Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Hope, Affliction, and Prayer

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Romans 12:11-12 (NIV)

Joy in hope, really God, what does that look like? Patience in affliction, seriously Lord, how does that happen? Faithful in prayer—God, what do I do when my prayers aren’t answered? And Lord, how can I zealously serve You when all seems to be going wrong?

As residents of this world, we encounter plenty of distress, sometimes daily. Misery raises its ugly head in the forms of disease, broken relationships, death, persecution, anger, fear, lack of justice—add your own times of suffering. It’s a fact of life, but so is God. 

And what does God’s Word tell us to do in the midst of living? Be zealous, joyful, patient, and faithful. Sounds like a saint to me. How can any person carry on in such an enthusiastic way while walking a road of suffering?   

Only through belief and trust in our Almighty Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can we be zealous, joyful, patient, and faithful. When we surrender our sinful self-serving souls to a loving and saving God, He enables us to live as He would live within a wayward world. When we let go (of fear, hate, sorrow, revenge, etc.) and let God (enter our hearts with forgiveness, love, trust, and  goodness), we can be full of zeal, joy, patience, and faithfulness. And believe it or not, those qualities produce comfort. 

Consider for a moment a personal time of hardship. How did you feel? What did you do? How did you respond?

I’ve experienced the pain of broken relationships, a prodigal child, hurt, disease, death, bitter words while failing miserably at being zealous, joyful, patient, and faithful. When I focused on my sorrows, torment intensified. But when I sat in silence before God and concentrated on His blessings, His presence comforted me. His holy Word gave me hope.

Right now I’m sitting in my mother’s house in the room where she died. It is eerily quiet. Death is almost palatable but so is peace. As I touch the beautiful blanket given to her by hospice, I smell her scent. Memories of standing with my sisters around our mother’s bed while holding her hand and expressing love flood my mind. We knew we faced death, a future without our mom, but we clung to her. Even so, reality couldn’t be stopped. She passed from death to an eternal mansion while we remained inside an earthly house with reminders of her everywhere.

Clothes, furniture, trinkets, pictures—all her things surround us as we work to empty her house while clinging to treasures. My heart aches with the desire to sit with my Mom, hold her hand once again, and kiss her on the cheek. I don’t want to walk this road, Lord. I want my Mama.

But God moves me forward with His love. I know my mom is free of pain and suffering. I know she lives with Him forever. I recollect our times together. I take away memories of love and happiness. I trust Him to walk with me on this painful path. 

My Heavenly Father sent Jesus Christ to live for thirty-three years on earth. He experienced life’s many trials. He even walked a road of suffering carrying His own cross for execution. He truly understands my plight. He comprehends my pain. He is able to comfort me. 

Jesus tells me death doesn’t have the final say. He overcame death and gives me the strength to overcome my earthly suffering, whatever it may be. When I trust His presence in my life and allow Him to fill my heart with His peace and love, then I experience His living, loving words. I can be full of joy as I hold out hope, abounding in patience as affliction bombards me, and offering prayers of faith as I zealously serve Him.

We can live out the Lord’s words through Paul in Romans. When hope seems to dissolve, keep hoping because God is working out the details. When afflictions attack, be patient because God is by your side. When it feels as if prayers have fallen on deaf ears, remain faithful because God hears His children’s cries. Serve Him with zeal because He’s devoted to you. 

“The assurance of God’s love, God’s help, and God’s presence is what takes the stress out of living.”  ~Bob Gass  

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Comfort Your People, Lord

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.  2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (NASB)

With strength and vigor, He calls out to Abba Father as our whimpers rise before Him. Our cries amplify while Jesus intercedes for us at the throne of our Heavenly Father. Thank you, Lord God, for your compassionate attentiveness to our afflictions. 

Isn’t it nice to know someone’s prayers are the catalyst to your comfort? A friend or family member knows your needs and appeals to Father God in your stead. And kneeling before Lord God Almighty is Jesus, who also intercedes for you. He understands your joy and sorrow because He Himself experienced human life. 

Jesus left the glory of heaven to be wrapped in humanity, to live with us and die for us. After His death and resurrection, He returned to heaven to live and intercede for us forever before Abba Father (Daddy God). When Jesus left earth, He sent a Helper called Holy Spirit to assist believers of His name in daily living. This Helper reminds God’s people of the promises of Jesus, the living Word. From these promises of old, we find comfort anew. 

The picture above represents the front of a card sent to me by a very special friend. She understood my pain and cried with me. She knew the permanent separation of mother and child. God comforted her when she lost her mother in death and now she offered me that same comfort. We both realized the comfort of Jesus through the hands and feet of His believers.

Like my friend who recognizes my pain, so the God of all comfort acknowledges my pain. He sympathizes with my breaking heart. He knows the crushing weight of the sting of death. He understands the separation of mother and child. He hears me as I cry before Him. 

