Far Above Rubies

"A worthy woman who can find? For her price is far above rubies." (Proverbs 31:10)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Beauty Myth

Western culture bombards us with them constantly: slim figures, pouty lips, perfectly straight hair, smoldering eyes... the list goes on and on. Young women are pressured to look and dress a certain way in order to be accepted as "beautiful." So many young women (including myself once) have accepted the lie that you must look a certain way to be beautiful.

Ladies, we must not believe this lie that Satan tells us. By putting our focus on outward appearances, we take our eyes on what matters -- the heart.

Do not let your adornment be merely outward --— arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel -- rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. (1 Peter 3:3-4)

Satan wants us to focus on our outward appearances in order to take our eyes off of Christ.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)

Why do we care so much that we have to be beautiful? Every woman has a deeply rooted desire to be loved and appreciated by a man. So many women will go to extraordinary lengths to obtain this appreciation -- even if it literally means killing themselves. We go to such great lengths to produce a physical appearance that the world defines as "beautiful" in order to be loved -- only to find utter shallowness and low self-worth.

This is what drives so many young women to eating disorders. Ladies, this is wrong. Period. I know from personal experience that starving yourself and/or binging is the wrong way to lose weight. You are hurting your body, which is a temple of the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:19). Let me give you examples of what can happen to your body.

Anorexia -- when you consistently starve yourself of vital nutrients found in food, you begin to deplete your muscle tissue (a very bad thing) and can even sterilize yourself (an even worse thing).

Bulemia -- consistent vomiting will severely damage the lining of your esophagus and eventually you will not be able to stop vomiting (even if you want to). You can give yourself Acid Reflux. Recovery is slow, frustrating, and often painful.

At the age of fifteen, I weighed nearly twice what a girl of my small bone structure and height should have weighed. I really did need to lose weight for medical reasons, but my desire was to be skinny and "pretty," not to be just healthy. Purging after excessive eating was not the answer to my problem -- in fact, in only added to my problem. After two months of this, I grew tired of vomiting and wanted to stop -- but I couldn't. The lining of my esophagus was already so badly damaged that I vomited every time I ate -- regardless of whether I wanted to or not. It took medication and years of recovery to repair my body. Even though it's been years, I am still paying the consequences with acid reflux. Acidic foods still make me nauseous.

Seven months ago, I finally began to handle my weight the right way with healthy eating and exercise. Losing weight is not easy for me, but up to date I have lost 35 pounds and three clothing sizes. It can be done, but it takes discipline and dedication to keep your body healthy. I did not set a goal weight, because losing weight is not my goal. My goal is to be healthy so that I can serve God to the best of my ability.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23)

Take a look at the Proverbs 31 woman. Not once is her physical appearance praised or even mentioned -- it is her godly character that is exalted. Also remember that a man will never complete you -- only your heavenly Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, can complete you and love you with perfect love.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Laying your "Isaac" on the altar

Read: Genesis 22

When God asked Abraham to give up the most precious thing in his life, Abraham readily gave up his only son. No questions asked. What incredible faith!

God asks us to give up things (or people) that we love and we must be ready to surrender everything to Him. Sometimes the sacrifices are taken, and other times they are given to us -- after we have completely laid them on the altar before the Lord. My sisters, let me tell you there is no greater joy than surrendering to God and having your sacrifice returned to you. The Lord is good!

But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:25-30)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Guarding Your Heart

As Christian women, we are constantly told to guard our hearts (usually in regards with a man). So many (including myself) take this to mean "guard your emotions." We think we must detach ourselves emotionally from a situation in order to "guard" our hearts. In reality, my sisters, we cannot guard our own hearts. That is the job of our heavenly Bridegroom.

We women are very emotional creatures. It is difficult (and nearly impossible) to emotionally detach ourselves from people and/or situations, so attempting to emotionally detach ourselves seems a little absurd.

For the longest time, I held the view that guarding my heart meant building walls around it -- complete with concrete, barbed wires, and snipers. Sure, I was an impenetrable fortress -- no man would have me. What I didn't realize was that not only was I inhibiting my relationship with my Beloved Lord, but a person who builds walls cannot love easily... and those who do not love do not truly live. The Lord had to break down my "walls" -- a painful, but sanctifying experience -- to render my heart broken and vulnerable. Yet when your heart is broken and vulnerable, dear sister, that is when the Lord works best.

Guarding your heart is not building walls. Rather, it is tearing down the walls around your heart and making yourself vulnerable to the Lord -- not to a man, but to your heavenly Bridegroom. Guarding your heart is surrendering it to the Lord and His will. You must trust the Lord to guard your heart, not your own walls to defend it. Be most assured, dear sister, that the Lord will guard your heart with a jealous passion -- for it belongs to Him. Surrender your heart to the Lord, for there is no safer place than in His hands.

There will be pain and suffering, but embrace that cross just as our Lord did. Embrace your vulnerability. Embrace the pain that comes with a broken heart. Bear it gladly and bear it well, my sisters.

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, Who daily bears our burdens. Selah. (Psalm 68:19)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

No Other Love But Thee

O You Whom I love,
My Beloved, my Groom!
Be ever near to me
In trials, when they loom.
Hold my hand, my Love,
And draw me to Thy side.
E'er Thou art faithful
To always with me bide.
Let this passion ne'er cool --
This ardour always flame --
May I always show Thy love
And glorify Thy name.
No one could ever be
As good as Thou to me.
For I shall have no other love --
No other love but Thee.

Carey Nofziger
17 May 2005

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Woman with the Alabaster Box

In Matthew 26:6:13, you will read of a woman, which to me is the most fascinating woman in the New Testament. The Bible does not record her name, though she is mentioned in three gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke.

This section of Matthew, chapter 2 that is, is about Jesus’ coming death.

Mat 26:2-5 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified. Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.

Now while Jesus is in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, here comes this woman with an alabaster box of very precious ointment (v. 7), and pours it on Jesus’ head. Here’s what I find very interesting. Jesus Christ knows that his time is short and has two days before his crucifixion, and though he has been mentioning it to his disciples, they were never able to comprehend it. His disciples, however, seemed to understand the concept of charity, for this was their answer:

Mat 26:8-9 But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.

And this is Jesus’ response:

Mat 26:10-12 When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.

How did this woman who appears to us out of the blue, seem to have known and understood that her Saviour would soon die for her sins. That is beyond me. And here we have his disciples who were with him from day one, and though it is great that they knew charity, hadn’t yet realized that Christ came not to live, but to die and to lay down his life that they may freely obtain it.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is kind in that he recognized her good deed. For she hath wrought a good work upon me.

Mat 26:13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

What a blessing coming from the mouth of Jesus Christ. Someday in eternal heaven I will meet and will ask her, “how did you know?”.