What’s in Your Hand?

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Feeling uncomfortably hot in the heat of the Sinai desert, Moses is engaged in a pity party. “I can’t do what You want, Lord, because of this excuse and that excuse. People won’t accept me. I’m a stutterer. Let another person do it.”

Arguing with God is never a good idea. You can never win. Even if you say “No” (and God may let you), you still lose. When you say “no” or “I can’t,” you miss out on the great adventure God has for you when you’re in the centre of His will for your life. But what is that will?

In the barren wastes of the Sinai, God asks Moses a simple question: “What’s in your hand?” Moses is a shepherd. That’s all he’s done for 40 years, and he’s ready to retire at age 80. “What’s in your hand, Moses?”

Moses looks at his hand. “A staff,” he tells God — as if God didn’t know!

The Lord says, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses does so, and it becomes a snake. God tells him to pick it up by the tail and it  turns back into a staff. Hmmm. Over the next 40 years of Moses’ life, God uses that simple wooden stick to deliver the Israelites from Pharaoh, to open the Red Sea, to win a battle with the Amalekites, to bring water from a rock.

Who would have thought?

As Moses learns to use in faith what God has put in his hand, his life is changed — as well as the course of world history.

I am now asking you: What has God put in your hand? Do you wonder how God might use you? See what He has given you. God equips people in various ways. I’m good with my hands, you might say. Another might respond, I can help a group get things done. I like to cook. I have the gift of gab. I like to keep things tidy. And so on.

Offer to God in faith what He has given you, no matter how small or simple, and God will use it — sometimes supernaturally — to do His work. God uses the little to accomplish the mighty… He used David to kill Goliath, He used four Lepers to fight against the Syrians, with just five loaves of bread and two fishes He fed over 5,000… You’ll have a new sense of meaning, since you’ll begin to realize how God is using simple things in new and wonderful ways.

When Jesus sees a hungry crowd He says to His disciples: “You feed them.” They are stunned by the magnitude of the need. So Jesus brings it down to their level. “Okay, Andrew, do a little inventory/ feasibility study. Find out what food we have on hand.” Andrew checks around. “There’s a boy here with five loaves and two fishes. So what?” Jesus ignores his unbelief. He takes the bread and the fish, lifts them to God in thanksgiving, and then begins to distribute them to the people until all 5,000 plus women and children have been fed. The Bible also tells us that there were 12 baskets of leftovers.

That’s how God’s work gets done. By weak people doing an inventory, then offering to Jesus what they find.

God has a world to save. You’re just one person. What difference can you make? I encourage you to do this simple inventory — count up your blessings, see what God has given you. That way, when God asks you, “What’s that in your hand?” You’ll be able to tell Him — and then you can let Him use the gift / skill / resource / interest / relationship / opportunity to His glory.

Once again. What’s in your hand?

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The Fruit Of The Holy Spirit!

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By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

John 13:35

As Christians, it is necessary to examine ourselves whether or not this fruit is in us and abound. Because, a tree is known by its fruits, so likewise, without the fruit of the Holy Spirit in us, it is a clear indication that the Holy Spirit is not dwelling in us and that means in whatever we do, we are not led by the Holy Spirit and we cannot call ourselves Christians, followers of Jesus Christ. Paul said something about the Jews. “He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly… He is a Jew, which is one inwardly. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel. Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they children…” Rom. 2:28, 29; 9:6,7. This is something to think about as we apply this counsel to ourselves in the light of this post. True, if the fruit of the Spirit is not in our lives, then we are far from the truth of being sons of God. Paul admonished the Corinthian Christians to emulate the liberality of the Macedonian Churches in their giving spirit in spite of their great trial of affliction and poverty. That, as they (the Corinthians) are known for their faith, utterance, knowledge, diligence and love, they should excel also in the grace of giving; because no Christian is complete by only one or two virtues, until he manifests all the nine fruit of the Spirit – Love, Joy, Peace, Long suffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Meekness, Self control- as a single unit, just one fruit. The giving spirit, according to Paul, would make the Corinthian Christians complete as they are already abound in everything.

