A Virtuous Woman – Looking at Proverbs 31 from a single perspective

The next couple of months, I will be looking at a familiar passage of Scripture, if you are a woman that is. (Sorry, Guys, maybe next time!) This is something that has been on my heart for a couple of years. When Christian women get together and talk about the Christian Woman, the 31st chapter of Proverbs is inevitably mentioned. The chapter is obviously written for a married woman, but does that exclude single women from being virtuous? Can this chapter be applied to a single woman? I believe that it can if we take the principles taught in Proverbs 31 and apply them to our lives. I will be doing a verse by verse study in how to apply these verses to our single lives. Be prepared the dictionary will come out and maybe even the commentary. I am not sure where this study will end up, but come along for the ride!

I would like to start out by saying that the Proverbs 31 lady did not magically become a virtuous woman by marrying her husband. If this worked, there would be a lot more happy homes around the world. So how did the Virtuous woman of Proverbs get to be virtuous? I believe it was through a lot of hard work (either on the part of the Virtuous Woman or on the part of her mother, probably both.) She had to be taught which characteristics where virtuous and which to avoid. It was a lifelong process of what theologians call sanctification. What makes me respect her even more is, she was an Old Testament saint and therefore did not have the Holy Spirit guiding her every step. In this we have an advantage if we would only allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.

Photo Credit: John-Morgan via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: John-Morgan via Compfight cc

For the sake of clarity, when I refer to the Virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, I will call her Virtue.

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:10

First, who is speaking? What is the context in which we find this verse? This is part of the instruction given to King Lemuel (whom many believe to be King Solomon especially as he is the author of Proverbs) by his mother. She is teaching him what is important and what is not important to a young man’s live. She touches on what many believe to be the good life, Wine, Women and Song. She exhorts him to leave behind alcoholic beverages and to not give his strength to women. By studying the rest of the chapter, we understand that she does not mean him to abstain from all women, but to give himself only to a virtuous woman. So begins a treatise on what is a virtuous woman.

The verse above gives the impression that virtuous women are hard to find. First the question, who can find one? Then the statement that her price is far above rubies. So what does virtuous mean? How can a person strive to be virtuous if they do not know what the word and concept mean?

Definition from Webster’s 1828 English Dictionary –


1. Morally good; acting in conformity to the moral law; practicing the moral duties, and abstaining from vice; as a virtuous man.

2. Being in conformity to the moral or divine law; as a virtuous action; a virtuous life.

The mere performance of virtuous actions does not denominate an agent virtuous.

3. Chaste; applied to women.

4. Efficacious by inherent qualities; as virtuous herbs; virtuous drugs. [Not in use.]

5. Having great or powerful properties; as virtuous steel; a virtuous staff; a virtuous ring. [Not in use.]

6. Having medicinal qualities. [Not used.]

Strong’s Dictionary defines the Hebrew word translated as virtuous here –




From H2342; probably a force, whether of men, means or other resources; an army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength: – able, activity, (+) army, band of men (soldiers), company, (great) forces, goods, host, might, power, riches, strength, strong, substance, train, (+) valiant (-ly), valour, virtuous (-ly), war, worthy (-ily).


Photo Credit: charamelody via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: charamelody via Compfight cc

When we combine the two definitions, we come up with moral strength. So a virtuous woman is a morally strong woman. Ok, so what is moral or morality? (Again from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary)


MOR”AL, a. [L. moralis, from mos, moris, manner.]

1. Relating to the practice, manners or conduct of men as social beings in relation to each other, and with reference to right and wrong. The word moral is applicable to actions that are good or evil, virtuous or vicious, and has reference to the law of God as the standard by which their character is to be determined. The word however may be applied to actions which affect only, or primarily and principally, a person’s own happiness.

Keep at the least within the compass of moral actions, which have in them vice or virtue.

Mankind is broken loose from moral bands.

2. Subject to the moral law and capable of moral actions; bound to perform social duties; as a moral agent or being.

3. Supported by the evidence of reason or probability; founded on experience of the ordinary course of things; as moral certainty, distinguished from physical or mathematical certainty or demonstration.

Physical and mathematical certainty may be stiled infallible, and moral certainty may be properly stiled indubitable.

Things of a moral nature may be proved by moral arguments.

4. Conformed to rules of right, or to the divine law respecting social duties; virtuous; just; as when we say, a particular action is not moral.

5. Conformed to law and right in exterior deportment; as, he leads a good moral life.

6. Reasoning or instructing with regard to vice and virtue.

While thou, a moral fool, sittest still and criest.

7. In general, moral denotes something which respects the conduct of men and their relations as social beings whose actions have a bearing on each others”s rights and happiness, and are therefore right or wrong, virtuous or vicious; as moral character; moral views; moral knowledge; moral sentiments; moral maxims; moral approbation; moral doubts; moral justice; moral virtue; moral obligations, &c. Or moral denotes something which respects the intellectual powers of man, as distinct form his physical powers. Thus we speak of moral evidence, moral arguments, moral persuasion, moral certainty, moral force; which operate on the mind.

Moral law, the law of God which prescribes the moral or social duties, and prohibits the transgression of them.

Moral sense, an innate or natural sense of right and wrong; an instinctive perception of what is right or wrong in moral conduct, which approves some actions and disapproves others, independent of education or the knowledge of any positive rule or law. But the existence of any such moral sense is very much doubted.

Moral philosophy, the science of manners and duty; the science which treats of the nature and condition of man as a social being, of the duties which result form his social relations, and the reasons on which they are founded.

So then a virtuous woman, whose price is well beyond that of rubies, is a morally strong woman, a woman who follows the moral law God set down in the Bible. As single women in ministry, this is something that is of great use to us. We are called to be examples, to teach others what the Bible says, to demonstrate that teaching in our lives. We are called to be virtuous women.

So the start of our journey as virtuous women is in our relationship with God. First, we must have a personal relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus. If you have not accepted Jesus free gift of salvation, i.e. you have not recognized that you are a sinner and you can do nothing to save your soul from eternal death, have not recognized that Jesus paid the debt for your sin by dying on the cross and have not accepted His gift of payment for your sins so you can have eternal live instead of death, that is your first step. The Bible teaches that one cannot be morally right with God unless their sin debt has been paid, either by them through eternal punishment or by Jesus’ payment through His death on the cross.

If you have taken this step, then what? How can a woman be virtuous? Regular Bible study is a start. How can someone put a moral law into practice if they do not know the moral law? By studying what God has set down in the Bible, we learn what He expects from us. Which leads us to the next step, putting that moral law into practice. This is not an overnight transformation, but a lifelong process. (Remember that hard work I mentioned at the beginning of the blog?) This is a step that will last the rest of our lives.

Does this mean that I will only be considered virtuous when I reach Heaven? No. this means that while we are here on this earth, we will still have to contend with our human nature, whose instincts go against God’s moral law. We will stumble and fall along our journey, but that we are trying to keep to the moral law will define us as virtuous women.

How is your journey as a virtuous woman going so far? What gems have you picked up along the way that could help someone else? Please leave your comments below.

God at Work


Although I seem to have disappeared for two weeks, I have been very busy. The first week was the completion of the language class I was taking. I am now able to apply for a five year residency visa. The second week I was at camp. This year, attendance was down but God worked in a mighty way.


From our church, we took 5 young people and 3 leaders. One of those young men was reluctant to go as none of his friends were going this year. I convinced him that even if his friends were not able to go, camp would be good for him emotionally. He has had a tough year and I knew that hearing God’s Word exclusively for a week would be beneficial. He started out camp listening intently to what was preached and on the last night of camp, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. He was one of two that were saved.

Apart from the two saved, God used the counselors and preachers to work in the lives of all present. Many of the campers had been to camp before and because they knew what to expect, they were able to concentrate on what God was telling them. One young man is looking into taking Bible Institute courses as a result of God working. I have to say this has been the best camp yet. I cannot wait to see the results of His work.

Pray for the campers who made decisions this week. The society we live in is hard on people who stand up for Christ. Pray they will follow through with the decisions made and will stay faithful to God.

Faithful Recipe

I have a few recipes that are old standbys. You know, the recipes you pull out when you need something quick? I am going to share this one with you today. It is my recipe for brownies.

