On Daughters and Mothers

As a somewhat belated tribute for Mother’s Day that just passed, I’ll be publishing this post that has been in the works for some months now.

I write for the desperate mum. I write for the depressed daughter.

Mark 7:24-30
And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid.
For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:
The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.
But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.
And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.
And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.
And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.

Matthew 15:21-28
Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.
And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.
Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Mark 7:24
And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid.

Jesus traveled into the Gentile cities to find rest, to get away from the Jews. He did not want anyone to know, but Jesus fame had spread so far abroad, He could not hide. Mums, does it feel like God is hiding from you? You’re trying hard to rear your kids alone, teaching them to follow God, but circumstances and things keep going wrong, and it seems God has been hiding. God cannot be hid.

2 Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

Only to the lost people is the Gospel hid. God is hidden from the lost people. Mum, if you are a Christian, seek for God, because He cannot be hid.

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

Dear mother, in desperate times, you need to seek the Lord, because He will be found, as the lady found out.

Mark 7:25-26
For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.

This certain woman came and fell at Jesus’ feet. She had found Jesus, because she had a need. Her daughter was possessed with a devil. Mothers, many of you who will read this, you are a Gentile, just like this lady in the Bible. This woman was a Greek, she was a Gentile.

Matthew 15:22
And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

In Matthew 5:22, her direct request is recorded. She asks Jesus for mercy. One can almost hear the desperation and agony in her voice as she pleads, perhaps with tears, “My daughter is grievously vexed with a devil!” The Greek word besought has the idea of ‘intreating’ or in layman terms, begging.

Haven’t you begged God, mothers? Daughters and mothers have a strange sort of relationship. Many love-hate, or maybe we should just call it unique. Both know they need each other, but too many times, they can’t stand each other. Mum often wonders why daughter just ‘can’t be like her’ and the rebellious daughter just does her best to ‘not be like the mum.’ Both exhibit a behaviour that ultimately annoys the other, but deep down, both are hurting emotionally. (I know, I have a mum and 2 sisters.)

Well, your daughter often seems to be vexed with a devil. Nothing seems to be getting through, the more you chide, the more you admonish, the more stubborn she gets, and your efforts seem futile at best. Some daughters are depressed, an alarming rate of teenagers consider suicide, and they are predominantly female. A growing rate of young girls resort to self-harm. Only demon worshipers and demon-possessed people resort to self-harm. (See 1 Kings 18:28, Mark 5:5) Where do these thoughts come from? Only when you are grievously frustrated and oppressed by the devil.

The woman wasn’t even able to bring her daughter. Girls can be really stubborn and difficult, and this demon-possessed girl was no different.

The mother was forced to come on her own and plead for help. Her husband, likely a heathen man, wasn’t even by to help or offer any support.

Christian mums look to Christ, only in vain, it seems.

Matthew 15:23a But he answered her not a word.

God is silent. You don’t hear Him. You receive little or no help. It is a shame that fathers do little to assist, and most of the times, at best, follow the female lead. This is an alarming trend. Even secular social workers recognize the pivotal role of fathers in family-building and are pushing for more fathers to get involved. (I shall deal with this issue in another upcoming post. :))

Here, Jesus does not answer the woman’s request. He remains silent. But do you not think He notices? Take heart mothers, your Saviour watches, yet at times, He chooses to remain silent.

Psalms 27:13-14 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

At this point mothers, faith must prevail. Believe the Lord. Wait on Him. Keep crying.

Matthew 15:23b And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

Others pay attention, only to send you away when the problem is deemed too difficult. They offer to lend a listening ear, this is often welcome, but it is hardly enough. No help is offered, and like the disciples, people want to send you away. Wait, continue praying, the Lord is in control, say they. To you, it seems more like “Send her away, she crieth after us.”

This seems to be the response of the disciples. It appears that they wanted Jesus to answer her request to get this pesky and annoying woman away.

The problem is only compounded. You feel you bear the burden alone. The comments of others only add to it.

But finally, the Saviour speaks, but not to her. It is to the disciples.

Matthew 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Finally, she might have thought, Jesus pays attention. The constant incessant pleas of the desperate mother are thought to be finally heard. But alas! What is the reply she hears? “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Is there no respite? Is there no relief? Does the Saviour have no compassion and no room to hear her desperate pleas? Yes, He finally pays attention.

Luke 18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

Though He bear long with them. Jesus was doing this to the Syrophoenician woman. He was trying her faith, testing her patience.

The woman did not allow Jesus’ response to his disciples to affect her. Mothers, do not allow the situations or people around you cause you to lose hope. Just because the situation seems hopeless and or other girls turned out badly does not mean your daughter has to turn out badly. Keep crying out to God.

It seems the woman understands she has finally somewhat caught the attention of Jesus. She does not appear to pay heed to Jesus’ indirect rejection. Like Jacob, she wrestles with God. (See Genesis 32) Jesus had not directly addressed her nor rejected her request, and she was not taking it as a final answer.

