Love one another; honor one another

May 24, 2017

Romans 12--10 KJV

The Verse of the Day for May 24, 2017 offers another strong word of encouragement to
love one another:

Romans 12:10 (AMP)

Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor;

The New King James Version says this:

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;

We might joking say that believers are encouraged to take a side trip to “Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love,” since this is the term translated “brotherly affection.” The ESV goes on to say “Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Spoken word poet, Amena Brown reads selections from Romans 12, from The Voice, a new Bible translation, from which the Verse of the Day was taken.

The Verse of the Day also incorporates two principles of Christian living expressed as verbs applied in terms of how we should behave toward “one another.” In this case, love one another and honor one another, as these previously posted comments exhort us:

Love one another:

To decide, demonstrate, freely give and practice love:

The first thread whereby we must launch all relationships

And follow Christ’s command that we love one another.

Love is an essential element of life, and Jesus Christ is the model, the standard of love who offered this reminder:

John 13:34-35

 I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.

35 By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].

Honor one another:

To place value on, respect and hold in high esteem:

Giving preference, we take the lead–we are intentional;

With genuine affection we honor one another.

Another vital component for building and maintaining fruitful relationships is honor.  To honor means to place value on, respect, to place esteem upon, to esteem. The word also means “to prefer—to go before, to lead, to be intentional.” Clearly, this is the essence of the latter part of Romans 12:10

Apostle John Tetsola comments, “Honor produces an exchange, in that when we give honor, we receive honor in return.” He elaborated upon this principle by stating that associated with honor is the “process of welcoming the person you honor in your heart, whereby you celebrate their anointing and receive the individual with gladness.” He calls this the “process of acceptance” which we apply when we honor one another.

The musical group Acapella offers this vocal reminder of actions that we can take, as we love one another and honor one another, and “Be Devoted”:

Be still and know that I am God

May 23, 2017

Psalm 46--10a

A new day dawns after the horrific unfolding of events taking place in Manchester, Great Britain on yesterday. As I begin to pray, I look at the bookshelf above my desk and notice a silver-framed plaque with the words “God is in control.” This quotation is a comforting reminder during these stressful, perilous times described as “difficult to deal with.” The quote also brings to mind Psalm 46: 10:

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Here is the entire psalm taken from the Amplified Bible:

Psalm 46

1GOD IS our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble.

2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains be shaken into the midst of the seas,

3Though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling and tumult. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

4There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.

5God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her right early [at the dawn of the morning].

6The nations raged, the kingdoms tottered and were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

7The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our Fortress and High Tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

8Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations and wonders in the earth.

9He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow into pieces and snaps the spear in two; He burns the chariots in the fire.

10Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!

11The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our High Tower and Stronghold). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

Verse 10 also introduces this poem with the first three words of the psalm as its title:

Be Still and Know

Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!

Psalms 46:10

 

Be still and know that I am God, that I am the eternal one.

Though your cherished dreams seem to have faded and gone

The way of all flesh, my divine plans you shall see,

As I weave the tapestry of eternity.

 

Though you seem forsaken, you are never alone,

Even when the burden of dark sin cannot atone,

And the hearts of men have hardened and turned to stone:

Be still and know that I am God.

 

Though storms may overwhelm and friends may abandon

When enemies surface to assault flesh and bone.

Darkness reveals the lights I have called you to be.

My Word strengthens and comforts and helps you to see

I am your refuge and strength, the Almighty One:

Be still and know that I am God.

As we pause and calmly think about that—as we “selah” this Psalm, we also give heed to these words—

Be Still

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still my soul and be at peace.

Rise above your circumstance and rest in Me.

We are encouraged by Steven Curtis Chapman singing “Be Still and Know.”

Serve one another in love

May 22, 2017

Taken from Galatians 5:13 in the Amplified Bible, the Verse of the Day for May 22, 2017 highlights the paradox between freedom and servitude:

For you, my brothers, were called to freedom; only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the sinful nature (worldliness, selfishness), but through love serve and seek the best for one another.

