Category Archives: prodigals

truth

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 “Truth is a glorious but hard mistress. She never consults, bargains, or compromises.” – A.W. Tozer

Truth.  The dictionary defines truth as “the real facts about something : the things that are true.”

Biblically speaking, truth is “not merely truth as spoken; truth of idea, reality, sincerity, truth in the moral sphere, divine truth revealed to man, straightforwardness.”  (Strong’s Greek)

Truth is, we all want someone who we can be vulnerable with . . .

someone we can show transparency, exposing our hurts, shortcomings, struggles . . .

someone we can be completely up-front and honest with.

We want that person to be lovingly understanding of us, show us integrity, be merciful. Yet, so many times in life and in our relationships, we find ourselves turning away from others because people let us down. So we run, or maybe we do a fast walk, or even a slow, sulk.  And then we drift apart . . . or perhaps completely turn away.  So instead, we turn further into ourselves, living in pretense.

But the real truth is . . . we can have that Someone.  

In Christ, I have the Truth.

You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free. – John 8:32

I don’t have to live in the trappings of pretense, of the believing the lies the enemy wants me to hear.  The Truth has set me free.

Truth. It does exist . . . it is real . . . it is straightforward.

Sometimes, the Truth has stopped me right in my tracks.  At other times, Truth is tapping me on the shoulder – redirecting my focus, my eyes.  Instead of looking inward, or avoiding the eye contact, Truth tells me to look upward.  Truth reminds me to look around and get myself back on the right road.

 And then there have been times, Truth has had to get me square by the shoulders and look me straight eye-to-eye, just like a parent with a child.   Gently, but firmly, steering me home.

Truth . . . God’s Truth does not consult, bargain or compromise.

His Truth gives me comfort and hope.  It is my Freedom.


meet me in the timelessness

BJG_0259

 Life has different stages of waiting.

There is that gnawing demand on the mind as we wait.

It seems like so much of time we are sitting in a waiting room – that place where I tend to become frustrated with inefficiency and inaction.  With myself, with others.  And yes, at times . . .  even God.

Some of the times of waiting are in anticipation of something good happening – the birth of a new little baby.  The excitement of looking towards starting a new chapter in life.

Some times it is that vast area of waiting for God’s timing in a specific situation or circumstance in my life, the lives of my family, of my friends.

Then there is the  waiting room where I kneel praying for the Prodigal.  It’s often a very lonely place where well-meaning people seem to slip in and out of as time wears on.  It is a seemingly ending vastness of time ticking away – time slipping away.

And yet another sweet reminder comes that God meets me in the timelessness . . . 

and in that time of waiting, He continues to bless me with strength, and joy, and power.

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
—Micah 7:7

 

Wait patiently with Me while I bless you. Don’t rush into My Presence with time-consciousness gnawing at your mind. I dwell in timelessness: I am, I was, I will always be. For you, time is a protection; you’re a frail creature who can handle only twenty-four-hour segments of life. Time can also be a tyrant, ticking away relentlessly in your mind. Learn to master time, or it will be your master.

Though you are a time-bound creature, seek to meet Me in timelessness. As you focus on My Presence, the demands of time and tasks will diminish. I will bless you and keep you, making My Face shine upon you graciously, giving you Peace.
(from Jesus Calling)

 


come as you are

As this new song by David Crowder reminds me  . . .  my hands are dirty.  I am not fit to sit at the Table.

Yet, He calls me and you to His Table.  It doesn’t matter how broken we are, or how far and how long we have wandered from Him, or how much hurt and shame we carry around.  It does not matter – our Abba Father calls us to come as we are.  He invites us to sit at His Table.

Come as you are.  Sit at His table and lay down your burdens, your broken heart, your shame, your wanderings, all your hurts that you’ve papered over through the years.  He will wash you clean and He will heal all the hurts.

 Come As You Are ~ by David Crowder
from Neon Steeple

Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been
Come broken-hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

There’s hope for the hopeless
And all those who’ve strayed
Come sit at the table
Come taste the grace
There’s rest for the weary
Rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t cure

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Fall in his arms
Come as you are
There’s joy for the morning
Oh sinner be still
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Come as you are

 


You promised!

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First the clouds started rolling in from the west . . . then the winds picked up . . . followed by the spring rains.

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and then the sky poured out a double rainbow . . .

