Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Good Gifts

Lord, my husband deserves a new job. God, my wife lost her job last week and we need a second income to help pay bills. Heavenly Father, my son lies dying in the hospital and we need you to heal him now. Holy Spirit, please protect my daughter as she continues to make wrong choices. Lord, I want a new car and I’ve got to have some new clothes. Father God, we lost our house; now what do we do? Jesus, my mother just received the news; it’s cancer! Please God, don’t let my Daddy die. Help us in Jesus’ name!

Do any of those words ring true in your life? We’ve all “been there, done that” in some form or fashion. These pleadings for our lives and those of our “inner circle” are continually laid before the Lord (imagine receiving not only our requests, but the whole world’s). Does He hear us? Is He going to answer us? 

The Bible says “yes.” He hears us and He answers us. Read the Scriptural evidence. In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3 (NIV) For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV)

So why don’t we believe the proof given to us. The problem with the answers is they’re not always in our time, not always what we want, or maybe “no” is the end result. Could it be our Creator knows us better than we know ourselves?  Perhaps He knows what we need more than we do? 

Consider His ways. He created us in His own image. He illustrates parenthood to us through fathers and mothers that love Him. Not every case is perfect, but most parents know how to take care of their children. They know what’s best for their children because of personal experiences. They recognize the needs and wants of their children. Needs must to be met, but wants aren’t always a priority. Is it possible God views our lives the same way? Journey with me as I provide an explanation.

Yesterday my granddaughter had a birthday party where friends and family celebrated her third year of life. We all brought gifts wrapped in beautiful packages. In the grand scheme of things, a little girl received many blessings from people who love her.

Now travel back in time with me as my husband and I shopped for the presents we selected for her. We love her and want to shower her with gifts, but we know we shouldn’t overindulge her. Recently I asked her what she wanted for her birthday and she replied, “You could get me some M & M’s.” Well, of course, we granted that request. As she and I continued talking, I discovered she enjoyed wearing her mother’s housecoat. Well, we bought a little robe as well. Then we thought about her age, the things she likes to do, and we bought accordingly. If she had asked for a car, we would have said “no” because that doesn’t make sense at this time in her life. Had she asked for a puppy, we would have said “no” because she already has 2 dogs. Had she asked for knives to cut vegetables in her play kitchen, we would have said “no” because of the danger. Do you think God’s reasoning for answering our requests is similar? Is it possible His timing is perfect?

Hear what God says about our gift giving and His gift giving. 
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:9-13 (NIV)
God hears our prayers and He knows exactly what we need, when we need it. He supplied redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ. After Jesus died and arose, He sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to live like Him. And He blesses us beyond our own reasoning. Read the list of benefits King David wrote about in this psalm. 
Praise the Lord, O my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits— 
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion, 
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5 (NIV)

God gives us His promised answers and they are good gifts. Receive them with gratitude in your heart for the One who knows you best. Trust Him to bless you with everything you need and want in Him! Praise You, Jesus!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Power of God's Voice

Cedar chest: two words that ignite the senses. Aromatic, knotty, reddish brown, strong, and long-lasting: words that describe the beautiful fragrant box. Memories of my grandmother’s cedar chest flood my mind with visions of her most prized possessions stored inside. 

In ancient times the most prized trees were the cedars of Lebanon. Because of the strong scented wood, these trees offered top trading value for the building of temples and palaces. The fine quality of the cedars of Lebanon symbolized strength and magnificence.

So what do the cedars of Lebanon have to do with God and His voice? These splendid trees are but the creation of the Creator. The cedar wood may be strong and magnificent, but God is the Creator. All through the ages, people have been impressed with the trees and their by-products. Have we been as inspired by the Creator of the cedars of Lebanon? Have we given Him the credit due His holy name? 

The Lord reigns over all the earth. He spoke and the earth was created. The power and majesty of God’s voice thunders above all creation. Ascribe to the Creator the glory due His name with Psalm 29 below.

Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
    the God of glory thunders,
    the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
    the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
    the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon leap like a calf
    Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord strikes
    with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;
    the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists the oaks
    and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
    the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
The Lord gives strength to his people;
    the Lord blesses his people with peace.

Our God is mighty! If His voice can break into pieces the cedars of Lebanon, what can it do for us? God’s voice created humans, Jesus spoke miracles into many lives, and the Holy Spirit will direct our paths everyday if we listen to His voice. Hear what Job’s friend Elihu said about God Almighty to Job in the midst of his distress.

Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice,
    to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven
    and sends it to the ends of the earth.
After that comes the sound of his roar;
    he thunders with his majestic voice.
When his voice resounds,
    he holds nothing back. 
God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;
    he does great things beyond our understanding.
  Job 37:4-5 (NIV)

Like Job, have you suffered brokenness and heartache? Have you experienced distress in the situations of your life? Even so, remain with the Lord, listen to His voice, and hear His words. Scripture directs us to listen to Him, and just as Abraham was obedient to the voice of the Lord, we too must be obedient to His voice.

