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Not my Responsibility!

“The sower sows the Word.” Mark 4:14

Jesus spent a lot of time explaining the parables to His disciples.

To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables,  so that “‘they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.’” Mark 4:11-12

I had a really hard time with verse 12. I could not for the life of me understand why Jesus would speak so that people could not understand and be saved. The word “lest” really stopped me, because Merriam – Webster defines lest as “for fear that.” So…Jesus is speaking in a way that He doesn’t want people to turn from their sins and be forgiven? I asked the Holy Spirit for guidance and after searching in prayer I found that, again, I was using my own brain and not God’s revelation.

I searched for the meaning of the word “lest” in my ESV Study Bible first, then I opened my Strong’s Dictionary of Bible Words. I could not find the word for “lest” that went with the verse. Then I pulled out my King James Version Greek Parallel Word Study which reads verse 12 as, “That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing, they may hear, and not understand; lest*at*any*time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” Those little asterisks between the words tell me that the English language does not have a word for the full meaning, and that all the words joined together are the true meaning. In Greek, the word for “lest at any time” is mepote (may’-pot-eh) and gives one translation as whether or not. Kind of made me stop and read it again, combining the versions. “…they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, whether or not they should turn and be forgiven.”

So, Jesus is speaking to all people in parables. Some get it, some do not. Some MAY see and understand. Some MAY hear and know that Jesus is calling them to repent. Jesus knows the disciples names are written in the Book of Life so He goes a step further and explains the parables to them. How does He know? Jesus is God; He knows. We have the Holy Spirit to interpret for us. God knows which of us will ask Him. God knows which of us has our names written in the Book of Life.

Now, back to the parable of the seeds and the purpose of this blog. I know that I am called to pray and mentor as a child of God. God chose my path. What I called evil in my childhood, God brought to good. As I was doing my devotions yesterday and I was preparing to use what the Holy Spirit spoke to me for the book I am working on, I realized that I have always been a called child of God. I loved going to church with my Mamaw and I used every opportunity to go even after my safe world fell apart. I felt the difference of right from wrong at a very early age. I didn’t always follow what was right, but I know without doubt that God was with me in those times, too. If you think about it, you know. There was a nagging guilt or disturbance in the back of your mind as you lived a sinful life. There was something that drew you to Jesus.

As an adult, I chose to hear God’s voice calling me to follow Jesus. Hence, I claim November 6, 1976 as my re-birth day. The day I asked Jesus to forgive me and show me how to live. that did not enter my name in the Book of Life, it was already there. I wanted to live life on this earth in a manner that increased the seeds sown in God’s garden. And I started planting seeds.

Now, here is finally where I started today’s writing. The seeds are the Words of God to a people whose names are or are not written in the Book of Life. When we plant the seeds, it is not up to us who hears and understands, it is all up to God. Not everyone will let those seeds grow, some will yank them right out of the ground and toss them away. Some will let them grow, but feed them with “self” and “pride” and the growth will be slow and eventually die.

Some will know. They will know that they are living as sinners and need the grace of Jesus’ sacrifice in order to reach the promise of that New Earth we will eventually live in as God’s chosen. They will know that the words they hear, the seeds sown, are planted on the fertile ground of a prepared heart. Prepared by God from the beginning of time. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you…” Jeremiah 1:5

In this verse God is speaking to Jeremiah, appointing him as a prophet. We are consecrated before we are born. We are each called to be “prophets” to the world. Planting the seeds of Jesus. God knows how we will respond and it is so hard for us to live with the not knowing. Family and friends who deny Christ just tear my heart out. But that is the seed that is falling on hard ground. Those who refuse to let go and let the Holy Spirit do the work are in danger of trusting in self and have never seen the actual grace that fulfills our calling.

Some who are reading this are going to say I am being judgmental. That I am looking at people and saying whether they are truly saved, truly children called by God. That is not my responsibility. My responsibility is to free up my mind to accept that God is greater than I am and He has everyone’s future in His plan. His garden, His seeds, His responsibility. My responsibility is to sow the seeds and pray for them to grow. God’s responsibility is to grow them.

I Am a Mom

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But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. Luke 1:19

Satan is doing everything he can to destroy the sanctity of motherhood. Carrying a child in our bodies is looked on as an inconvenience; a disruption to our “worth.” He uses the world to entice women to think of themselves first, and always, by luring us into prideful power, gluttonous glory, and destructive destinies.

Today my reading took me through the visitation of angels to Elizabeth and Mary. One birthed the prophet of Jesus, the other birthed our Messiah. Neither looked on the angel’s message as an inconvenience, even though each had their own reason to do so. In the Christian text we are told that Elizabeth was old when she became pregnant with John, at least 60 years old. Some texts say she was 88. Can you imagine? What would be your first thought if you found that you were pregnant at either age? Today we look at the chances of abnormalities and are first encouraged to have tests to determine if we are having a “normal” child or if the hormones lacking in our bodies have caused deformities. We take the tests to see if we want “options” to end the pregnancy. Never is it mentioned that these options relate to ending a life.

One the other hand, Mary was a very young girl, probably around sixteen. And she was engaged which, in those days, was the same as the commitment in marriage. She would face disgrace, questions from her in – laws, stares and whispers. Yes, today we would look at “options” in this situation as well. After all, look at the inconvenience.

Both women accepted God’s desire for the unplanned pregnancy.

I said all that to say this. I am a Mom. It has not always been an easy road, but like Mary, I cherish that God chose me to raise each child.

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant...for He who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is His Name. Luke 1:46b – 48a, 49

I have to give a call – out to those women who have answered God’s call to fill in when the birth Mom is absent: the Step Mom. I really don’t like that term, to me they are chosen Mom’s. They are often angels in disguise. Given the responsibility of living in the birth Mom’s shadow, but leading, loving, and listening with their hearts. I heard the words in my grandchildren’s Dad and chosen Mom’s wedding vows stating that she would raise these children as her own and I thanked God.

I am so honored to be called “Mom.” I confess, I have erred many times in doing too much for my children; I am reminded by well – meaning family and friends to take care of myself over and over. And that is important, not just for myself but for those whom God has entrusted to me: my husband, my children, my grandchildren, my friends.

I am so humbled to know that God allowed me to raise what may well be the next prophet of Jesus’ return, the next Billy Graham, or the next Deborah to lead our Christian army to victory. Not by my might, not by my power, but by the Holy Spirit’s leading. I just cannot state the feeling I have this morning and I think of how God created us, then created others through us. What a responsibility we have! What a glorious calling! How can we put our self – esteem over this? And I have done so, so many times. Forgive me, Jesus.

“Father God, there are women reading this, listening to it on the podcast, who have gone down the road of self over Motherhood. Give each of us a heart to repent, no matter how old our children are, it is never to late to be a Mom. For those who are still raising these precious humans, I ask that You instill the hunger to discipline with love, give with wisdom, and teach with authority. Help us to know how to be there for our children when they need to talk, when they need our instruction for the difficult decisions in their lives no matter what stage of life our children are in. Show us how to build a trust in our children that we will never lead them wrong. I am humbled, Jesus, that You allowed me to have children and, like Hannah did for Samuel, I release each of them to Your care and Your path. Amen

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