REMEMBER THE PIERCING!

Photo credit: thevinethatwrites.wordpress.com

Photo credit: thevinethatwrites.wordpress.com

“Ouch! Ouch!”, my 7 year-old granddaughter yelled as I tried to reintroduce an earring into the piercing in her ear.  She doesn’t like to keep earrings in her ears  but she likes it even less when I try to put the earrings back in after they’ve been out for a while. The longer the earring is not in that hole, the harder it is to put it back in.  She squeals and squirms as I try to fit the post of the earring into the hole.

I remember when I had my ears pierced as a little girl.  Oh the pain!! Back in the day, ears were pierced with a sterilized needle and then a piece of straw from a straw broom.  The straw was broken, burned on both ends and pushed through the hole.  A week or so later, the piercer would thread a piece of string through the hole to make sure the hole did not close before the piercing was permanently set.  I remembered my pain as I was trying to contain her pulling away from me. Suddenly, I could only imagine what it must have felt like for Jesus to be pierced!  Pierced for my sins. Pierced for the sins of the world.  He willingly bore that pain.  He didn’t resist it.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.  Isaiah 53:5  NASB

Pierced through.  Yes, pierced through for my sins and your sins.  Christ was “wounded” or “pierced”

(1) by the thorns;

(2) by the nails; and

(3) by the spear of the soldier.

Maybe you cannot relate to the piercing of the ears, nose, belly button, eyebrow, etc., but can you relate to having a soul pierced by pain?  A broken heart is a very real emotion. When I as a mom and a grandmother see my precious babies hurting in anyway, I am undone.  It feels like my very own soul is pierced.  When they hurt, I hurt.  Jesus’ mother, Mary, dealt with this same thing. It was prophesied by Simeon that her baby boy would suffer.  He would be a suffering servant.  Mary would suffer with Him, because of the nearness of her relation and affection for Him.  Think about that.  Not only was Jesus Christ body pierced, her soul would be pierced as well. Has your soul ever been pierced?  Is the pain of that piercing still fresh?

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed—and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:35

Mary would suffer much pain in watching her son be rejected.  Pain as caused by a sword. Consider this from Barnes’ Notes on the Bible: “Yes, a sword … – The sufferings and death of thy Son shall deeply afflict thy soul. And if Mary had not been thus forewarned and sustained by strong faith, she could not have borne the trials which came upon her Son; but God prepared her for it, and the mother of the dying Saviour was sustained.” 

Mary needed strong faith because of what was to come – the crucifixion of her precious son.  We, too, need strong faith when our souls are pierced because of what happens to our children.  But, just as Mary put her son in God’s hands, we must do the same.  We cannot keep our loved ones from feeling/dealing with pain.  Our pain is because we love them.

I’m so glad that God speaks through the ordinary, mundane tasks of my day (like putting in earrings).  I’m thankful that He reminded me that the pain of piercing affects the pierced and and those who love them.  Thank You, Jesus, for enduring the piercing pain so that I might be healed.  This Easter, may we remember the piercing.

+First Look:  The Bible has many references of piercings.  Look up the following scriptures: Psalm 22:16; Zechariah 12:10; 1 Timothy 6:10; Revelation 1:7; Hebrews 4:12

+Through The Looking Glass: What might God be saying to you in these passages?  Does it change the way you think about piercing the soul? Why or why not?  How does His piercing affect your eternal salvation? Give thanks.

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14 WAYS A WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE–Part 12

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

As a full-time homemaker, I am often referred to as John’s wife.  Because I am not employed outside my home, some people don’t know exactly how to refer to me.  So, I get the title of “John’s wife”.  That’s not a bad title considering I’ve loved being my husband’s wife for the past 36 years.  It is sad though that by overlooking my contribution to our marriage, family and home, they miss the best of him.  Well, virtuous woman, the opposite is also true.  When my husband is not recognized for who he is, the best of me is overlooked.  The Noble Wife has a tremendous amount of influence in how her husband is perceived.  Good or bad.

As I’ve previously stated here, this woman is so on the ball.  She’s got a lot going for herself. She has all sorts of gifts, talents and influence.  She knows her place. It’s a good place. She embraces her brilliant mind and God-given confidence.  She’s no shrinking violet. With that in mind,  Let’s take a look at today’s passage in Proverbs 31:23:

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

I love that the virtuous woman’s husband is respected at the city gate.  The city gate was a place where the courts of justice were kept, where causes were heard and tried by the judges, the elders of the land.  This man was among them, was known there, taken notice of and celebrated, not so much for the beautiful garments she made him, but for his wisdom and for being the husband of such a woman. [Gill’s]  I love that!  He was respected among his peers for making a wise choice in choosing a wife.  Our husbands have their own ‘city gates’.  Places where they gather to do business and their places of activity: his job, his relationships with his children, his ministry, etc.  Do your husband’s peers think him wise for choosing you?  While we don’t (and shouldn’t) base our worth on what others think (even his family), the question bears noting here.

Proverbs 12:4 says that, “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.”

