by Sarah Knapp, member Northside church of Christ, Conway AR
Why Should we be Close?
This topic has become very important to me over the last couple of years, with so much being shaken up with Covid, and particularly how much time brethren spend with each other. My husband and I realized that prior to Covid, we did not emphasize time with brethren nearly enough, and we are working to change that. We are convinced that closeness is vital to so much of the function of the church, and is the basis for the interaction of the first century Christians we read about in the New Testament.
So many are crying out for more closeness and relationships with brethren, and in many areas and churches, that seems to be quite difficult. Let's explore this topic together, and hopefully we can help follow God's design for closeness as a body and family.
Why are Christians together in churches?
Worship is a reason to come together, but we could worship God by ourselves. I believe one of the primary purposes for Christians coming together is to help each other go to heaven. Can we do that effectively if we don’t spend much time together or know each other well?
Purpose of Closeness
Important for spiritual health of each Christian. Heb. 3:13 This passage indicates we need frequent, daily interactions with brethren to help us not to be hardened with the deceitfulness of sin. This also gives the purpose for our closeness, to help each other be stronger spiritually. Casual conversations and interactions have their place, but these deeper conversations about how our souls are doing are vital.
What are practical ideas you have to make this a daily part of our lives to be in close contact with our brethren, and having these needed conversations to help us not to be "hardened by the deceitfulness of sin."?
If we aren’t close, how can we fulfill commands to rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep, 1 Cor 12:26? If not close, how can we correct brethren overtaken in sin, Gal 6:1? How can we stir up love and good works, exhorting one another as we meet often, Heb 10:24-25, if not close to each other or talking much each week?
I neglected to comment more on this in the previous email, but I’m really wondering if a lack of closeness is one of the reasons evangelism often seems not very fruitful. In the following passage, Jesus says that our love for each other is what will help people know we are His disciples. Are they clearly seeing that in us, in our everyday lives?
Necessary for evangelism. -Jn 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Love brethren as Jesus loves us, to help all know that we are disciples of Christ. How will people see this love for each other?
Closeness is Part of Holiness
- 1 Thess 3:12-13 “and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you,  so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”
Increase and abound in love for one another and all to establish our hearts blameless in holiness. Loving each other is part of being holy!
-1 Pet 1:22-23 “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,  since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;”
Why are we purified?! Here it says for a sincere brotherly love by loving one another earnestly from a pure heart!!
Implied in these passages is a priority on relationships to each other as Christians. Is closeness with other Christians top priority to us, what we make sure we have time for? If we don’t have time for other Christians much, why don’t we? What needs to be cut out so that this very important matter can happen? If there is a conflict between activities to promote closeness with Christians and other activities, what gets bumped off?
If I had not experienced it first hand, I would have doubted it could be done, but we stayed with and visited a group of Christians that got together, either part or all the group 5-10 times a week!! And 3 of the families had 4-6 young children who they homeschooled, and they still made it a priority. They showed me it is possible to live out these Scriptures with very frequent interactions! What about us?! What can we do to make sure our lives aren’t too busy to make this a very high priority?
I can cut back on gardening, time intensive cooking, focusing overmuch on fun for me and our children, and keeping our schoolwork as simple as possible. We CAN make time for this!!
I think that hospitality is key. It will in general be the avenue to build closer relationships, even though other things can work, too. I think once we have a strong commitment to making closeness a priority, then the opportunities and ways are endless. But, if our heart isn't there, and we aren't willing to sacrifice to make it happen, it won't matter how easy or hard it is.
Would we like our churches to grow in maturity? Here’s part of it!
Growth in the church in these passages comes from closeness, working together closely, no matter how much we are different.
Eph. 4:1-6 one in Christ, be diligent to achieve unity, be one. Context is that Jews and Gentiles are one in Christ.
Vs.9-16 Each member doing its part, working together to cause growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Col. 2:19 “and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments grows with the increase that is from God.”
I feel closeness is so vital for all the reasons we’ve looked at, and is all through the culture we see in the first century church in the New Testament. How important is it to us?
