I remember when I was a teen I used to love listening to Adventures in Odyssey (AIO) so naturally, as soon as my kids were old enough (about 5 yrs old) I introduced them to the AIO club. Over the … Continue reading
This is an amazing message I just had to share. It will inspire, encourage and give you a better sense of purpose in your journey of motherhood.
I really recommend you watch the video of this sermon. To view it click here
Pastor John Piper preached this message to honor his Mother Ruth Piper. I pray it blesses you.
You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra – which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
My aim in this sermon is to honor motherhood and in this way glorify Jesus Christ who designed it, created it, and blessed it by his incarnation in Mary’s womb and by his words from the cross to John, in one of the most beautiful acts of final care for Mary: “[John], Behold your mother” (John 19:27).
What I want to honor in this message is the biblical calling on a woman’s life to weave a fabric of family life out of commitment to a husband and his calling, and commitment to her children and their training, and commitment to Christ and his glory. In other words, I want to honor the biblical calling that makes marriage, motherhood, and home-management, in the context of radical Christian discipleship, the central, core, dominant commitments of a woman’s life.
There are millions of single women, and many will stay single. There is a grace from God for that—a very special grace and for some even a calling. There are women who are single mothers and the marriage element in the calling I just described is painfully missing. Jesus Christ has a grace for that. There are women who are married and cannot, or, with their husbands, choose not, to have children. Jesus has a grace for that.
And there are mothers who weave together their mothering and their marriage and home management with part-time or full-time employment outside the home—some because they may have to (like single moms), others because they see it as part of their calling and have found creative ways to interlace schedules so as not to compromise their core commitments at home, and others, sadly, because they don’t have core commitments to supporting the husband’s calling, and pouring their lives into their children, and managing a home for the glory of Christ. They’ve simply absorbed the values of the world from television, media, friends with no biblical framework.
The Aim of This Sermon
May aim is not to address all of those circumstances. My aim to encourage the women—and there are millions of you—who believe that God’s call on your life is marriage, the joyful support of a husband and his calling as you display what the relationship between Christ and the church looks like, and motherhood, the transmission of a God-centered, Christ-treasuring vision of life to your children, and home-management, the creation of a beautiful and simple place and a living organism called a home which becomes, not only for the family, but also for the community a refuge of Christ’s peace and launching pad for God’s righteousness.
Those of you women who feel this calling are the ones I want to encourage with this message, and your role is the one I want to honor especially today, because you are probably not going to get the encouragement or the honor from the secular world. They don’t know what I am talking about. Marriage is a parable of Christ and his church? Motherhood as the life on life transmission of a God-centered, Christ-treasuring worldview? Home management as the creation of a living organism that nurtures the peace of Christ and the righteousness of God? The world does not understand these things.
This is a very high and holy and crucial calling that many of you embrace, with little understanding or encouragement from the world. You are the ones who have heard Titus 2:4-5 not as oppressive but as liberating. Paul said to Titus that the older women should “train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” You have heard that calling as rich and deep and precious and high and holy and confirming your heart’s longings, and as absolutely essential for the shaping of a God-centered, Christ-exalting church and culture.
To you I direct this message as a word of honor and encouragement. And to do that I want to spend part of my time in 1 Timothy 3 and part of my time, by way of illustrating the scripture, paying tribute to my own mother who lived out this calling so faithfully.
2 Timothy 3:14-15
First, look with me at 2 Timothy 3:14-15:
But as for you [Timothy], continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it [mark those words] 15 and how from childhood [this signals to us who it was that taught him these things] you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
1. From Whom Did Timothy Learn the Word?
I want you to see two things. First, who is Paul talking about in verse 14 when he says, “. . . knowing from whom you leaned it”? He is talking about Eunice and Lois, Timothy’s mother and grandmother. There are three clues that lead us to this conclusion. First, Paul refers (in v. 15) to this learning as happening “from childhood.” Second, we see in 2 Timothy 1:5 these words, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” So Paul has already connected Timothy’s faith with what he got from his mother and grandmother.
The third clue is the answer to the question why Paul did not refer to Timothy’s father. The answer is found in Acts 16:1 where Luke tells us about how Paul chose Timothy in the first place as missionary partner. “Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek.” So Timothy is the product of a home with a believing mother and an unbelieving father. That’s why Paul did not say that Timothy learned the scriptures from his father. He didn’t. His father didn’t believe them. But his mother and grandmother did. That is who Paul is referring to in 2 Timothy 3:14.
2. Remembering the Character of Your Godly Mother Is a Great Incentive to Holding Fast the Scriptures She Taught You
Now the second thing to see in this verse is that remembering the character of your godly mother is a great incentive to holding fast to the scriptures she taught you. Let’s read it again so you can see this. Verse 14: “But as for you [Timothy], continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed”—that is, don’t give up your faith, don’t give up the scriptures, don’t give up your salvation. Then comes these crucial words referring back to Eunice and Lois: “knowing from whom you learned it.”
