More Heart to Heart: Godly Wisdom Woman To Woman

Table of Contents

1. Households
2. Counting on God
3. Service and Communion
4. Grow in Grace
5. God Created Love
6. Don't Give up
7. A Thankful Spirit
8. Look to God, Not to Man
9. Our Own Wills
10. Selfishness
11. Four Virtues
12. Chords of Thanksgiving
13. God Is Able
14. A Woman's Sphere
15. God Honors Faith
16. Dressing Modestly
17. Given to Hospitality
18. Encouragement in Evil Days
19. Your Important Role
20. Daily His Delight
21. Stay Alert
22. On Training a Child
23. Disciplining in God's Way
24. A Balance in Discipline
25. A Wonderful Resource
26. More Blessed to Give
27. A Lovely Example
28. Draw Me, We Will Run After Thee
29. Special Children, Special Blessings
30. Open Your Bible
31. Victory
32. As You Mourn
33. Search the Scriptures
34. Ask, Seek, Knock
35. Complete Confidence
36. Our Child's Prayer Life
37. No Shortcuts
38. Refuge and Strength
39. Gentleness Is Powerful
40. Examine Your Motives
41. Keep the Door of My Lips
42. True Character Building
43. Adjusting to Marriage
44. A Joyful Mother
45. Always Pull Together
46. The Greatest of These Is Love
47. "Mom, Can We Talk?"
48. Live Christ Before Your Children
49. On Being a Servant
50. Songs of Praise
51. The Divine Pattern
52. Unread Love Notes
53. The Opposite of Gentleness
54. Take Time to Be Holy
55. Memorize God's Word
56. Giving God's Love to Our Husbands
57. Five Tips for Parents
58. Used of God
59. The Perfect Law of Liberty
60. He Gives the Strength
61. Beauty From Trials
62. Those Changing Years
63. No Peace to the Wicked
64. Nine Helpful Hints
65. Bring Them to Jesus
66. The "Right Man"
67. Submission and Obedience
68. God - The Source of Fruit
69. Affection for the Lord
70. The Sins of the Parents
71. Examine Your Priorities
72. Children Obey Your Parents
73. The "Pause" Button
74. Grace Is Everything
75. Build up or Tear Down?
76. Owe No Man Anything
77. Ready to Obey
78. Teaching About Moral Pitfalls
79. Serving the Lord in the Home
80. God Will Provide
81. Children Can Help, Too
82. Happily Incompatible
83. Guarded by Peace
84. A Living Example
85. First Things First
86. Fall Back on the Grace of God
87. The Little Word 'If'
88. Bible Stories
89. Learning Godliness
90. The Root of Bitterness
91. Teenage Daughters
92. An Assignment From the Lord
93. Etched in the Memory
94. Thou God Seest Me
95. Are You Too Busy?
96. Songs in the Night
97. A Game to Play
98. The Wife Is Like a Levite
99. Gentleness Is so Important
100. Creative Bible Reading
101. Commit, Don't Fret
102. A Prisoner of Jesus Christ
103. Cultivate Your Relationship With Your Children
104. Remember Whose You Are
105. Never Too Young to Pray
106. The Power of Prayer
107. A Bible in the Kitchen
108. Be Pleasant
109. What Are We Talking About?
110. The Power of God
111. Let Your Light Shine
112. Hid Treasure
113. Walking Through the Red Sea
114. Fear Not
115. Lay It Before God
116. Finding the Balance
117. Quick and Slow
118. Memorizing Scripture With Children
119. Peace Instead of Fear
120. O Taste and See
121. Make the Most of Your Time
122. To God Be the Glory
123. Hidden From Evil
124. Whom Shall I Please?
125. Learning to Come
126. Doubts
127. The Still Small Voice
128. Waiting for the Glory
129. Seeking a Right Way
130. The Fiery Serpents
131. Is Anybody Home?
132. A Nursing Mother Analogy
133. Are We Being Obedient?
134. My Heart, His Sanctuary
135. Not Offended
136. Even so, Father
137. A Childless Mother
138. Exult Thou Barren
139. Foot Washing
140. Ambitions
141. Pass It on!
142. A Wealthy Place
143. Daughters of Sarah
144. Of Whom the World Was Not Worthy
145. Boundaries
146. Habits
147. True Beauty
148. Created for God's Glory
149. Pilgrims in a Land of Affluence
150. Are Your Hands Full?
151. Honesty
152. Fruit in Old Age
153. Rest, Not Resist
154. Broken and Empty
155. Learning God's Word Early
156. Bringing Our Children to Meet the Lord
157. From an Aged Mother
158. Love's Transformation
159. Fellowship

Households

“And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark.” Genesis 7:1
It is interesting that the Lord first mentions “house” in the case of Noah. “Come thou and all thy house into the ark.” Why did God say that? Because the world had become full of violence and corruption. This is when the household takes on special significance. God, seeing the deterioration of the fallen creation, has given us the household as a domain of protection and blessing. This is particularly important to us today because we are seeing moral degeneration and the increase of violence and corruption around us. This violence and corruption, which has always existed, is made much more available through the media. It is now easily available in our houses, so it is necessary to face this issue in our households. How are we going to shelter and protect our children, and on what principle are we going to bring blessing to them? There isn’t a Christian parent who doesn’t want to bless and to be a source of blessing to their household. We all want that. The problem is we may want it in different ways than what God intended.
I know that we all have made mistakes, but I would like to share with you some of the principles that have encouraged me, some principles from the Word of God for my faith to lay hold of to carry me through. In Acts 11:14 we read, “Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.” Isn’t that wonderful? God Himself has set out to bless our children. As a mother, you are protective by nature and need to be careful about where your children go and with whom you entrust them. We know, however, that we can’t always protect them, so by faith we claim God’s promise that He Himself wants to bless our children — and He will. Think about Moses’ parents. When Moses went to Pharaoh’s court, God protected him there. Jochebed, who was the daughter of Levi (Ex. 6:16,18,20) had to be a very old woman when she gave birth to Moses, so she probably did not live to see the blessing that Moses became to God’s people. But she had faith. She lived by faith! And this is the key ingredient to this subject. By faith Moses was hid (Heb. 11:23), and he lived his later life in faith. By faith, let us live in the presence of God for and with our households.
Talk on “Grace for the Household” by Doug Buchannan—adapted

Counting on God

“I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.” Isaiah 49:25
I remember my concern shortly after our first child was born. She was five months old or so, and the enemy, Satan, taunted me with worry that perhaps she would not be saved but spend eternity in the lake of fire. We were in the car going on a trip when I expressed my anxieties to my husband. He told me that I needed to take it to the Lord and leave it there and see what assurance He gave me.
So that night I told the Lord all about it. I could hardly believe it, but the next morning my daily Bible reading was Isaiah 49. When I got to verse 25, my heart leaped with joy! “I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.” There was my answer! Peace flooded my soul, and never again did that thought haunt me. We had the joy of seeing each of our children accept the Lord Jesus as Savior at an early age.
Since that time I have been aware of many verses in which God speaks to our hearts that He wants us to count on Him for our whole household. Acts 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Proverbs 31:21: “She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet.” Isn’t that wonderful? Because the Lord Jesus shed His scarlet blood on the cross, we can be assured that provision is made so that God’s coming judgment does not have to fall on any of our household.

Service and Communion

“Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye
have done it unto Me.”
Matthew 25:40
One of my daughters shared with me her worry that she wasn’t doing much for the Lord in the way of service for Him.
I responded, “What do you mean? You just took your friend home and now you are driving me home. Just because something is not public or great doesn’t mean it won’t be acknowledged by the Lord as a service for Him.” The Lord values what we do for His people (Matthew 25:40). He also values what we do in sharing His word with our own children, our children’s friends, and their families.
I told my daughter that the Lord places a high value on faithfulness and devotion to Him. The Lord values it when we go on in obedience, gather to His name, try to be a help to the Christians we meet with, and shine as a light to the lost.
There is something of even more value than that: communion. Do we spend time in His presence? Do we spend time talking to Him as we go about our day? He wants us to remember that He is constantly with us, and He wants to hear us talking to Him as our closest and dearest Friend. “Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause Me to hear it” (Song of Sol. 8:13).

Grow in Grace

“I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy
law is within my heart.”
Psalm 40:8
I was surprised once by a young mother asking me how to raise children who would grow up to follow the Lord. I didn’t feel qualified to give a formula for mothering. In fact, it was a relief to me to realize, some years back, that there is no magic formula  ...  that because of our differences in personalities, background and growth, one family’s child-rearing would vary from another family’s.
I felt compelled to give a gentle warning to the young mother, sensing a legal leaning in her mothering. By legality, I don’t mean guiding children with consistent, Biblically-based principles; I’m speaking of made-up and unbending “thou shalt nots.” (Notice, for example, that although modesty is a clear scriptural principle, definite articles of clothing aren’t delineated. Many decisions are left for us to make along this path of faith. If there were cut-and-dried rules to follow, it would be called a path of sight, not a path of faith.) The law failed for the children of Israel, not because it wasn’t good, but because the flesh was weak. And the flesh hasn’t changed.
I gave this advice to this young mother: “Be careful of setting rigid rules in your home; you’ll probably end up having to change them as time goes on.” Why? Because God’s Word changes? No, but because we parents hopefully are growing in grace, and our children are growing in their own responsibility to the Lord. “It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats” (Heb. 13:9).
It is important that children learn at a young age to obey. But a parent who sets harsh rules may get children who cower and “obey,” with no heart to please the parent or the Lord. Is this what we really want? We desire our children to come to the place in their lives where they “delight” to do His will. Then the glory will all be His!

God Created Love

“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other.” 1 Corinthians 7:3-5
“Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth  ...  let her breasts satisfy thee at all times: and be thou ravished always with her love.” Proverbs 5:18-19
‘‘My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him. I rose up to open to my beloved  ...  I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me. Come, my beloved,  ...  Let us get up early to the vineyards;  ...  there will I give thee my loves.” Song of Solomon 5:4-5; 7:10-12
“I will praise Thee: for I am  ...  wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works, and that my soul
knoweth right well.”
Psalm 139:14
“Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled.” Hebrews 13:4
In communicating love we need to remember the importance of loving our husbands physically. God says the wife does not have the power of her own body, but the husband. God designed the physical union as an elegantly simple plan for pleasure, and specifically forbids a husband and wife from tampering with that plan. God wants us to ravish our husbands. Have you read the Song of Solomon carefully? In amazing detail, the husband and wife describe how they visually and tactilely enjoy each other from head to toe. The wife is both a willing responder and a passionate initiator. The bed is undefiled and is the God-given place for a man and wife to delight in their love. A man not only has a physical and hormonal need for his wife, but also a deep emotional need to excite and thrill her. That means she needs to show him her passion and desire with her actions and her words. If she doesn’t have the emotions, she can thrill him anyway, and pray her own hormones will kick in to help out. They usually do. Our God created this expression of love!

Don't Give up

O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in Me is thine help.” Hosea 13:9
What struggles are you facing today? Is your marriage troubled? Is your child giving you grief? Perhaps in thinking it over you have come to realize that you are to blame for at least some of the difficulties. Is there no hope? Should you just give up? Many of us have wanted to give up — you aren’t the only one feeling that way. But let’s turn to the Word of God, our light in dark hours.
We know that the Lord wants to give us “days of heaven upon the earth,” and yet why do they often seem not very heavenly? Well, let’s first encourage our hearts that the Lord’s coming is imminent. Today could be the day when we will hear the shout. “The coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (James 5:8).
Next, let us get before Him and ask Him to show us if there is something in our hearts or in our homes that may be hindering blessing — hindering prayers from being answered. Do I have an unforgiving spirit toward someone (Matt. 18:32-35)? Do I have a bad conscience about something (1 Tim. 1:19)? Am I taking my right place before my husband in obedience and subjection (Eph. 5:22,24)? Is my will at work in some matter (Prov. 7:11)? Do I have a selfish spirit, or am I really living out true J-O-Y: J-esus first, O-thers next, and Y-ourself last?
Then, confess your sins and count on the Lord’s mercies. “They are new every morning” (Lam. 3:23). He will never leave you, and He can “restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten” (Joel 2:25).

A Thankful Spirit

“Giving thanks always for all things.” Ephesians 5:20
“In everything give thanks.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
These two verses pretty well cover all aspects of the day for us, don’t they? But the thankful spirit we all would like to have does not come easily on some days. It is interesting to notice what precedes each of these verses. Verse 19 of Ephesians 5 tells us to be speaking to ourselves in psalms and hymns, and to be making melody in our hearts to the Lord. This may take some reprogramming of our thoughts, but the singing will help in our being able to reach verse 20 and be thankful for all things.
First Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray without ceasing.” It may be that a lot of prayer needs to go up before we can reach verse 18 and find ourselves thankful in all things.
A thankful spirit is something to covet and to cultivate.

Look to God, Not to Man

“Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.” Jeremiah 17:5-6
“Cursed” is not a light word. This assessment comes from God, so it is powerful. Cursed is the man that trusts in man. How often we do just that. We look to a friend, a group of people, our husband, or even a child, and expect them to meet our needs, rather than looking to the Lord, who is fully able to meet our needs. People all fail, so if we’re looking to them, we will be disappointed.
The desert-dwelling “heath tree” is a species of juniper tree, with a “gloomy, stunted appearance” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary). Can’t we just picture it  ...  dry all around, a tree struggling to “hang in there,” getting no moisture from above or below? Haven’t we each been there? If we look to a fellow human to meet our needs, we will eventually find ourselves in just such a barren land. God says so. “And shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, a salt land.” Parched places, salt land, where if we try to drink, we’ll only be made more thirsty. Worse yet, even if good does come (for our wonderful Father is always sending His rain on the good and evil), we won’t see it, perhaps because we’re too busy bemoaning our sad lot in life. “And not inhabited.” We’ll be lonely if we are looking to find our satisfaction from people — even from our own family. That expectation also places an unhealthy pressure on them to meet our heart needs that only a relationship with the Lord can meet. Only trusting in the Lord to satisfy us will bring fullness of joy. “It is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God” (Ps. 73:28).

Our Own Wills

“Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11
David was anointed of God, a man after God’s own heart, one whom God said would fulfill all His will. But one day David made a wrong choice. It was at a time when kings go forth to battle. Even though it was David’s responsibility to be there, he decided to send Joab in his place, so he could stay home at Jerusalem and relax. That decision led him into both adultery and murder. God sent Nathan the prophet to inform David of the consequences of his wrong choice and consequent sins: “The sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised Me” (2 Sam. 12:10). Four of David’s sons died as a result of his sins.
Every Christian was chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4). We have also received His anointing (1 John 2:27). Could we be guilty of despising the Lord by doing our own will? Are our households being destroyed because we are walking according to our own desires? “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for Thy name’s sake” (Psa. 79:9).

Selfishness

“Charity  ...  is kind;  ...  doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil  ...  beareth all things  ...  endureth all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5,7
I believe the greatest trouble in marriage today is selfishness. If I am only thinking of what I can get for myself in my marriage, I may be disappointed, because things may not always work out as I had hoped they would. But I can try to make my partner happy, and in making my partner happy we are going to have happiness together. Think of how in the courtship days we found so much pleasure in doing things to please one another. This brings happiness to marriage, too! Marriage is not a 50/50 arrangement. Instead the husband should be 100% for the good and happiness of his wife, the wife should be 100% for the good and happiness of her husband, and then both together should 100% give the Lord His rightful place. It will never work out on a 50/50 basis, for it will always turn out 51/49, then 60/40; and you will hear the expression, “I am not getting what I should out of our marriage.” Am I giving? That is what brings happiness. The Lord Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). God’s way is to just think of this, “Can I do something to make my partner happy? Can we walk together giving the Lord His rightful place?” This is God’s plan — and it works!
Adapted from G.H. Hayhoe, “Understanding, Love, & Respect in Marriage.”

Four Virtues

“Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” 1 Timothy 2:15
I believe 1 Timothy 2:15 applies to more than childbirth. Raising my children for the Lord is a continuation of childbearing. I want to be saved in childbearing and see my children go on for the Lord. Although I need and count on God’s grace, God has laid out my responsibility, which is to continue as one with my husband (notice it says “if they continue”).
Let’s also understand, with some help from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the four virtues in which we should continue:
Faith: Being persuaded and having moral conviction.
If we aren’t fully persuaded in our own minds (Rom. 14:5), then how can we expect our children to go on in the things we are teaching them? They will only learn what we live out each moment.
Charity: Love, affection or benevolence.
Am I being affectionate toward each of my children and showing kindness both to them and also to others around me?
Holiness: To be characterized by purity.
Am I being careful that the things coming into our home are pure?
Sobriety: To have soundness of mind and show self-control.
Is my schedule so crowded that my busy life distorts my thinking and above all my communion with the Lord Jesus, and thus I really have little or no moral power with my children?
Let us ask the Lord’s help today to be one with our husband and to show these four things in our life and in our homes.

Chords of Thanksgiving

“The Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. The Lord God  ...  made  ...  a woman, and brought her unto the man.” Genesis 2:18,22
“Women adorn themselves  ...  with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9-10
“I sat down under [my beloved’s] shadow with great delight.  ...  How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!” Song of Solomon 2:3; 7:6
“When the people complained, it displeased the Lord.” Numbers 11:1
“That there be no complaining in our streets. Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.” Psalm. 144:14-15
“Women  ...  be  ...  good.” Titus 2:4-5
Solomon says, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing” (Prov. 18:22). Are we a good thing? A good wife is a joy to be around. She smiles when she sees her husband, and he knows she is glad to see him walk into the room. She was created to be his companion, and she makes sure she is a delightful companion. She doesn’t nag, and she never runs out of things to be thankful for. She may weep — the Bible certainly leaves room for that — but she doesn’t complain. The children of Israel were repeatedly chastened for complaining, and God doesn’t like it any better now than He did then. Life is a song, and if we keep hitting notes of frustration, bitterness, and hurt feelings, our melody will sound lousy. If we diligently practice the chords of thanksgiving, our song will be much more harmonious. Since practice makes perfect, both complaining and thankfulness can become habit. It is clear which practice leads to the sweeter song. It is great when we can say with Paul, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11).

God Is Able

“God is able.” Romans 11:23
May the verses below be an encouragement to you in meeting the varied needs that will arise throughout your day!
“The Lord is able to give thee much more than this” (2 Chron. 25:9).
“Our God whom we serve is able” (Dan. 3:17).
“God is able” (Matt. 3:9).
“What He had promised, He was able also to perform” (Rom. 4:21).
“God is able to make all grace abound toward you” (2 Cor. 9:8).
“Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).
“He is able to subdue” (Phil. 3:21).
“He is able to keep” (2 Tim. 1:12).
“He is able to succour them” (Heb. 2:18).
“He is able also to save” (Heb. 7:25).
“God was able to raise him up” (Heb. 11:19).

A Woman's Sphere

“I will therefore that the younger [women] marry, bear children, rule the house, give no occasion to the adversary in respect of reproach.” 1 Timothy 5:14 JND
In reading Proverbs 31 we see that this woman was both clever and active. Doubtless she acknowledged her husband’s headship and submitted to him, but this did not keep her from using her God-given talents to the full. She exemplified the truth of 1 Timothy 5:14 JND: “I will therefore that the younger [women] marry, bear children, [rule] the house, give no occasion to the adversary in respect of reproach.” In the administration of a busy household, she found ample scope for the use of her mind. She was involved in directing the working of the household, in selling articles made in her house, and even in the buying of property. She directed the affairs of the household so well that her husband did not need to concern himself about them, for he could trust in her.
Second, all her activities were centered in the home. While she was most diligent, even to the point of buying and selling, she did not go out and seek to work in the public eye. Her husband takes on that role, for he was “known in the gates” and sat “among the elders of the land” (Prov. 31:23). While she used her abilities well, she used them in the sphere that was given to her of God.”
— W. J. Prost. “A Virtuous Woman” The Christian Jan. 2010.

God Honors Faith

“The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them.” Proverbs 20:12
It is only the Lord who can work in the hearts of our children and give them to hear and see the things of God, His Word, His Person, His work, and His ways. Today we can pray that the Lord would open their ears to His voice (see Job 33:16) and open their eyes to behold wondrous things out of His law (see Psa. 119:18). In Matthew 9, the blind men came to the Lord Jesus, and He asked them, “Believe ye that I am able to do this?” They said unto Him, “Yea, Lord.” Then touched He their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it unto you.” And their eyes were opened (Matt. 9:28-30). The Lord honored the faith of the blind men long ago, and He will honor the faith of parents who bring their children to Jesus today.

Dressing Modestly

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel.” 1 Timothy 2:9.
The word “modest” in this verse has the thought of not bringing attention to ourselves. Scripture was written for obedient hearts. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence” (1 Cor. 10:31-32).
When we go to buy a new article of clothing, do we seek His mind? Will it be for His glory or for mine? Will it reveal rather than conceal the body He has given me? Will I give offence in wearing it? Scripture teaches us that if we truly love our brothers and sisters in Christ, we will try our hardest to not offend them.
An older brother at a conference spoke to a woman about her apparel and she said, “But Oh! brother, you don’t know how hot I am today!” He replied, “God gave us our clothes not to keep us warm or cool, but to cover our nakedness.” In Matthew 5:28 the Lord Jesus said, “I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Perhaps it seems that we shouldn’t have to worry about that because it’s a man’s problem if he has sin in his heart, not ours; but the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 8:13, “If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth.” God wants us to clothe ourselves in a way that would not make it more difficult for our brother to think pure thoughts. May God keep us from dressing in a way that would cause another to sin!

