1 A Mother's Heart
"But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19
We usually include this verse in our Christmas programs, but it is one of my favorite verses throughout the year. I am a mother of five children and now that my "baby" is fifteen, my mind often goes back to the days when they were young. There have been many nights when I went to bed and "pondered" the day in my mind and heart. Mary pondered the Lord's birth, and the visit from the angel and shepherds. Look again, when Jesus was twelve years old, and Mary and Joseph found Him in the temple "sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart." (Luke 2:46-51) There have been times that I didn't understand or know what was happening in my life. But I know the Lord. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) Even when you have questions in your journey, just keep trusting the Lord. As we look forward to Mother's Day, join us as we look at some Biblical examples of "A Mother's Heart".
2 The First Mother
"And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living." Genesis 3:20
Mother's Day is a very special time, set aside to celebrate our very special mothers. We all had to have a mother to get here. And we never fully appreciate our mother, until we become a mother or father and see all the joy and pain, love and sorrow that being a parent can bring. We begin with Eve. She was the first woman, and she became the first mother. The feelings she must have had at the birth of her first son are shared by women everyday as they cross over into the journey of motherhood. Nothing compares to holding a new born baby in your arms and feeling the awesome responsibility that God has given you a new life, to nourish and care for. Eve "was the mother of all living", but one day she learned the pain and sorrow of death. Many of us have also shared the heartbreak that death brings. I think that sometimes we read about people in the Bible and we think of them as being "super humans". But as we look at some of the characteristics of these Bible Mothers we will see in them the same feelings, and hopes, and dreams that we have today.
3 Hannah's Prayer Was Answered
"So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore... Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him. And she said Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad." I Samuel 1:9, 10, & 17-19
Hannah was in bitterness of soul and prayed to the Lord God to give her a child. She wanted a son so much that she vowed a vow to give him back to the Lord. God heard her prayer and gave her a son. Hannah remembered her vow and took him to the temple to Eli the priest. "And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there." (I Samuel 1:26-18) We are reminded in this story to take our petitions to the Lord. We see this in the Old Testament in Psalm 37:3-5, "Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass." And in the New Testament Jesus said, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:" (Matthew 7:7) God wants us to pray. We also see that Hannah remembered her vow and gave her son back to the Lord. We need to dedicate our children to the Lord. We need to give God our time, our resources, our talents, and everything He gives us. Because Hannah gave her son to God, God was able to use Samuel in a mighty way. Do you want God to use you? Then you must be willing to give yourself back to Him.
4 Naomi Came Back Empty
"Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem-judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons... And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband. Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread... And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:... So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty..." Portions of Ruth 1
I have heard a lot about "empty nest syndrone" over the last few years. I experienced a little of it last fall, when two sons went away to college, my oldest son and daughter-in-law moved several states away, and my other son got a job and spent most of his time away from home. I went from having five children close to home, to the quiet ways of my only daughter. It was hard to prepare dinner for three when I had enjoyed cooking for seven, eight, or even more. The house, and my life felt empty. Naomi returned from the land of Moab where she buried her husband and two sons, and she said, "...I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty..." Do you feel empty? Maybe you have buried loved ones just as Naomi did. Maybe your children have grown up and you feel forgotten. Maybe your friends and family have moved on and left you behind. There are many times in our lives when we feel alone and empty. Later in Naomi's life we see a ray of hope, as Boaz, a kinsman redeemer, married Ruth and they had a son. "And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel... And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David." (Ruth 4:14 & 17) Don't get discouraged. Turn to the Lord to find help and comfort.
5 Companionship Of A Daughter-In-Law
"And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God." Ruth 1:16
Many times we hear these words in wedding ceremonies, but these lovely words were spoken by a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law. After ten years in a foreign land Naomi was going back home. She felt alone and empty, but Ruth clave to her. Ruth was determined to go with her. We hear many jokes about mother-in-laws, but this is a beautiful picture of how sweet these relationships can be. We meet many people throughout our lifetimes. Countless times our paths cross so briefly as we each go in our separate directions. But sometimes we meet someone special. Sometimes a person comes into our life and becomes a lifetime companion. Don't take those people for granted. Love and cherish the time you spend with them. God had special plans for Ruth and Naomi and they were in the lineage of King David. God has given you special friends and family members for a reason. Love them. Be a true friend and companion.
