The Proverbs 31…Man?

August 15, 2019 by  
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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  
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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 >

The Fight for Freedom

March 28, 2018 by  
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By Kathi Woodall –

My older brothers and I have good relationships…now. That hasn’t always been the case. As children, they would team up against me. One would pin me down while the other would tickle me relentlessly. Imaginetwo older boys against an innocent little girl. In response, I learned to kick and flail until I wriggled to freedom. Then I would run for all I was worth.

Freedomthis powerful word defines us both as Americans and as Christians. Our historical battles have thoroughly ingrained freedom into our collective conscience.

Throughout history, many have cried out for freedom. Once freedom appeared on the horizon, I’m sure they also ran for all they were worth. Can you imagine a Jewish prisoner in Auschwitz choosing to stay when Soviet troops liberated the camp? Would an inmate in Alcatraz refuse a boat offering passage to freedom? Would a POW at the Hanoi Hilton stay huddled in his cell when the door opened to freedom?

I’ve never been in prison desiring to be free. I’ve never been a soldier defending my freedoms on the battlefield. But I’ve fought a battle for freedom—the spiritual battle for the soul. My freedom was granted because Jesus had already paid the price required to obtain it. He opened the gates, tore down the walls, and loosened the chains. My freedom was there for the taking. Jesus made freedom available for me and for all humanity.

Living in Christ’s freedom has affected my views. Subsequent changes in behavior are evidence of His freedom.

Living free is possible because Christ redeemed me. Nothing I do merits entry into heaven; most of it merits eternity in hell. Despite that, God loves me. He initiated a plan to reverse my course. He sent His Son to die for my sin. With His resurrection, hell was defeated. Satan can now claim no right over me. Resting in the surety of my salvation frees me to live fully, both now and for eternity with Him.

Living free relinquishes my control issues. God is in control, and I’m not. Not having to control every issue frees me to rest and trust in His sovereignty.

Living free shifts my focus. It’s not all about me or even those around me. It’s all about God. Seeing God as the primary focus frees me to maintain a pre-determined order of priorities. I can let go of anything that doesn’t fit within those priorities.

Living free eliminates an environment of fear. Persecution will come. God may call me to do something outside my comfort zone. I’m ok with these things. Letting go of fear frees me to do what God wants me to do.

Living free allows me to live and let live. Other believers are different than I. God didn’t make us all in one mold. He doesn’t want us to live in one mold. Rejoicing in other’s differences frees me to be who God created me to be.

Living free is possible because God extends grace. Grace is fundamental to my salvation and my relationships. Once we’ve basked in the wonder of God’s grace, imprisonment is no longer an option.

If you’re a follower of Christ, you’re already free. Are you stepping out of your prison cell and walking in the freedom He died to give you? “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’” (John 8:31-32 NIV).

Settle for Good-Miss the Best

March 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Kathi Woodall –

Three p.m. I turned into the parking lot of my daughter’s home school group and drove to my spot at the end of the pick-up line. As I waited, more vehicles lined up behind mine while other parents walked out of the building having already retrieved their children. One particular mom exited with her two small children. As she walked toward her car, I realized I would block her in.

Moments ticked by as I alternated my attention between watching her buckle her two little ones into car seats and watching for the assistant director to come out of the building with her walkie-talkie and start the car line moving. Would the line move in time for me to pull my car forward before the mom was ready to make her exit? She buckled in one child. No sign of the assistant director. As she strapped in the second child, the assistant director appeared and started speaking children’s names into her walkie-talkie. The line slowly crept into action; I should be able to move out of the way soon.

The timing was perfect as the mom opened her own door and sat down while I gently let off the brake to allow my car to pull forward. I watched in my rear-view mirror to see if the lady behind me would wait for the mom to back out of her parking spot. I shook my head as I watched her pull forward without a moment’s hesitation. Busily texting on her cell phone, she was oblivious to the plight of the mom with the two small children waiting to exit her parking spot.

I immediately thought of myself. I often focus so intently on one activity that I am insensible to the needs of those around me or to God calling me in a new direction.

The mom behind me did nothing wrong; she may have had a good reason to text. Likewise, several times I find myself doing good things–lunch with a friend, teach a Bible study, write a new book. I’m comfortable with these things; they are an easy place to stay focused. However, God sometimes calls me to something else for a moment–visit a sick relative, start a new study group, help a friend at work. The original object of my attention may have been valid, but it wasn’t the best that God had for me at that time.

I don’t want to focus so much on the good that I miss out on the best. I don’t want to be so used to the ordinary that I am oblivious to the extraordinary. I don’t want to be satisfied with anthills of ministry when God is calling me to move mountains.

“O LORD my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them. You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. I finally understand — you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings. Then I said, ‘Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures: I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart’” Psalm 40:5-8.

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