Devotions for Prodigal Parents

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June 20, 2024

Devotions for Prodigal Parents

Comfort - How the Lord Provides Comfort

I often speak with my father about what was going through his mind (and my mom's) when I walked in darkness. I look back and wonder what in the world I was thinking, why did I go on the path that I did? Sometimes I feel a deep regret for choosing the path of the world, wondering how my life would or could have been different.

As a believer now, I do not hold on to the past, but instead I now realize that the LORD is able to use my past experiences to offer comfort to parents. Instead of hanging my head in shame, he is able to use those experiences as a means of encouragement as I reach out to parents through Faith Family Reunion. He reminds me of his love and encourages me as I read his word. In his word, he confirms my identity as his child and how much he loves me, then through the Holy Spirit, his love is demonstrated through me when I reach out to parents. The LORD has made me realize that my past is not lost but purposeful in my calling today.

As a parent, when your children leave the faith in Jesus Christ, it can be very painful. You may look back at the way that you raised your children and wonder if you could have done a better job sharing the message of grace and the wonderful gift of freedom that Jesus Christ offers us. It can be easy to hang your head in shame and give up, but I wonder what would happen if you were to reach out to other parents going through the same situation. Could you perhaps be a comfort to another parent and maybe just be in the right place at the right time when they need you most? What if you could share your struggles with them and they could in return share what they are going through. Do you think that just knowing they are not alone could provide the very comfort they need?

We don't know the future, nor can we predict it, only the LORD knows. When I look back to the last ten or fifteen years, I had no idea that I would today love the Lord and feel such a call in my life. My parents had no idea that I would come back...but the LORD did. He had a plan and that plan was for me to offer comfort to parents going through the same situation my parents went through. The LORD can often take the very issues that destroy our relationship with him and turn it around, so that we become champions for HIM. Those destructive situations of our past can be the very path through which we are called to serve HIM, because we understand them so well.

When you read HIS word, listen to HIS voice and reflect on the good news HE offers us. Remember that our LORD has a way of turning things around. I encourage you to reach out, be of comfort to one another, and trust HIS comfort.

Prayer: We thank you, heavenly Father, that by your Spirit in word and sacrament you comfort us time and again, no matter what our circumstances may be, for you have made us your people through baptism into Christ. Grant our children, who have left your comfort manifested in Jesus Christ, the recognition of what they have lost by going their own way and enable them by your Spirit to return to the comfort that you grant your people. We pray in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

John 10:1-5 (ESV) - I Am the Good Shepherd
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

John 14:1-3 (ESV)
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

John 14:15-17 (ESV)
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 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.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (ESV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

Devotion by Paula Isakson
Edited by Dr. Jakob K. Heckert

What is comfort?

  • To give strength and hope to : cheer
  • To ease the grief or trouble of : console
  • Strengthening aid:
  • Assistance, support
  • Consolation in time of trouble or worry : solace
  • A feeling of relief or encouragement
  • Contented well-being
  • A satisfying or enjoyable experience
  • One that gives or brings comfort

*Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Love - The Power of Love

We who believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, not only have the promise of eternal life with Him, but we have the love of the Father.  What does this love to do us?

I know from my personal experience that the Father’s love seems so vast that I cannot even fathom how big His love for me is. I am overcome that He can love me for me with my ugly past when I walked in darkness for so many years. He has forgiven me and regardless of my past, loves me with an intensity that draws me to Him. As I ponder on His love, I feel an overwhelming sense of peace, calm, sureness and purpose. When I respond to His love, I experience the power of the Holy Spirit within me.

A parent’s love is very strong for their children. They want the best for their kids just as our Heavenly Father wants the best for us, his kids. When children turn their back on the love of the Father, parents often feel rejection from their own kids. From rejection, hurt ensues bringing in sorrow and confusion. Parents may ask themselves what they did wrong.

Do you know that you are not alone? Our youth are leaving church and their faith in Jesus Christ by the droves. Many parents are left stunned, wondering what has gone wrong. Generations of children are growing up today without knowing the incredible LOVE of our Heavenly Father. The situation may appear to be hopeless, but not when you have the Lord on your side. It is time to forgive, let go of our hurts, and reach out and share His love. Sharing His love is not something you have to force on your kids. Begin by loving them with the intensity that your Heavenly Father loves you. Let your kids see His love in you.

Begin to reach out to other parents that are going through the same experience. By speaking about the issues with one another, you can encourage one another and bring hope to the situation. I love how Proverbs shares with us what happens when we encourage one another:  Proverbs 15:23 (ESV) - A person finds joy in giving an apt reply— and how good is a timely word!  Vs. 30 - Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.

As you trust in His love and encourage one another with his word, you will find hope. As time progresses, hope will grow ever stronger inside you and the rejection will fade.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for your love of the world and each one of us, which you demonstrated in the suffering, death and resurrection of your Son, our Lord. Your love is neither sentimental nor cheep; to communicate it to us you gave your dearest and best, your Son. Forgive us, when we barred this love from our lives, because we were preoccupied with our hurts and failures and as a consequence failed to transmit it to those around us, especially members of our family. We praise you for your persistent love. You do not give up on us but rather, by the Holy Spirit, reach us every day through your word and enable us to love others because you loved and love us through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Deuteronomy 7:9 (ESV)
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

1 Chronicles 16:34 (ESV)
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

Devotion by Paula Isakson
Edited by Dr. Jakob K. Heckert

Matthew 18:20 (ESV)
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

Did you know that you have the Lord in your corner when there are just 2 of you meeting at your first support group? It just takes two to get things going and his promise to us is that whenever two (or more) are gathered in his  name He will be there. I encourage you to start reaching out to other parents and get that support group going. Know with confidence that you are not alone, but have the Lord on your side!

