The Self-Sacrificing Unnamed Mother

 

I Kings 3:27b “She is his mother.”

“Oh, my lord, give her the living child and by no means kill him,” cried the unnamed mother the moment King Solomon gave the command to bring his sword and divide the baby in half.  The great tender compassionate love she had for her child brought the anguished cry, for she would be more than willing to sacrifice raising her own child so that he might live.  The other mother revealed she had no love for the child and did not care what happened to him, as she, without feeling, assented to King Solomon’s command saying “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him!”

In this account, from I Kings 3:16-28, showing Solomon’s great God-given wisdom, we have the story of two women, who lived in the same house and gave birth to baby boys within 3 days of each other.  The one, a careless mother, laid on her child as she slept and he died.  Realizing what happened, she got up in the night and exchanged the babies, taking the living baby back to her bed.  When morning came, the true mother of the living child realized the dead baby in her bed was not her own.  As they stood before King Solomon, both mothers vehemently claimed the living child was their own.  No witnesses were present, so how was the determination to be made?  Since the physical evidence was not obvious, King Solomon must seek out the heart of the matter.  And so the true, self-sacrificing heart of the real mother is revealed, and Solomon said, “Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him.  She is his mother.”
As we read this story, we are reminded of the verse from God’s 
Word that says “man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord 
looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7b. Also, Hebrews 4:13 says, “And 
there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and 
laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”
Dear Heavenly Father, As we carefully examine our own hearts, help us to root out any selfish ways.  Through the many trials and weariness of motherhood, bless us with tender compassionate hearts, filled with Your love.  We ask for genuine, willing, self-sacrificing attitudes.  Refresh us daily, even hourly, with Thy Spirit, O Lord, that we might maintain a firm but gentle attitude as we teach and train our children, according to Your Word. We ask this in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen
 
                Mary, The Mother of Jesus
                Samson’s Mother
                Sarah’s Handmaid, Hagar
Posted in Guidance for mothers, Guidance for Women, Women of the Bible | 1 Comment

A Strong Tower

Proverbs 18:10  “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”

 
      My dictionary describes the word tower as meaning: “a place or thing of security or defense; citadel; a fortress commanding a city; stronghold.”  Are you in need of a haven this day?  Do you need a place to hide from life’s problems, worries and frustrations?  Are you tempted seemingly “above that ye are able”  I Corinthians 10:13b and don’t know which way to turn? 
      Certainly we can find no strength within, for there is nothing but weakness within ourselves.  Our family and loved ones provide security but they, too, are overwhelmed with the day and are looking for a haven also.  Friends can offer fellowship at various times but their help is limited and unstable.
     But look ! ——off in the distance I can see a tall narrow structure——I believe it’s a tower.  It looks strong.   It looks like a place of security and safety.  I see some words on the Tower —“THE NAME OF THE LORD.”  Yes, this is where I need to go.  I will not walk, but run!  I am anxious and in great need.
     Here, at last, I am at the Tower.  I eagerly reach for the doorknob when I notice that over the door are the words.”The Righteous.”  Oh, this Tower is not for everyone for it says “The Righteous.”  The Bible says of us, “There is none righteous, no not one.” Romans 3:10. But that does not stop me.  I quickly turn the knob, for I know that the Lord Jesus Christ is my Righteouness.  He has washed me, He has cleansed me, He has saved me by His sacrifice on the cross and my sins are covered under His blood, so I am righteous in Him.  Jesus is my Strong Tower, so I run to Him and am safe.  
 
Theme: The Better Way: Seeking Jesus Christ is Good:  Running to Jesus Christ as my Strong Tower is Better
 
Read also: Anchor of the Soul
Read also: Through the Flood
Read also: Strength For Today
Read also: Anchor of the Soul
Posted in Encouragement | 4 Comments

A Journey of God’s Faithfulness

Psalm 118:17 “I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the LORD.”

It was five years ago today, February 20, 2014 that my special Journey of God’s Faithfulness began. Being a rather healthy person, thoughts of any serious medical problems rarely entered my mind.

Then suddenly and without warning at the young age (what I consider young) of sixty-six, I had a brain bleed, a hemorrhagic stroke and I learned “How frail I am.” Psalm 39:4 It affected the right side of my body leaving me 90% helpless and numb, unlike some strokes which cause paralysis. Now starts the thanksgiving part. Unlike some strokes——-since all strokes are not the same and all strokes affect different parts of the body, I can thankfully say that my speech, swallowing and facial muscles were not affected. Psalm 63:3 “Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.”

During these past years I have felt God’s presence and peace carry me through therapies that taught me how to walk again, (God made our brains so they can learn a new path) a precious husband and family who stood faithfully by my side, lovingly caring for me, and a church family and friends who visited, provided food and prayed for us. Psalm 71:16 “ I will go in the strength of the Lord God.”

