Eve – Lessons from a Great Mother

Eve – A Mother to be Honored

There are a lot of good examples of mothers in the Bible. In the Old Testament, we have Hannah, Ruth, Bathsheba and Jochabed, to name a few. The New Testament gives us Lois, Eunice and Elizabeth. All of them had great strengths. The two greatest mothers, in my opinion, were Mary and Eve.
Mary, of course, was picked by God to give birth to, care for and raise Jesus. She was a woman of the highest moral character under tremendous pressure. How would you like to be responsible for parenting God’s Son? She did an outstanding job and we talk about her a lot, especially around Christmas time.
Eve, though, she was the very first mother. There was no one to teach her how to be a mom. From pregnancy to childbirth she had no idea what to expect. It had never happened before. Holding her first baby – she had no help, no frame of reference, no example to follow. She had never been a baby, a child, a teen so she couldn’t even begin to know what to expect. She had to figure it out all by herself.
She was the first mother to experience the joy of seeing her children grow, of learning how to crawl, walk, talk and run. Eve was also the first mother to see the consequences of her actions play out. She was the first to experience the heartbreak of seeing a child reject the faith and rebel. Some of you reading this have known that pain. Some of you have children or grandchildren or siblings who have walked away from God,
Eve was the first to experience the pain of losing a child. Some of you may have also experienced this. Mother’s Day is hard for many people as they remember those children who have died and many times the church has been insensitive to your pain. Stillbirths, miscarriages, infant deaths, deaths of children at any age – whether by accident, disease or even abortion weigh heavily on the heart. We expect, as parents, to die first. We don’t expect to have to bury our children. Eve had to bury Abel and live with the knowledge that another of her children, Cain, had murdered him.
Eve was also the first to see her children marry and leave home. She was the first to experience the excitement of grandchildren. She was also the first to lose her home. She lost Eden, a paradise. Some of you may have lost homes, through tornadoes, fire, divorce, bankruptcy or job loss. It is not easy picking up and starting over.
Can you imagine Eve’s life? Only Adam with her. No girlfriends, no mother – not until her own daughters grew to adulthood would she have another female adult to talk with. Can you imagine how lonely she must have been in those early years? These are some of the reasons I vote her as the greatest mother of all time.
But what does that mean for us now, in 2017? Well, let’s think for a moment. Who taught Eve how to be a good mother? Who was there for her, to tell her what to expect, what to do? God, Himself, was her resource. God was her first resource and all the resource she needed.
That is a big lesson for today. God is always enough. When he is all you have you come to realize that He is all you need. There is nothing He doesn’t know, no question He cannot answer. There is no problem, no situation that He is not willing and able to help with. Do your kids have you at wit’s end? Call on Him. Are you not sure what is going to happen next? Call on Him. Think you cannot go one, that there is no way out? Call on Him. He is more than enough.
The stories of the Bible are true stories written for our example. They are there for us to learn life lessons. The story of Adam and Eve reveals to us real people in real situations. They were the first to encounter things we take for granted today. They had each other and God. That was all. That was enough.
So many times, we feel as if no one understands what we are going through. We feel that our problems are bigger than anyone else’s problems. We feel alone, vulnerable and overwhelmed. By reading the Scriptures, we see people who faced the same problems and we find a God who meets their needs and helps them overcome their problems.
We fail, many times, to see God as a God who is present with us at all times. He walks with us, offering us His wisdom, strength and knowledge. He cares if a baby is colicky and cries night after night, keeping us awake. He cares if a child is pushing our buttons, or if a spouse is bitter and angry. He cares when we feel lonely even among a group of people.
God had to teach Adam and Eve how to parent. They didn’t learn it from a book. They didn’t have parents to teach them. They didn’t learn it from watching monkeys or cows. God taught them. That is how involved He is with us. He is never too busy. He wants us to communicate with Him. You will not bother Him by asking for help. He is willing and able. The God of the Bible is always helping us – even with the smallest things. He makes ax heads float so aa person can return a borrowed tool. He turns water into wine at a wedding reception so a young couple will not be embarrassed. To know that God is with us and that He cares is an anchor for our life that holds us fast. When Jesus says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”, it is not just words, it is reality.
Psalm 46:1 says “Our God is an ever-present help in times of trouble.” No place is without God. He is there at our celebrations, the births, weddings, holidays, birthdays and reunions. He is there at times of sadness, in hospitals, at funerals, battlegrounds and prisons. He is there in the normal, boring, mundane days. He is with you today, wherever you are. His Spirit is moving to and fro, softening hearts, bringing understanding of His Word to us.
We need to come to understand God as Eve did. She understood He was her ultimate resource. She had to lean on Him in every aspect of her life. If she wanted to know how to be the best person she could be, how to be a great spouse, how to be a great parent, how to do anything – she had to go to God and seek His help, His wisdom, His leadership. So, too, do we need to be that dependent upon God. You may pick another woman from the Bible to nominate for the greatest mother but in my book Eve is the one. May we all learn from her example.

