Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Lord is my Help

I will return again to My place
Till they acknowledge their offense.
Then they will seek My face;
In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.  Hosea 5:15 (NKJV)

Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.  Hosea 6: 1-2 (NKJV)

Anxiety interrupts,
Worry distracts,
Sin disrupts
God’s plans for His people.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Assurance is found in our faithful Creator.
Our Heavenly Father knows best. 
Trust Him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Trust requires waiting…..with hope.
Yet the delay feels as if God is absent. Has He forgotten me?

I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?”  Psalm 42:9 (NIV)

Instead of resting, we move forward by our own design,
And end up lost.
Whether steadily or swiftly, life may tumble out of control. 
Eventually hope dissipates into impossibility. 

But God says…..
For nothing will be impossible with God.  Luke 1:37 (NASB)

God’s Word remains true and still we grapple independently, 
Failing until fear takes over.
How much affliction must we endure before we seek the Lord’s help?

Trouble visits everyone, hardships arrive in various forms,
Concerns include family, friends, health, personal welfare, material stuff, and so much more,
These matters impact lives daily.

There is Someone who cares deeply for those things that concern you. 

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.  Psalm 55:22 (NIV)

His Word also tells us……
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:6-8 (NASB)

Seek the Lord while He may be found……
I sought the Lord, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.  Psalm 34:4 (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)

Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.  Isaiah 30:21 (NASB)

Lord, please lead me away from the things that tempt me. Deliver me from the ever-present evil. Keep my mind focused on you. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.  Psalm 16:11 (NASB)

And then, oh the joy of a restored soul. 
God is faithful.
Oh how He loves you and me!

He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.  Psalm 23:3 (NKJV)

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.  Psalm 63:3 (NIV)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Do You Believe?

Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”  John 4:41-42 (NASB)

Not only did Jesus converse with a woman, He spoke to a Samaritan woman. The disciples were amazed to find Jesus talking to her, but they said nothing. Maybe they had grown accustomed to His uncommon way with all people. 

Jesus crossed cultural divides. When women were treated as second-class citizens, He considered them equals. The centuries-old hatred between Samaritans and Jews didn’t stop Jesus from communicating with either people group. Even the stain of sin didn’t cause Jesus to exclude anyone. He bridged the gaps that kept people apart. 

So no one in the past or present should be surprised that Jesus revealed His divinity to the Samaritan woman at the well. She had discussed with Him the future arrival of the Messiah. She understood the Christ would come to the world and reveal all things. Jesus spoke to this sinful Samaritan woman and said, “I am the Messiah.”

Can you imagine her astonishment? She left her water pot and ran back to her community. She told everyone she met about the man who knew everything about her. “Could He be the Christ?” she asked. 

Many in Samaria believed in the Messiah because of the woman’s testimony, her proclamation that He told her everything she did. The Samaritans flocked to Him and listened to Him for two days. Because of what they themselves heard, many more believed in the Christ. They knew they had met the Savior of the world. 

Some people will believe based on the witness of others. I would have accepted the Samaritan woman’s claim as truth. Countless other people will believe based on physical evidence. Remember doubting Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples? He believed in the resurrection of Jesus after touching the nail-scarred hands of Jesus. And then there are skeptics who refuse to believe even with proof staring them in the face. People still discount the facts of a huge stone rolled away, an empty tomb, a missing dead body. 

Jesus conversed with a Samaritan woman. He ate with sinners. He rose from the dead. He’s the Savior of the world. He loves you and me. The Bible says so. Do you believe this?

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.  John 5:24-25 (NASB)

He is given eternal life for believing in me and shall never perish. Do you believe this, Martha?”  John 11:26 (TLB)

“I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am.  John 13:19 (NIV)

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  James 1:6 (NIV)

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Seeing is Believing

But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed—and we were healed!  Isaiah 53:5 (TLB)

Betrayed, deserted, mocked, beaten—Jesus endured extreme mental and physical pain. Then crucified on a cross. An execution reserved for criminals. Such a humiliating death served as a warning to all witnesses. For Jesus’ followers, it was a horrible end to such a hope-filled life. Until…..