In other words, Timothy, one of the ways—not the only way—one of the ways to strengthen your faith and persevere through hard times and not give up on the scriptures is to remember who introduced you to word of God and the way of salvation. Remember your mother, and your grandmother.
So let’s make very clear: the apostle of Jesus Christ in this text bestows on motherhood and grandmotherhood a great honor. You have a calling that can become the long-remembered ground of faith, not just for your children—mark this—but for the untold numbers who will be affected by your children. And that’s in addition to all the other thousands of ripple effects of faith in your life.
A Tribute to Ruth Piper
Now I turn to illustrate this honor by paying tribute to my mother, Ruth Piper. I have two documents. One that I wrote about my mother and one that my father wrote, both of them written thirty years ago. I’ll read some quotes from my memories to illustrate some of mother’s virtues and commitments as she lived out this calling of wife and mother and home-manager.
First, God’s honor was paramount for my mother. I wrote:
“I never got spanked for makin’ mess in my pants, but I did for skippin’ church; which goes to show mama cared more about keeping; God’s name and my soul clean than she did her own hands.”
Second, she was never cynical about my weaknesses but always tenderly empathetic. I wrote:
When I had to give my first “part” in Training Union, right after promotion day when everybody is older, she showed me how to write the main points on a card and listened just before supper while I practiced on her; she never let on it wasn’t life and death.
Third, she had a Bible-saturated concern for my heart. I wrote:
Mama knew the Good Book—especially the Proverbs; years later when I was three thousand miles away she kept on quotin’ Proverbs in her salutations. The message was always the same—the pulse beat of her heart— Be wise son, be truly wise: Fear God and keep your heart warm.
Fourth, mingled with fiercely earnest faith in the realities in heaven and hell and the seriousness of the Christian life, my mother had an utterly uninhibited sense of humor. I wrote:
Maybe Paul couldn’t imitate baby-chatter or Mrs. Loren Jones or all the characters in a church play; but mama could—and then how she would laugh! Why I’ve seen her and Grandma Mohn— one hundred-thirty years worth of German sobriety— guffaw till their tears wet the table cloth. It would start with a short soprano burst that could split the eardrums; her silver head would toss backward and her long white teeth would flash under her sharp nose, and her tanned neck would redden as the tendons flinched. She was a vision of health and joy; and I never felt better than when mama laughed.
Fifth, she took right and wrong very seriously and held me accountable to the highest standards so that I knew in all the conflict I mattered a lot to my mother. I wrote:
And I seldom felt worse than when mama cried: I got a speedin’ ticket one night and mama wept like I’d shot somebody. All the way to the station at midnight she cried and made me pay it off right then and there. One thing was for sure: I mattered a lot to mama.
What I owe my mother for my soul and my love to Christ and my role as a husband and father and pastor is incalculable.
Now I close by reading my father’s tribute. Keep in mind my purpose—to honor and to encourage women who embrace the biblical calling of marriage, motherhood, and home management for Christ and his kingdom. I see what I am doing here in the same genre as Proverbs 31. I am celebrating a beautiful God-designed calling with the life of one woman who lived it.
A Memorial to Ruth, My Wife
by Bill Piper
She was a priceless gem, rarer by far than sapphire, ruby or diamond. Her radiance depended not on some earthly or external beam. Her glow was from within, shining from genuineness of character and purity of soul.
The dancing sparkle of her life resulted not from material stimuli. It came from a heart that gave and gave and gave again with never a thought of receiving. It reflected a life that loved and loved until there was just no more love.
Her beauty was that of expanded unselfishness. Her whole life was others, her loved ones, her friends, her neighbors and her church. She knew no resting place. The needs were endless and her devotion always equaled the demands. Deep weariness of mind and body never deterred her.
The enormous wealth of her character showed most in her unstinting kindness. All who knew her felt it, witnessed it, experienced and believed in it. Everyone coming within the warm glow of her influence was cheered, encouraged, lifted and blessed.
Her beauty knew no vanity. She disdained the cheap, the tawdry, the make-believe. She loathed everything farcical and hypocritical. Her genuineness was transparent. She radiated reality. Life to her was neither a mummery nor a charade but a daily expression of untainted sincerity.
Her glory sprang from a love of life. Her activities never ceased and her energy seemed boundless. Her spontaneous laughter and contagious smile delighted all who met her. She enjoyed being alive and her life had beauty and purpose.
She epitomized the virtuous woman. She was clothed with strength and honor. My heart safely trusted in her. She looked well to the affairs of her household. She burned the midnight oil. Her hands were never idle. Her mouth was full of wisdom and on her tongue was the law of kindness. Her children have risen to praise her.
She was modest, almost to a fault. Always the lady. Always the queen. She carried herself with poise and great dignity without pomp, piety or ceremony. Modern trends in styles were ignored if they offended her sensitivities or violated her convictions. She never sought praise or popularity, contented always to serve in a spirit of congeniality and selflessness.
