Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Repent, Believe, Live Free



For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 (NIV)


My mac dictionary defines a prodigal as.....
a person who spends money in a recklessly extravagant way.
  • (also prodigal son or daughter) a person who leaves home and behaves in such a way, but later makes a repentant return. [ORIGIN: with biblical allusion to the parable in Luke 15:11–32.]


THE SINS

Many parents have interceded for their prodigals, their own children, to return home. Like the father at the fence in the fifteenth chapter of Luke, we have waited in prayer for our children to return to their senses and come home. 

At some point in our lives, we all have probably walked the road of a prodigal, if we turned away from God’s will. He is our Father and Creator. He made us in His image and He knows us by name. And He waits with grace-filled arms to welcome us to Him.

He calls us to repent of our sin and come home. He says He cannot fellowship with sin, but He doesn’t condemn us. He simply tells us to repent and live as He did, walk like He walked. He waits for our return to our senses and yearns for us to believe His truth.


THE CROSS

On a hill in Los Angeles, California stands an enormous white cross, beaming its brilliance for miles. As in any place, sin and rebellion against God’s truth surrounds the area. Yet someone thought it pertinent enough to remember the God of the universe and erect a testimonial of His love up high for all to see. 

Jesus Christ lived. Jesus Christ shed His blood and died upon a cross. Jesus Christ rose up from the dead and lives eternally. Jesus Christ intercedes for us before His Heavenly Father, the Ancient of Days. He is the One True God who extends grace to all who confess and repent of their sins. Believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and receive His abundant gift of mercy and grace.


THE IMAGE

Below is the picture of the cross in Los Angeles. But it displays an image miracle. As I rode in the back seat of a car down Interstate 101 in LA, I rolled down the window to capture with my phone the image of this cross on a hill. When I opened my photo app to look at the picture I took, this is what I saw. Imagine my surprise at a double cross! As I studied the photo, it spoke volumes to me. What do you see and hear from God as you study the picture? 

It tells me that Jesus Christ lives in heaven and on earth. He’ll inhabit your heart if you’ll give your consent to His loving ways. Come home, O sinner, and live freely in the grace of a righteous and holy God.


THE PICTURE




THE WORD

Allow God’s truth to penetrate your hearts and minds. Meditate on the verses below and praise His Holy Name!

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:5-10 (NIV)

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them.This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. 1 John 2:1-6 (NIV)

But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. Romans 3:21-24 (NLT)

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT)


THE SONG

Enjoy "Amazing Grace" below.....


THE PRAYER

Heavenly Father, we give you praise for your mercy and grace. Thank you for loving us so much that you would shed your life’s blood to cover over our sins. We lift up our gratitude for the exchange you made for us—our sins for your righteousness.

Lord Jesus, we have sinned. Forgive us for our intentional and unintentional misdeeds. Thank you for your mercy in not punishing us as our sins deserve and for your grace in blessing us even though we don’t deserve it. 

Thank you for your guiding hand in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Protect and preserve us throughout our walk on earth as we shine your light for all to see. We look forward to the day when we are united with you and all believers in eternity. 

In the mighty Name of Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Pilgrim's Journey




God speaks to me—not with an audible voice, but through His creation. When I gaze into the heavens, whether clouds or blue sky, sunshine or moonlight, I see His majesty and experience peace. Even though the surroundings of my life appear messy at times, I can trust the truth of His existence and His awareness of my situations. 

Recently I drove several hours to visit my mother. Times with her are always special, but this particular visitation included another surgery to remove an aggressive cancerous tumor. Worry, dread, and fear attempted a take over of my mind, so I cried out to God. He revealed His answer through scores of signs and wonders along the way. 

It seemed everywhere I looked, God made known His love and faithfulness—He knew I needed reminders. I yearned to snap pictures with my phone, but driving on a bustling interstate prevented me from forever saving photos. So I took mental pictures for future remembrances of God’s Presence in my life and the world. 

The expanse of sunny blue sky displaying billowy clouds triggered in me an awareness of God’s peace. Crosses atop churches and cell towers proclaimed God’s sovereignty over His creation. Flower-topped crosses along the roadside represented God’s healing power for families losing a loved one in an accident. Several billboards quietly announced the clear-cut reality of a God who loves us all, saying, “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life” and “Jesus loves you.”

God didn’t stop with these examples of His Presence. As I drew close to another church, I saw a big red cross next to the road. Written on the crossbeam were the words Jesus saves. While passing several vehicles, I spotted another red cross taped on the back of a huge transfer truck. Wow God, you’ve surely made an effort to speak to me. You’ve got my attention! Thank you!

Then I remembered God’s covenant with Abraham (found in Genesis 15)—He knew man would break the contract and He Himself would fulfill the promise. And He did. At the perfect time He sent His Son Jesus Christ to step into our place and receive our punishment for sins we committed. He gave His life to save us all. If He’s a God who will die for us, for me, isn’t He a God who will take care of us, of me? 

Yes, He’s such a committed God that He even displays reminders of His love. Is anyone listening and paying attention to His signs and wonders? Are we noticing His crosses along the way? In case you’re wandering on earth or wondering about life, remember the God who created you, the God who died for you, the God who loves you. He is beside you and He wants you to take notice. He is faithful!


He said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” John 20:25 (NIV)

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 (NIV)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)



I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore. 
Psalm 121 (NIV)


Click on the link below and enjoy the song entitled “Shoulders” by For King and Country.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfiYWaeAcRw


Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29 (NIV)


AMEN!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Rejoicing Through Pain





Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
    and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
    and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
    and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
    He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
    able to tread upon the heights. 
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NLT)


The struggle is real, happening daily, sometimes hourly. It may be self-inflicted or circumstantial. Worldly trials, problems, life on earth, sin—call it what you may, but it’s historical, factual, real-life, and downright devastating. It all began in the heart of man. 

