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The Way Home!
Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson


Pastor
Cecil Thompson

Luke 15:20-21

"So he got up and went to his father. 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 son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' "

It is not uncommon for people to get a mistaken concept of God and His attitude toward His people. We often hear comments about doing good things so God will be able to forgive us. I don't know what Bible you read, but it surely isn't in my Bible!

On the contrary, we are repeatedly told of a God who is loving and accepting of His children. Does that mean that God permits sin? No way! God hates sin! But God loves the sinner. It breaks His heart when we sin, but it brings Him great joy when we return to Him.

Jesus was teaching this very lesson by use of the parable of the Prodigal Son. I am sure you are all too familiar with this oft repeated scenario. The young son thinks he needs to enjoy the pleasures of sin, and he does so.

In his pursuit of worldly pleasures (notice that they are the same ones today), he has no concern of the hurt he is causing his father. It is a hedonistic, self-centered pre-occupation with himself, that is the motivation of his actions.

We can see the utter immaturity he is demonstrating. It is like driving 60 mph down a short one way street. You may be going like a house afire, but there is a sudden stop coming!

The stages of dissipation in the Prodigal Son are diagramed in the Thompson Chain Reference Bible. In answer to your question, no I did not create it. I am not even related to Frank Charles Thompson who designed this wonderful aid to Bible study.

The Prodigal’s steps to the bottom are; Self-will, Selfishness, Separation, Sensuality, Spiritual Destruction, Self Abasement and Starvation. How heartbreaking it is to realize how many proceed down this same path which leads away from the God who loves us and sent His own Son to die for us.

You may see a picture of yourself or others who have, or even now are traveling this spiral into the pit of despair. While we may experience the heartbreak of watching this downfall, we must wait for the moment of opportunity before anything can be done.

The prodigal had to experience the degradation of feeding pigs and filching a few scraps from their trough in order to sustain his life. It was at this point of starvation that he became aware of what was available to him. He needed to return to his father!

In the parable, Jesus provides us with the picture of the faithful father watching patiently for that wayward son. He was not waiting to punish him or chastise him, but to open his arms to him. That is the way God waits for the spiritual prodigals.

The Thompson Chain Bible also gives steps of restoration; Realization, Resolution, Repentance, Return, Reconciliation, and Rejoicing. He ties this in with Romans 5:1-18, if you would like to read it over.

I always am struck by the joy that the son felt and that the father experienced. God delights when His wayward ones come back home. The son is happy, the father is happy, there is rejoicing in the house of the Father. A feast is ordered, gifts are bestowed and all are happy.

Actually there was one who was not happy. It was the older brother. He was the son who had not left home. But in a way he too had left the father. He had bitterness in his heart that this prodigal brother of his was treated with such love and acceptance. He wanted judgment and condemnation, not love and acceptance.

Now is the time to apply the teaching to our lives. Where are we in this story? The Prodigal Son or the older brother? The servants of the Father who eagerly make the prodigal feel accepted? If returning prodigals make the Father happy, we will make Him happy by rejoicing toward those who return to the Lord. Let them see a smile of acceptance when they return home!

Blessings dear hearts. Walk with God today, trust Him completely and be a blessing.

--- Pastor Cecil

 

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