Read an Excerpt
Spiritual Refreshment for Women
By Joan C. Webb
Barbour Publishing, Inc. Copyright © 2010 Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Don't jump to conclusions—there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.
Proverbs 25:8 MSG
You cry at movies; your sister doesn't. Your spouse shares openly with anyone he meets; you prefer to take time getting to know someone first. You enjoy working alone; your boss works best on a team. Your mother gives instant solutions; you like mulling over the options. It's easy to jump to conclusions when another person doesn't think or act as you do. But when you suspend judgment of the differing ideas and opinions of others, you're a wise—and gracious—woman.
To get wisdom is to love oneself; to keep understanding is to prosper.
Proverbs 19:8 NRSV
If you can accept yourself, you will probably be able to more readily accept the idiosyncrasies of others. If you are patient with yourself, you will almost certainly be more tolerant toward your loved ones. If you have learned to forgive yourself, you're likely to find you can more easily forgive someone else. Self-respect increases as you stay committed to gaining a heart of wisdom. This attitude splashes onto your other relationships, and acceptance gradually becomes a way of life.CHAPTER 2
The ways of right-living people glow with light; the longer they live, the brighter they shine.
Proverbs 4:18 MSG
Aging isn't for wimps! It's true. Whether you're twenty-five or seventy-five, there are probably things about getting older that you don't appreciate. Extra pounds. Hormone imbalances. Another gray hair. Yet, as a God-honoring woman, you probably have one thing that only grows more beautiful and amazing with age—a heart of wisdom. The longer you live and the more wisdom you accumulate, the brighter your influence. So congratulate yourself. You're not a wimp, you're a star.
The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.
Proverbs 20:29 NLT
The expression "Generation Gap" became popular in the 1960s, although it probably existed in some uncoined sense throughout history. Young people don't get their grandparents, and the over-fifty crowd can't figure out their juniors. Some sense a standoff. But the truth is, there is beauty on both sides of the gap. Young people possess stamina and a lust for life, while those who've been around awhile are reservoirs of experience and wisdom. In God, we are glorious at any age.CHAPTER 3
Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good; God probes for what is good.
Proverbs 16:2 MSG
Like many women, you probably enjoy looking nice when you go out for a special occasion. You want a hairstyle that flatters your face, clothes that fit well, and a little makeup to enhance your eyes and cheeks. God likes it when you feel good about your appearance. Still though, He cares more about the inner you. He wants to cultivate what's good about you socially, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Join with Him in cultivating the beauty that's inside you.
We justify our actions by appearances; God examines our motives.
Proverbs 21:2 MSG
People—women and men—want to look good to others. Sometimes we do this by name-dropping, pretending we don't need help, or reciting our credentials and achievements. At other times we do it by being overly nice, overworking, and rarely saying no. Both approaches to trying to keep our appearances up can wear us out. Relief comes when you admit your need, allow God to purify your motives, and then just enjoy honoring Him as the person He created you to be.CHAPTER 4
The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?
Proverbs 20:24 NLT
Are you tired of trying so hard to make sure you do everything just right? Do you long to hear God whispering that He's with you and in control? Then you're like many other busy and overworked women. God knows your desire to love others, serve, and make wise choices. He hears your genuine prayer for help and strength. And He's answering. So lean back and take a deep breath. You are loved more than you'll ever know.
The Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.
Proverbs 3:26 NRSV
Life is risky. With these risks come adventure, fulfillment—and uncertainty. Are you starting a career and overwhelmed with all you must learn? Are you a new mother, wondering how you'll raise this tiny person who awakens you in the night? Although you enjoy your independence, do you wonder whether you'll ever find a mate? Are you facing big decisions now that your husband is gone? Whatever your challenge, give your doubt to God. He'll never leave you. Never.CHAPTER 5
The Lord looks deep inside people and searches through their thoughts.
Proverbs 20:27 NCV
If you're like most women who've participated in relationship surveys, you want someone to hear your heart and not be frightened off. Although you've been disappointed in relationships before, you still desire to be loved for who you really are. Good news! God is not surprised by what you feel, say, or think. He knows you inside and out and loves you just the way you are. So drop your guard and be authentic with Him. He isn't going anywhere.
People's thoughts can be like a deep well, but someone with understanding can find the wisdom there.
