Profile of a Non-PC Wife/Mother 5/10/98

Proverbs 31:10-12
Page 975 Come Alive Bible

Jesus Christ who in eternity leaned on the breast of His Father without any mother in time leaned on the breast of His mother without any father.

His earthly parental tie was obviously closer with His mother than Joseph, His guardian father. The likelihood is that Mary was widowed while Jesus was still very young. Mary was still with Him even at the cross. The relationship between these two is a pattern for parental relations with their child. Mary mirrors admirable motherhood.

Once a year many families pause on a day called “Mother’s Day” to try to atone for a year of neglect. Yet, even that is commendable. It got its modern start May 10, 1908, at the funeral of the mother of Anna M. Jarvis. Anna love her mom and at her memorial service suggested an annual day honoring mothers. Her mother’s favorite flower was the carnation. At the memorial service she gave everyone a white carnation. The concept gained popularity until Mother’s Day was observed in a number of large cities. On May 9, 1914, by act of Congress, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. He declared the day as a time for “public expressions of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”

By then it had become customary to wear white carnations to honor departed mothers and red to honor the living. This custom is still observed by many.

The concept has expanded to include giving mom a gift. It is a grand idea. Most are deserving. Every young female who eventually becomes a mother should aspire to merit such.

Most of us men would concede selecting that gift is a challenge. The selection process is stressful for most men. Many a man has felt extreme frigid temperatures for a long time because of a poor decision in gift selection. Veterans of these wars suggest:

-Don’t buy anything that plugs in. Anything that plugs in is seen as utilitarian. It is in the same category with a washboard in a previous era.

-Don’t buy clothing that involves sizes. The chances are one in seven thousand that you will get her size right, and your wife will be offended 6,999 times. You will hear, “Do I look like a size 16?” Too small a size doesn’t get it either: “I haven’t worn a size 8 since I was 18.”

-Avoid useful gifts. The silver polish guaranteed to save hundreds of hours is not going to win any brownie points.

-Don’t buy anything that involves weight loss or self-improvement. She will interpret a six month gift certificate to a diet center as suggesting she is overweight.

-Don’t buy jewelry. The jewelry your wife wants, you can’t afford. The jewelry you can afford she won’t wear.

-Don’t spend too much. “How do you think we can afford that?” she will inquire. Don’t spend too little. She won’t say anything but she will think, “Is that all I am worth?”

No one deserves a special day more than a good mom. A cartoon showed a psychologist talking with a patient/mom. “Let’s see,” he is saying, “You spend 50% of your time and energy on your job, 50% on your husband, and 50% on your children. I think I know why you are tired all the time.”

Preaching on the occasion of Mother’s Day was once a given easy for ministers. Not so today.

Politically correct (PC) feminist have worked to erode the virtue and honor of the role. This has prompted Rita Carver to write: “In today’s world one wonders if mother is not headed for extinction… Some of our feminist sisters have declared that as non-working mothers we are only maids doing the job any eight year-old could accomplish.”

The avant-garde mood of feminists is attempting to dismantle the traditional concept of what a woman should do and who she should be.

It was reported on Dr. James Dobson’s radio program that many books have been taken from public libraries that depict the traditional role of fathers and mothers. These have been replaced by volumes depicting current PC parents.

Fortunately the failure of these recast roles is now being realized. Many young women are realizing the importance and joy of living on less and living for more than material goods. One lovely young mother, a former “Miss Cobb County,” said to me recently, I didn’t realize of what I was being robbed with my first two children. Now that I am a full time mom I know what a blessing it is to be a parent giving my child deserved attention.”

Some moms have to work and that must be respected. However, if a mom can possibly devote herself to mothering the family should adjust to accommodate her.

Let’s go back to the wisdom of Proverbs and redefine the Biblical ideal for a wife and mother. Though few may fit the ideal, none will unless the Biblical role is defined and understood.

I. SHE IS A DEVOTED WIFE (VSS. 11, 12, 23)
There are three reciprocal roles a wife and husband should play related to each other.

Build one another’s confidence.

Seek another’s welfare. A husband should study his wife. Get to know her temperament, mood, and disposition. Learn what pleases or displeases her. Seek her happiness.

Be as sensitive to her needs as I heard of an infant being. A young mother placed her infant in his high chair and sat down to feed him. She was physically fatigued and emotionally drained. She was even a bit fearful for the family had run out of money. As she sat down she reflexively put her head on the child’s feeding table and began to cry. The child took the pacifier out of his mouth and tried to put it in his mother’s mouth.

Enhance one another’s reputation.

Never, repeat, never criticize one another in public. Demeaning one another is a game no one wins.

II. SHE IS A DILIGENT PARTNER (VSS. 13-17, 18B, 19, 22, 24)
As a woman with God’s view point, she is a willing worker, a wise planner, and a thrifty shopper.

She keeps herself fit spiritually and physically.

Husbands remember she is your partner, not your servant.

Hear a modern version of the fairy tale of the frog and the beautiful princess.

Once upon a time a lovely, independent, self-assured princess found a frog in a pond.