Given to Hospitality

“And He arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought Him for her. And He stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her; and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.” Luke 4:38-39
“Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.” Romans 12:13
There is encouragement for us in this story of Peter’s mother-in-law. It isn’t a very long record, but I see a shining testimony here, and so did the Lord. He had it recorded in the Bible as a continual witness to this woman’s faithfulness. It is recorded in three of the gospels: Matthew 8:14-15, Mark 1:29-31, and Luke 4:38-39.
Have you ever been ill enough that you went to bed, only to lie there thinking of all the things you could and should be doing? Peter’s mother-in-law may have as well. We see that after Jesus healed her and the fever was gone, she got up and immediately began serving those in the house.
What I see here is diligence, hospitality, and care for others. We are told a cup of cold water given in His name will be remembered. The smallest thing we do in His name and for Him will not be forgotten.

Encouragement in Evil Days

“The Lord called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again. Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him.” 1 Samuel 3:6-7
I love to read about young Samuel. What an encouragement for us moms! Hannah brought her precious son to Eli and left him at the temple of the Lord even though wickedness was occurring there. But she relinquished him in faith, feeling sure God wanted him there.
We read that Samuel did not yet know the Lord. Maybe this made Hannah even more afraid to let go of her little son, and yet we find it was in this very place that the Lord spoke to Samuel and revealed Himself to him. Since he did not yet know the Lord, he didn’t even recognize His voice. But one thing we do see. He was taught to come when called. He had learned obedience in the short time Hannah had had him.
It was Eli who perceived that the Lord had called the child. But it is interesting to see that still Samuel did not call him Lord as Eli had instructed him to, because it says Samuel still did not know the Lord.
After the Lord reveals Himself to Samuel that all changed. Verse 19 says “And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him.” Verse 21 says, “for the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord.” In today’s language, we might say this child now knew something of the lordship of Christ. And so we can take courage from this passage that God can reveal Himself to our children in a difficult place, even in a place where there is wickedness going on.

Your Important Role

“He said unto them, Take heed what ye hear.” Mark 4:24
“That they may admonish the young women to be  ...  diligent in home work, good, subject to their own husbands.” Titus 2:4-5 JND
“Take heed what you hear,” because a lot of what we hear doesn’t go along with the Word of God, and we need to have our thoughts governed by the Word of God. Here it says, “diligent in home work.” That’s your role, and it’s an important role.
Sister, don’t belittle the role that God has given you. In a real sense, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” Of course we should raise our child to live for his home in heaven, not for this world, but a child’s character is formed in significant part by the mother as she rocks the cradle and later directs her growing child. The husband is responsible to the Lord in headship, but the woman has an extremely important role. Ahaziah’s “mother was his counsellor to do wickedly” (2 Chron. 22:3); Timothy’s mother shared her “unfeigned faith” (2 Tim. 1:5). The child that will someday influence those around him is being molded by his mother’s hands today. I believe the home is the foundation of the assembly.
Then the thought in Titus 2:5 is to be “diligent in home work” and “subject to your husband.” Being subject is more than just doing what he says. It’s an attitude of heart and there is blessing in that. It’s God’s order of things, and if we don’t want a ruined home, we’d better observe it.
— Dick Gorgas, adapted

Daily His Delight

“I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.” Proverbs 8:30
A beautiful pattern to meditate on and follow, in our relationship with our children, is the relationship of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ in a past eternity. Jesus was always God’s delight.
A wise older man who had seen a measure of roughness in a younger man’s dealings with his children, told the father that his children should feel, on a daily basis, that they are loved and cherished. Correction and chastening are needed at times, and consistent discipline does demonstrate love and care. But children should have an underlying knowledge that they are our delight. We convey our delight with a smile, a hug, and an encouraging word.
The older man saw a lack of tenderness in the young man, and so he shared with him the perfect balance of scripture, that bringing up children takes admonition and nurture. It is all too easy, in our zeal to be the “perfect parent,” for severe admonition to overshadow tender nurturing. We mothers need to remember this also, and so the Apostle Paul tells Titus to “teach the young women  ...  to love their children” (Titus 2:4).

Stay Alert

“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:27
Let us make sure nothing interferes with our child’s training. “This one thing I do  ...  I press toward the mark for the prize,” keeping my eyes on the goal, the Lord Jesus (Phil. 3:13-14). My deep desire is that my children will become strong in the Lord. I need the Lord’s help to stay alert every minute, like a driver who is heading down a busy freeway.
The Belgians loved Prince Leopold and the exquisitely beautiful Queen Astrid because they often mingled with the people, walking in the park, traveling third class or pushing their baby carriage along the sidewalks of Brussels. One day when the Queen was twenty-nine, the royal couple left their three small children with a friend and drove to Switzerland for a short vacation. As they were driving along the edge of Lake Lucerne, it began to rain. Prince Leopold took his eyes off the road for a few seconds to look at a map. The car swerved, hit a tree, and the Queen was killed. I mention this as a warning for all of us to keep our eyes focused on the road to full growth in Christ. Ephesians 4:12-16 describes this. We need to carefully guide our children toward the goal, the Lord Jesus. He is working daily with each of His children. He will finally present each of His children faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. (See Jude 24.)

On Training a Child

“Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” Proverbs 19:18
Discipline. This is a hard and painful subject. It is rooted in the word “disciple.” Perhaps one look at the disciples of Jesus will give us a clearer meaning of the word. They were followers and learners; but some of them were not true disciples, as John 6:66 tells us: “From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.” There is a finality about that word “no more.”
We do well to pray before our children are born that God will draw their hearts to Himself. It is far better to be unmarried or childless than to conceive children who will go to hell. God loves to answer our prayers and to gather the lambs with His arms. “It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (Matt. 18:14).
But they are not born saved, and they “go astray as soon as they [are] born” (Psalm 58:3). There may be anger even in their crib-cry, and selfishness with their toys. There are struggles against dressing, and they shove unwanted food to the floor. We comment, “Oh well, he’s only a baby.”
When he is a little older, it’s easier for us parents to yield than to insist on obedience, and to unwisely let the child have his own way. It’s good to remember that “We have turned every one to his own way” applies to us as well as to them. Do they see in me an example of willing obedience to God? Am I imposing my will against the child’s will, or humbly desiring God’s will for both of us? God remembers our human frailty, and it’s well for us to remember this for our little ones also; but this does not mean that we choose the easiest path, whether it’s a path of my selfish desires or the path of least resistance. If a child rebels against his parent in childhood, he is on his way to rebel against God in adulthood.

Disciplining in God's Way

“Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
When my children were young I was given godly counsel: “Never discipline your child in anger.” Deal with your anger first, and then discipline in the fear of God.
Behold “the goodness and severity of God” (Rom. 11:22). You notice that goodness comes first. Let our children see that no matter how disobedient they are, we still love them. The Father didn’t go to the far country to hunt for his prodigal son, but no one could doubt the love with which he welcomed him home.
What sort of discipline should I use in training my children? Proverbs says the rod. The world may shout against this, but all that the world knows is human nature and human anger. God doesn’t give a rule book of specific deeds with specific consequences. Not all children are alike; let God show you what to do.
It is not necessary that they should understand your choices for them. If they only obey when they understand, they will treat God the same. Maybe you explain, maybe you don’t, especially when they are younger. Obedience does not require explanation.
Discipline involves training our child, that is, leading him by example to become a follower of Christ, a disciple of Christ. God did not make any mistake in giving these precious good gifts to you. Children are a heritage of the Lord.

A Balance in Discipline

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord:
for this is right.”
Ephesians 6:1
Let us not dangle the option of disobedience before our little one. Here is a scenario of a mother who doesn’t believe in her responsibility to make her child obey. A mother and her son Bobby are in a store and he is fascinated with a ball, but it’s time to leave the store.
Mother: “Come.”
Bobby ignores her.
Mother: “I’m waiting.” (Irritated) “Don’t make me count. I’m counting to ten. 1  ...  2 . . .3  ...  4  ...  5  ...  .”
Bobby waits until Mom is on 8 and half, then he runs to her.
Bobby: “I want a ball.”
Mother: “No, not this time.”
Bobby: “I WANT IT!”
Mother: “NO.”
Bobby: “WAAAAAAAH.”
Mother: “Well, just this once.”
This mother relinquished authority to her child, which is not God’s order. She is sowing seeds of rebellion in her child, and they both will reap sorrow.
On the other hand, some parents may abuse their authority. Once I saw a father set a trap for his child so he could “teach him a lesson.” He set something that the child was not to touch in front of him, and then when the child touched the forbidden object the father slapped his hand. We have enough real-life lessons without fabricating false situations like this.
With tender consideration and the Lord’s grace, we can have a happy child and a restful home.

A Wonderful Resource

“Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the Lord.” Genesis 25:21-22
Here we see a nice example of a husband and a wife having a personal relationship with the Lord individually. Both went to the Lord — Isaac to request a blessing and Rebekah for an answer to a question. I am sure that there are many of us who have seen a struggle going on with our children. Isn’t it wonderful to have a resource in the One who promises to give wisdom to those who ask Him and won’t reprove us for doing so? “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” (James 1:5). In the next verse we are reminded that we must ask in faith, and in the previous verse (vs. 4), we had been reminded to “let patience have her perfect work.” Yes, it takes faith and patience to wait on God to do His work in our children’s lives. In Hebrews 6:12 we are told, “  ...  who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Perhaps today you are facing a challenge with one or more of your children. Remember, you have a heavenly Father who promises to answer your call and wants you to claim His promises, found so abundantly in His Word.

More Blessed to Give

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
From a letter: “Today is our 45th wedding anniversary. I have often said that the key to a truly happy marriage is the verse, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:35). The more we can forget ourselves in giving to our loved one, the happier we are. When each is seeking to do this — what a blessed and happy marriage!
“Sometimes we become so involved in giving to our children all the time that we forget that it is first of all important to give to our husband.”

A Lovely Example

“As is the mother, so is her daughter.” Ezekiel 16:44
Mr. Bellett’s daughter wrote of her mother: “Her even cheerfulness was unfailing. It was [my father’s] delight to have her beside him, or to minister to her in little ways, and her sweet, bright smile was quite enough to cheer him, even when anything arose to trouble him.
“Her truthfulness and simplicity of character were such a rest and joy to him. The friends whom she was only able to see occasionally, little knew how his happiness depended on her. He often said to me when I was a girl, ‘I will give up all my expectations of you, if you will be like your mother.’
“He used to say that in character she was like ‘Aunt Roberts,’ for whose memory he and others had much veneration [a feeling of deep respect], and he was not a little pleased to hear Mr. Darby once say, ‘Mrs. Bellett has been my mentor for twenty years. Her straightforward and clear-sighted judgment gave much weight to her opinion and advice.’”
(Written by J.G. Bellett’s daughter) From Recollections of J.G. Bellett

Draw Me, We Will Run After Thee

“Draw me, we will run after Thee.” Song of Solomon 1:4
Am I a help in drawing my children after the Lord, or am I a cause of my children leaving the path and straying? Do they see me walking by faith, quietly accepting whatever the Lord sends in my life? Or do they see a bitter, complaining woman who questions God’s every move in her life? “Draw me [singular],” says the woman in Song of Solomon 1:4, and “we [plural] will run after thee.” If my children see joy and submission in my walk with the Lord, it will be attractive to them, and they will want what I have. If my peace shows, they will want what I have. If my children know that Christ is my object and He is the One I aim to please, they will “run after” Him as well. Who, but a mother, has that kind of influence on the life of her children?

Special Children, Special Blessings

“The vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter.” Jeremiah 18:4
Janet came bouncing down the stairs, a bundle of joy. Her mother gathered her in her arms and said, “Jannie, you’re sweet!” She was indeed.
Some of us know what it is to have a child who at five years old cannot walk and still wears diapers. Almost no one comments that he or she is sweet, and the future seems to hold no promise that it will be otherwise. The vessel seemed to be marred in the hands of the potter.
Are you the mother of such a child? If you wonder why God sent this child to you, you may find some of His reasons in Scripture.
John 9 tells us that the blind man’s birth affliction was not caused by the sin of his parents, but rather that the works of God might be manifest in him. Has God really chosen you to be the mother of such a child? Then it is not your sin, but you have the high honor of serving one in whom the works of God are or will be manifest.
Deuteronomy 7:7 tells us, The Lord chose you because He loved you. Song of Solomon 2:4 tells us, “His banner over me was love.” And 1 John 4:8 tells us that “God is love.” This is unconditional love, and it does not depend on anything we do or possess. God loves me unconditionally. Now that I am born again, I have His nature, which can love because it is His choice. He can give you this unconditional love for your special-needs child.
When the doctor gives me a prescription, it may have some undesirable side effects which he did not intend. It is never so with the trials God sends. The side effects are part of His plan, too. He is in control of the effect that the conditions and its challenges have, not only upon you, but also upon every member of your family and friends.
It’s only by faith that we can value this. We who have healthy children pray often for you, and I think we will join the praise when we see you rewarded at the judgment seat of Christ. And you will pour out all the praise and honor and glory to the One who carried you through. There are willing helpers who are available to share this responsibility with you, and it is good to make use of them.
“Your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). Will you work for a reward from His pierced hand?

Open Your Bible

“Oh how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97
We all like to get messages  ...  whether it is a note in a lunch box, a letter, a special invitation, a friendly greeting at the grocery store, an email, a text-message or a phone call. It lets us know that somebody cared enough to contact us. Well, isn’t it beautiful that God has a message for us each, every day of our lives! All we have to do is open our Bible. As we read the Bible prayerfully every day, God will so often give us a thought that is applicable to our circumstances at just that moment.

Victory

“In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” Romans 8:37
“When you are forgotten, neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you smile inwardly, glorying in the insult or the oversight, because thereby you are counted worthy to suffer with Christ — that is victory.
“When your good is evil spoken of, your wishes are crossed, your taste offended, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you take it all in patient, loving silence — that is victory.
“When you are content with any food, any raiment, any climate, any society, any solitude, any interruption by the will of God — that is victory.
“When you can lovingly and patiently deal with any disorder, any irregularity, any unpunctuality, or any annoyance — that is victory.
“When you never need to refer to yourself in conversation or to record your own good works, or to itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown — that is victory.
“When you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, and endure it as Jesus endured it — that is victory.
When, like Paul, you can throw all your suffering on Jesus, thus converting it into a means of knowing His overcoming grace, and can say from a surrendered heart, “most gladly therefore [do] I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake” — that is victory (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
“When you can love the grace that comes through being instructed how “to be hungry  ...  and to suffer need” equally as much as you love the faith required to know how “to be full  ...  and to abound” — that is victory (Phil. 4:12).
“When death and life are both alike to you through Christ, and you delight not more in one than the other — that is victory; for through Him you may become able to say, “Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Phil. 1:20; 1 Cor. 15:54).
The perfect victory is to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” and thus to triumph over one’s self (Rom. 13:14).”
(Note: This little meditation has an interesting story. A soldier serving over in France during WW2 saw this paper floating around as he was walking one day. He picked it up and read the above. No author was named on the paper.)

As You Mourn

“The Word of God is living and operative  ...  a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 JND
“Who teacheth like Him?” Job 36:22
We were excited! We were expecting three new grandchildren early in the summer. As the young women’s due dates drew near our excitement increased. The first baby reached full term, but he arrived stillborn. Our family was overcome with grief, especially the parents, who had lost their first child.
A month later, the second baby arrived. He seemed healthy at first, but he had a birth defect, and the Lord took him when he was 5 days old. The two little cousins were buried together, and their gravestone read, “The Lord hath need of them.”
The Saturday six weeks before the third baby was due, we had a baby shower planned. My husband answered the phone that morning, and I heard him say, “This certainly changes our plans for this afternoon.” Our daughter had just given birth to a still-born son. He also was their firstborn. Three children gone in less than six weeks. I was broken-hearted and soaked a box of tissues.
The next day was Sunday. How could I go into the Lord’s presence to remember Him in His death with tears running down my face and such a burden of grief in my heart for those three sorrowing mothers?
I picked up my Bible with no enthusiasm. My reading that morning was in Deuteronomy 26. How could there be a verse there to dry my tears? The chapter is about how the Israelites were to rejoice before the Lord for bringing them into a land flowing with milk and honey and for establishing them there. When they came into the Lord’s presence, they were to bring a basket full of the first of all their fruits, and one of the things they were to say before the Lord was: “I have not eaten thereof in my mourning  ...  nor given thereof for a dead person” (Deut. 26:14 JND).
I was about to come into the presence of the Lord and eat bread that represents His holy body given in death for our redemption. How could I eat of it in my mourning or how could I drink of that blessed cup while my mind was filled with thoughts of the babies’ deaths? I asked the Lord to take away all such personal thoughts and tears so I would be able to worship Him without distraction. He graciously granted my request. Though tears came again later, He enabled me to sit calmly in His presence as we broke the bread in remembrance of Himself and all He has done for us, and I was thankful.

Search the Scriptures

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” Ephesians 5:22-24
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” Colossians 3:18
What makes a good wife? I’ve often heard Ephesians 5: 22-24 and Colossians 3:18 quoted. These certainly are exceedingly important verses for wives to consider. Just look at the standard: submit as unto the Lord! This is a great start for a Christian marriage.
Other verses about wives were rarely referenced, and I decided to be like Hezekiah, who copied out the proverbs. I wrote out all the verses I could find on wives. What a great blessing! I discovered there are many verses, and they cover a lot more areas than just submission. It is amazing how much instruction God gives us. Often verses that we might have considered obscure are the answer to just the questions we have been asking. For example, I had been taught that a man leads and a woman responds, but I discovered in the Song of Solomon that the wife was often a romantic initiator. As you read your Bible, ask God to show you more of His ways for you. Write out what He shows you, and perhaps memorize it. The day I decided to search God’s Word for myself and write down what He said to me as a wife was a great day for our marriage, and years later I still thank God for that step.

Ask, Seek, Knock

“Ask, and it shall be given you.” Matthew 7:7
God tells us we should ask Him to provide for our every need. He wants us to be persistent. He tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) and that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (Luke 18:1). Twice He tells us to ask, seek, and knock (Luke 11:9). As we do this we have His promise that the answer will be given, found, and opened to us. If you line these words up in a vertical column you will have spelled “ask” twice.
Ask
Seek
Knock
He tells us in Matthew 18:19 JND, “If two of you shall agree on the earth concerning any matter, whatsoever it may be that they shall ask, it shall come to them from My Father who is in the heavens. For where two or three are gathered together unto My name there I am in the midst of them.” What power is available to those who are praying together to God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Complete Confidence

“The Lord will do the thing that He hath spoken.” 2 Kings 20:9
Jeremiah knew the power of God. He was shut up in the court of the prison while the Babylonians besieged Jerusalem. The city could have fallen to the enemy at any minute. But at that very time (Jer. 32), the Lord told Jeremiah to buy some land in his home town of Anathoth, a town not too far away from Jerusalem. Many were calling him a liar and a traitor. The likelihood of his ever living in Anathoth again seemed slim. In spite of this he believed God, who had also told him that after 70 years were passed in Babylon He would visit His people and cause them to return to Jerusalem (Jer. 29:10). So Jeremiah bought the land with the certainty that it would remain his inheritance. We can have complete confidence in God’s Word, too, for “the Word of the Lord endureth forever” (1 Peter 1:25). And “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8).

Our Child's Prayer Life

“O taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8
Isn’t this what we want for our children? Of course, we can tell our children over and over that God’s Word is sweet as honey, or that the Lord answers prayer, but how much better for them to taste it themselves. We have a real privilege as parents to encourage our child’s prayer life, and have them learn firsthand that there really is communication from their bedside to the throne of God.
When my dad was a young boy, his father came home from a trip and said, “Son, it would be nice if you prayed for a boy in a home where I stayed. He is about your age, and he isn’t saved. His name is — ” (We’ll call him Marcus Truesdale, for his real name was not a common one.) So my dad added the name to his nightly prayer routine, and it stuck there, night after night, year after year. Years passed and my father grew up, married and had a family, and one day found himself across the table at a Bible conference from another young family. He put out his hand and found himself meeting  ...  Marcus Truesdale! “I have prayed for you every night for over 30 years!” he exclaimed. Oh how they rejoiced, and what a bond they now have in Christ. As a little girl I loved to hear my dad tell that story. It was a big encouragement in my prayer life.

No Shortcuts

“We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
No one is born with godliness. We get it on our knees in private before the Lord. No one gets it by manipulation, nor by a public display of piety. It has to be obtained between us and our Lord, with no witness. To want to be seen by others so they will note how godly we are is hypocrisy. The very thought of it is an oxymoron. The purpose of prayer is communion with our God, and it will make us humble.
We cannot hide whether we have been in secret with the Lord or not. It will show in our manner of life — the way we talk, of what we talk, the way we respond to everyday life, even when we pray aloud. It has been said that we can have as much of Christ as we want and our lives will show how much we want. Others will be able to see how much time we actually spend in quiet communion with the Lord. There is no fast track to personal godliness. It is not gained overnight. It takes time. May our focus be on the Lord Jesus; and as we look into His wonderful face, we will be transformed into His image.
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,{br}Oh, what words I hear Him say!{br}Happy place! so near, so precious!{br}May He find me there each day;{br}Sitting at the feet of Jesus,{br}I would look upon the past;{br}For His love has been so gracious,{br}It has won my heart at last.
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,{br}Where can mortal be more blest?{br}There I lay my sins and sorrows,{br}And, when weary, find sweet rest;{br}Sitting at the feet of Jesus,{br}There I love to weep and pray;{br}While I from His fullness gather{br}Grace and comfort every day.
Bless me, O my Saviour, bless me,{br}As I sit low at Thy feet;{br}Oh, look down in love upon me,{br}Let me see Thy face so sweet;{br}Give me, Lord, the mind of Jesus,{br}Keep me holy as He is;{br}May I prove I’ve been with Jesus,{br}Who is all my righteousness.{br}
J.H.

