Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: If you want to be a truly beautiful woman, embrace your barrenness and let God use it for His glory, enhance your beauty with a gentle and quiet spirit, and believe in the promises of God.

Since it is Mother’s Day today, I thought you might appreciate the advice given to mothers in the Mother’s Day issue of Housekeeping Magazine 51 years ago (May 13, 1965). They called it “The Good Wife’s Guide,” and it said in part:

Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious dinner ready when your husband gets home from work. This is a way of letting him know you have been thinking about him and are concerned with his needs…

Prepare yourself. Put on some make-up, put a ribbon in your hair, and be fresh-looking. He's been with a lot of work-weary people.

Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash them up, brush their hair, and change their clothes if needed. Remember, they are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part…

Have a cool or warm drink for him, and arrange his pillow and take off his shoes…

Over the cooler months you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. After all, catering to his comfort will bring you immense satisfaction…

Let him talk first. Remember that his topics of conversation are more important than yours…

Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner or entertainment without you. Instead try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his need to relax. (Bryan Wilkerson, Lean Up, www.PreachingToday.com)

Don’t you just love that, men? To be waited on hand-and-foot by your wives? I don’t. While the thought of being considerate of your mate is important, the thought of being his slave is demeaning to both men and women.

How about some better advice from God’s Word, some timeless advice which works in any age?

Do you want to be all that God has called you to be as a woman, truly beautiful in God’s sight? Then let’s consider Sarah, the wife of Abraham in the Bible. She became a mother at age 90, and the New Testament holds her up as an example to follow on at least two occasions.

However, we’re going to start in the Old Testament, where we have the first reference to Sarah in the Bible, originally called “Sarai”. Please, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Genesis 11.

Genesis 11:29-30 And Abram and Nahor took wives. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and Iscah. Now Sarai was barren; she had no child. (ESV)

“Sarai was barren.” This short, terse phrase describes the one persistent problem that clouded Sarai’s life. Sarai was barren. She had no child.

God had great plans for Abraham. He was to be the father of nations! He was to have as many descendants as the stars in the sky and the sand on the ground. But “Sarai was barren.” She was holding Abraham back from fulfilling God’s great plan for him. She was the wrong woman for him, or so it seemed. I’m sure she felt inadequate, and so do many women.

Perhaps, that describes some of you. You feel barren, inadequate as a woman or as a wife and mother.

Shirley Ratcliff, in the Christian Reader some time ago, talked about the time when her daughter, Kathy, was participating in a parenting class at her church. Kathy explained to her 6-year-old daughter, Kayla, that she was taking a course to help make her a better mommy.

The next Sunday, after church, Kayla became upset and threw a tantrum because she was not getting her way. Both parents tried to calm her. But with tears streaming down her face and in a loud voice, Kayla announced to her mother, “You told me you were taking a course to make you a better mommy. Well, it's not working!” (Shirley Ratcliff, “Kids of the Kingdom,” Christian Reader, July/August 2003; www.PreachingToday.com)

Sometimes, no matter how much you study, no matter how much you try, no matter how much you do, it just doesn’t work. So often, like Sarah, all of us (men and women alike) feel inadequate; we feel barren.

But that’s OK, because great women are often barren, to begin with. They feel their inadequacy. They feel their weakness, and that drives them to their knees. That drives them to dependency upon God, who loves to demonstrate His power in our weakness.

Ethel Barrymore once said, “When life knocks you to your knees – well, that’s the best position in which to pray, isn’t it?” (Leadership, Vol.16, No.3)

Many of you know Dr. Ben Carson’s story and his rise to become one of the premier brain surgeons in the United states, and for a while was a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination. He is a man of faith, and I think would have been a good president, but life wasn’t always so good for him and his family. Several years ago, he talked about his mother in an ABC News “Upclose” interview, and this is what he had to say:

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