The Modern Proverbs 31 Bride

The Modern Proverbs 31 Bride

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. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.-Proverbs 31:10-12, 23

I have been wondering how to approach this one. I thought of copping out and talking about my mom. I wanted to say this has nothing to do with me because I am single.

But then I thought to speak into existence me, Bianca, as a wife (scary…I know). I just want to put in existence what I would like to say to my husband. Not out of desperation but out of the scripture.

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So to my husband:

I hope I am the treasure you were waiting for. I know you have searched for me, talked to the Father about me, and have been counseled in finding me. I hope to be the treasure that you continue to pursue. Know that I will hold you down in good times and bad. Though only Christ can fill and satisfy your whole heart, may I fill your life with love, support, loyalty, happiness this side of heaven. I pray for the grace to do right by you. I pray for the wisdom to speak life into you and to remain silent when needed. Though you may upset me (and you will), I promise you extend grace as God gives me. I hope to make you proud. I hope you make the world jealous of our love as Christ is jealous for us. I promise to try. I promise to love. I promise to be yours. 

I spoke what I would say. It would be interesting if I got to say these words someday. But for now, I will leave it to Christ.

Blissfully,

Bianca

The Modern, Proverbs 31 Helping Hand

The Modern, Proverbs 31 Helping Hand

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She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.- Proverbs 31:20

A woman who gives sets the example of Jesus’s heart for service. I’m not talking about the family but other people. A giving spirit produces reward and blessings. Not saying that you do things for something in return but God sees the obedience to His will. You are an ambassador of Christ. What people see is what you give.

I am not the person I am today without my mother. She gave and still gives so much to others. She has given hospitality to relatives, to a pregnant woman in a domestic violence situation, survivors of the Haiti 2009 earthquake, and many other people. She uses her medical knowledge to benefit others even though my sister has her own medical problems. She goes on medical missions to share her gifts. She translates for Haitian immigrants and is willing to give time and energy to them. No matter what her life situation was, she served with all her heart. (Yes, she is amazing).

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I witnessed her servant’s heart. Yes, she told me about Jesus but she acted on what He is about. She always tells me: “Your gifts are not for you but for everyone.” She inspired me to practice immigration law when I am an attorney. To give to immigrant communities the way she does. I may not have the same spiritual gifts as my mom but I try to act as the hands and feet of Jesus. God gave me talents in music, art, and writing. So I share my gifts from the example of my mother.

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I’m not saying women need to do lavish acts of kindness and service. But use your gifts. Women are talented. Give according to Christ’s commands and the way God convicts you. If you are alive and breathing, you have talents and purpose. People need you. Not everyone can do what you do. Extend your giving to many and reap heaven’s rewards and blessings in your household and beyond.

Blissfully,

Bianca

Allegiance to the Cross

Allegiance to the Cross

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The Cross is powerful. It breaks the chains of sin and gives power to all people who believe. It restores. It redeems. It wins every time. 

But lately, some people pledge their allegiance and entire being on other things: the flag, the national anthem, a political party, or a person who is not Jesus.

I am not saying not to be thankful for the blessings of life and living in America but America is not heaven. None of the temporary titles will serve an eternal purpose. Admission to heaven does not require a color, party, or denomination. 

I’m not saying that you can’t be passionate about the things of this world. There are things that I am passionate about too. But what I am saying is don’t let the troubles of this world cloud the eternal things.

There is no human, institution, or solution able to solve the troubles of the world. So don’t get so worked up about the current news that it drives you crazy. God is the one who will restore humanity at the appointed time.

So the bickering and “taking extreme measures” to show allegiance to a temporary political view, person, or issue is futile in the grand scheme of things.

This life is fleeting. All these things will pass away but the Lord’s Word and Will reigns.

So rethink your allegiance.

Blissfully,

Bianca

The Storm’s Blissful Lesson

The Storm’s Blissful Lesson

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You know those rainstorms that are wind, rain, thunder, lightning and everything in between.  You can’t see where you are. Speeding up can lead to uncontrollable hydroplaning. Even familiar routes are difficult to travel to.

Doesn’t that sound like life?

The storms of life can throw us for a loop. A friend once said people are either in a storm, about to enter a storm, or have left a storm.  We all have a storm.

It is easy to succumb to the storm and fall into despair. I have had my fair shares of storms. It feels unbearable.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.-Psalm 34:17-20

Though it is easy to throw in the towel, DON’T!

Though it storms, the rain will stop, the clouds will appear, the loud clashing of lightning and thunder will be silenced, and then sunlight.

For every rainstorm, there is sunshine.