Refuge and Strength

“That thy trust may be in the Lord, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.” Proverbs 22:19
Is anything as simple as trusting? Our babies learned it the first moment we cuddled them in our arms. Cries are hushed. They have unquestioning security. We come between the baby and all potential dangers.
Do we trust in people? Do our children think that public services in our city, like police protection, are the source of our security?
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). We may repeat God’s precious words and teach our children to say them. But our lives show what we really believe.
Certainly God has not promised a life without trouble. If we read on in Psalm 46, we will see upheaval like we have never experienced, but the truth remains unshaken — God is our refuge and strength. If we use the world’s provision for our help, let’s realize that this provision comes from our God. Is anything too hard for Him?
Why then does He sometimes delay His answer? If He sees it is wiser not to tell us, it is a test of trust. Can we trust Him in the dark, trust Him when we don’t know the answer and everything seems contrary? If we trust Him only when it seems right to us, we are actually trusting in ourselves. Our children will see and will forever remember what Dad and Mom trusted when they did not understand.
We cannot fully trust Him if we cling to what we have in this world. We can indeed be thankful for what we have, but also remember that they are just “things.” We have even now the unsearchable riches of Christ. We are not indifferent to the loss of things, but our dependence is on God Himself. God is our very present help in trouble.
“I trust Him,” said one, “for the things I cannot handle myself.” Are there things you can handle yourself? “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Oh to feel and to show in the close circle of our family that we are totally dependent upon the One in whom we trust!

Gentleness Is Powerful

“Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
One of the older boys was playing too roughly with his baby sister, so his mother whispered quietly, “Honey, be gentle.” She had learned from the Word that a “soft” voice is very effective (Prov. 15:1).
The Lord Jesus was gentle, “meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29). The word meek means humble or gentle, not giving or taking offense.
The same skillful hands that formed the sea and the dry land, the sun, moon, and stars, touched little children. He touched blind eyes, the dumb and deaf, and the leper. He touched the hand of a dead girl, and the hand of Peter’s wife’s mother. With the same loving hands, the Lord “gently leads” mothers with little ones (Isaiah 40:11).
“The gentleness of Christ” motivated Paul in dealing with the Corinthians (2 Cor.10:1). Paul was “gentle  ...  as a nurse” with the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 2:7).
The Scriptures encourage all of us to be loving and kind to each other (1 Peter 5:5). The servant of the Lord must not “contend, but be gentle towards all” (2 Tim. 2:24 JND).
Fathers should not “provoke their children to anger” (Col. 3:21; Eph. 6:4).
Wives are told to have a “meek and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4).
Young women are to love their husbands and children (Titus 2:4).
Be ye kind one to another, including employers and employees (Eph. 4:32) (See also Col. 4:1; 3:22).
“All of you bind on humility towards one another” (1 Peter 5:5 JND).

Examine Your Motives

“Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not.” Jeremiah 45:5
There are times when we can be guilty of seeking great things for ourselves through our children. Perhaps I was not gifted in the arts or at sports, but I see in a child of mine talent in an area in which I never shone. How tempting it is to try to advance this trait, perhaps beyond the bounds of what might be according to a Christian walk, because it was so unattainable for me! And yet we need wisdom from the Lord. Perhaps God has given a certain ability to one of our children and it would be a good thing to see it get developed so it may be used for His honor and glory.
When our first child was born, a godly sister sent me a card with a poem in it that I have treasured.
I ask no worldly portion for my child;{br}I seek not of Thee gold, nor rank, nor fame:{br}Save him from sin; from human passions wild;{br}An interest in Thy love is all I claim.{br}Lord, make him Thine — Thine only — is my plea,{br}To love, and serve, and live alone for Thee.
J.G. Deck

Keep the Door of My Lips

“Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3
One year a Bible conference was coming up and many preparations were under way. This particular year, I was concerned about my tongue. I was anxious that in whatever I was involved in, I would not displease the Lord with my mouth. Therefore, I prayed Psalm 141:3: “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” Little did I realize how literally the Lord was going to answer that prayer.
Our company arrived Thursday evening, rooms were assigned, luggage was brought in and all were made comfortable for the evening. The next morning as I was busy getting ready for breakfast, all was fine until I tried to open the door of my lips. All that would come out was a whisper! I cleared my throat several times  ...  but, no, this was a clear case of laryngitis. Breakfast was served with lots of smiles but very few words from me. During the conference, because I could only talk at a whisper, it made me really think before I spoke. It was different and a bit tiring (try whispering for 30 minutes when you are supposed to be able to talk!) When it is difficult to talk, a person tends to do a lot more listening than talking! The Lord was answering my prayer in His own unique way. Lord’s Day evening after the last meeting, my voice returned to normal. What a lesson I received that year! In a startling way, He reminded me that He hears our prayers and sometimes answers them in unexpected ways.

True Character Building

“God  ...  hath  ...  spoken unto us by His Son  ...  who [is] the express image of His person.” Hebrews 1:1-3
The Lord Jesus is the express image of God. He was always in the bosom of the Father, and He revealed God perfectly. When we see the love, grace, and kindness of the Lord Jesus, we know that He is showing us the heart of God the Father. What a heart that is! When we see Christ’s holiness, we know we are seeing God’s holiness.
The word “express image” comes from the Greek root “to engrave.” The word can refer to the person, the tool, or the mark made. God the Son, always obedient, was a perfect engraving or impression of His Father.
We also mark our children. We would not want to impress them with our image, for we are not perfect; but do we long for them to reflect the Lord Jesus Christ? If we sculpt them into our own image, deliberately or by example, whom will they be like? The word that is translated “express image” in the King James Version, transliterated letter by letter from the Greek, is “kharactar,” our English word “character.” It is our solemn responsibility to sculpt their character, to engrave it with Christ’s character for life. God has given them to us for a few short years. The engraving lasts a lifetime.

Adjusting to Marriage

“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” Genesis 1:27
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.” Ecclesiastes 4:9
Isn’t it interesting how God has made males and females so different? What is so wonderful about this is how God has made us to complement each other. In some ways we are so much alike and in others so different (sometimes really different!)
Since a marriage is between two imperfect people, however, there are times when both the differences and the similarities can feel more like a frustration, and less like a gift. Like cultivating a garden, adjusting to marriage can be hard work. It takes diligence to understand and appreciate someone who is very different than you, and to learn to communicate with someone who has different thought patterns. It takes effort to be enthusiastic about the different things your husband cares about. (But who knows, when you support him you might end up being genuinely enthusiastic also!) But two are better than one, and you will have a good reward for your labor (Ecc. 4:9).
These adjustments can be a challenge, but I like to think of Romans 8:29: “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.” This is God’s plan for us. That process includes the smoothing off of our rough edges, which perhaps happens in marriage more than in any other relationship. As that happens, we often find out how selfish and willful we are, leading us to greater dependence on the Lord.
May it be our prayer today that the Lord would help us to yield to His will and learn what He has for us. Let us pray that together we might truly be one in and for Him, and that we might have His blessing in our lives and in our home.

A Joyful Mother

“Women  ...  love their children.” Titus 2:4
“He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.” Psalm 113:9
Titus tells us to love our children. Perhaps one reason that older women are told to teach this to younger women is that older women realize how short a time we have with our children at home. It may seem endless at the time, but the day will come soon enough when they are on their own.
Beyond giving them love, attention, food, clothes, and education in the few years that they are with us, there is an even more important aspect of mothering. God says, “Bring My sons  ...  and My daughters  ...  for I have created [them] for My glory” (Isaiah 43:6-7). Living for God’s glory is the only thing that will bring our children true happiness. How do we give them that goal? Only God can give them salvation and a passionate desire to please Him. Our responsibility is to pray for them, and to model the joy of living for Jesus. If our children see the Christian walk as a privilege, rather than a troublesome duty, they are more apt to want to follow God’s way. “Draw me,” said the wisest man that ever lived, “we will run after Thee” (Song of Sol. 1:4).

Always Pull Together

“Did not He make one?  ...  And wherefore one? That He might seek a godly seed.” Malachi 2:15
“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” Matthew 12:25
My mother lived to be almost 93, and we were very close. Toward the end of her life, I visited her often. While I was with her, we both wanted to spend every precious moment we could sharing together. She gave me many choice tidbits about raising children. One of the best was: “Always pull together.”
Someone once asked an older brother, “Which parents are most likely to bring up their children so they will live for the Lord? Will it be the ones who are strict or the ones who allow their children a lot of liberty?”
That elderly brother had often worked with young people. He had a real care for them and for their parents. He had visited in their homes, seen their needs, and noticed their circumstances. He was well qualified to answer the question, and this is what he said: “It’s the ones who pull together that will keep their children on the right path. Marriage isn’t a 50/50 proposition. It’s the husband 100% for his wife, the wife 100% for her husband, and both of them together 100% for the Lord.”

The Greatest of These Is Love

“Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity [love].” 1 Corinthians 13:13
If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place, but don’t have love, I am a housekeeper not a homemaker.
If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative arrangements, but don’t have love, my children learn cleanliness and fashion, not godliness.
Love leaves the dust in search of a child’s laugh.
Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.
Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.
Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.
Love is present through the trials.
Love reprimands, reproves, and responds.
Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, runs with the child, then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.
Love is the key that opens salvation’s message to a child’s heart.
Before I became a mother I took glory in my house of perfection. Now I glory in God’s perfecting of my child.
As a mother, there is much I must teach my child, but the greatest of all is God’s love.
Anon.

"Mom, Can We Talk?"

“The Lord called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” Genesis 3:9
Now and then I get a call from my mostly-grown kids, and I hear those precious words, “Mom, can we talk?” Right away, I know there will be a tugging at my heartstrings, a painful bridge to cross with my nearly-grown child. But “two are better than one,” and we can cross this together.
Communion! Oh, how our blessed Lord desires for us to talk to Him! He wants our confidences. Prayer is not just asking for things — it is laying our burdens before Him, then praising, thanking and worshiping Him. If we take time in His presence, then we will have that heavenly wisdom to pass along to our children.
Often a phone call comes later, and it warms my heart so much: “Mom, I did what you suggested and it helped!” What a tiny example of the joy it brings our heavenly Father when we pour out our hearts to Him in our brokenness and emptiness! He answers our need so much more fully than any earthly parent can. “My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up” (Psa. 5:3).

Live Christ Before Your Children

“For me to live is Christ.” Philippians 1:21
An older brother was once asked what was the best advice he could give in regard to raising a family for the Lord. His answer was short but sufficient: “Live Christ before your children.” May that be our prayer today, to live Christ before our children. And just what does that mean? Perhaps we could read the love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13 and see how to do this. Love suffers long and is kind  ...  is not easily provoked  ...  bears all things  ...  endures all things  ...  . Love never fails.

On Being a Servant

“Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee, turn not thou away.” Matthew 5:42
“I shall most gladly spend and be utterly spent for your souls.” 2 Corinthians 12:15 JND
I’ve wondered if one of the reasons the Lord gives us children (who are dependent and helpless when they are born) is to reveal to us how much we put ourselves first in our own lives. When our children are small their demands are immediate — whether it be a wet diaper, food, or sleep — and those needs come before our own. I never knew how selfish I was until I had children. Of course, we are obliged to train our children so that they soon realize the world does not revolve around them. If we fail to do so, we soon find out that we are raising selfish tyrants!
Our role is similar to servants in the kingdom. When I take the low place and become a servant, I can take no offense. “To spend” refers to what we willingly do of our own accord; “to be spent” happens when others take advantage of us. When I expect to spend and be utterly spent, I can’t feel as if people are taking advantage of me. If I give myself wholly to others in the Lord’s service and don’t expect anything in return, I will not be disappointed when I receive no thanks or acknowledgment for what I’ve done.
We are not in this world for ourselves nor for our own gain, except for the training that brings future blessing. More and more I’m realizing how selfish I really am.
The challenge is to balance that with raising and training children! As a servant you would do everything for them, but that would be a disservice to them. They also need to learn to serve others. We go through life being a servant of the Lord and others with our children right by our side. We give them responsibilities around the house not because we do not want to serve them, but because they also need to learn to be servants.

Songs of Praise

“Be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:19
“When they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon  ...  which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.” 2 Chronicles 20:22
I don’t think we begin to realize the power we can have over the enemy through song, and its importance! What a remarkable thing it is to see the Lord working so mightily for His people when they praised Him! According to Ephesians 5, it is a sign that we are filled with the Spirit of God when our hearts and mouths are filled with songs of praise! (I have sometimes wondered if perhaps it works the other way, too? Perhaps we are filled more with the Spirit if we sing.)
We love to listen to the song of a bird. Instead of a larynx, birds have a syrinx, which is located next to their heart. The music of praise begins in our hearts.
So, as we face another day, let us sing while we cook meals, while we run our errands, and while we clean house. It defends us from the enemy. Think of Joshua marching around Jericho. What did he tell the children of Israel to do to gain the victory? “Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city” (Josh. 6:16). But it wouldn’t have done them any good to just talk about it. There had to be action. Verse 20 says, “And the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.” Today let us go forward in faith as we face those trials and tests that are so hard, and claim the victory ... with song.

The Divine Pattern

“Cease  ...  to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.” Proverbs 19:27
“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3
“Dear Christian mother, do not listen to the advice of the world, nor even to that of some Christians who reject ‘the counsel of God against themselves’ (Luke 7:30) because it condemns them. It is your wisdom to seek grace to fulfill the place of a helpmeet (not of the head) which God has given you in the home. It is a wonderful place. Even if your husband should fail in fulfilling his place as head, ask the Lord for grace to fulfill your place. Your husband’s failure does not change your place of responsibility, not does it change his. He needs your help and prayers. Faultfinding and blaming your husband will not straighten matters out or help to build up your home. Such actions will only end up tearing it down (Prov. 14:1). How much we need the grace and strength which comes from the Lord, especially when difficulties come up in the home. It is vital to stick to the divine pattern.
“There may be some who read these lines who have unsaved husbands. The Lord will give you the wisdom and strength you need if you look to Him, so that, as Peter says, ‘If any obey not the Word, they also may without the Word be won by the conversation of the wives’ (1 Peter 3:1).”
— Gordon Hayhoe. “A Word to Mothers” The Christian Jan. 2010. Adapted.

Unread Love Notes

Jesus “wept  ...  saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.” Luke 19:41-42
Some years ago, I emailed a note to my son telling him how he had been a blessing. I smiled as I anticipated his response, but he said nothing. I knew he checked his emails every day, but I did not realize he had changed his email address and only checked the address I had used occasionally. One week later, he had an accident and went to be with the Lord. I wept when I went to close his email account and discovered he had never opened and read the letter I had sent him.
A few years later, I got a phone call that my sister’s cancer had worsened. I immediately chose a special card and wrote a note wandering down memory lane, exploring some special times we had had together. I made a special trip to the post office to mail it because I was so eager that she receive it in time. Unfortunately, while the address was correct, the zip code was not. Five weeks later, as I arrived home from her funeral, I was crushed to discover the unopened letter returned to my mailbox.
Unread love notes. How I wish my son and my sister had read them. And I wonder. God has sent a love note, lovingly, yearningly written to us and for us. How does it make Him feel when we deliberately choose not to read it? Neither my son nor my sister were aware of my notes, but we are well aware of God’s note. Have we read His letter from start to finish? Have we read it today?

The Opposite of Gentleness

“We were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children.” 1 Thessalonians 2:7
What is the opposite of gentleness?
I am too busy to listen to my child’s story.
I’m too self-centered to stop and kiss my child’s scraped knee.
I get upset easily and raise my voice.
I am not affectionate, and I fail to give loving hugs.
I use sarcasm and snap back at my children’s remarks.
My heart is too hard to go in the spirit of meekness to visit the sister who I have offended or who has offended me (Gal. 6:1).

Take Time to Be Holy

“Be ye holy; for I am holy” 1 Peter 1:16
Take time to be holy, speak oft with the Lord;{br}Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.{br}Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,{br}Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;{br}Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.{br}By looking to Jesus, like Him you will be;{br}Your friends in your conduct His likeness shall see.
Take time to be holy, let Him be your Guide;{br}And run not before Him, whatever betide.{br}In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,{br}And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.
Take time to be holy, be calm in your soul,{br}Each thought and each motive beneath His control.{br}Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,{br}Soon, soon He will call you to glory above.

Memorize God's Word

“Mine eyes anticipate the night-watches, that I may meditate in Thy word.” Psalm 119:148 JND
“I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.” Psalm 16:7
“My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips: when I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches. Because Thou hast been my help.” Psalm 63:5-7
“I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.” Psalm 77:6
What can we do when we are nursing a baby at night or simply lying there in the dark unable to sleep? It can be an opportunity to meditate on the Word of God. What if we can’t turn the light on because it would wake our husband up or would keep us from getting back to sleep ourselves? In that case we need to plan ahead — hiding God’s word in our memory as well as our heart. There’s no doubt about it: memorization is work, for some of us hard work. But it is such a treat to be able to lie in bed at night and go through verses, whole chapters if we have memorized that much. I am so thankful I was encouraged to learn chapters when I was younger; and I still try to memorize even though my brain is rusty. (That’s a great reason to have our children memorize while it is still relatively easy!) Memorize with your children — recite the verses to each other weekly and then enjoy a fun activity together when the goal is reached. If you don’t have children with whom you can memorize, you might try inviting your husband or a friend to learn with you. But learn what you can, and meditate on verses you already know. “Every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night” (Song of Solomon 3:8). Keep the sword (the Word of God, Eph. 6:17) handy so you can use it in the night. It’s quite a treasure!

Giving God's Love to Our Husbands

“Teach the young women  ...  to love their husbands.” Titus 2:3-4
Young women (and old) are to love their husbands. That seems straightforward enough. After all, that’s why we married them, right? But what happens if we run out of love? I’ve heard several people say that the Bible tells husbands to love their wives, but not the other way around. However, this verse clearly states that a wife should always love her husband. If she falls out of love, well, she can go to God’s fountain and drink of His love. In other words, if our natural love runs dry, we may still love our husband with divine love. “His banner over me is love” (Song of Sol. 2:4), and God wants me to fly that banner over our house, our dining room table, our bed. It helps to try to look at our husband as God looks at Him, with God’s heart of love. God is love, and His supply is inexhaustible.

Five Tips for Parents

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right  ...  . And, ye [parents], provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:1,4
Here are five things that we should remember when raising our children.
1. Do not discipline in anger. I often put my children “in ward” until I could figure out how best to discipline them, and until my emotions simmered down. “In ward” was their bedrooms. “Provoke not your children to wrath” (Eph. 6:4).
2. Don’t “roast” your brothers and sisters in Christ. Criticism of the people you love can instill disrespect in your children. Refusing to criticize others helps your children grow up with a genuine affection for the saints, which in turn teaches them to respect the things they hear from them. “Speak not evil one of another, brethren” (James 4:11).
3. Be in agreement as parents. Do not allow the children to play one parent against the other. “Every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matt. 12:25).
4. Nurture a relationship with your children. Love and grace form the bond with our children, not arbitrary rules. Rules without relationship foster rebellion. “My son, give Me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe My ways” (Prov. 23:26).
5. Let your children know that ultimately they will answer to God and are responsible to Him. “Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord” (Psa. 34:11).

Used of God

“When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman.” Galatians 4:4
What an encouragement this verse is to us as women! We read the sad truth in many places throughout the scriptures that it was through a woman, Eve, that sin was first brought into this world. She had been created to be Adam’s helpmeet but ate the forbidden fruit and gave some to her husband.
But many years later, God sent His Son into this sin-stricken world through a woman! Isn’t that an amazing thing? He, in His grace, uses a woman to bring God’s beloved Son into this world, when 2000 years before a woman had been instrumental in bringing sin into the world. This is an encouragement. Although we may fail often in being a helpmeet to our husbands or being a godly mother, we can be comforted that the Lord is gracious and still wants to use us for blessing to His people, to lost souls around us, and most of all in our own family circle.

The Perfect Law of Liberty

“I delight to do Thy will, O my God.” Psalm 40:8
Recently I was reading a blog where the subject was controversial. I was really struck by a comment that went something like this: “Well, the verse says ‘ought,’ not ‘must,’ so that leaves it open to your own discretion.”
At first, I thought Hmmm! A loophole! (This was a subject that in certain circumstances does not come easily for me, so I was glad to think that.) I kept thinking about it; I think that because the loop-hole conclusion wasn’t the one He wanted me to reach, the Lord kept it on my mind. I realized that there was more to it than technicalities. In my relationship with my Lord, perhaps ought should mean must. I thought of the relationship between a husband and wife. We’ve all heard the expression, “Your wish is my command,” a romantic way of saying that whatever my loved one desires, I will do it for him. Is my relationship with my Lord and Savior one of such love and devotion that my response to His desires is complete, happy obedience? I pray that it would be so!
Walking this way is actually liberty, not bondage. James 1:25 says, “Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” It has been said that liberty is not the license to do what we want, but the assistance to do what we ought. Furthermore, God promises us blessing if we obey Him! It’s possible that in our day-to-day life, while serving and fulfilling the wishes of our loved ones, we may not get the appreciation that we would like. However, we can count on our Lord to always notice, appreciate, and bless us for any act of service we do for Him in obedience.

He Gives the Strength

“To them that have no might He increaseth strength.” Isaiah 40:29
“My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3
Some of the things that God asks of us are easier said than done. His standard is so high! “Love ... as I have loved you” (John 15:12). “Submit ... as unto the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). “Reverence [your] husband” (Eph. 5:33). “In everything give thanks” (1 Thess. 5:18). Forgive “as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).
God does not ask us to do these things in our own strength. He gives us all the love, wisdom, and strength that we need to be a good wife. He does not give us any room to cop out; instead He gives us more grace (James 4:6). God would not have set up this pattern if He didn’t know it was best for us. “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love....These things I have spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:10-11). “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17). The happiness is a promise.
Here’s another promise that’s really important: “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established” (Prov. 16:3 Emphasis added). The unconditional love, obedience, submission, respect, thanksgiving, and forgiveness that God asks of us are all acts of the will, not emotions. Love in a marriage does not get its source from hormones or emotional feelings. Notice that 1 Corinthians 13 describes specific acts, not fuzzy feelings. If we act with love, respect, and forgiveness, God will in time give us the thoughts and feelings that go along with our actions. What a fantastic blessing a Christian marriage is!