I have also seen God open doors for my husband and I to witness to others about Jesus Christ —-people that we would never have met otherwise. It’s such a joy to be used by the Lord. God’s plans are always good and right. Isaiah 58:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”

And so on this special day, since God allowed me not only to live but restored me almost to my former health, I want to remember all His goodness, declare it to others and praise Him for all He has done and is doing in the lives of my husband and myself. Isaiah 40:31 “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.”

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments

Guiding Children In God’s Way

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 “These word, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
 
     It’s fascinating to watch nature and to see how God has given animals the instincts they need to live.  As I watched the birds in the nest on our front porch, I saw them purposefully build the nest, patiently watch over the eggs, tenderly care for the baby birds after they hatched, diligently feed then and then train them to leave the nest and fly.  It is amazing.
     One day I was privileged to observe that training process.  The little birds, now fully feathered were on the edge of the nest, occasionally flapping their wings.  Sitting on another hanging plant nearby the parent called and chirped, encouraging the hesitant baby to begin flying.  Occasionally one parent would fly off to a nearby tree branch and then return, all the time chirping and calling, showing the little one what to do.  Then came the dramatic moment when the little bird took off.
     For a bird this process all takes place in a short period of time, but for us, training our children is a responsibility that lasts many years, but the rewards are great and eternal.  Training is not a onetime event, but an ongoing continual process of showing, correcting, explaining and reinforcing and disciplining .
“Line upon line,
 Precept upon precept, 
Here a little, there a little”
Isaiah 28:10  
     As their young minds are being formed, fill them with God’s Word and the wonders of God. Tell them the amazing stories in the Bible so they will learn to love and trust the Lord. Tell them God hates sin and that they are sinners, but that because of His great love for us, Jesus Christ came to pay the price for our sins on the cross. 
     Train them to pray and to confess their sins to God, and to ask God for forgiveness.  Remind them to praise His name and thank Him for all His blessings.  Train them to go to church, not as a “have to,” but as a “want to;” not as an option or choice but as a privilege—a day set aside for this purpose. 
     Discipline your children, not in frustration, but in consistency and firmness with love, teaching them self-control by example.
  
  “Chasten thy son while 
   there is hope, and let not 
      thy soul spare for his crying.”
Proverbs 19:18 
 
    “He who withholds correction 
  hates his son, But he who loves
    him disciplines him diligently.”
Proverbs 13:24 
 
     Then as children grow and move into different stages of life, there are always new situations in which they need to be trained.  Look for the successes and rewards of each stage and enjoy them.  This will encourage you to “press on.”
     Our desire as parents should be that God will become such an integral part of their lives, woven into the fabric of their minds and engrained in their hearts that they will seek to please the Lord in their daily walk.
       As I write all this, please be aware that I am acutely aware of and have many misgivings about my many failures and negligences when raising our own children.  I write these thing to show you what God’s Word says, to encourage you to persevere on and to tell you first hand that in spite of our failures as parents, God blesses if we strive to be faithful and obedient to His Word.
 
The Better Way: Teaching Right From Wrong Is Good, Consistent and Persistent Training In Love About God Is The Better Way
 
Here’s a link to help children learn Bible verses through song:
 
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Posted in Guidance for mothers, Raising Children | 1 Comment

Under His Wings

Psalm 91:4  “He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust.”

                           
    This story is an incident from the past:
 
     Standing at my kitchen window I can look straight at the house across the street.  One day our youngest daughter was standing beside me chatting about her plans for the day when suddenly she said, “Look Mama!”  When I looked up, I saw a cat crouched down on the neighbors roof which over-looked a large bush.  In fact, as we watched, the cat began to lean off the edge of the roof, stretching it’s paw downward toward the bush.  At that time we had not noticed any other animals near-by.  Suddenly from out of nowhere a bird swooped down toward the cat as if to attack him.  At this, the cat jumped back from his intended attack and we realized that there must be a nest with baby birds in the bush.  Continuing to watch we now saw a second bird.  At first, the cat did not leave.  He persistently continued to slowly creep toward the edge of the roof.  But each time he began to lean over and stretch his paw toward the bush, one of the birds would swoop down and make the cat jump back.  Eventually he gave up.
    This incident brought to mind the wonderful care and protection of our Heavenly Father for His children.  First, in I Peter 5:8 we learn that “.…your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”  Just like that cat, old Satan prowls around, ready to attack God’s child to make him falter and fall.  For if Satan can ruin our witness as a Christian, he can render us useless for God’s work.   But there is no need to faint or fear, for God’s promises are sure and steadfast.  Satan cannot devour us.  Psalm 34:7 says, “the angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.”  Yes, we shall be delivered because “there shall not a hair of your head perish.”  Luke 21:18
    What wonderful assurances we have been given of God’s divine care.  Those baby birds were safe because their parents protected them from attack and then carefully covered them with their wings.  Even so “under His wings shalt thou trust.”  Then we can boldly say as Paul says in II Timothy 4:18 “and the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
 
Theme: The Better Way: Knowing God’s Promises is Good, Trusting God’s Promises is Better
 
Help your children learn Scripture verses through song: http://www.thbmm.com/scripture-songs.html
Posted in Assurance | 9 Comments

The Rainbow Covenant

 

Genesis 9:13 “I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.”

