Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Prodigal Son

                             Prodigal Son

OR -- turn in your Bible to  Luke 15:11-32

     There was a man who had two sons, and he gave them an inheritance. The younger son decided to go away, and he fell into a life of wickedness. When he realized that the world was not as appealing as it had seemed, he decided to return to his father; upon returning, he asked to be a servant in his father's house to pay his father back for what he had done. His father accepted him joyfully and called for a feast, but his older brother resented the fact that his father had been so gracious to the wayward son. He felt that he deserved to be punished instead of welcomed. 
*The father in the story represents God.
*The younger son represents the lost person.
*The feast represents the joy in the heavenly realms when a sinner returns to God.
*The older brother represents the cold, self-righteous Christian who resents God's compassion on a wicked person. 
      Aren't we all prodigal sons in our own way? Hasn't our Father accepted us all back into the family? What joy we must have that God is so willing to forgive. NOW, we must be that way toward others. When a sinner comes to God (no matter how sinful his life had been - after all, sin is all the same to God), God wills that we rejoice with that person, rather than resentful toward him. God never said it would be easy. That's why we must surrender to Him - and we do that through prayer and submission.
                              Albrecht Durer's Praying Hands

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Limp Coat Analogy --- Don't Be the Limp Coat!

                         Wayne Barber's Limp Coat Analogy

     Wayne Barber, a renowned pastor famous for his book, Living Grace, once made an analogy about a limp coat and compared it to a sleeping Christian. Envision a coat hanging limp on a hook.
This is the way a sleeping Christian looks - one who believes in God, but is not living for Him. A sleeping Christian is not surrendering himself everyday, every minute, every second, to Christ.  He is a body with no life inside. When someone takes that coat and puts it on his back, then there is life inside. That's what the Holy Spirit can do with you --- when you yield everything you are to God, you are no longer lifeless. You have something real inside of you! But it is not until you allow that living thing to rule every part of your being that the coat is no longer limp.
There is such joy that comes out of surrendering to Christ. Nothing feels better. It is as if nothing else matters - but what God wants for you. Surrender is truly freeing.
     Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:31, "I die everyday." When he says this, he means that he dies to himself everyday and puts God's will before his wants. He disregards his own feelings and seeks God's face every single day. Grab your Bible or read this passage here:

"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" -- Amos 3:3

        --- Do not be Unequally Yoked Together with Unbelievers----

     "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" -- Amos 3:3 -- We must not be unequally yoked together with people who don't believe the fundamentals of the gospel. After all, how can two people walk together if they don't agree on the direction in which they are going?
Sometimes we think that we can get into a relationship with a person who doesn't believe what we believe about God, thinking that it doesn't matter at this age. However, it does matter --- what's the point of dating if not to prepare for a future marriage?

                       --- Coffee is the "Attitude" of a Coffee Mug ----   
     A relationship with a non-believer can also bring us down spiritually. We may become distracted from our relationship with Christ if we are that involved with that kind of person. Of course, we must not judge, but take careful steps to surrender everything to God - so that He will direct our words. Every word we say to a non-believer must be out of complete and total love; something that can only be accomplished by allowing God to fill us up. Coffee fills a coffee cup to the brim - therefore, the coffee is its attitude. Just as coffee in a coffee cup is the cup's attitude, so must Christ be ours. He has to be what is filling our hearts.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Oswald Chambers

God teaches us lessons. He teaches us lesson after lesson after lesson; but we must be willing to receive. Think about the Christians in your life. Do you ask them for advice? God places other Christians here so that we might fellowship with them, and they might fellowship with us.

Oswald Chambers, in his book My Utmost for His Highest says that one must forsake anything that is keeping him from surrendering to God. There are all kinds of things that keep a young person from surrendering to God - sports, fashion, friends, possessions, pride, and in many cases, drugs and alcohol. No matter how harmless or hurtful something may seem, if it keeps us from God, it is of the Devil.
Here is a snippet of Mr. Chambers' devotional book: