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Thoughts Archived > Come Home In Your Heart To God

28 Apr 2013



April 28, 2013

  Come Home In Your Heart To God

Luke 15: 11 - 31



To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story:  "A man had two sons.  The younger son told his father, 'I want my share of your estate now, instead of waiting until you die.'  So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

"A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and took a trip to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money on wild living.  About the time hs money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve.  He persuaded a local farmer to hire him to feed his pigs.  The boy became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him.  But no one gave him anything.

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

"So he returned home to his father.  And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming.  Filled with love, and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.  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.'

"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.  And kill the calf we have been fattening in the pen.  We must celebrate with a feast, 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.

"Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working.  When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, and he asked one of the servants what was going on.  'Your brother is back,' he was told, 'and your father has killed the calf we were fattening and has prepared a great feast.  We are celebrating because of his safe return.'

"The older brother was angry and wouldn't go in.  His father came out and begged him, but he replied, 'All these years I've worked hard for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to.  And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends.  Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the finest calf we have.'

"His father said to him, 'Look, dear son, you and I are very close, and everything I have is yours.  We had to celebrate this happy day.  For your brother was dead and has come back to life!  He was lost, but now he is found!'" 







Hellooooooo out there in cyberspace!  I pray you have all had a victorious week.  May the coming week bring you great joy....and Heavenly Father experiences this joy, too, as he watches over you.

This weeks lesson is a continuation of the last couple weeks theme that Jesus is sharing to emphasize God's great love, compassion and understanding when we turn to God to ask forgiveness for our sins.  Unlike the 'razzing'...teasing....I did with my sister in Christ the other day, God doesn't bring up the past, doesn't choose to look at the past, doesn't even acknowledge your past when you go to him with a repentant heart asking forgiveness.  He just says essentially, "Ok, you're forgiven".  And then he says, "Now, go and sin no more."  And therein lies the clincher. 

Clincher....as in strangling suffocating guilt because we will....ok....most likely will sin again....like the last time....and the time before that.  God does not like that we sin.  But we really don't like it when we sin, if only because of the guilt and shame we put upon ourselves for having done so.  We know when we sin we are hurting ourselves, those around us, and God.  That there is a ripple effect.  But God lovingly still cares about us, and will forgive us, if...BIG IF....we are not a reprobate sinner.  That's someone who knowingly, without shame or guilt, chooses to continue the path of sin.  THAT kind of sinner is cut off from the 'family tree', if you will.  If they ever really were part of the tree to begin with.  See John 15, if you think you cannot be cut away....lose your salvation.  'Tis true....you can lose your salvation.    

In todays lesson we learn about the selfishness of the younger son wanting part of his father's estate up front, being unwilling to wait until he dies to receive it.  The father, knowing that he could watch his sons enjoy what he had given them, agreed to divide his estate while he was alive. 

And off went the younger son 'into the wild blue yonder', without the benefit of U.S. Air Force support, as television commercials have promoted throughout my lifetime.  Younger son went wild in his living and wasted his money, running out of it just in time for a great famine.  This is yet one of many 'soap operas' that unfold in the Bible.  So younger son, now out of money, was pretty hungry, so much so that he found it necessary to go to work and was nearly willing to eat the pods he was feeding the pigs.  Yet no one gave him anything.  Key word:  gave.  What was he doing with his newly earned money? 

Jesus then indicates this younger son 'finally came to his senses'.  To me, it looks like he learned to swallow some pride.  Or maybe he could be described as having a manipulative mindset per secular psychiatrists today.   He thought about what he left, and what he could gain if he returned home.  He realized 'even the hired men have food enough to spare'.  So he made the decision to go home to his father and ask his father for forgiveness....and so he said, "Father, I've sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.  Please take me on as a hired man."  That was humbling, wise, and warming to his father's heart....and God's.  He didn't just come home and say, 'Yo Daddio, you still owe me.'  He humbly, with repentant heart, sincere hope, believing faith bowed down to God and his father asked forgiveness, acknowledged his sin, requested a low level job that would allow him work for pay, and put him in the position of servant to his father....and his brother. 

