New Year 2017 Getting The Father’s Heart

Lost sinners and Jesus commission to go and seek and save the lost

Daily Spirit & Word: 821

Jesus Of Nazareth.

Getting The Father’s Heart For the New Year.

Psalm 33:11 (NIV)  But the plans of the LORD stand firm for ever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Over the Christmas season the TV is quite good, because they show all the old family favourite films. It struck me that the films that seem to stand the test of time are not the ones with fancy graphics or awesome animation, nor is it fast moving scenes, car pile-ups or big explosions, etc, but it is the ones that have really great stories and characters that are convincing.

One such film, I watched again for the umpteenth time was; Jesus of Nazareth. In an early scene Peter was complaining about having to pay taxes to the Romans even after being out fishing all night and having caught nothing, when he got into port he wasn’t convinced that Jesus was the Messiah who could set them free from Roman domination. It showed a reluctant Peter, when asked by Jesus to go out fishing after they’d been fishing all night long, so the other Disciples had to coax him into accepting Jesus into his boat. I’d never noticed before that when Jesus told the story of the prodigal son, he did so in a house full of obvious sinners, Matthew the Tax Collector and Publicans and in the film the story was targeted at a reluctant Peter who was standing outside the door of the house listening. The film portrayed Peter as a belligerent and reluctant Disciple of Jesus, who was being judgemental about Matthew who collected taxes for the Romans.

I’m not convinced that part of the film is authentic, however it did get me thinking about Jesus telling of that story. Who was he targeting? Then I thought to myself, that story applies to every single one of us, so it would also have applied to both Jesus’ Disciples and His opponents, the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

The Prodigal Son: The Lost Son / The Loving Father / The Resentful Older Brother.

Luke 15:17-32 (NIV)
17  “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!
18  I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
19  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’
20  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.
21  “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22  “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
23  Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.
24  For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25  “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.
26  So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.
27  ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28  “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.
29  But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.
30  But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31  ” ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
32  But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ “

The Prodigal Son: Who demanded his inheritance before his father had even passed away. Who wasted his inheritance in wild, sensual and sinful living. Who was far away from home and in a desperate state. Who decided to repent and return home again, begging for mercy and forgiveness. Who among us has not been like that Prodigal Son? We’ve all gone away from God on purpose at some point in our lives, choosing to go with our desires, or our feelings instead of God’s way.

The Father’s Response: To run out and greet his wayward son, embrace him, cloth him, bring him home and throw a big party. Every time I hear that story of the Father’s loving heart it brings home to me just how much God really does LOVE everyone, and is just waiting for us all to come back home again to Him.

The Elder Brother: Who was judgemental, outside, refusing to come in, hurt and offended at the Father’s grace, kindness and mercy towards his wayward brother. Refusing to be consoled. (That’s who Peter was in the film), but who among us has not acted like that elder brother? We’ve probably all thought at one point or another, “He doesn’t deserve God’s grace and mercy after what he’s been up to”. However, when we bring it home, back to ourselves, we don’t deserve God’s forgiveness, love and kindness either, it’s all because of His GRACE that we are saved. The fact is God really does LOVE everybody and wants everyone to come to REPENTANCE.

Which one of these characters do you see yourself as being in that story? The wayward son, the merciful, kind and loving father or the elder brother standing outside refusing to join in the celebrations?

  • I’m sure none of us want to be thought of as the Elder Brother do we? Judgemental, Reluctant to celebrated when a sinner repents.
  • I’m sure we can all see a bit of the wayward son in ourselves. We’ve all sinned and fallen short of God’s Holy Standards.
  • I’m sure we’d all like to be just like the Father: Full of grace, mercy, kindness, goodness and love.

But which one are we? Which one are you today?

God is the same, the Bible tells us, yesterday, today and forever.

  • If you’ve wandered away: He’ll welcome you back. Repent and return home to your Heavenly Father.
  • If you’re being judgemental: He’ll come out to you and encourage you to be like the Father. It’s just as much a sin to be like the elder brother as it is to be the wayward son.
  • If you are like the Father today; full of Kindness, goodness, mercy, gentleness, self-control, joy, love, faithfulness, then you’ve got the fruit of the Holy Spirit in abundance. Praise the LORD! Go out and look for both, the wayward sons and daughters of God; He’s longing for you to bring them to their senses and bring them home.

However, if in reading through this little piece, you’ve been pricked in your conscience in some way, then don’t despair of yourself, just get right with your Heavenly Father, do it right now, don’t delay, confess your sins to God and He will forgive you. He will wash you clean and give you a brand new start for the New Year 2017.

I’m praying for all my friends, to be closer to the Lord Jesus in 2017 than they’ve ever been before. Amen!

Here’s hoping you have awesome success in 2017: May you be overflowing with Holy Spirit power to be:

  • More Loving.
  • More Joy Filled.
  • More Peaceful.
  • More Kind.
  • More Holy and Good.
  • More Faithful.
  • More Gentle.
  • More Self-Controlled.

