THE POTTER: REFLECTIONS OF A MASTER ARTISAN – Day of Discovery

Words of Life

This is a wonderful video…

potter-reflections-master-artisan-various-dvd-cover-art

From his studio nestled along the Arkansas River in Colorado, potter Dave Blakeslee says, “One of the things I love about God is that He is a creative God.” Watch and listen as he shapes, glazes, and fires ceramic works of art and describes how the Master Potter forms and transforms lives. Discover how God can mold you into a beautiful vessel uniquely designed for His glory in the Day of Discovery video presentation “The Potter.”

You can watch it at this link…

THE POTTER: REFLECTIONS OF A MASTER ARTISAN – Day of Discovery.

View original post

Advertisements

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

How God Persues Prodigals ~ Ray Pritchard

This is a very interesting take on the prodigal…Can we help our prodigals too soon?

Ray Pritchard writes, “Sometimes in our attempt to reach out to the prodigals we know, we can intervene too soon. Do you remember what happened to the prodigal son in Luke 15? After he had wasted all his inheritance in wild living, he ended up feeding the pigs (Luke 15:15-16). As Eugene Peterson puts it, “He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.” If you saw that, you might think, “That young man is ready for a new life.” Maybe so, maybe not.
Sometimes in our attempt to reach out to the prodigals we know, we can intervene too soon.

In the story Jesus told, the father waited for his son to return and then ran to meet him when he was still far from home. What if the father in the story had gone after his son and tried to bring him back even one day early? The son would have said, “If only you had left me alone for one more day, I would have made all my money back because I was investing in pork bellies.”

So it goes. We may think that someone has hit rock bottom when they are still scheming a way out of their problems. It was not until the son “came to his senses” that he decided to return home. That has to happen to every prodigal son and daughter, and it cannot be predicted or forced.

Repentance is first of all a work of God in the human heart. If you come a day too soon, the prodigal will always think, “With one more day, I would have figured out a way to solve my own problems.” As long as the scheming and lying and deceiving continues, the best thing we can do is to pray for God’s Spirit to bring them to their senses and to wait patiently until that day comes.”

I know you will be greatly encouraged reading Part 1 and Part 2 of this sermon by Ray Pritchard on his website  Keep Believing. 

Toward the end of  his sermon Ray gives these  comforting words…

God knows where they are.
God knows what they are doing.
God knows how to reach them.
God knows how to bring them back.

Between now and then, never give up.

Never give up.
Keep believing.
Keep on praying.

A Praying Momma ~ T. Suzanne Eller

This is a wonderfully encouraging article for parents of prodigals…keep on praying!

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

When he first started drinking, she and her husband weren’t sure what to do. Then he was arrested. Soon after they discovered he was using drugs. For the first time in her life, Mickey felt helpless as a mom.

Mickey’s son was raised in church and he once served as a leader in his youth group. Their home was a safe place where faith was lived out. And yet her son continued to spiral downward, no matter what they did. The night he broke into their small business and emptied the cash register was the bleakest night of all.

Mickey looked around the church and realized there were other moms with similar struggles. She started a Prodigal Prayer Group that met on Tuesday nights. They prayed one year, two years and then three.

Mickey saw others’ children come back to their faith, but her prayers for her own son seemed to be going nowhere. Nonetheless, she continued to show up, joining in strength and support with other praying mommas.

I wish my sweet friend had a video camera recording her son through those dark days. I wish she could have seen Austin rediscover his faith, overcome his addictions, and see him grow into the godly man he is today.

But the reality is that Mickey didn’t have a video camera. All she had was her faith. Faith that was tested over and over.

She was aware of the realities of her son’s choices, but she continued to pray. She continued to believe. She had to make hard choices like setting boundaries. She had to listen to other moms whose children were not straying and who did not understand her struggle.

Mickey says that during that time she began to see Austin through the eyes of faith. She knew that it wasn’t in her power to change her son, but that God could be her source of strength as she stayed the course.

We often say we would do anything for our children. If someone had told Mickey that it would take years of praying and believing like she did without seeing any sign of change, I wondered would she still do it? Mickey says yes, she would.

