Mothers for Prodigals

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… 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.