Who among us doesn’t need more of this kind of fruit in our lives in 2017?

I do!
I want it!
I’m praying to Jesus for it.
Praise the LORD!
Don.

NOTES: The story that Jesus told about the Prodigal Son was part of a bigger story in Luke 15:

  • First, a lost sheep (One of a hundred)
  • Second, a lost coin (one of ten) and
  • Lastly, a lost son (one of two)…

Which is most precious to us?

Which is most precious to God?

The people the story is TARGETED at in the Bible are: The Pharisees and the religious teachers of Israel in Jesus time. They would all celebrate a lost sheep being returned to its owner. They would all value a lost coin, even though it was one of ten, but they kept themselves away from lost SINNERS and shunned those, who in their eyes, were completely lost already.

We can all imagine how hard it would be to loose a sheep, even though it’s one in a hundred.

We can all imagine how precious those coins must have been, even though there was another nine to console.

However, imagine having just two sons and loosing one of them, how devastating for any father is that? But when he returns, OH THE JOY… That’s the Father’s Heart.

The Pharisees, much like people in our own time, are MATERIALISTIC: They valued sheep and coins, but thought very little about the value of human life. Especially people who didn’t fit into their moral code of conduct.

The two sons are both Materialistic: The lost son is evidently wayward, but he repents and is restored and celebrated.

However, the materialism in the older son and his resentful attitude only become evident when the LOST son is welcomed back with open arms. He wants a PARTY with his friends. He was thinking about what his brother had wasted (part of his own inheritance)… He refused to coming in and join the celebration.

The Bible makes it clear, the Pharisees and we should have the SAME kind of heart as the Father in the story that Jesus told.

  • Many preachers focus on the Lost Son: to give hope to the parents in the congregation who may have a wayward child, who’s far away from the family and God.
  • Others; focus upon the Loving heart of the Father and His obvious welcome of a truly repentant sinner. That’s what God is like.
  • Others direct our attention to the Resentful Older Brother: How’s our attitude towards those who’ve come back to Jesus Christ after wasting their lives in wild living?

But the thing that jumps out at me afresh today is GETTING the FATHER’S HEART: Jesus wants is all to know what’s going on in HEAVEN: Their is rejoicing and celebration going on in God’s House when just one of us, truly comes to our senses and surrenders our lives to God through His Son Jesus.

Psalm 33:11 (NIV)  But the plans of the LORD stand firm for ever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Let’s get the FATHER’S HEART today: Pray for yourself in 2017, that you’ll be filled with the same kind of compassion that Jesus has for those who are far away from God, lost.

Be obedient to the Father’s Heart: Go out and seek and save the LOST: That’s Why Jesus came: To SAVE SINNERS. He’s commissioned every single Christian to be involved in this, the greatest calling, to join Him in SAVING SINNERS. The Holy Spirit is drawing them to Jesus, all we have to do is PRAY and SHARE the Good News. Because FAITH comes by hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Now, we’d all love our churches to be filled afresh with LOST SINNERS wouldn’t we?

Let’s get busy in 2017 saving as many as we can. Hopefully we’ll see a HARVEST of Souls this coming year. Amen!

Be blessed in Jesus,

Don.

 

When The Message is Rejected

praying for your OIKOS, don't give up or give in, because God didn't give up on you.

Daily Spirit & Word: 740: When The Message Is Rejected.

Good morning my friends, we’ve been chatting all we about National Evangelisation, taking the Gospel in obedience to Jesus command to “Go”, to all the people in your OIKOS (Remember OIKOS is all the people who know that you are a follower of Jesus Christ, a Disciple). However, what happens or what do we do about the people who reject the Gospel? When we’ve been praying for them and we finally get the courage to share with them, what happens if they say “No” or “I’m just not interested”…

Quick Answer: LOVE them even more.

Long Answer: Don’t Give Up on Them, because God didn’t Give Up on YOU!

First pray for them again. Go back to your Heavenly Father and talk to Him about them.

It’s amazing when you go back and review with the LORD all that you’ve been saying and doing to win your loved ones to Jesus. Why? Because in talking it over sometimes the LORD gives you words of knowledge and insight about; Himself, your approach, about them as people and about yourself as well.

Then go back and check out the Scriptures and ask yourself, “What does the LORD want me to do now?”

Re-read the Great Commissions in Matthew, Mark and Acts. Then re-read the Kingdom Parables of Jesus; what God’s Kingdom is like. (I’ll be doing a mini-series soon on the Kingdom Parables).

