“MOTHER’S DAY ADVICE FROM A CONCERNED PASTOR”
1. Today is Mother’s Day. It’s a special time set aside each year to honor moms. How many of you here today were born to a mom? Almost everyone here was delivered by a mom. That’s great.
2. And how many of you are moms? If you are a mom, please stand up. Wonderful. Ladies, at the conclusion of the service, please step outside to the visitor information table to pick up a gift that we have for each mom here today. Just a token of our appreciation for all the moms here today. Thank you, mom. You may be seated.
3. There are few tasks in this world that are more difficult than being a mom. Think of it; being responsible for other human beings, to form the personalities of little children and establish their patterns of thought and reason. To establish in them the habits of behavior that ultimately lead to character.
4. Take your Bible and turn to Proverbs 22.6. When you find that portion of God’s Word, please stand and read along silently with me while I read aloud: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
5. What is the most significant factor in the outcome of a child, inheritance or environment? Moms who are exasperated by the difficulties they have with rambunctious little boys, who remind them of the boys’ fathers, will say inheritance. Moms who have well-mannered little girls who are quite obedient will say environment.
6. Though both factors contribute to how a child turns out, or will contribute to how likely a child is to make the life’s choices that he will eventually make, once you pick the guy you make a baby with you are left with environment as the only factor that you have any control over. My, don’t some women pick some real winners to make their babies with?
7. You would think that once a woman comes to the conclusion that her judgment is somewhat suspect, because of the kind of guy she chose to make a baby with, that she would learn to seek the counsel and advice of those who have proven to make good decisions. Or, better yet, she would seek the counsel of those who have access to wisdom from God. Amen?
8. But it has been my experience over the years to observe that women who do not select good men to make babies with are also all too often the same women who insist on trying to raise those babies without seeking greater wisdom than they have already exhibited. In other words, having selected a real loser to make a baby with, they too frequently insist on rearing that child in such a way as to guarantee that the child ends up being a loser, too.
9. That aspect of motherhood is depressing. But this is Mother’s Day, and I want to be upbeat and encouraging to you moms who are determined, by God’s grace, to be successful mothers. And our text for today is a great encouragement to you moms who are committed to properly training your children: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
10. That’s something in God’s Word to hang on to. Make sure you know the way your child should go, make sure you know how to train a child, and you are just about set. All that’s left is the hard work of prayerfully performing the doing of it.
11. Let me give you ladies four examples from God’s Word of moms, who found themselves in varying situations, but who met with success in the rearing of their children:
1A. First, THERE WAS JOCHEBED, THE MOTHER OF MOSES
In Exodus 2.1-10, we read about this mother and her son:
1 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.
2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.
3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink.
4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.
5 And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.
6 And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children.
7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?
8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother.
9 And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it.
10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.
1B. What most people misunderstand about the mother of Moses, since they get their information from the movie The Ten Commandments and not from the Bible, is that she actually raised her child for his first four or five years.
2B. It is likely that Jochebed did not nurse maid Moses in her own home, but in quarters provided for that purpose by Pharaoh’s daughter. So, we have a situation where a little boy was raised by his own mother, but he was raised for another woman. And it is entirely possible that his own father was not much in the picture. So, the early life of Moses was probably much like a typical modern day broken home situation, where you see a single mom raising kids without much help from the dad.
3B. So, how did Jochebed do in the few years she had this boy, before she had to turn him over to Pharaoh’s daughter? How successfully did she employ this principle of Proverbs 22.6, though that portion of the Bible would not actually be written for another six centuries? “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
4B. Hebrews 11.24-27 lets us know how Moses turned out:
24 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.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
5B. And this is what was written about Moses when he died: “. . . there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.”
6B. Moses should be an encouragement to all moms, especially single moms, that if you do things God’s way, if you “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
2A. Next, THERE WAS HANNAH, THE MOTHER OF SAMUEL
1B. Hers was a tragic story. She was the wife of a man who was married to two women at the same time, and was mocked by the other wife because she had not born children. Her husband loved her, but she was not the only woman he loved. So Hannah took the matter to God in prayer.
2B. You may remember, from First Samuel chapter 1, that Hannah’s heartfelt prayers were mistaken by the high priest, Eli, for drunkenness. Nevertheless, God heard her prayers and gave her Samuel. And when the child was weaned, which was probably when he was around three years old, she fulfilled her promise to give the lad to the LORD all the days of his life. 
