You Deserve to LIVE. You Deserve the FUTURE.

[Image by Intheozone]
We are often blinded to the depths of our purpose. We think it's only a myth. We think that we were flung out here into the desert by sheer random occurrence. We think we're worthless, especially when we look at others making global changes in the world, who look nothing like us.

Today, the message is that you deserve to live. You deserve to live because you have a Father who loves you. What Potter creates a vessel and doesn't design it to win the potters annual competition? What architect constructs a house design that is mediocre in his eyes? What great photographer puts his worst photographs on his website? What artist draws a sketch and does not meditate on it before revealing it to the world? No, he draws and erases the lines until perfection is established.

We Are the Hands & Feet of God:

Yes, God loves us, but He has already imparted His love in the community of believers. It is through us that His love is shown to the entire world. Love is not only in speaking, it is in our actions. It is not in judging others' wrongs, but by calling them who GOD HAS CALLED THEM. It is "showing" people that they deserve to LIVE and not DIE. Not just in telling them. It is in loving ourselves first, because if you don't have something how can you give it away?

Yesterday in church the pastor spoke of love. He said that people don't realize that the bible says in John 13:35, "By this all will know you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." It didn't say that you are my disciples if everywhere you go you claim you love God passionately, it says that the exhibition of a true disciple is in their love for other human beings.

People commit suicide because they don't feel a sense of purpose. People side-track their true callings, because they feel that in the world today all that matters is success. They choose success over purpose. They choose money over true wealth. They choose frivolity over moral values. They choose a rampant lifestyle instead of a provident one, because it is popular. But today, I say that even on this side of the blogosphere, you've found a community on this blog. No longer will you run on your own, for what else is this blog for? What else are many other Christian blogs out there for? No, enough is enough. We are the hands and feet of God.

I am at a level in my life where I want to help you find God. It doesn't matter what your past is. I REALLY don't care. I have dealt with some mess in my own life, and God took me out of all of them and gave me a message in my mess. So why should I focus on someone else's inadequacies. The kind of love that God has is bigger than our imperfections. In a journey, you've got to find a starting point. And for some of you, that starting point could just be right here. I don't have all the answers, but we can find it together.

To Write Love On Her Arms: 

I found this video yesterday and that was how I got inspired to write this post. It is about a non-profit organization that got started just because one guy was trying to help his friend obtain victory over depression. Since then, it's grown like a virus. Enjoy the video.

To Write Love on Her Arms Documentary from Cabin Cabbage on Vimeo.

Question(s) for the Day: Do you long for the Body of Christ to be a non-judgmental community of people just reaching out and being there for each other? Or do you think we are already there?

Searching For God in the Unsearchables

[Image by Anetz]
As I listened to The Gift over and over again, a melody by solo pianist, David Nevue, I got into a moment that comes every so often. Raw instinctive reflection. So I turned off the music and the questions began to pour in. How do we search for God among the unsearchables? Is it possible to search for God in places where He can't be found? The answer is yes.

I've got an illustration. Imagine that you are a rich queen from one of the royal kingdoms in Europe (blame this illustration on the fact that I watched a movie called "Young Victoria" a few days ago). So as I was saying, imagine that you have such unfathomed wealth inherited from royalty. You know there's a rare pearl which you must get before your birthday in ten days. You understand that this pearl is located in an unidentifiable part of the world, and you've asked all the subjects of the palace- the Royal Collection Department, the Master of the Household's department, and even the Treasury Department. But no one can locate this pearl.

You decide to embark on a journey to find the pearl with a few people- Mapmakers, Geographers, Landscapers, Resource Managers, Remote-sensing specialists, and Photogrammetrists, all highly skilled men in their line of work. As you journey, your first set of stops are some of the major cities in the world- Paris, Rome, Athens, Italy, California, New York, Vancouver, Tokyo, Mumbai, Shangai, Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore, Islamabad, Baghdad, Casablanca, and Johannesburg. No matter how far and wide you search in these major cities, you still cannot find this pearl.

"Searching for God in the unsearchables is like searching for a pearl in the big cities while the pearl can only be found in one of the small ones. It's an impossible task. Sure the pearl exists...but it just won't show up in big cities, no matter how hard we try to find it there. So also, God won't be found in certain places unless we search elsewhere." 

The Unsearchables:

1. A Hardened Heart: There's something about a mind already made up. Even if the truth shows up at the doorstep, a mind made up is bound not to see it. A mind made up belongs to a hardened heart. The bible says that Pharoah's heart was so hardened that He still refused to set the Israelites free, even after nine plagues. God hardened Pharoah's heart so that those signs and wonders will be seen for generations to come (Exodus 10:1). Proverbs 28:14 says, "he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity." That's because there's not going to be any solution until that heart is softened, the truth will only hit a rock.

