Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, August 28, 2016

You Have a Friend

Have you ever felt abandoned, alone, and afraid? Darkness closes in and you think no one cares about you or your problems. Feelings of isolation grow until you feel unloved. 

Sounds preposterous, but when such feelings invade your mind, resist and confront with the reality of a Creator God who designed you and desires relationship with you. Remember—feelings are simply feelings, choose reality.

The truth is there is Someone who would never abandon you or leave you all alone. Not only is He the Creator of the world, He is a Faithful Friend. He can be trusted. His name is Jesus and He says He will never ever desert you (Hebrews 13:5).

He is a Man of His Word. He is the Word of God. 

He displayed His loyalty to you and me all the way to the cross. Written in red, His promise to uphold His covenant with mankind dripped from His wounds until drained of life. Death held Him only until His mighty power burst forth into resurrected life! For you and for me!

He is a Man of His Word. He is the Word of God.

Do you know anyone willing to suffer such pain until death for you? Only amazing love accomplishes such devotion. Jesus is committed to His promise. He is your faithful Friend.

He is a Man of His Word. He is the Word of God.

Covenants, pledges, agreements, promises have been made for centuries by unknown, legendary, and infamous people. Sometimes drops of blood sealed the deals. While some commitments were preserved, others were broken. 

Yet one covenant of old, fulfilled by the blood of God Himself, remains steadfast today. Jesus’ scars constantly remind Him of His promise of faithfulness to you and me. When His hands are lifted in intercession for us, His palms bear the marks of covenant. And He says, “Even if a mother should forget her child, I will never forget you because you are engraved on the palms of My hands.” (Isaiah 49:15-16)

This selfless, gracious Savior who died for us is our Friend, and He calls us friends when we follow Him. Like friends who confide in one another, He revealed through the Word of God the things of God. He chose to be in a lasting covenant with you and me. Praise God.

Friendship—a bond of love and loyalty. A friend is someone who understands you in good times and bad. Someone you can chat with every day of the year or once a year as if no time has passed since the last conversation. A friend is available 24/7.

I’ve moved to different places off and on my whole life, making new friends and then leaving them. Even though it always breaks my heart to move away from friends, I trust our friendship remains true, even in the throes of life. Oh the joy of constant, steady relationships. 

These are treasures from my friendships.......

A song by Michael W. Smith, "Friends are Friends Forever"

Even if you feel you don’t have a friend, reality tells a different story. 

Someone cares for you. He is your Savior and your Friend. He’s devoted to you. He’s a blood brother who commits to His promises. He laid down His life for His friends. He laid His life down for you.

You have a faithful friend in Christ Jesus because He is a Man of His Word. He is the Word of God. 

What a Friend We Have in Jesus - piano with lyrics

A true friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. Proverbs 17:17 (TLB)

A man of too many friends comes to ruin,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 (NASB)

“But you, Israel, My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
Descendant of Abraham My friend,
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,
And called from its remotest parts
And said to you, ‘You are My servant,
I have chosen you and not rejected you. Isaiah 41:8-9 (NASB)

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:13-15 (NASB)

….and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. James 2:23 (NASB)

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 (NASB)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Someone Cares for You

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NASB)

Lost and alone, 
          insecure and inferior,
                    worried and anxious,
                               fearful and worthless......
human flesh feelings of despair and defeat.

Everyone experiences these emotions at some point in life. Sometimes sufferings blanket us in darkness. Intense distress feels like rejection and abandonment. We wonder if anyone cares. 

Someone knows and cares about you!

Really? How can anyone understand unless they’ve “walked in my shoes?” It’s hard to believe that anyone could be aware of our personal hardships. But there is Someone who understands, Someone who’s actually “walked in our shoes.” He knows and cares about you. His name is Jesus and He is the Savior of the world.

Jesus, God’s own Son, entered the world that He Himself created (John 1:1-5). 
He experienced birth, life, and death (Matthew 2, Luke 1-2, Matthew 27-28). 
He arose from the dead (Mark 16, Romans 8:34).
He was fully human, experiencing happiness and pain, highs and lows (Hebrews 2). 
He experienced hunger, weariness, loneliness, and temptation in the desert (Luke 4:1-13). 
He agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26, Luke 22). 
He felt forsaken and abandoned on the cross (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34).

