Family Redemption

Rahab was the woman of the house, a house of ill repute. When Joshua sent two men into the city of Jericho to scout it out, they were hid by Rahab, who saved their lives. In exchange, she asked for them to “show kindness to my father’s house and save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all that they have and deliver us from death.” Joshua 2:12-13. She believed that their God is the God of heaven above and earth beneath.

So the scouts said, “Our lives for yours!” She should gather all her family and all they had into her house and hang a scarlet rope from the window as a sign.

Rahab said, “According to your words, so it is.” Joshua 2:21. Then, when the city was attacked, Rahab’s family was saved and she was accepted into the Israelites as one of them. According to the genealogy of Jesus, (Matthew 1) she was the mother of Boaz who married Ruth who was the grandmother of David the king of Israel and the ancestor of Jesus.

Redemption for the whole family! A woman obtained the salvation of her whole family, mother, father, brothers, sisters, and all that belong to them, including their children.

Rahab pleaded with the men of God for her family, just like many mothers and grandmothers have pleaded with God for the salvation of her children and grandchildren.

Just as God’s representatives pledged their lives to save Rahab’s family, Jesus has given us the promise that our families will be saved.

Paul and Silas were in jail, and the Lord sent an earthquake to open the prison doors. The jailer fell before Paul and Silas and said, “What must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Are you believing God for the salvation of your family? Here are two examples from the Bible where whole families were saved. Don’t give up. Take God at His word just like Rahab did.

Say to the Lord, “According to your words, so it is.”

Reaping in Joy

Mothers know tears. Childbirth? Tears, along with much wailing. Tears when they cut their first tooth, your tears and theirs. Tears when they start kindergarten, followed by sighs of relief, but  mother doesn’t talk about it, except to other mothers. Tears when the child plays his or her first tee-ball game, but shouts of joy when the child hits his first ball.

Tears when she graduates from kindergarten, mixed with joy. Then all too soon, Mother is crying tears of joy at high school graduation mixed with tears knowing the child is not her baby anymore.

Tears when her children go off to college. Tears when the baby graduates from college and moves off to get his first job. Or tears when he skips college and goes to work.

Sowing in tears. Planting and then watering the plants with your tears. Gardening, planting, hoeing, weeding, fertilizing, and watering are all hard work—hard work that is required to have a good harvest. Mothering is hard work.

We plant into our babies all that is within us, then water with our tears. We think we’re being too sentimental, too emotional, but God is using the tears to water what we planted in our children. We should look at our children with God’s eyes. Our children don’t belong to us anyway, they belong to God. He entrusted them to us to rear in His ways and lead them in the way they should go.

We have to see the harvest by faith, with the eyes of our heart and not with our natural eyes. The harvest you see by faith may not look like the seed you thought you were planting, but when it is fully grown, you’ll know that God gave you the harvest He had in store for you all along. One day we’ll look up from our hard work and see the harvest in our children.

“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy.” Psalm 126:5-6 NIV.

Then it will be time for songs of joy.

MOTHERS OF AMERICA

My mother Eunice Hightower age 80.

America loves mom, baseball, and apple pie. America was formed at mother’s knee. Proudly standing beside their husbands, they helped tame the Old West; labored in the factories during World War II, prayed for the troops on foreign soil who were fighting for freedom.

Mothers have made America what it is today. Have you ever noticed that when the media interview a football star after the game, he usually waves at the camera and says, “Hi, mom,” never “Hi, dad.”

Which of us can name the mother of Billy Graham? What is she known for? I’m sure she was a worker in her church, probably teaching Sunday School, but did she have a career? Did she make a name for herself in Southern society? Did she make her mark in history by running for the state senate? Not that we know of. As far as we know, the greatest thing Billy Graham’s mother ever did was raise her children to serve God.

It should make us mothers humble to realize that we hold the future of our country in our hands. We cannot do this formidable task of raising our children without divine help.

My 98-year-old mother went to be with Jesus in 2016. She went to work as a housekeeper and caring for children when she was a teenager, and then during World War II she worked in the Army base laundry. When her children were young, she took in washings and ironings, then went to work at the school cafeteria until she retired.

Mother was well known as a woman of prayer. She prayed for her children, as well as other people. People frequently visited our home to ask for her counsel and prayer. In her last years, she said, “I wonder why the Lord is leaving me here so long,” to which I usually replied, “Your grandchildren and great grandchildren need you to pray for them.” She lived every day of her life in service to the Lord and taught her children to love and serve Him too. Her children and grandchildren are proud to be descendants of such a woman of God.