Footnotes in Bible Gateway.com offer the following explanations:

The “sinful nature (worldliness, selfishness)” literally means “the flesh.”

The key to understanding this and other statements about love is to know that this love (the Greek word agape) is not so much a matter of emotion as it is of doing things for the benefit of another person, that is, having an unselfish concern for another and a willingness to seek the best for another.

The New Living Translation renders the Verse of the Day this way:

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

A related verse is found in also in the New Living Translation:

1 Peter 4:10

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

The basin and towel are symbolic of the essence of servanthood.

In discussing this topic of the servant or bond slave, an image almost immediately comes to mind: a basin and a towel, representative of one of my favorite passages regarding the ministry of Jesus Christ, who revealed so clearly the heart of a bond servant when he washed the disciples’ feet in the account from John 13.

A number of years ago, my wife and I received a special Christmas gift: a statue of Christ washing one of his disciples’ feet with the inscription John chapter 13 embossed on the base. I was deeply moved when I opened the package and discovered such a priceless gift inside. Here is a replica of the sculpture that we received.

Nowhere is this portrait of a true servant of the Lord more vividly revealed than in the account where Jesus washes the feet of the disciples in John 13. This very moving passage, in part, inspired this poem:

Let Me Wash Your Feet
John 13:4-5, 19

As Jesus put off his garments and wrapped a towel
around himself,
So I lay aside my pride with nothing to hide and
expose myself.
As a humble servant I long to wash your feet.
You could yourself
Perform this deed of loving service, but let me
Serve you myself.
To allow me to wash your feet is to bless me,
as Christ himself
Blessed the Twelve before he departed from this earth.
You have yourself
The key to the door of blessing for you and me:
As Jesus took
Upon himself
The servant’s form
That I myself
Might freely give
To you yourself,
So I ask you
As Christ himself
Still asks of me,
So I ask you to
Let me to wash your feet.

“The Basin and the Towel,” musical composition by Michael Card, also portrays this moving account of John 13 in this video:

“To Serve” is a powerful verb. Listen to this excerpt from the classic sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King, who opens the door to vast possibilities for greatness for those who choose to serve.

We conclude with Frontline Music offering a Galatians Meditation based on Galatians 5:13-15:

In the same mind and in the same opinion

May 21, 2017

1 Corinthians 1--10

The Verse of the Day for May 21, 2017 presents a similar challenge related to yesterday’s topic of being “like-minded” or thinking the same thing. Today we examine 1 Corinthians 1:10 in the Amplified Bible:

But I urge and entreat you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in perfect harmony and full agreement in what you say, and that there be no dissensions or factions or divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in your common understanding and in your opinions and judgments.

The New Living Translation renders the verse this way:

1 Corinthians 1:10:

[Divisions in the Church] I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.

The Darby Bible offers a similar translation:

 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all say the same thing, and that there be not among you divisions; but that ye be perfectly united in the same mind and in the same opinion.

This particular verse brings to mind the time when I first began to reflect upon a passage of scripture, while engaging in the writing process. In 1971, I remember being asked to produce a writing sample, and I wrote a brief commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:10. At that time I was intrigued by the Amplified Bible that concludes the verse in this way :”. . . that you be perfectly united in your common understanding and in your opinions and judgments.”

Regarding the term “opinions,” someone has said that opinions are like noses—everybody has one. Even so, believers are encouraged to hold the same opinion regarding who we are in Christ. The verse from 1 Corinthians also came to mind in response to this statement by Nate Clements: “Don’t let someone else’s opinion become your reality.”

As we continue on our lifelong journey of discovery of who we are, many times we encounter varying opinions, as our identity unfolds through the changing seasons of life. Recently conversations with various individuals have centered on the issues of identity, as we all, particularly Christian believers, struggle to find and maintain our “true identity.”  Among of the principal challenges of the whole of humanity is to find the answer to two of life’s fundamental questions: “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” For followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, God, our Father, the Creator of Life, provides the answers to those questions and every other question anyone may seek to find answers to in the Word of God which becomes the mirror in which we see ourselves clearly revealed.” The following poem also expresses what we are learning about who we really are:

Our True Identity

But 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.

