Happy Mother’s Day: Thank God for your Mother

“There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.” – Chinese Proverb

“A mother is she who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take.” – Cardinal Mermillod

“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.” – Honore’ de Balzac

“Most of all the other beautiful things in life come by twos and threes, by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows, brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins, comrades and friends – but only one mother in the whole world.” – Kate Douglas Wiggin

“The patience of a mother might be likened to a tube of toothpaste – it’s never quite all gone.” – Author Unknown

“You never realize how much your mother loves you till you explore the attic – and find every letter you ever sent her, every finger painting, clay pot, bead necklace, Easter chicken, cardboard Santa Claus, paper lace Mother’s Day card and school report since day one.” – Pam Brown

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Education commences at the mother’s knee, and every word spoken within hearsay of little children tends toward the formation of character.” – Hosea Ballou

“I thought my mom’s whole purpose was to be my mom. That’s how she made me feel.” – Natasha Gregson Wagner

“She is my first, great love. She was a wonderful, rare woman – you do not know; as strong, and steadfast, and generous as the sun. She could be as swift as a white whiplash, and as kind and gentle as warm rain, and as steadfast as the irreducible earth beneath us.” – D.H. Lawrence

“A little girl, asked where her home was, replied, ‘where mother is.’ ” – Keith L. Brooks

“The mother, more than any other, affects the moral and spiritual part of the children’s character. She is their constant companion and teacher in formative years. The child is ever imitating and assimilating the mother’s nature. It is only in after life that men gaze backward and behold how a mother’s hand and heart of love molded their young lives and shaped their destiny.” E.W. Caswell

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” – George Washington

“An ounce of mother is worth a ton of priest.” – Spanish proverb

“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” – Tenneva Jordan

“I cannot tell you how much I owe to the solemn word of my good mother.” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” – Washington Irving

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” – Abraham Lincoln

“The mother is everything – she is our consolation in sorrow, our hope in misery, and our strength in weakness. She is the source of love, mercy, sympathy, and forgiveness. He who loses his mother loses a pure soul who blesses and guards him constantly.” – Kahlil Gibran

“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.” – Henry Ward Beecher

“I wish I could sit here and give you words to describe what my mother means to me. There aren’t enough words in the dictionary. I don’t know how she did it.” – LeBron James

“My mother never gave up on me. I messed up in school so much they were sending me home, but my mother sent me right back.” – Denzel Washington

“It seems to me that my mother was the most splendid woman I ever knew… I have met a lot of people knocking around the world since, but I have never met a more thoroughly refined woman than my mother. If I have amounted to anything, it will be due to her.” Charles Chaplin

“Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.” – Barbara Kingsolver

“The noblest calling in the world is that of mother. True motherhood is the most beautiful of all arts, the greatest of all professions. She who can paint a masterpiece or who can write a book that will influence millions deserves the plaudits and admiration of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters whose immortal souls will be exerting an influence throughout the ages long after painting shall have faded, and books and statues shall have been destroyed, deserves the highest honor that man can give.” – David O. McKay

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Happy Earth Day.

This morning I read Psalm 89 in my Bible, and I was fascinated by verses 36-37:

“HIs seed shall endure forever, and His throne as the sun before Me; it shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky.”

The psalmist (in this case, Ethan the Ezrahite) is referencing God’s promise to David and the covenant He made with him.  But what strikes me about this verse is how the moon is described as a “faithful witness”.  It made me think of other passages in Scripture that talk about the creation as witnesses to God and subject to His power.

“…the heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord…” Psalm 89:5

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead…” Romans 1:20

“For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delievered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.” Romans 8:19-22

“The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.  For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters.” Psalm 24:1-2

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.  Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge.  There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.  Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.  In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridgegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race.  Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.” Psalm 19:1-6

“Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds; He scatters His bright clouds.  And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance, that they may do whatever He commands them on the face of the whole earth.” Job 37:10-12

“Then the earth shook trembled; the foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, because He was angry.  Smoke went up from His nostrils, and devouring fire from His mouth; coals were kindled by it.  He bowed the heavens also, and came down with darkness under His feet.  And He rode upon a cherub, and flew; He flew upon the wings of the wind.  He made darkness Hissecret place; His canopy around Him was dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.  From the brightness before Him, His thick clouds passed with hailstones and coals of fire.  The LORD thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire.  He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe, lightnings in abundance, and He vanquished them.  Then the channels of the sea were seen, the foundations of the world were uncovered at Your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.” Psalm 18:7-15

“With Him, have you spread out the skies, strong as a cast metal mirror?” Job 37:18

“Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place…[?]” Job 38:12

“Have you entered the treasury of the snow, or have you seen the treasury of hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?  By what way is light diffused, or the east wind scattered over the earth?  Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water, or a path for the thunderbolt, to cause it to rain on a land where there is no one, a wilderness in which there is no man; to satisfy the desolate waste, and cause to spring forth the growth of tender grass?  Has the rain a father?  Or who has begotten the drops of dew?  From whose womb comes the ice?  And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth?” Job 38:22-29

“He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.” Psalm 147:4

“Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they crouch in their dens, or lurk in their lairs to lie in wait?  Who provides food for the raven, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food?” Job 38:39-41