“Her children praise her, and with great pride her husband says, ‘There are many good women, but you are the best!’ Charm can be deceiving, and beauty fades away, but a woman who honors the Lord deserves to be praised. Show her respect—praise her in public for what she has done.” Proverbs 31:28-31 CEV.

Get up early next Sunday morning and take your children to church. Give your children to God and ask Him to teach you how to raise these children for Him. At bedtime, kneel down with your children and teach them how to pray. No career, no amount of money, nothing else you do in life is as important as this.

Foretaste of Heaven

My flowers put on quite a show this spring. The roses are trying to take over the backyard flowerbed. The white peonies bloomed first and the deep rose peonies are almost ready to open.

Last week, with a thunderstorm imminent, I raced out into the yard, clippers in hand, to cut roses and peonies, so I could continue to enjoy their beauty in vases on the dining table.

”Roses are red, violets are blue”…..” Every kid has written those words to his sweetheart.

“My love is like a red, red rose….” words written by Robert Burns in 1794.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” William Shakespeare in the play, Romeo and Juliet in 1597.

“I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.”  Song of Solomon 2:1, New King James Version Bible.

Someone wrote a gospel song from that verse years ago, comparing Jesus to the lily of the valley, the Rose of Sharon, the Bright and Morning Star. I have sung it for years, in congregations and at times when the song just suddenly appears on my lips. And sometimes when I hear those words, love bubbles up in my heart for Jesus.

God is a gardener. ““The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.”” Genesis 2:8-9.

He planted trees and all other plants on earth for our food but also to enjoy looking at them. See where it says the trees were “pleasant to the sight.”

Ever wonder what heaven will be like? Revelation 22:2 says, “In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

When I gaze upon my beautiful roses, it is just a little foretaste of heaven.

Waiting for That Day

Easter was always my favorite holiday next to Christmas when I was growing up. Besides the excitement of getting a new dress and new shoes for church, it was because we got to see our cousins from Wichita after a long winter apart.

Our cousins came home to Vinita for Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Rodeo Week, and Labor Day, but they stayed in Wichita the rest of the year to celebrate the holidays there. Their daddy and my mama were brother and sister who had grown up out north of Vinita on a little farm and still called Vinita home. Since there wasn’t a house on the old farm, everyone always gathered at our little house to visit.

If they didn’t have any car trouble or flats they usually pulled into Vinita by 9 o’clock Friday night for Easter but I started watching for them as soon as supper was over. Every few minutes I’d go look out the front door expecting them to drive in. Any time a car drove by, I just knew it was them, so I’d race out the door.

When the lights of the car shined on the front door, I ran out the front door, slamming the screen door behind me. I always wanted to be the first one there when the car pulled into the driveway.  Before the car had even come to a complete stop, I already had the car door open, and I was inside, on their laps, hugging and kissing.

That’s how I imagine it will be when we are ready to go to heaven. Our loved ones who have gone there ahead of us will be waiting for us to arrive. Some of them will be so excited they might even show up early to escort us across the great divide. You know, it is common for people who are getting ready to go to heaven to see a loved one coming to escort them home.

Jesus told us, In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2-3.

This isn’t home. Heaven is home.

 

 

Deep Roots

 

Grandmother’s silver-leaf maple tree fell over on a bright sunny day. There might have been some wind, we weren’t sure. No one was living in her house, because Grandmother had moved to heaven several years before. Grandmother’s backyard was peaceful and quiet, almost like being out in the country. She had rosebushes, Rose o’ Sharon bushes, plum trees, and one big silver-leaf maple tree.

The trunk at the base was about 2 feet in diameter–not a small tree. When we found it, it had been pulled completely out of the ground. The roots were all showing, a lot of little roots, but no tap root. Not a single long root going down deep into the earth.

The silver-leaf maple tree is very good for poor soil and is easily transplanted. The silver-leaf maple has many small shallow roots. It is hardy and survives in a variety of harsh conditions, but the wood is soft and can be damaged by severe wind or ice storms.

Because of this, the silver-leaf maple in Grandmother’s backyard was weakened by storms over the years. Then when an adverse wind came, the tree blew over.

Even though the tree fell over suddenly, it was in the process of falling for many years, because the root system was not supporting it.

Jesus told a parable about a farmer going out planting seeds, and described how some seeds developed.

“These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness, and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.” Mark 4:16-17 NKJV

Jesus indicates that a deep root is developed because of hearing the word of God and receiving it, but the rocky soil of the heart keeps the root from developing.

Rocky soil has to be cultivated, dug up, the rocks pulled out and disposed of. The rocks of your heart will block the word of God from taking root and that will cause you to fall when the storms of life come.

Deep roots are developed when the weather is nice, in every-day life, day by day, not when the storm is upon you. The time to prepare for the storm is now.