6 The Hospitality Of A Great Woman
"And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick; and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither. And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there." II Kings 4:8-11
We all want to be great. Why has this woman from Shunem been called a "great woman"? This is the only woman I can find complimented like this in the Bible. We don't know of all the great things she might have accomplished in her life. We are not told that she was extremely wealthy, or beautiful, or smart. But, the one thing we do see is her hospitality. She invited the man of God into her house. She fed him often as he journeyed by. She also made a small prophet's chamber for him to have a place to stay when he passed by. Many people today are afraid to invite the preacher over for a visit. Maybe they feel embarrased by their humble home. Many times I have used the excuse that "I don't have time to clean up properly" to invite people over for a visit. We may feel that we can't prepare the perfect meal. Whatever the reason, we need to put the excuses aside and be hospitable to others. This was a "great woman". She may not have had many material things, but she welcomed Elisha into her home. In return, God gave her something she desired greatly... and He blessed her with a son.
7 Imperfect Love
"And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them. And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob." Genesis 25:24-28
Many parents complain about sibling rivalry. But I think this family had more problems than just sibling rivalry. We read that Dad loved Esau, and Mom loved Jacob. This became more of a problem as the children got older. This family was eventually driven apart by deceit. I know families who favor one child over the other children. The youngest child may get all the attention and the older children get into trouble as they try anything to be noticed by Mom and Dad. Many times they feel that even negative attention is better than no attention at all. All children are different and each requires individual love and attention. But we must give all our children love and nurture them with affection.
8 What Does God Expect From You?
"And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all; For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had." Luke 21:1-4
Many times I feel like what I give to God is so little. I feel like my gifts and talents are small compared to many others. But, then I remember that God is the One who gave me my gifts and talents. He does not expect me to give more than what I have. The important thing is that I use the gifts and talents I have for His glory. Are you giving what you have to the Lord? Maybe you can sing. Are you singing for the Lord? Maybe you have a gift of working with children. If so, you could use your gift to help with the children's ministry at your church. There are many ways we can serve the Lord. We read in I Corinthians 12:18, "But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him." God has saved all kinds of people and added them to the body of Christ. God has given us different gifts. If He did not give you the gift of teaching, then don't feel bad that you aren't teaching a Sunday School class. Just use the gifts He has given you. My problem is that I feel like I have so little to give... but Jesus complimented this widow who only gave two mites, because she gave all she had. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others. There is another side to this issue. Jesus also said, "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required..." (Luke 12:48) If you are like the rich men in our scriptures above, then God requires you to give more. We read more about this in Romans 12:3-8, "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith... Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness." Are you giving your all to Him?
9 Grandmother's Faith
"When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." II Timothy 1:5
We must be saved individually. Salvation is a personal matter. You can't depend on the salvation of your parents or grandparents to save you. The Bible tells us that we are children of God, not grandchildren. But we can be an example to our children and to those around us. Paul knew of the faith of Timothy's mother and grandmother. They were faithful in teaching Timothy about God. Acts 16:1 tells us that Timothy's mother was a Jewess, but his father was a Greek. We don't know if his father was a believer, but his mother was still faithful. You may be the only Christian in your family, but keep the faith. It may be hard to take your children to church, but keep the faith. We need to bring our children up "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4) You can't save your children, or your friends, or other family members. But you can pray for them and be a Christian witness to them. Keep the faith.
10 The Bottom Of The Barrel
"So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruise: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah." I Kings 17:10-16
There have been times in my life when I feel like I am scraping the bottom of the barrel. I feel like I have exhausted all of my resources, and I just end up exhausted. But when I read this story the Lord sends conviction to my heart. This widow woman was actually scraping the bottom of her barrel. She was gathering two sticks to cook her last little bread so that she and her son could eat and die. God has blessed me so much. I don't think I have ever gone to bed hungry. There has always been food in my cabinets and refrigerator. But, there are times when I feel like I am scraping the bottom of the financial barrel when bills come due. And physically, I sometimes feel like I am in the bottom of the barrel and don't have the energy to climb out. Even spiritually, we can feel like our cruse of oil is about empty and we need a touch from God. In all of our situations we need to turn to God and trust in Him. God is able to supply all our needs. This poor widow was willing to give the man of God all that she had and God through the miracle of His grace supplied the needs. Trust in the Lord, and be thankful unto Him.
