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James Merritt - Wonder Woman

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    James Merritt - Wonder Woman
TOPICS: Mother's Day

There are fathers and mothers, and brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters, but one of the longest chapters in the Bible is given over to the description of a mom. You're not going to see what I'm going to show you this morning about a dad, or about a son, or about a daughter, brother or sister, but evidently God realized that mothers are so wonderful that he had to devote almost an entire chapter of the Bible to talk about just what a wonder woman she is. So if you brought a copy of God's word, I Pad, Smartphone, tablet, whatever you use, I want you to turn to a book called Proverbs, its right after the longest book in the Bible, the book of Psalms. I want you to turn to the last chapter, it's Proverbs 31. I'm going to show you why from A to Z, why mom is literally wonder woman. There's nobody quite like mom.

So I've decided to kind of break this up into three headings to make it easy for you to see what he was saying this morning. First of all, he tells us that a godly mother portrays character in the home. That's what a godly mother does, she shows what real character is in the home. Now before I get started, ladies, I want all you moms that are here, let me kind of put you at ease. What he's describing here is kind of an ideal. He's not saying that you've got to do everything that he says this woman does in this passage of scripture. You won't. You really can't do everything that's in this passage of scripture. But what he is giving you is a standard you should want to aspire to. It's something you may say, I'll never get there but I will always do my best to try to reach that kind of standard. He begins with a question. He says in verse 10, "An excellent wife, who can find? She is far more precious than jewels".

Now the word for "jewels" there, and you may have another version and it says rubies, that really is the word ruby, and I'm going to show you why he says that in just a moment. But the word "excellent," he says, who can find an excellent wife? The word "excellent" refers to the moral character, to the spiritual strength of this woman. In other words, he's talking about a woman who has integrity, a woman who has honor, a woman who has dignity, a woman who is godly, a woman who is just a very good woman, because we all know women are just like men, they're a dime a dozen, right? But he says a woman of character, a woman of dignity, a woman after God's own heart; she is priceless.

By the way, that's why he doesn't say who can buy an excellent wife, because they're not for sale. He says, "Who can find an excellent wife"? And guys, by the way, let me just help you on something, you guys out there that are single, you've got to look for this kind of woman. They're just not out there. They just don't grow on trees. You know it's easy to find a woman who is good looking, it's easy to find a woman that's got style, it's easy to find a woman that knows how to dress, it's easy to find a woman that maybe has a good education, but this writer says the first thing you ought to look for in a woman is virtue and character and godliness. Why is that? These are the things that last. Well why do you think her worth is compared to rubies? You would have thought he would have said, "Oh her worth is far above diamonds".

Now let me show you why, once again, I'm absolutely convinced the Bible's the word of God, because if you and I were to say, okay, I want you to pick out a jewel, and I want you to compare that to a woman, to a good woman, you'd say, oh the diamond because that's the most valuable jewel of all. Yet the author here says, oh now, she's more valuable than rubies. She's worth more than rubies. Why? Listen to this: a diamond reflects light, that's why it's so sparkly, that's why diamonds sparkle. Rubies don't reflect light, they absorb light. A diamond is beautiful on the outside, a ruby is beautiful on the inside, and that's why the author of Proverbs says this woman's worth is far above rubies. I mean so far above rubies, because what's beautiful about a woman ultimately is not what she's like on the outside, what she's like on the inside. And a woman who is beautiful on the inside will be beautiful all of her life.

Then he goes on to say this in verse 11, he says, "The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain". Any married spouse will tell you if they've ever been betrayed by their spouse, they will tell you this, when trust goes out the door, love goes out the window. What really holds a marriage together, contrary to popular opinion, is not love. What really holds a marriage together is trust. He says this is a woman who is so full of virtue and honesty and integrity and dignity and character, her husband safely trusts in her. He will have no lack of gain. Now later on you'll find out that what he's referring to is managing the finances in the home, which by the way, most every mother has to do at one time or another, you've got to help manage the finances.

In fact I'll tell you something about our relationship, mine and Teresa's. From the day we got married, she's always managed the money in our home. I don't write checks, I don't pay bills. I really don't know what we've got. She knows everything we've got. I really don't. I don't know. She's got it all. Because that's the only way she'd marry me. But let me tell it in all seriously, do you know why she manages the money in our home? Because she's best at it. That's just not my forte, that's not my strength. As a matter of fact, I was so happy, last week she raised my allowance to $10 a week, and I'm just a happy guy. But here's the point. You know why I don't ever worry about the finances in our home? You say doesn't it bother you that you don't know what you have? No, because I trust her. She has my complete total trust. I know she's always looking out for what is best for us, even in the area of finances.

