Abundance in the Father’s House (Pt 3)

Daily Devotion | Day 324

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry” (Luke 15:22-24, NKJV).

Today we continue our study of “Abundance in the Father’s House” by highlighting an important point in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Before we do so, let us make some observations to reinforce the point we are making in this series. What you expect from God is an indicator of who you think He is and what you think He can (and will) do. If you are convinced that He is a God of abundance, you will expect nothing but abundance. And you will receive what you believe. God’s desire is not to bless you a little. That would be against His nature. His aim is to overwhelm you with blessings and to leave you speechless.

Read the Bible attentively from Genesis through Revelation. What you will notice is a pattern of God lavishing His people with an overflow of mercies, favor, goodness, wealth and prosperity. Take Isaac, for example. Once upon a time there was drought in the land where he lived. So, he moved and settled as a stranger among the Philistines in Gerar. This is what happened next: “Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundred fold; and the LORD blessed him. The man [Isaac] began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous” (Genesis 26:12-13). Lack, scarcity and stinginess are foreign to the Father. Therefore, when you are dealing with Him, expect abundance only and leave unlimited room for Him to surprise you.

Now let us look at the prodigal son. His life was a mess. But he had one thing going for him. Having lived with his father, he was familiar with life in that house. He knew his father’s house was noted for lavish living, abundance and overflow of good things. This awareness gave him hope. Listen to what he said when he had had enough of hardship, “How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father . . .” (Luke 15:17-18). Even the hired servants in the father’s house enjoyed abundance. Knowing he had lost his position as a son, all he wanted was to be hired as a servant and that would have sufficed for him. To his surprise, however, the father restored him as his son.

In our opening Scripture (15:22-24), notice how the father lavished the son with abundance and royal treatment. He put on him the best robe. He put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. Then he ordered the servants to prepare a party (with the fatted calf) to celebrate the return of his son. The rest of the day was spent in merry making: eating, drinking, singing and dancing.

When all hope seemed lost for the prodigal son, a single thought made the difference: the thought that his father’s house was a house of abundance. This thought fueled his expectation. And from how the story ended, the prodigal son was not wrong in what he believed about his father. Christians can learn a lesson here. That lesson is this: Whatever you desire to see, that is what you should expect. Expectation drives hope. And sooner or later, your expectation will become your reality.

The Father wants to celebrate you with abundance of good things: wisdom, wealth, favor, provision, divine protection, success, peace of mind, joy and overall prosperity. Do not resist abundance. Give God a chance to celebrate you. The state of your life has a lot to do with the state of your mind. Therefore, fill your mind with thoughts of abundance, provision and divine favor. Our Father is still in the abundance business. Expect nothing but abundance.

To be continued tomorrow, God willing.

For further studyIsaiah 55:1-13 and Deuteronomy 8:1-18

God Watches Over Your Soul

Daily Devotion | Day 249

“He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3, ESV).

Growing up, Psalm 23 was one of a few Bible passages we were supposed to memorize. Although we didn’t understand what we were reciting, there was something refreshing about it. Today, the psalm makes more sense, thanks to the Holy Spirit’s help. Let’s focus today on two things that jump out of Psalm 23:3. Remember, this is a psalm about the Good Shepherd.

He restores my soul.” – David describes his confidence in the protection and providence of the Lord. His confidence is based on what he knows about the Lord. He declares that the Lord restores his soul. How did he know that? He knew because he walked with God. This tells us something important about the character of God, and that is, He restores the souls of his saints.

When you go through diverse trials, your soul can be burdened. Everyone who walks with God knows this can happen. But the good news is, God can refresh and restore your soul. In 1 Peter 5:7, the Bible urges us to cast our burden unto God for He cares for us. Whatever you’re dealing with that burdens your soul, go to the Lord in prayer and let Him restore your soul. He will renew your strength and revitalize you.

 “He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” – when you come into covenant with God, He puts His name on you. You become a bearer of His name. This means whatever happens to you can affect God’s name. David says that, in His providence, God leads us in paths of righteousness. There are people who wish that you fall away from the right path. Certainly satan wishes that. When a child of God deviates from the right path, God’s name is implicated.

But God is faithful. If you remain obedient to Him, He will preserve you. For His name’s sake, He will make you walk in paths of righteousness and integrity. As you walk in obedience to God, He will cause His name to be glorified in your life. He loves you, and He will jealously preserve His name. Listen to what Jesus said and the Father’s reply, ‘“Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven: ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again’” (John 12:28). The Father heard Jesus’ prayer. He will hear yours, too.

