Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lesson 6 - Taking Every Thought Captive

What meant the most to you from this chapter or helped you think more accurately about God’s character and the truth of His Word?

What offered you the greatest challenge or blessing, and why?

Step 1: Recognizing the Command
What is the command given to you in Philippians 4:8?

According to the verses below, what “resources” do you have to help you determine if some of the thoughts you are thinking are based on what is true and real?

Romans 9:1 --

Hebrews 10:15-16 --

2 Timothy 3:16-17 --

Proverbs 12:15 --

Step 2: Responding in Obedience
Consider Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 10:5. Share how each of the “resources” in the Scriptures that follow help you bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Romans 9:1 --

Hebrews 10:15-16 --

2 Timothy 3:16-17 --

Proverbs 12:15 --

Step 3: Reaping the Benefits
We have now completed the chapters about “thinking on the truth.”

Look again at the short list of benefits in your book. What benefits have you experienced thus far as you have been thinking on what is true and real?

Where have you seen the greatest growth in your Christian life? How has your life been more focused since thinking on what is true and real?

How has the reality of a “leaky bucket” affected your energy level in the past? Have you noticed any changes since you have been learning to think on what is true and real?

Loving God…Even More
Read this section in your book again. As you consider the contents of this chapter and God’s amazing love for you, what can you do this week, in obedience to Christ…

…to think on the truth?

…to train your thoughts?

…to love God with all your mind?

Think on these things.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lesson 5 - Thinking the Truth About...The Past and The Present

What meant the most to you from this chapter or helped you think more accurately about God’s character and the truth of His Word?

What offered you the greatest challenge or blessing, and why?

Thinking About the Past
What “if only” thought do you think most often?

How are your “if only” thoughts robbing you of a quality life in the present?

How has “if only” thinking been counterproductive in your life or the life of someone you know?

Remembering to Think on What is True
According to the book, what two exceptions about your past are you to remember?


How does Psalm 77:11 remind you of how God brought you through a difficult time in your life?

What does Psalm 73:23-24 teach about God’s presence in your past, in your present, and in your future?

Looking Back Through Eyes of Faith
What do the following Scriptures teach about your past?

Psalm 139:
     Verse 13
     Verse 15
     Verse 16

2 Corinthians 5:17

Ephesians 1:4

Ephesians 2:10

2 Timothy 1:9

What does Romans 8:28-29 state about your past?

What perspective on your personal history do Paul’s words in Romans 8:28-29 give you?

Thinking About the Present
What disappointing, “but this isn’t the way it was supposed to be” issue are you facing in your life today?

What does Philippians 4:8 teach you about your present situation?

Now, list several things you are going to do about “the way it really is”.

Loving God…Even More
Read this section in your book again. As you consider the contents of this chapter and God’s amazing love for you, what can you do this week, in obedience to Christ…

…to think on the truth?

…to train your thoughts?

…to love God with all your mind?

Think on These Things
Phillipians 4:8  are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lesson 4 - Thinking on the Truth About... the Future

What meant the most to you from this chapter or helped you think more accurately about God’s character and the truth of His Word?

What offered you the greatest challenge or blessing, and why?

Crippling Fear
Check any fears you have, and put a star next to your greatest ones.

____ Natural disaster ____ Money/finances

____ Marriage ____ Children/grandchildren

____ Singleness ____ Widowhood

____ Old age ____ Illness/suffering

____ Death ____ Others:

How have these fears hindered you and your quality of life in the past?

How are they inhibiting your life now?

Overcoming Fear
The Bible has much to say about not being fearful. What do these verses remind us about God’s watch-care?

 2 Timothy 1:7 - For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear - A nervous and fearful spirit. This is said in order to encourage Timothy.

But of power - Power to encounter foes and dangers; power to bear up under trials; power to triumph in persecutions.

And of love - Love to God and to the souls of men. The tendency of this is to “cast out fear” and to make the mind bold and constant.

Nothing will do more to inspire courage, to make a man fearless of danger, or ready to endure hardship and persecution, than “love.”

The love of country, and husband, and children, and home, makes the most timid bold when they are attacked; and the love of Christ and of a dying world strengthens the soul and sustains it in the deepest sorrows.

And of a sound mind - The Greek word denotes one of sober mind; a man of forethought and good judgment.

The state referred to here is the mind being well balanced, and under right influences; in which it sees things in their just proportions and relations; in which it is not agitated and excited, but when everything is in its proper place.

It was this state of mind which Timothy was exhorted to cultivate; this which Paul regarded as so necessary to the performance of the duties of his office. It is as needful now as it was then.

 Hebrews 13:6 - So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

So that we may boldly say - Without any hesitation or doubt, In all times of confusion; in all times when we barely know where the supplies for our necessities are to come, we may put our trust in God, and be assured that he will not leave us to suffer. There is a ground for confidence on this subject which is not always exercised even by good people.

The Lord is my helper - What can we fear if we have the assurance that the Lord is on our side, and that he will help us? Man can do no more to us than he permits, and of course no more than will be for our own good; and under whatever trials we may be placed, we need be under no painful apprehensions, for God will be our protector and our friend.

 1 John 4:18 - There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

There is no fear in love - Love is not an affection which produces fear. In the love which we have for a parent, a child, a friend, there is no fear. If a man had perfect love to God, he would have no fear of anything - for what would he have to dread?

He would have no fear of death, for he would have nothing to dread beyond the grave. It is guilt that makes people fear what is to come; but he whose sins are pardoned, and whose heart is filled with the love of God, has nothing to dread in this world or the world to come.

The angels in heaven, who have always loved God and one another, have no fear, for they have nothing to dread in the future; the redeemed in heaven, rescued from all danger, and filled with the love of God, have nothing to dread; and as far as that same loves operates on earth, it delivers the soul now from all apprehension of what is to come.

But perfect love casteth out fear - That is, love that is complete, or that is allowed to exert its proper influence on the soul. As far as it exists, its tendency is to deliver the mind from alarms. If it should exist in any soul in an absolutely perfect state, that soul would be entirely free from all dread in regard to the future.

Because fear hath torment - It is a painful and distressing emotion. We suffer from the fear of poverty, of losses, of bereavement, of sickness, of death, and of future woe. From all these distressing apprehensions, that love of God which provides an evidence of true faithfulness delivers us.

He that feareth, is not made perfect in love - If we allow our mind to linger on the apprehension of future wrath, we show that love in our soul has not accomplished its full work.

The following promises were given by God. Who were they given to, and what was the substance of the promise?