II Corinthians 3:18

We look in the mirror of God’s Word and we see

People of God transformed to be all we shall become,

Reflected in our eyes, our true identity.

 

Released from shackles of a slave mentality,

The bondage of Egypt we have now overcome.

We look in the mirror of God’s Word and we see.

 

As we are pressing onward to our destiny,

In our hearts we have prepared for God a new home,

Reflected in our eyes, our true identity.

 

In Christ we are made new, our new reality:

Walking in love, models of the Father’s Kingdom.

We look in the mirror of God’s Word and we see.

 

Blessings in double measure abound toward us richly,

Flowing by the spirit in knowledge and wisdom,

Reflected in our eyes, our true identity.

 

We live to fulfill our prophetic destiny,

As joys unfold with even greater joys to come.

We look in the mirror of God’s Word and we see

Reflected in our eyes, our true identity.

As believers, the essence of who we are is grounded in God’s opinion of us and not any individual’s assessment of who we are.  As Steven Curtis Chapman sings, we are “Who You say we are.”

Like-minded: of the same mind

May 20, 2017

Romans 15--5-6

On May 20, 2017, The Verse of the Day can be found in Romans 15:5-6 (AMP):

Now may the God who gives endurance and who supplies encouragement grant that you be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify and praise and honor the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This passage is an expression of God’s desire for unity or oneness, not only for the Church at Rome but throughout the Body of Christ. This call for being unified and of the same mind is to be according to Christ Jesus, whose final prayer on earth was that those who followed him would be one, even as he and the Father were one.

Throughout the Church Epistles, we find that believers are called to be “like-minded” or “of the same mind.” We note a similar exhortation expressed in the phrase “with one mind” used in Philippians 2:2:

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Philippians 2:5 in the Amplified Bible offers another reminder:

Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]

In these two instances the expression is derived from a compound word in the Greek: “autophroneo,” a verb meaning to think “to be minded in the same way, attitude, or disposition of mind.” The Jubilee Bible translates the phrase “to be unanimous among yourselves.”

The phrase “like-minded,” however, is used as an adjective where Paul describes his relationship with his “spiritual son,” Timothy:

Philippians 2:20

For I have no man like-minded, who will naturally care for your state.

Here the term is translated from another compound word: “isopsuchos” with the prefix “isos” meaning “the same” and “psuchos” meaning “soul.” In other words, Paul is saying that both Timothy and he are “equal-souled.”

Verse 6 of Romans 15 exhorts the followers of Christ to be unified with “one mind and with one mouth glorify God. . . .” The one mind that Christians should have is “the mind of Christ” referred to by Paul who provides these words of encouragement:

Philippians 1:27 (AMP):

Only [be sure to] lead your lives in a manner [that will be] worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I do come and see you or remain absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit [and one purpose], with one mind striving side by side [as if in combat] for the faith of the gospel.

In a similar manner to the closing comments leading to a benediction in Romans 15:5-6, we find this final reminder in 2 Corinthians 13:11 (NKJV):

 [Greetings and Benediction] Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Likewise, take a look at the this statement from 1 Peter 3:8 (New Living Translation):

[All Christians] Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.

In reflecting upon the concept of being like-minded or unified with one mind, the words of Jesus Christ also come to mind when he spoke of what can occur when two believers come into agreement or “are of one mind.” His words inspired these comments in poetry:

The Power of Agreement

Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind,

in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God],

it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.

Matthew 18:19 (AMP)

 

If only we completely understood that

when we come into full agreement with God’s will

and His Word, He actually breathes life into us,

as well as our situations.

Sandie Freed

 

Boundless power lies in the hands of those who agree.