3B. Consider the situation of Samuel’s mother. He was born into a household of confusion, with a father married to two women and half brothers born to his dad’s other wife. Add to that her promise to God, meaning that she had only a limited amount of time to pour her life into the child. Whatever mothering she would give him had to effectively be given over the short span of about three years, before he was delivered to the high priest’s service.
4B. So, what happened? How did her efforts turn out? Listen to her words, spoken when she brought her obedient and well-trained little boy to the high priest, First Samuel 1.26-28:
26 And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD.
27 For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:
28 Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.
5B. Check that out. Her little boy worshipped the LORD right then and there. His momma had taught him to do that. Samuel was not converted at that time. It would not be until First Samuel chapter 3 that he would come to know the LORD. But when Samuel did come to know the LORD “all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.”
6B. Sometimes moms find themselves trying to raise kids while dad is sleeping with another woman and seeming to do his best to mess the kids up. But mom, there is a God in Israel. Keep the faith. Pray fervently. And remember to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
3A. Third, THERE WAS BATHSHEBA, THE MOTHER OF SOLOMON
1B. Sometimes a mom feels that she has sinned so badly for so long a period of time that there is just no way she will be able to succeed as a mother. Such a woman was Bathsheba. You remember her story. She had been the wife of Uriah, one of David’s mighty men, when she committed adultery with king David. When she found out she was pregnant she told David, who then arranged for her husband to be murdered to cover up their sin. Then they hastily arranged a marriage in a foolish attempt to cover their tracks and fool the people. But they did not fool God.
2B. Because of his prominence in God’s dealings with His people, David has a much higher profile in the Biblical record than Bathsheba does. But if ever there was a woman who had messed up her life as a woman, as a wife, and as a mother, it was Bathsheba. Imagine, from being the sole and beloved wife of one of the bravest and most stouthearted military heroes of all time, she became one of the many wives of king David, raising her son among his many other children in what could only be described as a severely dysfunctional household.
3B. But Solomon’s own pen recorded his mother’s efforts to raise him properly. In Proverbs 31.1-9, we read the advice she gave to her son to prepare him to be his country’s king:
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.
4B. So, how did Solomon turn out? What happened to this boy whose mom and dad committed adultery, whose dad committed murder, and whose mother engaged in a conspiracy to cover the whole thing up? He started out right. God blessed him with great wisdom as a young king. But First Kings chapter 11 tells us that Solomon ended up with 700 wives and 300 concubines, and that those women turned his heart away from God. So, it appears that Solomon did not listen to his mother over the course of most of his life. He strayed from her instruction to “Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.”
5B. Does this mean a mom who has blown it badly should just give up on her kids, that she should write them all off as lost causes because of her own past wickedness? No. No. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Bathsheba did not give up on her son. She trained him as best she could, even with her own sordid past.
6B. To be sure, Solomon did wander off. But the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, both written when he was an old man, show us that what his mother had taught him when he was a boy had an effect after all. Mom? It is never too late to turn things around in your own life. It is never too late to be the kind of mom you ought to be, no matter how badly you started out. Solomon was damaged by Bathsheba’s past. But he was recovered in old age by the training she had given to him as a child.
4A. Finally, THERE WAS EUNICE, THE MOTHER OF TIMOTHY
1B. We learn from Acts 16.1 that Timothy was the son of a Greek man and a Jewish woman. It is not likely that Timothy’s father was a Christian man, because Paul comments on the lad’s mother and grandmother in Second Timothy 1.5, without mentioning his father. Let me read to you what Paul wrote to Timothy: “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”
2B. Thus, Timothy was a mixed race lad raised during a time when his mother’s and grandmother’s people would have been quite prejudiced against him. So, it appears likely that we have another single mom situation, with a mixed race child, who gets converted and raises that child with the help of her godly mother. Oh, what a blessing grandmothers can be. Amen?
3B. So, how did Timothy turn out, mom? He turned out well. Two letters in the New Testament were written to him, he is commended by Paul, who loved him and cherished him as a co-laborer, and he was trusted to point that Paul sent him on important missions and mentored him in his ministry as the pastor of the church in Ephesus.
