Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Fearlessly Fight for Faith

Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.  Jude 1:3 (NASB)

Contend earnestly for the faith? Who does that these days? Anyone who would claim faith in Jesus Christ and walk in His ways is intolerant, so says the world and even part of the church. And yet God’s Word commands us to contend earnestly for the faith.

Are Christians willing to obey God and His absolute truth? Or will we continue to make up our own truths and live by them? Who are we more afraid of offending—humans or God, creatures or Creator? In a world that accepts the faith less and less, how can believers in Jesus Christ abide by God’s Word?

Look to Jesus, not humans, for answers. Hold tightly to the faith of our fathers by reading God’s Word everyday. Stand firm on the absolute truth of Jesus Christ our Savior. With the help of the Holy Spirit, daily walk in the obedience of the Word of our Lord. And pray without ceasing.

The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right.  2 Timothy 3:16 (TLB)

Fight on for God. Hold tightly to the eternal life that God has given you and that you have confessed with such a ringing confession before many witnesses.  1 Timothy 6:12 (TLB)

Pray all the time. Ask God for anything in line with the Holy Spirit’s wishes. Plead with him, reminding him of your needs, and keep praying earnestly for all Christians everywhere.  Ephesians 6:18 (TLB)

Yes, be bold and strong! Banish fear and doubt! For remember, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9 (TLB)

Be strong! Be courageous! Do not be afraid of them! For the Lord your God will be with you. He will neither fail you nor forsake you.  Deuteronomy 31:6 (TLB)

But you have given us a banner to rally to; all who love truth will rally to it; then you can deliver your beloved people. Use your strong right arm to rescue us.  Psalm 60:4-5 (TLB)

“God loves you very much,” he said; “don’t be afraid! Calm yourself; be strong—yes, strong!” Suddenly, as he spoke these words, I felt stronger and said to him, “Now you can go ahead and speak, sir, for you have strengthened me.”  Daniel 10:19

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?  Psalm 27:1 (NIV)


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Hiking with God

We trekked a hazardous trail. My husband and I thought it perilous as our 60-year-old minds warned our aging bodies to take precautions. Together we climbed toward the hill’s summit through a moderately rugged forest path. God used our hike to illustrate some valuable life lessons to me. 

“I can’t enjoy the scenery,” I said to my husband. “If I don’t watch every step, I’m afraid I might fall and hurt myself.”

“I know,” he said, “so be very careful.” I followed close behind him up the trail.

With every step, I dodged exposed tree roots and loose jagged rocks. Our simple jaunt proved to be a treacherous trek. But we were determined to finish.

As I cautiously hiked the dangerous path, God’s world—hills, trees, rocks, roots—illustrated messages to me. Each careful step demonstrated the importance of clinging to God every single day. May your lessons, Lord, help me and others daily live the true Christian life. 

I watched my every step for fear of twisting an ankle or falling. My Christian walk requires comparable precaution. Thoughts, words, and deeds reflect my beliefs. Daily reading God’s Word trains me to avoid the traps of the devil and to follow the right path. If I fall, God through Jesus Christ graciously forgives me when I approach Him with a humble, repentant heart. What amazing grace He offers. 

Lesson learned: I need Jesus everyday in every way. 

Because I kept an eye on each footstep, I missed some beautiful scenery. I hoped a panoramic view awaited me at the top. As I strived to keep a firm footing, the Apostle Paul’s imagery in Ephesians of the armor of God came to mind. Then I remembered hearing someone describe contemporary Christianity as a cruise ship instead of a battleship. Has our modern society confused Christianity with a luxurious pipe dream? 

Sadly the church has wrapped itself up in society’s culture of gratification and entertainment. Itching ears desire to hear acquittals rather than convictions, resulting in watered-down faith from false teaching. Conditional truths normalize as followers of the latest fads believe the next best thing. A feel-good faith resembles a vacation cruise. 

But real Christianity requires battle. Believers must contend for the unpolluted faith of God's truth. We remain steadfast, persevering in our belief of the absolute truth of God, the faith handed down to us once for all through Christ Jesus. We fight the good fight of faith with God by our side.

Lesson learned: I need Jesus everyday in every way.

Eventually my husband and I made it to the top. We both gasped as we gazed at the breathtaking view. The landscape around and below surprised us—hope realized. It represented to me the anticipated beauty of eternal life at our earthly journey’s end. We hold tight to our faith with the hope of eternal glory. It’s a truth to stand firm on.                

As my husband and I carefully made our descent, I remembered life’s struggles—the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the births and deaths, the separations and reunions, the cancers and cures. We’ve all traveled these hills and valleys. Have they caused us to turn toward God or turn away? 

Your answer will determine the approach to your journey. Life is easy in the good times. Do we remember God and give Him thanks? Or not? Bad times bring pain and suffering. Do we follow Jesus and allow Him to strengthen us? Or not? It’s your choice.

With a firm footing on God’s truth and eyes focused on Jesus our Savior, hope will one day be reality. In the meantime, walk closely with Christ. He stands ready with open loving arms to be your guide. Turn to Him. He is near. 

Lesson learned: I need Jesus everyday in every way.

Do you?

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.  Colossians 2:6-8 (NIV)

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 (NIV)

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.  Psalm 145:18 (NIV)

And a highway will be there;
    it will be called the Way of Holiness;
    it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
    wicked fools will not go about on it.  Isaiah 35:8 (NIV)

They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.  Psalm 20:8 (NIV)

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  Psalm 40:2 (NIV)

Be my rock of refuge where I can always hide.
    You have given the order to keep me safe;
    You are my solid ground—my rock and my fortress.  Psalm 71:3 (VOICE)

Since you are my rock and my fortress,
    for the sake of your name lead and guide me.  Psalm 31:3 (NIV)

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.  Psalm 25:5 (NIV)

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)

Tauren Wells - Hills and Valleys.....

