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Be Mindful

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mindful: careful not to forget; paying close attention to; attentive

God is mindful of us, but help us, Holy Spirit, to be mindful of Him.

What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? (Psalm 8:4, NKJV)

And I wonder, “Why are people so important to you? Why do you even think about them? Why do you care so much about humans? Why do you even notice them?” (Psalm 8:4, ERV)

Do You Know What You Have?

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Give me the portion of goods that fall to me (Luke 15:12). The prodigal son knew what belonged to his father and if his father had it, that meant he had it.  His father gave him what he asked for, but his problems began when he stopped obeying what he was taught by his father. He started doing things that sons shouldn’t do. The moment he disobeyed, he became a slave – to sin, debt, poverty.

But one day, his eyes were opened. He realized that he didn’t have to live the way he was living. He remembered that his father, who he had left, had hired servants who had enough bread. The prodigal son wasn’t just in a distant country, but he was in a distant relationship with his father. The moment he returned to his father, everything he lost was restored. The servants placed on him a robe, sandals and a ring. The ring signified that when he decreed a thing, it would be established and no one could change or alter what he had spoken.

The elder son was angry because he saw his brother living the way he should have been living. Although he had read the commandments and had not sinned against them, he still didn’t understand what belonged to him. All that I have is yours (Luke 15:31). Even though he took his anger out on his brother and father, he was really angry at himself because he didn’t know how to access what his father had already given him.

While the household was celebrating the return of the prodigal son, the elder son was outside when he should have been inside. He couldn’t believe his ears. Why were they celebrating? How could his brother who left his house and his country to become a citizen of another country, lose everything, return to his house and get back everything he lost? To him, that wasn’t fair, but it was fair. When the prodigal son asked for his portion, the father divided it between the elder and the younger. The elder had the same thing as his brother, but he didn’t do anything with what was given to him. (This reminds me of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30).

It took the prodigal son becoming a slave to discover that he was a son. He discovered that the things he was under were the things that he was created to rule over. He wasn’t created to toil or to beg.

The elder and the prodigal son lived in the same house. They had the same father. Isn’t it interesting how you can go to the same church with someone and hear the same sermon and the same instructions yet you’re still at the Jordan while others have already crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land? What did they do that you refused to do? Perhaps the problem has been that we like to hear a good word, but we don’t do anything with the information we hear in church because sometimes it’s not easy.

Do you think that leaving a country that was afar off to return to his home was easy for the prodigal son? It was a fight, but he walked until he walked himself out of his situation.

There is an enemy who is angry because he lost. He is angry that he got kicked out of heaven and he is doing everything he can to get you kicked out of the garden like Adam. He doesn’t want you to know who you are and what you have. He doesn’t want you to get everything that belongs to you.

Don’t do what the elder son did. He told the father what he didn’t have and what his father never gave him (Luke 15:29). Some of us do the same thing.

I don’t have the money to purchase a home.

I don’t have anyone to help me.

I don’t have a college degree.

This is why God asked Moses, What is that in your hand? Elisha asked the widow, What do you have in the house? I think sometimes we are so focused on what we don’t have that we can’t see what we do have. 

May God not only reveal what He has given to us, but I pray that we use it for Him.  

Refuse to be a church that is a hearer, but not a doer of the word.

 

Recover the Lost

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recover: to bring back from bondage; to set free from the snare of the devil; to recapture

When the younger son asked his father for the portion of goods, the father didn’t just share his estate with the one who asked, but he shared with the elder son as well (Luke 15:12). The difference between the two sons was one took his share and left while the other took his share and stayed.

The son didn’t have to work hard for it. He didn’t have to do anything to earn what was given to him. All he had to be was a son.  Some say that the younger son didn’t plan for what he was asking for, but I disagree. He did make plans. He just failed to plan for what lied ahead. He didn’t know that a famine was coming. He planned to spend, but he didn’t plan to save.

Now he had to find a job. He had to work for what he wanted. When he lived with his father, his father freely gave to him. Now, no man would give to him (Luke 15:16). But what he didn’t learn at home, he learned while working in the fields. What he lost was preparing him for what he was about to gain.

I don’t know how long it was before he humbled himself, but one day he decided to return to what he left. He made a lot of mistakes and because of the things he had done, he no longer felt worthy to be called a son, but when he returned home, his father still called him son (vs 24). The father knew that his son didn’t fully understand his calling, but he kept calling him ‘son’ until he became what he called him.  Yes, the son went into a far country (vs 13), but he wasn’t too far that the word of God or the word of prayer couldn’t reach him.

When the son returned home, the father didn’t give him a chance to speak. He immediately showed compassion, hugging and kissing him. Before the son admitted he sinned, the father had already forgiven him. Before he got home, the best robe, the ring and the shoes were already laid out for him. He was just waiting for his son to put it on.

