The Bride of Christ

“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.” Proverbs 31:10 NKJV

Every women who has been a Christian for a little while has read or heard of the Proverbs 31 woman. It is the high achievement for all women to strive for and as impossible to truly achieve as is our transformation from sinner to saved – it is only accomplished through God’s grace.  But, why do we only focus on women when we study this? You do see it is for men as well? Let me explain…

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Proverbs chapters 30-31 (embedded below the image below for your convenience).

Did you know I was made to memorize chapter 31 as a child, as a girl?  The idea must have been to raise up a child in the way they should go?  Unfortunately that church became very legalistic when I was a young adult – and the constant condemnation and lack of grace did no favors to God.  So proverbs 31 became one of those unrealistic legalistic means to condemn me once again for being human.

And for being human, I am guilty as charged, not a sin to be washed away, but a being created in the image of The Creator! It’s a glorious accusation! But only NOW, now that I understand grace and how it is only extended to humans.

“And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” Matthew 9:15 ESV

Jesus explained that He is the Bridegroom and that His followers are the bride, and this metaphor runs throughout BOTH the old testament (where Israel was the bride) and the new testament (where all believers are to behave as a bride).  Under grace we are freed from the law, but we are NOT freed from the covenant that God is trying to make (or has made) with each of us.  He laid down His sacrifice and waits for us to lay ourselves down as the sacrifice and joint the covenant – become His bride.

So, Let us look at the opening verse today (above); instead of asking who can find a virtuous women – we could rightfully ask: will Jesus find a virtuous bride when He returns?!

Now, we see this passage bathes in ALL GRACE!  It is not just an unachievable standard for women – but for the whole body of church!  Leveling the playing field did not bring men down or women up – IT IS A CALL FOR THE BRIDE TO FILL HER LAMP WITH OIL!!! The night is almost over!

We cannot rise to be who God wishes us to be as we keep stumbling over temptation and sin and strongholds and attacks – but grace, grace and the touch from GOD himself will raise us.  But not in a prideful way. There shall be no “I am Christian, hear me roar!” because we are to be humble and meek.  Get low; as low as low can be – but do it in the hand of the almighty!!! So when He lifts His hand above, there you are still meek and humble – but far above. Laying as low as you can low, but in His will and in His high and mighty hands.

Today, while reading – place yourself in the position of wife in a relationship with God and review where you stand or where you fall sort. If you are found lacking, ask for forgiveness and grace to fill in the gaps.  Our God is a God of personal relationship with each of us, but he is also a God of restoration.

Draw closer to Him.

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: Mark 16:17-18 – This month is month two of the two for one special!!!
NKJV – “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
NAS – “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
ESV – “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
NLT – “These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”
NIV – “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Proverbs 30-31 NKJV

The Wisdom of Agur

30 The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, his utterance. This man declared to Ithiel—to Ithiel and Ucal:

Surely I am more stupid than any man,
And do not have the understanding of a man.
I neither learned wisdom
Nor have knowledge of the Holy One.

Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?
Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has bound the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name, and what is His Son’s name,
If you know?

Every word of God is [a]pure;
He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
Do not add to His words,
Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

Two things I request of You
(Deprive me not before I die):
Remove falsehood and lies far from me;
Give me neither poverty nor riches—
Feed me with the food allotted to me;
Lest I be full and deny You,
And say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I be poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God.

10 Do not malign a servant to his master,
Lest he curse you, and you be found guilty.

11 There is a generation that curses its father,
And does not bless its mother.
12 There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes,
Yet is not washed from its filthiness.
13 There is a generation—oh, how lofty are their eyes!
And their eyelids are [b]lifted up.
14 There is a generation whose teeth are like swords,
And whose fangs are like knives,
To devour the poor from off the earth,
And the needy from among men.

15 The leech has two daughters—
Give and Give!

There are three things that are never satisfied,
Four never say, “Enough!”:
16 The[c] grave,
The barren womb,
The earth that is not satisfied with water—
And the fire never says, “Enough!”

17 The eye that mocks his father,
And scorns obedience to his mother,
The ravens of the valley will pick it out,
And the young eagles will eat it.

18 There are three things which are too wonderful for me,
Yes, four which I do not understand:
19 The way of an eagle in the air,
The way of a serpent on a rock,
The way of a ship in the [d]midst of the sea,
And the way of a man with a virgin.

20 This is the way of an adulterous woman:
She eats and wipes her mouth,
And says, “I have done no wickedness.”

21 For three things the earth is perturbed,
Yes, for four it cannot bear up:
22 For a servant when he reigns,
A fool when he is filled with food,
23 [e]hateful woman when she is married,
And a maidservant who succeeds her mistress.

24 There are four things which are little on the earth,
But they are exceedingly wise:
25 The ants are a people not strong,
Yet they prepare their food in the summer;
26 The [f]rock badgers are a feeble folk,
Yet they make their homes in the crags;
27 The locusts have no king,
Yet they all advance in ranks;
28 The [g]spider skillfully grasps with its hands,
And it is in kings’ palaces.

29 There are three things which are majestic in pace,
Yes, four which are stately in walk:
30 A lion, which is mighty among beasts
And does not turn away from any;
31 [h]greyhound,
A male goat also,
And [i]a king whose troops are with him.

32 If you have been foolish in exalting yourself,
Or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth.
33 For as the churning of milk produces butter,
And wringing the nose produces blood,
So the forcing of wrath produces strife.

The Words of King Lemuel’s Mother

31 The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:

What, my son?
And what, son of my womb?
And what, son of my vows?
Do not give your strength to women,
Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Nor for princes intoxicating drink;
Lest they drink and forget the law,
And pervert the justice of all [j]the afflicted.
Give strong drink to him who is perishing,
And wine to those who are bitter of heart.
Let him drink and forget his poverty,
And remember his misery no more.

Open your mouth for the speechless,
In the cause of all who are [k]appointed to die.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And plead the cause of the poor and needy.

The Virtuous Wife

10 Who[l] can find a [m]virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From [n]her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears 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.

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 30:5 tested, refined, found pure
  2. Proverbs 30:13 In arrogance
  3. Proverbs 30:16 Or Sheol
  4. Proverbs 30:19 Lit. heart
  5. Proverbs 30:23 Or hated
  6. Proverbs 30:26 rock hyraxes
  7. Proverbs 30:28 Or lizard
  8. Proverbs 30:31 Or perhaps strutting rooster, lit. girded of waist
  9. Proverbs 30:31 A Jewish tradition a king against whom there is no uprising
  10. Proverbs 31:5 Lit. sons of affliction
  11. Proverbs 31:8 Lit. sons of passing away
  12. Proverbs 31:10 Vv. 10–31 are an alphabetic acrostic in Hebrew; cf. Ps. 119
  13. Proverbs 31:10 Lit. a wife of valor, in the sense of all forms of excellence
  14. Proverbs 31:16 Lit. the fruit of her hands

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