Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Heavens Declare His Glory

I’m a visual learner. I can listen to a speaker, take notes, and try to remember everything I’m hearing, but a displayed picture lingers in my mind creating prolonged memory. Now don’t get me wrong—I love words, reading and writing them, but an image speaks volumes. A picture expresses clearly, with images, colors, and descriptors, a notion that can’t be explained any other way. A picture is worth a thousand words. 


That adage seems to be as old as time. It’s been credited to several people from across the globe. It’s been used by many people all over the world. It’s easily understood because a picture is worth a thousand words.


God expresses Himself to me with His pictures. Our Creator God is the best Artist I know. Sometimes when I’m driving down the road, the sky speaks volumes to me, broadcasting His glory and His presence. At times His pictures have been so breathtaking that I’ve had to pull over and take a snapshot of His beauty. Of course the images linger in my mind, but I want permanent pictures to observe every now and then. They give me pause to listen to the heart of God.  


Creation and Scripture witness to the majesty of our Lord God Almighty. Allow these pictures (that I’ve taken on the way to work), Scriptures, and quotes to resonate within your heart and mind as you meditate upon the power of a Mighty God and His saving grace.   



The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky proclaims the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour out speech;
night after night they communicate knowledge.
There is no speech; there are no words;
their voice is not heard.
Their message has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.

In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a groom coming from the bridal chamber;
it rejoices like an athlete running a course.
It rises from one end of the heavens
and circles to their other end;
nothing is hidden from its heat.

The instruction of the Lord is perfect,
renewing one’s life;
the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy,
making the inexperienced wise.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
making the heart glad;
the command of the Lord is radiant,
making the eyes light up.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are reliable
and altogether righteous.
They are more desirable than gold—
than an abundance of pure gold;
and sweeter than honey,
which comes from the honeycomb.
In addition, Your servant is warned by them;
there is great reward in keeping them.

Who perceives his unintentional sins?
Cleanse me from my hidden faults.
Moreover, keep Your servant from willful sins;
do not let them rule over me.
Then I will be innocent
and cleansed from blatant rebellion.
May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to You,
Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.
  Psalm 19 (HCSB)

                                               


I exalt You, my God the King,
and praise Your name forever and ever.
I will praise You every day;
I will honor Your name forever and ever.

Yahweh is great and is highly praised;
His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation will declare Your works to the next
and will proclaim Your mighty acts.
I will speak of Your splendor and glorious majesty
and Your wonderful works.
They will proclaim the power of Your awe-inspiring acts,
and I will declare Your greatness.
They will give a testimony of Your great goodness
and will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
Psalm 145:1-7 (HCSB)



The greatness of God’s power to create and design and form and mold and make and build and arrange defies the limits of our imagination. And since He created everything, there is nothing beyond His power to fix or mend or heal or restore.  
                                               —Anne Graham Lotz



Hallelujah!
How good it is to sing to our God,
for praise is pleasant and lovely.

The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem;
He gathers Israel’s exiled people.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars;
He gives names to all of them.
Our Lord is great, vast in power;
His understanding is infinite. 
The Lord helps the afflicted
but brings the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
play the lyre to our God, 
who covers the sky with clouds,
prepares rain for the earth,
and causes grass to grow on the hills. 
He provides the animals with their food,
and the young ravens, what they cry for.
Psalm 147:1-9 (HCSB)



Praise the Lord!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Stitched, Stained, & Mended


After prayer, the congregation sat down. I reached for my Bible and journal as the pastor prepared to speak. That’s when I noticed the three inch mended tear in the seat cushion beside me. The defect ruined the entire pew.  

My initial thoughts at the sight of the “less than perfect” pew fabric centered on distaste and snobbery. While I glared at the gash, wondering how it got there, I heard a whisper. God uttered words of life into the moment and my thoughts transformed as His thoughts filled my mind. 

Staring at the image softened my heart. A picture of patched up people filled my mind and eyes as I glanced around the room. Ripped, stained, stitched, and mended, I saw people coming to Christ for restoration—our very reason for being in church! We don’t attend church to flaunt our perfections, we bring our flaws and blemishes to the Great Physician for restoration. This is a place for healing, not haughtiness.

Oh but how we “church people” judge! Many people refuse to go to church because of the hypocritical nature of us “righteous ones.” Why would anyone want to attend a church service only to leave feeling worse about themselves? When will we all realize our wounded sinful nature needs Jesus Christ and His church!

Church buildings dot the landscape of many communities all over the world. Some shine forth with the cross of Jesus Christ and others don’t. But a building is only a building—it’s what’s inside that counts (like our hearts). The church is comprised of a sinful body of believers in Christ Jesus, the Savior of the world. The word church comes from the Greek word ekklesia which means “an assembly” or “called-out ones.” The church is the body of Christ and He is the head (Ephesians 1:22-23). 

Glancing at the tear again, I envisioned stained captives, injured offenders, sick patients, depressed folks, even hypocrites. All come to the “hospital for sinners” to meet with the Great Physician, Jesus Christ. He heals broken lives. He presents His church to God Almighty, changed from tattered rags to pristine attire. 

