Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Did God Really Say?




Well then, am I suggesting that these laws of God are evil? Of course not! No, the law is not sinful, but it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known the sin in my heart—the evil desires that are hidden there—if the law had not said, “You must not have evil desires in your heart.” But sin used this law against evil desires by reminding me that such desires are wrong, and arousing all kinds of forbidden desires within me! Only if there were no laws to break would there be no sinning.  

That is why I felt fine so long as I did not understand what the law really demanded. But when I learned the truth, I realized that I had broken the law and was a sinner, doomed to die. So as far as I was concerned, the good law which was supposed to show me the way of life resulted instead in my being given the death penalty. Sin fooled me by taking the good laws of God and using them to make me guilty of death. But still, you see, the law itself was wholly right and good.  Romans 7:7-12 (TLB)



Sin is dead. Yes, you heard right. Sin is dead…..apart from God’s law. Without standards of right and wrong, there can be no perception of sin. Without morals and principles, anything goes until standards are raised and God’s instructions are heeded. Yet commands intended to decrease sin seem to increase the desire to commit those sins. 

COMMANDS INTENDED TO DECREASE SIN SEEM TO INCREASE THE DESIRE TO COMMIT THOSE SINS. 

If you’ve ever raised children or taught them in any capacity, you understand the tendency to push against authority. While some children naturally desire to follow rules and obey those in charge, other children appear drawn to do the opposite of a command. If you say don’t or no, it seems they do exactly what you told them not to do. The end result—consequences resulting from disobedience. 

Imagine our Heavenly Father giving directives to His children. Now visualize their disregard for His decrees. This indifference to authority has happened for ages. It began in the Garden of Eden and is recorded in the Book of Genesis. 

God placed Adam in a paradise of sorts—a beautiful ample garden—to tend and keep. Of all the trees given for food, only one was off-limits. God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

God then created all the creatures of the earth as well as a companion (a woman named Eve) for Adam. Even though it doesn’t appear to have been recorded, God’s directions must have been relayed to this woman because the serpent took the opportunity to converse with her about God’s command. “Did God really say?” said the serpent. 

As the serpent spoke with Eve, he challenged God’s authority. Satan, that cunning serpent, tempted Eve and she disobeyed God. Eve enticed Adam and he defied the Lord’s law. Rebellion maligned innocence. Sin originated. Consequences transpired. (Genesis 3:1-19)

COMMANDS INTENDED TO DECREASE SIN SEEM TO INCREASE THE DESIRE TO COMMIT THOSE SINS.

Satan easily enticed Eve to do his bidding. Eve encountered no resistance in luring Adam to ignore God’s order. Sin entered the human heart. Violations became reality. And mankind needed more than rules and regulations to avoid sin. 

God gave Adam a command. How well did he communicate those instructions to Eve? Did Eve understand the seriousness of obedience to her Creator? Satan takes every opportunity through God’s commandments to produce in mankind a desire to break every law given by God. Do we truly comprehend the gravity of sin and disobedience? What can we do about sin and temptation? 

The Bible has an answer for our rebellion, a way out of sin through one Man. This mode of escape from the enticement of evil is alluded to in the third chapter of Genesis in the fifteenth verse. Who is behind the temptations we face? Who provides a way out of wrongdoing? Come back next week to find out more…….





Sunday, July 23, 2017

Encouragement to Endure

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.  2 Thessalonians 3:5 (NIV)



Anguish bled from her eyes as she spoke of her daughter. “Her heart is hard, she’s deep in sin, and she thinks she’s right,” my friend said, angry with her daughter yet loving her so much. 

Her sorrow hung heavy in the air. My heart ached for her. Come quickly, Lord, I silently prayed. 

The darkness surrounding her daughter threatened to overtake us with a torrent of tears like black clouds warn of a torrential downpour. “You’ve gotta walk by faith, not sight,” I said while wondering where that perfect advice came from. 

Oh Lord God, You are so good. You show up in our thoughts, words, and deeds when we walk with You. You arrive on time when we need You most. Thank you!

“Thank you, Debbie,” my friend said. 

Her sigh expressed some relief from her pain. Love can be so agonizing at times. But there is Someone who understands us. His name is Jesus. 

Jesus knows about both love and pain. Because of His extreme love for us, He laid down His life and endured horrible suffering in order to save us from our sins. His holy Word offers words of encouragement to help us endure to the end. Did I share enough of Jesus' words to encourage my friend? I told her that together we would persevere in prayer for her child.

Are you struggling with heartache over the choices of your son or daughter? Don’t focus on the approaching storm. Focus on the One who calms the storms. Your life may be under a cloud cover, but remember—the clouds are the dust of His feet. He is near!





The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV)

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:9 NIV

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8 (NIV)


Kutless - What Faith Can Do.....

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Euphoric Eyes














Have you ever attended a wedding and witnessed love exchanged between a man and woman soon to be husband and wife? Their glowing, romantic love extends to the crowd of people supporting them. The unadulterated beauty scatters joy in the place as smiles appear on every face. 

