February 2013

Beautiful in God’s Eyes

Every woman wants to be considered beautiful. We’ve all tried one product or another that promises to enhance our physical beauty. But, have we tried God’s prescription for the kind of beauty that He esteems? Is developing the inner beauty of virtue also important to us? God describes another woman of such a beauty in Proverbs 31:30 – “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Let’s take some time to consider how inner beauty is attainable for every woman.

Most scholars agree that the Proverbs 31 passage, extolling the virtues of a godly woman, reflects a wise mother’s instruction to her young son, who was one day to become a king. Perhaps due to her son’s young age, this mother organizes the list of qualities according to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Just as many of our nursery rhymes are sing-songy, this alphabet of char­acter could be easily memorized and etched into the tablet of his young heart. This ode of praise became for that young prince—and for us—God’s alphabet of feminine character.

These are not the words or instructions of a man expressing some personal and unrealistic fantasy. True, a man (King Lemuel) is thought to have written the words, but he is repeating a woman’s opinion of what a woman should be! This fact inspires and encourages me. I appreciate this kind of woman-to-woman instruction as I learn more about what God finds beautiful. I want to understand the makeup of true godly beauty, and who better to show me that beauty than a beautiful-in-God’s-eyes woman?

This mother begins her alphabet with a question—”Who can find a virtuous woman?” (Proverbs 31:10), but she fully expects her son to find such a woman of character. Knowing such a woman is out there (vs. 29) she encourages her son to look for her.

You and I can be this woman—not just admire her, but be her! She may seem untouchable, an ideal we can’t possibly attain, but she isn’t. In fact, God takes great care to show other virtuous women in the Bible: He points us to Ruth, who was “a virtuous woman” (Ruth 3:11); He tells us that “a virtuous woman is a crown to her husband” (Proverbs 12:4); and He states that “many daughters have done virtuously” (Proverbs 31:29 KJV). Many!

Yes, the virtuous woman is a rare treasure—a distinc­tive, exceptional, extraordinary, superlative treasure—but according to God, the Author of all beauty, you and I can become all that she is. You and I can become beautiful in His eyes!

Question: What has been your impression when you’ve heard about or read Proverbs 31 for yourself? Has this devotional helped you see the Proverbs 31 woman in a more attainable light?

For more insights about how God defines beauty and reveals His plan for a woman’s success, you’ll enjoy my book, Beautiful in God’s Eyes.

True Beauty

We cannot leave the story of Esther without reflecting on the definition of true beauty. We’re told in the bible that Esther was both “fair in form” and “beautiful” in countenance and face. But, she is most remembered for her remarkable courage and faith.

While there is nothing wrong with Christian women wanting to look nice, each woman must examine her own motives. Today’s world places great emphasis on beauty – exceptionally perfect women stare at us from magazine covers every time we visit the grocery store. Christian women, while they can dress nicely and take care of their appearance, must at the same time not let their appearance become all-encompassing.

A carefully groomed and well-decorated exterior is artificial and cold without inner beauty. Scripture does not prohibit a woman from wanting to be attractive. Beauty, however, begins inside a person. A gentle, modest, loving character gives a light to the face that cannot be duplicated by the best cosmetics and jewelry in the world. Christian women are not to try to be unattractive; instead, Paul called them to reject the world’s standard for attractiveness. A Christian’s adornment comes not from what she puts on, but from what she does for others (1 & 2 Timothy & Titus).

Here are some pointed verses from scripture that can guide us as we become the beautiful woman after God’s own heart that He intends for us to be:

Develop godly character – it is your best outfit!
“Strength and honor are her clothing” (Proverbs 31:25).

Don’t worry about following the crowd – you have a higher standard.
“Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good” (3 John 11).

Seek God’s approval rather than that of the world.
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).

Watch what you wear – your clothing is sending a message.
“A woman met him, with the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart” (Proverbs 7:10-11).

Wear what is appropriate for the occasion and as a daughter of the king.
“Women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation… which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works” (1 Timothy 2:9-10).

Would others characterize you as a woman who is beautiful in good works and character? Spend time thinking about your character choices and your ministry to others. Don’t forget to begin your assessment with your behavior and good works toward those who live right under your own roof! Your family should be the first in line at seeing and praising your beauty as a woman after God’s own heart.

