Encouragement Through Suffering

There was an accident two years ago on Highway 66. Two young women hit by a truck swerving into their lane. The two died instantly, the truck driver lived, but has never apologized to the grieving families. I pray for him that God would give him grace, and touch his heart that he would come to know Jesus and find peace.

waterfalljer

I met the mother of one of these young women just the other day. She is a vibrant Christian. Her daughter was her only child…

With tears in her eyes she told me her story, and she told me of Christ’s Victory and even through her grief, she accepts what happened. She knows that for whatever reason it was God’s perfect timing in taking her daughter home. Her daughter had an intimate relationship with Jesus.

To read the rest of this post click  HERE

I Know Your Pain

I am going to start a series of reblogs, because there are some really helpful and encouraging posts that were written years ago and the messages in them are timeless…so here goes…

To all you mothers and fathers and siblings of prodigals…I know your pain is excruciating. Likened to the death of a child, but almost worse because of the hurt of his or her rejection of you and of his or her rebellion to God. You know that you are not perfect, that you have made mistakes, but you feel like an utter failure and that God has deserted you. Read more here...

smashed_and_broken_heart-1505

Photo from Understanding Brokenheartedness

31 Days ~ Despise Not These Little Ones

Day 27 ~ Despise Not These Little Ones

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 18:10

 From Prayers for Prodigals by James Banks…
“Your word says that you send your angels to do your “bidding“, Father (Psalms 103:20).
Thank you for giving our children angels who “always behold” your face.
Thank you for all of the times you’ve looked after my child when I could not: the near misses,the fraction-of-a-second, happened-too-fast-for-me-to-react moments when your angel intervened.
My child needs the protection of your angels now, Lord.
You’ve said that the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them (Psalms 34:7).
Because I “know what it is to fear” you (2 Corinthians 5:11) with reverence, awe, and love, I ask that you deliver my son.
Your word tells me about what you’ve done for those you call your own: “In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them” (Isaiah 63:9).
Redeem my son, Lord! Let him be a joy to you and to all of heaven, because “there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).
I don’t know how you will do it, but I ask you to help his open his heart to you.” ~ James Banks
Father, I pray for each and every prodigal represented here today by Godly parents who fear you and ask that You would deliver these children from the enemy of their souls.
And we will watch and pray and wait, and say with the angels, “Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” Revelation 7:11-12
The Guardian Angel  Pietro Da Cortona (Barrettini).

31 Days ~ About Shame

Day 24 ~ Shame Off Her
This is an interesting title for today. Being a little slow when it comes to understanding things, like jokes and puns, etc. I had to think twice (three times actually), before I realized that James was turning the term, “Shame on her”, around almost as a command to take the “Shame off her”.

Truthfully, I have never really prayed that before. I have prayed for a hedge of protection for our prodigals, that God would keep them from evil, etc., but today I will pray in a different way.

As the scripture says, “Anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame.” Romans 10:11

Quoting James Banks

“I pray you will move soon in her life to turn her heart from the sin back to you.

Let her hear your Spirit speaking to her, “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” (Isaiah 44:22)

Let the fog clear and a bright new morning break!

Even when we rebel against you, you long for us to give our hearts to you.

When we do, you take our sins completely away.

You clothe us with “garments of salvation” and “a robe of righteousness.” (Isaiah 61:10)

You present us holy in your sight, “without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:22).

You have said, “You will forget the shame of your youth” (Isaiah 54:4).

You tell us you will remember our sins no more (Jeremiah 31:34).

Take the shame of my daughter, Lord Jesus! Just as you have for me.”

I know she has a choice to make and I pray she will make it soon and “choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I pray she will choose you!” ~ James Banks

We as parents may also be feeling shame, but why then would the promise be that we would not be ashamed. I think we need to rethink this and realize that our children are God’s and we are given a time with them to nurture and bring them up, but then God has to deal with their hearts in His way. Anything that is not right in their hearts, He will make right in His time and in His way. That is why it is so important to “Let go and let God do the work”. We need to trust Him, and not be ashamed, but magnify the fact that we have a Great Shepherd who cares about each lost sheep and seeks to find them and bring them home. Praise Him for He is Mighty to save!

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

31 Days ~ Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

Day 18 ~ Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
Are you fearful? Do you worry about your prodigal? Are you afraid that your other children may follow in the same footsteps of your prodigal? Do you fear for your child’s life, for their salvation?
I understand…I’ve been there. This is a tough one, but fear is torment and the TRUTH of the matter is that we are told over and over not to fear.
Father, help us in this area of fear and worry…help us to trust You more, as our Father, our Friend, our Counselor…a Father who will teach, provide and protect…a Friend who is a loyal companion, trust-worthy, caring…a Counselor who hears our petitions and gives us wisdom and knowledge.
But even more…our Husband who loves His bride and enfolds her in His strong arms to care for, honor and protect her.
You are all these things and more, Lord…You are our Deliverer, our Fortress, our strong Tower…
When, Oh, when will we put away vain imaginations, and worries of the world and fears of what may happen and just look up into your all glorious…all marvelous…all powerful…all knowing Presence…and BELIEVE You at Your word?
Fill us, Father, with Your love today…Your Love that is so powerful, so all consuming, so sacrificial, so perfect that any and all fear and worry will be cast out.
And Father…as James Banks prays…
“I ask that Your perfect love will drive out any fear in my daughter’s/son’s heart about coming to You.
Help her/him understand that knowing You is all about love, which is so different from any-less-than-loving examples of legalism or judgmentalism she/he may have seen along the way.
I pray that Your love may be “made complete” in her/him so that she “will have confidence on the day of judgement” (1 John 4:17)
Let her/him live in love, because “whoever lives in love lives in” You (1 John 4:16), and You in them.
May the wonder of all that you are bless my child and draw her/his heart to you today!”

