Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

How can you identify a woman who fears the Lord? What does she look like in action? I think that is what the acrostic of verses 10–31 [Proverbs 31] intends to give us…First of all, a woman who fears the Lord is not anxious about the future. Look at verse 25. I love this line, and I praise all you women who are like this: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” Satan dangles in front of her the specter of tomorrow’s troubles, but she glances up at the almighty God at her right hand…and laughs at Satan’s folly. She fulfills in her own life Proverbs 14:26, “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.”

Her fear of the Lord makes her fearless of man. But it doesn’t make her naïve. She knows that the Lord has appointed some means for our safety. For example, verse 21, “She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.” Winter is a fearful thing in Minnesota, and God has appointed that we do more than pray that our feet not freeze. Clothing must be made or bought. When a woman fears the Lord, she will not be anxious about tomorrow, she will do what God has appointed for her to do and trust him in everything to show her mercy.

~John Piper in “A Woman Who Fears the Lord is to Be Praised” 

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

One of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards’ contemporaries wrote a preface to the collected works of Jonathan Edwards. In the preface he gives a lengthy description of what Jonathan Edwards’ wife, Sarah, was like. I think it’s a perfect picture of this kind of woman [Proverbs 31:23] who is supporting her husband from her role at home. He says:

In the midst of these complicated labors [and he’s talking about the time when the revival was going on, and life was very, very busy for Jonathan Edwards], as well as at all times, he found at home one who was in every sense a helpmeet for him…

She rendered everything in the family agreeable and pleasant, considering it her greatest glory, and that wherein she could best serve God and her generation, to be the means in this way of promoting her husband’s usefulness and happiness.

Did you catch that? She considered it her best means of bringing glory to God and fulfilling God’s purpose for her life in her generation by promoting her husband’s spiritual usefulness and happiness! She knew if she could create a climate in the home where her husband was encouraged to become spiritually mature and fruitful and to be used by God, then she would have been the helper suitable to him.

Now, your husband may not be a Jonathan Edwards, and let me just say, few men are. You don’t have to live with Jonathan Edwards. We respect him from this vantage point of history. That’s easy—to look at another man, your pastor, a counselor, a great Christian leader, and say, “Yeah, I could be a godly woman if I was married to that man.”

You’re not married to that man, and only that man’s wife knows what it’s like to be married to that man. You see him when he’s on the platform, when he’s in front of everyone else, and he’s at his spiritual peak. She lives with him and knows that he, like every other man, has his faults, his failures, his weaknesses, and she has to accommodate with those. She has to live with those just like you have to accommodate and live with your husband’s weaknesses.

So don’t be going and thinking the grass is greener on the other side. God has given you exactly the husband that He knows He wants you to help, and God fashioned you to be the helper suitable to that man, not to someone else’s man—but to your husband.

~Nancy Leigh DeMoss in “A Praiseworthy Wife

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
-Proverbs 31:10

Moral excellence, right actions, and thinking that is true, worthy, just, pure, lovely, of good report, possessing virtue, and praiseworthy (Phil 4:8-9) characterize the principle of being virtuous. Virtue is an effective power and force that should permeate all thoughts, actions, and relationships of the worthy woman. When integrated into her life, the principle generates power and demands respect.

The worthy woman establishes godly guidelines for living according to the Scriptures and purposes, through the strength of the Holy Spirit, to abide by them (Phil 4:13). The Old Testament book of Ruth describes such a woman. Ruth 3:11 is the only scriptural reference to a “virtuous” woman (KJV, NKJV, NIV; ESV “worthy”) and explains that Boaz knew of Ruth because of her reputation for excellence. In contrast, Rahab’s reputation as a harlot followed her throughout the Scriptures (Josh 2:1; 6:17; Heb 11:31; Jas 2:25). Though God saved Rahab and by His grace allowed her to be included in the Messianic line (Matt 1:5), her reputation as a harlot lingered.

The worthy woman is a crown to her husband. A woman lacking in virtue causes him shame and produces suffering that is like a painful, incurable condition (Proverbs 12:4). A woman’s character prior to marriage will determine her quality as a marital spouse–thus underscoring the importance for every Christian woman to embrace virtue at an early age. To live a life characterized by virtue should be the ambition of every Christian woman (Matt 5:8).

~Patricia Ennis in “Portraying Christian Femininity

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

Fourth, a woman who fears the Lord will live not for herself alone but for others, especially her husband, if she is married. [Proverbs 31] Verses 11, 12, “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not harm all the days of her life.” A woman who fears the Lord will not squander the family’s livelihood on frivolous purchases, but will have the complete trust of her husband because she is for him and not against him. Wherever possible she supplements his earnings rather than wastes it. But, wives, far more important than this financial support is the moral support of your husband.