See, that's one of the reasons why we have a fantastic marriage, and I do have a fantastic marriage, because she has my total trust, not just in the way she manages our home. You know why I trust her? It's the way she manages her. It's the way she manages herself; I know she's a woman of character and a woman of virtue. This is a wife who is good to her husband, and she's good for her husband. Listen to what he says down in verse 12, "She does him good and not harm all the days of her life".

This is a woman who is a fountain, a blessing that never runs dry. She's her husband's greatest encourager. She is his number 1 cheerleader. She never speaks evil of him, or runs him down in public, or defames his character. Even in the privacy of her home she doesn't try to tear him down, she tries to build him up. She never attacks him as a father. She never attacks him as a husband. So to put it simply, this woman is a model of character. She lives the way a woman ought to live, the way a man ought to live, the way a person ought to live. She conducts herself in the way that her children should conduct themselves. She portrays character in her family.

Here's the second thing he says, "A godly mother provides competence in the home". She doesn't just portray character in the home, she provides competence in the home. Now, I want to remind you of something before I get into all of this. Remember, ladies, this is an ideal. This is a goal you kind of strive for. You will never be all of these things, nobody expects you to be all of these things, but at some point in time, a godly mother will probably hit on many of these things, because this is a mother that says I'm going to do everything I can as the mom in this home to make sure that my family unit is happy, and my family unit is healthy, so we read what she does in verse 13, "She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands".

Now what he's talking about there, obviously, is clothing, because back in that day the only clothes that a man had is the clothes that a woman would make. So she makes clothes with wool. Why wool? That was for cold weather. She'd make clothes with flax. Why flax? Because that is for hot weather, because back in that day it was the job of the woman to make the clothes. Then the author of Proverbs says, "She even does it with willing hands". Now, in the Hebrew language, what that word literally means is delightful. This is a woman who loves her family so much, and loves her God so much that everything she does for her family is not a duty, it's a delight. It's not that she has to do it, it's that she wants to do it. She realized this is my God-given role. This is one of the things that God made me for, and I want to do everything I can to be pleasing in your sight, and to be pleasing in the sight of my family.

Well, families also have to eat, right, so we read this in verse 15, "She's like the ships of the merchant. She brings her food from afar. She rises while it's yet night, and provides food for her household, and portions for her maidens". What is he talking about there? This is a woman who says, look, I'll go the extra mile. I'll do everything I can to make sure that I get the biggest bang for the buck. I want to do everything I can to make sure that my family has the best food that they possibly can at the cheapest price. My wife Teresa, I call her the coupon queen. She is the coupon queen. She gets everything at an absolute bargain. Sometimes she'll let me go to the grocery store. Just sometimes.

When I come back, does she say, "Honey, I'm glad you're home? Honey, I'm glad you made it safely? Honey, it's so good to see you again"? No. You know what she says, "Now, did you put this on the code at Kroger's so we'll get points for the gasoline when we go there"? "Yes, Ma'am, I remembered to do that". She's got that mentality; I want to make sure I'm getting the best bargain that I can. Then on top of that, he says, look, she gets up early, and she sometimes says up late. That's what moms do. How many of you have had this experience, when you were growing up, if you got sick, who did you call for? If you called for dad, he didn't know what to do, right? You call mom. In our home growing up, you know who James and Jonathon and Joshua called on when they got sick? Her. You know who I called on when I got sick? Her. Everybody calls on mom because they know that mom somehow has that ability to kind of be what they need to be when they need to be it.

Now here's something else very interesting about this woman in verse 16. "She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard". Hmmm. So this is a woman who has an outside job. This is a woman who works outside the home. She not only is doing all this for her family, but she's so concerned that her family has what they need, she realizes she needs to be a helpmate to her husband so she's got this business on the side. She's making money, takes that money and plants a vineyard so that they will have everything that they need, which leads me to kind of a side note here. If you are a "stay-at-home mom," I thank God for you. I'm so glad that you're allowed to do that. I'm so glad that you're blessed enough where you can do that. I'm grateful for that.