Is it possible that this Jesus truly understands mortal pain, my pain, your pain?

“Christ became what we are that He might make us what He is,” said Athanasius, the Bishop of ancient Alexandria, Egypt and defender of the Christian faith. Jesus chose to put on our human flesh in order to give us the chance to be filled with His divine nature. Through His sacrifice (becoming a human, dying for our sins, and arising to new life), He offered to the world the plan of salvation from sin, death, and despair. 

Jesus offers deliverance from desperate feelings (Habakkuk 3:1-3, Romans 11:27). 
He extends mercy and grace (Hebrews 4:16).
He provides hope (Psalm 71:5), strength (Isaiah 40:29), and joy (Psalm 51:12).
He grants salvation from the sins of your past (2 Timothy 3:15).
He loves you and desires you spend eternity with Him (John 3:16).

Believe it or not, there is Someone who knows and cares about you. He waits with open arms for you. If you haven’t already, begin to search for Him (Deuteronomy 4:29, Jeremiah 29:13, Matthew 6:33). And return next week for more good news about the One who understands you. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Promises of a Faithful God

Are you in a state of anxiety over a situation in your life? Is disease and death fast approaching you or a loved one? Do you have a prodigal child that causes you daily suffering? Are you struggling to deal with all that concerns you? 

Chaos sometimes surrounds our personal lives as well as the lives of others around us. When we try to avoid our own issues, we soon realize that the whole world is in upheaval. Who can help us face our fears? Who can calm our spirit and give us rest? God our Heavenly Father through Christ Jesus is our only Savior. 

Our Faithful Lord has given us His Word. Read God's age-old promises and know with assurance that He fulfills them. 

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.  2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV)

For as you know him better, he will give you, through his great power, everything you need for living a truly good life: he even shares his own glory and his own goodness with us! And by that same mighty power he has given us all the other rich and wonderful blessings he promised; for instance, the promise to save us from the lust and rottenness all around us, and to give us his own character.  2 Peter 1:3-4 (TLB)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  John 3:16-17 (NKJV)

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

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.  1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NKJV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  Psalm 84:11 (NASB)

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

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”  Jeremiah 29:11-14 (NIV)

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  Luke 11:9-10 (NIV)

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Circle of Love

Wait a minute. Am I seeing correctly? Is she doing what I think she is doing? Once I shifted in my seat to get a better glance, my mind confirmed the sight before my eyes. A young lady sat in church knitting as the pastor preached. While she seemed attentive to the sermon, her circular knitting needles distracted me.

I quickly joggled my drifting thoughts back to our pastor’s passionate sermon about God’s gracious love. When he concluded his message, our worship team returned to lead the congregation in worship. Singing to my Savior soon led to prayers for my family as well as our broken world. The refrain “Your love it knows no end” triggered a mental vision of people encircled by a knitting tool. The Lord’s mighty Hand tugged at the yarn that pulled us closer to each other. God’s love knits hearts together. 

God, please forgive my judgmental attitude towards
the woman knitting at church. Only You know her heart—I certainly 
revealed mine. But in Your gracious mercy, You used the knitting example to teach me an object lesson about Your abundant love for Your people. Thank you, Lord.

As my prayers ascended heavenward, worshippers continued to lift their voices in praise. “Chains be broken” filled my mind with images of captives shedding shackles. Fetters fell from hearts and hands while the mighty Hand of God reached out to mend broken hearts. Praise You, Lord God.

                                                               The Mighty Hand of God
This picture was taken by my daughter as she left Yosemite National Park in California. 

Heavenly Father, forgive us of our many grievous sins. We have sinned against You as individuals, families, churches, governments, and nations. I am sorry for my own wrongdoing. We offer thanks for Your grace and mercy that pardons repentant hearts. Heal our brokenness and restore us with Your salvation. Bind us together, Lord, and draw us close to You. In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN. 

“Come, let us return to the Lord.
For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. Hosea 6:1 (NASB)

‘O Lord God, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your strong hand; for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as Yours? Deuteronomy 3:24 (NASB)

He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.” Joshua 4:24 (NIV)

He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 (NASB)

Hillsong - "Love Knows No End"

Hillsong Chapel - "You'll Come"........