Monday, July 4, 2011

Prodigal Father

       I'm planning on doing a series on the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-31). I love this parable. It's full of meaning, promise, and forgiveness! There's so much to this story than meets the eye. I hope you're blessed by my study and work. I've been blessed and I've just started digging deeper. I attended a church here in Washington, Pennsylvania. I believe it's called Covenant Life Fellowship Church. I don't know the pastor's name, but much of my discoveries and articles will include insights I received from the sermon in church Sunday! Just giving credit where credit is due.

       One of the definitions of prodigal is "lavishly abundant; giving or yielding profusely." In the Parable of the Lost Son, the prodigal son was lavishly abundant with his spending. He spent his inheritance on worldly things. To pain the picture a bit more clearly, I'm going to define lavish and abundant in case anyone is unclear about the definitions. (Yes, I know a lot of you know the definitions but just in case. Besides, when I'm doing a word study or research, I look up 1293812093810298310 words after I look up one just to be 100% clear on the subject. By the way, that was just a rough estimation.--^ ;))

       Lavish means "Using or giving in great amounts; to expend or give in great amounts or without limit." Example: The prodigal son was lavish of his money. He spent most of it.

       Abundant means "Present in great quantity; more than adequate; oversufficient; well suplied, abounding; richly supplied." Example: The prodigal son had an abundant amount of money. Putting the two words together: The prodigal son had an abundant amount of money and he chose to be lavish of his money. Hope you're all clear on the two words, now!

      Have you ever considered that the term "prodigal" can be used in a positive way? Have you ever considered calling Jesus, "the prodigal Father"? No, it doesn't compare Him to the prodigal son. It means he is "lavishly abundant" with His grace. He gives it profusely! (By the way, profusely means "spending or giving freelin and in larege amount, often to excess; made or done freely and abundantly".)

      When you stop and consider His mercy, it's completely overwhelming! He grants us forgivness and mercy unconditionally. It's neverending! We always have the oppurtunity to turn back to Him. We're not "too far off the path" or "to far down the hole". Chris Tomlin sings, "Our God is a God who saves" in his song, Let God Arise. Don't give up. Don't drown in shame because you think you can't be saved. It's never too late to turn back around. (Well, you have to turn around while you're still alive... I'm not justifying leaving His path because you can always turn back. You have to make the most of your time. There may not be a tomorrow. My point is to show you His mercy. You're not past the point of saving."

       Remember when the disciples were in the boat during a storm and Jesus was asleep? The frantically begged Him to do something. What did Jesus say? "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" (Mark 4:40) He completely calmed the storm with three words. This may seem completely irrelevant but I do have a point!

        When we choose to walk back to His path, we may encounter pits trying to turn us around. We'll become completely engulfed in shame and we may refuse to accept His mercy. Just as Jesus said to the disciples, He says to you, "Do you still have no faith?" Have faith that He gives His mercy to you. He died for every single one of your sins before you were born, before you even knew what sins you would commit. He forgives you.

       His forgiveness is a gift. You can choose to leave it unwrapped, on the shelf, and collecting dust or you can unwrap and receive His gift. You can't do anything to earn it. You'd have to be perfect just as Christ was. That's impossible. Receive His grace, mercy, and forgivness. He loves you.

       I encourage you to read Psalms 136. The phrase "His love endures forever" is repeated twenty-six times. (The NIV, however, says "His love endures forever." Love shows mercy. I encourage you to look this chapter up in several versions. I like the New Kings James Version. I find it more accurate.)

       Luke 1:50 says, "His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation."

       "It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy." (Romans 9:16)
       "But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incopmarable riches of his grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:4-7)

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for Your mercy! I didn't do anything to deserve You or Your forgiveness, yet You give it anyway. I'm sorry for wandering off Your path. I see now that Your path grants more freedom. You hurt when I walk away. I'm sorry. I love you and I'm so thankful for Your love and mercy. It's new everyday.

Praise Your Merciful and Forgiving Name,


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