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How nice of you to drop in and visit my page. It's actually not really about myself, but about the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a place you can come, should you find time, and find encouragement and free resources for spiritual growth. I pray you will be blessed and provoked to follow on to know the Lord intimately yourself. Seek HIM and HIS Face for HE alone is WORTHY!! He alone is lovely! Most of what is written on this blog is written by myself, during my study time with the Lord unless otherwise stated. If it's otherwise, the author's name will be included.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Virtuous Woman (and who she really is)

Disclaimer: I was in these Scriptures a few years ago and recently, the Lord directed me to go back to them, to study them and then bring them to Him and ask Him to make them a reality in my life. What an invitation! So that is what I'm doing. But I wanted to share this because He's no respecter of persons. He showed me these truths, and the fact He wants to make them real in my life is both humbling and awesome. He is a matchless God, worthy of our lives. To Him alone be all the praise and honor and glory.

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

What is a virtuous woman? To the American culture, the word 'virtuous' means above reproach, excellent moral character. A virtue is a trait or quality deemed to be morally excellent and thus is valued as a foundation of good morals. It's the opposite of vice. In the Hebrew it means much more. It is someone who is strong, valiant, with great capability, power and resources far beyond what others have. Someone with the efficiency, strength, wealth and the force of an elite army. It speaks of substance, valor, a very capable, powerful warrior. A woman of ability, power and resources. Who can find such a woman? There is only one place. To find such a woman, you would need to find her married to such a man.

In Mar_5:30, Jesus was surrounded by a crowd pressing on Him. Many were touching Him, but one little woman with an issue of bleeding pressed her way through the crowd with faith in her heart, and she managed to touch Him. She knew He was her only Hope. And when she touched Him, virtue went out of Him. The word is dunamis in the Greek. It means a force or miraculous power. It's the life and power of the Holy Spirit in Him. He gives this Life, this part of Himself to her. He baptizes her into this.

We are not talking about an ordinary housewife here. This is why her worth is far more valuable than rubies. A real ruby is the red sapphire, next in value to a diamond. In Pro_3:15, the Scripture says she (wisdom) is more precious than rubies, everything you could desire is not comparable to her. Who can find such a woman? Who could be such a woman? The Bride of Jesus Christ.

Today, you always hear these Scriptures read in churches across America on Mother's Day but I have never heard it preached beyond a surface understanding of a dutiful wife and mother with excellent moral character. That's the Americanized version of this message-not the spiritually accurate version. Such a woman shall be praised with the focus on honoring her, as a human being. The Pastor knows many mothers are not like the mothers of by gone days. Many have to work instead of keeping the home and the children. Many rely on TV to babysit their kids or the computers. He spends the rest of the sermon chastising them for their shortcomings, using his own yardstick to measure them by. They are frustrated because they try to parent with only their own human strength and wisdom which continually fails them. He has a good point but this goes far deeper than that.

These Scriptures are a type-an illustration from the heart of God of the Bride of Jesus Christ. It's a portrait of His Church. In a world sick with sin, filled with selfishness, and violence, and full of darkness, she shines as a bright light, as a city set on a hill. She stands out because she does not need medication or worldly entertainment to find peace or rest. She stands out because she thinks of others more than herself. She stands out because she has a servant's heart. Her agenda is not her own, neither is her word. It is HIS. The Light that shines from her comes from Him. It is HIS light. He is her Source. She abides in Him. To Him, she is far more valuable than any gemstones.

Pro 31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. Pro 31:12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

She is sold out to God, she is dead to this world, and He knows she will not forsake Him and walk away for vain and passing treasures. He is her Treasure, and He trusts Her with His Name, and His Word, and with it, delegated authority and power over her enemies. (Luk_10:19-20) The Lord is not looking for another, He is satisfied with His Bride. She yields to Him and lets Him make her what she needs to be. On the other hand, her friends, her family, her employer, they can safely trust in her, as a Christian, as part of the Bride of Christ, that her word is her bond, her fingers are not sticky, her eyes are not covetous and greedy. If this part of the Bride, this Christian, is married, then the spouse has no worry of betrayal. She is different, so unique that others wonder.

