by Janelle Goodwin
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Give her of the fruit of her hands;
- Proverbs 31:31a
Set your heart on God, and then follow your heart. This is something that my Mom wrote on a frame she made to hold a picture of me & my husband. This was to remind me of my journey and the reward that I received for following God with all of my heart. These words could not be more true. November 17, 1999 my grandfather passed away. At the funeral my brother spoke on the topic “what’s on your tombstone?” He went through the Bible stating what might be on certain biblical character’s tombstones. He spoke of Daniel, that “He purposed in his heart”, Enoch “testimony that he pleased God”. As I heard these things I realized that the dedication of my heart to God would be the testimony others would see. My heart was dedicated to God. I sincerely wanted to live for God. I prayed every day that God would create in me a clean heart. But how was I supposed to keep it clean? Then God showed me the answer, hide God’s word in my heart that I might not sin against Him.
We can have a clean heart and keep our ways pure by obeying the word of God. We should seek and worship God with our whole hearts, being careful not to wander away from His commandments. Sometimes, it seems like God is not very easy to see, that is because we are seeking Him half-heartedly. As we allow the Lord to teach us His ways we should continually praise Him. We need to tell others of the things that God teaches us. As we obey the instructions of the Lord, we begin to have much happiness and spiritual fullness.
We cannot make it through life without God. We need His word in our lives to help us keep our focus on Him. Evil men do not understand the importance of judgment, but those that seek the Lord, understand all things. One of the pieces of the amour of God is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Hebrews 4:13 tells us that the word of God is quick, alive and active. It is the truth and full of living power. It is the sharpest two-edged dagger there has ever been. As we learn the word of God, it will pierce our souls and we will learn of the wrong that is in our lives. The word will discover the desires and the thoughts of our hearts.
The teachings of God are so wonderful; we need to respect all of them. Understanding the word of God brings light to the minds of ordinary people. We should have a desire to know everything the Bible teaches. The law of the Lord is a lamp, and its lessons shine brightly. Correction of our sinful ways and self-control not to go back to those ways will lead us through life.
As we study the word of God we should be diligent to present ourselves approved of God. We do not need to be ashamed when God examines our work for He will see that we know what His word says and what it means. We do not need to be ashamed of the good news of Christ. It is the powerful method of God to bring all people who believe to salvation. When salvation comes we put aside all filthiness, get rid of all that is wrong in our life inside and outside, and stop doing anything that is immoral of evil. We humble ourselves and accept the word of God that is planted in us to save our souls as it takes hold of our hearts.
When we spend our time with God and He reveals the things He wants to change in our lives and we do not allow the changes to occur, then we forget those things that God revealed to us. If we look steadily and never stop looking at the perfect law of liberty from God, we will not only remember what God says but we will obey what He says to do.
As long as we continue being faithful and believe the things that we have been taught, and then we will be able to stand up for the word of God and what we believe in. We have been taught these sacred writings; it is these writings that make us wise to accept the salvation of God through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
The whole Bible was given to us by the inspiration of God and it is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. God uses the scriptures for reproof, corrections and for the training we need to be righteous Christians. It straightens us our and helps us do what is right. The Bible is the way that God can train us to be His servants and do all kinds of good deeds to everyone.
I began to dig in the Bible to find verses that I could apply to my life to change me. Reading the Bible became such a passion of mine. At first I struggled, I did not understand what it was saying. I stopped and prayed. I reminded God that he gave me His word to read, understand and apply it to my life. I told Him that I was having trouble understanding it, and to please help me understand it so that I could make a difference to others. As soon as I was done praying I began to read the Bible and was able to understand what I was reading and have been able to understand it ever since that time.
The Bible was opened up to me as a book with amazing love stories, wonderful self helps on daily Christian living and even the traditional children’s stories brought new light to my life. It was a wonderful blessing for me to get into the word of God every day. As I allowed the word to come into my life, then I began to change. I talked differently; I thought differently, my actions represented the savior of my life. As I opened each of the doors to my heart to my God, He began His good work in me.
