Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Slave to the father


Luke 15:21-22"And the son said to him, 'Father I have sinned against Heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
Here we have the son not wavering. That is even after he felt the love, compassion of his father, he still confesses his sin. Have you ever decides to confess...then never do it? He is also ready to take the punishment...,if you will, of his sins. Willing to become a slave of his father. He recognized that being a slave of his father was better than being free and working...for "others". Did you notice that concept? It is better to be a slave to the "Father" than to be free... and working for others...or ourselves. So many times we don't realize that it is better to obey God and follow Him; than to have the freedom...that we think we have, the freedom of the world... or for us the freedom...of living in the U.S. Now it is hard for us to understand this slave thing.
So what I'm going to do is give a few verses that will help us.
Gal.4:9 "But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be know of God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?"
Rom.6:16-19 "Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the ones who you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves to sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you presented your members as slave to impurity and lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification."
As the Apostle Paul says, "a bond servant of our Lord Jesus Christ".

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A good feeling


"So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long ways off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran, and embraced him and kissed him." Luke 15:20. This is a wonderful verse for us to comprehend. But before we dive in to understanding this verse let's recall our story. A man's son demands his inheritance, now. The father grants his son's request and the son leaves. Let's think a little here, do you think that this was all done with no conflict? Or maybe not on the fathers side but how about the son...what kind of character did he have...It seems he did not leave on good terms... The son goes to a different land and spends his inheritance on loose living. Now he is on his way back home, coming up the driveway if you will. No phone call, no e-mail, not even snail mail. He just comes. His father sees him. Let's stop there for know.
As with all stories it is hard to understand the deep thoughts...of a character in the story. Sometimes we see a little bit, in their reactions in the story. Today we are going to focus on the father. What kind of man was he? Now guys this is a good example for us. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him." Most often when one is disobeyed....sinned against...betrayed...there is the feeling of hurt...un-trust, displeasure, bitterness. anger and even hatred. You see this father did not display these things, in fact I like what is said, " felt compassion for him."
What does it mean compassion? It is a word that I myself, have a problem to grasp and practice. It involves words like mercy and sympathy, but with a sense to help...make better...; maybe not just a sense but the actual doing. It may even include forgiveness. So many times when one is going through trials...or sin it is hard to feel compassion for them. You see this father felt compassion right away, I would even venture to say he was waiting for his son to come back. No matter how, when...he came. The important thing was that he came back. To feel compassion, do you understand that it is a feeling. And yes it is a good feeling. Too many times we as men are hard nosed...we lack compassion...we lack feeling...we even lack in our thinking, that it is not a good thing to feel compassion...we don't try to understand compassion or the feeling. We might even think of it as a weakness but it is not. O.K. Guys did you notice what he did when he met his son? That's right he embraced him. That means he hugged him! For some of us that is hard, we don't show our feelings that way. But it is important! It shows a tenderness...and love...much more than words, a hand shake or gifts can show. Now that kissing thing, I will let you figure it out on your own. Remember the parable of the good Samaritan? Luke 10:30-36. How he felt compassion on the man; that was beaten and robbed. How the Samaritan helped him, got him well... That is another good example of compassion. So let's work on compassion! Sometimes men we need to work on it in our own homes! We lack compassion in the everyday living of life. Now men there is an area that most of us struggle with. That is compassion toward our wives or even girls. O how important it is to feel compassion. O how important it is to show compassion. Do them both! Compassion it is a good feeling!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Victory


Sin, continued sin...does all kinds of things. It can have far reaching affects. It can make you not to think right...It can even go so deep that you can lose hope. This next phrase "I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men." This is also said when he came to his senses. He recognized that his deeds were of such that the shame... also affected his family. He also recognized that he needed to be back with his family even if it meant to become a hired hand.
Sometimes the guilt of sin is so strong, you have a hard time lifting up your head. It is so strong that it was hard to go before God...Have you ever felt that way? That what you have done was so bad that, you think God could not forgive you. Well we know that God through His son Jesus Christ forgives...You see he was sent to bring us back, to pay the price of our sin...all, every kind..., to heal us...teach us...give us life...
So many times one who has sinned...then comes to his senses...repents to God...That one has a hard time coming back to "church". He may have the sense of not being worthy... Have you experienced what I'm talking about? That a feeling of contempt is there... Sometimes we, the "church", put conditions to prove... that one has really repented. I'm not talking about the need to stay away from...a situation that will tempt you to sin. But we step back...we may even say, ' Let's see if there is any fruits..." or even 'just wait he'll be back where he was before.' Sometimes we just hold back. We inside the "church" lose hope in that person...
You see there is a war going on that we cannot see. And sometimes the battle is right before us or a few blocks away and we don't even know. Sometimes the battle is in our home and we don't even know. Then there is a break through for our side we hear the news and guess what we don't believe it...or we just let it pass as having no significance. Sometimes we can't get over the hurt...we may even think that there should be punishment...payback... When we turn back to God or when one turns back to God...or repents...asks forgiveness...there is a victory! We need to be shouting...praising...not sitting back with a look of unbelief. Yes, sometimes things happen...it may not seem real after a period of time. But we need to be up lifting... and encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ. Helping each other on our Christian walk. Let's face it tomorrow I will need forgiveness, I'm a sinful man, I will also need encouragement...to help me in my Christian walk. Isn't this true of most/all of us?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Admitting