Pro 31:13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. Pro 31:14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

She pursues, looks for, searches for this wool and flax. When you dig into these two things, you will see she is truly searching for purity and sanctification-the righteousness that is the Lord's alone, imputed to us by faith alone. Wool was of the highest value among the Jews. It was one of the most widely used materials for clothing. Wool was forbidden to be woven or mixed in with linen garments. The priests could not wear woolen garments while ministering to the Lord for it would make them sweat and He would not allow sweat in His presence-the self effort of human nature. Yet this woman seeks it. She follows Him who has it and pursues it, for she requires it. This tells us we are not talking about wool, the material for clothing, for clothing was also made from hemp, flax and cotton. Another thing I found interesting is wool was used mostly for the outside garments for its ability to either keep heat out or in. There are so many applications here, for yes, the wife would search for material to make clothing for her family but this goes deeper.

Wool represents purity, it's white. God told Isaiah to tell His rebellious, sinful people to come, meet with Him, let us reason together, for though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. In Rev. 1, when John was in the Spirit and heard the Lord talk with him, he turned around and just the glory and power of the vision of the Lord who talked with him was so pronounced, so awesome, he fell like a dead man on his face. He said the hairs of His head were "white, like wool" and it signifies purity. We can only have this kind of purity from sin by the blood of Jesus Christ. It must be given to us we cannot produce this through any effort of our own.

She seeks wool and flax. Flax was cultivated in Egypt and Palestine. Of the two, wool was more common in Judea, flax was more common in Galilee. It is torn from its native soil where its seed was planted and grew. The stalks of the plant are laid out in strips, to dry out in the scorching sun. In Biblical times, they were laid out on the roofs of houses to dry in the hot, desert climate. In later times, they were put in ovens to dry out. After drying, they are then peeled, to separate the stalk from the fibers inside which are used to make fine linen cloth and also wicks for lighting lamps. Then, it is torn by a comb designed to straighten, and remove knots and impurities in the fibers, then it's tied to stones, and immersed in water until it starts to rot so the loosened fibers can be separated from each other by combing. It is washed several times and suffers long exposure to the weather to be ready to produce white linen garments on a spinning wheel. The fibers were to be made into thread and were gathered into a loose rope which was wound around a distaff which is a round tool or reel that kept the thread in line and untangled so it could be spun into cloth.

We, as Christians, are taken out of the miry clay of sin, rooted up from our dark, sin-gripped prison in this world, and put in the kingdom of God's dear Son. We are put on His potter's wheel. We are bathed in His Light, and we have a purifying, sanctifying process to go through, as well. We often are faced with fiery trials to test our faith and give God the opportunity to manifest Himself and His ability in our lives. This builds our faith. It's in the trials that we learn more of God than any other way. Our flesh life, our self-life has to be stripped away, and destroyed, like circumcision of the heart. It's a very painful process. Flesh, which is self has to go. We have to learn we can't find or trust anything in ourselves to be good enough to bring to Him. Then when we are tired, and empty of ourselves, He immerses us in living waters, fills us with Himself, He anchors us to Himself-He is the Rock, the Cornerstone the builders rejected. Or, to put it another way:

Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Mat 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Act 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

And this Bride, she works willingly with her hands. This word willingly means she takes great pleasure and delight in doing His will. Jesus said I delight to do Thy will, Oh Lord. This work she does is something she desires to do, it's valuable work, and she takes pleasure in doing it. Her hands are His hands. She is busy, accomplishing what He gives her to do, she is occupying until He comes. She is doing His will, laboring in His vineyard. She raises her hands to her Lord, she uses her hands in and for His service. She uses them to reach out to and minister and help others. What she is doing is having an effect on those around her. She does it happily, serving her Lord. She doesn't grumble or complain over her lot in life. He promised in Php_2:13 that it would be HIM who was actively and mightily working in us both the desire and delight to be actively and mightily doing His good pleasure. We can't be mighty in our own selves, so it is His ability in us that is mighty. The word 'worketh' in that verse is also the same Greek word used for the word 'do' in that verse. In the Greek, it is energeo G1754. It means to be active, efficient, effectual, mighty in work and deed. He's working in us what we can't do ourselves. We can have nothing, as Jesus said unless it's given to us from above.