She was the practical woman. Never lavish. Never wasteful. I was the dreamer. She shunned the unnecessary and the excessive. Satisfied with simple things, she avoided that which was foolish and vain. Sound judgments preceded her decisions. Never one to parade, she abstained from the superficial, pretentious, needless and impractical.
Above all was the totality of her dedication. Devoted to her husband, her family, her friends and her church, she was supremely committed to her Lord. Her faith in Christ never wavered. Having trusted him as a child, she loved him more with every passing year. Her convictions held firm in the face of a changing world. The variances of life’s vicissitudes never altered her course. She remained steadfast, immovable, abounding always in the work of the Lord. She was a rock. She was found faithful. She walked with God and God loved her and took her. She now rests with him whom she loved and served.
The light from her devotion and the aroma from her character lives on to bless perpetually the lives of all who loved her. Her testimony will not be lost. Her commitment to Christ has not been in vain. Her husband, her children and all her descendents will rise to call her blessed.
This sermon is a fulfillment of that prophecy, and, I pray, is an honor and an encouragement to all of you women who embrace the biblical calling of marriage, the joyful support of a husband and his calling as you display the relationship between Christ and the church, and motherhood, the transmission of a God-centered, Christ-treasuring vision of life to your children, and home-management, the creation of a beautiful and simple place and living organism which becomes a refuge of Christ’s peace and launching pad for God’s righteousness.
March 21, 1982
Scripture: Ephesians 5:21-6:9
Topic: The Person of Christ
Pastor John Piper
Jesus is precious because he removes our guilt. He is precious because he gives us eternal life. And he is precious because through him we become authentic. Jesus Christ is the most important man that ever lived. To know him is more valuable than knowing all the most famous and powerful people of history. To be known and loved by him is a greater honor than if all the heads of state were to bow in your presence. When this world is over and we all stand before the judgment seat of God, many of you will look back with shame and dismay at how small was the place granted to the Son of God in your daily lives: how seldom you spoke to him, how little of his Word you learned, how half-hearted your resolve to obey, how narrow the sphere of life in which you eagerly sought his lordship. And on that day you will wonder no more why you were so unhappy in this life: unhappy at work,, unhappy in school, unhappy at church, unhappy at home. It will all come clear: half-hearted allegiance to the lordship of Christ in the practical affairs of everyday life not only robs Jesus of the honor we owe him, but also robs us of joy and purpose.
The Lordship of Christ in the Home
If it is true, as we saw last week from Romans 14:9, that Jesus desires so much to be Lord in your life that he died for that purpose, then is it not plain that in every part of your life Jesus wants to be Lord? There is no time or place or activity in your daily routine where Jesus does not want to be your owner, your provider, and your commander. And you will never know joy and authenticity in the minute by minute doing of your daily duties until you are wholly surrendered to him. That is, until you say, “Anything you say, Jesus, at work. Anything you say, Jesus, at school. Anything you say, Jesus, at church. Jesus, I will do anything, anything you say at home.”
Everybody wants a happy home. And most people want a purposeful home—a home with a mission and destiny beyond the mere satisfaction of our own daily desires. We want homes where each person flowers rather than fades. Homes with the aroma of respect rather than the odor of continual belittling. Homes with laughter instead of bitterness, eye to eye conversations instead of sporadic comments, peace instead of conflict, a sense of common mission instead of festering introversion.
The importance of family life in society and church can scarcely be exaggerated. O how crucial in the development of a child’s personhood is the life of his family. And not only little children—but also the lives of husbands and wives are made more or less fruitful by their experience at home. We want a happy home and a family with a purpose and a mission. And my message today is that the lordship of Jesus Christ is the only lasting foundation of such a home. Trusting Christ as Savior, surrendering to him as Lord, and orienting all of your family relations on him, transforms the home into a little heaven on earth. And even if some member of your family is not a believer, there is more grace and power for your love under the lordship of Jesus than anywhere else. He is precious as the foundation of the family.
What I want to do this morning from our text in Ephesians 5 is make one main point and illustrate it briefly in the relationship of husband and wife. The main point is this: Christian family life is a work of God’s Spirit in the lives of those who do everything for Christ’s sake.
A Work of God’s Spirit
Ephesians 5:21–6:9 is a fairly familiar text. It deals with wives and husbands, children and fathers, slaves and masters. In a typical household of that time, those were the three dominant relationships that needed to be regulated. Paul was answering the question: what difference doers it make in a family when its members become Christians? The very existence of such a text in the New Testament (and there are several of them—Colossians 3:18–4:1; 1 Peter 2:18–3:7; Titus 2:4–10) shows that God is not indifferent about the ordinary give and take of home-life. If Christ is your Lord, he is Lord of all your daily life.
But what is not as familiar about this text is the context in which Paul puts it. Look back to verse 15: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” And then comes a series of phrases which tell us the effect of being filled with the Spirit of God: “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.” And then most of the English versions do something that makes it very hard to see Paul’s intention. They put a period or semicolon at the end of verse 20 and translate verse 21, “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.” But in the original, “Be subject” is not a new sentence or a main verb. It is another participle like “addressing,” “singing,” “making melody,” and “giving thanks.”