Beauty From Trials

“We  ...  beholding  ...  the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
While writing out the Book of Isaiah some time ago, I noticed a beautiful progression in the relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ and His people. Isaiah 28:5 says, “In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of His people.” Then many chapters later (Isa. 62:3), we find the message to those people, “Thou shalt be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.”
After all the failures, trials and sorrows they passed through, in the end they had been refined to the point that they reflected back to God the same characteristics that He had!
Oh, that the trials and sorrows in our lives would refine us to the point that others might see the glories of Christ reflected in us, that the very image of His glory would be reflected by us to others as in a mirror as we behold His Glory!
“But we all with open face beholding as in a glass [mirror!] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).

Those Changing Years

“When He was twelve years old.” Luke 2:42
While your children are young, you cuddle them in your arms. As your son grows, he may no longer want to cuddle up to you. It hurts since your heart has not changed.
Where is he? You may have no way of knowing his inward thoughts. Maybe he sits across the table from you or maybe he is happy at someone else’s table. You may look for him among your kinsfolk and acquaintances, but he is not there.
This is a hard time in parent-life, but it is good to recognize it as a time of change in your child’s life. You begin to see his need to make certain decisions that you used to make for him.
It’s good to look at the perfect Boy in Luke 2, who acted independently of Joseph and Mary and lingered in Jerusalem. Where? In the temple. They sought Him anxiously, and although they had only missed Him one day, it took three days to find Him. And they totally failed to understand the reason for His absence.
Rebuking your child for his seeming independence may hinder his proper gowth. Let his relationship with God be beyond your understanding. Tell God your problem and find that in His presence you are nearer, eternally nearer to your child than you ever were in person.
Your child must still be subject to you, (you will notice that Jesus returned to Nazareth and was subject to His parents), but you also need to be more dependent on the Lord than ever before so that your direction might be in the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no “How to” book that will guide you here, and is it not better, far better, that God Himself should be your Guide? The importance of example is vital, the example of reality in my life, not only for my child’s sake, but because God wants me close to Himself.
We mothers are to submit to our husbands and to God, not as a showpiece for our children but because God says so. Our life is the example that our children see every day. If Christ is our object, everything else falls into place.

No Peace to the Wicked

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
My mother was a frail person, and there were ten of us children. When needed, she spoke to us about naughty things we were doing and sometimes she would slap our hands, but if there was any serious discipline to be meted out, she would say, “We’ll wait until Daddy comes home.” That was an all-day-long punishment. It wasn’t that my dad was a hard man. It was that he grieved so much when he knew we had done wrong. I hated to see the sad look on his face.
I can remember he would set me close to himself when I was young and talk to me about my wrongdoing. He was hoping that I would confess my sins, and he was ready to forgive them. Of course there would be a spanking, too; and then Daddy and I would both be happy again. One day I wouldn’t own up to what I’d done. I kept telling Daddy happy little things hoping it would clear up the situation and perhaps enable me to avoid a spanking. It didn’t work. All during dinner Daddy looked unhappy, and my conscience got busy because I knew I was the cause of his sadness. When dinner was over, I could hardly wait to run to him, telling him how naughty I was and ask his forgiveness. Then he gave me a big hug and we were both happy again.
That relationship is mirrored now in my relationship with God my Father. If I sin, He is waiting for me to confess my sins. We find that, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Then we will be at peace with God and His peace will become evident in our family, too. If we attempt to have fellowship with God in our sins, we are insinuating that God can walk with sin. “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked” (Isa. 57:21).

Nine Helpful Hints

“The aged women likewise, that they be teachers of good things.” Titus 2:3-5
Here are nine habits I recommend as you raise your children for the Lord Jesus:
1. Sing hymns and choruses with your children with your Bible reading and prayer time.
2. Let your family see the affection that your husband and you have for each other. This provides security and a gentle pattern for their lives.
3. Take time to listen well and give frequent hugs.
4. Everyone, including the two-year-olds, should learn verses daily, until they can say entire chapters.
5. Waken an hour before the children, to pray, to read your Bible, and to write a tentative schedule for the day. This will give a godly perspective for your day.
6. Every room needs Bible verses hanging on the walls (Deut. 6:7).
7. Ask the Lord daily the same question that Samson’s father asked, “How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?” (Judg. 13:12).
8. Ask the Lord to strengthen you, and give you patience. We cannot do it alone.
9. When correcting your children because of disobedience, use the rod as instructed in Proverbs. During the 20 years in which we are training our children under the Lord’s direction, we are a gardener and an artist. Psalm 144:12 says, “That our sons may be as plants grown up  ...  our daughters  ...  as corner stones, polished.”
May the Lord bless you as you enter the highest career that He has for a woman. May He help you as you make your home a love nest for your husband and your children.

Bring Them to Jesus

“Then were there brought unto Him little children, that He should put His hands on them, and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:13-14
“O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.” Matthew 15:28
Mother, behold your Savior’s face,{br}His hands, and feet, and side;{br}Can you not trust His love and grace,{br}Who for your dear ones died?{br}Oh, lay those tender lambs of yours{br}On that kind Shepherd’s breast;{br}Their future to His care resign,{br}And in His wisdom rest.
Mother, how multiplied your joy,{br}What solace to your fears;{br}To train them now your sweet employ,{br}To serve in coming years.{br}Still look to Him, and trust, and pray,{br}Who has the work begun;{br}“E’en as thou wilt,” still hear Him say,{br}“Woman, it shall be done.”{br}
— James G. Deck

The "Right Man"

“And did not He make one? Yet had He the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That He might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit  ...  for the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that He hateth putting away [divorce]: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts; therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.” Malachi 2:15-16.
We all know that at one time or another we have not been happy with the man God has given us for a husband. Some wonder if they married the “right one.” They might even consider divorce. What do we do with these thoughts if they come into our mind? We know they aren’t right, but sometimes divorce may seem to be the only solution.
But is it really a solution? There are a few things we need to ponder. First of all, even if we did not marry the right man to begin with — which admittedly is the case if we know the Lord Jesus as Savior but married an unbeliever — he still became the “right man” for us the moment we said, “I do.” God hates putting away, (Mal. 2:16). He may permit separation in certain circumstances (Matt. 5:32; 1 Cor. 7:10-11). But even after infidelity God may bring healing, and even after seeking protection in an abusive situation, healing should be sought. He has shown longsuffering with His faithless bride, and He offers us His resources to do the same in our darkest hours. He states, “The woman which hath an husband that believeth not  ...  if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him” (1 Cor. 7:13). If God does not want us to leave an unbeliever, how much less would He choose for us to leave a believer, one of His own children.
Secondly, someone told me that whenever she had problems with her spouse, she tried to remember that the problem was not from the Lord, who wants us to live together in unity (Psa.133:1), but from the enemy of our souls, whose job it is to destroy and divide.
Also, we need to remember that if we were to leave our husband, we would still have to live with ourselves, and “in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:18). I have pondered: If I can’t be happy with the man God has chosen for me, how could I expect to be happy with a man God has not chosen for me?

Submission and Obedience

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” Ephesians 5:1
Children must learn obedience. As God’s children, we must also learn to obey. It’s a lesson that He will teach us over and over. It comes down to submission, and believing that He knows best. We can resist His expressed will a long time, even our whole lives; but until we rest in submission to Him, we won’t be happy. It is well if our children learn obedience early, for His glory and for their good.
Obedience on their time table, at their whim, is not true obedience. I have often told my children, “Obedience is not obedience unless it’s immediate.”
Obedience is an act, and submission is an attitude. Submission is not resignation or an unresisting compliance. Submission is the “serene expression of one at perfect peace in the hand of God” (F. Lavington). God calls us and our children to both obedience and submission (Heb. 13:17; James 4:7).

God - The Source of Fruit

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.” John 15:4
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Galatians 5:22-23
“From Me is thy fruit found.” Hosea 4:8
Galatians 5:22-23. The fruit of the Spirit  ...  how often we read these verses and value and appreciate them. Now, can I pair them with Hosea 14:8 where the scripture reads “From Me is thy fruit found”? Here we see that if there is no connection there will be no fruit. The fruit can only come if it “abides” in (i.e., is connected to) the vine and its roots, that is, the Lord Jesus. God is the master Gardener. He knows when we need sunshine, rain, wind, dryness, and the refreshing moisture of dew. We can trust Him to give us the right circumstances, and we can trust Him to give the grace we need to keep us in whatever circumstances He sends. How this should produce praise from our hearts!

Affection for the Lord

“I entered into thine house  ...  . thou gavest Me no kiss  ...  . My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath  ...  for she loved much.” Luke 7:44-47
Towards the end of a busy summer when my days were filled with the rush of daily “musts” of canning, extra laundry, school shopping, and many other things, the Lord Jesus brought home to my heart these verses. The Lord is speaking here. How many times has the Saviour been in our home and we gave Him “no kiss.” When we are His, He is always with us, for He is within us. But maybe we have not been taking time to read His Word; or maybe we have read it, but it was just out of habit and our hearts were not in it. Our affections for the Lord might be sadly low, our love cold or just lukewarm. He wants our heart’s affections, our praises, and our worship. Have you thought on the Lord of glory and His love for you today? Have you responded to His love with a “kiss,” an outflow of love from your heart for Him?

The Sins of the Parents

“That they might set their hope in God, and not  ...  be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.” Psalm 78:7-8
“Bring them up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 (JND)
“Do we bear some responsibility as parents for our children? Indeed we do. I believe that it is a principle that runs all through the Word of God. I cannot teach my child that which I have not learned myself, and that is what it means when it says, ‘the discipline and admonition of the Lord.’ Unless I as a parent have come to terms with the Lordship of Christ, I cannot think that I can act in a proper way in discipline towards my child. If there is a particular sin in my own life that I have not judged, then I cannot effectively discipline my child for the same things. One of two things will happen. I may discipline the child severely for that which I have not judged in my own life — in which case it will produce only rebellion in his soul because he sees that I am not consistent; or, on the other hand, I may completely lay aside the discipline, letting the child do what he wants, producing the same effect.
“Let me use an example from the Word of God. You will remember how the sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, died at the hand of God because they offered strange fire before the Lord. If you read the passage (Lev. 10:1-3), you will remember that it is recorded there that Aaron ‘held his peace.’ Why did Aaron hold his peace? I believe poor Aaron remembered only too well how that probably not more than a year before he had shown a careless attitude toward the honor and glory of the Lord in producing a golden calf, and in leading the people of Israel into idolatry.
“Even if we have fallen ourselves, we must not lay aside the discipline and admonition of the Lord, repenting and confessing our failure, and acknowledging His Lordship. We must seek His grace and strength to live in the power of our new life and His righteousness. Then we need to humbly admonish our children to avoid the same error, and thus avoid its consequent sorrow. If we repent and judge our own sins before God, then we will have moral power to guide our children’s feet into paths of righteousness in spite of our own past failures. Through God’s grace this may prevent our sins from being carried out in the next generation.”
— Adapted

Examine Your Priorities

“Love has long patience, is kind  ...  is not quickly provoked  ...  bears all things  ...  endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5,7 JND
Mommy hurried busily about the house with the urge that everything be just right. The hands on the clock seemed to move faster than usual, as she cleaned and carefully prepared a very special meal for her expected guests.
Meanwhile, her frustration mounted, and she became more impatient as her preschool daughter kept interrupting these pressing tasks and creating new jobs to be done. When she could stand it no longer, Mommy decided to let her write, as the little girl enjoyed copying letters and words. This will keep her out from underfoot and too busy to undo my accomplishments for a little while, Mommy thought. Setting her busy little daughter up to the kitchen table, she gave her the Bible to copy from, along with some paper and a pencil. Then Mommy hurried off to finish the cleaning.
The little head with golden curls was bent studiously over her writing, and it was some time later when Mommy stopped to take an interest in her little one’s efforts. The letters she had carefully copied were various sizes and some words ran together in preschool style. Mommy read slowly aloud, “Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.”
Immediately she felt this as a rebuke from the Lord. Her young daughter, who could not read yet, had picked this verse, 2 Corinthians 11:1, to copy. She felt that the Lord caused her daughter to copy this verse to speak to her heart. She had put such high priority on the preparing for company that this precious treasure from the Lord had been impatiently treated. May the Lord encourage each one of us to examine our priorities, which often are the cause of our poor attitudes towards our children.

Children Obey Your Parents

“They  ...  chastened us after their own pleasure.” Hebrews 12:10
If you had parents who did not know the Lord, you had the world’s training in your growing-up years. Our parents shaped us according to what they expected of us, and your memories remind you of things that I cannot guess, whether of happiness or misery. But in any case, they chastened us after their own pleasure. The world’s wisdom set the standard.
Now you are a Christian mother and have a higher motive than “after our own pleasure.” Higher? We are not naturally better nor wiser than our parents, but we look to God for the answers, and His way is perfect.
Hebrews 12 tells us to chasten our children. This is not limited to spanking with physical pain. “Chastise” includes many kinds of loving correction. Perhaps pain is best inflicted on young children: it is easily understood, soon over, and even with undried tears can be followed by loving hugs.
There continues to be a place for physical chastisement throughout childhood. Every child is different, and only God Himself can give us wisdom for the occasion. Sometimes locking up a favorite toy might be wise, or the “no dessert” privation. Often this should begin by kneeling down together and sharing God’s feelings about the misdeed, explaining to your child that his heart attitude displeases God. Let our child see that God cares, and we care. We should never punish him because he gets on our nerves or disgraces us before others. If anger or frustration make us feel like spanking, let’s put our hands behind our back. If we spank him, we need to do so in the fear of God. It is disobedience on our part to allow disobedience in our child.
We need to make sure our children obey our commands without exception. Children who disobey their parents often disobey God all their lives. Do you see what tremendous responsibility this places on us as mothers? It is enough to scare us from ever having children at all — but it doesn’t need to. Above all things, let us read God’s Word for ourselves and enter into the sanctuary of His presence daily. Better still, live there! In His presence, let us ask God to plan our family. When our children desire to follow the Lord, we will find that this desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul.
God wisely gives us nine months before our cuddle-bundle arrives, and we find that no two are alike. Only God could do this, and that’s why He hasn’t given us a book of rules. Instead He gives the promise of His wisdom to those who ask Him (James 1:5). “In [Him] are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3).

The "Pause" Button

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Recently I had a conversation with some dear Christian friends about “pausing.” One friend told a story about the day a granddaughter visited her grandmother. She wanted Grandma’s attention, but Grandma was busy with something else.
“Grandma, can you please push the pause button?” said her granddaughter.
It started her grandma thinking about how we need to “push the pause button” in our lives so we can be still and listen to what the Lord wants to say to us.
When someone asks how we’re doing, we often sigh, “I’m so busy.” What if instead we said, “Well, I’m really focusing on pausing”? Would that get us a strange look? Off the top of my head, I can recall more verses which tell us to slow down than those which tell us to get busier! “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psa. 46:10). “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isa. 30:15). “Their strength is to sit still” (Isa. 30:7). “Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall” (Ruth 3:18). “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). (It doesn’t exactly say she was still, but personally, I can’t ponder very well when I’m flying around!) On the other hand, we are told to “Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13), and “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Eccl. 9:10). We need a balance. But my heart has been challenged to make the effort to pause.

Grace Is Everything

“Out of the mouth of babes.” Psalm 8:2
My four-year old daughter was standing before her row of dolls, an open Bible in her hand, and she was preaching. Experience had taught me to glance only occasionally in her direction and continue to be busy so that she would not be embarrassed by me. So I listened a moment as I was clearing the breakfast dishes.
“Ohhh, the grace!” she was saying profoundly. “Ohhh, the everything!” Then, “What is the grace?” she questioned her audience of dolls. She paused and then answered, “It is the everything!”
I marveled over such wisdom from a four-year old. It is “the everything,” for without grace where would we be? Everything we have is by the grace of God, whether it be our salvation (“by grace are ye saved”), our temporal needs, or the measure in which we are able to go on for Him.
“Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (Eph.4:7).
“The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 1:14).

Build up or Tear Down?

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” Proverbs 14:1
We Christian mothers can be our husband’s true helpmeet in building a home of light and love, or we can tear it down. We can encourage and uphold him in his love and correction of the children, or we can oppose and hinder him. We wield a tremendous influence in the home, in many ways far greater than our husband’s. We are with the children more than he is, and they look to us. We can do more than he to make or break the home. Remember how Eve ruined the first home in the world when she acted independently of God and her husband. She did not turn to him, but took the lead herself and listened to the voice of Satan instead. God created her to be Adam’s helpmeet, but she hindered him, bringing plenty of sorrow upon herself as well. God’s pattern is always the best, and we can only expect His blessing as we seek grace to follow His Word.
Thoughts taken from “The Family” by G.H. Hayhoe.

Owe No Man Anything

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another.” Romans 13:8.
I was chatting with a young mother of three children one day, reminiscing about the time when I was in her shoes.
“I’m so thankful for Romans 13:8, ‘Owe no man anything but to love one another,’” I said. “It kept us from debt many times.”
“Yes, we started out that way,” she replied, “but things got rough and we had to go into debt.”
That was a sad word. God’s Word hasn’t changed. We can never pay our debt of love to one another, but His promise hasn’t changed either. “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
I remember the sweet and encouraging words of an old saint: “Don’t be afraid to trust God. He will come in for you not just in spite of difficulties, but in spite of impossibilities.” He certainly did that for us.
His power hasn’t changed, either. He is still the Almighty God and yet at the same time, He is our loving Father.
You know how happy it makes you when your children obey you instantly and willingly. That puts a smile on your face and a song in your heart, doesn’t it? Our Father values that kind of obedience, too.

Ready to Obey

“Thy gentleness hath made me great.” Psalm 18:35
“As the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God.” Psalm 123:3
Gentleness and calmness in the home provide a sweet atmosphere, so that children learn to be respectful, attentive, and ready to obey.
The maid in Psalm 123:2 demonstrates that attentive readiness. She watches carefully the hand of the hostess during the meal. Perhaps she waits for a slight movement of the hostess’ hand to indicate that it is time to serve the next course.
We also should be standing at attention, our eyes on the Lord, in order to please Him. How wonderful if we anticipate His wishes! And how wonderful if our children anticipate their parents’ wishes.

Teaching About Moral Pitfalls

“For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, and beheld among the simple ones  ...  a young man void of understanding, passing through the street near her corner.” Proverbs 7:6-8
We tend to be shy to discuss with our growing children the intimate and sacred things of manhood and womanhood. But what better place for them to learn about these things than in the safety of the home? The son in this chapter is seen looking through his window, from a safe vantage point, if you will. He observed the course of an erring young man, who was flattered by and finally yielded to the charms of a beautiful but wicked woman. The one in the window had the advantage of seeing the whole course of this fool’s life, “till a dart strike through his liver” (Prov. 7:23), and it was very instructive.
The time to talk about moral pitfalls is before they are experienced. We don’t do our duty as faithful teachers if we fail to point out to our children some of the snares they may face as they grow up and leave the protection of the home. Dare we call these discussions defiling if scripture itself lays them out for our warning? May the Lord give us wisdom and discretion in choosing the proper words and timing for these important talks. “My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee  ...  that they may keep thee from the strange woman” (Prov. 7:1,5).

Serving the Lord in the Home

“Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.” Romans 12:13
“Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” 1 Peter 4:9
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
Have you been wanting to have company or do something for the Lord, but you aren’t sure if you should because of finances? 2 Corinthians 9:8 has been a help to my husband and myself. We never let money be the deciding factor in trying to serve the Lord, and the Lord has been as good as His Word. If you feel the Lord wants you to do something for Him, do it. Someone once said that God’s service done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply. Go forward, counting on Him. “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
Hospitality gives us the opportunity to serve the Lord’s people and encourage them. Differences and sometimes hard feelings disappear or at least are smoothed over when we eat and fellowship at the same table. As wives and mothers we can serve the Lord and His people in this way.
How wonderful to hear Him say soon, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me” (Matt. 25:21,40).

God Will Provide

“Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages.” Exodus 2:9
Like many couples, we were often struggling to pay our rent. And then I got pregnant — again — this time with our eighth child. Lord, why are you doing this to us? I wondered. How can we accommodate this additional expense?
I thought about getting employment outside of our home, but felt that would never do for several reasons. I strongly doubted if the Lord would encourage any mother with young children to take that route. So we prayed and waited. During the waiting time the Lord gave me this precious verse: “Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages” (Ex. 2:9).
We didn’t have to wait very long until our loving Father provided fully for our care. We inherited a home, a large suitable house — just what we needed at that time. What a loving gift from our heavenly Father — my wages! “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

Children Can Help, Too

“He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.” Psalm 113:9
One day, not long after we were married, a godly gentleman came to visit us. He asked us both if we’d ever sought the Lord’s mind about what He would have us do with our lives. We answered, “no,” but his remarks encouraged us to begin a search.
My hunt ended in two parts. I didn’t think either was very challenging. Everyone does that, I thought.
The first part I found in Titus 2:5: “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home [diligent in home work (JND)], good, obedient to their own husbands.” The second part was in Psalm 113:9: “To be a joyful mother of children.”
As life progressed and we had several children, I began to wonder if these two parts could ever be reconciled. The children to whom I had become mother seemed bent on keeping me from becoming a diligent keeper of the home. While I was cleaning up one area, they were making a mess of another. How could I be a joyful mother and a diligent home keeper? But the complete verse in Psalm 113 says, “He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.” I realized I needed to teach my children to help clean up after themselves. The result will be praise to the Lord!

Happily Incompatible

“That He might seek a godly seed.” Malachi 2:15
If we want our children to go on for the Lord, it is essential that we are one with our husband. The Lord Jesus said a divided house cannot stand. When the enemy tries to bring in trouble, and we feel like giving up, let’s remember that the Lord’s glory is at stake, and so is our household. We cannot expect the Lord to give us a “godly seed” if we aren’t one with our husband and especially if we decide to part ways! Yes, it will take work. But the Lord will give us grace to put our husbands ahead of ourselves, to esteem them better than ourselves, and to put to death the old nature that exerts itself in so many ways.
Perhaps some of you wonder, but how can I go on as one with my husband when he isn’t even saved or if he isn’t following the Lord very closely? 1 Corinthians 7:13-14 says, “And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; else were your children unclean; but now are they holy [or sanctified].” God wants you to stay with the man you married, and He has set apart (which is the meaning of the word sanctified) your children for Himself. Always remember that your children belong to Him. Let them see Jesus in your life!

