VIDEO The Condition of the Heart – The Untold Story Of The Prodigal

THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE PRODIGAL SON

Luke 15:11-32

 

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.
25  “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house,
26  and he asked one of the servants what was going on.
27  ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’
28  “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him,
29  but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved 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.
30  Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’
31  “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours.
32  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!’”

 

The original story of the Prodigal Son.

– He was in rebellion against his father’s authority and religion.

 

He felt he was missing out on whatever the Far Country had to offer.

– He was tired of being stuck on the farm!

 

It must’ve hurt Dad for him to reject how he’d been raised.

 

This father had provided food, shelter, love and training for this son and wanted him be a successful adult.

– Dad’s heart must’ve ached to have his son want to leave.

 

I can relate — we have 2 grandchildren who are wanting to sew their wild oats.

– We’re praying that soon they’ll come to themselves and say, ”What am I doing here?”

 

Finally, when his money and friends were gone and he’d hit bottom for a Jewish boy, he began to realize what he had given up and where his foolish choices had taken him to.

 

Luke 16:17-19:   “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.”’

 

Dad was praying for him and watching for him every day!

– Finally, he arrived and Dad rejoiced and celebrated…………..

 

The old brother was really upset!……………….

 

He was forgiven by the father, but what about “THE REST OF THE STORY?”

 

What probably happened after the Prodigal’s dad died?

– The son was now a servant of the older brother until he learned the lessons of obedience.

He’d lost his inheritance.

– He’d lived with harlots — Luke 15:30 — Yet when this son of yours comes back after

    squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’

 

Everything belonged to the big brother now — Luke 15:31— His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours.”

 

Somehow we’ve gotten the mistaken idea we can sin and ask forgiveness and there’ll be no consequences for our actions…………

– LISTEN!  SIN ALWAYS BRINGS LOSS AND DESTRUCTION!

    – GOD WILL FORGIVE, BUT THERE’S STILL A PRICE TO BE PAID!

 

It’s like throwing a rock into a pond and then praying there’ll be no ripples!

– Sin has consequences!

– A person might find forgiveness for a promiscuous sex life, but still be a candidate for

sexual transmitted diseases.

 

This sexually orientated society wants to sin and avoid the results.  IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN!

– Take drugs with no after affects – AGAIN, IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN!

 

How much better it would be to avoid sin in the first place!

– Sin always bring limitations………….

– People talk of the character value of limitations…………almost proud of sin.

 

Imagine what God can do for a person who is saved while still young and avoids the sinful snares of Satan…………..your kids and grandkids……………..

 

Even if you’re and old geezer or geezerette, you should get saved as quickly as possible and let God help you start cleaning up your life – Colonel Sanders………………

 

The Prodigal Son had to be the servant under the discipline of the older brother after Dad died.

Luke 15:19 — and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

 

Luke 15:31 — “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours.

 

This situation gave him the opportunity to become bitter or better…………….

– We’ll all eventually face the choice of getting “bitter or better”  (it’s not always the result

of sin.)

To become bitter is sin…………….

– To become better is spiritual growth.

 

We have the ability to learn greatness through serving.

 

Matthew 23:11-12 
11  The greatest among you must be a servant.
12  But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will   

    be exalted.

 

We live in a society that’s success and goal orientated.

– If you haven’t got wealth, fame, etc. you’re a failure.

 

When I arrived in Cheyenne, I thought I’d made it!……

– When I arrived in Stevenson — I thought I was s failure.

– Old lady in Christian bookstore:  “What an opportunity!”

     – “College degree, seminary and hauling laundry!…..” – That really sounded successful to me!

– I COULD BECOME “BITTER OR BETTER.”


Success isn’t always measured in wealth, things, popularity, etc.

 

By today’s standards, Jesus would be a failure.

– Look how Jesus measured up to these standards:

– Was He popular?

– No!  He wasn’t well liked by the high society.

– In fact, after one of His sermons all His followers deserted Him, except for the 12.

 

John 6:66-67 
66  At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.
67  Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”     

Did He have political power?

– No!  He was a political failure — all levels of government rejected Him……………..

– They conspired to kill Him!

 

Did He have lots of friends?