I'm praying that we will be who God wants us to be, to love each other in a deep, sacrificial way, and that we will truly spur each other on to go to heaven together! A friend said recently, aching for deeper fellowship, "Why would we just come to sit in pews together?!" If sitting in pews together is the majority of a church body's time together, with no committed, practical interest in knowing each other's personal struggles and sin to help each other grow, are we really that committed to each others' souls?
by Tanner Swanson
Tanner Swanson teaches third and fourth grade and writes regularly at her website. She and her husband, T.J., live in Denver, Colorado.
Nine-year-olds tell it straight. A boy in my morning class once asked me, “Miss, why do you look like you just woke up?” Another day he walked in sighing and clutching his chest. “I’m just so glad you aren’t wearing a wig again today!” The wig? My new bangs, hidden behind a headband.
Unlike adults, most kids don’t have a category for off-limit topics regarding appearance. While most adults would cry conversational foul play, bad haircuts, weight gain, and receding hairlines are all fair game for fourth graders. Why do kids feel free to describe beauty in both its presence and its absence?
At least in part, kids talk about appearance because, in their eyes, it’s just that. When students tell me how I look, that’s exactly what they’re doing — telling me how I look. They make no claims about who I am. If my ponytail looks “super weird today,” they say so — because my hairstyle does not undermine my identity as their beloved teacher.
Too often, however, we invest physical beauty with far more significance. We treat beauty as a means to self-worth: how we look is who we are. But if we would only gaze upon God’s word with the eyes of a child, we might unlatch beauty from its worldly contortions and fasten it instead to the God who is Beauty himself.
Beauty by the WorldLeft to our own devices, we define beauty a lot like the Evil Queen. We stand enraptured before the mirror, waiting for it to tell us how our appearance measures up to others across the land. In sin-twisted kingdoms, to be beautiful is to be attractive to as many human eyes as possible.
“We age, and lose it. Generations pass, and alter it. Staying beautiful is flat-out exhausting (and expensive).”
But beneath those eyes lie hearts whose visual appetite is insatiable. They flit from post to post, screen to screen, trend to trend — idol to idol — waiting to be satisfied. Nothing will do. That’s why an attractive-and-therefore-beautiful appearance, both as a personal possession and cultural definition, expires. We age, and lose it. Generations pass, and alter it. Staying beautiful is flat-out exhausting (and expensive).
While describing my teenage years to a group of girls, I mentioned how “thin and lanky” I was. They looked at me in horror. Cutting me off, one student exclaimed, “Miss, you are not thin! You’re perfect.” The other girls agreed. “Yeah, miss! Don’t say that. You are notthin. You’re beautiful.” Their words struck me silent. The teenage me had lived in a world where beauty required thinness; in their world, beauty required notthinness. I heard in their words not a compliment, but a truth claim: worldly beauty is fickle.
God warned us. Thousands of years ago, he said, “Beauty is vain” (Proverbs 31:30) — or according to some translations, “fleeting” (NIV). The adjective’s literal meaning packs the greatest punch, as the Hebrew word heḇel denotes “breath.” From the perspective of an eternal God, beauty vanishes with the rise and fall of a chest. If we put our hope in beauty, it will betray us — and quickly.
Does that mean God wants Christian women to toss out the mascara and throw in the washcloth? No makeup, no dyed hair, no new clothes, no gym membership — nothing? Shall we consign ourselves to a life of bedhead, wigs, and super weird ponytails? These aren’t bad questions, but they are the wrong ones. Instead we should ask, How does God’s definition of beauty change our pursuit of beauty?
Beauty from GodIn God’s economy, beauty does not fret over itself, or talk about itself, or make purchases for itself, or dawdle over pictures of itself. For God-defined beauty cannot be seen in a mirror. Rather, it pulses: “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Beauty flows from a heart that beats with moral goodness — love for, delight in, and submission to God (Acts 13:22).
Unlike our pursuit of physical beauty, we cannot fret, talk, purchase, or edit our way to heart-level beauty. The Beauty — with a capital B — for which we ought to exert the most energy, the Beauty on which we ought to spend the most time and resources, is one we cannot powder onto our faces. It is a Person we must pursue.
