Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, December 19, 2010

PEACE



Hey wise women,

I pray you’ve done some seeking this week and will continue on your journey to discover all that God has to offer you. One thing He desires for you is peace. It’s a focal point this time of year; yet it’s something we should seek all year long. For families dealing with tough situations, peace seems a remote concept. But God offers peace. Let’s go seeking for it. 


As Psalm 34:14 says:
Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. (NKJV)

Walking through the Bible, you can uncover God’s words about peace. Take time to sit with your Heavenly Father, His law, and become filled with His peace. 


Psalm 119:165 says:
Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble. (NKJV)

And Isaiah 26:3 says:
You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You,
 Because he trusts in You. (NKJV)

There’s that word TRUST. If you’re doubting that you are able to trust in the Lord, have faith, or believe in His promises, read the following Scriptures and remember you are not alone.


Trust in the LORD with all your heart, 
And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20 (NKJV)

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 (NKJV)

At times we all wrestle with our faith. The Israelites are a perfect example for us because they struggled as we do. And oh, how they messed up. Prophet after prophet reminded them to live as God instructed. Many times they refused to listen. The four hundred years before Christ was born were full of tumultuous activity, and it seemed as though God was silent. The minor prophets had promised peace, but the oppressed Israelites experienced little of it. Did they trust God? Were they seeking Him first? Only God knows, but we can certainly learn from their mistakes.

Is dissension all around you? Do you feel oppressed? Where is your focus; is it your family first or are you seeking God first? Here’s a hard Scripture to read, but it tells us where our priorities need to be in order to gain peace. 


The verses below are from Matthew 10:34-39:

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. (NKJV)

We are told in Matthew 6:25-34 not to worry and to seek first the kingdom of God:

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?


“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?


“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
(NKJV)

Read what the minor prophets prophesied to the Israelites. Be thankful that you have proof of a Savior who fulfilled prophecy. Celebrate His birth. Worship His majesty. Seek His presence. Believe in His promises. Trust Him. Peace will follow. God says so!

‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the LORD of hosts.” Haggai 2:9 (NKJV)

The Promise:
“ But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.”


Therefore He shall give them up,
Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth;
Then the remnant of His brethren
Shall return to the children of Israel.
And He shall stand and feed His flock
In the strength of the LORD,
In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God;
And they shall abide,
For now He shall be great
To the ends of the earth;
And this One shall be peace.
Micah 5:2-5 (NKJV)

The Fulfillment:
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “ Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Luke 2:11-14 (NKJV), also read Luke 2:1-14

Jesus’ own words as He ministered to people:
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27 (NKJV)


These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 (NKJV)

While in prison, Paul wrote these words because of his total trust in Jesus:


Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

We are told to seek peace in Hebrews 12:14:
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. (NKJV)

Hebrews 13:5-6 tells us how to behave:
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”So we may boldly say: “ The LORD is my helper;
 I will not fear.
 What can man do to me?” (NKJV)

Have a joyous Christmas and I leave you with God’s words:
Peace be within your walls,
 Prosperity within your palaces.” Psalm 122:7 (NKJV)

“The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
 And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
 And give you peace.”
 Numbers 6:24-26 (NKJV)



P-patiently
E-expecting
A-all
C-Christ's
E-ease

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Seeking Him


O LORD, our Lord, 
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Psalm 8:1 (NIV)

OK, so I walk outside and look around at the beauty of nature. There has to be a Creator God; chaos (Big Bang Theory) did not create order. But where is God and why doesn’t He fix my problems now?

At times we may feel as though God is absent, wondering if He’s going to repair our situations. He’s already laid the groundwork for solving problems - Jesus Christ crucified, dead, and resurrected. Jesus is our foundation. All we need to do is build upon Him. Well, how do we do that? By seeking Him.

“Wise men still seek Him” - A simple Christmas slogan that conveys depth and truth. Those three wise men that sought baby Jesus knew that there was something worth seeking. As astronomers they studied the stars, their physical characteristics, positions, and motions. They probably walked into their backyard, gazed at the night sky, saw a huge star, and began to draw from their knowledge of the galaxy about the birth of a Jewish king. Thus began their journey to follow the star, seeking the One that the star proclaimed. 


I’ve heard it said that Jesus was two years old when they found Him. That changes the beautiful manger scene. Or does it? Does it matter when the wise men found Jesus? No, I think the important thing is that they went “seeking Him” and found Him. God tells us in Scripture to seek Him, so wise women start seeking Him.

Even though we’re “wise women”, we are also “worried mothers”. Jesus speaks directly to that worry in Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV) and He says, “Do not worry.....but seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”.

Don’t you think that promise from Jesus’ own lips is worth investigating? So how do we go about seeking God? The answer lies in Deuteronomy 4:29-31 (NIV):
 

"But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him. For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath"..............go seeking with all your heart and all your soul. 

As Psalm 119:2 (Holman Christian Standard Bible) states: "Happy are those who keep His decrees and seek Him with all their heart."

When everything has failed you and answers to your problems are hidden, earnestly seek Him - "God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You; my body faints for You in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water." Psalm 63:1 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)


Seek Him with your whole heart - "My heart says of you, 'Seek his face!' Your face, LORD, I will seek." Psalm 27:8 (NIV)

OK, I know you have lots to do (especially at Christmas) and work awaits, but don’t you think your Savior (the One who gave His life for you) deserves some of your time (it’s really His time). Alright, let’s keep seeking. Scripture is full of verses telling us to seek Him. 


Read another of God’s promises based on our seeking from Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV): "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

God has plans for our lives; maybe we ought to “conference” with Him first before we talk with others or try it our own way. Seeking Him should be our priority as it states in Psalm 105:4 (NIV): "Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always." 


We should seek the Lord and no other as it says in Amos 5:4 (NIV): “Seek me and live; do not seek Bethel, do not go to Gilgal, do not journey to Beersheba.” (These cities represent idolatry.) 

