Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Honorable Mention-Jesus's Genealogy

“For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Luke 14:11

  In the Gospel of Matthew, it begins with the genealogy of Jesus. You might notice that only a few mothers are mentioned in it.  What was so special about these mothers---what was so noble and godly about these women that they received an “honorable mention”?
  Let’s begin with Tamar.  Who was Tamar?  What did she do that was so noble?  Tamar was Judah’s daughter-in-law who’d been married to two of his three sons (first one died, so she married the other, as was Jewish law & he died as well).  Judah, I believe, was almost superstitiously afraid to give his remaining son to Tamar as he was supposed to, to carry on the dead son’s name, so Tamar thought up a clever plan (sound familiar?  Think Jochebed & Naomi!), dressed as a prostitute & tricked Judah into sleeping with her.  She got pregnant (as she had planned) so she’d carry on Judah’s son’s name.  Yes, she did the righteous thing in God’s sight!  She was resourceful, but most importantly, she was obedient to God.
  Next is Rahab.  She was a prostitute and a foreigner, yet she hid the Israelite spies on her rooftop and she feared God, so she protected His people, and most importantly, feared God!
  Ruth we learned about from my blog on her mother-in-law, Naomi.  Ruth was a foreigner as well.  I believe God honored Ruth because she forsook her gods and land to seek the one true God, and she obeyed her mother-in-law without question, who was carrying out God’s plan.  So Ruth was humble and she turned form her idols to serve God.
  And of course, Mary is mentioned, which I spoke of yesterday, of her humility, her quite contemplative spirit and her wisdom.

  I pray for all of us mommies, that we would be worthy of an “honorable mention” because of our godly virtues we possess, and the greatest thing in all of this is to love & obey God…and the rest will follow.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mary the Mother of Jesus: Humble & Slow to speak/Quick to Listen

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…” -James 1:19 NIV

 How can we not consider Mary, the mother of Jesus?  She must have possessed some especially godly qualities to be chosen to be the mother of the Son of God; the Messiah.
  Many researchers say that Mary was only around 14 when she had Jesus. Can you imagine being so young a mother?  Of course, back then 14 wasn’t the same as it is today here in our culture.
  One of the key things Mary possessed was humility.  She would have had to, to not become puffed up about being chosen for such a great calling.  We know from Luke 1:48 that Mary was not some prominent woman, but lowly; “Nothing special” some would say.
  Mary, like all godly women, trusted God and took Him at His word.  When the angel Gabriel told her what was going to happen, she simply replied, “Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said.” (Luke 1:38)  She never doubted God would perform what He said.  She simply accepted it.
  Another very important thing I noticed about Mary is that she weighed every word spoken to her concerning Jesus & didn’t blurt out her emotions.  No, she was not quick to speak, but was an excellent listener.  Luke 1:29 says that when the angel Gabriel greeted her, “…when she saw him, she was greatly troubled & disturbed & confused at what he said & kept revolving in her mind what such a greeting might mean.”  She pondered & kept going over the angel’s words over & over again, to make sense of it all.  A lot of us would have blurted out some unnecessary response like, “What’s this all about?” or “Why me?”  or “What do you mean?”,  yet she simply was silent with her thoughts, not wasting her words.
  Yet again, we see her doing this same kind of thing in Luke 2:15-19 when the shepherds came to meet Jesus, and told them what the angel had said about Him.  The Bible says in verse 18, “And all who heard it were astounded & marveled at what the shepherds told them.”  I like this: Verse 19 says, “But Mary was keeping within herself all these things (sayings), weighing & pondering them in her heart.”
  The Bible says that we’re to be “slow to speak & quick to listen” & Mary showed us this principle.
  When God speaks something over our child, do we constantly question Him?  Doubt Him?  Or like Mary, do we simply ponder the words spoken, meditate on them and use our words sparingly?
  Time doesn’t permit me to go on about how Mary was brave, wise & faithful, but she definitely was all of those things!

  May we trust in God more & ponder the promises He’s given us; the words He’s spoken over our child, instead of doubting Him & fretting about these things.  May we daily walk in humility more & more as we seek God & His will for our lives & the lives of our family.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hannah-A Woman of Her Word

“For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD….”  1 Samuel 1:27-28a KJV

