Mundane Monday: Prodigal Revisited

Photo Credits www.sharefaith.com

Photo Credits
http://www.sharefaith.com

Psalm 107:1, 8, 17, 28

“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, and His loyal love endures.  8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for His loyal love, and for the amazing things He has done for His people.  17 They acted like fools in their rebellious ways, and suffered because of their sins.  28  They cried out to the LORD in their distress; He delivered them from their troubles.”

In light of a fantastic sermon on the prodigal son at our church yesterday, called, “God is Not Co-Dependent”, I wanted to reblog a post I wrote on October 8, 2014, called, “The Prodigal’s Father”.  May God turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents. (Malachi 4:6).


The image of the prodigal son’s father anticipating his son’s return with open arms is such a picture of God’s heart toward His children. But what is often missed is that the rebellious child must return.  Parents can long for their children to return, but if the child is still rebellious, then it would not be a complete picture of sweet repentance and restoration.  Instead, it would become a dysfunctional relationship of enablement and abuse.

God is loyally loving His children when he permits consequences for their rebellious actions, but the child does not often recognize such love.  Discipline is viewed as unloving, when it is actually a kindness to not allow sin to go unchecked. Blame is cast on the parent who was unreasonable to expect basic obedience, whether doing chores, the expectation of telling the truth or not permitting the child to stay out all night.  But when the child comes to his senses, as in the case of the prodigal son, it is a wonderful picture of repentance and the story of the Gospel – how God is willing to forgive all wayward children.  Forgiveness hinges on that moment of confessing sins, though, and cannot be dished out just because the prodigal believes he or she deserves it.

Many in the next generation have revolted against authority and are embittered at the suggestion that they should be accountable to anyone.  It is not just this generation that has bred prodigals, though – we are all prodigals in our own right.  Forgiveness and acceptance are much more pleasurable than living in sin, so what hinders the prodigal from returning? Deception, pride and loving our victim status.  Bearing the outward attitude of rejection, despite leaving being our choice, we receive attention and pity.  The original deception becomes truth if we feed on the praises of the enablers surrounding and flattering us.  The only way out?  Cry out to God for understanding and admit our wrongdoings.  Don’t seek sympathy for something we deserve. Take responsibility for our actions – only then can the mind of Christ illuminate and reveal our true condition. Lastly, if we could for a moment contemplate how our actions have hurt our loving father, instead of how our actions have hurt ourselves, we would begin to walk in freedom.

Let us give thanks that God shows us our rebellious ways and punishes us – though He does not give us what our sins deserve.  Loyal love is a love that keeps the unconditional love “on”, but does not permit an abuse of that love.  For a child to accuse a parent because of consequences they must bear due to their own behavior is folly.  God does not fall for it, either – but He does offer the sweetest peace, joy and love for those who have truly repented and not made excuses for their sin.

Lord, thank you for Your loyal love, which endures forever!  You did not leave us in our sins, but made a way out, praise Your Name!  Help all of us prodigals to wake up and see we are blessed beyond measure because of Your faithful love!

Denise Pass Promo PicDenise Pass | Author | Singer | Speaker | Worship Leader

http://www.seeingdeep.com | http://www.denisepass.com

Mundane Monday: While We’re Waiting

waiting

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Sometimes we struggle to trust God because we base our view of God as if He was like us.

Scriptures of the Day:

Genesis 50:20

“As for you, you meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose, so he could preserve the lives of many people, as you can see this day.”

Genesis 52(b)

“Certainly God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

Exodus 6:9

“Moses told this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and hard labor.”

Perspective.  Trust.  Faith.  Hope.  We can say that we have these character attributes, but it is not until we are in the fire that we see what we are made of.

Scripture provides beautiful snap shots of God’s faithful leaders as they faced kidnapping, betrayal, imprisonment, abuse, fear and testing to follow and obey God when the task at hand seemed insurmountable.