2. A Fearful Disposition: Ever wondered what this scripture means, "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father" (Romans 8:15). I realized that fear is the iron that holds the prisoner's shackles intact. Without the iron, the shackles would be non-existent. It's no wonder that when Elijah saw an army of God surrounding him and his servant, his servant could only see the enemy's soldiers approaching them. Elijah had to tell his servant to open his eyes to see that He who was for them is greater than the enemy. Fear will prevent you from walking on water. Fear is the scale in a blind man's eyes, all he sees is darkness. There's no light therein. But when that fear is gone, a newness is unveiled and you feel like you can suddenly go deep into molten magma to find the truth, no matter how hot it is there.

3. A Dwelling Mind: I'm thinking about Ruth and Orpah, two sisters in-law who had to choose their paths after their husbands' death. You see, the minute Ruth got married her husband's people became her people. But when Orpah got married, her own options were open. So when their mother-in-law told them to go back to the places where they were born, Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye. Ruth on the other hand said these words, "Wherever you go, I will go...your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried" (Ruth 1:16-17). What kind of woman was she? Someone who had left her past behind her. Oh no, the memories of her birth were still there in her brain-- the happy smiles of her father, mother, brothers and sisters. Her early childhood and the places where she grew up. But she had a future now, a better one. She made a choice: not to have a dwelling mind. If you see a sign-board that points towards the forward direction, and you keep looking backwards at where you came from, how are you ever going to move forward? God cannot be found in a 'dwelling' mind.

4. A Different Kind of Deafness: When Samuel was a little boy, before he became a prophet, he was asleep one night when God called his name. He woke up and ran to his caretaker to ask if he had called him. It happened about three times before the caretaker told him to say, "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3). It was not like the voice was never there, but Samuel kept answering the wrong call. It's the same as God calling us, but we choose our careers. Or our love lives. Or our pristine education. Or our financial worth. We answer the call, but we cannot search for God in the wrong call. When we find God He guides us to all these places at the right time, but not before.

5. A Shortened Journey: Imagine that the queen in my illustration eventually travelled to all the big cities in the world, and still did not find the pearl. Now imagine that she gathered her subjects and told them not to worry anymore, that the trip was over- she would find another kind of pearl instead. This is a shortened journey. She could have kept going, because she was sure the pearl exists. It's like commiting suicide before the time to die. Another example of a shortened journey is king Saul's story. He was chosen as king and he followed every instruction from the prophet, until one day when the prophet was late he decided to offer the sacrifice by himself. A shortened journey. Lack of patience in finding the truth. Like someone said to me on Twitter yesterday, revelation comes with patience.

NB: I also thought about the parable of the sower, but the thing is that parable is only meant for those who have conquered the unsearchables and now have to deal with the kinds of soil to hide their pearls in.

Questions for the Day: Have you ever tried to find God in these unsearchable places? Did you figure a way to get out? Or are you still stuck there? May God give us the grace to soften our hearts, be unafraid of searching, move away from our pasts, answer the right voice, and keep going along the journey until we find the right pearl.

I Gave My Heart Away to Ten Things:

[Image by Lethacolleen]

Sugabelly, God's leading lady, and some others tagged me in the "10 Things I Love" meme a while back, but the thing is I'm afraid to do things like this because it makes me search the depths of my heart. It's not as simple as it looks; although the things I love are simple. So in no particular order, today I feel bold enough to proclaim 10 things that have stolen my heart in the twenty-five years of my existence:

1. Old Cards: I have several boxes of them. One day I was moving from one location in a city to another, and my sister told me that my cards were junk. I turned my head sideways to look at her, in a way she probably will never forget, and then I clutched my cards and put them in my traveling box. There is no way on earth I'm ever parting with my old cards: birthday cards, success cards, love cards/notes- every one of them I received all the way from secondary school. I even have some silly Valentines day cards. I would have kept the teddy bears that came with them also, but hubby would not like that now, would he? Lol.

2. Writing & Reading: When I was really young, maybe about ten, I and my younger siblings would cut sheets of paper out of exercise books, make holes in them, and tie them together with strings. Then we would write series about a young girl (the main character, Amanda) and her family. We used to write about how they moved to a new place and the kids had to get used to their new school. We were just plain silly. Then I started reading some books and my world changed: Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, Eddie Iroh's Without A Silver Spoon, Onuora Nzekwu's Eze Goes to School, Wole Soyinka's The Lion and the Jewel, Charles Dickens' Oliver TwistA Tale of Two Cities, and Christoph Von Shmid's The Basket of Flowers.

3. Children: I got married six months ago and children are not in our nearest plans, at least not yet. But anytime I carry a baby and stare into his eyes, I see pure unadulterated innocence. Then I start to wonder why that innocence goes away when the baby grows up. Little kids are so funny, they come to you and say the darndest things in their innocence, and they have no reason to lie. They are the most down-to-earth friends you can ever make. They speak their minds and they don't hide their feelings. Really, adults can learn from kids. They are the cutest little human beings ever. Now, let me not talk about the really pretty kids that I find when I go to the park or something, those ones that leave you day-dreaming about how they'll look when they're all grown up. Or those ones that you start match-making your little cousins, nieces, or nephews with (or your unborn children).

4. The Concept of Love: I don't think there's any other concept as powerful as the concept of love. There are many kinds of love, and they are all powerful. The first is God's love which involves the sacrifice of death. You see, the funny thing is that we take this kind of love and rub it in the sand with the soles of our shoes. Why? Because we don't understand the intensity. We weren't there when they nailed Him to the cross. We weren't there when He gave Moses instructions on how to live a Godly life. We weren't there when Jesus performed all those miracles ---> raising the dead from the grave and ridding people of their infirmities and sins. It's the kind of love that is easy to dismiss without faith & intimacy with God. Then there's eros, the kind of love that draws a man to a woman like a magnet, and makes them say all kinds of romantic things to each other. Then there's agape, the kind that makes you stop on the way to work and put a coin in a poor man's cup. In short, love is a powerful thing.

5. Sunshine: Even when it's hot, I love the feel of the heat of the sun's rays on my arms and legs. I might be sweating, but I still like it. It's something I can't imagine being without. It is what wakes me up after a dark night's sleep. It's just a beautiful phenomenon. It is the thing that poets and lyricists use to start their rhymes. Even the bible refers to God as the Sun: Psalm 84:11 "For the Lord God is a sun and shield."

6. Old Blue Jeans: I don't just love old blue jeans, I love my old clothes. Yes, I shop for new ones, but I find it hard to throw the old ones away. Old blue jeans remind you of summer picnics or family events. They bring back good memories (and maybe bad). They are a part of my history and I just never feel like throwing them away. One day I found a poem in a card that said something like this, "Thank you for laughter, sunshine, and old worn jeans." That card made me smile. See why I love cards?

7. Snow on Trees: This one is my most recent love. There is a road on the way to our church that is lined up with forests of tall trees on both sides. In January/February those trees were the most beautiful sight. All their leaves had fallen and they stood bare with snowflakes on every inch. All we saw was "white." It was really beautiful. Next year I'll try to document it by taking photographs.

8. Random Phone calls: I don't call people a lot. I'm more of a "go with the flow" kind of person, and some of my friends may not like it. But I have a couple of friends that call me randomly without any strings attached. I just love that about them. They don't need to think twice before calling me. It could be for something as little as getting certain information from me, or just to tell me what's making them mad. It could be for the most random hilarious gist ever (since they know I like gist). Anyway, I love those moments of random phone calls, and I like it when friends don't think you're a beast for not calling them, because really I'm not a beast...I just have too many projects to wrap around my head at a certain time that I feel the time is not right for little chit-chats.

9. Snuggling Under the Covers With a Good Novel: I am the slowest reader ever. I don't know why, but I can read one book for two months. Maybe it's because I like to absorb one scene in weeks. I really don't know. But I love snuggling under the covers on a rainy day and reading a good book. Books inspire me. They make me blog. They make me write. One day I want to have a big library of all the books I've ever read. Oh, I'm open to book suggestions too.

10. A Good Deep Discussion: If you can give me a good deep discussion on any given day, I would have huge respect for you. Maybe it's because of my parents and siblings. When I was young my father liked to raise up discussions-- he would talk about stuff like Democracy, the World Wars, Adolf Hitler, the Rich and Poor, and some other things. He used to make us watch all these classic movies like Mussolini, Till We Meet Again, and Lucky.

Question(s) for the Day: Do you identify with any of these things? And what 10 Things have you fallen in love with? :)

The Birth of My Dream:

Today, I'm writing based on a beautiful prompt suggested by the Sunday Scribblings Blog. Hope you enjoy it. Before you read, Happy Father's Day to every man who is fulfilling His purpose in the world, and to my dad...I love you.

* * * * * * * * *

The Birth of My Dream:

There is never a more joyous moment than one you are not expecting. Moments like this keep you wondering just exactly how it found you. There is nothing like a beautiful bundle of joy that keeps you smiling for such long hours in a day. This is the story of a birth, and births like this happen once in a lifetime.

I was never prepared for this. I did not eat more fruits and vegetables, neither did I exercise more. The truth is I did not know I was pregnant. No doctor revealed to me that there was something growing in my womb. So I lived in the moment; I played on sandy beaches, danced under mellow moonlights, drove through busy traffic lanes, and ate at fancy Mexican restaurants. I was a noisy cymbal who could not hear her own voice. Not even the soft whispers in the wind. I could hear no other melodies but mine. My life was empty because I had no dreams.

Then on a beautiful summer day God came down and touched my womb, and the thing inside leaped for joy. I was not sure how His hands reached into my deepest layers, but I knew something had changed about me. When I noticed that something was growing in my womb, I stopped moving while the world kept spinning around me. I still went out to play on sandy beaches, dance under mellow moonlights, drive in busy traffic lanes, and eat at fancy Mexican restaurants. But this time everything was different. I was no longer a noisy cymbal, and I could now hear the soft whispers in the wind- it was God's voice.

Then the time came for me to give birth to my dream. Someone was there to help me, a midwife. At the right time she screamed, "PUSH!" I started to push my dream out, but it wouldn't come out. I whispered to God, "But You said I will achieve this dream, didn't You?" I heard no answers, only the midwife screaming. She told me I could do it, and that there was no going back now. She said that I needed to take a deep breath and give just one more push. I shook my head. Could she not understand that I was not made for this? This dream was way over my head. I should have prevented God's hands from going inside my womb.

The midwife screamed again and told me not to be a coward. The time to deliver my dream had come and there was no going back now. I closed my eyes for a second and the flashes came back. I remembered how I stopped moving and the world kept spinning. I remembered how different I felt after the dream. Surely, I was the one chosen for this feat. I was selected for a reason. I opened my eyes and tried to push one more time. The dream came out. It was beautiful and healthy. And then sleep came.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

This is what happens when God gives us a dream and we have to achieve it. We stop, but the world keeps spinning. We were created for a purpose, and at some point in our lives we WILL give birth to it. Thanks for reading. As usual, I'd love to read your comments. See you on Wednesday. 

Let's Say A Door is Slammed Against Your Face

[Image by Djjohnmonreal]

Many times we want to scream at God and ask Him why. Many times we just want to pull out our hair and roll on the floor writhing in pain. These are some questions that might pop in your brain:

"Lord, why did I miss that golden opportunity? I could be so much more than I am right now. Why was the door shut against my face? I worked so hard for this. Why me?"

His Eyes are Bigger Than the Slammed Door (What Happened to Paul's Crew):

What we don't know is that His eyes can see so much farther than we can. Take a look at the poor disciples. In Acts 16: 6 Paul and his crew (Silas and Timothy) were on fire and they were just traveling from one place to the other preaching. I can imagine the smiles on their faces when Paul suggested that they go to Asia to spread God's love. ASIA? Sweet. Silas and Timothy must have been hopping from one feet to the other in sheer joy. I mean, who wouldn't want to go to Asia?

Take it from someone who loves traveling. I love traveling. One day I want to travel around the world. One day I want to meet people of such different cultures and way of life than I already know. And when the opportunity comes, I want to also tell them about a God who loved me so much that He gave His life for me on a cross. A love so magnetizing that I can feel its pull in every area of my life. It makes me blush. So yes, I can imagine how excited they were to travel to Asia, even if it wasn't via first class on an airplane.

Can you guess what happened? The bible says, "they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia." They probably planned it and their plans failed (that's how they knew God wasn't in it). Okay, fine...they dealt with it. They moved on. They began planning another trip to an interesting place called Bithynia (nice name). So they diverted all their energy and resources from the Asia plan to the Bithynia plan. They spent many days booking the ships they would sail on, employing the captain of the ship, buying food and medical supplies, and most of all studying the scrolls and meditating on the words passed down by Jesus. In the midst of their planning, can you guess what happened again? The bible says, "the spirit did not permit them to preach in Bithynia." WHATTTTT? After all that planning? "Lord, we just want to do your work," they must have cried out to God. In fact, Paul might have thought maybe they were doing something wrong.

What The Problem Really Was (Lack of Direction):

Anyway, many days after that, they decided to just go to Troas instead. Just as they were travelling, Paul had a vision where he saw a man standing and saying, "Please come and help us in Macedonia." Now, people please take a look at this map with me and see the places I've circled in red ---> Asia, Bithynia, and Macedonia (their current location is on the arrow --> Phrygia.)

[Map from]

If they had squandered all their energies and resources on Asia or Bithynia, it would have been extremely difficult for them to cross the Aegean sea to Macedonia where the people really needed them. See how big the Aegean sea is on the map? It was better that the Holy Spirit shut the door of opportunity on their faces and opened the doors for them to go to Macedonia instead, because Macedonia was the place God was really calling them to go to, not Asia or Bithynia.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

What About You?

So let's say a door is slammed on your face, what do you do? You should rejoice. Your Father has His eyes on you. He wrote your past, present, and future...and His eyes are big enough to see exactly where you're needed. Let's not cry when doors of opportunities are shut, instead let's spend the time we have in prayer and in strengthening ourselves for the next best opportunity that will come our way ---> our own Macedonia, where we're really needed.

Question for the Day: Are there any lost opportunities in your life that you're mad at God for right now? God spoke to me through my reading of this chapter. He said, "Jaycee, just chill...I've got your back. A bigger opportunity is coming your way--> your Macedonia (not Asia or Bithynia). Forget about the door being slammed on your face. There's a reason." And I got it! Ditto! Lol.

The Most Shocking Thing About Your Shadow

[Image by Phil Dowsing]

There's something profound about the dark shape that forms against the wall when you stand in a room half-filled with a projection of light. This dark shape is usually taller or shorter than you are and has some similarities with your shape. But when you move, it moves too. When you make gestures with your hands or feet, it does the same. When you laugh and cry, it follows suit. This thing is as powerful as you are, and it's called your shadow.

You might have underestimated your shadow in the past, but do you know that in the days of the apostles people brought sick derelicts out into the streets, so that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them and HEAL them? (Acts 5:15). Yes, Peter's shadow healed people. Can you imagine? He only had to walk by them and they were healed of their diseases.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"How insane," you may say. "How absurd to think that such a thing could happen in our time." But I want to stretch your thoughts today. When Jesus was leaving, He did not say, "you will never live up to me or my disciples." Instead, He said, "GREATER works shall you do on earth."

The Greater Works of Your Shadow:

1. When you leave a room and someone else enters, they should be able to feel that someone great just left. They should be able to feel the joy and the happiness of the human being who was just in the same place.

2. When you own a company, anyone who comes in must be able to tell that you're a child of God. It doesn't matter whether they've met you or not, your shadow should speak for you.

3. When you're having a conversation, you don't need to mention the name of God or Jesus before people ask you what you believe in. Your shadow cast against the wall must compel them to ask. They should want to know you better, your shadow although it may look dark should be able to shine your light.

4. When you visit family & friends in the hospital, moments after you've left they should regain their strength and should be healed. You might argue that not everyone gets healed, you leave that up to God...He is sovereign and He knows why not everyone will get healed. But never for one second let your faith get shattered. Enter the hospital with the prospects of healing someone, not asking God whether or not it would work. Give your all, and let God do the rest.

5. Lastly, even when you don't plan to do anything at all, it should be that when you're in a certain place people around you act sort of weird. It doesn't matter whether you're standing still, or you're moving...there should be this aroma about you that will cause men and women to steal glances in your direction. It's called the "Aroma of your shadow."

There's one other important thing though. Yesterday I read a blog where the writer spoke about getting drunk with the word of God (blog HERE), and he said something along the lines of how it takes a whole lot of meditating on God's word (just a single word) to get drunk on just that one word. We have to learn to saturate ourselves and immerse ourselves completely on a single word, for it to take effect in our lives. The word of God is not just meant to EXCITE us for a second or a minute. So before we can get to the level where the mere presence of our shadows will begin to heal people, we have to have been intoxicated by the spirit of God, such that it becomes a NORMAL part of our lives.

Question for the Day: Do you believe there's power in your presence (or shadow)? I believe that the mere fact that a child of God is standing in a room can make all the difference.

PS: A million thanks to YOU, readers. The Light-A-Lamp Blog got 2 Awards for "Best Personal Development Blog" and "Best Religion Blog." And so I was feeling creative yesterday and made a banner that you can grab for your own blogs. It's right there on the side-bar --->

Today, I share these awards with everyone who has a blog (new or old) that is devoted to God and devoted to telling people about deeper things they may not have thought of about themselves...people like Kafo (D Unspoken), Rita (EroLyrics), Remi (A Day in God's Will), Zoe Believer, Le Dynamique Professuer, Preserving the Saltiness (Gee), A Piece of Simeon, The Eden Project (Harry), Think & You Shall Find, MwajimAl, Femme Lounge, Jolly Notes, Kennisblegad, BonaWithAllMyHeart, Berean Girl, Yetitweets, Anoda Phase, Adventures of a Go Hard Christian, and even those from other Countries whose blogs are out to bless people--> Cycleguy Spin, MyZenMyPieceMichael Perkins, iWearPearls, and WorthMore. Even if I forgot to mention yours, God who sees you in secret knows. May God continue to use all of your blogs extraordinarily.

We all need each other, we're the hands, feet, legs, eyes e.t.c of the body of Christ. None of us must lack in any good thing. Amen.

Can You Find Her Anywhere On Earth?

[Image by Chronowizard]

Introduction: Proverbs 31 is really intriguing, but here are some things you may not know about it: 1) These were words spoken by King Lemuel's mother to help him find the right woman, and 2) The 10th to 31st verses are actually an alphabetic acrostic in Hebrew. Now, let's talk some more about this priceless woman.

#1: An Excellent Spirit:
Verse 10: "Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies."