How often when we sin, do we go to Heavenly Father....God....and ask his forgiveness?  And do we offer to be his servant, allowing him to be our AUTHORITY?  Or do we believe we can just go on doing as we did before in our own authority?  In the world of multi-level marketing, there is a saying, "Insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results."  But isn't that just what we do day in and day out?  Don't we believe what we've been taught and stick to that, not wanting to learn more, believing everything therefore is only black and white?  That there is no way but our way, or the highway....which all others can go down to get out of the way and not change our knowing of anything else....valid or not?  Here we learn there are shades of gray.  That God will forgive us, if we are not a reprobate, that person who continues on a disingenuous path.  Going around the same path for 40 years brings new meaning to circle of life and love.  God attempts to help us to not get stuck by offering us forgiveness for starters

God offers us the opportunity to be forgiven and forge ahead on a new journey with him....on a new path....able to enjoy a new loving relationship with him.                             

Just like in the younger son's story with his father, God, as our Heavenly Father, is running to us the moment we realize we have sinned and need his forgiveness to move on in life.   He's thrilled and we should be, too, that he is there to catch us when we fall, or lets us fall, if necessary to teach us something, but God is always willing to pick up the pieces in our day to day life.  Is anybody perfect....no not one.  Should we all feel shame, sorrow, regret, guilt, pain, etc. when we sin?  Ya....I think so.....I'm guessing it is part of how God made us, so that we can know...say know....when we sin and that we sin.  [Notice I said 'we', not 'you' alone.]  How would we know we needed to repent....ask forgiveness for our sins....if we didn't have those 'bio-markers', if you will? 

In the same way the father was overjoyed to see his son, that he had returned to him, learning his son was not dead, God loves us.  I'll say that again....God LOVES us.  But this is also a clear message that we can die to God, not just in natural death, but in spiritual death.  We can be cut off and cast out into the depths of hell.  We can die to God, and not to self or the world.  But how much better off we would be, and have the opportunity to receive eternal life, if we repent....ask forgiveness for sins committed and....and....obey God!  This is not a question, it is an emphatic statement.  Look at all the great stuff the son received in todays lesson for going home and repenting.  The father called upon the servants, he was brought the finest robe in the house and the servants had to place it on him....serve his needs.  He was given a ring for his finger indicating his was part of that family again, and sandals for his feet to ground him in his new life.  And then the servants had to kill the fattened calf for a feast in celebration of his arrival, his new life.  [A simple milk shake would make me happy!]  He was dead, but now returned to life!  Lost but found!  How much more will Heavenly Father be overjoyed and give to you?!!!

In Ephesians 6, shoes indicated peace that comes from the Good News.  Was a robe part of body armor of God's righteousness?

Will God be filled with love and compassion, run to you, embrace you and kiss you as you return to him?  Yes!  Return to him!

What do you expect God to give you if you return to him?  Should you expect anything?  What you will receive is forgiveness of sins, if you ask him for forgiveness, for you cannot expect to return to him without asking for such.  If the only sin you have committed is walking away....well....that's a pretty big one considering all he's given you....breath, brain [most days for me], body, life.  And what else might you receive?  Might you receive eternal life?  Yup....if you obey him.  Let me say that again, eternal life is dependent on you obeying him.  You cannot just say, 'Yo, Daddy, I know you, your son, and I've accepted him as Savior, but I've not got time to make him Lord of my life, I'm having too much of a blast.', and then expect to get to heaven.  No, no, no.  Not the way it works.  'All fall short of the glory of God.'  'Many are called but few are chosen.'  You really could get to heaven's gate and be thrust aside. 

For all those who are Atheists, this may appear to be hogwash.  Thank you for reading all this.  But God still made you, Jesus still died for you.  You WILL still have to answer to them one day.  You might want to consider the consequences.  The Bible says, history has proven, archeological digs bear out, Jesus did live, die, and was resurrected.  He did go to hell to suffer the sins of the world....including yours.  He suffered so much for those sins that he was disfigured....rendered unrecognizable to his closest companions.  He went to heaven and he came back down.  He was finally 'taken up' into heaven where he reigns with God at his right hand.  And he lives still.  He can live in you by the way.  Lest you think this is not part of documented history, look at the facts.  They are everywhere and IN many.  Check this out....in Matthew 27:50-53 we read....now remember....this is documented history.....'Then Jesus shouted out again, and he gave up his spirit [this is Jesus dying on the cross for you].  At that moment the curtain in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.  The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened [the ones with dead bodies of years gone by].  The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead after Jesus' resurrection.  They [The dead people raised to new life.] left the cemetery, went [walked, flew, floated, ran?] into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared [they were alive]to many people.'  All by the power of God....the guy you don't believe in. 