Guarded by Peace

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
My oldest son was leaving for college at the end of the summer, and I was anxious about this new phase of life. Would he be able to resist the peer pressure in that godless environment? A thousand things ran through my mind. I prayed a lot for my son, but didn’t seem able to leave it all with the Lord.
Then, during the summer, a letter arrived, a monthly mailing sent out by an older brother in our gathering. He would photocopy a calendar page he had enjoyed and write a few encouraging words of his own. The reference on this page was Philippians 4:6-7: “Be careful [anxious] for nothing  ...  let your requests be made known unto God  ...  peace  ...  which [passes]  ...  understanding.” This was what I needed just then — peace! I hung the note on the refrigerator where I could see it often, sensing that God had sent this especially to me in my need.
The day came for my son to pack up and drive away. I expected to struggle with the parting, but instead I felt excitement for him as he started out on this new adventure. Yes, our goodbyes this time had a new character; a bend lay in the road beyond which I could not see, but my heart and mind were guarded by a peace that was not of my own making.
This experience became a mile marker on my path of faith. When my faith is weak, I look back to that time when God proved Himself faithful to His doubting child, and I am emboldened to rest in Him once again. Praise His name! “God is faithful” (1 Cor. 1:9).

A Living Example

“Draw me, we will run after thee.” Song of Solomon 1:4
Where is the Christian mother who doesn’t desire to see her children “run” after the Lord? Surely “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4). But what is the prerequisite? “Draw me.” I must beseech the Lord to draw me personally; and as I am drawn and “run” after Him myself, I will find my children running with me! Children are great imitators, and they learn what we live before them. It has been said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” How much more a living picture, a life lived in communion with the Lord, will cause our children to want to “run” with us. An old brother often said, “There is no substitute for communion.” Our arch-enemy will do all he can to keep us from this. “I’m so tired!” “I have so much to do!” But as my children see me running after the Lord, drawn in personal communion, showing what I value most, they will want to run with me. It has also been said, “The measure of our witness and testimony to others is our own enjoyment of the Lord.” Our children will know better than anyone whether we are enjoying the Lord.

First Things First

“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” 1 Timothy 5:14
“My God shall supply all your need.” Philippians 4:19
“This is a day when it’s hard to earn a living. It seems that the economy is set up so that two parents are expected to work in order to have enough money to support a home, which makes it difficult. This is the devil’s attempt to keep parents from having enough time with their children. I beg of you as parents to remember that God has given you a tremendous responsibility in those young lives committed to your care. He will give us grace as parents to be faithful.
“One parent said to me, ‘We were busy trying to get a home, trying to get along and get settled in life, and we neglected our family. Now they’re grown up and they’ve gone away.’ Oh, it’s true it is difficult in the present economy, but put first things first! Remember the first seven chapters of Proverbs. Remember how much our children need the instructions and the warnings that are given to us so plainly in those chapters. And most of all they need to receive God’s love reflected in us their parents.”
G. Hayhoe

Fall Back on the Grace of God

“Although my house be not so with God; yet He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although He make it not to grow.” 2 Samuel 23:5
“There is a difference between humility and self-condemnation. When we fail with our children, we ought to examine our ways and own our failures before the Lord. But repentance is more than owning that we have failed in certain areas; it is recognizing that everything about us in the flesh is bad. Condemning ourselves for what we have done is to remain focused on the wrong object. Do we believe that, given a second chance, we will do better? Let us rather fall back on the grace of God to do what we cannot do, and let us in humility accept the consequences of our failures, counting on God to bring blessing.
“There is also God’s sovereign side of the matter to consider. He has a sovereign plan of blessing for all those whom He has called, and nothing will hinder His blessing. He is able even to bring good out of evil. King David spoke of this when he realized he had not kept his house in a just and orderly way. He said, ‘Although my house be not so with God; yet He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although He make it not to grow’ (2 Sam. 23:5). David recognized his failure, but like Hannah, he held in faith to the promise of God to bless his house; at the same time, he was submissive to wait until it was God’s time to make it grow. May the Lord give us this patience of faith in Him.”
D. Buchanan. “For This Child I Prayed” The Christian Jan 2010.

The Little Word 'If'

“Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” John 11:21
“Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldst believe, thou shouldst see the glory of God?” John 11:40
How many ifs would you put in this verse, that would apply to your life? “If I had a bigger house  ...  ,” “If my husband made more money  ...  ,” “If I had different relatives  ...  ,” “If the place where I go to worship were  ...  .” The Lord Jesus responds, “If thou wouldst believe, thou shouldst see the glory of God” (John 11:40). God’s loving hand allows every circumstance in our lives. He wants to take our ifs and bring glory to Himself in them— He wants to work good in our lives, but we must believe. When the Lord said, “Take ye away the stone,” Martha responded, “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days (John 11:39).” She had an excuse as to why it didn’t make sense to obey the Lord: “Why would one take away a stone from a grave if it were only going to stink?”
How many excuses do we make in refusing to obey the Lord? “If I were to do that it wouldn’t work out for this reason.” “I’ve tried that, but  ...  .” Peter likely thought, “We’ve fished all night and caught nothing, so why should I obey the Lord and try again?” (Luke 5:5). What’s your excuse for refusing to obey the prompting of the Spirit in your heart? Or what’s your excuse for not submitting to your circumstances?
Jesus said to Martha, “Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldst believe, thou shouldst see the glory of God?” (vs. 40). We must believe and obey even when it doesn’t make sense to us. If God says to do it, then we must leave the results with Him. “Then they took away the stone” (vs. 41). They obeyed. The rest was up to the Lord.
Are we obeying? We need to believe that “as for God His way is perfect” (Psa. 18:30), and then we will see the glory of God. Just believe. Let Him do the rest, in His time. “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth” (vss. 43-44). In a miraculous way, God raised Lazarus from the dead.

Bible Stories

“Seek ye out the book of the Lord, and read.” Isaiah 34:16.
Our four-year-old son was lonely because all his older siblings were at school and his younger sister wasn’t old enough yet to play with him. Often he would beg me to read to him. So together we made a plan. If he would play happily with toys and things I provided for him while I was busy, after lunch I would put the baby down for a nap and he and I would enjoy an hour together— just us two. Since his favorite choice was to have me read to him, I majored on Bible stories, right from the Bible itself. The ones he liked best were Jonah, Joseph, Daniel, and Peter in prison. I read the whole book of Jonah, Genesis 37, Daniel 6, and Acts 12 so often that if I should drift off to sleep, our son would just keep on “reading” from memory.
Harold taught me a few things during these happy reading sessions. One day he said, “Wow, Mom, God must have smote [sic] Herod really hard (Acts 12:23), but He just smote Peter a little bit” (vs. 7). Before that I hadn’t realized that God used the word smote in relation to both men.
Another time we had taken two days to read through Genesis 9. (That little fellow had so many questions!) When we finished the chapter, I said, more to myself than to Harold, “I wonder why Canaan was cursed when it was Ham (Canaan’s father) who had seen Noah’s nakedness.” Harold answered indignantly, “God just blessed Ham yesterday. He can’t be cursed today!” It seemed that Harold had already learned the truth that David declared in 1 Chronicles 17:27: “Thou blessest, O Lord, and it shall be blessed forever.”
May we eagerly snatch up every opportunity that offers itself to read God’s precious holy Word for ourselves and to share it with our children.

Learning Godliness

“Having food and raiment, let us be therewith content.” 1 Timothy 6:8
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6
The scriptures tell us to be content with food and raiment, but there’s something even better. The Bible tells us godliness added to contentment is great gain (1Tim. 6:6). How does one learn godliness? Spending time reading the Bible and praying is a good place to start. That’s where we learn more about God. When you are occupied with something, you become like your object. Occupation with Christ is a sure way to make us godly. “We all, with open face beholding...the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18). We can’t spend our whole day reading our Bibles, normally; but memorizing verses allows us to take the scriptures with us and thus recall them during the day. We can also pray without ceasing as we go about our business. As we live in the awareness of the presence of our God, we will become more like Him.

The Root of Bitterness

“For ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” 1 Thessalonians 4:9
After I was married, some misunderstanding came up between my husband and some of the other Christians where we worshipped. I was hurt and decided I wasn’t even going to speak to those people whom I perceived as being against my husband. I held myself aloof for a while, but I was miserable, and the longer I acted that way the more miserable I became. We really can’t be happy in our souls when we have bitterness towards anyone.
I realized this wasn’t the way the Lord wanted me to live. I was like the man in Luke 6 who couldn’t see past the beam in his own eye, and yet he was trying to remove the mote in his brother’s eye (vss. 41-42). I remembered that in James 5:9 God says, “Grudge not against one another, brethren, lest ye be condemned.” He continues in verse 11, “The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy”; and He wants us to be that way, too. He tells us in Romans 12, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay  ...  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink” (vss.19-20). I knew I needed to show the love and forgiveness God had intended me to show all along. He says, “Watching lest [there be] any one who lacks the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and many be defiled by it” (Heb. 12:15 JND). I had not looked at my brothers and sisters through the eyes of grace, and it resulted in bitterness that troubled myself and my children.
Throughout this season in our life our children were affected not only by the original misunderstanding but also by the way we responded. How careful we must be, as mothers, of our habits and attitudes. Our children, without even realizing it, are soaking them up. Whether for good or for bad, we are their teachers. The life that we live is the lesson we teach. May God grant us to fill their hearts and lives with God’s gracious thoughts and ways.

Teenage Daughters

“She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:12
There is a very needed lesson in this verse. It says “all the days of her life.” When a girl dresses modestly, she preserves herself for her husband, even if she hasn’t yet met him. This is one way she can bless him all the days of her life. May those of us with teenage daughters encourage them to dress modestly, preserving themselves for the man who will someday be their husband.
There are other ways she may bless him by her actions before she knows him. “Whatsoever a [woman] soweth, that shall [she] also reap” (Gal.6:7). The moments she spends now memorizing scripture will someday bless her and those around her. The books she reads now (hopefully the Bible first of all!) form the character of the woman she will become. The habits she forms, the homemaking skills she masters, her whole lifestyle will someday bless or hinder her future husband as well as herself.
Whether or not the Lord’s will for our daughter includes marriage, we know that His plan for her is to live for the glory of God. He knows her future and can guide and prepare her for it. Her part and ours is to look to Him, knowing that His plan is always best. Then He can lead her to actions that will help her to honor and serve Him “all the days of her life.” Even more than actions, God values the heart. “A woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised” (Prov. 31:30).

An Assignment From the Lord

“Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” Proverbs 19:18
Self will show itself early in our children. When self-will begins to manifest itself, our children need to be taught obedience to their parents. If by nature we have a passive personality, or if the admonition to “let your yieldingness be known unto all men” is deeply ingrained in us, it may be difficult to discipline our children and to insist that they be respectful and obedient. We need to do it anyway, not because we are standing up for our own rights, but because the Lord requires it.
God prescribes “the rod” of correction seven times in the book of Proverbs, so it is obviously necessary and important. When our child is angry, or has lied, disobeyed, or given us a dirty look, he has yielded to the old nature or to Satan. He must tell us and the Lord that he is sorry. It is good to pray at this point. It may be well to remind him that the Lord was grieved by his sin, but that the Lord is also willing to forgive. Remind him of the verse in Proverbs that requires the rod of correction (Prov. 22:15).
A mother or a father must handle the training of a child without anger. It is an assignment from the Lord, a necessity. How good for the husband and wife to be unified in this area and not resist or interfere with each other’s discipline, either by word or facial expression. The rod might not be effective with each child. Let us ask the Lord for wisdom as to the most effective method of correction for each of our children.
If we do not correct our children, we are actually being cruel to them, because they may become rebellious teens or self-centered wives and husbands (Prov. 29:15). David never displeased Adonijah “at any time” (1 Kings 1:6). When Adonijah grew up, he formed a wicked plot, hoping to dethrone his father, David (1 Kings 1:19). Eventually he was executed for insubordination. It is much better for our children to learn what is right from us at an early age than to suffer for their attitudes and actions later in life. In contrast, if our children learn obedience and respect, God promises them a blessing (Eph. 6:1-3). When we exercise discipline in the manner God wishes, we will not have lost our calmness or our gentle spirit. And we will be carrying out the Lord’s instructions.

Etched in the Memory

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
Since our dad had to leave early for work, Mom would read a few verses from the Bible with us each morning before we left for school. Then we’d all kneel while she committed us to the Lord for His care and keeping that day. We ended by saying aloud together the above verse, before saying “Amen.” That verse is burned into my memory — and it is no less needed in my life today than it was those many years ago.
You may have a different verse you would like to say together as a prayer. Repetition will etch it deeply in your children’s minds and, by God’s grace, in their hearts as well. “Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him” (Prov. 30:5).

Thou God Seest Me

“Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” Psalm 34:11
Have you ever stopped to think that part of our responsibility as a Christian mother is to teach our children the fear of the Lord? What exactly does this mean? A key verse that comes to me is found in Genesis 16:13: “Thou God seest me.” A good beginning in teaching this truth to our children is to have them realize through this verse that they live in the sight of God at all times. Although Dad and Mom may not always know where they go or what they do, say, or think, there is a God in heaven who is watching at all times. They will give an account to Him for every detail of their lives and the decisions they make. In my Scofield Bible the fear of the Lord is defined as meaning “reverential trust, with hatred of evil” (see note to Psalm 19:9). The Proverbs speak of it often. (Look at Proverbs 1:7,29; 2:5; 3:7; 8:13; 9:10; 10:27; 14:26-27; 15:16,33; 16:6; 19:23; 22:4; and 23:17.)
Remember the Sunday School song?
He sees what we do and He hears what we say —{br}My Lord is watching all the time, time, time.
How good it is, when the truth in that little hymn sinks down into our children’s hearts very early in their lives.

Are You Too Busy?

“Even Christ pleased not Himself.” Romans 15:3
Have you ever noticed how sometimes we mothers would rather do housework than spend time with our children? Spending time cleaning the house has immediate rewards. By contrast, spending time with our children is an investment with rewards years into the future.
A bittersweet memory I have is when my oldest son was not more than 7. He said to me, “Mom, when you get all your work done, then will you play with me?” Now I know we shouldn’t indulge our child’s every whim, and I am a firm believer in schedules and independent playtime, but I knew that I had selfishly answered his earlier request for Mommy-time with, “I have work to do.”
Our children grow up so quickly, and the day may come when they don’t have time in their busy schedule for us. Let us take time with our children while they are young. Weigh the importance of each daily task, making sure your waking hours aren’t swallowed up with household tasks that are done just to impress your peers. Strive for balance. Instead of doing what we want, (which is often uninterrupted time to finish housework), our pattern should be the Man Christ Jesus, who said, “Not My will, but Thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).

Songs in the Night

“Thou hast visited me in the night.” Psalm 17:3
“Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night.” Acts 18:9
“Thou leddest them  ...  in the night  ...  to give them light in the way wherein they should go.” Nehemiah 9:12
Light in the night.” Psalm 105:39
“God my maker  ...  giveth songs in the night.” Job 35:10
“In the night His song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8
“The dew fell  ...  in the night, [and] the manna fell upon it.” Numbers 11:9
Nights can be long. Fretful babies or unfinished work can keep us awake when we long for sleep. But “He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4), and the Lord always shares the night watches with us. He sends His blessings as well. He visits us in the night, speaking to us and leading us. We may not have time to listen in the day, but in the night, when no one else is clamoring for our attention, we can commune with Him. In those quiet hours He brings both light and songs to cheer us. We can silently sing melodies in our hearts and let their truths encourage us and bring us closer to Him. He sends dew in the night, along with manna to refresh and feed us. We might prefer to be sleeping, but we are not alone, and “when they were awake, they saw His glory” (Luke 9:32)!

A Game to Play

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” 1 Peter 2:2
We have driven many, many miles with our children in the car. Of course we played games such as counting Fords and Chevys, “I spy with my little eye,” and making acronym sentences out of signs we saw along the road like “yield”: “Yawning Is Everyone’s Little Diversion.” It didn’t matter if they made good sense as long as they were sentences.
But the game we played the most was one a brother taught us not long after we were married. I would start by saying, “I’m thinking of someone in the Bible whose name begins with ‘M.’”
One of the children would ask a question, “Did he spend 40 years in the backside of the desert?” I would answer, “No, it wasn’t Moses.” The person who initiated the game had to know whom the questioner was thinking about, and the questioner had to know at least one biblical fact about the “M” person and was not allowed to use the name of the person he was thinking about.
Another child might then ask, “Was it the mother of the Lord Jesus?” I would need to respond with, “No, it wasn’t Mary.” If I failed to know the name the questioner was thinking about, then the questioner took my place as initiator, and he could say, “I’m thinking about someone whose name starts with P.” Or if the questioner guessed correctly and asked, “Did he write the last book of the Old Testament?” and that’s who I was thinking of, I would reply, “Yes, it was Malachi.” That person would then become the initiator and everyone else in the car became a questioner.
This game accomplished several purposes. It kept all of our minds busy. It made us think of scriptural people, and it encouraged the children to study their Bibles so they could come up with a name that was difficult to guess. They were not allowed to choose a name that was only in a genealogy. There had to be at least one full verse about the person of their choice. We enjoyed that game many times, and I would encourage all mothers to seek from the Lord activities to entertain their children in a way that will direct their minds to the precious, holy Word of God.

The Wife Is Like a Levite

“Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing.” Psalm 100:2
The husband should be like a “priest” in the home, taking leadership in both spiritual and practical matters. Have you ever thought that a Christian wife can be likened to a Levite, assisting the priest? Look at some of the Levites’ duties listed in 1 Chronicles and see how they compare with duties at home:
1. Gatekeeper — opened gates every morning (ch. 9:26-27). Are we gatekeepers of what enters our children’s minds through friends, books, radio, school, and computer?
2. Supply keepers and Shoppers — looked after supplies used in worship (ch. 9:28-29). Do we plan ahead and shop accordingly?
3. Apothecaries [or worshippers] — made ointments of spices (ch. 9:30). Mary worshipped the Lord by pouring her ointment on His feet, and the house was filled with the odor of her ointment. Do we worship the Lord daily, creating a fragrant atmosphere in the home by the joy that comes from being in His presence?
4. Cooks and Bakers for the tabernacle — (ch. 9:31-32; 23:29). Do we make wholesome food for our family?
5. Singers for the house of God — sang day and night. They stood to thank and praise the Lord every morning and every evening (ch. 9:33; 23:30). Are our homes filled with singing and praise to God? If you’re convinced that the work you do around home is for God’s glory, try singing as you do it! May we joyfully serve the Lord as Levites and daughters of the King.

Gentleness Is so Important

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness.” Galatians 5:22
Gentleness is  ...
a Dad patting his child’s head, giving a sense of security and belonging with tenderheartedness.
a parent who is calm under all circumstances.
being tactful and firm, yet consistently loving, so that children are not confused (1 Peter 1:22).
a quiet spirit, valuable to the Lord (1 Peter 3:4).
part of the fruit of the Spirit, refreshing and sweet (Gal. 5:22).
from God’s wisdom, first pure, then peaceable (James 3:17).
mutual respect between parents and children.
similar to reverence, almost a lost art.
carefulness not to offend.

Creative Bible Reading

“And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon. And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well.” Nehemiah 2:12-13
“Mom, STOP!” I stopped, and so did the story of Nehemiah and the beast he was riding upon. “Let’s turn all the lights off and read this by flashlight!” our oldest son said, with eyes full of boyish adventure.
“Good idea! Go get your flashlights and your pillows!” Daddy worked nights so I had to lead in reading God’s Word with the boys in the evenings. Soon everyone returned and we put our heads together like the hub of a large spoke wagon wheel in the middle of our living room floor. Living way out in the country made it very dark without the lights! With our Bibles illuminated by our flashlights, and with as hushed a voice as I could, we proceeded once more with Nehemiah.
“By night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire. Then I went to the gate of the fountain, and to the king’s pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass. Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned” (Neh. 2:12-15). I will never forget the effect that spontaneous change made in how the boys responded to our Bible reading that night. A little creativity can be very helpful in both learning and remembering God’s Word. “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” (Neh. 8:8).

Commit, Don't Fret

“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself.” Psalm 37:5,7
One day as I was “fretting” about one of our children, this text hanging on the wall caught my eye. It was the encouragement I needed from the Lord. I thought to myself that I could read it like this: “Commit thy child unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring His purposes for your child to pass. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself.”
Notice the steps: commit, trust, rest, wait, and fret not. If we commit our way — or our child’s way — unto the Lord, then the next step is to trust Him. When we’ve done those two things, then we can rest and wait. After we’ve got the first four down, then it’s much easier to keep the fretting toned down.
Sometimes it is easy to fret as we wait on the Lord to do His work in our child’s heart. Let us remember to wait patiently for Him. Yes, when we fret, we fret against the Lord. Today, let’s commit our children into His tender loving care. Trust, rest, wait and, above all, fret not.