This Person is Jesus, the only man whose heart sought God perfectly for a lifetime. In him we find, and from him we receive, true Beauty. And it is not the beauty of appearance:
He had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:2–3)
Rather, it is the Beauty that loves and sacrifices itself for others, in which God delights:
He was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
This is the Beauty that does not perish upon makeup removal or spoil from one trend to the next. It is the Beauty that endures with laughter the aging process and the innocent comments of children (Proverbs 31:25). For regardless of appearance, its identity is secure: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
Beauty as Possession and PursuitDear women: If we call the beloved Son “Savior” and “Lord” (Romans 10:9), we possess this Beauty forevermore. For in God’s sight we have been clothed for all time with Christ’s sacrificial love (Galatians 2:20). There is no need to fuss over becoming and staying beautiful on this earth. Christ is eternal Beauty Himself — and our lives are hidden in him (Colossians 3:3).
We still labor for beauty — but not now for the beauty of appearance. If we possess Beauty in Christ, we will pursue the Beauty of Christ. We will strive, as those who are free from the world’s fickle fashions, to emulate an everlasting Beauty — to live as if God’s glory is real, precious, and worth pursuing, now and always.
Becoming more like-hearted to God’s beloved Son will never go out of vogue. We can exhaust ourselves in the pursuit of Christ’s Beauty, sure that “we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). When the day ends, we will not crawl into bed with less money and more products. We will drift off radiating God’s Beauty in Christ, satisfied.
Beauty as a MeansAs Beauty becomes ours ever more in Christ, beauty — with a lowercase b — will take its rightful place as a God-given, God-exalting gift. God cares about visual beauty because, well, he makes and sustains its every expression. He made us in his image, to image him. For our part, we humbly, happily use what he has made to exalt him who made it (Colossians 1:16).
“If we don’t watch ourselves, we will end up only watching ourselves.”
As with any morally neutral hobby, we seek to use earthly beauty to illumine heavenly realities. As we dab at our faces in the morning hours, we can wonder at the way God paints the sky (Psalm 19:1). We can adopt new styles with hearts enthralled by the God who has provided us with an imperishable garment — the righteousness of Christ (Isaiah 61:10). We can enjoy beauty without self-obsession when we seek to enjoy its Fount.
I’m not saying we have to pair Scripture and meditation to all our beautifying. Many activities whirl past us unexamined. But we all can agree that beauty — like many other endeavors, such as athletics or a career — has great capacity to be self-centered. If we don’t watch ourselves, we will end up only watching ourselves.
As my students discover lip gloss and T-shirt dresses, I pray they learn to use beauty as a means to enjoy and exalt God rather than self. I hope they know the beauty with which God already has created them and the Beauty to which he beckons them. Even so, they cannot learn what Christian women neither understand for themselves nor model for others. Let’s see beauty for what it is, as we lay hold of Beauty for who he is.
By Dianne Baker Blakley - Northside A Church of Christ, Conway Arkansas
When I was a child we would sing the following song in Bible class, it was sung regularly doing the Civil Rights Marches, and at school in music class. It appeared to be a song favorite of everyone by looking at the joy and smiles on people faces.
1. This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine,
let it shine, let it shine, oh let it shine.
2. Ev’rywhere I go,
I’m gonna let it shine.
Ev’rywhere I go,
I’m gonna let it shine.
Ev’rywhere I go,
I’m gonna let it shine,
let it shine, let it shine, oh let it shine.
3. Jesus gave it to me,
I’m gonna let it shine.
Jesus gave it to me,
I’m gonna let it shine.
Jesus gave it to me
I’m gonna let it shine,
let it shine, let it shine, oh let it shine.
In the Bible light has always been a symbol of holiness, goodness, knowledge, wisdom, grace, hope, and God’s Revelation. The word light appears over 200 plus times in the Bible. Now just think how important it is for us to be a light in this world. To encourage each other and guide others to God. It is a very important task for us to be that light for God. A few of the following encouraging verses are some of my favorites I am sure each of you have a few favorites also.
John 8:12. Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
James 1:17. Every good gift and every perfect is from above coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Matthew 5:15 “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
In closing, my prayer is that this will edify my sisters Christ. And if you are not a member of the body of Christ, my prayer is that your heart and mind will be open to seek what is needed for your Salvation, for the door is always open.
If you live in the Philadelphia area, I encourage you to contact the Mt. Airy Church of Christ to study and learn about God.
If you live in the Conway, Arkansas area, I encourage you to contact Northside A Church of Christ to study and learn about God.
And if you need any information for a church location in any state, let us know. We can help you locate a Church of Christ.