     Traveling down the highway in a misty rain, my husband and I watched as a beautiful ribbon of color formed.  It looked as if it was coming straight out of the ground and shooting toward the sky.  At first it did not form a “bow,” but remained like a tall tower stretching upward.  For many miles we drove toward the majestic rainbow, watching as it slowly began to form an arch.  When it seemed like we were going to drive under it, the sky became dark and the rainbow disappeared.
      As we think on the first rainbow, Noah and his family must have been awed by the amazing and stunning sight.  The ordeal Noah and his family had just endured of living on the ark for one year and ten days, plus knowing all the people on the earth were now gone, and that only the eight of them remained must have been quite a trial for them.  But when the tribulation is over, God sends them a visible sign of His promised deliverance and abundant grace, which must have brought them great comfort and joy.  Their hearts must have rejoiced in God’s covenant promise to never destroy the whole earth with a flood again.

 

14 It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; 15 and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.” Genesis 9:14-17

 

      Even today, as we enjoy the beauty of a rainbow, let us also rejoice and find comfort that our God is a covenant-keeping God .  His promises are always sure, His plans for our lives, (though sometimes strange and/or painful to us,) are always for our good, and we can fully trust and rest in His powerful arms and great love.
 
“For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;
For as I have sworn
That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth,
So have I sworn
That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.
10 For the mountains shall depart
And the hills be removed,
But My kindness shall not depart from you,
Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,”
Says the Lord, who has mercy on you. 
Isaiah 54:9-10
 
The Better Way: Follow Noah’s Example Of Complete Faith and Trust In God’s Promised Deliverance and Abundant Grace
 
Read also:  Pressing Forward
                   Under His Wings
                   Upheld By The Lord’s Hand
                   Builded On The Rock
Posted in Assurance | 1 Comment

Guidance For Joy In Bible Study

Psalm 1:2  “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.”

 
     My Thompson’s Chain Reference Bible was complied and edited by Frank Charles Thompson, D.D. PH D.  In the back is a page he wrote about the Principles of Bible study.   He writes in such a descriptive and poetic manner that I would like to share some of it with you.  It has been an encouragement to me for Bible study.  I added the Scripture verses at the end of each section.
 
A. The Spiritual Attitude is Indispensable 
     “Approach the Bible in a reverent attitude of mind, regarding it as the inspired Word of God, and not as an ordinary literary production.”
II Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.”
 
B. A Conscious Need is Essential
     “The Bible should be studied as eagerly as a hungry man seeks for bread.
Jeremiah 15:16  “Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart.”
 
C. First Hand Knowledge Best
     “Many Christians are satisfied to receive all their truths filtered through the mind of some teacher, minister or commentator, seldom or never going to the Book of Books for independent study.  It becomes a new era in a believer’s life when he forms the habit of going daily to the original sources of spiritual truth for his own personal nourishment.”
Acts 17:11  “For they received the Word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”
 
D. Study the Bible as a Traveller who seeks to obtain a thorough and experimental knowledge of a new country.
     “Go over its vast fields of truth; descend into its valleys; climb its mountains of vision; follow its streams of inspiration; enter its halls of instruction; visit it’s wondrous portrait galleries.”
I Peter 2:2  “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow.”
 
E. Seek to Understand the Deep Things of God
     “Study The Word as a miner digs for gold, or as diver plunges into the depths of the sea for pearls.”
Isaiah 34:16  “Seek and read from the Book of the Lord.”
 
Theme: The Better Way: Reading the Bible is Good: Daily Feasting on the Word of  God and Searching the Scriptures is Better
 
     
Posted in Bible Study, Encouragement, Godly Living | 6 Comments

Preparing Your Heart For The New Year

Ezra 7:10  “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”

What type of person are you?  What makes you feel best about yourself?

Since sin is in our lives it’s not possible to have order in all areas of our lives all the time, but there are some things that make us feel more orderly and in control if they are complete.

Some women like a well-made bed, others prefer their floors being swept or toys picked up or the laundry folded or their desk organized or their kitchen/dishes cleaned up etc.

My “thing” is having the dishwasher emptied before I cook another meal, having some make-up on and having my hair combed.  I function better if these three things are done.