 Genesis 15:1 - After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

After these things, - the victory, the blessing, and the self-denial recorded in the previous chapter. “The word of the Lord,” manifesting himself by speech to his servant. “In the vision” the intelligent observer passes from the merely sensible to the supersensible sphere of reality. “Fear not, Abram.” The patriarch had some reason to fear. The formidable allies had indeed been defeated, and the fruits of their marauding enterprise wrested from them. But they might resume their purpose, and return with an overwhelming force. And Abram was still a stranger in a foreign land, preoccupied by tribes of another race, who would combine against him as soon as they suspected him of being an intruder. But the Lord had stood by him and given him the victory, and now speaks to him in the language of encouragement. “I am thy shield, thy exceeding great reward.” The word I is separately expressed, and, therefore, emphatic in the original.

The mind of Abram is here lifted up to the spiritual and the eternal. (1) thy shield. (2) thy exceeding great reward.

Abram has two fears - the presence of evil, and the absence of good.

Experience and conscience had begun to teach him that both of these were justly his doom.

With such a shield from all evil, and such a source of all good, he need not be afraid. We have the great doctrine of “the Lord our righteousness,” redeeming us on the one hand from the sentence of death, and on the other to a title to eternal life.

 Genesis 21:17-19 - And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.
 18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.
 19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.

God hears the voice of the lad, whose sufferings from thirst are greater than those of the mother. An angel is sent, who addresses Hagar in the simple words of encouragement and direction. “Hold thy hand upon him.” Lay thy hand firmly upon him. The former promise Gen_16:10 is renewed to her. God also opened her eyes that she saw a well of water, from which the bottle is replenished, and she and the lad are recruited for their further journey.

 Joshua 1:9 - Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

When we are in the way of our duty we have reason to be strong and very courageous; and it will help very much to keep our eye upon the divine warrant, hear God saying, “Have not I commanded thee? I will therefore help thee, succeed thee, accept thee, reward thee.”

Our Lord Jesus, as Joshua here, was borne up under his sufferings by a regard to the will of God and the commandment he had received from his Father, John 10:18.

No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

How can these promises help you overcome your fears?

Thinking about the Future
What is/are the “what if(s)” you think about most often?

What is true and real about your future? How can you remember these truths when you are tempted to be fearful?

Asking “But What Is True and Real?”
Briefly note the truths the following Scriptures contain and how they apply to your specific fears about the future.

Joshua 1:9 - Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Psalms 23:1, 4, 6 - Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalms 46:1-2 - To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

2 Corinthians 12:9 - And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Philippians 4:19 - But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 13:5-6 - Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

What will you plan to do the next time you find yourself thinking, “What if…”?

Noting a Few “Nothings”
Review again the list of “nothings”. Which one(s) encouraged you the most, and why?

What can you add to the list?

Loving God…Even More
Read this section in your book again. As you consider the contents of this chapter and God’s amazing love for you, what can you do this week, in obedience to Christ…

…to think on the truth?

…to train your thoughts?

…to love God with all your mind?

Think on these things.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lesson 3 - Thinking the Truth about Others

What meant the most to you from this chapter or helped you think more accurately about God’s character and the truth of His Word?

What offered you the greatest challenge or blessing, and why?

Playing Mind Games
Mark any thoughts you regularly entertain about other people.

___ “I don’t think he/she means what he/she said.”

___ “I wonder what I’ve done wrong.”

___ “I wonder what he/she thinks about me.”

___ Other ways you second-guess people’s motives or messages:

Understanding the Principle of Love
Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
What truths in these verses could help you with your nagging thoughts about what other people are thinking?

Putting the Principle of Love to Work
How will asking yourself “What is true?” help you stop second-guessing your relationships?

Understanding the Principle of a Clear Conscience
Read Matthew 18:15.
How can obedience to this command assist you in your relationships?

What is the similar command in James 4:17?

If no one comes to you with a personal issue, what can you assume?

Putting the Principle of a Clear Conscience to Work
How does remembering the wisdom of Proverbs 28:1 help you proceed in your relationships?

Applying God’s Principles to Your Thoughts
Consider what we’ve learned from Philippians 4:8 and what the guidelines “true” and “real” offer for your thoughts. What can you do, and what can God do to keep you from torturing yourself with unfounded (and, therefore, probably inaccurate) thoughts about what other people are thinking and feeling?

What will you do the next time you find yourself being suspicious, exaggerating, guessing, or making assumptions about someone’s behavior?

How would your relationships improve if you accepted people’s words at face value? Can you think of one specific instance where this would have helped?

Tapping into the Power of God’s Word
Read Hebrews 4:12.
How is the Word of God described?

What is God’s Word able to do?

How does the Bible help you in your thought process?

What must you do to tap into this power?

Loving God…Even More
Read this section in your book again. As you consider the contents of this chapter and God’s amazing love for you, what can you do this week, in obedience to Christ…

…to think on the truth?
…to train your thoughts?
…to love God with all your mind?

Think on these things.

Lesson 2 - Thinking the Truth about God and His Word

What meant the most to you from this chapter or helped you think more accurately about God’s character and the truth of His Word?

What offered you the greatest challenge or blessing, and why?

Thinking the Truth About God
Which of the following ideas or feelings do you regularly entertain?

 “I’m not really forgiven.”
 “I must not be a Christian.”
 “God doesn’t know what’s going on.”
 “God doesn’t see what’s happening to me.”
 God doesn’t understand how I feel.”
 “God wouldn’t do that for me.”
 “God doesn’t care about me.”
 Other feelings or thoughts:

What truths do these verses teach us that contradict the ideas and feelings listed above?
Exodus 2:24-25
Exodus 3:7-10
Genesis 16:7-10
Genesis 21:17-19
1 Peter 5:7

How will you begin to change your thoughts so you are thinking the truth about God?

Thinking the Truth about God’s Word
Read 2 Timothy 3:16. What does this verse say about the value of God’s Word?

Now, write out 1 John 1:9 from your Bible. What does this verse say about forgiveness?

Read Colossians 1:14. How does this verse give you additional assistance in thinking “forgiven”?

Think the Truth about Ourselves
Read the following verses in your Bible.
Psalm 139:14
1 Corinthians 12:7-11
Romans 5:8
Romans 8:35
2 Timothy 1:9

How can the truths of these verses help you replace the inaccurate ideas you sometimes have about God and yourself?

Sometimes God’s Word says one thing, and we think or feel differently. How should we view this contradiction and the power of God’s Word to transform our thinking?

Loving God…Even more….what can you do this week, in obedience to Christ…to think on the truth?
To train your thoughts? To love God with all your mind? Think on these things.

Lesson 1 - Thinking on the Truth

What meant the most to you from this chapter or helped you think more accurately about God’s character and the truth of His Word?