Even for you.....God will run with open arms filled with love and compassion, embrace you and kiss you....and give you much, if you will turn from your sins and ask him to be at home in your heart. 

It may not seem right, or equitas, to those of us who have been laying down our lives for years for the Lord in servitude, bearing our breath, giving it all, finding ourselves being pruned by God and attacked by Satan, that sinner Joe 'over there' can just walk up and say, 'Yo, God, sorry about the last 40 years of my life, but I've had a change of heart, 'forgive me of my sins'.  I'll take you on and move forward with you in my life.  Now, give me my due with all your love, and everything will be hunky dorey.'

With all due respect to God, and most sinners in the world, I don't think this is exactly how boy or girl wonder will show up, nor do I think they will say what I said.  But 'get' my understanding, know that I 'get' yours and the brother's in todays story.  It may not be equal, in the over all scheme of things, that the new person on the block gets all the hoopla, when you've (we've) been moving alongside God all along and we may not be currently feeling the 'newly found' passion and joy.  But life is not always all about us....especially in God's world.

Like the father expressed to the son that had been there for years, they'd always 'had each other'...my paraphrase.  Like Jesus indicated in Matthew 11:25-30 so called 'Unforced Rhythms of Grace', "This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge.  No one knows the Son the way the Father does, not the Father the way the Son does.", the father in this story is trying to convey this oneness that he had with the son that had been there for years.  For us, it is the same.  For all the years we've been with the Lord, we have been rewarded with so much love, so much knowledge and so many intimacies that can never be glossed over, nor can they be achieved overnight with someone new.  Our position will not be in jeopardy unless we place it in jeopardy.  The older brother, the son with staying power, should not feel threatened or saddened, but grateful to have had so many special years of one on one time, time that his brother can never make up, but can begin anew to start a new journey of new memories and great times, new shared 'intimacies and knowledge'.

The older son in those days, would have gotten 2/3 of the father's estate and the younger only 1/3.  He received years of togetherness, and learned a lot with hard work.  Yet now he is sinning with anger, regret, sorrow, resentment, and the list goes on.  He is hurting.  He can't see all the wonderful years of oneness or togetherness, only the immediate excitement and rewards his brother is getting that he did not get.  He is not counting the extra 1/3 he received over his brother either.  He only sees the joy, the party atmosphere, the gratitude, but does not feel his Dad was grateful for all he did.  You may not be feeling your Heavenly Father's....God's....gratitude, joy or happiness right now either.  By the way, when was the last time you sincerely thanked others around you? 

Your life may not be such that you are happy about much of anything.  But folks, if you have done the work, and been faithful, and have a relationship with the one who saves, you have lots for which to be thankful.  You've been loved with joy all along by God, Jesus and Holy Spirit.  Why do you not feel it?  Have you let Satan get into your spirit to bring you down toward him?  Can you not see the rewards he has given that surround you?  If you are reading this, you have the ability to utilize a computer.  Do you have 4 walls and a roof surrounding you?  Have you food?  Family....such as some are?  You are breathing if you are reading this.  Have you life?   You do if you are breathing and reading this.   [I didn't say 'A' life.  Everyone's definition is different.]  I am sorry if you have no joy.  There are days in all of our lives that, as my brother used to say, 'Some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets you'.  Don't let Satan get to you.  Don't buy into the negativity of all that life throws at you.  Continue to persevere.  Continue to keep your eyes on Heaven's gate.  Continue your relationship with God, Jesus, Holy Spirit.  Don't worry about what the other guy/gal is getting.  Worry about what you have to do to receive the prize of the high calling of God.  Phil 3:14.  Which should include helping someone else get to the Father.  And they will be rewarded....just like you! 

