Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Virtuous Woman of Proverbs 31

"Who can find virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies."
-Proverbs 31:10
The Virtuous woman, described in vs. 11-31, is rare. She is a sinner (Romans 3:23-24) and not born virtuous (websters: morally excellent). The rich qualities which characterize her life have been diligently learned and applied.
Over the next few weeks I want to delve into this passage, examining these qualities and offering practical applications and giving you some thoughts to mull over.
Before we can begin, we must review three basics of Christianity: First, salvation is a gift from God, and cannot be earned by our works; "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemptionthat is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath sent forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, the declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through forbearance of God;" -Romans 3:20, 23-25 (see also Titus 3:4-7, 1 Peter 1:18-20, Gal. 2:16, Acts 4:12). May it be clearly understood, I am in no way advocating a works based salvation.
Second, as believers, we are no longer our own, to do as we please. We are Christ's to do His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13).
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of GOd, who loved me and gave Himself for me." -Galations 2:20 (see also Eph. 2:10, Col 3:1-3, Col. 3:23, 2 Tim. 2:4)
Third, In order to cultivate God-honouring character we must acknowledge that it cannot be done in our own strength. If we are to exhibit a Spirit filled life, we must walk in the spirit. (Rom 8:5-6, Gal. 5:16, Eph. 3:18, Col. 2:6). Bearing in mind that walking by the Spirit is not 'mystical' and we are still responsible before God to act. (Gal. 6:6-9, Eph. 5:1 & 15-17, Phil. 2:12-15, 1 Tim. 6:11-12, 2 Tim. 2:3-4 & 15).
Alright, I hope your getting excited, I know I am!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Survive or Thrive?, Answers, Part 2

* As an introductory note, make sure you read "Survive or Thrive?" before reading the following.

I sent an e-mail to Miss. Cara Horn, asking the same questions I asked Jasmine. Below are her well thought out answers. Enjoy!

-"What about college?"
1. First I would like to state that I do not believe receiving a college education is inherently evil. That said, I do believe that it is very unwise for a daughter to leave the protection of her father's home to obtain knowledge from the world. Unprotected women fill our universities, contributing to the breakdown of Biblical patterns for male and female relationships. I prefer to remain under my father's roof and further his vision for our family while learning life skills and continuing my education through self study. While advancing my education is something I greatly desire and actively pursue within the context of serving family and fellow brethren, simply obtaining a degree does not further my goal of becoming a godly helpmeet and homemaker. In essence, while I believe it is vital that a young woman should be well educated to better assist those God has called her to serve, I do not believe college holds the market on education.
-"How do you handle less than pleased responses?"
2. The best way I have found to handle less than pleased responses to my educational choices is to not assume that the responses will be negative. I know this sounds strange, but it is true. If your attitude is instantly defensive when the "college question" comes up, people are more likely to believe your motives lie in laziness or lack of intelligence. A brief, enthusiastic explanation of my goals and how those are being furthered through practical or scholastic study is often met with an albeit surprised but accepting response. Some people do reject my philosophy of advanced education regardless of the presentation, but it is helpful to remember that often these individuals honestly desire the best for me. The problem comes because they have been so ingrained with the belief that following societal norms and attending college is the only start to a successful life. While it can be frustrating at times, it is imperative to keep this in perspective and graciously respond to those who demonstrate combativeness.
-"What about extended family who are disappointed?"
3. Our extended family has always known we were different. My family has often made counter-cultural decisions, so my choice to remain home after completing high school was not the first time we broke societal rules. Although we are the "weird ones," for the most part our extended family has not taken an actively vocal response in this case. Comments do come, and I am sure we are the subject of much discussion, but my choice to not attend college coincides with our other "strange" desires to home educate, follow Biblical principles in relationships, and attempt to dress modestly. -"How do you handle the difficulties of going against the culture?" 4. The more you go against the culture, the more natural it feels. As I stated before, my parents have often headed down a different path than what society described as normal. They raised their children to search Scripture for the answers to life and not rely on the method of following patterns set by the world. Times come when it is especially challenging to be different, but if our focus is to glorify God as our chief end in life, societal expectations become less of a priority.
-When you are struggling, how do you refocus?"
5. When I find myself struggling, it is often because my focus has slipped off of God and has centered around me. We are a selfish people. So often our thoughts, actions and plans revolve entirely around ourselves. Yes, God has created me as an individual, but He also placed me in a family. I need to focus on serving others and not always be consumed with my own perceived needs and desires. Prayer, crying out to God for forgiveness, and allowing Him to change my attitude is how I regain focus on what is truly important in life.