PRODIGAL WORD – Do You Hear What I Hear?

As it is said, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."

HEBREWS 3:15 (NRSV)

Prodigal Thoughts: Can you hear that? Are you listening for it? While in college studying music, I learned the beauty of silence. Why? Because the silence is just as important as the music being played. Without the silence, the music could come off as just constant noise. Here is another way to think of it. When you are trying to listen for something, typically we try to become silent and still so we can hear clearly. So, how do we listen with our hearts? I mean, our hearts are made to circulate our blood and oxygen…not hear things. That’s what our ears are for. Notice the words chosen by the writer here, but start at the end of the verse. The first thing I think of when I read or hear the word rebellion is loud and chaotic. If we allow ourselves/our hearts to be open and still, not focused on the chaos or movement around us, perhaps we can hear clearly the voice that is calling out to us. What are some ways you still yourself? Is there something you do that helps you be more aware of God’s voice?

Need prayer? You can reply here. If this encourages you, feel free to share it. Feel free to reply with feedback as well. I’m always open to discussion.

God’s grace on you…

Photo credit: Andrea Piacquadio

Prodigal Mike~

Mike
Prodigal Thinker Blog

VOTD – ALLUHET

"The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it…"

Psalms 24:1 (NRSV)

Odd title for a Verse of the Day post, right? I mean, what does that even mean? It was one of the first things that popped into my brain. That’s usually how I get the subject line for these things, only today, as odd as this title sounds, I’m not going to change it like I normally would. I digress.

That collection of letters and dashes is a word-mash-up of All Of It. Everything! Todo! That’s right. EVERYTHING belongs to our heavenly Father. Think about that for a moment. He spoke the earth and all of it’s coverings into being. He spoke and all things that were not human were created. As for the humans, He spent the time to create us, form us as He wanted us to be more carefully detailed so we could be made in His image. Now, while Adam and Eve were formed by hand, the rest of us were knit together in our mothers’ wombs. Why do you think David took the time to write this psalm? Maybe he was just taking some time to praise the very One who made him. This leads me to think about just how much of my heart/life that I allow Jesus to have freedom to move.

Your thoughts???

Need prayer? You can reply here or you can send me a Facebook message through the Prodigal Thinker page. If this encourages you, feel free to share it. Feel free to reply with feedback as well. I’m always open to discussion.

God’s blessings to you, my family

Photo credit: Aksonsat Uanthoeng

Prodigal Mike~

Prodigal Thinker Blog

@ProdigalThinkerBlog on FB

Prayer Needs for this week

Hello friends!

Below is a list of prayer needs and updates if you would like to join in prayer. If you have prayer needs of your own, please feel free to let me know. You can reply here or send me a message through Facebook. You are prayed for and loved, my friends.

HEALTH ISSUES

Ben C. – COVID positive

Buzz D. – Intense back pain – insurance hesitant to provide MRI

Gallett family – COVID positive

Harold C. – Health concerns & change in living situation

Ilene W. – Health concerns

LIFE SITUATIONS

Judy and the Bailey family as they are grieving the loss of my friend Darrell.

UNSPOKEN REQUESTS

Bryan

Marla

Michael

Tiffany

Tony C

ONGOING PRAYERS

Those battling or recovering from COVID

Those who need salvation (love/hope of God)

Those who serve our country (all first responders, government, and political parties for God’s guidance and direction to lead)

The Church (worldwide) – that we would return to the heart of the Father in word and deed.

Simplify Your Life

Greetings and Happy New Year to you all!

Here’s a question for you. Have you ever started something that is overall a good thing, but over time, you made it so complicated and demanding that you felt pressured? No? So, just me then.

For me, I think the year 2021, in a lot of ways, I pushed myself to add as much automation in order to try to make life as easy as possible to keep organized and stay on track. Well, it was a nice try, but let me tell you that I learned that what I really wanted to accomplish was to simplify my life, not make it more complicated with processes. In my attempt to "do more" in the same amount of time and effort, I soon became overwhelmed and defeated.

So what is new for 2022? The jury is still out on that, but a more simplified approach is what I hope for.

I pray for each of you and hope that God’s presence in your lives is overwhelming your spirit.

Until the next Prodigal Thoughts…

Prodigal Mike~

Prodigal Thinker Blog

@ProdigalThinkerBlog on FB

Verse of the Day: Calm in the Storm

"he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake." (NRSV)

Prodigal Thoughts: Just take a moment and look at that graphic if you will. It seems peaceful when you look at the whole picture, but imagine if you were having to journey over and through those mountains. It is easy for us to look at a snapshot like this and assume that everything is beautiful. If you are on a difficult path, what you are going through may not be visible to everyone else. Are there loggers clearing massive amounts of trees just on the other side of the mountain? Perhaps nature is trying to recover from a recent wildfire that we cannot see. I’m not trying to talk in riddles. My point is that not everyone is okay. To the outsider, life may seem wonderful on the outside, but there are some who are going through hellish times. I’m so thankful that God is always with us. He is the only one that we can completely depend on at all times. He can restore our souls. He will lead us on the right path as long as we are remaining surrendered to Him. That doesn’t mean that life will be all rainbows and butterflies. Life will be what it is. What we can do is respond in a way that is honoring God. Take the Serenity Prayer, for example. "Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." I try to remind myself of this prayer very often. Perhaps it could help you as well.

Prayer for today: Father, I thank You for loving us the way You do. I thank You that You are always with us and are close enough to our hearts to feel the hurts and pains we experience. I pray that we would come to know You in an intimate/close way so that we can finally begin to understand just how much You love us and how much more You desire to deepen our relationship with You. I love You, Papa. Amen.

Need prayer? You can reply here or you can send me a facebook message through the Prodigal Thinker page. If this encourages you, feel free to share it. Feel free to reply with feedback as well. I’m always open to discussion.

God’s grace on you…

Photo credit: Eberhard Grossgasteiger


Prodigal Mike ~Mike
Prodigal Thinker Blog

@ProdigalThinkerBlog on FB

Prayer Needs for this week

Hello friends!

Below is a list of prayer needs and updates if you would like to join in prayer. If you have prayer needs of your own, please feel free to let me know. You can reply here or send me a message through Facebook. You are prayed for and loved, my friends.

HEALTH ISSUES

Ben C. – COVID positive

Buzz D. – Intense back pain – insurance hesitant to provide MRI

Fallett family – COVID positive

Harold C. – Health concerns & change in living situation

Ilene W. – Health concerns

LIFE SITUATIONS

Qualls family – loss of father – wife now has COVID

UPDATES

Darrel B – passed away 01/04 after battling cancer – please pray for family

UNSPOKEN REQUESTS

Bryan

Marla

Michael

Tiffany

Tony C

ONGOING PRAYERS

Those battling or recovering from COVID

Those who need salvation (love/hope of God)

Those who serve our country (all first responders, government, and political parties for God’s guidance and direction to lead)

The Church (worldwide) – that we would return to the heart of the Father in word and deed.

Prayer Needs

Hello friends!

Below is a list of prayer needs and updates if you would like to join in prayer. If you have prayer needs of your own, please feel free to let me know. You can reply here or send me a message through Facebook. You are prayed for and loved, my friends.

HEALTH ISSUES

Alice B.

Anne H. – Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

Charles B – recovering from stroke

Darrell B. – Battling cancer and other health issues

Harold C. – Health concerns & change in living situation

Ilene W. – Health concerns

Melisa A – Health/sickness

LIFE SITUATIONS

Bassham/Marston/Wiley families – passing of loved one

Jessica T – Direction and guidance

UNSPOKEN REQUESTS

Michael C

Tony C

ONGOING PRAYERS

Those battling or recovering from COVID

Those who need salvation (love/hope of God)

Those who serve our country (all first responders, government, and political parties for God’s guidance and direction to lead)

The Church (worldwide) – that we would return to the heart of the Father in word and deed.

VOTD – Serenity NOW!!!!

"Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you."

1 Peter 5:7 (NRSV)

Prodigal Thoughts: Ah…anxiety. Does anyone else deal with anxiety? Hey! In the back…I see that hand. Yep, me too. I am super introverted. Big social gatherings seem to rattle me pretty badly, but smaller groups or one-on-one is where my anxiety seems to just wash away. Now, our friend Peter was speaking to all of the Jewish folks that had been dispersed around the land back about 400 years or so before Jesus came on the scene. Why? I’m sure he was speaking to them, not to exclude the Gentiles, but to open the eyes/hearts of those who were along the Jewish bloodline to acceptance and growth alongside their Gentile counterparts. I mean, I’m sure their world was rocked when Jesus came around and welcomed the Gentiles (even the Samaritans) in His teachings. How does that help us today? What can we take away from the words of Peter? Well, God truly wants to have a relationship with you. He wants you to trust Him with all of your cares and your worries. Notice the word that Peter uses. "CAST" That implies that we sling off our worries, shake them off. That isn’t just a soft, gentle movement. Casting your anxiety, just like casting their fishing nets, would have taken the majority, if not all of their strength. I have learned over the years as I have grown closer to our heavenly Father that He truly wants to trade with us. We give Him our troubles and worries and, in turn, He gives us peace and love with a side of hope. Take that in for a moment… The God of the universe, the one that breathed out the stars, called water to separate from land, and created life from a pile of dirt… HE wants to take on your troubles. WOW!!! Is He big? Of course! But does He want to be in a close, no,..intimate relationship with each and every one of us? Absolutely! All it takes is for you to take a moment and tell Him what you are going through and what feels so overwhelming to you. You don’t have to have a scripted formula of "Thees" and "Thous." Just speak to Him like you would to your most trusted friend. He is listening.

Prayer for today: Father, I cannot praise You and thank You enough for all that You do for us. Thank You for giving each of us the breath in our lungs today and sustaining us. I pray that we would learn to see/feel Your presence and that we would begin having more conversations with You, especially when we feel that life is too much or we are overwhelmed, that we would bring that to You. May we come to know You as deeply as we are able and may we ever long to know You more deeply and fully. I know that You are eager to hear from Your children. I love You, Papa. Amen.