Verse 23 seems out of place in a song of praise to women. It says, “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.” How is that a word of praise to the wife who fears the Lord? Proverbs 12:4 gives the answer: “A good wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is the rottenness of his bones.” A wife who fears the Lord increases the esteem of her husband at the gates of the city. In twelve and a half years of marriage my wife has never done or said anything in public that would have caused me to be ashamed. She has my absolute trust as a representative of what our family stands for. There is no place I might go where I would be ashamed to take Noël. She is a crown to my head and a signet ring on my right hand. She is for me 100% because she is a woman who fears the Lord. And I pray that every wife here will, under God, give that kind of support to your husband.

~John Piper in “A Woman Who Fears the Lord is to Be Praised

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

Third, the woman who fears the Lord is strong. Verse 25 [Proverbs 31], “Strength and dignity are her clothing.” Verse 17, “She girds her loins with strength and makes her arms strong.” She will be morally strong. Proverbs 23:17 says, “Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.” The woman who continues in the fear of the Lord will have power to resist all the allurements to envy, to desire what she shouldn’t have. The fear of the Lord will also increase her intellectual strength. The fear of the Lord is the impulse to wisdom, and rouses the mind to search for knowledge as for hidden treasure. And the fear of the Lord will even increase her physical strength. One of the reasons we let our bodies languish and get weak and out of tone is because we are bored and feel no excitement or hope about the future. But the woman who fears the Lord is confident and hopeful and eager to enter the future with God at her side. This kind of hope always gives us pep and vigor and increases the strength of the weakest among us.

~John Piper in “A Woman Who Fears the Lord is to Be Praised

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

Second, the woman who fears the Lord has practical wisdom. Verse 26, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” We’ve been taught from grade school that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10), so it’s no surprise that the woman who fears the Lord “opens her mouth with wisdom.” And isn’t there a very close connection between a practical, gracious wisdom and freedom from anxiety about the future. The wisest people I know are the people who hope in the Lord and have quieted their soul like a child at its mother’s breast. But the people who are most anxious, most tense and fretful about tomorrow, are those whose counsel I bank on the least. Women, there is a wisdom that your family and friends and associates need which will only come from a heart that can laugh at the future because it fears the Lord.

~John Piper in “A Woman Who Fears the Lord is to Be Praised

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

And now, finally, we ask, How can you identify a woman who fears the Lord? What does she look like in action? I think that is what the acrostic of verses 10–31 [Proverbs 31] intends to give us…First of all, a woman who fears the Lord is not anxious about the future. Look at verse 25. I love this line, and I praise all you women who are like this: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” Satan dangles in front of her the specter of tomorrow’s troubles, but she glances up at the almighty God at her right hand…and laughs at Satan’s folly. She fulfills in her own life Proverbs 14:26, “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.”

Her fear of the Lord makes her fearless of man. But it doesn’t make her naïve. She knows that the Lord has appointed some means for our safety. For example, verse 21, “She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.” Winter is a fearful thing in Minnesota, and God has appointed that we do more than pray that our feet not freeze. Clothing must be made or bought. When a woman fears the Lord, she will not be anxious about tomorrow, she will do what God has appointed for her to do and trust him in everything to show her mercy.

~John Piper in “A Woman Who Fears the Lord is to Be Praised

Photo: OBMonkey

The Prayer of a Righteous Woman…

“…Be constant in prayer.”

Romans 12:12

Author Andrew Case has some good advice for Christian women who desire to follow in the footsteps of the wife of Proverbs 31:

If you want to be an excellent wife, far more precious than jewels, pray for your husband. If you want to do him good, and not harm, all the days of your life, pray for him. If you desire to be a wife whose husband is “known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land,” pray for him.

I know how important it is that I pray regularly for my husband, yet all too often, I can go throughout much of my day before suddenly realizing that I have not yet stopped to pray specifically for Joseph. Just a few months ago, I found a new book and knew that it would prove very helpful to me in this area. The book is called Prayers of an Excellent Wife and is written by Andrew Case. In his book, the author takes passages of Scripture and adapts them into prayers that wives can pray for their husbands. I think the concept for the book is great, since another problem that I have when I do pray for Joseph is that I tend to pray the same old things over and over again. By using this book, I am guided into praying prayers that are biblical instead of relying upon the selfish ideas that I tend to come up with on my own. I thought I’d begin sharing some of these prayers with you in the hopes that you, too, would be helped along in becoming a more excellent wife.

For my single friends, don’t forget that the excellent wife “does [her husband] good…all the days of her life” (Prov. 31:12). It’s never to early to start praying earnest prayers for your husband!

Father of Wisdom,

Let me never cease to pray for my husband, asking that he may be filled with the knowledge of your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of You, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of You. May he be strengthened with all power, according to Your glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to You, who have qualified him to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.

