Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! (Psalms 27:14)
I remember Mama. I remember her unselfish spirit, always giving never complaining, never expecting anything in return. I remember how hard she worked to provide for the needs of her family – not only the physical needs but the heart needs as well. I remember how she sacrificed for us kids, the many times she went without so we could have. I remember the many nights she sat with a sick child – nursing, caring, comforting. I remember her sweet voice as she sang the beautiful old hymns of her childhood faith. I remember her laughter and her tears. It seems Mamma always had joy in her heart, even when she was carrying a burden. Even now I smile as I remember Mama’s whistling as she went about her tasks; it seems she was always whistling.
The last years of Mama’s life were not easy. Alzheimer’s came along and took away most of her memories and eventually, her life. The year before Mamma passed, I was inspired to write “The Red Purse”. I like to share it each Mother’s Day in honor of her and as a reminder of how blessed I am to have had her as my Mother. As you read, it is my hope that you will be “inspired” in some way. If your Mother is still with you, I urge you to let her know, not only on this Mother’s day but at every opportunity, how much you love her appreciate the memories she gave you.
The Red Purse Sandra Bivens Smith ©2010 Turning 60 had a profound effect on me. It seemed that everything either sagged, wrinkled or just plain quit working. Aside from the changes my body experienced, I notice some changes mentally as well. Thinking more about today and worrying less about tomorrow became easier; after all as one gets older, it becomes a fact of life that today is pretty much all you’ve got. And, I bought a red purse. Now, you would have to know me to appreciate what a big step that was. As I am pretty much a black, white, and navy blue kind of gal, purchasing a big red pocket-book was a bold move. Over the past couple years, that red purse has become a dear friend. As constant companions, we have come to know and depend on each other. Like me, she is becoming worn in spots and more than a little frayed around the edges. Her zipper doesn’t work quite as smoothly and her lining is ripped. My daughter constantly mentions that I need to replace my red purse. “I like it” I tell her, “there is nothing wrong with my purse”. “But Mom”, she says, “the stitching is coming loose and the leather is worn down. It’s all worn out.” She’s right. It is all worn out. But in spite of how frayed it is on the outside, my red purse still serves a purpose. I can still put all my treasures inside with confidence that they will be secure. It still carries my eyeglasses, phone, tissue, lipstick, and a myriad of other “necessities” and it rarely complains about the strain. We live in a world where the new and improved is mostly preferred over the old and proven. It’s like that with people as well. The world looks at those who have become frayed and worn on the outside and judge that their usefulness is spent. But if they would just take the time to look on the inside, they would discover treasures. They would find a bounty of experience, wisdom, counsel; they would find wealth that can only come from living. This attitude toward the aged is not new. As King David was in the later years of life and faced his son Absalom’s rebellion to take over the kingdom, David prayed, “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent” (Psalms 71:9). My Mamma now lives in a nursing home with many others who, like her, have lived out the better part of their lives. She has advanced dementia and can barely speak in sentences. Her eyesight has failed so that she can barely see and her legs are so weak they can hardly support her frail frame. It would be easy to spend a few minutes with her and conclude that she has nothing to offer. I know better. All those years of living, learning, and experiencing are still inside her mind. Just because she has lost the ability to express her wisdom, doesn’t mean she no longer has it. Thinking back to Mamma’s advice through the years, advice which most of the time, (regrettably) I ignored, I wish with all my heart, I could ask her just one more time what she thought. You see, it’s now clear; Mamma was right about most everything. It is no longer possible to ask her for her thoughts, but it is not too late to seek her advice. How Mamma lived, how she loved, has taught me more about life than all the world could ever hope to teach me. Do you want to know what’s important? Spend time with those who have actually lived life. Do you want to learn how to get through the trials of life? Visit with someone who has gone through season after season and survived the storms that came with each one. Do you want to be wise? Watch and learn from those who have gained the wisdom that can only come from the experiences of living through good times and hard times. Start your own “Red Purse Society”. Seek out those whose leather is worn and whose stitching is loose; look inside and I promise, you will find great treasure.
Happy Mother’s Day. God bless.
