God is the one being in the universe for whom self-exaltation is the most loving act.
(p36 Don't Waste Your Life )
Our children are the Lord's, and they are in His hands from beginning to end. ... He is the lender, and we are the borrowers. When our children are sick, it is a good opportunity for us to exercise our faith. Do we really believe God is in control of all things and will work all things for our good, or do we just say this?The other tendency is to under react:
A mother who is busy ... may be tempted to assume that this illness can be treated with lots of Kleenex and some more vitamin C, when she should be far more concerned.She has some lovely Biblical wisdom on how to approach the following issues:
When children are ill, it is a wonderful opportunity for teaching. ...She combines this with lovely practical ideas about sleeping bags on the sitting room floor and playing Sorry!
Sickness is a good time to teach them about compassion and mercy, as well as about the frailty of life. Use these times for spiritual profit. (p34)
When women are talking babies they are talking shop. (p21)
It is only natural that they develop strong opinions about nearly everything having to do with conception, pregnancy, childbirth and child care.... When women have strong opinions about the many issues surrounding the bearing and rearing of children, they can cause division and disputation in the church. This should not be. (p21)
Before the Birth of One of Her Children
All things within this fading world hath end,
Adversity doth still our joys attend;
No ties so strong, no friends so dear and sweet,
But with death's parting blow are sure to meet.
The sentence past is most irrevocable,
A common thing, yet oh, inevitable.
How soon, my Dear, death may my steps attend,
How soon't may be thy lot to lose thy friend,
We both are ignorant, yet love bids me
These farewell lines to recommend to thee,
That when the knot's untied that made us one,
I may seem thine, who in effect am none.
And if I see not half my days that's due,
What nature would, God grant to yours and you;
The many faults that well you know I have
Let be interred in my oblivious grave;
If any worth or virtue were in me,
Let that live freshly in thy memory
And when thou feel'st no grief, as I no harmes,
Yet love thy dead, who long lay in thine arms,
And when thy loss shall be repaid with gains
Look to my little babes, my dear remains.
And if thou love thyself, or loved'st me,
These O protect from stepdame's injury.
And if chance to thine eyes shall bring this verse,
With some sad sighs honor my absent hearse;
And kiss this paper for thy dear love's sake,
Who with salt tears this last farewell did take
Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. 24 These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from
Mount Sinaiand bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinaiin Arabiaand corresponds to the present city of , because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written: "Be glad, O barren woman, who bears no children; break forth and cry aloud, you who have no labour pains; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband." Galatians 4:21-27 Jerusalem
And this cashes out like this:
When a wife lurches off to what she thinks is her responsibility without her husband’s blessing and delegation, she is out of bounds and unprotected. (p16)
We are not responsible to teach the neighbor’s kids; we are responsible for our own, and that means all of them. We cannot let any ‘slip through the craks’ because they came when our hands were full. (p17)
A mother must see that her children know that they are loved, for they must be nourished by mother’s love. ... A newborn is fed at the mother’s breast and this is a lovely picture of how the Church is to feed us. The milk a baby receives at the breast is not only nourishing physically, it is emotionally nourishing. (p17)
Correction must be judicial, kind, and loving, even when it is painful, and it must be done promptly and consistently. This is an enormous task, but when it is faithfully carried out, the children are healthy and happy. (p18)
While evangelism brings more worshippers into the Church, childbearing brings more disciples into the home.
A mother should be fruitful like the vine in Psalm 128. Children are not to be viewed as a hindrance, an intrusion, an interruption, or a burden. Fruit is not viewed in such a way. Of course fruit requires tending and tending can be hard work. But it is good work.
Women today embrace barrenness as freedom, and yet barrenness is always a curse in Scripture. But fruitfulness includes more than just childbearing; it is descriptive of a lifestyle (2 Peter 1:8). (p19)
the Church has abandoned its duties and roles, it may be difficult for us to see our duties as mothers as they are pictured for us in the Church. (p15)
Any time we take on an important job, it is very helpful if we have a vision for the end result. (p11)
The wise woman builds her house,but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1
A song of ascents. Of Solomon.
Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labour in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat-- for he grants sleep to those he loves.3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth.5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate. Psalm 127
A song of ascents.
Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways.
2 You will eat the fruit of your labour;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house;
your sons will be like olive shoots round your table.
4 Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD.
5 May the LORD bless you from
all the days of your life; Zion
may you see the prosperity of
6 and may you live to see your children's children.
Peace be upon
. Psalm 128 Israel
Blessings for the one who fears God include happiness around the dinner table where the fruit of hard labour is enjoyed. The wife is described as a fruitful vine. And where is she? ‘In the very heart of you house.’ The mother is central to the picture of blessing and prosperity. … A mother who fulfils her fruitful calling is a means God uses to bring blessing for her entire family, her husband, the church, and the community. (p12-13)
The virtuous wife in Proverbs 31 has succeeded in her duties because ‘her children rise up and call her blessed.’ The fruit of her hands praise her in the gates, her husband and her children testify to her obedience in her calling, and she is commended for this fruitful obedience. (p12)
10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Has not the LORD made them one?
In flesh and spirit they are his.
And why one?
Because he was seeking godly offspring.So guard yourself in your spirit,
and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. Malachi 2:15
It takes diligence, hard work, and faith to raise godly offspring for God, but it is a soul-satisfying work. This biblical view of a God-fearing motherhood is one laden with images of fruit and abounding in spiritual excellence and honour and blessing. (p13)
So, back to the big picture:
The mother of young children must have an eye toward the day when all her children, by the grace of God, will be adults who rise up in her presence and bless her. It may be difficult to maintain this long view in the midst of diapers and discipline and schooling and a hundred other things. But the Christian mother must look to see the house finished. (p13)
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no-one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:3-5
When women devote themselves to their husbands, children, and to building their house, the whole Church is strengthened. This is actually their ‘ministry’ to the Church: being obedient wives who are raising godly children. (p14)
- "You shall teach [God's words] to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking in the way, and when you lie down and when you rise" (Deut. 11:19).
- "...the father makes known to the children your faithfulness" (Is. 38:19).
- "Make them known to your children and your children's children" (speaking of the things that God has revealed) (Deut. 4:9).
- "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4).
- "Which he commanded our fathers to teach their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments" (Psalm 78:5b-7).
There are hundreds of things that can get in the way of taking the time to sit with your kids and spend time learning the Word of God: lack of discipline, lack of experience, lack of a sense of importance, and many more. Sometimes it's getting over the ideal that you might have in your head. There will be chaos, your wife will need you to do something, the dog will need to go out, your son will not think it's cool at all—but those memories of parents who loved them enough to make an effort will leave a lasting impression on your kids' hearts. So Dads, parents—lets do this!
- Set a Goal. Try one verse a week. This will allow you to dwell on that verse, apply it, and talk about it through the week. Not all the kids will learn at the same pace, so this will also allow some flexibility.
- Be Consistent. Figure out when, where, and what works for your family. Make it realistic: maybe it's morning, or dinner time, or in the car on the way to and from school—or have them say their verse to you before you leave for work.
- Choose the Verses. Pick verses that make sense for your whole family to learn. You can even taper the verse to just a section for the younger kids.
- Make it Fun. SING SONGS! Repetition is key. So whatever way works for your family, have fun doing it and be creative.
Psalm 119:11 says "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." The Word of God is "living and active," it's "profitable for teaching, reproof, for correction and training in righteousness," and it "does not return empty." Thank you God for your powerful Word. It's life-changing, life-shaking, and I desire for it to penetrate not only my life, but the life of this amazing family you entrusted to me.