In the beginning, God created everything and it was good. God even made man in His own image, creating male and female. He placed Adam and Eve in a lush garden, surrounded by beauty, providing for every need. He communicated a command to His human creation while also allowing them the choice of obedience or disobedience. Then the battle within the heart of mankind emerged.

Evil enticement entered Eden, the exquisite garden of God. Satan raised a question concerning God’s authority and His command. The woman questioned God’s instruction. The man failed to stand firm on God’s word. The choice of disobedience compromised God’s extravagant goodness. 

The creatures thought the good that God supplied wasn’t good enough—His children wanted more! Beguiling lawlessness, desiring eyes, conflicting minds, and rebellious hearts drove them to wickedness. The Heavenly Father yearned for obedience from His children while Satan used cunning to deceive them. The choice—disobedience and sin, followed by punishment. 

Yet, AND THIS IS HUGE, yet God provided for His creation, for Adam and Eve, for you and me. His love allowed choice and His mercy (not punishing us as our sins deserve) extended grace (blessing us despite the fact that we do not deserve it). He mercifully delivered us from judgment and graciously extended His kindness to our unworthy souls. He planned a way of salvation through His son, Jesus Christ. On a Roman cross, He took all our sins upon Himself and granted us His goodness and righteousness. What kind of God does that for His creation? A good God does—the one and only God of salvation, Jesus Christ.

After choosing sin, Adam and Eve struggled with life’s trials (Genesis 3:16-18), yet God provided (Genesis 3:18-19). After choosing rebellion, the prodigal struggled with life’s challenges (Luke 15:13-16), yet his father instantly forgave and blessed him when he returned home and repented (Luke 15:22-24). If your choice of disobedience (and we all sin at some point in our lives) has you constantly struggling with life’s troubles, you are not alone. Your failure to obey your Heavenly Father is not final—He extends His mercy and grace to you. All you need to do is repent of your sin and receive His gracious gift. It’s your choice. He stands ready to welcome you home. 

Your circumstances may look dreadful, your life may be devastating, and your situation may be desperate, but God is faithful, He is forgiving, He is gracious, and He is good! He loved you enough to die for you. He will enter your hell on earth and extend His abundant and eternal life to your repentant heart. Rejoice in this kind of merciful and gracious God! He is the loving God of salvation!


And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. Genesis 3:17 (NLT)

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)

Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12 (NLT)

Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.  John 10:6-10 (NLT)


I have heard all about you, Lord.
    I am filled with awe by your amazing works.
In this time of our deep need,
    help us again as you did in years gone by.
And in your anger,
    remember your mercy. 
Habakkuk 3:1-2 (NLT)



Sunday, May 10, 2015

God's Faithful Truth

Our loving Heavenly Father promises forgiveness and healing when we repent and turn from our evil ways. He stands at the door and knocks. Allow Him into your heart and let’s pray that eyes and ears will be opened to the TRUTH of God’s Word. And together let’s keep the faith and praise the Name of Jesus Christ! He has, is, and always will be faithful to His Word!

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.  2 Chronicles 7:13-16 (NIV)




Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.  Revelation 3:20 (NIV)




Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)


COME, LORD JESUS!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Watching and Waiting


So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.  Luke 15:20 (NIV)

Watchmen held an extremely important job during Old Testament times. They stood in towers or upon city walls looking out across the land. For the Israelites, it meant standing guard over the walls of Jerusalem and leaning forward to peer off into the distance. The Hebrew guards kept watch and waited out their allotted time on the wall, observing everything and everyone around them. An approaching enemy or advancing army was spotted first by the watchmen on the walls. 

Several years ago, God gave me the broad vision of a military policeman standing guard, wearing an armband with the letters MP on it. Military police lead the charge for protecting the lives and property of those in service to one’s country. Reflecting on that image gave me insight into the endeavor of mothers praying for their prodigals. I envisioned our job as prayerfully waiting and watching, waiting for God’s work to be accepted into the lives of our children and watching for their return to God and family. 

To do this kind of work—this watching with purpose based on the promises of God—requires faith and trust in the God who loves us! It demands constant watchfulness (with wailing, if necessary) in humble prayer, giving up any personal dictates and whims, and placing our children in the very capable hands of God. This hopeful waiting requires us to daily give our doubts to God and peacefully watch what He is doing, even if it looks messy!

The story of the prodigal son in Luke tells us of the actions taken by some of the family members. One verse in particular (verse 20 above) explains the turning back of the prodigal and the father’s observation of his son in the distance returning home. What joy for this watchman who daily had waited patiently at his border for any sign of an answer to his many prayers. Can you feel the jubilation in this reunion? 

You may be in a situation right now that feels nothing like triumph. Misery surrounds you as you wait and watch. I understand such feelings and so does God. He sees your hurting heart and hears your agonizing cries. Don’t give up your position! Stand firm on His promises and trust in His perfect timing for your loved ones. Rely on His Word to strengthen and preserve you in peace. He is a faithful God!                                                                     
If your situation has turned around like the one in the story of the prodigal son, give God the glory but don’t stop praying. There are many prodigals and families who need your prayers of intercession for protection and peace while God works within their lives. Continue the labor of watching and waiting for the return of God’s children to His loving truth. And praise Him!

Together let’s lift Scriptural battle cries up to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as we watch and wait for His fulfilled promises.



But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
    I wait for God my Savior;
    my God will hear me.  Micah 7:7 (NIV)

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
    Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
    for with the Lord is unfailing love
    and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
    from all their sins. 
Psalm 130 (NIV)

I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest......  Isaiah 62:6 (NIV)


Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer.  Romans 12:12 (CEB)