2.13.2019

A woman of VALUE who earns VENERATION.

Last night we completed our seven-month study of The Proverbs 31 Woman!
Our pastor preached this sermon on Mother's Day last year, and our COMMITTED group was so encouraged and challenged by the message we decided to dissect it and spend an entire month focusing on one of the seven points. And it was, indeed, time well spent!
Each month we shared our joy about the areas in which we have seen growth and success, and then confessed our places of weakness so we could encourage and pray for one another as we continue to pursue godliness day by day, week by week, year by year.
And because Scripture implores us to build one another up with our words, we closed out our study by writing personal notes of appreciation to our pastor, highlighting the ways his message blessed and challenged each of us. Because the truth is, it was his hard work, his time, and his investment in Scripture that provided the platform for our study. And we are - truly grateful!

Our first study: A woman of VIRTUE
Our second study: A woman of VIGOR
Our third study: A VERSATILE woman
Our fourth study: A VIVACIOUS woman with a delightful VOCABULARY

Our final study in this series ... A Woman of VALUE who has earned the VENERATION of others

A Proverbs 31 woman is a woman of value
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. v. 10
✽ She is PRICELESS
✽ She is a rare find, but she does exist!
✽ A woman who is virtuous, versatile, vivacious, and opens her mouth in wisdom is worthy of finding and cherishing
✽ This kind of woman does not just "appear," but has been purposely pursuing godly character qualities and because she has been faithful - not perfect, but faithful - she is considered valuable

A Proverbs 31 woman deserves veneration
veneration = gratitude from others
❊ She has invested in and enriched others, so now, it is time for her husband and her children to express their gratitude for her sacrifice, her hard work, her love, and her care
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” v. 28, 29

She appreciates the praise but does not expect it, and therefore, she accepts the praise with humility and grace
What is being praised? Her INNER beauty.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. v. 30
The best and most beautiful thing about her is her love for the Lord
❊ Lemuel's mother is encouraging him not to look for outer beauty - but true beauty - the beauty that comes from the inside because of her love for God
- is she godly?
- is she a woman of prayer?
- does she have a heart for the work of God?
❊ The outside will change, her beauty and looks will fade, but her insides can continually improve and become even more beautiful
She clothes herself in strength and dignity. v. 25
She adorns the doctrine of God, making it beautiful and attractive to others

Her image is taken from God's image
His glory fuels her passion
His grace animates her works
His holiness fosters her humility
His joy underwrites her cheerfulness

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31: 10-31

2.12.2019

Happy Birthday, Micah!


19 years!
The Lord has gifted you with 19 years of LIFE, Micah!
And we are grateful.❤

You add humor and fun to our days.
You are able to liven up any room and draw people into conversation and laughter.
You are quick to serve.
Quick to encourage.
Quick to give. Of your possessions and yourself.

It has been a joy to watch you grow and mature as a young man, pursuing your dreams, stepping out of your comfort zone, and pushing yourself farther than you thought you could go.
Even when you are hit with a setback, you respond with grace. Though frustrated, you take a deep breath, give yourself time to absorb the blow, and then look for a new way of doing things until you are able to do it your own way again. Don't ever let that character quality - resilience - atrophy.
Life is filled with challenges, changes, and disappointments, but the man who can adapt to the changes and find the beauty in the ash heap is a man who will be used by God to affect change and inspire others.
Be that man, Micah!

You have always been a thoughtful, affectionate son and brother and a faithful friend.
You bring great delight to me and your father, and your siblings enjoy and respect you.
Because you are a faithful friend, you attract strong, loyal, encouraging friends in return.
Cling to them! Invest in them! Invite them to speak truth into your life! And then watch as the Lord uses them to sharpen you in ways you could never accomplish on your own.

It has been a privilege to walk through your nineteen years of life TOGETHER, Micah Steven, and I look forward to walking through the rest of the years the Lord has ordained for us as mother and son.
You are a treasure, and I value your affection, your gentleness, your hugs, your "I love yous," and your desire to grow as a man and as a child of God. I will always love you, and I will always be here.
Mom ♥

A VIVACIOUS woman with a delightful VOCABULARY.