The word "virtuous" is translated from the Hebrew word "Chavil" which in English literally means "a woman of valor- in the sense of all forms of excellence." It is also translated as "army, strength, power, or might." Now, you may ask, "Is it even possible to have all forms of excellence?" And I say, "Yes, it is." Being virtuous means exhibiting strength with a spirit of excellence. The spirit of excellence does not eliminate our imperfections. Rather it is a phenomenom that describes a one hundred percent push in the right direction. Even without getting to the final destination one can still show "excellence" by giving one hundred percent of one's energy to get to that destination. The virtuous wife is someone who selectively picks her areas of focus in life and gives those areas one hundred percent of her effort. She does not dilly dally or jump from one thing to another. She selects something and goes all the way to see it to completion. If you've seen a woman who struggles despite all odds to achieve a single extraordinary feat, she is a virtuous woman- exhibiting a form (or several forms) of excellence.

#2: Trust Is Never An Issue With Her:
Verse 11: "The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain."

Trust is the basis of every important relationship. Let's look at ordinary friendships for instance: you would not share the most important incident of your life with someone you don't trust. You would worry over whether a thousand people would find it out from the lips of this person, or whether the person would get jealous of your dreams and desires. You would also be concerned as to whether the person would put you down, or lift you up. Trust is very important in friendships. Now, in a marriage trust is one of the most important elements. A Proverbs 31 woman can be trusted by her husband because she is a BUILDER. She will never put him down or cause him to feel shameful. He will have no lack of gain because she will complete him in such a way that his weaknesses will never be seen in public. His finances are safe in her hands because she is very careful about spending money; rather than be wreckless in spending, she causes the money to increase by trading/investing in business ideas. 

#3: A Selective Entrepreneur:
Verses 13-14, 16, 24: "She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar. She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants."

An entrepreneur is a person who has the posession of an enterprise, venture, or idea and assumes accountability for the risks and the outcome (wikipedia). In reading about this woman, I observed that she always has an idea. Verse 13 tells us that she is never afraid to work with her hands. The bible says, "whatever your hands find to do, do it with your might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10). The proverbs 31 woman does not grumble when no one assigns her a task. She goes out of her way to look for ways to make herself valuable.

She brings her food from afar. This means that her ideas are not confined to ideas of women in her locality- she thinks BIG. She studies foreign cultures and selects the ones she can use. Many times, we have to go out of our comfort zones to look for ideas that have not been done in our local regions or cultures.

She considers a field and buys it. This is where her "selectiveness" comes in. Many people think entrepreneurs are those who take any risks whatsoever to accomplish a certain goal. The Proverbs 31 woman is not just an entrepreneur, she is a 'selective' one. She just doesn't pounce on any idea, she thinks about the pros and cons first. I believe her family is always her priority. If it does not benefit her husband or children, she doesn't consider the idea to be necessary. She considered the field first because she wanted to know whether it would be enough to plant a vineyard (and whether the vineyard would sell its fruits so that she could buy materials to sew linen garments and sell them to merchants travelling to other parts of the world). If you notice, it's about a chain reaction. She never ventured into a business that was a dead end. Every idea was a means to another one. Really smart, if I may say.

#4: Her Borrowed Strength:
Verse 17: "She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms."

If you've been reading about this woman with your heart in your mouth, it is time to heave a sigh of relief and breathe in and out. This woman is not always strong, she is weak sometimes. Let me tell you why: she had to put on a girdle of strength. The word "gird" means to "equip, encircle, fasten, or secure" with something such as a belt. Why do I say she borrowed her strength? I say this because just like a belt is not an internal property of the human body, so also is strength that is girded. When she did not have her own strength, she had to equip herself with an "external" strength. To us who know the One to whom ALL POWER belongs, we know for a fact that this "external" strength that the woman has to gird herself with comes from God. The strength to do rare unimaginable things. The strength to achieve things that are deemed greater than an ordinary woman's strength. A Proverbs 31 woman equips herself so much with the word of God that she begins to achieve great exploits that have never been achieved before.

#5: Never A Moment of Darkness:
Verse 18b: "Her lamp does not go out by night."

Many times, a very observant person will notice the signs of an economic downslide. Before the economic recession, many observant people could tell and they quickly did what they could to secure themselves and possibly their families. The Proverbs 31 woman is a sign-watcher. She watches for the sign of darkness and then she quickly prepares for it. She goes to the store and buys all the necessary tools: the lamp, the lighter, many barrels of oil, and the stand (she probably would get the tallest stand that will help the lamp shine brightest in a large room). I smiled when I was thinking about this. Here's the reason why her lamp never goes out: before the oil in the lamp finishes, she opens the oil compartment and refills it. She never leaves any space for the oil to run dry. A Proverbs 31 woman recharges her battery. She refills her bucket of water. And she knows the very place to get all the necessary recharging tools. To me, this place is the word of God.

#6: Those Around Her are Happy People:
Verses 20: "She extends her hand to the poor, yes she reaches out her hand to the needy."