If you ever come to a point where you need the Father to glorify His name, just ask. He is more than happy to do that.

Blessing: May the Lord cause His name to be glorified in your life. Amen.

For further studyIsaiah 40:25-31

When Your Heart Is Broken

Daily Devotional: Day 175

“He [the LORD] heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3, ESV).

The word “heart” used in today’s passage is referring, not to the physical heart located in your chest, but to your inner being. Throughout today’s message, that will be the intended meaning. Of course, the condition of your inner being can have implications for your physical heart as well. Your spiritual condition affects your physical condition. More people are wounded in their heart than they would admit.

You can’t avoid having social interactions with people. But we know that these interactions aren’t always as smooth as we would like. Occasionally, people get hurt by others, intentionally or unintentionally. Depending on the nature of the experience, the degree of pain will vary from individual to individual. At the end of the day, regardless of who (or what) got your heart broken, the earlier you got healed, the better for you and everyone around you. The Lord cares about your wholeness, especially your inner wholeness.

If your heart is broken, you don’t have to ignore it. It doesn’t help you to pretend to be fine when you’re not. God knows everything, so you might as well talk to Him about it. If someone has hurt you and you think it’s important to draw the person’s attention to it, you may do so. Remember, however, that no human being can fix a broken heart. God alone can touch the problem at the root, repair what is broken, make you whole and set you free. 

Often, people who hurt others are themselves broken, so don’t expect them to help you find what you truly need. Otherwise, you can inadvertently give them the opportunity to make your situation worse. Start by forgiving them from your heart; then, turn to the Lord in prayer. If you need to cry, feel free to do so in the presence of your Father. Open your heart to Him, and ask Him to touch your heart and heal you of all disappointment, bitterness and pain. He will do it. If you know a brother (or brothers) in the Lord in whom you can confide, you may do so and seek the support of Spirit-filled people. 

You need a healthy heart to worship the Lord and minister to other people. So, the condition of your heart is important. Keep your heart free from anything that can hinder your peace and joy in the Lord.

As today’s passage tells us, the Lord “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” If you’re wounded, don’t feel ashamed and don’t be afraid. You have a Father who heals broken hearts. He will give you more than coping skills. He is interested in healing you, restoring you, and giving you a new heart. Go to Him today and be made whole.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.  

For further study: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

Eyes on the Cross

Daily Devotional: Day 96

“Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him [Jesus], saw that He [Jesus] had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:3-5, NKJV).

Judas betrayed Jesus to the Jewish authorities. Rather than face the consequences of his actions, he chose to die a coward. It is bad enough to sin against Jesus, but it is worse if you disqualify yourself from Jesus’ mercy. You need courage and humility to face the Cross. Why? Because on the Cross you see the cost of your sin; but more importantly, you see an innocent, loving and merciful Savior who died that you might live. Judas did not turn to the Cross; instead, he turned to himself and ended up in the grave. When you sin, the last thing you want to do is to turn to yourself. You should turn immediately to the Cross, look Jesus in the eye and you shall obtain grace and mercy.

 When I say ‘Cross,’ I am not referring to a piece of wood, metal or plastic, the work of human hands. If you turn in prayer to a man-made object called ‘cross,’ that is idolatry. Remember that God is Spirit, and the power of the Cross is a spiritual reality that is present to you anytime, anywhere; it is not associated with any object made with human hands.

Strictly speaking, Judas did not repent, because true repentance leads you to Jesus; it does not lead you away from Him. Judas felt bad for himself, but did not see the point of turning to God for mercy. He didn’t realize that the Innocent Blood which he betrayed was the same Blood that could have saved him from his sin.

Judas made the right confession to the wrong people. To the chief priests, he confessed, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” The chief priests could care less. Judas should have turned to Jesus instead. The truth is, no man can save you from your sin; not even yourself. God alone can. Therefore, to Him, and to Him alone, should you turn for mercy. If you have hurt people, it is important that you apologize. But no matter what you have done or how horrible you feel, turning to the Cross is your antidote. No one can turn to the Cross for you. It’s your call.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, I repent of all my sins. I turn to you for mercy and grace. Cleanse me with your precious Blood and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Make me new and set me apart as a vessel of honor. Thank you, Lord. Amen.

For further study: Numbers 24:4-9 and John 3:14-18