By Paulette Hamilton, Intown Atlanta church of Christ
Many women in the Church today struggle with issues of self-worth. This is particularly true in the US where there is a variety and complexity of cultures and mores that influence how women feel about themselves. Most women with low self-worth do not feel good about themself because they have absorbed negative messages about women from their culture and from their relationships with family, friends and colleagues. Our experiences can make us think that we are useless, powerless, weak, ugly and worthless. And when we come to the church, we sometimes compare ourselves to other women in the church and feel that we are so unworthy.
Some of us think we are not as worthy as other women in the church because we are single mothers, or because we are in abusive marriages or because we are coming out of relationships where we were not married to the man we lived with. I think these are normal and expected feelings. But these feelings should be temporary ones. These feelings should go away as we become enfolded into the community of sisters in the church and realize that in Him, we are all the same.
What is surprising to me, is that some women, after years of being in the church still have low self-worth. We are told that we are of great value in God’s eyes. *Matt 26:6* puts it like this, “Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or gather into barns--and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than them?” We are told that Jesus would not have died for us if we did not have the highest of value in His eyes. “Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (*Luke 12:7*). But sadly, to some women in the church these sayings seem like empty platitudes.
Why is that? I think it is because they don’t fully understand what these scriptures mean. Take the example of the sister who said, “*All I ever wanted was a family, but men just used me and left me. I knew it was because there was something wrong with me. When I got baptized, I expected to come out of the water feeling different. I expected to feel the Holy Spirit rushing through my body and then I would know that I am truly changed, and men would look at me differently, but none of that happened*.” After six months she turned her back on God.
What is the key to having high self-worth? First, we must understand that God’s words are *NOT* and will *NEVER* be platitudes. God’s words are truth that must be meditated on, studied and internalized. Whether we know it or not, Christian women, we are worthy because God says so. But sometimes it takes a while for us to realize our worth. Our high self-worth can be realized as we begin to be transformed. But transformation is not a magical thing. Transformation comes with careful study of God’s word and with putting it into practice. Instead of sitting back and waiting for something to magically change us, we must intentionally focus on doing good to others. When we practice doing good to others, we begin to realize our esteem and high self-worth. What other *people* think of us does not matter. What matters is what *God* thinks of us. When we have a strong footing with God, we look at ourselves differently. All women should know, whoever or whatever we are, that without a doubt, we are of great value.
By Patrice Garvey. (member of the Mt Airy church of Christ)
Working as a social worker is a darting task and, at times, can be rewarding. I am a Christian and working in this field has made it challenging to look the other way. Sometimes my Christian values and principles are challenged due to the statement you hear "politically correct." Sometimes we will have to let the families know that there is a way out, and that way is through Christ. At times I am not able due to being politically correct. Most of the parents that come to my agency for help are single mothers with different issues and barriers. Most time, they are here because of a lack of parental guidance and support.
The social welfare field can be a challenge especially being a Christian and serving the families. Most of the parents whose children are in the foster care system in the child welfare system are single mothers and single fathers. The children who are two parents are either separated or not in the home, thus bringing the family to the DHS. When you look at what the word of God says, it makes sense why these children and families are in the system. According to God's instructions about parenting apply equally to the single and the married (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21).
It is never the Lord's intention or desire for anyone to suffer, especially the children. These suffrages are a result of not doing thus said the Lord. In" (Genesis 16:31) look at a single mother who was going against God's law, but in the end, she saw that she needed help and cried out to the Lord, and he heard her cry and gave her relief. It is time our parents go back to basic principles and raise the children as the Lord has instructed according to Proverbs 22:6. "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Working in this field, I have seen the good, bad, and ugly. There is never any justification or reward when a child arrives in the system due to parents overdoing or being 302. However, it is always a challenge to find a silver lining, especially when they cannot return home.
Most of the parents known to the system suffer from mental health, drugs and alcohol, lack of parental guidance, and housing. Being a social worker can be very rewarding or heartbreaking, especially when the children cannot return to their homes. Most single parents, especially mothers, their children's father is either locked up or his whereabouts unknown. The bible speaks about being a good parent in Psalm 127:3-5. Most of these fathers do not know what it means to set up and help with raising their children. Most of the children are in the welfare system are raised by their grandparents and or great grandparents.