In other words, verse 21 belongs with verses 19–20 as an explanation of what it means to be filled with the Spirit in verse 18. Literally, then, the passage says: “Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord in your heart, always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father, being subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.” The purpose of verses 19–21 is to spell out what happens when you are filled with the Holy Spirit. In verse 19 your heart overflows in song to each other and to the Lord. Verse 20 says that thankfulness is at the center of those heart songs. And verse 21 says that when you are filled with the Spirit, you will submit to one another.
When the Holy Spirit is holding full sway in your life, then your heart brims with a song of gratitude and your heart humbly submits to serve those around you. Submitting yourself to someone means not rebelling with a sense of superiority or a feeling that you are too good to stoop and help when someone puts upon you for service. It’s what Paul means when he says in Ephesians 4:1–2, “Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called in all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love.” And in Romans 15:2, “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him.” And Romans 12:10, “Outdo one another in showing honor.” And Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in lowliness count each other better than yourselves.” That kind of humility and readiness to serve rather than be served, to honor rather than be honored, is a fruit of the Spirit. And when we are filled with the Spirit, we will be submissive to each other in this way. That is the connection between verses 18 and 21.
But now comes the crucial connection with family life. Verses 22ff. are clearly an extension and application of the principle in verse 21. We know this mainly from the grammar of the text. The command in verse 22, “Wives be subject to your husbands,” has no verb in the original. It simply says, “Wives to your own husbands.” Which means it is a continuation of verse 21. The flow of thought then from verse 18 to 22 would be: “Be filled with the Spirit . . . submitting to each other out of reverence for Christ, wives to your own husbands as to the Lord.”
So now it should be evident where I got my main point: Christian family life is a work of God’s Spirit. The submission of a wife to her husband and a husband’s love to his wife (vv. 22–33),the obedience of children and their nurturing by parents (6:1–4), the obedience of servants and the forbearance of masters (6:5–9) all are expansions of the principle in 5:21: “submitting to each other in reverence to Christ.” And this submission in verse 21 is a description of how people act when they are filled with the Holy Spirit (v. 18). Therefore, all of Christian family life is a work of God’s Spirit.
In Those Who Do Everything for Christ’s Sake
But my main point had another part. I said, “Christian family life is a work of God’s Spirit in the lives of those who do everything for Christ’s sake.” Even though the Spirit of God is free to blow where he wills, there is a God-ordained correlation between submission to Jesus as Lord and the work of the Spirit. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:3, “No one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus be accursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.” Wherever a person bows in humility under the lordship of Christ, there the Spirit of God is at work. It is the mission of the Spirit to exalt Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 16:14, when the Spirit comes, “He will glorify me.” Therefore, when we are filled with the Spirit, we are in love with the glory of Christ and we delight to bow to him as Lord. Or to put it the other way around, if we desire to see the Spirit of God transform our family life, we must surrender totally to Jesus as Lord and turn all our daily doings into an offering of worship to him. When the Spirit reigns in your life, you do everything with a view to honoring Jesus. And in that way Jesus becomes the foundation and focus and goal of the family, and life at home is transformed.
Notice the evidence for this in the text. After commanding us to be filled with the Spirit in verse 18, almost every verse that follows all the way to 6:9 shows that the Spirit’s work is to exalt Christ and orient all of life (especially family life) on him. Let’s follow his thought. First, in verse 19 the Spirit produces songs to the Lord (Jesus). Then, in verse 20 he produces gratitude to God in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then, in verse 21 he produces submission in reverence for Christ. In verse 22 wives submit themselves to their husbands as to the Lord. In verse 25 husbands love their wives as Christ loved the church. In 6:1 children obey their parents in the Lord. In verse 4 fathers bring up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. In verse 5 slaves obey their earthly masters in singleness of heart as to Christ. And in verse 9 masters leave off threatening because they too have a Master in heaven. When a family is filled with the Spirit, everything is oriented on Christ. Christian family life is a work of God’s Spirit in the lives of those who do everything for Christ’s sake. That’s the main point.
A Word to Husbands
And now I want to look briefly at two of Paul’s applications of this truth in our text: first a word to husbands, then to wives, then a closing challenge to us all to be filled with the Spirit, yielded to the lordship of Christ for the sake of our families. The word to husbands is this: Be filled with the Spirit! Yield to the lordship of Christ! And then recognize this: your God-appointed headship in the family is to be exercised in love on the pattern of Christ’s love for the church. I believe many people today make the mistake of saying that since mutual submission of all believers to each other is taught in verse 21, therefore there is no distinction between the roles of husband and wife. But the text simply will not allow this. What verses 22–33 do is spell out the peculiar forms that lowliness and submissiveness of husband and wife will take. And they are not the same. The wife is compared to the church, the husband compared to Christ. The husband is compared to the head, the wife is compared to his body (v. 28). If all Paul wanted to say was “Submit to each other,” he could have left out verses 22–33 altogether. But we know from other letters he wrote (1 Corinthians 11, 1 Timothy 2) that Paul sees in the created order a God-appointed distinction between male and female that makes the man’s headship or leadership in marriage fitting and beautiful.