I recently experienced wedded bliss at my daughter's marriage to her best friend. My heart exploded with emotion while tears threatened to spill onto my dress. Thank goodness for the beautiful handkerchief she had given me. It dried my tears while its words resonated with my heart, reminding me of an abiding relationship, through thick and thin. The letter that follows is my response to her.






My dear daughter,

Oh how he loves you. His eyes tell all—warm anticipation, tender gaze, adoring look—assurances of a faithful love. 

And your requited expression wells from your eyes—tears of expectation and excitement, perhaps even tears of doubt, wondering how can this be. Happy tears cascade onto your cheeks because reality stands before you. Your love gushes in response to his love.

The joyful smiles shared with each other saturates the atmosphere. Love is in the air on this blessed wedding day. Your beauty clothed in bridal wear takes you from rags to riches, the past forgiven and forgotten, a new beginning. Everything appears fresh, pristine like a reconciliation of sorts. Restoration pledges a new beginning together forever.

God gives us this earthly yet glorious image of a wedding in order for us to grasp His love for us, His bride. He, the Bridegroom, adores us to the nth degree and infinity. He stands before us, waiting with bated breath while deep affection spills over into our souls. His eyes, His smile—all exude a love story bursting with devotion. It’s such an abiding love that He gave away His life for ours, exchanging His riches for our rags. He restores us from our sinful ways to His virtuous ways. He loves us.

When we approach Him, offering our earthly mess with regret and apology, He forgives freely without judgment and full of mercy. He sees us righteous because of His love. He’s longed for this renewed relationship—now live in His grace. Oh how He loves you and me!

Daughter, you are blessed beyond measure. Your Heavenly Father loves you and so does your earthly husband. Run to them, receive their love, and return it with an adoring, thankful heart. You are loved. 

With a loving and grateful heart,
Mom


Thank you, Lord Jesus, for loving us all. Thank you for my daughter and her husband, my son-in-law. Thank you, God, for answered prayer. 



Won't you glorify God with me through these beautiful songs of praise? And I would enjoy reading your thoughts about our God-given emotion of love in the comment section below......



Aaron Shust - Ever Be....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZDyMJhd4Bo


Hillsong - Forever Reign....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3f3sNiYpuF4


*Wedding photos by Jenna Joseph

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Unity or Division




















Unity and division—two words worlds apart. Because of the world, these two words immediately become word pictures. And the images are as different as night and day. 

Unity is a beautiful concept, rarely seen. Division and strife frequently surrounds us. Television supplies a host of images of a divided world. Arguments, fights, and war daily fill news reports with horrific depictions. When you look around your sphere of influence, do you see conflict and discord? Whether I view social media or my surroundings, I see disunity. 

The United States seem hardly unified, beginning in the government and extending out into the streets. Countries around the world experience hostility within and without. Churches break ties because of religious teaching. Even within a single church, dissension exists. Couples divorce and families split up. Human hearts are confused and torn asunder. Individuals are alienated and isolated. The struggle is real. 

Why do humans strive so intensely? We’ve been given good godly principles by a good and loving Creator. But since the beginning of time, we’ve questioned the Maker of heaven and earth. Instead of following God’s way, mankind chooses the human way, resulting in strife.

I believe discord occurs when people don’t stand firm on godly principles. If we don’t stand up and stand firm for something (I would suggest that something is God through Jesus Christ), then we fall for anything. 

If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.  ~Peter Marshall

And, of course, falling creates an image of being out of control. Out of control conjures up images of strife, isolation, discord, separation, and breakups. Our world is suffering immensely from the fall. Can we bridge the divide? Will the people of the world ever stand united and live in peace together?

No, it won’t happen until the whole world has heard the gospel and Jesus has returned. And even then, some will choose not to believe. Christ told His disciples that His name would divide. And yet He is the only One who can unite. In His Name people come together in agreement and cooperate with each other. A union of solidarity with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit happens in harmony when our lives focus not on our ways, but the ways and will of our Heavenly Father.

Are you living with division in your family, church, community, schools, and/or government? Do you desire to heal those broken cords by uniting in love? Turn to Jesus—He is the solution. Read our Lord’s holy Word and hear Him speak to you. Give Him your broken heart and allow Him to mend it. Live lovingly in union with Him and with others.
















If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  Mark 3:24-25 (NIV)

They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.  Jude 18-19 (NIV)

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  Ephesians 4:1-6 (NIV)

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  Ephesians 4:3 (NIV)

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  Colossians 3:14 (NIV)

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.  1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV)

But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.  1 Corinthians 6:17 (NIV)

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  Philippians 2:1-4 (NIV)

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)

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.  Ezekiel 11:19 (NIV)


How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!  Psalm 133:1 (NIV)


Christian Unity I Can Believe In........
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvlw4HBsiJg&list=PLC3AAA35F8B5BA252