What’s Wrong Here?

November 4, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Kathi Woodall –

I have been temporarily working in the office of a local Christian school. Most of my time is spent either in the lobby answering telephones or updating files in the back room. I haven’t spent much time in the main office area. However, on my second day, a question regarding a phone call sent me back to an open area where four desks sit, with the office of the school director just beyond them. I walked in and asked my question but while we were discussing it, the director, while on her way to her office, walked into the open area and started laughing. I hadn’t seen anything out of the ordinary in the office so I was surprised by her laughter. To explain her laughter, the director said, “You are all in the wrong place; you usually sit here, you are usually over there, and you sit right here!” I was new and barely even knew everyone’s names. I definitely didn’t know which desk belonged to which person. The director, used to seeing them each at their own desk day after day, knew immediately when something was off.

Since I didn’t have the day after day exposure to what was correct in the office, I didn’t recognize when people were out of place. I just knew all of the right people were in the office. Similarly, someone with a surface knowledge of Christianity might walk into a church, read an article, or listen to a spiritual message where all of the right elements are present and not be able to discern that the elements are out of place. God is mentioned although the name of Jesus may never come up. Prayers are said but they bounce off the ceiling. Perhaps, Bible verses are even read, albeit out of context.

The director knew what she was seeing was off because she was in the office every day. The Bible is the source of what is correct and true. Like the school director, when we read and study the Word of God on a regular basis, we can walk into a church, read an article, or listen to a spiritual message and recognize when things are out of place. We will be able to discern the truth.

David wrote in the Old Testament, “Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long” (Psalm 25:4-5 NIV). We often long for God to show us His way, to teach us or guide us. We want to know right from wrong and truth from false teaching. We want to be like the director who walked in the room and immediately recognized something was off. The Holy Spirit will “guide you into all truth” (John 16:13 NIV) but He uses Scripture to do it. Unless we are regularly spending time reading, studying and memorizing His Word, we will be as oblivious as I was when I walked in the office and everyone was out of place.

The Scrambler

September 25, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Kathi Woodall  –

Summertime brings outdoor fun as schoolbooks close and amusement parks open. We recently took our two oldest daughters to an amusement park with plenty of thrill rides and good times. They rode “The Scrambler,” a ride with four cars on each of three arms that spin and weave in and out of each other. Just as the earth rotates on its axis as it also revolves around the earth, each group of cars rotates as they also revolve around the central trunk of the ride. My husband and I decided to sit this ride out and waited for them by the exit.

Despite the speed and craziness of their spinning, each time their car spun around so it was facing us, we would make eye contact, smile and sometimes wave. For a brief moment, we would connect and be a stable, non-shifting point in their ride. We were a constant that didn’t change even though their car and every car around them spun wildly.

As I stood there watching and waiting for the next moment when they would face me and our eyes would connect, I thought about how God is a constant reference point for us as we spin around in a crazy world. God doesn’t revolve and rotate like the cars on the ride or the planets in the heavens. Indeed, He created the stars and the planets and set them moving on their paths. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17 NIV).

God’s constancy, absoluteness and stability are displayed in many ways. His unequivocal word will not shift or change. What He has spoken, He will do; what He has promised, He will fulfill (Numbers 23:19). Regardless of how we might be seeing things, God’s covenants will not change and will not be broken (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 7:20-22). The heavens and the earth will wear out and be changed like a piece of clothing but even then God will remain the same (Psalm 102:25-27).

Like the ride my daughters rode, what is spinning in your world right now? In the midst of the in’s and out’s of chaos and craziness, how can you connect with the One who does not change? God’s word, His covenants and His being will not change. Matthew 7 teaches that a wise man builds his life upon these things and finds stability regardless of what swirls around him.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

The Proverbs 31…Man?

August 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Kathi Woodall –

Many of us are acquainted with the Proverbs 31 Woman. Not to get into name-calling, but sometimes she goes by Noble, and some people call her Virtuous. I prefer to call her Chayil Woman because that’s her name in Hebrew. When her name comes up in conversation, we think, “Oh no, not her again.” I know that’s how I felt until I took the time to get to know her. Then I saw the side of her most people don’t see; a valiant woman protecting and defending her home and her children from the invading evils of the world.

Although she is primarily known as a child of God, she is also widely seen as a wife. Her role as a wife makes me wonder, have any of us ever met her husband, the Proverbs 31 Man? How would we recognize the Chayil Man?

In Proverbs 31, our proverbial sister is introduced in verse ten, and her husband puts in an appearance in the very next verse. “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:11-12 NIV). The Chayil Man is confident because his wife is strong, capable, faithful, and generous. Her actions add goodness to their life together rather than distress or misery. He has confidence and a sense of security in knowing his wife takes care of issues with wisdom.

Like many men, the Chayil Man is quiet for several verses and appears again in Proverbs 31:23. “Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.” The Chayil Man is respected. His wife doesn’t ridicule or criticize him to his face, to her friends or to her mother. She doesn’t subtly or overtly manipulate and control him. Just as he loves her as Christ loved the church, she submits to his authority (Ephesians 5:22-25). Her private and public respect not only increases his confidence, but also enables others to recognize him as a man worthy of respect.

