Monday, December 3, 2007
Sunday, September 30, 2007
“And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey…” (Lk.15: 13)
His son has left! In the two preceding parables, a shepherd loses a lamb, a woman her week’s salary and both stopped what they were doing and began a diligent search for the same until they had found it. Though the Father definitely lost a son, he just could not drop everything and search for him as the others had. The son doesn’t want to be found, the Father can’t physically go out, find him and drag him back against his will. What a dilemma! Love can be unmercifully painful!
A young girl asks her mother…”What’s it like to give birth to a baby?” “You’ll know when the time comes.” Came the reply. A young mother states to her mother… “Mum, I had no idea what you went through for me, until I’ve had my own child. Thank you, I love you Mum!”
Value in relationship carries a huge personal experience price tag. Some things can be taught, some things caught but the truly valuable things of life have to be experienced and sometimes lost to find. What can the Father do? How can he deal with his own emotion?
What can he do? Determine to highly value his son’s relationship non-judgmentally and prioritize it. How can he deal with his own emotions? Put everything he has into making his home a Welcome Place, a place that makes time and listens, a place worth visiting.
Pride is a poor substitute for a loving embrace.
“But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion …” !
Son, you’re always welcome here!
Sunday, September 23, 2007
“And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough to spare, and I perish with hunger!” (Lk 15:17)
Too often, all of us have experienced the realization that somebody’s or something’s association we took for granted and lost or left behind was essential to our happiness and progress. I wish I knew then what I know now!
“I perish with hunger!” Hunger for right association, hunger for a line of genuine communication, hunger for an honest appraisal of personal growth, hunger for amends, hunger to start again!
It’s astounding to see, the radical change demonstrated in a person who has discovered true value in relationship and life in general through loss.
Life is to be lived! Association brings to it … color, texture and substance. What we personally do with association will always impact upon our lives in ways unscripted.
Damaged relationships or broken treasured possessions can’t always be revisited, salvaged or restored. However the loss of their intrinsic value should prepare us all to give thanks to God for each and every day we live and set ourselves with His help to get it right next time.
Real change has to begin in the individual first, it can never be … “If you change, I’ll see if I like it; and then maybe I’ll change too!” We all need to develop an appreciation for everything life embraces and mature amiably and wisely giving a hand up to those around about us.
Make the necessary change … It can be a wonderful world if you will allow it. The Prodigal Son did, you can too.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
“Because this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found! And they began to revel and feast and make merry.” Lk.15: 24.
Ecstatic joy … impossible to contain! My son is home! We have to celebrate … Let’s party! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! My son was lost, but now he’s found, let everybody know and invite them to share my joy at the Celebration Party tonight. Make the preparations, spare nothing … the occasion demands the best. Yes, by all means take the fattened prime yearling, how befitting. My son is home … Thank you God, thank you!
A total uninhibited release of joyous love after all the previous years of forlorn emptiness. How the father celebrated, danced and sang with his whole being in thanks to God. My son, my son … my son is home! Thank you God! His face glistened in the firelight from the ecstatic tears of joy; his smile was from ear to ear … My son is home!
If the devil can’t complete his devastation, theft and murder in one direction against you, he simply circles and tries another. One of his favorites; if he can’t beat you; he’ll join you! Samson, Delilah, Jesus, Judas. (Judges 16:4-6,18; Lk.22: 3-6)
The fresh attack will come from within your closest friends and family. Fact; when God wants to bless you, He’ll often put a person in your life to implement it through (Lk.6: 38). On the other hand if the devil is trying to shake you to your foundations, he’ll send a person into your life. (Esther, Mordecai, Haman. –Esther 3:5,6).
The son has returned home where he is celebrated. Surrounded in love and joy fully restored to his position, all his defenses down and feeling secure. Then, out of nowhere, his elder brother furiously lashes out with contemptible disdain, without any consideration or respect whatsoever for his father. Just his selfish, driven hatred of his brother and his return and restoration … “it would be better if he was dead. He should never have come back, the loser!!”
Will the Prodigal take the offense to heart and lose all he has just gained, by running again or will he be patient and forgiving with his brother. You never know what’s behind you … You’ve lived your past.
To have a better tomorrow demands the right decisions today.
I pray God strengthens you against taking offense and setting yourself back years in Jesus’ Name! Father, grant your discerning ability to direct and establish good relationships in Jesus’ Name! Amen.
Blessed are those who overcome!
Sunday, September 9, 2007
And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
Unless you’ve experienced estrangement from a loved one, you’d never fully realize the magnitude of the reunion. Never knowing if they’re alive or dead, safe, well or cared for. Never knowing if they could find it in their heart to forgive you for allowing such a situation to arise in the home that drove the Prodigal out in the first place. The depth of the heart, straining wildly with love and emotion; the whole internal workings of your body in contortion through compassion and remorse.
The daily dealing with the taunting reality, that in your lifetime you may never see them again and wishing things had been very different. Then to see that loved one; your son, coming home!
In hope, against all hope, you’d hoped in God that one day, some day, somehow your loved one will come home and be reunited with the family.
And you see him afar off, it is he coming down the road. You can’t wait, dignified and proper, there’s no point to prove, there’s nothing to lose… your son is coming home.
Running to meet him, words fail because they all come at once and nothing is said but you embrace your son with everything of love you have and kiss him on the neck. Oh thank you God! Thank you!
You’re not expecting him to be the same cause you’re not the same… My son was lost but now he is found! Praise the Lord! When he left he was young and impetuous, I was proud and uncompromising but now we have met on the roadside and on middle ground.
And at that moment I witnessed my son become a man and face squarely the issues in his heart. I was so proud I could burst! And then he said
“Dad I just want to you to tell me … that you love me!”
