Thank God for Moms! The Patient Mom
MAY 19, 2018
Now may the Lord direct your hearts into…the patience of Christ.
2 Thessalonians 3:5
Recommended Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5
In her book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids, Laura Markham wrote, “Your child is fairly certain to act like a child, which means someone who is still learning, has different priorities than you do, and can’t always manage her feelings or actions. Her childish behavior is guaranteed, at times, to push your buttons. The problem is when we begin acting like a child, too.”
As parents, we don’t need to simply act like adults; we need to act like Jesus. A Christ-like mom has patience from beyond her own resources. She knows how to say, “Lord, Your patience please,” when tense moments come. She knows how to ask the Lord to direct her heart into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.
Patience is easier for some of us than others, but wise mothers consider it one of most effective tools on the pegboard of parenting. It’s so important, that we need the very patience of Christ circulating through our bloodstream. Today make this your prayer: “Lord, direct my heart into Your love and into the patience of Christ Himself.”
Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.
Chuck Swindoll, in The Strong Family
Read-Thru-the-Bible: Ezra 5 – 10
Redeemed humanity is still young, it has hardly come to its full strength. But already there is joy enough in the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things of the universe into life.
Everything becomes more and more itself. Here is joy that cannot be shaken. Our light can swallow up your darkness; but your darkness cannot now infect our light. No, no, no. Come to us. We will not go to you. Can you really have thought that love and joy would always be at the mercy of frowns and sighs? Did you not know they were stronger than their opposites?
From The Great Divorce
Compiled in Words to Live By
The Great Divorce. Copyright © 1946, C. S Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed 1973 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
What Makes Jesus Rejoice
By John Piper
In that same hour he [Jesus] rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.” (Luke 10:21)
This verse is one of the only two places in the Gospels where Jesus is said to rejoice. The seventy disciples have just returned from their preaching tours and reported their success to Jesus.
Notice that all three members of the Trinity are rejoicing here: Jesus is rejoicing, but it says he is rejoicing in the Holy Spirit. I take that to mean that the Holy Spirit is filling him and moving him to rejoice. Then at the end of the verse it describes the pleasure of God the Father. The NIV translates it, “Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do” — what you rejoiced to do!
Now, what is it that has the whole Trinity rejoicing together in this place? It is the free, electing love of God to hide things from the intellectual elite and to reveal them to babes. “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children.”
And what is it that the Father hides from some and reveals to others? Luke 10:22gives the answer, “No one knows who the Son is except the Father.” So, what God the Father must reveal is the true spiritual identity of the Son.
When the seventy disciples return from their evangelistic mission and give their report to Jesus, he and the Holy Spirit rejoice that God the Father has chosen, according to his own good pleasure — his own rejoicing — to reveal the Son to babes and to hide him from the wise.
The point of this is not that there are only certain classes of people who are chosen by God. The point is that God is free to choose the least likely candidates for his grace.
God contradicts what human merit might dictate. He hides from the self-sufficient wise and reveals to the most helpless and unaccomplished.
When Jesus sees the Father freely enlightening and saving people whose only hope is free grace, he exults in the Holy Spirit and takes pleasure in his Father’s election.
So, when we see this — in fact, when we know that we are among the chosen children — we too join the rejoicing.
Investigating the Faith: What about people who have never heard about Jesus or the gospel—how will God deal with them? (Lee Strobel @ biblegateway)
What about people who have never heard about Jesus or the gospel—how will God deal with them?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions about Christianity—and frankly, it’s challenging because we don’t have the complete answer. God hasn’t explicitly told us how he is going to deal with these situations. But we do know a few things about the matter.
First, we know from the Bible that everyone has a moral standard written on their hearts by God, and that everybody is guilty of violating that standard. That’s why our conscience bothers us when we do something wrong.
Second, we know that everyone has enough information from observing the created world to know that God exists, but people have suppressed it and rejected God anyway—for which they rightfully deserve punishment (Rom. 1:18–20).
Third, we know from both the Old and New Testaments that those who seek God will find him. Jesus said, for example, in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” The Bible also indicates that the Holy Spirit is seek¬ing us first, making it possible for us to in turn seek him (John 16:7–11). This suggests to me that people who respond to the understanding that they have and who earnestly seek after the one true God will find an opportunity, in some way, to receive the eternal life that he has graciously provided through Jesus Christ.
Fourth, we see repeatedly in Scripture that God is scrupulously fair. Genesis 18:25asks, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Said author Ronald Nash: “When God is finished dealing with all of us, none will be able to complain that they were treated unfairly.”
Finally, we know that apart from the payment Christ made on the cross, nobody has a chance to getting off of death row. But exactly how much knowledge a person must have about Jesus or precisely where the lines of faith are drawn, only God knows. He and he alone can expose the motives of a person’s heart.