What is Love?

  • to hold dear : CHERISH
  • to like or desire actively; take pleasure in <loved to play the violin>
  • to grow well in <the rose loves sunlight>
  • a quality or feeling of strong or constant affection for and dedication to another <motherly love>
  • a beloved person
  • warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion <love of the sea>
  • the object of attachment or devotion in love
  • feeling love for and devotion toward someone

*Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Provision - The Often Unrealized Blessing

In our society today everything seems to move at the speed of light. We have high speed internet, a 5G Network for our cell phones, iPads to quickly access the internet, and social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter to get our opinion out to thousands of people at once. Technology has caused us all to become accustomed to things moving quickly.

I recall as a young child often being told to "slow down" and I did not understand why one should go about life slowly. I have to admit I like this fast paced society and usually find myself trying to get as many things done as quickly as possible. Technology today can make this possible. But living like this can cause a person to have high expectations and to believe that resolutions should come quickly in all situations.

As parents it is easy to get frustrated when plans for reaching out to children and witnessing to them do not produce the quick results that are hoped for. I wonder if this fast paced mind-set is really what the LORD intended for our lives. Sure, the fast paced environment creates multiple opportunities that often do not occur at a slower pace, but what if the LORD intended us to slow down so that we could experience HIS presence in our lives and our current situation?

Next time you have an encounter with your children and are reaching out to them, try to slow down the pace. Let the Holy Spirit pace your conversation and hear what he wants you to say to your child. Let his word fill in what you cannot provide to the situation. By slowing down and not rushing, you will hear his voice guiding you and not miss a beat.

Prayer: Thank you, heavenly Father, for your word, through which the Holy Spirit rivets our attention on your presence in Jesus Christ. He took our place in his death on the cross, so that through baptism we and our children could share in his resurrection. Empower us by your Spirit through the means of grace to trust your promise that you are at work in and through us to accomplish your purposes in your time and according to your will. Amen

Romans 15:13 (NIV)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Philippians 4:9 (ESV)
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Hebrews 4.16; 13.6 (KJV)
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (4:16)
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (13:6)

Devotion by Paula Isakson
Edited by Dr. Jakob K. Heckert

What is provision?

  • The act or process of providing (see provide)
  • The fact or state of being prepared beforehand
  • A measure taken beforehand to deal with a need or contingency; preparation, made provision for replacements
  • A stock of needed materials or supplies; especially: a stock of food —usually used in plural

*Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

The Perfect Timing - Waiting on the Lord

Proverbs 8:33-35 (NIV)
Listen to my instruction and be wise, do not ignore it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.  For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD.

Proverbs 16:1- 3 (NIV)
To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue. All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD. Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

Time is a precious commodity. Our heavenly Father in his care has given us time from birth to death, so that we may experience his grace manifested in Jesus Christ and, empowered us by the Holy Spirit, respond to it, and enabled us by his power to communicate it to others.

Through baptism our heavenly Father has placed us into Christ (Romans 6:3-5) and given us the Spirit of the Son (Galatians 4:6). During this in-between time we live as the people of the Triune God, with joy, peace and confidence as his gifts (Galatians 5:22), for we know that “God works all things for good to those who love him” (Romans 8:28). Therefore, no matter what our circumstances may be, our heavenly Father, in his Son by the Holy Spirit, inspires, motivates, and empowers us to live in daily joy, peace, and confidence.

As we live our lives during this in-between time, time which our Triune God gives us, joy, peace, and confidence become evident again and again in our daily lives, so that people around us begin to notice. We impact their lives by what the Holy Spirit enables us to say to them and empowers us to do for them. As time goes on, we become ever more fully joyful and confident witnesses, through whom the Holy Spirit communicates Jesus Christ to those around us.

When we falter and fail (and who except our Lord does not experience this?) and our conscience accuses us, the world, and the devil to boot, we have a ready recourse. John says, “Whenever we admit our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from every wickedness” (1 John 1.9). The Spirit does this through the word of absolution and the gift of the body and blood of our Lord in the heavenly meal, which we celebrate with angels, archangels and all the company of heaven. His forgiveness removes all defeat and despair, the barrier to joy, peace, and confidence, so that by the power of the Spirit we can again, with glad hearts and bold confidence, live as the people of the Triune God and be the salt of the earth and light of the world. Blessings to one and all.

*The New Testament Passages above were translated from the original Greek Text.

The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore. Ps 121.8 (RSV)

By Dr. Jakob Heckert

What is timing?

  • Placement or occurrence in time (the timing of the sale couldn't have been better)
  • The ability to select the precise moment for doing something for optimum effect (a boxer with impeccable timing)
  • Observation and recording (as by a stopwatch) of the elapsed time of an act, action, or process

*Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Proverbs 16: 9 (NIV) Timing According the the LORD
In his heart a man plans the course, but the LORD determines his steps.

Radio Programs, Podcast Topics, and Guests

with host, Kay L. Meyer, founder & president of Family Shield Ministries

June 4-10
Families Partnering with Congregations to Equip & Disciple Their Children
Guests: Rev. Chris Kennedy & Rev. Brian Weaver

June 11-17
Ministering to the Grieving
Guest: Daniel Verkoyah

June 18-24
Witnessing to a Jehovah's Witness
Guests: Rev. Matthew Finn and Daniel Verkoyah

June 25-July 2
The Story of a Single Mom and her Son
Guest: Vicar Chris Hill

July 3-9
Getting Acquainted With Our Neighbors
Guest: Rev. Michael Eckelkamp

July 10-16
The Early History of Family Shield Ministries
with Kay Meyer

"Give as freely as you have received." (Matthew 10:8)