Pro 31:14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. Pro 31:15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

The merchants' ships would transport goods, food, and materials people needed across the oceans and seas to other lands. The Bride of Christ is like that, she is a vessel who travels, she doesn't hide. She carries with her, inside her, the Bread of Life that come down from Heaven, the living waters of the Holy Spirit, to share with whosoever will come, the hungry and thirsty. Such as she has, she gives. She is not one given to laziness and slumber. She gets up early, and seeks the face of God for a word for her household, for her family, her neighborhood, those the Lord brings across her path. She feeds on HIM for He alone delights her soul. Because of this, she is able to give to others around her what she has received from Him when she is given opportunity to minister to them in whatever capacity presents itself.

Luk 12:42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

She knows she has been given the responsibility, she's been set as a light in her home, her town, her school, her workplace. She understands she is not the Source, but has constant access to the Source. She depends totally on Him for all the provision needed for the task, so there is no room or excuse for failing to shine. He never fails. She brings her food from afar because it's the Bread of Life, and she got it on her knees and in His Word. It's for those around her who are hungry, for those who are sick of the world and the elusive peace so many seek and never find in a dark and dying world.

Pro 31:16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

Mat 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

She considers the field. She has counted the cost and deemed everything else as dung that she may win Him. She has a plan of action, His plan, for there is buried treasure in this field. Exceeding precious promises made by her Lord, that she might be partakers of His Divine Nature. She has this precious Word of God, a gift from on high, paid for with the blood of Jesus Christ. Holy men of old sacrificed their lives to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she will do no less. She doesn't take it lightly or for granted. She cherishes it.

She's digging in this Word, she's finding the promises of God, taking them to Him and praying for possession of what has been revealed to her, and He is becoming her strength. He alone can make these promises reality in her life. She's considered the promises carefully. She has sold out completely to the Word of God. As a result, the work of her hands is blessed. She becomes fruitful. The fruit of her hands is the result of the Spirit of God working in her life, sowing the Word, birthing in her the gentleness, peace, joy, patience, long suffering, all the fruits of the Spirit, listed in Gal_5:22. It touches the lives of those around her. His life, his living water flowing through her spreads out with healing and transforming power to bring hope into the lives of the hurting souls around her. She's been to the Source. She's sold out to Him. She's given everything to buy the field, and all the Treasure hidden in it. But this Treasure is not to be kept for self. It's to be found and shared with others.

Pro 31:17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

In Bible times, they wore close fitting tunics over their bodies, that were normally about knee-length. They covered these with long, flowing robes. When people relaxed or were at ease, they left the robes loose. But when it was time to move, fight, or travel, they tied up the robes with rope or a sash of sorts, so they might more easily move. In the Hebrew, the word "gird" means to put on a belt, or armor, the loins in the Old Testament refers to that area of the human where the reproductive organs are but in the New Testament the word loins refers to our minds. She's put on HIS strength, stands in His strength because she knows she has none of her own. Remember, HE is her Source. The promises of God in His Word are what she wraps around herself and moves and lives on. She stands on His Word to her. And the her I'm talking about here, be reminded, is every born again believer, (for there is no male or female in the kingdom of God) (Gal_3:28) She strengthens her arms, meaning she fortifies herself by drawing from Him His strength. She is established on the Rock, and His life in her is her strength. It is also the light of those around her. In John 1:4, the Word says in Him was life (meaning true, eternal life) and that life was the light of men. That life was the power and presence of the Holy Ghost. That life is to be the same in us as it was and is in Him. As He was in the world, so are we to be. We can't be that except by the power and abiding presence of the Holy Ghost in us.

