The Wise Woman’s First Love
Welcome to Week Two
This is week two of sixteen. We are working through the workbook, A Wise Woman Builds Her House by Erin Thiele. If you missed week one, A Wise Woman Builds Her House…On a Rock, you can catch up here. I hold a copyright release to reprint the book for you here but you don’t. Therefore copying this material in any form is illegal. I encourage you to buy the workbook. I have worked through it several times over the years. Every time I do I find that there are new things that I need to work through. I also tend to write prayers in my book. I encourage you to do the same. Journal your thoughts, write prayers, even write confessions. The next time you work through it, you’ll be encouraged by how far you’ve come and how God answered prayers.
Your First Love
But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. —Revelations 2:4
Have you left your first love? So, who is your first love? Is it your husband, your baby, your boyfriend, your best friend; who is really your first love? The Scripture in Revelation says: “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Rev. 2:4). The question is, who is really first in your life, because, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt. 10:37).
What is the Lord saying to us?
He is saying that any time we put someone or something ahead of our love for or our relationship with Him, we are not worthy of His love.
Dirty rags. Ask yourself these questions. Are the things that I put first in my life of eternal value? Will what I do today help to increase His kingdom or bring me into a more intimate relationship with my Lord and Savior? Do I seek after His righteousness? Remember, our righteousness is like
Are the things that I put first in my life of eternal value? Will what I do today help to increase His kingdom or bring me into a more intimate relationship with my Lord and Savior? Do I seek after His righteousness? Remember, our righteousness is like
Will what I do today help to increase His kingdom or bring me into a more intimate relationship with my Lord and Savior? Do I seek after His righteousness? Remember, our righteousness is like
Do I seek after His righteousness? Remember, our righteousness is like
Remember, our righteousness is like dirty rags. (See Isa. 64:6).
We are to put the Lord first in our priorities; first in our day and first in our heart. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).
What happens when we put someone ahead of the Lord? What does He do to draw us back into a loving relationship with Him? Some of us put our husbands first, and the Lord took our husbands from us! “Thou hast removed my acquaintances far from me; Thou hast made me an object of loathing to them. Thou has removed lover and friend far from me; My acquaintances are in darkness” (Ps. 8:18-88).
If we are not supposed to put our husband first, does it mean we are not to care about him? Should our attitude be that “I serve the Lord, not you”? God has a perfect balance that He teaches in the following Scriptures for those who are married: “Wives, be subject unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). And also, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as is fitting to the Lord” (Col. 3:18). When you submit to your husband, even when he doesn’t deserve it or you don’t feel like it, you are submitting because of your love for the Lord. And let’s be honest, there are many times our husbands may not be deserving of our devoted submission to them; nevertheless, our Lord always deserves submission to Him and to His Word!
For those of you who are not married, but in a relationship with someone, this kind of submission is not required of you, and is even dangerous since there is no protection when we live outside the protection of marriage. Precious one, there is no reason to stay living with or sleeping with a man who refuses to commit to you. You are too precious and beautiful to the Lord. He wants to be your Husband, and He wants you for His bride. If you are in this situation, simply cry out to Him, and He will lovingly deliver you!
Pleasing to the Lord
Some women make the mistake of trying to please their husbands or boyfriends by focusing on pleasing them. Scripture is clear, we are to keep our focus and eyes on the Lord with the desire to please Him. This will relieve the burden that so many of us are carrying. Here is our promise, “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Prov. 16:7). “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Prov. 31:30). “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4). These are all some of my favorite Scriptures and verses I hope you will take to heart whether you are presently married or not.
Obedience Rather Than Sacrifice
To obey is better than sacrifice
“Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the Word of the Lord, He has also rejected you . . .” (1 Sam. 15:22-23). “To do righteousness and justice is desired by the Lord rather than sacrifice” (Prov. 21:3).
Testimony: I have seen many women who are “martyrs” and I was always afraid that I would become one. Since I didn’t know why or how other women had become that way, it was possible that I, too, would fall into the same trap. And I did. But now I have found the answer—we didn’t obey, we sacrificed!
