The Daily Encouraging Word Devotional
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“My son was…lost and is found. And they began to be merry.” Lk 15:24 NKJV
Observe what the father did for his Prodigal Son the moment he humbled himself and said, “I have sinned” (v. 18 NKJV), because God will do the same for you. (1) “The father said to his servants, ‘Bring the best robe and put it on him’” (v. 22 NKJV). Can you imagine what this boy smelled like and looked like after wallowing in the muck of a hog pen? Can you identify with him? Good news: God covers our sinfulness in the robe of Christ’s righteousness. And from that point on He sees us “in Christ.” Therefore we are always acceptable in His eyes. (2) “Put a ring on his hand” (v. 22 NKJV). This was the family signet ring used in transacting business. When placed on wax, it was equal to a signature. More good news: God doesn’t partially restore you, He recommissions you and gives you back full authority to do business in His name. (3) “Put…sandals on his feet” (v. 22 NKJV). The Prodigal Son was getting ready to say to his father, “I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants” (v. 19 NKJV). In those days hired servants didn’t wear shoes in public; only sons did. How wonderful—his father gave him the full rights of sonship. (4) “Bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry” (v. 23 NKJV). You don’t fatten a calf overnight! The father had been planning this celebration for a long time. He never gave up on his son. And the word for you today is: God hasn’t given up on you either! Come back to Him and let Him restore you.
“When he was still a great way off, his father…had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” Lk 15:20 NKJV
Here’s an interesting and largely unknown thing about the story of the Prodigal Son, as pointed out by Pastor James Bradley. Jewish families living in small villages were tightly knit communities where people knew one another well. So when something like this happened, word traveled fast. When the younger son demanded his inheritance it was like saying to his father, “I can’t wait until you die. I want what’s mine, now!” Such a thing was unheard-of. Then he went away, forgot the values he’d been taught, and squandered his inheritance on parties and prostitutes. As a result he ended up destitute, working in a pigpen. For a Jew, you can imagine the stigma. After breaking his father’s heart and the rules of the community, he decided to come back home. And that’s when his father “ran” to meet him. Here’s why. Had he reached home after failing so badly, the village elders would have held a “ceremony of shame” known in Hebrew as kezazah. They’d have taken a clay pitcher and smashed it on the ground in front of him, meaning his ties with the community were broken and he was no longer welcome. That’s why his father ran to meet him. He was saying, “I have to get to my son with grace before they get to him with the law. I have to give him hope before they take it away. I have a different ceremony in mind: a homecoming party to celebrate his restoration.” And what the father did for his Prodigal Son that day, God will do for you today if you’ll only turn to Him.
“Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” Eph 4:26-27 NLT
A marriage and family expert writes: “It’s not the fights that should worry married couples; it’s what happens when the battles are over. Almost all husbands and wives experience conflict from time to time, which is not necessarily unhealthy to the relationship. A verbal spat that stays within reasonable limits can open the windows and give a couple a chance to vent their frustrations and release some steam. The important question, however, is what happens after a fight is over? In healthy relationships confrontation ends in forgiveness, in drawing closer together, in deeper respect and understanding, and sometimes in greater physical intimacy. But in unstable marriages conflict is never entirely resolved. This is a very dangerous situation where the consequences of one battle begin to overlap with a prelude to the next. It’s a good idea for couples to take a closer look at what happens in the aftermath of confrontation. Are there things that you’ve said or done that have grieved your partner? Do you need to ask forgiveness for attacking the self-worth of your spouse instead of focusing on the issues that divided you? Are there substantive matters that haven’t yet been resolved? If so, deal with them quickly before they can fester and erode the relationship from within.” The apostle Paul understood this principle clearly. “Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” He wrote these words two millenniums ago, but they’re still great marital advice today.
“Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.” 1Co 7:3 NKJV
The Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful and costly tombs ever built. And there’s a legend that surrounds it. When the favorite wife of Indian ruler Shah Jahan died, he ordered it built as a memorial to her. He placed her casket in the middle of a parcel of land, and construction literally began around it. But several years into the venture, his grief for his wife gave way to his passion for the project. One day while he was surveying the site, he reportedly stumbled over a wooden box and had it thrown out. It was months before he realized it was his wife’s casket. The original purpose for the memorial—got lost in the details of construction! There’s a lesson here: It’s called “misplaced values.” If you’re a husband and a father, your wife and children probably appreciate the things you work to provide. But do you know what they really want? You! Your time. Your attention. Your affection! J. Paul Getty was one of the world’s richest men, yet he failed miserably with his own family. He wrote: “I’ve never been given to envy, save for the envy I feel toward those people who have the ability to make a marriage work and endure happily. It’s an art I’ve never been able to master.” So in your quest to build your Taj Mahal, try to remember the purpose for which you are building it. “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.”
“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus.” Ro 10:9 NKJV
There are two parts to being a Christian. First, you must accept Jesus as your Savior. Second, and much more difficult, you must make Jesus your Lord—“the undisputed boss!” There is just enough ego in each of us to want to be in control, and that part of us must be crucified daily. Crucifixion is one of the most painful deaths you can experience, because you die slowly and excruciatingly. And as long as your ego has breath left in it, it will rise up and fight for control. When you make Jesus Lord of your life, you give up control in three areas: (1) Jesus, not you, decides where you will go. (2) Jesus, not you, decides the price you’ll have to pay. (3) Jesus, not you, decides the person you’ll become. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Mt 13:45-46 NKJV). Note the words “all that he had.” If you want to know the cost of making Jesus Lord of your life, it will cost you all you have. This man valued the pearl so highly that he considered it worth any price he had to pay. So here’s the question: What value do you place on your relationship with Christ? This man believed that the return would be greater than the investment. Do you believe that? Salvation is free, but making Jesus Lord of your life demands that you surrender your all to Him. Are you ready for that? Are you willing?