Question: As a woman after God’s own heart, do you need to place less emphasis on your external appearance and more emphasis on that’s going on inside your heart? Share some thoughts about how a woman can nurture her heart.

For more encouragement and daily steps to living God’s plan for you, read my book, Small Changes for a Better Life.

From Jim’s heart for men… Accept the Challenge to Live Boldly

In the spectacular story of Esther, the courage and faith of her uncle, Modecai, is often overlooked. Like Esther, he was also a hero of faith who stood boldly for the Lord. There are several thoughts regarding Modecai’s refusal to bow down to the Prime Minister, Haman. One is that the Persian custom of bowing to the king was the same as paying homage to a divine being. Another view is that the Jews had a history of not bowing to their captors when in exile. Whatever, Modecai’s perspective, it is clear that he took a stand (literally) for his faith in the one God, Jehovah.

I’m not much of a student of the laws of physics, but it doesn’t take much of a student to understand that where there is no resistance, there is no pressure. And that same law could apply to our spiritual lives as well—where there is no resistance to sin (that is, when we disobey), there is no challenge to obedience. There are no challenges…

  • when you allow fear to immobilize you
  • when you allow peer pressure to compromise you
  • when you allow your culture to conform you
  • when you allow ignorance to stupefy you
  • when you allow apathy to pacify you.

But, I think better of you. I believe you are ready to accept the challenges that come with obedience. I believe you want your life to have a bold impact for God like Mordecai’s… and that you want to become a man of godly influence. With God’s help (and that’s what it will take) you are ready to be used in powerful ways by God.

Here then are a few suggestions that will help you develop a life of influence and lasting impact:

Step 1: Realize that God’s Word is God’s Word to you. As an excuse for disobedience, some people say, “If God would speak to me in a vision like He did to Moses or Paul, then I would obey.” But friend, God has revealed Himself to us! God has revealed Himself to us in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in His Word, the Bible. Let’s stop making excuses and start obeying God’s Word.

Step 2: Realize what God’s commands are and obey them. What kind of commands? Commands like…

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23).

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1).

“Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully” (Ephesians 4:25).

“Husbands, love your wives” (Ephesians 5:25).

“Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

Step 3: Constantly seek God’s strength to follow through on His commands. “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6:10 nasb). What God expects you to do, He also enables you to do. The strength comes from Him. You just need a willing heart.

Step 4: Repent when you have disobeyed God’s standards. God is not asking you to be perfect, but He is asking you to progress and grow in maturity. God uses pure vessels. So…

  • keep a clean slate with God,
  • acknowledge your sin,
  • accept the forgiveness God offers, and
  • move on boldly for God.

Step 5: Rejoice in even the smallest victories. No war is ever won in one battle. And neither is your war against the challenge to obedience. Spiritual growth happens one step at a time, one victory at a time. So thank God even for the smallest of victories in Jesus Christ (Romans 7:24).

As I’ve said before, it all comes down to this: An influential life for God is dependent on an obedient life to God.

Question:  What challenge are you ready to embrace this week knowing that God enables you to overcome?

For more insight into the biblical heroes of faith, pick up my easy guide, 10 Minutes to Knowing the Men & Women of the Bible.

If I Perish, I Perish!

Did you take time this week of Purim, the festival of Esther, to read the book of Esther? It certainly is dramatic, isn’t it? This young, beautiful Jewess was taken from her humble beginnings and elevated to the position of Queen by a temperamental and pagan king. And as every drama has a villain, in the book of Esther, his name is Haman. As we look at Haman’s part in this story, we can’t help but be amazed at how a “big” person can be so “little.”

Haman was the prime minister, the second in command to the king —and boy was he proud of it! He was personally offended when Esther’s uncle, Mordecai refused to bow to him as he exited and entered the palace gates. Haman had always harbored plans to use his position to destroy the Jewish settlers in Persia. He now used Mordecai’s particular refusal to pay homage to trick the king into agreeing to destroy all Jews.

Haman deceived the king by describing a “certain people” who were lawless and deserve to die. The king, not knowing who the people were but eager to eliminate any people who were rebellious, issued an edict condemning the Jews to death. Because Esther had never revealed her Jewish heritage, the king has unwittingly approved the killing of his own queen! When Mordecai tells Queen Esther about the edict, she deter­mines to risk her life to save her people.