Abba Father, my Daddy God, I want my Mom. I wanna talk to my Mama, the one person who easily forgives me when I fail. The one who simply loves me for me because I’m her child. I just want to pick up the phone and hear her voice. 

Sitting in silence with tears wetting the Bible on my lap, I dry my eyes and glance through God’s Word. I read His words penned by prophets and apostles while also recalling promises I’ve kept in my heart. I’m reminded of His answers to my cries. 

Dear child of mine, I love you and understand your pain. I know you by name, you are mine. I sacrificed my life for you that you might experience forgiveness of sin and failure. My love for you is unconditional. Call to me anytime and I will come to you. Listen for my voice because I am near. 

Oh happy day! God simply loves me for me because I’m His child! And this God—Abba Father, Daddy God—He gets me, He understands me, after all, He created me. He KNOWS me and knows my pain. 

I am comforted because His Son Jesus Christ cries with me, intercedes for me, and is near to me. And I am comforted because a friend who listened to His voice became His hands and feet of comfort to me. Thank you, Jesus, for loving me so. 

Are you experiencing heartbreak right now? Do you long for release from life’s afflictions? God is near and He hears your cries. Receive the comfort He offers. 

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  Galatians 4:6 (NASB)

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;  Romans 8:26 (NASB)

…who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.  Romans 8:34 (NASB)

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.  Psalm 4:4 (NASB)

Remember the word to Your servant,
In which You have made me hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction,
That Your word has revived me.  Psalm 119:49-50 (NASB)

I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness,
Because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the troubles of my soul,  Psalm 31:7(NASB)

Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications
When I cried to You.  Psalm 31:22b (NASB

"Comforter" by CeCe Winans....

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Comfort Me, Lord

Afflictions within, without,
Magnify in my sight.
No matter my focus, 
Disease and distress exist. 

Why, Lord, why does this happen?

All around the world evil intensifies
As sin increases and death destroys.
Why? Why, Lord, why? 

Because Satan rules,
He rules the world.
Because we dare to entertain the thought,
The question he asked.
Did God really say that?

Oh Lord, forgive us for foolish notions,
Forgive and cleanse our hearts. 
Allow remembrance
Of our loving Creator, 
The Maker of heaven and earth.

This place, the world I live in, is not really home. 
Home is where the heart dwells,
And my heart belongs to God, my Heavenly Father,
Who sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to take away the world's sin.
A righteous God grants forgiveness to sinners, 
To those who repent and believe on His Name.

I offer repentance in His Name and He forgives me.
Because of His grace, I am a child of this King of the universe. 
He guides my body, mind, heart, and soul,
And He calls me Beloved.

My eyes turn to Him in times of trouble, 
As well as times of peace.
He comforts me with His Word, 
His promises of old. 
The hope of glory floods my soul,
Filling me with joy.

He heals me.
He saves me.
He is my strength and praise.

Afflictions dissipate
In Your sight, Jesus Christ,
The Living Word.

Be magnified, O Lord,
My God and Savior.
Keep me focused on You.

Incline Your ear, O Lord, and answer me;
For I am afflicted and needy.
Preserve my soul, for I am a godly man;
O You my God, save Your servant who trusts in You.
Be gracious to me, O Lord,
For to You I cry all day long.  Psalm 86:1-3 (NASB)

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”  Genesis 3:1 (NLT)

My heart is troubled and restless. Waves of affliction have come upon me.  Job 30:27 (TLB)

Though he give you the bread of adversity and water of affliction, yet he will be with you to teach you—with your own eyes you will see your Teacher.  Isaiah 30:20 (TLB)

He said, “They are my very own; surely they will not be false again.” And he became their Savior. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and he personally saved them. In his love and pity he redeemed them and lifted them up and carried them through all the years.  Isaiah 63:8-9 (TLB)

Show me a sign for good,
That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed,
Because You, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me.  Psalm 86:17 (NASB)

Oh, send out your light and your truth—let them lead me. Let them lead me to your Temple on your holy mountain, Zion. There I will go to the altar of God, my exceeding joy, and praise him with my harp. O God—my God!  Psalm 43:3-4 (TLB)

Lord, you alone can heal me, you alone can save, and my praises are for you alone.  Jeremiah 17:14 (TLB)

My health fails; my spirits droop, yet God remains! He is the strength of my heart; he is mine forever!  Psalm 73:26 (TLB)

I will praise the name of God with song And magnify Him with thanksgiving.  Psalm 69:30 (NASB)

O magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together.  Psalm 34:3 (NASB)

Rebecca St James - Blessed be your name

Secret Garden - Raise Your Voices Lyrics

Secret Garden : Raise your Voice