God told Joseph ahead of time through dreams that one day he would lead his brothers.  He did not know what it meant at the time, but He knew God had spoken.  Joseph knew his brothers intended to harm him.  He was right, but he did not stop there.  Even while in prison, He credited God with any wisdom that He was given and hoped beyond hope that somehow God would make sense of it all.  It would take two years for the cupbearer to remember his promise to not forget Joseph. While it seemed like Joseph was forgotten and rotting in prison, God’s promises and plan still stood.

God told Moses ahead of time that Pharaoh would be stubborn and hardhearted.  He promised that ultimate deliverance was His plan.  Moses fretted and feared, but he kept on putting one foot in front of the other and doing the next obedient thing God called him to do.  He kept reciting the promises of God and kept on keeping on.  Even though Moses told the people of God that God was going to rescue them, their focus was on their suffering. They could not have hope, for the abuse and hardship extinguished their faith.

God told Daniel what He was going to do ahead of time, too.  Daniel’s example of faith even when it went against the law of the land resulted in beautiful fruit and God’s ultimate deliverance.

God consistently has given amazing promises and prophecies and fulfilled them all.  That is Who He is. Sometimes we struggle to trust God because we base our view of God as if God was like us.

God is not a man that He should lie, yet when we are waiting for His promises to be fulfilled, we often lose sight of His goodness and promises and begin to give in to fear and despair.

But maybe some would say that God’s promises are not for them.  Not according to God’s word.  All of His promises are yes and amen for those whose hope is in the LORD, to those who have been called children of God.  God is able to help us to overcome our discouragement when we feel forgotten.   Those who went before us modeled how we should wait.  Being obedient.  Meditating on God’s promises.  Hoping at all times.  Radical faith.

Maybe you are in the desert right now, waiting for God to deliver you.  He is able to make a bloom in the desert and to make you fruitful in your suffering.  He said it and He will do it as we seek Him in that place and look to our faithful Deliverer!  As we look to Him, we begin to forget our troubles and recognize that the deliverance we seek is not all about us. God’s purposes touch the lives all around us, and as we seek His comfort, a testimony is written to help the ones who come behind us to look to their God in times of trouble.

Lord, help us to wait expectantly for You, knowing who You are and trusting in You at all times.  You are faithful!  You are good!  Thank You for your strength and grace in the fire and please encourage all who are waiting now to look to You, for their hope will never be disappointed.

Funny Friday: Faith Sometimes Looks Silly

Radical faith

Isaiah 20:2

“At that time the LORD announced through Isaiah son of Amoz: “Go, remove the sackcloth from your waist and take your sandals off your feet.” He did as instructed and walked around in undergarments and barefoot. 3 Later the LORD explained, “In the same way that my servant Isaiah has walked around in undergarments and barefoot for the past three years, as an object lesson and omen pertaining to Egypt and Cush, 4 so the king of Assyria will lead away the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Cush, both young and old. They will be in undergarments and barefoot, with the buttocks exposed; the Egyptians will be publicly humiliated.”

I don’t know about you, but walking around barefoot in underwear has not typically been what comes to mind when I think about what it means to be a prophet of the LORD.

But God goes through great lengths

to reach His people

and He often calls His followers to do the same.

But why?

Sometimes God calls us to do strange things or allows us to go through difficult times so we will have a passion and an understanding to live fully for Him and to communicate His heart and message to His people.

Noah had to build a boat amidst mockers in a dry land. Joshua had to march around a city and blow a trumpet.  Abraham was told to sacrifice his one heir, his precious son.  Moses was told to go back and demand from the king of the greatest land that their slaves be let go. Jeremiah bought a linen belt God told him to buy, hid it in a crevice then dug it up when it was ruined.   A prophet named Agabus came down from Judea and took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands to prophesy about what Paul would suffer. 

Sometimes we need object lessons to be warned or to wake us up to walk uprightly before God.  While it might seem futile for Jeremiah to bury a belt, the ruined article of clothing demonstrated how the people of God would be ruined if they did not repent and seek God.

While building a boat with no water or rain in sight was possibly embarrassing, it meant the salvation of Noah’s family and ultimately the continuation of the existence of mankind and all of the creatures God created.

