Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Kindness Softens Hearts

To be kind is to be selfless. A friendly, generous, and considerate soul reveals a kind disposition. Kindness conveys compassion, gentleness, and understanding. Kindness is a virtue. 

There seems to be an insufficient amount of kindness in our world. Tolerance and patience are rarely exemplified while arrogance and hatred intensify. Increased evil amplifies the voices of judgment. The hate-filled offenders are wrong, but are those who judge them any better?

The city of Rome looked much like today. The church in Rome received a letter from the Apostle Paul confronting the growing wickedness in society. Not only were men and women committing heinous acts, those who considered themselves innocent passed judgement upon evildoers. Paul challenged those who condemned others with a question about kindness. He said:

Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance (Romans 2:4)?

Because he had experienced the kindness of his gracious Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ, Paul understood that children of God were to represent the essence of God. He believed a godly life could turn sinners away from their evil ways into the arms of the Savior. Being filled with inspiration from God, Paul wrote powerful words to the Romans. He hoped to influence a change in society.

Paul knew conversion was possible because he himself had reaped the benefits of the kindness of God. Previously known as Saul, he determined to destroy believers of The Way by murdering them. On his way to kill Jesus followers, he experienced personal transformation after meeting the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). 

Being an educated man, Paul immersed himself in learning all about the life of Jesus on earth. Adding to his conversion account were many other transformations. Surely he must have known about the story of the woman caught in adultery and those who condemned her (John 8:1-11).

The story goes like this……

So Jesus was teaching an assembly of people at the temple when a gang of scribes and Pharisees dragged in a woman and set her right down in the middle of everyone. She had been caught in the act of adultery and they planned on stoning her according to the law of Moses. But first they wanted Jesus’ opinion on the matter—what would He do and say about an adulterous woman. They actually wished to trap Jesus so they could accuse Him of breaking the law. 

Picture the woman’s shame as she stood not only in front of accusers, but also in the presence of Jesus with His followers. Her disheveled appearance must have heightened the embarrassment. With her head hung low and shoulders slumped, she lost hope amidst the noisy chatter. She expected to die. Then.....

Silence. Probably could have heard a pin drop. Jesus said nothing. He only stooped to write something on the ground.  

The scribes and Pharisees broke the silence with their persistent questions. Jesus finally stood up. He looked directly at them and said, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (v 7)

A hush descended upon the crowd. No words. Only deafening silence as Jesus again crouched down to write something on the ground. 

Surprisingly, one by one, each of the woman’s accusers walked away. Slowly she looked up and saw only Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” (v 10)

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (v 11)

Compassionate, forgiving, generous, kind—Jesus poured His grace into this scandalous woman with one request. Go now and leave your life of sin. 

“I don’t condemn you,” He said. “Now go and leave your sins behind.”

Can you imagine the freedom she must have felt when Jesus offered love and forgiveness instead of condemnation? Scripture doesn’t say, but I believe Jesus’ kindness led her to repentance. 

What about the woman’s accusers? Did they feel shame when confronted by Jesus with their own sins? Do you think they stopped to consider the worth of the kindness of God? Is it possible that the encounter with Jesus ended their moments of being judge and jury? 

What about the Romans who received Paul’s letter? Did they heed the words of Paul about the kindness of God leading to repentance? Have I? Have you? 

Whether you are an accuser or the accused, God offers His kindness to you. With love and grace, He stands ready to forgive you of all your sins. Will you allow His kindness to soften your heart and lead you to repentance?

A desperate world needs to experience the kindness of God through you.  

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB)

For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?  Matthew 7:2-4 (NASB)

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

God's Will

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. Imagine the beauty of this world if God’s will reigned on earth. 

But it doesn’t. We live in a fallen world where sin and disobedience seem to increase daily. Even though Satan rules this world, believers in Christ Jesus have access to the power of God that enables them to fulfill His will in any situation. So how do believers begin to bear witness to the contentment of obeying Heavenly Father’s will?

Start by praying. Prayer opens the lines of communication with God. A deeper relationship with Him grows from a daily habit of prayer  With humble hearts and open ears, listen for God to speak through His Word and use His Word to communicate with Him. Soon His decrees will become part of your life, and hopefully spread like wildfire throughout your family, church, community, and eventually the world. 

Maybe you’re unsure what to say in prayer to God. If so, you are in good company. Jesus’ disciples knew He corresponded with His Heavenly Father through daily prayer. One time after He finished praying, the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Luke 11). Jesus’ answered, “When you pray, say … and right away He began to pray.

The prayer Jesus prayed was simple yet complete. It’s a model prayer, not only for the disciples, but for all people for all time. In sincerity with humility, let’s us pray together The Lord’s Prayer.

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]  Matthew 6:9-13 (NASB)

‘Our Father who is in heaven,

Heavenly Father, who created heaven and earth, You are Father to us all, loving us more than we can even imagine. Thank you. 

Hallowed be Your name.

You are a holy God. Your name is holy. You are worthy to be worshiped and adored, revered and honored.

‘Your kingdom come.

Only Your kingdom, Lord God, can bring true peace to this world. May we share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with our neighbors, friend, and even enemies. 

Your will be done,

Jesus, You humbly submitted Yourself to the will of Your Heavenly Father, and You desire that we follow Your example of true humility. 

On earth as it is in heaven.

May Your will be lived out on this earth though us Your followers until You come again to bring everlasting peace.

‘Give us this day our daily bread.

You daily supply our needs. May we daily trust You through Your holy Word with offerings of praise and thanksgiving.

‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Lord God, if You forgive us like we forgive others, would we be forgiven? Jesus, help us to offer to others Your merciful grace and forgiveness, and then graciously receive Your forgiveness.

‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

As we seek to draw closer to You, Mighty God, deliver us from the temptations and evil of the devil. 

[For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, O God, and to You be all the glory. 

And all the people shall say, “AMEN” (let it be so)!

The Lord's Prayer - Jackie Evancho.....

Sunday, October 15, 2017

My Rescuer Rides the Clouds

Now when the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David went down and his servants with him; and as they fought against the Philistines, David became weary.  2 Samuel 21:15 (NASB)

David? Weary? Hard to believe that a wealthy and powerful king could become weary, but it happened. The Philistines were at war with Israel again, and David grew weary. Their taunts had plagued Israel for as long as he could remember. The death of the giant by young David’s sling and stone only frightened the Philistines temporarily. Once he became king, the Philistines threatened and tormented David again and again.

Are you experiencing exhaustion from a constant battle? Maybe you’re not at war with physical giants, but conflicts meet you at every turn. It seems as though gray skies and clouds reign over your life. Dismal days forecast a gloomy outlook. Hope fades and weariness prevails. What do you do? What did David do?

David inquired of the Lord. That’s right. David took time to stop and ask God what to do. David listened and obeyed the Lord. And God answered him with might by defeating his enemies. 

Now it wasn’t all that easy and David wasn’t always perfect. In fact, there were times he acted without conferring with God (like when he lusted after a married woman, got her pregnant, and had her husband killed). Whoa. Who does that and how can that be forgiven? 

Yes, King David committed those heinous acts (2 Samuel 11). But when confronted by a man of God, shame filled David’s soul. Remorse brought him to his knees and he repented before God. David’s Deliverer rescued him with loving forgiveness. Because David continually repented and yielded to God, God called him “a man after His own heart.”

David peered through the clouds of conflicts in his life and recognized his faithful Lord. This man after God’s heart penned many expressions of thanksgiving to His mighty Rescuer. He declared his deliverance by God’s hand from all his enemies. His soul delighted with songs of gratitude to his Savior. 

Scripture tells us:

And David spoke the words of this song to the Lord in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said,

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge;
My savior, You save me from violence.
“I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
And I am saved from my enemies.  2 Samuel 22:1-4 (NASB)

In his weariness, David called out to God and God heard him:

“In my distress I called upon the Lord,
Yes, I cried to my God;
And from His temple He heard my voice,
And my cry for help came into His ears.  (verse 7)

David realized that his Savior wasn’t hidden when clouds of conflict surrounded him, but that He was there in the midst of all his trouble.

“He bowed the heavens also, and came down
With thick darkness under His feet.
“And He rode on a cherub and flew;
And He appeared on the wings of the wind.
“And He made darkness canopies around Him,
A mass of waters, thick clouds of the sky.
“From the brightness before Him
Coals of fire were kindled.
“The Lord thundered from heaven,
And the Most High uttered His voice.  (verses 10-14)

And David declared who his Deliverer was:

“He delivered me from my strong enemy,
From those who hated me, for they were too strong for me.
“They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my support.  (verses 18-19)

The Lord strengthened him and lit his way:

“For You are my lamp, O Lord;
And the Lord illumines my darkness.
“For by You I can run upon a troop;
By my God I can leap over a wall.  (verses 29-30)

The Lord was his Protector:

“As for God, His way is blameless;
The word of the Lord is tested;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.  (verse 31)

David cried out to God in the midst of trouble. God heard his cry and delivered him from his enemies. David offered songs of thanksgiving to his Lord and Savior. And David’s strength was renewed. 

Are you weary from continuous clouds of conflict? Take time to be still and ask God what to do. Read David’s words in 2 Samuel 22 (similar words in Psalm 18). Allow those inspired words to penetrate your soul and renew your strength. Recognize your Rescuer and give Him praise. 

Lord, how I love you! For you have done such tremendous things for me.

The Lord is my fort where I can enter and be safe; no one can follow me in and slay me. He is a rugged mountain where I hide; he is my Savior, a rock where none can reach me, and a tower of safety. He is my shield. He is like the strong horn of a mighty fighting bull. All I need to do is cry to him—oh, praise the Lord—and I am saved from all my enemies!  Psalm 18:1-3 (TLB)

Rescuer (Good News) by Rend Collective LYRICS....

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Pass it on....

Are you weary? Have life’s trials exhausted you? Believe it or not, King David grew weary in his battles against the Philistines. Fighting giants can be hard, especially if they become your focus. 

When David focused less on his circumstances and concentrated more on the God who saved him, he became revived. He penned his refreshed reflections with praise and thanksgiving to his Heavenly Father.

David journaled many of his emotions, both with grievances and in joy. His honest meditations are recorded in the book of Psalms. Because his words relay sincere sentiments, readers can relate to his penned responses. God’s Word through David is relevant even today. 

Throughout generations, God has gifted numerous people who write down their thoughts in order to encourage others. Nothing can replace the Word of God. But His Word, along with inspiration through various writers, can bring refreshment to readers. 

Are life’s burdens dragging you down? Do you need spiritual motivation? Find the link below and click on it. An online magazine called REFRESH will open. It is a beautifully illustrated magazine containing uplifting inspirations. 

Various people have written from life’s experiences. I am blessed to have had one of my heartfelt messages included, entitled Pass It On. I hope and pray that you will be inspired by the insight of others, and pass it on……

Click here to view the magazine