A Wise Woman Builds

The wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands.

Proverbs 14:1

The wise woman builds, and the foolish woman tears down…with her own hands. Here we have before us a forewarning and an urging that the wise woman should take very seriously.

Friends, we have more influence over our households than we have possibly ever imagined. We must begin seeing, even mundane interactions, from a spiritual perspective and the eternal value they have and not just what our natural eyes reveal to us in the moment. More critical than decorating our home with furnishings, we will determine the tone with which our home is furnished. Are we building a home with a mood that is calm and peaceful? Are we constructing our house where the Word of God is taught? Are we establishing a home where people leave feeling encouraged after spending time there? We must be intentional if we desire specific results.

If the tone of our home is one of discord or if it has an atmosphere of agitation where our family feels uptight, and no one feels welcome, don’t lose heart – desire to change and begin asking the Lord for help. The change will always start with you, the builder, and it is never too late to remodel. The tone we set will either keep the walls sturdy or causes them to crack and eventually crash down around us. According to Solomon, we play an enormous role in whether our house stands or falls. Even though others have a part to play, we must be vigilant in the areas of our responsibility and stand firmly and confidently in the Lord.

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Make an honest examination of your home. Are you filling it with love, instruction, peace, forgiveness, compassion, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, and friendliness? Are you determined not to allow anything in your home that isn’t beneficial to those living there? A godly home will not always be stress-free, but if it’s built upon the firm foundation of Christ, you can be assured it will stand.

Our building blueprint will not profit us if it is worldly. We are not building by the world’s standards of perfection. Our pattern must be what God has set as the standard, and in Christ, it is absolutely achievable. Let’s be the kind of woman who builds and not the kind that tears down – starting now. You can do it. Prepare your hands for work, your mouth for prayer, and your heart for love. Let’s build some godly homes. Amen.

In His grace,

Amanda

Women of Faith series

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Do You Believe This Martha?

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life…Do you believe this, Martha?”

John 11:25-26

Martha’s brother, Lazarus, lay dying, so she sent for Jesus. Martha’s heart counted on Jesus to heal the brother she loved, but Jesus arrived too late to help in the dire time of need ~ so it seemed. By the time Jesus finally arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Was Martha disappointed in Jesus when she thought if he had been there, her brother would not have died?

When Martha learned her awaited Jesus was finally within arms reach, she left her guests who had come to comfort her and went out to meet him. When her eyes beheld him, and she stood in his presence, He offered her the opportunity to confirm her faith. Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life…Do you believe this, Martha?” “Yes, Lord,” she responded, “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God” (John 11:27). Despite any sorrow, disappointment, and uncertainty that might have been lingering in her heart, Martha boldly declared her faith in Jesus. At times God will grant our fleshly eyes the astonishment to behold spiritual wonders. Martha was given such an opportunity when Jesus gave new life to her deceased brother, and he walked out of the tomb!

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Martha learned well from a previous lesson Jesus taught her regarding the important things (Luke 10:42). When she discovered Jesus was coming, she did not remain in the house with her visitors who had come from Jerusalem to comfort her, but quickly got up and ran out to greet Him. Her ability to learn and change from her natural inclination to turn inward and focus only on what is seen is an inspiration to us all. When we experience disappointment or suffering in our lives, how quickly do we leave our natural inclinations and run to ‘greet’ the Master in order to receive more than what our natural eyes can provide?

Her statement (John 11:24) revealed a courageous faith in the order of Abraham’s faith when he reckoned that God could raise Isaac from the dead (Hebrews 11:19). Martha’s answer to Jesus should be wowing to us to follow her example when disappointment and disbelief present themselves to us as viable options to cling to. Friend, the only sure and trustworthy thing we should instruct ourselves to clutch tightly to is the comfort found in Jesus Christ.

Lord, You are the resurrection and the life! I resolve to flee from clinging to my fears, disappointments, sufferings, and grief and ask You to minister to me through them. My trials are only a tool used to allow me to see your glory and not as weapons used against me. Your word says all things work together for the good of those who love God (Romans 8:28), so I, like Martha, speak my faith and say yes, Lord, I believe this!

