January 21, 2018

Love is the Home for Both

encouragementbloggraphicromans15

In the fifteenth chapter of Luke, starting with verse 11, we read the story of the prodigal son.  I’m sure you have read or heard this so many times but bear with me for a minute.  The actual word ‘prodigal’ means ‘the squanderer or the waster’.  And the prodigal son did squander his inheritance and totally wasted all that his father gave him.

If you think about it, we have all played both roles at some time in our lives.  Maybe at one point we are the older, responsible son—keeping everything in order and never disappointing our Father, and looking down on those who do and those who give the sinner a break.  We have also been the younger one—wasting our inheritance from our Father, turning to anyone or anything that will make us “happy”, and running so far the other way.  But instead of finding happiness and freedom, we find ourselves in slavery to this other life that we thought we wanted so desperately.  We find ourselves starving for real substance and we are desperate for the life we had before.

And then there’s the father who never gave up on his son, and continued to search and wait and believe that they will one day be a family again. The son returns and the father lavishes love and compassion and hugs. He gives him his best robe and a ring and acts as if nothing happened. Even when the older son gets mad and protests, the father does not judge him. He is fair and just, resembling our Father in Heaven.

Here is the story:

The Parable of the Lost Son

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.  After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.  When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’  So he got up and went to his father.  But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.  Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.  ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’  The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’  ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ”

Luke 15:11-32 (NIV)

Which son do you relate to?  Have you run so far or are you a slave to something other than God?  Have you wasted all that God has given you for something you thought was better?  Or are you the older brother, looking down on the one who made the bad choices, and maybe a little bitter when he is given mercy by others?

God is your Father and He loves you.  If you have run away, He is ready to meet you where you are.  He is willing to accept you just the way you are and give you the finest life and the abundant blessings that are yours!  All you have to do is ask.  God’s arm reaches so far and you can’t ever outrun Him.

 *   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   * 

Do you know this Father I’m talking about?  Do you want this unconditional love that you’ve just read about?  Then pray this with me:

Dear God, I know I am a sinner and I need forgiveness.  I believe that Jesus, Your Son, died on the cross to save me from my sins and I will have Him in my heart forever.  I love You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Love is the Home for Both

encouragementbloggraphicromans15

In the fifteenth chapter of Luke, starting with verse 11, we read the story of the prodigal son.  I’m sure you have read or heard this so many times but bear with me for a minute.  The actual word ‘prodigal’ means the squanderer or the waster. And the “prodigal son” did squander his inheritance and totally wasted all that his father gave him.

If you think about it, we have all played both roles at some time in our lives. Maybe at one point we are the older, responsible son—keeping everything in order and never disappointing our Father, and looking down on those who do and those who give the sinner a break. We have also been the younger one—wasting our inheritance from our Father, turning to anyone or anything that will make us “happy”, and running so far the other way.  But instead of finding happiness and freedom, we find ourselves in slavery to this other life that we thought we wanted so desperately.  We find ourselves starving for real substance and we are desperate for the life we had before.

And then there’s the father who never gave up on his son, and continued to search and wait and believe that they will one day be a family again. The son returns and the father lavishes love and compassion and hugs. He gives him his best robe and a ring and acts as if nothing happened. Even when the older son gets mad and protests, the father does not judge him. He is fair and just, resembling our Father in Heaven.

Here is the story:

Luke 15:11-32 (NIV)
The Parable of the Lost Son

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.  After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.  When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’  So he got up and went to his father.  But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.  Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.  ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’  The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’  ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ”

Which son do you relate to?  Have you run so far or are you a slave to something other than God?  Have you wasted all that God has given you for something you thought was better?  Or are you the older brother, looking down on the one who made the bad choices, and maybe a little bitter when he is given mercy by others?

God is your Father and He loves you.  If you have run away, He is ready to meet you where you are.  He is willing to accept you just the way you are and give you the finest life and the abundant blessings that are yours!  All you have to do is ask.  God’s arm reaches so far and you can’t ever outrun Him.

