DayBreaks for 8/22/16 – Misunderstanding Life – and the Father

 

DayBreaks for 8/22/16 – Misunderstanding Life – and the Father

There is no greater example of the gospel than that found in Luke 15 where Jesus tells three stories: the lost sheep, the lost coin…and the “prodigal son” story (and that’s a huge misnomer!) So, my dear, dear friend…this is a story for you…

Luke 15:17-20 (ESV) – But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

Our lead teacher (Randy) has been doing a series on this chapter and it has been so rich! Sunday, he spoke about this son – this younger, prideful, rebellious son and about his return home. There were some key points that I wanted to share from his message because they blessed me and I think they’ll bless you, too.

FIRST: this young, headstrong and inconsiderate man thought that in license there would be freedom. He wanted to cast off the restraints of living in the presence of the father, thinking that if he could only go and do what he wanted, to be in charge and control of his own life, that he could find happiness. But, as Randy noted, “License always ends in bondage.” We think that the lack of restraints is what will not only bring us joy, but bring us freedom. It won’t. It ends in bondage. License doesn’t set you free – the Truth is what sets us free!

SECOND: the son totally misunderstood the father. He is hoping against hope to be welcome to serve as a hired hand in the father’s house and business. That’s all he could aspire to, all he could imagine after what he’d done to his father. But this just shows how badly he misunderstood the father. There is no way that the father would take his son back as a hired hand! No! This son was treated to the father’s very own rob, to shoes for his feet, a ring for his hand…but far more than that, what was the greatest gift of the father was his embrace and kiss. Fathers don’t embrace and kiss hired hands…but they do their sons and daughters. This son had no idea how much he was loved by the father until the embrace and kiss took place!

THIRD: perhaps most importantly – and I hope you don’t miss this one – the embrace and kiss are NOT given to the son because he came home.  They are given because he was a son…a child so deeply loved by the father that no other response from the father was even possible! The embrace and kiss had to be given because the father couldn’t not constrain his love.

In order to come home, we have to believe in the love of the father. The young man believed – or rather hoped – that there was some compassion in the heart of his dad.  He just didn’t know the love that was in the father’s heart.

And so it is with you and me. We won’t come home (not to a physical or metaphysical place) but into the relationship of the Father’s person, unless we begin to believe He loves us. And when we make the first step, oh sweet joy! – the Father runs to us, encircles us with His almighty arms, and gives us a “welcome home” kiss!

Are you away from “home”, thinking that maybe if you’re super lucky, that the Father might let you inhabit the darkest corner of heaven as a sweeper of the golden street? Forget it! You will be welcomed as a beloved child – and the greatest celebration of all eternity will begin – and never end!

PRAYER: Oh, Father, Father, Father! Your love is so overwhelming! Help us believe that You love us like this – even more than this – and that we are welcome in the home of Your embrace forever! In the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord, Amen. 

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

 

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DayBreaks for 12/04/15 – A Deadly Kiss

DayBreaks for 12/04/15: A Deadly Kiss

From Bizarre News, 11/30/05: SAGUENAY, Quebec – Sometimes a kiss is more than just a kiss.  In the case of 15-year-old Christina Desforges, a kiss from her boyfriend meant her death. Desforges’ boyfriend had just eaten a peanut butter snack before giving her a kiss. The problem – she was allergic to peanuts and it caused a severe allergic reaction, hospital officials said.  Desforges was taken to the hospital and given a shot of adrenaline, but doctors were unable to treat the reaction.

Life, sometimes, is just plain hard.  We’d like to believe that such a thing could never happen.  Certainly, no harm was intended by the kiss and none was anticipated.  It wasn’t a pre-meditated attempt to kill the poor girl.  Yet, as tragic as it is, all we can do is shrug our shoulders and grieve that such things happen.

Judas, however, was not possessed of pure motives when he greeted Jesus with a kiss.  His motives were clear because he’d arranged the sign in advance with those who would arrest and kill Jesus.  He could have chosen any of a number of different signs, but he chose this one.  Why?  My guess is that Jesus and his followers often greeted one another with a kiss – it was part of the customary greeting of that time.  But Judas doesn’t appear to have kissed any of the other disciples in greeting – if he had, it would have been confusing to those who came to apprehend the Christ.

I want to believe that I would never betray Jesus with a kiss.  With a symbol of friendship when deep down inside, not only am I not a friend, but I can be hostile to Jesus and his cause – just like Judas was.  We are prone to words of flattery, playing “nicey-nice” one moment and then the next, backing away pointing at him as if he were an enemy.

Perhaps the most deadly thing about what Judas did is to have presumed on the friendship of Jesus.  He knew that Jesus wouldn’t step back and pull away.  He took advantage of that which was familiar – and that makes the betrayal all the more grievous.

When is the last time that I betrayed Jesus with a kiss?  With my silence?  With my speech that sounded all flowery while my heart was filled with betrayal?

May our love for Jesus be genuine so that the life he wants to impart to us isn’t snuffed out.

Copyright 2005 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

TODAY’S PRAYER: Lord, we try to deceive you and we certainly want to deceive ourselves.  Help us never to betray you with signs of friendship while we remain your enemies deep in our hearts.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.