But most importantly, I function best if I start my day having spent some time alone with the Lord even if it means getting up early. Mark 1:35 “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.”

Creation is a perfect example of God’s order.  All things are set in place to perfectly move in harmony with all other things.  Not one alignment or molecule is out of place, otherwise there would be chaos. I Corinthians 14:40 “Let all things be done decently and in order.”

Colossians 2:5 ” Though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.”

Good discipline (good order), the stability of your faith in Christ are all military terms meaning a solid rank of soldiers.  Sounds like battle, right?  Colossians 2:6 “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.” Your walk, your daily conduct, is a life patterned after Jesus Christl

It’s good to be focused, but focused on what? Getting what you want, what you think is best?  That creates a negative atmosphere. Lay aside these desires and fill yourself with the Word, so that what comes from us is the love of Christ, encouragement and support. We can’t make someone do something or think like we want them to think or act.  It has to come from the heart and only God can change the heart!

The Better Way:  Purpose and Discipline=Structure and Order=Rest and Strength and Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

A New Year, A New Purpose

Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.”
Psalm 119:105  “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
 
God’s Word is precious, and in this constantly changing fast paced world, it is encouraging to know that we do have access to something that is unchanging–the Word of God, the Holy Bible, the Scriptures, the Truth.  Malachi 3:6 “For I Am the Lord, I change not.”  God is immutable.  
Time is valuable for all of us and yet we need to take time to read God’s word and pray every day.  To do this requires that we must, like Daniel (Daniel 1:8) “purpose in our hearts” and discipline ourselves to this “purpose.” Such purpose and discipline is valuable because it gives us structure and order in our often hectic and chaotic lives and structure and order gives strength and rest. So the formula is: 
 Purpose and Discipline=Structure and Order=Strength and Rest
How do we go about finding help to read God’s Word daily?
There are many Bible Reading plans–one year, two year, three year etc. In the past, I followed a two year Read Through the Bible Program which had me read some of each of the Old Testament, Psalms, Proverbs and the New Testament everyday except Sunday.  I enjoyed the pace of this plan. 
 But for those of you who might find that program too aggressive, especially you moms with small children, I found a 4 year plan (see link below) that has you reading some of the New Testament and Psalms more than once, but if you follow it diligently you will read through the entire Bible in just 4 years!  The passages are not lengthy, so even if you miss a day or two you can easily “catch-up.”  As you complete the reading of a passage of God’s Word each day, just put a check in the little box and you will find you have a feeling of satisfaction that you have completed this worthwhile privilege.  May the Lord lead you and bless you as you seek Him through His word.
 
Print this out and cut it in bookmark size strips to place in your Bible.  Store the other 3 years in another pocket of your Bible.  You’ll be surprised at how quickly 4 years pass by
The Better Way: Seeking God daily through His Word is the Better Way.
See also: Joy In Purpose
 
See also: Self-Discipline
Posted in Bible Study, Guidance for mothers, Spiritual Dryness | 2 Comments

Commitment For The New Year

Daniel 1:8 “Daniel purposed in his heart….

 Five years ago I made a two year commitment to read through the Bible using a Two Year Bible Reading Plan.  When I started, two years seemed like a long time but now it has already come to a close. Just think, if you had purposed to follow a three year Bible reading plan, you would already be completed, and if you had purposed to follow a four year plan you would now also be through.  
     Time has a way of passing more quickly than you think.  Don’t waste it saying “Later, Later.”  Purpose in your heart to make a commitment to start January 1st, 2019 to follow some type of daily Bible reading, making yourself accountable.  Checking off a list kept me on track and kept me from getting too far behind. (Yes, I was not always on track !)
    Two years was just right for this grandma/great-grandma, but a three or four year plan will probably be better for you very busy moms with children. Reading the Bible should not cause stress and make you frustrated. Here is a link to one of those plans: http://www.esv.org/assets/pdfs/rp.esv.study.bible.pdf
Print this out and cut it in bookmark size strips to place in your Bible.  Store the other 3 years in another pocket of your Bible.  You’ll be surprised at how quickly 4 years pass by 
If this plan does not fit your desires, many more plans are available, through other sites on the internet. The MacArthur Daily Bible at http://www.gty.org (read through the Bible in a year) is good.  Remember, if you overcommit, you might fail and feel guilty.  Be sensible and prudent.  It’s better to read a little of the Bible than not to read anything at all. 

 

What are a few of the blessings?
1. The joy of watching God’s great plan of salvation unfold from Genesis to Revelations.
2. Reading books of the Bible I might not have read, or don’t read much. These books were a blessing and I found passages of Scripture to underline in each one.
3. Learning more and more how much God cares for us as individuals.
4. Being reminded that God uses all types and kind of people.
5. Seeing the longsuffering of God.
6. Seeing the judgement of God.
 