4B. Do you suppose Eunice and her mother, Lois, claimed Proverbs 22.6 as they poured their lives into that little boy named Timotheus? I think so. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
1. Being a mother is very difficult. Being a single mom, or being married to an uncooperative lost man, is even more difficult. But God’s grace is sufficient, and the mother whose heart is right with God will see good results for her prayers, for her sacrifice, for her tears, for her labors, for her efforts, for her devotion.
2. Let these women, and the many others I could have made mention of from God’s Word, be an encouragement to each and every one of you moms and grandmothers. When you feel faint-hearted, don’t quit. When you feel that all is lost, don’t give up. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
3. Remember these women. And remember Sarah, Rebekah, Leah, Rahab, Ruth, and Abigail, among others. In each and every case they were women who found themselves in circumstances beyond their control, but they also found that God is faithful in the midst of the most difficult trials.
4. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Hang on to that promise. No matter what kind of situation you find yourself in, God’s Word is true. Trust in it. And raise your children by it.
5. After brother Isenberger comes to lead us in a song, I will bring my short sermon this morning to offer a bit of advice to you moms.
1. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
2. I am persuaded that many Christian moms are most excellent Christians, who do a really good job of training your children. But we have developed something in our culture that many moms have not successfully adapted to. It’s a thing called adolescence.
3. You see, from Biblical times up until the beginning of the 20th century there were two phases of life, childhood and adulthood. The childhood portion of life was the basic responsibility of moms to tend to in a child’s life. The adulthood portion of life was the basic responsibility of dads to tend to in a child’s life.
4. But now, especially in the industrialized countries of the world, there is a third phase of life, between childhood and adulthood, called adolescence. Let me read a portion of one man’s comments on a web site discussing the history and theory of psychology:
The conception of adolescence as a separate period of life also owes a great deal to psychoanalysis, since adolescence is the period which marks the return of sexuality and consequently, neurosis. It also fits the storm and stress model. However I think its [sic] not until Erik Erikson that you find the idea of adolescence considered explicitly as a separate stage of development in psychoanalysis. (And his conception of development begins to appear in writing, I think 1950, although I think his work may have been known earlier than that). Erikson also recognized that there is a large cultural component in the idea of adolescence; it only seems to emerge in complex industrial society, where one cannot move immediately into adult roles from childhood. (The widespread growth of high- school education both marks and reinforces the idea of adolescence as a separate period of development.)
5. Here is the problem that occurs in our society, in my opinion: Moms begin to loosen their grip in the lives of their children as they enter what we call adolescence, but for several reasons there is not the corresponding tightening up of the grip by the fathers, even when the dads are in the home.
6. Mom, our society and culture sees two things happening at the same time: First, we see children physically maturing more rapidly than they used to. Second, we see children emotionally maturing more slowly than they used to. The result? Moms sometimes end up undoing in their children’s adolescence what they successfully accomplished in their child’s younger years.
7. Remember how little time Jochebed had to prepare Moses? Remember how little time Hannah had to prepare Samuel? I wonder how many moms did a marvelous job with their children to the age of about ten or twelve, and then began to undo the good things they had previously accomplished because they began to treat their children according to their appearance (they began looking like adults), but not according to their behavior (they continued to behave as children)?
8. In the time we have left, moms, and moms to be, and perhaps even you grandmothers, four things to help you so you will not undo all the good work you have done in training your child: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Yes, but what happens if you inadvertently untrain your child after you have successful trained him? Let’s not do that. Amen?
9. Four things you moms need to do to make sure you are not untraining your children during adolescence:
1A. First, STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF FATHERS
1B. Though it is a tragic reality that some homes do not have fathers in them, it is an even greater tragedy that such a home oftentimes produces yet more homes without fathers in them. Single moms frequently raise their daughters to be single moms. What a tragedy.
2B. I have shown you the success that can be found by godly and committed mothers who seek to diligently raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, but that does not mean life would not have been both easier and better with a dad in the home.
3B. Moms, if there is a dad in the home, you are foolish if you do not emphasize his importance to your children. But if there is not a dad in the home, you are just as foolish to not emphasize the importance of a dad, though it is more difficult to do with kids who have no dad at home and who become used to having no dad at home.
4B. Such homes sometimes produce girls who think it’s perfectly okay to make babies without having dads around. But it’s not okay. Such homes also frequently produce men who think it’s perfectly okay to make babies without the necessity of hanging around.