POINTS TO PONDER:

  1. WHAT IDENTITY SHOULD A CHRISTIAN POSSESS: Luke 6:27-28; John 13:35; Romans 5:3-5; 2Cor.6:6; 87:4,5,7; 2Peter 1:5-7. The Christian grace is exemplified in giving, service, love, kindness, temperance, patience, hope and true purity without wax.
  2. ENABLING POWER TO RELEASE THE VIRTUES: Romans 5:5; 12:2; 2Cor. 8:1,3,11; Gal. 5:16, 17, 25; Col. 3:16; 4:2, 5-6; 1John 4:4. The grace of God, our willingness and readiness, the Holy Spirit within us, the word of God, prayer and the renewed mind gives the enablement to manifest the virtues of true Christianity.
  3. THE BLESSEDNESS OF SHOWING FORTH THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT: Luke 6:38; John 15:2b, 8; Acts 20:35; 2Cor. 8:2, 4, 9,14-15; 9: 2, 6-9; 2Peter 1:8. Our fruit will enrich others and supply for their want, it will return with multiple harvest of similar fruit that we sowed and the Lord will be glorified.

GOD BLESS YOU!!


How to be Saved

The most important of all questions is “What must I do to be saved?” Paul answered it by saying, to a penitent sinner, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). That is all a penitent sinner can do. This man gave evidence of repentance. Salvation is certainly through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and a personal, definite experience that trusts everything one hundred per cent in the merit of the sacrifice Christ made, when He bore our sin in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24). The blood and nothing but the blood of Christ can cleanse from sin. This truth is stated in 1 John 1:7, “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” That blood, indeed, cleanses from all sin past, present and future.

The individual who thinks his good works, his high morality, his culture, his sacrifices, his tears, his baptism, his church membership, his giving, his service or anything else he is or does has any power to cleanse of even the smallest particle of his sin, simply does not understand the plan of Salvation. You can’t be saved and trust partly in Christ and partly in self effort and the individual, who thinks his Salvation depends on the atonement Christ made plus his own works, just can’t be saved.

It is our judgment both from studying God’s Word and from observation that the most wide-spread false doctrine in all Christendom is the teaching that we must trust in Christ and be just as good as we can be through our own effort to be saved or that we must trust in Christ and be just as good as we can in order to stay saved.

A thorough examination of all false religions will reveal the fact, that they teach Salvation is totally or partly by good living and good works. Anyone who so teaches is a false teacher and a real enemy of the truth. It matters not how sincere he might be. If we feed deadly poison to our children, thinking it is good food, the result will be death, just as truly as if we poisoned them purposely. The fact we were sincere will not alter the effect of the error.

Certainly God’s Word teaches that Christians should live holy, clean, honest, upright lives in every way. It teaches that perfection should be their goal, that they should crucify the flesh with all its lusts, that they should desire to keep their bodies clean, that whatsoever they do in word or deed should be done to the glory of God. It says they are to glorify God in their Spirit and in their body, that they are to walk in the spirit and they shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. But it teaches very clearly that the saved do these things not in order to be saved or to stay saved, but in order to please and glorify the Savior, who gave Himself to save them. It also teaches they will not fully reach this high goal until they awake in His likeness in their resurrection bodies, but will be constantly laying aside every weight and the sin that besets them, that they might better run the race and better exemplify, glorify and satisfy their Lord. If the saved fail to live as a child of God should, they will be chastened for their sins of omission or commission, but not condemned to hell.

We have digressed from the subject of Salvation in the last few paragraphs because we thought it well to show that while good, works can not save us or keep us saved, they are the inevitable fruits of Salvation. When we are born into the family of God we are born with an appetite for Spiritual things just as truly as the babe born into this world has an appetite for material food.

Now let us return to the subject of Salvation. There are but two dominions in this world, Christ’s and Satan’s. You belong wholly to one or the other. Christ said “lie that is not for me is against me and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”

Christ’s domain consists of all those who have been born again having exercised repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21), “Testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” I also believe all dying in infancy are saved.

Satan’s domain consists of all who have not exercised repentance toward God and faith toward 01.11- Lord ,Jesus Christ or all who have not been born again.