On the other hand, if, and where most of you probably are, if you're a working mom, I really thank God for you. I really thank God for you. And I just want to kind of stop and just say it to all of you men out there, if you're married to a woman who is not only a mother at home but she has a full time or even a part time job, can I just give you a piece of spiritual advice? Cut her some slack. Be thankful for her. Let her know who much you love her and appreciate her, and don't be so demanding at home. There was a working mother who is doing her best, she had a full time job outside the home, she had three young kids at home, she was burning the candle at both ends trying to keep up with her job, keep up with the family, and her husband was one of these guys, he just griped about everything, you know he didn't like it if the floor wasn't swept, or the dishes weren't washed, or if the food wasn't warm, or whatever.

So one morning the alarm clock went off, they both had to get up and go to work, and he looked over at her and he just kind of sighed, and he said, "Can you not even make me a hot breakfast just one morning"? She reached into a drawer and pulled out a box of matches and give it to him and said, "Here, go set your corn flakes on fire". This mother is a mother that has it together. Here's what we read in verse 17, "She sets about her work vigorously. Her arms are strong for her task. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night". In other words what he's saying is this was a working mother who was doing her best, both at her job and at her home. She's not afraid to roll up her sleeves, she's not afraid to go to work, she's not afraid to do whatever she can to make that home the home that it ought to be. And then he goes on to say this in verse 19, "In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers".

Now that's really old for us to understand because most of us don't sow, or most ladies don't sow anymore, but back in that day that's how you made clothes, and that's what we were talking about a while ago. And all he's trying to say is, this is a woman, she may not have a PhD, but she's got something better than that. She's got this practical motherly knowledge of how to run a home. She knows how to keep a household together. In the best sense of the term, she is a homemaker. She is the glue that holds it all together. She is a good mother who works hard, and she's a mother who works hard at being a good mother. Then listen to this what he says in verse 27, "She watches over the affairs of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness".

In other words, she runs a tight ship and she makes sure she keeps the ship steady on course, and she never falls asleep at her post. That's why when the husband goes to work, he doesn't worry about the home; he knows she's got it. That's why when the children go off to school, they don't worry about what's going on at home; they know that she's got it. She doesn't eat the bread of idleness, not because the bread of idleness isn't sweet to eat, she doesn't have time to eat the bread of idleness. She's got all these things going on, and I just want to say God forgive me, and God forgive all of us husbands and children who ever thought that moms and wives had it easy. Guys, as a matter of fact, let me give you a piece of advice. If you've got children, especially, in your home, if you happen to be blessed enough that your mom is a stay-at-home mom, get on your knees and thank God every day for her because you're getting off so cheap.

Let me tell you what I mean., you can go to the website, gives the compensation comparison of what a mother is worth in the workforce of our country. They take into account that a mother is a nurse, she is a homemaker, she is a chef, she's a janitor, she's an accountant, she's a teacher, and she's a chauffeur, who is available 24/7. Do you know how much that person would make in the marketplace? Are you ready for this; $138,000 a year. You know what Teresa said to me just now? That's low. Probably true. Think about it. They say that they ought to be paid at least what a law school professor or a pediatrician makes. Listen, never take these wonder women that we call wives and mothers for granted.

See, here's our problem. The problem is we don't always appreciate what somebody does until they stop doing it, then you kind of realize, you know what, I think she's doing a pretty good job. There was a husband that came home from work; the house was a disaster. The baby as crying, dirty dishes were in the sink, the laundry was hanging from the door knobs, the TV was blaring, the beds were unmade, carpets weren't vacuumed, the baby hadn't been changed, dinner hadn't been cooked; he went nuts. He said, "What in the world happened"? She said, well, you always ask me every day when you come home, "What have you done today," well today I didn't do it. Thank God for you mothers. Thank God for you wives. Thank God, especially, if you're trying to hold down two jobs at once, because let me tell you something you ladies will learn the hard way, you cannot make being a good mother a part time job; it doesn't work. It's a full time job. So if you're out there busting it outside the home as well as inside the home, God bless you. God bless you, ladies, for doing that.

Now here's the last thing, and we'll wrap this up. A godly mother promotes chemistry in the home. Let me show you what I mean by that. There really is truth to this statement: If mom is happy, everybody can be happy. Now if mom ain't happy, nobody's going to be happy, and the stronger the personality, the less happiness you'll have. My wife is a very strong personality. If mama ain't happy, there ain't nobody going to be happy. But if mom's happy, everybody can be happy. But here's what I want you to see: This is such a godly woman, this is such a wonderful mother, this is such a superb wife, the author of Proverbs says not just the work that she does, it's the way that she talks, it is what she says.

