Posted by: Ety W. | February 20, 2014

Coming Soon

This summer Encourage The Young Women will be published and available as a book. I hope it will be useful as an encouragement, personal devotional, or for small group Bible study. Watch here for details.

Posted by: Ety W. | November 1, 2008

Blog Sabbatical

Encourage the Young Women is currently on sabbatical.

Posted by: Ety W. | October 29, 2008

The Excellent Woman – A Summary of Proverbs 31:10-31

This is part 21 in a series on the Proverbs 31 Woman.
To start at the beginning, click here.

Was the Proverbs 31 Woman a “real” woman?  No, not as a biblical, historical character. Rather she is an ideal, a standard to measure by, a role model to follow, a goal to work toward.

Her Character:

Confident – v 25

Courage - v 17

Dignified – v 25

Diligent – v 14

Early Riser – v 15

Faithful – 21

Generous – v 20

Industrious – v 13

Influential – v 10

Kind – v 26

Moral – v 30

Not lazy – v 27

Observant – v 27

Organized – v 15

Prudent – v 16

Reverential – v 30

Sensible – v 18

Strength – v 17

Trustworthy – v 11

Well groomed – v 22

Wise – v 16

Her Skills:

Textile Arts -

Creative – v 13

Handspinning – v 19

Knowledgeable – v 13

Sewing skills – v 22

Culinary Arts -

Purchaser of choice foods – 14

Supervises meals – v 15

Management Skills

Attention to detail - v 27

Common Sensev 18

Home business – v 24

Investor – v 16

Observant – v 27

Organized – v 15

Overseer – v 15

Philanthropist – v 20

Prepared – v 21

Realistic – v 18

Stewardship – v 18

Successful – v 24

Teaches – v 26

Wise – v 26

Her relationship with her husband:

Appreciation – v 10

Has his best interests at heart – v 10

One of trust – v 11

Praise – v 28

Unity – v 23

Posted by: Ety W. | October 25, 2008

Prov. 31:30-31 – Eternally Motivated

This is part 20 in a series on the Proverbs 31 Woman.
To start at the beginning, click here.

I’ll never forget how shocked I was after my 51st birthday.  I was checking out at the grocery store when the cashier (a woman who appeared to be about my age), asked me if I qualified for the 65 and older discount.  In that nanosecond I realized something startling about myself.

Ever since I had come to know the Lord, I’d been telling myself that everything I did was for the Lord and that I didn’t care what other people thought. A simple question concerning my age revealed something else. In the flustering minutes which followed that incident, I jumped to the conclusion that I needed to get rid of my gray hairs!  Soon though, my initial emotional reaction dissipated, and I had to ask myself question, which I’m going to turn around and ask you.

What motivates you?  I mean at the barest, most basic level, what motivates you?  Is it what others think?   I have to admit that I’m constantly struggling with worry about how the house looks, how I look, and whether or not I’ve just said something stupid.  Now, I’m not saying that keeping the house clean and myself well groomed aren’t important.  The problem is, who I am doing it for?

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.  Prov. 31:30-31

Verse 30 contains a contrast (notice that little word “but”?)  It contrasts the way we behave and look (charm and beauty), with the condition of our hearts toward God.

Charm – Strong’s 2580 – חן - chen = favor, grace, charm, elegance, acceptance

Being funny, clever, or charming is something that comes naturally for some people. It can also be learned to some degree. But beauty fades with age.  Popularity is based on other people’s perceptions, which are easily swayed.  Prov. 31:30 tells us these things are vain.

Vain – Strong’s 1892 – הבל - hebel = vapor, breath, empty, transitory, unsatisfactory

Beauty, charm, and popularity never last, which is why they are ultimately empty and unsatisfactory. We, however, are eternal beings who crave something of eternal worth.  If we want to have a sense of lasting value in who we are and what we do, we should consider what qualities can withstand the test of time.  What was it for the Excellent Woman?

But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.  Prov. 31:31b

That word “fears” can mean to be afraid, but in this case, it does not.

Fears – Strong’s 3373 – ירא – yare’ = morally reverent, afraid

This verse reveals the Proverbs 31 Woman’s true source of motivation for everything she does in verses 11 through 27.  It explains why the heart of her husband trusts in her. It explains why she is willing to rise early and stay up late.  It explains why she is not afraid, why she smiles at the future, and why her children bless her and her husband praises her.

Everything the Excellent Woman does is for the Lord.  Why?  Because she respects and trusts Him.  She understands that her sense of security and personal worth are not based on anyone else, nor on anything she can do.  They are based solely on who the Lord is and what He can do.  Consequently, she is free to live her life and enjoy her family, without the burden of worry and fear of failure.

What motivates you?  Is it what others might think?  What others might say?  Do you find yourself reacting to a litany of “buts” and  “what ifs” that continually parade themselves through your mind?

One day each one of us will receive the fruit of our hands.

Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.  2 Cor. 5:9-10

As Christians this is not a judgment for sin, but a receiving of the fruit of how we lived our lives.  It is something that each and every Believer will be required to do.

When eternity comes, what will you have to show for your life?  Will you be known to have been like the Proverbs 31 Woman?  I encourage you to take her example to heart.

Posted by: Ety W. | October 21, 2008

Prov. 31:27-29 – Cause & Effect

This is part 19 in a series on the Proverbs 31 Woman.
To start at the beginning, click here.

The next several verses begin the conclusion to this passage.

She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.” Prov. 31:27-29

We see two things here: what the Excellent Woman does, and what her family has to say about it.

What does she do?

Looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness. Prov. 31:27

Looks well – Strong’s 6822 – צפה  – tsaphah = lit. to lean forward; by implication to look out or about,  keep watch, observe, watch

This definition points to something we learned from studying Titus 2:5; that a woman’s domestic work is not being a mere housekeeper, but rather being a manager and guardian of one’s household.

Idleness – Strong’s 6104 – עצלוּת – `atsluwth = indolence, idleness, sluggishness, laziness

We already know this to be true.  We can look back over the verses we have been studying, and make a list of the action words which describe her.  She:
Does – verse 12
Looks – verse13
Works – verse13
Brings – verse14
Rises – verse 15
Gives – verse 15
Considers – verse16
Buys – verse 16
Plants – verse 16
Girds – verse 17
Makes – verses 17, 24
Senses – verse 18
Stretches – verses 19, 20
Grasps – verse 19
Extends – verse 20
Makes – verse 22
Sells – verse 22
Supplies – verse 22
Smiles – verse 25
Opens – verse 26
Teaches – verse 26
Looks – verse 27

These are not the verbs which describe an idle woman.

What does her family have to say about it?

Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.” Prov. 31:28-29

Nobly - Strong’s 2428 – חיל  – chayil = valiantly, virtuously, powerfully, efficiently, worthily; with strength, might, excellence

This is the same word that was used in verse 10 to first describe the Proverbs 31 Woman:

An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.  Prov. 31:10

The Proverbs 31 Woman’s deeds and words have an impact on her family.  She has been diligent in her ministry to them, and the results are blessings and praise.

We should not be surprised.  Cause and effect is a biblical principle:

In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matt. 7:12

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Gal. 6:7-8

Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 2 Cor. 9:6

To apply these verses, we have to ask the question, “what does my family say about me?” Do they praise me behind my back or complain about me?  Do they see me as diligent, hard-working, and responsive to their needs?  Or do I leave a lot undone, always making excuses for it?

As one whose children have now left the nest, I can heartily attest that the effort toward family and home is well worth it.  The tendency is to grow weary with the responsibilities, so we need to keep in mind that it is only for a season.  The physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual investment we make in our families today, will reap an eternal fruit.

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