Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Daily Nourishment

          Still Waiting
I glimpsed a patch of radiant light
Among countless clouds of gray.
The peace that swept over me 
Will keep me all the day.
The circumstances in my life
Appear at times so bleak.
Refusing to accept the stress,
I choose my Lord to seek!
He waits for me to come each day
And sit upon His knee.
Desiring a personal relationship,
He loves and cares for me.
He offers spiritual nourishment,
The blessings of daily bread
He knows exactly what I need 
And goes wherever I tread.
I choose today to walk with You
And listen for Your will.
The way for me to know You:
Sit quietly and be still!

                 July 2012

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.  Romans 5:1 (NLT)
But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.  Deuteronomy 4:29 (NLT)
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.  1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)
Give us today the food we need...   Matthew 6:11 (NLT)
God is our refuge and strength,
    always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come
    and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Let the oceans roar and foam.
    Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! 
A river brings joy to the city of our God,
    the sacred home of the Most High.
God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed.
    From the very break of day, God will protect it.
The nations are in chaos,
    and their kingdoms crumble!
God’s voice thunders,
    and the earth melts!
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
    the God of Israel is our fortress. 
Come, see the glorious works of the Lord:
    See how he brings destruction upon the world.
He causes wars to end throughout the earth.
    He breaks the bow and snaps the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God!
    I will be honored by every nation.
    I will be honored throughout the world.”
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
    the God of Israel is our fortress. 
Psalm 46 (NLT)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Praise the LORD!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!  Psalm 150:6 (NASB)
What an awesome way to begin a day: praising the LORD! It’s Sunday morning. The sun is coming up, the birds are chirping, squirrels and chipmunks are feeding, the ground is damp from an evening of rain, and I am thankful to be alive! I am partial to Sundays because churches are open for corporate worship and I love to praise my Savior Jesus Christ with fellow believers!
My circumstances of life may not be ideal at this moment and I may encounter many trials along the way, but I serve a God who poured out His love and grace on me, a sinner, and made a way, through His Son Jesus Christ, for me to enjoy the blessings of His kingdom here on earth and in heaven for eternity. Why would a holy God give a sinner a chance to live with Him now and forever? Because of His great love for us. 1 John 3:1a says: How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 
That is what we are when we accept His gift of grace: children of a Father God who generously pours out abundant love on us. Are you dripping in lavished love? I hope so! It covers over all the mud and mire of this world. Thank you, Jesus! “Praise Him, praise Him all you little children; God is love, God is love. (Words: anonymous. Music: Carey Bonner -1859-1938).
After taking care of my dogs and fixing my coffee, I sat down this morning and opened my Bible to the book of Psalms. According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, the Psalms is a book of the Bible comprising a collection of religious verses, sung or recited in both Jewish and Christian worship. Many of them are attributed to King David and the Israelites of long ago used them to worship Jehovah God. Read Psalm 145 below with an eagerness to feel close to the same God, the God of Ages, who created you and takes care of you and your children.
I will extol You, my God, O King;
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
And His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
And on Your wondrous works.
Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,
And I will declare Your greatness.
They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness,
And shall sing of Your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy.
The Lord is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.
All Your works shall praise You, O Lord,
And Your saints shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom,
And talk of Your power,
To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts,
And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
The Lord upholds all who fall,
And raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
And You give them their food in due season.
You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all His ways,
Gracious in all His works.
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them.
The Lord preserves all who love Him,
But all the wicked He will destroy.
My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord,
And all flesh shall bless His holy name
Forever and ever.
The God we love and adore, whose name we should praise every day, takes care of all who look to Him and satisfies the desire of every living thing. He is near to all who call upon Him in truth. He fulfills the desire of all who fear (revere and respect) Him. He hears their cries and saves them. He keeps all who love Him. Those words from verses 14-20 are the promises of God to His people. We can trust this God with our lives and the lives of our children. Therefore, (from verse 21) my mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, and all flesh shall bless His holy name forever and ever.
The end of the book of Psalms is brimming with praise for the LORD of heaven and earth. Open your Bibles and begin paying tribute to the One who made and paid for creation and its sins. Press on in your journey with the praises of Psalms 146-150 as you revel in our Almighty God! “All creatures of our God and King, Lift up your voice and with us sing, O praise Him, Alleluia!.......” (Words: Francis of Assisi, around 1225)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

God's Voice

Suddenly Lizzie found herself alone. She and her dad had gone to Target trying to find the blender Mom wanted for her birthday. As her dad described what they were looking for, Lizzie noticed an aisle full of dolls. She ran over to them and stared at the many different kinds of baby dolls. I sure would like to have one of those, she thought. “Daddy, can I have.....,” her sentence interrupted by the realization that she stood all by herself. “Daddy, Daddy!” she screamed.

“Come here, honey,” she heard someone say, but immediately she knew it wasn’t her daddy. Frantically she looked around finding no familiar face. Hearing several other male voices, she ran toward them but didn’t hear her dad. “I don’t see or hear my Daddy,” she fretted, “I only see strangers.” 

All of a sudden, a voice cried out, “Lizzie, where are you?” In that moment, Lizzie knew the voice. There was no confusing it. Voices of other people had been audible, but they weren’t the voice of her daddy. “I’m over here,” she sighed with relief. 

