Mother and Home by Pastor Matthew Swiatkowski

Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 23 – 25 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 19 – 20; Psalms 66 – 70; Proverbs 14)Read the “0514 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Note – This article was originally published in the Gospel Light Baptist Church Newsletter and was reprinted by permission.

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)

“Ma…I’m home.” That’s what I said when I came through the front door and stood there in the hallway. Right in front of me was the staircase leading to the second floor where the three bedrooms were along with the bathroom, and just off to the right was the hallway that would lead me to the kitchen. I stood there for a minute, but my mom did not respond because mom did not live there anymore. My parents sold the house 20 years ago and the couple who purchased it from them were selling it and having an open house. I couldn’t resist going down to the house and looking around. As I stood there in the front entranceway, I was flooded with memories, from the happy to the sad. I walked slowly down the hallway and to the right was a door that would lead to the living room and as I proceeded to the left was the doorway that would take me to the basement. And then right in front of me was the entrance to the kitchen. I made my way into the kitchen, which was large. There was a sink, range top, an oven, and plenty of cabinets and counter space on the left-hand side, and then a large area for a large table to accommodate the eight people who sat around it each evening for a meal. This large room and probably the largest in the house and was the meeting place. Tuesday night was company night; sometimes there would be as few as four and then sometimes there would be 20 people, lots of laughs, plenty of cake, and always coffee. As I stood there, I saw them all and I could hear the conversations and the laughter. Most of all I could see my mom and watch her having a good time. This kitchen provided more meals than any man could remember. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week 365 days a year. If ever a friend or guest came by at mealtime nobody was ever denied. As a teenager when I came home (and always at the time mom told me) I would make my way into the kitchen and find Mom sitting there reading. I would pour myself a Coke and grab a snack and sit down and talk with Mom, maybe for just 10 minutes or maybe for a couple of hours. My trip down memory lane was disturbed when the real estate agent tried to point out to me how large the kitchen area was. I looked at him and smiled. Yes, it is a very large kitchen.

I then walked into the living room and could see my dad sitting in his recliner with his one leg always hanging over the side of the arm of the chair, the sofa and loveseat with us sitting there watching a movie TV show or a Giants football game. Then through this door that led back to the hallway I went and made my way upstairs. I looked in the bedrooms and then stood there in the front room that belonged to my three brothers and me. I was already on shaky ground but here’s where I started to lose it. Here are the four of us shared this– room I remember it being much bigger and as I stood there, I tried to figure out how the four of us fit in that place, how long with dressers and a TV stereo system. In the bathroom was the built-in cabinet where Mom stored all the towels and bed sheets. I made my way into the basement and the backyard. The first 25 years of my life were spent in this house. My mother was born in this house and her grandfather purchased it in 1919. For all intents and purposes, this was my mother’s house. Mom and Dad purchased it when her grandfather died. Needless to say, it held a lot of memories. Everything about this house reminded me of Mom, hers was the dominant memory and they were good memories.

The real estate agent and the homeowner followed me as I made my way through the home and neither of them knew who I was or my history. I finally spilled the beans when I was done with my tour. The house and everything about it reminded me of my mother. I could tell you 1001 stories about her and the impact she had on my life. I thank God for her, and I sure do miss her. Dad broke his back to make this house possible and all its contents, but my mother made it home. It was a haven and one of the few places where I could be myself without fear of ridicule and mocking.

For 31 years Renee and I have made this apartment our home. It was the spring and Matty was a year and a half old, and Melanie was due in August. Ethan and Evan would come later but all four know this five-room apartment as home. Here their mother educated them and taught them to read and write. She taught them how to add and subtract. Here they learned the word of God and here they grew up and for three of them, they left for college and then into marriage. While I was out working first in the plumbing and heating business and then in the pastorate, she stayed home and made our house a home. Three meals a day seven days a week, 365 days a year and no guest ever denied a meal even when they stopped by unexpectedly. I thank God for the wife He has given me and the mother she has been to our children. She has loved them unconditionally and she gave them a foundation. I’m indebted to her for all her sacrifice.

The blessings of God often go undetected as the Christian is usually waiting for a large sum of money or the absence of problems. Many an individual is blessed with a good mother and when they are in their youth, they don’t realize what they have. Then as young adulthood hits, they get busy trying to find their place in life. They are still looking for that great blessing from God and overlook the jewel that God has placed right in front of them. Many a husband will break his neck working and struggling and praying for the blessings of God and if he has a good wife who nurtures and cares for their children and if he fails to realize the ruby that God has placed within his home, he is a foolish man. There is no greater joy than to have a peaceful and quiet home. Many a night I would be out working late either on a heating emergency or as a pastor making a visit. I would rush home and Renee would have the kids bathed and, in their pajamas, waiting for me. We would read a Bible story, laugh, pray, and tuck them in. Then with the kids asleep, Renee would break out the Haagen Dazs chocolate ice cream she had hidden in the freezer. We learned not to make popcorn after the kids go to bed. Because as we sat there in the living room eating it the kids usually got up and would poke their heads out of the door wiping their eyes and asking if they could have some popcorn. I could never say no. To me, it was a flashback to when I was a child, when I would be lying in bed, and I could hear the popcorn being made and the smell would drift upstairs. I would get out of bed and lean over the banister and yell downstairs, Ma, can I have some popcorn? She also never said no and like a flash I was down the stairs and running down the hallway sliding across the kitchen floor with my pajamas with the built-in feet and then devouring a few handfuls of popcorn and back up to bed. Anyway, Renee and I would talk and finish whatever we were snacking on.
To whoever has finished reading this article I remind you that if you’re a woman who has been blessed to have children there is no higher calling than to care for them. Every other job is a pay cut and a downgrade. The Creator is the one whose wisdom is far beyond our comprehension, He has designed and made motherhood. He wired you and made you for such a purpose and to despise it or neglect that sacred and holy responsibility is unwise.

To all the single moms who have raised their children due to the loss of their husband or failed marriage or out-of-wedlock pregnancy. I say to you to stay true to God and rest assured he knows where you are and the struggle. I think of how God remembered Hagar in Genesis 21:9-21
To have been blessed with a good mother is a gift from almighty God even if mom was not so good (and there are mothers out there who had no business having children if I can say that). Maybe you’ve been blessed with a wife who is a good mother. There is where you should be thanking God for the blessing, He gave you. If you have been blessed to have both mom and wife, you have riches you do not understand.

Scripture reminds us:

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Psalm 127:3

There is no greater responsibility, no greater goal, no greater joy for a woman than the care of her children. Every other career choice is a downgrade a step away from what a holy and wise God gave you.

“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:27 – 30)

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” (Proverbs 14:1)

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How Blessed Do You Need to Be to Forget God… by Pastor Matt Swiatkowski

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 6 – 8 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read –  2 Corinthians 1 – 4Proverbs 3Psalms 11 – 15)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 119:105

Read the “0303 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s passage – Remember Who Butters Your Bread,” and “Let’s Get Back to the Bible.”

“And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,   And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;  Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.”

The LORD God gave the children of Israel a land they did not build, and he gave the warning to be careful not to forget him. How is that even possible? Yet it happened because they did forget him and served the gods of the people they just conquered. The book of Judges records just how rotten the people had become. The description of their sins is appalling, and you wonder how they could forget God and commit such terrible sins. Yet we don’t have to go back in time 3500 years ago; we just have to look at the last 75 years. The generation that fought WWII can not be mentioned enough. My dad was the oldest child and quit school in sixth grade to support the family because his dad was a drunk. He knew what it was like to go hungry and wear ragged clothes. He knew the threat of eviction and to have next to no possessions of his own. He then went off to war and sent most of his money back to mom so she could care for the children at home. After the war he married mom, bought a house and worked tirelessly to provide for his wife and six children. We never missed a meal and always had clothes to wear. My dad is typical of that generation; they went without and most of their children did not.

Today we live in a land blessed beyond measure and but are we a grateful nation? Do we find ourselves on our knees thanking God for all his blessings while we enjoy all the stuff we have? The answer is clear; it’s no. We have become ungrateful, we look at what we don’t have and are angry when the neighbor is blessed more than us. Is the church house full during mid-week service? No, because the stuff we are blessed with keeps us from God. The mid-week prayer service was born out of need for revival as people realized they needed God. Today who needs God when we are enjoying the fruit of others labor. How many pray for work only to let that job keep them from serving the Lord? How many prayed for a spouse and for children only to have them keep them from God? How many times has a loved one been sick, and you prayed, and God heard. Did you show God gratitude with service to him? Did you open your wallet and sacrifice in giving because you understood it was God who gave you that money in the first place? 

I think the answer is clear to all these questions. While there is always the remnant that are thankful, the vast majority go on with all their blessings, only to gripe and complain about what they don’t have. We will miss church and fail to serve in church because our stuff prevents us from doing so. The nation of Israel would go off into bondage in the book of Judges and I fear about the future of our nation and wonder what fate awaits a people who have had more than any other generation in history. I trust this is not true of you my friend, but that instead you live with a heart filled with gratitude towards God and are truly thankful for all he has done for you.

The Swiatkowski Family

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