My husband would tell me to “take it easy,” “rest,” or “leave it until tomorrow,” but I wouldn’t do it! That’s rebellion! I would justify it by saying: “He doesn’t know how much work I have to do,” or “He doesn’t realize what it takes to run this house, or take care of all these children,” or “How can I take a nap? Who will watch the children when I am asleep?”
I was right: he didn’t know—but God knew! And He is my protection and my children’s protection. And God in His sovereignty has placed your husband (or mother and/or father) over you for your protection. God has placed authority over us for our physical protection, our emotional protection, and our spiritual protection. “For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. For rulers are not a cause of fear . . . it is a minister of God to you for good” (Rom. 13:1-4).
Precious one, don’t thwart or resist authority in your life, for truly it is for our protection that we submit ourselves to it so that the Lord will cause His favor on our lives!
Your outward appearance
Many women wear a head covering, skirts only, or other modest clothing, but they are rebellious in their hearts. Even if your outward appearance deceives others into thinking you’re submissive or religious, the Lord is the one who knows your heart! “Do not look at his appearance . . . because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).
The Lord continually shows me the danger of women who wear religious clothing. I instinctively look at them as more spiritual when in fact, I have found them to be more religious! The outside is clean but the inside is corrupt. Be careful that your outer garments are not covering a heart that is not right with God. Self-righteousness is an area where the enemy can easily gain access when we judge ourselves to be righteous and judge others (who may dress immodestly) as sinners.
We will reap what we have sown
If you were a rebel with your parents before you were married, you probably married (or will marry) a rebel. (“Rebels,” as Bill Gothard says, “seek out their own kind.” I guess it is God’s way of making sure you are equally yoked!) And more than likely your husband has become more rebellious to the things of the Lord since you married him. Many men will rebel after marriage to the point of rebelling against their commitment to be faithful to their marriage, as is the case with many of our Restoration Fellowship members. If you are not yet married, now is the time to begin to obey your parents (and all authority figures) with a submissive, obedient heart. Then you will attract a man who is obedient to the Lord so that together you may submit to the Lord in your marriage.
What is rebellion? There is a story of a little boy whose father continued to ask him to “sit down.” Finally the little boy did sit down and the father smiled. But the boy quickly exclaimed, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but on the inside—I’m standing up!” Many times we are standing up on the inside. Many times after we do the right thing and go along with our husband’s plan or do what our parents have asked us to do (if you are still unmarried) we exclaim, “but I don’t agree!” Sometimes it’s our attitude that tells our husband or boss or teacher or parent that we don’t agree. This attitude is rebellion.
If You Love Me
Under the Law
After you put God first in your life and begin to obey those in authority over you, you must then cast down the false doctrine that says, “I am saved by grace, so it’s really OKAY to sin, because I am no longer under the Law.” Together, let’s search the Scriptures for the Truth:
Do your deeds deny Him?
“They profess to know God, but their deeds deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed” (Titus 1:16).
Do you do what His Word says?
“Why do you call Me, Lord, and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).
Are we to continue in sin?
“‘What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?’ ‘What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!’” (Rom. 6:1-2, 15).
Faith without works is dead.
“What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? . . . For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-26). Good works are the “fruits” of our conversion. Now, ask yourself these questions:
Do my deeds deny that I am a Christian, a follower of the Lord?
Does His grace give me a license to sin since I am forgiven?
Since I am a believer, am I to exhibit good works in my life out of my love for the Lord?
Confess your sins
If you found these questions convicting, do as Scripture says: “Therefore, confess your sins one to another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed” (James 5:16).
I never knew you
Many believe that we can live any way we want to and then enter into heaven when we die; is this true? “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me you who practice lawlessness’” (Matt. 7:22-23).
If these principles are contrary to your denomination, we want you to know that our ministry is interdenominational, in other words, we welcome all denominations and are not partial to any one. Personally, I do not believe that there is any denomination that is totally right on in their doctrine, though many are very powerful. What RMI hopes to do is to break down the denominational walls and focus on the Lord and on His Word solely as our source for Truth.
Obedience to His Word
“Wisdom shouts in the street, she lifts her voice in the square. At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance to the gate in the city, she utters her sayings, how long, O naive ones, will you love simplicity. And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing, and fools hate knowledge. Turn to my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Because I called and you refused; I stretched out my hand, and no one paid attention; and you neglected all my counsel, and did not want my reproof; I will even laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, when your dread comes on like a storm, and your calamity comes on like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come on you.”
