Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, December 27, 2015

LOVE Came Down




L - loyalty
O - oneness
V - virtuous
E - elation

“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. John 3:16 (NASB)

And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Luke 2:9-14 (NASB)

- "When Love was born" by Mark Schultz

- "Son of God" by Michael W. Smith




J - Jesus
O - others  
Y - you

….it is a time to celebrate with a hearty meal and to send presents to those in need, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. You must not be dejected and sad!” Nehemiah 8:10 (TLB)

Imagine the elation of worldly people if they were heavenly-minded. Joy comes to the world from this point of view.

- "Joy to the World" by Chris Tomlin

- "The Heart of Christmas" by Matthew West




H - Harness
O - optimism
P - promise & possibility
E - expectation

Envision an earthly world full of heavenly life. Hang on to hope. 

Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and prayerful always. Romans 12:12 (TLB)

- "Be Born In Me (Mary)" by Francesca Battistelli 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0esKTjhqJII 
- "We Have a Saviour" by Hillsong




P - promise
E - ease
A - acceptance
C - contentment & calm
E - equable

Sit in the stillness and know that God exists. 

So now, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith in his promises, we can have real peace with him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Romans 5:1 (TLB)

- "Let There be Peace on Earth" - Sing Along




May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NIV)


The God of peace be with you all. Amen. Romans 15:33 (NIV)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

PEACE

                             P - promise
                             E - ease
                             A - acceptance
                             C - contentment & calm
                             E - equable





“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV) 


Peace on earth, goodwill toward men!

Peace be with you! 
And also with you!

Lips speak peace, 
yet hearts tremble with fear.

Agitation, difficulty, torment, trials,
Stress, turmoil, troubles, dread, anxiety……
Anything but peace exists on earth.

News, gossip, reality, 
Eyes and ears see and hear violence, discord, disorder, hate,
When all the while, hearts yearn…..
Hearts desire calm, quiet, serenity, tranquility. 
Why, oh why is life like this?
Why can’t we all get along?

Afraid and anxious, humans lose heart 
Until peace reigns within. 
God declares strength in quietness and trust.
Jesus reveals salvation in repentance and rest.

But we won’t and don’t.
Why?

Distrust prompts worry.
Anxiety triggers stress.
Fear produces unrest.
Peace is missing.

But peace can be found.
Seek and solicit peace from the Peacemaker.
Sit in the quiet of a day or night. 
Allow intense breathing to still your body and soul.
Hear the powerful roar of silence.
Live for the moment in hushed tones.

Believe and receive, in repentance and rest, the salvation of our Savior Jesus Christ.
He is the Prince of Peace.
His salvation has come to all of mankind.

Peace came.
Peace is here.
Peace reigns forever.

Yes, the Prince of Peace reigns now and forever,
In believing and receiving hearts.
Offer repentance.
Experience rest.
Acquire salvation.
Obtain peace.

Peace came.
Peace is here.
Peace reigns forever.

Sit in silence.
Rest in serenity.
Be still and know He is God.
Encounter peace and quiet,
And give praise.

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)

For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said,

“In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”
But you were not willing, Isaiah 30:15 (NASB)

“I am not at ease, nor am I quiet,
And I am not at rest, but turmoil comes.” Job 3:26 (NASB)

Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy. Proverbs 12:20 (NIV)

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14 (NIV)

I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— but let them not turn to folly. Psalm 85:8 (NIV)

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11 (NIV)

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 greatness 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 9:6-7 (NIV)

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7 (NIV)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 (NIV)

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 (NASB)

“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)

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. Isaiah 55:12 (NIV)

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. Roman 16:20 (NIV)

“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Luke 19:38 (NASB)

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15 (NIV)





Sunday, December 13, 2015

JOY

                                  J - Jesus
                                  O - others                
                                  Y - you


"….it is a time to celebrate with a hearty meal and to send presents to those in need, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. You must not be dejected and sad!” Nehemiah 8:10 (TLB)

Joy to the world, the Lord has come!

Humanity desires blessing, souls long for favor, 
But where is happiness? What is joy?
Anticipated possibilities occur for a few,
Reality’s probability dreadfully materializes for most. 
Life seems so hopeless.
The human condition needs a focal point.

Consider the simplicity of a child, 
Marveling in the present.
Either momentary delight skips along 
Or gracious arms wipe temporary tears away. 
No worry about the past, no dread for tomorrow. 

And Jesus says to think and live like a child, 
Forgiving, humble, and trusting. 

