Thursday, March 8, 2018

Someday I'll...

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength."  Philippians 4:11-13

I've never been to the Hawaiian Isles.

I haven't been to the Philippine Isles.

I've not visited the Virgin Isles.

I would love to vacation to those tropical Islands sometime!

Unfortunately, I have to admit I have spent a considerable number of days on "someday I'll".

Someday I'll? Where is that?

Someday I'll is found in your heart and in your mind and your imagination. It is the hope and wish that contentment is "out there somewhere" and SOMEDAY I'LL find it!

So, the frantic search begins.

Someday I'll find someone who will make me feel happy and fulfilled! So, you go from relationship to relationship looking for that ONE. But because you really have no idea what to look for you end up dissatisfied and disillusioned and you lose yourself in the process.

Someday I'll find the perfect career that will maximize my potential and get me the recognition I deserve. Then I will have the satisfaction and security I long for. But you refuse entry level positions and keep holding out for jobs more "worthy" of your talent. As a result, you fail to build a resume or experiences or references. You put yourself on a path to frustration and anger.

Someday I'll be the Christian I should be when I find the right church and the pastor who recognizes my spiritual gifts. But rather than settle into a local fellowship you run from church to church never knowing anyone or being known. Consequently your become more shallow and cynical.

Paul, at least following his conversion to Christianity, never spent a moment on "Someday I'll". Once He knew Christ and His grace he replaced someday I'll with already is and already have and already am!

Paul understood that contentment wasn't somewhere "out there" but it was "in Christ". It wasn't about something happening to him it was everything happening within him as he was in Christ! He learned to live in Christ in the moment!

Someday I'll is anything but a paradise. It is a dead end. It is an illusion. So, if you are living there, get off! If you are thinking about it don't go there!

Sit down right now. Begin to count your blessings. Start thinking and thanking for what you have. Worship God for His mercy, grace and goodness to you. Empty yourself of self and invite Him to fill you up!

March 8, 2018

“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.  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. “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. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.  Luke 15:17-24

When Jesus wanted to give a word picture to illustrate how God loves He told a parable about a very wealthy and loving father who had two sons very different from each other. His younger son took his inheritance and ran while the older son stayed home and stayed bored.

You know this story as the Prodigal Son but the word "prodigal" means extravagant and the real extravagance is demonstrated in the extravagant love of the father. The father in this parable represents God, our Heavenly Father, and how He loves. This "Prodigal" father loved with a big hairy audacious love!


1) A Giving Love!

The younger of the two sons made a bold and unconventional request of his father. He wanted his share of the inheritance. Under the laws and customs of that day there was nothing obligating this father to grant this demand. But, because of the father's love for his son he made an exception to the norm and handed over the inheritance. I am sure he did this against his better judgment but love does that - love gives! God gives!

2) A Gracious Love!

It didn't take very long for this younger son to prove the foolishness of the decision to give him his inheritance. He was not prepared for that opportunity or responsibility and he soon blew all the money on wanton living. When he ran out of money he ran out of friends. With no money and no job and feeling too foolish to go home, he was in desparate need. His desparation is revealed in the fact that he was willing to take a job slopping hogs for a farmer. Jews didn't have anything to do with pigs but he was so hungry that he not only fed them but he ate with them!

Stinky, slimy and starving, this boy suddenly had his first good idea in a long time! He began to think about how good and decent and loving his father was back home. He remembered how much his father had once loved him and realized that returning humbly to his dad might be the best chance he had. If he was going to work for a farmer, why not let it be his father the farmer? He took a chance on the gracious love of His father.

3) A Generous Love

So, the son climbed out of the pig stye and started the long uncertain journey home. The way was long and dusty and he didn't have much strength left as he trudged to the top of the last rise before he reached home. All the way he had been rehearsing his apology that he hoped would give him a shot at landing a job with his dad. "I am no longer worthy to be called your son. I have sinned against you, my father" he repeated over and over.

Apprehension was growing as he reached the top of the hill - so much so that he hadn't heard the footsteps - of his father running to meet him. About the time he realized what was happening he was buried in the strong embrace of his father and it felt GOOD!

He was still trying to offer his apology while the father's servants were shoving a ring on his finger and covering him with a fine new robe as his feet were being washed and brand new sandals placed on his feet!

All he had hoped for was a job and now he was getting a party! What generous love for one who had blown a third of the family fortune!

4) A Gentle Love

It seems like every party has a pooper and this one was no exception. The older brother was not at all happy about the reception being given this underserving fool of a younger brother. Refusing to come to the party he remained outside having his own - a pity party.

Upon noticing that the brother was MIA at the party the dad came out and listened to his complaint. After hearing him out, the father reassured this other brother that he loved him, too. This father loved with a gentle love.

What a beautiful look at the AUDACIOUS LOVE of God!

His love is a giving love giving us what He thinks will prove His love for us.

His love is a gracious love, calling us back when we stray from it.

His love is a gentle love, patiently bearing with us when we are unloving.

Where else do your find a love like this?

How can you refuse a love like this?

Why not receive it?

Why not now?