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“No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means.” George Bernard Shaw

One of the big differences in California and TN or TX is most people own at least one Bible in TN & TX, but typically don’t read them. Here many people don’t even own one. Of course, like in TN & TX, folk here often think they’ve read it, and have strong opinions on what they think it says.
So sometimes when in conversation with folks here on the Central Coast of California, I will ask them what they think the greatest sin is.

Now to be fair, the Bible doesn’t explicitly say what the greatest sin is. My personal opinion is it is breaking the greatest commandment. But most people – in fact everyone so far – has leaned more towards symptomatic sins or the variety of sins (like adultery) that result from committing the greatest sin (in my opinion). So I usually have to quote for them what the greatest commandment is to then hopefully be able to explain why breaking it is the greatest sin. Continue reading The Greatest Sin & The Greatest Commandment – January 2014

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I use this little tool especially with young pre-marital couples – encouraging them to seek counsel as a lifestyle for the rest of their lives from anyone who has a solid marriage.

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” Prov. 12:15

“Through insolence comes nothing but strife, But wisdom is with those who receive counsel.” Prov. 13:10

“Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed.” Prov. 15:22

“He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof Will dwell among the wise.” Prov. 15:31

“He who neglects discipline despises himself, But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.” Prov. 15:32

“Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days.” Prov. 19:20

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While hundreds of thousands (many of whom are adult educated women) march in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and other cities today to mourn the tragic U.S. Supreme Court decision infamously known as Roe vs. Wade, I thought I would post some quotes on the subject by women…starting with a former abortionist

“I got to where I couldn’t stand to look at the little bodies anymore”. -Dr. Beverly McMillan, former abortionist

Sorrow, quite apart from the sense of shame, is exhibited in some way by virtually every woman for whom I performed an abortion, and that’s 20,000 as of 1995. The sorrow is revealed by the fact that most women cry at some point during the experience… The grieving process may last from several days to several years… Grief is sometimes delayed… The grief may lie sublimated and dormant for years. -Dr. Susan Poppema, abortionist Continue reading Women Who See Life in the Womb Differently – 1/19/14

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I am ever more thankful that our God is a living relational God, who speaks to His children (and even to those who aren’t His children yet) in the now. But it is the written word of God – the Scriptures – that give us guardrails for hearing the voice of God and that reveal so much of His person, His will and His ways. He longs to speak to us and reveal Himself to us as we meditate in His wonderfully preserved written Word. So this resource is provided as a stimulus to motivate us all to carve out more time to commune with God in and through His written word. (some of this was inspired by the good ole Navigators)

I. Its Authority
A. Inspired by God – II Tim. 3:16; II Peter 1:21
B. Endures Forever – I Peter 1:24,25; Matt. 24:35
C. Standard of Truth – Psalm 119:43, 142, 151, 160; John 17:17b; Acts 17:11
D. Verified by Jesus – Matt. 5:17,18; Luke 24:44; John 5:46,47 Continue reading The Scriptures – Our Foundation for Life and Ministry

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The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.– A. W. Tozer

The Bible is the written word of God, and because it is written it is confined and limited by the necessities of ink and paper and leather. The Voice of God, however, is alive and free as the sovereign God is free. ‘The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.’ The life is in the speaking words. God’s word in the Bible can have power only because it corresponds to God’s Word in the universe. It is the present Voice which makes the written word powerful. Otherwise it would lie locked in slumber within the covers of a book. –A. W. Tozer

To preach the Bible as ‘the handbook for life,’ or as the answer to every question, rather than as the revelation of Christ, is to turn the Bible into an entirely different book. This is how the Pharisees approached Scripture, as we can see clearly from the questions they asked Jesus. For the Pharisees, the Scriptures were a source of trivia for life’s dilemmas. –Michael Horton Continue reading Pertinent Quotes about the Bible

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Dear Fellow Shepherds and Leaders of Christ’s Church,

I hope this finds you standing in the grace of God, and believing God for great things for our Coastal community in the days ahead. I have put a lot of time and prayer into the material you are about to read. It came out of a six week series I did in our church on Biblical unity. Actually it has come out of years of seeking God on this subject. I know you are busy especially at this time of year. But I urge you to give some prayerful consideration to the thoughts below. In all humility I strongly believe our response to these scriptures and principles will have great bearing on the health, maturity and impact of Christ’s church in the days to come in our region.

