ADOPTION (Part 1 of 4)

IN THE HEBREW SCRIPTURES, WHERE IS THE FIRST INDICATION OF CHILDREN BEING ADOPTED?

“And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir” (Genesis 15:3).

LATER WE SEE CLEAR EXAMPLES OF ADOPTIONS IN OTHER PASSAGES.

In an all-time irony of how the LORD works his purpose (Rom. 8:2829), Moses the savior of the Jewish people, was reared in the house of the enemy of the Jews. Moses was the son of Amram and Yochebed of the tribe of Levi, the priestly tribe. Miriam and Aaron were his brother and sister. He was born in Egypt during the period in which the Israelites (Hebrews) had become a threat to the Egyptians simply because of their large population. The Pharaoh had ordered that all newborn male Hebrew children be cast into the Nile to drown. Two things would be accomplished by this action: 1. The murder of the Hebrew male children would diminish that nation. 2. The Nile River god would accept the sacrifice at the same time.

Amram and Yochebed took their newborn son, placed him in a waterproof basket and hid him in the tall grasses of the Nile. Meanwhile, his sister Miriam hid and watched over the baby from a distance. A group of women and their servants were bathing nearby. Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him when he was just three months old. Moses’ parents did not want to give their child to the Egyptian princess, but if they had tried to keep him, they knew he would have died because of the Egyptian Pharaoh’s decree, that no Hebrew male child could live. The Pharaoh’s daughter, hearing the baby cry, found and rescued him. She named him “Moses,” meaning, “drawn from the water.” Her desire for a son fulfilled, she made certain that he had the best of everything, including education (Exo. 2:1-10 KJV).

Moses was brought up in the splendor of the Egyptian court as the Pharaoh’s daughter’s adopted son. Grown to manhood, he was aware of his Hebraic roots and shared a deep compassion for his oppressed relatives. He became furious while witnessing an Egyptian master brutally beating a Hebrew slave, and he impulsively killed the Egyptian. Fearing the Pharaoh’s punishment, he fled into the desert of Midian, becoming a shepherd for Jethro, a Midianite priest whose daughter Zipporah he later married. While tending the flocks on Horeb Mountain in the wilderness, he saw a bush burning yet not turning to ash. He heard a voice from within the bush telling him that he had been chosen to serve as one to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. God told Moses to declare the unity of God to his people. At that time most Israelites were worshipping the many gods of the Egyptians. Moses was to tell them that there was only one God (Exo. 3:12-15).

The tremendous responsibility of Moses’s task, his feeling of inadequacy because of his own position as a shepherd, and his inability to speak well, brought forth a hesitancy and lack of confidence. The Divine answer was “Who made man’s mouth?” He was then assured that Aaron, his brother, could speak well and would serve as his spokesman both to the children of Israel and to the Pharaoh. The promised destination for the Israelites’ journey was a “land flowing with milk and honey.”

What was the “time” in which Moses was born? What political events had transpired? Stephen in Acts 7:1-60 gives those details precisely.

“But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, 18 Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph. 19 The same dealt subtilly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live 20 In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father’s house three months: 21 And when he was cast out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son. 22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds” (Acts 7:17-22 KJV).

What cruelties did the children of Israel endure at the hands of the Egyptians?

“…. And they (the Israelite slaves) met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh: 21 And they said unto them, The Lord look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us. 22 And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all” (Exo. 3:6-9Exo. 5:6-23 KJV).

ULTIMATELY, MOSES REJECTED HIS ADOPTIVE FAMILY. CONSIDER FOR A MOMENT TWO REASONS FOR HIS ACTIONS.

  1. Is there any reason to believe Moses disliked his adopted family?
  2. Had he been abused or neglected?
  3. Did he want to leave Egypt for material advantage?
  4. Why did Moses choose to leave Egypt?
  5. Did he know he was adopted and simply want to go back to his own people?
  6. What was the stated reason for his rejecting his adoptive family?

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward” (Heb. 11:24-25 KJV).

He first chose God’s people because of the Egyptian slave driver, who made him to flee from Egypt into the land of Midean. Later, Moses deliberately chose his people because they were God’s people. God planned to bring the Christ through the nation of Israel.  He must have learned from God himself about the eternal reward God had for his people or he would not have had respect unto the recompense of the reward.