Sometimes man can also come up with crazy radical ideologies that have nothing to do with God, but they claim it does, anyway.  The fruit of our behavior identifies where the calling originated from.  Does it bring life or death?

The words of the famous missionary, Jim Elliot, which were echoed by Twila Paris many years later, have been precious to me since I first came to know the LORD in 1988.  “He is no fool if he should choose to give the thing he cannot keep to gain what he can never lose. To see a treasure in one soul that far outshines the brightest gold; he is no fool.”

If God calls us to do something that is not popular or seems foolish to man, perhaps that makes it all the more reason to do it.  To live for Jesus, really live – is to seek to do His will in everything we do.  Sometimes it just won’t make sense.  But that’s ok.  He who chose to come and be born as a baby; King, Creator over all, humbling Himself to be at our level, conquered every heart with the most radical action of all.

Lord, help us to trust You when things don’t make sense.  Every trial we go through has a purpose – we can comfort others when we come out on the other side and bring You glory. May we be sensitive to Your calling and never doubt Your goodness.  Love You, Lord!

What it Means to Know Him

Photo Credits ccnnaz.publishpath.com

Photo Credits
ccnnaz.publishpath.com

Jeremiah 22:15b-16

“Just think about your father.  He was content that he had food and drink.  He did what was just and right.  So things went well with him.  16  He upheld the cause of the poor and needy.  So things went well for Judah.  The LORD said, ‘that is a good example of what it means to know me.’

I typically post Monday-Friday and have off on the weekends, but I posted for Thursday on Friday and now I am posting on Saturday for Friday.  At least I am grateful that I am maintaining the commitment in busy times.  Thank you, LORD!

This verse stood out to me today.  Who did God consider to be a good example of one who knows Him?  A righteous man who was content with God’s provision in His life, one who does what is just and right, who considers and upholds those less fortunate than himself.  God considered Abraham righteous because he believed the LORD.  God was looking for someone who would raise godly children – he saw that in Abraham’s character, yet waited until he was 100 to have him be a father of the promised son.  Abraham was content with God’s plan and trusted Him.  Noah was a righteous man in God’s eyes because he found favor with God and walked faithfully with Him. 

In all cases in Scripture when we see a righteous man or woman, it is solely due to the gracious activity of God in their lives.  It is only the favor and grace of God in all of our lives that enables us to walk faithfully.  We cannot think that merely doing good deeds will win the acceptance of a Holy God.  How amazing that God is able to make us acceptable in His sight.  I see today a lot of Christians by name, but not necessarily reflecting the character traits God lists in the Scripture above.  Not meant to be judgmental, as it is evident in myself, as well, that the tendency of our flesh is to grow comfortable and rest in God’s salvation.  Jesus wants us to have that rest, but not a rest from seeking to know Him more and being obedient to the daily promptings of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Our flesh is always wanting more, so contentment is truly something only God can produce in our lives.  But the sweetness of leaning on God to help us is why it is a relationship, not a religion.  God set a standard that was impossible for us to live up to, not because he wanted to see us struggle, but for us to see our need of Him.  It is the working out of this wonderful faith that shows me where I fall short and simultaneously strengthens me to bear the fruit that God requires.  Suddenly I care about the poor, weep for the hurting, feel convicted if I am not doing what is just and right.  These qualities were absent from me before I met my God.  Any evidence of them prior to salvation was only His grace.

So, if God is the only One Who can achieve what He expects, is man at fault?  How does man meet the requirements?  By admitting that he cannot meet them and surrendering to the One true King Who can.  Letting God reign in our lives means the flesh is no longer our master.  Knowing Him means I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  It means I no longer live according to the world system, but ask God to help me think biblically and defer to His ways.  Therein is the greatest peace had on this earth.  So when people recognize this peace and the ensuing fruit, may we not forget Who is truly responsible for it being in our lives.  We are not special or greater than anyone else when we are godly – that is merely living up to what God expects and not us doing it, after all.

Lord, thank you for Your unmerited favor, for choosing us and enabling us to become more like You, day by day.  Help people to see in me and those reading this post that we live for You.  May we reflect Your glory for the world to see and come to really know you – not religion.