11 A Mother's Hope
"The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots? Her wise ladies answered her, yea, she returned answer to herself, Have they not sped? have they not divided the prey;... to Sisera a prey of divers colours, a prey of divers colours of needlework, of divers colours of needlework on both sides, meet for the necks of them that take the spoil?" Judges 5:28-30
Do you know the story of Sisera? This story takes place in the days when judges ruled the children of Israel. They had no king like the other nations. Judges 4:3 tells us that Sisera "mightily oppressed the children of Israel" for twenty years. "And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon. And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him. And the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet." (Judges 4:13-15) Sisera fled into the tent of Jael and was killed in his sleep. He was a wicked man and God gave the children of Israel victory over their enemies. Judges 5 gives us the song of Deborah and Barak. And Deborah thinks of Sisera's mother. "The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots?" These words paint a picture that we could see even today. Think of all the times a mother has looked out a window wondering why her son or daughter is so late coming home. The thoughts of this mother were those of hope. She said that Sisera surely was celebrating the victory. He was being honored with material of great colors, great colors with colorful needlework, with colorful needlework on both sides. She had hopes of the best for her son. Deborah understood that even the mother of the enemy had a mother's love and wanted the best for her son.
12 They Brought The Children To The Lord
"And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them." Mark 10:13-16
Our youth group went to visit a nursing home Monday night. We sang old hymns with the residents who met with us, and then had a short devotional service. Then, the leader asked if anyone had prayer requests that we could pray for. The first lady that spoke up asked us to pray for her lost children to be saved. This touched my heart. She didn't ask for prayer for herself. She asked us to pray for her children. She wanted her children to come to Jesus. That should be at the top of all our prayer lists... salvation for our children. Jesus took the children up in his arms and blessed them. I want to see God's blessing on my children. Many people today don't feel like they need to go to church to worship. They seem to have lost sight of the need for their children to come to Jesus and the knowledge of salvation. Pray for the children. And take time to take them to the Lord.
13 The Fruit Of The Spirit
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
I was looking in a department store yesterday for Mother's Day gifts and I saw a book that looked interesting. The title was something like, "101 Things Every Cool Mother Should Know". It was filled with all sorts of "how-to" titles, such as, "How To Spin A Basketball On One Finger". I thumbed through the pages and saw all sorts of interesting things that I don't know how to do. I'm sure I don't know how to identify the five most common bugs you find under a rotting log. I guess I won't qualify as a "cool" mom because I put the book back on the shelf. But I do know where to find the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians. I also know the love between a mother and a newborn baby. I know III John 3 which says, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." I know the sweet peace of holding a sleeping child and the longsuffering that is needed for the toddler years. We can remember the gentleness of our mother's touch and the goodness in our mother's smile. I hope that my children have learned faith, meekness, and temperance not only by my words, but by my example. Mothers teach their children so many things. I showed them a few things growing up, like, how to skip a rock across the creek. But I pray that they learned much more than these "cool" things. I pray that they learned each of the aspects of the fruit of the Spirit in our home and that they learned to turn to God's Word for real living.
14 Godly Mothers
"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamfacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works." I Timothy 2:9 & 10
When I became a mother, I had to make sure I had my priorities right in what I wanted to teach my children. As I looked yesterday at being a "cool" mom, I want to look today at what makes a "godly" mother. People of all ages are judged today by the way they dress and how they look. Paul tells us in these verses that women should dress modestly, and that it is not the outward things that give a woman beauty. He mentions the examples of how a woman wears her hair, her jewelry, and expensive clothes. Those are the same things that seem to be so important to women today. One other that I could mention is in I Timothy 4:7 & 8, "But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." Exercise and diet are also at the top of the list of priorites for many women. But again in these verses we are told to exercise unto godliness. God has made us the way we are and we should try to look the best we can, but inner beauty and godliness are much more important.
