Mothers for Prodigals

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Quiet Confidence

The result of righteousness will be peace;
the effect of righteousness
will be quiet confidence forever.  Isaiah 32:17 (HCSB)

The quiet of my backyard deafened me. Even though nocturnal animals roamed, at 4:45 in the morning, most humans either slept or initially roused themselves out of bed. I stood outside watching my dogs as they emptied themselves, the quiet surrounding me. The eerie silence unnerved me until I took my thoughts captive and turned them over to Jesus. 

Straightaway the uncanny sound of soundlessness transformed into peaceful calm. My heart reveled in God’s serenity. I felt Him speak to my soul. 

“Quiet confidence,” He said.

“What is quiet confidence?” I asked.

“Read my words, listen with your heart, and I’ll explain,” I sensed Him say. 

I walked back inside my house and opened my box of God’s promises. The words fixed themselves in my heart and mind. God, through His everlasting Word, said to me…..

The work of righteousness will be peace,
And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.  Isaiah 32:17 (NKJV)

I opened my Bible and reread God’s holy Word in a different translation. 

And the work of righteousness will be peace,
And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.  Isaiah 32:17 (NASB)

Wow, God, you are the transformer, the One of righteous peace. When we believe and turn our thoughts toward you, you exchange our sinful nature with your righteous assurance. You died a horrible death on a cross to make that exchange with us. You are worthy of our praise. Keep my thoughts on you, Lord Jesus. 

And He did. I visualized my righteous, confident Savior before human judges and the governor, Pontius Pilate. Jesus, the Perfect One, had been arrested and stood before sinful men, awaiting His sentence.  

Now Jesus stood before the governor. “Are You the King of the Jews?” the governor asked Him.

Jesus answered, “You have said it.” And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He didn’t answer.

Then Pilate said to Him, “Don’t You hear how much they are testifying against You?” But He didn’t answer him on even one charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.  Matthew 27:11-14 (HCSB)

Our Savior fulfilled Old Testament prophecy as He quietly faced His accusers.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet He did not open His mouth.
Like a lamb led to the slaughter
and like a sheep silent before her shearers,
He did not open His mouth.  Isaiah 53:7 (HCSB)

I felt His assurance as I read the Word of God. Jesus knew His destiny. He chose to fulfill it for me and you. When Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection, He offered to believers the authority given to Him by His Heavenly Father. This authority exudes quiet confidence with assurance of its origin. 

The conviction of Jesus comes from power, the unimaginable power of God. Jesus endured mocking and beatings from His enemies. He withstood pain as He walked to the cross. He persevered with assurance because of His heavenly focus. And He didn’t utter a word.

The same confident power is available to us—Jesus died to save us and fill us with this quiet, authoritative power. Do we tap into it or allow worldly noise to drown it out? Too often we tend to engage heavily in the things of this world. Instead of reading God’s Word, we allow others’ thoughts and opinions to shape our own ideas. Worldly noise keeps us distracted. The result—increased pain within our circumstances. 

Is it possible to stand in painful situations with an authoritative certainty? Can we acquire the same assurance that Jesus lived out? How do we go about following His example? 

Be still before Him (Psalm 46:10). Take anxious thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). Embrace silence. Allow Christ Jesus’ power to invade your mind with quiet confidence. His power is the greatest power in the universe. Lay hold of it and persevere with Jesus by your side. 

Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus,

who, existing in the form of God,
did not consider equality with God
as something to be used for His own advantage.
Instead He emptied Himself
by assuming the form of a slave,
taking on the likeness of men.
And when He had come as a man
in His external form,
He humbled Himself by becoming obedient
to the point of death—
even to death on a cross.
For this reason God highly exalted Him
and gave Him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee will bow—
of those who are in heaven and on earth
and under the earth—
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:5-11 (HCSB)

Now I, Paul, make a personal appeal to you by the gentleness and graciousness of Christ—I who am humble among you in person but bold toward you when absent. I beg you that when I am present I will not need to be bold with the confidence by which I plan to challenge certain people who think we are behaving in an unspiritual way. For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ. 
 2 Corinthians 10:1-5 (HCSB)

But you, man of God, run from these things,
and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith,
love, endurance, and gentleness.
Fight the good fight for the faith;
take hold of eternal life
that you were called to
and have made a good confession about
in the presence of many witnesses.