In His grace,

Amanda

Women of Faith series

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Mary Praises God

Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

Gabriel was sent by God to inform Mary of His plans through her life. The first recorded words Gabriel spoke to Mary was, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” But her reaction was not one of rejoicing but of distraught feelings! Knowing this, Gabriel told Mary not to be afraid. Whenever the unknown tempts us to doubt and fear, God’s answer will always be, “Don’t be afraid. I am with you.” His plans for our life will always require bold confidence that steers clear of side-swiping fear.

Even though Mary knew her road ahead was unpaved, and uncertainty was guaranteed, she responded faithfully to God’s will with bold praise in what is known as the Magnificat.

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Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat

And Mary said,

My soul magnifies the Lord,
     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
 as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring forever. (Luke 1:56-52)

Mary lived an unexpected and challenging life, and many seasons of our life are pitched at us with unforeseen curveballs. Praising God when our experiences are confusing and difficult will never be our natural inclination. But if we following Mary’s example of great faith in response to God’s will (even when it is unclear), it will enable us to respond to Him with a joyful, “Yes!” and to competently fulfill our role in God’s kingdom.

Never forget that you are unique and special and have a holy call upon your life. Act like it. Believe it in your heart, think it in your mind, and walk it out in your behavior and conversations. Like Mary, believe that you are blessed! Believe what has been spoken by the Lord concerning His promises for those who are in Christ will be fulfilled! Lord, I desire to praise you in the uncertainties and say, “Yes! May it be done to me according to your word.” May Mary’s song of praise be in your heart and on your lips this week because nothing is impossible with God.

In His grace,

Amanda

Women of Faith series

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Your Voice Matters

While they were battering the wall to bring it down, a wise woman called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here so I can speak to him.”

2 Samuel 20:15-16
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Joab and his men were in pursuit of Sheba, the “wicked man” who had rebelled against David. Sheba hid in the city, and Joab began battering the walls in order to get him out. A wise woman who desired to end the destruction and save her people called out from the city and asked to speak with Joab. He agreed to talk to her, so she informed him that the people within the very town he was attempting to destroy had faith, and surely he did not desire to destroy the LORD’s people! The bold woman agreed to hand Sheba’s head over to Joab in order to save the city, and that is exactly what they did.

The woman’s courageous faith equipped her with the bravery required to stand on the front lines, to speak to Joab, to convince the city of Joab’s desire, and to ignore any possible naysayers. Often we believe our voice won’t make a difference, yet there are many Biblical accounts of how one person’s faith, spoken out loud, changed lives! Lord, grant us the confidence required to speak up when the situation requires it.

When your circumstances threaten to “batter” you until you collapse under the sheer stress and uncertainty of it all, use your voice and call out to the Lord for His help. Use your voice and pray with bold courage. Use your voice and speak confidently of the promises afforded you by being in covenant relationship with God.

God does amazing things through our faith. Lord, increase our faith and fan it into a flame of boldness for your purposes. Grant us the courage to speak up like the example of this wise woman, even if we are afraid and even if there appears to be no hope. What bold women of faith know is that where there is a voice of prayer, there is always hope.

In His grace,

Amanda

Women of Faith series

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Crazy? Hardly

Rhoda recognized Peter’s voice, and because of her joy, she did not open the gate but ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the gateway. “Your crazy!” the other disciples told her. But she kept insisting that it was true.

Acts 12:14-15

King Herod had captured Peter, and the disciples expected him to be martyred just as James was. The church assembled at Mary’s home to earnestly pray for him. Perhaps fear overshadowed their thoughts, or maybe they did not expect God to answer their prayer in such a miraculous way, but based upon their reaction to Rhoda’s announcement, they certainly did not expect Peter to be at their door.

It was a dangerous time for the disciples. Mary’s household servant, Rhoda had been trusted to answer the door even though many lives were at stake. Her responsibility was to let other Believers enter and exit as need be. Certainly, they trusted her ability to discern whom to let in and out, or they would not have entrusted her with the job. When Rhoda learned Peter was at the door, she was so flabbergasted that she left him there and ran with excitement to inform the others. Instead of the disciples shouting with jubilee because it would have been an answer to prayer, they said she was crazy.

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Today, people may call us crazy when we exuberantly express what we have seen the Lord do in our own seemingly impossible situations. Perhaps we may even be called crazy because we believe a Book that can not be scientifically proven, but we build our lives on it anyway.

Lord, may you grant us a heart like Rhoda who delights in proclaiming Your good news in spite of a potentially disbelieving response or when faced with rejection. May we, like Rhoda, keep insisting with joy that the Good News is real because we have seen its transforming effects with our own eyes and ears.