1. We should be Christ’s by the right of creation. (He gave us our life.)

2. We should be Christ’s by the right of provision. (He provides us with all that sustains life.)

3. We should be Christ’s by right of redemption. (He died to redeem us.)

However, the human race chooses to turn from God to Satan (Rom. 1:21, 28), “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.” The unsaved portion of the human race in all ages has lived in open rebellion to God’s revealed will. Since the first sin of man, the battle has been fought between Satan and Christ and Satan is, indeed, the god of this world and most of the human race still choose to follow him. The natural man certainly proves how exceedingly evil he is when he will take the life God gave and the provisions God supplies and use them to serve Satan. Could anything prove more conclusively his total depravity?

Christ redeems and keeps all who wish to be delivered from Satan’s domain, if they will but put their case wholly in His hands. Those who try to escape by their own power are doomed to fail. Eventually Christ will completely crush Satan and his domain and Satan with all his followers shall be cast into the lake of fire forever and ever and the earth will be purged of every trace of contamination Satan and his followers brought upon it.

In concluding this subject let us notice a few clear statements from God’s Word:

1. The entire human race is declared sinful. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10). “For all have sinned, and come short of the Glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

2. It declares the results of sin is death and certainly this means separated from God now and eternally. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1).

3. It teaches Christ Himself died in our place, actually bearing the penalty of our sin in His own body. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24). “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6).

4. We become God’s child by faith in Christ, trusting completely in the sacrifice He has made in our behalf on the cross. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12). “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

5. God promises to keep all who are saved. “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29). “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).

6. God’s Word teaches that this new life received when we received Christ expresses itself in upright living and good works. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Col. 3:17).


The Parable of the Sower.

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“And He spoke many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow.” The careful reader will notice an omission here, namely, that this parable does not begin with the words “the kingdom of heaven is like unto.” This cannot be without some good reason, for that which is omitted from Holy Writ is often times as meaningful as what is recorded. Each of the six parables which follow do begin with this clause. The reason why it is left out at the beginning of the first is not difficult to account for. “The kingdom of heaven” is an expression which, in the present dispensation, has reference to Christendom—the sphere of Christian profession, that circle where the sovereignty of Christ is publicly owned. But the “kingdom of heaven” did not assume this form until after Christ had returned to the Father. Thus, because this first parable contemplates the period of time covered by our Lord’s earthly ministry these words are appropriately omitted. The first parable forms an introduction to those which follow: it describes the work of Christ preparatory to the establishment of His kingdom among the Gentiles, though the principle of it is of wider application.

Behold, a sower went forth to sow.” In Mark 4:3 we find that this same parable is introduced by the words, “Hearken, behold, there went out a sower to sow.” This word “hearken” indicated that the Savior was about to communicate something of unusual importance. The figure He was using was so simple as to be almost unimpressive, so that there was a danger of His hearers regarding it as of little account; therefore the “Hearken!” “Behold” was also designed to arrest attention; it was a word bidding us to carefully ponder what follows.

The action of Christ at the beginning of this parable was both tragic and blessed. Speaking from the human side, it ought to have been, “A Reaper went forth to reap,” or “An Husbandman went forth to gather fruit.” For fifteen hundred years there had been a liberal sowing of the Seed in Israel, by Moses, David, the prophets, and last of all John the Baptist. But harvest for Jehovah there was not. Touchingly is this brought out in Isaiah 5: “My well-beloved has a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and He looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes” (vv. 1, 2).

The blessedness of Christ’s action here is to be seen in His wondrous condescension and grace in stooping so low as to take the humble place of a “Sower,” hence the “Behold.” The words “went forth to sow,” or as Mark’s Gospel puts it “went out were indicative of the great dispensational change which was soon to be introduced. There was no longer to be a planting of vines or fig-trees in Israel, but a going out of the mercy of God unto the Gentiles; therefore what we have here is the broadcast sowing of the Seed in the field at large, for as verse 38 tells us “the field is the world.”

One great design of this opening parable is to teach us the measure of success which the Gospel would receive among the Gentiles. In other words, we are shown what the results of this broadcast sowing of the Seed would be. First of all, most of the ground upon which it fell would prove unfavorable: the hard, shallow, and thorny soils were uncongenial to productiveness. Second, external opposition would be encountered: the birds of the air would come and catch it away. Third, the sun would scorch, and that which was lacking in moisture at its roots would wither away. Only a fractionalpart of the Seed sown would yield any increase, and thus all expectations for the ultimate universal triumph of the Gospel were removed.

