Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Resurrection Day

Jesus appeared to His disciples in the midst of their fear. He does the same for us.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:19-22 (NIV)
Only His presence can quiet us when all around the storm rages. He loves us.
The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17
Stand in the shoes of the gospel of peace and let the peace of Jesus fill you from head to toe. Enjoy His resurrection in your life everyday!
“The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace

...and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace...Ephesians 6:15 (NKJV)
Alright now, be honest: how many pairs of shoes do you own? We women love shoes. We need them for all of our outfits and the different seasons. There are heels, flats, boots, tennis shoes, sandals; some are sexy, others are frumpy, some are slip-on, others are open-toed, some have straps, buckles, etc. and, of course, all shoes come in a multitude of colors. And how about that adorable pair that fit so well in the store? Ouch, it hurts to wear them even half a day at work. That’s when you yearn for house slippers. Yes, shoes are necessary, but they are meant to fit and be comfortable with firm support for as long as we wear them.
I’ve seen high school girls wearing their sexy little heels just to look good. By the end of first block (mid-morning), their pain is unbearable. Other girls have had sandals with broken straps and come to me seeking to fix them with tape or staples. With shoe problems, they struggle getting around all day long.
A soldier needs sturdy shoes. From a Roman soldier to one of our own boys/girls in Iraq, if their shoes are defective, wholly soles or broken straps for example, they are rendered somewhat helpless. A soldier must be able to march or stand firm on soles of strong support. As soldiers for Christ, we need to be able to stand firm on solid shoes, the shoes of the gospel of peace. They come in “one size fits all” and they match every outfit. When we put on those shoes, what really happens?
Shoes go on our feet and our feet represent our walk (speech, behavior, and attitude) with the Lord. When we “shod” our feet with the shoes of peace, we are preparing to receive marching orders, to be ready for whatever comes our way. A strong foundation prepares us to be ready. And who is our strong foundation? It’s the Lord Jesus Christ and He is our peace. Wearing those shoes of peace will grant us an inner peace even when circumstances around us are chaotic.
No one will be weary or stumble among them,
No one will slumber or sleep;
Nor will the belt on their loins be loosed,
Nor the strap of their sandals be broken;
28 Whose arrows are sharp,
And all their bows bent;
Their horses’ hooves will seem like flint,
And their wheels like a whirlwind.
Isaiah 5:27-28 (NKJV)
Believe and stand on the Word of God with Jesus by your side. Hear the Word of our Lord:
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,
“All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord stands forever.”
And this is the word that was preached to you. 1 Peter 1:23-25 (NIV)
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever.”
Isaiah 40:8 (NIV)
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers/sisters loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 (NIV)

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. Philippians 1:27-30 (NIV)

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17 (NIV) - also read Colossians 3:1-14
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)
Put on the shoes of the gospel of peace, and receive Christ’s blessing from Psalm 29:11 (NIV):
The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Breastplate of Righteousness

...having put on the breastplate of righteousness...Ephesians 6:14b (NKJV)

Accessorize--it’s what we women do best. Belts, vests, scarfs, necklaces, earrings: every piece can fashion an outfit and every piece is optional. But wearing the armor of God is not optional; we must put on the belt and the vest (better known as the breastplate of righteousness). Dressing up in the armor of God is not about style. Putting on the armor of God is about being covered in the righteousness of God and standing firm on His Word, ready to fight our enemy.

The belt of truth shields us from vulnerability and prepares us for action. As God’s people we should always be prepared to defend ourselves aagainst the powers of darkness; we don’t want to be caught unaware. After putting on the belt, we assemble the breastplate of righteousness around our chest. These two pieces of armor together increase protection around the vital organs. The breastplate protects the heart and lungs and that is crucial for life, a life full of joy. Our hearts hold all the matters of life, good and bad. Read what Proverbs 12:25 (NKJV) says about our hearts and what we store in them: 

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad. 

Hear what God says through King Solomon in Proverbs 4:20-23 (NKJV):
My son (and MPS), give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.
Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.

Our hearts, full of feelings, determine the looks we carry on our faces. Therefore, we must continuously replenish our hearts and minds with God’s Word, then protect them with His armor.

A mother’s heart not only contains her own emotions, but also the concerns for her family, her children. How often do we mothers worry over our children and all the problems of life? God commands us not to worry about anything. Listen to Him speaking in Matthew 6:25-34 (NKJV):

“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.

