Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lesson 13 - A Heart That Makes a House a Home

Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. – Proverbs 14:1

What is a home? Think of what your home is like. What is your “dream home”? Now I’m not talking about the physical aspects like that perfect kitchen or master bathroom. I’m talking about the environment within your home.

The Business of Building

Our opening scripture reads “a wise woman buildeth her house”.

What does it mean “to build”? It literally means to make and to set up a house. This verse refers not only to the structure and upkeep of the home, but to the family itself.

A house is not always a home, is it?

Who is responsible for the quality of life in that place where the family lives? The woman!

We set the mood and maintain the atmosphere inside the home. A wise woman works diligently and purposefully to create that atmosphere. It’s not just a simple matter of hoping it will happen.

Creating the atmosphere

God gives us the heart, the wisdom, and the words to create a healthy atmosphere.

If things start to get hot (hot words, hot tempers, hot emotions), use soothing words.

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. – Proverbs 15:1

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. – James 3:18

If things start to get cold (cold hearts, cold feet, cold shoulders), go to work on warming the hearts.

Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. – Proverbs 12:25

A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. – Proverbs 15:13

All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. – Proverbs 15:15

These times will be a challenge, but seek to live God’s way and look to Him for the grace to do so.

Building a refuge

As the center of family life, the home ministers to our family far more than we might imagine.

What a blessing if every member of your family knows home is the one place on earth where everything will be all right.

Our children as well as our husbands benefit from our building efforts. Build a home where there is a world of lighthearted family life and no pressures.

Avoiding the negatives

The second half of our lesson scripture reads “but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands”. To pull down a home means to break or destroy it, to beat or break it down, to ruin it.

How can we pull down our homes? How can we be a one-woman demolition machine?

1. A woman can cause great damage by working destruction – What does anger out of control do? Throws, slams, tears, rips, and speaks words that break, destroy, ruin, and kill.

2. A woman can ruin a home by simply failing to work or being passive. We can slowly erode the foundation of our home by our laziness, by simply “never getting around to it”, by neglect, by not spending enough time at home. (Too much TV, too much reading, too much shopping, too much time with friends, phone, internet)


Understand that wisdom builds

Wisdom builds and builds and builds by avoiding any attitude or act that doesn’t build. What you are at home is what you are. We are either about the business of building the home, its atmosphere and its order, or we are pulling it down through destructive attitudes and neglect.

Decide to begin building

Make a positive decision to do your work in the home willingly.

She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. – Proverbs 31:13

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; - Colossians 3:23

The attitude of your heart is key!

Decide to immediately stop any destructive habits that are pulling down and destroying the little bit of heaven you are trying to build for others…and to the glory of God.

Each day, do one thing to build your home

Look around your home; make a list of things that need to be added, repaired, set up, etc. so that your area is more of a refuge. Start by doing one of these tasks each day. You may even need to add an attitude adjustment to your list.

Search your heart and your home. Where are you placing your focus and investing your energy?

Look beneath the cleaning and cooking and into your heart.

For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. – Psalm 33:4, 11

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lesson 11 - A Heart Overflowing with Motherly Affection Part 1

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, - Titus 2:4

Now that you have been following God’s instructions for Christian mothering, how is it going?

Now we are going to look at how mothers are love their children.

The Greek language has several words for love.

Agapeo is the kind of love God has for us as His children. He loves us in spite of our sin; He loves us unconditionally; and He loves us regardless and no matter what.

Phileo is the word God chose to convey mother-love here in Titus 2:4. Phileo love is affectionate love, a love that cherishes its object. It is friendship love, a love that enjoys children, a love that likes them!

God calls parents to build the family on a foundation of biblical teaching, instruction, and discipline.

The home gains a heart, however, when parents not only love their children but like them as well.

How do we put this kind of love to practice? There are ten marks of motherly affection…

1. A Heart That Prays

The greatest gift of love we can give our children is to pray for them.

Begin each day by praying for your children benefits them in countless ways even as it draws them deeper into your heart.