15 Keepers At Home
"The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." Titus 2:3-5
When my children were small I was a "stay-at-home" mom. I worked a few various part-time jobs now and then, but I was a full-time "homemaker". I always felt like people looked down on me because I did not go to work at a 9 to 5 job everyday. I often heard remarks like, "Oh, you don't work, do you?" I enjoyed being home with my children and am thankful that the Lord provided our needs so that I was able to do so. Now that the children are older, I do have a full-time office job and I hear many young mothers say that they don't know how I stayed home with five children because they have a hard time dealing with one. Here in the little book of Titus we see some good advice for women. The older women are to teach the younger women "good things". Our society has become so advanced and fast paced that many mothers don't have the time to teach their children these things. I am thankful that my mother taught me many good things, and that I was able to be a "keeper at home" and teach my children.
16 Train Up A Child
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6
Who is training up your child? It is wonderful if you went to church today. It is great if you got up early enough to take your children to Sunday School. But you can't expect your children to get all the spiritual training they need in 1 or 2 hours a week. We all need to feed on the Word of God all during the week to grow spiritually, just as we need good food to grow physically. When you start a new job you usually receive training so that you will know what to do. The extent of the training will probably depend on how hard the job may be. Well, we are training up our children to go out into the world. It can be a cold, tough world and we can help our children tremendously by giving them a solid head-start in the Word of God. Go to church with your children. But don't depend on the Sunday School teacher to give them all their spiritual training. Read Bible stories with them. Pray with them. Show them in your daily walk with God that He lives in your heart and is real in your life.
"My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:" Proverbs 5:1
My most earnest prayer as a mother was for wisdom to bring up my children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4) I was young and even though I had read books on child-rearing, nothing prepared me for the task of being a mother to such a helpless and dependent baby. I claimed James 1:5 as I prayed, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." I prayed earnestly for wisdom, read the Bible, and studied the book of Proverbs "For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding." (Proverbs 2:6) As years passed and they grew older, God showed me the importance of teaching them Bible memory verses and the importance of prayer. As they grew older I began to pray that they would seek God's guidance, and direction in their lives. I hope that they will remember, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:" (Proverbs 1:7 & 8) Would you like to be wise? Pray for wisdom. God has promised to give us wisdom if we ask Him for it. Also, spend time in His Word. The book of Proverbs is a wonderful place to start to find true wisdom. I leave you today with these words from Proverbs. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5 & 6)
18 Solomon's Wisdom Reveals A Mother's Love
"And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house. And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it. And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom... And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king. Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living. And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it; she is the mother thereof. And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment." I Kings 3:18-28
Each of these two women had a son, and one baby died in the night. Both of the mothers wanted the living baby, so they went to King Solomon to get an answer. King Solomon did not have blood tests or DNA testing back then to determine whose child the baby was. But he had wisdom and he understood a mother's love. He knew that the real mother would not want to harm the baby. She would rather give up her child than to see him harmed. All Israel heard of the wisdom of King Solomon. "And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt." (I Kings 4:29 & 30) We looked at how we should pray for wisdom. But we see here that God also gave Solomon "largeness of heart". I think this is another attribute of a mother. There is something special about a mother's love, and a mother's heart.
19 To Everything There Is A Season
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" Ecclesiastes 3:1
There is a time for everything. When my children were small I looked forward to each milestone in their lives. I wanted to see them crawl, and hear their first words. I could not wait to get them out of diapers. It was wonderful when they started feeding themselves. It was a special time when I watched them go to school with their little bookbags and towels for naptime. And in just a few years, I helped them pack up for college. The time was short. All the milestones I had hoped to see, are just memories now. "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." How are you spending your time? Are you missing things today, as you look for things in the future? Are you wishing your life away? I often hear, "I wish it was Friday". We say, "I can't wait until my vacation." We need to cherish each new day as a gift from God. This chapter reminds us of times in our lives. "A time to be born, and a time to die;... A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance... A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away." (Ecclesiastes 3:2, 4, & 6) What are you doing with your time? Take time to weep with those you love... and spend time laughing with them too. Don't lose out on treasures today, because you are spending all your time wishing for tomorrow.