5B. Single moms need to work extra hard at talking about and preparing daughters to marry, by stressing the importance of husbands and fathers. Single moms also need to work extra hard at talking about and preparing their sons to marry, by stressing the importance of being a responsible husband and father. Stress the importance of fathers to your children, especially if the father is not in the home.
6B. How should be this done? Seek the pastor’s counsel. You see, a male perspective for a variety of issues is important for both sons and daughters. So, unless you stress the importance of fathers, you risk raising an effeminate boy who always asks mommy for permission without ever asking dad, or a violent and promiscuous boy. As well, you risk raising a daughter who never comes to appreciate the masculine side of any issue, especially the masculine side of child rearing.
2A. Second, AVOID FEELING SORRY FOR YOUR CHILD
1B. It is understandable that a loving mom would have deep feelings of regret over the loss her child experiences by not having a dad in the home. As well, there are occasions that even moms in a mom and dad household will be tempted to feel sorry for a child for one reason or another.
2B. May I suggest to you moms that you learn to distinguish between feeling sorry for your child, being sympathetic, and being empathetic? If your child experiences pain or loss from not having a dad in the home, or from having to deal with physical suffering, or because of some other issue that causes a loving mother real pain because of her child’s difficult situation . . . do not feel sorry for you child, do not feel sympathy. That is wrong. That is sin.
3B. When you feel sorry for your child, for whatever reason, when you sympathize, you are expressing the opinion that God has allowed something bad to happen to your child that should not have happened, and that you think should be corrected. But that is not true. God loves your child far more than you do, whatever his situation, and He would never do wrong to your child. So, be careful to avoid feeling sorry. It creates resentment toward God in your child’s heart and mind.
4B. What is better, what is godly, and what will not cause your child to become a defeatist who thinks God is out to get him, is when you empathize with your child. What is empathy? It is feeling your child’s pain, appreciating his suffering, being well aware of your child’s difficulties, while at the same time recognizing that God is all-wise and merciful, good and kind.
5B. There are too many unwise decisions made by moms who feel sorry for their children, when they should have felt empathy for their child. Sympathetic moms will allow their children to miss church, engage in clearly unchristian conduct, dress in an entirely inappropriate way, and other such things they know to be wrong. Why? They feel sorry for the kid and want to somehow make it up to him.
6B. Such sympathy-based decision making by mothers only unravels the good training children receive earlier in life. Do not undo in teenage kids what you did when they were grade school kids.
3A. Third, EMPHASIZE YOUR PERSONAL CONSISTENCY
1B. Young people misinterpret inconsistency for hypocrisy. As well, there is nothing young people dislike so much as they dislike hypocrisy. Why is this so? Because they dislike that characteristic which is most like them, because there are few hypocrites as hypocritical as adolescents.
2B. To put that into church and Bible language, you moms need to be faithful. Is it right to go to church? Then it is always right to go to church, and you should almost never permit your children to miss church. A couple of times a year for vacations is one thing, but allowing a kid to skip church to go to a ball game, or to go to the beach, completely unravels a lifetime of instruction that church is important. That is inconsistent, mom.
3B. I was once asked by a hopeful convert if there are biblical reasons for not engaging in dancing. I said, “Yes, there are.” That satisfied him. He seemed uninterested in what the reasons are, but he wanted to know that there are reasons. Mom, there are reasons why kids should not go to dances, reasons having to do with temptations to commit fornication, reasons having to do with lewd and lascivious behavior, reasons having to do with not allowing your kids to hang around kids who do that sort of thing. “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners,” First Corinthians 15.33. That verse literally means “Evil companions results in bad behavior.” Do not let your kids hang around people who go to dances, to do not go to church, who are ungodly, even if they are relatives.
4B. I know, I know. You sympathize with your kid who pleads to go to something. You feel sorry for your kid because you can’t do for him what you would like to be able to do. And that causes you to be inconsistent in your decision making, and in maintaining the family standards that you enforce. But wrong is wrong. There are reasons why we are against immodest attire and behavior. It’s wrong. Make sure your stand against evil influences, and the people who do those things, is consistent, mom.
5B. “But my kids are almost grown. They’re 18 years old.” So what? Time magazine, dated May 10, 2004, page 65, part of an article on rules for parents: “The most important thing children need from their parents is love, but a close second is structure. Even teenagers need rules and limits. Be firm but fair.” What do you know? Sometimes the expects stumble across a principle already found in the Bible. “Honey, as long as you live in my house you follow my rules.” Amen? You certainly don’t want to undo their training, do you?