What courage! What maturity of faith in the Lord! When she learned of the plot to kill all Jews, she knew she must go – uninvited – before her husband and plead for their lives. Her plan put her in danger because no one (not even a wife!) went before the king un-summoned without risking death. Yet her courage, rooted in faith, empowered Esther to boldly say, “If I perish, I perish.” The result? Esther’s life was spared – and so were God’s people!

Where has God planted you? What might your fresh new day hold? You may not be waking up to ideal circumstances, and you may not be in a place you would have chosen for yourself. But wherever you are today, whoever fills your life today, and whatever happens to you today, remember that it is God’s plan for you in His larger picture and bigger purposes.

Question: Can you put your name alongside the remarkable Esther, who brilliantly displayed the beauty of courage? Do you value the things of God more than the things of this world? Do you embrace the stance of faith, that, “for me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21)?

For a complete study of the life and influence of Esther, please see my book, Becoming a Woman of Beauty and Strength. This study is a complete resource, including the text of Esther, discussion points, and questions that are perfect for a women’s group!

Esther – A “Star” of Faith in Tough Times

You may not be familiar with the approaching Jewish holiday called Purim, which celebrates the courage of a beloved heroine, Queen Esther. This year it begins at sundown on the evening of February 23. Christians also have many reasons to reflect upon and celebrate the life of Queen Esther, which we will do through our devotional posts this week of Purim. You will find the short book of Esther in the Old Testament a challenging, yet encouraging lesson in faith.

The name Esther means “star.” And like the first twinkling of an evening star, in Esther, a common Jewish girl, and her uncle, Mordecai, we find the first ray of light in pagan and godless kingdom. King Ahasuerus (called Xerxes in ancient Greek) had banished his first queen for not appearing before a drunken crowd of his advisers and political allies. The plan for replacing the banished queen was to gather the most beautiful virgins in the kingdom for the king to pick from. Esther, with her Jewish-ness un-disclosed was “taken” as one of these young virgins, who started their preparations to meet the King with a year of royal beauty treatments.

Esther, no doubt, was living in obscurity, doing what she did every day of her life… when suddenly something happened that transformed her life and moved it from the mundane to the mysterious. Does Esther’s opportunity sound like a Cinderella story? As tempting as such pampering and potential power may sound, Esther and the other young women were merely concubines – possessions existing only for the king’s pleasure. Those not chosen likely spent the rest of their lives in luxurious, but desolate seclusion – unable to leave the harem nor marry or return to their family.

Yet, God began to work in Esther’s difficult circumstances. We will see more of His great work in our posts this week. But, for now its time to consider when you have faced pivotal changes in your life— a moment that changed everything for you? Some of us are “taken” aback by a phone call, a knock on the door, a notice in the mail, or an appointment with a doctor or a lawyer. Pivotal moments like these often bring uncertainty. Was your reaction fear, worry or surrender to God?

The lesson that is repeated over and over throughout a study of Esther is that God is always at work in the shadows on behalf of his children. We can be sure that God planted the idea in the minds of the king’s counselors to look for a queen in such an odd way. Thus a plan was hatched that threw the doors to the kingdom wide open for a “nobody” like Esther to walk through.

Question: Do you acknowledge God’s power, plan, and purpose in your every circumstance? This would be a good moment to spend time in prayer thanking your sovereign, all-powerful, loving God for the exercise of His continual care in each and every detail of your life.

You will find more insights into your life as a woman by studying the faithful in my book, The Remarkable Women of the Bible.

From Jim’s heart for teens… Making Tough Dating Choices as a Young Man

The choices you make with regard to dating will be among the most important ones you make in your life. In no way should you approach dating in a casual way. The whole dating experience should be reserved until it’s time to begin looking for a life partner.

In the meantime, do your homework. Make a list of the ideal female qualities as stated in the Bible. God’s Word has a lot to say about the character of a godly woman (see Proverbs 31). Just be sure you don’t confuse cute with character. Take your time. Study the biblical standard. Ask for God’s help as you look for these qualities in the lives of the girls in your church or youth group. And don’t forget to ask the advice of your parents! Then, with lots of input, make your list.

Now that you have your “A List,” read it over and make it your own. When you see a cute girl and wonder about her, pullout the list. When it’s time to think about starting the dating process, pull out the list. When you think you’re in love, pull out the list. You’ll be glad you have a list of God’s standards to use as a guide for choosing the right girl to date.