As touching anything that two of them shall ask,

God hastens to perform, to fulfill their decree,

No matter how small or how great the task.

Those who ask shall receive, and those who seek shall find.

To those who knock, it shall be opened unto;

Those who become one in heart and soul and in mind

Scale the mountain of faith to gain a grander view,

To know the transforming power of the spoken word,

Far beyond the bounds that finite minds encompass.

Nothing shall be withheld from those in one accord,

Who declare that their words have already come to pass.

Once agreed upon, the deed is already done

For those whose heart and soul have been fused into one.

David Haas provides a moving musical offering that captures the essence of today’s entry: “One Heart, One Mind.”

 

 

 

 

Wisdom and faith

May 19, 2017

James 3--17-18 2.jpg

Taken from James 3:17-18 in the Amplified Bible, the Verse of the Day for May 19, 2017 lists a number of the attributes of the wisdom that descends from above:

But the wisdom from above is first pure [morally and spiritually undefiled], then peace-loving [courteous, considerate], gentle, reasonable [and willing to listen], full of compassion and good fruits. It is unwavering, without [self-righteous] hypocrisy [and self-serving guile]. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness (spiritual maturity) is sown in peace by those who make peace [by actively encouraging goodwill between individuals].

In reflecting upon and considering deeply this celebrated section from the Book of James, thoughts also came to mind regarding a recent blog entry related to “redeeming the time” which mentioned the concept of “walking in wisdom.” The expression is used in Colossians 3:5-6

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Another most enlightening scripture regarding this concept is found in Ephesians 5:15 in the Holman Christian Standard Bible:

Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise.

The New King James Version puts it this way:

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,

In this instance the term “To walk circumspectly” means to walk carefully, accurately, “to be watchful on all sides.”  Walking in wisdom involves being intentional and making deliberate choices that determine the direction and ultimate fulfillment of one’s purpose in God.

In addition, I recall a series of blog entries related to faith, the essential element in the life of a believer, described in this way:

“For me, faith is the bedrock of my life. I define faith as confident assurance, trust and conviction that I will prevail. Faith–“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”– operates beyond what we see, for we walk by faith, not by sight.”

This poetic reminder blends the exhortation to “walk in wisdom” with the expression “walk by faith”:

Wisdom and Faith

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men,  

but in the power of God.

I Corinthians 2:5     

 

Through words of wisdom and faith, we call forth blessing

Upon blessing to overtake us and abound.

We forget the past, pursue the goal, progressing

Until all who love His appearing will be crowned.

Through wisdom and faith we call forth that which is not,

And walk by faith just as Abraham, our father,

The father of all who still believe, no matter what.

Despite all we see, we are not weak but stronger,

As we align our lives with the coming Kingdom.

Through the Blood of the Lamb and our testimony

We overcome by faith and the power of Christ’s wisdom,

For nothing can deter us from our destiny.

We walk by faith and in wisdom, displaying power within

And press toward the mark, the prize we are destined to win.

We conclude with “Wisdom Song” by Laura Woodley Osman

God is not unjust; God is fair

May 18, 2017

Hebrews 6--10

On May 18, 2017, we examine the Verse of the Day taken from the Book of Hebrews where we find a reminder of who God is not as well as who God is:

Hebrews 6:10 (AMP)

For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown for His name in ministering to [the needs of] the saints (God’s people), as you do.

The New Living Translation puts it this way:

For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.

Take a look at this graphic illustration of this verse:

The opening phrase makes known that God is not unjust. On the contrary, God is just. One translation of the first part of Hebrews 6:10 states, “God is fair . . .” The Psalmist declares, “The judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

Psalm 145:17 (AMP) notes:

The Lord is [unwaveringly] righteous in all His ways and gracious and kind in all His works.

Deuteronomy 32:4 (NKJV) says this:

He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.

