you can present what is in the video! Are you a single man? You should be prepared to preach at any moment. Don’t have your Bible handy? Scripture memorization is a wonderful thing. Didn’t you know that was the purpose of all those verses they made you learn at Bible College and in Sunday school? Besides, as a Missionary Kid, I can personally attest that if you have at least one sermon that you have preached a lot, you can preach it from memory, Scriptures and all. (In fact, so can your family!) If you are a single lady, you should also be prepared to teach at any time.

The point of this exercise is to prepare for all of the events you can think of. Be smart about what you prepare. If you can, make your materials useful for more than one event. Think about the space you have to work with in your car.

How do I fit it in my car?

By taking the time before hand to think about what you may be asked to do, you can think about your materials and the space in your vehicle in a logical manner. By using items for multiple purposes, you can carry less and do more. As I mentioned before, Sunday school and Junior church use the same materials. Where ever you put your materials, make sure they are easy to get to at a moment’s notice. (Also from personal experience, MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN THE CAR BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE PLACE YOU ARE STAYING! Especially if you are driving any distance. If you want the story, contact me later.)

Think outside the BOX

Churches see a lot of missionaries, especially at missions conference time. What can you do to be memorable? A friend of mine has a set of puppets that relate to her field. They are all animals that she encounters on a daily basis. She uses these puppets to teach children about God and about her field at the same time. (I remember her presentation to my Junior church class more than 10 years later.)

Whatever you decide to use, flannelgraph, flashcards, object lessons, etc. the one thing that can make a story useful to the Master, is to consider Him in all things. There have been times that I planned to say something and God has asked me to teach a different topic. He is the only One who can breathe life into your teaching and use it to reach the hearts of your hearers.

Please let me know what you come up with. I am always looking for good ideas I can use in my own ministry!

Resource: Apologetics on Creation

It has been some time since I have written a blog post. A new responsibility has eaten up some of the time in which I would write. However, this new task has also given me a new resource. I wanted to share this with you.

My new responsibility is teaching one of the moral’s classes in the local middle and high school. Because we are just starting out, I decided to teach on Origins. Origin of the world, origin of sin, origin of death, etc. while researching for the classes on the origin of the world, I came across the ministry Answer’s in Genesis.

Photo Credit: Dino Langis via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Dino Langis via Compfight cc

Please do not take this as a blanket endorsement of everything published or said by Answer’s in Genesis. That said I do agree with much that they produce. This ministry is the originator of the Creation Museum in Covington, Kentucky. If you have never been, I would recommend a visit. Instead of the misinformation you need to wade through in a Natural Science museum, you find all of the exhibits referring back to the Bible.

This ministry is geared toward Christian Apologetics with a specific emphasis on the Creation and the Genesis accounts.

Before we go much further, I feel the need to define what I mean by Apologetics. To the dictionary we go.

Apologetics, n. That branch of theology which defends the Holy Scriptures, and sets forth the evidence of their divine authority. (Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary – 1913)

Answer’s in Genesis has as its goal the defense of the literal, Biblical account of Creation. They publish many books to this end written by creationist scientists. These are people who have doctorates in science and know whereof they speak. These scientists are taking observational science and applying it to historical science. This scientific basis helps to combat the general belief in evolution.

Not only that, but many of their materials are available in other languages (including, much to my surprise, Portuguese).

I have been able to use their videos and materials in class to teach my students what the Bible says is true. It also allows them to learn how to defend their faith against the attacks of secular reasoning and evolutionary science.

The one caveat I have, is that they have stopped using the Authorized Version or the KJV. In spite of this, I have found their materials to be detailed and analytical when it comes to what the Bible says about science.

After all I have done for You, I am ALONE!

Today I am taking a bit of a break from Proverbs 31.

While preparing for a single’s retreat at the end of the year, I came across a passage. I have heard teaching on this passage before, but had never looked at it as is applies to a single missionary. The passage in question is 1Kings 19.

God has just proven that He is God in Israel with the showdown on Mt Carmel with the prophets of Baal. In a great flash of fire, God proved that He is the living God and He is worthy of worship. After this great victory, Jezebel hears what Elijah has done and swears revenge. He runs for his life. This seems weird after just seeing the mighty hand of God at work that he would run away. Then he goes even further and says to God:

And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 1 Kings 19:10

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Photo Credit: Mycul999 via Compfight cc

God tells him to stand on the Mount before the Lord. God sends a great wind, a mighty earthquake and a raging fire, but does not speak to him. Then comes the still small voice asking him:

And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? 1Kings 19:13

I am reminded of God talking to Adam asking him where he was. God know where he was but wanted Adam to recognize where he was. With Elijah I see the same thing. He presents his complaint once again:

And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 1 Kings 19:14

Did you see what I did? Here is what I hear Elijah saying, I have done so much for you and now I am all alone. Not only that but they want to kill me.