Photo Credit: QuintanaRoo via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: QuintanaRoo via Compfight cc

½ c melted butter

1 c sugar

½ c cocoa

2 eggs

½ c flour

1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter on low heat. Stir in sugar and cocoa. (My brownies tend to come out better if you melt the butter then turn off the heat.) Remove from heat. Stir in eggs one at a time and then add flour and vanilla. Grease bottom of 8×8 or 6×10 pan (you can also flour it. doing so makes the brownie removal much easier.) Pour brownie mixture into pan and put in an oven heated to 350°F or 175°C. Bake for 20 minutes or until the middle is cooked through.Cool and enjoy!

These tasty treats are my go to dessert when I need something fast or when that sweet tooth strikes. Of course, you can improve on this recipe by adding chocolate chips, nuts, peanut butter, etc. I hope you can use this recipe and enjoy it as I have.

On a more serious note, if you are a single person and you have a recipe or blog idea you would like to share, please contact me at servingsingle(at)gmail(dot)com or comment below. I would love to hear what is important to you as a single.

A Tool for Children’s Ministry

One of the most useful tools I have used in children’s ministry is flannelgraph. Flannelgraph is an effective visual aid. Especially in areas where children have either never seen flannelgraph before or where it has not been used in a long time. However, this tool can be hamstrung by a poor quality set of flannelgraph materials. This is why I am sharing with you today my favorite flannelgraph set. Betty Lukens Deluxe

Betty Lukens’ flannelgraph materials are made of high quality materials. The set my mother gave me has lasted at least 20 years and is still going strong. Their Bible stories set includes all of the major stories of the Bible and many of the lesser known ones. It also comes with a teacher’s manual that includes diagrams for placement of the figures and what figures were used for the story. Their website address is:


There are two ways of getting the sets of Bible flannelgraph. The Basic set comes with all of the figures and backgrounds but you need to cut them out. The Deluxe set comes with all of the figures cut out and all of the backgrounds mounted on heavy duty cardboard. It also comes with a filing system for the figures. The deluxe set is more expensive but the money is worth it. It saves you from having to cut out hundreds of figures and having to come up with your own filing system. Both set also come in two sizes. The large set has 12” figures and the small set has 6 ½” figures.Betty Lukens Backgrounds

The teacher’s manual come in English and in Spanish. Even if you can’t use the teacher’s manual, the flannelgraph plays well with other stories. I normally use the teacher’s manual for placement of the figures and to know what figures to use. Then I use other materials for the actual stories or even tell it my own way.

These sets are available online and as of this blog post the deluxe edition is on sale. I have worked with their customer service before. They are friendly and helpful. They even told me of a great discount for missionaries. If you are looking for a good tool that will last a long time, I suggest you look into Betty Lukens materials. I know that they have other sets available besides the complete Bible sets.

Betty Lukens did not pay me to review this material. It was reviewed of my own free will and desire to be a blessing to others. I have tried to make my information as accurate as possible but something may have changed since I wrote the post. All pictures are from their website.

Lemonade from Lemons

First, let me apologize for not writing last week. Life interfered and I was away from my computer.

Now on to today’s topic. Many of you have probably heard the phrase, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” This summer life is giving me a lemon and I am trying to make lemonade from it.

Photo Credit: Creature Comforts via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Creature Comforts via Compfight cc

The lemon isn’t particularly sour but it is sour enough to be a hassle. You see the country I live in changed the law on visa application for visas over two years. Before the change, I could go to a testing place, take a test that proves that I can speak, read and write in Portuguese, and qualify for a five year visa. After the change, I now have to take a 150 hour course in basic Portuguese. So basic in fact that we started with the alphabet.

This course is conducted in a city half an hour away from where I live. It is 4 hours long and is almost every day of the week. This means I lose time I could have spent on my master’s degree, translation, or any other project I have going for the church. That is the lemon.

Now to make lemonade. The class is full of people from all over the world that I would not have met any other way. (We have at least two or three other languages going besides Portuguese in every class.) Because I speak Portuguese already, I am able to help the other students. If nothing else, I will get a couple pairs of hand knitted socks out of the process. (I am so glad the teacher allowed me to knit in class. It makes the time go by so much faster.) By taking this course I will be able to get a five year visa. This will save me money, time and hassle in the long run. A lot more lemonade comes from that one lemon.