Mothers, as long as your daughter is alive, hope remains. Daughters, your life may be a wreck, you may deem it irreversible, but hope still remains. Jesus did not send her away. The Syrophoenician woman was not going to take no for an answer.

Matthew 15:25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

She seems to have caught the attention of the Saviour, and she falls before Him and worships.

Her act of worship is indicative of two things:

1. Her acknowledgement that Jesus is God and sovereign.

The woman worshipped because she acknowledged Christ as God. Mothers, Who is God to you? Is He just another advisor? Someone you pray to only when in trouble? Do you still maintain faith in the Sovereign One Who controls all and has the power to change lives?

This act of worship showed the woman’s faith.

2. Her act of worship shows her rejection of the world and her own remedies.

The Syrophoenician woman likely worshiped other gods. But she worshiped now before the one she believed as God.

Mothers, have you rejected all the worldly theories and advice on winning the heart of your daughter? Are you relying only on Christ to save her, and yourself?

This woman had likely exhausted all avenues for help, and in desperation, turns to the One she has heard is able to help.

She cries,

Lord, help me.

Maybe with tears in her eyes as she worships, in exhaustion from her crying, she only utters 3 words: Lord, help me. She doesn’t bother to explain, she knows Christ has heard her. She desperately pleads for help.

The Lord seems to further test her motives. He seems to test the genuineness of her faith, that she isn’t just coming to Jesus because she is desperate and treating Him as just another pagan exorcist or magic charm. It almost feels like a cold reply when the God of love responds,

Mark 7:27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.

The Lord chooses to speak to her in a ‘parable.’ He has could have said that His mission was to the Jews only, but He chose a parable. Why?

Matthew 13:13-15 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Only the eyes of faith can understand the meaning of the parable. Jesus was again testing this woman.

Mothers, do you have the eyes of faith? Are you going to secure the conversion and healing of your daughter that you so desire? You need to persevere in faith and prayer. It is tough. But the tired and desperate woman still manages to reach for the glasses of faith and put them on.

Matthew 15:27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.

Mark 7:28 And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.

Her eyes of faith sees three things:
First, she agrees with the Lord. Mothers, do you agree with God’s plan? Do you obey His Word?
Second, humility. She stoops to compare herself to one of the most detestable creatures to a Jew–that of a dog. She does not claim to be someone. She does not feel entitled to anything. She humbles herself. Pride has no place before God. He is not obligated to answer our request. But God keeps His promises:

James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Lastly, her eyes still looks to the Saviour for help. She is content just to take the crumbs. She realizes that nothing in this world is worth just a little help from the Saviour.

Mark 7:29 And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.

Matthew 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.

“For this saying”, “Great is Thy Faith”. The words she said demonstrated her faith. It was a humble genuine faith, and God honoured it.

Mothers, how do you demonstrate your faith? Is it demonstrated in your words and actions?

James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

The Syrophoenician woman demonstrated her faith by her words and act of coming to Jesus. Mothers, do you demonstrate works of faith?

Mark 7:29 …the devil is gone out of thy daughter.

Matthew 15:28 And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Miracles happen when we trust our Saviour with humble faith and pray. With Christ, we can be confident of a happy ending.

I’m proud to have a mother who isn’t perfect, but she has been a woman of faith, and I’m proud to also have a sister whose life God saw fit to turn around.

In conclusion, mothers who feel like they are fighting a losing battle alone, take heart from the example of the Syrophoenician woman. Humbly seek the Lord, follow His Word and His will, be persistent, and be willing to stoop to anything for Christ, for only then can you win the battle.

Too many young girls have been lost, and they are often the most vulnerable group of young people. Mothers, you may form the last line of defence. Gather courage, for the devil must not have our children.

Blessed Belated Mother’s Day.

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The Report

RISING FROM THE RUBBLE; MEDITATIONS IN NEHEMIAH

Here, an apprentice learns from a master builder, the skills of repairing a broken spiritual relationship with God, and the keys to a strong Christian life, fortified against the enemy.

NEHEMIAH 1:3

And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burnt with fire.

And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach. The reporters brought a solemn and sorrowful report. The remnant, the remaining Jews in the city that were not captured, they were in 1) affliction, 2) reproach.

  1. Affliction
    Affliction, trouble, and distress are often the consequences of backsliding and walking away from God. I have personally experienced it to be so. In fact, they are not only often the consequences, they are the natural result. The only reason why the affliction is not as great is often because of God’s great mercies and love. Yet, when I am in affliction, it is only because of God’s love as well, that wants to bring me yet closer back to Him! Affliction is God’s loving call to His prodigal son to head home!
  2. Reproach
    It has the idea of being cast aside. Walking out of God’s will has us feeling that God no longer has a plan for us, but it is only because we choose not to follow that plan. Like affliction, reproach is also a natural result of not following Christ. This reproach, however, in the nation of Israel’s situation, was the reproach of the world, the nations around. Similarly, though I try to be like the world and compromise, in the latter end, I will face the world’s reproach, for I cannot fully embrace their values and ideologies. The only way out is to return to Christ!