The eyes of innocent children fill with expectation,
Restoring mature yet jaded souls from life’s issues and worldly problems. 
Smiles turn to happiness with a chance of joy. 
Is it possible to be cheerful in the middle of pain?

And Jesus says to put aside worry and do not fear, 
Forgiving, humble, and trusting.

Turn away from distractions and consider the Lord.
As a child looks to a parent and longs to be held,
Focus on Jesus and desire His Presence.
Rest, relax, rejoice…..

Why let sadness devour your existence?
Imagine the elation of heavenly delight.
Endure trials and tribulations with the weapon of joy.

Jesus understands. 
Jesus is strength. 
Jesus is joy.

Wear the Lord’s strength when marching into the battle of adversity.
Jesus, our example, suffered mental anguish and physical pain.
While celebrating the joy of salvation for His people,
His life ebbed away on a cross.

Jesus understands. 
Jesus is strength. 
Jesus is joy.

Look to Him with joyful joy-filled eyes. 
He is before you, beside you, behind you, and around. 
Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. 
If you believe on His name, He’s within you.

Rise up and position yourself before God Almighty. 
Rejoice!
Hear His voice, listen to His words, believe His promises, have faith in Him. 
Rejoice!
The Lord does what He says—always has, always will. 
Rejoice!

Stand firm in joy—He works all things out for good.
Take up the shield of faith—He is dependable and faithful, He will do it.
Link your shield with the shields of other believers,
In joyful strength, lift one another up with encouragement,
Because Jesus fulfills His promises.
Rejoice!


R - Redeemer
E - Emmanuel, God with us (romanized version)
J - Jesus
O - Omnipotent
I - Immanuel, God with us (Hebrew spelling)
C - Christ
E - Emmanuel, God is with us!



Joy to the world!


And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3 (NIV)


‘Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].’ Isaiah 41:10 (AMP)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work]. 

Just consider and meditate on Him who endured from sinners such bitter hostility against Himself [consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 (AMP)                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
A joyful heart makes a cheerful face,
But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken. Proverbs 15:13 (NASB)


And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NASB)
                                                                                                                                                           
“Blessed are those
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” Romans 4:7-8 (NIV)


Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)


Jesus said, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (NIV)



Sunday, December 6, 2015

HOPE

                               H - Harness
                               O - optimism
                               P - possibility         
                               E - expectation



Glory to God in the highest. Luke 2:14

Behold Christmas wonder from a child’s eyes. 
See the normal and imagine newness—observe for the first time. 
Gasp at the spectacle of simple things.
Like a child, believe in the mystery of the season. 
Dream about the coming days, anticipate the invisible. 
Hope for more…..

YET hope has come. 
Hope in the form of a baby boy, born to a young woman, laid in a feeding trough. 
Hope humbly appeared on earth, descending from heaven. 
Hope grew in wisdom and knowledge, teaching people who lived in reality about truth and love. 
Hope visualized healed humans and cured the sick. 
Hope envisioned broken chains and liberated captives. 
Hope conceived a divine kingdom and lived it out on earth. 
Hope is Jesus…Jesus is God…God is Creator. 

The Creator left His throne in heaven to live for a moment on earth with His creatures. 
Who does that? 
Who designs something only to become the design? 
Who fashions a pot of clay only to become the pot? 
Who relinquishes power only to bestow that power within the powerless? 

God. The answer is God. 
God, the Supreme and Omnipotent Being who created everything from plants to stars, 
Waived His Almighty rights for a short time to inhabit His most glorious work of art. 
God in the person of Jesus lived like people, but loved like God—human yet divine. 
He lived out preordained prophecies of the ancients. 
He became the living Word of patriarchal writers. 
He came to earth as a Savior and sacrificed His holiness, 
Covered Himself in the sins of His own creation, 
Poured out His righteousness upon the earth. 

He sent Holy Spirit power
Exploding within His creatures the Word to be shared. 
Good news of hope—written, existed, 
Now living within hearts of humans choosing to believe in the divine. 

Hope reigns supreme in the minds of the faithful. 
Hope looks to a future with Almighty God while living in the present with mankind. 
Hope lives as its Creator, spreading His Word of truth in love. 
Glory to God in the highest. 




THEREFORE……

I owe Him awe,
Respect He’s due, 
Jesus Christ is holy, 
Our Lord and Savior is true.

Praise Him, saints and sinners,
Glorify His Name.
Shine forth His light,
Lay down your shame.

