Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Jesus, My Security

“Mine, mine,” she cried, tired and ready for bed. My granddaughter’s name for her blanket is “mine” and she smiles with delight when someone hands it to her. The blanket is her security and she snuggles it tightly.

As I watch her growing and learning daily (sometimes minute by minute), I realize how overwhelming it must be to continuously discover new things. How comforting it is to be able to take hold of something that’s been with you since the beginning and suddenly feel a sense of calm. It’s satisfying to be blanketed with security in a world of unknowns.

We desire security; safety and protection wrap us in comfort. I looked up the word “security” in my thesaurus and found some wonderful substitute words: armor, care, cover, defense, guarantee, guard, insurance, promise, redemption, salvation, sanctuary, shelter, shield, surety. As I pondered those words, I realized that I could replace every word with the name of Jesus. He is all those things to us.

Jesus promises redemption and salvation, insuring eternal life for all believers. The cross is His guarantee; His caring love covers me with His blood. He provides shelter in the midst of my storms. 

Every morning before sunrise as I enter His sanctuary, I am filled with peace. His sure promises guard my heart all day long. He shields me from Satan’s evil schemes. He provides the armor that protects me from the ways of the world. He enables me to guard and defend His Word so that others will be drawn to Him, seeking security from Him only. He gives me courage to cry “MINE” and covers me with surety. I delight in His comfort while I rest in His safe sanctuary. Thank you, Jesus!

Here is the perfect hymn written by Fanny Crosby to give Him praise for all His benefits:

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Refrain -
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love. AMEN.

Jesus is our security, yours and mine. But in times of trial, do we believe Him and rest in His promises? In order to KNOW His promises, we must store up those treasures in our hearts. 

Again I used my thesaurus for the word “store”. Look at these substitute words for store as if to collect and put aside: hide, keep, lay away, lay up, plant, reserve, save for a rainy day, stockpile, treasure. Now look at the word “store” as a collection and supply: abundance, fountain, mine, nest egg, plethora, provision, quantity, reservoir, savings, spring, wares, wealth, well. I see Jesus again!

Take hold of your Savior, your security blanket, who’s been with you since the beginning. Read His Word daily and let His truth fill your soul. Build for yourself a “nest egg” of Scripture by writing down verses and committing them to memory. 

God’s Word says in Deuteronomy 11:18-19 - Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 

Plant an abundance of God’s seed within your hearts and watch it spring forth for you and your family. The Parable of the Soils in Luke 8:11-15 reads:

“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. 

Store up the word and save it for a rainy day. Stockpile it for those times of war. The reservoir of God’s promises will spill over as an abundant fountain of life when they have been laid away in your heart.

We MPs are “watch women” of the Word. We must bury the Word in our hearts so that we can cry out God’s words back to Him. 

*Put on your armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) and go to Jesus, your sanctuary. 

*Cry out to Him and contend with Him over His promises - Put Me in remembrance; Let us contend together; State your case, that you may be acquitted - Isaiah 43:26. 

*Rest in the surety that one day those grown children of yours will return home, tired and weary, crying, “Mine, mine.” 

*Believe that they will delight in the safety, protection, and provision of Christ.

MPs, we must fight for our children in prayer, using God’s Words that are buried in our hearts. The following words are your marching orders to join the battle on your knees. It’s a hymn written by Norman O. Forness.

Rise up, O saints of God! From vain ambitions turn;
Christ rose triumphant that your hearts with nobler zeal might burn.

Speak out, O saints of God! Despair engulfs earth’s frame;
As heirs of God’s baptismal grace, His word of hope proclaim.

Rise up, O saints of God! His kingdom’s task embrace;
Redress sin’s cruel consequence; give justice larger place.

Give heed, O saints of God! Creation cries in pain;
Stretch forth your hand of healing now, with love the weak sustain.

Commit your hearts to seek the paths which Christ has trod
And quickened by the Spirit’s power, Rise up, O saints of God!