Need prayer? You can reply here or you can send me a facebook message through the Prodigal Thinker page. If this encourages you, feel free to share it. Feel free to reply with feedback as well. I’m always open to discussion.

God’s grace on you…

Photo credit: Andrew Neel


Prodigal Mike ~Mike
Prodigal Thinker Blog

@ProdigalThinkerBlog on FB

VOTD – Father has compassion

"As a father has compassion for his children, so the LORD has compassion for those who fear Him."

Psalms 103:13 (NRSV)

Prodigal Thoughts: Our friends from Oxford Languages defines compassion as "sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others." Sympathetic? That would imply that sympathy is an understanding between people based on a shared experience. Does that mean the psalmist is saying that just as those in a parent/guardian type role (not just parents, but anyone who a child would look up to) are a little ahead on their journey through life, we can better relate and have compassion for the young ones that we have influence over? I mean, that makes sense. But then the psalmist adds our heavenly Father to the mix. Does that mean God has been through the struggles and storms that we face on our journey through this thing called life? You better believe it. That is one interesting thing about the Father (God) and Son (Jesus) being the same yet also separate. When we read the cries from Jesus toward his Father while hanging on the cross in Matthew 27, was God looking away from the pain His Son was going through? He is the ultimate Father. So, everything we face, He is always with us and so He faces the same situations. Jesus’ heart literally bled for our redemption and reconciliation with our Creator. God can truly understand the pains we face, no matter how deep and dark the hurt and the wounds are. In fact, He longs for us to turn to Him in all situations, both good and bad. I can hardly believe that God is sitting on His throne, just waiting for us to make a mistake so He can jot it down and hold our salvation at ransom until we right the wrongs. That would be a sick and twisted father. No, I truly believe that when He says that He is always with us, it isn’t to point out the wrongs, but to guide us toward righteousness (right living), if we would only trust Him and surrender our lives to Him.

Prayer for today: Father, I want to thank You for ALWAYS being near Your children, even when we are convinced You are not there. I thank You for NEVER giving up on us, but holding out hope instead that we would just love You and live our lives for Your purpose. I pray for those that are hurting. For those who feel they are too weak to keep moving forward. Would You give them the strength they need to surrender to You? Would you show them that Your grace You is in such great abundance so they can receive the grace they need to forgive themselves and others that have hurt them? Would You show us how to love You and how to surrender to You? We need You, God, more than ever. I love You, Papa. Amen.

Need prayer? You can reply here or you can send me a facebook message through the Prodigal Thinker page. If this encourages you, feel free to share it. Feel free to reply with feedback as well. I’m always open to discussion.

God’s grace on you…

Photo credit: Gustavo Fring

Erase the Stigma

I know it isn’t Mental Health Awareness month (which is in May of each year), but we really need to do our part to help erase the stigma of mental health every day, not just one month of the year. So, I’ve been taking some time off from the Prodigal Thinker posts for my mental health. With #ADHD I struggle with executive function and oftentimes take on too many things at once or misjudge the amount of time a project will take. I also deal with deep cycles of depression, which I am just coming out of a very deep cycle even now. So, periodically, I need to take a step back and reevaluate my priorities and my mental health. A lot has been going on behind the scenes between my full-time job (really, more than full-time – more like 60-75 hours per week), leading worship at my church, taking classes toward ordination, and several other things here and there, I just spread myself too thin. The Verse of the Day posts are important to me. It’s one of the ways I continue to grow and help to encourage others as well, but as I was reminded over the last week or so, "you can’t pour from an empty cup."

Now, about mental health, there should be NO shame in talking to others about it. Sometimes it starts off with a chemical imbalance in our brains. Sometimes it is born in the midst of traumatic events. Either way, these things are outside of our control. But what we CAN do is talk about our difficulties and seek the help needed to better understand our differences and learn techniques and/or get the medicinal help we need.

If you are not someone who deals with these types of issues (a.k.a. Neuro-Typical), you can be a sounding board to those who face these differences (Neuro-Divergent). If you know/love someone that is neuro-divergent, the best thing you can do for them is educate yourself and then just be willing to listen. In some cases, just being present. During some of my deepest bouts with depression, the most helpful and most healing thing was someone who would just be there. No words spoken. Just being there helped me tremendously.

The last thought on this is that mental illness is not a faith (or lack of faith) issue. Does prayer and reading scripture work and help God speak? By all means, YES! But just as you would not tell someone who is dealing with cancer or some other physical illness that they just need to stop being ill and think thoughts of wellness, the same is true for mental illness. It isn’t a lack of faith. It is merely an imbalance of chemicals or a physical reaction to a traumatic event in the past.

You are loved and prayed for, my friends. Thank you for your patience while I pulled away. I’m thankful for each of you who read these emails/posts. May our heavenly Father bless you for your kindness and goodness.

Peace on you,

Prodigal Mike

Photo credit: CottonBro