A Prisoner of Jesus Christ

“He is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars.” 1 Samuel 23:7
“A prisoner of Jesus Christ.” Philemon 1
I am a prisoner,{br}But not of time or chance,{br}Not held within these mighty walls,{br}So far from life’s glad dance,{br}By metal chains of man’s design,{br}But stronger ones of Thine,{br}I am a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
He sent me here for purposes{br}Unknown as yet to me,{br}But in a past eternity,{br}He chose it so to be:{br}That here I’d be in prison walls,{br}Yet glad captivity.{br}I am a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
Yet since I am His prisoner,{br}His freed one I can be{br}My spirit free to soar above,{br}His glorious face to see …{br}And there to look down{br}On these walls of blest captivity,{br}And know that even in my cell,{br}He walks with me.
So since I am Thy prisoner,{br}More blest am I, more free,{br}Than in the days I walked, unchained,{br}But oft so far from Thee.{br}I’d rather be a prisoner,{br}Since here He walks with me{br}Than be set free to walk alone,{br}In lonely liberty.
What is my prison-house, you ask?{br}My brother, don’t you see —{br}Wheree’er the will of God doth cross my will, Then that must be,{br}A prison … where my flesh is chained,{br}No more to be set free.{br}Yet in that cell of death, I wake,{br}To life, eternally.{br}
R.R.
Today you may feel at times as if you are in a prison. Your prison may be the four walls of your house, the chains that bind you may be little hands stretched out unceasingly with needs of every kind and little feet that run to create more messes to keep you from any liberty to “do your own thing.” Or maybe the hands and feet aren’t so little any more, but are of teens who still need your constant watchfulness. Maybe an elderly parent or a demanding husband is the one who binds you. Some days you feel so glad to serve these needs, but then there are days when you may resent them. May you realize today that you are not a prisoner of your child, your husband, or your needy parent, but you are a “prisoner of Jesus Christ.” He is the One who has placed you where you are, to conform you to His image. You aren’t shut in by “gates and bars.” Your chains are stronger than metal ones; they are chains of love.
Let our “Samson,” the Lord Jesus, the One with all strength, show you His power over any feeling of bondage you may experience today. At His touch, it can disappear as “tow (a thread of flax) is broken when it toucheth the fire” (Judg. 16:9).

Cultivate Your Relationship With Your Children

“Provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
There needs to be a balance in all of life. There is a danger on the one hand of becoming so wrapped up in our families that we neglect the work of the Lord. But there is a danger in getting absorbed in business, in the cares of this life, even in assembly or church life and in the work of the Lord, so that we neglect our children. It is possible to be blessed in the work of the Lord and yet to be a poor parent. So here we have these words, “Provoke not your children to wrath.” The rapport with children should start with parents. I believe it is the responsibility and privilege of every parent to cultivate diligently the relationship of love with their children, to be able to enjoy that special time with them which allows you to bring before them “the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
W. J. Prost adapted

Remember Whose You Are

“There stood by me this night the angel of God,
whose I am, and whom I serve.”
Acts 27:23
I smile as I remember my father taking me to high school each weekday morning. When I got out of the car I would turn to say good-bye to him as he sat with his fingers in his ears (since he thought I shut the car door too hard). “Bye, honey,” he would say, “remember whose you are and whom you serve.” I believe that those words of admonition were a source of strength and help as I went through those high school days and was kept by the Lord’s grace. Today as we send our children to school, we, too, can remind them they are not their own, but belong to the One who redeemed them with His own precious blood.

Never Too Young to Pray

“All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” Isaiah 54:13
“Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.” Psalm 55:17
His first prayer wasn’t much. After all, he was only one year old. He had a cup and a spoon that he was playing with. He stirred his imaginary drink, bowed his head, and said his first audible prayer. All he said was, “Amen.”
But many more prayers followed in the years to come. He asked the Lord to wash his sins away. (God surely delighted to answer that prayer!) He prayed for rain to stop so he could go to the zoo. (It did.) He prayed to catch a fish when all the other men had fancy fishing equipment and he had but a string and a hook. (He caught one.) He prayed for some friends to be saved. (They were.)
Your child may be young. Maybe he doesn’t understand much, but begin now to teach him to pray! What a comfort, what a help, and what a joy it will be for him all his life through.

The Power of Prayer

“For after this manner in the old time the holy women also  ...  trusted in God.” 1 Peter 3:5
I encourage you to prayerfully study examples of the power of prayer in women’s lives throughout the scriptures. Here are a few examples to start you off.
1. See Anna in Luke 2:36-38 serving God with fasting and prayers night and day, waiting for redemption and the birth of Christ. Then consider our position and privilege today in Titus 2:11-14 along with that.
2. See Lydia in Acts 16:13-15,40 — her desire to be where prayer was being made, to worship, and to listen attentively to God’s Word, and her continual hospitality. Notice the blessing that it brought to her whole household.
3. See also Hannah in 1 Samuel 1 — provoked, fretting, bitter, weeping, in grief (vss. 6-8); continuing in prayer (v. 12); seeking grace and “no more sad” (v. 18); worshipping the Lord before her prayer was visibly answered (v. 19); seeing her prayer answered (v. 20); and giving her son back to the Lord (vss. 24-28). Then we see her rejoicing in the Lord (1 Sam. 2:1) and read her prayer of thankfulness (2:1-10).

A Bible in the Kitchen

“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” Colossians 3:16
“What did David do next, Mommy?” asked my three-year-old, tugging on my skirt while I was busy with housework.
“MOMMY, what did David do next?” he asked again, tugging a little harder.
I sighed. It’s one thing to read a story and quite another to tell it and get all the details just right. I realized I needed to become more familiar with the historical books of the Old Testament if I were going to be able to answer the questions my three-year-old Bible-story lover brought me. With five children and a house to keep, I wasn’t able to spend much time in Bible study. I found that if I kept my Bible open on the kitchen counter and read a bit whenever I could snatch an unoccupied minute or two, I not only added to my knowledge of Old Testament history, but the Lord also graciously refreshed my soul with choice little nuggets every once in a while. And so it became my habit to leave my Bible open in the kitchen. So what if it got a splash of cake batter or a dab of oatmeal on it? We need food for our souls as well as our bodies.
At our 50th wedding anniversary, as all our family sat around the campfire, that little son, now grown up with a family of his own, stood up and told us what had made him become interested in reading God’s Word. He said that his mother had always kept her Bible open on the kitchen counter, and he had often watched her take a peek at it. If she found it that interesting day after day and year after year, he realized there must be something special about that Book, and he wanted to find out what it was. Now that’s mutual encouragement!

Be Pleasant

“Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe.” Proverbs 5:18-19
When I was a young wife, I noticed these verses. What a good prayer for any wife to pray, that she would be more loving and pleasant.
One of the best ways to be loving is to respond to our husband’s love. Be affectionate right back when he shows affection in some way. Webster’s Dictionary says one definition of “loving” is “to be devoted.” We can, with the Lord’s help, show more devotion to our husbands. Perhaps his schedule has been especially busy lately, and so we need to do what we can to lighten his load around the home.
May the Lord also help us to be pleasant. Not only pleasant in words, but in our appearance, smell, attitude, and whatever else would make us more desirable for our husbands. Smile often! Husbands love to see a happy wife, and smiling certainly makes us more pleasant!

What Are We Talking About?

“Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36
“Let me hear thy voice, for sweet is thy voice.” Song of Solomon 2:14
Luke 24:17 says: “And He said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?” The Lord Jesus asked the question although He knew full well what they had been saying. Isn’t this something to think about? If the Lord suddenly caught up with you and your friend as you were walking along the street (or talking on the phone) and said, “What manner of communications are these?” would you be comfortable telling Him what you had just been talking about? He hears everything, you know, and sees what is in your heart. And He delights to record that which is pleasing to Him. Just think of that statement in Malachi 3:16, “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His Name.”
It means so much to Him as He looks down upon us and observes every thought on His name, every communication that is made with another about Himself. It brings joy to His heart. It’s recorded up there in the book of remembrance. The very One who said, “Your sins and iniquities will I remember no more” is the One who writes down in that eternal book of remembrance every thought upon His Name. Those communications will never be forgotten.
Albert Hayhoe — adapted

The Power of God

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” Matthew 22:29
“The sun stood still.” Joshua 10:13
“The iron did swim.” 2 Kings 6:6
“This God is our God for ever and ever.”Psalm 48:14
What is your need today? Is your husband out of work? Is a child giving you grief? Do you need a car that works properly and the finances just aren’t there? Are there difficulties in a relationship? Are you in doubt that the Lord is able to meet these needs? Listen to His gentle rebuke: “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God” We read in Philippians 4:19, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” And then we read in Matthew 28:18, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” Now let us believe God and take Him at His word and go on our way rejoicing!

Let Your Light Shine

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
There are many ways to let our light shine. We see in the four gospels that the Lord used multiple methods and places for teaching the Word. He wrote on the ground, performed miracles, sat on the well, and preached in the synagogue. But aside from these, three things stand out as keys in His preaching. First, He prayed — sometimes all night. All methods are useless without this. Second, He did things in the Spirit because He listened to how God His Father led Him specifically in each situation. Third, He was involved in the lives about Him — He stopped for one blind man, went out of His way to see one woman at a well, and took the little children up in His arms. He met their needs — physical as well as spiritual. For us this might translate to bringing a pot of soup to a sick neighbor, helping out in the local school, offering to babysit for a tired mother, giving cookies or a dinner invitation to someone who is particularly lonely during the holidays, visiting a nursing home with fresh garden flowers, or delivering a sympathy card and casserole to a neighbor who has just lost a loved one. The possibilities are endless. “All things which Jesus began both to do and to teach” (Acts 1:1 JND). He began  ...  and He left things for us to do.
Recently my 9-year-old daughter’s friend became a Christian. She had spent many hours in our home first, being loved, eating homemade cookies, listening to Christian tapes, and having spontaneous discussions with my daughter about the Lord. I’ve seen others come to the Lord in similar ways.
The tendency is to use our busy schedule as an excuse, but I’ve seen mothers who have many children of their own that are actively involved like this. He will lead us if we’re willing to be led. He will not lead us to become so involved that our family suffers, but in the way that’s right for our situation.

Hid Treasure

“Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” Jeremiah 15:16
When I was growing up, my mother assigned us three children a chapter to memorize every summer. She selected them according to our age and ability, and rewarded us at the end of the summer when we recited them. The Psalms were favorites, but later on we memorized New Testament chapters. I am so thankful she did this! Whole portions of scripture come to me now and are a comfort in trials, when I can’t sleep in the middle of the night, or when I am afraid.
My own children have benefited from this example, and also memorized chapters in their youth. Our memories work best when we are young. Let’s not miss this opportunity to fill our child’s mind with God’s Word. The Spirit of God can bring back verses to their minds when they need them if they have stored them away as hid treasure. “I will never forget Thy precepts: for with them Thou hast quickened me” (Psa. 119:93).

Walking Through the Red Sea

“There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen.” Job 28:7
“Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.” Exodus 14:21-22
“He led them forth by the right way.” Psalm 107:7
Have you ever felt like your circumstances are impossible? The children of Israel at the Red Sea must have felt like that. Imagine what it was like to have the impassable Red Sea in front of them and the Egyptians coming up behind them! Absolutely impossible circumstances! No  ...  they had God with them, and “with God all things are possible” (Matt.19:26). He made an out for them in a miraculous way they could never have dreamed up beforehand.
As we look at the seeming impossibility of raising a family for the Lord in these difficult last days of the church’s history on earth, let us remember that we have this same God for our Help. We may feel like our enemy, Satan, is right behind us, waiting to devour our children, and that life looks like an impassable sea as it stretches before us. However, let us look not at the problems, but to the Lord, realizing that He knows all the difficulties of life and has promised to make a way for us. It may take a miracle, but He is able! Trust Him today with your difficult child, your wayward teen, your financial difficulties, or whatever problem you face.
Think too, about what it must have been like to walk through the Red Sea on dry ground. What fears would have been in their hearts if they had looked at the walls of water towering on both sides of them! It took faith to walk there, faith that God who opened the way through the Red Sea would keep it open while they walked through. Like Peter in the gospels, they had to keep their eyes on the Lord and not on the water. Trust God for this moment, and keep your eyes on Jesus. He will carry you through the most impossible situations. He has gone before you. He is making intercession for you now and He will continue to make a way for you through your difficult situation. Nothing is impossible with Him!

Fear Not

“Now therefore fear ye not; I will nourish you, and your little ones.” Genesis 50:21
Is there a spirit of fear plaguing you at this time? Turn to God and His promises. Get on your knees if you have to, and read Psalm 112:7: “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.” Read 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,” and Psalm 34:7: “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.” God helped His Old Testament children in dire circumstances and calmed the sea for His New Testament children. Ponder His stories and rest in His care.

Lay It Before God

“Be Thou my strong rock.” Psalm 31:2
We often overlook Rizpah, a tragic figure in the Scriptures. She was Saul’s concubine, neither having the status nor the consideration of being a wife. When it came to fulfilling the requirement of the Gibeonites in their revenge against Saul, her children became expendable, while others were preserved (2 Sam. 21:6-7). Though neither words nor tears are recorded, her actions demonstrate a depth of love for her children that excels. Her vigil over the bodies of her children took an active stance. She beat away the vultures by day and drove off the wild animals by night that would have feasted upon her children. Her sorrow made her as fearless as she was speechless. Did Rizpah know that those bodies should not have hung for so long on public display? (See Deuteronomy 21:22-23.) Did she know that children were not to be put to death for the sins of their parents? (See Deuteronomy 24:16.) Eventually, after an unknown length of time, her actions came to the attention of the king. Then the king was motivated to properly bury the slain. It is noteworthy that only upon the proper burial of the slain is it stated, “God was entreated for the land” (2 Sam. 21:14).
We admire Rizpah for not taking action against the God-given authority. She lays out her complaint “upon the rock” (2 Sam. 21:10). Bypassing the injustices she might have felt, and the grievances against the ones committing them, she laid herself out upon the “rock” and beat away all things unclean. She stands as a quiet but powerful testimony — so much so that David the king is moved to action.

Finding the Balance

“For I know him [Abraham] that he will command his children and his household after him.” Genesis 18:19
“I [Jacob] will lead on softly, according as the  ...  children be able.” Genesis 33:14
I love the stories in Genesis. The people teach us in multi-faceted ways. We know who was lazy, who was shy, who was a bully and who was deceitful! Right in the first book of the Bible, we find examples of godly child-rearing. God often teaches us by giving us parallel truths. We need balance, and the Bible has it. There are times when we must “command” (Gen. 18:19). One incident may require the answer, “Mom says no to that; no argument.” A few hours later we may find ourselves having to “lead softly” (Gen. 33:14) with an hour-long gentle discussion about something else. Our children will resent it if we hand out nothing but commands, but may take advantage if it is all softness on our part in discipline. It takes continual looking up for guidance to the One whose ear is always open to our prayer.

Quick and Slow

“All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Matthew 7:12
Perfect love — is it mine?
Slow to suspect — quick to trust
Slow to condemn — quick to justify
Slow to offend — quick to defend
Slow to expose — quick to shield
Slow to reprimand — quick to forbear
Slow to belittle — quick to appreciate
Slow to demand — quick to give
Slow to provoke — quick to soothe
Slow to hinder — quick to help
Slow to resent — quick to forgive

Memorizing Scripture With Children

X “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
Y “Ye must be born again.” John 3:7
Z “Zealous of good works.” Titus 2:14
It’s altogether too easy to get caught up in the everyday chores of housekeeping, cooking, mending and other tasks, and lose sight of the things that really matter. After our fourth child was born and we moved to a bigger house that would accommodate us all, I came to the realization one day that the only things I was saying to my children were “Do this!” or “Don’t do that!” We were no longer sitting down together to read stories and sing choruses as we had done in the small house we lived in previously. I had become too busy.
I cried to the Lord about it. The chores still needed to be done, but the children needed love and individual attention. I began to delegate simple chores to the three older children and tried to liberally reward them with praise when they did them well. I also put up an alphabet of verses on the playroom wall:
A—“All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
B—“Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).
C—“Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
For each verse they could say with its reference, they won one miniature marshmallow or one chocolate chip. Soon they were running to me every few minutes to ask what certain letters spelled or to say a memorized verse. The constant distractions were difficult but worthwhile. Now we had a lively mutual interest, and they were hiding precious little bits of God’s Word in their hearts.
As the children began to handle their chores more efficiently, we found more time at the end of the day for reading stories. This provided many happy times as we sat cuddled up close together on the couch with the children eagerly listening to a Bible story or a book that was honoring to the Lord. The Lord had given a way to accomplish needed tasks and still provide nurture and joy in His Word.

Peace Instead of Fear

“Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not.” Isaiah 35:4
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you.” John 14:27
As mothers we all know what fear feels like. An icy feeling grips our heart; we pace the floor when our child has a very high fever, or our teenager’s car has not pulled into the driveway and it is very late. How we wish for the Lord bodily beside us, saying as He did to Jairus about his daughter, “Fear not” (Luke 8:50). How we would like to see Him personally coming to us on the rough waves with the words, “Be not afraid” (Mark 6:50).
However, peace is much more than the absence of fear. Peace is ours because of His work on the cross. “Peace I leave with you” (John 14:27) is the peace of sins forgiven. “My peace I give unto you” (John 14:27) goes a step further. His peace can be ours! It is a shared peace with our Creator and Redeemer. This peace allows us to leave the trial in His hands, and rest in His will for the sick child or the wandering teenager.

O Taste and See

“Unto you therefore which believe He is precious.” 1 Peter 2:7
I once heard a Christian woman tell a friend that she prays every day that the Lord would make Himself precious to each of her children. There are many ways the Lord can make Himself real and precious to our children. Perhaps one of them is struggling to solve a difficult math test problem at school. He prays, asking the Lord Jesus to help him with this hard problem, and He does. Through this experience Jesus becomes more precious to him. Our child has learned that the Lord is indeed a Friend who loves him and has power to help him.
Perhaps our child is hurting, and he prays and feels God’s comfort. God is good all the time, and in addition to valuing Him ourselves (and letting our children see that), we can pray our children will learn to see and appreciate His goodness. My father used to ask the Lord daily to become increasingly more real and precious to each of us. Those prayers are still being answered, although my father has been home with the Lord for many years.

Make the Most of Your Time

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:16
The time we have with our children is now! Our children have been put into our care or stewardship to raise for the Lord, who died for us that we should not live unto ourselves but unto Him (2 Cor. 5:15). How are we using the time we have with our children today? Like Hannah in the Old Testament, we have only a set, relatively short time, to wean them (in our case to wean them from this world), to train them for the Lord, and to guide them. We must be “not of the world” ourselves before we can effectually wean our children from it. “Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world” (John 15:19).
Our children read our daily lives through observing our priorities and how we respond to God and what He allows in our life. As we enjoy the Lord as the Object of our heart and life, our children will want Him, too.
Before her son was even born, Hannah said, “I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head” (1 Sam. 1:11). She purposed in her heart to raise him in separation for the Lord, acknowledging that he belonged to the Lord. “And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her and brought him unto the house of the Lord  ...  and the child was young” (vs. 24). We should not wait until our child is weaned to begin training. Hannah knew in her heart as she nursed young Samuel that she only had a short time with her son. How she must have made the most of every moment to love, nurture, and train him for the Lord. She gave of herself with purpose, knowing that soon she would physically give her son back to the Lord.

To God Be the Glory

“He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:31
“Lord, we have tried to bring up our children for You but they are not following You. Please help them.” Have we ever pleaded with the Lord this way?
As Christian parents we want spiritual blessing and joy in the Lord for our families. But if our children turned out to our satisfaction, perhaps we would be tempted to think that we had been a real success as parents. Then where would the “glorying in the Lord” be? Be assured, dear mothers, that He hears your cries, but He does the work in our children’s lives, in His time, and so the glory is all His. Then we will be only too happy to say “Look what the Lord has done in my child’s life.” God hasn’t written the last page yet. It is our privilege to keep on praying, and our comfort to know God answers prayer.
Meanwhile, as we recognize our own failures, we can “humble [ourselves]...under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt [us] in due time: Casting all [our] care upon Him; for He careth for [us]” (1 Peter 5:6-7). God is greater than all our failures and He cares about the pain we feel as we wait for Him to work, as well as caring about our children even more than we do.

Hidden From Evil

“And the woman conceived and bare a son: and when she saw him, that he was a goodly child, she hid him.” Exodus 2:2
In the time when Moses was born, the king of Egypt had ordered all male babies of the Israelites to be killed at birth. The midwives did not do this because they feared God, so Pharaoh ordered his people to cast them into the river.
The life of Moses, because of this, was in serious danger; but his mother was able to hide him for a while, and he lived to fulfill God’s purpose for him. Today the prince of this world (Satan — 2 Cor. 4:4) seems to be waging an all-out war for all children, and it has never seemed more necessary to hide them from him and all the things he uses to attract them.
I recently heard a young man pray, “Lord, the enemy is coming right into our homes!” There are so many things to read, to listen to, to watch. Many of these things could be considered legitimate, but excess time spent on them will sap us and our children spiritually. Too much time spent on electronics can keep us from exercise and social interaction. Even the games provided for children are often unsuitable, and some of them are known to be harmful. The Lord has provided wholesome, worthwhile things to do. We need His help to find them, but we can count on His help. “For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon Him for?” (Deut. 4:7).
“After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and hid herself” (Luke 1:24).
We need to hide ourselves from the things the enemy would like to bring to us as well. We cannot hide our children if we don’t hide ourselves.
I read of a godly brother who had a telescope. A visitor to the home was invited to look through it, and he discovered the words, “Holiness to the Lord” Zechariah 4:20, engraved on it. Even an instrument for looking at the stars needed to be kept in place in his heart. Perhaps we would do well to think about that phrase on the items around our home.
Before I was married, I took a class on nutrition taught by a professional dietitian. She told us that the way we were eating at that time would have more of an effect on the health of our babies than what we would eat when we were pregnant. So, dear single women and mothers of babies and toddlers, what are you feeding on? Things that will strengthen you for the battle? The things that our minds are occupied with affect our spiritual health and that of our children. Can we not put the Lord first in this matter?

Whom Shall I Please?

