The  Fruitful  Vine

"Thy wife shall be as a FRUITFUL VINE by the sides of thy house." Psalm 128:3a
Who is My Mother            by J. Kirkpatrick
How Do We Answer         by  N. Bixler
Speak Softly                      by D. Spearman
By J. Kirkpatrick
But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19

As we read Luke 1 & 2, we find that Mary, the mother of Jesus, learned to overcome a troubled heart. The Holy Spirit overshadowed her, enabling her to keep and ponder His Words in her heart. How did Mary, the Mother of Jesus, learn to keep and ponder all the Words of the Lord in her heart? Let's look at Mary's first encounter with a heavenly messenger.

And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. Luke 1:26-29

Mary allowed her mind to be troubled. She cast in her mind what His salutation meant. She allowed her mind to be troubled, causing her to dwell in fear. Mary also began to question, "How can this be?" She was allowing questions in her heart which caused her faith to waiver.  Luke 1:34

And the angel answered and said unto her, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35

And Mary said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to thy Word..." Luke 1:38

Mary was learning to overcome fear and doubt. She no longer allowed her mind to be troubled or shaken. Mary had learned to bring all her thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ.    II Corinthians 10:5. From that time no doubt, fear or troubling thoughts dwelt in Mary's mind; only the ever growing fruit of Jesus Christ remained. Mary began to keep and ponder all the Words of the Lord.

God desires to impregnate us with these, also. We, too, can bring forth Jesus in all our thoughts. Mothers, allow God's Word to impregnate your total being. Bring forth the generation that will praise the Lord, Psalm 102:18; children in whom there is no doubt, no fear, no questioning, no reasoning in their own imaginations, but instead, renewing their minds, walking into the good, acceptable and perfect will of God. Little feet are walking in your foot steps.

And Mary said, "My soul doth magnify the Lord". Luke 1:46

Mary learned to magnify the Lord in her heart. She no longer walked with a troubled heart. She began to realize that when she rejoiced God was there. She praised and thanked God for scattering the proud imaginations of her heart.

When the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds in the field, disclosing the glorious events connected with the birth of Jesus, the shepherds made known these sayings throughout all Bethlehem, Luke 2:10-16. Verse 19 says that Mary pondered all these sayings in her heart. Mary was beginning to discern truth and hold it close to her heart. We, also, need to ponder, discern and keep these sayings close to our hearts, making known to all, these things which have come to pass and have become a reality in our lives.

And all they that heard [it] wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. Luke 2:18 - 19

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

All those who heard the shepherd's good news wondered at these sayings. To wonder is to admire and marvel at. All those who heard the shepherds, wondered or admired their sayings.

But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

What is the difference between admiring, pondering and keeping the Lord's Words in our hearts? To admire is to regard with surprise, mingled with approbation, reverence and affection. Approbation is the act of approving. It gives approval to the correctness of a thing with some degree of pleasure and satisfaction.

Is it possible for us to agree and assent to God's Words, yet not keep them close to our hearts that we might preserve them? Is it possible that the cares of this world might steal these sayings away from us because we have not practiced God's Words and held them tightly, retaining all God's Words in our thoughts?

Esteem means to set a high value on and regard with respect, reverence and friendship. Is it possible to set a high value on something, yet keep it at a distance to view it, admire it, yet not hold it close? Is it possible to have one foot in the world and one foot with the Lord?

Affection means to be settled with good will, love, having a zealous attachment for something? Is it possible that we have not totally set our affections on things above? Do we love the things of this world on the one hand and strive to be zealous for the Lord's work with the other?

Oh Mothers! This cannot be. The Holy Spirit will never overshadow our vessel with new life, while we are standing back, only admiring, never totally surrendering our wills totally to His will.

