The Lost Son II

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. ‘The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ ‘But the Father said to his servants, Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him, put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. Your brother has come, ‘he replied,’ and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. You never gave me a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this so on yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him?’ “My son, the father said, ‘you are always with me, everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'” (Luke 20-31)

The Father responds in a way that the younger son does not expect. He receives him back and lavishes him with a robe, ring, sandals, and a feast. These four things are a “sign of position and acceptance.” The best robe was most likely the Father’s. He not only gave him his robe but a ring. This was probably the families signet ring which was very valuable. The sandals signify that he is not seen as a slave, but a son. A feast happened to celebrate something important. This feast was for the son’s homecoming.

Next we see the how the older son responds to his brother coming back home. The older son was angry over how the Father responded to the younger son. He didn’t think it was fair. He had been faithfully serving his Father. Why didn’t he get special treatment like the younger son received? This is a picture of how the Pharisees viewed how Jesus treated those who were sinners. They were self righteous and didn’t see themselves as sinners too.

Which one of the characters in the story do you most relate to? Is it the Father (God), the younger son (sinners), or the older son (the Pharisees). Take some time to pray and ask God what he would like you to learn from this parable. Let’s not only understand the Word but seek to live it out today.


The Lost Son

Jesus went on to share another parable. “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all that he had, set off for a distant country and there he squandered his wealth on wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of the country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but not one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:11-20)

Another name for the lost son would be prodigal. A prodigal is one who “spends their money or substance with wasteful extravagance.” This is exactly what the younger son does with his inheritance. He wastes it on wild living. He doesn’t just spend some of the money but he uses up all his inheritance. I wonder how long it took to burn through all that money. However long it took, he then found himself in great need. He had nothing left and there was a severe famine on top of that. “Without God, we squander our resources and energies till we are void and empty.”

The son then tries to find a job. The only job he could find was feeding pigs. For anyone, this would be a dirty job. For a Jew, it was even worse because pigs were seen as unclean. The son was so hungry that he wanted to eat the pods that he was feeding the pigs. This brought him to think about his father’s servants and how they were being treated. They had food to eat everyday.

The son’s idea was to go home, confess his sins and become a servant in his father’s home. So he journeyed back home. As he coming upon the property of his father’s, his dad saw him and came running. Before he could even say a word, the father hugs and kisses him! Oh what compassion and great love the father had for his son. He didn’t scold him or reject him, He instead receives him back from being lost to now being found!

What about you? How did the Father receive you when you were ready to confess your sinful ways? Take some time to journal about it and think through the ways he compassionately received you. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)


Finding the Lost

Lately, as I have been reading and meditating on the gospels, I am struck by Jesus’ care and compassion for the lost. Jesus was always doing the opposite of what the Pharisees expected. We will see this very thing as we look at the parable of the lost sheep.

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has one hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it , he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says ,’Rejoice with me; for I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. (Luke 15:1-7)

The Pharisees couldn’t grasp why on earth Jesus would spend time with sinners and tax collectors. A Pharisee’s life was spent following the letter of law. They believed they were righteous because of all of the things that they did. Because of this they were very proud people. Jesus said another parable about this subject. “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.” But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ Jesus responds by saying, I tell you that this man, rather than the other went home justified before God.(Luke 18:10-14)

Jesus left the ninety nine to come and find you and me. We were the one missing and Jesus came after us and found us. This is how I felt when I first became a believer. He had allowed difficult circumstances that drew me right into His arms of grace. I was out and about looking for love and acceptance in everyone and everything other than Him. But God in His great mercy allowed me to enter a week of trails to bring me to Himself. I was the one sinner who repented, who turned away from an ungodly lifestyle to follow after Him. How did Jesus come after you? How did your life turn around after you met Jesus face to face?

Jesus rejoices over us! He is excited when one person who was lost is found. It tells us in Zephaniah 3:17 that God rejoices over us with joyful songs! Do you get excited when someone you know comes into the Kingdom of God? Do you find yourself telling other people about it? Today, think about someone who is lost and pray that they would be found. Ask God if he might use you to intervene in that person’s life. Let’s be a channel of compassion, and seek and find the lost.


You are Invited

When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” Jesus replied: A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, Come, for everything is now ready.’ “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go see it. Please excuse me.’ ‘Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Still another said,’I just got married, so I can’t come.’ “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ ” ‘Sir, the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’ ” (Luke 14:15-24)

Back in the first century those who had large banquets would send out invitations to his neighbors and friends. Once the meal was ready a servant would go around and collect those who said yes to the invitation. As we see in the story, all who were invited began making excuses as to why they couldn’t now come. One said he just bought field that he had to see. Another said he had to try out his oxen. The other said he was just married.