Meanwhile, while you are waiting and looking, be faithful to prepare yourself so that you too are ready for God’s best. Let God work on your character qualities. Be patient, for these qualities take years to develop. As 1 Timothy 6:11 says, “But you, man of God… pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” Ask God to help you control your personal purity. Do what is necessary to keep yourself pure in body, soul, mind, and spirit. Then patiently wait for God’s best to arrive.

Question: Guys, what’s on your “A List” of dating qualities in a young woman? Parents, in today’s society, what qualities do you desire the most in your son’s future wife? Have you shared these qualities with him?

If you wish to encourage your son or young man in your life about additional teen-life issues you will find a great resource in my book, A Young Man’s Guide to Making Right Choices.

The Love that God Built

If ever there was an example of a couple after God’s own heart we have it in Aquila and Priscilla. If you have never pieced together this couple’s story in scripture you will be surprised as you do so now.

In the Bible, we first meet Aquila and Priscilla in Acts 18 in the Jewish quarter of the Greek city of Corinth. They were early believers in Christ who supported the Apostle Paul in their home for over a year and a half. Paul worked along-side them in their tent making business.

The Bible doesn’t specifically say, but it’s likely that the devoted couple began to teach others as well (1 Corinthians 16:19). After all, they were living with a master teacher and evangelist! And, Paul invited them to accompany him on his missionary journey to Ephesus (Acts 18:19).

Aquila and Priscilla’s devoted work with Paul for the spread of the gospel inspired the term “tent-maker.” This often refers to a minister of the gospel or missionary who receives little or no pay for ministry work, but supports themself by using their skills in the marketplace rather than proceeds from the local congregation.

But, Aquila and Priscilla could also have inspired the term, “joined at the hip!” They were so obviously a team after God’s own heart. Every time we see their names, they are linked together (2 Timothy 4:19, Romans 16:3-4). The Bible has nothing but positive comments to make about them as individuals and as a couple. We can learn from Aquila and Priscilla today, to work as a team and choose to actively serve God together.

Aquila and Priscilla worked together to host churches in their homes. They also worked as a team when they talked to and enlightened the great preacher, Apollos, giving him more accurate information about Jesus. The implications are obvious. Working as a team can produce a highly effective ministry. Because two are involved, more can be accomplished. And, as the wise King Solomon pointed out in Ecclesiastes, “Two are better than one” (4:9).

Aquila and Priscilla were a couple who accomplished effective ministry behind the scenes. Their tools were hospitality, friendship, and person-to-person teaching. They were not public speakers, but private evangelists. Priscilla and Aquila give us a challenging model of what a couple can do together in the service of Christ.

And here’s an added plus: Working as a team doesn’t mean you are both always doing exactly the same thing at the same time. Each person in a couple has different spiritual-gifts and personalities. Maybe one of you is serving in the kitchen while the other is setting up chairs, or teaching the Bible study, or overseeing childcare. Or while one is off with a group or mentoring one-on-one, the other holds down the fort at home.

Sometimes you’ll work together—hosting, greeting, serving in a food line, attending a meeting, cleaning up in the kitchen. And other times you’ll divide and conquer, each setting out in a different direction, always looking forward to reuniting at the end of the day to share God’s blessings and hear about how He used each of you.

Aquila and Priscilla were a phenomenal husband-wife team, exhibiting the picture of equality and uniqueness. They show us exactly what a couple after God’s own heart looks like. They beautifully modeled teamwork and service. Everywhere they went, whether to the nearby Jewish synagogue or helping plant and serve in local churches, people were blessed. Through their examples, this dynamic duo provide many lessons for husbands and wives about love for one another, love for God, and love for His people.

Question: How do you and your spouse operate as a team? Celebrate and encourage these moments and traits this Valentines Day. Is there an area you need to sit down and discuss where this teamwork is lacking – make a date to discuss it together in the near future.

This devotional is a small excerpt from our recently released book, A Couple After God’s Own Heart. You will find great encouragement in God’s truth about growing closer as a couple. And, what a great Valentines Day gift that would be!

Choosing a Godly Approach to Dating

Upcoming Valentine’s Day celebrations can bring out emotions of all kinds – excitement that you are in a relationship with someone special or disappointment that romance is not in your life at the moment.

Whether you call it dating or courting or just getting to know someone, finding the right potential guy is like navigating a maze! You’re not exactly sure where you are going. But Boaz’s example in the book of Ruth helps!