BEFORE WE WERE YOURS

BEFORE WE WERE YOURS

by Lisa Wingate

This is a novel of intrigue and heartbreaking injustice, based on the real-life scandal of a Memphis, TN adoption organization that kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the United States. It involves a family of wealth and privilege coming to terms with a buried secret that is revealed when the daughter of a US Senator has a chance encounter with an elderly woman she’s never met before. This encounter leaves her deeply shaken and takes her on a journey through a history of stolen children and illegal adoptions. This is both a sad and uplifting tale that reminds us that the heart never forgets where we belong.

See also: STORY OF LOST FRIENDS

Disclaimer: I have taken the time to read both these books as far as was possible online. The first book does expose a particularly evil adoption scheme out of Knoxville, Tennessee, and I would agree that those children would have memories that make them love and want to reunite with biological family.

However, there are other ways of adopting children. About a year and a half into our marriage, we adopted Denise, a young Native American girl, when she was almost ten.  Because of the filth and disease found where she lived, Government welfare officials had raided the family home and actually burned it to the ground while a fire marshal and the police chief watched. Our son Brett was just six months old at that time. The welfare representative who asked for help with Denise said she must live separately from her siblings because of her cruelty to and domination of them.  She was third in line of seven. Did we or DSS even consider that she might also be cruel to Brett? We had asked to adopt at least one other sibling to make her adjustment to our family easier.  Being almost ten that summer, she had learned many things from the “streets.” Besides having a severe personality disorder and low IQ, she and several siblings tested positive for TB and more than one STD.  She gave us joy at times, but also made our lives miserable at other times. We endured because we wanted to fulfil our part of helping her to grow and change if we could. We were young and naïve back then.

Other children came to us via the Welfare system— several hundred different ones over the years, as I remember.  We never took money to take care of them.  What we did, we did for the love of children.  Some stayed two or three days until they could find a mother or someone else in charge, while others stayed longer. We got along well with all of them. We even kept a teen-aged boy named Harley, who was convicted of attempted murder of his father and uncle. The welfare system wanted him to stay until he graduated from 12th grade so he could have “good school memories.” Because he was an Episcopal child, he would later go from us to another state to live with an Episcopal Priest. That was a while before there was much controversy about such arrangements.

Then after our daughter Ferah was born, I miscarried four babies during my third month of pregnancy. One doctor counseled us to wait for seven years and then perhaps my body would have recovered enough to carry another child.  Meantime a doctor friend of ours in India, P.J. Alexander, said that a baby boy had been born in his hospital and was available for adoption. He asked if we wanted him. His mother was a friend of their family and had become pregnant while she was away in college. The family was RCC, so there was no thought of abortion like Hindu families do. He became our Matthew of course. We accepted him sight unseen, knowing that we would trust God to give us a child that would be for our good and his. Courts in India approved the adoption and a Texas Senator helped us to secure a visa for your entry into the United States.  I was already a few months pregnant with Isharah when we agreed to adopt him, but that did not deter our resolve to continue. Several tried to discourage us in that decision, but my answer was always, “How would I be different than the first mother who rejected him?” We have never been sorry for that decision.

Can you see why I would be so opposed to having any child read only one side of the adoption story?  Nevertheless, there are those who will whisper in an adopted child’s ear and say, “They really are not your people.”

Even though some may have said that to our Matthew, I think he knew he belonged forever. Colin Kaepernick is an example of an adopted child who rejected his Caucasian parents for fame and for “the current cause.”

The second book, STORY OF LOST FRIENDS, fosters hatred and prejudice against one ethnic group in particular like nothing else I have seen. It also encourages the uneducated and ignorant woke culture and their mentors today to keep on beating that same drum. Humanist authors are chosen well and are great at presenting one side of a story in order to convert—much like the liberal media does.

No matter what the topic, there are always at least two sides. My Facebook entry about slavery (https://helpmeettohim.org/2017/01/28/slavery/) shows that there were other nations and other ethnic groups that endured unmerciful treatment as slaves at the hands of evil men.

It would be good to research Texas history and a man named Colin McKinney (see also that Colin McKinney is listed in Restoration Leaders) as a possible slave owner. There seems to be ample proof that his slaves begged to come back to his home place to live and work for wages, after the war (testimony that he was not a brutal boss). There were others in Texas who related accounts of the same arrangement.  You might research poverty in general, after the Civil War. In addition, there is plenty of history to say the South withdrew from the Union, NOT because of slavery, but because of States Rights.  Study about Fort Sumter in South Carolina and the first shots fired there. Slavery was really not the issue as many in the Union army owned slaves.