When I was growing up my mother always said, ‘Life is not fair.’ As an adult, I completely agree with her. Life is not fair. However, I know also that the Heavenly Father is in control of everything. He knew that law would change and I would have to take this class. He knew that it would be a hassle for me to attend. He also knew who would be in the class with me. God sometimes puts us in situations ‘For such a time as this.’ Like Esther being chosen queen so she could save her people. Like Rome conquering Israel so prophecy could be fulfilled and Jesus Christ could die on a cross. Like putting me in a class to be a light.

Though my lemon is not particularly sour, maybe your lemon is. It may need a lot of sugar to make a palatable lemonade. Or maybe God is teaching you to like sour things and preparing you for something in your future. Whatever your situation, please remember God is in control and He placed you where you are on purpose. He not only placed you there on purpose, but He walks beside you all the way.

If this has helped you, let me know how God is using your lemons to make lemonade.

Project With Ease

Photo Credit: libraryman via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: libraryman via Compfight cc

Today I want to share with you a free program that my coworker found online. This program allows you to set up the whole service to be projected on the overhead screen. The program’s name is Open Song. I know that in the States, having songs projected in the church can be a sensitive subject. However, on the field, we lack hymn and chorus books. Hymnbooks with music are not even available to purchase in the country. So, to make our lives easier and still have hymns and choruses that everyone can sing, we project our songs.

Following is the link to download the program:


This program is very easy to use. Once you have input a song it can be used over and over. You can pick out the songs you want to sing that service and line them up to be projected. Before we used this program, we used Power Point. It was clunky and required a lot of work to line up the song service. This program is so easy, I can line up the song service in 10 minutes. The program also works with Power Point, Open Office and iOS. You can even add in a video presentation to the service line up. Want to read a passage from the Bible? Two minutes, tops. We are blessed to have our version of the Bible in Portuguese (Trinitarian Bible Society from Brazil).

I have been using this program for over 4 years. It is easy to teach to others and easy to operate. If this is something that is lacking in your ministry, please give it a try.

* Open Song did not pay me to review this product. It is a review from years of experience with the program.

Blow Out The Candles!

Photo Credit: Theresa Thompson via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Theresa Thompson via Compfight cc

In honor of my birthday I am sharing my favorite Chocolate Cake. I found this recipe several years ago and have loved it ever since. It is a very easy cake to make. The texture is very moist and the taste is dark chocolate. Here is the website link and recipe.



2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups white sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup hot, strong coffee


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla, mix until smooth. Stir in the hot coffee last. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

This is very good with my sister’s recipe for Chocolate Mousse Frosting. The only thing this recipe is not good for is cupcakes. The batter comes out very soupy and it is difficult to portion it out into the cupcake pan. The secret to eating cake as a single is to invite friends over to share it (or take it to church to share, which is what I do). If you love chocolate, you will love this cake. I have made it several times to rave reviews. My mother even asked me for the recipe (she is such a good cook that this shocked me!) Try out my gift to you and tell me if you liked the cake as much as I did. Enjoy!

Strength in Numbers

This last weekend was our church’s second youth conference. Since I am one of the leaders for our youth group, some of the organizational details fell to me. Why am I talking about the youth conference here on the blog? Because of the theme, Christian Courtship.

Even though I have heard most of what was taught before and have even taught on some of it myself, it was good to hear it again. Repetition helps learning. It was good to be reminded again of what is necessary for a good relationship with someone of the opposite sex. It was also good to be reminded that even though I am single and am not in a relationship, there are still pitfalls of which I need to be aware.

The topics consisted of ‘God or the world: On which side are you?’ ‘Purity: a dream or reality?’ ‘Is it a sin to date someone who is not a Christian?’ and ‘The traps of the internet: Pornography.’ All of these topics face our young people of today, and even the not so young people. The speakers hit the nail on the head and preached straight from the Bible. They reminded us that God has set a standard for our behavior and expects us to keep to it. They also talked about how to avoid temptation and situations that can cause us to fail to keep the standard.

This last is what I want to talk about. Because we are single missionaries or workers in a church, we are held up as examples. It is our responsibility as older brothers and sisters in Christ to hold to the standard. The older we get, the more experience we are supposed to have in evading temptation. However, sometimes instead of holding the standard, we become lax in our vigilance.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5:8

When we let our vigilance become lax, the devil is right there to take advantage. I know that I seem to be ‘preaching to the choir’ but sometimes the ‘choir’ needs the reminder as well. This weekend was that for me. God seemed to be saying ‘Remember the standard and keep to it.’