Listen to this, he says in verse 26, "She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue". Really and truly, you know who the master teacher is in every home I've ever known? Mom. Mom's got more time with the kids, usually. Mom takes more time with the kids. It's mom that teaches these valuable lessons. As a matter of fact, some of the greatest lessons children will ever learn in their life is always taught by their mother. I came across an article, it was a little article that was entitled Things That Only a Mom Can Teach. Things That Only a Mom Can Teach, and some of these will sound familiar to us, but I thought they were so good I thought I'd share them with you, because most of us have been taught these.

For example, my mother taught me about anticipation; just wait until we get home. My mother taught me about receiving; you're going to get it when we get home. My mother taught me about logic; if you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me. My mother taught me about physiology; if that lawnmower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me. My mother taught me about sex; how do you think you got here? My mother taught me about genetics; you're just like your father. My mother taught me about justice; one day you'll have kids and I hope they turn out just like you, then you'll see what it's like.

Now, isn't it amazing, though, how we grow up and we start teaching out kids the same lesson they taught us. It's amazing how your mom taught that and it just kind of goes down generation to generation. Well, just about the time this wonder woman begins to wonder is all this wonder really worth it, have I really accomplished anything worthwhile, and I know a lot of you moms struggle with that. I know there's some of you moms that say well I was a stay-at-home mom, or I was a working mom, either way, did I really make a difference? And then we read this: "Her children rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also, and he praises her".

Many women have done excellently, but you, Teresa, surpass them all. You surpass them all. Now the suggestion here is this praise is spontaneous. This praise is constant. I know you know this, they didn't have Mother's Day back in Israel. They didn't know what Mother's Day was. So what he's really saying is this: they didn't need Mother's Day in Israel. You know why they didn't need Mother's Day in Israel? Every day was Mother's Day. Every day was a day to say thank you for what you do. Mom, thank you for being you. Sweetheart, thank you for building the home that you've built for us. Thank you for everything you have done for us. See, there is a debt that we all owe our moms that we can never, ever repay, but we ought to make installments every day. Every day you ought to give a paycheck of appreciation, and a paycheck of adoration, and a paycheck of acclimation, and a paycheck of affirmation, and a paycheck of admiration.

I'm standing before you right now, this man standing right here, I'm standing before you giving evidence and a testimony of what can happen when a wonder woman called mom, from the time I was a boy until I went off to college, came into my bedroom every single night of my life and sat down and read the Bible to me, and prayed with me. I'm the testimony of a mother that encouraged me, that believed in me, that trusted in me. I'm standing here before you as a mother who put her arms around me all the time and hugged me and loved me and told me how special I was.

I'm so glad that just a few days before my mother passed, I was able to lean over her bedside and pull her up to myself and say, "Mom, if I lived a million lives, I'd want you to be my mother in every one of them. Mom, I call you blessed today. Mom, thank you for all you have done for me". I said this, "Thank you, dear God for saving the best mother for me".

So I want you to listen to how this beautiful passage concludes, and we'll be finished. Look at this. "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates". Listen to what he said. Charm is deceitful because what a woman may look like on the outside may not be what she looks like on the inside. I have seen women that I thought were drop-dead gorgeous, until they opened their mouth. Charm's deceitful. Beauty is vain because ultimately it fades and it passes away. But goodness and graciousness and godliness, those are lights that never grow dark, those are the aromas that never, ever lose their fragrance. Every day for 16 years, every day, 8:30 in the morning, I called my mother.

I told this, I think, at her celebration, I was on the Great Wall of China, 2001, I had a satellite phone, and I saw my watch, it was 8:30 in the morning; I called my mama. I would always say, "Your baby boy loves his mama". And she would always say, "And your mama loves her sweet baby boy". The only time she didn't say that was when I called her from China. I said, "Your baby boy loves his mama". She said, "Where are you"? And you can understand this, every morning, 8:30 is real hard for me because I sure wish I could call my mama.

So if you can, you call your mama. Today, if you could see your mama, you see your mama. And whatever you do today, you make sure you tell your mother how much you love her, how thankful you are for her, because I want to tell you of all the wonders there are in the world, there is no wonder like that wonder woman called mom.
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