5 posts categorized "Prodigal"

“After the Party”: A Poem Inspired by the Parable of the Prodigal Son – By Charumathi R Rao. (SUMite) 

Charu, sent this post following the Prodigal son series. Want to share it with the SUM Nation. Hugs, Lynn

Charu BIO: I live in the metro DC area. Originally from India - relocated here for my job. Have lived in the US for about 12 yrs now. Been married for 15 years this August, No kids. I have a full time job that keeps me busy. But heart is in writing, reading and teaching the Bible, and speaking about Jesus to anyone and everyone He brings my way :) I LOVE Jesus. And my life's goal and daily prayer is to point people to Jesus as long as I live - as He would so grant and enable. My husband is now saved too and got baptized over a year ago. -Charu

After the Party

He threw a party for me, to welcome me back!

After I’d gone and lost all his wealth,

I’d broken his heart, shamed his fame,

Yet here he is, calling my name.

I am worn and weary, dirty and weak,

Was hoping to quietly fall at his feet;

Pleading my faults in submission meek,

Yet I saw him, come running to greet.

My brother is angry and so are his friends,

The servants - they wonder if Dad’s lost his head!

A party?  – they said, for this one? who strayed?

A party He said – for I’d prayed and prayed.

After the party, I’ve shed many tears,

Counting the losses and the wasted years,

I battle the guilt, the fear and the shame,

Yet, once again, I hear him calling my name.

After the party, when others didn’t believe,

And when I was too afraid, to step out and live;

I see his eyes, and remember how it felt

To be back in his arms, safe and alive…!

As the years, have gone by, I no longer mope,

I’ve slowly, but surely, come to know well

That my father has a plan – a future and a hope!

As I securely, in his care and presence dwell.

I know above all, that I am my father’s child,

And that ‘He’, my lot and my portion provides.

Though trials may come, and temptations wild,

I’ll rest in peace, as his love, forever abides…!

Notes:

This is a poem inspired by one of Jesus’s well-known parables. Known as the parable of “The Prodigal Son”, this story is recorded in the Bible in the gospel of Luke chapter 15 from verses 11-32. This story revolves around a father who has two sons. The younger son demands a share of his inheritance from the father and goes away to a distant land while the older son continues to stay and work with his father. The younger son – the prodigal, wastes all his inheritance away in the distant land and gets to a point where he has nothing left and no one to help him. At his lowest point, he ends up tending pigs in the distant land and not having to eat even what the pigs have. Upon reflection, he realizes that even the servants in his father’s house were treated better than he was now, and coming to his senses, decides to go back and plead for his father to take him in – at least as a servant. He had no expectations about reclaiming his position as a son and only hoped for a servant’s place. While he was on his way back, his father sees him from a far distance and comes out running to greet him and restores him as his son. The father throws a party to celebrate this son’s return and would not look at him as anything less than his son – his dearly loved son. The story goes on to show the father dealing with the anger the older brother expresses at the father’s generous treatment of his ‘prodigal sibling’ and with the father encouraging the older son to love his prodigal brother (I recommend reading the Bible verses to have a better understanding of the parable and therefore this poem).

While the parable ends with the big party the father threw to celebrate his son’s return and his exchange with the older brother, I have often pondered what impact all this had on the prodigal son since his return and how it shaped his life going forward. This poem is partly an imagination of the son’s struggles with himself and his life ‘after the party’ and partly inspired by my own journey back to Christ after some years of living a prodigal life and the struggles I’ve faced since in my thought life and what I have learned about Our Father’s heart. You see – it doesn’t mean we have arrived, when we first come to Christ or come back to Him after going away. In fact, our journey just begins when we come to Christ i.e. when we truly, sincerely accept Him as the Lord of our life. We still must deal with the consequences of our choices during our prodigal years. This can be a hard load to bear – alone. Even after we are back in our Father’s care, even after we have been restored with blessings in our physical or material life, we may continue to struggle with our thought life – at times not being able to fully process the forgiveness and restoration He offers. Yet with Him, all things are possible. And, it is in that process of restoration, that true healing occurs, as He slowly chips away all that is ugly and unnecessary in us. He works in us and on us, until all that is left is what ‘He’ originally intended us to be – beautiful, cherished and dearly loved – His children bearing His image. Yes, He works in us and on us until we can let Him work through us to love His other children in this world.

