Tag Archives: Luke

Morning Thoughts (Luke 15:12)

Morning ThoughtsLuke 15:12, “And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.”

This morning, we live in a very consumer-driven world. People use up and/or waste resources faster and faster with each passing day. One of the hallmarks of previous generations was conservatism and making resources stretch as far as they possibly could. Throwing food away was frowned upon (after all, most of it was grown personally and therefore appreciated). New things were a rarity and luxury rather than commonplace. Today, people have trended greatly in the opposite direction to the point that most of my generation do not have the experience of saving and conserving, which has led to a lot of the recent debt problems in individual families. One of the most comforting things to the child of God, though, is that our Father has an endless supply of grace and mercy, which are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Our study verse is found in the midst of a story most commonly referred to as the “Prodigal Son.” In actuality, this account tells the story of “prodigal sons,” but that is a discussion for another time. What is interesting about this story is how much theological confusion people are able to draw out of it. For example, some have used this story to teach that God’s children ALWAYS come back to the right way (the Father’s house) before they die. Such a broad and absolute thought should not be derived from this story as the Bible abounds with accounts of God’s children languishing and eventually dying apart from the blessings and comforts of the right way: Lot being a good example from Genesis 19. Another theological problem that sometimes arises from people’s application of this lesson is that it is possible to waste and ruin our inheritance that our Father laid up for us.

According to Peter’s account of our inheritance, there will not be anything to tarnish it as it is “reserved in heaven for you.” (I Peter 1:4) So, if our inheritance that Christ purchased for us with His own blood cannot be spoiled but will remain incorruptible and reserved for us, what does the study verse before us show? What is interesting about our verse is that the language does not even mention an inheritance in it. People will infer it from the father’s action of giving his son his goods, but the lesson actually teaches something profoundly different with a fresh warning for us today.

Later in the story, the son returns home, and the father mercifully clothes him, feeds him, and gives him all the care of a son of the house. From the description of a robe, ring, fatted calf, etc. we see that this son’s inheritance from his father was very much intact. So, what did the father give him and he subsequently lose? What the father divided to him was his “living” from the portion of goods in the house. The father did not give him his inheritance to waste but a living that was ruined in riotous living. Even his brother understood that concept as he mentions that his younger brother wasted the father’s living. (Verse 30)

Friends, though we cannot ruin or spoil the vast richness and beauty that affords us in that great world to come, there is a lot of ruin that we can bring upon ourselves here in this life. It equates to squandering our Father’s living that He has graciously provided to us. What is our living? We understand from Scripture that life, breath, and being come from and belong to Him. (Acts 17:28) People today talk about having “one life to live” and “every day being a gift.” While these statements are true, they generally have their focus misaligned. They use clich├ęs like this to encourage people to not have regrets but live a life fulfilling all their desires and realize accomplishments that they want to attain. That is exactly the mindset of this prodigal son when he wanted to leave and “do his own thing.” He wanted to experience all that his heart ached for out in the big bright world.

Truly, our lives are not our own as we are bought with a price. (I Corinthians 6:19-20) Therefore, our “living” is a portion of life and health that God has granted us so that we might live quiet and peaceable lives to His honour and service. In other words, we should remain at and in the Father’s house using His living to bring pleasure to Him rather than ourselves. Most of the time, we take our living for granted until it is gone. Much like the prodigal son, we forget the richness of the Father’s bounty until we are completely impoverished. We fail to appreciate good health until we have completely wrecked it due to a riotous lifestyle. Possessions are glanced over until they are lost, and family is something that we pine for once their presence is removed from us.

The sadness of today’s world is seeing so many prodigals wasting their substance and living that was graciously bestowed by the Father unto them. Talents from His hand are wasted. Service opportunities are squandered. Most of all, worship (part of our living) is neglected today greater than ever before. The harlots and enchantments of the world have lured away the great portion of God’s children, and sadly, some today are in the pigpens of life without yet realizing where the salve for their situation resides. The Father’s house beats out the world in every way. Though formalized church is considered antiquated by modern standards, it is still the place of much feasting and rejoicing.

When the son returned home, he saw and experienced that his inheritance was still intact. Can you imagine? After all I have done, my father still has my inheritance waiting for me. What a joy of spirit must have burst out! When sin-sick and sorrow-laden children of God are blessed to come back to the Father’s house, it is always a joy to see the repentant sinner experience the realization that no matter how “used up” their living was, heaven still awaits. We see heaven brighter and feel its breeze sweeter in the Father’s house. Sometimes it seems like the sights, sounds, and smells of Paradise are just a step away when the Father’s house is raised up above the valleys of life. As the glorious declaration comes, “What is lost has now been found!” the soul reaches out by faith to almost taste the droppings of heaven’s honey!

Though this lesson shows that our inheritance can never be lost, it brings to clear sight that we can absolutely lose all the living of our Father in this life. His love for us abides, and His smile and embrace will be found if we turn from our wicked ways and repent. However, we do not have to experience the hog barn to know that it is bad for us. We do not need to experience like Solomon all the vanity of life to realize how vexing it can be. If we are content to dwell at home in the Father’s house, consider how the living will be! The Father will never tell us, “You are spending too much time at home. Experience what is out there. In fact, I need some ‘Me Time’ so go ahead and sow your wild oats.” The Father’s pleasure smiles upon those that obediently enjoy His living in His house. May we put our life, breath, being, talents, service, and single-focused worship (our living and portion of goods) where it belongs: His House with His presence.

In Hope,

Bro Philip

Morning Thoughts (Luke 11:7)

Morning ThoughtsLuke 11:7, "And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee." 