The wall of Jerusalem also is broken down. This depicts how bad the situation is. When I give in to the world and follow it, my defences are gone. The spiritual walls are broken down and there is no protection against evil. I am prone again to Satan’s attacks, and powerless to resist. At every attack, my only hope is to raise the white flag of surrender, and give in to sin yet once again.

And the gates thereof are burned with fire. Not only am I open and exposed to the devil’s attacks when I sin and turn my back on God, I cannot bar evil influences from ruining my life. The entry points, the gates, are burnt. Even the slightest resistance cannot be put up. The enemy is on the rampage. They have free access to my spiritual city, which is now nothing but rubble.

The Reporters

RISING FROM THE RUBBLE; MEDITATIONS IN NEHEMIAH

Here, an apprentice learns from a master builder, the skills of repairing a broken spiritual relationship with God, and the keys to a strong Christian life, fortified against the enemy.

NEHEMIAH 1:2

That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.

That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah. How often God uses those around me to show me my backsliding and sin. Looking around, seeing Christians who faithfully are still loving Jesus, shows how far I have left the Lord. The closing gap between younger Christians in the faith and me shows that I have slowed down in the Christian race, and others are catching up. I have begun to lose precious time for growth in Christ. In Nehemiah, God used one of his family members, as well as men of Judah, to bring him the report. God uses people around me to wake me up to my sin, and I should learn to treasure Godly Christians around me.

And I asked concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. Here Nehemiah shows his concern for his home country, for his people. It was his personal concern. I should show concern for my home country of Heaven, my people, my Christian friends, but applying it personally, I should show concern for my own spiritual life. The first step to rising from the rubble will be to show concern for my spiritual life. To make enquiries concerning it. To scrutinize and really call upon God to search me, and know my heart, to try me, and know my thoughts, for there are wicked ways in me. Nehemiah enquired about the Jews that had escaped, and the remnant. This is important. I ought to survey and discover the things that still remain of my strong Christian life, to hold fast, and strengthen the things that remain, that be ready to die, because my works are not perfect before God. To muster all my available resources to aid in the restoration of a ruined spiritual life.

Homeschooler No More

Next Monday will be my first day of going to school, and we’re busy sharing jokes about how we should take the ‘first-day-of-school-with-backpack’ photo, complete with parents sending to school and watching from outside the classroom.

From Home School, to Home Team, so far I’ve been at home. But now, the academic training will be put to the test, against a backdrop of thousands of seasoned school-goers. Afraid? Maybe yes, maybe no. Venturing into the unknown, (going back to study after almost 4 years of no school) that’s the scary part I guess. But confidence, because of Christ, and years of training. Years of training, Christian education, hard work, and God’s goodness along a path that has led through the doors of Asia-Pacific’s top University.

So the worlds will clash next Monday, and a new acid test lasting four long years will begin. 🙂 Exciting times in life. Homeschooler no more.

 

 

Ministry Life

The ministry life is tough, especially if you want others to share it with you. The life of Christian ministry is a life of suffering, for Christ also has suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow, IN HIS STEPS. (1 Peter 2:21)

To my prospective life partner, even if I love you, if you’re not ready for ministry life, I can’t marry, because I would be hurting you. 

The ministry hurts, it would be cruel for a man to ask any woman to share it with him, unless she of her own free will wanted to. 

From God’s Smuggler, by Brother Andrew, when he proposed to his wife:

Corrie, I want you to marry me, but don’t say no until I tell you how hard it will be. Hard for me and harder still for you. 

God, for the courage, purity,  and strength to go it alone, if it be Thy Will. 

An Open Letter to a Girl

Dear girl,

I saw you on social media some time ago. You were with your boyfriend, hanging out aimlessly. Lying on his lap. Your hair was in a mess. Your eyes were empty. You looked so different from how I saw you in person just about 6 months back.

Back then, you were afraid your parents would know about your relationship. Your boyfriend denied the two of you were together. Your face used to radiate the youthful shine and smile, and back then, even though the relationship was already starting, you still looked youthful and fresh like any 13 year old should.

Much has changed since then. You’re 14, but look like a 16 year old. You have a haggard and worn out look, but you’re stubbornly sticking by your boyfriend who is 5 years older than you, doesn’t even have a job, and smokes.

Your parents probably wouldn’t have approved. But you went ahead anyway. There’s still time to change, but I fear, by the time you would have realized, it would have been too late.

I thought of writing this post when I first saw the social media update, but I held off initially. I was stirred again by the passage I was teaching.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
9 For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.

The passage applies to both sons and daughters alike, and I’ve seen many fools around. But it used to be accepted that the father gives instructions, and the mother has a law.

Nowadays, that is not the case. The son gives the instruction, and the daughter gives the law. The parents hear the instructions and forsake not the law of never displeasing their children. The son/daughter is a fool, but so are the parents! It’s a case of fools raising fools.

It’s not even safe to tell kids, “Listen to your parents.” Why? Because there is nothing to listen to! This all comes down to parents rearing pets, not children. See https://nationalchristianacademy.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/rearing-pets/ for a better treatment of the subject.