Within the safety of our Father’s arms, we can continue to face all our struggles courageously and rest in peace knowing that we are loved by our Father. In His arms, there is peace, safety, provision, comfort, love and joy.

This poem is dedicated to each of you who face similar struggles – in your own journey with Him. This is dedicated to ‘you’, dear reader, no matter where you are on this journey, even if you haven’t taken the first step yet.

You have a Father who loves you more than you may ever understand. He longs to hold you in His arms.

Be assured that you will be “truly safe” when in His arms. Blessings…!


Prodigal Spouse, Prodigal Believers

Lessons From Prodigal SonSUMites,

I am having an amazing time reading the Word and meditating on two different stories. One in the Old Testament, in the book of Joshua and one in the New Testament, in Luke 15, the Prodigal son.

Gang, WOW!  The sub-plots and lesser-known lessons that most believers miss, are blowing my mind. But today, I want to chat with you about the unseen lessons in the Prodigal son story.

I’m compelled to write about this story because through my prayer ministry, and often with people who don’t know Yahweh, our Father very well. I’ve come to discover that far too many people don’t really know that God is truly always good. They are blocked by numerous lies about His love, goodness, and kindness. So-much-so, they feel far away from God or that God is distant, mean, and punishing.

Also, in this passage in Luke, we can learn so much from each of the sons. So, what say you??? Want to take a look at this story with me?

So glad you said yes! *Grin* So, let’s begin with two questions?

How do you perceive the Father?

How do you perceive Jesus?

You can share in the comments. And hear me now. Judgement and/or condemnation does NOT exist in the House of SUM. If you don’t “get” God as Father, it’s okay to say so. In doing so, you bring God closer so that He can reveal Himself. I believe your honesty opens the door to your heart, and He will meet you where you are.

Let’s look at Luke 15:11-24

Luke 15:11-24 New Living Translation (NLT)

Parable of the Lost Son

11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 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.’

22 “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. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

This story begins with two sons. And the ornery, younger, son demands his inheritance from his dad, then splits towards the Prodigal Nation. Now, many of you know that I relate to this story in such depth that I nearly cry every time I read it.

I AM or I WAS- this prodigal child. I went AWOL from my Father in the badest part of the Prodigal Nation, Las Vegas, NV. Yes, Sin City. And it’s not a mere coincidence this town wears this label. Even today when I drive into town, I can feel the demonic oppression that sits over it. I pray a lot before I go there to visit my family.

For all of you who arrived in your spiritual mismatched marriage because you were a backslidden Christian, I understand you. If you relate to this rebellious son, I want to say something to you now:

If you came before God, even just once, and asked our Father for forgiveness. IT IS FINISHED! You are completely forgiven for your disobedience. You are completely reinstated, just as the son in this story is welcomed home in the book of Luke.

God has forgiven you. He is not mad at you over your marriage to an unbeliever. He will NOT punish you for your rebellion. He will help you walk through the consequences that are a result of your choices when you left His side. And He will give you a tremendous inheritance in the middle of your mess as you work to clean it up. And finally, you don’t have to do the cleanup by yourself. Jesus is there. He will never leave you nor forsake you. You are surrounded by the angelic, the Holy Spirit and you have been given a community to march with you.

Hallelujah!

So, if you have walked the road of the prodigal, what is your story? I would like to hear it in the comments. I will meet you there and bless you.

More on Friday about our spouses, who by the way, are also prodigal – right now- and what lessons they are learning and how we can counter the tide of evil influence. And finally, what about the dutiful son that stayed home. Well, he has issues as well.

Stay tuned. This story is bigger than you think. I love you, Lynn


The Father's Heart

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Photo courtesy of Fairfax County website

Ian here. As I walked one of our dogs this morning I asked the Lord what was on His heart for this community. He responded almost immediately with: “My heart.” I enquired further and He wanted us to know how much He loves us and how much His heart is for us. My sense is that there are some of us (perhaps only one) who is struggling a little at the moment to know, not just in their head, but in their heart, how much our Father loves them.

False Narratives

I’ve shared a number of times how for much of the early years of my marriage I believed that it wouldn’t be blessed nor could I have a ministry because I was unequally yoked. In meeting Dineen in 2012 I came to realize this to be a false narrative.