What offered you the greatest challenge or blessing, and why?

Overcoming Depression
What have you been struggling with in your personal life, either currently or at some time in the past?

God has the power to change us and the way we think. What “remarkable” progress have you made in gaining victory this week or at a previous time?

Turning to God’s Word
The author shared three practices God used to turn her life and daily struggles around. These disciplines centered around Philipians 4:8.

Your problem is probably different from hers, but the methods for turning to and applying God’s Word that follow can help you as well.

Memorizing God’s Word - Write out Philippians 4:8 from your Bible here. Then write out your plan for memorizing it.

Meditating on God’s Word - Meditating on Scripture involves asking questions about its meaning. Think about how each of the 8 “virtues” fits into the meaning of Philippians 4:8.

Why is each one important? Which one is your favorite and why?

Which do you admire most in others?

Applying God’s Word - Regarding the application of God’s Word, what is the message of James 1:22?

As you think about these three practices, what steps do you need to take?

Thinking on “These Things”
Look again at Philippians 4:8. What is the command in this verse? What boundaries does it place on your thoughts?

Breaking Through
Of the 10,000 thoughts that flow through our minds every day, how can thinking on the truth help with our thought life?

What is a blessed result of following the advice of Philippians 4:8, according to verse 9?

Making Progress
“Whatsoever things are true…think on these things.” Give an example from this past week of how the practice of these 8 words corrected your “unhealthy thinking.”

Realizing Strength for Daily Life
Hopefully the benefits of thinking on what is true and real are beginning to be evident. Share one instance when you realized God’s strength for your daily life or for a trial because you chose to think on the truth.

What does Philippians 4:6-7 also advise for handling any problems?

Loving God…Even more….what can you do this week, in obedience to Christ…to think on the truth?
To train your thoughts? To love God with all your mind? Think on these things.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lesson 24 - The Legacy of Your Heart

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.: – 2 Timothy 2:15

Reflection Time for You, a Woman After God’s Own Heart

Where do we start after studying and discovering God’s design and implementing some or all of the principles we have talked about in this book?

1. Are you responding positively to what we have studied?

Now we must strive to continue our journey to become a woman truly after God’s own heart.

Do you truly desire to be a woman who serves her generation, whether that’s the people at home, your husband, sons and daughters, grandchildren or parents or in-laws or your neighborhood, church, or workplace?

Let’s talk about the Keys we can use to continue becoming a woman after God’s own heart.

Becoming a Woman After God’s Own Heart

Obey God’s commands
Obedience to God and His commands is the primary key to the Christian life.

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. – 1 Samuel 15:22

God doesn’t want your outward obedience to be a ritual. He wants you to respond in obedience to His Word as He speaks directly to your situation.

Your greatest impact will be choosing to do things God’s way, not your own way.

There is a battle going on in your heart between doing what you should do and doing what you want to do. How do you deal with this battle in your heart?

Walk in the Spirit

You manage the battle in your heart by following this next key as you…

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. – Galatians 5:16

Looking to God for His help and obeying this one command will do away with the works of the flesh, which destroy lives, marriages, families, and homes.

19. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20. Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21. Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

As you ask for help from God and walk with Him according to His ways, you will reap the following…

22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

First you must acknowledge to God that you want to follow Him and then ask Him for the grace and strength to trust Him, to walk by faith.

Pray regularly

As you know from all of our lessons, the role of prayer is so very important to fulfilling God’s will for your life. It’s vital!

Prayer acknowledges your dependence on God.
Prayer opens your heart to knowing and fulfilling God’s will.
Prayer gives you the assurance and confidence that, as you carry out God’s priorities, He will give you the strength to see it through to the end.

Prayer must become an all-important part of your life!

Adopt a long-range view

It took David a lifetime to fulfill God’s will and serve his generation.

We have taken a good number of weeks to read and digest this book.

Something as important as doing God’s will and living out His priorities will take a long time to complete. – It will take a lifetime.

So each day focus on the tasks and people in front of you.

Accept your roles

This is similar to Key #4 except this key requires that you take on the task of being a woman after God’s own heart in a personal way.

It’s one thing to have a goal, but it’s quite another thing to actually accept the challenge, develop a strategy to press for the goal, make the sacrifices, pay the price to move forward, and blessing of blessings, to realize some part of it.

Do you really believe God is asking you to serve your generation and to serve according to His will?

Until you accept your assignment as coming from God Himself, you will have difficulty taking it seriously.

Ask, “Who am I, and what is it I do?”

Each of God’s women are at a different season in life.

Whatever your age and stage, you must be constantly asking yourself, “Who am I?” Hopefully you will always answer with “I am a woman after God’s own heart!”

The second question you must constantly ask is “What is it I do?”

The answer to this question will constantly change and with each change, you make the necessary adjustments.

God will help you make the choices that guide you into His path for each stage and age of your life.

You will then forever be His woman, a woman after His very own heart.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lesson 23 - The Legacy of A Woman After God’s Own Heart

For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: – Acts 13:36

If you will recall we started this study by considering David’s usefulness to God as reported in Acts 13:22. Even with all of David’s faults, he had a heart for God. In other words, he desired to do God’s will.

David’s last will and testament is that his life had an impact. He served his own generation by the will of God…because he chose to submit his heart and service to God’s will, not his own.

This mission that we have taken on to becoming women after God’s heart isn’t always easy. Sometimes we will feel like we are taking a step forward and sometimes we will feel that we have quickly taken two steps back.

Energized and encouraged by the grace of God and propelled by your heart’s desire to love God through obedience…we can move forward.

No matter what changes our future holds, we should stay dedicated to our mission and let it be our guiding beacon.

God will sustain you and enable you to stay on target:
…to love Him first and passionately
…to be the best wife and mom and grandmother you can possibly be
…to continue to grow in the knowledge of God
…to serve Him and His people.

After we complete this study, it will be necessary to continue to practice and order our lives by the priorities we have discussed in these lessons…this priorities we learned from God’s manual for all of life…the BIBLE!

Continue to desire…continue to pray…continue to have a heart that obey each and every time a new or difficult challenge comes along.

Revisit your priorities and refresh your outlook on your spiritual life to make sure you are not failing in your priorities.

To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. – Titus 2:5

It’s never too late to begin practicing your priorities. It’s never too late to begin to follow God’s commands and to live out our assignment from God as a loving and supportive wife, mother, neighbor, friend.

We have seen that this book did not deal only with women who are married and have children. If your heart and ears are open, you’ll have countless opportunities as you sense or hear the distress of other friends, co-workers, even strangers, who are married women and moms with problems.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

22 - Following After God's Heart

My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me; – Psalm 63:8

When you and I take seriously our assignments from God, He blesses our obedience, and the resulting growth is astounding.

