Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Understanding our Spiritual Battle

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Another year is fast approaching, and we need a reminder of the spiritual battle we need to face with confidence and assurance of victory with God's help.

Craig Brian Larson, chief editor for Christianity Today's, shared a National Geographic article about the Alaskan bull moose: The males of the species battle for dominance during the fall breeding season, literally going head-to-head with antlers crunching together as they collide. Often the antlers, their only weapon are broken. That ensures defeat. The heftiest moose, with the largest and strongest antlers, triumphs. Therefore, the battle fought in the fall is really won during the summer, when the moose eat continually. The one that consumes the best diet for growing antlers and gaining weight will be the heavyweight in the fight. Those that eat inadequately sport weaker antlers and less bulk.

These images clearly illustrate what occurs in our spiritual battle on a daily basis. One gained supremacy because their dietary source was better than the other and not about their size. Thus, in our spiritual battle against our enemy, our victory depends on the strength of our faith life and not our religious life. We need to anchor our faith in God’s promises to remain “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10). What are the sources of our strength? It is through “the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1) and the “power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Ephesians 3:16).

Aside from maintaining our faith-life secured, what else could we do to ensure our victory on an ongoing basis? Paul outlined specific instructions for us to do on a daily basis:
1.      Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11). What does the armor of God symbolize? Paul explained it this way, “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12).
2.      Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:14-15).  Remember, the belt holds the clothing together in the same way that the truth of God’s Word holds our faith firmly in place while the breastplate protects the front body as it moves forward only. What does the breastplate symbolize? It is “putting on faith and love as a breastplate”(1 Thessalonians 5:8). What role do our feet signify? Our feet fitted with readiness “who bring good news!" (Romans 10:15) to others in need.
3.      Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16). What does this mean? The shield of faith is both a defensive and an offensive weapon against the enemy. It becomes defensive by having “minds that are alert and fully sober” (1 Peter 1:13) and it becomes offensive when we “keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18).
4.      Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17). When we wear the “hope of salvation as a helmet” (1 Thessalonians 5:8), we preserve what Christ gave us in His death in the same way that Jesus used the word of God to defeat Satan’s schemes in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-15).

How do preserve and secure these things on a daily basis? By following the same pattern of clothing ourselves physically. Simply put, it is a position of readiness at all times because our enemy lurks and waits for an opportunity to attack. Ray Stedman explained,
We have been born into a world under the control of the satanic mind. Yet, in the mystery of the cross of Jesus and in the power of His resurrection, applied by faith, we discover that the force which ruins us is now broken and its power is canceled.”

He added, “No battle was ever won without courage, perseverance, and strength. And that is the challenge before us, clearly sounded in Ephesians 6.” But the most important aspect of our spiritual battle is to distinguish our real enemy: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12). Thus the conclusion of the whole matter: Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand (Ephesians 6:13). Keep standing no matter what and to hold your ground at all cost. Jesus did, and He promised His presence is with us when we do the same.

Let’s talk again!

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Power of the Gospel

The “Gospel” that Christians refers to is the “good news” that Jesus our Lord died to pay the penalty for our sin. He paid for our sins so that we become part of God’s family, and it is only through faith in Him alone. Thus, “the Gospel” contains what every individual need regarding the plan of God’s salvation for mankind that has lost its way and revealed in Jesus Christ His Son. No one can dispute the fact that the clearest argument for the Gospel of Christ's power is the testimony of changed lives and those continually changed and impacted by its power.

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According to the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, “In the Greek New Testament, gospel is the translation of the Greek noun “Evangelion” (occurring 76 times) “good news,” and the verb “evangelize” (occurring 54 times), meaning “to bring or announce good news.” Both words are derived from the noun “angelos” and “messenger.” Thus, the power of the gospel was the reason that the apostle Paul strongly passionate about sharing the gospel. He knew first-hand what it could do because he was the primary recipient of its power to change lives.  After being transformed by the gospel, he became a tenacious messenger: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16-17 ESV).

One of the important issues about the gospel message has to do with how one receives the salvation offered in the gospel. It is an undeniable fact that God offers us salvation from sin’s penalty and power that concludes with the glorious promise that one day it would result in the glorious reign of Christ on earth. Also, the power of sin, death, and Satan are vanquished and eternally defeated. God offered us salvation, as a gift through faith in Christ is indeed good news beyond description.

The gospel of Jesus, when preached, holds the greatest news that humanity needs to hear. It negates the bad news of hopelessness and fear that this world dispenses. One just needs to take the time to listen intently to what the gospel offers and allow God’s power to do His work. Jesus completed everything that is considered incomplete in our lives. He is sufficient to fill all our needs and provide them with an eternal perspective.

This world offers nothing compared to what the gospel of Jesus offers. It has the complete package, and there’s nothing more to add. Everything is guaranteed and completed for our benefit throughout eternity. Don’t miss the opportunity of seizing the moment of receiving the greatest news that anyone can hear. There’s only one person that died for our sins and waiting for us to respond with faith in His saving work. You got nothing to lose except what causes despair and fear in our lives.

Here’s an interesting comparison of the gospel message from an ordinary soap: “A soap manufacturer and an evangelical preacher were walking along together, the former not being a Christian. The soap maker said, "The Gospel you preach has not done much good, for there is still a lot of wickedness and thousands of wicked people." The preacher was silent awhile, and in a few moments they passed a child making mud pies in the street. He was exceedingly dirty. Then the preacher's turn came. "Soap has not done much good in the world, I see; for there is still much dirt, and ever so many dirty people!" "Oh, well," said the manufacturer, "soap is only useful when it is applied." "Exactly," replied the other, "so it is with the Gospel." (Family Herald and Weekly Star)

Remember that the power of the gospel can only be experienced when we allow the message to saturate every aspect of our lives. Unless the message is received, it will not do its mighty work. Each day, we are bombarded by numerous messages selling their products with an expiration date. But in the past two thousand years, the gospel’s message and its power changed many lives and still changing lives today. My challenge is this: would you take the time to hear and receive its message and power today? I urge you to do so in the soonest possible time, and I assure you that you will never be the same again.

Let’s talk again!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Practicing Humility

A man can counterfeit love, he can counterfeit faith, he can counterfeit hope and all the other graces, but it is very difficult to counterfeit humility. You soon detect mock humility. They have a saying among the Arabs that as the tares and the wheat grow they show which God has blessed. The ears that God has blessed bow their heads and acknowledge every grain, and the more fruitful they are, the lower their heads bowed. The tares lift up their heads erect, high above the wheat, but they are only fruitful of evil. If we only get down low enough, God will use us to His glory.” ~Dwight L. Moody 

How do you know when you are humble? An attitude of humility becomes evident in a person’s life when we empty ourselves with the ego of self-importance. First, avoid the trap of E.G.O. (Edging God Out). God hates an individual with an EGO. Remember that it was EGO that turned Lucifer into Satan. He said, “I will ascend…I will raise…I will sit… I will ascend…I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14).  Next, assume an attitude of an E.G.G. (Everything God Gave). Jesus Christ illustrated humility when He said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). Moreover, Jesus exemplified when He  “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:7) and came to serve humanity clothed in poverty. When He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane directed to His Father in heaven, Jesus showed his selfless attitude, “Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). Jesus can choose to skip the Cross of Calvary and walk away, but He didn’t for our sake. His love for us compelled Him to humble Himself and to receive extreme humiliation ending in death at the Cross. Thus, when a Christian life becomes fully empty of EGO, every “I will” becomes “God's will.”

Here’s a story to remind us to remain humble and at times to stay still and silent: The story is told of two ducks and a frog who lived happily together in a farm pond. The three would play together and amuse themselves in their waterhole. When the hot summer days came, however, the pond began to dry up, and soon it was evident they would have to move. This was no problem for the Ducks, who could easily fly to another pond. But the frog was stuck. So it was decided that they would put a stick in the bill of each duck that the frog could hang onto with his mouth as they flew to another pond. The plan worked well--so well, in fact, that as they were flying along a farmer looked up in admiration and mused, "Well, isn't that a clever idea! I wonder who thought of it?" The frog opened his mouth and said, "I did, and he fell..." (Today in the Word, April 1989, p. 34).

Remember that there are times when we need to shut our mouth, and there is a time to open it. When we choose to open it, make sure that we will not be in trouble or else, we will regret it like the frog. The Scriptures contained reminders that we need to take heed. Proverbs 29:23 states, “Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.” James reminded,  “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up” (4:10). Peter said, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).  I firmly believe that when we choose to wear the humility of Jesus on a daily basis, God will take notice. It is a decision that we must intentionally make. Take note that humility is NOT the opposite of pride. It is adopting a solid position to remain content in where God has placed us at the moment.

God has the final say, and when we choose to submit to His will, we do not lose anything. Instead, we gain a lot from Him because He sees the best place to bring us to our maximum satisfaction. Humility clothed with God's love removes self-importance to attain the honor that God gives in return. Try it and you will never be the same. Choose to humble yourself and in due time, God will lift you up (1 Peter 5:6).