But what the apostle stresses here in Ephesians 5:25–33 is that husbands should be filled with the Holy Spirit, eager to exalt Jesus Christ, and therefore ready to conform their leadership to Christ’s. Christ fulfilled his headship or leadership over the disciples through sacrificial service. Jesus did not cease to be the leader of the disciples when he stooped to wash their feet (John 13:13–15). And when he hung on the cross, the weakest of the weak for the sake of his bride, the church, he was no less her head. Woe to the husband who thinks that his maleness requires of him a domineering, demanding attitude toward his wife. This is not the mark of a Christ-like head but a childish bully.
But the subordinate point of this text for husbands is just as needed today as the main point, namely, you are to be the leader and head of your household under Christ. Do not let the rhetoric of contemporary feminism cow you into thinking that Christ-like leadership in the home is bad. It is what our homes need more than anything. Husbands, for all your meekness and all your servanthood and all your submission to your wife’s deep desires and needs, you are still the head, the leader. What I mean is this: it is you who should take the lead in the things of the Spirit; it is you who should lead the family in prayer, in the study of God’s Word, in worship; it is you who should lead out in giving the family a vision of its meaning and mission; it is you who should take the lead in shaping the moral fabric of the home and in governing its happy peace. I have never yet met a woman who chafes under such Christ-like leadership. But I know of many women whose lives are unhappy because their husbands have no moral vision, no spiritual conception of what a family is for, and therefore no desire to lead anyone anywhere.
Have you seen the Camel Cigarette billboards—the curly-headed, bronze-faced, muscular macho with the cigarette hanging out the side of his mouth? The sign says, “Where a man belongs.” You know what I pray when I think about that sign? I pray that Bethlehem will be filled with men who, when they see that sign, say, “To hell with such lies!”—men who know that where a man belongs is on his knees beside his wife, leading in prayer. Where a man belongs is at the bedside of his children, leading in devotion and prayer. Where a man belongs is in the driver’s seat, leading his family to the house of God. Where a man belongs is up early and alone with God, seeking vision and direction for the family. Men, I challenge you in the name of Jesus Christ our King, be where you belong!
A Word to Wives
And now a brief word to wives. In its context Ephesians 5:22 means: if you are filled with the Spirit and yielded to the lordship of Christ, then you will be subject to your husbands as to the Lord. That little phrase “as to the Lord” has two implications. One is that a woman’s first and ultimate allegiance is to the Lord Jesus and that other allegiances are subordinate to and derivative from this one. The other implication is that, therefore, the subordinate allegiances are limited by the revealed will of Christ. This means that the form which a wife’s submission takes will vary according to the quality of her husband’s leadership.
If the husband is a godly man who has a biblical vision for the family and leads out in the things of the Spirit, a godly woman will rejoice in this leadership and support him in it. She will no more be squelched by this leadership than disciples are squelched by the leadership of Jesus. If she thinks his vision is distorted or his direction is unbiblical, she will not sit in dumb silence but query him in a spirit of meekness and may often save his foot from stumbling. For husband-headship does not mean infallibility or hostility to correction. Nor does the wife’s involvement in shaping the direction of the family involve insubordination.
But if a Christian woman is married to a man who provides no vision, gives no moral direction, takes no lead in the things of the Spirit, the form of her submission will be different. Under the lordship of Christ she will not join her husband in sin, even if he wants her to. And where she can, she will give a spiritual vision and moral direction to her children. But even in this she need not communicate a cocky spirit of insubordination. Even when she must, for Christ’s sake, do what her husband does not approve of, she can try to explain in a tranquil and gentle spirit that it is not because she wants to go against him but because she is bound to Christ. Yet it will do no good to preach at him. At the root of his being he is dreadfully guilty that he is not assuming the moral leadership of his house. You must give him room and in quietness win him by your powerful and sacrificial love (1 Peter 3:1–6).
In conclusion, there is a God-ordained pattern of headship and submission, of leadership and joyful support of that leadership, within the family. It has been conceived by God and revealed to us that we might discover happiness at home and a meaningful mission for our family. It is the work of the Spirit of God in the lives of those who do everything for Christ’s sake. Therefore, the question for you who want a happy home and a meaningful mission and destiny for your family is: Are you filled with the Spirit of God and yielded to the lordship of Christ?
If you would like to pray with one of the pastors and seek this spiritual enabling for new relations at home, I invite you to make that choice very definite by coming and meeting Pastor Glenn as we sing “Happy the Home Where God Is There.”
I am preparing to teach a class on Ruth next week. So I have been reading and re-reading the book of Ruth to find hidden treasures I may have missed over the years. I have got to say that Ruth is one of my favorite women from the Old Testament. Her faith, commitment, and submission to God fascinate me.