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Prayer

Heavenly Father,

You are God and we are not. We praise you for who you are—our Maker and Redeemer, Provider and Sustainer. You give life and you take it away. With you all things are possible, nothing is impossible. We bow before you in humility.

Forgive us for our pride and selfishness, for greed and jealousy, for anger and guilt. O Lord, we have trusted in ourselves and not in you. We have forgotten who controls the winds and waves. Forgive us, God, for the wrongs we commit against you and against others. We are sorry, Lord.

Thank you for forgiveness. Thank you for the blessing of new life. Thank you, Father, for families and friends. Thanks for the fellowship we enjoy with you and with each other. For the beauty of heaven and earth, we thank you. For the sun and shade you provide, we thank you. For rain and crops for food, we thank you. With thanksgiving, we offer our praises to you, Jesus, for salvation in your name. Thank you for abundant life in your name on this earth. Thank you for eternal life in your name in heaven. Thank you, Father God.

Now Father, we lift our fears and worries, cares and concerns up to you because we know you love and care for us. Remind us you are near. Comfort us when we are afraid. Put a desire in our hearts to draw nearer to you, bringing to mind your promises to us through your Word. May we be faithful to you as you are faithful to us. Let our lives bring you glory so that those around us may know what a mighty God we serve. 

In your precious name, Jesus. AMEN.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Matthew 26:41 (NIV)

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  James 5:16 (NIV)

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.  Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)

If My People: by Promise Keepers.....

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Clouds Without Water

These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.  Jude 1:12-13 (NASB)

Sweltering heat. Stifling atmosphere. A parched mouth. A thirsty soul. Definite descriptions of something missing. A life-giving source desperately needed. 

Water. It’s essential for life. Water occupied a large part of earth before creation. Water surrounds a fetus in the womb at life’s beginning. Water discovered on new territory designates good land. Abundant ground results from the ideal amount of water. Semi-arid or desert land amplifies water's importance. 

Nomads know the significance of finding water wherever they wander. It means life or death. When the Israelites fled into the desert, leaving behind the lush Egyptian terrain surrounding the Nile River, they understood the necessity of water. 

When they entered the Promised Land, the Israelites still required water. Living off the land as farmers necessitated water for their crops and livestock. They depended on rain falling in the right increments at the right time of year for the successful growth of potential food. They needed the right amount of rain, not too much or too little, and they relied on God to provide the rain. They believed rain to be God’s blessing.

Imagine a world without water. Human beings would die within three to five days. Vegetation and animals would cease thriving. Eventually death would consume life. Things perish for lack of water. 

Now imagine clouds without water. Is it possible? Clouds are a visible mass of fine water droplets or ice particles suspended above the earth. Even though clouds contain moisture, sometimes the condensation doesn’t fall to the earth as rain. Suppose your area of the world desperately needed water. Day after day, week after week, month after month gathering clouds hung overhead yet no rain fell to earth. If this weather pattern persisted, everything would eventually cease to exist. 

Clouds without water is a phrase used in the book of Jude in the Bible to refer to false teachers or false prophets. Jude says they sneak into the gatherings of God’s people and take advantage of the situation, caring only for themselves. They use false doctrine to sway unstable people. Anyone not focused on God’s truths are deceived by falsehoods from these clouds without water. Eventually false leaders and followers thirst for lack of the life-giving source of the truth of God. 

Through the authors of Scripture, God repeatedly informs His people about false prophets. These false leaders are described as having no roots and offering no fruit, being doubly dead. They spew lies of the devil, making promises while producing nothing. They disguise themselves as angels of light, twisting God’s true Light. They entice the interests of seekers who miss the truth of God’s Word. They are the blind leading the blind to a destination of death. Do you know any blind guides, as Jesus calls them in the fifteenth chapter of Matthew? Do you know anyone who has been misguided by false teachers? 

False teachers abuse the grace of God by corrupting God’s truths with falsehoods. They rebel against God’s authority. They focus on material gain rather than spiritual authenticity. They deny the righteous salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ. And they lead many people away from God’s truth into wickedness. 

False teachers permeate this world. They distort truth in our churches, infiltrate our homes through media, and occupy places in government. The flood of half-truths confuse followers. Eventually everyone does what is right in their own eyes, shunning absolute truth. Ungodliness results. Clouds without water parch souls. People parish from the lack of Truth. 

Truth is firmly rooted in God’s Holy Word, yet some people twist His words. Others attempt to wipe it out altogether. God warns us of these clouds without water. Are we heeding His words? 

God sent Jesus Christ to quench our souls from thirst and save our souls from death. The truth of Jesus is written in God’s Book of Life. Have you opened a Bible today and unearthed living water? Read the following Scripture verses, allowing them to refresh you. As you engage with the world around you, stand firm on the truth of God’s Word. 

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved……….For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.  Matthew 24:10-13, 24-25 (NIV)

"But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them – bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping."  2 Peter 2:1-3 (NIV)

He replied, “Every plant that My heavenly Father didn’t plant will be uprooted. Leave them alone! They are blind guides. And if the blind guide the blind, both will fall into a pit.”  Matthew 15:13-14 (HCSB)

"Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus, that spirit is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world"  1 John 4:1-3 (NIV)

“If you follow My statutes and faithfully observe My commands, I will give you rain at the right time, and the land will yield its produce, and the trees of the field will bear their fruit.  Leviticus 26:3-4 (HCSB)

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6 (NIV)

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  John 4:13-14 (NIV)

Selah - "I Got Saved".....