“Then they will call on me but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me, because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord. They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof. So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way, and be satiated with their own devices. For the waywardness of the naive shall kill them, and the complacency of fools shall destroy them. But he who listens to me shall live securely, and shall be at ease from the dread of evil” (Prov. 1:20-33).
Obedience comes from the heart
“. . . you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed” (Rom. 6:1). And again, “. . . for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).
Obedience needs testing
“Do not be surprised at the fiery trial which comes upon you for your testing” (1 Pet. 4:12).
Obedience purifies your soul
“Since you have in obedience to the Truth, purified your souls” (1 Pet. 1:22).
Obedience gives testimony of Who your Father is
“Obey My voice and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way in which I command you, that it may be well with you. Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and in the stubbornness of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward” (Jer. 7:23-24).
Your disobedience actually praises the wicked
“Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law strive with them” (Prov. 28:4).
The prayers of the disobedient go unheard
“He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination” (Prov. 28:9).
Our Example Is Christ
He was obedient even unto death
“He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:5-11).
“Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:7-10).
He was obedient and submissive to His authority
“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but Thou wilt . . . My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be done” (Matt. 26:39, 42).
We must be submissive to authority
“For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Rom. 13:1). “Wives, be submissive to your own husbands, as unto the Lord . . . but as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their own husbands in everything” (Eph. 5:22). “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth” (Eph. 6:1–3). If you still live at home, or have been forced to move back home, your authority is your parents.
Unfortunately, most of us dispute or argue the true meaning of the Lord’s teachings regarding submission and obedience—which God says is to our own destruction. “But shun foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law; for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned” (Titus 3:9-11).
Turn aside to myths
Instead of searching for the Truth, we want others to agree with our wrong plans, ideas or decisions. “But wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
Foolishness to him
You may be having trouble understanding all that the Scriptures say, but I guarantee that you will never understand them until you first obey them. “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things . . .” (1 Cor. 2:14-15). So many times I really couldn’t understand why the Lord was calling me to do something, but once I surrendered my will and obeyed willingly the light was turned on and I understood the whys that had me confused before I obeyed.
Walk by the Spirit
“And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances” (Ezek. 36:27). “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25).
Be self-disciplined in your obedience to His Word
“Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near to you” (Ps. 32:9).
Obedience to Be Delivered from Our Trials
Remember that only the blameless will be delivered
“He who walks blamelessly will be delivered, but he who is crooked will fall all at once” (Prov. 28:18).
God watches and blesses what you do
“Thou dost recompense a man according to his work” (Ps. 62:12).
If you don’t obey, He will discipline you
“The Lord has disciplined me severely, but He has not given me over to death. I shall not die but live, and tell of the works of the Lord” (Ps. 118:18, 17). I taught my children that “disobedience is dangerous” and “delayed obedience is disobedience.”
*Clearly the majority of Christians living today simply do not have the blessing of God on their lives, which is a direct result of disobedience in their lives: disobedience to God’s Word and to the authority figures over them.
God is faithful to His Word
“If his sons forsake My law, and do not walk in My judgments, If they violate My statutes, and do not keep My commandments, then I will visit their transgressions with a rod, and their iniquity with stripes” (Ps. 89:30-34).
Let us all bow our heads and pray Psalm 51 aloud:
“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done what is evil in Thy sight. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will be converted to Thee. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou will not despise.”
May God be with you as you strive to be more like our Savior!
Personal commitment to put the Lord first in my life:
“Based on what I have learned in Scripture, I commit to do everything as unto the Lord. I will show the Lord, and others, my commitment to Him by my obedience to His Word, and specifically, by my submission to my husband or obedience to my parents.”
His Word healed them
Once again, it is God’s Word that will change and heal you. “He sent His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions” (Ps. 107:20). Again, you must begin to renew your mind. Have you noticed a change in the way you’re thinking? Are others commenting that you are not the same woman?
- 3×5 cards. Once more, gather your 3×5 cards and write down the verses from this lesson that have touched your heart. Are you keeping these cards in your purse and bringing them out regularly as the Holy Spirit prompts you? Are you responding to God’s prompting when He reminds you to read them?