Never before had Lizzie felt so pleased to see her dad. She ran into his arms and asked, “Where were you, Daddy?”
“Sweetie, I didn’t go anywhere. You left me. Why? What got your attention?” he asked sadly.
“I saw a bunch of baby dolls. There were so many I just had to get close to see them all,” she quietly replied with her head down, her lower lip protruding, and tears dripping off her face. “I’m sorry,” she said. 
“Everything’s fine now,” her daddy said as he tightly squeezed her. “You need to always stay with me when we’re running errands. You never know what might happen and I want to keep you safe.”
“Daddy, I was so scared, but I knew it was you when I heard you call my name,” Lizzie said with certainty. “I won’t walk away from you again.”
“I’m so thankful,” her dad said with a smile.
Have you ever wandered away from God, trying to get a glimpse of something that caught your eye? Its alluring attractiveness gripped and grabbed so intensely that you found yourself lost. Nothing seemed familiar and a cacophony of voices cried out in contention. What is happening, you feebly ask yourself as you begin to search for comfortable surroundings.
It’s been said that we are a lot like sheep; even Jesus said so. Sadly it is no compliment. Sheep are among the dumbest animals of all, plus they frequently stray and get lost. Sheep need a shepherd and so do we; both having no survival skills out in the wild. But sheep are extremely efficient in recognizing the voice of their shepherd. If they stray and the shepherd is able to locate them, he calls them and they follow him home, even if other voices are calling. Jesus uses that analogy in John 10:3-5 (below), describing His sheep that know His voice and follow Him.
...and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” (NASB)
If a sheep has not strayed to the point of no return, it will hear it’s shepherd voice and follow him home. The shepherd will rejoice over that returned sheep just like Lizzie’s dad did and just as the shepherd did in Jesus’ Parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15:3-7. 
If you (and even your child) have discovered that you have lost your way, listen for the voice of the Shepherd. As it says in Isaiah 28:23: Give ear and hear my voice, Listen and hear my words. (NASB) When you’ve heard the Shepherd’s voice, you will follow because you know your Shepherd’s voice just as He knows yours. Hear what Jesus says in John 10:27-28: My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. (NASB)
Now that is good news, and there’s even better news. Your Shepherd doesn’t wait until you’re lost to come looking for you. He’s standing at the door of your heart, knocking and waiting for you to let Him come in. Do you hear His voice? Will you let Him in? Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.  Rev. 3:20 (NASB)
AMEN. Come, Lord Jesus!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Our Lord and His Prayer

A group of twelve people gather regularly to study the Word of God. Each week they begin with prayer, led by anyone who feels prompted to pray. Most everyone prays aloud except Irene. She frequently talks to God on her own, but never out loud in front of other people. It seems the prayers offered by others sound so much better; they always say the right things. She believes her prayers are just not good enough to be heard. She worries more about what others think of her prayer than simply praying to the God who created her and gives her the ability to pray. 
Have you ever experienced the fear of people hearing your “not so good” prayers? I certainly have. I have worried more about what other people think of me and my prayer words rather than praising and worshiping my Savior through prayer. What a shame and when I think about it, I am ashamed! Why should I worry about how my prayers sound? After all, my prayers only need to consist of a conversation between my Redeemer and me; nothing else should matter. If you’ve ever felt insecure about the sound of your prayer to another’s ear (that would include God’s ear, right?), then read Jesus’ instruction on how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13 (NASB).
“Pray, then, in this way: Our Father who is 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 also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]
Reread the first line: “Pray, then, in this way: Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name....” We’ve got to begin our prayers with praise. If our focus is placed on our Father in heaven, how can we be afraid to pray out loud (or maybe even silently)? Concentrating on God, while praising and worshiping Him for who He is, lets us know that everything concerning us is really about Him. This world and our purpose in it is all about Him! That fact alone should take away the attention from ourselves and our fears about praying out loud, and center it on God our Father. 
William Arthur Ward, one of America's most quoted writers of inspirational maxims, said this about prayer: the pulse of prayer is praise. Our hearts should beat in time with the heart of God when we’re praising Him in prayer. If our heartbeats echo God’s heartbeats, fears are washed away and our pulses are alive with praise. It’s then that our prayers are centered on God, beginning and ending in praise... For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Have you ever worried about praying aloud in a group? Turn your eyes toward Jesus and follow His model prayer. You’ll be so captivated by the wonder of your Savior, you won’t notice that anyone is near you, much less hear you pray. Below are words from Scripture to get you praising and praying....maybe even out loud!!!
O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!  Psalm 8 (NASB)
You alone are the Lord.
You have made the heavens,
The heaven of heavens with all their host,
The earth and all that is on it,
The seas and all that is in them.
You give life to all of them
And the heavenly host bows down before You.  Nehemiah 9:6 (NASB)
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.  Romans 11:36 (NASB)
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.  Colossians 1:16 (NASB)
The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world.
In them He has placed a tent for the sun,
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;
It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
Its rising is from one end of the heavens,
And its circuit to the other end of them;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;
In keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.
Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins;
Let them not rule over me;
Then I will be blameless,
And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19 (NASB)