– No!  His friends often hurt Him—eventually abandoned Him, and one of them betrayed Him.

 

Did He have money and possessions?

– No!  No house, now wheels, no world headquarters, no Christian amusement park.

 

Was He respected by His peers?

– No!  His professional peers (Pharisees) rejected His message and His work.

 

Despite His apparent failure by these standards, Jesus Christ has changed the lives of millions of men, women, and children across the centuries.

– How could that be in light of His failures?

 

How do you let set-backs affect you?………

– Are you able to pick life back up and keep going knowing God keeps perfect records?

– “It’s not fair!  They don’t even serve God and look how successful they are!…………”

 

Not all set-backs are the result of sin but, many people today suffer limitations in their Christian lives because of past rebellion like the Prodigal.

– David and Bathsheba (he lost privilege to build Temple)

 

No matter how you say it — SIN IS STUPID!…………

– You’ll always pay for sin even though forgiveness is given.

– Don’t sin and hope to avoid the consequences.

 

Galatians 6:7 — Don’t be misled — you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.

 

Remember, Satan’s out to destroy you!

1 Peter 5:8-9
 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.       

Learn to avoid his temptations — James  4:7-8
 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

 

1 Corinthians 10:13 — The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

 

We get too comfortable with things that’ll destroy us.

 

Few college football coaches have made a point against drugs as effectively as Erk Russell of Georgia Southern College. He arranged for a couple of good ol’ country boys to burst into a routine team meeting and throw a writhing, hissing, six-foot-long rattlesnake onto a table in front of the squad. “Everyone screamed and scattered,” Russell recalls. “I told them, ‘When cocaine comes into a room, you’re not nearly as apt to leave as when that rattlesnake comes in. But they’ll both kill you!”

 

The best way to assure victory in your Christian Life is to leave sin alone!

– There’s no way to reclaim lost years of service for God………….

 

I’m sure the Prodigal regretted his years away in “the far country.”

 

He couldn’t reclaim them, but he couldn’t afford to let them keep destroying him either.

 

Today, Fathers’ Day, find God’s Will for your life.

– Walk in harmony with Him…………….

 

If you find limitations in your life because of past rebellion, don’t rebel any longer!

 

Turn those limitations into a life message.

 

Arnold Daniels smoked for years—he tried to teach others by his mistakes.

 

If you find limitations in your life—not because of sin and rebellion—instead, something that will give you opportunity to grow—use it for God’s Glory.

 

OBEY GOD!

 

USE HIS DIRECTION AND EVEN YOUR LIMITATIONS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH IN YOURSELF AND IN OTHERS.

 

by Bill Woods


 

The Condition of the Heart – Dr. Charles Stanley

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The Absence of God Is the Big Issue

There’s a reason that the first openly bisexual senator did not take her oath on the Bible. There’s a reason that an atheist website rebuked me for “misgendering” someone. Simply stated, to embrace the God of the Bible means to embrace His standards. To reject the God of the Bible means to reject His standards. Conversely, to reject His standards is to reject Him. This is really not rocket science.

Breitbart reported that, “Newly elected Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema refused to be sworn in on a Bible, opting, instead, to place her right hand on a book of laws, including the U.S Constitution and the Arizona Constitution.”

It is no coincidence that she is our first openly bisexual senator as well as the only member of the Senate who has no religious affiliation.

This doesn’t mean that she is a terrible person or that she has no moral values at all. And it doesn’t mean that she cannot serve the government. Of course not. There is no religious test for leadership either way (in other words, you can’t be disqualified for being a Christian or disqualified for not being a Christian).

But it does mean that her lifestyle and identity are at odds with the God of the Bible, hence her lack of religious affiliation and her refusal to swear in on the Bible. That is perfectly consistent.

Over at the “Friendly Atheist” site, a site which is certainly atheistic if not always friendly, Sarahbeth Caplin wrote an article titled, “Christian Writer Deliberately Misgenders Trans Woman to Defy ‘Social Madness.’” She accuses me of “faith-based bigotry masquerading as Christian love.”

As for one of the websites which published my article, she said this: “The folks at Charisma are eager to start off the new year with yet more doses of the only things they have to offer: fear-mongering and anti-LGBTQ bigotry.” (See here for my article.)