The plain teaching of our present parable should at once dissipate the optimistic but vain dreams of post-millennarians. It answers clearly and conclusively the following questions: What is to be the result of the broadcast sowing of the seed? Will all the world receive it and every part of the field produce fruit? Will the seed spring up and bear a universal harvest, so that not a single grain of it is lost? Our Savior explicitly tells us that the greater part of the seed produces no fruit, so that no world-wide conquests by the Gospel, in the Christianizing of the race, are to be looked for. Nor was there any hint that, as the age progressed, there would be any change, and that later sowers would meet with greater success, so that the wayside, stony, and thorny ground hearers would cease to exist or would rarely be found. Instead of that, the Lord Himself has plainly warned us that instead of the fruitage from the Gospel showing an increase, there would be a marked decrease; for when speaking of the fruit borne He said, “which also bears fruit, and brings forth, some an hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty” (v. 23). These words are too plain to be misunderstood. We believe that the “hundred fold” had reference to the yield borne in the days of the apostles; the “sixty” at the time of the Reformation; the “thirty” the days in which we are now living. The history of the last nineteen centuries has witnessed the fulfillment of Christ’s prediction; only a fractional percentage in any land, city or village has responded to the Gospel !

Most of the details of this parable are concerned not with the Sower or the Seed, but with the various soils in which the Seed fell. In His interpretation the Lord Jesus explained the different soils as representing various classes of those who hear the Word. They are four in number, and may be classified as hard-hearted, shallow-hearted, half-hearted, and whole-hearted. It is important to see that in the parable Christ is speaking not from the standpoint of the divine counsels—for there can be no failure there—but from that of human accountability. What we have here is the Word of the kingdom addressed to man’s responsibility, the effect it has on him, and his response. Let us now look briefly at each class separately:

1. The wayside hearers. “And when He sowed, some fell by the wayside, and the fowls came and devoured them up . . . when any one hears the word of the kingdom and understands it not, then comes the wicked one, and catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received Seed by the wayside” (vv. 4, 19). Here, the heart which receives the Seed is unreceptive and unresponsive. It is like the public highway, hardened by the constant traffic of the world. Though the Word is said to be “sown in his heart” it finds no real lodgment in it, and this is what makes it so solemn. The “engrafted word” is that which is received “with meekness,” and for this there must be a laying aside of “all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness” (James 1:21). It is at this point that the individual’s accountability comes in, the responsibility of the one who hears the Word.

It is to be noted that it is “when anyone hears the word of the kingdom and understands it not, then comes the wicked one and catches away that which was sown in his heart.” Those who hear the Word are responsible to “understand” it. It is true that the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God, but he ought to; and that they are “foolishness unto him,” but it ought not so to be. As we are told in 1 Corinthians 8:2, “if any man think that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.” Understanding of the Word is obtained from God alone, and it is the responsibility of all who bear and read His Word to cry unto Him, “That which I see not, teach Thou me” (Job 34:32). His promise is “the meek will He teach His way” (Ps. 25:9). But if there is no humbling of the heart before God, no seeking wisdom from above, then will there be no “understanding” of the Word; and the Devil will “catch away” that which we have heard or read: but we shall have only ourselves to blame!

2. The stony-ground hearers. “Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away . . . He that received the seed into stony places, the same is he which hears the Word, and anon with joy receives it; yet has he not root in himself, but endures for awhile: for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the Word, by and by he is offended” (vv. 5, 6, 20, 21). The type of ground that is here referred to, is that where the bed is of rock, with only a thin layer of earth over it. In this shallow soil the seed is received, but the growth is but superficial. Our Lord’s interpretation at once identifies the particular class of hearers which are here in view. At first they promise well, but later prove very disappointing. What we have here is lack of depth.The emotions have been moved, but the conscience has not been searched; there is anatural “joy” but no deep conviction or true repentance. When a Divine work of grace is wrought in a soul, the first effects of the Word upon it are not to produce peace and joy, but contrition, humility and sorrow.

