Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Women of Faith #3 Achsah Woman of Boldness Or Get Off Your A…nimal And Ask God. Judges 1:12-15


Women of Faith #3 Achsah Woman of Boldness

Or Get Off Your A…nimal And Ask God.

Text: Judges 1:12-15

  

Introduction: Unwilling Wife


A woman accompanied her husband to the doctor's office.  After his checkup, the doctor called the wife into his office alone.  He said, "Your husband is suffering from a very severe disease, combined with horrible stress.  If you don't do the following, your husband will surely die."

"Each morning, fix him a healthy breakfast.  Be pleasant, and make sure he is in a good mood.  For lunch make him a nutritious meal.  For dinner prepare an especially nice meal for him.  Don't burden him with chores, as he probably has had a hard day.  Don't discuss your problems with him, it will only make his stress worse.  And most importantly be willing to physically meet your husbands needs. Make sure you satisfy his every whim."

"If you can do this for the next 10 months to a year, I think your husband will regain his health completely."

On the way home, the husband asked his wife, "What did the doctor say?" "You're going to die," she replied.

Today we are going to study the opposite of the lady in our opening story. We are going to look at Achsah, the daughter of Caleb, who married Othniel who became one of the Judges of Israel later in chapter 3.

The Call Judges 1:12-15

And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjathsepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife. And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife. And it came to pass, when she came to him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted from off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wilt thou? And she said unto him, Give me a blessing: for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the nether springs.

Caleb calls for a hero to take Kirjathsepher.

This is not a well know story in the book of Judges. I don’t recall any Sunday School stories about Achsah when I was growing up and when I took Old Testament survey in College they didn’t assign any papers on this event. Nor have I ever heard a message preached about Achsah. Well…we’re going to fix all that today.  Now I thought about titling this sermon “Get off you’re a…nimal and ask God.” Because that is exactly what Achsah does in this passage. But due to changes in language since 1611 I’m not going to call it that. Instead we could just talk about the Achsah the Bold.

As we read in Judges 1:12 Israel is consolidating it’s territory under the different tribes. Hebron has already been taken in the opening of the chapter and then in verse 12 we hear about Debir which before it was conquered was call Kirjathsepher, which meant city of the book, it was about 10 miles away from Hebron. It had been taken once before but now apparently had been retaken by the Canaanites.

Caleb, now a man well past his 80s, wanted to make sure that the Canaanites were driven out, so he sends out a challenges for a hero to take the city and offers his daughter as a prize. This was common in a time when marriages were done by contract. Often it was done with a Fathers understanding of his daughter’s heart and who would fight for her.

Othniel comes forward to answer the challenge.
I like to believe that he already loved Achsah and was willing to meet the challenge in order to prove that love. He goes forth into battle to claim the prize of Achsah as his wife.

God called for a hero to win salvation for us.


I see in this story a type or picture of another challenge, this time given forth by God the Father for a hero.

This challenge was for a hero to conquer and destroy sin. That hero was Jesus Christ.
Ezekiel 22:30  And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

And when God could find no man, He sent his own son to stand in the gap. Galatian 4:4-5  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Jesus came, took on the challenge of our sin and rebellion and fought the battle to reclaim us from sin and the price of victory was his own life given on the cross.

Illustration: Jesus The Great Hero

 The historian Phillip Schaff once wrote, “This Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mohammed, and Napoleon; without science and learning, He shed more light on things human and divine than all the philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of schools, He spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, He set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art, and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times." - Historian Phillip Schaff

Transition.

That is the hero that came to save us. Next in this story I see another picture in the giving of Achsah to Othneil.

The Gift Joshua 1:13

13  And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife.

Caleb gives Othneil his daughter Achsah

The language here in the Hebrew means that Othneil was either Caleb’s nephew or another relative a little further removed.

Othneil, whose name means “lion of God” rises to the challenge and is victorious in the battle to take the city. He is given the prize of Achsah, who name mean “ankle-chain”, or today we would say anklet, a piece of jewelry wore by women of the middle east.

Together Othneil and Achsah will rule Kirjeth-sephar now called Debir, (sanctuary.)

God has given us to Jesus Christ

The prize given to Jesus Christ for winning the battle with sin and death is us.
We are called his bride and we are called the trophies of salvation.

Ephesians 5:24-27 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

And one day in heaven when sin is at its worse on earth, God will rapture us from this earth and we will sit down with the host of heaven and be joined with Christ

Revelation 19:7  Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9  And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

Transition

Now back in Judges we get to the heart of this message and it comes from Achsah as she makes a request of her father Caleb.

The Prayer Judges 1:14-15

14  And it came to pass, when she came to him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted from off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wilt thou? 15  And she said unto him, Give me a blessing: for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the nether springs.

Caleb Blesses Achsah’s Asking

Achsah knew that her father loved her and had provided the best for her. She could have been content to just live out her life with just the gift of land that had been given her but she did not.
The Bible says she alights off her donkey and asks a blessing of her father and he gives her the upper and lower springs to water her land.

Her initial possession was a south land, this may have meat it was arid or dry. So Achsah determined that she would ask more of her ather Caleb in order to better care for that which he had given her.
Does Caleb berate her, or call her ungrateful or deny her the request? No the Bible says he gives her two springs the upper and the further springs to water her land.

God Blesses Our Prayers

What do we need to be petitioning God in order to care for what he has given us?
Here we see our final picture. A picture of a loving father giving to his child a blessing. That should be the picture I have of God at all times, my loving father who when I ask does not berate me but blesses me.

Oh we have been given so much in our first blessing from God. We have forgiveness, salvation, even eternal life. Dare we ask for anything more?

Look what Jesus said, in Matthew 7:7-8 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

We are told to come to God and in the boldness of the love He has for us and ask of Him.
Our asking and seeking though must be like Achsah’s.

We must ask in humility.

Now I’m not going to make any more comments about Achsah getting off her animal and asking Caleb but that doesn’t mean that there is not a good point there. I’m just not going to deal with it because we would never get back to the subject.

But I will say this, Achsah got off her animal because it would have been improper for her to ask of her father while sitting on the donkey.

 I can say it this way. “You can’t be humble in prayer while praying from a high horse.” 
 Understand God requires humility when coming before Him.

Psalms 34:18  The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

Psalms 51:17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

We must ask in submission to our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

 And it came to pass, as she came unto him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wouldest thou?

 Achsah asked her husband first and received his okay.
 There is much to be learned here about marriages and about prayer but we can only deal with one this morning. It is enough to say that God blesses submission in his people. If we cannot submit to our husbands, to our pastors, to our leaders that God has put over us, then you will not submit to God. You will not.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

 Before we pray we must be sure that we are in submission to Jesus Christ and to those God has place in our lives as leaders.

We must ask that which is within our Father’s will. 

Achsah asked for springs which would water the land already given by Caleb.

 She understood her father’s will was for her to use the land, to plant and harvest it, but it lacked water therefore she asked for that which was need to fulfill her father’s will.

 We have been give a world to plant the gospel in and to harvest souls from, but it often lacks some things which is needed in order to make it bloom, to bring in that harvest.

 What is it that we should be asking of God in order to make his gift to us grow?
Is it finances? Is it people? Is it land? Is it location?

Perhaps it is not physical at all. Perhaps what is needed is spiritual. Perhaps we need to be praying, “God give me a new heart for the lost. God give me a new vision for your church. God give me a hope for the future. God give me a new faith to trust you.

God give me whatever is lacking in my life that I might make your gift grow and prosper.”

 1 John 5:14  And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

Know His will and then ask in order to fulfill that will.

We must not ask selfishly but we must ask for that which will water, nourish and grow what God has already blessed us with that those who come after us will be blessed as well.

James 4:3  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
 Achsah asked in order that she and her husband would have what was needed to insure the blessing of Caleb for many generations of her family and community.

 Are we asking far enough ahead? Are we thinking of the generations that will come after us or have we given up on the future in our frustration with the present?
 Our great calling is Eternity. Everything we do must be done with a view toward eternity and others.

A famous actor (James Dean) once said, “Live as if you would die today. Dream as if you would live forever.” Don’t you think we as people who truly will live forever should be planning for that eternity?

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

 Are we asking for that which touches the lives and souls of others and for that which lasts into eternity? 

Conclusion

 We have been so blessed of our Heavenly Father. We have been forgiven of our sin, we have tasted the grace of God, we have been granted eternal life.