As we come to the end of this study committed to following hard and close after God (Psalm 63:8) and doing His will (Acts 13:22), let’s consider what we can do to nurture, prune, and train our hearts so that we can enjoy the lovely fruit God intends His people to know when they honor Him.

What can we do to place ourselves before God so that we can know His beauty and serenity in our hearts and under our roofs?

Plan Your Day

The first challenge we face is gaining control of our day. To do this we must begin the night before.

Before you turn the lights off to enter dream land, sit there relaxing and planning your day in chronological order.

Pray to God and ask Him to guide and bless the next day.

You’ll find that these few minutes can reduce the number of surprises in the morning.

In the morning, welcome the day with words of praise (Psalm 118:24). Begin by praying!

Pray Over Your Plans and Priorities

What should we pray about? How do we create a plan for practicing God’s priorities?

God – Write down what God has led you in prayer to do today to live out the fact that He is the Ultimate Priority in your life.

Husband – Ask God what you can do today to let your husband know he is the most important human priority. (If you aren’t married…move on down the list.)

Children – Ask God what you can do to let your children know they are more important than all the other people in your life, to show them how special each one of them are to you, to show your love. Jot down some ideas and answers.

Home – Praying about homemaking lifts it out of the physical realm and transports it into the spiritual. Ask God what you can do today regarding your home. What can you do to make your home a little bit of heaven?

     Be faithful in daily cleaning tasks.

     Finish fully is a character quality and discipline that we can all work on.

Self – lay your life before God. Ask him what you can do today to grow spiritually.

Ministry – Ask God what you can do to serve and minister to His people.

Other Activities – these are the other facets of your life. We must follow all the rules and guidelines as set forth by God in the Bible so that our lives will contain all the elements necessary for beauty.

Schedule Your Plans and Priorities

Now write down when you are scheduling these items for certain times during the day.

Once you have your list, you can carry it with you all day, put it on the refrigerator door, or lay it on the kitchen counter.

If you follow these steps of planning, praying, and scheduling, you soon discover how comforting it is to get up from your time of prayer with a clear plan for your day.

Now that you have made this commitment and have done this seeking, determine to stick to your plan – God’s plan.

Practice Your Priorities

Each day presents many opportunities and challenges to practice our priorities. One way to simplify your moment-by-moment decision-making might be to assign your priorities numbers:

#1 – God
#2 – Husband
#3 – Children
#4 – Home
#5 – Spiritual Growth
#6 – Ministry Activities
#7 – Other activities

Making choices to live your priorities enables God to make your life a work of beauty.

Our goal is to be discreet (Titus 2:5) – meaning women who are thinking things through and showing good judgment.

A woman of discretion thinks through her choices and the messages they deliver to her husband, children, and neighbors.

She thinks a situation through and considers all possible consequences, both good and bad.

Acquire God’s Perspective on Your Day

Treat each day as if it and it alone is your golden day. Treating each day as if it and it alone is our golden day is the how of practicing priorities, and it’s also the why, the motivation and the perspective we need, for practicing them.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Every day is God’s gift of fresh, unspoiled opportunity to live according to His priorities.

Focus on having one good day, one quality day – Today.

“Every day is a little life, and our whole life is but a single day repeated.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

In His power and by His grace, we keep following after God’s heart no matter what.

Lamentations 3:22-23

Every morning remember that your goal is simple. You want to have just one good day of living your priorities.

Psalm 107:9

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lesson 21 - A Heart That Seeks First Things First

A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; – Psalm 63:1

Let’s reflect back to our illustration of the Seven Sacred Pools from last week’s lesson. Remember how they illustrate the beauty of God’s plan for our life as women after His heart.

Our vision of God and of His plan for us moves our hearts – His design is so pure, so right, so uncluttered, and it makes sense!

Now that we have seen the beauty of the vision, we have to go forward and DO God’s will.

How do we get started? Where do we begin?

The answer is PRAY!

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 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. – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

He always enables us to do His will. God’s grace is always sufficient to the task.

In fact, He has already given you everything you need to live your life in full godliness.

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: - 2 Peter 1:3

You can do all things through the strength of Jesus.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. – Philippians 4:13

A Word About Priorities

We need a plan if we are to live by God’s priorities and obey His call. Our lives are complex and demanding. God’s order for priorities makes the day-to-day and moment-by-moment decisions easier.

Let’s reflect on our grand duties and works:

 Loving God and following after Him with a whole heart.
 Loving, helping, and serving our husband.
 Loving and teaching our children.
 Loving and caring for our home in order to provide a quality life for our family.
 Developing yourself so that you have something to give to others.
 Loving and serving God’s people.

We are called to wear many hats but we can only wear one at a time and knowing what our priorities are keeps us fully focused on the most important thing at hand at any given minute.

Now these are not rigid guidelines, but they are a guideline to help you gain greater control over your life.

These priorities will give you knowledge, skills, and motivation as you follow after God.

Don’t forget the principle of flexibility. Jesus stopped and ministered to the bleeding woman on His way to raise Jairus’ dead daughter in Luke 8:41-56, and we need to be flexible with each new event, crisis, or person to focus on the real priority for the moment.

A Word About Choices

Our choices, which reflect our priorities, will help us fulfill God’s design for our lives.

What you are today (based on the choices you are making) is what you are becoming and you are today what you have been becoming (based on the choices you have already made).

Whether you are dealing with the next 5 minutes, the next hour, tomorrow, or forever, the choices you make will make all the difference in the world!

A Word About Others

We haven’t talked about parents, brothers, sisters, or extended family, have we?

We haven’t really discussed jobs or careers, friends, neighbors, hobbies, pastimes, or our social lives.

All these elements need to be addressed and managed as we live a life that pleases God.

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; - 1 Timothy 6:17

God will reveal your priorities when you pray, search the Scriptures, and seek wise counsel.

Our life situation may change, but God’s Word never changes.

The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. – Psalm 33:11

God will reveal the order you need to prioritize the remaining areas of your life when you pray, search the Scriptures, and seek wise counsel.

A Word About Waiting

As a general principle for practicing your priorities, know that it is safer to wait and do nothing than to rush in and do the wrong thing.

Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth. – Proverbs 19:2

Think of some times in your life where the situation was “demanding” immediate action, but you waited and prayed about it.

Consider this: very few things in life call for an instantaneous decision on your part…Keep your cool…make delay your first strategy for avoiding chaos and crisis. Most things seem more important in the present than they actually are. Wisdom waits. Will you?