First, let's define what being poor means. When we see that word we want to point our fingers to those begging on desolate streets for a morsel of bread or just a coin. Yes, that's part of it...but that's not the entire meaning. To be poor in something is to be lacking in that specific area. Someone can be poor in joy or happiness, for instance. Now, no matter the level of poorness of the people around her, the Proverbs 31 woman does not stand for it. Instead, she does something about the many cases she takes charge. She tells people what she knows about certain circumstances, and she helps them in winning their small or big battles. I suspect that there wouldn't be a sad person around her then, or don't you think?

#7: Her Husband is a Popular Man:
Verse 23: "Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land."

This one is her most romantic quality. There's a reason why her husband is known. They say, "Behind every great man is a great woman." If a woman despises and disrespects her husband, it will show in public. But if she treats him as her king and priest, it will also show in public. Everything that is done in darkness will be brought to light. Love is something that can't be hidden. Many times, if a husband trusts his wife he will reveal certain problems to her- for instance certain difficulties at work. And a Proverbs 31 woman will sit down patiently with her husband to analyze those problems before the night takes over. When morning comes, the husband will go back to face his problem with renewed ideas spoken of by his wife. He will be confident knowing that someone supports him 100%. This is why he is known and respected among the men in the same community.

Conclusion: Through all these characteristics, we can already tell that she would be careful about how she talks to people (verse 26 "she opens her mouth with wisdom"), that her children and husband will praise her at every instant (verse 28: "Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her"), and that her own works will speak for her, i.e. she does not need to boast about her own deeds (verse 31: "And let her works praise her in the gates.")

Yes, it is possible to find such a woman. Especially because I know she does not do it by her own strength. I will never forget the verse that says she "girded" herself with strength. By God's grace, I will be a Proverbs 31 woman. And I pray the same for any woman reading this.

Question for the Day: Which characteristic stands out to you? And do you think you can find such a woman on earth?

15 Other Blogs Talking About Proverbs 31 Today:
(You Should Go Over to these Hot Spots too):

Jibola L

Smelling the Vase Instead of the Roses:

[Image by CW Ye]

I never see a woman pulling out the roses from a vase and saying, "wow, what a beautiful vase."
Although the vase may be beautiful
The substance inside the vase matters more

I never ask for a cup of coffee minus the coffee
The cup has no value unless there's something inside
It's the substance that goes inside the vessel that makes a vessel valuable

LDP & Nakedsha wrote a post recently titled "What you have is enough"
Really, what you have is enough...except you haven't found it yet
We are clay pots filled with a treasure
There's something lurking inside you and I
Something really unique

Don't smell the vase instead of the roses
We often disqualify ourselves because we look at the exterior of our vessels
We ask ourselves whether we are worth the trouble
We try to be like someone else
Don't neglect the gift that is already in You.

I sat in the pews three weeks ago and listened to Jason Norman speak some of the words above. I added some of my words to it as well.

Click the Picture below if you want to watch the full video:

[Image from the Living Word Church]
Question for the Day: Do you believe that God placed a gift in every single person in the world?

Exciting Announcement: THIS Friday, June 11th, inspired by NoLimit's tweets, some bloggers (Myself, NoLimits, FunmsDRebirth, Zoe Believer, Giagerry-writer for the new blog "Preserving the Saltiness", Olusimeon, Miss LNQ, JibolaL, and Mamarita) will be writing our views on the Proverbs 31 Woman (these are their Twitter handles, but I will post the blogs of all writers on Friday). Is she realistic? Is she an icon? Should we strive to be like her? Who is she really? You don't want to miss it. See you on Friday (I will also be tagging all blogs that will write on the topic on Friday, feel free to add your blog in the comments if you want to write on Proverbs 31 on Friday too).

Don't forget, I'd love to read your answers for the question of the day :)

The Discovery of the 100th Chapter:

[Image by Soyrosa]

In the silence of your room, you hold a novel. You straddle the pages and tease the 100th chapter. You twirl the next page with your fingers like a string on a guitar. The page feels cold. You close your eyes to bask in its coolness. You've read the previous 99 chapters, but this time you think you're on the verge of discovering something profound and so you shift from one side to the other on your bed, and your heart pumps more blood, faster than normal.

You weigh the pros and cons of the protagonist's actions, and then you judge the villain for his evil deeds. You try to guess what will happen. But what if it doesn't happen the way you envision? What if she dies? What if the truth becomes false? Or the false becomes real? 

There you are on the edge. In the 100th chapter- the last one. But you don't want to go any further because you fear what you might find.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The One About the 100th Person:

Jesus said in that parable, that the shepherd left 99 sheep to look for the 100th one. It was lost, somewhere between a rock and a hard place. It was stranded in a deserted unknown location that was not once defined in the biblical text.

