Finding Purpose in the Parables-The Prodigal Son (Part 3)

And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

Luke 15:15-19

The younger son was learning a hard lesson. Life was easier when he was with his father, but he did work. Yet he was not given anything. Even the swine were better off.  He hit rock bottom. In my last post, I mentioned that sometimes you have you go though and endure a storm before you can see the blessing.  Verse 18 starts “And when he came to himself”, the younger son was starting to realize that life really was better when he was back at home. But his thinking was that he would have to settle to be only a servant and not be the son anymore.

I John 1:9 states: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

We are indeed not worthy to receive the blessings and grace from our Lord. But Jesus wants the best for us and will freely give to us the things that we do not deserve. The younger son did see a future, he knew he sinned and hoped for the best. We need to have this same positive outlook on life also and hope for the best. But know that we have a Just God who will meets all our needs!

In my next post, I will discuss the reaction of the father and the older brother when the prodigal son comes home.

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Finding Purpose in the Parables- The Prodigal Son (Part 2)

And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

Luke 15:13-14

As I continue this study about the parable of the Prodigal Son, let’s look at what happens when the younger son want to go into “the world” Now, I am not a fan of “Reality TV” but it seems to me that the plot of all these shows is to  watch all these crazy people compete for large sums of money doing tasks that are greatly outside the norm. Do you think fans of American Idol are think about God’s Second Commandment while they are watching a show about fame and fortune. Sure that’s an extreme statement that may be taken out of context, but think about it. Would Jesus be a fan of a show with the word “Idol” in it?

In verse 13, we see the younger son “waste”. He is not using wisdom, he is not doing what his father would approve of. He is at Burger King where he lives by its motto-Have it your way! ( OK, I used this expression in a previous post but it seemed appropriate to repeat it again) And when he had spent all, guess what happens? A famine comes, (what a coincidence!)

There’s a popular expression that is all over social media that can be compared to the younger son’s dilemma.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it ‘s about  learning  how to dance in the rain. – Vivian Greene

Sometimes the best solutions are found when we are uncomfortable. Tomorrow, we will examine the younger son’s  next move in this struggle for survival.

 

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Finding Purpose in the Parables-The Prodigal Son

I am very excited about the future of this Devotional Journal. As I share my passion to better serve my Lord and Savior, I discovered that I can experience an AHA moment every day! So I want to share these moments with you my fellow readers and rejoice in all the blessings he has and is preparing to offer. As I continue to grow and become more aware of my own True Purpose, I know my life will be greatly altered as a result.

In one of my recent posts: I Will Never be Superman But I am Proud to be a Child of God.( https://truepurpose.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/i-will-never-be-superman-but-i-am-proud-to-be-a-child-of-god/) I discovered that the Word of God can really open your eyes to a greater understanding of who God is and our place in his Will. I always knew that the Bible is powerful but now I am beginning to understand how to capture this power to fulfill God’s purpose for my life.

So this week I am going to start a series on the Parables of Jesus starting with the Parable of  the Prodigal Son. Let’s first look at the short parables that proceed the Prodigal Son Parable in Luke 15:

And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,

What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?

 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.

 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth

Luke 15:2-10

Notice the pattern of these  parables. Something was lost,  a sheep and a coin and when it was found there was  a great celebration. Jesus compares both these instances to a sinner that repented. Notice also that the individual loss attracts greater attention than those that are not lost.  Both the act of repentance and attention to the individual play prominent roles in the Prodigal Son Parable. Let’s continue with verse 11:

  And he said, A certain man had two sons:

And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

Luke 15:11-12

Some questions come up in my mind as the parable begins: Why would the father divide up “his living” to his two sons? Didn’t he realize that one of his sons would go on a spending spree and waste the money that was given to him? What was he thinking?

Well let’s think about this situation another way. The father knows his children very well but decides that its best that they learn life’s lessons on their own, whether it’s through wise decisions or by foolish actions. Isn’t  this is the same way God let’s us live our life? Sure, he warns us of evil, commands us to follow his laws, teaches us how to love and be loved, but as humans, do we always heed His counsel? No, not always. Yet God allows us to make our own mistakes however major or minor that they may be. And our mistakes and misfortunes are mostly a direct result of our own sin.

Tomorrow, I will continue this study and address the actions of the younger son.  Until then, it’s all good!

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A New Year to live out our True Purpose

I am working on a series that studies the parables of Jesus. God’s Word continues to be my final authority. I hope that my words are not of my own opinion but are solidly grounded on the Gospel of my Savior. As I get closer to His Word, the Lord will continue to mold me to where I need to be. I am excited to share His vision. Its all good!

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Duck….Now that I have your attention

Just a short post to not talk about any current controversy but to express that God never changes, never does any evil, and loves us more than we will ever realize on this side of Heaven. We must follow the example of  Jesus Christ and remain faithful to his Word. Some will try and say that Sin is not sin, good works are over-rated and that we must change with the times. But really…are we pleasers of Mankind or  do we want to please our Lord and Savior?