In the presence of God, who gives life to all, and of Christ Jesus, who gave a good confession before Pontius Pilate, I charge you to keep the command without fault or failure until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. God will bring this about in His own time. He is

the blessed and only Sovereign,
the King of kings,
and the Lord of lords,
the only One who has immortality,
dwelling in unapproachable light;
no one has seen or can see Him,
to Him be honor and eternal might.
Amen. 1 Timothy 6 (HCSB)

May You be praised, Lord God of our father Israel, from eternity to eternity. Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all.  
1 Chronicles 29:10b-11 (HCSB)

In the trials you face, in the obstacles you come up against, in the discouragement that hounds you relentlessly, will you cast your confidence toward the power of God or the hard facts of “reality”?  ~Chris Tiegreen

"Same Power" - Jeremy Camp

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Gospel of Power

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  Romans 1:16 (NASB)

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.  Philippians 3:7-11 (NASB)

I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great his power is to help those who believe him. It is that same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in heaven, far, far above any other king or ruler or dictator or leader. Yes, his honor is far more glorious than that of anyone else either in this world or in the world to come.  Ephesians 1:19-23 (TLB)

Oh the precious words God’s spoken to me, 
Full of comfort, peace, and a way to be free.
He’s offered His promises, without hesitation,
I am washed clean through His justification. 

Salvation comes through belief in this God,
A personal God with me who will trod, 
Down a pathway of joy or a road filled with woe,
He stands ready to help as together we go. 

There’s only one Name in which to believe,
He gave His life, you need simply receive.
The God of the universe and Lord of all,
Jesus Christ saves—accept His call. 

He’ll walk alongside, through thick or thin,
Though suffering loss, with Him you win.
The Victor of all, He overcame death,
Before and beyond, He’s near at last breath. 

But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
3 “For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I have given Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your place.
4 “Since you are precious in My sight,
Since you are honored and I love you,
I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.
5 “Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
And gather you from the west.
6 “I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring My sons from afar
And My daughters from the ends of the earth,
7 Everyone who is called by My name,
And whom I have created for My glory,
Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”  Isaiah 43:1-7 (NASB)

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’  Isaiah 41:10 (NASB)

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  2 Corinthians 12:9 (NASB)

How Firm a Foundation.....

Friday, May 12, 2017

Mother's Day

If you are fortunate enough to have the benefit of a mother living here on earth with you, celebrate her life. Offer love and devotion to her. Give thanks to God for the blessings she's given you. And tell her "thank you" for all she has done for you.  

If you have experienced the death of your mom, extend thanks to God for blessing you with a mother. Cherish the memories and remember her with gratitude in your heart. 

My Mom died last October and my heart aches to hug her and kiss her cheek. I miss her terribly. I am overwhelmed with grief. But I thank God for her and the loving legacy she left behind. 

If you are encountering similar feelings, know that God loves you and desires to fill your broken heart with peace. Whatever the condition of your relationship with your Mom, God loves you and understands your situation. He collects your tears. He offers you peace. 

You have taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Your bottle.
Are they not in Your book?

Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call;
This I know, that God is for me.  Psalm 56:8-9 (NASB)

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  
Philippians 4:7 (NASB)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Are You Willing?

You people who live in Jerusalem will not weep any more. The Lord is compassionate, and when you cry to him for help, he will answer you.  Isaiah 30:19 (GNT)

Never cry again? Sounds peaceful. Imagine having no more worries, afflictions, rebellion, disease, or death. With these life issues gone, sadness with turn to joy. The only tears to flow will be happy ones. One day eternal glory will exist for all who long for the Lord.

In the meantime, our existence is confined to a world filled with angst and anxiety. Do we succumb with sorrow to the tragedies we daily face or can we stand with strength from the Lord in the middle of them? Do we truly understand the compassionate nature of a God who hears our cries and longs to be gracious to us?

The thirtieth chapter of Isaiah speaks of a rebellious people who reject God, the Holy One of Israel. The arrogance of their daily living will end up in ruin. They will suffer the consequences of their decisions. 

For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said,

“In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”
But you were not willing,  Isaiah 30:15 (NASB)

What a sad, sad statement made by the Lord about His people Israel—but you were not willing. Is He also describing today’s world? Is He speaking to you and me? 

Take a look around. Troubles seem to encircle us. When facing trials, do we cry out to God or go it alone? He offers repentance and rest, strength through quietness and trust. Are we willing to live life with Him or reject His plan? From our decisions, we will reap the consequences, good or bad. 

The Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.  Isaiah 30:18 (NASB)

Are we willing to accept His gracious offer of compassion? Or do we prefer to walk the road of rebellion? It’s our choice. But we are told in His Word that He will show favor and answer our cries, if we look to Him. 

Turn away from all the angst that encompasses you. Turn toward God and cry out for help. He longs to be gracious to you. When He hears you, He will answer you. He will wipe your tears away and provide a peace that passes all understanding. Imagine the joy you’ll receive here on earth when you trust Him with your life choices. Imagine the glory you’ll live in for eternity.

Jeremy Camp - "There will be a day"