It is time that we teach in our schools and homes basic bible principles, most of our parents would not be in the situation if they knew the fundamental principle that spells out child rearing. Having children out of wedlock and not knowing who the father is contributes to children staying longer in the child welfare system.
By Patricia Miozza, member Exton PA church of Christ
If we consider ourselves to be children of God (having received the gift of salvation after baptism into Christ’s death), let us ask ourselves if our daily walk with God is a reflection of the gratitude
we should feel and express to Him?
Psalm 103: 1-5 reads, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.” We often thank God for our blessings, as we should; a familiar hymn may come to mind: “count your many blessings; name them one by one.” But with this Psalm, we see that WE are to bless the LORD. What does it mean to “bless the LORD”? “To bless”, is an exclamation of gratitude and admiration but it is not limited to this. In other words, does blessing the LORD mean only to
express so verbally? Another sense of the word bless is to make happy. Is God happy with us if our daily walk, in the things we do and say, are not in harmony with His will?
We can take comfort in the scripture that tells us we are saved by grace (Eph 2: 5-10) but this does not negate the fact that we shall all appear before God in the day of judgement and give an account of what we have done in the body, whether good or evil (2 Cor 5:10). We need to strive, in our daily walk, to be pleasing to God. 1 John 2: 28-29 states “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him”. The key thoughts here are “abide in Him” and “practice righteousness”. The apostle Paul
implores us in Ephesians 4: 1-3, to walk in a manner worthy of His calling with humility, gentleness, and patience, etc.
Let us deeply consider these next two sets of verses and examine our lives by them. Does our walk in life reflect these verses? Titus 2:11-14 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing us salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works” and 1 Peter 1: 13-16 “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy”.
There can be many distractions in this life that can cause us to lose spiritual focus and many challenges that come our way. If we are not careful, we can forget to set our minds on things above. There are times when we do not handle ourselves in the way we should; we fall short and sin. We can take comfort in knowing that if we sin, we have an advocate with God; Jesus Christ the righteous as is stated in 1 John 2:1, but the verses to follow show us that “whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked”. God wants us to be holy for He is holy. If we examine ourselves by the scriptures and find that we fall short, let us not be discouraged but rather let God’s word motivate us to repentance and let us strive to be a blessing to God, not only in word but in deed. We all stumble at times but it is crucial that we do not make a habit of sin but rather “practice” righteousness, because we are His possession.
Psalm 87 is a beautiful Psalm that depicts Zion as the birthplace of the children of God. When we are baptized into Christ, we are born again; we are born in Zion! This world is not our home; we are just sojourners here. Let us always remember that we are citizens of the kingdom of God and let us keep our minds set on things above. Let us love as He loved. Let our daily actions be a reflection of the gratitude we feel for His wonderful gift of salvation! Let our souls truly bless the LORD, in word and in deed!
By Annette Wright-Warmington (member Mt Airy church of Christ)
What is the meaning of Commitment?
Per the Miriam dictionary Commitment means the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. - dedication · devotion · allegiance · loyalty · faithfulness · fidelity · bond · adherence · attentiveness
To be committed is to be loyal to a services, person and to give safe keeping, We are l committed to something or someone at some pointed time in our lives. We know sometimes we fail , but failure
does not mean we stop what we are doing and or we give up. Failure is only a step back to reevaluate our selves and objective an continue to work on that commitment,
What does the word of God say about commitment?
Eph 6;5: Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear, Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.
Heb 10:25: And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
1st Corinthian 6:19: Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself.
Matt. 22:37-38: Jesus replied, "You must love the lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.
John 3:16 The word of God teaches us about being committed to his words, teaching and principles, We know we are all sinners and has fallen short of the glory of God. God expect us to do his will and
also to be committed to doing whatever he asked of us.
This sometimes mean even our families we have to put second and do what God wants us to do. Our loyalty is to God and his words and that means putting our own needs and wants aside if we truly going to be fully committed to God.
Luke 14:26: If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison-- your father and mother, wife, and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:27: Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
John 15:18: Jesus alerted His disciples: Remember the word that I said to you: "A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. "
2nd Tim 3:12 The apostle Paul echoed His warning: "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jeill suffer persecn reality God Words are: In essence, the true cost of commitment to Christ is one's total self-denial, cross-bearing, and the continual following of Him. The imperatives picture for us sacrifice, selflessness, and service.