- Has God healed you in a particular area? If not, as I said before, it is important that you pray for the Lord to reveal what is blocking your healing. Have you sought the counsel of another (older) woman? Have you confessed to her your weaknesses, fears, or unconfessed sins? If you did, you should experience a breakthrough soon!
- Share the wisdom from this lesson with one other woman who seems to be searching for the Truth.
Write her name on this line. ________________________
Prayer Tree—A Faith Builder
A Prayer Tree is a tool for a family to use to show God’s faithfulness. It has many benefits to spiritual growth that you will begin to see in yourself, as well as in your children. Make one and place it in your family room or by your kitchen table. It can be used as an evangelism tool as you share with visitors to your home how God has answered your prayers. Don’t forget to offer to pray for their special needs. The Prayer Tree will help you:
- To remember to pray.
- To see God working in our lives and the lives of others.
- To remember His past blessings—count them “one by one” when you feel defeated.
- To remember to thank Him for each trial.
- To remember not to worry about the cares of the world.
- To know why we need His Word to stand on.
- To build your faith and your children’s faith.
To assemble: You’ll need a poster board, construction paper, scissors, glue, and markers. Then explain the following to your children:
- Flower—“Prayer Request.” Write one request on each flower. (Include the prayer requests of family and friends.)
- Every fruit begins as a flower.
- On the request make sure you include the date.
- The Sun—“Son of God.” Write Jesus, Lord or Son on the sun.
- The Son gives us light and strength.
- Without the Son, we (the tree) will die.
- Clouds—“Satan.” Write on each raindrop the trial or affliction that your family is experiencing.
- Rain is necessary for growth and it is only temporary!
- Rain could be: finances, illness, things that are broken, lost or stolen, a job, or relationship problem.
- In life we have trials, tests, and temptations that help us to seek the Lord.
- Weeds—“Sin in our life.”
- Repeated sin—when we don’t pull it out at the roots.
- Unconfessed sin.
- Worries in our life.
- All the things that will choke out the blessings.
- Fertilizer—“Scripture.” Write Scripture verses on the grass area.
- Gives strength to the tree.
- God’s Word is our strength.
- It’s at the root and foundation of our faith.
- Fruit—“Answered Prayer.” Write on each fruit God’s answer to your prayer.
- You have to wait for fruit to come in its “season.”
- God says you will know us by our fruit.
- You will see how He blesses you beyond what you have even asked.
- Date the flower and the fruit to see how we must learn to “wait on the Lord”!
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).
Delight yourself in the Lord
and He will give you the desires of your heart! (Ps. 37:4)
Begin your day with prayer, speaking God’s promises back to Him:
“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sins. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done what is evil in Thy sight, so that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, and blameless when Thou dost judge . . . Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Thy presence, and do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. Then, I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will be converted to Thee” AMEN. (Ps. 51:2-4, 10-13). Praying God’s Word back to Him is powerful; here is His promise, “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isa. 55:11).
As you read the following Scriptures from God’s Word, highlight with a pink crayon those verses pertaining to women, green for children, blue for men and yellow for everything else that the Lord shows you. Caution: The Scriptures for men are to be used for prayer only, not to point out your husband’s faults! Ask the Lord to show you what you need to learn from His precepts. Psalm 119:15 says, “I will meditate on Thy precepts and regard Thy ways.”
|Sunday||read Titus 2:3-5|
|Monday||read Gen. 2:18, 20-25 and 3:12, 13, 16|
|Tuesday||read Prov. 31:10-31|
|Wednesday||read 1 Pet. 2:13 through 1 Pet. 3:18|
|Thursday||read 1 Cor. 7:1-16, 39|
|Friday||read Eph. 5:22-24, 31, 33|
|Saturday||read 1 Tim. 2:9-15|
If you have Internet access, these verses are posted each day at the bottom of our daily devotional: My Beloved in our members’ section. Memberships are FREE to any woman who has read through this workbook: A Wise Woman. This workbook is also available to read or print off on our site, so make sure you tell a friend about us. www.RestoreMinistries.net.
I know this study is hard. I am praying for you, that you will listen and take to heart what God has said in His Word, and do what He says to do.
May God Bless you…