Now listen to what God says through Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:20 (NKJV): 

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

Do we have great faith or little faith? Hear what God says about Abraham to us and how the promise is granted through faith. 
God speaks of this faith to us through Paul in Romans 4:16-22 (NKJV): 

Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
God works; His Word, our prayers, and our lives are proof. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Romans 3:22 (NIV) 

What miracles has Jesus performed in your lives? Forgiven you, comforted you, sustained you, blessed you: whatever He has done for you, someone has seen His works through you, and He has been glorified. R.A.Torrey says, “The chief purpose of prayer is that God may be glorified in the answer.” 

Does the world see God’s glory through your life? Even though your heart is hurting, do people see joy on your face? Put on the breastplate of righteousness, having faith in Jesus Christ, and face our enemy without fear. Stand firm and know that...the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 (NIV) The world will see Jesus when your prayers honor Him, and that happens when His glory and your needs meet. Praise God!
Praise God because our faith will triumph in trouble. The Bible says so in Romans 5:1-5 (NKJV): Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Hurry up, MPs, and start getting dressed. We’ve got work to do, children to pray for, a war to fight, and a God to glorify. May the world see the “Living Glory” through our lives.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Belt of Truth

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth.....Ephesians 6:14a (NKJV).

Information inundates our culture. Schools offer knowledge. Some people search for guidance while others offer counsel. Where are the answers to our questions? Who has the right answers? Information, knowledge and wisdom, guidance and instruction can all be found in the truth, God’s truth.

What is truth? A dictionary tells us that truth is that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality. God’s truth is His Word, our Bible. In it can be found reality, help, promises. All the answers we need are in that Book. The Holy Scriptures tell us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV): All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The God of the universe has given us a manual that contains all of His truth and we need to use it as we go about our work of prayer. Everything we do must stand on God’s Word because it is truth and has stood the test of time. Psalm 119:151-152 (NKJV) verifies the truth: You are near, O LORD, And all Your commandments are truth. Concerning Your testimonies, I have known of old that You have founded them forever.

And the truth is grounded in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who is the Word, God’s truth. John 1:1-5 (NKJV) testifies that Jesus is the Word which is truth: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. If we know Jesus, we will know truth. His truth must surround us as we fight in prayer for our children.

Paul used the imagery of a soldier dressed for war as he described the armor of God that we must put on for spiritual warfare. The only way to stand firm against the power of Satan is to pray in the Spirit, wearing God’s armor. So we must first gird our waist with the “belt of truth” (reread Psalm 119:151). For a soldier the belt was foundational because it kept every other piece of armor in place. 

Truth performs the same function for prayer warriors. Truth must encompass our lives so that we are strongly established in mind, character, will, and purpose. It needs to be a part of us, residing in our inner being as we are told in Psalm 51:6 (NKJV): Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

If truth encircles our lives, then we are prepared for action. The soldier’s belt tied up their garments and kept them out of the way during a fight. In the same way, if we are enclosed by truth, nothing will get in our way or catch us unaware as we pray. So as MPs, we strive to know Jesus so that we can always stand firm on His truth. 2 Corinthians 4:1-2 states: 

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

Gird yourselves with TRUTH, MPs, as you prepare to stand firm and pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!” (Matthew 6:10 NKJV) 

Remember the promise God has given us for our children from Isaiah 43:5-7 - 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 them back!‘ 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.”

Read what follows this promise in verses 8-13:

Bring out the blind people who have eyes,
And the deaf who have ears.
Let all the nations be gathered together,
And let the people be assembled.
Who among them can declare this,
And show us former things?
Let them bring out their witnesses, that they may be justified;
Or let them hear and say, “It is truth.”

“ You are My witnesses,” says the LORD, “ And My servant whom I have chosen,
That you may know and believe Me,
And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
Nor shall there be after Me.
I, even I, am the LORD,
And besides Me there is no savior.
I have declared and saved,
I have proclaimed,
And there was no foreign god among you;
Therefore you are My witnesses,”
Says the LORD, “that I am God. Indeed before the day was, I am He;
And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand;
I work, and who will reverse it?”

We, your MPs, stand ready and we gird ourselves with your Truth, Lord, as we fight for our children through prayer.