20 Where No Oxen Are, The Crib Is Clean
"Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox." Proverbs 14:4
If you have been reading these pages lately you are probably wondering what this verse has to do with motherhood. I used to quote this verse often when my children were young. This proverb is really simple as it explains that you can have a clean barn if you don't have animals, but the animals can be a big help. I used to compare it to my house. I could never keep my house clean with children in the house. But they gave me so much joy. Will they remember that I seemed to always have dirty dishes in the sink? Maybe, but it doesn't matter, if they remember the time I took to read books to them each day. We live in such a fast-paced world we have to make time for the things that are important to us. And I guess having a clean house is not at the top of my list of priorities. So, if you ever drop by don't be surprised if my house is not clean... but I will do what I can if you call first.
21 The Labor Of Love
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
Motherhood usually begins with labor. (Unless the baby is delivered by a planned C-section.) But that is only the beginning. I don't know if the labor of love ever ends for a mother. Quite suddenly she learns that she must take on the roles of nurse, cook, chauffeur, maid, coach, and the list could go on and on. In our world today many mothers also have careers and must juggle their responsibilities between work and home, and often activities such as the girl scouts and little league. Many times the burden of motherhood is not only physical, but can also become financial or psycological, and the pressures come from all directions. But I know of no greater blessing than being a mother. I always counted it a great honor that God would put a tiny, helpless, baby in my life to raise up and care for. As we approach Mother's Day take time to thank God for your mother. Without her, you would not be here. And if you are struggling under your burdens pray and try to find comfort in these verses. Jesus said, "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Christ wants to help us bear our burdens. He can help us find rest unto our souls.
22 Who Can Find A Virtuous Woman?
"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies."
I have heard many Mother's Day sermons preached from this chapter in Proverbs. My words would only flaw the beauty of the written Word.
"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
The heart of her husand doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates." Proverbs 31:10-31
"... Her children arise up, and call her blessed..."
Happy Mother's Day!
Happy Mother's Day
23 Jesus Took Care Of His Mother
"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her into his own home. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." John 19:25-30
Jesus took care of His mother. Verse 28 begins, "After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished,..." The last thing He did on the cross was to make sure His mother would be taken care of. How hard it must have been for these three women and John standing at the cross, knowing the pain that Jesus bore. But even in His final hour Jesus was thinking of others, as He remembered His mother. Don't forget your mother. It is important to let your mother know that you love her, not only on Mother's Day, but all through the year. Your mother took care of you when you were small and helpless. Remember to take care of your mother.
24 What Will You Leave Behind?
"Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died:... And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up." Acts 9:36-40
When I was a small girl my grandmother would cut buds from her rose bush for my sisters and I to wear on Mother's Day. She would wear a white rose, because her mother was dead, and she always gave us red rose buds, because our mother was still living. I always felt sadness for the people that I saw wearing the white roses on Mother's Day. In our worship services this weekend many people praised God for their mothers and the lives they had lived. Even though their mothers are dead, they thanked God for the legacies they left behind. In our scriptures above we see that the people praised the works of Dorcas and deeds she had done. What will you leave behind? I pray that my children will remember the things of God that I tried to teach them. I hope that I have been able to give to those around me. I want to make a difference in the lives of those around me. I may not have a big inheritance to leave to my children, but I pray that I can leave them with wisdom and knowledge and the assurance that they can see me again one day in heaven.