There is another reason we need to be reminded of the standard every once in a while:

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 1 Corinthians 9:27

Even Paul was concerned with letting the standard fall. If he was concerned, then we definitely should be concerned. As the speaker who spoke on Pornography said, it is so easy now days to be on the internet innocently and get it shoved into your face.

As my blog title says, there is strength in numbers. If you need to be around members of the opposite sex, make sure there are more than two. This is a precept I have been taught since I was a teen. Always make sure you are in groups of three when there are males and females. It has served as a reminder and a good rule to live by. It can also help keep you to the standard. It may complicate your life a bit, but it prevents problems down the road.

One last verse before I go.

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12

This verse was running through my mind a lot this weekend. We may be full-time or part-time Christian workers, but we are still human. We still sin and can still fall down. So if you think you’re standing, take heed.

What does safety mean to you?

When it comes to safety this is a good question, what does safety mean to you? Let us turn to my old friend the dictionary first. Webster’s 1913 edition defines safety as:

1. The condition or state of being safe; freedom from danger or hazard; exemption from hurt, injury, or loss.

2. Freedom from whatever exposes one to danger or from libility to cause danger or harm; safeness; hence, the quality of making safe or secure, or of giving confidence, justifying trust, insuring against harm or loss, etc.

3. Preservation from escape; close custody.

Safety can mean many things to different people. Sometimes it means taking all precautions while taking a risk. This would be the bungee jumper making sure that all of his harnesses are tight and will securely hold him while he jumps of a tall place. Or the parachutist double-checking his gear before climbing into the plane. To some it means hiding away from all dangers and being secure from every risk.

What does the Bible say about safety?

A quick search of the word turns up 19 matches in the King James Bible. Safety is connected to two things, Wise Counsel and the Lord.

Wise Counsel

Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14

For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety. Proverbs 24:6

The Bible makes it clear that safety is in wise counsel. Not just a little wise counsel, but a lot of wise counsel. Of course this wise counsel will be of no use if it is not put into practice. When it comes to any decision in your life, listen to the wise people in your life and remember Rehoboam. Rehoboam was Solomon’s son and he lost most of his kingdom when he listen not to the wise counsel of his elders but to the counsel of his buddies (I Kings 12).

The Lord is our Safety

Photo Credit: cenz via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: cenz via Compfight cc

Several verses make it plain that real safety can only come from God. It comes when we do what we can and leave the rest to God. When we do what God expects of us, He gives us safety whether we are in the deepest jail or the darkest storm. Our safety does not depend on us, but on an unchanging, unfailing God who loves us and wants our best.

Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety. Leviticus 24:18

But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; Deuteronomy 12:10

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

Of course, there is my personal favorite.

The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD. Proverbs 21:31

What Does Safety Mean to You?

Does safety mean never taking a risk? Does it mean hiding from the will of God because the physical and emotional dangers are too great? Does it mean taking a leap of faith trusting that God will catch you up before you fall? Does it mean you never protect yourself from any dangers?

Safety can only come from God. He is the only one that can see the future. We can only trust that He knows what is ahead and that He has prepared for it. Our risks come when we put into action His plans for us. Those risks may look very large at the beginning but if our faith is in God and He knows our rising from our falling, then we are safe in Him. Does this mean there is no danger? NO! But we obey in spite of the danger.

Think of the five missionary men killed in 1955 while trying to evangelize a forgotten people. They took all precautions, but left their safety in the hands of the Lord. You say, “But they were killed!” Yes, and what safer place is there to be but in heaven where there are no dangers. God used those five deaths to win that tribe for Himself. If you go back today, many of the people of that tribe are Christians because the wives and children of those five men took a risk to go and live among them. Their testimony of faith won the hearts of the people.

Many think physical safety is guaranteed to any who follow Christ. Just look at the history of the church and you will see that this is not so. Physical safety is not real safety. Real safety is in knowing the Savior who died in my place. It is in knowing that He has a plan for your life and whatever happens, happens for a purpose. It is in keeping the teaching of Romans 8 close to our hearts. He know what is ahead and everything will work out for His glory if we just trust and obey.

What does safety mean to you? Please write and tell me what you think.