It is easy for priorities to get “out of whack” and making the choices to get back on track can sure be tough.

Is God speaking to you right now about how you are living your life?

Is time with Him the first thing you seek each new day?

Without a regular time with God, your life will be a dry and barren wilderness and everything and everyone in your life will suffer, including yourself.

Are you neglecting any of your priority people?

Is your home blossoming into a haven of rest, refreshment, beauty, and order?

Are you using the first fruits of your free time to be filled spiritually so you can serve God and His people?

When you are with other people, are they refreshed by you, receiving out of the overflowing refreshment you find in the Lord?

Are you seeking first things first every day?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lesson 20 - A Heart That Encourages

Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. – Proverbs 12:25

Have you ever thought much about the ministries each of us Christians have to our fellow members of Christ’s church?

We are meant to edify them, encourage them, build them up, contribute positively to their lives, and benefit them in some way.

Edify – to instruct especially so as to encourage intellectual, moral, or spiritual improvement.

We should, with every encounter, make it our aim that people are better off for having been in your presence. Try to give something to the other person.

Everyone needs edification and encouragement, and we are free to offer that when we have hearts filled by God.

Take Time to Be Filled

Take time to sit at Jesus’ feet and be filled by God’s Spirit as you study the written Word.

Focus on overcoming internal obstacles to doing God’s work.

Ministry and service to others is stimulated when we take the time to develop our skills and overcome our weaknesses.

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. – Luke 10:27

You have more to give to your neighbor if you regularly place yourself before God and let Him grow you, strengthen you, and transform you!

Memorize Scriptures of Encouragement

If you are faithful to commit to memory selected gems from God’s Word, you’ll suddenly find them adding real substance to your conversations.

Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. – Colossians 4:6

You will never fail to better the lives of those you encounter if you put this scripture to practice.

Your life will offer refreshing encouragement to all who cross your path.

The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. – Isaiah 50:4

Remember that we cannot give away what we do not possess, so it is good to memorize some pertinent words of encouragement from the Bible to share with people in need.

Knowing scripture gives you “a word in season,” something timely and appropriate to the situation.

Start with learning a verse or two and then you will have filled your heart with a source of encouragement to many!

Make Phone Calls to Encourage

Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. – Proverbs 12:25

An easy way to encourage and make a heart glad is to reach out and touch someone by phone. A simple, quick call can do much to gladden the heart of the recipient.

Write Notes of Encouragement

Writing a note by mail or email to those who need encouragement is another way to share a good word that makes the heart glad.

Set aside a certain time in your day or week to jot a few personal notes or letters. This is an awesome ministry!

This doesn’t have to be a lengthy and detailed letter. Three simple sentences can convey a lot.

     Sentence 1: conveys you miss or appreciate them and are thinking of them.
     Sentence 2: conveys that they are special to you and why.
     Sentence 3: conveys that you are praying for them. (include a scripture).

Encourage Others Through Three Spiritual Gifts

Serving, Mercy, Giving

Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. – Romans 12:7-8

Serving – helping or ministering. It is the basic ability to help other people, and there is no reason why every Christian cannot have and use this gift.

Mercy – showing mercy is like the gift of ministering and involves helping those who are sick.

Giving – the ability to distribute one’s own money to others, and it is to be done with simplicity which means with no thought of return or gain for oneself in any way.

Commit now to kindle your efforts to serve, show mercy, and give and therefore fulfilling the law of God and encouraging His people.

Live Your Priorities

By living your priorities you will teach and disciple many women, without saying a word.

Proverbs 31:11-31.

This is a portrait of a woman living out her priorities. Her words are not recorded, but her works are.

Concentrate on being who God wants you to be and doing what He wants you to do.

Being what God wants you to be – a woman after God’s own heart – is a powerful ministry.

Everything you do and don’t do teaches:
          Gossip, planning, witnessing, obedience, etc.

Ministry is always a matter of the heart. If your heart is filled with a watchful concern for God’s people, you will be privileged to refresh many souls in need of encouragement.

Others can simply watch you and be encouraged in their own quest to follow God.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

19 - A Heart That Shows It Cares

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. – 1 Corinthians 15:58

Let’s think about the life you and I are seeking to live as God’s women.

The author tells of the Seven Sacred Pools in Hawaii and how one pool is filled with the fresh water that falls from the ever-present rain clouds until it is running over into the second pool and then once that pool is filled it overflows into the third pool and so on until it spills into the sea.

The seven pools can be used to illustrate the fullness we can enjoy and the far-reaching impact we can have as we live according to God’s plan.

When we visualize the top pool and how it’s view is obstructed by that cloudy mist, we can see how we enjoy our hidden life with God, the private life we nurture in Him.

This private life is unseen by others. We are filled by God’s Spirit as we dwell in His presence and drink from His Word. He replenishes our dry souls until we are filled with His goodness.

It is then that our fullness will overflow down into the hearts of the people nearest and dearest to us – our husbands.

We share with our husbands from the fullness of our relationship with God, tending and nurturing that most important human relationship and developing the qualities that God desires in us wives.

God grows in us a servant spirit and a heart filled with love that swells until it cascades into the hearts of our children.

Our relationship with God, our husband, and our children will then overflow to fill our home with God’s love and the beauty of family.

These “flowing waters” feed our spiritual life, family life, and our love life in our refuge – our home.

When these waters overflow they will then begin to fill our pool of what God wants us to do for Him and His people. Here we feel passionately according to God’s purpose for us.

When we are faithful to follow after God’s heart – when we tend and nurture each aspect of life as He instructs – the ministry He uses us in can have an impact beyond measure.

We can now submerge ourselves in this fresh pool of knowledge, discipline, and training until sure enough, the water rises and overflows into God’s limitless ocean of ministry and service that builds His people up.

Let’s look at some ways that we as Christian women can influence the lives of others for eternity.

Learn to Reach Out

Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. – Luke 6:30

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. – verse 35

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. – verse 38

Your presence and sometimes a single touch are worth a thousand words. You may feel that you don’t have the right words to say or the perfect Scripture to share, but remember that your very presence is a source of comfort.

Be a giver. We can give a smile, a greeting, a warm question, a touch, a hug, and a name. Always use the person’s name!

Be bold. Be bold and give to the people God places in your path. Learn to reach out to the people you meet up with every day.

Become a generous soul. Don’t just give, but give liberally, cheerfully, bountifully, hilariously, extra, above and beyond.

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. – Proverbs 11:25

Begin by asking yourself “Who can I give to today?”

Money is not the only way we can give. What are some other ways you can think of that we can be that liberal soul or cheerful giver?

Learn to Look Out

Develop a “generous eye”.

