Prodigals, Humility, and Surrender

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11 NKJV

Well, look at that – we are back at the theme of humility. And the best way to be humble is? Repentance!  Maybe this blog is not well names and maybe it should have been named “Repent and get Humble! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Luke, chapters 14-15 (embedded below the image below for your convenience).  

And Jesus starts us of strong again today with: A Man with Dropsy Healed on the Sabbath! Sometimes I think Jesus liked to antagonize the Pharisees.

Then Jesus tells one of those one point sermons that I am not very good at. He first explains His point with the parable of Take the Lowly Place, then with the parable of The Parable of the Great Supper.  In our modern world – the preacher would state the point in some clear and catchy way. Back then, you were supposed to be able to tell what the point was from the overlapping theme and not get caught up in the details. Jesus often clarifies for His disciples but let’s the Pharisees get lost in the details – this is why they did not understand. Don’t be like a Pharisee.

Then the chapter goes on to explain the cost of discipleship with Leaving All to Follow Christ concluded with the Proverb of Tasteless Salt Is Worthless.

Chapter 15 is another one point sermon where Jesus explains His point 3 ways – these three go together, do not ever separate them in your mind: The Parable of the Lost Sheep, The Parable of the Lost Coin, and The Parable of the Lost Son.  Now throughout the old testament I warned not to take the word of God out of context and claim certain verses as prophetic for your (or mine) wayward child (or other loved one). Now these three, taken together, gives us the hopes for them. In the first Jesus goes looking for them and we stay out of His way and try not to get ourselves lost and stay with the flock. The second parable the women all gather at the woman’s house who lost her coins and they all get on their knees and look for it. The third, the wayward one comes to his senses on his own after hitting rock bottom. NONE of them are meant to be the example of HOW God will reach them or IF they will accept Jesus when He knocks.  The ‘getting on your knees’ one – I suppose if we are on our knees in prayer – we can at least ask God not to give up on them and to keep knocking on our loved one’s heart. Man, I am a buzz kill lately with the scriptures! But it says what it says and it is a sin to corrupt it. So stop trying to make it into something it isn’t. Yes, there is hope – NO there is no promise that our loved ones will ever accept Christ. I know, I wish there was a promise as well. But, we can pray the prayer in Ephesians 1 and we can ask the Lord of the harvest to send the perfect seed planters, and to make the soil ready for the seeds and for Him to send the perfect laborers into the harvest to reach them! We can pray and intercede since we battle NOT against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers.

If it is our children, we can break generational curses and cast out familial demons (as we discussed back in Deuteronomy when we spoke of curses).

You see we may try to manipulate our backslidden loved ones with “tough Love” – but manipulation is the sin of witchcraft – so knock it off! And we tell our kids we will only give them help and love if…
When did Jesus ever put a condition on LOVE? Jesus ate with the sinners – well we can’t do that and I am told it is because we are to be ye separate and be ye holy and all that. Well, Jesus was holy and separate and among them. So was Peter, after, and Paul – who said we are in this world but not of it.  This is not a popular view point. But Judas was one of the 12 – and the enemy is constantly trying to turn the heart of your closest against you for destruction as well (and many times it is someone who professes Christ.) The entire modern principle of not associating with sinners is so ridiculous. I mean, none of us dispute that the Bible says not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together and we are all sinners!  Saved by grace.

So let us repent. Let us get back to the low place at the table (referring to the parable in today’s reading) and maybe someone there around us will be our mission – our outreach. Or maybe God will lift us up.

Let’s talk about my dog, again, for a moment. She is just so cute and could walk all over me if I let her. Anyway, she has a pride problem.  Little 10 pound puppy with an ego of a 200 pound dog.  She is such a good girl most of the time, it is difficult to notice her subtle dominant actions.  Dominance is pride. She thinks she is higher than she is in the pack if she acts like that. She thinks I am weaker (her cuteness does put me at a disadvantage – but I am still the leader). Last night she refused to do our night time routine – climb in her bed and lay down calm and submissive and get a treat. Instead she was excited submissive which turned into all sorts of crazy outbursts when I refused her the treat. 2 hours later, it was midnight and she still wasn’t calm submissive. I at least got her back to submissive (excited) and walked away. At least she submitted. But she did not get cookies.

This morning she remembers. Every morning I call her over to sit on my lap for some love and today she jumped up and stood proud, instead of rolling onto her back for belly rubs like she usually does. She was mad and was going to show me that she is the leader. Well, guess who didn’t get belly rubs and isn’t on my lap?

Here is another example of why we need to be humble with God. If the dog is me and I am God (no, I do not believe I am God – I am drawing parallels) then look what God does for us when we are prideful and want our way over His.

Sweet Lillidog missed out on treats, and belly rubs, and our personal one on one interactions and cuddles for the day. The morning routine is like our secret place time with God. And she came in there jumping and standing and out of place and expected to still receive a soft peaceful exchange of love. 

We have a saying: “I am proud of my child” but this usually means I am happy with their choices and want to share the good things they did with you. This is not the pride Jesus and I are speaking about.  Pride is first of all, placing yourself above God. But pride is also taking ANY position at the table above the place God set for you.

The parable of the table – it might be fantastic to be in the lowest seat at some tables.  I mean imagine being invited to a table full of famous men and women of God… like, there are all these rallies all over the USA happening with multiple speakers and all those great men and women of God have to eat. So what if God invited you to that table?! It would be fine to be in the lowest place to rub elbows, and make conversations with them. Maybe even get an anointed message from God through one of them. (Why does that always thrill and validate us when we can get that message through God directly if we go to the secret place?!) Anyway – you see the point. I hope.

Lilli’s lack of humility means I also didn’t get my snuggle time, that I want. <- God feels that too!!! He wants to spend time with us, but can’t if we come in shacking our fists, making demands, setting things between us and Him, and not leaving behind sin. We “press in” trying to reach Him, all the while we are actually pushing Him away with pride and being stiff necked.

The cost of following Christ – in today’s reading, Jesus says forsake everything. My prodigal son – I had to give Him to God and if He comes back or not – that child is no longer mine as I must leave it all behind to follow Jesus.  But how will I forsake my child, if I cannot even forsake my pride?

And you, are you willing to lose your loved ones, your house and even your life to follow Jesus? You will not make the right decisions when the times get tough if you cannot even surrender your pride.  And worst, you’ll miss out on the secret place and the refreshing, and protection that comes from being humbly under the wing of God.

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another great verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand! These memory verses were selected, last year for this year.  As many of you tell me of the great attacks on your lives – the timing is perfect! But of course it is, it is God!

Deuteronomy 28:7

NKJV – “The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.”
NAS – “The LORD will cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated by you; they will go out against you one way and will flee at your presence seven ways.”
ESV – “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.”
AMP – “The LORD will cause the enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way, but flee before you seven ways.”
NIV – “The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Luke 14-15 NKJV

A Man with Dropsy Healed on the Sabbath

14 Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely. And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy. And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the [a]Sabbath?”

But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go. Then He answered them, saying, “Which of you, having a [b]donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” And they could not answer Him regarding these things.

Take the Lowly Place

So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. 11 For whoever exalts himself will be [c]humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

12 Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the [d]maimed, the lame, the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

The Parable of the Great Supper

15 Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “Blessed is he who shall eat [e]bread in the kingdom of God!”

16 Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, 17 and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ 18 But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ 20 Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the [f]maimed and the lame and the blind.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ 23 Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’ ”

Leaving All to Follow Christ

25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

Tasteless Salt Is Worthless

34 “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? 35 It is neither fit for the land nor for the [g]dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

15 Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man [h]receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying:

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine [i]just persons who need no repentance.

The Parable of the Lost Coin

“Or what woman, having ten silver [j]coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ 10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with [k]prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the [l]pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’

20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, [m]‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’

28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’ ”

Footnotes

  1. Luke 14:3 NU adds or not
  2. Luke 14:5 NU, M son
  3. Luke 14:11 put down
  4. Luke 14:13 crippled
  5. Luke 14:15 M dinner
  6. Luke 14:21 crippled
  7. Luke 14:35 rubbish heap
  8. Luke 15:2 welcomes
  9. Luke 15:7 upright
  10. Luke 15:8 Gr. drachma, a valuable coin often worn in a ten-piece garland by married women
  11. Luke 15:13 wasteful
  12. Luke 15:16 carob pods
  13. Luke 15:22 NU Quickly bring

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