Do you remember, my beloved, that He has delivered you from the domain of darkness and transferred you to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom you have redemption, the forgiveness of sin? Yes, praise Him with me for His marvelous grace!

O LORD God, make him continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that he heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven. Keep him! Keep him! Keep him in the love of Christ.

Amen (Colossians 1) 

You can purchase Prayers of an Excellent Wife here.

Andrew Case has also written a companion book on prayer for husbands.

Behind Every Good Man…

 “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.”
Proverbs 31:10
 
As part of our anniversary celebration this weekend, my husband and I had the privilege of visiting the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC. The name is a bit deceiving, since aside from a small bookstore area, the site bears little resemblance to a library. In actuality, the Library is a Christ-honoring memorial of the life of Billy Graham which includes both his carefully restored childhood home and an impressive multimedia tour chronicling the amazing history of his life. Although I was inspired by many aspects of Graham’s life and ministry, I was especially impressed by the vital role that Graham’s wife, Ruth, played as she faithfully supported her husband in his world-changing work as an evangelist.

At her memorial service in June 2007, Billy Graham paid tribute to his wife’s invaluable contributions to his ministry, “Ruth was my life partner, and we were called by God as a team. No one else could have borne the load that she carried. She was a vital and integral part of our ministry, and my work through the years would have been impossible without her encouragement and support.” One room of the Library was dedicated to Mrs. Graham and featured a video interview in which she voiced her feelings concerning her somewhat behind-the-scenes role in Graham’s ministry, “I think that being a wife and mother is the greatest and happiest calling in the world.” She also pointed out a large sign hanging over their fireplace which said, “Divine service conducted here daily.” Although some may view her years spent at home while her husband traveled the globe as a bit lackluster, Mrs. Graham made it clear that she understood the eternal import of her daily tasks as a wife and mother. In another video clip, Billy Graham offered a powerful commendation of his wife’s spiritual character, “Whenever someone asks me who is the greatest Christian that I know, my answer’s always the same—Ruth.”

As I considered these incredible testimonies by Graham concerning his wife, Proverbs 31:10-12 kept coming to my mind, “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Billy Graham is quite apparently one of those rare men who found an excellent wife, and just as the Proverbs 31 passage later states, he did not hesitate to praise her openly. I don’t know about you, but in my life experience, I’ve not had the privilege of knowing many women who I could describe as being excellent wives. I’ve seen my share of crummy wives, some decent wives, and a few women I could describe as pretty good wives, but I’ve not observed too many wives who I could nominate for the excellent wife award. If you saw the way that I sometimes behave in my own home, you’d know that I wasn’t getting a nomination either! Based on what Billy Graham stated about his work being impossible without Ruth, I can’t help but wonder…if we had more women like Ruth Graham in the world, would we also have more men like Billy Graham? As women striving for true Biblical beauty, I think that’s a question worth considering. Scripture makes it clear in many passages that wives play a crucial role in their husbands’ lives. Far too often through selfish and unchristlike behavior, I think that we as wives may function as liabilities in our husbands’ lives rather than as the invaluable assets that God calls us to be.

Now, I realize that some of you single ladies out there may feel that this topic is irrelevant to you, but I can assure you it is not. Take my word (or any other married woman’s word) on this—being an excellent wife does not come naturally! If you pay much attention to the world around you, you may have noticed that today’s popular culture seems bent on turning women into creatures that could be more accurately described as villainous rather than virtuous. If you truly desire to be a Godly wife someday, you need to make a conscious decision to defy our culture and start working toward that goal today.

So, how can ordinary little women like us become the strong, God-exalting women that the Bible calls us to be? First, I think we should always keep in mind that we can’t do this or any other good thing on our own; we must rely on God’s grace. Once we recognize our need for grace and prayerfully ask God to supply it, we need to saturate our minds with Scripture through consistent and thorough studies of God’s Word. Focusing at times on key passages like Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 will help to reshape our impression of what truly beautiful women look like according to our Creator. It is only through the knowledge of the Word of God that the Spirit of God will transform us into the holy and discerning women that our husbands, our children, and the entire world so desperately need to see.

Since striving for Biblical beauty is a lifelong process, we need to be patient and trust that God’s grace will empower us and sustain us as we earnestly seek His face. As I visited Ruth Graham’s burial site near the Billy Graham Library, I realized that she, too, felt the inner struggle of becoming the woman that God had called her to be. Inscribed on her headstone is an unusual message which Mrs. Graham requested for her grave after seeing the following on a traffic sign, “End of construction—Thank you for your patience.” In these humorous final words, I see a comforting truth for us ordinary women—even though our construction site may seem messy at times, we can have full confidence that one day God will complete the good work that He has begun in us.