Having grown up in a sports driven family, I learned early on what it was to engage in bitter rivalries. We literally grew to hate the athletes and in general the schools that were in our league in East Tennessee – especially the high school closest to us. Rivalry starts with siblings as early as one’s first year of life, and especially in the world of sports can continue to be a big part of our consciousness throughout adulthood. Continue reading An Open Letter to Church Leaders re: Unity – 11/12/2006

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For a whole variety of reasons, our society in the West is becoming increasingly fragmentized, individualized and relationally dysfunctional. More people are spending more time behind either a computer screen, phone screen or the T.V. screen, and thus less time building relationships with God and with people. The skills and attitudes and convictions that are necessary for building healthy family relationships and for working effectively alongside others in the marketplace and in our communities are becoming more and more rare. Even believers are getting sucked into this lifestyle – justifying their lack of connectedness with claims like: “I can worship God alone on the beach with my Ipod. I don’t need to belong to a church to do that.”

None of this catches our God by surprise. He knew when He created humanity in His image (which among other things means He has built in us the capacity for harmonious relationship and community that the godhead has walked in for all of eternity) (see Gen. 1:26,27) – God knew that sin and Satan and the world system that Satan controls would come after this capacity and need for relationship with a vengeance. God’s solution was to create a people (see Gen. 12:1-3) among whom He would dwell – a people that would demonstrate the vibrancy of life that comes from being in intimate relationship with Him and with one another. Continue reading Why We Believe in the Local Church

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Fall 2004
INTRODUCTION –
Definition of Baptize: Baptizo – dip, immerse, wash (in non Chr. Lit. also plunge, sink, drench, overwhelm); fig. soak; from Walter Bauer’s Greek English Lexicon p. 131

I. John’s Prophecies/Proclamations of: Matt. 3:11 “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Cf. Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16; John 1:26, 33;

II. Jesus’s Prophecies/Proclamation of: Acts 1:5 “for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Questions: Were not the disciples already saved before this happened? (cf. Luke 10:20; John 15:3) Had Jesus not already given them the Holy Spirit? (see John 14:16,17; John 20:22) What was the intended purpose? To make them a part of the body of Christ, or to fill them with power and enablement for their task? (note Acts 1:8 that follows Acts 1:5 & Luke 24:47-49) Continue reading A Study of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

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While we disciples of Jesus should all long to hear His voice better, it is imperative that we grow in confidence that He delights in our asking in prayer. Indeed we can only grow as His disciples when we learn to ask freely, continuously and confidently. This list was compiled to deepen that confidence.

Matt. 7:7,8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
Matt. 18:19 “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”
Matt. 21:22 “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Continue reading Jesus’s Commands to Ask

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INTRODUCTION – I don’t know if any of you, who have known the Lord for a while can identify with this; but when I reflect about my first feeble attempts at ministering to others in the name of the Lord – – well it’s a little embarrassing. Certainly nothing to write home about.

In great contrast to my beginnings,… when Jesus Christ started His ministry, huge crowds were drawn, every person He ministered to who needing healing or deliverance from demons – received it – – and according to Matthew 4:23-25, His ministry was an immediate and complete success. Had He wanted to, He could have just continued healing the sick and casting out demons and proclaiming the kingdom of God – – and we would all have marveled at how great a minister, teacher, healer, and deliverer He was. Continue reading The Call to Ask, Seek & Knock Matt. 7:7-12 – – Sept. 06, 09

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Job knew before the law ever came into being that “If my heart has been enticed by a woman, Or I have lurked at my neighbor’s doorway,” it would be a “lustful crime” and “an iniquity punishable by judges.” He also knew that such sexual sin is a “fire that consumes” and that it has a devastating financial impact as well “uproot all my increase.” Job 31:9-12

God said through Nathan the prophet to King David re: his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband that he “despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight” II Sam. 12:9 and later in vs. 10, “Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me….” God says the “man after His own heart” “despised Him”. Very strong language. Continue reading A Primer about the Sin of Adultery and Sexual Bondage/Immorality

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Both in Charismatic and Non Charismatic circles, I’ve noticed over the years the phrase “filled with the Holy Spirit” is used rather loosely and sometimes presumptuously. So this study is designed to ground us a little more in the scriptures, and hopefully stir up greater hunger for more of the fullness of the Holy Spirit – especially as we see the results of those who went before us.