The Jews during Jesus’ day were invited to the feast to end all feasts but they rejected the invitation also. So Jesus opens up his invitation to the Gentiles. Those that are poor, lame, crippled, are invited to the feast. Jesus made the invitation clear about the Kingdom of God in Mark 1:15. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” In Revelations we are told that there will be a wedding supper and all who believe in Christ are invited. “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean was given for her to wear,” Then the angel said to me, Blessed are those who are invited to wedding supper of the Lamb!” (Rev. 19:7-9)

You have been invited to the wedding supper of the lamb! Will you receive the invitation and go or will you turn away because other things in life have become more important than Jesus. You are invited! Will you come?!


Do Not Worry

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than the birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very thing, why do you worry about the rest. Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you – you of little faith. (Luke 12:22-28)

The greek word for worry is merimnao. It means to care, be anxious, troubled, and to take thought. How often do you find yourself worrying throughout your day? What do you find yourself worrying about? Is it about your family, work, or finances? I find myself sometimes worrying about my children and their safety. I pray for them but then I go another step and begin worrying about them. Sometimes they stay out late and I worry that they could get into an accident. Other times I worry about their future and what it will look like for them. All of the worrying in the world won’t change anything. It only ties us up in knots on the inside. It also impacts our walk with God. Are we really trusting him when we choose to worry?

Philippians 4:6 reminds us: “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Our prayer life and trust in God takes away our worry and anxiety. As we put our trust in what God can do in and through our circumstances, he fills us with his supernatural peace.

How is your level of peace today? Are you anxious about many things? Proverbs 14:30 tells us, “A heart of peace gives life to the body.” Take time to list out what you have been anxious about and take each one to the Lord. One thing that I do is I’ve started a list of prayer requests on one side of my journal and answered prayer on the other. I love being able to write in an answered prayer! I pray earnestly believing that God will work in the circumstances that I am facing and I’m greatly encouraged to see answers. May God fill you with His peace today as you seek to entrust all your cares to Him.


Choose What Is Better

“As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chose what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

The first woman we meet in this story is Martha. She is found opening up her home to Jesus. I think Martha was exhibiting the gift of hospitality. This is something we are exhorted to do in the scriptures. In Romans 12:13 Paul tells us, “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” In 1Peter 4:9 it also tells us, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

The next woman we meet is her sister Mary. She is found at the feet of Jesus soaking in his powerful and life giving teaching. Mary took the stance of a disciple. Disciples took time to listen intently to what the rabbi, or teacher communicated.

This behavior did not set right with Martha. I think she felt overwhelmed by the many preparations of the meal. She felt this so strongly that she came to Jesus with her concern. She wondered why her sister didn’t seem to care about helping her. Jesus lovingly responds. He actually says Martha’s name twice as if to make a point. He knew she was worried and upset about many things. Jesus said only one thing is needed. Mary chose what was better, and it will not be taken from her.

So Jesus doesn’t tell Mary to help out in the kitchen. He is quite happy with her choice to be at his feet learning and gleaning wisdom. He says that she made the better choice. Being with Jesus is more important than preparing and serving a meal. It’s actually more important than most things we find ourselves doing these days.

How often during the week would you say you spend time in Jesus’ presence? Do you take time to actually listen to what he wants to say to you? Is hearing from him valuable to you? Do you write down what Jesus is saying to your heart? This is a practice that I’ve done more consistently in the past though I want to revive in my life once again. We have so many voices speaking daily. It could be from the news, our offices, or our homes. Many voices are competing for the most important voice which is Christ!

Take some time today to listen to what Jesus wants to say to you. Linger in His beautiful presence. Quiet yourself so you can hear His voice speaking to you. Choose what is better.


Who is my neighbor?

There was a man who was an expert in the law that wanted to test Jesus. He asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law?” The man answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.”; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:25-29)

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took two denarii and gave the to the inn keeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ Which of these three do think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hand of the robbers?” The expert of the law replied,”The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:30-36)

Back in 2007 my family and I were living in the Philippines. One weekend we went to some meetings up in the mountains. On the way home, it was pouring down rain, and dark outside. The streets were not lit. There, as we came around a bend, was a woman lying in a large puddle of water. We swerved to miss her. As we passed I said we must go back and help her. My husband and friend went to help as I stayed in the car with our kids. She wasn’t in her right mind. We don’t know fully what had happened to her but my husband prayed over her. They got a tricycle to take her somewhere safe. This was the closest experience I have ever encountered that reminded me of this story Jesus told.

What about you? How have you been a neighbor to someone else in need? How have you been able to come along and minster to the hurting and broken? Take some time to journal your experience and pray that God would open up more opportunities to truly Love Your Neighbor!



“Six days before Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”

Though one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, the one who would betray him objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? The perfume was worth a years income. Judas did not care for the poor but he was concerned because he was the keeper of the money that was collected. He would often take some for himself.