If your Boaz had not presented himself, be patient. He’s out there, and God is working in him right now. In the meantime, here are some choices you can make as God prepares you to be the right girl for the right guy!

Choose to associate with men who are active, vibrant, for-real Christians. Develop a list of character qualities from the Bible that are a must for a Christian man you would want to date and possibly marry someday (if marriage is God’s will for you). Then use that list as your guideline for the guys in your circle of friends today. Think about Boaz’s godly traits. Look also at 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. There you’ll see God praising men who are blameless in character and pure in conduct. That’s the kind of guy you want to be praying for and spending time with. God desires the best for you, and you should too. Don’t settle for anyone less than the best!

To put this even more strongly, never date someone who is not a Christian. The Bible is crystal clear on this. Second Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”

Here’s how a friend and single adult leaders sees this issue:

“Don’t buy the ‘I can witness to him’ myth. More often than not, when couples relate at different levels spiritually, the Christian is pulled away from God rather than the other way around.”

He goes on to point out how a dating relationship with a non-Christian can only diminish who you are in Christ. There is no way dating an unbeliever can help your walk with Jesus grow stronger.

Choose to be patient as you watch and wait and pray for God to reveal His will. As you patiently wait, observe the single guys who are the spiritual leaders in your church and singles’ group. Note their character qualities. Listen to their conversation, what they talk about. Pay attention to how they treat others. And the media they choose.

Choose to remain morally and sexually pure no matter what!  Make this commitment to God and reaffirm it daily. His standard is absolute purity. This is a spiritual choice, and a wise choice, and a right choice. If a guy is godly and truly cares about you, then he will desire sexual purity for himself and for you. He will be all about encouraging your spiritual best, not tempting you to go against God’s expressed will.

Choose to wait to date seriously until there’s a godly purpose or reason—which is marriage. Intense dating can take you on an emotional roller coaster ride that hurts deeply when it ends, or ruins your reputation, or contributes negatively to your character development, or gets you into sexual trouble and scars you for life.  Don’t let your emotions make your choices.

So fix God’s standards firmly in your heart and mind. Look to His Word—not your emotions—when you make your dating choices.

Please read my book A Woman After God’s Own Heart for more insight and encouragement in choosing to be a woman of God.

The Dating Game is No Game

Are you a young woman in the dating scene today? Or the parent of one who is? Romantic relationships are certainly exciting to contemplate and be a part of. But please be careful! These relationships can come with a high price tag emotionally and physically.

If relationships are not handled God’s way, you may make mistakes or get involved in situations that create lifelong pain and scars. The best way to avoid painful emotions, bad experiences, and regrets is to set high standards—God’s standards as presented in the Bible—for your behavior and for the type of guys you consider as serious possibilities. You need a measuring stick, and God has the perfect one for you right in His Word.

The book of Ruth offers great guidelines for what to look for in a potential romantic relationship (if marriage is God’s will for you). Look at the qualities highlighted in Boaz, the man Ruth is interested in:

Godly. Look for a guy with a passion for Jesus. This should be #1 on your list. Boaz asked God through prayer to bless Ruth (2:12).

Diligent. Look for a guy who’s a hard worker. Boaz was a careful manager of his property and wealth (2:1).

Friendly. Look for a guy who will be your best friend. Boaz gave a warm greeting and welcomed Ruth to his field (2:4,8).

Merciful. Look for a guy with compassion for others. Boaz asked about Ruth’s situation and acted on her behalf and in her best interest (2:7).

Encouraging. Look for a guy who contributes posi­tively to your growth (in spiritual matters, character development, educational and personal interests). Boaz pointed out Ruth’s strong qualities and spoke of them to encourage her (2:12).

Generous. Look for a guy with a giving heart. Ruth needed food and worked hard for it. Boaz saw that, appreciated it, and arranged for her to be given extra food (2:15).

Kind. Look for a guy with a kind heart. Boaz obvi­ously cared for Ruth’s well-being. He also cared for Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi. Naomi thanked God for Boaz’s kindness toward her and Ruth (2:20).

Discreet. Look for a guy who will protect your repu­tation. Ruth went to see Boaz in the evening, and he honored her purity and sent her home from the threshing floor before daylight (3:14).

Faithful. Look for a guy who keeps his word. Boaz followed through on his promise to marry Ruth (4:1).