Zephaniah 2:3 (NIV) says: "Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility"...and 2 Chronicles 7:14 states: "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (NIV)

Seeking Him will bring His answers, His promises. Seek Him diligently and daily. "For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them" Isaiah 58:2 (NIV).

Just as the wise men sought the Jewish King and found Jesus, receive His reward for your steadfastness to find Him. Hear what He says all throughout Scripture:

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: 

that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.

For in the day of trouble 
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;

he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
Psalm 27:4-5 (NIV)

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears...... The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. Psalm 34:4,10 (NIV)

I love those who love me, 
and those who seek me find me. Proverbs 8:17 (NIV)

Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully. Proverbs 28:5 (NIV)

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

Read Psalm 63 and let it be your daily prayer. Wise women still seek Him..........

Sunday, December 5, 2010

December Sky


Gazing toward the pre-dawn sky, I wondered if the wise men marveled at the Star of Bethlehem as I admired the beauty of God’s heaven. Off in the distance over a hill, a bright quarter moon smiled at me. Not far to the left of the moon was an enormously brilliant star, probably the planet Venus. The light against the night sky was stunning.

How can anyone doubt the existence of God? Nature and its routine showing isn’t really routine and it doesn’t just happen by chance. It is ordained by a higher being who we know to be God. Read of God’s glory in Psalm 8 (NKJV) and His revelation in Psalm 19:1-6 (NIV):

O LORD, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen—
Even the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.

O LORD, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth!

--------------------------------

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,
which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.
Read the rest of Psalm 19 – it’s awesome.)

Do you doubt His existence? If you’re reading this, probably not. Are you uncertain if He hears your prayers? Possibly. Is your trust in His faithfulness wavering? Maybe. Do you believe He will fulfill His promises in your life? Perhaps. Have you prayed and prayed for your prodigal and your family to no avail? If God cares enough to consistently paint His orderly sky, revealing Himself through creation, surely He has compassion on His creatures and desires to care for them. If you feel your prayers aren’t working, consider Job and his bleak circumstances.

Job feared God and lived uprightly. He had been blessed with many children and great possessions. One day he lost his entire property and all of his children; his health even dwindled. Now that’s something to cry out to God about. Not Job. Scripture says that he fell to the ground and worshiped God with these words:

“ Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.
Job 1:21-22 (NKJV)

As time marched on, Job’s soul became restless:

So I have been allotted months of futility,
And wearisome nights have been appointed to me.
When I lie down, I say, ‘When shall I arise,
And the night be ended?’
For I have had my fill of tossing till dawn.
My flesh is caked with worms and dust,
My skin is cracked and breaks out afresh.


“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle,
And are spent without hope.
Oh, remember that my life is a breath!
My eye will never again see good.
Job 7:3-7 (NKJV)

Job goes on to say:

If I called and He answered me,
I would not believe that He was listening to my voice.
For He crushes me with a tempest,
And multiplies my wounds without cause.
He will not allow me to catch my breath,
But fills me with bitterness.
Job 9:16-18 (NKJV)

As he pleads with God, he says:

‘Your hands have made me and fashioned me,
An intricate unity;
Yet You would destroy me.
Remember, I pray, that You have made me like clay.
And will You turn me into dust again?
Did You not pour me out like milk,
And curdle me like cheese,
Clothe me with skin and flesh,
And knit me together with bones and sinews?
You have granted me life and favor,
And Your care has preserved my spirit.
Job 10:8-12 (NKJV)

Then Job seemed to gain strength and he says:

“Hold your peace with me, and let me speak,
Then let come on me what may!
Why do I take my flesh in my teeth,
And put my life in my hands?
Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.
Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.
He also shall be my salvation,
For a hypocrite could not come before Him.
Listen carefully to my speech,
And to my declaration with your ears.
 

See now, I have prepared my case,
I know that I shall be vindicated.
Who is he who will contend with me?
If now I hold my tongue, I perish.  Job 13:13-17 (NKJV)

He’s ready to contend with God, yet declaring that he stills trusts Him. Later, though, he says:

Know then that God has wronged me,
And has surrounded me with His net.
Job 19:6 (NKJV)

My footnote explains that Job feels fenced in by God when it’s really Satan who’s been mistreating him. Even though he feels that God is persecuting him, Job still declares:

“Oh, that my words were written!
Oh, that they were inscribed in a book!
That they were engraved on a rock
With an iron pen and lead, forever!
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
Job 19:23-27 (NKJV)

After all the back and forth speech with God and his friends, Job finally answers the Lord and says:

“I know that You can do everything,
And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
Listen, please, and let me speak;
You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.
Therefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes.”
Job 42:2-6 (NKJV)

In His time, God restored Job’s losses and gave him twice as much as before. He blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days. Job 42:10, 12, 16 (NKJV)

Can you declare with Job that your Redeemer lives (19:25)? Do you believe with Job that even if He slays you, you will still trust Him (13:15)


Go outside and focus on the work of your Creator. Contemplate the Savior’s works in your life and hear Him say:
“ Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
Isaiah 43:1b (NKJV)

But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. John 10:2-4 (NKJV)

Do you still doubt? Let’s hold each other up, trusting and believing Him. Together with confidence, let’s declare the words from Psalm 5:

Give ear to my words, O LORD,
Consider my meditation.
Give heed to the voice of my cry,
My King and my God,
For to You I will pray.
My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will look up.

For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness,
Nor shall evil dwell with You.
The boastful shall not stand in Your sight;
You hate all workers of iniquity.
You shall destroy those who speak falsehood;
The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy;
In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.
Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies;
Make Your way straight before my face.

For there is no faithfulness in their mouth;
Their inward part is destruction;
Their throat is an open tomb;
They flatter with their tongue.
Pronounce them guilty, O God!
Let them fall by their own counsels;
Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions,
For they have rebelled against You.

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.
For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield.
(NKJV)

And all God’s people said AMEN – let it be so!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

REST


Part 1

She climbs up in my lap, buries her head in my arm, and intensely sighs with satisfaction. Was she seeking protection, comfort, rest, security, or love? I can only guess why my little dog needed to be nearby, but she exhaled contentment.

Are you seeking rest? Can you envision yourself curled up in Daddy God’s lap finding refreshment and relief? Picture yourself enjoying comfort and gaining strength in His arms as He reassures you of His love and care. He desires to give you rest.

Rest has several definitions in the Macmillan Dictionary. One is freedom from exertion, distress, and disturbance; quiet; ease: a day of rest (sounds like Sunday afternoons when I was growing up). Another is something that serves as a support (sounds like Jesus). 


These two definitions resemble my idea of paradise. Wouldn’t it be great to experience that rest? Actually heaven can be brought to earth through our prayers; in fact, Jesus taught us how to pray for heaven’s will to invade earth in the Lord’s Prayer. And rest is God’s will for us, right? Let’s go after it.

Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (NKJV)


The Biblical footnote reveals that the Jews were suffering under the weight of religious responsibilities laid on them by priests, rabbis, scribes, and Pharisees. Jesus wanted to give them rest.

Jesus wants to give us rest. We may not have Pharisees laying burdens on us, but we have our own burdens to bear inflicted upon us by others or even ourselves. And labor - those of us who were fortunate to bear children labored hard to give them birth. Such hard work and yet a blessing! Then the daily labor or worrying began. 


How many times have you worried over your children instead of entrusting them to God’s care? No rest there, right? Now physically we must raise them up, but we can allow Jesus to lighten our burden by daily (maybe even minute by minute) lifting our children up to our Heavenly Father’s care through prayer, trusting in His promises for them.

I don’t know about your children but sometimes I couldn’t make my kids do anything without a battle. Now granted some battles are necessary like holding hands to cross the street. Some battles were self-inflicted and I labored hard to get my point across, leaving God out of the process. Then as they grew I felt I had lost some battles. But I tried my best, praying for them and with them.

Scripture tells us in Proverbs 22:6 to train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. In that verse I see an “in-between” stage and I think of our prodigals. Will they come back to us? Just like the prodigal in Luke 15:11-32, they see life as better somewhere else and they make a choice (remember God allows us to make our own choices; He doesn’t fight us, He simply offers). Can all our wrestling stop them? 


When the younger son asked for his portion of the inheritance, his father didn’t fight with his son. He gave to his son what he asked for. Several days later the son chose to leave and waste all that his father had given him. What did the father do while his son was gone? Scripture doesn’t say but I think he prayed while he waited, plus he had to go on living for his other son. 

But when the younger son “came to his senses” and returned home, the father accepted his return without reservation. I believe Jesus tells us throughout His Word what to do during those difficult seasons of our lives. Pray and REST! We must go about our days fully trusting God to work out our situations. If we are bent over with worry, we are no good to anyone, including ourselves. 

 TRUST = REST and PEACE

For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15 (NKJV)

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)

Part 2

The prophet Elijah was a busy man, laboring hard for the Lord. Read about him in 1 Kings 17-19. When Jezebel threatened his life, Elijah suddenly got fearful, tired, depressed, and ran away to die. Out in the wilderness, he discovered a broom tree and found rest. 


What is a broom tree? Information about plants from a bible dictionary and a biblical website teaches us that “the long roots of the broom tree enable it to reach ground water even in the driest months. Unlike many other shrubs of dry habitats, it remains green throughout the year. Because of its beauty and ability to survive under difficult conditions, rotem, as the white broom is called in Hebrew, is used as a girl's name in Israel.” Wow, MPs, we need to rest under a broom tree!

While Elijah slept under that broom tree, an angel touched him, fed him and prepared him for a forty day and night journey to the mountain of God. Once on the mountain in a cave, Elijah encountered God; not in the wind or an earthquake or fire, but in a still small voice. Can we encounter God in our worry or distress or fighting? No. We find Him in rest, if we rest in Him.

Are you traveling in the wilderness of life for various reasons? Are you laboring over a prodigal child? If you are, KNOW that God journeys with you. 


I confirm from experience that He comes alongside you. It is a most bittersweet time: BITTER because love for your child may cause pain, but SWEET because love from Daddy God is adequate and abundant. 

Do you believe what scripture states in Ephesians 3:20? It reads: “He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us?” Then rest in His Word. Crawl up into His arms (on your most comfortable chair) and hear Him whispering in your ear (as you read His words).

Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass. Psalm 37:7 (Amplified Bible)

I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. Psalm 16:8-9 (NKJV)

This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16 (NIV)

So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.
Psalm 55:6 (NIV)


The above verse reminds me of a poem that I wrote in 2007 during a weekend at Lake Junaluska near Ashville, North Carolina. I woke up early and walked down to an outside seating arena where a cross overlooks the lake. With the mountains in the background, it is a breathtaking view. 


I was in the throes of distress, worrying over a prodigal daughter and mourning the loss of my dad. I looked up at the cross, cried out to God, and suddenly a bird landed and rested on the vertical bar of the cross. Was God speaking to me? He poured into me these words and now I share them with you.


Resting on the Arm of the Lord

There stands a big white cross overlooking a beautiful lake.
It reminds me of Jesus the Savior who died for everyone’s sake.
Guardian of God’s creation, it eases many an ache.
Like the bird who sits upon it, I’m resting on the arm of the Lord.

Images of personal hurt appear visible to my mind’s eye,
As the sun rises over the lake, reflecting earth and sky.
The cross offers assurance that my Father dwells on high.
Like the bird who sits upon it, I’m resting on the arm of the Lord.

We’re told there will be trials throughout the journey of life.
Daily we need to meet with our Lord in order to contend with strife.
He shows Himself to be faithful, as a gallant husband to his wife.
Like the bird who sits upon the cross, I’m resting on the arm of the Lord. 


DDC 8/07


Are you refreshed yet? Remember the broom tree? Are your roots strong and long enough to reach water so that you can quench your thirst from the dry season? Take time to sit under it, rest, and plant God’s Word in your heart, believing His words will bear fruit in your life and the lives of your children. Then, like my little dog in my lap, breathe a sigh of contentment in the arms of a loving Savior.


ARE YOU
T - tired
H - hopeless
I – indifferent
R – reckless
S – suffering
T – troubled
Y – yearning for more?

LET JESUS OUR LORD
S – Savior
A - Advocate
T – Teacher
I – Immanuel
S – Shepherd
F – Father
Y – Yahweh/Jehovah (I AM who I AM)!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

God Will Make a Way


Hey MPs,

What great handiwork of God have you witnessed? Have you experienced any of His marvelous works? If you’re really attentive to God’s presence, you should be able to say that God has done indescribable things.

When you hear the words indescribable, marvelous, splendid, do you only “see” BIG things happening? I hope not. We serve a servant God who is in the details and allows simplicity. Read Psalm 139:1-6 and Matthew 18:1-5. His miracles certainly are marvelous and at times they are “super-sized”, but sometimes we need to be aware of His presence in order to see what He’s doing in our lives. Here are a few of God’s miracles in my life:


* When I was in despair, God placed a car in front of me with a tag that read "XALT HM".
* When I needed a word of hope, God blessed me with Scripture that was repeated by several people over a short period of time.
* When I felt uneasy over my child’s situation or grieving over the loss of a loved one, He sent butterflies across my path to direct my walk with Him.


None of these things are mighty occurrences in the eyes of the world, but they were “life-altering moments” for me. God cared enough to give me a touch of hope in a time of despair.

I’m reminded of a song that goes something like this – “God will make a way where there seems to be no way….!” Do you believe He will make a way when the way is invisible? In case you’re having doubts, read these promises from His Word and believe He makes a way for you.

Believe that God will shine a light on your dark path.


For You are my lamp, O LORD; The LORD shall enlighten my darkness.
For by You I can run against a troop; By my God I can leap over a wall.
As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all

who trust in Him. 2 Samuel 22:29-31(NKJV)



Believe that God calms the storms that rage around you and in the midst of the storm, praise Him.

Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, So that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven. Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people, And praise Him in the company of the elders. Psalm 107:28-32 (NKJV)

Believe that God will answer you and direct your path.

For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; You shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; When He hears it, He will answer you. And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, But your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “ This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:19-21 (NKJV)

Believe that God will supply your needs and heal you.

Then He will give the rain for your seed with which you sow the ground, And bread of the increase of the earth; It will be fat and plentiful. In that day your cattle will feed in large pastures. Likewise the oxen and the young donkeys that work the ground will eat cured fodder, Which has been winnowed with the shovel and fan. There will be on every high mountain and on every high hill rivers and streams of waters, In the day of the great slaughter, When the towers fall. Moreover the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, And the light of the sun will be sevenfold, As the light of seven days, In the day that the LORD binds up the bruise of His people and heals the stroke of their wound. Isaiah 30:23-26 (NKJV)

I pray your soul is refreshed. God is working in your life. Trust Him to work out all your troubles in His way and in His time. Remember God speaks His promises and His Word accomplishes His plans.

“ For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. “ For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. “ For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; And it shall be to the LORD for a name, For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” Isaiah 55:8-13 (NKJV)

Ponder your past and remember God has worked in your life. Be observant to His miracles and thank Him for what He is doing. Allow Him to lead you through the storms and trust Him with your future.

Whoever is wise will observe these things, And they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord. Psalm 107:43 (NKJV)

Thank you, Jesus, for your mercy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Exalt Him


Life has its ups and downs and my family has been experiencing some "downs". But God is good and He is our Peace. He has blessed me with some awesome "prayer warrior" friends who have been lifting me up to the loving arms of Daddy God. Thanks, ladies! In the midst of all my distress, I experienced a "God moment". As I was driving, I noticed the tag on the car in front of me. It said "Xalt Hm". Now I needed that nudge from God to remind me to lift up praises amidst despair! Here's my litany of praises:

In the midst of tragedy and pain, XALT HM!
In the midst of negative circumstances, XALT HM!
In the midst of gloom and doom, XALT HM!
In the midst of financial woes, XALT HM!
In the midst of an unsatisfying job, XALT HM!
In the midst of a spiritual battle, XALT HM!
In the midst of a "nothing is going right, everything's falling apart" moment, XALT HM!

Our Savior CAN move the mountains - He comes to rescue His people! EXALT HIM!
Lift up your swords, MPs, and continue fighting!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mountains


Creation loudly declares God’s existence (Romans 1:20). As I left my mother’s house in frosty North Carolina, a cloudless sunlit sky enveloped colorful trees and indigo mountains in the distance. God’s beauty surrounds our daily living, our ups and downs. Our insurmountable problems are microscopic when compared to His majestic creation; thankfully He cares for every detail in our lives, no matter the size.

Thoughts of my past, present, and future paraded through my mind provoking worries while arousing praises. Voices from my radio began to sing, “Savior, He can move the mountains, my God is mighty to save….” WOW, God! Evidence of Your created majesty with praises raised can move those magnified mountains from my mind. Thank you, Jesus!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Battling for our Children


Hey MPs,

Are you seized by fear or are you standing firm on the promises of God? Today is a new day! Stand on the faithfulness of God and receive His compassion that is full of mercy and grace. Together we are going to pray for our children, using God’s own Words that are full of His promises.

To begin the battle of prayer, “suit up” in God’s armor - Ephesians 6:10-18. The first piece to put on is the belt of truth that wraps us in truth and honesty. Satan is the “father of lies” and we can’t fight him if we’re not attempting to live a life of integrity. We also can’t expect God to answer our prayers if we’re not being truthful with Him about ourselves. Jesus knows us anyway right down to our core and He died for all that junk that builds up in our lives. He understands us in every way and intercedes for us to the Father. 


Read about Jesus our intercessor in Hebrews 4:14-16. Right now go boldly before the throne of God, not with dressed-up prayers, but with cries of sincerity, laying before Him your sins.

To the belt of truth attach the breastplate of righteousness around your heart, giving God your emotions. Don’t cower in a corner like Much-Afraid in Hind’s Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard (if you haven’t read that book you should; it’s so applicable to our lives). Stand like a soldier believing that God’s “got your back”. Trust Him.

Bend down, put on those shoes of peace, and stand on the firm foundation of God’s gospel. He’s given us His Word; simply pray those words back to Him with confidence. Ephesians 3:12 reminds us of …..Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. 


Even though the power of God rests upon believers in Christ, we still doubt at times (poor little Much-Afraid was afraid because she doubted). SO pick up the shield of faith and rely on Jesus. Deflect Satan’s lies and uncertainty; send him and his minions fleeing in fear. Have faith in God!

Just in case those doubts and fears rise up again, quickly put on that helmet of salvation. It covers our heads and fills our minds with strength from God. The conflict with Satan usually begins in our minds; it’s where the fight starts. We have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) so why be filled with doubt (James 1:5-8). Why make our minds a battlefield where confusion and uncertainty fight wisdom from God!

Now defend your territory (your families) with that sword of the Spirit. It’s God’s Word. Use those words to fight everything. Don’t just say the words. Exercise your Christian belief by drawing the sword out of the scabbard and wield it in faith.

WE’RE READY TO PRAY. Pray as Jesus did and pray in His Name (Hebrews 5:7). Ask anything and He will hear.


Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24 (NKJV)


If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. John 15:7 (NKJV)


Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 1 John 5:14 (NKJV)

Pray believing His promises:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I gave Egypt for your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Isaiah 43:2-3 (NKJV)

Know how much He loves you:
Since you were precious in My sight,

You have been honored,
And I have loved you;
Therefore I will give men for you,
And people for your life. Isaiah 43:4 (NKJV)

Cry out to Him for your children and hear Him say:
Fear not, for I am with you;

I will bring your descendants from the east,
And gather you from the west;
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
And to the south, ‘Do not keep themback!’
Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the ends of the earth—
Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory;
I have formed him, yes, I have made him.” Isaiah 43:5-7 (NKJV)

Praise Him with Psalm 66 and Psalm 111. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your awesome works and your faithfulness.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Questions to Consider


Our God is a personal God and He is faithful. Do you truly believe that He is who He says He is? Do you believe He will do what He says He will do? Is He faithful to His promises? 2 Corinthians 1:20, 2 Peter 1:4, Hebrews 6:11-12

Ponder your faith in God and consider your fears. What do you fear most? Do your fears shake your faith?

At various times in our lives we experience mountains and valleys. We can’t live on the mountain tops forever but the experience should build our faith. The fear that keeps us in the valley will overcome us if left unchecked; it will paralyze us unless we call to Jesus for help.

Have you ever been too stunned with fear to seize the opportunity to cry out to Jesus? Call to Him using Jeremiah 33:3.

What kind of faith do you have while in the midst of the storms of life? Do you persevere or shrink back? So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him." But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. Hebrews 10:35-39


Do you gaze heavenward seeking the eternal or do you look all around you at the temporal? 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Study these Scriptures as you seek to answer the questions. Let God speak to you and pour into you His blessed assurance. Fill up with His power and together we can call down heaven’s armies to fight for our children, praying His Word back to Him using Isaiah 43:5-7. We’ll study those verses next week.

I would love to read some comments on the blog with thoughts piqued from the questions. Listen to God and share how He is telling you to persevere and not shrink back.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

He is Faithful


Hey MPs,

…Your Words have given me life (Psalm 119:50). Did you discover any personal words from your personal God this week? Have you allowed His Peace to fill your agitated soul? Do you trust Him with all areas of your life? He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24). Thank you, Jesus!

Reread 1 Thessalonians 5:24 and breathe it in. He who calls you… Did He call you? He certainly did. He said so in Isaiah 43:1 – I have called you by name….you are Mine. Do you believe it? He said so!

Have you ever spoken those words to your children “Because I said so”? Did you say them because you had constantly repeated your words previously? I can’t say whether God gets frustrated with us (I think He might), but He sure has repeated His Words. He has every reason to say, “Because I said so!” He could also add, “Will you just trust me, I have promised!” He…..is faithful, who also will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

Has your week been more than you could handle alone? Have you tried to manage it or have you put complete trust in God’s ability to take care of everything in your life? Read these very strong words from your Savior and believe your situation is under His control.


When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior….Isaiah 43:2-3b (NKJV)


What comforting words from your personal God! He loves you and cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). You are the “apple of His eye” (Psalm 17:8). No matter your circumstances, He is faithful. He will take care of you and your situations.

He personally took care of me this morning. I woke up tired and had major doubts about writing for this blog today. “I feel very incapable, God,” I thought aloud. But then I read an article from one of my devotionals for today, written by Cindi Wood. (I’ve quoted some of her work before. It was compelling to read her work today because yesterday several of us MPs went to hear her speak at a woman’s conference at Mt. Paran Church.) 


In her article she was sharing her struggle to accomplish the goal of writing one of her books. She discovered that her Bible was open to the psalms and she was encouraged to read Psalm 57:2 from the Amplified Bible. She said that she read through tears: “I will cry to God Most High, Who performs on my behalf and rewards me – Who brings to pass His purposes for me and surely completes them!” She was overwhelmed. As I read her words about God’s Words, I was overwhelmed. 

He really is a personal God, right? He takes care of each one of us and all the details in our lives. He has told us so. When will I quit doubting? Will I ever completely trust Him? Are you asking yourself the same questions? Mark 9:24 contains words that we need to hear and speak to God. “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Just in case you and I need to hear Him repeat His words, let’s read Lamentations 3:19-25 and Psalm 86:14-17. I think I can also hear Him saying, “I said so BECAUSE… I LOVE YOU!

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for loving us so. Forgive us for doubting, yet we’re grateful that You have repeated your Words, especially when we've needed to hear them. Help us to trust You more each day. AMEN.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Our personal God


Hey MPs,

God is a personal God. Do we truly understand what that means? My dictionary defines personal this way: of or relating to a particular person; individual; private. Sounds invasive, huh? But do you consider God an intrusive God or are you glad that He knows you right down to your core? Let’s discover just how much He knows us and give thanks that He is so personal.

Our fast-paced society keeps us from getting “too private” with people; we don’t have time for fellowship. We can put distance between us and others so that we don’t have to “feel”. Is that how we treat our personal God? It certainly is not how He treats us, if we let Him in. He desires fellowship, but it’s our choice. Let’s look at the Word and uncover the personal words that He has for us.

Open your Bible to Isaiah 43. It’s actually the chapter that contains our MPs verse. We’re going to study this chapter over the next few weeks, but for right now, let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start….. sorry- I just had to share the song that came to mind – hope it made you smile. 


Isaiah 43:1 says – But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” Read it again and instead of Jacob and Israel, plug in your own name and that of your children. He calls us each by our own names. Isn’t that a wonderful personal feeling? Only God knows each of our names and what a feat to remember them.

I’m reminded how I seem to always forget people’s names when I meet them. I guess I’m not focused on them. Or I remember when my Dad was calling me or one of my sisters. He usually called out all of our names until he finally called the right one. I have even called my son by my daughter’s name or vice versa. 


Thank goodness God is so personal. He doesn’t confuse us with anyone else because He KNOWS us individually. He even knows how many hairs are on our heads. Read Matthew 10:30. The next verse in Matthew tells us that we don’t have to fear because we are of value to our God. Do you feel special yet? Well, keep on reading. I hope that when you are finished, you’ll feel extraordinary.

Any situation you find yourself in, there are words within God’s Word to encourage, comfort, guide, and direct you. Here are just a few examples.

If you’re suffering or sad - Psalm 34:18, Psalm 56:8
If you’re happy or joyful – Psalm 144:15, Psalm 101:1-2
If you’re afraid or fearful – Psalm 27:1, Isaiah 41:10
If you want to feel loved – Ephesians 3:14-21, 1 John 4:19
If you need to be comforted – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Isaiah 51:3

You know that I could go on and on. God has many names because He is all things to us. That’s how He can be so intimate with us. He knows us and He knows what we need. Here’s one more. It’s all-encompassing.

“Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been upheld by Me from birth, who have been carried from the womb: Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you. Isaiah 46:3-4

Wow, that about covers it all, from birth to death and everything in between. Our God is an awesome, personal God throughout our lifetime. He has the words that can breathe new life into us every day. Peter says in John 6:68 that our Lord has the words of eternal life. He is a part of every detail!

God’s words have helped many patriarchs and they can help you and me. Open your Bible and discover for yourself the words that your personal God has written just for you. I leave you with this verse: This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life. Psalm 119:50

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Praying with persistence


Hey MPs,

Have you been standing firm in prayer this week? Are you exhausted because you’ve been standing in your own strength or have you been renewed because God’s power has His glory shining within and around you? Do you truly believe the promises in His Word?

I think it’s safe to say that at times we’ve tried using our own strength to get by each day and other times we’ve allowed God to hold us up. That’s human nature. Scripture contains pages and pages of people just like us. But also within that mighty Word are great examples of people who intensely persisted in standing firm in prayer. They truly took God at his word and believed He would help them. Let’s explore the lives of a few trusting servants who stood knowing that God would answer their prayers.

Jesus spoke to His followers and told them a parable about a persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8. He told of a widow who needed help (widows depended on society for support). She had to ask for help from a dishonest judge and she didn’t take “no” for an answer. Society was supposed to take care of her so she persisted in her appeal. She pestered the judge and persevered until he finally granted her request. 


Then Jesus said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” 

With that last statement, Jesus tried to encourage the people to continue in their faith and not lose heart. Are you able to persevere as the widow did, believing God will answer your prayers? Will you continue to hold on to your faith in Jesus?

Another great example of persistence in prayer is Hannah in 1 Samuel 1. Hannah was one of the two wives of Elkanah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not. Peninnah berated Hannah repeatedly, causing Hannah agonizing sorrow. After years of this pain, Hannah went to the temple doorpost where Eli the priest sat and made a vow to the Lord. 


She said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give Him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.” 

Once Eli realized she wasn’t drunk, His wished her peace and hoped God would grant her request. Eventually God answered her prayer, she had a son, and gave him to the Lord. Through intense pain, Hannah persisted in her requests to God. Do you truly believe that God will grant you the desires of your heart?

These two ladies, the widow and Hannah, did not give up. They stood firm with persistence, believing God would answer them. 


Now turn to Daniel 10 and read how Daniel prevailed in prayer. For three full weeks he prayed, never giving up. His answer came by way of a man surrounded by the glory of God (Scripture references say this was either an angel or Jesus). The man wanted Daniel to know that his request had been heard from the moment he uttered it, but a spiritual battle had occurred. Dark forces were trying to prevent an answer to Daniel’s prayer, but Daniel’s perseverance in prayer had allowed the man to finally attend to Daniel’s needs. 

Verses 18-19a says - the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me. And the man said to Daniel, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” 

Because of his intense persistence, strength and answers came to Daniel by way of the man of God. Could you focus for three solid weeks on a petition to the Lord? Daniel did and what a blessing he received.

Even Jesus was persistent in His prayers. Hebrews 5:7 says.…..who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear…..

Are you weary? Are you ready to quit praying because you think God is not going to take the time to answer your prayers? Don’t give up! Stand firm! Keep praying, following the examples of the widow, Hannah, Daniel, and Jesus. God knows your needs. He just wants you to ask and stand strong as a tree planted by rivers of waters. Psalm 1:2-3 states:


But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

Go about your days standing firm, praying intensely, and believing God’s Word. Read Psalm 112 and let it fill you with peace and comfort, knowing that your persistence will be carried forth into future generations.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Stand Firm


Hey MPs,

Reminder: tomorrow is the 4th Monday and we’ll be meeting at Daily Grind around 4:00. We will begin our study of Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. We are also studying that book on Wednesday mornings at KMHS. Whether you have the book or not, join us if you can. Any of you reading this who are unable to meet either time with us should get a copy of that book (copyright 1975 – been around a long time) and read it. It is an allegory based on Habakkuk 3:19. It will give you strength for the journey with our Lord.

Alright ladies, I think it’s safe to say that the relationship with our Heavenly Father is evolving. It’s a wonderful journey that we walk with Him, even though some days are better than others. We won’t fully understand this sacred relationship until we enter His heavenly kingdom, but while we’re here on earth we have to trust Him to walk alongside us, maybe even carry us.

In this developing relationship, we have discovered that at times we must watch and wait. What about those times when we are told to stand firm? Scripture tells us to stand, Ephesians 6 tells us four times to stand, and I gather from verses 10-20 that Paul means for us to stand firm. So what exactly does that mean? 


Well, to STAND means to resist without yielding; to maintain a position; to persist; to endure; to remain upright; to encounter; to meet face-to-face. Are you tired yet? Now put on that armor of God from Ephesians 6 and stand in prayer – verse 18 says praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints---. 

Now that’s heavy, literally and spiritually. Sounds like our prayers must be intensely persistent. Another reason to be tired, right? Well yes, if we’re doing all this standing and praying on our own. But we know that we cannot stand through anything or pray persistently without help. Where does that help come from? Psalm 121 gives us the answer:

I lift up my eyes to the hills----
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
The Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip----
He who watches over you will not slumber;
Indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you----
The Lord is your shade at your right hand;
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm----
He will watch over your life;
The Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
(NIV)


This psalm tells us that God will help those who seek Him. It may require our persistence, standing firm (on our knees) in prayer, looking to the One who can help us, looking up, not around or within. Here’s an anonymous saying that I’ve kept in my Bible for years:


“To look around is to be distressed;
to look within is to be depressed;
to look up is to be blessed.”


If we are looking up, our feet will not move; we will stand firm. Verse 3 of Psalm 121 says so. But that doesn’t make sense. Have you ever been walking in the evening, noticed a beautiful full moon, couldn’t take your eyes off of the beauty, and tripped on a crack - smile - (or something on the sidewalk). OK, so that’s not what this psalm is talking about. Your feet are firmly planted on that sidewalk ONLY when you are looking up; that’s FAITH.


Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)


Continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. Colossians 1:23 (NLT)

And another assurance from Psalm 121 – God doesn’t sleep. Now that’s amazing to me. I’m useless if I don’t get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. But He’s God and I’m not. I must remember that when my eyes look anywhere but up. I can go about my day and sleep at night knowing that my Daddy God is awake. He even stands guard over me. Verse 5 says that He is my keeper, protecting me during night and day, protecting me wherever I go. Yet do I act as though I believe that Word? Do you believe it?

Today at church we sang a song with a refrain that went something like this:
I live only to see your face so shine on me. 


Are we truly walking by faith, not by sight - 2 Corinthians 5:7? Picture yourself looking up to your Daddy God, disregarding the circumstances of darkness that surround you. If we really live to see His face, looking up, His light will shine on us. 

Can you see the ray of sunshine coming from heaven? It envelops you, it’s allowing you to stand firm in your faith, and it will guide your next step. And as you persist in your prayers with your armor on, His glory shining on you, you should break out in strength, not sweat. YOU WILL STAND!

Scripture gives us many examples of people who stood with persistence in prayer. Next week we’ll focus of some of them. Meanwhile, stand firm looking up to your Helper. He longs to shine His glory on you.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Prayer


Hey MPs,

When was the last time that you met up with a life-long friend? The excitement of catching up probably gushed into your conversation. Did you chatter for hours? Or how about that close friend that works in the same building as you? Do you sometimes want to steal away just to chat a moment and share life’s experiences? I look forward to every second and fourth Monday when we MPs, who are also friends, catch up with the happenings in our lives as we study and pray with our best Friend.

Communion with others is uplifting and inspiring. Relationship is essential to our well-being. God created within us the need for fellowship. He enjoys the fellowship as well. His desire is for us to build relationship in order to freely share thoughts, chat a little or a long time, and tell Him about the events in our lives, the good times as well as the bad. He longs to hear about our day.

I remember when my children were in elementary school. I couldn’t wait until they got off the bus so that I could hear about their day. Sometimes they shared their experiences and other times they communicated with short responses. Though I enjoyed even the brief conversations, I was somewhat disappointed with their curt answers. I wanted more. I desired relationship.

That’s why God made Adam and Eve. He desired relationship. He desires relationship with us; He enjoys those two-way conversations, the communication of prayer. He yearns to hear about that presentation you delivered last week to a room full of executives. He longs to comfort you and wipe away the tears that flowed when you found out about a friend’s diagnosis of cancer. He aches to rescue you as you wail out to Him about your children. He is a faithful Friend.

Do you follow His example? Are you His faithful friend? Do you run to meet Him and tell Him of your day’s experiences or do you feel as though your situation may inconvenience Him? 


I hope you sprint everyday to meet with Him, praise and thank Him, cry on His shoulder, or ask for advice. He says in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” 

He’s there waiting, anxiously waiting, to hear about your day, your “daily grind”. He’d be delighted to lend support when you have a meeting with your boss. He yearns for the opportunity to guide you as you raise your children, and He wants your prodigal to come home. 

His desire is for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven (Luke 11:2). And He’s taught us to help Him make things happen through prayer. Prayer produces perfect communion with our Friend. Our cries affect Him and He longs to answer. Read Matthew 7:7-11. The Word says we are to ask and when we ask, He will give us good things.

Ladies and mothers, let’s boldly ask Him to bring home our prodigals. Let’s ask Him to restore peace in our homes and pray for protection over our families. Let’s give Him thanks for answered prayer and remind Him that He promises to give us a hope and a future. While we wail and wait (remember that “t” represents the cross, our hope in Christ), let’s ask Him to fill us with His supernatural strength.

We are at war with the enemy of God, and prayer is our only communication with our Commander-in-Chief. As Martin Luther said, “Prayer is that mightiest of all weapons that created natures can wield.” Pick up that Sword of the Spirit and pray God’s Word back to Him. He longs to answer.

I’m sending out a new prayer list through my new email mothersforprodigals@gmail.com
If any of you reading this devotional know of anyone needing prayer, please send me names through the email address. 


And MPs, we must be vigilant with our prayers for each other. When you receive our prayer list, call out each name aloud. Cry out to God for each mother’s child. Scripture says, “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:19-20 (NKJV)

Thank you, Jesus, for Your Word to us. May we persistently and intensely pray for Your will to be done here on earth. God bless us as we engage in our daily lives. We love you, Lord. AMEN.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Carrying His Message Forward


Hey MPs, the devotional for today consists of a psalm and a song. To God be the glory for His works in our lives. As we progress into this modern age with our message of faith in God’s promises, we remain hopeful for the plan and future that He has for our children and grandchildren. He is faithful from age to age.

As we give Him thanks for His working in our lives, we must also submit to God and resist the devil. Below is what God’s Word says in James 4:7-8a:


Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (NKJV)

I want to share the footnote for verse 7 from my Bible. It speaks loudly to us MPs.


We must follow in order the two commandments in this verse. First we must submit to God by abandoning our selfish pride. Submitting to the Lord also involves putting on the whole armor of God, an image that includes everything from placing our faith in Him to immersing ourselves in the truth of God’s
Word. Second, we must resist any temptation that the devil throws our way. Then the Evil One will have no choice but to flee, for we will belong to the army of the living God.


So let’s begin praising God, immersing ourselves in His truths and promises. Read Psalm 104 and give praise to the Sovereign Lord for His creation and providence. Then read Psalm 105 and give thanks for the eternal faithfulness of our God. Now praise Him with an ancient but steadfast hymn entitled “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” by Joachim Neander.

1. Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is your health and salvation!
Let all who hear now to His temple draw near,
Joining in glad adoration!

2. Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things is wondrously reigning
And, as on wings of an eagle, uplifting, sustaining.
Have you not seen all that is needful has been
Sent by His gracious ordaining?

3. Praise to the Lord, who will prosper your work and defend you;
Surely His goodness and mercy shall daily attend you.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do
If with His love He befriend you.

4. Praise to the Lord! Oh, let all that is in me adore Him!
All that has life and breath, come now with praises before Him!
Let the amen sound from His people again.
Gladly forever adore Him!


AMEN and thank you Jesus! Please read all the pages of our blog becoming familiar with the verse that God speaks to call back our children to Him, our logo and all its meanings, the history of MPs, and our mission statement. Feel free to comment in a post. Stand firm, MPs! Wail, watch, and wait for He is right beside you managing all the details of your lives.

Putting on God's Armor


Heavenly Father,

All praise belongs to You for You are holy and worthy to be praised. Bring Your Kingdom here on earth, Lord, for I desire to do Your will and work by Your side as Your warrior bride (Matthew 6: 9-13). Come, Lord Jesus!


As the day begins, I ready myself for the task ahead, wearing Your attire! Around my core is Your Belt of Truth for You tell me in Your Word that You are near and all Your commandments are truth (Psalm 119: 151). 

Because the issues of life spring from my heart, I guard it with the Breastplate of Righteousness that my heart may be covered with the blood of the Lamb. And I say with the psalmist that God, You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73: 26). 

Lord, I maintain position wearing the Shoes of Peace, waiting and believing that out of the miry clay You will set my feet upon a rock, causing me to STAND FIRM (Psalm 40: 1-2).

God, I lift up that Shield of Faith, extinguishing Satan's fiery darts while believing You are who You say You are and do what You say You will do. I trust in Your holy NAME (Psalm 33: 20-21). 


Father, when those darts and doubts assail me, I will take those thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, having the mind of Christ by wearing the Helmet of Salvation (2 Corinthians 10: 5).

Dressed and ready, I wield that Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, being warned by the Holy Spirit and keeping Your every command (Psalm 19: 7-11). I cast off the works of darkness and put on Your armor of light (Romans 13: 12). I trust You, Lord God, and stand steadfast and ready to serve (Psalm 20:7-8).

Vigilantly, with praise and thanksgiving, I seek You and Your strength, Father God, with all my heart forevermore (Colossians 4: 2, 1 Chronicles 16: 11, Jeremiah 29: 13). 


Lord Jesus, I believe all things are possible with You, and where I doubt, help my unbelief (Mark 9: 23-24, 11:24). Make me able to lift holy hands in praise to You without wrath and doubting (1 Timothy 2: 8). I stand as a soldier of Christ ready to obey Your commands, for it is in Jesus' Name that I pray. AMEN.