Total commitment to God means that Jesus is our sole authority, our guiding light, and our unerring compass. Being committed to Christ means being fruitful; it means being a servant. Our axiom is simple and succinct.
The Spiritually Conclusion Is:
Phili 1:21: For to me to live [is] Christ. Should he be suffered to live, his life would be for extending the kingdom of Christ, but personally, to die [is] gain. To die would be gain; a release from sufferings and an entrance upon eternal joys.
By Anonymous in Oklahoma
In the beginning God said “it is not good for man to be alone” so He
made a helper and this became the marriage of Adam and Eve. Gen
2.18-25. God was looking out for Adams best interest by creating
the woman for companionship. Pro 18.22. Pro 19.14.
Now I don't want anyone to get me wrong; I believe in marriage and in
having a man around. What I don't believe in is, settling for just
any man and when I say that, I'm not talking about the man must have a
great education, high paying job or attractive physical attributes.
What I'm talking about is does he have faith? Is he serving the Lord
as he should? Is he proving his love for Christ by his deeds. John
Does he understand what the Bible teaches about a man loving his wife
as Christ loved the church? Eph 5.25. This is what I look for in a
husband and anything else can be negotiated, worked out. etc
If I can't find a man with this type of devotion; I feel that I would
be better without a man. Pro 12.4
Pro 14.7. Pro 21.9. I say that because going to heaven is my main
goal and having a husband is secondary.
And since I'm putting all my energy into pleasing God, I desire a man
who will be doing the same thing.
In other words, my sisters. I want a man standing with me when
fighting Satan; not a man who stands with Satan and fights me.
It bothers me that some of our sisters are so determined to have a man
that they will settle for men who aren't faithful. And some even
settle for men who aren’t Christians. Sisters, just think for a
moment, these men aren’t faithful or a christian and a lot of problems
are going to come as a result and we cannot afford to be in a
relationship with a man who makes poor choices and brings much
hardship upon us.
I'm reminded of the situation with Martha and Mary. Martha was so
concerned about cooking the meals and getting the house ready, that
she had no time to sit and listen to Jesus teach. She came and told
Jesus to make Mary leave the class and come and help her with the meal
and the housework. Jesus refused, and He told Martha that Mary
great interest in her soul, was more important than housekeeping.
We have to be like Mary; we must put interest in our souls first,
because that is the big picture. Jesus said
if a person gains the whole world but loses their soul what can they
give in exchange for that lost soul?
My sisters, there is a bigger picture here and getting a husband
should not be the primary thing in our life. Serving the Lord and
saving our souls should be the primary. If a husband comes, great!
If a husband does not come, because we can't find anyone who is trying
to serve the Lord, we're still good.
There are many women in the church who do not have husbands or
boyfriends, and these women are some of the most holy, educated, and
focus women that you'll ever see in your life. They have come to
know the big picture and by knowing that, they know the Lord and that
is more important than any other thing that they could ever do in this
By Patrice Garvey
Member, Mt Airy church of Christ
Who is consider a Virtuous woman and what does the bible say about a virtual woman?
What does the dictionary say about a virtuous woman? According to the Merriam webster dictionary the word Virtuous: having or showing high moral standards. Example she considered herself very virtuous because she neither drank nor smoked. To be consider a virtuous person is having or exhibiting virtue. b: morally excellent: righteous a virtuous decision. 2: chaste. 3:
potent, efficacious. The word virtuous is an adjective which is. conforming to moral and
ethical principles; morally excellent; upright: Lead a virtuous life. chaste: a virtuous young person. Examples: Honesty, courage, compassion, generosity, fidelity, integrity, fairness, self-control,
and prudence are all examples of virtues. The virtuous person is an ethical person.
What does the bible said about virtue has been defined as “conformity of life and conduct with the principles of morality?” The virtues are thus the practical attitudes and habits adopted in obedience to those principles. ... To these four, Christianity added the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and love.