Plan of Action: Keep the Faith. We are in the majority if we are on the side of the Lord.

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I will never be Superman but I am proud to be a child of God

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Philippians 4:13

The Word of God is not something that can be taken lightly.  One verse can appear to mean several things at any given reading. But to truly understand what God is telling his Creation, we must do several things. Looking at the context of the passage is a good first step.

Looking at the above verse by itself, can give the impression that Paul is saying that he can do ALL things. He has become Superman with the strength of God and nothing can stop him. This sounds very promising but alas this is not what Paul is saying through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Now this is a popular verse that is quoted often in the Christian world. It is right up there in the top 10 with such memorable verses such as    Genesis 1:1,  John 3:16 and Roman 6:23. I am  very much in favor of learning to memorize Scripture but without a true sense of understanding, they can just become words.  And there was a time that I actually thought that this verse meant something similar to what I just described.

In a recent Sunday school class, we discussed this verse in length. But it was not until I was in a quiet time alone that the true meaning became crystal clear. And I had to smile at its simple application.

So before I share my AHA moment lets look at the verses that proceed verse 13

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

8 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Philippians 4:8-12

The whole book of Philippians has rich advice and most likely I will  return and write more about this Epistle in a future post.  But lets look at verse 8. This is food for thought in the best possible way! We know that all good things come from our Father in Heaven and this verse tells us to dwell on all of these types of things. Notice it does not tell to dwell on anything negative (like I wrote in my last post, “It’s all Good”)

Verse 9 reminds us not to just to think on these thing but also DO them ( reminds me of what James wrote:But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22

Verse 10  builds upon  the act of doing by sharing an example of the care that the Philippians expressed towards Paul.  In verse 11, he shares in essence that he is not a man of great desire but he is content with what he has. This leads us to verse 12 in which Paul states that he  knows how it is to be both rich and poor. Neither is wrong though.

Now for my AHA moment. As I was reading Philippians 4:13 on a piece of paper, I saw that I cannot do all things, but all the things that I do, I can do through Christ. And Christ will give me the strength to complete my doings. I do not need to even try to do things “on my own” That would be one way but not the best way, And why should I live by second best standards!

You notice how each verse builds up to what the following verse speaks of. Its truly amazing. I am proud of the life that God gave me. Am I content like Paul? Oh how I wish I could truly say this. But I know, it is possible for my life so I will just have to keep on living in his Will until he comes.

Plan of Action: What are things we can do on a daily basis to stay in God’s Will? I open up this discussion to you  my brothers and sisters…

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It is what it is or It’s all good?

So here is a random post to speak about two popular trains of thought: the enormously popular expression “It is what it is” and the almost as popular statement, “It’s all good.” You may think that both have it merits and  given the context of the conversation that prefaces the usage, it may just be the logical ends to the mean. However, I really do not like the “It is what it is” phrase. To me, it sounds so depressing.  Sure, this is simply just my opinion but after you read the next paragraph, you may very well agree with me.

Think about it for a moment. Let’s say something does not go as planned. (This happens to me on a regular basis, but that’s besides point.) Instead of having an attitude of thankfulness, its so easy to say (you know what) and resign to the fact that there was nothing that could be done to change it. That indeed.. the circumstances were beyond your control. It’s that “Oh well, such is life” state of mind that just drives me crazy every time I hear those 5 words of contentment : It is what it is….

I do not want to be just content. There is no joy at being content. Life is too short, precious, and full of purpose to just be…(you get the idea by now.) I want to take that frown and turn it upside down (when’s the last time you heard that one)  I want to give praise and glory to the one and only God though my trial and  tribulations and shout “It’s all good!”

Yes, I can truly say this expression on a daily basis because I know God has my back. He cares for me more that I care for myself. He turns all my trials to his will. One of my favorite verses from God’s Holy Bible give me this assurance:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

But here’s the key, we must love God. We must be called according to his purpose, living in the middle of His will and our True Purpose or all things will not work together for good.

But I can mean it when I say (and yes, I will proudly exclaim it again) It’s all Good!  I am standing on the promises of God on a daily basis and I don’t want to go back to the ways of a hopeless lost individual. I am not lost anymore and that the point.

Plan of Attack: Its time to jump up and shout. Praise God and Glory to his name, I am a child of God!  Don’t let anyone discourage you. You are worth more that many sparrows! You have a home in Heaven if you belong to the family of God. Yes, my brothers and sisters.. it is indeed All Good

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Just Sayin’ Part 3

So in this post, I want to make a statement:  I would rather be in Heaven that spend another moment on Earth!

Wait, that sounds kind of depressing, Do I have a Death Wish? Is  life so bad that I wish it to be over so I can really ‘start living.”

 No, No No!

So what am I really trying to say here? Well I am glad you asked!’

I do wish the that I were in Heaven with Jesus. Given the choice of what all this world offers , I think many people would agree with me. But here where this post starts to get confusing ( Sure,  you are thinking. Is Michael going to make a point here because he is about to lose my attention.)