Our reminder of His Promise . . .

 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all future generations: I have placed My bow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.
Genesis 9:12-13

and a reminder to pray His promises. . .

Your promises build my faith and give me hope.
They help me remember your kindness and give me strength to go on.
Your Word makes it clear that Your promises can be trusted:
“God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man that He should change
 his mind.  Does He speak and then not act.  Does He promise and not fulfill?”
You keep your promises!
Because You are absolutely perfect, it is impossible for You to lie.
Your Word is filled with promises, I want to pray again and again . . .
You tell me to have faith when I pray . . . 

And the rain fell to the earth that spring day last weekend.   And just as the cleansing rains fell to saturate the ground, to nurture the earth – making it bud and bloom before cycling back to the heavens again . . .

I can rely on your Word because you are reliable.
You said about your Word,
‘It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I
desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it’ Isaiah 55:11

Thank You that I can rely on your Word because You are reliable.


even in the dark

 

john 1_5.001

It never ceases to amaze me . . . when I’m on the hunt for something to share with someone . . . The Word speaks to me.  Sometimes it’s a tug on my heart.  Or maybe a tap on my shoulder or a pull on my arm.  And then there are the times when it hits me smack in the head.  That’s exactly what happened the other day when I read Ann Voskamp’s post, How to Get Through the Dark Places.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can defeat me. I can say, “I get it.” N.O.T.H.I.N.G.
And there is no place His light won’t go to find you, to save you, to hold you.

The darkness doesn’t understand the light, doesn’t comprehend the light, doesn’t get the light, doesn’t overcome the light, doesn’t master the light.

Darkness doesn’t have anything on light, on hope, on faith.

The darkness that sucks at the prodigal kid doesn’t have anything on the light of his mother’s prayers.

The black of pornography that threatens at the edges doesn’t master the blazing light of Jesus at the center.

The pit of depression that plunges deep doesn’t go deeper than the love of your Jesus and there is no place His light won’t go to find you, to save you, to hold you.

That low-lying storm cloud that hangs over you can’t master the light of Christ that raises you.

Darkness can’t drive out darkness. Only light can do that.

Only words of Light can drive out worlds of dark.
Only deeds of Light can drive out depths of dark.
Only lives of Light can drive out lies of dark.

Darkness can never travel as fast as Light. No matter how bad things get, no matter how black the dark seeps in, no matter the depths of the night — the dark can never travel as fast as Light. The Light is always there first, waiting to shatter the dark.

You can always hold His Word like a ball of light right there your hand, right up there next to your warming heart.

You can always count on it: Jesus is bendable Light, warmth around every unexpected corner.

So press on.  Keep running the race – even in the dark.


not an orphan anymore

Big Top at OBT

Big Top at OBT

[Click to hear “Orphan” – Ronnie Freeman Band]

You think so much of me
You take delight in me
You paid the price for me
Then you adopted me

I’m not an orphan anymore, I’m yours
I stand before you now adored, I’m yours
Your cross has set me free
New life belongs to me
I’m not an orphan anymore, I’m yours

You took my guilt and shame
Gave me a brand new name
You call me your beloved
I call you Abba Father.

I’m not an orphan anymore, I’m yours
I stand before you now adored, I’m yours
Your cross has set me free
New life belongs to me
I’m not an orphan anymore, I’m yours


Now I feast at the table of the King

And His love is the banner over me
His Love the banner over me!

I’m not an orphan anymore, I’m yours
I lost the fight, but won the war, I’m yours.
Your cross has set me free
Victory has set me free


I’m not an orphan anymore,

I’m Yours.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The first time I heard Ronnie Freeman and his band play this song, we were sitting in a big tent, “The Big Top” at Outback Texas during a time called “Abiding, Gratitude, Sharing.”   It was an absolutely beautiful November weekend just outside Brenham, Texas.  Ministering to, praying for couples ~husbands and wives, parents and teens ~  as each began peeling back the layers, earnestly spending time restoring, building, strengthening their relationships with one another, experiencing the Glory of their Abba Father.  Then hearing this song . . . the words so simply stated. . .  tears began streaming down my cheeks.

Let’s go back to the beginning.  Being blessed to be born into a loving, Christian family who lived out Christ daily, I knew I was loved not just by my earthly daddy, but most importantly by my Father.  As a young girl I began my personal heart and life journey of grace, mercy, forgiveness, perseverance, patience, and courage with my Abba Father.  