Just as the father told the son, "We had to celebrate this happy day.  For your brother was dead and has come back to life!  He was lost, but now he is found!"  As God was thrilled when you entered his arms, he will be equally thrilled that someone else will do the same.  There is no room for jealousy in the Kingdom of God.  There is no room for black and white....there are shades of gray.  Our God looks at everyone foundationally as the same....we all came from him.  After that....every situation is different.  But ALL must seek him, go to him, find him, to know him.  ALL must ask forgiveness of their sins to have a relationship with him.  ALL must obey him.  Let me spell that out for you....O....B....E....Y.....obey....him.  GOD.  That's as in 'bowing down to' him.  All must die to their old self, come out of death of such, and enter a new life.  See Romans 7:14-25

The statement, 'He was lost, but now he is found.' has more to do with the person's condition than God having lost someone and then finding them.  God never physically 'loses sight of' anyone that is his.  But we can get lost on the way of life.  And we can 'find ourselves' on the way of life.  Like when we come out of a fog of years of sinning (bowing down to others and not God, etc.) and realize there is more to life.  It begins with turning our lives over to God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, so that we might learn to live anew.  Romans 8:5-6 reads:  'Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please Spirit.  If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death.  But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace."  Just like the younger brother who came out of death, everyone else can, too.  And just like the father inferred with the robe, ring, and shoes, we, too, can be clothed in righteousness, be part of the family of God, and wear God's peace. 

If you have not already done so, now might be a good time to come out of your fog.  God is waiting for you.  'There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.  For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death. [IF you have asked God to forgive you of your sins and accepted Jesus as your Savior.]  The law of Moses could not save us, because of our sinful nature.  But God put into effect a different plan to save us.  He sent his own Son in a human body like ours, except ours are sinful.  God destroyed sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.  He did this so that the requirement of the law would be fully accomplished for us who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.'  Romans 8:1-4

'You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.  (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them are not Christians at all.)  Since Christ lives within you [IF you have asked him to do so], even though your body will die because of sin, your spirit is alive because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.  And just as he raised Christ from the dead, he will give life to your mortal body by this same Spirit living within you.'

'So, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.  For if you keep on following it, you will perish.  But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds, you will live.  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

'So you should not be like cowering fearful slaves.  You should behave instead like God's very own children, adopted into his family - calling him, "Father, dear Father."  For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God's children.  And since we are [are!] his children, we will share his treasures - for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too.'  Romans 8:7-17

So, ladies and gentlemen, come home in your heart to God.  He's been waiting for so long to run to you and embrace you.  Even those of you who consider yourselves Christians.  Are you, based on what Paul said to the Romans in todays lesson?  Have you gotten lost somewhere?  Is your whole heart not fully invested in God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit?  Maybe it is and you are okay.  Has life gotten in the way of worshiping the one who saves and gives life....forgiveness of sins?  Maybe it hasn't.  When was the last time you spent quality time getting to know him....or know him more....through his Word...the Bible and the Savior?  When was the last time that you glowed with love for him and were over-joyed with gratitude for all he has done for you and given you?  When was the last time you spoke out for him...sharing the rich message that he saves....he lives....and he can live in others?  Have you brought him glory lately?  Was it Dionne Warwick or Nancy Wilson that sang 'Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you....he's almost there"?  It was a Burt Bacharach song.  The thing with this song is that God is already there....he's been waiting for YOU to come home to him.  Will you?  Run to his arms today.  He loves you so much....still.  





