a twist on the Prodigal Son

FATHER, GIVE ME MY SHARE OF THE ESTATE

 

A long time ago, Jesus old a story about what it is like to come home.

Specifically, what it’s like to come home to our Father in heaven with no more qualifications than that we’ve made a mess of our own lives.

What would God say to us?  What would his attitude be?

In one of Jesus’ most familiar parables (Luke 15: 11-32), the younger of two sons demands, “Father, give me my share of the estate.”  It’s hard to overstate the edginess of this request. The Middle Eastern audience who first heard Jesus’ story must have been appalled.  This Jewish boy has committed the ultimate sin.

 

In so many words he has said, “Father, drop dead.  You’re no good to me alive.  All I want from you is your money that will be mine when you’re gone.  So, if you don’t mind, let’s pretend you’re gone now.”  It’s hard to imagine a more painful or insulting injury to any parent.

With a breaking heart, the father realizes that his son has no desire to be in relationship with him.  So he complies.  He divides up the estate.

The boy takes off into the wide, wide world.  According to the Bible this describes the relationship that all of us have with God.  All of us have said, in one way or another, “Father, I wish you were dead.  You crowd me.  My life would be so much happier if you weren’t hovering over everything I think and say and do.”

 

What does God do when we relate to him like that?  He says, “Go.  Go out and see if life is really happier when you are out of relationship with me.”

Author H.J. Duffy remembers when his teenage son was so excited to try out his new surfboard that he plunged right into the breakers, ignoring the warning flags that had been posted for dangerous surf.  Immediately the booming voice of the lifeguard rang out: “You are an inexperienced surfer.  Return to shore.”

Humiliated, the boy returned.  He asked the lifeguard how he knew he was a beginner.  “That’s easy.  You’ve got your wetsuit on backwards.”

God’s love is such that he doesn’t stand on the seashore of our lives and shout into a megaphone, “You are an inexperienced, completely ill-prepared rebel.  Return home at once.”  Incredibly, God lets us go.

 

At first things go brilliantly for the boy in Jesus’ story.  He has the time of his life.  But then he runs through all of his assets in “the far country.”  As scholar Kenneth Bailey observes, his ATM card is suddenly rejected.  His friends disappear.  Jesus assigns to him the ultimate nightmare job for a Hebrew boy – feeding pigs.

The boy gradually “comes to his senses,” as Jesus puts it.  He wakes up.  He realizes how far away he is from where he started.  He not only grasps in his head but he feels in his heart and his gut his separation from his father.  He longs to go home.

But what will his dad do if he ever shows his pig-feeding face around town again?

 

That would be a no-brainer in first century Jewish society.  The typical father would beat the living tar out of such a disrespectful son, as a warning to every other boy in the neighborhood.  It would be a kind of community service beating.

 

But this boy wonders, in his heart of hearts: is there a possibility that my dad will take me back?  He’s haunted by the last look that he saw on his father’s face.

 

He begins to formulate a plan.  He will play Let’s Make a Deal.  Certain that his relationship with his father is broken beyond repair, he rehearses a little speech.  “Dad, I don’t even deserve a cot in the barn.  I know I can’t be your son any more.  Could I at least be one of your minimum wage workers?”

He leaves the distant country and begins walking in the direction of home, no doubt burdened by the thought of trying to clean his own slate for the rest of his life.

The last thing he suspects is that his own father, the one he has wounded, is about to clean that slate for him.

 

Luke 15:20 tells us, “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 astonishing detail is that the father runs.  Dignified gentlemen in the time of Jesus walked through their paces slowly.  To run meant to show your ankles to the neighbors.  To do that was to risk ridicule.

 

This Father could care less.

 

While we ourselves are still a long way off – even while we remain in our distant countries of doubt and anger and hopelessness – God the Father is waiting.

What is it like to go home?

God the Father will run to meet us.

 

— Authored by Glenn McDonald

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Women’s Seminar on love and marriage

A group of women were at a seminar on how to live in a loving relationship with their husbands.

The women were asked, “How many of you love your husband?” All the women raised their hands.

Then they were asked, “When was the last time you told your husband you loved him?”

Some women answered … “today,” a few … “yesterday,” and some … “can’t remember.”

The women were then told to take out their cell phones and text their husband – “I love you, Sweetheart”

Next the women were instructed to exchange phones with one another and read aloud the text message they received in response to their message.

Below are 12 hilarious replies. If you have been married for quite a while, you understand that these replies are a sign of true love. Who else would reply in such a succinct and honest way?

~ Who IS this?

~ Eh, mother of my children, are you sick or what?

~ Yeah, and I love you too. What’s wrong?

~ I don’t understand what you mean?

~ What now? Did you wreck the car again?

~ Am I dreaming?

~ Don’t beat about the bush, just tell me how much you need?

~ What did you do now?

~ If you don’t tell me who this message is actually for, someone will die.

~ Your mother is coming to stay with us, isn’t she?

Kinda tugs at the heart, doesn’t it?

today’sTHOT============================

I don’t mean to brag, but I finished my 14-day diet food in 3 hours and 20 minutes.

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Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is approaching.

 

It’s time to buy a padlock, book a flight to Paris with your true love, and be “love-locked” happily ever after.

That’s what tens of thousands of couples have been doing for the better part of the last decade in the City of Light.

Sweethearts stand on one of the bridges over the River Seine that winds its way through Paris.  They write their names on a padlock, hook it to the wire mesh alongside the protective railing, then close it tight.

Then they throw the key into the river.

 

With that they joyfully embrace in the ardent hope that they have just secured their love forever.

Romantics think it’s an awesome new ritual.  Parisian civic authorities have been considerably less enchanted.  Three years ago, citing public safety (and complaints of visual pollution) they began to remove many of the locks.

Officials estimate that lovers have left 45 tons of padlocks, bike locks, antique locks, chain locks, and handcuffs to bridge railings, wire-mesh panels, lamps, signs, and even some of Paris’ famous riverside sculptures.

Not to mention the incredible number of keys that now litter the bottom of the Seine.

 

It’s fair to wonder if a lock is the ideal symbol for shared affection.  Or whether love is rekindled every time someone sighs, “Honey, isn’t it great that our names are on those handcuffs attached to the Pont des Arts?”

 

French philosopher Alain Badiou gently points out that true love is not a prison or a possession.  “True lovers protect each other’s freedom.”

But lovers also become anxious.  We fear change.  No wonder we’re drawn to rituals that offer the promise of stability.  Wouldn’t it be great to lock things down?

According to the new love-lock tradition, love will last as long as that lock stays fastened.

 

Most couples, however, are discovering that staying together requires a lot more effort than plunking a key into a river.

Author Ernest Becker coined the term Apocalyptic Marriage – the illusion that if I just find that one perfect person, my true soul mate, then everything broken in my life will be repaired.  Everything messed up in my heart and my head will be healed.

There’s just one problem with that idea:  now my partner has to be God.  And you thought coming up with the perfect Valentine’s Day gift was going to be tough.

 

No one can possibly live up to such an expectation.

 

Human love relationships are wonderful.  They provide the gifts of companionship, support, and security.  But only God can help us discover our true identity, find hope for the future, and begin to grasp the meaning of life.

Getting “love-locked” with another person is a great way to say, “I’m in this with you forever!”

But only God can say, “I actually know what forever means.”

And God will never change his mind about loving us.

— Authored by Glenn McDonald

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Squirrels in Church

Three churches in town were overrun with squirrels.

After much prayer, the elders of the first church determined that the animals were predestined to be there. Who were they to interfere with God’s will?  They did nothing, and the squirrels multiplied.

The elders of the second church, deciding that they should not harm any of God’s creatures, humanely trapped the squirrels and then set them free outside of town.  Three days later the squirrels were back.

The third church succeeded in solving the squirrel problem. The elders simply baptized the squirrels and registered them as members of the church.  Now they only see the squirrels on Christmas and Easter.

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the Best Gifts of the Season

THE BEST GIFTS THIS SEASON:

 

To a Friend – Loyalty

To an Enemy – Forgiveness

To your Boss – Service

To your Child – A good example

To your Father – Honor

To your Mother – Gratitude and Devotion

To your Spouse – Love and Faithfulness

To Yourself – Respect

To All Men – Charity

To God – Your Life!!

 

— Author Unknown

 

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Spirituality Debate…

I want to say something about the spirituality debate. You don’t believe in God? That’s ok, but why is it so important for many of you to mock those of us that do? If we’re wrong, what have we lost when we die? Nothing! How does our faith in Jesus Christ bring you any harm? You think it makes me stupid? Gullible? Ignorant? That’s ok too. How does that affect you? If you’re wrong your consequence is far worse. I would rather live my life believing in God and serving Him, and find out I was right, than not believe in Him and not serve Him, and find out I was wrong. Then it’s too late.
Ain’t no shame in my game! I believe in Jesus Christ. He said deny me in front of your friends & I will deny you in front of my Father.
WordPress Challenge:
If you’re not ashamed copy & paste it! God is Good!!!!!!
I’m willing to do this…how about you?