In His grace,

Amanda

Women of Faith series

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Knives Out

Greetings fellow sojourners! Perhaps you have heard the ‘knives out’ phrase recently. It refers to people who blame or punish someone unjustly, deliberately causing them problems. Families are a wonderful blessing of God, but like people, they tend to be less than perfect, and some can be worse than others. In 2 Samuel Joab created some family chaos when he choose not to see God’s sovereignty in his circumstances but instead looked to his dark jealousy resulting in him bringing out a sharp knife to revenge his offended heart. In all our disputes, it is far better to bring peace, not a sword into our relationships. To do this will require complete trust in God’s sovereignty in every area of our life ~ even and especially the part that seems most out of control.

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Absalom had appointed Amasa over the army in place of Joab. Amasa was the son of Jether, an Ishmaelite who had married Abigail, the daughter of Nahash and sister of Zeruiah the mother of Joab.

2 Samuel 17:25

When Absalom conquered Jerusalem and Abigail’s son, Amasa, became commander of the rebel army, his mother may have rejoiced that he’d gained such a grand position. But before long, Abigail would have understood the turmoil and danger that faced her child. Because soon, rebellious Absalom was dead, and her son was labeled a traitor to King David.

Then, in a peacemaking twist, King David offered Amasa the position of commander of his army, setting aside Joab, Abigail’s nephew, who had that job. Again, Abigail must have been on top of the world and relieved that her child was both safe and trusted by the king.

But what a family feud David’s decision started! Jealous Joab responded by killing his new commander with a single stab of his knife. A situation that seemed so promising instantly turned to tragedy. Believer, instead of having our knives out, let’s allow God full access to search our hearts in order to reveal anything there that is prone to offense. Any heart stoked by an offensive ‘sword’ that has not first had the Spirit of God bring it deliverance, will retaliate. Lord, search my heart and know me. If there is any offensive way in me, reveal it to me so that I may yield it to Your healing. I desire everything in my heart to be transformed by the power of your love.

In His grace,

Amanda

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The Cup of Thanksgiving

How can I repay the Lord for all the good He has done for me? I will take the cup of salvation and call on the name of Yahweh. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people.

Psalm 116:12-14

It is infinitely better to spend our time, either when alone or when gathered with others, praising the excellencies and faithfulness of God rather than harping on man’s greatness. How can I repay the Lord for all the good He has done for me? The Lord has caused countless mercies to come to us that we should always look and see what can be done to manifest our gratitude. We often praise God for what can be seen, but what about searching with divine inspiration to pursue various ways we can render fresh praises to God. Each of us should have our own exceptional way of expressing gratitude. The Lord gives each one of us a particular benefit, so we should each be asking, “How can I repay?” What sort of service would be most becoming in me?

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The Psalmist answer to the question is, “I will take the cup of salvation and call on the name of Yahweh.” He will express blessings, thanksgivings, and prayers, and then drink the cup the Lord had filled with his saving grace. It is ours by faith to take and make our own and then with joyful hearts, to magnify the gracious One who has filled it. Drink and be refreshed. We can do this figuratively every time we partake of communion, and we can do it spiritually every time we grasp the promises of the covenant and receive those divine promises into our soul.

Take a long pause Believer and receive with thanksgiving, the great and precious promises given you by God through Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Allow the promises to refresh and revive you and share your thankfulness towards God when you gather with others.

In His grace,

Amanda

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The Strength of Hope

Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God. I am deeply depressed; therefore I remember You…

Psalm 42:5,6

Sorrow here is put to the question. “Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me?” The words imply that God’s people have the habit of pressing down their own souls. That by our own sin, turmoil roars within us and tosses us around. This pressing down of our soul and the resulting turmoil creates more trouble for ourselves than the devil tempts us to.

We should always be quick to consider how much of God’s providence is in our affliction. Why are we downcast if we know that the Father is aware of our difficulty and would have stopped its course had it not been best for us? Like David, we shall not murmur as if God has treated us wrongly. The wisdom of His providence is always acting on our behalf. Oh Lord that we may be strengthened and comforted to bear with you and not be guilty of casting down our soul and allowing turmoil to reign within us as if we had no hope.