The Verse of the Day goes on to say “For God is not unjust so as to forget. . .” How well we have come to learn that God does not forget, except He does not remember our sins and shortcomings, as Hebrews 10:17 (AMP) reminds us that in certain areas of our lives God has “selective amnesia”:

“And their sins and their lawless acts I will remember no more [no longer holding their sins against them].”

Hebrews 8:12 (AMP) reiterates this message:’

“For I will be merciful and gracious toward their wickedness, and I will remember their sins no more.”

Though God does not remember our sins and iniquity, He is mindful of us and does remember this:

He has given food to those who fear Him [with awe-inspired reverence]; He will remember His covenant forever.

Ezekiel 16:60 (AMP) makes known God’s covenant relationship with His people:

[The Covenant Remembered] “Nevertheless, I will remember [with compassion] my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.

As believers we endeavor to serve God and minister to one another, but we must remember this: Our efforts may not always be recognized nor appreciated. Those whom we serve in love may not always remember what we say and do, but we are assured that God never forgets. Not only is God, our Father, faithful and just, but He is also a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

The Verse of the Day inspired these poetic comments:

A Reminder: God Is Faithful

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love,   

which you have shown toward his name,        

in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

 Hebrews 6:10

The good deeds that you have done may not be extolled

When the fervor of God’s love has long since grown cold.

Some quickly forget all the good that you have done

And fail to recall that you were the only one

To answer the call, seek the Lord, and intercede.

Time after time you were the one to meet the need.

When others were busy and chose to walk away,

You were there and remained in the thick of the fray.

In dark times when words of thanks are distant memories,

Recall that God knows all things, for He alone sees

Your labor and saves all the tears that you have shed.

Our Father is ever mindful of how you serve,

And He shall reward you beyond all you deserve.

As you strive to finish your course, have no regret:

Our God is faithful–He will never forget.

Listen to the hymn composed by Charles Gabriel who reassures: “Sweet is the promise. I will not forget thee”

 

 

 

 

The patience of Job

May 17, 2017

James 5--11

On May 17, 2017 let us take a look at the one of the “longest words in the dictionary”: “patience.” Although it has only eight letters, this enduring virtue has a familiar synonym “longsuffering.” In teaching children a Scripture Memory Song of the fruit of the spirit in the King James Version, the first syllable of “l-o-n-n-n-n-g-g-g-g-g-g-suffering” was sung strongly for several seconds in an exaggerated way to emphasize the meaning of the term. In looking at patience in the Bible, we can learn much about this essential component of life.

Recently the Verse of the Day looked at James 1: 2-4, a passage that ends with a reference to patience:

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

That blog entry also brought to mind a more extensive discussion of patience from which the following excerpt is taken:

The passage pinpoints the importance of the character trait of patience or endurance or perseverance, steadfastly bearing up under and remaining faithful while waiting. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that should be evident in our lives, as we wait on the Lord. One of the words related to “patience”  or being patient as a verb means “to stay, remain, abide”, literally abiding under; figuratively, to undergo, i.e. bear (trials), have fortitude, to persevere — abide, endure.  The word translated patience as a noun is also translated: endurance, patient enduring, perseverance, and steadfastness.

Another passage from James stresses the importance of patience, providing an excellent example of both the verb and the noun in a particular individual who embodies the character trait of patient endurance:

James 5:7-11 (AMP):

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! 10My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

In discussing Job, whom Chuck Swindoll described as a “man of heroic endurance,” we also note some distinctive features of the Book of Job. Although it is not listed with the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, E.W. Bullinger and other Bible scholars believe that the first book written was the Book of Job, believed to be composed by Moses. Job, was, indeed, a real person, and his account is one of the first demonstrations of many spiritual principles: God is “full of compassion and tender mercy” and that he rewards those who demonstrate “patience.”