UNSPECIFIED – NOVEMBER 10: The Book of Genesis: the creation of Eve from Adam’s rib, miniature from the Bible of Souvigny, Latin manuscript 1 folio 4 verso, 12th Century. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

Lambs and Goats and Good Friday

We were just blessed to have a new kid this Good Friday morning. Not a human child, but a kid. You see, we raise goats. They are beautiful, useful creatures (just look at this picture – the little guy is less than an hour old!) and it got me to thinking about Christ and Easter.

So many times at Easter we focus only on Christ as the perfect Lamb of God. It is just as important to remember Him as a goat also. Jesus was the one who bore our sins away, just as the scapegoat did on the Day of Atonement. Leviticus 16:30 says, “For on this day [Yom Kippur] shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you. You shall be clean before the Lord from all your sins.

The ritual began with the High Priest preparing himself by bathing and changing into a special set of clothes. He then selected three animals as sacrifices—two young goats and one bull. The goats each had a purpose—one as a sacrificial offering and the other as a scapegoat. The High Priest would cast lots (not unlike a roll of a die) to select one goat as the offering and the other as scapegoat . This random selection ensured that the high priest would not be able to sway the decision; God Himself would make the decision. The goat selected as an offering was killed along with the young bull. Their blood together was brought into the center, most holy place of the Temple. That sacrifice atoned for (cleansed, purified) the High Priest, the people and the sanctuary. The stage was set for the next goat, the scapegoat.

The High Priest placed both hands upon the head of the goat and confessed aloud the sins of the nation, transferring them to the goat. This casting of the sins was more than symbolic; it was ritual. As the previous goat was killed as a representative of the nation before God, this goat would carry away the sins as a representative of the nation. The goat was then brought deep into the wilderness by a trusted man and released in a barren place. Ancient Jewish tradition records that the goat would be led to a rocky place, or a place of jagged rocks to ensure the death of the goat in the wilderness.

Jewish history records that it was a common practice to tie a red strip of cloth to the scapegoat. The red stripe represented the sin of the people which was atoned for by the red blood on the mercy seat. According to the Jewish Talmuds this red stripe would eventually turn white, signaling God’s acceptance of the offering.

 There is an amazing reference in the Talmuds that verifies that after Jesus was crucified, God no longer accepted the sin offering and the scapegoat offered by the Jewish high priests. The Talmuds state: “Forty years before the Temple was destroyed (30 A.D.) the chosen lot was not picked with the right hand, nor did the crimson stripe turn white, nor did the westernmost light burn; and the doors of the Temple’s Holy Place swung open by themselves, until Rabbi Yochanon ben Zakkai spoke saying: ‘O most Holy Place, why have you become disturbed? I know full well that your destiny will be destruction, for the prophet Zechariah ben Iddo has already spoken regarding you saying: ‘Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour the cedars’ (Zech. 11:1).’  Talmud Bavli, Yoma 39b

Christ bore our sins away at the cross. Just as the iniquities of the children of Israel were put on the scapegoat by the high priest (Leviticus 16:21), so God laid on Christ “the iniquities of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6).  Just as the scapegoat had to “bear upon him” (Leviticus 16:22) all the iniquities of the children of Israel, so “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many;” (Hebrews 9:28), “he bore the sin of many,” (Isaiah 53:12), and he “bore our sins in his own body on the tree,” (1 Peter 2:24).

Just as the scapegoat took the sins of the children of Israel away into the wilderness (Leviticus 16:21-22), so it is “Jesus … who takes away the sins of the whole world.” (John 1:29), because “he was manifested to take away our sins;” (1 John 3:5), and “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he (the LORD) removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12). Thus the scapegoat was a type of Christ. Just as the scapegoat was not bearing his own sins, but the sins of others (Leviticus 16:21), so Christ was not bearing his own sins (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5), but our sins (Isaiah 53:5-61 Peter 2:24).

Christ was and is the Lamb that was slain. He was also the goat that bore our sins away. This Easter, contemplate on Leviticus 16 and Hebrews 4 and 9 and what Christ did for us. Good Friday, Lambs and Goats — what a story, what a Savior.baby goat

Why You Should NOT Welcome My Special Needs Child to Your Church — Love In A Different Language

This is a thought provoking article. Well written and poignant, it gives some good points to consider. While I might not express her ideas in quite the same way, much of what is said has been, unfortunately all too often, a common experience.

I realize this may be one of the most controversial posts I have ever written. It has taken me months of writing, stopping, coming back, re-writing and I’m still not positive it’s perfect. But it is my heart. Every fiber of my being burns with passion over this topic. I want to share with yo

Source: Why You Should NOT Welcome My Special Needs Child to Your Church — Love In A Different Language