If you are a parent of a prodigal then you know what it means to wait. Waiting is hard, especially when you are waiting for your child to come back to the faith. In life, we are always waiting for something, for the day to begin or the day to end. As we read through the word, we also find that there were many before us that also had to wait. In Genesis, God told Abraham that he would be the father of all nations and that his offspring would come from his wife Sarah. At the time, Abraham was in his late 70’s or so and his son was not born until he was over 100 years old. In 2nd Samuel the author writes that it was David’s desire to construct and to see a house built for the Lord, but David had to wait. In the end his son Solomon was the one that saw the plans through. Read more: http://bit.ly/1emvdHS
“When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron.”.
The verses hit my like a ton of bricks! I was struck by how the people could not ‘wait’ for the commandments from the Lord (through Moses). Because they were restless and anxious, they ‘encouraged’ Aaron to build them a god they could worship. To make it worse, they used the very gifts the Lord had given them (the gold) to build a false god. The people, in an instant, were ready to go back to their old lifestyle because it was something they were familiar with and used their own ‘will’ to get there.
I was instantly reminded of myself and of various situations in my life where plans that I had for my life were not going quite at ‘my pace’. Instead of waiting for direction and letting things fall into place, I often find myself using my gift of ‘persistence’ to find a way to push forward. The result, although it may be a quick one, produces a counterfeit ending, not at all the way the Lord had intended for me. When I try and rush things I end up using my own will and means (ways I am familiar with) to get the job done instead of waiting for direction from the Lord.
A verse that can offer us wisdom and guidance when things in life are not moving as quickly as we think they should can be found in Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV):
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”.
A big part of our hope is that the prodigal comes back to the faith. We may envision various scenarios or situations in which to engage them in order to speed up this process of their coming back. The prospect of them coming back can often be all consuming with everyday thoughts focused on creating the perfect setup.
We all experience that ‘fine line’ between waiting on the Lord and pushing through with our own agenda. Thank the Lord for the gift of the Holy Spirit. He is there to enable us to know when to make a move and how to do it. Through the word, he reminds us of qualities that have become inherent to our nature: love, patience, endurance and kindness. These qualities enable us to deal effectively with our prodigals because they shape our actions toward them and the situation. The word is pure refreshment to our heart and our mind that the Holy Spirit uses to encourage us through these times. He is our guide.
When prodigals come back to the faith, it is not because of us. We are not called to force them to be in relationship with the Heavenly Father. Rather, the Holy Spirit enables us to be vessels through whom he is able to work as we plant the seeds of faith. The pressure that we put on ourselves is off.
The Holy Spirit is always present, ready for the prodigal to turn to. As you share how he is at work in your lives they will see and hear how he motivates you. Waiting patiently but with persistence, we show the prodigal what it is like to depend on the Lord’s will not working in our own will. They will notice a difference that our actions are not of the world-view of forcing change but rather on waiting for direction.
What a relief it is, heavenly Father, to know that you are at work through the Holy Spirit to reach people and that you accomplish your purpose through us. Because of this fact we need not fret or be anxious; matters are your hands. Through the Holy Spirit grant us confidence, strength and persistence to accomplish your purpose also with our disenchanted young people. We pray through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Bible Verses ESV
Proverbs 25:15 With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone.
Luke 8:15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.
Romans 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
2 Corinthians 6:4-6 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way:…by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love;
Exodus 24:12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.”
Psalm 37:34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.
Isaiah 25:9 It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
Lamentations 3:36 t is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord
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Did you know that there are 587 references (according to Gateway Online Bible) to the term ‘spirit’ in the Bible? From this, one may gather that the ‘spirit’ must be an important subject matter that we need to be made aware of. Each and every one of us can benefit from knowing who this spirit is.
Every day, we are plagued by a wide variety of spirits that pull at us and try to influence our thoughts and feelings. We are bombarded by the lies that the enemy wants us to believe (about ourselves, our family and our lives). The intent of this deception is to take our focus off Jesus Christ. When our focus is shifted then our hearts and minds are oblivious to the truth that the Holy Spirit pours into us through the word.
What can we do to ensure that we are listening to the right spirit? Thank the Lord that he has given us his word and the Holy Spirit to communicate this word to us! 1 John 4:1-3 ESV cautions us not to believe every spirit but to test the spirit:
“4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.”
I remember that when I returned to the faith I read this passage daily. At this time in my life I was bombarded by spirits, trying to pull me back into darkness. Because I wanted to be sure that I was listening to the Spirit of truth I clung to this passage, reading it over and over again. Other passages like John 14: 17 ESV encouraged me as they reminded me I was not alone:
“even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”.