  In the first two chapters of the first book of Samuel, we meet Hannah, the mother of Samuel.  This woman was barren for many years, and if that wasn’t bad enough (since being barren was considered a curse), her husband’s other wife was always taunting her & throwing it in her face, because his other wife had given him children.
  Hannah finally could take no more.  She so longed to be a mom!!!  When it came time for the yearly sacrifice, Hannah traveled with the rest of the family to the temple of God, where she wept bitterly outside the tent, before the Lord, about her plight.  She promised God that if He gave her a son, she’d give him back to the Lord.  God heard her & she finally conceived Samuel.  Once he was weaned after a few short years, she brought Samuel to the temple to stay there & serve the Lord.  Thereafter, she only saw him once a year & always brought him a new robe she’d made for him.
  God blessed her with more children thereafter, I believe, for trusting Him & keeping her word, but also for her attitude when it came time to give him up.
  How many of us have said, “God, if you would only do this, I promise that I will, in turn, do that,” & then, when the time comes, for one reason or another, we don’t follow through?  That’s not to condemn anyone, but most of us have done that at some point: Cried out to Him in our desperation, desiring something—so desperate we’d give anything to have it!  Can you imagine having a son until he’s pre-school to school age, and then only seeing him once a year for the rest of your life?  Yet that’s what Hannah did.
  Hannah was a woman of her word.  Trust me:  It couldn’t have been easy for her to give him back to God, even though she knew he’d be in good hands—or would he?  Was she aware of the priest, Eli’s son’s ungodly behaviors?  And yet this is who her son would be mentored by.  So not only was she good to her word, but she trusted God.
  Even more so, when Hannah gave up her son, she praised God for giving him to her and the time that she had with him, instead of begging for a little more time.
  After Hannah kept her word and praised God, God blessed her with more children.

  How much we can learn from Hannah!  She was a woman of her word.  She kept it no matter how painful it must have been to do so, and instead of wallowing in self-pity for having to part with her son, she praised God for him.
  As we seek to be godly mothers, may we be like Hannah, trusting God fully with our children & keeping our word no matter what the sacrifice.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Naomi: Best Mother-in-Law & A Mother Loyal Beyond the Grave

“…she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. 8 But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother's house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9 The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.” –Ruth 1:7-9 ESV

  In the book of Ruth we meet Naomi, whose husband & two sons have died, her sons leaving behind two foreign (Moabite) wives, Orpah & Ruth.
 Naomi is a wonderful mother and mother-in-law.  When Naomi had heard of God blessing His people with food in Judah, during the famine, she began to travel there with her two daughter-in-laws.  However, Naomi shows how unselfish she was, telling them to return to their mother’s house, even though it would mean she’d be utterly alone & no one would continue on her dead husband & son’s name, as was crucial to the Jews.
  Orpah decided to leave, but Ruth would not, so they traveled together to Bethlehem.
  Once there, Naomi discovered a kinsman of her husband’s there named Boaz.  This Boaz could be the very answer to her prayers!  He could continue on her husband & son’s name & Ruth would have a husband again.
  Like Jochebed, Naomi was clever & resourceful & came up with a plan for Ruth to end up marrying Boaz.  Ruth must have really loved, respected & trusted Naomi to do everything she said to the letter, without questioning her.
  Naomi’s plan was successful & so her husband’s & son’s name would live on & Ruth would have a husband & bless her with grandchildren.
  What we can learn from Naomi is that the Lord blesses the unselfish.  God turned around the bad for her to good.  Naomi was loyal to her husband & sons beyond the grave.  Though they were gone, it still mattered to her that their name would not die with them.
  Naomi loved her daughter-in-laws like her own flesh, & again she must have been an amazing lady for them to love and trust her so implicitly. 

  Naomi’s resourcefulness paid off as well, as her plan brought about happiness for them all.
  May we pray for & grow in love & selflessness & may we be resourceful & clever (work with what God gave us!).  May we earn respect & love by our godly actions & may our children know that they can trust us without having to question us on anything.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Jochebed: Woman of Resourcefulness & Great Courage

    “NOW [Amram] a man of the house of Levi [the priestly tribe] went and took as his wife [Jochebed] a daughter of Levi.   And the woman became pregnant and bore a son; and when she saw that he was [exceedingly] beautiful, she hid him three months.  And when she could no longer hide him, she took for him an ark or basket made of bulrushes or papyrus [making it watertight by] daubing it with bitumen and pitch. Then she put the child in it and laid it among the rushes by the brink of the river [Nile].  And his sister [Miriam] stood some distance away to [a]learn what would be done to him.  Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, and her maidens walked along the bank; she saw the ark among the rushes and sent her maid to fetch it.  When she opened it, she saw the child; and behold, the baby cried. And she took pity on him and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children!  Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call a nurse of the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?      Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the girl went and called the child's mother.      Then Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Take this child away and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages. So the woman took the child and nursed it.      And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. And she called him Moses, for she said, because I drew him out of the water.”  -Exodus 2:1-10 Amplified