25 Don't Be A Busybody
"And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully." I Timothy 5:13 & 14
We have already seen some positive aspects of being a godly woman in the book of Timothy. "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works." (I Timothy 2:9 & 10) We also see in 4:7 & 8, "But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." But in our scripture above we are told what we should not be. In his instructions to young Timothy, Paul warns him of women who are idle, and tattlers, and busybodies. The word we use to describe it today is "gossip". And for those who say, "It's not gossip if it's true", I beg to differ. It may be true, but if it is harmful to another person, it is still gossip. The definition above is all inclusive, "...speaking things which they ought not." How many times have I said something, and as soon as the words were out of my mouth, I knew I should not have said it? I have to constantly pray that God will show me when I start to say something which I ought not to say. There are so many verses in the Bible about the harm caused by our tongue. Proverbs 21:23 tells us, "Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from trouble." James gives us a stronger message, "And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell." (James 3:6) But in the last chapter of Proverbs, which describes a virtuous woman we read, "She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness." (Proverbs 31:26) Do you have a mouth of kindness and wisdom? Or, do others come to you for the latest gossip? We need to pray that God will help us control our tongue.
26 A Little Maid
"Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper. And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife. And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy." II Kings 5:1-3
We have been talking about mothers, but today I want to look at this little girl. She was taken away from her family and her home to be a servant in a foreign land. She lost her parents and her belongings. But she still remembered her God. There are many children today who have lost one or both of their parents. Death and divorce can take a child away from his home or a parent. Maybe you did not get to see your mother on Mother's Day this year. Try not to be discouraged. Just as the little maid wanted to help Naaman, you can try to be helpful in your new home. If you are on the adult side of this situation, listen to the children in your care. If no one had listened to this little girl, then Naaman would have never gone to Elisha and been healed. Spend time with your children, and take time to listen to their problems and fears. Take time to help them enjoy life. And most of all, teach them about the Lord.
27 Wait On The Lord
"And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered." Genesis 13:14 & 15
"And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be." Genesis 15:5
God promised Abram that he would have a child and his seed would be greater in number than the dust of the earth and stars in the heaven. And Abram and Sarai waited, and they waited, and they waited. And when they thought they could wait no longer Sarai told Abram to have a child by Hagar, her handmaid, and his name was Ishmael. Sarai tried to work things out by herself and it caused great problems, for them, and with his seed down through history. Then, when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 God gave them a son and his name was Isaac. How many times have we been like Sarah? We feel like God has told us something but we don't have faith to believe and wait on the Lord. We try to work things out in our way and in our time. There is a wonderful verse in the book of Isaiah, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31) Sometimes it is hard to wait on the Lord. We are impatient and want our prayers answered right now. But the Lord has a plan and purpose for our lives and we need to trust Him and wait on Him.
28 Write A Book
"Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever. For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:" Job 19:23-25
Job wrote these words so many years ago, and it is as though they were graven with an iron pen in a rock forever. When we are discouraged and the headaches and heartbreaks of this world get us down we can go to God's Word and find help and comfort. We can say with Job, "...I know that my redeemer liveth..."
When my first son was three years old my mother-in-law gave me a "word-less" book. She told me that she kept a journal and I might enjoy writing one, too. That is when I started writing devotionals about things in my life. I used the scriptures for help and guidance and wrote what was on my mind and in my heart. I wrote of the funny things my children did and said. I also wrote of the sad times we went through, such as when their puppy died. I don't expect my words to be printed in a book, and I know that they won't last forever. But, it is fun to pull those books out and thumb through the pages now and then. One by one my children started school and many of their teachers asked them to write journals in class. It was interesting to read what my children thought about. Sometimes they wrote of their feelings and put on paper words that they would not say out loud. Why not start writing a journal of your own? It was hard to find the hardback journals twenty years ago when I starting writing, but many of the stores have them now. You don't have to spend twenty dollars for one of the expensive ones in a big bookstore. I have seen them in the one-dollar stores. You can even use a notebook like you use, or used in high school. You may even like to keep it filed in your computer... just print it every now and then so you don't lose it if your computer crashes. If you have trouble starting, write about the weather. Or pretend that you are writing letters to a friend who has moved away. If you are a parent, write about the little things your children do and the things they say. They grow up so quickly.
