Rebecca Duvall

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Spiritually Strong

Proverbs 31Proverbs 31

Sayings of King Lemuel

The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.

Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb! Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers! Do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings. It is not for kings, Lemuel—it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. Let beer be for those who are perishing, wine for those who are in anguish! Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Vs 1-31

Proverbs 31:9

This chapter opens with King Lemuel telling us what his mother taught him, which I believe is good advice for every Christian leader today.

  • Don’t spend your mental energy or strength on selfish women/men
  • Don’t allow alcohol to make you forget your responsibilities
  • Speak up for those who cannot
  • Judge fairly
  • Defend the poor and needy

Proverbs 31:10

The remainder is this chapter is what Proverbs 31 is known for; the qualities of a good strong Christian woman:

  • Worth more than any mans treasure
  • Her husband has confidence in her abilities
  • Works hard to provide all her families needs
  • Brings encouragement to her family
  • Helps those less fortunate
  • Trusts the Lord
  • Offers her God given talents
  • Speaks kind words of wisdom
  • Takes time to laugh
  • Takes care of her household
  • Does what is needed to protect her children
  • Takes time for herself, to stay strong spiritually, when needed

I use to avoid this chapter of Proverbs. From what I had heard about it, I always thought it was a place for others to read, point and say, “You don’t do that!” I was afraid of the judgment it would bring. I was afraid I would be told I was a failure as a wife and mother and I was messing up my kids. Who wants to hear that?!

As a mom I’m always wishing there was a magic list I could check to see if I’m doing things right. Haven’t you ever wished for a manual ‘How to be the best mom ever’? I certainly have. I think this chapter tells us what God intends a wife/mother to be like. I think it makes it pretty clear how we are to be. Of course we’re not meant to be this way on our own. It’s with God’s guidance and wisdom and the help of the Holy Spirit that we can accomplish this. This is also going to look different for each woman out there. We are not all the same and never will/can be. That’s not how God created us. God wants us, everyone, to shine with their own individual talent given to them by Him. What’s your God given talent? If you’re not sure, ask God. I know He will tell you, or show you, if you ask.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for your Words, the Bible. I pray we would read it daily and take it to heart. I pray it would draw us closer to you, Amen.

Proverbs 31:30

Discerning My Path

Discernment PathsWhenever I have a new idea or plan of action, I like to seek out those close to me for advice and opinions.  I do this for several reasons.

First, because it forces me to put what I plan to do into words.  As I do that it forces me to think through the situation more clearly which helps me have a better understanding about what it will look like as I walk through this plan.  Secondly, I seek others because they can sometimes assist me in working out all the details. Details I had not thought of before.

Over the past few years, as I’ve worked on my book, I have often gone to others for advice.  And I have often found myself in a pickle!  You see, as much as I enjoy hearing others thoughts and ideas as to what I should and should not do, it can cause confusion.  Yes, yes, I know, I am easily confused.  😛

I value the opinions of those I love and trust so I find myself in a pickle because the opinions of those I go to for help don’t always match.  A few people will tell me I should look into one thing when a few others will tell me to stay away from that and do something completely different.  Then I’m stuck!  What to do, what to do?  I don’t want to hurt the feelings of those I went to for help, but at the same time I like the idea of the others as well.

“First seek the counsel of the Lord.” ~ 1 Kings 22:5

Thankfully I have learned that its great to get assistance from others, but its God who I need to go to for the final answers.  Hopefully, when I come up with a new idea or plan it’s because God has given me the desire in the first place.  Even then, I don’t believe God gives us a desire and says ‘there ya go, have fun making it happen!’  No, God gives us a desire and has the plan and knows the timing in which it is to be carried out.

God will purposely puts people in our path to help us carry out the plan He gave us, but ultimately we need to go to Him for guidance and assurance.  The more we do this the more clearly we will be able to discern the correct path for us as we go forward in our journey through life.

The definition of discern in the dictionary is to sense, see or recognize.  

Earlier this year I continuously heard people ask for prayers of discernment.  I honestly didn’t understand what they were asking for.  I figured since they were asking for it, they must have known they needed it.  Then recently, when finding myself confused by all the advice, I realized I too needed discernment. (Well that’s not entirely true.  A friend suggested I pray for discernment.) I needed to sense, see and recognize God in all aspects of my life.  So how was I supposed to do this?  I felt I needed to get back to talking to God about my confusion.  I needed to talk it out with Him.  Then I needed to listen and watch for His answer and guidance.