Why? Because you’ll discover afresh God’s Heart, the Father’s Heart, for everyone who doesn’t know Him yet. You’ll be encouraged to know the LORD still wants them to be saved. Think about Noah building his Ark, the people laughing at him, the mocking he endured as year after year as he built his boat on the hill. Then when the LORD sent the rain, who got into the Ark with Noah? It was his son’s and their wives, his whole HOUSEHOLD (OIKOS). Throughout the Bible you’ll discover the LORD’S HEART for the extended family of those who LOVE HIM. How His blessings flow from generation to generation of those who put their trust in the LORD. The same is true of many of the great people of God in the Bible; Jacob, Joseph in Egypt his whole family saved, Abraham, etc… God’s HEART is to SAVE your extended family and those who know you well.

Next: Be encouraged, because very few people accept the Gospel the first time they hear it.

Think about how many times you had to hear about Jesus before you eventually; believed in Him, felt remorse for your sins and repented of your old way of life and received the Lord Jesus as Saviour. When you consider how long it took you, how stubborn you were, how you had to have your foolish thinking challenged and changed before you said “YES” to Jesus, well then it makes it easier to handle their initial or repeated rejection of the Good News. Don’t give up, because God didn’t give up on you.

Don’t Give Up, Because God Didn’t Give-Up on YOU!

Next: When the Gospel is NOT Good News for some people:

For some people, God’s Good News of the Gospel is not good news for them, because many sinners love their life of sin, they can’t imagine what life would be like without it and believe they’d feel hemmed-in, trapped, curtailed from enjoying life as much. So it’s no wonder they don’t surrender to Jesus immediately. It might take them a few days, months or even years to realise that the sinful lifestyle (life without God) is empty and doesn’t really bring them lasting satisfaction in their soul, also that rejection of God’s offer of new life will begin to plague them. Their Conscience springs to life when you’ve shared about Jesus and it does so every time you are with them, because you become a living Gospel presentation every time they meet you. It’s as if you’re preaching to their Conscience just by being there. They will be reminded of the Good News when they see you, they will be reminded how they’ve chosen to reject Jesus.

So don’t feel defeated or discouraged by their initial or repeated rejection of Jesus and His offer of New Life.

The Wearing Down Process:

It take years for a river to form a canyon.

My Father In-Law: Called it the wearing down process.

My wife, when she wanted something from her father, didn’t ask just once. She asked him again and again, giving more and more reasons why she should have what she wanted. She was an expert at wrangling things out of her father. He said, “Julie can wrap me around her little finger” Why? Because she knew her daddy loved her. She knew her father’s heart. She knew it brought him great pleasure to see her happy. So my wife learned the wearing-down-process.

Your friends, can be worn-down by God too. They’ll be wooed by the Gospel. They’ll be won over time because they’ll eventually see, know, recognise that Jesus Gospel is REAL, Genuine and True. However, please remember, time is short, we don’t know how long we’ve got left on this earth, their eternal destiny is at stake, we don’t want anyone in our OIKOS to die without trusting in Jesus.

SHALLOW Ground or Rocky Road Hearers:

Too many come to Jesus thoughtlessly, i.e. not knowing enough, they don’t put their faith upon the ROCK, but on the shifting sands of their feelings. They’ll remain for only a short time, because they’ve not really trusted in the Lord Jesus, but just an idea of what trusting Jesus would be like.

Too many come too quickly and don’t really leave behind their life of sin. They want to have a foot in both camps; the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Remember Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and mammon”… Why? “Because you’ll love the one and hate the other”…

Matthew 6:19-24 (NIV)
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
20  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22  “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.
23  But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24  “No-one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

The meaning of Jesus’ words have been debated, but it’s obvious really, we can’t serve God and SIN. One or the other will be our Master, we cannot LOVE both at the same time. Repent of your sins and turn afresh to Jesus Christ to be forgiven, cleansed, renewed. Seek the fullness of Holy Spirit to enable you to say “NO!” to sin again in your life.

Conclusion:

Pray always for your friends and family in your OIKOS who’ve rejected Jesus offer of new life and His gift of Eternal life.

  • Don’t give up on them, because God didn’t give up on you.
  • Remember, God’s wearing down and wooing process, He’s drawing people, by His Holy Spirit to Himself.
  • Remember, God’s given them a Conscience, every time they see you their conscience will be pricked.
  • Keep loving them even more, because it’s like heaping burning coals into their lap.
  • Remember, the Father’s Heart: He wants ALL PEOPLE to be SAVED. Everyone to come to repentance. He’s patient too.

Be blessed and encouraged to keep sharing Jesus, again and again and again. God is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Don.

The Parable of The Sower:

The KEY to unlocking every parable of Jesus.

Mark 4:1-20 (NIV)
1  Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered round him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge.
2  He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said:
3  “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.
4  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
5  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.
6  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
7  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.
8  Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.”
9  Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
10  When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.
11  He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables
12  so that, ” ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’ ”
13  Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?
14  The farmer sows the word.
15  Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.
16  Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.
17  But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
18  Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19  but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
20  Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”
We all want to think of ourselves as “Good soil hearers”… Are we producing a crop of seeds to plant again in the hearts of others? When we begin to share (plant the seed) what we’ve received, then we become the Good Soil Hearers.