Let’s talk again!

Source: Two Ducks and a Frog - Sermon Illustrations on (n.d.). Retrieved from

Monday, September 21, 2015

Seeing Life from a Christian Perspective

Somebody says, “A new day signifies a new beginning; don't sit there and let that opportunity pass you by. Accept each new day and decide to make it better than yesterday. Because yesterday doesn't matter as much as today does. Focus on the day ahead and make it a day to remember and not a day to regret.”

Having a new life in Christ is an ongoing, daily process of examination, decision and confirmation of our relationship with Jesus, as Lord and Saviour. In this manner, having a view of life from a Christian perspective must become a priority to ensure that all aspects of our lives will be drawing from a real Christian significance. Thus everything else follows appropriately. Billy Graham strongly emphasized, “Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion - it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.

First, the new life devoted to Christ should be dedicated to Christ by reciprocating His love for us. Thus, let us not say one thing and act another way by living according to the world’s standard making our profession of faith worthless. Next, it is a new life that continually experiences renewal that acts upon a new set of godly principles, by new rules, with new ends, and in the new company of people. Thus, the life turned over to Christ is created afresh; the heart is not merely set right, but a new heart is given to him or her. The individual becomes a new workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus to do God’s purposes.

What is evidence of a genuine transformation? There is a definite proof of a changed character and a changed conduct towards a view of who God is. “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:14-15). Another manifestation is a changed character and a changed conduct towards dealing with other people. “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:12-15). Another manifestation is a changed character and a changed conduct towards view of living out the Christian life: “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).

Ian L. Wilson shared about a London businessman Lindsay Clegg regarding a warehouse property he was selling: The building had been empty for months and needed repairs. Vandals had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and strewn trash around the interior. As he showed a prospective buyer the property, Clegg took pains to say that he would replace the broken windows, bring in a crew to correct any structural damage, and clean out the garbage. "Forget about the repairs," the buyer said. "When I buy this place, I'm going to build something completely different. I don't want the building; I want the site."

Remember that our continuing efforts to improve our lives are as trivial as sweeping a warehouse slated for the wrecking ball. When we turn over our life to God's hand, the old life is over: “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT). God wants to make all things new in your life and the permission to build His plans and purposes as well. If and when we decide to do so, God is waiting for us, and this is the reason Jesus came, so we can come freely to Him without any fear. Try Jesus and your life will experience new things.

Let’s talk again!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

JRAM is on the Move

Today's headline: “JRAM is on the move in its third year towards another breakthrough.”

Two recently concluded events solidified the leadership’s intent on seeing the next generation contributing towards the Great Commission mandate of JRAM. Last July, there were thirty-nine individuals that joined the Mission Adventures of Youth With A Mission – Vancouver. The majority of the delegates were young people from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Greater Vancouver that saw first-hand the plight of the poor in the Downtown Eastside. During their stay for a week, they were exposed to various experiences and encounters geared to enlighten them from where they are to where God wants them to be. Overall, they all left changed with a new perspective of God’s heart for the city. Their individual testimonies proved how God moves men and women, young and old towards His purpose and plan for the city and nations. Indeed, Acts 1:8 became a reality in this day and age for JRAM. They have accepted the burden of sharing the Gospel and to see its power manifested in the lives of many people.

Last August 10-13, more than two hundred young people registered to attend the first Youth Camp of JRAM held at Sunset Point Camp in Alberta Beach. Pastor Marlon Medina of Crave Church spoke at the nightly sessions and gave stirring messages that opened the eyes of the delegates. God connects His people together towards a common desire that is to challenge the next generation to take the baton of God’s fire in their hearts. Various events and activities filled the schedule to reinforce that idea. Spiritual feeding during morning chapel and general sessions offered an assortment of topics that focused on fulfilling the theme “Go Up, Go In and Go Out.” Each time, God moved in the lives of these young people through their written and verbalized sharing of their testimonies. It is when God’s presence touches the hearts and lives of people that genuine transformation becomes visible in their actions and speech. Without a doubt, both events were an enormous success and caused the young people to become on the move as well.

These two events became intertwined in its objective to impact the lives of young people to become spiritually minded and mission-minded believers. Although both activities were vastly different from one another yet the result aligned according to JRAM Mission and Vision. Securing the next generation of leaders was a top priority for JRAM today and tomorrow. Indeed, we are making it happen now. Thus, everyone is part of this dream to see the young people arising to seize their destiny and fulfill their fullest potential. Hearing them remarked that JRAM has a bright future was music to our ears. Praise the Lord for what He will do through JRAM using these young people today and tomorrow.