     Remember, every book in the Bible was written by the inspiration of God and has a purpose and reason for being in the Bible.  
Perhaps you have just finished reading through the Bible, then set for yourself a new goal, a new plan, a new purpose and commit to staying with it.  This year I’m ready to embark on another adventurous journey in God’s Word  as I commit to memorize passages of the Bible. I have already started this commitment and have received much joy and  just like reading the Bible is an attainable goal, so memorizing is also a goal which can be achieved.  Let’s ask the Lord to bless our commitment and He will give us the strength and time to fulfill it.
Purpose and Discipline=Structure and Order= Rest and Strength
 The Better Way: Reading The Bible Is Always Good, Reading The Bible With A Plan, Purpose And Commitment Is The Better Way
 
See Also:  Joy In Purpose
Posted in Bible Study, Guidance for mothers, Guidance for Women | 9 Comments

Good Tidings of Great Joy

The story of Christmas is the story of Jesus Christ’s humiliation.  There are many verses in the Bible that express this and as we celebrate Christmas, the Incarnation of Jesus Christ (God in flesh), I want to share some of these verses with you to read and ponder, that all these things might remain in your heart.


Isaiah 9:6-7

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”

 
Romans 8:3
 “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh.” 
 
Galatians 4:4-5
 “But when the time had fully come  God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.”
 
I Timothy 1:15
  “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am chief.”
 
Romans 1:3
 “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.”
 
John 1:14
 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
 
I John 1:1
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;”
 
Philippians 2:7
 “Rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
 
Philippians 2:8
 “And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
 
I Timothy 2:5-6
 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;  Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
 
Acts 2:29-30
 “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.  Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne.”
 
 
It is amazing to think the God and Creator of the Universe came in the flesh, because of His great love for us. Oh, how our hearts rejoice with thanksgiving for this “Indescribable Gift.”
II Corinthians 9:15.  May we never take it for granted.
 
 
 
Posted in Christmas, Encouragement | 3 Comments

Mary, The Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ

Luke 2:19 “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

      How I love to read the wonderful story of Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ. She was a young humble virtuous Jewish woman betrothed to a godly, upright Jewish man named Joseph. ( I use the word betrothed because it carries with it a much more binding relationship than the word engaged, which we use. Although not living together as husband and wife, a divorce was necessary to end the relationship.)  An angel, named Gabriel, came to Mary, calling her “highly favored” Luke 1:28.  How amazing is that? Then she was told some marvelous news, which she could hardly comprehend.  But she knew about the promised Messiah as recorded in Isaiah 7:14,

“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign;

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall call His name Immanuel.”
 
 
     And she was looking expectantly for the Him.  She also knew of God’s covenant with Abraham as recorded in Genesis Chapter 12.  Yet, was she to be His mother?   In her innocence she asked, “How can this be?”  When the angel answered her, Mary humbly and tenderly believed and said, “Be it unto me according to thy word.”  Luke 1:38.
      Traveling quickly to visit her cousin Elisabeth, who was also expecting a child, whom we know was John the Baptist, she spoke these words, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.”  Luke 1:46.  Yes, Mary was very aware that she, too, was a sinner and that she, too, was in need of a Savior.
      Upon her return to Nazareth, Joseph married her, (but in name only, until after Jesus was born,) and took Mary into his own home. For an angel had visited him in a dream and told him everything concerning Mary and the birth of the Messiah (Matthew chapter 1) Being a righteous man, Joseph also believed and obeyed all he was commanded.
      Then came the news about the census (Luke 2:1) and Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem, which was according to prophecy,   “But as for you, Bethlehem……from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel, His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”  Micah 5:2  Most mothers are aware of the time when their baby’s birth is near, and so also was Mary.  I can picture her lovingly and with great care and anticipation, packing all the items necessary for her little baby boy’s birth.  She would need the long white cloth called “swaddling cloth” ( Luke 2:7) and diapers and all those items necessary for His birth and care.  The Jews had many laws for washing and cleanliness and I feel sure these were not neglected.  Although the surroundings of Jesus birth were of the most humble in nature (so He could identify with even the most lowliest of people), that does not mean He was allowed to wallow in filth.
The next amazing event for Mary that wonderful night was when the shepherds came and worshipped her little son.  Seeing her tiny helpless baby, yet knowing He was the Son of God, she must have marveled as she watched these shepherds show such reverance and awe for Him.  The Scriptures record that Mary “treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.”  Luke 2:19
So we see in Mary the characteristics of virtue, humility, tenderness and a believing heart, qualities that all of us as women should desire and strive for.
 