We have also been given a possession, a land which we are to enter and possess. That land is this world and our portion of it is Calvary Baptist Church, in Athens, Tx. What are we seeking God for in order to grow and nourish this possession?

I don’t have to tell you that we have needs. I think our problem often is that we are not willing to boldly seek God for what we need in order to fulfill His will.

Perhaps we are praying but not receiving because we pray amiss.
We are not in submission to Jesus Christ.
We do not know Our Father’s will.
Or perhaps we are asking selfishly instead of asking on behalf of others.

Just like Achsah, we need to off our high horses, humble ourselves and ask God to bless us again.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Women of Faith #2 Marks of Motherhood Text: Prov 31:10


Women of Faith #2 Marks of Motherhood

Text: Prov 31:10


 
Introduction:

History of Mother’s Day

Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.”

Once a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, this celebration fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was originally seen as a time when the faithful would return to their “mother church”—the main church in the vicinity of their home—for a special service.

Over time the Mothering Sunday tradition shifted into a more secular holiday, and children would present their mothers with flowers and other gifts. This faded in popularity and then merged with the American Mother’s Day in the 1930s and 1940s.

In the years before the Civil War, Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children.
These clubs later became a unifying force in a region of the country still divided over the Civil War. In 1868 Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.
Another precursor to Mother’s Day came from the abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe. In 1870 Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting peace. In 1873 Howe campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day”.
Other early Mother’s Day pioneers include Juliet Calhoun Blakely, a temperance activist who inspired a local Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan, in the 1870s. The duo of Mary Towles Sasseen and Frank Hering, meanwhile, both worked to organize a Mothers’ Day in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The official Mother’s Day holiday arose in the 1900s as a result of the efforts of Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis. Following her mother’s 1905 death, Anna Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children.

After gaining financial backing from a Philadelphia department store owner named John Wanamaker, in May 1908 she organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. That same day also saw thousands of people attend a Mother’s Day event at one of Wanamaker’s retail stores in Philadelphia.

Following the success of her first Mother’s Day, Jarvis resolved to see her holiday added to the national calendar. Arguing that American holidays were biased toward male achievements, she started a massive letter writing campaign to newspapers and prominent politicians urging the adoption of a special day honoring motherhood.

By 1912 many states, towns and churches had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday, and Jarvis had established the Mother’s Day International Association to help promote her cause. Her persistence paid off in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Once Mother’s Day became a national holiday, it was not long before florists, card companies and other merchants capitalized on its popularity. By 1920 she had become disgusted with how the holiday had been commercialized. She outwardly denounced the transformation and urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards and candies.
Jarvis eventually resorted to an open campaign against Mother’s Day profiteers, speaking out against confectioners, florists and even charities. She also launched countless lawsuits against groups that had used the name “Mother’s Day,” eventually spending most of her personal wealth in legal fees. By the time of her death in 1948 Jarvis had disowned the holiday altogether, and even actively lobbied the government to see it removed from the American calendar. Ironically, Jarvis never married and never had any children. - History Channel.com

Now before I share with you the wisdom of Proverbs 31 let me share some wisdom garnered in the school of motherhood a little closer to modern life.

Lessons on Motherhood.

#1. There is no such thing as child-proofing your house.
#2. If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they ignite.
#3. A four-year-old's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.
#4. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, neither the motor nor the ceiling is strong enough to rotate a 42 lb. boy wearing Pound Puppy underwear and a Superman cape.
#5. A ceiling fan is strong enough, however, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20x20 room.
#6. You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on because a ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.
#7. Windows will not stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.
#8. When you hear the toilet flush and the words "Uh-oh," it's already too late.
#9. A 6-year-old can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year-old man says they can only do it in the movies.
#10. If you use a waterbed as home plate while wearing baseball shoes it does not leak - it explodes.
#11. A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq. ft. house 1 inch deep.
#12. The words Play Dough and Microwave should never be used in the same sentence.
#13. The TV show, McGuyver, can teach our children many things we don't want them to know.
#14. No matter how much Jello you put in a swimming pool you still can't walk on water.
#15. VCR's do not eject PB&J sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.
#16. Always look in the oven before you turn it on because plastic toys don’t like ovens.
#17. The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earth worms dizzy.  It will however make cats dizzy.
#18. Cats throw up twice their body weight when made dizzy in washing machines.
#19. Quiet does not necessarily mean "don't worry."
#20. The fire department in San Diego has at least a 5 minute response time.