This morning, persistence and perseverance to see a good thing through to the end is more of a rarity than the norm.  In days gone by, people were more determined to finish what they started, but sadly, the crumbling culture has made the days of the here and now a lot of starts with very few finishes.  Scripture abounds to encourage and exhort the disciple of Christ to see paths of righteousness to fitting and proper conclusions.  Paul – in illustrating the point by pointing to gardening with sowing and reaping – encourages people not to faint and become weary in well doing. (Galatians 6:9) To persist in upright things, we need to take courage and strength that the Lord will be with us and supply all our need to do those things that are pleasing to Him.  

Our study verse comes in the midst of a discussion on prayer, and Christ is in the midst of illustrating points He made in the opening verses in laying out the model prayer.  After giving the foundation points of what prayer should entail and include, Christ analyzes the points to show forth the touching nature of our God in heaven.  Our verse is in an illustration that starts in verse 5 continuing through verse 8.  The story illustrates the prayer point in verse 3 of requesting our daily bread and natural needs. 

The essence of the story is that if someone needs something and asks a friend, how will the friend respond?  What if the circumstance and timing of the request is non-ideal?  If a man asks his friend for help in the middle of the night, it is possible that even a friend will tell him to come back at some other time.  If it is midnight, the house closed up, and the children in the bed, the friend could respond unfavorably and not fulfill the request of his friend needing 3 loaves of bread.  The illustrative story concludes by Christ saying that if a man was persistent enough in asking, the person would rise and give his friend what he needs: not because of their friendship but just to get rid of him.  If someone you knew was knocking on your door at midnight asking for something, you might not initially rise up, but if they kept knocking and knocking, you would then give them what they were asking just to be able to get back to sleep and leave you alone. 

What does this illustrate for us in prayer and tell us of God's mercy?  Though we are commanded to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17) and pray always not fainting (Luke 18:1), does God require of us to do such before He will finally answer?  Does it take 17 attempts at a minimum before God will finally rise up and give us what we need?  What is His present circumstance and situation when we make the request?  If we can find the answers to these 2 questions, I believe we will find some of the most touching concepts that deal with our Heavenly Father's interactions with us here in this world. 

To answer the first question, we need not go far to find the answer.  God does not require multiple attempts before even considering granting our request.  Now, we should be ready always to ask and repeat our request, but consider verses 9-10 of this same chapter.  Christ said that if we ask, knock, and seek, then we shall receive, be opened, and find respectively.  The succeeding verses after that starting in verse 11 show the touching nature of a natural father with his children.  If his son asks him for something that is good, he will not in turn give him something that is evil.  Rather, the natural father will give his natural son what he needs.  Christ then puts it in perspective: how much more shall our Heavenly Father do for us?  Notice in this lesson that it only speaks of knocking, seeking, and asking in a singular sense.  Though it does us good to request often (it reinforces our dependence and reliance upon God), it is not the bulk of asking that affects an answer.  In James 5:16, we are told that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  How many men?  One.  How many prayers?  One.  One prayer from one man (of good, upright character) is all that is necessary to bring about a very positive outcome. 

Knowing that our Father is so merciful that we do not have to worry about Him behaving like the friend in the story that might not initially arise to give us, what about the answer to the 2nd question: what is His present circumstance and situation when we make the request?  The answer to that question is found in our study verse, and I freely admit that this thought has deeply affected me recently to consider the magnitude and weight of its implications.  Christ said in the story that the man who is being sought is in bed with his children at the midnight hour with the doors now shut.  Many times, our needs and distresses come in the midnight hours (most inopportune moments and darkest periods).  Though we should be careful to implore our Father for guidance during the day hours (periods of better times), our highest times of need come in dark stretches.  Though the midnight has profoundly affected us in our pilgrimage, where is He?  What is He doing? 

There is no way that I could possibly summon the will to define what percentage of God's family is still in this world or yet to come into this world versus the percentage that is now already with Him in heaven.  I simply have no idea.  However, after close to 7,000 years of human history, combined with all that Scripture declares, it is easily seen that there is already a sea of multitudes there with Him now.  These heirs of grace sing unto Him right now in the heavenly portal.  Their praise is perfect, matchless, and without end.  Combined with these dearly bought souls, our Father has the abiding presence of His only Begotten Son on His right hand and the bands of celestial servants – angels, cherubims, and seraphims.  This collection of beings resides with the Father in a place that knows no defilement.  Perfect and spotless in every way. 

How easy is it for a friend today to have a pleasant circumstance and not initially rise up to help another?  Even though his pleasant environs do not come close to matching the beauty and majesty of heaven, it is easy to see someone behaving in such a manner.  Consider God.  He has many children in the bed with Him right now.  Their environment is pleasant without measure: boundless seas of peace, love, and harmony.  It is a place that knows no midnight like our lives do now.  However, though surrounded by all that perfection with countless children in the bed with Him, He still rises to give us those things that we stand in need of. 

One of the most humbling things to consider that should elicit the highest thanks we can muster is that our prayers – lowly though they seem – find their way into a place of perfect praise and endless majesty.  A survey of the heavenly portal that John saw in Revelation 5 shows a collection of all the beings that we have previously mentioned.  However, in addition to that, John saw golden vials that contained the precious odors of the prayers of the saints.  Friends, though midnights come, consider how merciful He is.  He rises from ultimate peace in a place of perfection to assist us daily in those things that we need daily.  He does not do so because we "just won't leave Him alone."  He does it because He loves us beyond comprehension.  Does this make you want to call upon Him more and thank Him more often?  It does for me.  However, let us call upon Him often not thinking we will see greater effects but because we realize just how much we need Him and know how merciful He has been to us. 

In Hope,

Bro Philip