I began living the life that represents a true Lady of Virtue. People began respecting me for my standards. Older and younger ladies admired the life I was living and desired to have the same spirit dwelling fully in them. The light of Jesus Christ began to shine through me and I began to have the testimony I had desired to have. Then God answered my prayer. He placed in my life a lady who had the same desire to help ladies as God had placed in my life. We joined together to form the first group of Ladies of Virtue. My dream, my passion, my purpose became alive. It was the best time of my life. I loved the opportunity to share with others the true love of my life, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We began our meetings and little by little the interest in becoming a Lady of Virtue grew and we soon had thirty people involved and dedicated to learning to live a life dedicated to the purpose God has for them. We had the privilege of seeing young ladies saved and delivered from torments that bound them, we were able to establish relationships that touched hearts and we were also blessed to see many of the young ladies turn into preacher’s wives and missionaries or wives to men in some form of full time Christian service.
As we continually think about the teachings of God we are able to understand it better. As we have a better understanding of the word of God we are able to obey what He has instructed us to do instead of following the way that leads to trouble. The Bible is sweeter than honey and it gives us understanding and makes us hate all lies.
The word of God is a lamp or flashlight that gives light wherever we walk, to light the path that is ahead of us and to keep us from stumbling along the way. The words of God are the truth and we should obey all of them. We should always have our minds made up to obey the law of God no matter what. We need to teach them to our children and talk about them at all times – whether we are at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night or getting up in the morning. We can write them on different places around the house or have pictures on the walls with scriptures on them. Our families should be surrounded with the word of God.
God will help us if we live in the way that the Lord wants. No one will be able to stand us to us. We have a choice – it is up to us. Do we want the Lord to bless us our do we want Him to put a curse on us? God is giving us the truth, it is up to us to obey Him and He will bless us. If we choose to disobey God and worship the gods that have not done anything for us than He will curse us. The choice is yours – what will you choose?
Planting seeds of righteousness
Unlocking the door to your soul is the first step in opening many doors to your future as Becoming a Lady of Virtue. Then filling your mind with the thoughts of God is the next step. Now we want God Himself to make you entirely pure and devoted to God, so that your spirit, soul and body will be preserved and kept blameless until the day of the returning of the Lord. Now that you have invited Christ into your heart, you devote your heart to Him.
A true Lady of Virtue has Jesus Christ dwelling in her heart and in her home. The key that is used to unlock the door to our hearts is sanctification. As a Lady of Virtue our desire needs to be to love God with our whole hearts. We need to choose to make Him number one in our lives. When we live totally for Christ our lives will count in His eyes. Every day counts when we have hearts devoted to God.
The heart is the center of a person, which gives that person the direction they need. The Bible asks us, “Who can find a virtuous woman?” Our goal is to be the answer to that question. Being a Lady of Virtue is a great honor with many rewards. For example, God even tells us that our price is far above rubies.
I once heard a skit that talked about a person that allowed God to come into their heart. He began to clean it out. He went room to room cleaning each part of the heart. Then He realizes that there is an awful smell in the heart. He looks and looks until He comes to a closet. He realizes this is where the smell is coming from. He begins to open the closet to clean it out but the person does not allow Him to open the door. They tell Him that’s their special closet, just their personal things.
The person lets him know that there is nothing in the closet that is a concern to Him. But then God gently reminds the person that when they invited him into their heart it was His job to sanctify it. God also reminded them of the terrible odor that was coming from the closet and that if he allowed them to keep this dirty closet it would eventually overwhelm the entire heart.
God wants to bless those that are pure in heart. The best way for us to have our hearts clean is to let God deep into our hearts and begin letting Him find out everything about us. We need to allow God to search our hearts so that we can be like Him for He is pure. Allow God to go through your heart and clean it out.
We need to allow God to do the cleaning because we have all become unclean and all of our righteous acts are like filthy rages; we all will shrivel up like a leaf and like the wind our sins will sweep us away. We cannot make ourselves look good in the eyes of men because God knows and looks at our hearts.
The Bible tells us that where our treasure is, there our heart will be too. The key to our hearts is sanctification. Good people do good things out of the good that is stored up in their hearts. Bad people do bad things out of the bad that is stored up in their hearts. Is your mouth saying what is overflowing from your heart? The Lord wants to see us prosper. If we put all of our trust in Him then we will live the abundant life that God wants us to have. It is our choice about the kind of life we want to have, we can allow God to clean us and put our complete trust in Him to give us the abundant life of many blessings or we can trust in ourselves and try to work our way into a prosperity level that we will never be able to reach. God wants to dwell in a clean temple, so as I invited him into my heart he began to work on my inside. This is not a onetime process, but a continual day by day session.