Child labor laws were not a southern issue. Those laws were passed for two primary reasons:

  1. Manufacturing companies in the North offered cheap labor for immigrants and their families, but most Americans considered long hours of child labor abusive.
  2. John Dewey wanted kids in public schools all day for their humanist indoctrination.

Study the inventions of Eli Whitney and see how the form (dye) for making guns in assembly line fashion plus his invention of the cotton gin really set up the country for a Civil War.

So much more could be said about all this, but I’m working on ADOPTION (part two), which is based in scripture.

Beth

RETURNING EVIL FOR GOOD

How does God view those who return evil for good? 

Returning evil for evil is a natural response for most men. God requires a higher standard of his children, commanding us not even to return evil for evil (1 Thess. 5:15).

In fact, we are commanded to return good for evil even to our enemies (Matt. 5:44-45), and in so doing, overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21).

On the other hand there are those whose hearts are ready to return evil for good. The Lord warns those who return evil for good that “evil shall not depart from his house” (Pro. 17:13).

Another kind of heart feels fully justified in speaking evil of what they do not understand (2 Pet. 2:12). The Jews in Ephesus believed they were fully justified in teaching the Law, but they did not understand either what they said or what they affirmed (1 Tim. 1:7).

Still others speak evil of God’s favored and anointed. David was plagued with this kind of people. “False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not. 12 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul” (Psa. 35:11).

David, on the other hand genuinely loved the souls and testified that “…when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting and my prayer returned into my own bosom.” David further testified:

14 I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother. 15 But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not: 16 With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth (Psa. 35:14-16).

Though we may think that David had an easy and prosperous life in killing Goliath and winning all the battles, nevertheless, he testified that many spoke against him.

For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. 3 They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause. 4 For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer. 5 And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love. 6 Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand. 7 When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin (Psa. 109:2-7).

David comforted himself by his faith in God. First he describes those who love evil and then declares God’s judgment on those same souls.

Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp rasor, working deceitfully. 3 Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah. 4 Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue. 5 God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah” (Psa. 52:2-5).

The prophet Isaiah warned those who perverted judgment. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight” (Isa. 5:20-21).

Is it possible to know the real hearts of these people? Jesus declared:

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit (Matt. 7:16-18).

God promises to judge us by our words.

36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matt. 12:36-37).

He encourages us to turn away from evil to do good and promises: “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it” (1 Pet. 3:10-11).

He warns us that those who hate cover their hatred with good words.

24 He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;

25 When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.

26 Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation. (Proverbs 26:24-26)

Again our Heavenly Father warns us about gossips. Those who flatter us are likely to be the same ones who are speaking perverse things behind our backs.

19 He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips (Proverbs 20:19).

What should we be doing?

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ” (1 Pet. 3:15-16).

If we are truly pleasing to God, we will have a tongue that is choice silver. “The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. 21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom” (Pro. 10:20-21).

We should never be like the person whose tongue is like the piercings of a sword.  “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health. 19 The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment” (Pro. 12:18-19).

Do we want to have a wholesome tongue?  “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit” (Pro. 15:4).  “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles. 24 Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath” (Pro. 21:23-24). “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile” (1 Pet. 3:10).

–Beth Johnson

Women’s Studies

Muliebral Viewpoint

Articles and Books by Beth Johnson

HELP FOR OUR HUMAN FRAILTIES

In Mark 9:14-29, we read of the boy that Jesus healed, who had a deaf and dumb spirit and who often had fits.  Jesus asked the father whether he believed the boy could be healed and the father cried out and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

Words could not express that piercing emotion—that deep-seated need for help to overcome his human frailties.

I have often thought of the pitiful concubine in Judges 19 whose frailties caused her to run away from her husband and back to her home.  In her father’s house she had affection and familiar things that made life easier, but the Lord says she was unfaithful.

Did she make vows when her father sold her?

What happened that caused her to run away?

We are not told those things, but we know she was at least “unfaithful” to the covenant her father made with her new owner.

She did not run off with a lover.

She ran home!

Not only did she lack faith, but she also was not submissive.   Judges 19:2 says, “And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from him unto her father’s house to Bethlehemjudah and was there four whole months.”