31 Days ~ Accepting Rejection

Day 11 ~ Accepting Rejection

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isaiah 53:3This is a hard one, especially considering that the ones rejecting us are our dearly beloved children.

Rejection hurts…A lot of us spend our lives trying to please people hoping not to be rejected, because it hurts. And some of us put up invisible walls around ourselves to protect ourselves from getting close to other people, because we have been hurt and we don’t want to go there again.

But our own children? Do we ever think that the ones we have nurtured and loved since they were infants, would turn against us, reject us and hurt us so very deeply…to the very core of our being?

“You know what it is like to have those you love reject you, because you came to earth and we “did not receive” you. (John 1:11)You chose to accept our rejection for your own benefit, to save us and set us free.

In a small way I am beginning to understand that, Lord.

It’s because I love her that I’m trying to help her to choose what is right, despite her defiance.

Thank you, Father, for doing that for us.

Your Word makes this so very clear.

Even when we were “your enemies”, you chose to reconcile us “through the death of Your Son” (Romans 5:10)

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) ~ James Banks

Father, today I pray that we can be more conformed into the image of Jesus by accepting rejection as He did, as He does, as You do…Help us to feel the bitter sweetness of life and not run from it, but love through it…not with our paltry love, but with Your everlasting and perfect love.

Sometimes that means standing aside…like the story of the prodigal in your Word…the Father let’s go until the son returns in a humble state and asks forgiveness. The father’s love is always there, just as Your love is always there for us…

Thank you, Jesus, that You will never leave us or forsake us.

Thank you, Father, that we can draw nigh to you and you will draw nigh to us…

Rescue our prodigals from the world, Father. Please draw them to Yourself…I know that you are…I know that You are at work in their lives to bring about their salvation.

Thank you, dear Savior and Friend, Counselor, Almighty God…the Master of the Universe…the great I AM… Thank you…

I know all things are possible to those that believe. Mark 9:23

31 Days ~ Wanting What God Wants

Day 9 ~ Wanting What God Wants

“Some of my son’s choices have affected his future, Father.

The missed opportunities, denied admissions, and closed doors would not have been so if he had applied the gifts that you’ve given him.

But that doesn’t mean he’s missed the greatest opportunity of his life.

You are that opportunity, Lord! And You can make new opportunities for Him.

More than wanting him to seek Your hand and what You can do for him, I want him to seek Your heart.”

Ask most parents what they want for their child and you’ll find they want good things, a successful career, a happy home, good health, a life with fewer challenges than they had.

But what does God want?

… Our prayer needs to be, “Father, help me to want what you want for my child. Help him to love you most of all!”

When that prayer is answered then your son or daughter will be truly happy and have all that he or she needs. Not just for a few years on this earth but for every day to come, stretching on beyond forever, because “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” I Corinthians 2:9

~ James Banks Prayers for Prodigals

I did a review of a book by a fellow traveler Dan Mayhew called The Butterfly and the Stone… Dan’s son is addicted to alcohol…he was in the military and has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder…

Here is a quote from his book…

“I see less of the man I dreamed he would become and more of the one he seems determined to be. He seems to have set out with deliberateness to be everything I have always hated about disfigured manhood.

Drinking. Smoking. Partying. Gambling. Foul-mouthed. Unkind. Selfish. Abusive. Mocking. Smelling of smoke and alcohol. At home in rancid taverns and among reprobates and miscreants.

I detest it. All of it. That I should be the father of such a one is hardly bearable. I wish I could forget him. Reclaim my life and put this interminable season of reckless debauchery behind me. To forget the lies; the times when my affection only made me feel foolish when it was repaid only with more of the same; to sleep through the night without fear and dread; to turn away on last time and be free of love.

When the Creator of this world looks upon it sinking into depravity – when He sees the hatred and the filth; malice and the cruelty; the selfishness and the violence, when He sees all that He hates, will He turn away?

No. Because the love of the Father in heaven exceeds my feeble love. He has already turned His face away from all that, when He turned away from Christ on the cross. It had to be the cross. Anything less brutal could never stand amidst the refuse of human depravity and declare forgiven. Atonement for the sins of the world – all that the Creator detests in His children – had to be the cross.

And that is what makes Him Father. Grace beyond limits. Forgiveness without end. Hope beyond endurance. Life to overcome death. This is grace. It is the love that never fails and will prevail in spite of all that is detestable among His children.”