  You may notice in Scripture that the mothers aren’t talked about much, let alone named, so when a mother is spoken about, we should sit up and take note.  The next few blogs, I’m going to talk about these godly mothers spoken of in the Bible, and what we can learn from them.
  Firstly, I want to talk about Jochebed, Mother of Moses.  She’s only mentioned in all of one chapter, in 10 verses, yet we can see a lot about her just from that tiny bit.
  When Jochebed saw that her newborn was beautiful, I think she just knew that if she could keep him alive—I think she saw the big picture—had things planned. 
  Jochebed was extremely courageous.  She would have to be to risk her life & the lives of her family to spare her son.  If Pharoah’s men had found out she’d been hiding her son, the consequences would have been grave—rest assured.  Imagine spending 3 entire months being on your guard at all times.  She would have had to be very careful.  She would have had to keep her secret, as much as it burned within her.  Yes, it would have been a stressful 3 months!  Yet Jochebed defied Pharoah and hid her son from his men.
  After 3 months, she showed her resourcefulness as she made a basket that was waterproof & floated.  This was such a clever plan!  Then she put Moses in the basket & had her little daughter watch from a distance.  It would definitely look less suspicious to have a little girl wading through the water.
  Jochebed had executed a great plan.  I believe she knew that Pharaoh’s daughter would see the basket, & I believe Jochebed knew that when Pharaoh’s daughter beheld the beautiful baby boy, that she would have mercy on him.
  The icing on the cake was when she ended up being Moses’s wet nurse and got to have those most important years of a child’s life to mold them.  She would have had all that time to teach Moses of Yahweh and His ways.
  As we know, it must have made a lasting impression, for even with all the splendour of Pharaoh’s palace, Moses chose to live among his own people. 

  We can learn a lot from Jochebed’s example.  She risked her life for her child.  She stood firmly in the face of fear, and she was very resourceful and clever.  “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”, or rather, “Where there’s a God, there’s a way.”  Jochebed used those years of weaning Moses to tell him of Yahweh & His promises so that he would not be polluted by the ways of the Egyptians.
  So let us be courageous and resourceful, and let us plant the Word of God in our children while they are still children, so that they will serve Him when they grow up.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

For Better or For Worse....In Sickness & in Health

 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”   1 Corinthians 13:13  NIV

    In honor of Valentine’s Day today, I thought I would talk a bit about love & marriage.  Marriage is a lot of work!  Anyone who’s been married any amount of time knows this.  Throw in kids, & there’s another strain on it. Throw in a kid or two with special needs, & the strain increases. I had heard of some “statistic” that 90% of married couples divorce who have children with special needs, but that statistic does not seem to be true, but a rumor. However, I believe that the divorce rate may be slightly higher in these cases.
  When a child has special needs, they require more of your time, & therefore, sometimes your spouse will feel ignored.  You spend so much of your time with your child that you are exhausted by the time it comes time to spend with your dearest husband.  That can be one reason there is extra strain on the marriage.
  Another reason could be that, in many cases, the husband has a hard time accepting the diagnosis.  Men are fixers by nature. That’s how God made them, so when they feel helpless to fix something, they don’t know what to do!  Many run from the truth & therefore you are left to deal with it on your own, more or less. You don’t feel in unity with your spouse, because you aren’t.  He won’t admit your child has Autism or some other thing.  He refuses to accept it.  It’s fine not to embrace a label. I’m all for that!  The problem is when you ignore it all together, it won’t make things disappear.  It is a good thing for both parents to educate themselves on their child’s needs & work with that child to better them & pray about those things that could be negative.  It’s so hard when you’re not of one mind in things, because you are of one flesh. So there is quite a struggle.
  That said, regardless of whether you have a spouse who is of one mind with you or not, it is so very important to put focus on the marriage. I know that can be hard when you have a child who requires your constant attention, but for the love of the child---if that’s what it takes---you need to set aside time for your marriage.  Not all of us are so fortunate to have our mothers living nearby, so we can’t leave our child with them, but I’m sure that the Lord will provide us someone we can trust that can give us even an hour of time alone with our spouse.  Or, wait until the child is in bed (for mine, that’s hard because he goes to bed so late), & spend a bit of time talking to your spouse about his day. 
  Believe it or not, your spouse should come before your child! I know that it seems to be the world teaches the opposite, but look how that’s working out? So much divorce!  We are showing our children an example of love! No, love is not a fickle emotion; it is an action word! It is a commitment.  But it’s so much smoother when we get past our feelings & do what we know is right.
  My husband & I always had our share of struggles in our marriage, so having a child with special needs on top of all else really put an extra strain there. But we are committed to God & our marriage & we don’t want to just make it work, but make it good.  We aren’t there yet, but by the grace of God, we will be.