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Twas’ the night…..

TWAS THE NIGHT JESUS CAME

Twas’ the night Jesus came and all through the house,

Not a person was praying, not one in the house.

The Bible was left on the shelf without care,

for no one thought Jesus would come there.

The children were dressing to crawl into bed,

not once ever kneeling or bowing their head.

And Mom in the rocking chair with baby on her lap,

was watching the Late Show as I took a nap.

When out of the east there rose such a clatter,

I sprang to my feet to see what’s the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

tore open the shutters and lifted the sash.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,

but Angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.

The light of His face made me cover my head,

it was Jesus returning just like He’d said.

And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,

I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life that in which he held in his hand,

was written the name of every saved man.

He spoke not a word as he searched for my name,

when He said “it is not here”

I hung my head in shame. The people who’s names had been written with love,

He gathered to take to his Father above.

With those who were ready He rose without a sound,

while all the others were left standing around.

I fell to my knees but it was too late,

I waited too long and thus sealed my fate.

I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight,

Oh, if only I’d know that this was the night.

In the words of this poem the meaning is clear

the coming of Jesus is now drawing near.

There’s only one life and when comes the last call,

We’ll find out that the Bible was true after all……..

— Author Unknown

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Christmas Peace

QUIET MY HEART, LORD

Quiet my heart, Lord,

and show me a Christmas

as peaceful and calm as

an old cattle shed…

Slow down my pace, Lord,

and help me seek Jesus,

the Son of Your Love,

in a humble straw bed…

Steady my spirit, Lord,

call me from chaos

in simple surrender

to pray and rejoice…

Breakthrough the busy,

too-bright celebration,

and whisper your message,

“Be still…hear my voice…”

Be still, and know that I am God…”

Psalm 46:10

— Author Unknown

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what do you want for Christmas

WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR CHRISTMAS?

A poem sent to Dear Abby from a couple who have too much stuff.

So many of you asked us (since Yuletide’s drawing near)

“What do you want for Christmas? What can we give you this year?

If we say, “We want nothing!” you buy something anyway,

So here’s a list of what we’d like; believe now what we say:

Pajamas for a little child, food to feed the poor.

Blankets for a shelter, and we ask a little bit more–

Perform good deeds and let us know, or volunteer your time.

These last are worth a fortune, and they needn’t cost a dime.

We have to many things now, vases, candles, tapes and clocks.

We have our fill of garments, ties, underwear and socks.

Candy is too fattening, crossword books we’ve more than 20.

We don’t need trays or plates or cups, and knickknacks we have plenty.

We’ve no walls to hang more pictures; we have books we’ve not yet read;

So please take what you’d spend on us and help the poor instead!

Just send a Christmas card to us and tell us what you’ve done;

We’ll open them on Christmas Eve, and read them one by one.

It won’t cost as much for postage as a package sent would do,

You’ll need no wrapping paper, ribbons, ink or glue.

And we’ll thank God you listened to what we had to say,

So we could be the instruments to help someone this way.

— Author Unknown

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Christmas’ begining

WHO STARTED CHRISTMAS?

This morning I heard a story on the radio of a woman who was out Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of looking at row after row of toys and everything else imaginable. And after hours of hearing both her children asking for everything they saw on those many shelves, she finally made it to the elevator with her two kids.

She was feeling what so many of us feel during the holiday season time of the year. Overwhelming pressure to go to every party, every housewarming,  taste all the holiday food and treats, getting that perfect gift for every single person on our shopping list, making sure we don’t forget anyone on our card list, and the pressure of making sure we respond to everyone who sent us a card.

Finally the elevator doors opened and there was already a crowd in the car. She pushed her way into the car and dragged her two kids in with her and all the bags of stuff. When the doors closed she couldn’t take it anymore and  stated, “Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up and shot.”

From the back of the car everyone heard a quiet calm voice respond, “Don’t worry we already crucified him.” For the rest of the trip down the elevator it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.

Don’t forget this year to keep the One who started this whole Christmas thing in your every thought, deed, purchase, and word. If we all did it, just think of how different this whole world would be.

— Author Unknown

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