To keep is to hold to and retain in our possession. How can we assure that we hold onto the Lord's sayings? How can we keep them close to our heart? We can learn from Mary's experiences. Mary was learning to overcome a troubled heart by retaining God's Words in her heart. She was learning to preserve God's Words in her heart by keeping her eyes on the Giver. We, too, must learn to guard, watch, preserve, remember, observe, note and keep our eyes upon God's Words. We must keep all His sayings in our custody for preservation, feeding upon them daily, practicing them, copying them carefully that they might be indelibly written upon our hearts. We must maintain constant vigil on them to preserve them from diminishing from our thoughts.

Mothers, it is not only necessary that we do this, but we also need to teach our children to guard, keep watch, and hold fast these truths. Our children need to know that they are not to fear. They need to learn how to joy and rejoice in all circumstances. Our children need to know that the Saviour is knocking at the door of their house, bringing deliverance. They need to know these things beginning at their birth. We need to wrap them in these Spiritual truths as their coverings. They need to feel the peace that passes all understanding as they lay in their beds at night. Our children need to continually hear God's Words from our lips in song, praising and giving glory to God. Our children need to know that they must preserve these truths and make haste to tell their children.

"For whosoever shall do the will of My Father are My Mothers!" Matthew 12:48

We have observed several lessons Mary had to learn in these first two chapters of Luke. Mary learned to consider these truths, overcome a troubled heart and discern, retain and value these truths.

In Luke 2:34-35, Simeon spoke truths for Mary to consider and it is these truths that each of us also need to keep and ponder in our hearts. Simeon said,

"Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

If we our going to bring forth godly, Spiritual children, we must allow the two-edged sword to pierce our own souls, also.


Mothers! We need to consider the harm of feeding our newborn's from a "substitute" bottle. When they desire the sincere milk of the Word, do we give them a "pacifier"? Can these be lures that lead to guile and deceit? Or, do we provide the sincere, nourishing milk of the Word? O taste and see that the Lord is good!

By N. Bixler OH
"Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:
That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and His testimonies, and His statutes, which He hath commanded thee.

Hear, therefore, O Israel, and observe to do; that it may be well with thee, an that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey." Deuteronomy 6:1-2, 4-9, 17 and 3.

God commands that we teach our children His commandments and His statutes. We are to teach our children that "The Lord our God is one Lord" and "Thou shalt love God with all our hearts, souls, and might."

God said we are to DILIGENTLY teach these words to our children. We are to talk these commandments to them when we are sitting in our homes, when we go out, when we lay down to sleep, and when we rise in the morning.

Teaching our children DILIGENTLY means "to point out". God wants us to show our children, through the Word, what God expects of them.

DILIGENTLY means "to pierce". We are to continually and constantly get God's Word into our children's minds. His Word will not turn unto Him void.

DILIGENTLY also means "sharpen". Our repeating God's Word at all times of the day and night, continually, sharpens our children's minds. Our living the example Christ set before us day and night, continually, sharpens their skills in learning God's plan.

If we notice, the word DILIGENTLY has the word GENTLY in it.

One major example of Christ we can show our children is being careful WHAT comes out of our mouths and HOW it comes out of our mouths.

Those that seek God's love, study and think before answering.

Do we think before we answer one another and our children? A quick answer is the flesh answering. An answer thought out edifies. Our flesh wants to answer "NO!", "Get out of my way!", "Go to bed!", "I said NO!", "Go play!" These words only cause strife, anger, and rebellion in our children and in us.

"He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom: and before honour is humility." Proverbs 15:32-33.

We want our children to hear and do what we instruct them to do, but, when we are not following the same instructions and when we are not the Christlike example that we expect of our children, then confusion sets in. God is not the author of confusion.

"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. . ." I Corinthians 14:33.

Confusion is the Greek word AKATASTASIA and means "instability, disorder, commotion, confusion, and tumult". God does not represent these things in our lives. He represents stability, II timothy 1:7; order, I Corinthians 14:40; and peace, Philippians 4:7.

"He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he. The wise heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning." Proverbs 16:20-21

When we handle matters by going to God for direction, we will find that good will come of it. Good comes when we trust God to help us with our children and their needs as we train them up in the way they should go.