29 She Hath Done What She Could
"And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could; she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her." Mark 14:3-9
We are told more about this in John 12:1-6. "Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein." Jesus told the people, "She hath done what she could..." As you read this today, ask yourself, "Have I done what I could for Christ?" The older I get, the more I realize, that I need to do more for my gracious Lord. One way we serve Him is in our service to others, just as Jesus demonstrated when He washed the disciples' feet. Do we do all that we can do, for those around us? I think another way we can do what we can is in our service to the church. We need to give our tithes, our talents, and our time to a Bible believing church. We can also support missionaries with our offerings and prayers. We need to do what we can for the Lord. But don't get discouraged when people tell you that you are wasting your time, or your money, or your energy serving the Lord. There were some that spoke out against Mary, but Jesus stood up for her and said, "Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she had wrought a good work on me... She hath done what she could..." I feel that my works are so small, and I don't have a lot to offer, but I must keep doing all that I can for Christ. It would be a great blessing to have these words spoken of us... "She hath done what she could."
30 Roosters Still Crow
"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me." Luke 22:31-34
I was driving to work this morning and just up the road from my house I heard a rooster crow. There is nothing extraordinary about hearing a rooster, since it was morning. I grew up next door to my grandparents and they had chickens and roosters so I woke up to the crowing many mornings. My children enjoyed hatching chicks and raising their own chickens for a few years and I never really thought about the roosters crowing. But this morning, God reminded me of these verses, and those farther into the chapter. "And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly." (Luke 22:59-62) Peter denied Christ three times and the rooster crowed. Jesus looked at Peter and Peter remembered the word of the Lord and went out and wept bitterly. Somehow Peter made it through that day, and maybe he was able to sleep a little that night, and in the morning, the rooster crowed. I believe Peter wept again, and the next morning the rooster crowed. Their roosters may have been like some of ours and crowed during the day, too. I think that everytime Peter heard a rooster crow he remembered the look of the Lord and His Words. I have heard preachers criticize Peter for going fishing in John 21:3, but with the sound of the waves Peter could not hear any roosters crow while he was on the sea. All of these thoughts were going through my mind as I drove to work and then the Lord whispered in His still small voice that roosters still crow. We sometimes fall to temptation and we confess and weep bitterly to our Lord and He is faithful to forgive us of our sin. Then we hear a sound, or see something and it reminds us of our failure. The first sound Peter heard every morning was the rooster crow. Jesus could have told Peter that he would deny Him before dawn, but He said, "before the cock crow". Jesus knew Peter would be reminded of his failure over and over. Peter went on to become a great and mighty preacher for our Lord. In our lives today, roosters still crow. We need to confess our sins, and then let those painful memories stir us to become better Christians. We have been looking towards Mother's Day and I wondered why God put this on my heart today. It may have been just for you. Does that small cry you hear each morning remind you of sin in your life? Do you wake with physical or emotional pain caused by your past? Turn to the Lord. We read in I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Jesus will forgive. Sometimes it's hard for us to forget.
"Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10
Mother's Day brought back many memories of being a young mother with five children who looked like stair steps when they stood side by side for pictures. I managed to get each one out of diapers before the next one was born and looked forward to each goal: walking, talking, going to school, etc. I loved my children and learned quickly that each one was a unique individual and raising them required patience and understanding, but most of all steadfast prayer. I prayed for their protection and salvation and I constantly prayed for wisdom to know how to "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4) I wrote Bible devotional journals to keep the memories of the funny, happy, sad, loving things that happened along the way from fading away. When Daniel moved away to college I began emailing devotions to him. I was reading through the book of Psalms at that time and each day God showed me some words of encouragement to send to him. Two years later when David moved away to college I started this website and posted the devotions each day. That was in September of 2003. It amazes me that God has kept the website going all these years. I pray about which direction to take with the devotional themes and God has led me through Bible reading, words from sermons or songs, and even thoughts as I drive to work each morning (my special time of meditation). As I tried to determine which direction God was leading this month, my mind kept going to this verse in Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." When I get discouraged God seems to whisper to my troubled soul, "Be still and know that I am God:..." When life comes at me fast, God whispers, "Be still and know that I am God:..." When I don't know what to do or which way to turn God gives me the assurance, "Be still and know that I am God:..." I could not find leading for a new devotional theme, but I do feel that God is leading me to pull these devotions from past files. I pray that God will speak to you through His Word and you can find time to heed the Word of God, "Be still and know that I am God:..."