Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Where Are You Going?

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you that today I have set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Oh, that you would choose life; that you and your children might live!  Deuteronomy 30:19 (TLB)

Life or death? Blessing or curse? Seems like an easy decision to me—I desire life. Sadly many people choose death, spiritual death. 

A beloved man died this past week. He chose abundant life on earth and eternal life in heaven through Jesus. His name—Billy Graham. His occupation—sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with people all over the world. He yearned for all people to know God through Christ. He desired for men, women, and children to choose life. 

I stand with countless others who now honor this man, a true man of God, as he moves from physical death to eternal life. Yet he would point his honor to the glory of God. He would lead us in praising the One he preached about. He would prompt us in offering thanks to the One who graciously forgives. He would guide us in celebrating our Savior Jesus Christ. 

At one point in his life, Billy wrestled with his faith in God, while recognizing the depth of the decision before him. His choice—to believe and stand firm on God’s holy Word. This humble man chose to walk with God everyday. He lived out loud his relationship with Jesus, publicly and privately. The words of Micah 6:8 detail the life Rev. Graham lived:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God. (NIV)

The God of the universe created thinking individuals, not puppets, and offers choice. Scripture’s instructions on how to live life well are beautifully written from Genesis to Revelation. We can choose to obey or not. 

If you haven’t made a choice, meditate upon this beautiful passage of Scripture:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  John 3:16-17 (NIV)

Jesus Christ gave His life for every single person in the world, securing salvation for those who decide to believe in Him. Abundant life on earth and eternal life in heaven awaits those who make that choice. 

Billy Graham chose life in Christ. He knew where he was going. He now resides in a heavenly home. What is your choice? Do you know where you are going?

I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.  John 10:9-11 (NASB)

Billy Graham lived a life of faithfulness, and so can you.  ~Greg Laurie

Michael W. Smith - "I'll Lead You Home".......

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Practice Joy

Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow.  James 1:2-3 (TLB) 

Really James? You’re telling your readers to be joyful? How about you? Did you practice joy? What if I told you how sick I am of all the troubles in my life? How am I supposed to live joyfully, James? 

Can you relate? Have you ever felt like giving up? You’re tired of things going wrong. Your mind screams, “Why me?” Covered in clouds, colored in gray—looks like another bad day. 

We’ve all had those kind of days, possibly lasting for months, even years. James, the writer of the book of James, suffered trials and hardships as well. Being a part of the human race guarantees every one of us an encounter with adversity.

James grew up with Jesus as his half-brother, but he didn’t believe Jesus was who he said he was. Who’s gonna believe a relative, right? Not until Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to him (1 Corinthians 15:7) did James believe in Jesus as Messiah. He became such a firm believer in the salvation of Jesus Christ that he was martyred in A.D. 62, killed for his faith in Jesus. What an incredible hardship to face. 

In order to face life’s problems and his own death, James must have practiced joy, the joy of the risen Lord. Practicing joy enabled him to endure under pressure. To have patience when life went wrong. To live in peace when anger and ugliness surrounded him. To face his own death.

His example was Jesus. I’m sure once he saw resurrected Jesus, James remembered humble Jesus who endured persecution all the way to death on a shameful cross. James practiced joy so well he could write about it with confidence, encouraging others to live joyfully.

If life is full of trials and we practice worry, what do we become? Whiny, complaining souls focused on gloom and doom. If we seethe with anger, what do we become? Judgmental and quick to point to all the wrong in the world, lashing out at everyone. If we live in fear of the known or unknown, what do we become? Timid souls afraid to do anything or go anywhere. 

So what if we obey God’s Word through James and consider joy in sorrow, hang onto happiness in the midst of hardship, practice delight in the depths of adversity? Believe it or not, we will experience freedom from our burdens. As obedient children of God, we’ll begin to see the good in people and in life. We’ll begin to persevere in problems. We’ll begin to walk in endurance with hope. We’ll trust God with every moment of our lives.

Try it. Consider joy in the midst of sorrow. Practice with perseverance. Some days it may take a mental fight to remain joyful. But soon you’ll realize your focus has shifted heavenward. You’ll notice your burdens aren’t as heavy. And you may discover your frown has turned upside down. Your consideration has become a practice. You are now walking in joy, strengthened by the Lord. 

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.  James 1:12 (NASB)

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.  1 Peter 5:10 (NASB)

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Hang on to Hope

Despite all appearances, my drive into work was inspiring. Heavy traffic and a dark, ominous sky loomed. It looked as though black clouds would open and saturate streets. But when I stopped at a red light and glanced left, I noticed an opening in the gloomy sky. Light broke though a small area, revealing blue-gray yonder. Gazing around the heavens, I saw more bright spots shining throughout space. And God said to me, “Hope!”

I considered the God-given notion of hope. Was I clinging to the promised expectations of God or focusing on the turbulent circumstances that surrounded me? Our life situations certainly appear threatening at times. And a sense of hopelessness tends to drag us down. Before we know it, we’ve forgotten the God of promise who says to us, “Hope!”

The Apostle Paul has explained the beauty of hope…..

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:2-5 (NIV) 

Rejoice in our sufferings? Really, God? That’s the path to hope? Yes, He tells us, the path may begin in suffering and by holding onto hope, we persevere. Walking in perseverance brings forth character and integrity. From such moral strength we determine to hope, hope in God who has poured His love into our hearts. 

The Bible contains many amazing stories about hope, but one in particular recounts the life of Job. He was a godly man who lost everything except His wife and life in one day. What pain he must have suffered. Yet his intense sorrow led him to worship God. He proclaimed, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). 


Amidst all their troubles, Job’s wife didn’t support him. She mocked him saying, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die” (Job 2:9). 

But Job said, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” 

It’s hard to believe, but God’s Word tells us that Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:10). Wow, what strength. Though surrounded by extreme heartache, Job trusted God. 


Eventually three of Job’s friends showed up to help him. Have you ever had friends show up to help you in a time of need? Sometimes well intended help doesn’t serve its purpose. But these four men discussed the acts of God while Job fleshed out his pain. And at one point he said to his friends, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him" (Job 13:15). 

It seemed at some point Job wavered saying, “Where now is my hope? And who regards my hope” (Job 17:15). 

Was he losing hope? He probably experienced moments of doubt and despair. Who wouldn’t? But with expectancy he declared,“I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). Job grabbed onto hope and held on as he journeyed through his valley of suffering. 


Years later, God blessed Job with twice the blessings he had lost. Scripture tells us he lived on for 140 more years, living to see his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was a very old man when he died. (Job 42:16-17 NASB)

Did Job struggle with hope in God? Of course he did; he was a frail human being. But as he traveled the path of suffering, God poured out His love into Job’s receptive heart. He persevered with hope and lived in joy. And God graced him with blessings.

Have you lost hope in the middle of your situation? Do dark discouraging clouds seem to loom overhead? Don’t give up. Allow God’s Word through His faithful followers to pour strength into your heart. Hang on and hope. Live with joyful expectations for God’s gracious blessings.

Crowder with Tauren Wells - All My Hope.....