28 May 2009

Adversities, Afflictions & Attitudes

We are often overwhelmed with the adversities in life that are very difficult to accept and hard to understand. At the moment, it seems that all is loss, that life is not worth living and that our sorrow is too much to bear. No doubt, Job felt this way when he experienced the tragedies in his life. The problem is with our perception of matters. We deal more with the immediate and not the overall view of life. That which is seemingly against us at the present may, in fact, work out for our good. The Psalmist declared, “Before I was afflicted I went astray; But now I observe thy word.” Again he writes, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; That I may learn thy statutes” (Psalms 119:67, 71). The Psalmist had lived long enough beyond his traumatic experiences to grasp the significance of his sorrows. Not all men are able to perceive the silver lining amidst the clouds of despair. As finite beings, we are so limited in our knowledge and we often fail to grasp the ultimate reasons for our conflicts and sorrows in life. In contrast, the infinite Heavenly Father, who is from everlasting to everlasting, is able to see the panoramic scene; and, in His great providence, He is powerful enough to ultimately work out everything for our eternal welfare (Romans 8:28). It is a real challenge to our faith in God to seek the lessons to be learned from our failures, injuries and our losses in life. It isn’t necessary that we fully comprehend nor is it even possible that we always understand the tragedies that we may experience; but, it is important that we trust in God, knowing that He cares for us and that He can overcome evil with good. In all his grief, Job expressed himself in this manner, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him…” (Job 13:15 KJV).

Let us remember that afflictions, sicknesses, tragedies and death come to all men, saints and sinners. It is important therefore that the children of God understand that it is our acceptance of these experiences and our attitude toward them that distinguishes us from the people of the world who manifest no faith or trust in the providence of God. The unbeliever’s heart is often hardened when calamities come his way. In contrast, the believer’s heart is made more sensitive and responsive to God’s design and purpose in the perplexities of life. We are like small children in our understanding and we should place our trust in our Heavenly Father even as David when he wrote in Psalms 131: “Jehovah, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty; Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too wonderful for me. Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in Jehovah from this time forth and for evermore.” We all have no doubt heard the expression, “The same sun that melts ice, hardens clay.” Adversities, sorrows and heartaches in life will have different effects on various people. It depends largely on the recipient. In John 6: 66-69, after some hard sayings of Jesus we read, “Upon this many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Jesus said therefore unto the twelve, Would ye also go away? Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and know that thou art the Holy one of God.” Disciples of Jesus who really trust in Him have no one else in whom they can find refuge and strength in the times of trouble in this life. So, whatever sorrows and afflictions may occur in life, it is to Jesus that we must go. He is the great physician and there is healing in His wings.

23 May 2009

Love Thyself

“And a second unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:39). This statement made by our Lord was a partial answer to the question, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” The Savior had first replied “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:25-37). The thought of ‘loving oneself’ might seem to be rather selfish and arrogant; however, Jesus has taught us to love others in the manner we love ourselves. The apostle Paul wrote, “Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his own wife loveth himself” (Ephesians 5:28). But, the question might be raised as to the why a person should love himself/herself.

We learn in Genesis 1:27 that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created them.” While man’s physical body was formed of the dust of the earth, that part of man that pertains to his spirit, mind and soul, was made in the likeness of his creator. Man is not a product of a mere accident or by chance. The Great, August God, the Creator of heaven and earth was both the Designer and the Maker of man. Such knowledge caused the Psalmist to declare: “I will give thanks unto thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Wonderful are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalms 139:14). Furthermore, God loved us and demonstrated that love by the giving of his only Son for our sins (John 3:16,17). Jesus tasted “of death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). Since God has made us and loved us, surely we ought to love ourselves.

We can have self-respect without conceit; concern for self without selfishness; and love for self that is void of vanity. We should not be possessed with an inferiority complex or an attitude of “I’m not worth anything.” Jesus taught that the worth of one soul is more than the whole world (Matthew 16:26). Each one is indeed important in the sight of the Almighty God.

True happiness in this life comes from accepting ourselves as God has made us, and, in responding to the grace and love of the Heavenly Father by giving ourselves totally to His Son, Jesus Christ.

01 May 2009


It is always good to remember a godly mother. Jesus while on the cross of shame and suffering thought of His mother and instructed John to care for her after His death (John 19:26, 27). One of the sweetest words in any language is ‘Mother’. A dictionary is not necessary to possess an understanding of such a meaningful term. Not all mothers are wives but they should be and not all wives are mother but God permitting they can be. One of the primary purposes of marriage is the propagating of the human race (Genesis 1:27). The role of motherhood should never be taken lightly nor should the status of being a mother be made light of in this modern age. There is no greater relation for a woman to sustain in this life than being a Christian mother.