The frog said to the princess, “I was once a handsome prince until an evil witch put a spell on me. One kiss from you, and I will turn back into a prince, and then we can marry, move into the castle with mom, and you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children and forever feel happy doing so.”

That night —- the princess had frog legs for dinner.

The moral of the story: men don’t take your wife for granted. Especially if you are a frog.

Both husband and wife have responsibilities toward each other. Husbands reevaluate your responsibility toward your wife and recommit to fulfilling them.

Again I appeal, study your wife.

Know her in order to look out for her welfare.

Keep the channels of communication open and clear.

Make sound and timely decisions.

Determine your wife’s gifts and capabilities and encourage them.

Assume responsibility for your own actions.

Her unselfishness motivates her to be concerned about her own family as well as others. She has a vision and heart for ministry not only to her own family but others.

Some children appear to think being a mother is a cushy job. It involves standing on Mt. Sinai waving a spatula shouting, “Thou shalt not!”

The importance of the role was indicated in a three frame cartoon. One frame showed a depiction of the nation’s Capitol, the next the White House. The third showed a mother in a rocking chair reading to her child. The caption read: “Choose the real seat of power in America.”

In speaking of mothers I know not everyone has had an ideal mother. Resentment often last into adulthood as a consequence of a mother having failed in her role. Perhaps you had such a mother. You want to have loving thoughts regarding her, but what happened doesn’t result in such warm encouraging thoughts. It is OK not to like some of the things you mom did. However, you need to be mature enough to dislike the things she did and separate them in your thinking from what she was. Love her even though you don’t like what she did.

In our “Me-ism” society a “I want it all now” complex has developed. As a result some young women rush into motherhood before marriage. Don’t! The mother depicted in the Proverb is self-disciplined and willing to practice delayed-gratification.

I know when that statement is made in a congregation as large as this there are some who didn’t. The Bible never condones such and the Christian community must never sanction such. However, once it has happened the young person needs the Lord, His church, and His people as never before. The church must be supporting and encouraging once the mistake has occurred. The young couple may well be suffering from a repressed moral-failure complex and not know what it is. They need to deal with their own emotions and be accepting of the fact they are accepted though their conduct is unacceptable.

Those of you busy in rearing children I want to share with you one of the biggest blessings of parenthood. I referred to delayed-gratification. Keep this in mind all through your challenging years of child rearing. One of these days your door will open. In will walk a young adult. Your best friend, your child. Anticipate and work for that delayed- gratification.

She is organized and energetic (Vs. 15).

She is an equipper (Vs. 21).

Throughout this Proverb reference is made to clothing and providing for her family. This is often done at a personal sacrifice. One young adult told recently of her excitement when she was in the eighth grade. Her class was having a much talked about party. All the girls talked excitedly about what they were going to wear. This little girl knew her widowed mother was rearing her and her brother on a limited income and a new dress wasn’t possible. Naturally she was a bit disappointed. She soon cheered up when her mom, a wonderful seamstress, agreed to make her a new dress for the party. It was so lovely. What made it special was that it was just like one her mom had that they both admired.

That young woman said of her mother, “It was some time before I realized my mom never wore her dress again – she had made mine out of hers.”

Diligent and devoted moms are miraculous providers.

She is self-disciplined and unselfish (Vs. 27).

Playwright Victor Hugo captures the essence of motherhood in one of his plays in which a ship’s captain gives a starving mother and her two children a slice of bread. She tears it in two and gives a half to each child.

A deck hand standing by asks the captain, “Is it because she is not hungry?”

The captain replies, “No, it is because she is a mother.”

Her very lifestyle is a testimony to her children (Vs. 28). Many wonder about what their child might be tomorrow. A mother never forgets that her child is someone today.

She is a woman full of wisdom.

Strayers and Stayers – Part One

Luke 22: 25 – 30

Jesus is looking for people who care.  Do you?

He is looking for people to represent Him.  Will you?

There have always been people who followed Christ. Those who have can be divided into two groups:  STRAYERS AND STAYERS.

John 6:66 describes the first group. Jesus depicted the challenges and demands of following Him, and “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.”  Then Jesus turned with a broken heart and addressed a question to those remaining: “Do you also want to go away?”  (6:68)

They became His decals.  They stuck.  Near the end of His ministry in the upper room on the eve of His death He paid them one of the highest compliments He ever paid anyone.  He said, “You are those who have continued with me in My trials.” In effect, “You,” He said in effect, “stuck with me.”

They were not much to brag on and they probably knew it, but one quality they had and He stressed it.  “You stayed when others strayed.”  They stayed because they cared.

Loved ones often keep long vigils in hospitals because they cared. Families go without food and get little sleep in order to keep a love vigil in an hour of crisis because they cared.

The philosopher, Friedreich Nietzsche, not a conservative writer; in his book, “Beyond Good and Evil” made a worthy observation. He wrote: “The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is…that there be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.”

That is what results when one really cares about Christ and His cause.  There is a long obedience in the same direction. There is no turning back.

If you care, you share. There is an old proverb which came from ancient Europe which states: “Shared joy is double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”

Clearly, the way of doubling a joy is by sharing it. When something good happens and you share it with a friend, the joy is doubled.

