Mothers for Prodigals

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

The Gift of Christmas

What a glorious time of year
When we celebrate the birth
Of a God who loved us so
That He came to live on earth.

Such a wondrous occasion
A holiday so dear,
Even though it’s cold outside
There warmth because God’s near.

But some will have misgivings,
While others dread the season.
In this day of automation,
Do we have good reason?

Think of Mary, mother of Jesus,
Traveling o’er rocky terrain
On a donkey, big with child.
I wonder would she complain?

The Bible explains situations
Mary pondered in her heart.
If hearts were home for Jesus,
Humans could make a new start.

So let Christ in this Christmas,
He’ll fill your soul with joy.
Together let’s give thanks to God
For sending the Savior boy!

DC '89

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Our Peace

In the midst of war, Isaiah prophesied of a Child ushering in peace. In fact, one of His names would be Prince of Peace. Can you imagine the hope that must have stirred in the hearts of the Israelites?
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)
The threat of the Assyrians loomed large over the Israelites and yet God gave another prophet a proclamation of peace to share with them. Was anyone listening?
And this One shall be peace. Micah 5:5 (NKJV)
Many years later, Luke writes of the fulfillment of prophecy. That Child was born and angels sang of peace coming to earth. How many people recognized the miracle, sought after God, and received His peace?
And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 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 2:7-14 (NKJV)

Now over two thousand years later, we read and reread Luke’s declaration of the birth of the Child who brings peace. Are we listening with our hearts as well as our ears? In the midst of hurt and disappointment, are we allowing hope to flood our souls? Are we receiving the Prince of Peace into our confusion?

Acknowledge these holidays as “holy days” and bring your worship before the Christ Child. We have the benefit of fulfilled Scripture and it reminds us of what Christ did for us in His birth and on the cross. Make time to give praise to Jesus your Savior. Read the following Scriptures, giving Him honor for what He’s fulfilled in your life and trusting Him with what lies ahead.

Remember your Wonderful Counselor who gives you good guidance.
I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
Psalm 16:7 (NKJV)
Remember your Mighty God who delivers you from sin and death.
O LORD God of hosts,
Who is mighty like You, O LORD?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.
Psalm 89:8 (NKJV)
Remember your Everlasting Father who offers you abundant life on earth and everlasting life in heaven.
I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10b (NKJV)
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. John 6:47 (NKJV)
Remember your Prince of Peace who provides you with contentment and relief.
The LORD will give strength to His people;
The LORD will bless His people with peace.
Psalm 29:11 (NKJV)
Thank you, Jesus, for entering this world to live with your people.
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 (NKJV)
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23 (NKJV)
Thank you, God, for always being with us.
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)
For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b (NKJV)
Only our Prince of Peace can give us peace.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:15 (NKJV)
AMEN! Come, Lord Jesus!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Prince of Peace

The Christmas season returns each year loaded with various traditions, activities, and Whitman chocolates. Receiving the candies create anticipation and hesitation because inside the yellow containers are many delightful tastes as well as some disgusting bites. How many times have you spit out a selection that wasn’t as good as it appeared? Looks can be deceiving, even in a box of chocolates.

During the holidays, people express words of merriment or happiness with various Christmas phrases. Their mouths pour out greetings of grace, but what is in their hearts? Wounded hearts contain fear, worry, agitation, discord, brokenness, insecurity, and disappointment. Where is the peace? Just as we all survey a Whitman box for our favorite piece of chocolate, everyone searches for peace.

What is peace? Peace has many synonyms, like tranquility, calm, restfulness, and quiet. In Hebrew the word for “peace” is shalom. Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Doesn’t it sound blissful?

Where can we find that kind of peace, the peace that spells relief? It’s found in Jesus, our Messiah, the Prince of Peace. He can free us from our wounds, giving the contentment we all strive for. MPs, hear the words of the prophets:

Now gather yourself in troops,
O daughter of troops;
He has laid siege against us;
They will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek.
“ 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 5:1-5 (NKJV)

Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan—
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as men rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:1-7 (NIV)

It is accomplished - the Savior of the world has come, bringing hope, peace, and new life to the world! But do you truly believe that what He accomplished is for you? Do you have faith in His ability to deliver you from your hurts and give you peace? Paul tells us in Romans 5:1-2 (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.”

God has granted us access to this peace through His Son, Jesus Christ.....and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:20 (NIV) By believing in the work of the cross of Christ, we can trade our gloom and distress for the peace of God. Scripture tells us that God’s peace will guard our hearts and minds. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

Have faith and trust in the God of peace, allowing Him to dispel the gloom that threatens your way of life. Isaiah 26:3-4 (NIV) gives us a promise from God:

You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.
No matter what circumstances come your way, God promises peace.
Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 54:10 (NIV)
He loves you. Rest in His peace.
“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)
All God’s people say, “AMEN” - let it be so!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Power of God's Word

Have you reached the end of your rope? Is your patience wearing thin? Does it seem as though you’ve exhausted all your options? Do you feel helpless? These questions could apply to any situation. The big question is: Are you desperate for God’s help?
Whether it’s work or the lack of employment, a failing relationship, a child who has strayed, an aging parent with many health problems, an obnoxious co-worker, or any number of issues gone wrong, some sort of pain is the result. What do you do? Where do you go? Who do you turn to?
God sees all our situations. Have we turned all our circumstances over to Him and allowed Him to be Lord over everything? Is He our top priority? Does He have first place in our lives?
As we prepare yet again to celebrate the birth of Jesus, take time to examine your situation. Have you allowed the birth of Christ to emerge in all areas of your life? Open your heart to receive Him. He offers new life. Welcome Jesus, Savior and King of the world.
During the next few weeks, let the Word of God encourage you in your everyday life; turn to Him for help in all things. Make Him your prime consideration, beginning right now. Meditate on the psalm below. Allow God’s Word to empower you. Following the psalm is a list of power chapters from the Bible (they’re in no particular order). They may or may not be familiar to you, but read them with fresh eyes and an open heart. Give God permission to heal whatever ails you!
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The LORD will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.
Psalm 121 (NASB)
The Power Chapters of God’s Word
Genesis 1, 15, 6
Psalm 2, 119, 23, 139, 51
Deuteronomy 6
Isaiah 53, 6
Jeremiah 10
Matthew 5-7
John 1, 17
Acts 2
Romans 1, 8, 12
1 Corinthians 15
Galatians 3
Ephesians 2, 6
Philippians 2, 4
Colossians 1
Hebrews 11
James 2
Revelation 2-3, 21
Job 38
Nehemiah 8
Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, and may He give you peace. Amen. (reference Colossians 3:16 and Numbers 6:26).