Perhaps the crowning act of creation by the Lord God was the forming of woman from the side of man. God saw that it was not good for man to be alone thus He gave to him a help suitable for him. Adam later named this woman “Eve” because she was the “mother of all living” (Genesis 2:18-25; 3:20). The wise man taught that “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing” and that “a prudent wife is from Jehovah” (Proverbs 18:18; 19:14). In the bringing forth of a child the husband and wife truly become one flesh. There is the binding together of the two. Motherhood is the highest honor given to woman. No matter what else she may do in life it should be secondary to her being the kind of mother that God desires.

A mother is greatly responsible for the spiritual training of her children (Proverbs 22:6). Her influence is great for good or bad. Abraham Lincoln said of his mother, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother”. An old Spanish proverb states that “An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy”. Most of us have heard the old saying that “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”. No doubt Queen Jezebel exerted a tremendous amount of evil influence on her husband Ahab and their wicked son Ahaziah (I Kings 16:30; 22:52, 53). Several years ago “Ma Barker” trained her sons to rob, steal and to kill. It was said that the infamous Nero had a murderess for a mother.

However the Bible is replete with examples of godly mothers who influenced their loved ones to live for the Lord. Jochebed, the mother of Moses, guided that young heart in the right way because when he became an adult, he “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to share ill treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Numbers 26:59; Hebrews 11:24, 25). No doubt students of the Bible know of the beautiful story of Hannah and how she received a son from the Lord. This wonderful woman had promised that she would give the child “unto the Lord all the days of his life.” Hannah named her son Samuel. This young boy, at a tender age, was carried to the house of God to be taught and trained by Eli the high priest of God (I Samuel 1). Samuel became one of the truly outstanding leaders in Israel , serving God and his people as prophet, priest and judge. If there were more Hannahs in the homes there would be more preachers in the pulpits.

Jedidah was the wife of the wicked king Amon but she was also the mother of the young and good Josiah (2 Kings 22:1)). In contrast to the wickedness of his father it is said of Josiah that “he did that which was right in the eyes of Jehovah, and walked in all the ways of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left (2 Kings 22:2). We must conclude that his good mother and perhaps Jeremiah the prophet exerted a godly influence upon Josiah. Then consider the mother John the Baptist, Elizabeth, who walked righteous before God, “walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6). We also learn that she was determined to name her son John (Luke1:13, 60) Mary, the mother of Jesus, was blessed greatly by having been chosen of God to give birth to the Son of God (Luke 1:42). Mary was a typical mother in many ways. For instance she treasured in her heart the things said about the baby Jesus and later the things which he said (Luke 2:19, 51). Finally we mention the grandmother and mother of Timothy. These two godly women, Lois and Eunice, had taught timothy from his earliest childhood “the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14, 15). These are some of the godly mothers mentioned in the Bible who are worthy of imitation by Christian mothers today.

A virtuous mother is industrious as is brought out by the passage of scripture in Proverbs 31:10-31. Certainly the daily chores of a mother are demanding. She is also considerate of the needs of others in her community. Dorcas was one who was “full of good works and alsmsdeeds” (Acts 9:36, 39). The widow who was to be enrolled by the church must have been “well reported of for good work…if she hath relieved the afflicted, if she hath diligently followed every good work” (I Timothy 5:10). Also the Christian mother and wife will be hospitable. Again from I Timothy 5:10, “…if she hath used hospitality to strangers, if she hath washed the saints feet.” From Hebrews 13:2, “Forget not to show love unto strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” The Shunammite woman manifested a wonderful attitude of such hospitality in regards to the prophet Elisha as recorded in 2 Kings 4:8-37. This quality of hospitality makes the home pleasant where people to love to visit.

We need always to show our respect and honor to our mother whether they are living or have died (Ephesians 6:1, 2). We can do this by living for the Lord and being the proper influence for good among our peers.

By Grace Crowell

So long as there are homes to which
Men turn—at close of day,
So long as there are homes where
Children are, and women stay,
If faith and love and loyalty are found
Across those sills,
A stricken nation can recover
From grievous ills.
So long as there are homes where
Fires burn, and there is bread,
So long as there are homes where
Lamps are lit---and prayers are said,
Though a people falter in darkness,
And nations grope,
With God himself back of these little homes,
We still have hope