The truth be told, it is not bigotry to affirm biological realities, and the average transgender activist does not have science on his or her side. (By this I mean that the average person identifying as transgender is clearly of one biological/chromosomal sex but identifies as the opposite.)

Yet an atheist website that certainly claims to be rational and science-based embraces transgender activism with enthusiasm, vilifying those who reject it. Why?

And why is it that, according to a Pew Research poll, 92 percent of American atheists support same-sex “marriage”? Or, according to this same poll, 87 percent of these atheists believe that abortion should be legal in most or all cases?

A recent article by Sally Hunt on the Friendly Atheist website critiques the video arguments of pro-life atheist Terrisa Bukovinac. Hunt writes, “I watched [the video]. I’m not convinced. And that’s because it seems abundantly clear that the atheist ‘pro-life’ argument is identical to the religious one, except Bukovinac didn’t invoke ‘God’ throughout the monologue. Both arguments are logically flawed, though. An atheist who opposes abortion essentially says Abortion should be illegal because of my feelings, while a religious person would say Abortion should be illegal because of my feelings, which also happens to be what God wants.”

Obviously, Hunt misrepresents why Bible believing Christians so strongly oppose abortion. It’s not that we have our feelings, which happen to be what God wants too. Instead, we are convinced by God and His Word that the baby in the womb is a real human being, and therefore we align our feelings with the Word.

Hunt, however, rightly represents the atheistic worldview by stating, “Not every form of life is inherently precious, sacred, and valuable. That includes human forms of life.” Indeed, she states, “To say otherwise is arguably a religious position. (It’s religious people who believe we possess souls from conception thanks to God.)”

And with that observation, we come full circle to our premise: If we fail to recognize God and His Word, we will inevitably stray from biblical morality. We will reject the idea that He created us male and female. We will reject the idea that men and women are uniquely fashioned for each other. We will reject the idea that human life is sacred, beginning in the womb. And we will certainly reject the idea that human beings are created in the image of God, with all that implies.

That’s why I have argued that the only type of conservatism that can bring lasting change to America is a biblically-based, God centered conservatism. All other efforts will fall short in the end.

It is true that there “is far too much diversity among both atheists and theists to assume that they stand on opposite sides of any particular issue.”

But it is also true that general patterns apply and that the worldview of an atheist will be very different than the worldview of a Bible-based theist. And that means that any true moral transformation in America will start with a “back to God” movement. It is the absence of God that is our greatest problem today.

 

 

by Dr Michael Brown

 

https://barbwire.com/the-absence-of-god-is-the-big-issue/

Evidence of a Proud Heart

Matthew 23:1-12

Pride is deceptive. In fact, a proud person is often the last one to know the contents of his or her own heart. This was definitely true of the scribes and Pharisees whom Jesus confronted. They thought of themselves as good people who kept God’s law but failed to see their desire for prominence and respect as evidence of pride.

The same is true today—our quest for recognition and validation still flows from pride. Perhaps we want someone to thank us for the work we’ve done behind the scenes, and if it’s not forthcoming, we become resentful or self-pitying. Or maybe our pride manifests itself with a superior attitude of self-importance, and we secretly consider ourselves to be better than those around us. We may even choose to associate with prominent, well-liked people while ignoring those who are less admired.

However, while we chase after prominence externally, our spirits are becoming shriveled internally because we’ve become proud. The only solution is to turn back to God and humble ourselves before Him. We do this by confessing our sin and recognizing the specific parts of our life that have been damaged by it. Then we must ask the Lord to make us continually alert to any self-glorifying attitudes that pop up so we can quickly confess and walk in obedience once again.

One of the most effective ways to overcome pride is to look at Christ’s example. There was absolutely nothing in us that warranted His love and salvation. We were worthy only of hell, yet He humbled Himself to become a man, die in our place, and offer us salvation. To Him be all the glory!

Power of Patience

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:4) 

Patience (endurance) is part of the development that will produce the experience that brings hope and assurance to those who are the twice-born (Romans 5:3-5). Patience is a discipline—a work that is necessary for our growth. Although such discipline never seems pleasant at the time, it is administered by our loving heavenly Father, who focuses His work on our spiritual maturity (Hebrews 12:5-8).

There are several key aspects identified in our text that promise victory through the process of learning patience. Wisdom is granted liberally as we ask for it during the tests that produce the “perfect work” of patience. As we endure the tests that will come to those who love the Lord, the endurance practiced will produce a “crown of life” as an eternal testimony to our patience (James 1:12).

The principles for gaining patience during this life are outlined in Psalm 37. First, trust in the Lord (Psalm 37:3) and follow His leading in everything we do (Proverbs 3:5‑10). Second, delight in (get excited about) the Lord (Psalm 37:4)—amplified so often in Psalm 119 (vv. 16, 24, 35, 47, 70, 174). Then, commit your way to the Lord (Psalm 37:5), becoming such a part of Him that you are as a branch to the vine (John 15:4-7).

Finally, rest (be still) in the Lord (Psalm 37:7) and wait on the Lord (Psalm 37:34). These traits are not meant to be understood as “hanging around.” They describe the fully prepared servant, waiting for his Master’s orders to implement. The “profitable” servant (Luke 17:10) has learned what his Master wants and stands ready to respond to the needs of the Kingdom. Patience is never obtained through bored indifference. HMM III

Knowledge of God

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

—Hebrews 5:12

Probably the most widespread and persistent problem to be found among Christians is the problem of retarded spiritual progress. Why, after years of Christian profession, do so many persons find themselves no farther along than when they first believed?…

The causes of retarded growth are many. It would not be accurate to ascribe the trouble to one single fault. One there is, however, which is so universal that it may easily be the main cause: failure to give time to the cultivation of the knowledge of God….

The Christian is strong or weak depending upon how closely he has cultivated the knowledge of God….

Progress in the Christian life is exactly equal to the growing knowledge we gain of the Triune God in personal experience. And such experience requires a whole life devoted to it and plenty of time spent at the holy task of cultivating God. God can be known satisfactorily only as we devote time to Him.   ROR010-012

Lord, I’d like to devote the remaining years of my life and ministry to the “holy task of cultivating God. “Help me to know You first, and then out of the overflow of that growing knowledge can come whatever ministry You choose to bless me with. Amen.

 

Let’s not therefore judge one another any more

Let us not therefore judge one another any more.—Romans 14:13.

 

“Tell not abroad another’s faults

Till thou hast cured thine own;

Nor whisper of thy neighbor’s sin

Till thou art perfect grown:

Then, when thy soul is pure enough

To bear My searching eye

Unshrinking, then may come the time

Thy brother to decry.”

“Jesus, Savior, pitying be;

Parce mihi, Domine!”

Lyra Mystica.

 

The habit of judging is so nearly incurable, and its cure is such an almost interminable process, that we must concentrate ourselves for a long while on keeping it in check, and this check is to be found in kind interpretations. We must come to esteem very lightly our sharp eye for evil, on which perhaps we once prided ourselves as cleverness. We must look at our talent for analysis of character as a dreadful possibility of huge uncharitableness. We are sure to continue to say clever things, so long as we continue to indulge in this analysis; and clever things are equally sure to be sharp and acid. We must grow to something higher, and something truer, than a quickness in detecting evil.

Frederick Wm. Faber.

 

We come diseased, polluted, worn out, and worthless He Never Casts Us Out

“Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37

Is there any instance of our Lord’s casting out a coming one? If there be so, we would like to know of it; but there has been none, and there never will be. Among the lost souls in hell there is not one that can say, “I went to Jesus, and He refused me.” It is not possible that you or I should be the first to whom Jesus shall break His word. Let us not entertain so dark a suspicion.

Suppose we go to Jesus now about the evils of today. Of this we may be sure — He will not refuse us audience, or cast us out. Those of us who have often been, and those who have never gone before — let us go together, and we shall see that He will not shut the door of His grace in the face of any one of us.

“This man receiveth sinners,” but He repulses none. We come to Him in weakness and sin, with trembling faith, and small knowledge, and slender hope; but He does not cast us out. We come by prayer, and that prayer broken; with confession, and that confession faulty; with praise, and that praise far short of His merits; but yet He receives us. We come diseased, polluted, worn out, and worthless; but He doth in no wise cast us out. Let us come again today to Him who never casts us out.