Sunday, September 2, 2007
(Luke 15:24) “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”
The prodigal’s father declared his son was lost and dead! Every adolescent wars within emotionally and without intellectually and physically in a harrowing attempt to find themselves and their place in the world but unfortunately it has its initial manifestation in the family home; often leaving casualties strewn all over the place … mostly loved ones! The ones who don’t want the devastation the world can exact upon the unsuspecting youth to happen. So in the name of protection … “It’s for your own good”; they unknowingly add to the overall frustration levels of the adolescent creating an inevitable, explosive, confrontation and with it rebellion. In turn the loved ones feel unappreciated and offended at the youth’s insolence and accordingly stand up for their point of view of what’s right in the circumstance.
The father under threat in his position, states to his son emotionally “Whilst you are under my roof and eat my food you’ll obey my rules and contribute your share to the running of the household or you can get out! Now, if you leave, as far as I’m concerned, you’d be lost … lost to all good reason, lost to all the dreams I’ve had for you and thus you’d stop being my son as your disobedience to my authority would be intolerable. Therefore, if you choose to rebel against me … you’d be as dead to me.”
Well the scenario is set for a major heated argument; it has become really personal and in your face with nowhere to hide. The father is heaving and turning red, the son is exasperated whilst paling to a drained expression … neither wanted nor expected it to turn out this way but there was no stopping it now. The prodigal is hearing his father’s ultimatum through sensitized ears … “So he thinks I have no potential in my own right, useless and lost am I? Dead to you am I? Well maybe you’re dead to me too and yes, I’ll be glad to get lost! Anywhere else but here with you!” The prodigal leaves.
The father testy and still shaking declares … “He’s no son of mine, good riddance! … the time finally arrives when the boy is old enough and capable enough to contribute something worthwhile and then, he just up and takes off … he’s mad, lost the plot!” Both the father and the son have had violent damage rendered to their self-esteem and relevant value systems through the heated demeaning exchange. Leaving both trying to justify their actions to themselves and those closest to them whilst licking their wounds from rejection, betrayal and abandonment.
What tragedy … you can’t live with them, you can’t live without them … loving them and hating them at the same time … woe is me!
Oh God please deliver us from the, I’m right, you’re wrong mindset in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessed are those who overcome
Sunday, August 26, 2007
“For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found, and they began to be merry.” (Luke 15:24)
Whilst his sons matured in his household the prodigal’s father taught them the word and intention of God toward life, deed and business, how to lead men; handle setbacks, personal goals and relationships. His very lifestyle of faith in God demonstrated his dependency on God and His vast favour through prayer into life and business, his deep gratitude to God was transparent for all to see. The prodigal’s father loved God and His presence in his life and with all of his heart prayed and pleaded with God that his sons would develop and enjoy a similar relationship. Thus he presumed his sons would robotically become adherents of his faith but, as time clearly demonstrated, he was sadly mistaken, as he had not allowed for the freewill of his sons to choose or decline a relationship with God.
It wasn’t until he watched the silhouette of his youngest son disappear over the horizon and heard the nasty quip from his elder son about his worthless; non-descript brother that the father realized his sons had no relationship with God at all. Perplexed, he questioned himself mercilessly … how could it be? “God I honestly believed they’d catch your spirit from me but it seems their hearts are full of rebellion and resentment towards you and me both. God I have trained my sons’ intellect in your wisdom and taught them to be tough-minded leaders and harness the drives of their flesh and blood bodies but it’s only you who can bring life to their spirit and faith if they are willing. Please forgive me for my impertinent presumption.
His thoughts wandered back to when his own heart was awakened to the spirit of God, his time of training and reaction to it let alone his father’s authoritative expectations. He had to admit, his youthful response to God and the demands of his household to conform to numerous rules had to be driven into his heart by physical punishment. He simply hadn’t dared to audibly voice his protest against it all until it overflowed in the simple action of leaving home and family with its bunch of rules called … “God said!”
What a kill-joy I thought at the time … any and everything worthwhile doing you weren’t allowed to and the family’s fear of repercussions on the business for the slightest divergence, literally sucked all the air out of the room. You know, the typical emotional guilt trip they lay on you? … “It’s your lousy attitude that’s ruining the business this month.” I just couldn’t handle it any more … no that’s not right, I didn’t want to handle it any more, so I left. My family loved me nevertheless and continued to pray for me; in hindsight I’m so thankful for their vigil of prayer as it built the atmosphere around me for receptivity for God’s spirit to move in my life
Personally I’d only ever known the austere nature of God, the letter of the law … “Thou shalt not …, “ never the goodness King David talked about. Until that day when the spirit of God and the word of God agreed in my heart and I saw it, I mean, I saw literally God’s intention in his word, it was for my own good … God actually loved me! God wasn’t trying to put me down at all or deprive me of anything good. He was actually trying to rescue me from my own heart’s intent for self destruction. I was able to see my sin against God and truly sought forgiveness for my rebellion and set myself to put my whole heart into the spirit of His word, it is life to all those who find it. Peace and joy flooded my being and I’ve thankfully enjoyed His presence in my life ever since.
Encouraged by his short reflection on his own spiritual awakening, he set himself to continue to pray with renewed vigour and faith for both of his prodigal sons’ awakening to the spirit of God’s love and forgiveness. A tear came to his eye as once again he thought of his own father’s vigil of prayer for him. “No good thing will God withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11b)
Let’s pray. Father grant me the renewing of my spirit daily, open my spiritual eyes that I may comprehend the magnitude of your love for me and for the assurance of my future in your powerful hands. Let me be charged with faith in the effectiveness of believing prayer as you deliver me from the bondage of dead letter believing. Please take all my worries and cares as I give them to you now and I ask you to undertake them for a satisfactory conclusion in Jesus’ name. Amen
God bless you and keep you in his unfailing love,