Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Irreconcilable Differences—Fear vs. Faith

Reconcile the irreconcilable? Is it possible? Possible to release problems and experience God’s promises? Possible to increase faith and squash the fear that crouches nearby? The Word says all things are possible for those that believe (Mark 9:23).

The promises of God overpower problems when hearts believe His Word and minds focus on Him. But sometimes daily troubles overwhelm and fear replaces faith. “Why, Lord, why is this happening,” we cry out, failing to remember He’s still available, still present, still working, still caring, still loving, still with us, still.......

How quickly we forget God's promises and the reconciled becomes irreconcilable again. Problems intensify, fear increases, and faith grows faint. Why do we allow the things of this world to creep back into our hearts and split our thinking? Why is God’s Word so easily disregarded?

We rely too much on visual perception. Our sight nullifies the Truth of God’s promises and our minds feast on fear. Suddenly palms sweat, hearts race, breathing increases, and tears flow. Our condition spirals out-of-control and the people around us struggle to soothe our torment. All the while God is nearby saying, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). 


Read the following excerpt (Genesis 21:15-19) of Hagar and Ishmael in the wilderness after Sarah sent them away from the camp of Abraham. The boy is dying of thirst and all Hagar can think to do is sit down and cry because of worry and fear. Sound familiar?

When the water in the skin was used up, she left the boy under one of the bushes.Then she went and sat down opposite him, about a bowshot away, for she said, “Do not let me see the boy die.” And she sat opposite him, and lifted up her voice and wept. God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him.” Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the skin with water and gave the lad a drink. (NASB)

Did you catch the question asked of Hagar? The angel said, “What is the matter with you, Hagar?” Has anyone entered your wilderness situation and asked, “What’s the matter with you, insert your name?” 

Go a step further and suppose you might also be asked, “How are you helping your child? You appear incapable of guardianship.” Ouch—the truth hurts! But God says His Truth works—remember all things are possible for the believer. So our solution should be to untangle ourselves from the fear and push it aside. Begin to concentrate on His Word, call on the Lord in prayer, and trust Him to fulfill His promise. He is faithful!

As the resurrected Jesus prepared to leave earth and return to heaven, He proclaimed to His disciples, “Go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this—that I am with you always, even to the end of the world.”

Our Savior, Jesus Christ, said, “I am with you always!” 

ALWAYS - Every time, all the time, consistently, unfailingly! Now that’s a promise and God’s a promise-keeper! Focusing on the Word of God which is Jesus Christ, should drive away fear and strengthen faith. We can say, with the father of the boy healed by Jesus, “Lord, I  believe; help me with my doubts” (Mark 9:24).

Reconcile the irreconcilable—let go of problems and stand firm on God’s promises. Relinquishing problems to Him enables promised experiences with Him. Peace exceeding human understanding suddenly invades the heart. And the good fight of faith rises up and emboldens a parent to humbly bow before God the Father, trusting Him completely with the life of her child. The good fight of faith rises up and emboldens any believer to humbly bow before God Almighty, trusting Him in all circumstances!


Stand firm in the storm with your eyes on Jesus, remember His Words of promise, devote yourself to prayer, and be assured of His faithfulness. Say out loud, “Lord, I believe; help me with my unbelief!”

God’s promises overpower problems—declare them!


Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”  Deuteronomy 31:7-8 (NASB)

Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:5b-9 (NASB)

Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.
What will man do to me?” 
Hebrews 13:5 (NASB)

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.  Psalm 1:1-3 (NASB)

Praise Him in your wilderness! Faith routs fear!

"Cast My Cares" by Finding Favour 

"I Will Lift My Eyes" by Bebo Norman 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Te0hy2YcLgg

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Irreconcilable Differences—Problems vs. Promises


Worry drips down her face in wet torment. Focused on difficulty, she agonizes until anxiety seizes her mind and knots up her empty stomach. Satisfying her hunger will only make her sick. The overwhelming stress occupies her body, overruling the innate desire for food and water. Not only is she physically parched, but her soul is empty as well. Overcome by fear, she falls to her knees and cries, “If you’re out there God, please help us.” 

The emotional state of a mother affected by her prodigal child’s choices can be debilitating. I’ve been there, done that as have many moms and dads. Dwelling on a child’s condition with worry and fear as daily bread will only cause a mother and/or father to become physically and spiritually malnourished, rendering a tormented guardian, and most likely a severed relationship. How can a parent help a prodigal, or for that matter any child in need, through their seemingly hopeless circumstances? 

A distressed parent must first get right with God. She needs to readjust her focus from earthly problems to God’s promises, allowing Him to strengthen her for the work of intercession for her child. I’m reminded of instructions given to passengers on board a plane before take off. Stewards/stewardesses inform travelers about emergency procedures, including how to manage the oxygen masks if they fall from overhead. It sounds somewhat selfish, but a parent is supposed to put on an oxygen mask first and then assist their child with another one. If a parent can barely breathe, how can he/she lend a helping hand to their youngster? Likewise, how can a spiritually empty parent be of use to a child in desperate need of our loving Heavenly Father? 

It’s impossible to fight for one’s child in prayer using God’s promises when preoccupied with problems. Divided hearts and minds weaken faith. God can be trusted but if we don’t believe He will do what He says He will do, what good are the prayers we offer up for our children? A conflicted heart aches!

Reconcile the irreconcilable—let go of problems and stand firm on God’s promises. Relinquishing troubles to the Lord enables promised experiences with Him. Peace exceeding human understanding invades the heart. And the good fight of faith rises up and emboldens a parent to humbly bow before God the Father, trusting Him completely with the life of her child. 