The Better Way: Living Our Lives To Honor And Glorify God Is The Better Way
 
Posted in Christmas, Guidance for mothers, Guidance for Wives, Guidance for Women, Women of the Bible | 4 Comments

Take Heed During This Christmas Season

Luke 12:15 “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”

This Christmas season as we focus on Jesus Christ and His amazing gift of laying aside His glory and coming to this earth in human form (the Incarnation) in order to die on the cross to pay our sin debt and rose from the dead that we might have the forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life, let us “take heed.”

Take heed that our love of giving to others (which is not necessarily a bad thing) does not consume us and cause us to overspend and put ourselves into debt.

Take heed that we do not indulge our children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren with all their desires which once fulfilled do not truly satisfy anyway.  Ephesians 2:3 “fulfilling the desire of the flesh.”

Take heed that we realize that the self-indulgent desire for money, only results in discontentment which is sin.

Take heed that the treasure of our heart is not with material things.  Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34

Take heed that the sparkles and shiny lights do not make us discontent with what we have.  Hebrews 13:5 “Be content with such things as ye have.”

Take heed to remember that covetousness is idolatry.  I John 5:21 “keep yourselves from idols.”  Colossians 3:5 “covetousness, which is idolatry.”

Take heed that when Christmas is over, our focus should still be on Christ and “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:10

The Better Way: Let Us Be Very Careful That We Take Heed Where The Desires of Our Hearts Lay

Posted in Christmas, Encouragement, Guidance | 6 Comments

The Obedient Unnamed Mother

Psalm 37:25 “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, or his descendants begging bread.”

   
     A cry for help!  A determined cry for help!  This mother in II Kings 4:1-7, was in trouble and was not ashamed to seek out help from the man of God, the prophet Elisha.  Her husband, one of the sons of a prophet, had died.  Now she was in debt, and her two sons were about to be taken to be slaves by the creditor.  This was according to Exodus 21:2, where a person was to be a bondsman up to seven years in order to pay off a debt.  Well, this mother was not going to sit idly by feeling sorry for herself.  She cried out for help, “My sons must be spared from this enslavement.”
     An almost empty jar of oil is all she had left, she informed Elisha.  Utilizing the only resource she had, Elisha instructed her and her sons to gather together many empty vessels (containers) from her neighbors.  Then directing her to close the door, she was to use her meager jar of oil to fill all the empty vessels.  Did this make sense?  Of course not.  Did she stop and ask questions and details about how this was possible?  No, she followed the instructions of the man of God humbly and obediently.
     As God miraculously multiplied the oil (and you can be sure it was oil of the most superior quality), this mother and her sons filled all the empty vessels and then “the oil stopped.” II Kings 4:6  Then she came and told the man of God (Elisha), and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”
     Oh, now it all became clear.  God was providing in a way humanly impossible, but as we know “with God, all things are possible.” Mark 10:27  The unnamed mother first needed to make her request and then be obedient.  You see, God provides and cares for His own, for He promises never to leave us or forsake us. Hebrews 13:5
 
The Better Way:  Strive to be a determined, hardworking, obedient, humble woman/mother by God’s grace.
 
See also:  The Unnamed Woman
Posted in Encouragement, Guidance for mothers, Guidance for Women, Women of the Bible | 1 Comment

A Zeal For The Lord

II Corinthians 9:2 “Your zeal has stirred up most of them.”

 
     Recently I heard the expression used about someone that they are “on fire for the Lord.” Pondering this thought and desiring a specific answer, I posted the following question to my Facebook friends: What does it mean to be “on fire for the Lord?”
 I received two responses that I believe are worth sharing.  In this day and age of spiritual dryness, may you find fresh encouragement from the following :
 
“Men ablaze are invincible. Hell trembles when men kindle.” –Samuel Chadwick
“I think most people mean zealous when they use this phrase. The root word for zealous means to boil, be hot or glow. Of course, the motive for being zealous is important. Too many people are busy doing the “things of the Lord” because they covet the praise of men.”
 
“We have lately read of forests on fire. What a sight! Hear how the mighty trees are crashing in the flame! What can stand against it! The fire sets the mountains on blaze. What a smoke blackens the skies– it grows dark at noon!……As hill after hill offers up its sacrifice, the timid imagine that the great Day of the Lord has come. If we could see a spiritual conflagration of equal grandeur it were a consummation devoutly to be wished! O God, send us Your Holy Spirit in this fashion–give us both the breath of spiritual life and the fire of unconquerable zeal–till nation after nation shall yield to the sway of Jesus!” C H Spurgeon
 
Following these wonderful quotes, I pursued the matter further by posing another question:  What specific way/ways does this “Fire” manifest itself in living our everyday lives?  I received the following three responses :
 
“Wake up in the morning thinking, “Wow, the Lord has given me another day.” and “I wonder what the Lord, my Shepherd, wants me to do today?” Then reaching for the Word, asking, “Can you speak to me through your Word today, Lord?’ Then, in everything you do in Word or deed for the rest of the day, do it all in the name of the Lord. From brushing your teeth to drinking your coffee, pray without ceasing, communing with the Lord. Be curious every step of the day, “Is there someone I can tell about our wonderful Jesus at this moment?” Treasure the Lord Jesus above all else laying up treasure in Heaven: As you proceed through the day, forget what lies behind. With Jesus as your redeemer, live in joy remembering your sins are forgiven and you are created to worship. Forgive others continually and immediately, remembering you have been forgiven. Never ever think, “I’ve done enough for the Lord, it’s Me time.”
 
