In the story of the prodigal son, the older son was jealous and angry when he saw his father bless his younger brother. He was so focused on "his good works" and "his brother's sins," that he was unable to enjoy the benefits of being a son. He slaved for years trying to be "good enough" to earn his Father's approval and blessing when he already had it all along.
Can you relate to how the elder son felt? Have you ever felt jealous when someone else got blessed, or angry because you felt God was blessing someone who was less deserving than you? I love how the Father corrects these negative feelings in his eldest son's heart. He doesn't reprimand him for his anger, jealousy, judgement, or self-righteousness. In response to his anger, His Father simply reminds him of who he is. He says, "My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. So you can be happy for your younger brother and come celebrate his return with us."
He was inviting His son to live in His love by realizing that everything He had was already his to enjoy simply because he was his son.
Galatians 4:4-7 says, "But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent Him to buy freedom for us who were slaves of the law, so that he could adopt us as His very own children. And because you have become his children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son in your hearts, and you can call God your dear Father. Now you are no longer a slave but God's own child. And since you are his child everything He has belongs to you. NLT
Heavenly Father, thank you for reminding me that I am your beloved child and everything You have belongs to me. I no longer have to live as a slave trying to earn your approval and blessing. I can live in Your love and enjoy the benefits of simply being your child because of Jesus!
You can watch the video teaching of week 4, "Living Securely in the Father's Love," at: http://www.becauseofjesus.com/video-broadcast
Posted by Connie at 8:59 AM
In my journey of learning to live securely in the Father’s love the understanding that because of Jesus my Heavenly Father will never be angry and punish me has brought such peace to my heart. When He corrects me it is always with love and compassion because I am His beloved child. I don’t really understand why people believe that God is still angry and punishing people for their sins when He made a very clear promise to us all in the book of Isaiah.
In Isaiah 54:8-10 our Heavenly Father says to me and you, 8 “…with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer. 9 “Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth, so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you. 10 For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you. NLT
In the story of the prodigal son, Jesus gives us a wonderful example of the Father keeping His promise. Here was a son who made bad choices and his life was a mess, but when the son decides to go back to his Father, his Father showers him with love and compassion. What a beautiful picture of our Heavenly Father’s unconditional love and compassion toward us when we have done wrong. He removes the shame of our sin by reminding us of who we are. He embraces us and kisses us with His words of love. Who wouldn’t want to run to a daddy like that? I know for me this understanding has totally changed my life and my relationship with my Heavenly Father. When I’ve done wrong, I run to Him because He is my safe refuge. He is waiting to correct my wrong opinion of myself with His love. He pours His love and compassion on me and I find myself completely loved by Him and free from the power of sin in my life. What a wonderful Daddy we all have!
Zephaniah 3:17 say, “The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.
We truly can live free in our Heavenly Father's unconditional, unchanging love because His good opinon of us never changes!
You can watch the video teaching of Week 4, "Living Securely in the Father's Love," at: http://www.becauseofjesus.com/video-broadcast
Posted by Connie at 6:56 AM
There is no one in all the world that is going to love us the way Jesus does. That’s why we can only find true security in our relationship with Him. In this world we all deal with people who disapprove of us or even reject us. I used to live with a sense of rejection. I worried about what people thought about me and their opinion affected my heart in a positive or negative way. This created insecurity in my heart.
Realizing that I am accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6) and allowing that truth to penetrate deep in my heart has brought such healing to my soul. My Heavenly Father loves me. He sent His Son to die for me to prove how valuable and important I am to Him. His thoughts about me are precious and He has a plan to prosper me and give me a hope and a future. If He is for me, who can be against me?
In today’s lesson, I love the example Jesus gave us to demonstrate how we can live free and secure in the Father’s love. Right after the Father said to Jesus, "You are My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased," the devil came immediately to question His identity. But listen to how Jesus responded, “I live by every word my Heavenly Father says about me.” (Matthew 4:3)
Jesus also faced disapproval and rejection from the people around Him. When they questioned His identity and judged Him badly, He responded in a similar way, “I do nothing without consulting My Father, and everything He says about me is true. Your approval or disapproval means nothing to me because you are not looking at me through my Father’s eyes.” (John 5:30-42)
And in John 8:14-55 Jesus said, "I say only what I have heard my Father say about me and what He says is true. If I were merely boasting about myself it wouldn’t count for anything, but it is my Father who says these glorious things about me and if I said anything about myself other than what my Father says I’d be as big a liar as you.”
This puts a whole new perspective on what it means to follow Jesus' example and be His disciple. I now know what it means to live securely in the Father's love. Just like Jesus, I do not judge myself without consulting the Father because everything He says is true. What others have to say or think about me means nothing if it isn’t in agreement with my Father. My Father says I am loved, abundantly blessed, favored, anointed, healed, accepted, approved, valuable, and complete in Christ. If I were merely boasting about myself it would mean nothing, but it is my Father who says these glorious things about me, and I assure you that everything He says about me is true.
We can live every day secure in the Father’s love by saying only what we hear our Heavenly Father say about us. What does your Heavenly Father say about you?
You can watch the video teaching of Week 4 of Living Loved at: http://www.becauseofjesus.com/video-broadcast
Posted by Connie at 9:31 PM