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” 2 Timothy 2:9-10
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:3-4
I look in my closet{br}And what do I see?{br}Some tight-fitting Levi’s;{br}A skin-fitting “T.”
Dresses with necklines{br}That plunge and reveal,{br}Backless or clinging{br}My virtue to steal.
Mini-skirts many{br}And some with a slit.{br}See how my legs show,{br}Crossed, when I sit?
I know face my mirror{br}And what does it show?{br}The woman in Proverbs?{br}With wisdom? Oh no!
But there’s one perfect mirror{br}It’s God’s own true Book.{br}He tells how a woman{br}Who loves Him should look.
Who else really matters?{br}Whom else shall I please?{br}Let’s read His directions{br}While down on our knees.{br}
Witten by “a Mother”

Learning to Come

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” Proverbs 14:1
“Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.” Psalm 80:19
Raising children is a no-second-chance experience. We might wish we could have a little robot to practice on before we have our real children. There could be a slot on its tummy where a read-out would appear: Thanks for combing my hair, or Please put a hat on me; I’m cold, or, Please notice that I am hungrier than you think, or I’ll be happier if you make me obey, or If you keep treating me like that, I will run away when I am 16. However, the Lord has not seen fit to give us a trial run, so we have to cultivate a sense of responsibility toward our children and depend on Him to give us wisdom.
When God gives us a child, we want to see our child happy. To do this, we sometimes must make the child sad because he may want things that aren’t good for him. Discipline may make him unhappy in the short term, but having his own foolish way will bring him even more unhappiness.
Obedient children make a happy home. Obedience training needs to start at a young age. Let us make it pleasant for our little one to obey by setting him up for success. For example, to teach him to come when called, Mommy stands at a short distance and calls in a smiling voice, “Come.” Daddy carries him to mommy. Both parents laugh and say, “Good baby!” The more enthusiasm and joy we show, the better he will learn. Joyful learning establishes rapport, love and respect.

Doubts

“When they saw Him, they worshipped Him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” Matthew 28:17-18
Perhaps as we go to worship the Lord on Lord’s Day morning, we have a hard time concentrating. We begin thinking over the past week, and doubts arise in our hearts as to some things that the Lord allowed in our lives. Why did my friend say that to me? Why did the car break down again? Why did Tommy have to get sick when we finally had an invitation over to the Johnson’s?
Here the disciples were worshipping Him, and yet doubts were going through their minds. Then the Lord came and quietly assured them that all power was given to Him. He was truly in control of every detail of their lives. How good it is for us to remember this, too. If we see Him in everything, we know that not one word will be said, nor one trial come our way, unless the Lord allows it for our good. He has all power in our circumstances, so we can cast all our care on Him and free our minds to remember Him.

The Still Small Voice

“And after the fire a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:12
I am only beginning to learn this, and I wish I had been a better listener earlier. It is so exciting to hear that still small voice, and to obey it. Maybe you can’t get someone off your mind. You feel a burden to call someone, take food to a family, go sit with a sick neighbor, or write a letter — the ways for a godly woman to minister are endless.
If we begin the day asking the Lord to fill our hands, if we are listening for that still small voice, the Spirit within us can move us to do His bidding. I am speaking of being willing and ready to be used by the Master on a daily basis. It may be a small, hidden work, seen only by our Lord. But it will be worth any sacrifice we make. “I will guide thee with Mine eye” (Psa. 32:8).

Waiting for the Glory

“Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When He had heard therefore that he was sick, He abode two days still in the same place where He was.” John 11:5-6
Are deep burdens and discouragements overwhelming you today? Does it seem like nothing is going the way you thought it would? You have prayed and prayed, and there seems to be no answer. Consider Martha’s family. Jesus loved them, but He also allowed this difficulty in their lives.
We can all relate to Martha and hear the hurt in her voice as she says, “Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (John 11:21). When they needed Him most, He chose not to come. Why? We have the answer in verse 4. “When Jesus heard that, He said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”
What a comfort it is to realize that if the Lord chooses to wait to answer our prayers, it is because He wants to be glorified in the end. Instead of seeing their brother raised from a sick bed, Mary and Martha got to see him raised from death itself. This brought more glory to God. He sometimes allows death so there can be a resurrection. Death comes to our plans, our hopes, our abilities, our wisdom  ...  so He can live in and be glorified through us.

Seeking a Right Way

“I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of Him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.” Ezra 8:21
I speak to the hearts of those who are parents  ...  . May the exercise of our hearts be found in the language that we have here: they sought a right way for themselves and their little ones, and all their substance. Is this our desire? As we go through life’s journey surrounded on every hand by enemies, with these wonderful treasures entrusted to us, are we willing to begin this journey with fasting at the river? This river could well refer to the water of the Word. Perhaps before we begin the journey of parenting, it would be well to set aside other things for a short time to spend time searching the precious Word of God, gleaning wisdom for the path ahead.
— Albert Hayhoe, adapted

The Fiery Serpents

“Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.” 1 Corinthians 10:10
Here is at least one secret for a happier home. When the children of Israel murmured and complained, the Lord sent serpents to bite them. In Scripture the serpent is a type of Satan. When we complain in our homes we are making a way for the enemy to come in! Of course, we all want the enemy to stay out of our homes, and so this passage gives us wisdom. As a remedy, the Lord told them to look upon the brass serpent on the pole, reminding us of the need to turn our thoughts to the Lord Jesus on the cross. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (John 3:14). If we think more often of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus and the love which took Him to the cross, then we’ll be less tempted to complain about our circumstances. “He that spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things” (Rom. 8:32)? When the children of Israel believed God’s word, they sang His praises; when they did not believe, they murmured (Psalm 106:12,24-25). When circumstances tempt us to complain, let’s look unto Jesus (see Heb. 12:2), the One who never complained. Our hearts and homes will be happier for it!

Is Anybody Home?

“Rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
“Teach the young women to be. . .keepers at home.” Titus 2:4-5
We recognize that circumstances in the modern world sometimes make it more difficult [for a mother to be in the home full-time]. When families live in areas where the cost of living is high, sometimes the wife feels that she too must get a job outside the home in order to make ends meet. Other adverse circumstances, such as the inability of the husband and father to go out to work, or even his not being present at all, can make it even more difficult for a mother to fulfill her role as Scripture intended. As has often been remarked, Scripture is not written as a legal book, to cover every possible detail in life; but rather it is a book of principles that must be applied in various circumstances in communion with the Lord and with the guidance of His Spirit. If our hearts are right before Him and there is a sincere wish to walk in the light of His Word, I believe we will find that He is able to make a way for us.
The wisdom of this world, especially in Western countries, is more and more against this role [of keepers at home] for women, and man fails to see that the rising tide of evil, the increasing delinquency of children, and the disobedience and disorder in public schools can, at least in part, be traced back to the lack of a mother’s presence in the home. It is easy for Christian women to fall into this kind of thinking, as they are bombarded with it from every side. But we must remember that we are never wiser than Scripture. The wisdom of God as revealed in His Word not only honors God, but ultimately brings happiness, too.
— W.J. Prost. “A Virtuous Woman” The Christian Jan. 2010.

A Nursing Mother Analogy

“Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.” Jeremiah 15:16
“She gleaned in the field  ...  and she brought forth, and gave  ...  that she had reserved after she was sufficed.” Ruth 2:17-18
“Where hast thou gleaned today?” Ruth 2:19
“Take this child away, and nurse it for me” (Ex. 2:9). A mother can only nurse her child from that which she herself has taken in and made her own. When a mother is nursing her child, she is very careful what she feeds upon. You will sometimes hear a mother say, “No thank you, it doesn’t seem to agree with the baby.” She is very careful what she feeds upon. And I suggest that even that little example has a present-day application to mothers of children at any age.”
— Albert Hayhoe

Are We Being Obedient?

“The sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab, have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto Me.” Jeremiah 35:16
There is an interesting story in Jeremiah 35 that we might do well to ponder.
Jeremiah was instructed by the Lord to go to the house of the Rechabites and bring them to the house of the Lord and offer them wine to drink. When they were brought to the temple, bowls of wine were set before them and they were told by Jeremiah to drink wine. We know that wine was commonly used in Old Testament days and it was not wrong for anyone to drink it except for Nazarites.
However, they refused to drink it, explaining that their father Jonadab had commanded them not to. “Ye shall drink no wine, ye nor your sons forever. Neither shall ye build houses, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyards  ...  but all your days ye shall dwell in tents, that ye may live many days in the land.” They assured Jeremiah that they had followed all these instructions all their days.
The Lord contrasted their obedience to their father with the disobedience of His own people to Him, their God, in spite of all He had done in speaking to them and sending them prophets to win them back. God instructed Jeremiah to tell His people that He was going to send judgment on them because they had refused to listen to Him and obey Him.
The message Jeremiah was told to deliver to the Rechabites was quite different. “Because you have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you; Therefore thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before Me forever.”
What is the lesson for us in this story? Surely it is not to lay restrictions on our children that they must continue to obey throughout their adult years. Perhaps the lesson is simply this — the Lord appreciates and rewards obedience when He finds it and there are surely consequences for refusing to listen to His words to us.
In our case His commandments concern loving one another, forgiving and forbearing with others, laying aside bitterness and anger, etc. We might ask ourselves how we are doing in these areas.
The Rechabites are still in existence today. The Concise Bible Dictionary states that at the time of its publication there were 60,000 of them and that they still live in tents as nomads. Some of them are called Bedouins now. One thing we are certain of from the Word of God: Some of them are “standing before God.”

My Heart, His Sanctuary

“Thou God seest me.” Genesis 16:13
Smug, I was, in the completion of my God-given duties. I had arisen early, prepared breakfast and dispatched my children and husband after the family reading. But anger boiled in my heart. I began my chores with rigor, tackling the laundry first. I fairly ran from room to room putting away the clean clothes. I felt confident in my goodness as a wife and mother. I was so noble. I had hid my anger from my family. As I put away the last of the clothes in my daughter’s room, the bottom drawer of the bureau stuck. The lid came off of the boiling pot of my anger and I kicked the drawer to make it close. The immoveable drawer mocked me and I kicked it again. It felt good to kick the drawer, so I did it again ... and again ... and again. Unmoved by my anger, the drawer held to its attitude. I got on my knees, readjusted the drawer’s position and slammed it shut. Again, I felt as a conqueror over every obstacle. The release of my anger felt so good. I enjoyed my anger and reveled in the thought that I could express it without my family knowing. But, GOD saw.
A little while later, I needed to retrieve an object from the deck. In the hurry of my duty, I didn’t see the loose board on the deck. My foot, the same foot that kicked the drawer, contacted the loose board and over I went, sprawled out on the deck. It was there that God seemed to say, “I see you. I see your anger. Your duty is meaningless because of the pride in your heart.” Oh! How I cried! How I wept! Yes, my foot hurt, but not nearly so much as my heart. My hot tears were not from the heat of anger, but from shame in the realization of my pride. How good the Lord was to stop me in my tracks, or should I say, to “flop” me in my tracks. Like the drawer, I was immoveable in my attitude. It takes prayer to adjust an immoveable attitude. Sometimes, the Lord “trips” us up to put us on our knees. How we should praise Him for the adjustments He makes in our lives! Never is anything unseen by Him. His presence is all-encompassing. His presence reaches to the secret places of the heart and examines what is allowed there. Your heart, dear Christian, is His sanctuary. Maintain it as a holy place.
“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Not Offended

“Blessed is...whosoever shall not be offended in Me.” Matthew 11:6
There may be some who read this book who as yet have no child, much as they might long for one. I would like to share something that was a help to me as I walked that painful path. The Bible says the barren womb is one thing that is never satisfied. (Proverbs 30:16). You may wonder, as I did, “Why?” Why do some women have more children than they seem able to handle, and I have none? Why do women who won’t ever properly care for children have them, and I don’t? And even, Why am I given this condition that even Scripture says will never be satisfied?
One day when I was at a gathering where one lady after another came in with a newborn or her stomach bulging with new life, I fled to the empty nursery and rocked in an empty rocker, and cried into my empty hands. One of those sweet ladies came in and lovingly discovered the cause of my grief. She told me that her oldest son always wanted to know “Why?” And sometimes she could not explain “why.” She had to tell him, “You just need to trust me.” As you face your own unanswered “whys” may you learn to find comfort in hearing the Lord say to you, “You just need to trust Me, my child.” “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart.” (Proverbs 3:5, emphasis added). Someday you will understand. For now there is “Blessed is (she), whosoever shall not be offended in Me.” (Matthew 11:6).

Even so, Father

“I thank Thee, O Father ... .even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight....Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me...and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:25-26,29
For everything I will give thanks,{br}Though “why” I cannot see.{br}It is enough to know that He{br}Has chosen this for me.{br}And He who only can do good{br}And give good things to me{br}Has given this that seems all wrong,{br}So — perfect it must be.
He sees afar into a still{br}Unknown eternity.{br}And in the light of what He sees{br}He’s chosen this for me.{br}So I may rest this yoke within{br}While learning more of Thee{br}The meek and lowly One in heart{br}Who bears the weight for me.{br}
R.R.

A Childless Mother

“I arose a mother in Israel.” Judges 5:7
I have been a childless mother. Does that sound strange? To me, one of the hardest parts of not having children was the feeling of uselessness. I used to wonder “What am I here for?” Perhaps for some women without children the answer to that question comes in the form of a job to help lighten the husband’s financial load. But perhaps there is a better way. In the book of Judges the Lord has given us the story of Deborah, a prophetess who lived in a very dark day in Israel’s history. The enemy was making things so difficult that “the highways were unoccupied.” (Judges 5:6) That sounds like there would have been very little fellowship. And “The inhabitants of the villages ceased” (verse 7). Today, often, Christian gatherings see fewer and fewer people attending. What was the solution to this state of affairs? “Until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.” It does not say she was a mother, but “a mother in Israel.” The word mother, in Strong’s concordance, carries with it the thought of being the bond of the family. You may not be a mother of your own little one, but you can be “a mother in Israel.” If you are willing, you can do things in your local Christian gathering that will help create bonds, such as hospitality or helping other young mothers who feel overwhelmed with their load. Perhaps you will be led to be a help where a weak one has been overcome by the enemy so that they feel the encouragement of your love to them and are drawn back to the Lord. Or perhaps you will visit older people or help them in some way. Most important of all, you can pray. In these and other ways you can help to open the highways of communication and love and be an encouragement so that the gathering will once again be occupied. Ask the Lord...He can show you many opportunities to be “a mother in Israel.”

Exult Thou Barren

“Exult, thou barren, that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and shout for joy, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith Jehovah. Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed ... And all thy children shall be taught of Jehovah, and great shall be the peace of thy children.” Isaiah 54:1,4,13
Oh the ache of empty arms{br}No one needing me{br}No quick smile lights up a face{br}Of baby seeing me.{br}Other women have the joy{br}Of being someone’s mom…{br}The one who nurtured life within{br}And still does…on and on.{br}Sleepless nights with fuzzy head{br}Nestled in their arm{br}Cries and fears are soothed away{br}As if by magic wand.{br}They hear little cooing calls,{br}Then gently pattering feet.{br}Arms outstretched for one quick hug{br}Or lengthy snuggling.{br}They are needed constantly{br}How could their life feel void?{br}A little life could be snuffed out{br}If they grew selfish, cold.{br}And yet – are there not children still{br}Whose mothers do not care?{br}They seek for money, fame or power{br}Or seek to be “fulfilled.”{br}And there are older ones as well,{br}Whose mothers know not Him,{br}And when they need a mother’s touch,{br}May I not fill that void?{br}If empty arms I sometimes feel,{br}Can’t I bear that for Him{br}Whose arms were outstretched on a cross{br}To call lost children Home?{br}He had nowhere to lay His head,{br}No wife, no family,{br}For my sake He a lonely Man{br}No one could understand.{br}Then lift those empty arms to Him{br}He cares with mother’s love.{br}And God was never debtor yet{br}To any of His own.{br}He’ll fill those arms with work for Him,{br}My work won’t be in vain,{br}And when some Day with Him I stand{br}I think I’ll hear Him say,{br}“Your many children are all safe,{br}(For they’ve been taught by Me){br}Rejoice, thou barren, as thou seest{br}My plan fulfilled for thee.{br}For every corn of wheat must die,{br}If it would fruitful be.”

Foot Washing

“Ye ought also to wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14
“Good works . . . if she have washed the saints’ feet.” 1 Timothy 5:10
“By love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13
“He giveth more grace.” James 4:6
God Himself is a giver and we should be no less. While foot washing primarily has spiritual significance, it was also a very real meeting of a physical need. It took energy to trek to the well to get water, and humility to kneel down and gently bathe dirty feet. Perhaps the feet were stinky as well. Our children have many physical needs as infants, and meeting them requires a lot of a mother’s energy. As they get older, they still need to be fed, clothed, and nurtured. Our husbands also have physical and hormonal needs that God asks us to meet. Maybe we are tired; maybe we are not in the mood. Whatever our state, this is God’s word to us: “By love serve one another.” He gives the needed grace to fulfil His will as we depend on Him!

Ambitions

“Wherefore we labor [we are ambitious], that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:9
“And that ye study [ye are ambitious] to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11
“Yea, so have I strived [I have been ambitious] to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation.” Romans 15:20
Are we ambitious? Do we want our children to be ambitious? We should not encourage our children to seek an elevated position in this world. But ambition is a good thing if our focus is correct. God does not want us to strive for selfish goals, but He does not want us to be lazy, either. He wants us to be ambitious . . . to reach the goals He sets for us. The word (G5389) which Strong’s dictionary defines as “to be ambitious” is used three times in the New Testament. Strong’s further explains this word to mean “eager or earnest to do something.”
In 2 Corinthians 5:9, we are told to be ambitious to be well-pleasing to the Lord. Our first and ongoing goal should be to be acceptable to Him.
Then 1 Thessalonians 4:11 gives us three guidelines for how we should act in our corner of life. We should be ambitious to be quiet. That’s not usually what we think of as an ambition, but God wants us to be earnest about being still, watching our tongues, and resting in Him. Sometimes it takes amazing strength to keep our mouths shut! God also wants us to be earnest about minding our own business. Taking care of our own responsibilities is enough of a task without meddling with other people’s problems. Thirdly, we are told to be eager to work with our own hands so that we can carry our own weight and not burden others.
Romans 15:10 tells us that we are also to be eager to preach the gospel. God has forgiven us and blessed us abundantly, and He does not want us to keep our mouths shut about it. He wants us to work in His strength to give the good news to others. We can begin with our friends, neighbors, and grocery store cashiers; and we can pray about ways to bring God’s Word to others as well. These goals are worthy of our energies! They are worthy of teaching to our children, too. We can float downstream in life or we can be eager to follow God’s plan.

Pass It on!

“Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” Psalm 34:11
“This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord.” Psalm 102:18
“One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.” Psalm 145:4
“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.” 2 Timothy 1:5
One very important reason that God sets us in families (Psa. 68:6) is so that we may teach our children. We should not content ourselves with merely telling them the way of salvation. We should also tell them about the beauties of Christ, give them the wisdom of the Word, and seek to guide their footprints through this world into the life that should characterize the family of God. Psalm 78:1-8 tells us that we need to share what “we have heard and known, and our fathers [ancestors] have told us” with our children. We are to show “to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength, and His wonderful works that He hath done” (vs. 4). Here God’s Word passes from our fathers to ourselves to our children. Then God wants the word passed on to our grandchildren as well, “that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children.” So the truth and the glories and the wonderful works of the Lord are to be shared from generation to generation—at least four generations are mentioned in these few verses—by the lips of parents and grandparents. There is a goal in this: “That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.” No doubt there are also failures in our lives that we can help them avoid. God does not want them to be “as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God” (vs. 8). We can also encourage them by relating His wonderful works in our lives, God’s never-failing goodness to us. Through faithfulness and failure we can—and should—always share “the praises of the Lord” (vs. 5).

A Wealthy Place

“For Thou, O God, hast proved us: Thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; Thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.” Psalm 66:10-12
Have you ever felt tangled in your circumstances? The psalmist felt brought into a net. Are you weighed down? This writer said God had laid a heavy burden on him. Trampled on? The psalmist was ridden right over. Burnt by your circumstances, way over your head, just drowning? “We went through fire and water.” And what is the final word? “Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.”
Where is that place? I have walked through fiery trials and cried, “Lord, where is it? Is it in heaven?” That certainly is a wonderful hope that we have, that the suffering of this time will pale in the light of the” far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17). But recently I discovered a delightful fact about Psalm 66:12. The word translated “a wealthy place” is translated “runneth over” in Psalm 23:5—“Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over.” Even when we are in economic straits, hurting in a relationship, in pain, or aching with the loss of a loved one, God can anoint our head with the healing oil of His Spirit and fill our cup with His joy to the point that it runs over in praise and blessing. Joseph was misused by his family, falsely accused for following the path of righteousness, and unjustly thrown into prison by his employer, but he became a “fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall” (Gen. 49:22). In times of pain we can know that a wealthy place, a running-over place, is coming some day. And for today we can lift up our cup and ask the Lord to fill it so that we can spill over in blessing, so that we can climb over the wall and reach out to other hurting souls with the comfort with which we ourselves have been comforted of God.

Daughters of Sarah

“Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” 1 Peter 3:6
It is easy to understand why God wants us to do well, but what does it mean to not be afraid with any amazement? The word ‘afraid’ here is the same Greek word used in Ephesians 5:33: “The wife see that she ‘reverence’ her husband.” It is also used four verses earlier (1 Pet. 3:2) where wives are told husbands should be able to see their wives’ chaste conversation coupled with “fear.” So we know that God wants us to fear/reverence/respect our husbands. We are repeatedly told to fear the Lord, and we should extend that attitude to our husbands as well.
The Greek word amazement comes from the word translated “terrified” in Luke 21:9 and Luke 24:37. We will never need to be terrified of being caught if we do well. Some of us may have husbands that may seem terrifying instead of “good and gentle” (1 Pet. 2:18). Even then, God has all the strength, wisdom and comfort we need. Although we may sometimes need to seek outside help, “God has not given us a spirit of timidity [Strong’s], but of power and of love” (2 Tim. 1:7). God wants us to respect our husbands without being terrified. Terror is self-serving and respect has the other’s interest at heart. If we act out of terror, we will take the easiest way out. On the other hand, if we act out of respect, we will do the right thing for the ultimate good of our husband. God tells us not to be terrified in anything (Phil. 1:28). We need to maintain a good conscience that comes with doing well and maintain a trust in the Lord despite challenging circumstances.
Sarah called Abraham “my lord” even in her inward thoughts (Gen. 18:12). Her respect was not to curry favor with Abraham; it was sincere. Our respect should be both inward and outward, without servile fawning or self-interest. Let’s be daughters of Sarah!