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With any storm, God can overcome it. Jesus silenced the winds and the storms at His command (Matthew 8:23-27). Nothing is too hard for God.

What you and I cannot do is control our situations. Sometimes life is out of our reach. Things happen that are unexpected, from left field,  unplanned, and abrupt. And sometimes with as much preparation you do, you still fall short. But God can and is in control. 

With the storm, there is provision, safety, and sanity that God provides. He does not lead you where He will not provide for you. He knows what you can handle even though you think you can’t handle it.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.-Philippians 4:19

God will bring you out of the storm into the sunshine. I can’t assure that life will be exactly what you expected but all storms will strengthen you and your testimony.

So hold on even though it’s raining, God will give you the umbrella (i.e. provision) and the direction.

I leave with this: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.-2 Corinthians 12:9

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Wherever you fall short, God will fill in the gaps.

The storm is temporary.

It will pass.

God will bring you out of whatever tried to end you or break you. 

The sunshine will come. 

 

Blissfully,

Bianca

A Breath of Fresh Air

A Breath of Fresh Air

My Breath of Fresh Air is “Do not give up on God and His Church.”

Real talk: There were times in my life where I wanted to give up God and give up going to church.

I always felt that the Church was to be a perfect place with perfect people. The worship was perfect. The programs were a delicate balance. No talk of politics. Everyone was in perfect harmony with one another. Slowly, that perfect human expectation faded. I was getting disappointed and hurt by people in the church in various ways. This perfect church did not exist on this side of heaven.

But you know what? There are times where I forget God and look to a human expectation of church rather than look to God’s Design of His Church. God created the Church for HIMSELF and His children to grow, to learn, and to be encouraged no matter what is going on in life.  God is the head of the Church, not the pastor. God’s Word is the Truth that I should hear from the person He designed to preach. God puts the heart of worship in each person. God calls children to lead, love, care for this lost and dying world. The Church is God’s hospital for humanity. I hurt, you hurt, we all hurt but we do not have to stay that way. God makes a way for lost, hurting people in need of a Savior. God does not call us to be alone but to live in community with believers. No church is perfect but God is perfect and His Word is perfect. 

The Bible does not have the perfect physical formula for the perfect church meaning what type of music, programs vs. no programs, church attire, etc. God inspires His people in different ways. A contemporary church is no less than a traditional church. A suit and tie man is a sinner just like the jeans and t-shirt guy. Outreach and missions is a command of God.  If God is present, then it is all good. I do believe that Baptists will not be the only people in heaven. I believe His Church will be filled different with all tribes, tongues, denominations, and people. The main theme will be that we loved and walked with Jesus and we get to spend eternity with Him. That is the part of Jesus we all as believers should strive and thrive in. 

So don’t give on Jesus and His church. Jesus wants you to know His truth  and come to faith in Him. He wants you to love and be loved by His children. A local church refreshes and strengthens you. You find yourself and walk with other believers who are not perfect.  No matter where you are in life, God is there with you. Don’t give up on Him because He never gave up on us. His Church is within reach.

Let me end with Scripture:

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.-Colossians 3:15-17

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.-Colossians 1:15-18

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.- 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

Take care friends. Jesus loves you.

Blissfully,

Bianca

A Gentle Reminder

A Gentle Reminder

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”-John 16:33

Can we all agree life is hard? Whether it be the world news, relationship issues,  issues at work, your health, job searches and pending bar results (me), and everything in between. It just stinks.

But you know what?

God has overcome it so you will overcome it.

It is not a quick genie presto. It is in God’s timing. Know that God may be blocking, clearing, or preventing something bad from happening. Maybe you did not get something because there is something better in store.

I know what you are thinking: Bianca, I have been rejected too many times!?!

Well I am right there with you. Life is hard.

Jesus did not promise an easy life. I do not have an easy life. Sometimes I do want to give up and throw in the towel. But I don’t because something better is in store for me. So I will say that to you: Something better is in store.

He overcame the trouble on the Cross. Your “life issues” are HANDLED!

Be encouraged.

It’s handled in Jesus name!!!

Blissfully,

Bianca

As A Woman In the Local Church

As A Woman In the Local Church

I did not see in the Bible that women are second class citizens in the body of Christ.

So then, why it is such a power trip?

I have been in churches where women serve as sisters with their brothers in Christ. I have been in churches where the “rules” are archaic. It’s like a woman serving outside her duties (i.e. women’s ministry and children) is destroying the headship of man (ugh…give me a break).

I don’t think it is. Women are more than teaching children and women, having tea together, sitting pretty and silent while the “man” does God’s work. We have other skills. We may not be gifted in everything but we are gifted in some things.