For much of my Christian life I feared God. Not in the reverent way that the Bible talks about fearing God but in a frightened sense. This was all due to my impression of a father. I grew up fearful of my dad and as he was my role model of a father I presumed similarly of God, our Father. As a consequence, I didn’t really want to draw close to God.

“The single most important thing about us is our idea of God and its associated images.” – Dallas Willard

Both of my beliefs had significant impacts on my life.

And they were both false.

God is Christlike

It has only been through coming to know Jesus that I discovered the “fear” factor wasn’t true. God stepped into the world as a man but as Colossians 1:15 assures us, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” and Jesus himself confirms it when he tells Philip: “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9) 

It’s in the wonderful discovery of getting to know Jesus that I’ve come to know the Father and His characteristics. And the Father certainly doesn’t want us to be scared of Him so we don’t want to draw close to Him. 

A Loving Father

If you still require any convincing have a look at this magnificent verse in the parable of the Prodigal Son:

“When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20 MSG)

Take a moment or two to mediate on this verse. Put yourself in the son’s shoes. See your Father in the distance, then come charging at you with open arms. On reaching you He embraces you and swings you in the air like your dad or mom may have done when you were a kid. And then he kisses you! 

How do you feel? 

This is how God, the Father, loves us. This is His heart for us. His heart pounds for us. For you and I.

Cherish this moment. With Him. And enjoy Him. And being loved, embraced, kissed, fought for … by Him. 24 by 7.

Grace and peace, dear friends.


Lord of the Harvest

15753952_sHe said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

My friends, I don’t know if you remember me sharing in June of 2013 a dream God gave me, which I believe was a precursor to our salvation word this year and what’s to come. There are several pieces to this that the Holy Spirit is showing me, and I am excited to share with you. So let’s start with a refresher of that dream and then pray in this harvest!

May 2013 (date of dream)

I was half awake, half asleep, but the dream was very vivid. I stood before a tall cornfield—taller than me. Jesus stood next to me.

He gestured to the crop and said, "This is the Great Harvest.”

I said, "Lord, I can't see past this, can you show me more?”

Suddenly I was up higher and could see tall mountains in the far distance. The crop spanned all the way to the mountains!

At the time I found it very curious that I saw corn in this dream as opposed to wheat. With some investigation and research, I discovered that the Bible references to grain can mean either corn or wheat and are often connected with oil and wine.

“From the dew of heaven and the richness of the earth, may God always give you abundant harvests of grain and bountiful new wine. — Genesis 27:28

Isaac said to Esau, “I have made Jacob your master and have declared that all his brothers will be his servants. I have guaranteed him an abundance of grain and wine—what is left for me to give you, my son?” — Genesis 27:37

“If you carefully obey all the commands I am giving you today, and if you love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and soul, then he will send the rains in their proper seasons—the early and late rains—so you can bring in your harvests of grain, new wine, and olive oil. He will give you lush pastureland for your livestock, and you yourselves will have all you want to eat. — Deut. 11:13-15

Look at this Scripture from Joel, which is part of God’s promise of restoration:

The threshing floors will again be piled high with grain, and the presses will overflow with new wine and olive oil. — Joel 2:24

Grain and wine were such integral parts of the Israelites lives and culture that it makes complete sense that Jesus would use bread and wine to bring such powerful symbolism, connection and power to what we practice today as communion.

And harvest time is always about prosperity, provisions and promise—of abundant life. The Old Testament displayed this in the physical sense first through manna and then provision from the promised land. Jesus took this provision of physical sustenance and connected it to our spiritual need as well. 

Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. — John 6:35

Now recently several SUMites have shared stories of how their spouses have walked away from their faith either on this blog or on our 1Peter3Living Yahoo group. My friends, I can’t tell you how deeply this grieved me. These are the stories that break my heart and bring me to tears before God. 

And that is what I did one day last week. It made no sense to me in light of the promises God has been sharing with me—with all of us. I went to Him in tears and asked, “Lord, what is going on? You’ve promised us salvation and even shown me this is coming. Have I missed something, not prayed enough? Is the enemy winning this battle?”

I saw only two possibilities, but our God of the impossible replied with His, “I’m revealing the greater glory.”

