Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Invitation to the Thirsty

Christmas is about the love of God coming to save the earth, the Light to a dark world, and the salt to a decaying earth. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ who visited His creation and grew up with them. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ who chose to give up His life for the salvation of His creation. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ who blesses believers and allows them to work alongside Him to salt His creation. Praise the Lord!

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David.
See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
    a ruler and commander of the peoples.
Surely you will summon nations you know not,
    and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has endowed you with splendor.”

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. 
As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn bush will grow the juniper,
    and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
    for an everlasting sign,
    that will endure forever.”
Isaiah 55:1-13 (NIV)

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he satisfies the thirsty
    and fills the hungry with good things.
Psalm 107:8-10 (NIV)

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14 (NIV)

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NIV)

“You are the salt of the earth.........“You are the light of the world........let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)

Follow Christ Jesus’ example and be salt and light to this thirsty world!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

What a Crazy God


Immanuel—God is With Us

Only a crazy loving Creator God would give up His throne on high
And come down to earth in the form of His own creation,
To be born as a babe and do life with us from the beginning!

What a marvelous God we serve!
He loves us!
Immanuel, we love you!

Only a crazy loving Rescuer God would humble Himself before men
And walk among the dregs of society, spreading grace and peace,
To break the shackled chains and offer liberating freedom!

What a marvelous God we serve!
He loves us!
Immanuel, we love you!

Only a crazy loving Savior God would give His life away
And allow evil men to beat Him senseless and nail Him to a cross,
To exchange His righteousness for the sins of the world!

What a marvelous God we serve!
He loves us!
Immanuel, we love you!

Only a crazy loving Faithful God would ascend back to His heavenly home
And yet daily be near to the hearts of people who continually cry out to Him,
To offer His comforting grace and hopeful peace and joy!

What a marvelous God we serve!
He loves us!
Immanuel, we love you!

DDC 12/24/14

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Seasoning the World

Pass the salt, please is a phrase most of us use when we sit down to eat. We want our food to taste good, so we enhance the flavor. Many foods are bland without the addition of salt. 

Pass the salt, please should be a Christian’s mantra, after all, Christ calls His people to salt the earth. Satan rules this world and it is full of nay-sayers and evil deeds, yet it is home to us all for now. If Christians are removed from this earth, it will decay rapidly. Salt is a preservative and the people of this world need the salty seasoning of believers in Christ to survive.

Jesus Christ desires all people to know Him and be saved—He bled and died for everyone. John 3:16-17 says, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” While on earth, Jesus charged His followers to live sacrificially so others might live and die knowing Him.

So when we say we believe in God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ, we are granted a huge opportunity and responsibility to live sacrificially for our Lord and Savior. What exactly does a living sacrifice look like? How do we go about being living sacrifices?

A living sacrifice exemplifies the life of Christ and spreads the gospel of the good news of a risen Savior (Mark 1:15, Luke 2:10, 4:18). A living sacrifice isn’t selfish, but considers the interests of others above their own (Romans 12:1-3, Philippians 2:4). A living sacrifice lives with authority from God as Jesus did (Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 4:36, Luke 9:1-2). A living sacrifice is so seasoned with salt that God’s grace pours from her lips, sprinkling others with the salt of Christ (Colossians 4:6). A living sacrifice offers light to a dark world and shines brightly with the love of God (Matthew 5:13-16). 

The world is a dark place, full of temptations and evil power. But the power of God is greater than any other influence offered in this world. Don’t allow the darkness to pull you under and take away your saltiness. How will the world be seasoned with love if you’ve lost the saltiness of Jesus? 

True believers in Christ Jesus are salty, generating a desire in others to see and taste the goodness of the Lord. True believers in Christ Jesus are salty, producing a thirst in others who run to the Lord for refreshment. Come Lord Jesus!

Taste the goodness of the Lord this Christmas and be seasoned by His saltiness. Observers will thirst for His righteousness that pours from your heart. Shine brightly with the Light of love and mercy. Others will see your good deeds and give glory to our Father in heaven. ‘Tis a blessed season and an opportune time for seasoning—go and make disciples for Jesus!

“Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? Luke 14:34 (NASB)

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. Colossians 4:6 (NASB)

O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Psalm 34:8 (NASB)

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35 (NIV)

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14 (NIV)

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)

Enjoy this praise song entitled "Light of the World" by Lauren Daigle and have yourselves a very merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Living Salty Sacrifices

Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice for you and me. He gave His life to save the world. Are you ready to sacrifice something, anything, even yourself for Him?

Sacrifice means an act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to God. It’s an act of giving up something of value for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy. 

Jesus considered you worth dying for. He was part of the Godhead that created all of us. When sin entered the world through that devious snake Satan, God’s heart broke and He set a plan in motion to save us all. When the time was right, God sent His Son Jesus into the world as a babe to live, grow, and minister to people. He exemplified perfectly the sacrificial life and He willingly gave His life as a sacrifice for us. He replaced the old sacrificial system, once for all, and died, exchanging our sins for His righteousness. He arose from the dead, offering us life after death with Him in heaven. Glory to God!

