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!!!