Jesus responds, “Leave her alone. It was intended that she would save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” (John 12:1-8)

This is a very touching and inspiring passage. To give what was probably the most expensive thing Mary owned and pour it out on Jesus’ feet is so beautiful! She poured out 12 ounces of very costly perfume upon the one she loved and cherished. It was an act of sacrificial adoration. It was also a humble act. She wiped his feet with her hair.

It is interesting to note that this isn’t the first time we see Mary at Jesus’ feet. Mary falls at Jesus’ feet when she was grieving over her brother’s death. “When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:32) Then the next time we see Mary is in her home sitting at Jesus’ feet. “Martha had a sister called Mary, who sat the the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.” (Luke 10:38)

The fragrance fills the house. Everyone is touched by what Mary did from the least to the greatest. Though not everyone is happy with her choice to pour our such an expensive perfume. Jesus stands by her side and says that this act was done for my burial. He also reminds them that he will not always be with them. When had they heard him say this? In John 7:33, Jesus says, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I will go to the one who sent me.” So they knew the time would be coming that Jesus would need to leave them.

I love how Mary came to Jesus in humble positions. She postured herself at his feet. How do you come before your Savior and King? Is it standing, sitting, kneeling, or hands held high. I think it’s good to think of how we enter His presence. How do we lift him up even in how we present ourselves to Him. Just something to think and dwell upon today as you meditate on His precious word.


Shepherd of the Sheep

Growing up in the hills of Pennsylvania, we would travel by car to my grandparent’s house every Sunday. Along to way one of my favorite highlights was seeing a hill with three crosses atop of it. Scattered on the grassy hill were sheep grazing. I was always drawn to how peaceful they looked. Though I attended church, I didn’t grasp the significance of this sight. Today it’s a beautiful picture of Jesus as our Good Shepherd who laid down his life for His sheep.

I’d like to share some passages from John 10:1-5 with you about the relationship Jesus has with His sheep. In this section Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees. “Anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters the by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all of his own, he goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” The Pharisees hear this message from Jesus but don’t understand what it means.

Let’s break this passage down. A sheep pen or sheepfold was a place where the sheep could sleep at night . Each night this would be guarded and protected by the gatekeeper. In the morning the shepherd would come and call his sheep to himself. An interesting note, a sheep pen would be a good shelter for many flocks of sheep that belonged to a variety of shepherds. Though the sheep know the voice of their shepherd and follow only him.

So what is the meaning of this passage. Jesus did a wonderful job explaining it in verses 7-16. We know the shepherd as Jesus. Any other person besides Him is a robber or thief. The sheep are those who are believers in Jesus. Jesus is our Good Shepherd because he laid down his life for those who believe in Him. (John 10:17,18)

Jesus wanted to make it clear that there are false shepherds out there. “This was a powerful message to the Jewish religious leaders who considered themselves to be the true shepherds of God’s flock.”

Jesus is our true shepherd and we can know His voice. If you have His Word them you know what His voice sounds like. His voice is truthful yet filled with grace. His voice is strong yet gentle. His voice is hopeful and life giving. Take some time to listen and be still and listen to His voice today. Let His Words wash over you and fill you with the fullness of joy!


I Believe

This is the second installment about the man born blind from birth. If you haven’t read yesterday’s post, “I Can See”, I would highly encourage you to read it. Today we will look at the passages in John 9:12-38.

We ended yesterday’s blog with the man retelling the story of his healing to his neighbors and acquaintances. They wanted to know where the man was that healed him. The man did not know.

So the neighbors and others brought the man to the Pharisees to investigate his healing. Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath which was a big no no to the Pharisees. Some said the man (Jesus) was not from God because he did not keep the Sabbath. “But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.” Then they decided to ask the man who was healed who he thought this man (Jesus) was. He replied, “He is a prophet.”

The Pharisees did not believe the man. So they asked his parents about his healing. They were afraid of the Jewish leaders and did not say very much because they feared being thrown out of the synagogue. Now they decide to ask the healed man to come back and answer more questions. “Give glory to God by tell the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” They then proceeded with more questions and the healed man said, “Do you want to become his disciples too?” This infuriated them and they threw him out of the synagogue.

Jesus heard that he had been thrown out. He finds him and asks him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man? He has no idea. He says, “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” “Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshipped him.”

Not only was this man cured of his physical blindness but he was healed of his spiritual blindness also. He was doubly healed. Jesus revealed himself to the man and he believed. As soon as he believed, it says that he worshipped him! Knowing Jesus caused him to literally fall at his feet and worship him.

What does knowing Jesus do in our own hearts and lives? I would encourage you to think deeply about this question and journal some thoughts. Then go ahead and put those thoughts into action. He is worthy of our praise and adoration!