He carried sins then,
He’ll carry them now.
The exchange at the cross 
Is worthy a bow.

Praise Him, children,
Praise Father above.
He offers grace and mercy,
He extends heavenly love.

Open your heart,
Receive His generous gift.
Humble yourself before God,
And allow Him to uplift. 

Glory to God in the highest. 

This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5 (HCSB)


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving


I sat on the ground by my dad’s gravesite, eyeing this cross. Even though he walked with Jesus now, I told my daddy about life here on earth for the last ten years. With tears falling to the ground, I shared our family news with him. 

“Dad, your grandchildren are nearly all grown up and you have two great-grandchildren. Mom is quite weak as she receives dialysis regularly and we all takes turns helping her. I sure would enjoy a hug from you right now!” I said.

Wiping tears and rising up with renewed strength, I walked away from the dead planted in the earthly graveyard. Life’s daily needs summoned me, pulling me away from the past and placing me into the present. Time to do today’s work while mentally preparing for the coming season. Another Christmas awaits us. Our family grows older, old ones grow weaker. The world seems to wander further away from God while He continues to work among His creation. What changes lie in our future?

When I left the cemetery, I decided to be thankful—appropriate for the current Thanksgiving holiday. Even though we should render daily thanks to the God who loves us, a celebrated day of Thanksgiving gives us reason to purposely offer gratitude for His many blessings. I’ve been thankful since my graveyard visit.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your love. Knowing I have a Daddy God who cares for me despite my failure fills me with joy. Thanks, Lord Jesus, for exchanging on the cross your righteousness for my sinfulness. How humbling is the thought of your sacrifice for me.

Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with a loving earthly mother and father who cared for me and my sisters. Thanks for blessing me with a loving husband and two children. Father God, thanks for walking with me through the loss of my dad and the years of separation from my daughter. Thank you for bringing her home and declaring the promise of a good future for her. Thanks for my son and his wife who have blessed us with two beautiful grandchildren. Oh the joys and sorrows of the cycle of life. 

Thanks for your love exemplified through family and friends. Thanks for friends who lift me up when I’m down and speak your words of life over me. Thank you for prayer warriors who bow the knee with me in praise and pain to you, our Faithful and True Lord and Savior. 

Enable us, Lord Jesus, to daily live for you with thankful hearts, rejoicing in your Light that guides us while we live life in a dark world. Help us to gaze at your beauty and not the ugliness of sin. Forgive us for our part in the wickedness covering this earth. Thanks for your cleansing grace extended to us even while we are sinners. May we continually look to you with fresh eyes of faith, trusting you completely. 

Today as we celebrate the first day of Advent, anticipating your birthday, prepare our hearts for your presence, Jesus. Sweep every corner clean and make your home in the core of our beings. Nestle close and settle into our souls, allowing us to rest in the intimacy of your birth once more. Take us to your cross to humbly bow at your feet, releasing burdens, receiving deliverance. We rejoice with thanksgiving. Jesus, we pray in your holy and precious name, AMEN.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever. 

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures foreverPsalm 136:1-3,26 (NIV)


“Gratitude does more than make us feel good. It helps us become more resilient. ——Michael Hyatt


Enjoy Crowder's song entitled "Come As You Are"....


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Our God Reigns


“Rain rain go away, come again another day” is a popular English language nursery rhyme. Observation tells me its popularity rises when clouds conceal the sun for days while rain pours down, soaking the ground. On the other hand, mortals plead with the Divine for rain when the sun scorches earth and living things wither. 

Human beings can be so fickle. We generally live by sight, losing hope. Focus determines attitude. If life seems prosperous and satisfying, self-reliance increases while attention to the Provider fades. When conditions fail, distaste for disaster turns to blame. Tempers flare and discussions heat up. Fights ensue and riots break out. Dissension among individuals, families, churches, and governments create a world on fire, lost without direction. And the age-old question surfaces once more—where is God?

Is God surprised by this question? Not at all. He’s the Creator and He knows His creatures. Does this question break His heart? Absolutely. His faithful nature is offered to faithless hearts. His Word continually proclaims His faithfulness while providing numerous examples of humans blaming God for their terrible circumstances. Present situations definitely mimic Biblical circumstances.