Most times, the journey was easy, especially in those early years living at home.  Once out on my own, the journey began to take some difficult paths that I wasn’t familiar with.  I’d find myself diverted off His path, I’d come back, only later to walk a little bit off the path again. These side-trips were never of huge proportion.  Oh,but looking back each one deprived me of precious time, of precious Joy, of untold blessings.  As difficult, and as dark as some of those times would prove to be over the years – even a season of feeling totally abandoned here on earth –  I know .  .  . I know I was never abandoned by my Abba Father.

Those paths were of my own choosing, no doubt.

So what was it that made those tears stream down my face?  A multitude of things.

Gratitude.  Gratitude for having had the foundation of my life in Him laid down at such an early age. That even in my disobedience, He continued to pursue me, calling me back.  Gratitude for as broken as my life had been, it was no longer that way because of His Grace and His Mercy. 

Brokenness and Forgiveness.  I am finally able to begin to truly and honestly lay aside those things which have caused hurt and pain.  I am able to begin to forgive.  Most of all – forgive myself.  I know in Him there is no condemnation. 

A sense of sadness. Sadness because I was reminded of how I had spent so much time sitting underneath His table, eating just the crumbs that happen to fall, when I could have been enjoying His Feast.  Sadness for the fellowship, the close communion I had allowed myself to miss over the years. Sadness also because the words of the song reminded me of my Prodigal and how his choices are depriving him of the close relationship with the one he would call Abba Father as he would pray.

Peace. Peace because the victory is His.

Joy.  Joy because He gives me Hope.  Joy because I’m not an orphan anymore. I am His.


hope in things not seen

BUzCf88CAAErel3photo from Twitter screen shot

Hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees?

But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.

In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings.
Romans 8: 24-26

I hope in things not seen.  At the times when my words feel inadequate, I’m not left to myself.  John 14:26 promises the Counselor helps me in my weaknesses, in my inadequacies.  When I am weak, He is strong.  

I pray with waiting expectation, not in a state of limbo.  In Hebrew, wait’ comes from a word meaning ‘to bind together’ and figuratively means ‘to expect.

I wait.

Not in fear, not in despair.

My hope is in God and I wait expectantly for Him to intervene in His time, in His way.  And in the wait…
I grow closer to Him with the bonds of Love.


not a random thing

Glassing for elk

Remember . . . he was Mine before he was yours, and I love him more than you do.

Those were the words whispered to me in the dark, early morning hour.  Something woke me up and looking at the clock on our iPad the background picture was that of our prodigal.  What has become my habit through the years, whenever the face or name of those dear to me seem to come randomly,  I lift them to our Father because I know He knows them and He is the only who can bring peace.

I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.
2 Timothy 1: 12

When God calls you to pray for someone . . . be it one of your own, or someone else . . . it is not a random thing.  It is not something to be put on the “to-do list later”.  It might be that very hour, that very moment, in which that one is struggling or dealing with an all-important issue or maybe it’s in that very moment they are staggering under the load of choices they’ve made.  And standing in the gap at that moment may be God’s special provision and help to lead them to the road of deliverance . . . in that very moment.

Then later this morning while taking my mom and dad into town to do a few errands, we stopped in at their local favorite donut shop to have some coffee and a muffin.  While enjoying their Saturday morning ritual, I noticed I had gotten a text from my sweet man who’s deep in the mountains, several states away.  Cell service is pretty erratic, but he always sends a little something “sweet,” and always encouraging before he heads out.  His text read …”Growing Young” by Rich Mullins . . . listen to and pray . . . ” God had put our prodigal on my husband’s heart too.

Again . . . when God calls you to pray for someone – it is not a random thing.

So . . . we are obedient  . . . we pray . . . we relinquish into His hands . . .