We ended with the young man in our story coming to his senses. We talked about him taking action "getting up". But there is another important part of coming to one's senses. We see that in our story in verse 18b "Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight." One must recognize that one has sinned against God. It is a hard concept to grasp, even for Christians. For the most part we think that we sin only against other persons or people. When one comes to his senses, he grasps this truth of one sins against God first. Psalm 51:4"Against You, You alone, I have sinned and done what is evil in your sight." You see we need God's forgiveness of our sins...because it is His law...that we break...It is Him who will forgive us, heal us, restore us... bring us back into fellowship with Him... It is in His son Jesus Christ that we have forgiveness of our sins and everlasting life. So when one sins...no matter how small or insignificant or big...we sin against God.
Now as we continue our discussion we also need to recognize that sometimes we do sin against others. That when we break God's law...sometimes when we do it involves persons or people. Guess what? Yes, we need to take care of business with those affected too. Yes, we need to ask for forgiveness! Just like how sin affects our relationship with God so does our sin affect our relationship with others we sin against. Now when we ask for forgiveness we admit the wrongful action, deed...Now here's the deal that person has a choice, to forgive or not to forgive. It is important to ask for forgiveness of people but one must note that people are not like God who "is faith and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1John1:9b. Also people cannot cleanse us from our sin....only God can do that! But we need to forgive each other we are commanded to. The Lord's prayer and read Matt.18:21-35. It is for our good...restoring, healing...because bad things...can come about when forgiveness is not asked or given. Have you ever experienced the power of being forgiven? The relief...not being condemned or owing... the weight is lifted. The relationship being restored! You know this goes both ways, for being forgiven and also giving forgiveness. Forgiveness what a wonderful thing.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Coming to one's senses

"And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving any to him." As we continue on, we see that this young man is now willing to eat food fed to pigs. From being well to do to being in rags. Now we must remember that there were days in between these two ends. That this down ward spiral had days of hard times...stress. What happen to all his friends...as we mentioned before he is alone. No one to give him even pig food...You know when you are going wayward...most of the time it seems alright. You say to yourself, it's ok, nothing is happening...it feels good, I'm happy...We even find people to tell us that it's alright...we even associate with people doing/acting...the same way.
"But when he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger.' Don't you just like that phrase, "But when he came to his senses"? So many times we need to come to our sense. You know what I mean? We need to think, true thinking(Gods way...), not relying on our wisdom or wisdom of the times... Have you ever made choices in life that effected you greatly? We are talking about wrong choices or decisions not just sinful choices. Being not waiting, spending above your means, going where you should have not gone...You see we all are being pulled...For this young man the pull was hard, and it took him a long time before he came to his senses. I know in my life sometimes it took me a long time to come to my senses in some areas of my thinking. While others were easy for me, we are all different. So are you in the storm, being beaten down...maybe know is the time to come to your senses. Let's say the storm is about relationships, marriage, parenting, friends...and things are just not going well. It is hard to come to your senses here, to change yourself. That is to initiate a Godly change of putting on love...That you will forgive, that you will ask for forgiveness, that you will take a look at your own way of thinking...and change. That you will be willing to suffer for the cause of Christ.
For it is important when you come to your sense to start doing. Hopefully I 'm not the only one who has come to his senses...wanting to change...and to be better...do better...thinking of what to do..., all with good intentions, then don't do them. Do you know what I mean? Or sometimes I start out doing and then slowly go back to the way it was before. It is hard. It is hard to change. It is hard to let other know that you were not think right...not acting right...even if we are only changing our actions. We do not like to admit we were wrong...we were not thinking right...You see the young man in our story, came to his senses and said, "I will get up and go to my father". You see when one comes to his senses, he doesn't just stay there, he get's up and reacts.
For him it was to go back home to his father. He had to leave where he was and go back to where he left. So many times we need to go back or turn back to God. That is we need to go away from where we are now. Let us remember that in this situation, the young man is in rebellion...He moved into harms way. For some the storm that blows is for us to endure, to put more trust in God. For our young man, now he has a long journey home, walking...with a lot of time on his hand to think... You know guys it is hard to admit a wrong, never mind a continued wrong. It is even harder to admit that we are sinful...and not good...It is hard to admit that we need Jesus Christ. It's true these decisions are hard for us, but the love of God through Jesus Christ, will heal you and restore you! So he came to his senses and took action.