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The Word For Today

Lessons from the Prodigal Son (2)

The Prodigal Son told his father, 'I want it all, now!' To know whether something is good for you or not, you need to understand where the desire for it came from. Loving parents don't give their children things because they cry for them; they reward them for acting responsibly. They know what's age-appropriate. And God is a loving parent. We all know good, well-intentioned people whose talents elevated them. Yet they crashed and burned because of some immature, undisciplined area in their life.

Please listen to your heavenly Father and don't leave home until He says you're ready! The Prodigal 'wasted his substance with riotous living.' Note the word 'substance'. Satan is after more than your material possessions: he's after your character, your self-esteem, your staying power, and your life's purpose. Like the Prodigal Son, you can reach a place where you lose your very desire for life itself. It's possible to bask in the accolades of others and think you're going places in life, yet be only a few steps from the pig sty. The Bible says, '...He...joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine' (Luke 15:15 KJV). Note the word 'joined'. To gauge where you are spiritually, look at who you're 'joined' to. The company you keep is like a compass that points you in the direction you're headed. And that compass doesn't lie.

But there's hope. When the Prodigal Son returned home, his father was waiting for him with open arms. And your heavenly Father is waiting for you too, so come while you still can.


Soulfood : 2 Cor 11:16-13:14, Lk 1:11-25, Ps 8, Prov 16:8-11


Lessons from the Prodigal Son (1)

The Prodigal Son made two mistakes:

(1) He rejected his father's authority. The first step that gets you into trouble is the one that takes you away from God. Like the Prodigal Son, you leave home saying, 'Give me.' And if you're fortunate enough to survive your own best thinking, you come back home saying, 'Forgive me.' God loves you. Everything you need, He has already provided!

(2) He left his father's house. The devil will do whatever it takes to get you out from under God's influence and protection. He'll put a restless spirit in you so that nothing makes you happy. Two areas he will work the hardest to generate discontent in are: (a) your marriage. That's why you constantly need to work on it. The reason there are weeds in your garden instead of roses is because you don't spend enough time working there. Your marriage isn't just a covenant before God, it's a shelter for your passions and dysfunctions. Furthermore, that 'other person', who looks so attractive to you, has baggage, too. And when they move in, they'll bring it with them! (b) your church. Who feeds you spiritually? Who monitors your growth in God? Would you let your children stay home from school because they don't like the teacher or don't want to learn? Come on, be sensible! God says His Word is like '...a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces' (Jeremiah 23:29 NKJV). When the hammer of God's Word falls in church next Sunday morning - you need to be under it. You should say, 'I was glad when they said unto me, "Let us go into the house of the Lord"' (Psalms 122:1 NKJV).


Soulfood : 2 Cor 9:1-11:15, Lk 1:1-10, Ps 144:9-15, Prov 16:4-7


Your Faith is a Catalyst

A catalyst facilitates change; it makes things happen! For example, Alka-Seltzer without water has no effervescence, flour without yeast produces no bread, seeds without sunshine means no flowers, blue without yellow means no green, an egg without sperm means no baby, a spark without air produces no flame. Faith makes God's Word work in your life. Without it, nothing happens.

Talking about the Israelites, Paul said, 'When the good news of deliverance...came to them...the message...did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith.' Kristin Armstrong says: 'Without specific catalysts certain results can never be achieved. To make spiritual progress, it's not enough to read the Bible or listen to sermons. The activating ingredient to understanding is faith. After we hear God's message, we must act on it...Maybe you're experiencing bitterness or anger because of a failed relationship and God told you to put those emotions behind you, but you lack the will to do it. Let me encourage you; trust God's Word and act in faith. His promises will bloom in your life, once you activate your faith.'

Faith is not intellectual assent, or paying lip service to what you read in God's Word. It's acting on it, confident that God will do what He promised. There's a difference between faith and trust. You may believe a chair will hold you, but, only when you sit down and put your full weight on it, are you trusting it. Getting the idea?

Soulfood : 2 Cor 5-8, Mk 16, Ps 144:1-8, Prov 16:1-3

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