“To be on fire for Christ in one way means to be in intimate fellowship with our Lord. The church at Ephesus had faith, patience, good works, and discernment, but they had left their first love.  The church at Laodica was charged with being lukewarm, not hot, because they were not supping with Christ. I understand that to mean close, intimate, very personal continued communion and fellowship with Jesus Christ our Lord. That comes by the ministry of the Holy Ghost. So it is vital that we do not grieve, nor quench the Spirit.  I find this to be an ongoing part of the Christian warfare.”
 
“I think of it as having Him before all other thoughts, rejoicing in Him throughout the day, living, breathing, walking in thanksgiving to Him, Praising Him outloud, pointing others to Him, praying continually and continually surrendering to Him.‎…and of course reading His word every day!”
 
The Better Way: A Zeal For The Lord Comes From A Daily Personal Relationship With Him.
 
Read also: Spiritual Dryness
 
 
 
 
 
Posted in Encouragement, Spiritual Dryness | Leave a comment

Taste and See

Psalm 34:8  “O taste and see that the Lord is good.

 
      We are a nation that loves to eat.  Drive down a major street of most any city and you will probably see ten or more places to eat within a few blocks.  Ask a few people and they will tell you that someone in the family makes 2-5 trips to the grocery store each week.
     We are also a nation that craves variety in taste and style.  We quickly become bored with food and are always requiring something new or unique.  Diet fads, fat-free fads, and sugar-free foods come and go and much money and time is spent trying to accommodate the palate.  As your mouth begins to water for food and you crave a certain taste, take this experience and apply it to God’s Word.  It says “taste and see that the Lord is good.”  As food hits your tongue, its flavor fills your mouth and you savor the wonderful taste as you chew.  
Now you need to compare that to God’s Word.  Have you partaken of the Word of God recently?  Have you savored it’s sweet taste, its rich flavor and its satisfying fullness?  When you do, you can certainly describe your experience as “good.”  “Good” meaning the best, the most wonderful enjoyment to the fullest, just as God described each day of His creation.
     As a child of God travels the road of this earthly life we will face many different experiences.  During times of happiness and peace it is easy to say “the Lord is good,” and we gladly acknowledge that fact. Then it is with joy that we freely partake of the Word of God and are filled to the fullest with thanksgiving.  But when the trials, discouragements, and sorrows come, and they certainly will, and we are weak and faint, the Word of God says “taste.”  When disappointment and depression make us numb and cold and our appetites diminish, God’s Word says “taste.”  When we are not able to read large passages of Scripture or absorb heavy doctrines the Lord only asks us to “taste.”  Let’s take a few moments and read some of these wonderful passages of Scripture that bring us such comfort and encouragement:
 
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statues.”  Psalm 119:11 
“Yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” Psalm 57:1b 
“Cast all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.” I Peter 5:7
“I will never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
“Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28-30
“The Lord delivered me from all my fears.”  Psalm 34:4
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  Psalm 46:1
    What a “taste” of comfort from our Heavenly Father these verses are for the weary soul.  Such words can only make us rejoice and say, “…O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever.” Psalm 106:1
 
Theme: The Better Way: Thinking About God’s Word is Good: “Tasting” God’s Word is Better
 
See also: Under His Wings
Posted in Encouragement | 6 Comments

Come Like Children

Matthew 19:13 “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for to such belong the kingdom of heaven. And He laid His hands on them.”

 
Mark 10:13,14,16 “And they were bringing children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them.  But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, ” Let the children come to me, do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.”
 
Luke 18:18 “Now they were bringing even infants to Him that He might touch them.  And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to Him, saying,  Let the children come to Me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  
 
One morning I was reading in a “Children’s Bible” to one of our young grandsons.  The story was a familiar one:  Jesus and the Little Children.  The picture next to the story portrayed Jesus smiling as He lovingly and tenderly gathered the infants in His arms, holding them close, and laying His hands on the older children eagerly gathered around as He blessed them.  I paused a moment———-and I smiled too.
Jesus Christ’s work here on this earth was very serious; for even as a youth, at age 12, He told His parents “I must be about my Father’s  business.” Luke 2:49.  But perhaps He did smile (although the Bible never says that He did) when the precious children came to Him.  Some of them may have been a little timid and in awe of this great man, while others in their innocence and genuineness may have been giggling and excited, but certainly they were all drawn to Jesus because He radiated LOVE.
It is with this same complete trust that we are to come to the Lord Jesus Christ, believing that He died for our sins and was raised again on the third day for our justification. Like children, with humble, trusting dependence, realizing that there is nothing in ourselves or our ability to commend ourselves to Christ and that we have no value or virtue, but in total child-like trust we are to come. 
 