My girls and I enjoyed another fantastic study and discussion of the Proverbs 31 woman.
Our first study: A woman of VIRTUE
Our second study: A woman of VIGOR
Our third study: A VERSATILE woman

Our new study ...A VIVACIOUS Woman with a Delightful VOCABULARY

The Proverbs 31 woman is vivacious!
vivacious = lively, bursting with life!
✤ She is not a cloud over her husband's or children's head
✤ She is energetic and lively, she laughs, she loves, she is cheerful
✤ She happily goes about her business
she willingly works with her hands v. 13
✤ She is capable, unafraid of hard work or what is to come
she laughs at the future v. 25
✤ She brightens the lives of those around her, creating happy, wonderful memories for her family
her children rise up and call her blessed v. 28
her husband praises her v. 28, 29
✤ She is medicine to her husband and children
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22
She promotes joy in the home! She whistles while she works!
"She enjoys a constancy and firmness of mind and has a spirit to bear up under crosses and disappointments." - Matthew Henry

The Proverbs 31 woman has a delightful vocabulary
Life and death are in the power of the tongue. Prov 18:21
How we speak to our husbands and our children affects the climate of the home and our relationships
She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue v. 26
She is the polar opposite of the nagging wife, the woman of indiscretion, and the seductress
✢ Lemul's mother is saying, "Don't just LOOK at her ... LISTEN to her."
✢ A wonderful acronym for how to use our words!
Weigh them
Order them
Redeem them
Direct them
Soften them

Weigh them
The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things. Proverbs 15:28
Order them
A person finds joy in giving an apt reply-- and how good is a timely word! Proverbs 15:23
Redeem them
The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. Proverbs 10:11
Direct them
A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies. Proverbs 14:5
Soften them
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:1, 4


An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31: 10-31

2.08.2019

CHOOSING JOY in the midst of trials!

This past Sunday the Lord used our pastor to encourage His sheep with the fabulous biblical truth that the believer can choose and possess true, tangible and contended JOY in the midst of trials. 
I pray it will encourage anyone who needs to be reminded that our God is good - our God is faithful - our God is ABLE - and our God is an ever-present help in times of trouble.♥

James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad:
Greetings.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
James 1:1-12
The question is not, "WILL you have trials?" for tears, trials, and tests are a part of life.
The question is, "How will you RESPOND to trials?"
Temptations can destroy our faith. Trials can develop our faith.
The PEOPLE
- James is writing to persecuted believers who have been scattered abroad
- He writes to encourage them in their trials because their trials are SURE
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, James 1:2
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. I Peter 4:16
- Their trials are SUDDEN
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, James 1:2
Falling is not planned - it just happens
- Their trials are SELECT - a certain test at a certain time
The PERSPECTIVE
Count it all joy when you fall into various trials ... James 1:2
- We need to choose joy when we are entering and in the trials - not just afterward when all of the dust has settled
- Choosing joy in the sorrows and setbacks of life is not natural - but it is what God requires
- Instead of seeing trials as intruders, we need to see them as guests
guests that can educate us and guests that can be enjoyed
- Trials are ASSETS, not liabilities
- Theology must shape emotions and responses ---> not the other way around!
- Joy does not equal a shallow or temporary happiness, but a settled contentment and attitude of thankfulness
- Values determine your evaluation
- Serious sorrows create the sweetest saints - because - they counted their trials and sorrows as JOYFUL GUESTS and matured in their faith because of their biblical perspective
- If you value character, value your trials
The PURPOSE
Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2, 3
- You may not be thankful FOR your trials, but you can be thankful IN your trials
- Faith is made stronger through fire
- "Let patience have its perfect work." Invite the trials in! Embrace them! Let everything unfold to reveal God's purpose and plan.
- WAIT ON THE LORD! 
It is easy to bail out too early in a crisis. The Christian must remain FIRM. Steadfast. 
If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Proverbs 24:10
The PRAYER
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5
- Wisdom is not natural, it is Divine
- Ask for wisdom not to waste your sorrow. Ask that it will be used to strengthen your character.
The PROSPECT
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12
- One day the trials will end. No more sorrow, disappointments, or pain. Just JOY - forevermore!

2.07.2019

This and that.