Let Us Pray


God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, please forgive me of my sins.  Thank you!  I am so excited to learn that you still love me.  I'm not a reprobate, nor do I have a reprobate mind.  Thank you for protecting me all these years that I have been yours.  Although I can never state I am perfect now, nor have I ever been, I am thrilled to know that you, as perfection, live in me and love me perfectly.  As Thomas Merton said in 'Thoughts in Solitude', I pray, "My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.  [But you do!]  I do not see the road ahead of me.  [But you do!]  I cannot know for certain where it will end.  [But you do!]  Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.  [Forgive me....please.]  But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.  [I pray this is true.]  And I hope [and pray] I have that desire in all that I am doing.  I hope [and pray] that I will never do anything [anything] apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will [absolutely] lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.  [But you do!]  Therefore will I [I choose to and will] trust you always [and forever] though I may seem [seem] to be lost [probably lost] and in the shadow [only the shadow!!!!] of death, I will not fear [will not fear], for you are [very much are] ever [ever and ever] with me, and you will never [never ever] leave me to face my perils alone."  Thank you, God, Jesus, Holy Spirit.  Please lead me on the right path. Show me which way to go to walk into the vision that you've given me.  Help me continue to lead others to you so they can know who you are, that you are and how wonderful you are.  I am very grateful to you for so many things....thank you so very much.  We are on a journey of life and for life.  I could not have ever done it, nor can I do it now or in the future without you.  I'm thrilled when you give treasures to others.  And thrilled that I have learned not to measure treasures.  And that the best things can come in small packages.  I love the packages you've given me, large and small.  Father God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, I run to your arms with love and I know you are running to embrace me.  Such joy cannot be measured.  Nor a breath take it away.  I bow down to you.  May my love for you and all I do....okay....most of what I do....bring you glory.  Forgive me, please, for the times I may not be appearing to love you, but love the desires of my selfish heart more than you, as my heart.  Holy Spirit continue to envelope me with your love, wisdom, grace, etc., so that I may perfectly love you, God and Jesus, and worthily magnify your HOLY name.  I praise you and thank you IN everything....in the midst of.  Alleluia!  Amen.                      


Shine Jesus Shine


Lord, the light of your love is shining. / In the midst of the darkness shining;

Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us,

Set us free by the truth you now bring us; / Shine on me, shine on me.

Shine, Jesus, shine, fill this land with the Father's glory.

Blaze, Spirit blaze; set our hearts on fire.

Flow, river flow, flood the nations with grace and mercy.

Send forth your word, Lord, and let there be light.

Lord, I come to your awesome presence, / From the shadows into your radiance;

By the blood I may enter your brightness;

Sear me, try me, consume all my darkness; / Shine on me.  Shine on me.  

Shine, Jesus, shine, fill this land with the Father's glory.

Blaze, Spirit blaze, set our hearts on fire.

Flow, river flow, flood the nations with grace and mercy.

Send forth your word, Lord, and let there be light.





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Let us hear from Paul as he prays:  

When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.  I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit.  And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him.  May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it.  Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Now glory be to God!  By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.  May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages.  Amen.  Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT         




Scroll down to read Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving...'The Unforced Rhythms of Grace'.




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    One last thing....


 Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving

'The Unforced Rhythms of Grace'


"Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer:  "Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.  You've concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people.  Yes, Father, that's the way you like to work."

Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly.  "The Father has given me all these things to do and say.  This is a unique Father - Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge.  No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does.  But I'm not keeping it to myself; I'm ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen."

"Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out on religion?  Come to me.  Get away with me and you'll recover your life.  I'll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn how to live freely and lightly.


   Matthew 11:  25-30

  The Message


And the people said,









I now write most prayers in the position of ' I ' (first person) because most people are sitting at their computer alone, not in groups, and it allows those reading and praying to personalize the prayer as coming from them going to God.  Variations may appear on holidays when families may wish to use the prayer provided.  I encourage you to pray your own prayers as well.


  Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996.  Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189.  All rights reserved.


NOTE:  I said it long ago, but let me say it again.  If you are wanting to lead a group, start a church, or are confined in an institution, or live in a country where the Gospel is not preached, and you don't know what to say or how to say it, and yet feel led to share, teach, or preach, besides just reading straight out of the Bible, please feel free to share any or all of what I've written, as long as you include where it comes from, due to copyright laws.  Jesus gave God's love and healing freely, as well as his message.  Our responsibility is to get the Word out to those who need to hear it.  If what I've written....by the power and direction of the Holy Spirit....or what he has said through me....has helped you, it may help others that you know.  You are welcome to share it.  God calls all of us to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.  Please share it with the fullness of love that God, Jesus, Holy Spirit....and I....have given it.  Amen!   


Bible Authors and Minister