What’s next? There are specific action plans in place that the youth delegates entered into as part of their accountability process. Everything hinges on these action plans and everyone’s excited to see them at work. The idea is simple that is to have an intergenerational church with an intergenerational leadership represented at all levels. There is an anticipation of greater things at play with God’s favor front and center. JRAM would not want to miss these opportunities as the next generation clearly saw their value in God’s Kingdom. They took the challenge with eyes wide open to the possibilities and step into their field of battle with courage like King David in facing Goliath. Most importantly, their willingness to participate in the life of the church showed what God could do when His Spirit moves mightily. JRAM Church, we need to work with them and, as a result, witness the raising up of the next generation of leaders in God’s Kingdom and in the fulfillment of the Great Commission. H.A. Ironside (1876-1951), a Canadian-American Bible teacher, preacher, theologian, pastor, and author, eloquently described how God qualifies men and women for His work,

God is not looking for brilliant men, is not depending upon eloquent men, is not shut up to the use of talented men in sending His Gospel out in the world. God is looking for broken men, for men who have judged themselves in the light of the Cross of Christ. When He wants anything done, He takes up men who have come to an end of themselves, and whose trust and confidence is not in themselves but in God.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Blessing of Applying Godly Wisdom

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To live wisely, we need to redefine what we mean by success. We need to abandon our quest for self-fulfillment, and abandon ourselves to Christ fulfillment (Pastor Daniel Villa, Church of God). This is in a nutshell what we need to realize in order to apply godly wisdom. The Scriptures from Proverbs shared this timeless reminder: The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:1-7 NIV

The Hebrew word translated "wisdom" is hochma, and it usually refers to some kind of skill or ability. It was originally used to describe the work of weavers who weave the elaborate garments of Aaron, the high priest. Wisdom is about weaving what is true and just versus the wisdom from this world filled with schemes and deception.  J.I. Packer from his book Knowing God shared: Wisdom is the power to see and the inclination to choose the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it. Where does this power come from? Simply, it comes from God: All wisdom comes from the Lord, and so do common sense and understanding. God gives helpful advice to everyone who obeys him and protects all of those who live as they should - Proverbs 2:6-7 (CEV).

Applying godly wisdom is what we need to fulfill God’s purpose for our life successfully. However, wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord and it must always become the starting point to acquire wisdom, knowledge and instruction for successful life. Thus, James echoed it: If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom – James 3:12 (NLT). An individual that fears the Lord anchors all his ways to it without fail.

With this in mind, allow me to share two significant things to consider regarding applying wisdom for 2015: (a) ACCESS THE INDISPENSABLE VALUE OF WISDOM by gaining it, receiving it, and giving it. How? It is acquired by listening intentionally to God’s Word. It is by adding or compounding it through our daily experiences. It is acquired by getting guidance from the Lord to discern situations that arises. Somebody said, A wise man learns by the experience of others. An ordinary man learns by his own experience. A fool learns by nobody's experience. (b) AFFIRM THE INCOMPARABLE COST OF WISDOM by acknowledging God’s role; God’s guidance and God’s partnership in our life. David Seamans shared from the book Healing of Damages Emotions
a wonderful story to illustrate how God in His omnipotence and omnipresence can show how small we are compared to Him: Steinmetz was a dwarf, ugly and deformed, but he had one of the greatest minds in the field of electricity that the world has ever known. Steinmetz built the great generators for Henry Ford in his first plant in Dearborn, Michigan. One day these generators broke down and the plant came to a halt. They brought in ordinary mechanics and helpers who couldn't get the generators going again. They were losing money. Then Ford called Steinmetz. The genius came, seem to just putter around for a few hours, and then threw the switch that put the great Ford plant back into operation.  "A few days later Henry Ford received a bill from Steinmetz for $10,000. Although Ford was a very rich man, he returned the bill with a note, 'Charlie, isn't this bill just a little high for a few hours of tinkering around on those motors?'" Steinmetz returned the bill to Ford. This time it read: 'For tinkering around on the motors: $10. For knowing where to tinker: $9,990. Total: $10,000.' Henry Ford paid the bill.

What can we say then? Wisdom is not “knowing good and evil” but wisdom knows how to differentiate from evil and it is the ability to sift through what is good and what is evil. Wisdom shows us clarity and we need today it more than ever. Keep acquiring it from God’s Word without fail.

Let’s talk again!