Recall Job 42:10:

And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the     LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Nate Wolf  in The Gatekeepers: Whatever God Can Get Through You, He Will Get to You further comments about the classic Biblical example of endurance:

Job’s patience was the golden secret that helped him overcome the pain he faced. Patience is more than just having the ability to not become angry in a difficult situation. Patience is the power that will carry you through the painful moments of life into the pleasurable moments of life. . . . The patience of God within you will always outlast the pain that’s trying to come upon you. .  . . Patience is the power that will keep you in the proper place and mindset, during discomfort or pain, until you possess your final promise and reach your ultimate purpose.

This discussion of the importance of patience also brings this to mind:

A Prayer for Patience

“My suggestion for people in a season of birth or 

is to write out a prayer for patience and pray it every day.”  

Graham Cooke

 

For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance,

so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God,

and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.

Hebrews 10:36 (Amplified Bible)

 

We look back and pause and then look ahead to see

All that God is and all He plans for us to be.

We still journey down the road less traveled by

And pray that patience may serve as a trusted ally.

We must say “No” to the pressures of this life

And say “Yes” to the rest God gives, despite the strife.

As we stay our minds on Him, we abide in peace.

When we praise God, works of the enemy decrease.

May we remain and not fall by the wayside as some

But like Job wait until at last our change shall come.

Patient endurance seems delayed for some reason,

But fruit abounds to those who wait in this season.

We pray that in this time of transition and shift

That we embrace waiting as a wonderful gift.

We conclude with John Waller offering “While I’m Waiting”:

 

 

 

A tribute to our mothers

May 14, 2017

Mother's Day 2

Mother’s Day, one of the most popular celebrations in terms of greeting cards mailed and flowers sent, is annually held on the second Sunday of May. It recognizes motherhood with a special time to show appreciation to our mothers and mother figures.

Mother’s Day celebrates all mothers—mothers expecting their first child, mothers of young children, mothers of older children, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, mothers with adopted children, mothers who gave up their children for adoption, foster mothers, mothers who have no children of their own, but are like mother figures, and more.

Mothers are marvelously multifaceted individuals who defy a concise definition, but here is an attempt by Louise Shattuck to touch upon some of the many dimensions of motherhood:

Do you know that Webster defines a mother as “a female parent”? This is the understatement of all time, and someone should to tell Mr. Webster why this description should be revised.

A mother is a walking encyclopedia. Her children expect her to know where the sun goes at night, how jet propulsion works, what the principal exports of Thailand are, and where kittens come from.

A mother is a master mechanic who can get a trouser leg out of a bicycle chain and fix anything with cellophane tape and a hairpin. She is a practical nurse who can remove splinters and loose teeth painlessly, stop an earache in the middle of the night, and cure a case of measles before the fourth grade picnic.

She is a sage who is wise enough to know when her son has reached the stage at which he would rather die than be kissed in public. Yet she is an innocent who never ceases to wonder at the miracle of life.

A mother is all of this and more.

Mothers with children deal in diapers and middle-of-the-night feedings. Crushed Cheerios in the rug and Legos underfoot. Play groups, pillow fights, bedtime stories. Runny noses, bumped heads, skinned knees. Tickles, hugs, kisses. These are a mother’s world.

And so is round-the-clock training–twenty-four hours of teachable moments. How to tie shoes and how to share. How to give and take with peers and how to respect authority. How to handle disappointment and how to reach for the best. How to love well and live morally. The old Marine motto applies to motherhood: It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.

Mother’s Day continues to be a special time of celebration for those whose mothers are still living as well as time of reflection for those whose mothers may no longer be with us, but whose unconditional love remains in wonderful memories that we cherish today. Here is an expression of our gratitude to God:

Songs of faith, hope, and love—a tribute to our Mothers

Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,

1 Thessalonians 1:3

A  Song of Faith:

Like a river flowing endlessly,

Your songs of faith, hope, and love

Sustained us and kept us alive by the grace of God

If it had not been for your song of faith that taught us

We shudder to think where we would be today

If it had not been for our mothers’ song of faith

That taught us no matter what happens,

No matter what others may do or say.

This one thing we know “God will make a way out of no way.”