Pro 31:18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

She has tasted and seen the Lord is good so she feeds on Him continually. Because He is her constant source, her light doesn't go out when things get dark. That word for night in verse 18 means a adversity, in times when things look dark, her light still shines because it's His light and she has the oil in her vessel and her lamp. His Word is her lamp and directs her steps in this dark world. She is as one of the wise virgins described in Matthew 25. She has a constant supply available, as we all do, but she makes sure she gets that supply. She does not neglect seeing her vessel and lamp are filled with oil. She does not have the cavalier attitude of casualness, knowing the oil is available but being too busy to fill her lamp.

Pro 31:19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

She is trusting, in verse 19 the rod and staff of the Lord to be her comfort, the word distaff literally means a crutch. When spinning thread into cloth, the distaff was the round tool that supported and kept in line the thread so it went evenly on the spinning wheel. That is what the Word of God is, it holds her up daily. Remember in Heb_1:3, He says he upholds all things by the word of His power.

Pro 31:20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

This word stretch in this verse has an unusual meaning in the Hebrew. It means something that is broken in pieces and spread out. This speaks of one who is broken, humble, as was Christ on the cross. His bones were not broken, but his body was. This doesn't mean literally broken in two. Consider the proud and wild horse. It has to be broken and tamed before it can be of use to man. Human beings are the same way-proud, arrogant, stubborn-and must be broken in spirit before they can be of use to the Lord. She reaches out in verse 20, to the poor, meaning in this verse, according to Strong's Hebrew Dictionary, the depressed in mind or circumstances, the afflicted, the humble, needy and poor. Those around her who are hurting, who are bruised by the world, circumstances, and hard times. The Christians around her who are harassed by the enemy, or circumstance, and are weak. She reaches out with the compassion of God, to minister strength and encouragement to them. She speaks His life into their situation, because she has sat at His feet, and heard His Word. Remember, such as she has, she gives.

Pro 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. Pro 31:22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Pro 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

She's not afraid of the cold for her household, because all of her household are covered, by the precious, crimson blood of the Lamb. Remember, Jesus said in the last days because iniquity would abound, the love of many would grow cold. But this woman has covered all of her household with scarlet-with the blood of His sacrifice, spiritually speaking, through prayer and laying claim to the promises in His Word. She makes herself a coverlet of tapestry, her clothing is purple silk. Silk means white linen, and purple is a symbol of royalty.

Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready. Rev 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

Righteousness in verse 8 means acts or deeds. A decision has been made by the Judge concerning this woman and she has been justified or declared right. She prepared herself with the provision He made available to her.

To sit in the gates of a city symbolized one had authority and power to render judgment in legal matters, sentence criminals, make business decisions, set prices for goods bought and sold there, issue decrees, taxes, legislation and other important decisions, etc. In the Bible to say one sits in the gates means they had power and authority. Her husband, master, owner is known and honored, He is revealed to be One who is wise and has great knowledge. Others are instructed by Him. He is One others look and come to for instruction and understanding. He sits among the elders-the senators, the ancient men. When He takes the judgment seat in the gates of the city, everyone understands and accepts His authority.

Pro 31:24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Pro 31:25 Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. Pro 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

Strength and honor are her clothing. If you look up these words in the Hebrew you will see this doesn't apply to natural clothing. They mean force, majesty, security, praise, boldness, power, might, magnificence, beauty, excellency, glory. In other words, she is clothed with power from on high. She will have much to rejoice over in the future, when she reaps what she's sown. When she opens her mouth, in verse 26, her words are kind, her tongue is under control, the law of kindness rules there. Translated as it's used here, that means in the Strong's Hebrew, piety, beauty, favor, goodness, kind, loving, merciful, having pity, and mercy. She speaks what is right, gentle, and good. Her words are profitable to those who hear them. They are not idle or cruel. Her wisdom is not worldly or sensual.