My hope is that we, members of the Family of God: Witness, share the good news, plant the seed ( I really like this analogy), let the Holy Spirit convict sinner to fully trust Jesus, and become what God needs us to be. If we all work together everyone will have  the opportunity to make the real choice between Heaven and Hell and Jesus will take his family home to Heaven.

The Bible spells out that there is a great tribulation period where God will pour out his wrath among the unbelievers. Some people say that we will be living during a part of the Tribulation Period. But I believe that before his Wrath begins, God will bring his children home. In Christian Circles this is called the Rapture. ( Ok The word Rapture is not in the Bible. The word Dinosaur in not in the Bible either but that does not mean that they did not exist.)

I am just sayin that with all the world events, its time to prepare for our departure but keep working until he does come.

Ok this sounds a lot like my last post but .. well I just have to keep working even harder to serve my Lord. There will be a day when it will be too late for the unbeliever. I truly do not wish Hell on anyone!

I know the world is not my home. Until the next time, it’s all good

 

Michael

 

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Is This the End?

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 
Matthew 24:6

 In this Journal, I try to write about the big picture and stay away from current events. But today, I want to address some world issues that are quite disturbing: the US Government is currently shut down and  there are military conflicts in many countries including, Afghanistan and Syria Although these situations seem unusual, these events are just what we call “a sign of the times” Does this mean the end is near?  That’s a tough question to answer as Christ said no one (except God) really know when the end will come. But a better question to ask is ” What can I do to fulfill the will of God before the end does come?”

If we truly want to make a difference in this world, we need to follow the commands of our creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. His last commandment, called the Great Commission, can keep us very busy if we truly work at it.

Matthew 28:16-20

 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

We are commanded to make more disciples out of all the world’s people. This is what Christ did while He was in this world. We are to carry on the work until He comes.
When He does come, it will be too late for the people who rejected Jesus as their Savior. This is the simple truth. Yet why do so many people refuse to believe it? This is not for me to decide.
Many people who read this  will not believe that Jesus, is our only hope will say that I am the liar and that I do not understand the real reasons we are on this planet. Does this bother me?
No, because I know the truth! I only have love for all the people of the world for no matter how much hate, disbelief  or uncaring attitudes many will have towards the one true God, they are not the enemy!  They are all deceived in believing a lie.
Now I will fail from time to time in my journey. But I have hope that even these words that come from God will lead others on the road to heaven. God writes that His Word will not return void! (Isaiah 55:11)
Plan of Attack: The book of Ecclesiastes states that there is nothing new under the sun. As a reader of this Journal, you may have heard all of what I have written before. Yet are we all doing all that we can to lead our family, friends, coworkers and others to Christ? I know I still need strength from God in this area. I challenge you,( dear reader) to stop making excuses and just proclaim His Word! Only God can save others from hell, but we can plant the seed.  Let’s keep planting!
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What is our Reasonable Service?

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Romans 12:1

If you have followed the posts in this devotional journal, you will notice that discovering our True Purpose, is not what you can get out of life. It is mostly about what we can give to others, starting with the realization that without Christ, we are nothing. We cannot do good on our own because there is no “good” in us! It is only by accepting Jesus as the only true hope, that we can make any difference in this world. To many this just does not make any sense.  Paul writes that the rest of the world that does not believe that Jesus is Lord, will call the wisdom of God as foolishness.

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.                         1  Corinthians 2:14

This leads to my question of what God expects from his children; our reasonable service to our Lord. It starts with our living sacrifice. Jesus paid the price for our sin by his Death. We must live by example so others will see come to the knowledge of the truth. We cannot save anyone, but we can and must plant the seed of Salvation and let the Holy Spirit take over and complete the mission.

We must present our bodies as holy. We (our bodies) are the temple, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. We can not defile it or can not serve its purpose.

Our body must be acceptable unto God. God has high expectations for us, he wants the best for all that we do. but if we choose to go against the basic principles that he has given us, how can we be deemed as acceptable. I am very grateful that when I stray from my path, I can turn (repent) and get back on the right course. God forgives and then forgets our sins as if we never committed them.

If we truly serve our Lord in Spirit and in Truth, with our whole heart, and not by just going though the motions, then the Lord will accept our reasonable service.

But is that it? I believe that this is just the beginning.

Plan of Attack: For most of my adult life, my life verse has been II Timothy 2:4-No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

We need  to go beyond what is expected of us and serve him to truly please him. We need to act more like soldiers in this time of war! There is no room for error when we are stationed on the front lines. We need to separate our lives with the world and become totally committed to the Cause for Christ.

Yes, this is easy to write, we know what is best. Do we really believe what is best? Do we truly trust God? I will fail in in my quest at times. I am not using all the weapons  or talents that God has given me. But Praise the Lord, He is still working on me, molding me and guiding me to stay on the straight and narrow path.  Am I up for the challenge?Sometimes, I am not. This attitude needs to change and by God’s Grace. and his everlasting love ,I will become stronger and more dedicated to his will.

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