Those strong words define the frailties that made up her character.

On the other hand, Sarah was blessed to have a “familiar friend” and a brother who became her husband. The new land and the people were strange to her, but her husband was the solid rock that brought her through it all.

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecc. 4:9-12).

THIS is yet another reason why one’s life companion must be chosen carefully and must be a disciple of Christ (2 Cor. 6:4). Many young people find someone who is “in the church,” but fail to realize that not all church members are children of God (Matt. 13:38-40).

THE HEART OF CHRIST ON THE CROSS by Brett Johnson

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” (1 Pet. 2:21).

As we look briefly at a number of qualities, is there any situation that Jesus could have shown each of these qualities more clearly than He did on the cross?

OBEDIENCE

  • Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto deatheven the death of the cross ( 2:5-8).

Are we called to be that obedient?

  • And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. 10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life ( 2:8-10).

If we are supposed to be obedient even if we have to die to obey, then what other things should stop us from obeying? Because we don’t “feel like it”?

  • Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things (John 8:28).

As Jesus hung on the cross, everyone could see how completely He obeyed God.

SUBMISSION

With what heart did Jesus obey? Is it possible to do what is required of us, but to do it unwillingly?

  • And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done(Luke 22:41-42).
  • But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:6-7).

Submitting to God requires humility – accepting whatever His will for us is, even if that is not what we would have chosen.

Submitting to God requires submitting to those He has placed over us as well.

  • Obeythem 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 ( 13:17).

With what attitude do we obey – rebellion, or willingness?

FAITH

Submitting completely requires faith in God’s goodness.

  • And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost (Luke 23:46).
  • For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be comparedwith the glory which shall be revealed in us ( 8:18).

We can be okay with whatever happens because we so strongly believe God’s promise that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. I might not be able to imagine how that could be, but I believe God’s promise enough to act on it.

HUMILITY

  • Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross ( 2:5–8).

As Creator, Jesus humbled Himself greatly to even come to earth at all. How much humility did it require to make Himself the servant of the people He had created, and to suffer like a criminal at their hands!

Do I feel “entitled” to decent treatment? I’m definitely not as “entitled” as Jesus was! If people treated Jesus badly, they certainly could treat me badly.

  • It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? ( 10:25).

How much greater was Jesus than these people? But He chose to put Himself under them, because He chose the heart of a servant. I might be equal to my sister, but can I choose to make myself her servant?

  • But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many ( 20:25 – 28).

Jesus said that when they lifted Him up, they would see He did nothing of Himself, but only what the Father taught Him. If He is my Master, then I should not do anything of myself either. Whatever my Master says, I should do, even if it is as hard as dying!

  • Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier (2 Tim. 2:3 – 4).

Humility made Jesus accept that God was in control of His life; He could have controlled what happened to Him and prevented those people from killing Him, but He humbled Himself to commit His life to God.

  • Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator (1 Pet. 4:19).

MERCY

Jesus had mercy even on the ones who were in the process of killing Him.

  • And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. 51 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him (Luke 22:50 – 51).
  • A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth ( 42:3).

Remember how much God values every soul, and doesn’t want even one to perish. Jesus didn’t want people to get what they deserved, so we shouldn’t either.

  • The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9).

If Jesus died so that those who were killing Him might have a chance to repent, how merciful should we be to those who may have wronged us?

  • But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died ( 14:15).

He probably knew that many would not repent, but He still had mercy on them to give them a chance.

  • But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance ( 9:13).

How much mercy has God had on me? But I cannot have any mercy on others?

  • Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? ( 18:32 – 33).

MEEKNESS

  • He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth ( 53:7).

How much meekness did Jesus have not to react to those who were spitting on Him, mocking Him, taunting Him to prove it if He were really the Christ!

Remember that God allows these situations for us to be tested.

  • Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? (John 18:11).

Did Jesus have the same understanding that David did, when Shimei cursed him? If it is God’s will for us to be tested, we should have the meekness not to rebel against God’s way of testing us.

  • And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him. 12 It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day. (2 Sam. 16:11 – 12).

As long as someone is not perfect, the devil can use their imperfections to be a trial to me. This is God’s will. I also have had struggles, which may have been used to test others, so I can’t get angry with others.

  • Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way ( 14:13).