Maybe you identify with my friend. You raised your son or daughter with love. You provided a safe place. You showed them Jesus, and yet somehow they lost their way. Today I want to encourage you. The Father loves you and your child. In Jesus’ story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32, NIV) we see a son who has hit rock bottom. He finally decides to go home and this is the reaction of his father:

So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’ 

But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger, and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening in the pen. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.” (verses 20-24)

Jesus told this story to illustrate the love of the Heavenly Father. The beauty of a praying momma is not lost in the chaos of your child’s choices. You are not alone as you pray, because He’s waiting, just as you are, to welcome your child in His embrace.

Dear Father, thank You that You love my child even more than I. I am not alone. You are with me. Walk with me today. Give me Your strength. Give me renewed hope and eyes of faith. In Jesus’ powerful, precious Name, Amen.

View this complete article at Proverbs 31 Ministries

31 Days ~ Put on the Armor

Day 25 ~ Put on the Armor

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11
The armor talked about in Ephesians is something we should dress ourselves with every morning. Donning ourselves from head to toe with the protection our Father gives us will help us fight the battle that lies before us. It will also help our children. Perhaps this is an area of protection and defense from the enemy that we do not take seriously enough, especially in these perilous times we are living in.

Note in the scripture that the armor helps us to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Standing firm against lies and deception is so imperative. We are weakened by the attacks of the enemy whether it comes in the form of grief over our loved ones, or persecution from friends. Each blow that comes against us can either bring us to the ground in agony, or we can stand firm with the armor: the helmet of salvation, the breast-plate of righteousness, the sword of the spirit, the shield of faith, loins girt about with truth, and feet shod with the gospel of peace.

STAND FIRM 

Your standing for Christ will speak volumes to your prodigals. I know what it feels like to be so weakened that doubt seeps in… Some of you are fearing for your other children that they will follow their prodigal brother or sister. I did too. In fact as a defensive mechanism for myself I backed off from my other children for a time. But they didn’t stray, and we are not to fear. Jesus commands us not to fear, but to put the burden on Him and trust Him.

Why are we so prone to try to do things our own way? Even though we profess Christ, we do not walk in faith and trust as we should.

When my son was living in fornication, we told him we could have nothing to do with him, not even eat with him if he lived that way. (1 Corinthians 5:11)  He justified his behavior and no matter how I argued with him, he would not listen. The sad part is that other Christians had no problem with it, they encouraged it.

We are living in such a fallen world today. We are living in perilous times. 2 Timothy 3:1

I don’t know why some children do this…I always likened it to telling a child “No!” when they tried to touch a hot stove. Some listen and immediately pull their fingers away and never do it again. Some get burned and feel the pain and still do it again.

I pray for all of you parents today that you will take heed to the word and put on the armor and stand firm with your children. Jesus is the only way…His instruction is the best way…Teach your children as well , to put on the armor, and be an example of faith to them. Don’t be afraid to call sin, sin. Even if the whole world is against you. God is for you. Stand on His side. The battle is His and He will be victorious.

31 Days ~ Called Out of Darkness

Day 23 ~ Called Out of Darkness

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:” 1 Peter 2:9

Called out of darkness…how many of you were called out of darkness?

From the concordance darkness means: of night darkness; of darkened eyesight or blindness; of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality, together with their consequent misery in hell; persons in whom darkness becomes visible and holds sway.

I once was lost…and now I’m found…

I once was blind, but now I see…

He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.” Psalms 40:2

If I had Christian parents they would have been devastated, but they also would have rejoiced at what Jesus has done in my life. I don’t know that a single prayer was uttered for me during this time of darkness, but Jesus called me out of it.

Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD Almighty.” Malachi 3:7

Father, you are very aware of what our prodigals are doing right now. For from the beginning of time men turn away from you and follow darkness. Father, right now, our children are living in darkness, making horrendously horrible choices that will effect their lives forever. We cry out to you, Father, for we of ourselves can do nothing. Please bring them out of the miry pit, the ungodliness, the immorality, this horrible wretched darkness that holds sway over them and causes such blindness. Father, we cry out to you today, please call them out of darkness into your marvelous light.

Quoting James Banks
“I ask for your light to fall on this path and lead him home.

Let him see your light from the distance and be drawn to you.

Even though now he sits in darkness, I ask that you will be his light.(Micah 7:8)

I praise you that there is no darkness so black that you can not show him the way out of it.

Bring him to the place where he can say, “You are my lamp, O Lord the LORD turns my darkness to light” (2 Samuel 22:29)” ~ James Banks

And Father…I pray for none of this middle of the road stuff. I pray when our prodigals come to their senses and see your Light…when they truly give their hearts and lives to Jesus, that there will be no turning back. That they will put the past behind them and walk forward…the past immorality, drugs, rock music…make it absolutely abhorrent to them.