The sad thing is, that today almost everything connected with modern evangelistic (?) effort is calculated to produce just this very type of hearer. The “bright singing,” the sentimentality of the hymns (?), the preacher’s appeals to the emotions, the demand of the churches for visible and quick “results,” produce nothing but superficial returns. Sinners are urged to make a prompt “decision,” are rushed to the “penitent form,” and then assured that all is well with them; and the poor deluded soul leaves with a false and evanescent “joy.” And the deplorable thing is that many of the Lord’s own people are supporting and fellow-shipping this Christ-dishonoring and soul-deceiving burlesque of true Gospel ministry.

“But endures for awhile.” “This is the flesh at its fairest; capable of coming so near to the kingdom of God, and all the more manifesting its hopeless nature. There is the unbroken rock behind that never yields to the Word, and gives it no lodgment; and the class of hearers pictured here are born of the flesh only. Let things be outwardly favorable to profession, it is plain that the number of these may multiply largely, and may stick like dead leaves to a tree that has had no rough blast to shake them off. But life is none the more in them” (The Numerical Bible).

3. The thorny-ground hearers. “And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them… He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the Word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the Word, and he becomes unfruitful” (vv. 7, 22). In Mark 4:9 the “lusts of other things entering in” and in Luke 8:14 the “pleasures of this life” are named as additional hindrances represented by the “thorns.” Here it is not so much inward causes as it is external snares that render the third class of hearers unfruitful.

Thus the Lord has here made known what it is that, from the human side, makes so much of the Seed sown, unproductive. The reasons why the preaching of the Word does not produce a spiritual harvest in all who hear it are, first, the natural hardness of man’s heart and the resultant opposition of Satan; second, the superficiality of the flesh; third, the attractions and distractions of the world. These are the things which produce barrenness, and they are recorded for the Christian’s learning and warning. Thus too are the servants of Christ instructed what to expect, and informed what it is which will oppose their labors—the Devil, the flesh and the world.

4. The good-ground hearers. “But other fell into good ground and brought forth fruit… He that received seed into the good ground is he that hears the Word, and understands it; which also bears fruit, and brings forth, some an hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty” (vv. 8,23). It is to be carefully noted that when He was defining the good-ground hearer, Christ did not say “this is he in whom a Divine work of grace has been wrought,” or “whose heart has been made receptive by the operation of the Holy Spirit.” True it is that this must precede any sinner’s receiving the Word so that he becomes fruitful, yet, this is not the particular aspect of the Truth with which Christ is here dealing. As already stated, He is speaking here not of the accomplishment of God’s counsels, but from the standpoint of human responsibility.

What the Lord is here making known is, that which the hearer of the Word musthimself seek grace to do, if he is to be fruitful. The supplementary accounts given of this parable by Mark and Luke must be carefully compared. In Luke 8:15 we are told, first, that that Word must be received “in an honest and good heart.” Second, that they “keep it.” And third, “bring forth fruit with patience.” Such are the conditions of fruitfulness: an unprejudiced mind and an open heart; understanding the Word received; holding it fast, perseverance.

In closing let us call attention to one or two practical lessons inculcated by this parable.

First, the preciousness of the Seed. If there were only one grain of wheat left in the world today, and it was lost, all the efforts of man could not reproduce it. Thus it is with the Word: were it taken from us all the wit and wisdom of man could not replace it. Then let us value, love, and. study it more.

Second, the inconspicuousness of the Sower. Scarcely anything at all is told us in the parable about Him, beyond the simple fact that He actually sowed the Seed. The emphasis is upon the Seed, the various kinds of soil and the obstacles to and conditions of fruitfulness. Why is this? Because the personality of the sower and the method of sowing are of secondary importance. A little child may drop a seed as effectively as a man; the wind may carry it, and accomplish as much as though an angel had planted it! All—not merely preachers only—may be “sowers.”

Third, the conditions of fruitfulness. There is much “rocky ground” in the garden of each of our souls: then despise not God’s hammer and ploughshare. There are many “thorns” in each of our lives which must be plucked up if there is to be more room for fruit! Finally, there needs to be much prayer for “understanding,” “patience,” and hiding of the Word in our hearts so that we shall “keep” it.