Look in Prov 31:10. Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
The word virtuous means excellent and this passage is giving us the qualities and characteristics of an excellent woman, a Wondrous Women from God’s viewpoint.  Which of course is the only one that in the end counts. Proverbs 31:10-31 is an alphabet poem, which means that each verse started with a letter from the Hebrew alphabet. The most famous alphabet poem is Psalm 119 where the letters are written out. They are not written out here but the verses still conform to that pattern and the passage makes more sense in its reading if we realize the kind of poem it is.

The Mark of Work Prov 31:13,17-18, 27

Marks That Cannot be Hidden

Diligence in her Work

13  She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
17  She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18  She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
22  She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
25        Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
27  She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

Investment in Her Work

14  She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
16  She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
24  She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

Compassion in her Work

20  She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
26  She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

Is the Mark of Work Seen in Your Life?


You may not like it, but you better believe it, motherhood means work and a lot of it.
But in that work there is great joy. All things worthwhile are hard and being a mother is one of the most worthwhile things God has allowed humans to experience so yes it will at times be hard. I am convinced that one of the greatest plagues of our time is not sin and immorality but laziness and apathy. It is seen in all areas of society, and with each new generation it get worse. Yet the elements which most often describe an excellent woman are those which deal with work, caring and involvement.

When you find a woman who is hardworking, diligent, compassionate, you will also find a woman of true beauty, and she will have a reason to rejoice.

She rejoices because what she is investing herself in is worthwhile, Her husband, her children, her community and herself. These investments in those you love will pay a valuable and lasting dividend. They become the marks of excellence, the way to recognize a virtuous woman.

Getting noticed as a woman

Among the interesting motto T-Shirts created lately is one that fits our times: "A woman has to do twice as much as a man to be considered half as good. Fortunately, that’s not difficult." - Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997)

Well I don’t know if I fully accept that, but I do believe that doing what God calls excellent will make you stand out in a world of mediocrity and apathy.

Transition

Let’s return to Proverbs 31 and look at another set of mark for recognizing an excellent woman.

The Mark of Encouragement

These Marks Change Lives

Her Husband Trusts and Needs Her

11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

She increases his influence and confidence

23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

Her Home Depend on Her

15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
18  She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19  She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

Do You Realize the power of a Mother on a Family?

Proverbs 31:1 The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.  Really you mean this didn’t come directly from God, yes it did but it come through a mother, as much of God’s word does. There is no King Lemuel mentioned in the Bible but here, but many believe that King Lemuel is Solomon. The name Lemuel mean “unto God” and may have been the name that Solomon mother called him, pointing his life toward serving God.

How God Works

When God wants an important thing done in this world, or a wrong righted, He goes about it in a very singular way. He does not release His thunderbolts or stir up His earthquake. He simply has a tiny, helpless baby born, perhaps in an obscure home, perhaps of a very humble mother. Then He puts the idea or purpose into the mother's heart, she puts it into the baby's mind and then--God waits.  - Edward T. Sullivan

An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy. - Spanish proverb

The qualities you show your children are the qualities you give your children.

What qualities are you showing when you hold your child close and cherish each moment of their life because you know that each moment passes quickly and you will never have it again?

What qualities are you showing when you discipline out of love not anger?  … when you make it to your child’s athletic events, school plays, performances and any event where your child would be looking for you to be there?  … when you bring your child to church and worship with them?
These marks of encouragement truly change the life of your family and you, as a mother, are the agent of that lasting change.