Ages ago before accomplishing His word to the Israelites about the Promised Land, God told Moses to write a testimonial song about His faithfulness and His people’s unfaithfulness. It would later prove to be a character reference for God to Israel and the world. God knew once the Israelites set foot in the abundant land flowing with milk and honey, prosperity would breed forgetfulness. Heavenly Father recognized troubles would arise and the Israelites would cry out for help. He wanted this testament written down by Moses so the accounts of a faithless people could instruct and warn future generations. He also desired the revelation of a Faithful and True God broadcasted to all humankind. (You can read about this event in the thirty-first and thirty-second chapters of Deuteronomy.)

From dry desert to succulent surroundings, God dwelt with His people until they chose to break His covenant, forsake Him, and worship false gods. These fair-weather children of God quickly forgot the origin of their blessings. They abandoned the reality of God’s Presence among them in the pillars of cloud and fire. In a land of plenty, they chose wickedness and suffered dire consequences because the Holy One of Israel had to turn away from their unholiness. And they questioned God’s absence in their lives. Oh the plight of all humanity, the fickleness of our focus. 

We struggle on this earthly battlefield when our focus is temporal and apathetic. Anything (including education/intelligence, religion, politics, material items, people, money, power, self, etc.) that steals our focus from God Almighty is an idol or mini god. When we turn away from our faithful God to the likes of these false gods, hopelessness will eventually result. 

Is Father God disheartened by His children’s unfaithfulness? Yes. Willing to forgive? Definitely. He went to great lengths—sent His Son Jesus to die for us—to grant us mercy and grace in our time of need. Yet He still offers us the choice to either walk in our own flesh or by His very Spirit. Will we fix our gaze on a faithful God with hopeful eyes or continue staring at earthly failure with slumped shoulders of unbelief? Will we see gathering clouds as proof that our Lord God reigns or complain because once again those clouds bring rain? What will you do when clouds gather?

Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (HCSB)


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Daily Son Shine



Clouds persistently linger. Winds briskly blow. Raindrops steadily dribble. Mud puddles swell. Sun, are you there? Sure doesn’t feel like it. 

Of course the sun hangs in the heavens. Earth orbits the sun, making one revolution in 365 days and one rotation every 24 hours. Similar to a hub the sun shifts at a snail’s pace while all the planets continuously move around it. Yet why do we imagine it gone?

I’ve fought those notions of an absent sun for the last three weeks, allowing cloudy, wet, and cold conditions to affect my attitude. I know the sun’s out there but with no warmth and no shine, I tend to get disheartened. Why?

Researchers claim a lack of sunlight may lead to a form of clinical depression in some people. Seeing little sunlight can cause the development of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). And talk about sad—the symptoms for this disorder range from mood swings to suicidal thoughts. 

When clouds gather, gloomy demeanors may form within our subconscious. An extended time of stormy weather breeds discouragement even while our minds comprehend the sun’s existence. Do similar feelings grow within our souls when we witness the gathering storms of rebellion, dissension, wickedness, and just plain evil? Do these acts of corruption lead to despair and depression? Truly the consequences of sin result in sadness. And I will declare the lack of Son light is to blame. 

Son light? Yes, Son light radiating from the love and warmth of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. He exists and is always available just like the sun our earth travels around. But when we allow sorrow and tragedy to be our focus as a dreary rainy day, we lose sight of the Son’s existence. Life grows cold and dismal. We perceive only gathering storm clouds, seeing only murky skies.

YET God’s Word tells us He is also in the clouds. Actually the clouds are the dust of His feet says the prophet Nahum. He is there in the storm. He is with us, come rain or shine. Hear His words from the pens of prophets and patriarchs, apostles and Jesus Himself.

So you see, God is with us. He is our leader. His priests blow their trumpets and lead us into battle against you. O people of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed!” 2 Chronicles 13:12 (NLT)

The Lord is slow to get angry, but his power is great,
    and he never lets the guilty go unpunished.
He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm.
    The billowing clouds are the dust beneath his feet. Nahum 1:3 (NLT)

For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. Psalm 84:11 (NLT)

All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). Isaiah 7:14 (NLT)

Call your councils of war, but they will be worthless. Develop your strategies, but they will not succeed. For God is with us!” Isaiah 8:10 (NLT)

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” Matthew 1:23 (NLT)

After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.” John 3:2 (NLT)

And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life. 1 John 5:20 (NLT)

If you’re experiencing stormy weather, maybe grab an umbrella, but definitely grab the Word of God. Even as the clouds hang low in the sky, both the Son and the sun shine light on you. Focus on the unseen until we meet again next week. In the meantime, let your praises rise to our faithful God with Nicole C. Mullen’s song “Holy Captivated” (link below).

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NLT)

Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (NLT)