He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor. – Proverbs 22:9

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars. – 2 Chronicles 16:9

If you see someone in need you can simply ask them if there is anything you can do to help or if you can pray with them.

People all around us need a tender word.

Be direct. Whenever you see a person in need, be direct. Walk straight up to her and see what she needs and what you can do. Don’t sit idly by and wait for someone else to come by. God has allowed you to find this person in need. Now allow your heart to overflow with care.

Go to Give

Be all there. Before going to an event such as a worship service or a ladies meeting, pray that you will go to give, to reach out, to be direct, and to withhold nothing. Place your thought life on guard by not thinking about other things like what you are going to fix for dinner.

Live to the hilt! While your there, give totally by trying to reach out to as many as you can. Minister to as many people as you can in as many ways as you can.

Divide and conquer. Break out of your click. We are so bad to form our clicks, our comfort groups and this creates tunnel vision on our part. Step out of your comfort group and then you will be able to better minister to others. You will receive a great blessing by reaching out!

Develop Your Prayer Life

We always come back to prayer, don’t we? A woman after God’s own heart is a woman who prays! Her heart naturally overflows in prayer as well as care. Prayer ministry is a ministry that makes a huge difference in people’s lives.

Prayer isn’t easy. It’s definitely a discipline, but it’s also a ministry that flows from a full heart.

Three decisions to help you place yourself before God so He can fill your heart with concern for others:

1. Determine a time. Schedule a time.
2. Determine a place. Choose a location that is quiet and secluded.
3. Determine a plan. Use a notebook. List who you want to pray for and how often.

Having a plan will help you to not forget anyone or anything.

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; - Ephesians 6:18

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lesson 18 - A Heart Enriched by Joy in the Lord

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:19

If we are to have an effective ministry to other, we must first be filled. What can you do to be filled with all the fullness of God so that He can use you in ministry?

Spiritual Growth Is Aided by Discipleship

God’s ideal plan for us is to teach other women the “good things” we’ve been learning, that we mentor or disciple them, that we pass on all that God has taught us. Titus 2:3-4

Discipleship – one-on-one, meetings with another woman.

Take Classes.
Read Books. – Primary book should be the Bible.
Counsel with fellow Christians.
Interview other Christian women.
Observe. Proverbs 20:12

Watch, learn, write down what you learn and then try those new behaviors yourself.

Spiritual Growth Is Aided by Goals

Goals give us a target to work towards.
Goals provide focus. Remember something is better than nothing.
Goals provide an opportunity for specific measurements. Stay away from the vague. Setting goals that are specific helps you move forward in the direction you want to go.
Goals provide encouragement. By writing down goals and tracking the progress you can see what you accomplished over a specific time period. Every wonder at the end of a year what you accomplished during that year?

Spiritual Growth Depends on Choices

Choices based on priorities. You have to determine which choice takes high priority first.
Choices based on goals. You have to choose which project to work on.

Spiritual Growth Requires Time

Isaiah 40:31. Our time we spend in solitude with our Bible and our prayer list, our secret life spent with our heavenly Father, is time spent waiting upon the Lord. In God’s perfect timing, there is the mounting up, the taking flight like that eagle. We are able to soar because we’ve been with the Lord.

God’s perspective on time is different from ours. You may be tempted to think that quiet, private time with the Lord doesn’t really matter; He is preparing us for ministry.

When the timing is right, when the opportunity for ministry presents itself, we too mount up with wings like an eagle ready to do God’s work!

Let God prepare you to mount up with wings like an eagle so that you one day will burst on the scene in vital ministry to His people!

Spiritual Growth Results in Ministry

You can not give away what you do not possess.

Involvement in ministry requires that you be a full vessel.

Spiritual Growth: Experiencing the Joy of the Lord

Picture a real woman you admire and then describe her. Most likely she is stimulating, challenging, energetic, and joyful.

She is growing and fresh, excited and exciting, learning and willing to share what she is learning.

She motivates you, and you love to be in her presence.

You may think she has nothing to fear or you never hear her sigh or see signs that she’s bored with her life.

Real joy comes from time spent alone with the Lord as He enriches you and prepares you for the ministry of helping others.

As we prepare to leave this lesson, reflect on these questions:

Exactly how are you spending your precious God-given time and energy? Are you wasting it on choices that have no heavenly value or are you making the good, better, and best choices?

Do you acknowledge the value, the necessity, of time spent in preparation?

Is allowing God to prepare you for ministry even a goal of yours? Or are you letting time and life slip away unused, uninvested in eternity?

God has saved you; given you eternal life, blessed you with all spiritual blessings, gifted you for spiritual ministry, and prepared a place for you in heaven.

Now he calls you to do your part by setting aside time to make growth in Him a goal and to trust Him to provide you with opportunities to minister to His people.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lesson 17 - A Heart Strengthened by Spiritual Growth

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. – 2 Peter 3:18

Let’s look at Proverbs 31:10-31…

10. Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14. She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. 31. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Spiritual Growth is what keeps us fresh and excited and motivated in our godly pursuits.

Our spiritual growth in Jesus Christ – growing to be more like Him strengthens our hearts, fills them, and empowers us to obey His commands.

We have two options for how we live…with Jesus Christ or without Him.

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. – 1 John 5:11-12

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; - Romans 3:23

A new beginning:

When we come to a saving knowledge of Christ, we are given a new beginning, a fresh start, forgiveness for the past, wisdom for handling life, and power for doing what’s right.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

God’s love and acceptance:

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. – Ephesians 1:6

God’s power in the Holy Spirit:

God empowers you through His Holy Spirit to do good, to effect change in your life, to make your life fulfilling and meaningful, to help others, and to minister for Christ.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. – Acts 1:8

God’s total sufficiency:

No matter what you are facing or dealing with, remember God’s promise –

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Spiritual Growth involves the pursuit of knowledge.

The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness. – Proverbs 15:14

An intelligent person purposefully seeks knowledge but fools nibble randomly.

5-step process:

1. Aim at expertise – select five areas you’d like to become an expert in.

What do you want to be known for? What topics do you want your name associated with?

Personal spiritual growth is all about preparation for ministry. It’s about filling yourself up first so that you have something to give.

2. Fill these areas – start gathering information on your five areas. Don’t forget to read your bible to see first hand what God says about your area of interest.

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, - 2 Timothy 1:9

Spiritual growth includes stewardship of your body.

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

Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. – Galations 5:23

3. Increase in knowledge -- But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22

4. Have a plan – when it comes to increasing your knowledge of God, you have to do a certain thing in a certain place with certain items at a specific time. Sound familiar…our meditation time with God.