Dear friends, my tears turned to laughter as the Holy Spirit whispered this to my heart, “The prodigals are being called back and the unbelievers are being drawn in.”

Our Papa God is so good! He’s bringing our loved ones to His Son just as Jesus said He would. 

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” — John 6:44

SUMites, I believe this with all my heart, soul, mind and spirit! Will you pray with me?

We praise You, Mighty Lord Jesus, for You are the bread and wine to our lives, our souls and our spirits. Thank You for giving this provision to our spouses too! Lord, send the workers needed for this Great Harvest. Send people into our midst to reveal Your presence and love to our pre-believers. Reveal and show that love to them through us, for we are Your workers too, Lord! 

Lord Jesus, there is Resurrection Life in all You do. We ask for this resurrection life to be released over our pre-believers, our lives, our marriages, our children and every place in our lives where dry bones need to be called back to life. Breathe Your breath of life over all of us. We call these dry places to life, in the Saving and Life-Resurrecting Name of Jesus. 

Lord Jesus, we ask for vengeance against the enemy and the demonic for all they have stolen from us, the SUMites, from our pre-believers, from our children and even from our ancestors. We ask for full recompense and restoration of what has been lost and stolen (Isa. 35).

Lord, call in the harvest of our pre-believers and prodigals. Bring them to You, Lord, every single one of them. Lord Jesus, when You walked this earth, every person who came to You was healed. We present our prodigals and pre-believers to You like the man lowered through the roof and ask that every single one be saved and healed. In the Mighty Name of Jesus, amen!

Love you, SUMites!
Dineen


For Every Mom Who Is Praying For A Prodigal

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comAMAZING stories were shared on Monday! SUMites, it is a privilege to be among you. Your love for Jesus and your family coupled with your wisdom, is truly a gift to me, Dineen and our entire family here on the web. 

Today I want to wrap up chapter four. I remain very passionate about the subject of raising our kids to faith and share many successful ideas in this chapter. If you listened in to any of the radio interviews I did this week, you heard me share some of them.

But today, my heart bleeds for all the mamas who are crying for their lost children. Those who have turned away from God. The adult children that cause our hearts to sting and our eyes to leak.

So this post is for those of you who are praying for prodigal adults. An excerpt from Not Alone, the Appendix 1: Rebellion and the Prodigal Adult:

Dry Bones

I shared in my story at the beginning of this book that I was a good kid. But I later spent a string of years as a prodigal, far from the God I had been taught to know. So I can tell you that even good kids choose to turn away from their faith. But I’m convinced that my return to God was brought about for two reasons.

One, the Lord of the universe, His Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit relentlessly pursued me with a powerful, redemptive love.

Two, my mother prayed and never gave up hope. She was my soft landing spot, even when I had screwed up my life and the lives of others. She always listened to me. She loved me even when I refused to follow her gentle words of wisdom. She was always an example to me of living faith and joy. In the darkest points of my prodigal wanderings, my mother always, always loved me. She affirmed me in a way that bridged the gap between her pain and my arrogance.

I called my mother to ask her for the first time what she had prayed during the years of my Nebuchadnezzar insanity (see Dan. 4). Before she told me, she reminded me that she had tried to help me see that I would regret the decisions I was making. She also acknowledged that she had felt hopeless as I politely listened to her but ignored her advice.

Ouch!

However, she added that she had never felt as if God had abandoned me or that He had ignored her pleas on my behalf. Mom told me, “I prayed with fervor for your protection from evil people and from evil spirits. I begged God to help you make some intelligent decisions, and mostly I prayed, ‘Lord, don’t let go of her.’ ”

My friend, God will bring to bear His great power and love in the lives of those for whom we pray. He is a God of redemption—He wants to redeem our lost kids and also our unbelieving spouses. We are called to trust with unwavering faith that God will save our lost loved ones.

Believe God with such conviction that you become completely certain there is no other alternative except for God to fulfill His promises. Our God moves heaven and earth to meet expectations and prayers such as these. Then watch and wait for the miracles. God gives life to dry bones:

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.” So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army. Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’ Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord. I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the Lord has spoken!’ ” (Ezek. 37:9-14, NLT, emphasis added).

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We need only BELIEVE & PRAY!

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