I was just thinking of the story of the Prodigal Son. Have you ever considered how we are so much like the sons in this parable? This parable is one of the most familiar and beloved of all Christ's parables. There are many lessons we can learn from this parable. The main character is the younger brother, who depicts many of us today. We are not satisfied with what The LORD has done in our lives. We are safe, saved, we have our health, provisions, peace, and protection. All these things He has graciously given us (Phil.4:19), yet we become victims to the seducer and fall victim of Satan’s oldest trick, the lust of the flesh (1 John 2:16).
As in the parable, we go to our Heavenly Father and pray for His blessings. He abundantly and graciously grants us our heart's desires (Ps.37:4). Then we soon abandon wisdom, prudence, and the Holy Spirit in the handling of our blessings. And we find ourselves a victim, helpless, hungry and almost hopeless. All the while, our all-knowing Heavenly Father watches and waits patiently until the time we come to ourselves and return to Him (Lk.15:17).
Then there's the Prodigal’s brother who remained at home (Lk.15:29). He serves the Father physically but half-heartedly. He refuses to join in his father's celebration and joy in the return of his son. He shows contempt, not real love, over the return of his father's lost son's repentance. He disregards the fact this is his brother, who once was lost is now found (Lk.15:30-31).
We have all been prodigal people one time or another, either at home or away, mentally, physically, and most unfortunately spiritually. Luke 15:28 helps us to examine ourselves. How do you respond when you see a repentant sister or brother return to the fold (Lk. 15:7, 10)? Or, is it just about the fish and the loaves of bread? Which Brother are you?
Think on these things…
Pray for Pastors everywhere
— Sister Catherine Raphael
THE RAPID CHANGES IN OUR WORLD can give us a sense of unease and uncertainty. We can be thrown off balance by the suffering we see around us, the evolving technology that outpaces our ability to absorb it, and the daily rise and fall of financial markets. Sometimes what seems worthwhile to us today has less value tomorrow.
As problems mount, we can become discouraged and lose heart. But basing all our hope on man’s ability to solve problems or modify a situation is not the answer. We can achieve only temporary peace when we alter our own circumstances or adjust our outward behavior.
The root problem in our culture is spiritual—namely, man has a sin nature that is at enmity with God. Sin prompts us to look out for ourselves and pursue what we want. Neither our intellect nor talent could have changed our sinful state or brought us peace with God. However, those who trust Jesus as Savior receive a new nature and are reconciled to the Lord. As His adopted children, we not only are at peace with Him but also have been given the power to live in harmony with one another.
No matter how much life changes, we can have hope, for we are anchored to a firm foundation that will never be shaken (Isaiah 28:16).
Remember, the believer’s hope rests in the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our heavenly Father knows each of us by name (Isaiah 43:1). Our Savior keeps every divine promise (2 Cor. 1:20). And the Holy Spirit assures us that we are secure in Christ, both in this life and the one to come.
—Dr. Charles Stanley, In Touch Ministries
This Month's Scripture
Scripture: Hebrews 4:12
The Bible holds supreme authority by virtue of its Author, who is the King of creation and thus Ruler over all the earth. The Bible’s authority is inherent in its every word. Scripture is God’s revelation in history. Just as there is no higher authority in an earthly kingdom than a king, there is no higher authority you and I can appeal to than the Word of God in God’s kingdom.
The Bible’s authority is timeless. For example, when we read in Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before Me,”this command has the very same force behind it today that it had when God first thundered these words to Moses more than three thousand years ago. Unfortunately one problem I see as a pastor today is that people disregard God’s Word because to them, it’s just ink on a page.
Our problem is that we weren’t there when God first spoke His Word—because if we had been there, we wouldn’t be so casual about it. To get an idea of the terror that gripped Moses and all of Israel when God gave His commandments, read Hebrews 12:18-21. Even Moses said, “I’m so scared that I can barely even stand” (loosely translated).
The Bible is not simply words about God, it is the Word of God. Many people learn about God from the Bible, which is good—but that is not where you are to stop. The Word of God is the voice of God in print. It is active and alive and sharper than a two-edged sword, able to reach and instruct the deepest recesses and core of who you are (Hebrews 4:12).
Reflection: Do you find yourself convicted by the thought that you, too, take the Word of God too casually? Read and meditate on Hebrews 4:12. Spend some time in prayer thanking God for the Bible—and spend some time reading it.
Your Word, God, is powerful. Your authority is all-inclusive. Grant me grace as I study Your Word to understand and apply it in my life each day.