Finally, the Chayil Couple is mentioned in Proverbs 12:4, “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.” The Chayil Man is crowned. In the culture in which these verses were written, a crown or a wreath was a sign of joy and honor. The Chayil Woman adds joy and honor to his life which he displays for the world to see. She isn’t known for disgraceful behavior that is like decay in his bones, or, in other words, a shame he hides deep within himself.

Proverbs teaches the Chayil Man is confident, crowned and respected. The rest of Scripture presents him as a mighty warrior, a strong and powerful man of valor. Maybe you recognize him or maybe this is the first time you’ve been introduced to him. For us as women to become who we are created to be as chayil – Hebrew for noble or virtuous – women, we need to start recognizing our men for who they are: confident, respected and crowned men of valor.

Mom Won

June 25, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Kathi Woodall-

This past Sunday I was getting ready to go to church. I called my girls down to breakfast. My second eldest appeared at the top of the stairs, helping my youngest stumble down the stairs. The youngest was pale and crying that her ear hurt. As she reached the bottom of the stairs and I scooped her up, I could tell she also had a fever. Obviously, church was not going to be part of her day. I discussed the options with my husband and he offered to stay home with her so I could go to church. My mind raced at multi-tasking speed through that possibility. He could stay home…I could go teach my class…I could enjoy the time with friends…I could be fed spiritually by the sermon…He could get food ready for lunch when the rest of us came back home…

Something inside of me said, “Stop.” Perhaps I had had enough of juggling all my roles to make sure everything was done. Perhaps I wasn’t feeling completely healthy myself. But I knew I was supposed to stop all else and be a mom. Everything else could wait or be done by someone else that time. That morning, my baby needed me and I needed to be available for her.

Learning to discern which responsibility is the most pressing at any given moment is a difficult and challenging task. There are no magic formulas for how to balance all of it. Doing so is going to look different for each woman and is going to change as you grow through different seasons of your life. As I shared, this time being a mom won. Sometimes I need to walk away and let my husband be a daddy while I grow in another role. Sometimes I need to stop all else and sit at the feet of Jesus. At another time, a friend’s need may be great and I share my time with them. And yes, sometimes we must even make our home the priority to provide a safe, clean environment for our families and friends.

I have learned one thing that will help women balance their different roles. We should not dwell on things like a clean house, making our own clothes, working ourselves to death, preparing beautiful feasts for every meal, keeping all the laundry done, climbing the corporate ladder or anything of this world that keeps us from what is truly important – the things of God. All of those tasks are good things to do, but unless they are done as unto the Lord, they are just works that will wear us out and have no lasting benefit.”

“A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30b NIV).

Having Loved His Own

June 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Kathi Woodall –

“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love” (John 13:1 NIV).

Many, if not all, of us can look back at an event in our lives and realize it was the last time we did something significant. We might say things like, “That was the last Christmas I spent with my dad.” Or, “I didn’t know that would be the last time I would see my hometown.” Often those comments are accompanied by wishes of things we could still say to that person or do in that place. That’s not the case for our All-knowing Savior in this passage. Chapter thirteen of John begins a long discourse Jesus gave during His last Passover meal on earth, or during what Christians call the Last Supper. Jesus knew everything was about to change. Within hours He would be hanging on a cross and He had some important words to speak before it happened.

Jesus knew that His time had come. Throughout the book of John, Scripture tells us Jesus’ time had not yet come.  However, now the time had come. What was it time for? Jesus had come to this hour to be lifted up on a cross, to die because of our sins, and by so doing, to be glorified (John 12:23-27). This process would also lead to Him leaving the world and returning to the Father, a key theme throughout the last minute instructions He gave His disciples at the Passover dinner.

The second half of John 13:1 says, “Having loved His own.” The phrase “His own” pertains “to one’s self, one’s own, belonging to one’s self” as opposed to another, and, in this usage, it means one’s household, family, or company. (See Acts 4:23, Acts 24:23, and 1 Timothy 5:8 where it is translated his people, friends and relatives, respectively.) This phrase also has the idea of privacy or being set apart.[i] In just those four little words, “Having loved His own,” we see that we are His, we are part of His family, we are set apart, and He loves us.

The problem of our story comes in the next phrase. We, His Beloved, are in the world. Jesus was leaving the world to go to the Father but we were staying here. Because of that great love, He couldn’t just leave that situation alone. He had to fix it. He had to make a way so we would not stay separated from Him forever but could have the hope of being reunited with Him again someday. He fixed this problem by dying on the cross, enabling us to join Him with the Father in Heaven and thereby experience “the full extent of His love.”

I’m not all-knowing like our Savior. In our tumultuous and changing world, I don’t know when my last meal will be with my loved ones. However, I can be at peace knowing that because Jesus loved all of us so much and because He made a way, we can all join Him someday with the Father. My prayer for each one of you this Easter season is that you also will experience the full extent of His love.

Kathi Woodall’s desire is to love and serve God. She primarily does this through writing and teaching the truth of His Word including her first published Bible study, “Seven Roles, One Woman: You Expect Me To Do All That?” Beyond that, she loves and supports her husband, Jimmy, takes care of their home, homeschools their four daughters, and serves in her church.  To learn more about Kathi Woodall, please visit www.growbarefoot.com.

[i] Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for idios (Strong’s 2398)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 11 Mar 2011. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2398&t=KJV >

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