Restoration happens when a person meets Jesus with honesty and repentance. His true Church is full of wounded and repaired people acting with the love of Christ, not flawless individuals pointing in judgment. We need Jesus and we need each other. So bring to church your stitches and stains and allow the Great Physician to mend all your hurts and pains. Share the good news with all you encounter and give Him thanks for His healing touch. 


Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. Jeremiah 17:14 (NIV)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Light Overcomes Darkness

When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness. Isaiah 8:19-22 (NIV)


The world is a dark place—it’s Satan’s home. He’s convinced many people to seek anything but God. People turn to psychics for answers. Atheists strive to stop Christmas. Leaders spew hatred, clinging to a past they can’t forget or forgive. Followers blindly conform to the testimony of hostility. Murderers leave a trail of blood, destroying lives. “Christians” who have taken Jesus’ name but not His lifestyle exude bitterness toward others, thereby dishonoring the Name.

When souls fail to seek the God who created them, they walk in darkness, sometimes unaware of the misery that surrounds them. Others deliberately turn against their Creator and eventually suffer consequences of gloom. Many individuals deny His existence, missing His numerous blessings.

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 nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—
The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.
Isaiah 9:1-2 (NIV)


Nothing and no one stopped Christ’s wondrous light from entering the world thousands of years ago. Nothing and no one stopped the Light from entering hearts in 2014. Nothing and no one can stop His glorious Light from shining on our present and our future. God loved His creation so much that He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to be a light to a world in need of Him. He lived, bled, and died for all people for all time. He is God Almighty, He is faithful, and His light dispels the darkness. 

Rebellious souls can prevent Jesus’ entrance into their hearts. Unbelieving souls can turn their backs on God. Lost souls can continue on a veiled path of destruction and death. He grants choice to His creation.

Seeking souls can search wholeheartedly and find Jesus. Believing souls can allow Him access into their hearts. Saved souls can continue to follow the Light. Liberated souls can shine the light of Jesus into this dark world. He grants choice to His creation.

And He’s given His Word, Jesus Christ, to His creation. Read below the words we often hear at Christmastime.

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)

The “official” time of celebrating the birth of a Savior has ended—visible celebrations of Christmas have stopped. Most decorations have been put away. All has returned to normal. Or has it?

Jesus Christ came to earth in the form of a baby—a miracle worth celebrating every day. He grew and later gave His life away in love, dying on a cross to save all people—an offering of salvation freeing sinners. He now lives eternally on high and in the hearts of believers—a joyous daily reminder of His loving Presence. He can’t be stopped or put away. He is the Light of the world. Can you see Him or is it too dark where you are?


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)

God accomplished His plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. Nothing and no one, not even King Herod at the time of Christ’s birth, could prevent His plan of deliverance for a people caught in darkness. His star emitted light in the east for the magi to follow until it stood over the manger of the Christ Child. His Light still shines in the world for all to see. Will God’s creation recognize Jesus and choose His way of life?

If you’ve chosen to believe in Jesus and follow His lit path, then you can’t hide. His light emits through you, illumining the way for others to see. Walk with Him and spread His Light of love, grace, and mercy to all who cross your path. You’ll stand amazed as His radiance drives away the darkness!


Jesus said,“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.” Matthew 5:14-15 (NIV)

Jesus said to His disciples and He says to you, “Go (in this year of 2015 and salt the earth) and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit......” Matthew 28:19 (NIV) 

Jesus also said, “In the same way, let your light shine before others (at home, at work, everywhere you go this year), that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (NIV)

Can you see Him? Do you hear Him? You who live sacrificially for Jesus are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Dispel the darkness. Season the earth and shine your light for Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Hierarchy of Adoration


Angels proclaimed joyful news of a birth,
Exalting Almighty God.
Shepherds, magi, Mary, and Joseph, 
Adoringly paid homage to the long-awaited Messiah.
Marveling in glory, they worshipped
Jesus, the Christ Child, Son of God.

He lived.
He loved.
He served.
He died. 

Angels declared good news of salvation,
Magnifying the risen Redeemer.
Empty tomb, upper room,
Emmaus road, Galilean mountain,
Humble sites of worship to a Savior,
Where followers reverently revere Almighty God. 

Angels now glorify the Lamb of God,
Kneeling before His Father.
Surrounded by offerings of adoration and praise,
Jesus, the advocate, humbly intercedes,
Positioning pleas of faithful believers
Who bow on earth before the Lord in heaven.

Celebrate the birth of the King of Kings,
And journey with Him to the cross.
Understand His purpose for dwelling with us
And recognize His ultimate sacrifice.
Praise Jesus for His extravagant blessings,
Realize His accomplished sweat and blood for you.

You’re chosen and adored
By the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

He lives.
He loves.
He serves.
He dwells.

Thank you, Jesus!



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 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. 

Psalm 29:1-2, 10-11 (NIV)