Definition of “filled” – in NASV Concordance
4092a; gr. Word = pimplemi; to fill full of.
4134 = pleres = full
4137 = pleroo from 4134 = to make full; to complete

Examples of Individuals

John the Baptist Luke 1:15
“filled with” 4092a
Manifested in self control (“no wine or liquor)(1:15)
Results: evangelism “will turn many back to the Lord” (1:16)

Elizabeth Luke 1:41
“filled with” 4092a
Manifestation: “baby leaped in womb” (1:41)
Results: “cried out with a loud voice” & prophesied over Mary (1:42) Continue reading “Filled with or Full of the Holy Spirit”

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I. The Historical Background of the Development of Cities

II. One of the reasons God judges cities is because it is He who gives man the ability to even establish and live in a city, and yet man often ignores Him.
Psalm 69:35 Psalm 107:35,36 Psalm 127:1 Deut. 3:19
Deut. 8:10-20 Isa. 22:11 Jer. 5:17 Hosea 8:14, 13:10
Acts 17:24-31

III. God sees cities as whole units and often judges and punishes them as a unit.
A. God’s judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 18, 19). (cf. Ezek. 16:49,50; II Peter 2:6; Jude 7).

B. In Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua you see God judging cities by directing His people to annihilate various cities for several reasons. 1.
2. 3.

C. The City of Ashdod, the ark of God, & tumors. I Sam. 5:9

D. Jerusalem was judged by God a number of times throughout its long history, because of its disobedience and rebellion (Jer. 5:1-6). Nehemiah’s ministry (Neh. 1:3, 2:5, 13:18) Continue reading A Biblical Theology of God’s Revelation Regarding Cities

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Psalm 22:27,28 “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations will worship before You. For the kingdom is the Lord’s And He rules over the nations.”

Psalm 85:6,7 “Will You not Yourself revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your lovingkindness, O Lord, And grant us Your salvation.”

Isaiah 57:15 “For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.”

Isa. 64:1-3 Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, That the mountains might quake at Your presence As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil – to make Your name known to Your adversaries, That the nations may tremble at Your presence! When You did awesome things which we did not expect, You came down, the mountains quaked at Your presence. Continue reading Old & New Testament Passages Re: God’s Intention & Ability to Awaken the Lost and to Revive His Church

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After my son became lead pastor one of the many things we are taking a fresh look at is how ministers of the gospel should think and feel about being paid by the church; and how the church ought to think and feel about paying ministers of the gospel. This little study came out of those discussions.

Attitude of Minister Re: Pay or Remuneration from the Church:

“Not peddling the word of God” – II Corinthians 2:17

“As poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things” – II Corinthians 6:10

Content with little or much Phil. 4:11-13: I Tim. 6:8

Not coveting anyone’s anything – Acts 20:33

More blessed to give than to receive – Acts 20:35 Continue reading Attitudes of Minister & Church Re: Pay or Remuneration

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“I think people need to be educated to the fact that marijuana is not a drug. Marijuana is an herb and a flower. God put it here. If He put it here and He wants it to grow, what gives the government the right to say that God is wrong? Willie Nelson

I understand some are referring to this Sunday’s Super bowl as the “Marijuana Bowl” for two reasons: First, both Colorado (Denver Broncos) and Washington State (Seattle Seahawks) have legalized marijuana (the only two states thus far). Second, Pot enthusiasts are hoping to make their case that smoking marijuana is actually less dangerous than drinking, and thus that SuperBowl commercials should not promote alcohol drinking to the extent that they typically do.

Sadly many people watching these commercials and engaging in this debate are totally oblivious to a an option that is far greater than either alcohol or marijuana, and that option is getting hooked on, or better – being filled by the Holy Spirit.

