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Thursday

Sometimes God's just gotta cut through the static



Tuning in to hear God’s voice can be challenging sometimes, especially in those moments when life seems extra noisy. Concerns, deadlines, distractions, and our own racing thoughts may battle for our attention.

That’s exactly what happened to me this morning.

I have a beloved prodigal. She’s a testimony in the making. I know this. I believe it. I am holding onto that with all I’ve got.

But this season we’re going through is really tough. And I need an encouraging word from God every now and then – a reminder that He has got this thing.

This morning, I was driving to a local appointment. The route took me past the house where my beloved prodigal stayed last night at her friend’s house. I saw her car parked outside.

I have been praying late into the night for this one for a while, and I am still waiting for God’s answer to appear. So I was feeling a little mopey right then.

I believe our Father God cherishes a mother’s fretful prayers.
I like to picture Him tucking each heart-wrenching entreaty into a special treasure box.

That’s when God stepped in. Something curious happened.


My car radio was on. I hit the “scan” button to switch to a new music station. But it stopped on a number I’d not seen before. I heard a quick advertising message for a car dealership located in a city located two hours from here. And the reception was as clear as can be.

I only heard a few minutes of a Christian radio broadcast. I cannot tell you who the speaker was. But she was recapping a broadcast interview with an author who had spoken about parents praying for their kids to return to God.


Here’s the gist.

This author, a mother of a long-time beloved prodigal, said God started turning things around when she changed the way she prayed. She began asking Him to build a longing inside her loved one. She pleaded with God to rekindle a desire for Him – to lead her beloved prodigal to desire something more in life than his current pursuits.

Isn’t that what the prophet Amos meant, when he spoke of a famine for God’s Word? Why not personalize that prophecy in a prayer for loved ones?

“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land - not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” (Amos 8:11, NIV)

What a powerful way for a parent to pray.

God, please stir up a famine in my loved one’s heart for You,
a hunger for Your presence and a thirst for Your Word.

I want that for my beloved prodigal. I want that for all my loved ones. I want that for myself. I want to want God more.


Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. (Psalm 73:25, NIV)

I spread out my hands to You; I thirst for You like a parched land. (Psalm 143:6, NIV)

It sounds simple. But it may just be the secret we’ve needed.

Go to it, God.

Fire up that hunger that only You can feed.



Here’s an after-note.

When my appointment ended, I climbed back into my car, which was still tuned to the same radio station number. But it was only static. I’m pretty sure God was smiling, right about then.
 
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Pictures of Jesus: Zoetic



Jesus is zoetic. OK, what does zoetic even mean?

The word “zoetic” is related to “Zoe,” which means “life” in Greek.

“Zoetic” refers to something that is alive, real, and vital. It sort of implies something that is so full of life that it makes living more real and complete.

That’s Jesus.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
(John 14:6, NIV)

Can you imagine how the 12 apostles must have felt, sitting in a boat and suddenly seeing Jesus, waving to them from the shore? Sure, He appeared to them in the Upper Room in Jerusalem after His resurrection, but there He was again. What a sight!

Italian Renaissance artist Tintoretto painted this sight in his work titled Christ at the Sea of Galilee. I love seeing Peter, climbing out of the boat, like he couldn’t wait to walk on water again.

And there’s Jesus, full of life and ready to fill His followers with abundant life as well. That’s zoetic.

[Jesus said] “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10, NIV)
Christ at the Sea of Galilee
by Tintoretto
c1578

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The Scripture memory tips series is ongoing, but the April A to Z Blogging Challenge has started, and Heart of a Ready Writer is participating again this year. Watch for the Bible memory series posts, which may be interspersed with the Pictures of Jesus series during the month of April.


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Wednesday

Pictures of Jesus: Yielding



God’s Son, part of the divine and holy Trinity, yielded to God the Father to accomplish the divine purpose of redeeming mankind from the power sin and death.

That’s a very full sentence, chock full of theology and spiritual truth. In a nutshell, it means Jesus agreed with the Father that we were worth saving.


[Jesus] being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself  by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!



Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place  and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,  in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,  to the glory of God the Father.(Philippians 2:6-11, NIV)

Head of Christ, by Spanish Renaissance artist El Greco (1541-1614), is a striking image, I think. Looking up, Jesus appears to have His eye on the Father and His will. For millennia, Bible scholars have pondered whether Jesus had full revelation of the road before Him, during His earthly ministry.

If the Son does not know the day or time of His second coming (See Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32.), is it possible that the Father possesses additional knowledge yet unshared? Could it be that Jesus was asked to trust God’s plan, even without knowing all of the specifics of how that might unfold?

Yet He yielded. And He asks us to yield to God as well.

Yikes. That’s not easy, even when we know it’s the best thing for us. It’s hard, although we know, deep in our souls, that the Father’s plan is designed to turn out better than anything we might attempt to devise.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.

(Romans 12:1-2, NIV)

Being a living sacrifice is a tall order. A traditional sacrifice is captured, bound, and killed. Surely that hurts. It’s real. But a living sacrifice has the ability of kicking and screaming and protesting and trying to climb off that altar, again and again. I know what such fits feel like. I’ve had ‘em.

Yep. Yielding isn’t easy. But God is glorified and pleased by it. And it makes us more like Christ.

Yielding is saying “Yes” to God, especially when our feelings urge us otherwise. And we cannot do it without an abundance of His help.

Head of Christ
 by El Greco
 c1585

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The Scripture memory tips series is ongoing, but the April A to Z Blogging Challenge has started, and Heart of a Ready Writer is participating again this year. Watch for the Bible memory series posts, which may be interspersed with the Pictures of Jesus series during the month of April.


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