Thank you, Jesus, for what you have done in my life, I know without a doubt that you can do it in any life. And I especially ask today, that you would visit the suffering parents. Please take them in your arms. Fill them with your peace, hold them tight so that they know you are with them in their grief. Give them a knowing that you are at work in the hearts of those they love and hold most dear, right now as we are praying.

Forgive us all, Father, for we are so prone to wander, so prone to be unbelieving and faithless.

We are called to show forth your praises, even the sacrifice of praise…

Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15

31 Days ~ Thank You

Day 21 ~ Thank You

Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.” Psalms 127:3

From the book Prayers for Prodigals ~

“I don’t think I’ve said thank you enough lately, Lord.
Your Word reminds me that children are a blessing from You.
I’d like to thank you again for the blessing of my son.
He is your own beautiful and unique creation.
There will never be anyone exactly like him.
I praise you for he is “fearfully and wonderfully made: your works are wonderful I know that full well” (Psalms 139:14)
I thank you for my son’s good characteristics.
I even thank you for the strength of his will and look forward to the day that it will be used to serve you with devotion and resolve.
I thank you for the things I sometimes take for granted: the blessings of health and food, and a roof over our heads.
Even though times are challenging right now, I don’t want to stop saying thank you.
Your Word tells me to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)” ~ James Banks
………………………………….
I think this is such an incredible reminder, and I thank James Banks for writing this book…Giving thanks in all circumstances is so important in our walk with Christ and as Paul said in Thessalonians, it is God’s will for us.
Spending time thanking God for our circumstances, because “He works all things our for good” is part of trusting Him. And I am convinced that He is teaching us to TRUST Him in a way that I never imagined. Perhaps we have gotten too self reliant living in a country that has so much. Whatever it is, there is a lesson for us…more than a lesson…a deep yearning for TRUTH and LIFE and FOCUS on Christ alone. And a major part of this is to totally rely on Him.
Give thanks in all things for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer says in his book The Cost of Discipleship, “…intersession is the most promising way to reach our neighbors, and corporate prayer, offered in the name of Christ, the purest form of fellowship.”
In praying together we are in fellowship, and in agreement with each other, and in communion with Christ. And He loves us and hears our prayers…
Thank you all for all your prayers.

31 Days ~ Open Our Eyes

Day 10 ~ Open Our Eyes

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope in which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomprehensible great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18-19

The blog post  Eye Salve is perfect for today…

Praying today that our heavenly Father will restore right understanding to our prodigals. That Jesus will touch the eyes of their minds that they will see truth as never before, and in seeing truth will come to repentance and raise their eyes to the great Fountain of love and grace and mercy, the most high King of all heaven and earth. He will make the crooked places straight! He will make the blind to see!

Praying that you will be encouraged keeping your eyes focused on our all powerful Friend and Counselor and Savior…Praise His precious and Holy Name…King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Open our eyes, Lord…we want to see Jesus…

31 Days ~ Prayer Makes a Difference

Day 8 ~ Prayer Makes a Difference

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16It is because of what Christ has done in us that we can be called righteous. He is our righteousness. And because He is TRUTH and the Word is TRUTH, we can trust that what James says here is true.

And if that is the case we have a very powerful advantage in fervent prayer, because it avails much.

James Banks uses a different translation…”The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”He says, “Your word tells me that the prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective – and this means that even my prayers are, because of what you have done for me. Jesus has become for me my “righteousness, holiness and redemption“. (1 Corinthians 1:30)”

 So,  let’s keep on praying and believing. We may not see with our physical eyes a difference, but I know that our prayers are effectual. Looking back on my situation…I didn’t see any hope. In fact the only hope that I had was that as believers we are to hope, and I felt that not to hope would be unbelieving. Yet, God was working it all out behind the scenes. When he opened the curtains to reveal His glory, I was astounded. It really was as if this nightmarish black curtain fell over us, and 6 years later the curtain lifted…the nightmare lifted and now it is a dreamy mist almost unreal…the secret place of the Most High. Yet, He is there all the time…

Remember…Prayer makes a difference!
Praying for you today…

Mission Impossible ~ Anabel Gillham

A friend shared this blog post by Anabel Gillham and I found it so encouraging and insightful that I’m sharing it here with you. You can find more posts by Anabel at LIFETIME.

Mission Impossible

And her neighbors and her relatives
heard that the Lord had displayed
His great mercy toward her;
and they were rejoicing with her.

Luke 1:58

And the angel said to her
“Do not be afraid, Mary;
for you have found favor with God.

Luke 1:30

I’m going to have a son! And He is going to be great and will be called the Son of the Most High! That I should be chosen for this magnificent event! Me! Mary! Incredible!” Luke 1:32

So Mary had her Son. The miraculous was accomplished! If you are a mother you know what was in her heart from the very beginning because you’ve been there. You want to protect this tiny little being who has been such an intimate part of you, who has lived within you, encased in your body and completely dependent on you and your care for him for nine months. As that child grows, you want the very best in every way for him. Mary was a mother–just like you and just like me.
She lost Joseph somehow after Jesus was twelve years old. He disappears from their lives and from the pages that tell the story. This means that she didn’t have her husband by her side when Jesus told her that He was leaving home to begin His ministry. She needed someone to encourage her, to hold her, to face this heart-rending event with her, to assure her that it was going to be all right, to speak as a father to his son with words of wisdom.
She and her other children were terribly concerned about Jesus and the reputation He was making for Himself and the enemies–high-ranking religious officials who were seeking to destroy Him. Sit around the table with them as they spent hours trying to decide what they should do to help Jesus–to protect Him from those who hated Him. They pled with Jesus to come home so they could “take care of Him” thinking that He had lost His mind with the fervor and zeal of His fanatical teaching.
She heard all of the rumors–good and bad–about Jesus and there was someone who hurried to her house in the darkness the night Jesus was arrested–Oh, Mary! Mary! Jesus has been arrested! I’m sure she had friends that came to comfort her, but they had “come and gone” and she was alone at the foot of the cross that day when she witnessed the suffering of her “beloved Son.” She was there to see His mutilated body, the horror of His crucifixion, and to hear His agonized cries.

Surely the prophecy of Simeon came to pass: “and a sword will pierce even your own soul” (Luke 1:35).

This is favor?

Even though Zacharias had been struck dumb by the angel (Luke 1:5-20), I’m confident that he communicated with Elizabeth some way! We’re going to have a son! An angel appeared to me in the temple and told me! We’re to name him John and he will be great in the sight of the Lord! They had prayed for a child for many years and the Lord had heard their prayers. Now “the fullness of time” had come and a precious little boy came to bring laughter and love to their home.
But then one day their boy left home. He left the room they had fixed just for him; he left his place at the table; he left broken hearts and dreams behind him and lived in the desert, dressed in camel’s hides, eating locusts and wild honey. Elizabeth and Zacharias anxiously asked every traveler if they had seen their son, John.
They shook their heads in amazement when they heard about John baptizing his cousin, Jesus, and the miraculous events that surrounded that baptism. Their amazement turned to agonizing fear when the word came that John had been imprisoned. Then came the day when someone tearfully sought them out to tell them, “Your son, John, was beheaded last night.” Crushed. Grieving as they remembered those days when he was a happy little boy living at home.

This was a blessing?
* * *

I must confess that I was perplexed when these words penetrated deep into my heart. Oh, I had read them many times, but how could these things have been a “blessing” or come into your life because you were “favored?”
I know the answer of course–God is omniscient–we aren’t. He sees beyond this earth and its perplexities and knows what is to come–when it is to come–and how it is to come. But when you put flesh and blood on the rows of black print on onion-skin paper and put yourself in the company of those who were favored and blessed, it becomes painfully real to you that He spells “favored” and “blessed” differently than we do! Remember the song, “This world is not my home, I’m just a’passin’ through?” And while I’m “passing through,” God may decide to “favor” me with a very special mission–perhaps a difficult mission, a sorrowful mission, a mission of suffering. Who am I to question the results that He knows are to come as this mission He assigned to me is completed?
What I MUST remember as these perplexing thoughts come is that He is with me, strengthening me, encouraging me, loving me, and living in and through me to complete the mission He has given me. Oh! I must remember this! I do not always know His plan, but I do know His heart and I set my mind on the Lord as I have come to know Him. He was assigned an impossible mission–agree? I thank You, dear Lord, for Mary–for Zacharias and Elizabeth–for Jesus and all of the multitude that have gone before, showing me that a mission that seems to be impossible can be conquered–but only through You.

About the Author

Anabel Gillham

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.