 *   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   * 

Do you know this Father I’m talking about?  Do you want this unconditional love that you’ve just read about?  Then pray this with me:

Dear God, I know I am a sinner and I need forgiveness.  I believe that Jesus, Your Son, died on the cross to save me from my sins and I will have Him in my heart forever.  I love You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Forgiving and Rejoicing

 

SeekingHimLogoBlessed is he whose transgressions is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no guile.
Psalms 32:1-2

When we accept the gift of salvation from Jesus, our sin is covered. We become part of the blessed family of God. We are clean in the sight of the Lord. There are other expectations, but the main thing is that our sin is covered. We are given eternal life for accepting Jesus.

Many sorrows shall be to the wicked:
but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.
Verse 10

When we accept the gift of salvation, we are given mercy by God.  If we trust in the Lord then we should not be worrying about anything.  Trusting in the Lord means turning everything over to Him.  For those who do not know, sorrow will befall them.  Sorrow, in this sense or interpretation, means that the wicked will face the wrath of God.  Because we are part of the family of God, He will bestow mercy on us.  We will get to live with Him in eternity.

Our God is a loving God.  He shows mercy to those who ask for it.  He is the Shield for the defenseless.  He is the Solace for those who do not have much.  He loves us no matter what we do.

Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous;
and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.
Verse 11

Rejoice!  God rejoices when we accept His gift of eternal life.  We are like the prodigal son. We wander astray from the life that God has set before us.  But, like the prodigal son, we return to God when we accept Jesus into our heart.  We should rejoice when we accept Jesus.  We should rejoice when another person accepts Jesus.  The children of God are returning home when they accept this wonderful gift.

* * * * *

Dear heavenly Father, Thank You for Your wonderful gift and many blessings. Thank You for Your mercy. Thank You for Your forgiveness. In Jesus name.
Amen.

Experiencing God

SeekingHimLogo

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
Psalm 100:4

Psalm 100 holds the key to intimacy with God. Using that key we can unlock a powerful encounter with Him, just as David was able to thousands of years ago.

The first thing to remember is that there are gates between heaven and earth. The Book of Revelation explains that each gate is made from a single pearl—the pearly gates.

The good news is that when we are saved by Jesus, God forgives our sins and adopts us as sons and daughters; He becomes our heavenly Father.  Do royal children have the right to enter the Kingdom?  Absolutely!

Remember the older brother in the story of the prodigal son? The one who stayed home and obeyed his father?  He complains that the father never even gave him a young goat but threw a great party for the wayward son.  ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.’  All he had to do was ask.

Here’s how to do that:

Step 1: We cause the gates of heaven to open by thanking God for all He has done. Thank Him for lots of different things, or for one thing over and over.  If nothing particular comes to mind, just say “thank You, Lord,” over and over.  Musical people can sing songs of thanksgiving.  After an hour or two (or maybe simply a couple of minutes) we stop thinking about ourselves and our problems, and find ourselves focused on eternity. The  atmosphere changes. It’s time to move onto praise.

Step 2: It is time to come into His courts and enter the very presence of God. We do this by praising Him. Again, we can praise Him for many different things—Who He is, what He has done, what He is going to do, for example.  Or we can focus on one thing and praise Him for that over and over. If nothing comes to mind, simply declare “I praise You, Lord!”  Musical people can sing songs of praise.

Step 3: At some point we will sense a powerful intimacy with God. In this place it is easy to discern what is important to Him, and just how to pray. Often we experience insights and receive strategies about Kingdom plans. Sometimes He gives us things, and not just in the spirit.

Don’t be like the older son who served his father diligently but never knew how to receive anything back. We have a generous Father who loves to give gifts to His children.

Go and spend some time with Him in His courts now.

* * * * *

Dear Father,

We love to come before Your throne of grace…to thank You for how wonderful and awesome and incredible You are!  And to sing our praises from our grateful hearts!  May we never hesitate to seek You and ask our heavenly Father for the things that You have promised!  You are such a good, gracious, loving God!  In Jesus’ name, we pray and ask.
Amen.