Faith, imparted unto us, “Faith of our Mothers, living still.”

Faith, to guide us on our journey always to seek to do God’s will

Faith, to lead and guide us through the perils of the darkest night,

Showing us by example just how to walk by faith and not by sight.

A Song of Hope

Your song of hope was filled with God’s promises

Bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all ours and ten thousand beside

You taught us to build our hope on nothing less than Jesus Blood and righteousness

When it seemed like we had reached our outer limits

And had exhausted all options and it looked like we couldn’t cope

You sang a song to remind us to keep rejoicing in hope.

To build our hopes on things eternal, to hold to God’s unchanging hand

You sang a song of hope, a lively hope, a living hope, the expectation of a future good.

The Lord God was and is our hope, the same hope you sang about in our childhood

We made it through the storms that keep on raging in our lives

Your song of hope helped to sustain us through all the turmoil that we faced

Now we watch and patiently wait with our souls anchored in hope.

A Song of Love

Now abides faith, hope, love; these three, but the greatest of these is love:

More than a soothing lullaby to calm our fears all the times when we cried,

This song of love from the heart of our mother is a powerful force,

That a mother’s love is special–this cannot be denied.

The love of God is transfused at birth from heart to heart.

Though some of our mothers may not be here with us,

Their songs of love will never depart.

God’s love never dies but with each new sunrise lives on

To sustain us and remain with us to endure in sunshine or storm.

Our mothers’ song taught us to live by faith, rejoice in hope, and walk in love

The songs flowing from our mother’s heart enlightened us to see

Faith, hope and love: Love is the greatest of these three.

May God continue to bless our mothers.

 

Who can find a virtuous wife?

May 12, 2017

Proverbs 31--10

One of the most dramatic portraits of an ideal wife and mother is found in Proverbs 31 where we find the Verse of the Day for May 12, 2017:

Proverbs 31:10, 27-28 (NKJV):

10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.

27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:

The celebrated passage asks a question in Verse 10, and subsequent verses provide the answer.

Solomon’s words of wisdom indicate that she is priceless, implying that as a good wife and mother, the woman so described is of inestimable worth. Mother’s Day and other occasions provide an opportunity to express how valuable wives and mothers are in our daily lives. Here are a number of renderings of this often quoted verse.

Proverbs 31:10 (Amplified Bible)

An excellent woman [one who is spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous], who is he who can find her? Her value is more precious than jewels and her worth is far above rubies or pearls.

English Standard Version:

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.

Expanded Bible:

It is hard to [Who can…?] find a ·good [noble; virtuous] wife [Ruth 3:11], because she is worth more than ·rubies [or pearls].

New Life Version:

Who can find a good wife? For she is worth far more than rubies that make one rich.

The Voice:

Who can find a truly excellent woman? One who is superior in all that she is and all that she does? Her worth far exceeds that of rubies and expensive jewelry.

According to the Comprehensive Guide to Buying Rubies on Ebay,

. . . Rubies are one of the most expensive and sought after of all gems.  Rubies have been loved for thousands of years According to The Bible a Ruby was the chief stone in Aaron’s Breastplate and the stone of Judah. Because Israel’s king came from Judah, the ruby came to be associated with royalty.

Prior to the 20th century, rubies were considered more valuable than diamonds, and in the mid-16th century a fine ruby was priced at eight times more valuable than a comparable diamond.   Today an exceptionally fine ruby of three carats or more will still command a higher price than a diamond of the same size.

Proverbs 31 goes on to comment on the character of this noble, resourceful woman and the response of her children and her husband:

Proverbs 31:27-28 (NKJV)

27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:

Proverbs 31 offers these closing comments on the fleeting nature of beauty:

Proverbs 31:30-31:

30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

30 Charm and grace are deceptive, and [superficial] beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord [reverently worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect], she shall be praised.

31 Give her of the product of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city].

We close with a musical description of the “Proverbs 31 Woman”: