We couldn't find what you are looking for. Try searching for something else.
Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. - Luke 15:20 (NLT)
A few weeks ago I drove 22-hours from Central Kentucky to South Texas to visit my parents. They recently moved into an assisted living facility. I texted my mom from the last place I stopped for gas, sharing my estimated time of arrival, so I wasn’t surprised to find her leaning on her walker, waiting just inside the front door when I pulled up. I’m sure she would have run to me if she could. We embraced and it was so good to see her after two years apart. But here’s the interesting thing: When I got settled and joined her and my dad in their room, she picked up her phone and discovered I had texted my ETA. She hadn’t received it. I was humbled to discover that my aging mother had simply been standing at the door, waiting and watching for me to arrive.
Like any good parent, God is excited when any of His children return home. Good parents love their kids. They want to be with them. They’re thrilled to see them succeed. They want to help them win. Good parents desire what’s best for their kids. They want to protect, provide, encourage, inspire. But the sense of welcome-home from a loving parent is like nothing else.
When we find ourselves captive to loneliness or a lack of acceptance, God offers the freedom of confident assurance of His love... that starts with the genuinely excited welcome of our Good Father. Sure, God is our Creator. No doubt about that. And, yes, He’s in charge. But God chose to reveal Himself - and interact with us - as our loving Father. He didn’t want us to feel compelled to appease Him, perform for Him, or earn His approval. He’s good. He’s kind. And that means you and I can receive His generous, open-arm welcome and His unfailing love. Isn’t that freeing?
His son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son." - Luke 15:21 (NLT)
A woman in Chicago was pulled over, suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. When the officer walked up to her car, she reported to the police that she was just driving around trying to sober up. Naturally, she left the encounter in the back of a squad car... Unbelievable, right? Sometimes we put a lot of effort into coming up with lame excuses for inexcusable behavior. But there is a sense of true joy and freedom that comes along with owning our mistakes and authentically apologizing for them.
I’ve had to get really good at apologizing because I missed the mark so many times, failing in the pursuit of what I would say I want to be in the moments when the pressure is off. And it’s not just experiencing failure when striving to be who I want to be - I also miss the mark as I chase who God wants me to be. So I get plenty of practice with confession, admitting my blunders, apologizing for the ways I hurt God and others.
God gets it. He knows that, when the pressure is on, we get all panicky and do some really strange things. We make some really odd choices. But He also knows when the pressure is off, we start to live freely and lightly, and we can make clear-headed decisions that bring joy to ourselves, to God, and to others. One of those pressure-release valves He’s given us is confession - just apologizing and clearing the air. It’s a practice that restores and mends the brokenness of relationships, aligning us with truth so we can stop hiding behind all those terrible excuses.
And we discover God’s forgiveness envelops anything and everything we’ve ever done… so that we can experience His welcome and live in the security of our Father’s love.
When we leave captivity behind and embrace the freedom that comes from owning and acknowledging the truth - even hard truth or the truth of our sinfulness - we discover the voice of condemnation is silenced. Anything you need to take to God today? Do it. Clear the air. You’ll be glad you did.Share Tweet
But his father said to the servants, “Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet.” - Luke 15:22 (NLT)
The Humphrey family in Staten Island has an interesting hobby: finding lost money. It started with the mother’s dismay at seeing people walk past loose change one day. She picked up a coin and recruited her family to start gathering lost money. Soon one penny became a dollar, then two, and over a period of three years they have collected over $1,100!
How about you? Do you tend to pass by or pick up the solitary penny on the floor? Not many will do it. But it only takes 2 seconds - which turns out to be a pay-rate of $18.00 an hour for your trouble! The return on investment is way more than the minimum wage in America!
We hear of billions of dollars being earned and lost by companies in a massive world-economy. We watch the news-ticker tell of similar amounts being spent to bail-out failed financial organizations. The value of one coin is often lost on us. But one coin at a time, compounded together, makes for a much greater amount over time. If we, like the Humphrey family, chose to pay attention and dedicate ourselves to the task of recovering lost money, one coin at a time, we would eventually see a return on the investment.
It’s an interesting thought when it comes to lost coins. But God doesn’t focus on the value of our currency, its status in the world economy, or even the demand for its possession. Shifting our focus to God’s economy and the value of lost people, one growing into many is extremely important. You see, God is focused on the exchange rate. He will give His all to buy back even one. And when He does, Heaven will throw a huge party.
… kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast... - Luke 15:23 (NLT)
Every once in a while our family will bust out in a party. We’ll pull up Spotify or YouTube and just meander through songs and videos, being silly, getting down with our amazing dance moves, singing the choruses of ‘80s tunes at the top of our lungs. We also throw a feast every once in a while. And my wife’s side of the family just knows how to do it up with a huge spread for a meal! But the party in today’s text? The celebration this father was ready to throw for his son was gonna be a crazy shindig!
The average cow weighs 600 pounds. That’s like 1,720 Quarter Pounders with Cheese. And if the fattened calf was even half that size, there was still going to be a ton of food. You’ve picked up a pound or two of ground beef at the store? Well, picture loading up with several hundred packages of Laura’s Lean Beef. It’s gonna be a party. A blowout. Get the fire roaring. This was no small reunion. No expense will be spared. Even though he’d already given his son his inheritance, the extravagant love of this dad leads him to spend even more. That’s how a Good Father feels about His wandering kids returning home.
Don’t miss this: Heaven is going to be a huge party on two levels. First, when we come to Jesus in this life. Luke 15:10 implies there's a huge a party in heaven. But then we also discover in Revelation 19:6-9 that there’s a feast yet to come. God seems to be looking for a good reason to throw a massive party. And you’re that reason. He is so excited to welcome you and me home… into His family today… and into His home forever.
There’s a liberating joy that comes with being a son or daughter of God. God has been generous. He isn’t holding out on us. But He’s ready to go even further… and not just now but forever. Take a minute to marinate in that truth today. Who do you know that might need to hear this good news today?Share Tweet
“...this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.” So the party began. - Luke 15:24 (NLT)
A family had lost their cat. They searched, calling its name. A few days later, they discovered the remains and gave the little feline a tearful farewell. But the next week, the lost cat strolled back home. Whose cat they had buried?! Can you imagine the emotional rollercoaster of this switcheroo? Something lost being found is one thing - but the dead coming back to life? That’s a whole new level of joy!
I’ve walked alongside families who would have loved nothing more than to see their child raised from the dead. The grief of losing a child is unique - it just doesn’t seem right. A parent is all-too-aware it isn’t the way things should be. But death and separation is just not the way God designed things to be. So it’s never going to be okay. Which is why Jesus lived, died, and rose from the grave - to defeat death completely.
And that’s the truly good news. It’s the hope we cling to: the freedom stemming from the promise that death HAS been defeated. It’s such a joy to know this death-to-life hope of ours has a specific, definable-yet-unknown-to-us-for-now TIME when it’s going to happen.
When we move from death to life in Christ, we give God the gift of ourselves. We simply come home. We can also give our loved ones that gift of hope and expectation - the assurance we will be together forever at the end of the journey of life here on Earth. The hope of a Heavenly reunion. And a bigger homecoming party than we could ever imagine.
When we come home through belief in Jesus, we become a secure part of God’s family forever, and we step into a whole new reality. A part of us comes to life in that moment - and will never die. Want to learn more about taking that step? Give me a shout. I’d love to talk about it.Share Tweet