The charge of being all alone is one I hear a lot from single missionaries. We do so much and have no one to share the burden. But I like what God said next:

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. 1 Kings 19:18

God is saying, you think you are the only one who is faithful to me but I have so many others who have not sold out or compromised. He then sends Elijah to find a partner in ministry, Elisha.

This last summer, I was feeling the same way. All of my coworkers are families. I felt alone because I was not a part of a couple or family. Then I attended a retreat for single missionaries. I saw first-hand that I was not the only one. Many of the ladies present worked with couples or worked entirely alone. It was good to see that others had the same problems I did and the same feelings of aloneness. Now when I think of being alone among many couples, I remember, other are doing the same and the Lord is with us all.

God has picked out our places of service. He knows that we are lonely and discouraged at times. We need to remember what He said to Elijah, You are not the only one. There are others who are doing My work. Get back in the fight and I will send the help you need at the right time.

And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. 1 Kings 19:15-18

The Virtuous Woman – Willing to Work

First I would like to apologize for the length of time between posts. It seems my life has exploded with a lot of activity lately and something had to give. In this case, it was the Blog.

Now on to our study of Proverbs 31.

She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. Proverbs 31:13

Photo Credit: charamelody via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: charamelody via Compfight cc

When I saw this next verse, I started laughing. And anyone who has spent any time around me is probably laughing too. Why? I love to knit! I work with wool and linen and cotton and other fibers all the time. I knit in my house, in my car, waiting for an appointment, before church, after church, in the restaurant waiting on my food and many other places and times.

However, though this verse mentions working with fibers of the wooly kind, that is not its main intent. I believe that the main emphasis is on the latter half of the verse. The virtuous woman works willingly with her hands.

In this statement, I see two things. One she works willingly and two she is willing to get her hands dirty. The first observation is in the verse. Her willingness to work is a part of what makes her a virtuous woman. If she does not have what she needs ready at hand she goes and seeks it where it is likely to be found.

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Photo Credit: Syrendell via Compfight cc

For wool, this means raising sheep and then shearing them when the time is right. The shorn fleece is then washed (believe me, if you have ever seen a fleece right off the sheep, you know you may have to wash it more than once.) After it is washed, it is carded and then spun into yarn to be knit or woven into garments. Some fleece is left unspun for various tasks, batting in blankets, fulled to make felt, etc.

For flax, you need to plant the seeds, wait for them to grow, harvest the plant, and beat the stalks to obtain the fiber in the middle of the stalk. It is then spun into thread or yarn and also woven or knit into something useful. Underwear, toweling, summer garments, bandages, swaddling, etc. Linen, the fabric that is produced from flax, was one of the main fabrics of Biblical times.

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Photo Credit: Vasquezz via Compfight cc

The second observation is implied. Obtaining either fabric or fiber was a lot of work and not all of it the clean type. Sheep are animals and you have to feed and clean up after them. Plants require a lot of work as well. So for the virtuous woman to have what she needed to clothe her family, she had to work.

Why was she doing all this work? If we look in the context, we see she was clothing her family and making sure they were warm when it was cold and cool when it was hot. She was working willingly for love of her family.

So how can this apply to us? I am single I do not have a family for which to provide. What is my motivation to work willingly?

The answer is love for God and for others should motivate us to work willingly. So you don’t have a family for which to provide, so what? Remember Dorcas in Acts? She worked willingly with her hands to provide for the needy.

But …

I don’t knit or do any of those other hand crafts like the virtuous woman! That is not a problem. The underlying principle is to use what talents and abilities God has given you and utilize them willingly in His service. Ok, so you don’t know how to do hand crafts, you can learn! Or if you have no interest or ability in that area, look for another area where something is needed. The point is to do it willingly!

The Virtuous Woman – Do Good and Not Evil

Continuing our study in Proverbs 31, we look at the next verse.

Photo Credit: charamelody via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: charamelody via Compfight cc

She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:12

This verse stumped me a little bit. How could I apply something so obviously for a married woman to a single woman? Then I remembered that an earthly marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church. In the last post I talked about how Jesus Christ has entrusted to us His reputation and work. If we look at this verse remembering that Jesus Christ is in the role of our husband, we as single ladies will do Him good and not evil all the days of our lives. Ok. What is good and what is evil? To the dictionary!

When I looked up the word good, I found 40 definitions for good being used as an adjective. So I am only presenting a few here.

GOOD, a.

3. Complete or sufficiently perfect in its kind; having the physical qualities best adapted to its design and use; opposed to bad, imperfect, corrupted, impaired. We say, good timber, good cloth, a good soil, a good color.

And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good. Gen.1.

4. Having moral qualities best adapted to its design and use, or the qualities which God’s law requires; virtuous; pious; religious; applied to persons, and opposed to bad, vitious, wicked, evil.

Yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. Rom.5.

5. Conformable to the moral law; virtuous; applied to actions.

In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works.Tit.2.

18. Well qualified; able; skillful; or performing duties with skill and fidelity; as a good prince; a good commander; a good officer; a good physician.

22. Promotive of happiness; pleasant; agreeable; cheering; gratifying.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. Ps.133.

E”VIL, a. e”vl. [Heb. to be unjust or injurious, to defraud.]

1. Having bad qualities of a natural kind; mischievous; having qualities which tend to injury, or to produce mischief.

Some evil beast hath devoured him. Gen.37.

2. Having bad qualities of a moral kind; wicked; corrupt; perverse; wrong; as evil thoughts; evil deeds; evil speaking; an evil generation.

3. Unfortunate; unhappy; producing sorrow, distress, injury or calamity; as evil tidings; evil arrows; evil days.

GoodvsEvilThis verse puts two qualities in contrast, the action done will be either good or evil. If it is good, it conforms to the moral law and is virtuous. (See first blog post on Virtuous Woman) If the action is evil, the intent is to injure and it breaks the moral law. So this verse states that the actions the virtuous woman takes toward her husband, conform to the moral law and will not injure him or cause him mischief.

Just as a side note, here is the definition for mischief (as long as we are looking at the dictionary.)


1. Harm; hurt; injury; damage; evil, whether intended or not. A new law is made to remedy the mischief.

2. Intentional injury; harm or damage done by design.

Thy tongue deviseth mischief. Ps.52.

3. Ill consequence; evil; vexatious affair.

The mischief was, these allies would never allow that the common enemy was subdued.

MIS”CHIEF, v.t. To hurt; to harm; to injure.

So what about us single people?!? We, in our relationship with Christ, will do good actions and will not do anything that will bring injury to Jesus.

So let us look at our actions. Do they line up with the moral law? Do they prevent injury being done to the name and person of Jesus Christ? Am I doing good and not evil?

*Definitions from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary Online

The Virtuous Woman – The Trustworthy Woman

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. Proverbs 31:11

Photo Credit: charamelody via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: charamelody via Compfight cc

This is the next verse in the Proverbs 31 Chapter we are studying. This verse is obviously written about a married woman, so what can I as a single woman glean from it? Well first I see a word or two that need defining. The first word is trust:

TRUST, v.t. To place confidence in; to rely on. We cannot trust those who have deceived us.

He that trusts every one without reserve, will at last be deceived.

1. To believe; to credit.

Trust me, you look well.

2. To commit to the care of, in confidence. Trust your Maker with yourself and all your concerns.

3. To venture confidently.

Fool”d by thee, to trust thee from my side.

4. To give credit to; to sell to upon credit, or in confidence of future payment. The merchants and manufacturers trust their customers annually with goods to the value of millions.

It is happier to be sometimes cheated, than not to trust.

If we look at this definition, we find that a woman of virtue is trustworthy. For a married woman, it means that what her husband had entrusted to her (namely his heart, reputation, life and future) are safe in her care. Since trust is a two way street this also means she trusts him to care for what she had entrusted to him. Next we look at the word spoil.

SPOIL, n. [L.]

1. That which is taken from others by violence; particularly in war, the plunder taken from an enemy; pillage; booty.

2. That which is gained by strength or effort.

Each science and each art his spoil.

3. That which is taken from another without license.

Gentle gales fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole their balmy spoils.

4. The act or practice of plundering; robbery; waste.

The man that hath not music in himself, nor is not movd with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treason, stratagems and spoils.

5. Corruption; cause of corruption.

Villainous company hath been the spoil of me.

6. The slough or cast skin of a serpent or other animal.

From the definitions of these two words, the verse becomes clearer. Because he can trust his wife in all things, he does not need the riches that spoil brings. A virtuous wife will protect her husband’s interests, whether that be business or personal. She will be always on the lookout for his best.

OK, but what about me? What can I get from this verse?

A married, virtuous woman did not become trustworthy overnight. Trust is an earned commodity. It is given when trust given has been returned with fidelity.

Photo Credit: birgerking via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: birgerking via Compfight cc

As a single woman, I need to cultivate the characteristic of trustworthiness or faithfulness. It is one of many virtues that a Christian should exhibit. We are to be trustworthy in the trust that Christ had given us to reach others with His Word. If we look at the verse in the light of Christ the husband of the church, He has given into our keeping His Name, His Reputation, His Life and His Future. His Name is our name now, His Reputation rests on our trustworthiness, His Life is an eternal gift, and His Future is the King of Kings. We have been given the task of spreading His Name and Reputation. What a sacred trust! Are we practicing trustworthiness? Are we as women of virtue developing the faithfulness that will result in Our Savior´s trust?