But after reviewing her life again, one thing that popped out to me unlike the last 20 times I have read the book of Ruth, is that she was in Moab. Now, I have always known she was born in Moab and lived there. But – she did not choose to live in Moab, that is where she was born. Contrary to Naomi, who chose to go to Moab knowing the spiritual implications.
Yet both of these women despite their differences were in Moab, this ungodly place together. The point I want to highlight is that we all have been in a spiritual, physical or emotional Moab at some point in our life. Sometimes we are there because of our own bad choices and sin and other times we are there because of injustice or hardship that has come upon us.
But God used Ruth regardless of her Moab life. And she ends up being the star of the show, used by God in an amazing way. Naomi despite her bitterness and complaining attitude towards God is also used during this process of redemption.
Not only that but in chapter 4 of Ruth, it says that God opened her womb. Meaning that she was barren for the years she was married to Naomi’s son in Moab. Moab was a God forsaken place and its people were known for all kinds of wicked sins. Yet Ruth being a Moabite developed such a faith in God that even proved to be greater than that of her mother in law.
The point here is that had children been born to them in Moab, Jesus would have never been born. It’s because Ruth in faith followed her mother in law that she is redeemed by Boaz and from his line comes King David and then Jesus. But God had purposefully closed her womb because she could not have a child or children in the sinful city of Moab. God opening her womb towards the end of the book is significant of his new blessing for Ruth after she left the sinful city of Moab and has now been redeemed by Boaz just as Christ redeems us, his bride.
There is so much more I would like to share and say, but for now I will just remind you that you can be used by God and be blessed by His perfect provisions all the days of your life, regardless of your Moab experience. From the life of Ruth, we learn that there is hope for the weary soul and the one whose burden is heavy. God can redeem any situation if you trust Him and entrust your life to Him.
So let me end by asking you: What is your Moab?
Are you suffering right now or in a situation that seems unbearable? If so, call out to God and let Him lead your path and He will take you by the hand, as a dad holds the hand of a little child who is crossing a dangerous intersection. It may not be easy to pray or ask God for direction at first when you are in Moab, but try reading the word for encouragement and then ease into prayer. You can also pray the Psalms if your own words don’t flow from within. This is something I have done in extremely difficult times where the only thing coming out from inside were my tears. In times of pain, anguish or despair you may find solace in praying the Psalms as if they were your heart’s own words to God.
Here are a few Scriptures I recommend for encouragement and reading during difficult times.
Deuteronomy 33:12 The BELOVED of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders. – What a beautiful image of Gods beloved resting between the shoulders of Almighty God. Reminds me of when my little one is crying and upset, he nestles his head on his daddies shoulder.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
Psalm 145:18-19 Yahweh is close to all who call on Him—to all who call on Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him: He will hear their cry and save them.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who are weary and weighed down with heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in spirit. Indeed, you will surely find rest in Me! My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
Isaiah 40:28-31 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God (Yahweh), the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not, neither is weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait for Yahweh shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.
May you and yours be blessed!
Habakkuk 2:4 …but the righteous shall live by his faith.
I read this scripture this morning in my personal bible study. Although I have heard it many times and read over it, I decided to dig a bit deeper and ask the Lord for wisdom to understand the fullness of its meaning.
In my own words, here is what I discovered after reading the scriptures. Habakkuk lived during one of the most critical times for the people of Judah. There was war surrounding them and threats of a possible invasion, so to say the least, Habakkuk was distressed and afraid.
Habakkuk, a profit whose Hebrew name means “Embrace” was in doubt and turmoil over the affairs of God’s people and all of the violence and trouble he saw around him.
The prophet begins the book in utter despair. He basically says: “God, what are you doing? Why are you allowing people to take advantage of the less fortunate and the righteous? Why are you being so passive and not answering my prayers? Even the law, these people do not respect and anything they determine to be correct is perverse due to their sinful mindset. Furthermore, why do you place me in this position so I can witness all of this sin and trouble?”
That is a pretty deep prayer. I can only imagine the heaviness on Habakkuk’s heart to the point of crying out to God the way he does. And then, after he pours his heart out, the Lord replies, and boy does He reply.
He tells Habakkuk that He is going to do something pretty amazing, something Habakkuk himself would have a hard time believing even if the Lord told him. The Lord then goes on to say that He will use the Chaldeans (sometimes referred to as Babylonians) to come and take away power from the Israelites that are acting wickedly.
Now lets pause for a moment to get the scoop on these so-called Chaldeans. The Chaldeans were people who lived in southern Babylonia. Their army was a hardcore, blood-shedding, not so nice army. They were known for invading towns and they did not do so in “The name of the Lord”. As sighted in the book of Habakkuk, they had no allegiance to the God of Israel. Their god was their “self-power”, their ability to sweep through nations like the wind and keep moving.
This is what the bible says about them: “…that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwellings not their own.
They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor. Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk.
Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar.