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me
Psalm 138:3

“Growing Young” – Rich Mullins

I’ve gone so far from my home
I’ve seen the world and I have known
So many secrets
I wish now I did not know
‘Cause they have crept into my heart
They have left it cold and dark
And bleeding,
Bleeding and falling apart

And everybody used to tell me big boys don’t cry
Well I’ve been around enough to know that that was the lie
That held back the tears in the eyes of a thousand prodigal sons
Well we are children no more, we have sinned and grown old
And our Father still waits and He watches down the road
To see the crying boys come running back to His arms
And be growing young
Growing young

I’ve seen silver turn to dross
Seen the very best there ever was
And I’ll tell you, it ain’t worth what it costs
And I remember my father’s house
What I wouldn’t give right now
Just to see him and hear him tell me that he loves me so much

And everybody used to tell me big boys don’t cry
Well I’ve been around enough to know that that was the lie
That held back the tears in the eyes of a thousand prodigal sons
Well we are children no more, we have sinned and grown old
And our Father still waits and He watches down the road
To see the crying boys come running back to His arms

And when I thought that I was all alone
It was your voice I heard calling me back home
And I wonder now Lord
What it was that made me wait so long
And what kept You waiting for me all that time
Was Your love stronger than my foolish pride
Will You take me back now, take me back and let me be Your child

‘Cause I’ve been broken now, I’ve been saved 
I’ve learned to cry, and I’ve learned how to pray 
And I’m learning, I’m learning even I can be changed

And everybody used to tell me big boys don’t cry
Well I’ve been around enough to know that that was the lie
That held back the tears in the eyes of a thousand prodigal sons

Well we are children no more, we have sinned and grown old 
And our Father still waits and He watches down the road 
To see the crying boys come running back to His arms 
And be growing young
Growing young
Growing young


hope isn’t lost

88e1e05f162fc4daac3e69180c4765be  from Pinterest

Sometimes God doesn’t give us what we’re asking for so that He can give us what we really want. The problem is, we often don’t know what we really want.  We pray with tunnel vision.

What about when the very thing you’ve been praying for not to happen, happens?  When that comes about, it’s so very easy to lose hope, to become daunted.

Praying in such difficult times can stretch your faith.  Things seem to go from bad to worse.  But it’s in these very times we need to lean in to our Abba Father and remember that God’s timing is rarely ours.  It’s time to remember He has complete authority over the situation.

When it seems like all is lost, when you seem to lost the last shred of hope, it only means God is not finished yet.  

Doubt creeps in like a lion.  The voice of Doubt makes you question.  Why do you keep praying?  Why do you even bother?  Why do you continue when your words seem to fall on deaf ears?  Why?  Why bother?

Because the last word does not belong to Doubt.  The last word belongs to God.  God is faithful, and He will answer our prayers in His timing and His wisdom.  Both are Perfect.

We may not see Him coming, but we continue to pray.  My arms may not be able to reach out those close to my heart, but my prayers surround them with hugs . . .hugs . . . His outstretched arms reaching out to them offering the Grace He intended all along.  

Hope isn’t lost.  It’s only taking another way.

When I am dealing with an all-powerful, all-knowing God, I, as a mere mortal, must offer my petitions not only with persistence but also with patience.  Someday I’ll know why.
Ruth Bell Graham

from Prayers for Prodigals


for chains to fall

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He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away the chains.
Psalm 107:14

I’m learning much about silence in prayer during this season.  But even in the silence I can find the comfort, the peace this mother’s heart needs, I find it daily in His Word.  The wordless responses are met with His Promises.

For all the children . . .

I pray for Grace to be made real in their lives.

I pray for the sweet calling of the Holy Spirit to be met with openness.

I pray for the look in the mirror to be met with fearless honesty with the Creator, the one they’ve called Abba Father.

I pray even when they feel lost to themselves, even when they question, that they are never lost to Him who died for them. 

AND

I pray for chains to fall as . . .

 one of them is struggling, coming to terms with the hard parts of his story.

You’ve broken the chains of many, Lord.

My son has chains too.  Not chains made of iron but from the sins he forged on his own free will, thinking this is a freedom, an identity, maybe an escape.  But these chains are entangling, not liberating, because they have taken him away from You.

The Word says, “The Lord sets the prisoners free.

How we want so much to hear the sounds of the chains falling, never to be picked up and put on again.

How much we so want to hear him say how You have done great things for him and set his heart free.

How much we want him to recognize his conforming to the world is the worst kind of slavery.

We don’t know the reasons Lord.  We don’t fully know the challenges he faces, only in part.  But we do know that You know all of them.  We ask that the chains be broken link by link by link, so he can turn again to You.  And the things that have captivated him will lose their lure and he will understand they are the tools, the schemes of the enemy.

You’ve broken the chains of many.  Break his.


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