Archive for the ‘Bible’ Category

Finally, the long-awaited announcement of winners of the Life Verse contest is here! Thank you to everyone who joined. Our guest judges had a hard time choosing the winners because there were a lot of great entries.

Here are the 13 winners, in no particular order

*Please post in the comment section your email address so we can send you the details on how to claim your prize!

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The Proverbs 31 Woman

Posted: January 24, 2013 in Bible
Tags: ,

Men long to meet somebody like her; women, on the other hand, wonder if she is even real. Who is the Proverbs 31 woman of the Old Testament and what can us, men and women from the 21st century, learn from her today?

Just who was this woman on a pedestal described in Proverbs 31?

Was she, as many think, the ideal wife and mother? In traditional Jew­ish homes, husbands and children recited the poem in Proverbs 31 at the Sabbath table. Written as an acrostic, each line begins with a Hebrew letter in alphabetical sequence, making it easy to memorize. The poem describes a wealthy, aristocratic woman with a large house­hold to direct. She was hard working, enterprising, capable, strong, wise, skilled, generous, and thoughtful of others, dignified, God-fearing, serene—a tremendous credit to her husband. She arose while it was still dark to feed her family. She looked at a field, considered its mer­its, and purchased it. She wove cloth and made linen garments, which she then sold. “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you sur­pass them all’” (verses 28-29).

The description of the woman in Proverbs 31 offers a refreshing contrast to other ancient depictions of women, which tend to por­tray them in more frivolous and decorative terms, emphasizing only their charm or beauty. Still, the perfect woman of Proverbs 31 hasn’t always been a friend to ordinary women. In fact, she has sometimes been rubbed into the faces of lesser women by critical husbands and preachers unable to resist the temptation. What woman could ever measure up to her? And is a woman’s worth to be measured only by what she can accomplish in the domestic sphere? Or is the woman in Proverbs 31 a symbol of all the contributions a woman could make within the culture of her day? Regardless of how you answer these questions, there is more to her story than simply being the ideal wife and mother.

Before we can discover more about her true identity, it is worth posing a broader question: Are there really all that many women run­ning around in the pages of Proverbs? Perhaps, in fact, there are only two main women in Proverbs: the wise woman and the woman of folly (as some have called her). The latter encompasses the adulteress and her many wicked counterparts; the former encompasses wisdom in the abstract and wisdom made concrete in the woman of Proverbs 31.

In Proverbs 3:13-16 a young man is instructed: “Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.” Here is wisdom in the abstract, personified as a woman.

Proverbs 31 echoes this praise: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies…. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard” (verses 10, 12-16). Here is a concrete example of what wisdom looks like in a person’s life.

By contrast, the man who welcomes the brazenfaced woman, the prostitute, the adulteress is nothing but a fool. He has fallen prey to the woman of folly, who offers deceitful pleasures that will lead to his death.

From beginning to end, Proverbs is a practical handbook for lead­ing a life based on wisdom. In the end, there are only two choices for both men and women: to embrace wisdom or to love folly. The woman of Proverbs 31 may well be meant to inspire both men and women with a picture of what a virtuous life, male or female, is capa­ble of producing: shelter for others, serenity, honor, prosperity, generosity, confidence about the future—true blessedness. Who wouldn’t want to be like such a woman? Who wouldn’t sing her praises?

 

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women of the bibleDiscover more about the Proverbs 31 woman and other women of the Bible in Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda’s Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture. It looks at the lives of fifty-two prominent—and not so prominent—women of Scripture, offering a fresh perspective on the story of salvation. Readers can reflect on the life of one woman each week for an entire year.

Ask a kid who he wants to be like and he will probably blurt out the name of his favorite superhero. These gravity-defying, building-swinging, fist-pounding, crime-busting and evil-fighting heroes are so popular with kids that they are everywhere- from party themes, costumes, toys, school bags and kid’s shirts. They are strong, powerful, brave, smart and seemingly invincible. They save helpless people and defeat villains in style. No wonder kids love them!

But not all heroes are donned in powerful suits, fancy capes, and masks. There are heroes whose feats were not achieved using uncanny abilities and the latest gadgetry but through less sophisticated and rather unexciting tools such as self-sacrifice, suffering, obedience, deep faith and great love. Their stories may be devoid of the kind of action and adventure that characterize super heroic stunts but they are equally powerful nonetheless.

There is the small boy who defeated a giant and went on to rule a nation…

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…the prince who turned his back from the throne to lead a stubborn and disobedient people to their promised destination…

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…the young woman who saved her people by risking her own life…

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…the young man who continued to pray despite the threats and was rescued from the lion’s den…

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…the determined Pharisee whose life was completely changed when his eyes were opened to the truth.

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These real-life stories of ordinary people who did extraordinary things are chronicled by the greatest book there is, the Bible. Not all kids know about their stories but those who do are equally excited to tell us who their favorites are. Here’s what they have shared with us.

“Peter is my favorite hero in the Bible because he did not give up even if he is in prison. He kept sharing the good news about God. He also shared the gospel to 3,000 people! He never quit despite the trials and consequences of sharing the gospel. Peter always prays and believes in God. He has deep faith. He knows that even if he suffers physically, he still wanted to listen to God. I want to follow Peter because he obeyed God.”  Jimmy, 8 years old

“My favorite is Jesus because He is powerful, merciful and all-loving God.” Journey, 5 years old

“My favorite Bible hero is Noah. Noah remained righteous even if the people during his time were all wicked. He was obedient to God. He trusted God and built the ark even if the task was hard. And God saved Noah, his family and also the animals. What’s also exciting about Noah’s story was his floating zoo!” Stef, 6 years old

“My favorite Bible hero is Joseph. Joseph was humble and faithful to God all throughout his life. He never questioned God about the injustice he had gone through. He fled from temptation because he wanted to please God. And God exalted Joseph. When God promoted him and he saw his brothers, he forgave them. He told them that what they meant for evil, God meant it for good.” Paolo, 14 years

“ Jesus is my favorite hero. He is powerful. He created the world. He saves us. He is good and he teaches us to be good. He is also the greatest doctor in the whole world.” Gab, 5 years old

These characters may be different from one another and came from different walks of life but they share a common bond- their relationship with God and their commitment to trust and follow Him. They serve an example of how God can use ordinary and even hopeless lives to do great and amazing things for Him. Their stories also point to the ultimate hero- Jesus Christ, who came to save us and help us to become heroes of faith that God calls us to be.

Send us a drawing or sketch  by your child, nephew/niece, little brother/sister or any kid you know (with their permission of course!) of their favorite Bible hero and we’ll give them a limited edition Hiyas coloring book and sticker collection! Post the link to the artwork here or email it to us at digital@omflit.com

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