Dan began a community of home-based churches called The Summit Fellowships where he serves as a church planter, teacher and encourager.

Please add Dan and his son to your prayer list. His book is really incredible…to see the review go here

The Butterfly and The Stone ~ Dan Mayhew

Hope is a butterfly
Fear is a stone
As the father waits
for his son to come home.
For anyone who has loved a prodigal child, here is a voice in the night that says you are not alone. ‘The Butterfly and the Stone’ is a story of fear and hope on a journey that leads from the safety of home to Iraq, and home again to face a fiercer enemy: post-traumatic stress and addiction. Along the way is God’s love…found in a most unexpected place…
This book is an incredibly deep and heart felt portrayal of a father’s love for his prodigal son.
Quoting Dan Mayhew from the preface as he describes his book, “It is a journey ongoing, to a destination uncertain. It is a narrative of waywardness and the lessons that come from it. Moreover, it is not a devotional, nor a book of advise on parenting. It is a book of questions that hunger for answers; or perhaps, of encouragement – the hopeful sound of a distant voice in the darkest night that says you are not alone. At the heart, it is the story of God and me – and all His rebellious sons; of the Father and His prodigal race, as seen in the dark mirror of earthly fatherhood.”
Dan’s description practically takes my breath away. As you can see he is  a very gifted writer. As I read his book,  I found myself underlining sentence after sentence, because  what he was saying was what I  felt, and I was  astounded that he could so eloquently express what so many parents of prodigals feel in the midst of their heart-wrenching pain.
Dan describes so many lessons he learns traveling this prodigal journey. He comes to the point at the end of the book where he realizes  he has been enabling… Speaking about the scripture found in Matthew 17 : 14-15, Dan writes, “The father knew he could not help his son so he had stopped trying. He had reached the limits of his own love, so he gave his son to Jesus whose love had no limits. I had to do the same…”
The story doesn’t  end with a prodigal home-coming, but I hope that there is a future sequel…a rest of the story. Thank you, Dan, for writing your story. For reaching out to hurting parents, letting them know they are not alone. For giving comfort and wisdom and hope found through what you have suffered.
I would highly recommend parents read this book, especially if their prodigals are suffering from addictions.
Dan’s website… Stone Butterfly Woodcarving
The Butterfly and The Stone can be purchased at Amazon

A Beautiful Testimony from a Parent of a Prodigal

I never thought that I would say that a prodigal is a gift!

And, I have been gifted with two? Praise the LORD, I had two, and now only one!

Now that you call it a gift, I have looked back on the day I received my gift! It has been a gift that I have unwrapped carefully! It was not one to tear the ribbon off of quickly and dive into! But I can say that as I have TAKEN the GIFT from HIS Hands, and let me say, I was ever so hesitant to do so, I have found this gift box FULL of Hidden treasures.
In this gift box I found a special invitation to travel with Jesus, The Great Shepherd to The High Places! I was Much-Afraid, but I followed. I have learned a lot, seen a lot, and found treasures along the way! The disciples had this privilege as well! They also saw Great and Mighty things!

I was also given a personal invitation to be a SPECIAL GUEST at the foot of GOD’s Throne, getting to KNOW a Beautiful God and LOVING Father in a very Intimate way.

He has shared secrets with me!
Divine appointments along the way have been surprising and exciting! The Master Potter has kept me from drying out. He has dipped His hands in Living water and moistened me, and has with His LOVE, filled my broken places.
The Great Shepherd been my Special Guide! I have seen valleys suddenly filled with flowers, Sonshine on stormy rugged Mt. tops, an oasis in a heated desert, and He has watched over me with His rod and staff, as I took rest.
The Vine Keeper has brought me nourishment when I was a bit dry and bent over. And He has shared joy with me over fruit in my season!
The Creator, The Redeemer, The Master Weaver, The Wonderful Counselor, has paid me many a visit, as if I were someone special!
The Sower of The Seed has tilled my heart soil, broken clods up, prepared the soil and planted The Seed of LOVE in my heart,and when that planting brought a bit of pain, The Loving Saviour held me in His arms and wiped my tears…I have come to know the Sower so much more personally, and that seed He planted has grown more each day, bearing fruits of forgiveness, patience, etc…
The Great Physician has anointed me with His healing oil…

I have been so gifted with this adventure, that I must say I am glad I held out my heart to take this gift! I have Been given a Gift beyond all measure! I know now how Joseph must felt! Cast down to only find Hidden Treasures! Beauty from ashes!

I actually believe I can say that I have seen and experienced His hand, His power, His LOVE and mercy.
I have lived through a storm, a battle, and I still stand in His armor! The enemy is falling all around me! The Great Shepherd has given me Hinds Feet on the High Places!
So, Yes! To be Nearer to the Heart of God, under His wings, learning to TRUST in Him, It is a gift!
Wow I said it! It is a gift, and someday I can say to my prodigal, Many waters can not quench LOVE! God worked all things for good. He gifted me!

Thank you, Debbie, for sharing your gifts with us!