I am excited to be a part of Heart2Heart Ministry’s Summer Bible Study of “War Room”. This 5 week study, based on the movie of the same name, will focus on the powerful weapon of prayer.
Thanks to modern technology, anyone, anywhere can participate. The study is being offered on multiple days and times which means you can choose what works best for you.
This is a great opportunity to make some new friends while studying God’s Word. I hope you will join us.
Online study via ZOOM
Starting May 27th
Meeting each Wednesday Morning
11:00 AM-12:00 noon
Hosted by Sandra Smith
Starting May 29th
Meeting each Friday Afternoon
2:00 PM-3:00 PM
Hosted by Mikki Halbach
Starting June 1st
Meeting each Monday Evening
7:00 PM-8:00 PM
Visit Heart2Heart Women.Org if you would like more details about the study.
You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” (Psalms 27:8)
Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! (Psalms 27:7)
For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths
Before we begin, I need to say that this was not an easy lesson for me to write nor is it an easy lesson to receive. But please know that it was composed from a heavy heart, with much thought and much prayer.
Throughout our study in Proverbs, we have seen that there are two opposing voices continuously at work in the heart of man: the voice of Wisdom and the voice of the fool. Each voice will take us down a path; one path leads to joy and life, the other to suffering and destruction. It is our choice which voice and which path we will follow.
In our lesson from Proverbs, Chapters 5 and 7, we are going to look at the journey and the resulting consequences we can expect from the choice we make.
These chapters deal directly with the sin of adultery. In 1 Corinthians 6:13-18 Paul writes:
“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
While all sin is an offence against God, as we can see from Paul’s words, sexual sin is especially destructive to ones own body and soul and to others whose lives are affected by the adulterers sin. Solomon describes the ramifications of such sin in the final verses of Proverbs chapter 6.
He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away. For jealousy makes a man furious, and he will not spare when he takes revenge. He will accept no compensation; he will refuse though you multiply gifts.
As we consider the sin of adultery, maybe you’re saying “not me”. But, the Bible tells us, in pretty strong terms, that there is another type of adultery – spiritual adultery.
Spiritual adultery can take several forms.
The sin of worldliness. Jesus taught that “no man can serve two masters”. When we measure what’s right by what the world says rather than what God says, or when we compromise what we know to be truth for the sake of being accepted, isn’t that what we’re doing?
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? (James 4:4-5)
The sin of idolatry. From His own words we know that God is a jealous God (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God Exodus 34:14). While we may not bow down before little images, we must be careful that we don’t let the things of this life become more important to us than the things of God.
then those of you who escape will remember me among the nations where they are carried captive, how I have been broken over their whoring heart that has departed from me and over their eyes that go whoring after their idols. And they will be loathsome in their own sight for the evils that they have committed, for all their abominations. (Ezekiel 6:9)
The sin of lust. Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery ’But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Our enemy, the devil, is cunning. Peter warns us “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
And James tells us why it is critical to be watchful as he describes just how easily our desires can become the sin of lust.
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15)
Do you find that when life is going really good you tend to grow distant from God? It seems that when the “highway of life” is smooth, we get the idea that we can manage just fine on our own. A dear friend gave me a wonderful coffee mug with this quote: “if you only pray when you’re in trouble, you’re in trouble”. That is so true. When we think we’ve got it all together, that’s when we don’t and it is in those times that we can be most susceptible to temptations. I love what Paul says in Romans 12:12: Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
These chapters are so rich in wisdom that I couldn’t find a way to cover it all in one lesson. Therefore, we will continue in these same next week.
Have you known someone who was involved in the sin of adultery? (either as the adulterer or the victim of). List the destructive results you witnessed as a result of that sin.
Review the sins of spiritual adultery discussed in this week’s lesson. Are there any areas in your life that you have never considered to be spiritual adultery but now recognize as such?
I made the point that sometimes we are more distant from God when things are going good for us. Can you remember a time when that was your experience? If so, try to recall the circumstances and what happened that brought you back into intimacy with God.
Your reading this week will be a little different. Please read and meditate Proverbs 7 according to the reading plan below.
- Day 1: Verses 1-5
- Day 2: Verses 6-9
- Day 3: Verses 10-20
- Day 4: Verses 21-23
- Day 5: Verses 24-27