Proverbs 20:5 NCV
People have their own answers—or can at least find them. This is a basic tenet of the highly successful industry of life coaching. Life coaches ask powerful questions that help their clients discover those hidden answers, move past their status quo, and grow. You have your own answers, too. They may be lodged deep within you, but with some authentic sharing and a wise companion's thoughtful probing, you can find the wisdom. Ask God to direct you to this kind of authenticity.CHAPTER 6
Do you like honey? Don't eat too much, or it will make you sick!
Proverbs 25:16 NLT
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." (By the way, all work and no play can make Jill a dull girl as well!) You've probably heard this age-old axiom countless times. Yet the opposite is also true. All play and no work makes Jack and Jill uninteresting, not to mention unproductive. Focusing on one area of life to the detriment of its counterpoint is not wise. You can discover balance and thrive.
She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day's work for her servant girls.
Proverbs 31:15 NLT
You've got a lot to do. Each of your roles shouts for attention. How can you do it all? You can't. You're only one woman, although a caring, capable one. As a new employee, first-time mother, or start-up business owner, you encounter huge learning curves. You'll need to make adjustments. You may need to wake up early or ask for specialized help. This phase won't last forever. Give yourself a break. Do what you need to do to maintain balance.CHAPTER 7
"She'll garland your life with grace, she'll festoon your days with beauty."
Proverbs 4:9 MSG
You are a beautiful creation of God. As a woman with a heart for God, you seek wisdom and understanding, and it shows. Grace reflects in your eyes as you speak with kindness and encouragement. Magazine advertisements and Hollywood may tell you that to be one of the "beautiful people" you must maintain an ideal weight, banish wrinkles, schedule regular pedicures, highlight your hair—and more. While all these regimens are fine, wisdom's loveliness in you far exceeds them all.
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Proverbs 31:30 NKJV
Do you ever feel society's pressure to look younger than your years? Dress in the season's latest fashions? Be your neighborhood's most charming hostess? Perhaps you sense this pressure and so you keep trying. Or maybe you've given up. Surely you've noticed that birthdays are inevitable, outer beauty can fade, and charm can fool. But be encouraged today. As you continue to honor, respect, and love God, you become a praiseworthy woman. Are you smiling yet?CHAPTER 8
The blessing of the Lord makes one rich.
Proverbs 10:22 NKJV
God blesses His children. No doubt about it. Just look around you. Your life is richer because of His protection, provision, presence, grace, and love. How can you respond to God's blessing? Gratefully accept Him and all that He gives you. And then bless Him back. Perhaps that seems like the ultimate audacity. The perfect Blesser receiving blessings from His own creation? Yet out of your rich inner resources of blessing, you can honor, revere, and bless the Giver.
By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted.
Proverbs 11:11 NRSV
You may not know it, but you have the power to make a significant difference in your neighborhood, city, state, and—consequently—the world. What you believe about life; how you express those beliefs; how you treat your neighbors, acquaintances, governmental leaders, and coworkers reaches further than you may realize. When you bless those around you with your God-given wisdom, you are building up yourself, those around you, and gradually the world you live in.CHAPTER 9
"I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment.... I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries."
Proverbs 8:12, 29 NLT
Wisdom originates with God. When God designed the world, wisdom watched with joy as He drew distinct boundaries around the oceans and seas to protect His other creation from drowning. It's a picture of the boundaries He designed for you. You are not your mother. You are not your friend. You are not your spouse. No one has a right to step over your boundary line and take advantage of you. You are distinct. God made you that way.
When you find a friend, don't outwear your welcome; show up at all hours and he'll soon get fed up.
Proverbs 25:17 MSG
We all want to be loved and accepted. Yet some of us try too hard to make and keep friends. We may work harder than necessary to hold on to a boyfriend. We disregard boundaries, becoming overly enmeshed in another's life to the detriment of our own development. But there's good news. By placing your dependence on God first, you can change. Although transformation won't happen overnight, God will help you respond wisely to the people in your life. Just ask Him.CHAPTER 10
[God] loves it when business is aboveboard.
Proverbs 11:1 MSG
Whether you're a stay-at-home mother, empty nester, CEO, student, teacher, or attorney, God expects you to be honest in all your transactions—at the grocery store, the local bank, with your children and husband, in the boardroom, in court, on your tax forms, and when interacting with your repairman. Maybe you had trustworthy role models when you were growing up; perhaps you didn't. But as an aspiring wise woman, you can keep your everyday business dealings honorable. God will help.