This post is not an anti marijuana smoking or an anti alcohol drinking post as much as it is a very pro pursuing the fullness of the Holy Spirit post. I doubt there will be commercials on this – this Sunday, so I thought I would make my pitch via blogging. Continue reading Superbowls, Marijuana & the Holy Spirit – 1/28/14

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Where men are the most sure and arrogant, they are commonly the most mistaken, and have there given reins to passion, without that proper deliberation and suspense, which can alone secure them from the grossest absurdities.
DAVID HUME, Essays, Literary, Moral, and Political

I’ve had this article or word in my spirit for quite some time now. Have attempted a couple of times to express it, and each time come up short. Going for it regardless today…

For perhaps the last 35 years or so I have observed, prayed for and participated in two major and what were supposed to be (in the minds of our founding fathers) complimentary institutions in our nation = the church and government. Both are facing challenges today that we are woefully ill prepared and ill equipped to face on our own. Continue reading Accessing Amazing Grace in Our Needy Nation – 11/20/14

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INTRODUCTION – As we prepare our hearts to come to the Lord’s table or to observe communion this morning I want to talk to you about a theological concept called IMPUTATION and NON IMPUTATION.
This is not to be confused with amputation – wherein a person’s appendage is cut off – usually due to disease or injury. While amputation may correct a condition or stop the spread of disease in a certain locale of one’s body, it leaves one handicapped in that locale, and it does not necessarily protect the said person from the reoccurrence of disease in another part of their body later on. It doesn’t deal with the root issue in other words.

Imputation or non imputation on the other hand brings great blessing to one’s whole person, and never leaves us handicapped in any way, and does deal with the root issue.

The reality is – when you and I finally have our eyes opened and realize that the living God of the universe is a holy God – as the apostle John speaks of in Rev. 4:8 where he writes of the four living creatures in heaven constantly saying, “Holy, Holy, holy is the Lord God, the almighty, who was and who is and who is to come”, or when we realize that He is absolutely pure – as the prophet Habukuk spoke of when he said of God, “Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You can not look on wickedness” (1:13); or when we realize that everything He thinks, says and does is out of His perfect righteousness and justice as the Psalmist speaks of in Psalm 89:14, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne.” and that He is thus a God who demands purity and holiness and perfection and righteousness from any human who would desire to find favor with Him and have relationship with Him – – when we realize all of this – – we are faced with a very unsettling dilemma aren’t we? Continue reading The Blessing of Imputation March 23, 2014

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Starting this Thursday afternoon at 5:30 p.m., nine of our area congregations will be joining together to host a 3 night event at our local Middle School Soccer field. Because of its Christian nature, one of our citizens has called our local Nazarene church to express their displeasure at our breaking the ironclad law in our Constitution of “Separation of Church and State”. Sadly – one of the greatest evidences of how uneducated our general populace is (regardless of degrees they may hold) is that so many believe this phrase is in our Constitution.

Typically what folks who get hot and bothered about this are referring to is the First Amendment to the Constitution, which simply states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The words “separation”, “church,” or “state” are not found in the First Amendment, the Constitution, or in any other official founding document. And yet many believe all of these words are found in the First Amendment – largely because someone they trusted said it was in the First Amendment; and because they failed to ever actually read our constitution for themselves. Continue reading Church & State – – Separated?? April 14, 2014

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INTRODUCTION – The apostle Paul, who spent a good portion of his life as a zealous Pharisee – trying to earn his way to heaven, and trying to convince others of his self made righteousness through the law; and trying to destroy anyone who didn’t see spirituality the way he did – – once his eyes were opened to the true way to heaven and the only source of righteousness – said this of Jesus Christ, “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him…” Phil. 3:7-9a

The most consuming passion of Paul’s life became knowing Jesus Christ. That more than anything else is what drove him and centered him. And that more than anything else enabled and motivated Paul to die to any right or entitlement or past accomplishment or potential achievement or financial attainment that might keep him from knowing Christ in all His fullness and glory and majesty. Continue reading Jesus – the Giver of Gifts – – Eph. 4:7 – December 7, 2014

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One of the most wrestled with questions in the church in America in the last 30 years or so is whether we leaders of the church should provide an environment in our Sunday morning services for the charismatic gifts to be expressed or employed.