5. Do something – develop a plan…something is better than nothing.

Spiritual growth blesses others. Try these three ways to improve your relationships with people.

1. Mind your mind. Your actions will reveal your attitude toward people.
     Proverbs 23:7

     Thoughts that are critical, negative, harmful, and jealous not only go against God’s Word, but they spawn actions that are critical, negative, harmful, and jealous.

     Philippians 4:8

     Train yourself to think loving, positive, sweet thoughts when it comes to other people.

2. Mind your mouth.

     Proverbs 31:26. If her thoughts weren’t wise or kind, her mouth was shut!

3. Mind your manners. The best way to be pleasing to God is to be the servant of all.

     Romans 12:10

     Philippians 2:4-5

     Become other-oriented rather than self-oriented.

God calls you to love Him, first and foremost, with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.

     Luke 10:27

He wants to allow that rich love you enjoy in Him to overflow into your family, neighbors, and the lives of others.

That is why a heart strengthened by spiritual growth in Him is so very important!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lesson 16 - A Heart That Weaves a Tapestry of Beauty

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. – Titus 2:4-5

Let’s look at what this scripture is telling us…

The meaning of “that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children” is, that they should instruct them to have their desires and passions well regulated, or under proper control.

In Eph. 5:25, Paul directs husbands to love their wives, and in Eph. 5:33, the wife to reverence her husband, and here he says that it should be one of the first duties; the wife should love her husband.

All happiness in the marriage relation is based on mutual love.

The second half of our text scripture is “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

To be discreet – This means to be pleasant, calm, self-controlled. Chaste – means to be pure - in heart, and in life. Keepers at home – means to be characteristically attentive to domestic concerns, or to duties in the families.

To successfully make the home of our dreams and God’s call a reality, we have to be there, working and weaving on it every day!

Homemaker = home lover

Weaving a tapestry of beauty in our homes also calls for action. This project called “home” takes effort and time each day.

The effort and the activity – the time, the work, the care, and the mental and physical muscle – combine to make a home beautiful.

How does a woman who wholeheartedly wants to weave a tapestry of beauty in her home begin?

Understand the beauty and blessings of God’s will for you.

Understand that homemaking can be learned.
Who are people that you can talk to for tips on cleaning and organizing that can help you with your own home?

Be home more often.
Organize your outings.

If you have a job outside the home, consider these two ways to be better organized so you can spend more time at home. First, run errands on the way to and from work. And second, use your lunch hour!

We have talked about what we are working to improve in our lives as we strive to have a heart after God.

1. Preparing ourselves spiritually and physically by setting aside time alone with God.
2. Having meals together at the table for special family time.
3. Work to improve the mood in the home…more positive and uplifting than negative.
4. Consulting with our spouses to see if there is anything we can do to lighten their load.
5. Keeping a neat and orderly house.
6. Responding positively to our spouse.
7. Seeking to meet our husband’s needs.
8. Putting our spouse before our children.
9. Personally meeting and greeting each family member as they return home.
10. Being predictably happy.
11. Preparing special meals to make for special time with spouse and/or children.
12. Grow daily in the areas of the Lord, marriage, family, and homemaking.

For the past three lessons we’ve focused on building our home and watching over our home and working on our home.

We’ve concentrated on learning what this means and how to do it. And we’ve been challenged to do it better and do it faster.

All summed up, these lessons thread into our tapestry the knowledge of God’s truth, a right attitude in our heart, and the skills in motion to make up the beginnings of a beautiful tapestry called “Home”.

In lesson 13 we talked about creating an atmosphere of refuge, warm hearts, and positive reinforcement. Tell me of your efforts.

What has worked well and what has not worked so well?

In lesson 14 we talked about eliminating idleness. Tell me of some things that you have eliminated from your life these past few weeks to work towards this goal.

Have you uncovered some hidden idleness or time robbers that you may not have realized existed in your daily schedules?

In lesson 15 we talked about time management. Tell me of some things you have done to improve your time management.

Tell me some things you attempted that didn’t work too well for you.

This lesson has dealt with the call to action in building our homes. What do you see will be your greatest challenge? What ideas to you have to overcome this challenge?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

15 - A Heart That Creates Order from Chaos

I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. – 1 Timothy 5:14

Time management seems to be an on-going battle that we struggle to find that perfect plan of action to attack it and overcome it.

In 1 Timothy 5:13, we have the account of the young widows of Timothy’s church were “idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they shouldn’t”.

Our actions may be the only Bible a lot of people ever read, and those actions can cause people to think and speak poorly of Christianity. Of course, when we are very busy, we have less time to be gossips and busybodies.

What does the word “guide” mean? To guide a house is to be the head of or to rule a family, to guide the home. The woman who manages her house is not the head of the home, her husband is if she is married, and God is if she is not. Instead, the woman is the householder or the home manager.

Every day we are called to manage what God has given us, what He has provided through our husbands’ efforts and our own.


How does a woman who wants what God wants, a woman who wants to know order instead of chaos, a woman after God’s own heart, manage her home?

First, understand that home management is God’s best for us.

God isn’t asking us to like being a home manager or even to feel like managing our home.

He is simply calling us to do it.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. – Romans 12:2

Second, decide to take home management seriously.

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. – Luke 16:10

How well you and I maintain our personal relationship with God, how devotedly we love our husbands and our children, and how effectively we manage the home indicates how well we would manage a ministry.

If we manage our homes effectively, we will have time to be involved in church ministry in some capacity. You may not be able to be involved in all the ministries, but you will be able to be involved in something at church. Order emerges out of chaos when we schedule what’s important.

Third, live as though you will be accountable for the condition of your home and the use of your time…because you will!

What does your spouse find when they enter the house? Calm or chaos? Peace or panic? Palace or pigpen? Evidence of preparation or procrastination?

Let’s reflect on a time when we entered a hotel room. What greets us? Order. Quiet. Cleanliness. You see the vacuum tracks on the carpet. The bed is made. The last sheet of toilet paper is folded to a point. No TV or stereo blares. The room is a sanctuary.

Let’s look at 12 Tips for Time Management

1. Plan in detail.
     Have a planner and write everything down in it. Try planning twice a day.

2. Deal with today.
     Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. – Matthew 6:34

3. Value each minute.
     Know how long it will take you to complete each task in your home. Then decide if the task is the best use of the time.

4. Keep moving.
     Keep moving and you can cross one more thing off your “to do” list. A body in motion tends stays in motion…a body at rest tends stays at rest.

5. Develop a routine.
     Cut down on indecision by doing the same thing at the same time each day…it will conserve and generate energy. Try to put as many tasks as possible into a routine.