God began working in my life as I began to be involved with the youth group. The beginning was not so easy for me. It was during my sophomore year of high school. I had a group of friends that did not have the best reputation. And I myself was not terribly dangerous, but as the law says, you are guilty by association. As God began working in my life He was showing me the changes that needed to take place in my life. He started with my mouth He cleaned that from the trashy talk I was using. He showed me that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. He then made me realize that I needed to change my company. He allowed that to be an easy change for me. He moved my parents to a different location so I was able to change schools.
I received a fresh start and I was able to pick who God wanted me to be friends with. I became very important to me that I represent Christ everywhere I went. It was very important to me that when others looked at me they would only see Christ. I knew that I wanted to be a person that people remembered even after I was in heaven.
We can live clean and pure lives by living according to the Bible. If we treasure the word of God above all else, memorize scripture and hide it in our hearts then we will not sin against God. When we worship God with all of our hearts we will not walk away from His commandments. With our mouths we need to tell others what God has shown us through His word. God wants us to be rich in true happiness as we obey His instructions. If we will study the word of god and follow in the footsteps of Christ, then we will take pleasure in what God has in store for us to learn. We should love God with all of our hearts, souls and minds. Real worship is a change in heart. As we start decreasing ourselves in our life, God will start increasing Himself in our activities.
The Lord sees every heart and knows every thought. We need God to create pure thoughts in us and make us faithful to Him. God is the one who will make this change in our lives. The only way that He is going to make an impact on our lives is if we have our hearts set on Him. Pray that He will place conviction on your heart when sin enters your heart. Ask God to wash you clean from all of the sin and guilt that is in you. When you realize that the only person you are hurting when you sin is God, and then you will want Him to forgive you of those sins. Have God begin the cleaning process in your heart today.
Having a heart that is devoted to God is a process – it does not happen overnight! We have our minds made up that God is first in our lives, then when that happens we have to allow God to clean out our hearts. We need to keep this as a goal for our lives as we continue unlocking the doors of being a Lady of Virtue. God-given and intense emotion and passion for our Lord should characterize our hearts. Our hearts should be like a boiling pot. When a teakettle is boiling on the stove and sputters and steams, it hops up and down and jiggles from side to side. The water is empowered by the violent heat. Hot to the touch it shares the fire within the fire and excited about God and then God Himself will fuel that fire within us. This is the secret: that Christ in our hearts is the only hope of Glory!
We need to plant the good seeds of the righteousness of God. When we plant these seeds we will reap the crop of the love of God. Just like when you plant flowers you go through a process: you pick the seeds you want, you plow the ground so that it is soft and able to take the seed, then after you place the seed where you want them, you water it and let the sun shine on it. Once you do that you can see the beautiful flowers, but you still have to work in the garden, weeds still continue to come up. When you try to get rid of the weeds you have to make sure that you do not just cut them down or they will grow again, but you have to dig up the weed by the root.
God has us to go through the same process: He has the seed of righteousness ready, He has to plow our hearts so that they are not hard to what He calls us to do, once He has planted the seed, He sends the showers (trials) to help the seed grow, sometimes they are nice evening showers, but sometimes they are terrible storms. Then God lets the Son (Jesus) shine on us. When this happens we become the beautiful person God created each of us to be. But we too have to be careful of the weeds. Satan will always try to get unto the garden and destroy the good work of God. We cannot believe the lies Satan tells us, we must have our roots firmly planted in God, He is our gardener and He will weed out the bad things as long as we stand strong through the all the storms.
Use the word of God to uproot Satan when he attacks. The first chapter of Psalm tells us that God blesses those people who refuse the advice of the evil people and who do not follow the ways of the sinners. We become happy as we think about the ways of the Lord day and night. We should be like trees growing by the river of life and produce the fruit that is in season. As we do these things we will succeed in everything we do. As long as we seek God first and His righteousness then all of His blessings will be given unto us and we will be those beautiful flowers.