When we turn to God for His help and direction, we are wise in heart and are called prudent. Prudent means "skilled and have good judgment". We know all credit for that skill and judgment goes to the glory of the Father. Only He can raise our children in the admonition of Him. Through Him, what comes from our lips increases learning.

"...Sweetness of the lips increaseth learning."

Angry words block our hearts and the children's hearts from learning. Instead, it fills them with rebellion.

Sometimes we have a tendency to be quick to answer our children without listening to all sides. It is so important we take the time to hear our children out. Most generally, ALL are at fault in one way or another.

"He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him." Proverbs 18:13

When we are quick to answer, we have not sought an answer from God. Many times, when we answer quickly, it is usually in frustration and/or anger.

When we read Proverbs 19:19-21 we find that Solomon tells us (parents) we need to hear and receive instruction. He tells us that there are many devices in our hearts but only the council of the Lord stands. The word "devices" is the Hebrew word MACHASHEBETH and means "intention, plan, imagination, thoughts".

When we have gone to the Father about the problem before us and have allowed Him to place peace in our hearts and a wise solution on our lips, then we can handle the problem. Our answer will not be a frustrated and rebellious "NO!", but will be an answer of edification and conviction. The anger in our children can then be handled in the ways of the Father.

We must not allow our children to come against us as the parent. Proverbs 20:20 states, "Their lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness."

Do not let your children argue or back-talk you. Sometimes we get "NO!" "I don't want to!" Or "I don't like you!" They try ignoring us or doing what they want, walking away or sitting and pouting, doing nothing that we have asked. We must make them realize there is a punishment for their actions. Not only from us as parents but from God.

James 5:13a says, "Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray." Afflicted is the Greek word KAKOPATHEO and means "undergo hardship, suffer trouble". When we do not have control of our anger, when we are not in control of our actions, when we are not the example of Christ to our children in our daily walk, when we do not hear our children and when we do not seek God's love, peace, and direction in handling our children, we "Suffer trouble". When we suffer trouble, we are to pray and ask God to heal, show us peace, direction and be our spokesman.

It is so important when we teach our children God's way, they have a continual godly example before them at all times. When we walk as Christ walked, when we speak only what we hear the Father speak and do only what we see the Father doing, there will be such a great blessing! We will see how God's ways work through us and affect our children's walk.

God has given us His children to raise up in Him. All glory goes to Him for their accomplishments! What a responsibility weighs on our shoulders as parents! We are indeed held accountable for our children. We are accountable for the example we live in front of them.

James 5:13b states "Is any merry? Let him sing psalms". Are we praising God an singing Spiritual songs of thanksgiving to God for what He has taught us; to speak softly, wait on the Father to give us the answers for each and every situation, accepting His peace and dealing with our children in the love of the Father?

Hold your child in your arms when you correct him. Explain to him why you must correct him. Give him scripture to back what you are saying and doing and for what He has done wrong. After the punishment, assure him that you love him with the love of the Lord.

by D. Spearman, OH

About 3 years ago, the Lord spoke something to me concerning the way I speak to my children. Our home was in quite a frenzy at the time. I did not realize it, but my frustration was the major cause!

The Lord spoke to me "Speak softly". I have quite a booming voice, so for a week I tried to speak quietly. That actually caused more frustration because no one could hear me when I spoke.

Then I began to understand. God did not say quietly, He said softly. It was my attitude that needed to be dealt with when I spoke.

"A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger."

Speaking softly without anger, or frustration or cutting, painful words can keep us from provoking our children to wrath (anger), Colossians 3:21.

When they are provoked, we become more frustrated. When we are more frustrated, they are provoked. It is hard to find the end to this type of situation. A soft answer, a tender answer, whether it be one of encouragement, instruction, admonition or warning will get better results than cutting, harsh remarks.

"Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit," Ecclesiastes 7:8.
With a soft answer, we can find the end of a situation,
 but grievous words will start a vicious circle.

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