It seems the primary reason for those who believe these gifts are still given, but who do not believe they should be exercised in our Sunday morning worship services is because it might offend or confuse unbelievers or new believers or non charismatic believers. Many leaders of the church in America, who love the Lord believe this.

I beg to differ and here are my reasons why: Continue reading The Gifts of the Spirit & Sunday Morning Services & the Unity of the Church

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INTRODUCTION – Many people in America today have been attracted to and have nibbled at the fruit or blessings that result from people around them operating in the kingdom of God – – whether that be seeing citizens of the kingdom of God feeding and ministering to the poor; or seeing them care for unwed mothers; or seeing them care for their own families and clans with unusual sacrifice and selflessness; or seeing them do their job at work with excellence and integrity; or seeing them heal the sick; or seeing them love the unlovely or fathering the fatherless.

Most people have seen or at least heard of the fruits and blessings – – the good things that result from people operating in the kingdom of God or living under the rule and reign of the risen Christ – – but very few of these people have seen the kingdom itself, much less entered it. Some of these people attend churches all across America from time to time. They love the good feelings that come from being among a group of loving people. They love the presence of God though they may not know that is what they are feeling and experiencing when they gather with the saints. But few of them have seen and entered the kingdom of God; and all of them are living on borrowed time – as we have seen so grievously in the last two months – with the untimely deaths of a handful of our Los Osos residents. Continue reading The Joy & the Necessity of Being Born Again – – November 16, 2014

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INTRODUCTION – “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matt. 24:14

Gospel = good news. Feel like you are getting a grip on the good news of the kingdom of God? I want to give you a tip…. One of the ways to determine what the good news of the kingdom is (along of course with studying your bible) is discovering the things our culture and society get obsessed with. Because the enemy has always known to some extent what the good news of the kingdom is – – so one of the things he lives to do is corrupt and exploit and pervert the great and wonderful things God offers in the realm and kingdom He governs and rules.

For instance – – our culture and society is obsessed with sex of all kinds, and now has created a new obsession with gender issues. Engagement and participation in all of these things of course never delivers and results in all kinds of heart break and abuse and stds and unwanted and unplanned pregnancies, etc.

Well the good news of the kingdom of God is that sex is a wonderful gift designed and created by God for a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage that serves as a much needed bonding exercise, not to mention the unique and miraculous vehicle of bringing little Jubilees and Thorins and Benjamins into the world! Continue reading The Kingdom of God & Its Gospel – – October 19, 2014

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INTRODUCTION – In a day when there is so much disillusionment about the corruption and selfishness and even narcissim among so many of our leaders in whatever sector of society – – and in a day where many of the younger generation are as selfish and self consumed and addicted to media in all forms as they have ever been – – there is no more healing and healthy and productive thing we can all do than focus our thoughts and efforts and prayers on the kingdom of God in the now!

Jesus Christ said that for those who truly see and begin to experience the kingdom of God in this life – it becomes to them like a precious treasure or costly pearl – – so precious that they will sacrifice anything to obtain or to experience it.

While the kingdom of God is not clearly defined in scripture, it is clearly described and chronicled – both in the life and ministry of Christ, and in the early church. Besides knowing from Matthew 13 that it is of great worth, and that it has the ability to totally consume a man or a woman (in a good way)
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” 13:44
– – we also know from Romans 14:17 that the kingdom of God – – or the present rule and reign and domain of Christ on the earth is characterized by righteousness, peace and joy. “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” Continue reading The Kingdom of God & Brokenness – Matt. 5:3 Sept. 14, 2014

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INTRODUCTION – A Wife’s Job Description – – Certainly not my intention to exhaust this subject and answer all of your questions. I’m not a woman and have never been a wife.. but I have spent some hours in these passages. My hope is that you will use this outline in your own devotional times with the Lord and in your fellowship with other wives in this fellowship.

1. She does her husband good and not evil all the days of her life. – Prov. 31:10-12 (through vs. 27 lifestyle of a wife in Biblical days)
a. rest of the passage explains what doing him good might look like, though obviously it was in the context of ancient Hebrew culture.
b. The reason her husband is known in the gates (vs. 23) is because there is a great woman behind the scenes, serving her husband and helping him fulfill his leadership in the community. Continue reading Clear Biblical Responsibilities for Wives Towards Their Husbands

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