6. Exercise and diet.
     Exercise increases metabolism, creates energy, causes you to sleep better, and contributes to a positive attitude.

7. Ask the “half the time” question.
     If you only had half the time to do the task, what shortcuts would you take? Take them.

8. Use a timer for everything.
     The timer will help you to allow less time and will be extremely motivating to try to beat the clock in your tasks.

9. Do the worst first.
     Doing the worst task first will keep that heavy cloud of dread from hanging over you all day. Once you have this worst task done, you will have a better attitude and more energy for the remaining tasks.

10. Read daily on time management.
     Just five minutes a day will help motivate you. Look for blogs, books, magazines, or simply read these steps every day.

11. Say no.
     Keep to your plan and say no to distractions created by yourself and others. Only move to plan B if God is moving you to it.

12. Begin the night before.
     Plan the next days meals, clothes, etc.
     Clean up the kitchen.
     Run the dishwasher.
     Tidy up the house.
     Prepare lunches and meals.
     Defrost meat.
     Sort the laundry.
     Put things you, your spouse, or children will need to take the next day by the door.

Before we leave the subject of order in the home, let’s take a look at the heart of the home…your heart!

What is your attitude toward your home and your housework?

Is your heart in tune with God?

Are you desiring what He desires for the management and guidance of your home?

Do you want to be the home manager God wants you to be?

Do you acknowledge that managing your home enhances the lives of those you live with…and that a well-organized home makes for far better service to the Lord and His people?

Ask God to help you move toward better management – and don’t worry: Slowly but surely counts.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lesson 14 - A Heart That Watches Over the Home

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. – Proverbs 31:27

What does it mean that she looketh well to the ways of her household? It means that she inspects the manners of all her servants, that she may check what is amiss among them, and obliges them all to behave properly and do their duty to God and one another, as well as to her. She does not intermeddle in the concerns of other people's houses; she thinks it enough for her to look well to her own.

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. – Psalm 5:3

Morning prayer is our duty; we are the fittest for prayer when we are in the most fresh, and lively, and composed frame, got clear of the slumbers of the night, revived by them, and not yet filled with the business of the day.

When you and I pray and as we watch over our homes, we must do so with the fervency and earnestness that Elijah did in 1 Kings 18:41-44 when he prayed for rain seven times and had his servant look out for the rain seven times until there was an answer from God.

This prophet and other like him spent their lives waiting, watching for God to fulfill the promises they’d spoken on His behalf. We are to be just as fervent as we make our houses homes and care for the people in them.

Then we will be able to see and celebrate when God does His part – the answering, the blessing, the changing!

Looking Over the Functions of the Home

Specific things we are to watch over in our homes: safety, health, cleanliness, security.

What about recording, saving, supervising, giving, spending, and stretching money?

Then there are the clothing needs and maintenance, the appliance warranties and service contracts, and the food planning and preparation, schedules and events and trying to anticipate future needs.

How can we place ourselves before God so He can grow in us hearts that effectively watch over our precious homes?

1. Understand that this role as helper and guard is God’s plan for you.

Proverbs 31:10-31. Doing the work of watching is part of God’s perfect plan for me and you as He grows us into women of excellence.

2. Begin watching over your home. (versus the eating of the bread of idleness)

3. Eliminate idleness.

     Major time robbers:

      Procrastination
      Inadequate personal planning and scheduling
      Interruptions by people without appointments. (This includes telephone calls but does not include your children!) Your children are the best investment of your time!
      Failure to delegate
      Poor use of the telephone
      Reading junk mail
      Lack of concern for good time management
      Unclear priorities

Which robber will you corral this week as you become a more alert, better watcher over your home?

Think of three real ways you can eliminate idleness today…and in the week or weeks to come.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lesson 13 - A Heart That Makes a House a Home

Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. – Proverbs 14:1

What is a home? Think of what your home is like. What is your “dream home”? Now I’m not talking about the physical aspects like that perfect kitchen or master bathroom. I’m talking about the environment within your home.

The Business of Building

Our opening scripture reads “a wise woman buildeth her house”.

What does it mean “to build”? It literally means to make and to set up a house. This verse refers not only to the structure and upkeep of the home, but to the family itself.

A house is not always a home, is it?

Who is responsible for the quality of life in that place where the family lives? The woman!

We set the mood and maintain the atmosphere inside the home. A wise woman works diligently and purposefully to create that atmosphere. It’s not just a simple matter of hoping it will happen.

Creating the atmosphere

God gives us the heart, the wisdom, and the words to create a healthy atmosphere.

If things start to get hot (hot words, hot tempers, hot emotions), use soothing words.

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. – Proverbs 15:1

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. – James 3:18

If things start to get cold (cold hearts, cold feet, cold shoulders), go to work on warming the hearts.

Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. – Proverbs 12:25

A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. – Proverbs 15:13

All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. – Proverbs 15:15

These times will be a challenge, but seek to live God’s way and look to Him for the grace to do so.

Building a refuge

As the center of family life, the home ministers to our family far more than we might imagine.

What a blessing if every member of your family knows home is the one place on earth where everything will be all right.

Our children as well as our husbands benefit from our building efforts. Build a home where there is a world of lighthearted family life and no pressures.

Avoiding the negatives

The second half of our lesson scripture reads “but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands”. To pull down a home means to break or destroy it, to beat or break it down, to ruin it.

How can we pull down our homes? How can we be a one-woman demolition machine?

1. A woman can cause great damage by working destruction – What does anger out of control do? Throws, slams, tears, rips, and speaks words that break, destroy, ruin, and kill.

2. A woman can ruin a home by simply failing to work or being passive. We can slowly erode the foundation of our home by our laziness, by simply “never getting around to it”, by neglect, by not spending enough time at home. (Too much TV, too much reading, too much shopping, too much time with friends, phone, internet)


Understand that wisdom builds

Wisdom builds and builds and builds by avoiding any attitude or act that doesn’t build. What you are at home is what you are. We are either about the business of building the home, its atmosphere and its order, or we are pulling it down through destructive attitudes and neglect.

Decide to begin building

Make a positive decision to do your work in the home willingly.

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

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; - Colossians 3:23

The attitude of your heart is key!

Decide to immediately stop any destructive habits that are pulling down and destroying the little bit of heaven you are trying to build for others…and to the glory of God.

Each day, do one thing to build your home

Look around your home; make a list of things that need to be added, repaired, set up, etc. so that your area is more of a refuge. Start by doing one of these tasks each day. You may even need to add an attitude adjustment to your list.

Search your heart and your home. Where are you placing your focus and investing your energy?

Look beneath the cleaning and cooking and into your heart.

For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. – Psalm 33:4, 11