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Friday, September 23, 2011

Being Prodigal

"My son, 'the father said, 'you are always with me, and 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 15: 31 & 32

The story of the prodigal son is probably one of the most famous parables told by Jesus. The story is quite simple. The younger son asked his father for his inheritance and then spent it on frivolous pleasures. He came back home to ask his father for a servants job, thinking that his father would be unforgiving of his behavior. The father, however, receives his son with open arms and gives him a huge banquet to celebrate his return. The older brother is angry at his fathers response to his younger son and refuses to come to the party.

I was very surprised when I looked up the word prodigal. I thought it meant reckless, irresponsible, and careless. I now see that my opinion of that son was what I was using as a basis for my incorrect definition. The word prodigal means recklessly extravagant, having spent everything. Of course, being recklessly extravagant can lead to the circumstances that this young boy found himself in. Destitute and famished. But, being prodigal can also be used to describe the father. The father offered his younger son total forgiveness, holding none of his mistakes and sins against him. Many would think that this type of reaction was extravagant. And it was.

The father in this parable represents God. Our God, who sent His only Son to die for our sins so that we will have eternal life if we believe and trust in Him. The only way God could forgive our sins was by giving up Jesus to a horrible death on the cross. Is that not extravagant? Do you not find that lavish and abundant? God is very prodigal!

The grace of our prodigal God is the only hope we have. God's grace pardon's our sins. Our sin was left at the cross and our extravagant God opens His arms to welcome us home. Prodigal? Thank goodness. I was lost, but now I'm found. So were you.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Counting Hairs

"Even the hairs on your head have been counted." Luke 12:7 & Matthew 10:30

Who in your life knows you best? Who is it that understands you better, that grasps more about you than any other person you know? Who might say that they know you better than you know yourself? It is not usually too difficult to come up with who this individual is. You probably live with them or did at one time. You may be related. The relationship may be one of special intimacy.

What do they know about you? Your favorite color, movie, book, song. What your favorite food is or your favorite restaurant. Going a little deeper, they probably know about some of your past. Who you dated, how you did in school, where you have worked. They may know many of your success stories and some of your areas of failure. They know you are a good mom, an accomplished athlete. You were divorced, fired from a job. All these bits of knowledge that they have gained about you has encouraged a deep-rooted relationship. But, you have controlled some of what they know about you, not revealing everything.

We read in the above scripture that God knows how many hairs are on our head. That is pretty miraculous, but why does He feel that we need to know this information? I think it is to point out the reality of His knowledge of us. He is making it very clear that there is not one thing that He does not know about us. He knows every detail. He has a complete database on each one of us. Inside and out. Our hearts and our minds. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I am more than happy to talk to God about the good things in my life. How nice I was to someone. How I went out of my way to share His love. That's when I find myself to be real chatty whtih Him. But, what about the times my behavior is offensive? When proper has become improper and honor has turned dishonorable? It is then that I try to find a hiding place. I look for some camouflage to conceal the real me. I pretend that God did not see. Maybe He was busy watching someone else. But, I am very aware of the truth. The truth is, God knows all about me!

God comes along with His illuminating presence and floods light on my darkness. He exposes my sin. He gives me opportunity to repent and ask for forgiveness. And it is then that I am glad that He knows me for who I am. That He knows my wrongs and my rights. He can see my undisclosed and my proclaimed. And even though He tracks the hairs on my head, He does not tally up my wrongs. Forgiven! His ability to count hairs is unbelievable, but His love for His children is amazing!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Children Are Gifts

MY BLOG TODAY is dedicated to my daughter-in-love, Annie. She is a wonderful Mom & I am so blessed to have her in my life.

"Children are gifts from the Lord; they are a real blessing." Psalm 127:3

I know that there were days when my boys were little that reading that verse would have made me want to shout, "Amen! Yes Lord, thank you for these precious little bundles of joy that light up my life from morning till bedtime." And then there were those other days!! The ones that made me wonder why me? Really, Lord, what did I do to deserve this? What lessons are you trying to teach me?

It is difficult to admit sometimes that these little tikes can get the best of us. How do we allow them to run our day like little Generals? They demand, they cry, they want, they need. Saying they are a challenge is putting it nicely. You look at them and wonder where they came from. Who gave birth to these small aliens?

But, God is good and we are blessed with so many more wonderful days than not. Days when your little girl wants nothing more than to cuddle on your lap and read a book. Times when your son says something so sweet and tender to you that you think nobody will ever say anything to you again that will compare to that. (Nights when they are happy with just three books and two glasses of milk before bedtime.) You know those precious moments that light up your life and remind you that your children are truly gifts from God. And that being a mom is the best thing about you.

God called you to be a mother. He graciously blessed you with children and He knew you would be up to the challenge. Be encouraged. God choose you for these particular children. He will guide you and be with you every day. Remember, you actually are raising these children for Him. He has plans for their lives and those plans started with you as their mom.

Sometimes motherhood can seem like a very thankless job. The kids are too little to really appreciate all your efforts. Your husband is too busy to notice. Your girlfriends are trying to hang in there with their own families. So, who cares? God does. He really does. He sees you when you don't feel well, but the little ones need you more than you need to care for yourself. He hears your gentle praises and happy words when their accomplishments are huge in their little eyes. He notices the mounds of laundry, the dinner planning, all the meals, the diapers, the bottles. He appreciates your work. He sees all you achieve, all you complete. God knows the days that you push through, the bedtimes you see through. Because you know that God is aware of you, you can be motivated in the mess. You can be enthusiastic in the turmoil. Being a mom can feel thankless, but God is present. Raise those little ones for Him. Your rewards will be eternal.