From Our Hearts to Yours

Dress Up – Fix Up – Look Up

Dress up – fix up – look up. Not a bad formula for us gals!

I’ve always taught my daughters and women I’ve talked with about personal appear­ance, to “dress up.” Not pretentiously, but appropri­ately. Why not be a role model to bless others with a pleasing appearance? Set a good example of modesty and loveliness.

Fix up. What do others see? Someone who neglected to take a little extra time to comb her hair? To look like she cared? How do your children feel when they’re with you? Or your husband?

And look up. Luke 10:27 says we’re to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. Are you consciously aware of His presence? It is His beauty you reflect in your efforts.

Dress up. Fix up. Look up!

A Prayer to Pray: “Lord, I fix my gaze on You and follow my heart as You lead me. Let me show my children and younger women what it means to truly “dress for success” as I model loveliness inside and out.”

For more encouragement for a woman’s soul, read A Woman’s High Calling, where you will find God’s 10 most important priorities for women – priorities that reveal the character qualities that He values most.

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.

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George

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