A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
Proverbs 22:3 NLT
Wisdom means planning for the worst, anticipating the best, and trusting God with every outcome. Whether you're researching colleges to attend, purchasing a home, getting married, starting a new company, taking care of your aging parents, or have just learned you're pregnant, you'll want to ask intelligent questions and plan for your next steps. God encourages you to think ahead. Seek the advice of trusted friends and associates, take necessary precautions, and then turn the results over to Him.CHAPTER 11
The diligent find freedom in their work.
Proverbs 12:24 MSG
It's fun watching a juggler. He tosses and balances balls, knives, hats, and sometimes flaming torches. It appears easy. Yet if you asked, you'd probably discover how many focused and diligent hours he practices. Learning to work without the constant buzz of busyness is like learning a juggling act. Although you want to stop rushing, it feels so impossible that you're tempted to cease trying. But be encouraged. You'll find success if you stay committed to practicing a balanced schedule.
One who moves too hurriedly misses the way.
Proverbs 19:2 NRSV
Hurry. Faster. Accomplish more. Learn this. Study that. Time's wasting. Do more for God. Messages like these fly around us daily—whether they're blatant or inferred. Perhaps you've sensed the rush and have become too busy, trying to do it all. Now you're tired. How can you change? First, know that God isn't the one pressing the HURRY button. He doesn't want you to dash through life and lose your way. He wants you to slow down and enjoy every minute.CHAPTER 12
Foolish people lose their tempers, but wise people control theirs.
Proverbs 29:11 NCV
Feeling angry doesn't automatically mean you've sinned. Anger is a normal response to injustice and wrong. God becomes angry over the disobedience of the people He loves. Jesus responded angrily to the corrupt money changers in the temple, but He didn't sin. It's when anger is allowed to rage or fester as resentment that it wrecks havoc with your soul and relationships. You're wise when you face your anger responsibly, discover its roots, and partner with God to control it.
A wise person stays calm when insulted.
Proverbs 12:16 NLT
It's difficult to remain calm when criticized, whether the criticism is legitimate or not. On occasion someone may unjustly criticize you merely for the thrill of creating chaos or starting a quarrel. It's not a wise way for them to interact, but it's not your problem. It's theirs. You don't have to fix them or engage in an argument. You can tell them calmly and firmly that you won't tolerate their disrespect. Then walk away with your head held high.CHAPTER 13
Good character is the best insurance.
Proverbs 11:6 MSG
You can't know the future—even what will happen an hour from now. So you do what you can to protect yourself and your family and then give your tomorrows to God. Some things are not within your control. Yet it is always within your power to grow spiritually. You can choose to pray, read God's Word, and listen to His Spirit's gentle direction. As you do, you'll learn who He is and He'll graciously develop love, patience, gentleness, and wisdom in you.
Moral character makes for smooth traveling.
Proverbs 11:5 MSG
You may have heard this expression before: "Character counts!" Choosing to invest your time and energy in cultivating a sense of fairness, compassion, wisdom, and respect for life and God enhances your chances for contentment. How you live affects not only you but also those you love. Perhaps you lacked good role models as a child. This is your opportunity to start a new trend. What godly attribute would you like to develop this year? No doubt about it, you'll enjoy the benefits.CHAPTER 14
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
Proverbs 31:20 NIV
Family, home, job, church, friends, school, personal and spiritual development—these fill your days. No doubt, like many other women, you find it difficult to become involved in long-term charity projects. Although you long to help, you only have so much time, energy, and money to go around. You can't do everything, but you can do something. Ask God to help you establish how, where, and when you can reach out to the hurting people in your world.
Happy are those who are kind to the poor.
Proverbs 14:21 NRSV
A wise leader once said that you make a living by what you get—and you make a life by what you give. You receive a blessing when you give a blessing. As you develop wisdom, God expands your compassion for the poor. He smiles when you lovingly share with those who can't help themselves. And out of your gracious generosity springs joy. Your own life grows richer when you reach out in kindness to the disadvantaged.CHAPTER 15
A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them.
Proverbs 13:24 MSG
You want your children to make wise choices. You send them to the best school you can afford. You take them to church. You expect their teachers to instruct them well. And as their mother, you have the personal privilege of sharing what you've learned about living a God-honoring life. You show how much you love your children when you graciously tell and show them what is right and wrong in God's sight.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 NKJV
Excerpted from Everyday Wisdom by Joan C. Webb. Copyright © 2010 Barbour Publishing, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
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