As parents of prodigals you may feel overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and as though you did not do enough. Feelings of despair and hopelessness may be your predominant pattern of thinking. Because these emotions are so intense, you may push them deep down, hoping that they will disappear. But you know that these feelings still remain. Where are these thoughts coming from?
As parents of prodigals push these feelings away from the surface, there is a struggle to share these thoughts with other parents who are going through the same thing or friends and family members that want to help. The fear of betraying children’s confidence can paralyze parents into reaching out to others and getting the very encouragement that they need. Where are these thoughts coming from?
When I was walking in darkness, my life of perfectionism was drowning me. I felt trapped and immobilized, feeling that I was doomed to live out my life this way. It was a horrible feeling. When the Holy Spirit drew me back and enabled me to see the truth so many years ago, I felt hope. As I received the mysterious gift of grace and forgiveness from our Heavenly Father, the Holy Spirit enabled me to see the new life that was before me, a clean slate. As I grow in my faith in Jesus Christ, my trust in him grows. I am continually learning to listen to the Holy Spirit as he shares through the word. This word becomes a part of my everyday thinking.
This same Holy Spirit is present for all of us as he enables us to hear the truth through the word. We can rely on him to help us to discern who to share our struggles with. Although it may be a struggle at first, sharing experiences with others gets easier in time. Not everyone we encounter will relate to our story or be the right person to talk to, but the Holy Spirit is there to enable us to know whom we can trust. He will highlight the right people that we can reach out to. As we begin to share our story, we receive that much needed encouragement that gives hope to our soul. Proverbs 17:12 ESV states this beautifully:
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Thank you, heavenly Father, for the Holy Spirit, who through the word focuses our life on Jesus Christ, your Son. Through baptism into him you have given us life. Through your word by the power of the Holy Spirit you forgive, empower and direct our life, so that know who we are—your people—and live according to your will. We praise you through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.
even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
So you have a prodigal, how do you interact with them? Oftentimes parents feel as though they cannot or should not share the faith with their children. The common line of thinking is that, “since the prodigal turned their back on God or is questioning the faith and not sure of where they stand” that parents just need to back off. Parents are afraid of offending the prodigal and are fearful of losing the relationship with their children, so they end up just keeping quiet in the arena of faith. Read more on…..Listening to the Prompting of the Holy Spirit: http://bit.ly/1gGcF4e
Discover how the Lord speaks to you:
- Did you know that when you read the Bible, that the Lord is speaking to you? You may find that words or passages just seem to jump off the page at you. Here is a great example when Jesus prayed for his disciples and also prayed for future believers. When you read this prayer you will get the feeling that Jesus is speaking to you, read it here.
- Sometimes when the pastor preaches a sermon in church, the subject matter seems to hit the nail on the head with an issue you are dealing with.
- Perhaps a particular hymn that the congregation sings during the service has a special meaning and brings you comfort with the wording or the melody.
- How about that still small voice, have you heard it before? Have you noticed that when you listen to that loving still small voice and follow through that you are often comforted and encouraged? And that things seem to go the right way?
Ephesians 2: 3 – 5 ESV
3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] 4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
Life is already a challenge these days for all of us, from worry about the economy, the unpredictable weather patterns to the new norm of violence and terror that seem to take place in our every day lives. Many of us are trying to balance a heavier workload or perhaps just trying to find employment. We are pulled in multiple directions by the various emotional demands of our families, co-workers or people that we encounter on a daily basis. Life is tough, but tougher when we have the added dimension of dealing with a difficult person in our lives.
It is funny how feelings or actions that you thought you have overcome in your life come back occasionally and remind you, like a thorn, that they are still there. For example, I have struggled most of my life with perfectionism always trying to be better, striving to fulfill my self-imposed goal. Fortunately now I do not hear that relentless voice pushing me to do more, to be more, but instead am aware of when I am getting close to overdoing it, which I call ‘going over my redline’.
Acts 9: 20 – 22 ESV
Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues
For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
Can the Lord use a prodigal today just as he did Paul? Whenever I read the account of Paul’s conversion from Saul to Paul I am reminded that the Lord changed me from Saula to Paula. Read more here: http://bit.ly/1bzTDak.
Come and Hang out with a bunch of Hypocrites:
Confirm what you already thought about people in church, that they all are a bunch of hypocrites. Learn that this is “why” they are in church in the first place because we all are hypocrites (those who attend church and those who do not).
Realize that “perfect” people do not attend church, why would they need it? Instead hypocrites attend church because they realize their imperfection and their need of a loving God.
It is easy to judge people from the outside looking in, but when you are in the fellowship of other hypocrites and actually talk to them, you will find that they are a lot like you.