Fourth, the fullness of the parable. There are some who decry the idea that we should seek for a meaning to every detail in our Lord’s parables, and tell us we should be content with discovering its general significance. But such a loose conception is manifestly condemned by Christ’s own example. In His interpretation He gave a meaning to every detail; not only so, but by comparing the three accounts of this parable, we learn that the “thorns” represent at least four distinct things! How this shows us the need of carefully studying and prayerfully meditating upon every jot and tittle of Holy Writ!


Hope and Restoration – the Story of the Prodigal Son

What can we learn from Jesus Christ’s parable of the prodigal son? In a world of broken relationships, it teaches us a lesson of deep love and hope.

Painting illustrating a father welcoming his son home - prodigal son

As he did every day, the father walked from his home to the small hill where he could look down the road and see for several miles. He always thought, and hoped, that he would see a familiar figure heading his way.

His thoughts were always the same—a mixture of longing, of hope and of regret. When he failed to see what he’d hoped, he would turn and go about the business of the day. There was always work to be done. But there was also the empty place created by the one who a long while back had chosen to leave and go far away from his home.

The father remembered the day his son left the family. The young man wanted his portion of inheritance to go out on his own and make an independent life. It would create a hardship to divide off his portion earlier than planned. But the father did it, with regret, but knowing it was the only thing that could be done. His son would learn life’s hardest lesson no other way.

Watching him go was the most difficult moment of the father’s life, knowing that his son wasn’t prepared for life and that he wouldn’t listen to him for instruction or wisdom. When would he return? And when he did, could the family environment be the same?

This is the story Jesus Christ told in Luke 15, commonly known as the parable of the prodigal son. It recounts a son’s departure from his father’s home, the lessons he learns, and his return, wiser for the experience. It is also the story of a family’s journey to reconciliation.

Families are the foundation of life. The biblical family is the model on which God is building a spiritual family of glorified sons and daughters. This parable tells of a son who was lost and then found. While it shows many details about a family, in the end one truth stands out—a father’s patient endurance for the son he loves.

The Story In Brief

Let’s review the account. A man had two sons. One day the younger came to him with a demand: He wanted an early disbursement of his inheritance. Despite the likely hardship that would come in taking this money from the estate, the father gave the son his portion. So off the young man went, into another life.

He traveled, it says, to a far country. Distance in a relationship is not always measured in miles. It would seem the distance in this relationship had grown to become quite vast long before he left the family home. The son no longer wanted to live under his father’s roof.

Did he no longer respect his father? Had some longstanding unresolved tension between the two led to a severing of relations to where they could no longer “walk together” (Amos 3:3)?

The story allows almost anything to be read into it to provide an explanation. Father-son relations are beautiful to behold but also at times complex. Could it be that the son had emotionally left the home long before he physically walked out the door?

In time the son burned through his money and found himself penniless. High living beyond his means reduced him to doing manual labor for a daily wage. Using all the material enticements available to us today, it’s easy to imagine how his money could’ve easily disappeared. A new car or expensive motorcycle. Costly meals. Entertaining and spending money on people whose friendship was dependent on his ample bank account—their friendship lasting only as long as he had money.

After working at a job that paid little and gave no satisfaction, he began to evaluate his situation. He was barely making enough money to buy food. It seems the animals that he fed ate better than he. No money. No friends. No good prospects.

A Breakdown Of Relationships

What would you do in such a situation? Would pride prevent you from returning home or restoring a relationship? Would stubbornness push you toward self-destructive behavior such as addiction to drugs or alcohol? Or perhaps you might feel your parent no longer loved you and would not want you back.

Perhaps you actually find yourself at present in a position similar to that of the son in the parable. You have been estranged from a parent or friend and feel you cannot return to him or her. You can’t bring yourself to pick up the phone or reach out and begin to mend a broken relationship.

It’s a sad feature of life today. We’re connected by so much social media yet can’t always connect at the deepest level of love and meaning. You can have hundreds, even thousands, of “friends” on Facebook but be all alone in your life at the most critical moments. It’s vital to have friends and those we can talk with to receive counsel, encouragement and support. It also takes an effort to keep the lines of communication open.