When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice. Deuteronomy 4:30 (NASB)

Give ear and hear my voice,
Listen and hear my words.  Isaiah 28:23 (NASB)

God spoke to Abraham...and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”  Genesis 22:18 (NIV)
So ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name. Attribute to Him all majesty, power, and might. Worship the beauty of His holiness. Yes, in the midst of your pain and sorrow, grant to God all the honor He deserves, and He will see to your needs. The Lord who sits enthroned over all creation will give you strength and peace. Psalm 29:11 says so:
The Lord gives strength to his people;
    the Lord blesses his people with peace.

Now....To Him who rides upon the highest heavens, which are from ancient times; Behold, He speaks forth with His voice, a mighty voice. Psalm 68:33 (NASB)

Listen to the God of that mighty voice. Trust and obey Him. Receive His strength and peace. AMEN! Let it be so!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Nourishing Words

Eggs, bacon, a kale smoothie (yes, I enjoy one every morning): did you begin your day with breakfast? “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....If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you....And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Did you begin your day with God? Along with your physical nourishment, did you take time to receive spiritual nourishment from the Lord?

“Man does not live by bread alone,” so the Lord says in Deuteronomy 8:3, “but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” With faith Jesus quoted those same words to Satan in Matthew 4:4 (at that time Jesus was surviving on nothing but the word of the Lord as He was in the wilderness without physical food). Do you believe the Word of the Lord? Do you have faith in that Voice of authority? Do you take time to listen and feast on the words from that Voice?

Many noisy voices demand our attention. The day is full of situations that tug at our heartstrings. Is hearing the Word of the Lord one of those heartstrings? I hope so, but if not, the Word of the Lord tells us how to make the Voice of the Lord a priority. The answer lies in Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  Psalm 46:10 (NIV) Only when we are quiet can we hear His Voice! He says to us from Matthew 28:20, “Surely I am (here) with you always...” Do you believe that with your whole heart? 

Scripture tells us to “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Do you? Does your heart beat rapidly when you hear the voice of the Lord? It should because that Voice gives directives for living in this world. The God who speaks to us is the unbounded, unlimited, all-knowing, all-wise Creator of the world. Our Creator knows what nourishes us to the fullest and He desires to fill us up with His beneficial words. Like a loving parent He says to us in Isaiah 55:2b, “Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” Are you a child who listens to your Heavenly Father or do you ignore His Voice?

The God who came to live on earth in the form of Jesus, who died for our sins and rose to eternal life so that we might also arise after death and live eternally with Him, and who intercedes for us daily yearns to abundantly bless us with His Words of life. Will you cease your striving, listen for that Voice, and receive His life-giving Words? Don’t let other voices interfere with your connection to the Heavenly Father! Don’t allow Satan, the hater of God, to distract you with the question he used on Eve in Genesis 3:1, “Did God really say......?” (To discover Eve’s answer to Satan and the end result, read the third chapter of Genesis.) 

Determine to listen for the Voice of God. Enjoy the pleasure of eating spiritual food. Fill up with the abundance of God’s Truth. Acknowledge that only His Words can satisfy hunger. Stand with Simon Peter and say as he said in John 6:68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Loved Wanderer

The day begins, maybe not energized, but fast.
Cars passing swiftly by and people walking to and fro.
Do they know You, the Lord and Savior of all?
Have they stopped to speak with You today?
Are praises lifted up to You for reviving them 
another day?

Grabbing a bagel to break the fast
Gives a bit of nutrition on the way out the door.
The day is long and hunger weakens the body.
How about the spiritual food?
Is there time to feast on the nourishment of the Word?
Have they allowed the Bread of heaven to feed their souls?
Lord, I love You!
My day is empty without Your presence.
Forgive me when I hastily leave home without You.
Please draw my heart to You,
Focus my eyes on You,
Receive my praises for Your blessings.

Lord, do they love You?
Do they know how much You love them?
How can I be Your agent to a people lost within my influence?
Jesus, break my heart for the brokenness of this world.
May I follow Your example of servanthood with boldness.
Pour me out as a drink offering that others may be filled with Your love.
DDC - July 30, 2012

He also brought them out with silver and gold,
And there was none feeble among His tribes.
Egypt was glad when they departed,
For the fear of them had fallen upon them.
He spread a cloud for a covering,
And fire to give light in the night.
The people asked, and He brought quail,
And satisfied them with the bread of heaven.
He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
It ran in the dry places like a river. 
Psalm 105:37-41 (NKJV)
For the Lord has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His dwelling place:
“This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
I will abundantly bless her provision;
I will satisfy her poor with bread. 
Psalm 132:13-15 (NKJV)
Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.  John 6:32-35 (NKJV)
Give us this day our daily bread.  Matthew 6:11 (NKJV)
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.  Philippians 1:3-6 (NKJV)