Biblical Women of Service 

Not just the Proverbs 31 woman…There are women in the early church who were in involved. Here are some:

Phoebe: I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea. Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people. Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me.-Romans 16:1-2

Priscilla and Aquila: Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in the ministry of Christ Jesus.  In fact, they once risked their lives for me. I am thankful to them, and so are all the Gentile churches.-Romans 16:3-4

Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt.  He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.-Acts 18:24-26

Mary (not mother of Jesus): Give my greetings to Mary, who has worked so hard for your benefit. -Romans 16:7

Junia: Greet Andronicus (husband)  and Junia (wife), my fellow Jews, who were in prison with me. They are highly respected among the apostles and became followers of Christ before I did.-Romans 16:8

Active. Teaching People. Preaching. Prisoners. Hard Workers. Risk-takers for the Gospel.

No delicacy there. These women were sisters for the kingdom respected by their brothers serving alongside them.

Spiritual Gifts And Roles

I know what you are thinking: 1 Timothy 2:8-12

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.  I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.

I used to hate this verse because some Christian men would twist this verse to say women should not preach but be quiet and submit. A woman who does not follow through is not of God. I have to remember that God’s Words are not to hinder and belittle but are for a greater purpose. But look at the verse again through The Message version Bible:

Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it. I don’t let women take over and tell the men what to do. They should study to be quiet and obedient along with everyone else.

Work and pray with humility. Doing something beautiful for God and being beautiful doing it. Not to overstep for power but be obedient to God’s word. God may call us to have a quiet spirit, to be wise, and to discern. But God may call us to something greater. It all depends on Him. We don’t always need to talk but don’t always need to be silent if God gives us a Word to share.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.-2 Corinthians 12:4-11

Different strokes for different folks. God made each of us with distinct gifts. Not every man is not meant to be a preacher. Not every woman is meant to do women’s ministry and teach children.  I am not discounting women who are called to women’s ministry and children’s ministry. You all do great work for the Kingdom but not every woman is gifted in that. Respect our talents no matter what our gifts are. There is no male role or female role. God gives each gift from the same source and for the same reason. There are some people in the Church who are not called to certain gifts. Nothing is man-designed but God-ordained.

Christian Men…Not All but Some 

A vivid memory I had was in a Sunday school class where the male teacher said “Feminism is a sin. A sin of the world to disrespect men and their authority”

Ummm…excuse me. I bravely took him on. And yup..I got weird looks from our group. 

I was raised to respect and be respected. My dad is one of the rare ones. He wanted his  daughters to be strong women of God who were smart, well-spoken, educated, and respectful to authority. I never heard my dad say “Women can’t do that. You are better silent. That’s what men do.” My dad was comfortable as a Man of God to value his skills and  the skills of his wife  to serve in her God-given capacities. The same goes for his son and daughters.

My dad encourages me with these words: “You are a human being and a helper but you are not to be abused and mistreated.”

On the opposite end, I have encountered “Christian men” who are sexists, who believe women should be silent and do as they are told, who feel disrespected when a woman stands up to them, and who twist the Bible to demean and degrade women. There were moments in my life where I did not want to marry Christian men. I did not want to be disrespected a marriage. I even wanted to give up on Church because I did not fit into the archaic sexism.

But I reminded of Galatians 2:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. There is no superior gender but a Superior Savior we all follow. My brother in Christ should respect me as his sister in Christ. Working to be lights in the world and winning others for Christ. There is an equality in the body of Christ even though we are different.

So that is what I do. I respect my brother but I deserve respect too.

For Example

My mom, not a women’s ministry-nursery lady, but God has given her the gift of medical knowledge and care to many. Not to be biased (but I am), my mom is a dynamite woman. She is strong, kind, and warm. She is well-spoken and bold. She is also wise and meek.  She is a light to all she meets. She is respectful. No sticking it to man but she demands respect.

To Close

I can’t fix every Christian man to respect me the way God sees me. There will be men who are archaic, insecure dinosaurs who treat women as second class citizens. And there is some who are my brothers who I work alongside for the Kingdom. It can’t be helped (all are sinners).

But here is some encouragement for both parties:

To my Christian sisters, know who you are and whose you are. You are fearfully and wonderfully made for a purpose. You are not second but first. God has gifted you with talents and abilities for His glory. We don’t all need to be the same. God will call us to be meek or speak but we are not lesser than.

To my Christian brothers, respect us. We are all striving for the same goal: To bring glory and honor to God. Sharpen us, encourage us, challenge us but don’t look down on us. We are His workmanship too.

So that’s all I got.

Blissfully,

Bianca