If we sow seeds to please our own wrong desires, we will be planting seeds of evil and we will reap a harvest of spiritual decay and death. If we plant the good things of the spirit we will reap the everlasting life, which the Holy Spirit gives us. If we abide in God, He will abide in us. As we continue to seek God He will shine through us more and more. Seeking God is a continual process and as we search more about Him we will grow. He is the vine and we are the branches. We need to feed off of Him so that we can become stronger each day. We must have spiritual strength to help us each day. We need to draw closer and closer to God so that we can be more like His Son.
As we see God and make our hearts as gardens the Holy Spirit controls our lives and will produce spiritual fruit. God is glorified when we bear the fruit of the spirit and our walk with Him becomes closer.
We learn patience with every trial of life. We can rejoice when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us so that we can learn to be patient. Patience develops strength of character in us and helps us to trust God more each time. During these times we need to let patience grow, we do not need to try to get out of these situations. Even though we go through much heart ache we need to remember that we have the joy of the Lord as our strength.
We need to be patient and root our hearts in God, because the coming of the Lord is drawing nigh. If we endure to the end then we shall be saved. We need to remember to open ourselves to the happiness of God every moment of each day. We need to learn to not let the pressures and the frustrations of life cloud our vision of our unending joy. When we sow in tears we will reap in joy.
Love comes from God. Those people that are loving and good show that they are children of God. As we get to know God better we can love other people easier. If a person is not loving and good then it shows that they do not know God, because God is love. Anyone that loves other people abides in the light and we cannot find any fault in them. Love is very patient and good; it is never jealous, envious, boastful or proud. Love is never haughty, selfish or rude. It does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable or touchy, it does not hold grudges and love does not even notice when others do wrong. We cannot let evil get the upper hand; we must conquer it by doing good.
We need to let love guide our lives so that the whole church can stay together in perfect harmony. We must work hard to be good and learn to know God better so that we can discover what He wants us to do. Then we can learn to put aside our own desires so that we can become Godly, by letting God have His way in our lives. Once we have done this we can enjoy other people and grow to love them very deeply. The more we go in this way the more we will grow strong spiritually and become fruitful and useful to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults, because our love and wisdom that comes from heaven is pure and full of gentleness. We are instructed to run from anything that is evil, and to stay close to anything that makes us want to do right. We need to be around those that have faith, love and pure hearts. We who are of God should not have an arguing nature; we must be gentle, patient and teachers of those who are wrong. We need to work together with one heart and mind with the same goal. We do not need to be selfish and we do not need to live to make good impressions on others.
Our attitude should always be the kind that was shown to us by Jesus Christ. If we will humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, He will lift us up in His good time. God gives special blessings to those who are humble and who serve each other with humble spirits. God will give the humble more strength to stand against all such evil. We need to give ourselves humbly to the Lord to resist the devil so he will flee from us. When we draw close to God, He will draw closer to us. If we will let our hearts be filled by God alone He will make them pure and true to Him.
It is our responsibility and privilege as a member of the family of God to let peace rule our hearts. Peace which comes from God should always be present in our lives. Peace which comes from God should always be present in our lives. Jesus Christ left for us the peace of mind and heart. We have no reason to be troubled or afraid. We should always be thankful for this peace. Even when it is hard we should always be full of joy and rejoice in the Lord. If we pray about everything we will not worry about anything.
The peace of God will keep our thoughts and hearts at rest. We have all been called to the same glorious future. We should always try to be led by the Holy Spirit, so that we can be at peace with one another. Those of us who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and will reap a harvest of goodness.
Faith is loving Christ even though we have never seen Him. Even though we have never seen Him, we trust Him and we are happy with joy that comes from heaven itself. When we obey God, we defeat sin and evil pleasures. Above everything we must take our shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows aimed at us by the devil.
Faith is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. We walk by faith, not by sight. Faith is not an emotion that we need to work up inside of us. It is a gift that God gives to us as we commit ourselves to Him.
We need to make sure that we are growing in the Lord by being rooted and built up in Him. Our roots should grow down into the soil of the marvelous love of God. We should draw up our nourishment from Him. As we establish our faith we will become strong and vigorous in the truths we have been taught. We will be overflowing with joy and thanksgiving for all the Lord has done for us.
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