Let me add that, without exception, every time I’ve heard this question it has been from someone who has heard about Jesus. As impor¬tant as this theoretical discussion is regarding the fate of those who have never heard, I need to remind those people that they have heard the good news and that they are responsible for what they do with it. In fact, Jesus said in Luke 12:48, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
My strong encouragement to you, or to the friend who asked you this question, is to respond to God’s gracious offer of salvation through Christ and then join those of us who are doing all we can to spread his love and truth to everyone we can possibly reach—especially those who have never heard the good news.
“For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” - Jesus, in Matthew 7:8
This week's essay is drawn from "The Case for Christianity Answer Book" by Lee Strobel.
The Light Beyond the Light
By John Piper
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:1–2)
Jesus Christ is refreshing. So, seek the things that are above. Don’t replace Christ this summer with trifles. Flight from Christ into Christless leisure makes the soul parched.
At first it may feel like freedom and fun to skimp on prayer and neglect the word. But then we pay: shallowness, powerlessness, vulnerability to sin, preoccupation with trifles, superficial relationships, and a frightening loss of interest in worship and the things of the Spirit.
Don’t let the coming of summer make your soul shrivel. God made summer as a foretaste of heaven, not a substitute.
If the mailman brings you a love letter from your fiancé, don’t fall in love with the mailman. Don’t fall in love with the video preview and find yourself unable to love the coming reality.
Jesus Christ is the refreshing center of summer. He is preeminent in all things (Colossians 1:18), including vacations and picnics and softball and long walks and cookouts. He invites us this summer, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Do we want it? That is the question. Christ gives himself to us in proportion to how much we want his refreshment. “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
Peter’s word to us about this is: “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19–20). Repentance is not just turning away from sin, but also turning toward the Lord with hearts open and expectant and submissive.
What sort of summer mind-set is this? It is the mind-set of Colossians 3:1–2, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
It is God’s earth! It is a video preview to the reality of what the eternal summer will be like when “the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23).
The summer sun is a mere pointer to the sun that will be: the glory of God. Summer is for seeing and showing that. Do you want to have eyes to see? Lord, let us see the light beyond the light.
John Foxe - Documenting Persecution and Martyrdom
The most influential and inspirational book arising out of the flames of the Protestant Reformation was Foxe's Book of Martyrs. This book, second only to the Bible in popularity, should be found, according to John Wesley, in every minister's library.
Born in Boston, England, John Foxe (1517 - 1587) grew up in a family of modest wealth and prominence. He began his studies at Oxford at the age of sixteen and completed theological studies with a master's degree nine years later, prepared to become a lecturer in logic, an academic career that would require priestly ordination and celibacy. However, his acquaintance with William Tyndale, Hugh Latimer, and other Reformers as well as his theological and biblical studies turned him away from his Catholic heritage.
Without a clerical position, Foxe struggled to support his bride, Agnes Randall. But with the death of Henry VIII and the ascension of Edward VI to the throne, his prospects improved. Protestant sympathizers were eager to support his ministry of teaching and writing. The Duchess of Richmond served as his patron and for a time provided housing in her castle. She introduced him to other leading Reformers of the day, including Nicholas Ridley, who presided over his ordination in 1550. But when Edward VI died and Mary ascended the throne, the good times for Foxe, his patron, and his fellow Reformers were over. Fearing for their lives, he and his pregnant wife left for Holland and then moved on to Frankfurt and Strasbourg.
Although united by a fear of Catholic rulers back home, the English exiles were unable get along among themselves. From Strasbourg, Foxe returned to Frankfurt as the minister of an English church. But soon the matter of liturgy caused the members, in his words, to fall into "the violence of warring factions." Some, influenced by Knox, insisted on following Calvin's church order, while others demanded the continued use of the Book of Common Prayer.Though a friend of Knox, Foxe, like most Reformers, was deeply troubled by Knox's "rude vehemency" toward Queen Mary.
With the death of Queen Mary in 1558, Foxe, like many of his fellow English exiles eagerly returned to his homeland. But never again would he enjoy the luxurious patronage of his earlier years. Yet he continued writing and publishing, focusing on the history of persecution and martyrdom from the time of the early church to his own day. In 1563 he published the first edition of his Book of Martyrs, which became an immediate bestseller (though it never made him a rich man). His writing, based on trial records, journals, letters, and eyewitness accounts, served as a powerful defense of the Protestant cause while at the same time exacerbating the hostility between Catholics and Protestants. He exonerated Protestants while recording every account of Catholic brutality that came his way. But the book stood as a monument to faith and courage amid persecution, bringing consolation to Christians worldwide.
Although a religious partisan, Foxe was known for a spirit of religious toleration unusual in his era. He petitioned Queen Elizabeth to grant reprieve to several Anabaptists who had been sentenced to death, and some years later he pleaded for the lives of Jesuits awaiting execution.
The English Reformation would continue on into the late seventeenth century with the Puritans and their profound influence on religion in America. The dissatisfaction with the Anglican Church and its failure to carry out reform as Calvin had in Geneva spurred many English Christians to call for purity and separation, thus the terms Puritans and Separatists.