FORGIVENESS

  • And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. 34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots (Luke 23:33 – 34).

Has anyone done this much wrong to us? How can there be anything we would not then forgive someone for?

  • And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you ( 4:32).

God has forgiven us so much, how could we not forgive others?

If we have the meekness and understanding not to get angry over offenses, and If we understand that it is God’s will for us to be tested by others weaknesses, then we can remember our own weaknesses and encourage each other to grow without holding a grudge against them.

  • But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: (1 Cor. 12:1821 – 22).

TEMPERANCE

  • Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: (1 Pet 2:22 – 23).

How hard is it not to lash out when someone is physically hurting us!

His temperance required not only a great knowledge and wisdom and faith to understand and accept the situation, but also a huge amount of spiritual might to be able to control His lips.

  • He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city ( 16:32).

Jesus’ control over His words on the cross show that His heart had become fully complete.

  • For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body (James 3:2).

ENDURANCE

  • Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? ( 26:53 – 54).

How did Jesus have so much patience that even though He knew He could end the situation instantly and “show” them their mistake, He endured that much pain for that many hours?

Jesus understood why these things had to happen, and had built up that endurance by passing every other test of His faith up to that day.

  • Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:3 – 4).
  • For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again (2 Cor. 5:14 – 15).

What things are we called to endure? Anything nearly as painful and miserable as what Jesus went through? What shouldn’t we be willing to endure for His sake, considering what He endured for us?

  • For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.  21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: (1 Pet 2:20 – 21).

This gains us great favor with God.

HOPE

  • For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope ( 8:20).

Jesus came to earth with a specific purpose in mind, which He had faith in and was hoping for. Hope of something wonderful can give us motivation to endure!

  • For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it ( 8:24 – 25).
  • Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, ( 1:16 – 19).

Paul prayed for the Ephesians that they would grow in knowledge and wisdom so that they would understand their hope. It is worth waiting for! Even if we don’t see how it could possibly.

JOY

  • Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God ( 12:2).

Jesus endured all that for the joy that was set before Him. You wouldn’t think that joy would be what was in His mind as He was hanging on the cross!

Joy can come from understanding and having great hope in the work of God. Then we can have joy in even the worst-seeming situations, because God promises that He will work out ALL things for the good of those that love Him and are called according to His purpose.

  • And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose ( 8:28).
  • We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body (2 Cor. 4:8 – 10).

The more we understand the work of God, the more we can rejoice. Even in the middle of a horrible situation understanding the work of God can show us there are things to rejoice in, but we have to grow in the ability to rejoice. And choose to rejoice rather than complain!

LOVE

  • Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).

Jesus’ death shows us the greatest love that there could be – the same love that we are called to have.

  • A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another (John 13:34).
  • For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us ( 5:7 – 8).

That love might sometimes seem unimaginable – that He loved not only those who followed Him, but also His enemies – doing good even for those who were hatefully hurting Him.

Yet we’re called to the same love:

  • But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect ( 5:444548).

How can we learn to love like this? If we never do anything for these people, do we value them? How much does God do for these people? He sent His Son to die for them, besides His daily care. He values each soul, and doesn’t want them to be lost! If we spend all our lives for these people like Jesus did, it will matter to us that these souls we’ve worked so hard for not be lost!

  • Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: 11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle? (Jonah 4:10 – 11).
  • How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish ( 18:12 – 14).

If a parent has a child who does wrong, do they hate that child, or grieve for them and do everything they can to bring that soul back to the Lord again? It is possible to learn to love every soul like that. God does!

Is it possible to form such a heart in ME?

  • For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18  May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen ( 3:14 – 21).

To What Does Jesus’ Death Obligate Me?

  • Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God (1 Pet. 4:1-2).
  • For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again (2 Cor. 5:14-15).

Because His hands were driven through,
Take and bind my hands for you.

Because His feet the nails endured,
Send mine far to spread your word.

Because His tongue clave to His jaws,
Proclaim with mine your righteous laws.

Because His back was made to bleed,
Use mine to bear the brethren’s needs.

Because His flesh was marred and torn,
Take and use mine ‘til it’s worn.

Because for love He, anguished, died,
Give me the strength to be crucified!

In Jesus’ name, AMEN

 

Beth Johnson

Chennai Teacher Training School

Women’s Studies

Muliebral Viewpoint

Articles and Books by Beth Johnson