2. A Heart That Provides

A heart overflowing with motherly affection lovingly and graciously provides the necessities of life for her precious family – nourishing food, clean clothing, and a safe home.

Where are you lacking in your providing? Scheduled meals, clean bodies, clean clothes, and adequate sleep and rest?

3. A Heart That Is Happy

When our family can count on us to be happy, home life and family relationships take a leap toward heaven. Strive to be happy. Have you ever noticed how contagious a positive attitude is?

He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD. – Psalm 113:9

You create the atmosphere of the home with your attitude.

The author describes an account given by a child who looked forward to visiting with his dad over spending time with friends because his dad would “light up” when he walked in the room. His dad conveyed a nonverbal message that was loud and clear to him that he was very important to his dad and his dad was excited to see him.

4. A Heart That Gives

Give because it is your role.

For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. – Mark 10:45

As Christians we are to give, as wives we are to give, as mothers we are to give, as singles we are to give, as members of a church body we are to give.

What can we give?

We give the smile, the cheerful greeting, the hug, the compliment, the encouragement, the praise, the meal, the time, the listening ear, the ride…..

Someone must see the family as worth fighting for, worth calling a career, worth the hard work of training a child in godliness, worth the relentless tasks involved in running a home.

Give generously.

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. – 2 Corinthians 9:6

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. – Galations 6:7

What you put into your children on a daily basis is what you will gain back in years to come. Seeds of patience or impatience, faith in God or lack of faith, kindness or selfishness.

Give expecting nothing in return.

We serve and take care of our children simply because God says to. Just as we do for our husbands, we give to our children expecting nothing in return.

Don’t give motherly love in order to receive praise, thanks recognition, or good behavior.

5. A Heart of Fun

Smile, laugh, have fun with your family. Living in your home should be peaceful and refreshing, not a war zone. Learn to smile and laugh a lot.

Let the meal be a time for physical refreshment and pleasant fellowship.

Ask God to fill your heart with more love for your children – with love that prays for and takes care of our children, a love that teaches and trains, and a love that laughs and plays.


*  A Heart That Prays

What kind of prayers are you praying for your children?

*  A Heart That Provides

Read Proverbs 31:10-31. List the provisions this godly mother made for her family.

Are there any “basics” your children are missing out on at home?

What will you do this week to remedy this situation so that yours is a heart overflowing with motherly affection?

*  A Heart That Is Happy

Read Proverbs 12:25

How can your happy heart and a good word minister to your family?

How can your lack of a happy heart and a good word affect them negatively?

Read Proverbs 15:13
Read Proverbs 15:15
Read Proverbs 17:22

Does being cheerful and being “up” and “lighting up” for your family sound unimportant? Hypocritical? Impossible?

Your happiness is a powerful influence!

*  A Heart That Gives

Look at these verses in your Bible and write out in a few words how each encourages you to nurture a heart that gives.

John 3:16
Mark 10:45

What are some ways that you can give?

*  A Heart of Fun

- Check out a riddle book from the library
- read a comic book with your children
- have a “tickle time”
- have a pillow fight
- play a video game with your children
- go out for a “fun” time that’s not connected with any errands
- ask other mothers for their “fun” ideas

Memorize these verses

Mark 10:45
Proverbs 12:25

In your prayer journal, relate in 100 words or less one instance when you actively chose to give motherly affection to your children. Then thank God for His grace to make that choice.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lesson 10 - A Heart That Prays Faithfully

What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows? - Proverbs 31:2

These words are from a mother, and they present two more passions as it outlines our job assignment as a mom.

First, we are on assignment from God to pray for our children.

A Passion for Prayer

The text scripture reveals a mother’s anxious care for her child’s good.

Son of my vows meaning she asked God for him in her prayer and dedicated him to God (like Samuel in 1 Samuel 1).

Son of my vows suggests that her child was the object of her daily vows and prayers.

This is a lovely image…a mother who thinks, loves, acts, speaks, and prays with a large and passionate heart!

Her passion doesn’t end in simply a verbal instruction to the child; she also speaks to God on behalf of the child.

We want to see our children embrace the Savior we love. We can’t force this to happen. We must turn to God and express this heartfelt desire to him.

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: - Psalm 66:18

Be sure that your sins and shortcoming won’t keep God from hearing your requests. If I have favorable thoughts of iniquity, if I love it, indulge it, and allow myself in it, if I treat it as a friend and bid it welcome, make provision for it and am loath to part with it, God will not hear my prayer, will not accept it, nor be pleased with it, nor can I expect an answer of peace to it. Iniquity, regarded in the heart, will certainly spoil the comfort and success of prayer; for the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord. Those that continue in love and association with sin have no interest either in the promise or in the Mediator, and therefore cannot expect to speed in prayer.

We must be committed to nurturing and maintaining a godly life because a soul – the soul of each child – is involved.

What is it that you desire for your child or children other than salvation? … Christian spouse, salvation for grandchildren, or something else?

Yes, But How?

How does a woman after God’s heart foster a love for and a commitment to praying for her children?

1. Learn from godly and praying mothers and grandmothers.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2:15

2. Ask God for His insights for your children.

A Passion for Godly Training

Praying for our children is important; however, we must not stop there. We must also model a life dedicated to the Lord and train our children to follow His ways.

Our decision to take our children to church communicates to them – from birth on – the importance of worship and fellowship.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. – Hebrews 10:25

Talk about church with eager anticipation all week long.

Start planning ahead. What can you do in preparation for Sunday morning to get your family off to church with more pleasure and less hassle?

 Talk eagerly about church all week. Let your children see you looking forward to going to church.
 Prepare clothes ahead of time.
 Be sure baths are taken and hair is washed the night before in preparation for Sunday.
 Start preparing Sunday breakfast and lunch.
 Early Saturday bedtime makes Sunday morning go more smoothly.

Take your children to church for maximum, not just minimal exposure to God’s people and their activities. Attend both church and church classes. This includes evening worship.

We are dedicated to getting our children to their school activities such as t-ball, baseball, football, band, and choir. How much more important is God than those activities in your life?

You and I will never know on this side of heaven all that our prayers accomplish on behalf of our children.

Truly, the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous mother avails much with God.

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. – James 5:16

It is God’s job to work in our children’s hearts, but it is our job to make God’s standards the standards of our own heart and then to walk by those standards.

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:16


Read 1 Samuel 1:1-10 about the life of Hannah.

      What did her difficulties lead her to do in verse 10?

      In addition to pouring out her heart in prayer, what additional action did she take in verse 11?

Read verses 21-28. What was the additional step of faithfulness in Hannah’s life?

Read 1 Samuel 2:1-11

      What did Hannah do when she delivered her small son to Eli in verse 1?

      What were her opening words in verse 2?

Hannah’s example teaches us to pray in every event or difficulty we encounter. As Hannah’s lips reveal her heart in verses 1-10, note the content of Hannah’s impassioned prayer:

      God’s salvation
      God’s holiness
      God’s strength
      God’s knowledge
      God’s power
      God’s judgment

How do these scenes from Hannah’s life challenge you about your prayer life and how do they speak to you as a mother?

What level of commitment are you making and willing to make in these areas of godly training?

      Church attendance –
      Sunday school attendance –
      Church outings and camps –
      Youth groups and Bible studies –

What excuses do you tend to use for not getting your family to church?

Are you committed to getting your children to church so they can be exposed to the truth no matter what it costs? What would it cost you this week?

What can you say “no” to this week in order to

 spend more time in prayer for your children?
 See that your children get to church?

Prayer Journal: Relate one instance when you actively chose praying for your children as a priority over other activities. Then thank God for His grace to make that choice.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lesson 9 - Workbook

  • Make some serious decisions – write down your commitment to choose to teach God’s Word and wisdom to your children in your prayer journal.

  • Recognize your role of teacher – Each day in your prayer time, ask God for His help to faithfully live this commitment out.