Boaz sounds like a great guy, doesn’t he? Do you know anyone like him? If not, be patient. Guys like that are definitely out there!

Now, here’s a great tip for discovering these character traits you are looking for. Choose to focus on group activities rather than on being alone with an individual guy. Use group activities (preferably get-togethers with Christians) to observe the behavior of the guys in your group. Being part of a group also lessens the temptations that can come up when you’re alone with a guy. Another benefit of group activities is the experience you gain in learning to talk to and be with the opposite sex.

Most of all, have fun getting to know the others in the group and make some great friends as well!

Question: Can you share any other ways that you have discovered character (or the lack thereof) in someone you were dating?

For more insight into navigating the choices before you, read my book, A Young Woman’s Guide to Making Right Choices.

A Couple After God’s Own Heart

As we approach the Valentines Day holiday, the stores are full of bright candy packages and little ways to express your love on this special day. But, I’d like to tell you a story of a love that began with seemingly little acts that proved to be far more valuable than red foil packages.

Long ago, two widows journeyed to settle afresh in Bethlehem, the only nearby land that promised food in an era of famine. You may have heard their names: Naomi, a mother-in-law, widowed for 10 years, but embittered anew by the recent loss of her two sons. She was accompanied by Ruth, the faithful daughter-in-law still in mourning for the loss of her young husband as well.

They arrived tired and destitute after weeks of travel. The Law of Moses commanded that the corners of every field should not be harvested so the poor could come behind the harvesters and gather up the leftovers. Ruth faithfully gleaned fallen grain from the fields of Naomi’s relative, Boaz, so she and Naomi could have food to eat.

So begins one of the most romantic stories ever told. If you are unfamiliar with this story, read the short, but powerful book of Ruth in the Old Testament. It ends with the marriage of Ruth to Boaz, establishing them as a couple after God’s own heart and as ancestors of Christ.

But, the grand “happily-ever-after” ending was not based on the romantic emotions that drive many modern relationships. Ultimately, the relationship of Ruth and Boaz was founded on trust. This trust was built from seeing character exhibited in the little things. This led to ultimately what every couple desires – a true love built on trust and faithfulness. For instance:

Ruth had a servant’s heart – she came to Naomi’s hometown ready to serve her mother-in-law. She was prepared to sacrifice everything to faithfully assist Naomi. Ruth’s little act of gleaning grain for her mother-in-law was not only appreciated by Naomi, but also endeared Ruth to the community and to Boaz. Boaz noted and praised such devotion and character (Ruth 2:11).

Boaz was also a man of character – a kind and conscious land-owner who faithfully obeyed the compassionate law of Moses requiring the corners of every field to be left for the poor to glean. Boaz also faithfully followed the law when seeking Ruth’s hand in marriage. Boaz exhibited in little and big ways the character and trust that all couples must foster and encourage in their marriage.

Faithfulness is encouraged as a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and is essential for your marriage. And because your spouse is counting on you, faithfulness must be part of your daily walk. Faithfulness means that your spouse can count on you to do what you say you will do, be where you say you will be, and do what needs to be done. How would you rate your faithfulness even in the “little” things?

As Boaz and Naomi praised Ruth, encouragement is invaluable to your spouse. Actions of faithfulness and character should be highlighted and gratefully acknowledged. The pressures and chores of a wife and mom never seem to end, and should be praised. The roles and responsibilities of a husband and father weigh heavily every day, and likewise should be valued and appreciated. As a couple, you are to be your spouse’s Number One cheerleader. Open your eyes to all he or she does for you and others. Then count the ways you can openly and personally praise and encourage them.

Trust is fragile. It is slowly obtained over time, but can be lost in an instant. In Boaz and Ruth you have front-row seats for observing diligence, devotion, patience, thoughtfulness, discretion, generosity, compassion, and honesty in a marriage. It’s obvious these many godly character qualities combined to create a couple after God’s own heart.

Question: What godly traits do you see in your spouse and need to encourage this week?

5 Ways in 5 Days to be a Closer Couple

Make 2013 the best year ever for your marriage!

We just released our new book, A Couple After God’s Own Heart, which teaches secrets to a great marriage by learning from biblical couples, such as Abraham and Sarah, Boaz and Ruth, Joseph and Mary, etc. Get started by taking our fun free challenge, “5 Ways in 5 Days to be a Closer Couple.”

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


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