Mothers for Prodigals

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!