  • Follow the model of other mothers – Pick out several women in your church who are making strides in this area of biblical and spiritual mothering. What can you do to duplicate their efforts?

  • Design a daily schedule that includes time in God’s Word with your children. Set out what you’ll need for this time. Pray about it.

  • Write in your journal of an instance where you chose to have a time with your children in God’s Word as a priority over other activities. Then thank God for that opportunity and His grace to make that choice.

Lesson 9 - A Heart That Values Being a Mother

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: - Proverbs 1:8

There are four passions that reflect a heart that values being a mother. We are going to discuss the first two in this lesson:

1. A passion for teaching God’s word.
2. A passion for teaching God’s wisdom.

A Passion for Teaching God’s Word.

A woman after God’s own heart is first and foremost a woman who has in her own heart a deep and abiding passion for God’s Word.

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: - Proverbs 1:8

My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: - Proverbs 6:20

As a mother, you are on assignment from God to teach His Word to your children.

God’s Word – the Hebrew word tora means the divine law, the Word of God, Bible – has value for salvation and value for eternity.

Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of God. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. – Romans 10:17

We must have a passion for God’s Word before we can share it with our children.

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. – 2 Timothy 3:15

God’s Word never returns to Him without first accomplishing His divine purposes.

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. – Isaiah 55:11

A Passion for Teaching God’s Wisdom.

The second meaning of the Hebrew word tora is wisdom. This definition encompasses principles, counsel, traditions, models of praise, guidelines for decision-making, and godly practices based on the Bible. Used in this sense, tora refers to practical and scriptural wisdom for daily life.

Let’s look at Proverbs 31:1-9:
1. The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
2. What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?
3. Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
4. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
5. Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
6. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
7. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
8. Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
9. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

Visualize King Lemuel here as a young prince sitting at his mother’s knee, absorbing the words of wisdom his mother shared with him. He remembered her wisdom for the rest of his life, used it to guide his reign as king, and then passed it on at the end of the book of Proverbs.

According to the bible, our speech is to be “seasoned with salt”.

Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. – Colossians 4:6

Out of our mouths at every opportunity must come salt – God’s truth, words from the Bible, applications of the Bible’s teachings, and references to God’s presence with us and His sovereign power in the world.

6. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. – Deuteronomy 6:6-7

First a mother and father fill their own hearts with God’s Word and then they deliberately and diligently teach their children at every opportunity each day presents…relate every tiny thing to God.

After all, people talk about what is important to them, right? We should communicate that God is supremely important to us.

Practical wisdom of God is taught in two ways: by our talk, and by our walk.

Our walk encompasses all that we do and say and all that we don’t do and don’t say.

How is your walk? What are your children seeing about God in you? What are you teaching your children?

Yes, But How?

How does a mother who treasures her children, prizes God’s Word, and values His wisdom go about teaching truth to her children?

1. Make some serious decisions. Make time in your busy daily schedule for Bible teaching, speak of the Lord continually, turn off the television and read a Bible story instead.

Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. – Proverbs 14:1

2. Recognize your role of teacher. Preach, instruct, and impart biblical truth at every opportunity.

3. Consider these examples.

  • Jochebed and Moses. (Exodus 2) (Hebrews 11:24-29) She was able to impart enough of God’s truth on him in a few short years to make a serious choice for God later in life.
  • Hannah and Samuel. (1 Samuel 1-2) She taught her son enough of God’s law to help equip him to become a powerful prophet, priest, and leader of God’s people in the three years she had him before delivering him to the doorstep of the house of the Lord.
  • Mary and Jesus. (Luke 2:46-49) She took seriously her assignment from God and daily poured God’s rich truth into His little heart.
4. Memorize scripture and read the Bible together. I like the examples the author gave of reading a chapter in the Old Testament every morning and a chapter in the New Testament every evening to the family.

5. Follow the model of other mothers. As mothers, you have countless, daily opportunities in your homes to plant God’s Word deeply in the minds and souls of your children. We just need to take advantage of those opportunities.

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4

Do you treasure God’s truth, laying it up in your own heart?

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. – Psalm 119:11