Seven years ago I held this little girl, Grace, and her twin brother Henry in my arms when they were just weeks old. I barely knew their parents then, but I knew enough to want to be a part of their foster and adoption journey. And because they are gracious and wonderful people - they let me!
I will never forget the night I met Henry and Grace.
At the time, we were praying and considering a family mission trip to Africa, but as I held one teeny, tiny twin in each arm I realized that for the price of one week in Africa, we could change the life of another human being - forever.
We stayed home.
Fast forward five years. Our families were intertwined in a unique way, and through that, the Lord grew a friendship over the last three years that is precious and wonderful.
I had no idea when I held those little babies in my arms that we would one day be praying and working and preparing to become a Resource Family for babies in our own home! And yet, here we are. Thankful, blessed, and grateful. And it all started with Henry and Grace.❤

Speaking of ...
this is my darling sister and friend, Beth!
We planned, prepared, and prayed for the Lord to use The DropBox documentary to affect the hearts and minds of every person who attended our ministry movie night.
♥Special Needs + Orphan Care♥
We had no idea what to expect. Who would show up? 20 people? 40 people? 100?
We walked by faith, trusting the Lord to bring those He wanted to see, hear, and be challenged by the film.
Imagine our delight when 250 people walked through the doors!
Seniors, young couples, single men, teenagers, and children. Each one was drawn in by the invisible hand of a caring and compassionate God.
And I am confident that lives will be changed because of it.
The night was more than Beth and I expected - but everything we hoped for!♥

When we surrendered our family to foster care and adoption, we knew we were entering a war zone.
The enemy does not want the innocent protected.
He does not want the weak to be made strong.
He does not want the mute to be given a voice.
Every effort to rescue children from harm invites an attack from his camp. We have witnessed it, heard testimony of it, and wept with those who experienced it.
And the very day we turned in our foster care application we had to pull the enemy's arrows out of our own backs.
BUT GOD ... had already gone before us to move others to encourage us in our discouragement!
My brother and CC, together with their kids, called us three days later to announce that they started an Eastman Orphan Care Fund! Their excitement was contagious and it felt like the Lord was saying, "I see you. I know what you need. Do not lose heart!"
When we said goodbye to our family we looked at each other and smiled. NOTHING is too difficult for the Lord!

As I was preparing for my monthly meeting with the lovely woman who disciples me, I stepped away from the prep for a few minutes and found this site quite amusing when I returned.
All of this material was necessary just to BEGIN the current assignment she has given me. We haven't even started the actual work!
And I LOVE IT!
She pushes and challenges me in a way no one else has even attempted, and after two years of lapping up huge puddles of her godly wisdom and counsel, I want MORE.
How thankful I am for Titus 2 women!

Yesterday I turned the final page of this fantastic biography.
What an encouragement this man's life is to the saints who choose to study the way he lived!
My volumes are full of underlining and highlighting, for there is much to remember and take to heart. Below are two of his life mantras that move me most, and convict me to emulate his example.

"As he made his way toward the assembled congregation an elderly bystander, observing him more uneasy than usual, said to him, Sir, you are more fit to go to bed than to preach." To which Mr. Whitfield answered, "True, Sir:" but turning aside, he clasped his hands together, and looking up spoke, "Lord, Jesus, I am weary in Thy work, but not of Thy work. If I have not yet finished my course, let me go and speak for Thee once more in the fields, seal Thy truth, and come home and die."

In his last days, while suffering for breath, Whitefield said to his faithful assistant, "I cannot breathe, but I hope I shall be better by and by; a good pulpit sweat today may give me relief; I shall be better after preaching."
His assistant responded that he wished his master would not preach so often.
Whitefield replied, "I would rather wear out than rust out."
And this he did. Faithfully, wholeheartedly serving His God until he could literally do so no more.
May we all, like George, wear out for the Lord. ❤

One of Luke's dreams is now a REALITY!


Luke's dream dog - a HUSKY - is now part of the Eastman family!
Meet ORION.

Luke is the Master of Orion. I am the General.
(As a full-time student and a 30-hour-a-week employee,
someone has to act as master-in-charge when Luke is gone, and I volunteered!
But for the blonde hair and slender build, Luke and I are twins, so we make a great team.)

This morning we praised God for His creativity in making Orion while cradling him during our morning Bible time and prayed he would be a blessing to our family,
and a source of joy for anyone who meets him.

As a mom, I am thrilled that my son’s dream to own his own husky has come true! 
💙💙💙
Let the training and fun BEGIN!




While Orion is 100% Luke’s dog, every Eastman has committed to caring for, protecting, and playing with him so he knows he is part of the WHOLE family.
This dog will be loved well!