I don’t know how God does things with you, but with me He only reveals one step at a time.  He knows I am easily distracted and confused if I look to far ahead.  But what do I usually do?  I usually take matters into my own hands and try to peek down the road so I can try and figure things out before I get there.  I try and give myself a ‘heads up’.  It never works, so I don’t advise it.  What I do advise is looking to God and trusting He will give you all the ‘heads up’ you could possibly need.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, you are so awesome! You are always caring for us and loving us.  The patience you have with us is incredibly amazing! Thank you. I pray we seek you in our daily lives so we may sense, see and recognize the wonders of You all around us, Amen. 

The Path by Karen Mayes

Past = Future

Now Tomorrow Yesterday signI read a quote a friend put on Facebook the other day that hit me like a brick upside the head.

“You can’t get where you need to be if you don’t face where you are.” ~ Joyce Meyer

I use to believe the past had nothing to do with today and certainly not our future.  Once the day had gone, it was gone.  Never to be seen or heard from again.  I thought we could just push it out of our mind and those bad days or horrific encounters with certain people would be forgotten forever.

I was way off!  It’s our past, the people and circumstances of it, that shape who we are today and who we will be tomorrow.  When something bad happens, like losing a job or a friend due to an argument or a loved one passes, and we handle it badly, it stays with us.  We can shove it down deep and refuse to look at it, but it will always be there.

When someone says something hurtful to us or mistreats us and we ignore it, it will stay with us.  We often choose to ignore the person who hurt us. We even pretend the words or actions didn’t affect us.   The hurt we experienced will always be with us.  It will shape our actions in the future.  It will cause us to make poor decisions that will not only be hurting ourselves but those around us too.

I believe it’s necessary to look back at our past, not to keep reliving the hurt and discomfort, but to improve and grow to become a better person.  The hard part is in order to grow from these situations we need to look them square in the eye and walk through the pain and feel uncomfortable for a while.  When we come up against something from our past that’s painful, we ignore it.  We tip toe around it rather than walk straight through it.  Ignoring the pain of the past is how we can get stuck.

When my mom was sick with Breast cancer I was her caretaker.  When she passed I didn’t realize how it affected me.  It was to upsetting to look at so I ignored it and stayed focused on the tasks ahead.  Then years later when my husband got sick, the pain from my mother’s death that I hadn’t dealt with paralyzed me.  My husband needed me to be his caretaker because he was to ill to take care of himself.  I didn’t realize it at the time but I was terrified to.  The last person I was a caretaker for didn’t make it and I felt responsible.  I should’ve had the doctors work faster or do more.  What if I couldn’t get the proper care for my husband? What if he passed while on my watch?

I had to work through the pain of my mother’s death and the guilt I felt.  I needed to let God show me the truth so I could put the lie behind me.  I had to believe God had a plan for me being my husband’s caretaker and trust He would enable me to do just that.  Whatever the outcome was to be, I had to trust God with it.

lightbulb cross

In Matthew (5:14) Jesus says we are to be the light of the world.  How can we be the light if we are covered in the dust of our past?  Jesus knows our hearts and what hurts we are carrying around.  We can call upon Him to reveal our past hurts.  He can help you work through them if you just let him.  Really though, if you stop for a moment I bet you can think of one, probably more, painful memories that you carry around today.

Ignoring our pains of the past keeps us from moving forward into the life God has planned for us.  We let our past hurts control our lives by turning our reactions into negative ones.  We block the blessings God desires to give us.  We block the gifts God has given to us to build the awesome life He has in store for us.  It stops us from getting to where we need to be.

So how are we supposed to work through the pain of our past?  We should have someone we know well and can trust that we can talk to when the pain of the past creeps up on us.  Talking is a great way to work through things.  If you don’t have someone close to you that you feel comfortable sharing with, then I suggest finding a Christian Counselor.  If you don’t know of one, I’m sure you can contact your church, or any church, to see who they recommend.  Some churches even have Chaplains on staff that can help.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the beautiful plans you have for us.  Lord I pray you help us to work through the pain from our past so we may move forward into the future you have planned for us, Amen

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