“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love” - Psalm 145:8 (NIV).
The well told story of the prodigal son, who demanded his share of wealth, left, squandered it and having plunged in poverty, suddenly realized he had a home with a loving Father to return to, captures the essence of God’s love (Luke 15:11-32).
The world promotes and practices a different kind of love. For many, love generally has to do with reciprocal relationships- scratch my back and I will scratch yours. And so often we find in many of our personal relations “love” means returning the favor of those who “love” us. But once we find such lacking, our expectations not met; then, it is time to pick up our marbles.
In the Prodigal son’s story we find that the elder son who never left home and kept serving his father, expected that once his brother would light up, the door would be slammed in his face. Perhaps he was even delighted that the prodigal son had left him a wide berth. Yet, to his consternation, the Father received this prodigal son, with wide arms. This was so, as the son had fallen on his knees in repentance. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son” (vv 21).
One thing all can agree is God has given us free will to receive or reject him. Daily many are picking up, like the Prodigal son, and abandoning the first love of the creator. But God is not holding that against them. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, what a privilege to know that we have a Father, willing and ready to receive us, with wide arms, no matter the past, once we come to Him in repentance, and may His name be praised, this I pray in Jesus’s name!
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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” – ( 2 Timothy 4:7).
Fighting may be looked at as a non-desirable way of life, especially by those who are pacifists. In fact, throughout Christian history there are many who have literally taken Jesus’s admonition of “turn the other cheek” in Mathew 5:39, to mean nonresistance in the face of attack. The fact that Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for drawing a sword against his captors ( Mathew 26:52), means giving in to those who attack them, as a sign of humility.
Yes, of course there are moments where Christians must practice that humility and give in to those who attack them well remembering His word, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” ( Romans 12:19). However, that said, Believers in Christ would be mistaken to imagine that they must not fight for their faith, whenever under attack. For in reality, the faith of believers is under constant attack from Satan, who comes to “kill and destroy” ( John 10:1).
Faced with this, Paul went at great length to advise Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” ( Ephesians 6:11). To ward of constant attacks by the enemy Paul challenged us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ( vv 14-17).
Paul is telling us that if you think that ours is a walk over faith where you are not going to fight back against the attacks of the enemy you are very mistaken. Fight we must, and hold our ground. The devil respects that! And when all is done, we can then gladly say, “we have fought the good fight, finished the race” and thank God Almighty we are free at last!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise ready to resist the attacks of the enemy, by wearing the full of armor of God, and with the sword of the Spirit, fight back to victory, this I pray in Jesus’ name!