Returning to Christ’s story, it now reaches the most critical point. The young man comes to himself when he realizes the servants in his father’s home have plenty of food and don’t go hungry. He says, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you'” (Luke 15:18).

Imagine the moment of humility. He’s at the end of his rope. All his natural confidence is gone. He realizes he can’t go forward on his own. He knows that he must return home. The journey is now at its most crucial moment.

A Message About Deep Love

Jesus Christ gave this parable to encourage families. God’s great plan of salvation is based on the family structure of a father and mother and children born within the love of a relationship based on His laws governing the family. And the basis of that law is love—the love of a parent for a child.

This parable shows the deep love of a father for his lost son. I can imagine him praying each day for his son’s return, requesting God to guard him from harm, asking God to help the son even when the son’s behavior didn’t honor God. During these prayers the understanding that God wouldn’t suspend the law of consequences didn’t keep him from asking for God’s mercy and goodness on the lad.

This parable is also about each of us. God the Father stands waiting for the time when each of His children will at last realize the need for a lasting and satisfying relationship with Him.

The image of family reconciliation and turning of hearts is quoted in one of the great prophetic messages of the Old Testament (Malachi 4:6). This parable of the lost son combined with this prophecy helps us to understand God’s deep desire to bring reconciliation within His creation. Together these form a promise that you can take to His throne of grace and claim in full faith. When hearts turn to God, they will also return to those human relationships that have been broken through the years. You can count on it.

Holding Out Hope

The parable of the lost son is a parable for today. It offers hope for all who long for reconciliation. Whether it be with a child, a parent or a friend from the past, this story points to hope. It teaches that even when hope is deferred and the heart is sick, there is the promise that hope will blossom into a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12).

Imagine for a moment the day the father goes out to the hill and at last sees his son coming up the road. What joy and elation he feels! His heart immediately reaches out to his returning son, his feet quickly propelling him forward to the exuberant embrace. Both father and son are together again, the distance bridged and the time apart forgotten.

His years of hope and longing are summed in the declaration, “This my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:24).

You may think this is a good place to end. But the story goes on. There is the reaction of the older son. Remember him—the one who stayed and honored his father and worked to build the family business? At first he wasn’t that happy over the return of his brother. When he came home that day and heard the noise from the celebration, he wondered what it was all about. When he heard his brother had returned home and a banquet was being held in his honor, it was more than he could handle.

He refused to join in the celebration. On hearing of his son’s anger, the father pleaded with him to join in welcoming home his brother. But he couldn’t because, as he put it: “These many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him” (Luke 15:29-3).

Once again the father showed his wisdom: “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found” (Luke 15:31-3).

The bond forged between the father and the older son could never be broken. The loyalty and dependability of the son here had been proven beyond doubt. Such relationships need no party or grand demonstration of fact. Trust was simply there.

I like to imagine the two brothers reconciling and their healed relationship becoming stronger and enduring through the years. The father lives on to see grandchildren run through his home with shouts of joy and fun. In his later years he thanks God for all of his family, and in time he dies, full of years and giving thanks to God with his last breath for His goodness and grace.

There is always hope for reconciliation. Pray for it and expect it. Never ever give up on God!


LIKE JOB!!!

God hedges in His own that He may preserve them, but often times they only see the wrong side of the hedge, and so misunderstand His dealings. It was so with Job (Job 3:23). Ah, but Satan knew the value of that hedge! See his testimony in chapter 1:10. Through the leaves of every trial there are chinks of light to shine through. Thorns do not prick you unless you lean against them, and not one touches without His knowledge. The words that hurt you, the letter which gave you pain, the cruel wound of your dearest friend, shortness of money–are all known to Him, who sympathizes as none else can and watches to see, if, through all, you will dare to trust Him wholly.


The Promise Land!!!

Beloved, You can not get access to the Promise land if you still have the Egypt Mentality or mind set. 
Don’t be enslaved by sin, not even guilt. For you have been redeemed with a price. So when it gets tough, get to the cross. That is the receipt that Jesus gave for that Payment. His Resurrection indicates and confirms victory. You are a Royalty, Behave like one.

GOD BLESS YOU!!