4A. Finally, OPPOSE FEMINISM IN ALL ITS FORMS
1B. Do you remember what Bathsheba taught her son, Solomon? “Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.” That sounds very chauvinistic to many women, but it underlies a profoundly important concept when it comes to raising children. If boys are to be told how men should relate to women, then girls should also be taught how to relate to men.
2B. It is one thing for men to try to impress upon boys the proper stance of manliness. But the effect is all the more profound when mothers seek to impress upon their boys the proper stance of manliness toward other women, and when they train their daughters to have the wisdom to desire a truly manly husband, and to settle for only a man who is truly manly.
3B. This is where feminism seeks to overturn the Biblical order and relationship that should exist between men and women, and between husbands and wives. At the root of it, feminism is not a movement to guarantee voting privileges for women or equal pay for equal work. Those issues are the result of the development of western civilization, not feminism. Feminism is really a revolt against the divinely instituted functional hierarchy in the home, something that is not to any woman’s advantage.
4B. Where were the feminists when president Clinton was taking advantage of a young intern named Monica Lewinski? Where were the feminists when president Clinton was exposing himself to an Arkansas government employee named Paula Jones? Where were the feminists when president Clinton was convincingly accused by one woman of raping him and another woman of groping her? And where are the feminists to stick up for the young girls who are being molested and impregnated by grown men and then butchered in abortion clinics across the country? Nowhere to be found.
5B. Such silence can only be explained by the fact that feminism is not really a movement to advance the cause of women, or even to protect women. My goodness, people, there are more than five times the number of women who are members of the conservative group Concerned Women For America, run by Beverly LaHaye, than there are members of the National Organization of Women. Feminism is really a leftist political effort aimed at destroying our culture, and its original advocates are known atheists and communists, such as NOW founder Betty Friedan.
6B. So, why should mothers oppose feminism? Because feminism over the last fifty years has contributed to the breakdown of the family unit, to the willingness of foolish girls to have children out of wedlock because they don’t think they need a husband or a father for their babies, to the reluctance of many men to assert spiritual leadership in their homes because of the mixed signals they receive from feminized women, and to the rejection of a God-ordained structure for the family unit.
7B. Feminism is one of the worst enemies of girls and women, as well as boys and men. A wise woman not only recognizes the unique relationship a woman is supposed to have with men, but she advances her own cause by speaking against the forces that would destroy that relationship. Good moms will not only discourage feminist thinking in their daughters, but will also point out the errors of feminism to their sons.
1. Let me wrap this morning’s sermon up with some final comments.
2. Mom? Remember when you talked to your babies about God and how important it was to go to church? It’s just as important for an 18 year old as it is for a 4 year old. Don’t undo what you have done.
3. Remember when you dressed your little girl up in a really feminine outfits, and bragged on her for acting the sweet little lady? But you say nothing that she dresses like a construction worker now? Don’t undo what you have done.
4. What if there is no dad around? It is likely, in such cases, that an adolescent daughter will be very interested in boys, because every hug a girl does not get from her dad she will want to get from someone else. Mom? Talk to your daughter about not having a dad around, and how important it is for her to do thing right so her own kids will have dad around. Don’t undo what you have done.
5. Rail against men who don’t do the right thing, and tell your son what kind of man you expect him to grow up to be. Rail against the foolishness of unwed mothers, and tell your daughter what kind of woman you expect her to be, and how important it is to you, to her, to her children, and to her husband, for her to be a virgin when she gets married. Don’t undo what you have done.
6. Do not feel sorry for your kid. Empathy is good, while sympathy is bad. Talk about the goodness and greatness of God, His mercy and love, His holiness and righteousness, His power and wisdom. Work hard to make sure your child never feels like God has wronged him. Don’t undo what you have done.
7. Many of you moms have gotten off to a good start with your kids. I compliment you and commend you. Let me encourage you to stand fast, to hang tight, to keep on keeping on. And make sure that you do not undo with older kids what you have succeeded in doing with younger kids.
 Deuteronomy 34.10
 1 Samuel 1.13-14
 1 Samuel 1.11, 23-28
 See footnote for 1 Samuel 1.22 from John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1997), page 378.
 1 Samuel 3.20