Illustration: Favorite Child

I really enjoy this writing by Erma Bombeck, a wonderful writer but also a very insightful mother.
   “Every mother has a favorite child. She cannot help it. She is only human. I have mine--the child for whom I feel a special closeness, with whom I share a love that no one else could possibly understand. My favorite child is the one who was too sick to eat ice cream at his birthday party -- who had measles at Christmas -- who wore leg braces to bed because he toed in -- who had a fever in the middle of the night, the asthma attack, the child in my arms at the emergency ward.
   My favorite child spent Christmas alone away from the family, was stranded after the game with a gas tank on E, lost the money for his class ring.
   My favorite child is the one who messed up the piano recital, misspelled committee in a spelling bee, ran the wrong way with the football, and had his bike stolen because he was careless.
   My favorite child is the one I punished for lying, grounded for insensitivity to other people's feelings, and informed he was a royal pain to the entire family.
   My favorite child slammed doors in frustration, cried when she didn't think I saw her, withdrew and said she could not talk to me.
   My favorite child always needed a haircut, had hair that wouldn't curl, had no date for Saturday night, and a car that cost $600 to fix. My favorite child was selfish, immature, bad-tempered and self-centered. He was vulnerable, lonely, unsure of what he was doing in this world--and quite wonderful.
   All mothers have their favorite child. It is always the same one: the one who needs you at the moment. Who needs you for whatever reason--to cling to, to shout at, to hurt, to hug, to flatter, to reverse charges to, to unload on--but mostly just to be there.”  - Erma Bombeck -James S. Hewett, 

Transition

Let’s look at the final mark of an excellent woman. It is one that comes not from herself but from those her life has touched. The final mark is the Mark of Praise.

The Mark Of Praise

These Marks Bring Fulfillment

The Praise of Her Family

28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

The Praise of Her King

29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.         
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

The Praise of Her Friends

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

The Mark that Matters Most Is The One Those Close To You Give

To be praised, to be counted as a blessing by your family, your friends and your King Jesus Christ is the highest mark that anyone can attain. It means your life counted, your hard work paid off in dividends of lives touched and changed for the better. Perhaps even changed for eternity.
Let me share one last story about a Mother today….

Conclusion: The Influence of One Woman’s Life

John Todd was born in Rutledge, Vermont, into a family of several children. They later moved to the village of Killingsworth back in the early 1800s. And there, at a very young age, both John's parents died. The relatives wondered what they would do with so many children, how they could parcel them out to other friends and relatives. One dear and loving aunt said she would take little John. The aunt sent a horse and a slave to get John, who was only six at the time. The slave, Caesar, came and put the little boy on the back of the horse. On the way back an endearing conversation took place:
   John: Will she be there?
   Caesar: Oh, yes, she'll be there waiting up for you.
   John: Will I like living with her?
   Caesar: My son, you fall into good hands.
   John: Will she love me?
   Caesar: Ah, she has a big heart.
   John: Will I have my own room? Will she let me have a puppy?
   Caesar: She's got everything all set, son. I think she has some surprises, too.
   John: Do you think she'll go to bed before we get there?
   Caesar: Oh, no! She'll be sure to wait up for you. You'll see when we get out of these woods. You'll see her candle shining in the window.
   When they got to the clearing, sure enough, there was a candle in the window and she was standing in the doorway. She reached down, kissed him, and said "Welcome home!" She fed him supper, took him to his room, and waited until he fell asleep. John Todd grew up to be a great minister of the gospel. But it was there at his aunt's, his new mother, that he grew up. It was always a place of enchantment because of his aunt. It awed him that she had given him a second home. She had become a second mother to him. Years later, long after he had moved away, his aunt wrote to tell him of her impending death. Her health was failing, and she wondered what was to become of her. This is what John Todd wrote her:
 "My Dear Aunt,
   Years ago, I left a house of death not knowing where I was to go, whether anyone cared, whether it was the end of me. The ride was long, but Caesar encouraged me. Finally, he pointed out your candle to me, and there we were in the yard and you embraced me and took me by the hand into my own room that you had made up. After all these years I still can't believe it--how you did all that for me! I was expected; I felt safe in that room--so welcomed. It was my room.
   Now it's your turn to go, and as one who has tried it out, I'm writing to let you know that Someone is waiting up. Your room is all ready, the light is on, the door is open, and as you ride into the yard--don't worry, Auntie. You're expected! I know. I once saw God standing in your doorway--long ago!" -James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 377.

The greatest mark of Motherhood is the mother who shows her children the love of God. She shows it in all the work she does, all that she wisdom she teaches and all the love she shares. Mothers, this morning we thank you for all that you have done just by being a mother and my God give you strength as you do the work He has called and created you to do for Him.