Likewise, when something sorrowful happens and you share it, the burden is lightened and the sorrow diminished.

That is the environment in which we are to live and serve. Jesus complimented them saying they had been with Him in His “trials.” The Greek word is “peirasmos” meaning dangers, afflictions, troubles, or tests intended to prove.

We need one another because inevitably we also are going to have “trials.”  

If you really care about Jesus, you will stay, not stray.

It Is a Matter of Time

The value of time is found in this verse from an ancient Sanskrit poem.

“Look to this day for it is life the very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the realities and truths of existence
The joy of growth, the splendor of action, the glory of power.
For yesterday is but a memory, and tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday a memory of happiness,
and every tomorrow a vision of hope,
Look well, therefore, to this day.”

The Bible ripples with such counsel. The following verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible. 

“Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:16-17)

The ant is an illustration of being an energetic self-starter.

“Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8)

Then follows this council for sluggards. “How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.”  (Proverbs 6:9-11)

It is expedient to understand when is the right time to act.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Now a worthy challenge. “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90: 12)

Do that, calculate how many days old you are. It helps to realize there will be a last number in that sequence, so don’t waste a one. For,

“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14)

The Bible calls us to a life of hard work and good deeds. So many things get individuals off those twin rails. To avoid this, identify your priorities. If you don’t, other people and distracting factors will schedule your life for you. You should know better than anyone what a day deserves. Budget the time needed to achieve it and set your mind on achieving it. After his record climb of Mt. Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary spoke of the epic event saying that climbing in such a rarefied atmosphere the mind tends to wander. Therefore, before leaving the base camp in the morning, it is necessary to fix your mind on the objective for the day.

Ask the Lord to help you be a better steward of time.

The Bible and Law

Critics often refer to some Old Testament passages because they claim there are laws therein that are not germane today, yet advocated. This failure is based on not knowing there are three types of law in the Bible: Levitical, Civil, and Moral. Not all are intended for today.

Levitical law is primarily the ceremonial law related to Temple worship, offering animal sacrifices, the observance of certain days, and ritual cleansing.

These became passe and were intended only for a past era.

The ceremonial law was related specifically to Israel’s worship (see Lev 1:2-3, for example). Its primary purpose was to point forward to Jesus Christ; these laws, therefore, were no longer necessary after Jesus’ death and resurrection. While ceremonial law no longer binds us, the principles behind them—to worship and love a holy God—still apply. The Pharisees often accused Jesus of violating ceremonial law.

Civil laws were designed for ancient Israel only. They controlled the legal system for old Israel. They were culturally adapted for a society of a different era. The civil law applied to daily living in Israel (see Deut 24:10-11, for example). Because modern society and culture are so radically different from that time and setting, all of these guidelines cannot be followed specifically. Jesus revealed the passing of these standards by not complying with them as indicated in the intended stoning of the woman caught in adultery. 

Moral laws are ageless. For example, it has always been wrong to murder, steal, lie, or commit adultery. That was true long before there were Ten Commandments regulating such conduct.

The moral law (such as the Ten Commandments) is the direct command of God, and it requires strict obedience (see Exod 20:13, for example). The moral law reveals the nature and will of God, and it still applies today. Jesus obeyed the moral law completely.

These laws are put in perspective by Jesus who declared: 

“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of 

Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!”  (Matthew 5: 17 – 20)

Understanding Difficult Words

Mark Twain said, “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”

Still some words not being understood challenges a reader. For example, Selah which appears in the Book of Psalms over 70 times. Its meaning is still a mystery to many, even scholars. Amen, Hallelujah, and Selah are not English words, they are Hebrew. Their special sanctity has preserved them. A better understanding of Selah comes from knowing the Psalms were originally sung by the Levitical choir in the Temple. Some contain musical direction. Selah most often comes at the end of several verses. Many scholars think the word comes from the root “SLL” meaning rise up instructing vocalists to lift their voices. Others think it comes from the root “sal” referring to a drum beating at intervals. Whatever it is understood to mean is conjecture. At best, not knowing the meaning does not rob a reader of the meaning of the passage.

A little known word appearing several times in the New Testament with reference to Jesus is “propitiation.” “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (John 4: 10)

Basically the word refers to Jesus becoming our substitute,  assuming our obligations, and covering our guilt. In summary it referred to a peace offering between two estranged parties. 

A crude example comes from an old Tarzan movie in which two warring tribes would come together and sacrifice a chicken as a peace offering settling their dispute. That is what the death of Jesus makes possible regarding the estrangement between God and human beings. Jesus is God’s peace offering. 

Often help is needed to understand some small familiar English words like hate as in Luke 14: 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” The Greek word “miseo” is translated “hate.” It is only in a comparative sense, and not literally, that the term can possibly be used. In comparison to our love for Jesus our proper genuine love for our parents is like hate. It is not an instruction to literally hate others and ourselves. It means our strong love for Jesus exceeds our strong meaningful love for our family and ourselves.

Napoleon understood this principle when he said, “I know men; and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander [the Great], Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and this hour millions of men would die for him.”

Because of His propitiation for our sins, we should love Him, Selah.