AMEN! Come, Lord Jesus!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Lord is My Shepherd

The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
Forever. Psalm 23 (NKJV)

Psalm 23 is one of the most beloved psalms in the Bible. It’s one that I memorized as a child; I’ll bet most of you reading this blog have it tucked away in your mind as well. The Lord is surely a loving Shepherd and He daily takes care of us. You may believe that with your mind, but does your heart believe it?

I have chosen to believe God and His Word. But just so you know, I’ve had my doubts about our loving Shepherd and still battle them, even though He has proven Himself over and over again to me. Does He have to prove Himself to me or anyone? Absolutely not. Must I believe Him? Nope. Then why should I doubt when He makes Himself so evident in my life?

Those doubts entered my mind this past weekend. On Friday I experienced minor surgery with anesthesia. I was not overwhelmed with fear, but I did struggle with uneasiness about the whole procedure. Yet all week long, my daily devotions spoke of the good Shepherd and His willingness to always take care of us. Tuesday afternoon during my pre-opt with my doctor, my Shepherd declared his devotion to me, and once again, His faithfulness stirred my soul.

God and I have a language called “butterfly”. For as long as I can remember, God’s creation always pronounced His presence to me. His spectacular butterflies loudly express His attentiveness to me. When my dad died, God “fluttered by” and soothed my hurting heart. When my daughter was a prodigal, God fluttered by with words of comfort. When dealing with physical aches and pains, God fluttered by with strength for my body. And in this frigid winter inside my doctor’s office, God’s faithfulness fluttered by in the form of fifteen paper butterflies hanging from the ceiling. He also demonstrated His concern for me through the love from my family. What amazing grace!

Thank you, Jesus, for taking care of me. Forgive me for doubting your love. Help me to be as committed to You as You are to me. I praise you, loving Shepherd.

Hear Him speak to YOU:

I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. John 10:14
As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. Ezekiel 34:12 (also for our prodigals)

Thus they shall know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and they, the house of Israel, are My people,” says the Lord GOD.“You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are (wo)men, and I am your God,” says the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 34:30-31


Committed to Jesus

Committed to Jesus - 1/16/11
(The story below happened to me 16 years ago when my children were in grade school.)

Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established. Proverbs 16:3 (NKJV)
Commit your activities to the LORD and your plans will be achieved. Proverbs 16:3 (HCSB)

I quickly carried items from my car into the house. Earlier my husband and I met for lunch and shopped for antiques. Time slipped away and I barely arrived home in time to meet my daughter at the bus stop. Running to greet her, I encountered her at our halfway point. “How was your day?” I asked and we began our after school ritual while walking home.

As I fixed her a snack, I discovered the diamond was missing from my wedding ring. Panic dominated our routine. “When you finish your snack, start on your homework. Mom’s gotta look for her diamond,” I said. I slowly walked back towards the bus stop searching for anything that glittered. Nothing. 

Back in the garage, I scoured the floor and my car. Again nothing. I called my husband and he left work, returning to the antique store. No diamond found. My heart sickened, but life had to go on. My son was now home from school, the dogs were barking, and a hungry family wanted supper. Our meal eaten and the dishes done, I told the kids to do homework in their rooms. I had to look for my diamond.

Sadly I went to bed feeling as though a huge part of my life vanished. Memories were attached to that stone. “God, help me find my diamond,” I loudly spoke as I drifted off to sleep.

As I awoke the next morning, that icky feeling returned. I have to find that diamond, I thought. While preparing breakfast, my eyes scanned every flat surface in my kitchen. All of a sudden the sun’s rays reflected from a tiny object that lay behind a bowl on my counter. It was my diamond. Praise God! My frets turned to cheers and my heart sang.

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10 (NKJV)

I’m sure you could share a story like mine and the woman in Jesus’ parable. Searching, looking, hunting - something we’ve all done at some point in our lives. Sometimes it turns into desperation as our quest continues without results. Do we continue seeking until we have our desired outcome or do we give up? The wise men never stopped their seeking until they achieved their goal, and they found the Messiah.

What is your hope for the future? Your plan for life? As mothers we yearn for peace in our families. As Christian women we are eager for all of our family to follow the Master. What’s our desire for ourselves? I pray it is to know our Savior better every day. He has a purpose for us and it is to bring His heavenly kingdom to earth. We can’t be part of God’s plan until we are familiar with His purpose. How do we do that?

We’ve got to search diligently and daily for God’s will in our lives. We need to prioritize our lives, giving our Creator and Redeemer daily time. He has daily manna (His Word) that we need to feed on. We have children that need our prayers, not our personal solutions. God has a plan for hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11-13) that He desires to fulfill in our children and us, but we have to seek for it and trust Him with it. Scripture tells us in 1 Peter 4:19 (HCSB) that those who suffer according to God's will should, in doing good, entrust themselves to a faithful Creator.

1 Peter 4:19 is cross-referenced in the Holman Christian Standard Bible with two other verses:

But You Yourself have seen trouble and grief, observing it in order to take the matter into Your hands. The helpless entrusts himself to You; You are a helper of the fatherless. Psalm 10:14

However, we personally had a death sentence within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:9

Are you trusting in your Savior or yourself to overcome your problems? Jesus has overcome Satan and his minions; He is victorious. Now we just have to be committed to His plan of bringing that victory to earth. Will you remain devoted to Him as you await His outcome? Can you commit to Jesus until you receive His desired results? 

Let your answer be YES as you seek Him diligently every day until you have His answer for your life and the lives of your children. There will be joy in heaven when you’re committed to your Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Abiding with Jesus

"Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness,

The power and the glory, 

The victory and the majesty; 

For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;

Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, 

And You are exalted as head over all.
Both riches and honor come from You,

And You reign over all. 

In Your hand is power and might; 

In Your hand it is to make great 

And to give strength to all.
“Now therefore, our God,

We thank You 

And praise Your glorious name."
1 Chronicles 29:10-13 NKJV

Do you believe David’s words of praise to God or are you just reciting them? Read it again SLOWLY and breathe it in your body. Bury it in your heart and commit it to your memory. With those words infused in your soul, you should be able to say with confidence, “Nothing is impossible with God.” Read from Matthew 17:20, Matthew 19:26, and Luke 1:37.

All of us experience difficulties that cause us to wonder where God is, will He help me, why is this happening to know the thoughts; at times your head has been full of these doubts. I have confronted these thoughts many times in my life. But why? 

How can we read “nothing is impossible with God” and then question Him? It’s because: "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places". Ephesians 6:12 NKJV

Those of us who believe in Jesus the Messiah have and will come under attack by the devil (1 Peter 5:8). Satan hates us because God loves us. Jesus loved us so much that He died in our place and He gives us the right to become children of God (John 3:16, John 1:12-13). Because you are a child of God, Satan wants to make you miserable. But Scripture (1 Peter 5:8) says we must be sober and vigilant: sober meaning self-disciplined, clear-headed, calm and vigilant meaning alert, attentive, watchful.

How do we remain sober and vigilant when circumstances around us appear alarming and urgent? By abiding in Him! OK, what’s abiding? It means to continue to reside and dwell, exist and endure, stay and remain. 

Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NKJV). Remember the verses that said “nothing is impossible with God.” Do you believe it? Are you abiding in Him? Are you abiding daily? 

Scripture says in Proverbs 8:34-35:

"Blessed is the man who listens to me, 

Watching daily at my gates, 

Waiting at the posts of my doors. 

For whoever finds me finds life, 

And obtains favor from the LORD."

The word of God promises blessing when we abide daily with the Lord.

He is the Vine, we are the branches. Branches, begin to abide in the Vine. He’s got work for us to do on this earth and we need His manna to accomplish it. 

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD! Jesus has won the victory and overcome the devil. Now we must abide in His words daily and fight in prayer so that His heavenly will can be done on earth.

"I write to you, little children,
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
I write to you, fathers (and I add mothers),
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
Because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children,
Because you have known the Father.
I have written to you, fathers (and I add mothers),
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the wicked one."
1 John 2:12-14 NKJV

Let us pray:

Our Father in heaven, 

Hallowed be Your name. 

Your kingdom come. 

Your will be done 

On earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us this day our daily bread. 

And forgive us our debts, 

As we forgive our debtors. 

And do not lead us into temptation, 

But deliver us from the evil one. 

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV