From Virtue to Valor by Ronda

From Virtue to Valor

This month’s blog is author’s choice, so I decided to share about what I have been contemplating after reading an excellent blog article about the biblical role of women. While reading the article, I was intrigued by the fact that the word “virtuous” in Pro. 31:10 is not a full and accurate expression of the meaning in the text. According to my dictionary.com app virtuous is defined as: moral excellence, goodness, righteousness and conformity of one’s life and conduct and ethical principles and lastly manly excellence. When I started on this blog journey, I thought that the “virtuous” woman was a woman who discovers herself in the light of the Word of God. I think that is still true, however, with new light comes a new perspective.

The Hebrew word in the Proverbs 31:10 translated as “virtuous” in our bibles is Strong’s H2428 chayil. The word chayil is defined by Strong’s as strength, might, efficiency, wealth and army. In the Hebrew Masoretic Text, Proverbs 31: 10 is Eishet chayil mi yimtza? A woman of valor who can find her? So there we have it. Our KJV virtuous woman is a Hebrew woman of valor. In the original text the word is more closely translated as valor. According to dictionary.com valor is defined as boldness or determination in facing great danger, especially in battle, heroic courage and bravery.

So which is it, virtue or valor? More importantly, how does this contrast in translation affect our spiritual perspective as Christian women? In my brief time studying scripture from the original Hebrew text, I have found a picture of women that are more highly esteemed, especially in regards to their spiritual insight and leadership. I believe more and more Christian women are discovering a new, true identity in scripture that is not defined by the “traditions of men” that make the power of God of no effect. (Mark 7:13) I think this identity is more closely associated with being a woman of valor as opposed to a woman of virtue. It is definitely a work of God’s Spirit in us and upon us to empower us to fulfill His plan for our lives.

Virtue is no cakewalk. Honestly, except for the cleansing blood of Jesus, I don’t even make the top three definitions for virtue. And frankly, I am not that clear on what “manly excellence” is. That being said, the definition of woman of valor is personally more appealing. As a Christian woman, I want to be bold and determined. I want to walk in the character of Christ, that is His virtue not my own. I choose to be identified as a woman of valor, as opposed some poorly translated version of human virtue or manly excellence.

How does the saying go? When you know better, you do better. Since, I now have insight into the more accurate translation of the text, I want to encourage us all to embrace our God-given identity. We can all choose to see ourselves in the light of the Word as it is accurately translated. We can move from virtue to valor. We are women of valor because that is who Our Creator destined us to be. Many of us may not yet identify with that woman, but if we give the LORD enough “time”, He helps us to discover her. We are women who are strong and determined. We are women who are discovering our gifts and using them to glorify our Father. We are women who are partakers of the divine nature of Christ: His character at work in us by the Spirit. We are wives, mothers, sisters and daughters. We are servants and leaders. We are pastors and teachers; prophets and apostles.

We are women of the Kingdom who are part of the army of God.

Finally, as the author of that excellent article so aptly put it …as “eishet chayil”…we are a “force”. Those Hebrew words are Holy Spirit inspired words. It is what it is. Time for us to own it! As we move into 2016, as God ordained women, I pray that we each take our place in His Kingdom. Be encouraged Pro 31 women you are women of valor.

Grace and peace, Ronda.

Restoration by Barbara

Most of us know the story of Adam and Eve and the fall. Before the fall, God gave them dominion (authority) over ALL the earth. When they were deceived by satan, they lost their authority and gave it to him. When Jesus was crucified on the cross, He reinstated our authority over the earth. He didn’t just die so we could get to heaven, (though that in itself would be enough), He died so we would be restored to our rightful place, He died that we would bring heaven here on earth, He died to redeem our value.

The Word tells us who Jesus is:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. John 1:1-4 (KJV)

This proves that Jesus was God.

I would like to reflect on what Jesus went through to redeem us. The humility of it all blows me away. Jesus, the maker of heaven and earth, leaves heaven and His glorious spirit body to be born in a human body with all its frailties. The man that was God, pooped, peed, sweat, became tired and got hungry like us. The way He ate and drank, I can’t help but wonder if He also had gas. This I’m not too sure about as I question if gas is part of the curse before Jesus redeemed us.

Jesus was also tempted as we are. In Matthew 4, you can read the account of Jesus being tempted three times by satan. The first and second temptation, satan sought to get Jesus to question His identity by saying, “IF you are the son of God…” The third was wealth and glory. satan had the right to offer it to Jesus as Adam handed it to him when he (Adam) sinned. Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way, therefore when we are tempted, Jesus gets it, however, He never sinned.

He was beaten beyond recognition. Anyone else would have died but Jesus not only lived, He walked to Calvary, carried His cross and was crucified. So why didn’t he die from the gruesome beatings? Remember what He said in John 10:18 (TLB), ” No one can kill me without my consent—I lay down my life voluntarily. For I have the right and power to lay it down when I want to and

also the right and power to take it again. For the Father has given me this right.” He died when our debt of sin was paid and declared “It is finished.” In three days he rose from the dead and restored to us what satan had stolen.

The most awesome thing that Jesus restored to us is the relationship with the Father. No longer do we need someone to go to the Father on our behalf or offer animal sacrifices. Because of what Jesus did, we can come boldly before the throne, plus we can have intimacy with the Father.

We are made in the image of Christ, So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:27 (KJV). We are created to represent Him. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Luke 4:18-19 (KJV) If we are made in the image of Christ then He has given us the authority to accomplish everything that Luke 4:18-19 says.

Of all that Jesus restored, I believe health is the most controversial. There are many of the belief that the Lord uses infirmity to teach us a lesson or suffer for His sake. If this is the case, why do the same people go to the doctor or take medication? Why not just suck it up and suffer? Please understand, I am not being condescending. Just trying to make a point and keep it real. Isn’t it written? But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (KJV) The key word here is “are.” We are healed, Christ paid for it, receive it!

I could go on and on about this topic but before I close, I just want to mention a few other things Jesus has restored and achieved for us. He restored us from death and given us everlasting life, He restores the years the locust have eaten, He restores our joy, He is the restorer of life and nourisher of old age, He makes our crooked paths straight, He gives us a hope and a future, He gives us abundant life, and so much more.

When reading the gospels keep in mind when Jesus is talking to the disciples, He is talking to us too. We can walk in the same authority they did. I pray in the year 2016, we all come into a deeper relationship with the Lord and walk in the

authority He died so violently to give us. Let us bring heaven to earth!

Happy New Year! Be Blessed!

The Way of Life by Peggy

If you are like me, as the year comes to a close, I become contemplative about life.

I’m not thinking about the meaning of life, as some might imagine I would. Instead, I think about the way of life: how I move and transition as I pass through what seems to be the shambolic disaster of this chaotic world.

I have worked for several years as an IT specialist in behavioral health organizations. While I don’t deliver services to clients, I do interact with many as well as therapists, program directors, and administrative staff.

I have seen many people who are just plain overwhelmed by life’s circumstances, and seem to lack the coping mechanisms to get through it and move on. Their lives seem to be blocked, as they can’t seem to get out of the pit they have fallen into. It is heartbreaking and frustrating all at the same time to watch. All of these folks have been diagnosed with some kind of disorder, and they need the help of professionals and support of society to keep moving.

But for the rest of us, how do we keep moving? How do we get through the tragedies of sudden death, sickness, financial burdens, or watching a loved one spiral out of control? How do we handle the blessings? Do we take them for granted, or abuse them in some way, or do we appreciate them and walk in humility? So many things come at us, vying for our attention, that it is overwhelming. Did you ever feel that there is a time that you just can’t breathe from the weight of it all? I know I have.

Someone asked me once how I just continue on in every circumstance. She called me a “steady Eddy”, one who stays consistent in every situation, good or bad. My answer: I don’t ask “why?” anymore when I see tragedies or come upon difficult circumstances, or even when I am blessed beyond anything I deserve. I have found that asking “why” seems to be an exercise in futility. Instead, I have learned to ask “what did I learn from this?”

Once I start digging into the “what” of it instead of the “why”, I seem to find some answers. I have come to realize that everyone who crosses our path in our journey of life, crosses it for a reason. We may never know the reasons, but I believe everyone we meet is a divine appointment—ordained by God.

Every circumstance, whether a blessing or a tragedy, is a learning experience. Many lessons learned are difficult to swallow, but life- growing nonetheless. When I look back on life in general, there is one thing, one truth, that I have learned to be consistent no matter what: that God is who He says He is. It really is as simple as that, yet so profound!

He is the light of the world—the beginning and the end. He is purity and righteousness and holy. He is with us in every circumstance, good or bad. His word is enlightens us with revelation: “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119:105, 130; 43:3; 56:13).

Our place in all of this? Simple: we are called to walk in His light, to be His image bearers and couriers of His presence. We are to bring comfort to those who mourn, feed the hungry, clothe and shelter the poor, pray without ceasing for those that are or seem to be lost or are drowning in confusion and heartache, as He does all of these things for us.

As we move forward into a new year, I challenge you to do the same: Look back on this past year and ask yourself what you have learned in every circumstance. Whether you have had a great year, or 2015 may have been mediocre, with ups and downs, or if you may have been thrown into an unimaginable situation. Ask yourself how you have seen God this past year. Maybe it was in silent meditation, or seeing Him evidenced in another person. However He has revealed Himself to you, make note of it, and learn what you are to do with it.

My prayer for you for 2016 is that the revelation of God in your life is shown in new ways, that you come to a deeper understanding of Him, and that you are blessed with health, happiness and prosperity!

Happy New Year, one and all, and thank you for reading our blog—we all appreciate you!