In death Jesus was the sacrificial provision for the forgiveness of sins. In life He demonstrated a living sacrifice, the Salt who called His followers to be salt, to live like Him. He lived each day loving people. He delivered good news to burden-bearers. He healed diseased people and comforted shattered hearts. He declared freedom to captives of sin (Isaiah 61:1-3). He offered new life to earth-dwellers and everlasting life to heaven-seekers. Praise God for the Light of the world who offers hope to everyone!

Jesus died so all might be saved—remember John 3:16-17. Unbelievably many refused Him then and many refuse Him now. But He continues to call His disciples to live for Him so others have an opportunity to recognize and choose salvation through faith in Him.

Jesus set the bar high. His standard of living far exceeds anything most humans experience or participate in. Yet He calls us to it and if we believe, He helps us through it. Just as the Israelites presented their sacrificial offerings with salt to the priests as repentance and thanksgiving to God, we are called to present ourselves to the world as transformed salty beings of God. Paul, the apostle of Christ Jesus, tells us what Christ expects in the book of Romans:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (NASB)

If you’re a believer in Jesus, your body is the temple of the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and you have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). This world needs more Jesus and He dwells within you (Romans 8:11). You are His hands and feet to people around you. 

So present you body as a living, holy sacrifice and offer your transformed, renewed mind to our Lord Jesus Christ. Worship Him with gladness, stand for His truth, and listen for His instruction to bring light to this dark world. Then boldly go make disciples of Christ Jesus. Don’t forget to add the salt!

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:16-17

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 100 (NASB)

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NASB)

For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16 (NASB)

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11 (NASB)

If you’re a believer, live sacrificially for Him. If you don’t know Jesus, seek Him with your whole heart and He’ll come to you (Jeremiah 29:13). He is faithful!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Salty Tears

Tears stream down the face of a mother who discovers her son is dead from an overdose. Tears trickle down a mother’s cheek at the first site of her newborn baby. Tears flow from a dad when an adult child rejects his upbringing and wanders off into an unknown way of life. Tears gush from parents when their prodigal returns with redeemed love in her heart for them. Tears fall from family members as they stand at the grave site of their loved one now passed. Tears seep down a husband’s face when he hears the news of his wife’s returning cancer. Tears pour from an onlooker at the site of hate and violence in the streets. Tears drip from the eyes of a young woman experiencing pain in her body from an uncertain source. Tears cascaded down Jesus’ face when He stood at Lazarus’ tomb. 

At some point in life, every eye in the world will drop tears, even Jesus wept (John 11:35). Life presents enough troubles and difficulties to make us cry. Tears run down faces full of sadness as well as joy. Tears ran down Jesus’ face. Tears contain salt. 

Oh, you say, that salt again, but what a substance and what importance it plays in our lives. We need it to live and thrive. It’s in the fluids of our body—blood, sweat, and tears. It’s also found in animals and plants. Salt regulates nerve impulses, contracts muscles and heart, sends signals to the brain, aids in digestion, absorbs potassium, and on and on.  

But let’s go back to the tears. At some juncture in life, you’ve probably cried enough tears to taste the salt. Simply living presents many opportunities to cry happy and sad tears. We definitely know suffering prompts tears. And Jesus said suffering is an essential part of following Him.

What? Suffering? I didn’t know suffering was part of the package, you might say. Well then, consider the costs before following Jesus. He has salted His believers with His free gift of love and grace through His death and resurrection. He desires our complete salty trust and faithfulness to Him above everything. If you’ve counted the cost and you’re TOTALLY devoted to Him, no matter what happens, then offer your all and He will be with you through it all. If you’re not completely committed to Him, then you’ve lost your saltiness or effectiveness as His follower (Luke 14:25-35).

When you truly follow Jesus, you will blessed with His love, peace, and joy. You will also be blessed with rejection, persecution, and possibly death, and you will be in good company. Jesus said so in Matthew. 

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:10-11(NASB)

The world belongs to Satan and Satan is unrighteous, downright evil. When Jesus followers stand up against the problems of this world and speak out against sin, they encounter rejections of all types, from insults to the loss of businesses to death. Believers for generations have been persecuted for their faith. Oppression continues today in many parts of the world, and American Christians who have enjoyed freedom of religion are now experiencing forms of persecution. 

Yet have no fear because Jesus said He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Scripture tells us we will have trials when we stand for Him—these are the costs of discipleship. Look at all the difficulties encountered by the patriarchs and prophets—are we any different? God was faithful to each of them and He continues His faithfulness to each of His children now through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He promises to walk with us when we stand for Him and, regardless of the outcome, we’ll live with Him forever. Do you trust Him? Do you believe in His faithfulness?

Jesus told the crowd on the mountain that they would be persecuted for righteousness’ sake. Jesus was persecuted and put to death for righteousness’ sake. On that cross, He took our sins and offered His righteousness. It’s like a covenant of salt—His grace for our trust. Will you receive His mercy and believe on His Name, even when salty tears fall down your face? Living a salty life is not guaranteed pain free, especially when a believer stands up for Jesus. But it is a matter of trusting Him—do you?

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 (NASB)

....who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.... 1 Peter 1:5-7 (NASB)

...let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds... Hebrews 10:22-24 (NASB)

AMEN! I’m learning to trust my salty God!!!!