Our Blog

Filter By:

Love for the Prodigals

When I accepted Jesus into my life, I was invited to a church service by a friend.  Arriving there I was awed by something  I sensed in the people around me. I said to myself, “I don’t know what they have but, I want it.”
We entered into this over packed room,people ended up sitting in the isles, found a place in one of the pews, sat down. Listened to some band playing  contemporary music, which I enjoyed.  Not, what I thought was normal church music. After this, a young man came out, dressed in shorts, tee shirt and sandals, again not what I was expecting. I don’t remember what he spoke on, but after he finished,  he stated “ if you want what the people around you have, come forward.” I almost leapt out of my seat to receive this “gift”. I learned that it was the Holy Spirit, God Himself, and that sin is what separated me from Him. I asked for forgiveness and that the Lord would come into my life. I’ve never regretted that decision once since that day.

Luke 15 The Prodigal Son

11 ¶ He also said: “A man had two sons. 12 “The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate I have coming to me.’ So he distributed the assets to them. 13 “Not many days later, the younger son gathered together all he had and traveled to a distant country, where he squandered his estate in foolish living. 14 “After he had spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he had nothing. 15 “Then he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 “He longed to eat his fill from the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one would give him anything. 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 “I’ll get up, go to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. 19 “I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired workers.” ’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. 21 The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father told his servants, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 “Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast, 24 “because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! ’ So they began to celebrate. 25 “Now his older son was in the field; as he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 “So he summoned one of the servants, questioning what these things meant. 27 “‘Your brother is here,’ he told him, ‘and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28 “Then he became angry and didn’t want to go in. So his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 “But he replied to his father, ‘Look, I have been slaving many years for you, and I have never disobeyed your orders, yet you never gave me a goat so that I could celebrate with my friends. 30 “But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your assets with prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’ 31 “ ‘Son,’ he said to him, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 “But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ”(NASB)

Here we have 4 different relationships; the father, two sons and the servants which is comprised of hired men and slaves. 
The servants went about their duties and waiting on their masters orders vs22,3 and 26.

I picture someone like Martha who was distracted with all her preparations Luke 10: 38-42. 
38 ¶ While they were traveling, he entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.39 She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what he said.40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand. 41 ¶ The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, 42 “but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.” She was not focusing on what was happening around them.

The older brother was out working in the fields, started to come in to the house. He heard music and dancing. Asking one of the servants what the party was about. Found out that his brother had returned and his father threw him this big party. He became angry and refused to go in. His father went out to him pleading with him to join in the celebration. Still angry, He wined about all the hard work, and not even getting a goat to share with his friends. But in Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents. Yet he could not be happy for his brother.  
Then there is the prodigal son, who took his inheritance, blew all of it on every imaginable type of partying. Today that would included alcohol, drugs, porn, fast cars, fast women, gambling, maybe pay for an abortion, homosexual acts and lifestyles and every other selfish act you want to include. 
I Cor 6:9,10 Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or males who have sex with males, nor thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom. CSB

And then there is the father. He split the inheritance  between his sons. Probably watched the younger son leave home.  Never giving up hope on him, thinking that he may have died.  I can relate to this father, for I have a son like him. He joined the Bandidos, one of the toughest motorcycle gangs in the world.He doesn’t want to have any contact with me. And the last thing he said to me was,” don’t contact me again,have a nice life”. Let’s get back to the story.  He sees his son returning home and with compassion, runs to him, hugs and kisses him.  I don’t think I would have responded exactly this way. I may have said, “ what were you thinking... going off on him about all the stupid things he had done. How many times, as parents, have we reprimanded our children for the foolish things they have done. As his son is confessing his sins, this father interrupts him.  Tells the servants to get the best robe, a ring and sandals to put on him ( gets him the best clean clothes). Set up a huge celebration, for his dead son has returned.  As the party is going, the father goes out to the angry older son to convince him to celebrate that his brother has returned.

Four types of people: 
Marthas, filling our  time with busy work.  We get so busy with the maintenance of the church and our lives we lose sight of the great commission
Younger son; unsaved or backslidden. This was us before we were saved or when we let the cares of this world take precedence over the things of God.
Older son, judgmental toward his brother.  Condemning non-Christians wanting them to change their ways. Pointing fingers at the “speck in their eye” and not lifting a finger to help them. This would be The Pharisees, priests and scribes.The father, had compassion for the lost and dead son, but also for the condition of the older son.

We all have been all 4 of these people at some point in our lives.  Yet, we strive to be like the Father or Christ. Showing a sympathetic awareness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it , which is compassion defined.  Compassion Is used  41 times in the Bible. Let me repeat that. A sympathetic awareness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. More than pity or sympathy But with a desire to alleviate their distress.

Too many times we find ourselves condemning the world, which is not our job.  John 3:17. Not that there isn’t a lot of evil out in the world. Sexual immorality, homosexuality, stealing, alcoholics, drug abuse, abortions, murders, selfishness, Catholics, Mormons, Buddhists, Muslims, gangs, and even the homeless. How do you feel about these groups? Or, how do you react around these groups? When you first saw me this morning, what was your first thought. As someone who rides a motorcycle, I get stereotyped by people all the time. Once we enter a nice restaurant, it was late in the evening, they seated us in the section they had closed, in the back corner. It was obvious that we made them very uncomfortable. We need to stand against the lies and misguided things they do. As Christians we have to separate the individuals from the groups having compassion for the individuals. 
When I got my first pair of glasses, I saw for the first time the leaves on the trees and the trees on the mountains. I knew that the trees had leaves and the mountains had trees. But, without corrective lenses I never saw them clearly. There’s a saying, “you can’t see the forest for the trees” meaning that you are too close to something to see the big picture.  I say that we can’t see the trees for the forest. We look at the big picture and lose-sight of the trees, or individuals in the midst of these groups.  Everyone comes to Christ individually. We want to reach large groups of people, and we can do this through media. But, we must reach out and touch them as individuals having compassion for them by seeing them through the eyesight of Jesus. (Seeing their individual distresses and desiring to alleviate them.)

How do we equip ourselves to alleviate these “distresses” that we encounter in the people we meet. I like to think of tools we need to get a job done. Some of the types of tools we use are kitchen tools, helps us cook. Hand tools, for small quick jobs. Power tools, to make quick work on large jobs and spiritual tools help us to be prepared to answer “every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you...”

1. The Word of God, the Bible: God has given us a great gift, the Bible. It is sharper than a two-edged sword Hebrews 4:12.  Ephesians 6:1. Billy graham said, The Bible is God’s love letter to us. If we truly love Him we should be reading his “love letter” to us daily. Just like we would with our loved ones.  We need it for strength, our daily bread. To maintain our health we need to consume about 2,000 calories a day. Some of us more and some of us less. It can’t be empty calories though, it must be a well balanced diet.  There are 783,137 words in the Bible. If we divide that by 365.25 days (1 year) we get 2,145 words per day. If we divide those words by 1,189 chapters we get 659 words averaged out per chapter. Finally, we take 2, 145 words divided by659 words we average 3.26 chapters a day to read through the Bible in one year. If you round this up to 4 chapters a day, you can actually miss a few days and still finish in a year.  Now back to our calorie intake. Most of us eat two or more time a day. The average person spends 65 minutes a day eating. Couldn’t we spend at least that time in the Bible? 
For me, I’ve only been doing this for a few years now. I’d fallen into the myth that quality is more important than quantity. I need both. But, it has increased my compassion for those who are dead and lost.  It has made me more aware of my weaknesses and His strength. And, being consistent, I now miss it when I don’t get into the Word. 

2. Prayer, communion with the Father. I Thess. 5:17 Pray without ceasing.  How can we discern what the will of God is if we are not communing with Him Matt. 6:9-13. The Lord’s prayer. Seeking Him first and last. Jesus himself prayed Not as I will, but as you will. Matt. 26:39. Jesus as an example would separate himself and sometimes pray all night. Oh, that I would pray and listen for God’s still small voice. To know His will, just for myself, let alone others.

3. Putting on the full armor of God; Ephesians 6:13-17 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
In Luke 4:18-21 Jesus stated “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord...This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” 

I started this teaching with a short version of my conversion. I wasn’t converted through fear of hell. It was God’s love and His presence that attracted me.  To me the good news is not just fear and punishment. It is about healing and freedom and truth. It is about a compassionate God who sees our distresses and gave us a way to alleviate them. We need to show the world, compassion for our every man.

Posted by Pat Larkin with

From Dead to Alive

A new Pastor in a small Oklahoma town spent the first four days making personal visits to each of the members, inviting them to come to his first services.
The following Sunday the church was all but empty. The Pastor proceeded to place a notice in the local newspapers, stating that, because the church was dead, it was everyone's duty to give it a decent Christian burial. The funeral would be held the following Sunday afternoon, the notice said. Being pessimistic and curious, a large crowd turned out for the "funeral." In front of the pulpit, they saw a closed coffin, smothered in flowers. After the Pastor delivered the eulogy, he opened the coffin and invited his congregation to come forward and pay their final respects to their dead church. Filled with curiosity as to what would represent the corpse of a "dead church," all the people eagerly lined up to look in the coffin. Each "mourner" glimpsed into the coffin then quickly turned away with a guilty, ashamed look. In the coffin, tilted at the correct angle, was a large mirror.

We should always pray that we don’t become a dead church in the eyes of God Almighty. God is omniscience, omnipotent, omnipresent bringing forth His love, inspiration, hope, and life to our hearts, soul, and minds. God says in Exodus 3:6:“I am  the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” 

He is the living never changing eternal God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and of us today. As written in Hebrews 13:8; 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 

Again, He is our living God. We must acknowledge His sovereign Deity. We need to apply His holiness within us to be alive as a church. Amen! We don’t want to become a dead and complacent church as written by John spoken by 

Jesus Christ in Revelation 3: “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore, if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 

The believers in Sardis were complacent and lacked spiritual vigilance, they were close to death. It says there were a few who did not defile their garments. The question is as a church; do we want to be close to death and defile our garments? I pray not. We must overcome and stay alive as a church. Do we want clean garments? I would pray so. As a Church, we want to be alive as God is alive. Jesus Christ says He will not blot our names from the Book of Life and He will confess us before His Father. That His promise. We need to take that to heart.

This brought forth the scriptures that was put in my heart for today for the blessed hope we have in Christ Jesus that keeps us the church alive. I pray this sends hope to our souls, minds, and hearts with stimulating confidence what our God has establish through His Son, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that He accomplished on the cross to set us free. We must be ready for our blessed hope that will keep us alive as a church.

In Titus 2:14-14; it says looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,14who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Are we tuned in to our blessed hope? We should be. Think about what is said; Jesus Christ gave Himself for us to redeem us. Imagine we are purified for Himself as His own special people. How mind blowing is that! That should definitely keep us in the direction of an alive church.

In 1 Corinthians 15:50-57 it says,Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of  God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.54So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory” 56The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable,Always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 

 This verse relates to the rapture of the church, as the trumpet blows, the rapture occurs, and we will be all changed, in a twinkling of an eye (God’s eye).

How can we measure the twinkling of God’s eye, we really can’t because He is God. But, in man’s terms and calculations think how fast the twinkling of the eye is. There’s has been mathematicians who have studied the twinkling of the eye? There are three portions of time to consider here, The wink, the blink and the twink. A blink is a controlled movement of the eye and so it's length of time is unspecified, but the quickest blink lasts for a half second. A blink is a reflex action of the eye and lasts somewhere between 300 and 400 milliseconds. That’s fast for just a blink of the eye. A twink is a reflected particle of light seen in the eye and thusly travels at the speed of light (the speed of light is a blazing 186,282 miles per second). This equates to a minute small fraction of a second, so it would be fair to say the twinkling of the eye occurs in about a billionth of a second (which in itself is such a small period of time as to be nearly inconceivable, but is gigantic compared to the actual time in which a twinkle occurs). 

 

Jesus Christ is the true light of His creation. 

 Jesus said in  John 3:6 6That Which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

 

Now flesh refers to the physical body in contrast to what is spiritual. This becomes a fundamental change in living for God’s kingdom (Spirit) versus a human earthy kingdom (Flesh). Flesh and blood are not able to inherit the kingdom of eternal life with Christ, and the inheritance of God’s kingdom will require a heavenly spiritual body like Christ’s.

In 1 Cor 15:49  it says49 And as we have borne the image of the man of Dust (Which is Adam after he fell into sin, my paraphrase), We shall also bear The image of the heavenly Man

We will all be changed from the perishable body of Human existence and will be replaced with a raised up glorious body, soul, and spirit that God has designed in us since the beginning. We will resemble Christ in His glorified spiritual body and His character. Hades and death are conquered once and for all. Jesus Christ holds the keys. In Revelation 1:18, 18I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of 1Hades and of Death. The door is unlocked, all we have to do is ask Him into our lives. 

 

Now for the Comfort of Jesus Christ’s Coming we have.

 

In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 15For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are a sleep.16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up Together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord.18Therefore comfort one another with these words.

 

We will not all fall asleep; implies that believers who are alive will remain alive before the time of the rapture, and when the rapture occurs, we will be joined with the saints after who have been asleep (died) in Jesus Christ at His coming. 

 

Those who "died in Christ" will return with Him. “They” are not in the grave–only “their bodies” are. "Those who sleep in Jesus" is another commonly  misunderstood term. When we die, only our bodies die.

Our spirits go to be with the Lord. Our bodies will be spiritual bodies. We need to be ready, for you do not know the time when our Lord Jesus will take all His believers with Him, only God the Father has determined the time. It could be now, tomorrow, we just don’t know. 

Jesus Christ conquered the sting of death through His death and resurrection. Now, where is the sting of death and fear of dying? Our hope is in Jesus Christ. The rapture is imminent!!  This gives us the ability and hope  to be alive in Jesus Christ!

 When all is done, we the saints (OT and NT), the church of Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father will be a church alive and eternal with God in Heaven our real home. Listen to that….   Our real home! Finally!! Amen!!

 

One more thing to grab a hold of is, remember God is not slack in His promises!

In 2 Peter 3:8-9 8But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

 We must repent daily, have faith, believe, and stay firm in our final victory that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has provided for us. Our Blessed Hope!  

 

I pray my Heavenly Father that through the death and resurrection of Your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ that the hope in Him will be instilled in hearts yearning to be ready for His return. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, and whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. I pray, I stand firm in Your promises of the blessed hope, salvation and eternal life. I pray for a living alive church. I thank you God for your grace! In Jesus Christ mighty name I pray! Amen. 

Posted by John Casias with

12345678910 ... 1920