Monday’s Breaking Bread
Welcome to Monday’s Breaking Bread!
We will be continuing with just one post per week until the end of this month. However, we are offering an additional devotional reading to our email subscribers, which we will be sending out weekly from the 10th of January, every Wednesday. We would love for you to join us for this. We are excited to see what our LORD will do as we pour out our hearts before Him and gather to pray His Promises into our lives and the lives of our Beloved Prodigals.
Just in case you missed the news – Beloved Prodigal has gone live on social media. We can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus. We can also be reached via email at BelovedProdigal@gmail.com. We would so appreciate you spreading the news, so that others who are praying for their loved ones to return to the Lord may be encouraged in our midst here and also encourage us as they see God move.
Today, Anna is breaking bread with us. May the Lord open the eyes of our hearts to receive His Word.
Isaiah 30: 15 (ESV)
For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling,
As a Prodigal, I very much believed I was irredeemable. I saw my own sin, my doubts and believed God had chosen others, but not me. For, I reasoned, if He’d chosen me, surely I would not feel so condemned, and not struggle so much. Since the Lord opened my eyes to see the Truth and come back home to Him, He has been teaching me to understand the depths of His mercy and to press into it, rather than shy away from it.
When I first began praying for Prodigals, it came from a place of superiority. In many ways I believed that my example would determine the outcome of their journey. So, if I put forward a bad example, they would turn even further away. But as I have journeyed in my faith, God has been teaching me a vital lesson. It is our faith that counts us as righteous through Christ Jesus. And faith – believing our God at His Word – is a gift from God. He is the One who opens our hearts to believe and He is the One who daily helps us to live by faith.
So, in fact, our sins and our doubts don’t tear our Prodigals further away – but instead have the power to draw them closer to the Lord, where we bow before our God and give Him our weakness to receive His grace and strength. Where we return to the Truth of His Word – both for ourselves and our Beloved Prodigals – that His mercies are indeed new every morning and that His Power is made perfect – not in the boasting of our sinlessness and strength – but in our weakness and His sufficiency.
Just this morning I was reading the story of God rescuing Lot and his family (Genesis 19: 16):
When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the LORD was merciful.
Oh how I have had moments like Lot and how I have seen God show up to seize me by the hand. To remind me that faith does not require perfection, but rather a leaning upon the Perfect One, just as a weaned child leans up against his/her mother for comfort. It’s a letting go, a falling into our Heavenly Father’s arms, when we struggle to understand, when the pain or fear makes us struggle to breathe, when we know we have sinned and need to be held close in His forgiving arms.
By Anna Louise Smit
Why do I doubt
Why do I doubt The One
Who made the skies
The hues and colors
Of His windswept breath?
Why do I fear
Of my deepest thoughts
Of darkness and of Light?
Why do I look
With eyes of flesh
When the Eyes
Of the Almighty God
Cry out from deep within?
Why do I hold on tight
To what ifs
And mines of old
When shafts of Light
Are calling now?
Why do I look away
From the face of Glory
Fearful of Love’s rays
A sacred wrapping in His cloak?
Show me how
To believe again
To trust the pain in Your unraveling
To see with the eyes of Your heart
To release my hands to heaven afresh
To receive Your grace for me.
For how can I not
Who made these skies
A vast array of glory
Only Heaven’s breath could weave.
No. Our Beloved Prodigals will not return thanks to our perfect example. Our Beloved Prodigals will be led home as our God’s grace and love shines in and through us, as we bring Him our weakness: our doubts, our fears, our sins. And as we do not hide these from our Beloved Prodigals – but in all honesty share our own struggles to believe and to live holy lives. It’s then they are given front row seats to God’s Perfection moving into our own imperfection – of a holy transformation tiny piece by tiny piece. And it’s then they, like I did as my Mum lay dying, will have their eyes opened to the truth by the power of the Holy Spirit. The truth that our sins and weakness don’t make us irredeemable, but rather reveal the depths of God’s mercy and love at the Cross.
So no, our failures do not determine the outcome of our children’s, spouse’s or friends’ faith journey. Our hiding them does not make God shine any brighter, but in fact stifles the flame that God is wanting to shine through us. Can we be honest? Even with our Prodigals- that we too sometimes need an angel to seize us by the hand and rush us to safety when we hesitate to take God at His Word?
Hebrews 4: 11 – 16 (ESV)
11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Jesus the Great High Priest
14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Will you join me in prayer today?
Father God, we come to You today with our struggles, our fears, our pain, our grief, our doubts and our deceitful and sinful hearts. You know that just like our Beloved Prodigals, we do not always turn toward You, but sometimes turn away, hiding our true selves in shame and in fear. Forgive us for believing in pride that You require perfection and that our goodness will determine our Beloved Prodigals’ journey of faith. Help us to humble ourselves before You and before them. To be honest about the struggles we have walked through in the past and the struggles we are walking through now. Help us not to hide Your Light, but through open confession and repentance to shine You brightly.
Thank You for giving us Your One and only Son. For the sacrifice at the Cross by which we are all made whole and new in You. Thank You that faith is not something we or our loved ones have to earn, but that it’s a free gift You hold out to us and long to grow in us more.
Give us the courage to be honest with You when we lack faith. Help us to turn our worries, fears and pain into prayers, believing that You will care for us and our loved ones as You care for each tiny sparrow. That You will take our prayers and infuse them with Your free and perfect gift of faith. We do believe, Father, but help our unbelief.
We thank You for the privilege of coming before You. For all the ways You show us You are with us. Open our eyes to see You with us and our Beloved Prodigals today and in the coming days of this New Year. For we know You are a faithful God, even in our unfaithfulness. Guide us further into Your heart we pray. In Jesus’ Name Amen.