What does the bible say about a virtuous woman and how she should behave? “Proverbs 31 defines a virtuous woman as one who leads her home with integrity, discipline, and more. All the virtues she practices are aimed at making her husband's life better, teaching her children, and serving God” As Christian women we should have and demonstrate these characters wherever we go. We are the salt and light of the word and so we should let our light shine through these traits that the bible
In the book of Ruth, we learn about Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi and how they were loyal and obedient to Gods word, even after the death of her son and Ruth’s husband. According to Ruth 3:11 – “And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou require: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman”. Proverbs 3:15 - She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. As Christian
women we should always be consider more than rubies, because of our devotion to God and the lives we live and the role we play in out homes and at work. When an individual who is not a Christian sees us, that individual should know that we are a virtuous woman because of
Proverbs 8:11 - For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. Proverbs 12:4 - A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones. Proverbs 31:10-31 - Who can find a
virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:11 - The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever
things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these Titus 2:3-5 - The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things.
by Paulette Hamilton
Member of Intown Atlanta church of Christ
There are certain human characteristics and traits that are overwhelmingly feminine and attributed to women. Only women can bear children. Only women can breastfeed. Only women can be traditional mothers, aunts, sisters and wives. We are wired differently than men and we have different societal roles than men. As women, we often face cultural restrictions that men do not face. We have vulnerabilities that men do not have. But although we are different than men, spiritually, we are no less important to our Lord and in His eyes, we are not that different at all. In *Galatians 3:27-28*, Paul writes that for those who have been baptized into Christ, we become one in Him, and our cultural (neither Jew nor Greek), societal (neither slave nor free) and positional (neither male nor female) differences are no longer important.
But we live in a world where these differences often intervene and disturb our lives. As women, we face a dichotomy that is sometimes difficult to handle. The world presses us to be feminine while our Christian walk demands us to be strong. Society wants us to be submissive, but the Word tell us to be bold. In the worship we are cautioned to be quiet, but we also are told to be outspoken about our faith. Sisters, I have grappled with this, and what has helped me tremendously is to study and meditate on the women in the New Testament who intersected and connected with Jesus during his life on this earth.
There is not much information about these women, only snippets, here and there. They lived in a time and culture where women were often treated like they were personal possessions, disposable, without much say in their own lives. But in their biblical records, I see these women being brave and
nurturing, serving in their households and boldly following Jesus, hosting in their homes and sitting at his feet to learn. They believed in Jesus and hoped in Him. Elizabeth, Mary, Martha, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Salome and Susanna have taught me that I can be and do all things in Jesus. I can’t let the restrictions and challenges I may face as a woman stop me from living in the power of Christ.
Remember when Mary, while she was pregnant with Jesus, goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth? At the time Elizabeth was also pregnant with John the Baptist. Elizabeth had a visceral reaction to Jesus while he was still in Mary’s womb. She declares to Mary, “Blessed is the fruit of your womb! Why is it granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me” (*Luke 1:42-43)*? Mary responds to Elizabeth by praising God. “My soul magnifies the Lord” (*Luke 1:46).*
Now, these two women were facing some of the most difficult times in their life. Elizabeth was advanced in years, was having her first child and her husband had been struck dumb. Can you imagine what she must have gone through not being able to talk to her husband about her feelings, her fears, her doubts, her wonders during this miraculous pregnancy? And Mary was pregnant with a child that was not her husband’s! The angel had stopped Joseph from putting her away, but can you imagine that stress! She lived in a time when she could have been severely castigated for this. If I were in Mary’s place, or in Elizabeth’s place I think I would have been crying and complaining. But Elizabeth and Mary show us the value of having godly woman companions. *Together*, praising and magnifying Jesus, they coped with their stress and worry. In Jesus they found solace.
When Jesus was hanging on the cross, amid the sorrow, terror and fear, the women stood by. His mother, Mary Magdalene, James’ mother and Salome were all at the cross. I think we sometimes don’t get how brave an act this was. When you consider the political turmoil that led up to the crucifixion, you would think that these women would have hidden away in their homes while the crucifixion was taking place. But they didn’t. Imagine what it must have been like for Mary to watch her first born die, in such an agonizing way! But she stood there, *together* with her godly women companions, strong in the hope of the resurrection.
As women we are going to face challenges that are unique to us. There are women who are unwed mothers, women facing difficult pregnancies, women threatened by men who hold financial power over them. The list goes on. But, as Christian women, we can find great strength in our godly companionship, to overcome these challenges. Like Mary, Elizabeth and Martha, we can draw on each other’s strengths, knowing that in Jesus we find solace and in Him we have a wonderful hope. "Together".