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Friday, May 6, 2022

Trout Run Road horses
It was another beautiful day yesterday and always a good time for a neighborhood bike ride. These horses are on Trout Run Road.
Click on photo to enlarge

"Mother's Day"

Message summary: Mother's Day is this coming Sunday. Many who give little thought to obeying God's commands. They may live in open rebellion against God, but will nevertheless honor the fifth Commandment. On Motherís Day let us very intentionally practice the Fifth Commandment to "Honor your father and your mother" (Exodus 20:12).

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"Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine" (Romans 16:13)

During my years of pastoring I often taught on the family and gave special focus toward honoring our mothers and fathers. Over twenty-five years of writing these messages, around Mother's Day, I usually prepare a message about mothers, often using the Fifth Commandment itself.

However today I want to go in a little different direction with a consideration of a Bible verse that is likely often overlooked. When we get to the conclusion of Romans in chapter 16 Paul mentions many people by name, which Gordon Franz calls a "grocery list of names". Following the theological richness in Romans
chapters 1-11 and the practical teaching in chapters 12-15 Paul concludes his letter with a glimpse into the kind of "people person" he was.

"Greet Rufus..." Do you know anybody named Rufus? It's a rather uncommon name but here in Lancaster County where many people have Biblical names we have met several named Rufus.

There are just two references to Rufus in the Bible and they may be the same person, if so that would be very interesting. The first reference are the two sons of Simon the Cyrene who was forced to carry Christ's cross as recorded in Mark 15:21. "A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross." If this is that Rufus, then he would have been of North African descent. Cyrene is in present day Libya.

"A choice man in the Lord". Paul uses this interesting description for Rufus. To be described this way is a great commendation from Paul. This conveys that Rufus had some eminence among the Christians in his day. Bible teacher John MacArthur notes, "He was an extraordinary Christian, known for his love and work for the Lord and for the Lordís people."

"Also his mother and mine". It is the last phrase in the text that caught my attention in regards to Mother's Day. No proper name for Rufus' mother is provided but what an endearing phrase! Scripture speaks little about Paul's family background. There is no reference to his family growing up; he never refers to his mother and father nor any siblings. He appears to be single and there's no reference to children. So today's brief passage in Romans caught my attention. I am not aware of a compelling reason that he could not be speaking literally here. After all Paul, like everyone else, certainly had a mother!

Generally though commentators feel that Rufus' mother cared for Paul like a mother; thus he tenderly refers to her as his mother.

Grant C. Richison considers that "Rufusís mother might have met Paul in his need when his own family [would likely have] rejected him upon his becoming a Christian."

Herbert Vander Lugt asks, "Could it be that Rufus had brought a weary and tired apostle to his house, where Paul received from the mother of Rufus comforting words, a fresh garment, and a nourishing meal? Did Paul receive from her the empathy and tenderness that only a mother can give? We don't know this for sure, but it could explain his unusual greeting in today's text."

God has given mothers a unique capacity for showing gentleness and compassion, and for influencing the spiritual direction of their own biological children as well as the children whom they may influence in a motherly sort of way. Let's be thankful for our mothers and for those who have been like a mother to us.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, the fifth commandment indicates that we're to honor our father and mother. When we honor our parents, Lord, we also honor You and show appreciation for Your marvelous workmanship in our lives. We acknowledge that You ordained the family of our origin and we give thanks to You for our mother and father, brothers and sisters, along with special women we connect with; those who take us under their wings in our life's journey, that become a mother like figure to us, loving and caring for us as though we were blood related. We pray for our mothers and these dear mother like figures in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"A Mother Like You"  Video  Eastside Christian Church

Our friends Jesse and Anna Ruth on the Old Windmill Farm received some interesting recognition from the "Taste Of Home" magazine in an article titled, "The Best Local Farm Tour in Every State" (scroll down to Pennsylvania)!

We enjoy hearing from readers and their testimonies and just heard from David, an Arizona reader. "I have been a Christian for 51 years. I first believed reading the Bible for the first time while studying philosophy at Yale in 1971. I started at Genesis 1:1 in a hotel Bible that was sitting on a shelf in the cottage I was renting in Connecticut. In the middle of the Gospel of Luke, I suddenly believed what I was reading was true; a sovereign work of God's grace in me. I repented, confessing my sins best I could, and continue to do so. I still have that King James Bible after 51 years. There were very few Christians at Yale in those days, probably same today. At age 73, I am grateful that God has kept me in His hand all these years, despite my prideful and sinful nature, which is more apparent to me every day after all these years."

Donegal Mills sheep
It was another beautiful day yesterday and always a good time for a neighborhood bike ride. These horses are on Trout Run Road.
Click on photo to enlarge

Brian Williams
Brian Williams is a friend from our Sunday School class and along with his wife ministers in Cambodia. I recalled him sharing that he fixed bikes for the nationals so I asked him to come over and fix an issue on my bike. He had no problem fixing it!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLEģ, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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