Not once did the father ever mention his sins. Love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5). The reason why we knew what the son did was because his older brother mentioned it. He brought up his past. As soon as your son comes home, who devoured your living with harlots, you kill a fatted calf for him (vs 30).

The elder son was angry. Why would his father give something good to someone who did bad? The younger son wasted his father’s living. He didn’t deserve what the father was doing for him. He didn’t deserve forgiveness. He didn’t deserve another chance.  He didn’t deserve a party.

I have served you for many years. I have never disobeyed you. I kept your commandment, but you never gave me a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends (vs 29). The elder son was very proud of himself for keeping the commandments, but he kept every commandment except for the most important one.

And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, The Lord our God is one Lord. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these (Mark 12:29-31).

Before Jesus tells the parable of the lost son (or the prodigal son), He talks about recovering the lost sheep and the lost coin. Some of us have either been worrying or praying about possessions and money. God, give me this. God, give me that. God can recover those things you’ve lost, but He wants you to make yourself available to recover the souls that are lost. This is what is most important to God. He wants to use us to recapture those who were taken captive by the devil to do his will, but you can’t recover the lost if you don’t love the lost or have compassion for the lost.

We are the sons/daughters of God, but it is time to exchange the garments you wore in the far country for the garments that your Father has prepared for you. It is time for us to put on our best robe, ring and shoes and walk into what He has called us to be. The world is expecting and waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God.

We’ve been praying so much about our problems that we have failed to see the problems of others. Someone has given up. Someone thinks that God has forgotten them. Someone thinks that God doesn’t love them. Someone needs to forgive themselves. Someone thinks that they have gone too far that it is almost impossible to return to God. I’m not saying that our requests aren’t important to God, but their souls are more important than the ‘things’ we have been asking God for.

God has placed in us what they need. They need the compassion of God. They need the love of God. They need the forgiveness of God. And YOU are the person that God wants to display Himself through.

They’ve already met the elder son.

Now it’s time for them to meet the Father (in us).

Deliver Us

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The children of Israel cried to God because they were tired of their condition. They cried because they wanted to be free. All they knew was sorrow, but they longed to know joy. They wanted to be delivered, but the thing they wanted to be free from would not let them go.

When God sent Moses to deliver His people, Moses didn’t address Pharaoh one time and then they were set free. He had to keep speaking and commanding Pharaoh to let them go before deliverance took place. No, it wasn’t easy, but just because something seems hard, doesn’t mean it is impossible.

Pharaoh knew that his time was up so he used tactics such as not supplying the straw Israel needed to build bricks, but still expecting them to make the same number of bricks. He wanted to discourage them. He wanted them to give up because he knew their deliverance was near.

Israel is my son, even my firstborn. Let my son go that he may serve Me (Exodus 4:22). When God had enough, He had enough. Because Pharaoh refused to let His firstborn go, God took his firstborn son. What held Israel in bondage for over 400 years finally let them go, but it took a strong hand (Deuteronomy 26:8).

As long as the children of Israel did what he wanted them to do, it was fine, but the moment they decided they no longer wanted to serve him, Pharaoh wanted to destroy them. So, Pharaoh gathered his army and chased them. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust be satisfied upon them. I will draw my sword. My hand shall destroy them (Exodus15:9).

The Lord divided the sea with His strength (Psalm 74:13). The waters were a wall to Israel on the right and on the left so that they could walk on dry ground. But when the Egyptians went after them, those same walls fell on them. He took the wheels off their chariots and destroyed Pharaoh’s chariots, horseman and all of his army. Not one of them survived.

The reason why Pharaoh wanted to keep Israel in bondage was because he was afraid of them. He knew what they would do to him if they were free. And he (Pharaoh) said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come on, let us deal wisely with them lest they multiply and it come to pass when there fall out any war, they join also unto our enemies and fight against us and so get them up out of the land (Exodus 1:9-10).

Today, God calls you what he called the children of Israel. You are His son, you are His daughter and enough is enough. Some say they’ve been called to preach, some say they’ve been called to teach, but we have all been called to freedom (Galatians 5:13). God just doesn’t want us to be saved, but He wants us to be free so that we may serve Him with our whole heart. He wants you to be free from sin, fear, shame and free to worship, praise, laugh.

Your adversary is afraid of you because you are a threat to him. He sets traps and builds strongholds to keep you distracted, to keep you from becoming who God called you to be. He wants you to serve sin and to please your flesh so that you will never please God. He knows he has lost, but he wants you to think he’s winning.

It will take a strong hand, but he will let you go and every spirit that should not be in you, will come out of you and will enter you no more (Mark 9:25). Nothing could hold Jesus in the grave and nothing will be able to hold you – not past hurts, disappointment, shame, unforgiveness, or past sins. God wants us to be free from every weight, distraction, hindrance and from the sin that easily trips us up so that we not only run the race, but we finish the race.

Deliver us, Lord.