Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Mother's Ministry

This morning, as a sat in my big office chair praying and waiting in the dark and silence, I heard, "Feed my sheep."  My first thought...What is THAT supposed to mean???  But as I studied the passage that I found through a concordance search and really dug into the Word here is what I found and how it relates to this season of my life.

After the resurrection, Jesus appears to several people, most often to his disciples.  The third appearance to this disciples is recorded in the gospel of John...
John 21:15-19 "After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
“I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.”Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”
Jesus asks Peter, "Do you love me?
Peter answers, "Yes, Lord, I love you!"
Jesus tells Peter, "Feed my lambs; Take care of my sheep; Feed my sheep."

The lambs (young sheep=young Christians) and sheep in Christ's flock need the loving care of one who loves the Great Shepherd.

What does that have to do with me as a mother?  A LOT!

Let's take a look at what the Word says about it...
 Acts 20:28 "Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.  Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bough with his own blood."
 1 Peter 5:2-3 "Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money but eager to serve."
That word overseer, in those verses, in the Greek is episkopos, it means authority or guardian {epi =on and skopos=look intently}. 
The focus is on the responsibility of caring for others. To "look intently on" is literally to keep an eye on; to watch over. 
(“Overseer.” HELPS Word-studies. :Helps Ministries, Inc., 1987, 2011. Bible Hub. Web. 23 May 2013.)

Paul, in Acts, is speaking to the elders of the church of Ephesus.  He is compelling them to keep a watchful eye on their congregation.  He warns that even in their own flock lies "savage wolves" that will "arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them."  Although Paul is speaking to the elders of the church, the leadership and authority of the church, I believe that as mothers, we are obligated to be the watchmen of our homes. 
I find in Proverbs 31, the Bible's description of a wife and mother of noble character...
Proverbs 31:27 says, "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."
Furthermore, though Paul speaks of other members of the church, I believe that you can parallel this with the world and the enemy's schemes to draw our hearts and the hearts of our children away from the TRUTH of God's Word. 

Our job as mothers is multi-faceted.  Obviously this is just one area that we should focus on..."Keeping an eye on" our children's spiritual walk and FEEDING them, spiritually...  

A Mother's Ministry Manifesto
  1. We are called to be the watchmen or guardians of our home and our children.  We are responsible for the care of our children not just physically but also spiritually. Tend your children's hearts.
  2. Next in priority to our own relationship with Christ is our children's relationship with Him, primarily, how we are leading our children to the Truth? We are to disciple our children and teach them to love Jesus.
  3. Our motivation for this VERY important but also very seemingly overwhelming task is our love for our Savior. We love Him, because He first loved us.  {"love for Christ is the only acceptable motive for serving Him" - John 13:35 "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another. }
  4. Our guide is Jesus' example in the Word of God, the Holy order to know what to do, we must know what it says.  Study the Word of God and learn the way of the Master.
  5. Our focus should be on Jesus Christ and not on what or how others are doing it.  {in John 21:22, after Jesus explains to Peter how he will glorify God in his death, Peter asks, "what about John?"  Jesus' answer, "Follow Me."}  In other words, don't worry about anyone else...Follow Me alone.

Of course, this task, as viewed from our perspective may seem daunting and unobtainable.  But,  take heart, 2 Peter 1:3 "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness."

What does "mothering is a ministry" mean to you?  What techniques do you use to help in discipling your children?

Friday, May 17, 2013

When My Mind is FULL of Me...

For the last several weeks my mind has been FULL of MY thoughts and wants and ambitions...I have NOT been focused on the Lord or His will for my life.
My mind has been spinning out of control.  I have felt anxious, weary, angry, jealous, and pity-full! :(
It's been absolutely awful. 
I have been obsessed with what I want and what I think our urgent needs are...a job for Scott that makes a large amount of $ and great benefits and retirement and so on and so on; a new and bigger and nicer house and the ability to purchase 'things' that I think we need.
But this morning as I sat down to see what the Lord had for me today, it hit me like a TON of bricks...
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."  Proverbs 3:5-6
How feeble minded I am to think that can orchestrate things and situations into says it right there in His Word...
"Wealth and honor come from Him; He is the ruler of all things.  In His hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all."  1 Chronicles 29:12
"Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him; and He will bring it to pass." Psalm 37:5
So as I sat crying over my pride and rebellion and distrust, I dug deeper into what He says about financial hardships.  What is a child of God to do when she faces trials of this sort?  Here's what He showed me... 
"Humility and fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life."  Proverbs 22:4
25“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,  29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:25-34
From Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible
Matthew 6:25-34
        There is scarcely any sin against which our Lord Jesus more warns his disciples, than disquieting, distracting, distrustful cares about the things of this life. This often ensnares the poor as much as the love of wealth does the rich. But there is a carefulness about temporal things which is a duty, though we must not carry these lawful cares too far. Take no thought for your life. Not about the length of it; but refer it to God to lengthen or shorten it as he pleases; our times are in his hand, and they are in a good hand. Not about the comforts of this life; but leave it to God to make it bitter or sweet as he pleases. Food and raiment God has promised, therefore we may expect them. Take no thought for the morrow, for the time to come. Be not anxious for the future, how you shall live next year, or when you are old, or what you shall leave behind you. As we must not boast of tomorrow, so we must not care for to-morrow, or the events of it. God has given us life, and has given us the body. And what can he not do for us, who did that? If we take care about our souls and for eternity, which are more than the body and its life, we may leave it to God to provide for us food and raiment, which are less. Improve this as an encouragement to trust in God. We must reconcile ourselves to our worldly estate, as we do to our stature. We cannot alter the disposals of Providence, therefore we must submit and resign ourselves to them. Thoughtfulness for our souls is the best cure of thoughtfulness for the world. Seek first the kingdom of God, and make religion your business: say not that this is the way to starve; no, it is the way to be well provided for, even in this world. The conclusion of the whole matter is, that it is the will and command of the Lord Jesus, that by daily prayers we may get strength to bear us up under our daily troubles, and to arm us against the temptations that attend them, and then let none of these things move us. Happy are those who take the Lord for their God, and make full proof of it by trusting themselves wholly to his wise disposal. Let thy Spirit convince us of sin in the want of this disposition, and take away the worldliness of our hearts.  {The emphases are mine - these are the words that spoke right into my soul and shown a light into the dark crevices of my heart...where sin was lurking and working to take my heart and my mind captive!}

Most gracious and loving Father,

        Thank you for your Word that You have given me, to learn about You and Your divine nature and Your will for my life.  Thank you for your great promise, that You will NEVER leave me or forsake me {"Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, 'I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,'" Hebrews 13:5}!

        Thank you for Your faithfulness to meet me where I am in my walk with You and that You will not condemn my faltering but will deliver me from my sin through Your Words of Life.  Your Word says that if we lack wisdom, we should ask You, who gives generously to all and without finding fault, and whatever we ask will be given, whatever we seek we will find.  Lord, please forgive my distrust, my discontent, my pride and my covetousness.  Help me, Lord, to keep my eyes and heart, and mind focused on You at ALL times!  It is only when I am immersed in Your Word and when my mind is stayed on You and I TRUST in You that I will be kept in Your perfect peace. {Isaiah 26:3} Precious Lord Jesus, I NEED Your peace!  Thank you that You have made it available to us.  That all we have to do is TRUST and meditate on Your Word and promises!  Grow my faith, Lord!