They fly like an eagle swooping to devour; they all come intent on violence.
Their hordes advance like a desert wind and gather prisoners like sand.
They mock kings and scoff at rulers. They laugh at all fortified cities; by building earthen ramps they capture them. Then they sweep past like the wind and go on—guilty people, whose own strength is their god.” Habakkuk 1:6-11
These are the people that God tells Habakkuk He is going to use to stop the violence and unrighteous behavior of His people. Habakkuk is taken aback. He prays again to God and questions God’s methods. In essence, he is saying: “Why God, why would you use wicked men for your plans. I don’t understand you!” Habakkuk questions God based on His own nature in verse thirteen of chapter one. Habakkuk knows that God’s very nature cannot let Him see iniquity and evil going on and not punish the guilty ones. He throws this fact into his prayer and then sits around waiting for God to reply.
This is simply amazing to me. How often do we see a circumstance that is affecting us or hurting someone we love and we pray for God to intervene. Finally, when He answers us, the answer we get is not what we thought He would do. We continue to question Him and His plans. Yet the prophet Isaiah reminds us that God does not always act in ways we understand or deem correct when he writes “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
Yes, God is going to use a wicked army to call back His beloved people. He is going to let them be captured and endure many trails until they turn back to Him. At the same time, He is going to bring destruction to the invaders. But he also reveals something very beautiful to Habakkuk through Habakkuk’s own prayer. In chapter three verse thirteen we see a foretelling of the coming of the Messiah. The Hebrew word “Anointed” used in this text refers to Jesus’ coming as God’s anointed King from the line of David. It is the same Hebrew word mashiach from the root word mashach used in the book of Daniel, in chapter 9. This word means “to anoint.” In the book of Daniel, this word is primarily used to describe David’s anointed heir, the ultimate King of Israel. Unbeknownst to Habakkuk, this King is Jesus the Messiah.
Knowing all of this, Habakkuk asks God to have mercy during His time of wrath. Although he may not agree with or understand God’s ways, he finally just asks that God please work on the behalf of His people during the difficult years that are coming.
Habakkuk goes on to say that although destruction will fall upon the land, he knows that he can rejoice and have joy regardless of the circumstances around him. In just three short chapters, Habakkuk goes from complaining to confidence in the Lord. Although he knows that the land where he calls home will be invaded, he says: “I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us. Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places”.
And so now we know that when the Lord said: “…but the righteous shall live by his faith” Habakkuk was absolutely sure because of what God was revealing to him. Despite the injustice and turmoil all around him, he had heard from Almighty God and although the difficulties were not going to end, he knew he had nothing to fear because he was walking uprightly with the Lord. Many many years would pass before the Messiah would appear to take on the sins of the world, yet Habakkuk was called to live by his faith in God.
Now my question for you is:
Are you going through a season of trouble and uncertainty in your life? Can you say with assurance “…but the righteous shall live by his faith?”
Remember that we are only a piece of a larger puzzle. God looks down from heaven and sees all of the pieces thrown in different directions. He sees our attempts to make pieces fit in places where they do not belong. But He wants us to know that He is in control of all things and we can trust that when His plan unfolds, the missing pieces to the puzzle will all appear and fit, to make a glorious picture worthy of praise. In the end, we may not understand His ways, but we can live by faith knowing that He is in control.
May you and yours be blessed – Mariana
This is a part of a series of Bible studies and devotionals I have written and will continue to publish on this site. These are copy written materials and also licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license. This means you are free to copy, distribute, or transmit any of this blog’s content. However, you must attribute the content to this site by providing a link back to the post from which the content originated or simply sighting that it was written by MomThinks.wordpress.com
It has happened to everyone, myself included. You’re out working very hard on a specific project. You might be the lead cook at a ministry for homeless people or the lead person in charge of a huge project management assignment. Maybe you are leading a study for disabled people because you yourself were disabled and God has spoken to you about sharing your experience with others in the same position. If you’re a mom or dad, maybe you are in charge of an important area at your child’s school.
So there you are, doing your work, minding your own business. The day could not be better. Then, out of nowhere comes someone else, whose qualifications surpass yours, or maybe you have come to the conclusion that they have no qualifications but they exhibit a certain character with radiance and charm that draws people to them. All of a sudden that seems to infuriate you.
They buzz around you with ideas and suggestions. They have many plans and show great enthusiasm in helping you in your efforts.
You may not be aware but your superior be it God and or man has sent this person to assist you and take on some of your responsibilities.
Your face gets red, your blood boils and you feel like saying: “What the heck. Who is this person and why do they want to take away the little bit that God has given me to administer. I am qualified, I have done this for years and I will not accept help or stupid ideas from them even if they have more experience than me and even if they are showing true charisma for the task at hand. I will not accept an ounce of help. This is my job, my ministry, my study, my restaurant my swimming class etc… It is mine all mine and that’s that.”