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

Pro 31:28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

She looketh well to the ways of her house: She observes, waits, keeping watch over and looking out for her family, those under her care. She is careful to watch their progress on this journey so they don't go in the wrong path. She's like a watchman, prepared for the enemy when he tries to come in and do harm. She doesn't listen to or feed on idle words, or lies. She is not slothful. She feeds on the Word of God, she prays and communes with Him at His table, and fills up on His wisdom, and is directed by Him. Only with this kind of communion can this virtuous woman be and achieve all that these Scriptures say she does. It must be HIM working in and through her. Human flesh could not do this led by a carnal mind. Her children rise up, well aware of her wisdom, and being affected with the power in her, are stablished, strengthened, and grateful. They call her blessed-here that word means straight, level, honest, guide. This means her journey, her walk with the Lord is straight, honest and right.

Pro 31:29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Pro 31:30 Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Pro 31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Strong's Hebrew for 'favor' means graciousness, kindness, pleasant and precious, well-favored, beauty. A person can put on a sham, and lie and pretend to like someone, but a woman that feareth, or reveres the Lord, is morally reverent toward the Lord, shall be praised. They might not understand, they might mock her devotion, but in their troubles, they will look to her for her wisdom. In their folly, they will see her wisdom. They will look to her for guidance because they've seen her ways are right, because her ways are the way of the Lord. That is called being a light to the World, letting Jesus shine through her life. He is where the virtue, the force, the power comes from. As the world around her that is lost and in darkness and misery to a harsh taskmaster, and quickly perishing, sees the peace and light and strength that are so evident in her life-she doesn't have to preach Scriptures to them. Her life is the light to those around. Her life is the evidence of the testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She knows she doesn't have to back up His Word, or prove anything to the world. It is His Word to prove, hers to believe and live by. He will back up His Word however He chooses.

At the end of her journey, the result of her faith, her trust in His promises, will be the souls saved who have been touched by the life of Christ in her, flowing out of her to a lost and needy world. What better reason to live can you think of? I love how Bro. Leonard Ravenhill put it, when he asked the question "Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?" If you are living for yourself, for pleasure, and gain, that is not why He died. He came to seek and save the lost. To bind up the wounded, to heal the broken hearted, to loose the slave and set the captives at liberty, to open the blinded eyes. He desires to minister His grace and power and life through His Bride to continue ministering to the poor and needy. He knows His Bride will not take the credit or glory from Him. He knows she will faithfully point others to Him. He shares His heart with her, and He knows He can trust her. Is this the kind of intimacy you have with Jesus Christ? Do you want it? I do! Will you let the lies of the enemy stop you? Will you let the weakness of your flesh or your fears stop you? When He promised that He would perfect what concerns you, (Psa_138:8) and do the work in you (Php_1:6, Php_2:13) and that because He promised (2Pe_1:3-5) we could partake of His divine nature, just because He promised we could! He didn't say we deserved this honor. He didn't say we couldn't. He made us meet or acceptable to partake of Him! HE MADE US ACCEPTABLE!

Col 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

Whose report will you believe, the devil's, your carnal mind's, or the Word of God? I can honestly say I am not there yet, but praise the Lord when I was in these Scriptures in 2006 I didn't see all this. So I'm growing in grace and knowledge of HIM. He's taking me where I can't go and He's making me what the devil said I could never be!!! Hallelujah! Don't let these Scriptures discourage or dishearten you! Don't listen to the voices that say you can't be what this says you are to be! Of course you can't be like this on your own! HE works the work and HE is the power in you to do it. When the circumstances are over your head, out of your control and beyond your ability to understand, they are under His feet. Remember that. He sits as King of the floods. He knows all. He is everywhere. He sees everything. He is ALL Mighty. And HE in His great power and majesty LOVES YOU....what an honor. I tell myself and you, is HE not worth getting up early for? Is He not worth digging into this Book He had written so we can know HIM better? OH, YES!! Does my flesh want to? No. Does my carnal mind? No. Does my heart and soul? YESSSSSS sigh, sigh...I got to have Him. My family has got to have Him. We all have got to have Him. He is so precious. What a privileged people we are to have such an invitation from HIM. We have access. Time is running short. The call is out to everyone. Let us come while He may be found.

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