Ouch.  You see, a Godly wife contributes greatly to the success and prosperity of her husband.  I can only speak for myself, but I NEVER want to be a decay to my husband’s bones. I know for sure that I have been.  I want to be the CROWN on his head and bring life to him.  My desire and yes, my actions, should help my husband be free from anxiety and distraction in order to take his seat at the city gates.  I never want to be a hindrance to his advancement but help further it by being a wife of noble character.  Speaking well of him.  Being discreet.  Creating an environment where he can thrive.  Never giving him a reason to question or distrust my motives, my love, my dedication and commitment to him.

I love this by Gill’s Commentary.  It puts this into perspective to me.  Take a look:

Christ is the husband of the church in general, and of particular churches, and of every private believer; He fell in love with them, asked them of His Father, and betrothed them to Himself; and is a kind, tender, loving, and sympathizing husband to His church and people; that nourishes and cherishes them, and provides all things for them, and interests them in all He has: and He is “known” by them, in the dignity of His person, in the excellency of His offices, and the fullness of His grace; He is known by them in the relation of an husband; He is well known in the church of God, in the assembly of His saints, ( Psalms 76:1 ) ; He is known in the gates of Zion, in the public ministering of the word and ordinances; His name is celebrated, it becomes great and famous, wherever His Gospel is preached in the world; He is, “known in the provinces,” or, “among the cities,” when He sits among the elders of the landwhen He sits in his house, at His table, circled by His saints, His ancient ones; or as King, head, and husband of His people, on His throne in the church, encompassed with, the four and twenty elders, the representatives of Gospel churches, ( Revelation 4:2-4 ) and especially when He shall take to Himself His great power, and reign gloriously before His ancients, the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, and all His saints, which will come with Him; whom He has loved with an everlasting love; who were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world; and had grace given them, in Him, before the world began, ( Isaiah 24:23 ) ; and when He shall come to judge the world, and will appear in great glory, and be seen and known of all; and shall sit on His throne of glory, and His elders also, sitting on twelve thrones, judging the tribes of Israel, ( Matthew 19:28 ).

Dear Virtuous Woman, just as Christ is known by us, His Bride, my husband is also known in his circle of influence because of me, his bride.  I never want the best of me to be overlooked.  Do you? LORD, may I never bring harm to his reputation or decay to his bones.  Amen.

I welcome your comments here.

+First Look: Re-read Proverbs 31:23–What is God saying to you after reading the commentary in this blog?  How do you perceive your relationship to Christ as a result of the commentary?

+Through The Looking Glass: How do you bring life to your husband among his circle of influence? How might you do better?

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14 WAYS A WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE – Part 11

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

Happy New Year from the Looking Glass By Kathy!  I am excited to kick off another blogging year, and finally finish the last 4 parts of the 14 Ways A Wise Woman Builds Her House.

Ushering in a new year always begins with me making lists of the various things I want to do, need to do and have to do. I have all sorts of apps on my cell phone to help me with list making.  As I get older, I heavily rely on these.  It comforts me to know that God is also a list maker. Consider:

1.  The 10 Commandments (Exodus 20)

2.  The Things He Hates (Prov. 6:16-19)

3.  The Fruit of The Spirit (5:22-23)

4.  The Qualities of A Maturing Christian (2 Peter 1:5-8)

5.  The First Century Churches Worth Noting (Rev. 2:1-3, 22)

For months now we’ve been focusing on a woman who is a planner. Read past posts here.  The Proverbs 31 woman planned ahead. Take a look:

20 Her hands reach[n] out to the poor,
and she extends her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
for all in her household are doubly clothed.[o]
22 She makes her own bed coverings;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.

In my world, if I’m going to reach out to the poor and needy, not be caught off guard by the onset of winter and still present myself in a (regal) classy way, I need to plan ahead.

Reaching out to the poor and extending a hand to the needy: In my world, there are many opportunities to serve the poor and needy.  Many.  Sometimes my planning ahead will look like signing up to physically give/minister to the poor and needy on a specific date/time and/or asking God to show me when and where I can help.  I can plan to purchase or donate much-needed items.  In order to plan ahead, I need to put the time to do that on a list and give it a deadline date.

She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all in her household are doubly clothed: I’m not sure how well in advance the capable wife prepared for snow since she didn’t have a 7 day (in advance) weather report at her disposal.  Even though it snowed in Jerusalem approximately every other year, I’m sure she was always prepared for it.  If I know there’s a impending weather event, I make a list of things we may need.  Gas in the car, batteries, medicine, food, charged cell phone or iPad anticipating any outings, salt for the walkways, etc.  I even make sure we have some fun treats to snack on.  Planning ahead is the key here.

She makes her own bed coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple: Matthew Henry’s commentary elaborates on this verse like this: ‘In verse 22 she makes coverings for herself. “Her clothing is fine linen and purple.” What does it mean she makes coverings for herself? It could refer to a coat, a cloak, a shawl, some kind of a wrap. It also can refer to pillows, blankets, bed coverings. She made coverings for herself. She…the implication here is she made her bed beautiful. I mean, earlier in the Proverbs the prostitute did that to seduce the man. Here is the godly woman making the bed a place of loveliness and comfort. She adorns the beds of her house for herself, for her family, for comfort and for beauty. And then her clothing is fine linen and purple.’  Did you know that January is the best time to purchase bedding and linens?  Sales, sales, sales.  I’m saying purchase because most women are not going to make these (nor do they have to). Consider how you can plan accordingly as a Wise Woman Who Builds Her House.