Resolve for the anchor of your soul to search for the present fruit in your trouble, however small you imagine the fruit to be, so that you may praise Him even in your painful experiences. When we allow our soul to become despondent, we make it disquieted, and thus, we are unable to praise. When the anchor of our soul is hope in God, this hope will unbridle us from the heavy yoke of anxiety and worry. Hope in the Lord is an expectation founded on faith in God and leads the soul to wait for him. The expectant soul does not cast itself down but hopes for the goodness of the Lord to be revealed!

Is He not called the Mighty Physician? Does He not identify and evacuate the diseases of our soul and yet at the same time, offer His comfort and strength? If we were to ask ourselves, “Why, poor heart, are you so depressed and disquieted?” Would we not respond with, “My distress and sadness springs from my unbelief?” Come Mighty Physician and remove what does not belong in my heart! I know my human condition is inclined to be impatient and haunted with a discontented soul when affliction remains upon me. Lord, I desire to not disquiet my soul from trusting in you, but instead, I am determined to silence my inner turmoil. I need Your help. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit that guides me into all truth and teaches me how to put to death my carnal inclinations that do not align with You.

In His grace,

Amanda

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We Know…

We know that all things work together for good to those who love God.

Romans 8:28

Perhaps from the habit of familiarity, we frequently emphasize the second portion of this verse, “all things work together for good for those who love God” without reflecting upon the equally important first two words, “we know.” I have become accustomed to hearing the verse quoted with the first two words left off, but it is essential that we not only say them but that we believe that we know! Can you agree with confidence that you “know” all things work together for good to those who love God? If you emphasize the “you know,” when you speak the sentence, it will be a faith builder to yourself and to those who hear.

If you can confidently say that you know all things work together for the good of those who love God, then you would agree that God ordains the circumstances of a believer’s life. We may or may not understand the events when they surface, but we must not attempt to control or wish them away because we know that by God’s providence, he has brought them to us for his divine purposes. And, we know the Spirit is aware of our circumstances, and He brings comfort to us because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:27). “The Spirit Himself intercedes for us” (Romans 8:26), and without His assistance, we might be too weak to endure, but the Spirit helps and strengthens our weakness by inspiring our prayers. What a blessing!

“Though He slays me, yet will I trust in Him.”

Job 13:15

When Satan is defeated, then shall the battle cease (Spurgeon). Believer, when we allow ourselves to accept the providence of God in our lives as well as other’s lives, we will submit to his providence, not desiring to become our own or someone else’s providence. When you have submitted your circumstances to God and have aligned your will and prayers to His government, Satan is defeated, and the battle within you will cease. I trust you, Lord! Teach me through all of my troublesome and painful circumstances, for I know the overarching aim in all of your providence is love.

In His grace,

Amanda

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Transformed

There is nothing like the absolute radiant beauty of Jesus Christ. When Jesus transformed on the mountain in front of Peter, James, and John, his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. We also become transformed in front of those around us, as a result of completely different thinking, when we come into agreement with the renewing Word of God. Also, as a result of the covenant, all believers have unveiled glory (regeneration, justification, and sanctification) and in the future will receive a heavenly glorification. The bottom line of these verses? Transformation brings noticeable change. Your transformation is expected to be noticed by those around you. Desire to always be transformed more and more into His image and less and less of your own. Ask Him for it. Allow Him to be on display in your life. Make Him known to those around you. Be radiantly transformed.

He was transformed in front of them, and His face shone like the sun. Even His clothes became as white as the light.

Matthew 17:2

After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up on a high mountain by themselves to be alone. He was transformed in front of them, and His clothes became dazzling — extremely white as no launderer on earth could whiten them.

Mark 9:2

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2

We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 2:18

The Spirit of the Lord will control you, you will prophesy with them, and you will be transformed into a different person.

1 Samuel 10:6

Food may come from the earth, but below the surface the earth is transformed as by fire.

Job 28:5

Job was describing the mining processes in this verse. In some of the mining processes, fire was used whereby material was detached from the earth and made to yield their treasures of beautiful stones. In our own lives, fiery trials will be the tool that reveals God’s most precious treasures He has implanted in us. When we realize the stunning, all-surpassing pearl within us and its power to transform us through our most difficult and painful experiences, we become transfigured and those with eyes to see behold the brilliance of God. Thank you, Lord for your transforming Word and the gift of Your Spirit.

In his grace,

Amanda

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