Realistically, the shepherd must have looked at his 99 sheep and weighed the pros and cons of leaving them to search for that lost one. Realistically, he must have thought that the chances of discovering the 100th sheep were very slim and that the risks were way too high. But he still did it. He left the 99 to look for the 100th sheep and rescue it.

What if you're the 100th person? Many times we want to point our fingers to "other" lost people. We see the destroyed buildings of Haiti, and we mourn their loss. We see orphans around the world, and we cry for them. We notice the innocent children in war-torn countries, and our hearts bleed. We review the genocides, and we wonder why. But hardly do we consider ourselves to be the 100th person.

Yes, many times we're the ones lost...stranded between a rock and a hard place. Not knowing what to do and fiddling with our insurmountable uncertainties.

But if it was only just for you, He would die all over again to save you. Every word in the bible is for YOU. It is for you to find peace. To find truth. To find love. To find God in your journey. At one point in my life, I was that 100th sheep and I'm thankful that He found me. I'm thankful that He rescued me, and removed my feet from the fowler's net & the miry clay. That He chose to look past my imperfections and called me by the name He gave me when I was born, not by what I thought I was. Each of us could very well be that 100th person. Don't point to someone else, point to yourself. No one is exempt from this eternity-long search.

YOU, are the 100th person God is searching for. Open your heart to Him today. 

Question for the Day: Have you ever thought that you were the 100th sheep the shepherd went to find after leaving 99 behind? Or has the thought never crossed your mind?

The Child Who Became A Beast to Forgive:

[Image by Anna on Flickr]

The first day I saw her was when I walked into the Meat shop on Jackson street. She was standing behind the counter calculating the cost of four pounds of turkey for a customer. I smiled at her and said "hello," but she glared back at me and continued what she was doing. I shrugged my shoulders and kept walking. Maybe she was having a bad day. Who knows? I picked up a shopping basket and proceeded down the second aisle.

As I put some packs of fresh beef in my basket I hummed to the lyrics of a song I had heard on the radio that morning, "When I think of You...and the world's alright with me. Lord, just one thought of You...and I know it's gonna be....a lovely day! Lovely day, lovely day, lovely day, lovely day."

I finished selecting what I wanted and went up to stand in line to pay for my meat. I was still humming and shaking my head. I must have looked like a joyful crack-head. After a few minutes of standing in line my turn came.

"Hello," I said to the girl at the counter for the second time that day. I hoped she would respond this time and let my joy infect her.

"Ma'am, just put your stuff on the scale."

"Oh, I'm so sorry," I said smiling. "I forgot to do so."

"Be sorry for yourself. Just put your stuff there. Hurry up ma'am. I don't have all day."

"I apologize," I quickly muttered. "I didn't mean to delay the line."

"Like I said ma'am, keep it to yourself!" She talked so loudly that I was sure everyone else standing on the line heard.

I quickly arranged my beef on the scale. In that moment I felt as though the walls were closing in on me and choking me in the silent pangs of the room. I felt like wickedness had slowly sucked the life out of me and I was left with nothing more than the fragments of my earlier joy. The lyrics of "lovely day" were quickly wiped away my memory. I made my payments and hurried out of the store.

As I sat in my car I wondered what I had done to tick the store girl off. Was it something I said? Was it the previous customer? Why was she that rude? And unhappy?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

The Other Side of the Beast Who Hurt You:

No one has an excuse to hurt your feelings
But what if her childhood was wrecked?
What if she was raped multiple times?
What if she's from a divorced home?
What if all her children were killed in a fire?
What if her husband was away at war?

No one has an excuse to hurt your feelings
But what if her legs were amputated?
What if she has cancer?
What if she lost her right kidney?
What if she is suicidal?
What if someone took her dreams away?

No one has an excuse to hurt your feelings
But what if no one understands her?
What if she has no family?
What if she has no true friends?
What if her life is only a shadow behind yours? 
What if?

This post was inspired by a question I received yesterday, "How do you forgive someone who's hurt you again and again without them asking for forgiveness" (paraphrased). I think many times if we truly investigate why people are the way they are (harsh, hurtful, and unrelenting)...we will find out so many mouth-dropping hideous things in their lives. Bad things that happen are not an excuse for people to attack you or carry out all their frustrations on you. Still, you don't need to always react to people at face value. You don't need to react to their words or actions. Seeing past all that can help us forgive easily. You never know what people are going through. You may never understand how the child in them became the adult beast. Plus, we are not perfect ourselves...we've hurt other people too.

Maybe that's why Jesus answered, "Forgive your brother seventy times seven times" (Matthew 18:21-22); Or why He said, "To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold the tunic either" (Luke 6:29). You just never know how much someone needs your tunic. Just forgive the theft.

Question for the day: Do you feel that some people really are undeserving of your forgiveness?