Up from the grave He arose. Jesus rose from the dead. He triumphed over wounds inflicted upon His flesh. He defeated the sorrow of betrayal and desertion. He conquered death with His resurrection. For a time, Jesus the Overcomer walked on earth proving His victory to His followers. What had appeared hopeless had became hopeful. So why would anyone doubt His power over sin and death? 

Thomas, one of Jesus’ own disciples, doubted. But why? He had walked with the Lord Jesus and seen His miracles. He had served with the disciples and heard Jesus’ many messages. He had been part of the group for three years. Why would he doubt what his friends were telling him about Jesus’ resurrection? 

Most likely fear drove Thomas to hide when the Lord Jesus was betrayed and killed. An emotional letdown probably flooded his soul when he heard Jesus died. Quite possibly he wondered if God had forsaken all of Jesus’ followers. He likely felt abandoned. Maybe he thought Jesus’ mission was useless. What life experiences caused Thomas to doubt the authenticity of Jesus and His Word? Why would he not believe what others told him? Had someone shattered his dreams prior to this horrendous execution?   

After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to many of His followers. They saw Him and they believed. They repeatedly told Thomas that the Lord lived. They had seen Him. But Thomas refused to believe. He said, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands—and put my fingers into them—and place my hand into his side.”

Eventually Thomas gathered with the disciples inside locked doors. While they met together, Jesus showed up, greeting them all. He specifically addressed Thomas saying, “Put your finger into my hands. Put your hand into my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas said (John 20:25-28).

Thomas’ doubt immediately turned to belief. Can you hear his sincere cry? Do you feel his emotional release? Now he believed with faith and received God’s grace. Touching Jesus’ wounds had healed Thomas’ wounds. 

It’s been said that seeing is believing. Even Jesus said to Thomas, “You believe because you have seen me. But blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.” (verse 29)

We live post resurrection. We didn’t witness any of Jesus’ appearances but witnesses have told in detail what they saw. It’s recorded in the Bible. Do you believe or do you doubt?

Jesus says if you believe without seeing, you are blessed. Have no doubt, but have faith. Keep believing and receive the healing power of our Overcomer.

If you doubt, why? Have you experienced the deep wounds of betrayal, loneliness, mental and physical afflictions, heartache? Do troubles consume your life, trapping you within, and without a Savior? 

You are not alone. Jesus experienced many of those same human afflictions. But He overcame them all. The Savior of the world defeated sin and death. Believe in Him and receive His gracious mercy. 

By His wounds, we are healed. 

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered.  Mark 11:22 (NIV)

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Fullness of JOY


When You prayed beneath the trees - Linda Clark ---

…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.  Ephesians 3:14-21 (NASB)

…In Your presence is fullness of joy.  Psalm 16:11

Joy—to be joyful—is a choice. It doesn’t come naturally as we live in this world. We can have moments of happiness, but joy, deep abiding fulfilling joy, doesn’t simply happen. It must be chosen and strengthened by faith in Jesus Christ. 

How does one choose joy while being mocked and laughed at? What is so joyful about the death of a loved one? Can joy be experienced when your child walks away from the life he’s known and chooses to turn away from family? When fire ravages a home, is there joy? Who expresses joy while a flood devastates one’s livelihood? Where is joy when life is full of sorrow? 

Jesus was a man of sorrows. He can relate to us. Can we can relate to Him?

We despised him and rejected him—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we didn’t care.  Isaiah 53:3 (TLB)

Have you ever felt despised? Rejected? Has grief racked your body? Your soul? There is Someone who understands your trouble and His name is Jesus. 

This God-Man Jesus came to earth from heaven. Our Creator God come down to His creatures in the form of innocence and vulnerability—a baby. He grew and knew His mission. When the time came for Him to offer Himself as a sacrifice to save the world, Jesus did it with joy. He looked forward to the joy before Him. He chose joy.

….fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  Hebrews 12:2-3 (NASB)

Are you weary from sin and strife? Have losses in life caused you to lose heart? Remember Who loved you so much that He willingly sacrificed His life to save you. He chose the joy of salvation amid the adversities of human life. And He offers it to you. Choose Jesus. Choose joy. 

As you celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, remember why He died for you. Find joy in the presence of the God who loves you. And ponder anew what the Almighty can do……..

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (Nockels, Hymn with Lyrics, Contemporary) ---