“At this also my heart trembles, and leaps from its place.  Hear attentively the thunder of His voice, and the rumbling that comes from His mouth.  He sends it forth under the whole haeven, His lightning to the ends of the earth.  After it a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice, and He does not restrain them when His voice is heard.  God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend.  For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’; likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength…by the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen.” Job 37:1-6

“Do you know how the clouds are balanced, those wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge?” Job 37:16

“Behold, God is great, and we do not know Him; nor can the number of His years be discovered.  For He draws up drops of water, which distill as rain from the mist, which the clouds drop down and pour abundantly on man.  Indeed, can anyone understand the spreading of clouds, the thunder from His canopy?  Look, He scatters His light upon it, and covers the depths of the sea.  For by these He judges the peoples; He gives food in abundance.  He covers His hands with lightning, and commands it to strike.  His thunder declares it, the cattle also, concerning the rising storm.” Job 36:26-33

“Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths?” Job 38:16

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?  Tell Me, if you have understanding.  Who determined its measurements?  Surely you know!  Or who stretched the line upon it?  To what were its foundations fastened?  Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Job 38:4-7

“And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves.  But He was asleep.  Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us!  We are perishing!’  But He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?’ Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.  So the men marveled, saying, ‘Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’ ” Matthew 8:24-27

Bless the LORD, O my soul!  O LORD my God, You are very great: You are clothed ith honor and majesty, who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.  He lays the beams of His upper champers in the waters, who makes the clouds His chariot, who walks on the wings of the wind, who makes His angels siprits, His ministers a flame of fire.” Psalm 104:1-4

“These all wait for You, that You may given them their food in due season.  What You give them they gather in; You open Your hand, they are filled with good.  You hide Your face, they are troubled; You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.  You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth.” Psalm 104:27-30

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” Psalm 8:3-4

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them…” Matthew 5:26

“Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with  loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying: ‘ “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!” Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’  And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, ‘Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.’  But He answered and said to them, ‘I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.’ ” Luke 19:37-40

 

These passages and so many more richly illustrate the power and glory of God manifested in His creation.  Today is Earth Day, and people around the world are “worship[ing] and serv[ing] the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:25) as they “exchange the truth of God for the lie”.  Our society praises “Mother Nature” and almost feverishly worships our planet.  And yet Jesus tesitified that the very stones long sing His praises.  That is what truly amazes me about these passages.  If God allowed trees and rocks and lakes and rivers and oceans and mountains and stars and moons and planets and flowers and waterfalls to speak, they would shout the glory of God and sing to His name.

Please take the time to read the last few chapters in the book of Job, full of glorious pictures of God’s power and sovereign control, or Psalm 104, a beautiful poetic attribution to the Creator.  I wish I could have quoted these chapters in their entirety here!  Search the Bible for more beautiful passages about the Creator that I didn’t include here (I’d love it if you comment with what you find!).  Our God is so great.  While the world celebrates Earth Day, I pray that you will take this opportunity to celebrate our good and awesome Creator.  We should be good stewards of this world He has given us, and we should appreciate the beauty and majesty of what He has created.  But we should also remember that this world is passing…Romans 8 says that it is literally aching in anticipation for the return of Christ and the revealing of His true children…and our time here is to be spent in service to our all-wonderful and all-deserving Lord.  I love to know that the God who calls the stars by name and visits the storehouses of the snow knows and loves and cherishes me.  That is a truth to embrace and to lean on in these turbulent times.  God bless you!

Christmas

As a child, waiting for Christmas Day seemed like cruel and unusual punishment. The highlight of every December day was opening the little window on the Advent calendar, and I trailed my mom like a little shadow, peppering her with questions. “How many more sleeps until Christmas? Please can we open a present today, Mom? Can you give me a hint?” My sister and I were notorious “peepers”. The tape securing the wrapping on our gifts was always mysteriously worn by the time Christmas rolled around.
But worst of all was Christmas Eve night. I dreaded that night all month. I never could sleep. Michaela and I would huddle together, whispering, listening, guessing what our gifts might be, throughout the sleepless hours. Pure bliss was the moment when, at last, Dad let us go to the tree early Christmas morning. As we tore through the wrapping and tissue paper like so many small hurricanes, it was the happy culmination of all those hours of waiting.
For the Jews, the first Christmas was more than the actualization of a child’s eager expectancy. The birth of Jesus Christ marked a turning point, a zenith, an epoch. It was the realization of hundreds of years of anguished longing. The Messiah was Israel’s Great Hope. He was their long-awaited King and Savior. Enslaved mothers comforted their suffering children with the promise of the Coming One. Weary, homesick laborers were strengthened for the hours ahead because of Him. The advent of Christ Jesus was not just a nice idea, a pleasant afterthought, a pretty story. What transpired in Bethlehem’s stable was the one great hoped-for event of tens of thousands of Jewish people.
The way little children eagerly and impatiently look forward to Christmas is a picture of the anticipation Israel felt as they waited for the coming of their promised Messiah. But every child knows that Christmas Day will come at last. They know when it will come and they count the days. God’s chosen people did not know when their Messiah would arrive, or when, or how. They only knew what the prophet Isaiah had promised.

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

They waited for him with a longing that cannot be expressed in words. Theirs was the deep yearning of a suffering people clinging to their last hope. But when their Savior came at last, it was in a way that no one could have expected. He was not born with fanfare and applause. There were no fireworks or trumpet blasts. His was the humblest of births, to the lowliest of guardians, in the poorest of places. And no one was watching.