Teach me your way, Lord,
    that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
    that I may fear your name.  Psalm 86:11 (NIV)

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  2 Corinthians 5:20 (NASB)



Now claim His promises!

Answers........Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  Luke 11:9 (NASB)

Deliverance........Whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16 (NASB)

Forgiveness........If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9 (NASB)

Provision........Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Matthew 6:33 (NASB)

Purpose........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)

Guidance........In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:6 (NASB)

Satisfaction........Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Psalm 37:4 (NASB)

Destiny........For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB)

Presence........“Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:20 (NASB)


God’s promises overpower problems!


"Cast My Cares" by Finding Favour
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKuAMmTqUbs



Sunday, June 14, 2015

God of Affirmation


Heaven is declaring God’s glory;
    the sky is proclaiming his handiwork.
One day gushes the news to the next,
    and one night informs another what needs to be known. 
Psalm 19:1-2 (CEB)

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge. 
Psalm 19:1-2 (NASB)


Attention, all! See the marvels of God!
    He plants flowers and trees all over the earth,
Bans war from pole to pole,
    breaks all the weapons across his knee.
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
    loving look at me, your High God,
    above politics, above everything.” 
Psalm 46:8-10 (MSG)

He says, “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)


God speaks.
Do we listen?
Busyness, technology, poverty, despair, wealth, selfishness—intruders of peace.
Heaven, sun, clouds, moon, flowers, the cross—proof of a gracious God.

He, the Creator, is Sovereign.
We, the creatures, are not.
Bow before Him and praise His holy Name.
Stop! Look! Listen! Jesus’ testimony of love surrounds humanity.

God speaks through the gallery of creation.
Open eyes, ears, and hearts hear Him.
Hallelujah!

Be still—KNOW He is God!



Sunday, June 7, 2015

Itching Ears

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.  2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NASB)  


Winds of change blow through the atmosphere turning heads and tickling ears. Time-honored traditions deteriorate as people justify the substitution of their truth for well-founded principles. Truth is exchanged for lies and creatures are worshipped rather than the Creator. And the world spins out of control while God waits with endless grace for our repentant hearts. 

In the beginning God spoke life and created everything good. But His creatures weren’t satisfied with their Creator’s blessings. Instead they turned their heads to another voice and allowed a lie to prick their ears, entice their hearts, and move their hands and feet to take action in direct contrast to the commands of God. Eve’s ears itched with Satan’s seductive words and she longed to satisfy her desire. She passed her truth on to her husband, Adam, and at once their delight turned to despair. They exchanged their Heavenly Father’s truth for the devil’s deceit and consequences for their choices immediately engulfed them. Meanwhile God waited with endless grace for their repentant return to His Truth. 

In Jesus’ parable of the prodigal, the younger son wasn’t content living on an estate with a loving family. He heard about his share of the property and requesting it from his father, he concentrated on the pleasure his money offered. So he walked away from the fundamentals of home, choosing to gratify his cravings. Slowly but surely his actions stripped away all the allure of his newly acquired truths and he found himself penniless, lost, and alone. At the same time, his father waited with open arms of endless grace for his son’s return. 

Many beliefs and ideologies come and go. People pick and choose what teachings sound good to them and live accordingly. From flattery to foolery, compliments to compromise, the ears of humans are tickled and begin to itch. Men, women, and children satisfy those itching ears by scratching them with the latest fads and fetishes. Eve and Adam did it, the prodigal son did it, and we do it. In the mean time, God waits with endless grace for us to repent and turn back to His firm foundation of Truth. 

The winds of change are surging into storms of transformation. Attractions, trends, idolization, devotion to anything but God strengthens as we allow what we see and hear to move our hands and feet toward instant pleasure. We want it, we want it our way, and we want it now. 

Lead astray and away from the truth of our Creator, our eyes see abundance and we desire more. Our ears hear adaptation and we crave change. Our mouths speak complaints and we join protests. Our hands grab hold and our feet take us places we never thought we would go! We simply follow and surround ourselves with like-minded people, soothing the tension within us. The God who created us in His very image is pushed aside and we’re slowly swept away like shifting sand. For the time being God waits with endless grace for His creation to come home. 

Are your ears itching? Have you or a loved one turned aside from the sound doctrine of our loving Heavenly Father and satisfied the pull of temptation? Turn back to the God of Truth who waits with endless grace and mercy for your return. Receive the forgiveness of His Son Jesus Christ and stand firm on His Holy Word. Satisfy your itch with the joy of the Lord and He will be your strength.


G
R
A
C
ENDLESS                    
             C
             A
             R
             G        

                                                 


For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.  Romans 1:20-23 (NASB)



Below is a children’s song by an unknown author with authoritative but uncomplicated instruction for us. Read it slowly, remembering the God of endless grace. Following it is a link to a powerfully worded song by Casting Crowns. I pray the words tickle our ears and turn our hearts toward home.

O Be Careful, Little Eyes

O be careful little eyes what you see
O be careful little eyes what you see
There's a Father up above
And He's looking down in love
So, be careful little eyes what you see

O be careful little ears what you hear
O be careful little ears what you hear
There's a Father up above
And He's looking down in love
So, be careful little ears what you hear

O be careful little hands what you do
O be careful little hands what you do
There's a Father up above
And He's looking down in love
So, be careful little hands what you do

O be careful little feet where you go
O be careful little feet where you go
There's a Father up above
And He's looking down in love
So, be careful little feet where you go

O be careful little mouth what you say
O be careful little mouth what you say
There's a Father up above
And He's looking down in love
So, be careful little mouth what you say


“Slow Fade” by Casting Crowns


Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. AMEN! (Psalm 19:14)