Saturday, June 27, 2015


The uncertainty that many feels nowadays cannot be overlooked. More than ever, what God promised in His Word needed to be reinforced today in the hearts of many. When the Jewish people was taken as captives to Babylon, God spoke to prophet Jeremiah to remind Him of His promise: This is what the Lord says, “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile” (Jeremiah 29: 10-14).  In a nutshell, God holds time in His Hands yet He waits patiently to produce the greater things out of what is best at the moment. Remember that God’s timing is always perfect and never too late and He will produce the greater things He has promised to those who patiently waits for its fulfillment.

It might seem overwhelming but seeing a brief overview of God’s plan can provide comfort in such uncertainties: (1) God’s Plan for Humanity So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1:26-28; (2) God’s Plan for Humanity’s Redemption: And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:15; (3) God’s Plan for Humanity through Abraham: The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. Genesis 12:1-3; (4) God’s Plan for Humanity through a Messiah: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6-7; (5) God’s Plan for Humanity through Jesus: She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21-23; (6) God’s Plan for Humanity through the Great Commission: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20; (7) God’s Plan for Humanity Restored: Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22: 1-5)

How then we should view the things that are happening around us? See them with eyes of hope in what God will do when His plans are fulfilled in His own time. Somebody said, “When you have nothing left but God, then you become aware that God is enough.” Moreover, don’t lose sight of what God has in store; you might miss it when you settle for the best when He is preparing the greater things ahead. Stay on the course and follow specifically His instructions. You will never go wrong when you trust Him wholeheartedly.

Let’s talk again!



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Picture of God’s Love and Mercy

A mother once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death. "But I don't ask for justice," the mother explained. "I plead for mercy." "But your son does not deserve mercy," Napoleon replied.  "Sir," the woman cried, "it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for." "Well, then," the emperor said, "I will have mercy." And he spared the woman's son. ~Luis Palau, Experiencing God's Forgiveness, Multnomah Press, 1984.

The parable of the Prodigal Son is a story about God’s redemptive grace and mercy through the perspective of the father.  It was a story about a father’s unconditional love and forgiveness towards his wayward son.  It was clearly about God seeking sinners. In Luke 15, Jesus tells about the youngest son coming to his father to ask for his inheritance before the right time.  According to the Old Testament laws in Deuteronomy 21:17, the youngest son would only receive one-third of the father’s inheritance. 

Here’s the scenario that may offend people hearing this story: the young son came to his father to ask for his inheritance and it was like he was saying, “I wish you were dead!” This was an insult to the father. In the minds of the Jewish leaders listening, they understood that this would not have received the young son back into the family.  As a matter of fact, in the ancient Jewish culture, he would have been disowned and would not have been allowed to return as part of the father’s family.

The strong element of disbelief and disappointment felt by the audience of this story often is lost for the modern day reader. The Jewish audience might have asked how a son can be so cruel as to ask for an inheritance before his father’s death. They realized that money was more important to the younger son than his relationship with his father.  

After getting what he wanted, the son left and wasted everything he received but decided to return back home at the end. When he did, being not far off from his father’s house, his father saw the son approaching, indicating that he had been watching for him, runs to him and embraced him with open arms. According to Jewish tradition, the Jews considered this highly undignified in their culture. The patriarch never ran or never made the first move in such a situation. 

The prodigal son came back with nothing to offer; yet his father received him with much joy and celebration. His father showed His unconditional love and accepted him back into the family without any interrogation and even restored him to his former state. Looking at it from God’s perspective, the actions of the father reflected God’s great mercy and incomprehensible grace towards any sinner with genuine repentance from their sin and humility before a loving God. Here are three important lessons to learn from this parable: (a) God reaches out when sinners lose their way; (b) God responds to sinners when they repent wholeheartedly; (c) God reveals His Divine Love when sinners return to Him with humility.

Richard C. Halverson summarized it this way: There is nothing you can to do make God love you more! There is nothing you can do to make God love you less! His love is Unconditional, Impartial, Everlasting, Infinite, Perfect!  

Here’s an article in National Geographic several years ago that provided a penetrating picture of God's character: After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno's damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother's wings.

The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety, but had refused to abandon her babies. When the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother had remained steadfast.

 Because she had been willing to die, those under the cover of her wings would live...

"He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge..." (Psalms 91:4)  Being loved this much should make a difference in your life. Remember the One who loves you and then be different because of it.

God will never abandon us even when we totally abandon Him and He will accept us when we return to him again. Believe it and let others know about it!

Let us talk again!