Of Whom the World Was Not Worthy

“And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection; And others...were tempted, were slain...wandered about ...being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy.)” Hebrews 11:35-38
At the end of Hebrews 11 there is a short section in this honor roll of faith dedicated to people who don’t have a long story attached to their names. The honor roll begins with people we know well from Bible stories in the Old Testament who had great victories through faith. But then the list goes on to ... others. Beginning in the middle of verse 35 with the words “and others...” is a nameless list of sufferers. These “others” had lives of suffering, not victory in the sense we like to think of as victory. They were killed, mocked, scourged, tortured, wandered in all kinds of difficult places, were destitute, afflicted, tormented. But in verse 38 we have a very beautiful truth that conveys God’s thoughts about these sufferers whom other people saw as “inferior” (part of the meaning of the word “destitute”). It says “Of whom the world was not worthy.”
Many of us, if not all of us, go through times in our lives when we fit into this class of “others”. Other people seem to have what may appear to us a “normal” life. But for a time, or perhaps for most of our lives, we are entrusted with a difficult trial that may make us feel inferior to or different from, others. In those circumstances it can seem to us that if we had enough faith, or if we were a better Christian, we might be able to overcome or escape this trial. But it isn’t happening. Take comfort in God’s words about these “others.” He says “of whom the world was not worthy” about those who endure difficult trials without getting the victory here on earth. He doesn’t see as inferior the one who endures a tremendous difficulty without getting escape.
These faithful sufferers did not accept deliverance so that they could have a better resurrection. The dead in Christ shall rise! There is coming a day when we will see clearly that these very difficulties are the things He used to give us a “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17). That is never said of our joys! Our Father would only allow sorrow to the child He loves if there were a good reason for it. A far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory in the future is part of His good reason. For now, it also conforms us to the image of His Son as we accept the sorrows of life as His good, acceptable and perfect will for us, even when we don’t seem to be getting the victory. If we go on in faith in His goodness, that is all the victory He requires. Faith while we are in the trial glorifies Him!

Boundaries

“We have turned every one to his own way.” Isaiah 53:6
“A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” Proverbs 29:15
“The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places.” Psalms 16:6
When our firstborn arrived, the midwife immediately wrapped her snugly in a blanket. The baby naturally felt safe and secure. This instinct for security is one that grows with them. Children feel safe when they have age-appropriate boundaries.
A newborn responds well to being wrapped securely. In less than a year we give them this same security in a new way, as we restrain and guide their toddling feet so that they begin to learn patterns of good behavior. Two goals of discipline as they continue to develop are prompt obedience and self-restraint. Learning obedience is vital because our ultimate goal is teaching them to obey the Lord. Only a yielded person is a truly happy person. As Acts 9:5 says, “It is hard...to kick against the pricks”! When our children are old enough to understand reasoning, it is often good to provide reasons for the limits we place. God has chosen to put parents in control over their children (Eph. 6:1). Children learn the important concept of authority as they are taught to obey.
Our Father is not capricious. “The Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always” (Deut. 6:24, emphasis added). We can understand why certain boundaries God has established are for our good, just as our children can understand the rationale behind being told not to run into a busy street. But there are some things that we go through that we do not understand! And just as our Father shows us grace in His lessons for us, we must patiently teach our children to obey, even though sometimes they cannot understand our reasons. Only in this way will they come to know how pleasant are the places His will puts us in!
A child who has been taught self-restraint will have the capacity to play well, either alone or with others, without needing constant parental attention. A child trained to share, not grab toys, and not deliberately break the objects around them will enjoy the rewards of playing with others. Play time is important enough to be part of God’s future blessing for Jerusalem. “And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets.” Zech. 8:5 Our Father, who loves our children, can give us wisdom to train our children to follow Jesus even in their play time.

Habits

“Daniel ... kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” Daniel 6:10
It is important to instill good habits in our children. Habits can either work for us or against us. The flesh will always want to do the wrong thing; but if we are disrespectful, selfish, and lazy in our habits, we will not only have to struggle against the flesh but also against wrong habits. Daniel had the habit of praying three times a day, and that was a good habit. Good habits may encourage us—even when we don’t feel like it—to do things like reading the Bible and praying. These actions may help bring us back to communion with our Father even though they are done simply by habit at times.
Even small children can be taught good habits. Children can be taught to always thank the Lord before they eat, learning that it is God who provides. The Lord Jesus set this example for us (Matt. 15:36). In developing the habits of saying “please” and “thank you,” a child is acknowledging that the care he receives is a gift, and that he is not the center of the universe. A child taught to do chores is learning that he is part of a unit larger than himself, even when his mind is still mostly self-focused. Before a child understands the concept of a work ethic, he can learn the habit of doing a job just because it needs to be done. Through practice, he can also learn to speak respectfully to his elders. Children with good habits will have the framework in place to act appropriately even though their instincts are to be self-centered and demanding.
Children are not born peaceable. Because we are sinners by nature, it is natural to quarrel, but it is not God’s way. “The Dayspring from on high [Jesus] visited us  ...  to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78-79). It is a challenge in our job as mothers to follow His footsteps and guide our children’s feet into the way of peace. Sibling rivalry may be natural, but God has a better way, and our children can be friends to each other. While daily arguing may feel like an unending and unsolvable problem, good habits can be instilled any time a struggle needs your intervention. Most disturbances will come and go quickly. That is part of a child’s development. But when something minor becomes bigger, and a parent intervenes, there is a chance to reinforce two very important habits. The child or children at fault can be taught to say, “I’m sorry,” as soon as their fault is pointed out; and any child who hears “I’m sorry” can be taught to say “I forgive you” immediately. With practice, these words become as automatic as please and thank you. This is a valuable habit to have, as repentance and forgiveness only become naturally harder over time.
Some children might argue, “But I don’t forgive him. That would be telling a lie!” The fact is that saying “I forgive you” is only outwardly expressing what is already true in our new life. Scripture tells us, “If any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Col. 3:13). We forgive because we have a new nature, because we ourselves have been forgiven, not because we feel like it. There is no better time to learn and express the habit of forgiveness than when we face life’s first offences, which will generally be at the hands of siblings.

True Beauty

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in His temple. Psalms 27:4
“For how great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty!” Zechariah 9:17
Honour and majesty are before Him: strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. Psalm 96:6
“He is altogether lovely.” Song of Solomon 4:16
In Psalm 27:4, David’s desire is to dwell in the house of the Lord, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to enquire in His temple. Enquiring for answers to life’s problems in the presence of the Lord is a good thing; beholding the beauty of the Lord is even better. Adoring the Lord is not just something we do at the breaking of bread on Lord’s Day. It is something we should do every day of our life — to think about the Lord Jesus and to tell Him how wonderful He is. David wanted to live in the house of the Lord. We should be aware every moment that the Lord is with us.
There is a beauty that comes with youth. God made it, and even the world recognizes it. But in Isaiah 28, God tells Ephraim that his “glorious beauty shall be a fading flower” (vs. 1). Then God adds, “Whom shall He teach knowledge? And whom shall He make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned” (are growing up). Understanding comes “precept upon precept, line upon line” (vss. 9-10). Read your Bible line by line. The Lord will teach you a little bit at a time, precept upon precept. Discover “the King in His beauty” (Isa. 33:17), finding Him in the verses you read, meditating on how magnificent He is. The most important beauty is the beauty of the Lord, which we have the privilege of seeing when we read our Bibles.
Let us live in His presence, beholding His beauty, and may His beauty rest upon us (Psa. 90:17) as we seek Him. We will discover that He is truly and eternally “altogether lovely.”

Created for God's Glory

“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
There is a reason why God has given us children. He tells us in Isaiah 43:6 and 7, “Bring my sons  ...  and my daughters  ... for I have created him for my glory.” God is so thrilled with His Son, the Lord Jesus, that He wants our sons and daughters (and us!) to be like Jesus, to be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). Whatever goals we may have for our children, this should be at the top of our list.
It doesn’t happen automatically. Only in the power of God will we be able to raise our children for God’s glory. We start by praying for our children. Hannah began praying even before her child Samuel was born — “For this child I prayed” (1 Samuel 1:27). We can pray for them as we feed them in the middle of the night. “Arise, cry out in the night:  ...  lift up thy hands toward Him for the life of thy young children” (Lamentations 2:19). We “ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1). We need to keep praying until they or we are Home: “God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray” (1 Samuel 12:23).
It is both a privilege and responsibility to open to them God’s way for their life. Self-will manifests itself naturally. In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit requires cultivation on God’s part and ours.

Pilgrims in a Land of Affluence

“Woe to them that are at ease  ...  that lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; that chant to the sound of the viol . . . that drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph  ... . I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces.” Amos 6:1,4-6,8
This passage in the Minor Prophets recently caught my attention. I thought to myself, “This sounds like life now in North America!” Notice the “woe.” The life of ease described in these verses is not God’s design for living. The lazy people whom He condemns ate lambs and calves instead of waiting patiently for them to develop into productive sheep and oxen and then using them for food. There was no concept of delayed gratification for them. They were more concerned with listening to beautiful music, enjoying fine dining, and splurging at a beauty spa than in truly caring for the needs of those around them. God did not admire their fancy housing that they enjoyed at the expense of others.
We may be surrounded by affluence, but let’s remember that we are pilgrims and strangers about to be called to our heavenly home. Let’s encourage ourselves and our families that the Lord wants our hearts, time, and money to be occupied with a heavenly investment which will reap great dividends for all eternity.

Are Your Hands Full?

“Better is a handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of the spirit.” Ecclesiastes 4:6
Do you feel you have your hands full? What are they full of? Of “travail and vexation of spirit”?
Perhaps we are trying to do too much, trying to attain multiple handfuls instead of being content with just a handful. We can be “satisfied with [our] present circumstances, for He has said, I will not leave thee” (Heb. 13:5 JND). God can give us a handful with quietness as we rest in Him.
We can open our hands in the morning and pray, “Here are my hands, Lord. They do not belong to Me. Please use them however You wish.” As we work heartily with our hands as to the Lord (Col. 3:23), feeling satisfied because He is with us, God can multiply our “handful with quietness.” The widow of Zarephath had only a handful of meal (1 Kings 17:12), but God miraculously multiplied it so that her family, herself, and even her visitor Elijah were satisfied. As we yield our hands to God, God can use them and give us the strength and patience to serve our families and drop “handfuls of purpose” (Ruth 2:16) for the blessing of others.

Honesty

“Lying lips are abomination to the Lord; but they that deal truly are His delight.” Proverbs 12:22
Every godly mother needs to teach her children to be truthful, since that is something God wholeheartedly loves. I am done raising my children; and looking back, I wish I had done something differently. I wish I had checked up more on my children’s work after I had told them to do a chore.
It takes a lot of energy to check your children’s work, but that is your job and it pays big dividends. God has given us a list of seven things that He hates in Proverbs 6:16-19, and I believe that every one of them involves some measure of deceit—either self-deceit or deceit of others. It’s most important for us as parents to set an example by living an honest life. Then we need to lead our children to the Lord, reminding them of His claims on their lives, and pray that they will live their lives wholly for Him. Then they will have happy and purposeful lives, for He is the “God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus” (1 Pet. 5:10). He is the One who can and will teach them to live honest, upright lives by His power and for His glory.

Fruit in Old Age

“Those that are planted in the house of Jehovah shall flourish in the courts of our God: they are still vigorous in old age, they are full of sap and green” (Psalm 92:13-14 JND)
“I bow my knees unto the Father  ...  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-19).
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7).
Sometimes we think of old age as a time of withering. God looks at it differently.
Older sisters, if you are planted in the house of the Lord, if your lives are lived in the presence of the Lord, God views you as flourishing, vigorous, bringing forth fruit (KJV), full of sap, and green. The body and even the mind may grow weak, but you may still bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in abundance. It does not take youthful vigor to be strengthened in the inner man and to be filled with the fullness of God. As your outward man perishes, your inward man can be renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16). God wants us all to be full of sap. Sap comes up from the roots, and we are to be rooted and built up in Him. As our ability to serve is curtailed because of increasing physical weakness, our roots may grow deeper and longer. We are never useless in God’s sight. Sap rises spontaneously, and if our hearts are full of Christ, it will show. Sap is sweet. When Christ dwells in our hearts by faith and we are rooted and grounded in love, what comes out when we are tapped with adversity will be sweet — full of Christ and full of thanksgiving. God does not leave older saints here as withered and of little worth; in His eyes they are still green with the life He has given. Those who are younger can be helped by them, as by trees whose leaves are for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22:2).

Rest, Not Resist

“Rest in the Lord.” Psalm 37:7
“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 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 40:28-31
In pondering Isaiah 40:28-31, I was struck with the thought that the times when I find myself faint, with no might, weary, and utterly falling are the times when I am resisting the fact that all He allows in my life is according to His perfect plan for me, and that He will provide, and He will see me through! Take out the S (sin) and the I (myself), and suddenly “resist” becomes “rest”! With that in mind I reread these verses in a whole new light. It is through the renewing of my mind (Rom. 12:2) that I find “what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” in my life. When I choose to refocus upon Him of whom there is no searching of His understanding, the Creator of the ends of the earth, instead of on my puny little troubles and trials, then I find the renewing of my strength! It is only as I wait on Him alone that my strength is renewed, that I can “mount up with wings as eagles;  ...  run, and not be weary;  ...  and walk, and not faint.” When I resist I cannot rest. He who said, “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28) is the same One who has chosen every circumstance in my life! Am I weary? Where am I resisting? “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him: Fret not thyself” (Psalm 37:7).
I will not resist You, when You move Your hand to mold me.{br}I will not insist You show me all Your plans today.{br}I will not despise the tools You’re using now to shape me.{br}I will not require understanding to obey.
Todd Murray – Used with permission.

Broken and Empty

“Empty vessels.” 2 Kings 4:3
“They broke the pitchers that were in their hands.” Judges 6:19
How often we get in the way of the Lord’s working by trying to be strong in our own strength!
Have you ever felt empty, or broken? These are not feelings that we like. But the Lord can be glorified in our lives through emptiness or brokenness. He loves to fill empty vessels and to make His light shine through broken ones. Then the glory is not to the empty vessel or to the broken pitcher, but to the One who can fill the empty vessel and shine through the broken one. So don’t be discouraged when you feel empty, broken, or weak. Just bring your emptiness to Him to fill, ask Him to shine through your brokenness, and trust Him that His strength is made perfect in weakness.
We love to read the stories of miracles the Lord has done. But His platform was sick people, poisoned food, widows in need, insufficient food, childless couples, armies completely out-numbered by the enemy. If your problem falls into one of these or similar categories, rejoice by faith in what He is going to do! His tools were broken pitchers, empty vessels, faith, obedience and praise. He doesn’t need us to be strong in order to do His work. He just needs us to trust Him and obey Him  ...  and praise Him.

Learning God's Word Early

“Their brethren that were instructed in the songs of the Lord  ...  in the words of God.” 1 Chronicles 25:7,5
“Keep in memory what I preached.” 1 Corinthians 15:2
“My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee  ... . Write them upon the table of thine heart.” Proverbs 7:3
“Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11
We can surround our children with the Word of God from birth. Their first lullabies can be hymns, and their first stories can be from the Word of God. They are never too young to be told that the Lord Jesus loves them and made them for Himself. Paul told Timothy that “from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). No doubt he learned them at his mother Eunice’s and his grandmother Lois’ knee (2 Timothy 1:5), since his father was probably not a believer (Acts 16:1).
As our children get older, it is important to help them memorize the Word of God. We help our children memorize the multiplication tables. Perhaps we help them learn dates for history class. But nothing is more important than helping them memorize scripture. It is good to learn about the Bible. But the Word itself has power that can speak to our children—and us—when they need it, and in ways we haven’t considered before. Memorization is a skill, just like learning to use scissors or to ride a bike. The first verses are the hardest because the child is learning how to memorize as well as learning the verse itself. Once they learn this skill, it becomes easier. A verse can be put into short-term memory on Lord’s Day morning and easily forgotten. To go into long-term memory, a verse (like anything else to be memorized) needs to be reviewed regularly until it is permanently fixed in the brain. Of course we hope and pray that the final destination will be the heart, but it is easier for the Holy Spirit to bring verses to remembrance (John 14:26) that are already there! The Word can be a warning against sinning, a joyful reminder of the presence of the Lord, or a framework available to give a broader picture when considering other Scriptures. Our children can ponder it before they learn how to read, or when they lie awake at night. As they get older, the Word will be there to reflect on at times when they cannot read for other reasons, such as because they are driving, they are standing in line waiting, or even if their eyesight fails. We can and should memorize with them, but they will learn more easily and retain better than we can, because their brains are younger.

Bringing Our Children to Meet the Lord

“We will go  ...  with our sons and with our daughters  ...  for we must hold a feast unto the Lord.” Exodus 10:9
“With wives and children  ...  we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed.” Acts 21:5
“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1
Although there are many things we can provide our children at home, one thing we cannot give them is the presence of the Lord in the midst. When there was a prayer meeting for Paul on the beach, the wives and children were there and knelt with the men. To be gathered to His name and to sit in His presence with other believers gathered to the Lord’s name is a wonderful privilege. Do our children see us joyful at the prospect of seeing the Lord, or stressed out at the demand on our time? Undoubtedly as young moms it is difficult to find time for everything, but hopefully our children will not think (or discover!) that we feel going to meeting is a chore, something we do because it is a duty rather than because it is a joy.
It may be discouragingly difficult to concentrate in meeting when we are trying to keep our children quiet. It can help to train them to sit still in the privacy of our Bible readings at home (which God asks us to have — Deut. 11:19). Then it is easier to drink in God’s word ourselves at meeting, and there is a greater likelihood our children will listen to the Word as well. Our Lord tells us, “O my dove,  ...  let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely” (Song of Sol. 2:14). He wants to see both us and our children in His presence.

From an Aged Mother

“Aged women . . . teach the young women.” Titus 2:3-4
“Know ye not that . . . ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“Bring My sons  ...  and My daughters  ...  for I have created [them] for My glory.” Isaiah 43:6-7
God has given older women a responsibility to teach younger women. I am an older woman who has often failed as a wife and mother. But I have proved over the years that God is worthy of our trust. I have lived long enough to see many examples of self-will bringing grief. I have also seen the constant faithfulness of God and the beauty of following Him.
God’s purpose for all of us is to glorify Himself, and we should never forget that. We should all “be the moon and reflect the Son.” My children are grown now and have left the nest. While the growing-up years may seem endless to younger women, I realize as an older woman how brief they really are. Enjoy the days! They are over so soon! And remember, although it is important to give your children love, food, clothes, and education, your over-arching goal in the few years you have them should be to guide them to live for the glory of God. Of course, only God can save your children and give them new life. But it is your responsibility to pray for them and to show them by your example and training the joy of living for the honor and glory of the One who bought us by His blood.
Only one life, It will soon be past;{br}Only what’s done for Christ will last.
– C. T. Studd

Love's Transformation

“They blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands....And all the host ran, and cried, and fled.” Judges 7:19,21
“He took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, He blessed, and brake....And they did all eat, and were filled.” Matthew 14:19-20
I cannot tell why my hopes should lie broken{br}As some bright sea-shell, stepped on carelessly,{br}While others’ lives seem so complete, unbroken,{br}By cruel touch of dread adversity.
I cannot tell why my tears should flow freely{br}As from a fountain deep of bitter grief,{br}Why just as cup of joy is passing by me{br}It falls and shatters, as if purposely.
But this I know…that in God’s bright tomorrow{br}There are no broken hopes, no shattered joys –{br}That all the griefs that gather here as storm-clouds{br}Will shine o’er there as gold without alloy.
And this I know…He breaks me but to make me{br}Into a useful vessel, for Himself.{br}As Gideon’s army broke their earthen pitchers{br}To let the light shine out unhinderedly.
And this I know…He breaks to multiply me –{br}(Oh wondrous touch that only God doth have!){br}As the five loaves on verdant hills of Judah{br}Were broken e’er they fed the multitude.
So let Him break, if needed, every bright hope –{br}Each dream, each cup of earthly joy –{br}“They shall not be ashamed who wait upon Me”{br}So I can wait ‘till over there, for joy!
For this I know…the choice is mine{br}To give or to withhold, and I must choose.{br}The frankincense of praise – a costly gift –{br}From yielded hearts ascends most perfectly.
And this I know….that He alone is worthy!{br}I’d pour my all upon His pierced feet,{br}My praise and adoration for His goodness{br}Mingled perhaps with tears, is most complete.{br}

Fellowship

“When He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him.” John 10:4
He reached the rugged cross to me{br}It seemed to glow with light and love,{br}And eagerly I reached for it,{br}Longing by it my Lord to know.
But then my flesh recoiled in pain,{br}The cross was rugged, heavy, bare,{br}The light seemed blotted out in night,{br}The love seemed set my life beyond.
‘Twas then I heard His whisper sweet,{br}“My child, I bear this cross with you,{br}You will not take one step but that{br}My feet have been there long before.”
And so it was. At every step{br}I searched the dust that burned my feet{br}And found His footprints in that dust{br}Before His sheep the Shepherd went.
And soon that heavy, rugged cross{br}Grew light in fellowship with Him,{br}And as I trod that dusty path{br}My lips burst forth in song.
Not out of trial my Savior leads,{br}But through it, thus to lead{br}The soul that bears the cross with Him{br}To know a Friend indeed.{br}