Theme:The Better Way: Surrendering Your Life to Christ in Repentance and Total Childlike Faith Is The Only Way
 
Posted in Encouragement | 5 Comments

Sharing the Beauty Of God’s Creation With My Mother

Ecclesiastes 11:7 “Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.”

 
I have a sweet memory to share with you today.  It’s one in which it is totally obvious that only God could have brought together each and every factor to bring about a perfect moment in which He displayed His glorious beauty for us to see.
When my mother was still living (she passed away at 96 years young), I would fly out to Olympia, Washington each year to visit her.  Washington State is known for its famous majestic Mt Rainer, which can be seen from the streets of Olympia if it’s not overcast or hazy.  The apartment my mother usually lived in did not give her a view of this mountain, but this year was different.  She had been temporarily moved to another apartment while hers was being remodeled.  From this temporary location we could view Mt Rainer, again, if the fog and haze cleared.
Early each morning, as we shared a pot of freshly brewed coffee and read our Bibles together, we eagerly anticipated seeing the sun rise over Mt Rainer. Four straight mornings in a row the view of the mountain was obscured by clouds; but on the last morning of my visit the sky was clear.  Eagerly anticipating being able to see the sunrise, I kept running to the window which was in the adjacent room.  As the time approached, my mother hurried to join me and we stood arm in arm.  Motionless, we waited.  Suddenly the first  brilliant rays of the sunlight began to shoot up from behind the exact center of the dip in the peak of Mt Rainer.  Watching in excitement and amazement, the rays became more and more brilliant as a yellow-orange ball slowly rose in all of its magnificent splendor, displaying God’s glory, eventually causing us to shield our eyes from its brightness.
I learned later that this particular day was the only time of the year the sun rose in that exact location—right in the middle of the peak.  From the apartment location, to the weather, to the last day of my trip, to the right day of the year, all these circumstances, worked out by God’s hand, combined for us to have the privilege of enjoying His beautiful creation while making a sweet memory with my dear mother. Thank you, Lord, for this privilege and blessing.  “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” 
Psalm 19:1
The Better Way: Enjoying God’s Creation Is Good: Taking Time to Absorb The Beauty Of God’s Creation Is Better
See Also: When I Consider
Posted in Assurance, Encouragement, Thankfulness | 3 Comments

Life-Giving Sound

I Corinthians 14:7-8  “And even things without life giving sound whether pipe or harp except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?  For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?”

 
     Music is a great part of our lives.  There are many many different types of music and an endless variety of combinations of sounds.  I don’t think that anyone could ever say that there are no new songs to be written, for there will always be a new combination of notes and instruments that can be composed into a song.  One reason for this fact is that each instrument has its own distinct sound.  Some time in the past I attended an orchestra performance and became keenly aware of how important each individual instrument was to the combined sound.  Even though there were many violins to create fullness, perhaps there was only one flute, or one piccolo, or one harp or oboe.  But when it came time for that one instrument to play, no other instrument could have taken it’s place.  Why?  Because that instrument had a distinct sound that was needed at that moment that no other instrument could make.
     In our Bible verse for today, Paul is pointing out that even an instrument that is “without life” gives out a distinct sound: that if a trumpet (which has no life) did not sound forth its own unique tone no one would know when to go forth to the battle.  Now compare this to us who are not dead; who have life, who live and breathe.  What kind of sound do we make?  What kind of witness are we for the Lord?  A pastor we once knew said, “When you witness do not give an uncertain sound—-give a certain (true) sound by word and action.”  Our words concerning the Lord Jesus Christ are to be distinct— not vague, clear— not hazy, positive— not uncertain; or “how shall it be known what is piped or harped?”   How shall others know what we believe or perhaps even IF we believe if we are not certain ourselves?  
     First of all, let us be certain that we do know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  Then once we are His child, we need to richly fill our hearts and lives with the Word of God so that the sound of our witness and of our lives will be so distinct that as the trumpet sends forth the battle cry, so our words and actions will sound forth the love of God to a lost and dying world.
 
Theme: The Better Way: Speaking About God is Good, Sounding Forth the Love of God is Better
 
See also:  Pressing Forward
     
Posted in Encouragement, Godly Living, Guidance, Spiritual Dryness | 2 Comments