Okay I know I made it seem really extreme but unfortunately, this is the dark, ungodly reaction that many of us have experienced in our lifetime way deep down in our hearts. The problem is we refuse to accept that we have thought or are thinking in this way. Yet the truth is that on more than one occasion everyone has felt extreme jealousy and seen someone’s helping hand as competition.
We have a sense of entitlement and believe that if we allow others to participate in helping us, we will lose the praise of men, we will fall behind the scenes and another person will shine instead of us. This angers us and we go back and forth rationalizing with our “sin infested” minds that what we are thinking is correct. Ultimately we push the help that God has sent us away because we run a “one-man show” and there is no room for anyone else.
Unfortunately, this is not what the heart that God desires. This type of attitude only pushes us away from doing God’s work on this earth. It also creates a wall between us and people, which after time damages relationships.
The bible is very clear about this in the following scriptures:
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. James 3:13-16
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation… 1 Peter 2:1-3
How can we argue with these 2 scriptures? It is very clear. Furthermore; to do the will of the Father as Jesus taught in the New Testament is a work for EVERYONE not just for a few chosen people. I must add however that God does choose certain people at certain times for His plan to be fulfilled but that’s another topic I will discuss in a future post.
If we have received salvation as a gift from God, repented from our sins and allowed Gods Holy Spirit to work in us, then we can’t take on the world by ourselves. That is not what God designed or what He intended.
We, the bride of Christ, also known as the body of believers must work together for the purpose God has given us. We cannot work against each other, being hateful, envious critically destructive or jealous. We are one body and have to work in submission one to another. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21
We respect and love one another under Godly submission because we are called to do the same with God first and then with our fellow brothers and sisters. So if God decides or our manager decides or the director decides to send someone to help us, we must accept it with humility and grace. We may not be happy at first, but that is when we need to kneel down and pray for God to remove any evil thought or demonic wisdom from our brain and our heart.
If we don’t do this on a daily basis we are setting our self up for a fall. If pride, jealousy, anger, envy, deceit, selfish ambition, arrogance, lying and many other sins are not recognized and confessed immediately they begin to build a dangerous cover around our hearts that blocks Gods shining love and grace from entering. It is like when people eat poorly and their arteries get clogged. Once an artery is clogged, the blood can no longer flow freely and the person suffers a heart attack that can be fatal.
When we have sin that we do not confess and we keep it in our hearts and minds, it blocks the flow of Gods precious Holy Spirit from working in us and through us. And in most cases, it leads to a definite death of the soul.
Do you have jealousy or envy right now in your heart?
Cry out to God and ask Him to reveal to you the things or people in your life that are causing this reaction in you. Ask God to remove the jealousy and envy and fill you with His spirit so you can see others as He sees them.
The road to perfection in Christ is not an easy one and we all fall short but He that is in us is greater than he that lives in the world, so we can say with confidence: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”
Amen and Amen ~~ Mariana ©
I don’t know about you, but in our home, we take bible studying very seriously. It is not something we do when we are tired or only on Sundays. When we study we often can get lost in one scripture for hours. You might say: “How is that possible?”
Say for instance that we are studying the verse in 1 John 4:7-8 that says: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Seems pretty simple, easy to understand, nothing else to keep in mind right? However, if we look at how the Greek language is structured we will find that there are four Greek words for love. They are agape, phileo, storge, and eros. Three of them appear in the Bible.
In this verse when it says love, it is using the word agape which is God’s love for us. An unconditional love. This type of love is expressed because of what it does, not because of how it feels. Very different from phileo which denotes a strong emotional connection.
Now just to churn your brain a little and show you something you have probably never considered before, let us look at John 21:15-17, just 3 chapters after Peter denies Jesus 3 times. We know this story, Jesus is asking Peter if he loves Him.
So what’s the big deal about all of this? It’s simply fascinating, just read along.
In verses 15-17 Jesus asks Peter 3 times, do you (Peter) love (agape) me. And three times Peter answers Yes Lord you know that I (phileo) you.
I believe that Jesus is testing Peter and asking him again and again so Peter can determine the depth of his love for Jesus. Is Peter willing to agape Jesus which implies unconditional unselfish, sacrificial love to the point of suffering if need be? Is he going to deny Jesus again? I am sure that after this encounter with Jesus, Peter had a thing or six to think about if you know what I mean.
So to sum all of this up: if we want to accurately understand the Bible, it is important that we first pray for God’s Holy Spirit to guide us so that we can examine closely what we are reading and better apply it to our life. Often because of misunderstandings in scripture, people manipulate and misinterpret what was written. That’s why it is so important for every Christian, man, woman, and child to learn the scriptures and pray for Gods discernment and understanding.
I hope with the examples I wrote above you will be inspired to dissect your bible piece by piece and grow in the knowledge of the Lord. In the coming weeks I am going to list some really good resources I have used since I came to Christ almost 20 years ago, so make sure you check back soon under the Bible Study Resources section. For now, I will leave you with a really cool tool you can access online by going to http://biblos.com/
Please be sure to post your comments and let me know if this post was helpful for you.
Lots of Love – Mariana