+First Look: Does Proverbs 31:20-22 speak to your heart about planning ahead?

+Through The Looking Glass: How do you plan ahead?  What helps you build your house as a wise woman?

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Do You Hear What I Hear?

thelookingglassbykathy:

From The Archives!

Originally posted on The Looking Glass:

Photo courtesy of SermonCentral.com Photo courtesy of SermonCentral.com

There are frenetic sounds all around me.  Do you hear what I hear?  It seems that everywhere I go during the Christmas season, I can hear the hustle and bustle of people trying to ‘get ready’ for Christmas.  Do you hear what I hear?

I hear footsteps scurrying from store to store, the sound of fingers clicking away at keyboards sending messages and making online purchases, voices saying “Merry Christmas”. I also hear parents yelling at their kids, people yelling at the cashiers, complaining about everything under the sun to anyone who will listen.  Do you hear what I hear? 

I don’t know about you, but when I am drowning in the sea of hustle and bustle, I want to put the earplugs in.  I want to drown out the frenzy and anxious, negative vibes and fill my heart with joy and laughter.  Oh…

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14 WAYS A WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE – PART 10

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

Photo Credit: theinspiredcafe.com

In the last nine blog posts, we have gotten a chance to really see how a WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE. The wisdom this woman has in building her house allows her to plant a stake in the ground for her family.  She is not a woman who feels like she has no place in this world.  She’s confident that she does. She doesn’t entertain the idea that she is a non-entity in society.  She knows her worth.  She knows the value of her contributions.  She allows Christ Jesus to lead and guide her.  She knows the worth of her prayers, opening her home, raising godly children, etc.  [Read past posts starting here.]

Last time we peered into the life of the virtuous woman’s business mind in Proverbs 31:16.  She earned money and reinvested the money she earned.  To take this a step further, we said that the Virtuous Woman would do well to consider the return on the investments she makes both physically and spiritually when is comes to building her house.  Her investments of time, talent and treasure need the same consideration as if she were making a BIG purchase! She needs to count the cost to live out her best yes! That is certainly food for thought!

Let’s take a look at Proverbs 31:17-19:

First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
    rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
    is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
    diligent in homemaking.  MSG

I love the way this is worded.  Let’s dig further into the life of this Wise Woman.  As a practice, I get up in the morning and dress for ‘work’.  My ‘work’ clothes consists of sweatpants and a t-shirt.  I always believed that dressing for ‘work’ helped shape my mindset for the day.  Staying in pajamas all day…well…that would mean no work for me.  Some days I am eager to get started with my agenda.  Some days I like to linger a bit over a hearty breakfast and a good cup of coffee.  If I’m in my pj’s all day, I do not have a mindset to work but to relax.  That’s just me.  I try to steer clear of that. I give myself a deadline to accomplish the many tasks I have and I always make time to connect with God.  That’s a non-negotiable.

As A WISE WOMAN who BUILDS HER HOUSE, consider this: the way we do our jobs at home is directly related to the way we approach our job.  If I greet the day with “Good Morning, LORD”, my day is off to a grateful start.  If I approach my day with “Good lord, it’s morning”, then everything is built on that mindset.  I could only  pray that my day gets better from there.

Question, do you know the worth of your work?  Do you consider it to be mindless or less than?  I would encourage any woman struggling with her God-given work and its worth to talk to God about it.  I know that He will help you see the worth in the work He’s given you to do.  It’s essential to building your home.  The Virtuous Woman loved her work so much that she was in no hurry to call it quits for the day.  I want to believe that she loved creating an atmosphere for her family to thrive in – NOT just survive in everyday.  I want to believe that she received such joy from watching them thrive that she kept going.

Is there something that needs caring for at home?  A tattered sofa?  Neglected windows?Bare walls?  Have you considered re-purposing things to gain a better use somewhere else?  Perhaps moving a piece of furniture to be better used in another part of the home? Back in the day, I loved having a Christmas table that was beautifully coordinated.  I loved the look of a tablecloth, napkins, runner and perhaps a window covering that matched. Since I couldn’t afford those things ala carte, I bought 2 of the largest tablecloths they made.  I used one for the table and the other I cut up to make 6 napkins and a runner.  If I had anything left over I made a window topping.  I smile when I think about that now.  I loved connecting with my creative side.  I feel close to God when I do.  Have you connected with yours?

Lastly, if you awake eager to build your house, know the worth of your work, and aren’t in any hurry to call it quits for the day, I’d like to think that you are diligent in homemaking.  What do you think?

Happy Homemaking!!

+First Look:  What might God be saying to you from these verses (Prov 31:16-19)?

+Through The Looking Glass: Consider how you prepare for the day.  Does it prompt you to work diligently?  Do you call it quits before you begin?  Have you tapped into your creative bent?  How do these verses equip and challenge you to build your house? 

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