Got a rebellious son or daughter who is far from God and living in sin? Believe me, there is hope!

ProdigalThere is hope for every godly parent who prays for a son or daughter who is far from God and living in sin!

I read a story in my Bible this morning that makes that point…

2 Chronicles 29 through 32 tells the story of a godly king and father (not perfect, but certainly godly)… Hezekiah. Here’s just a taste of what the Bible says about him in those chapters…

Hezekiah followed evil king Ahaz.

“Hezekiah began to reign when he was twenty-five years old… and he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” He repaired and cleansed the temple… He purged the nation from idolatry and restored the worship of Jehovah, the one true God. Under his reign the Passover was celebrated as it had not been for a very long time! He was a man of prayer and faith. The Bible records, “Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. And every work that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his God, he did with all his heart and prospered.”

But then there was Manasseh, Hezekiah’s son. This is what the Bible says about him (2 Chronicles 33)…

“He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had driven out before the people of Israel… He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger… Manasseh led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the people of Israel… The Lord spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention. Therefore, the Lord brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon…

“But when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his father. He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God…” He took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the Lord, and all the altars that he had built on the mountain of the house of the Lord and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside of the city. He also restored the altar of the Lord and offered on it sacrifices of peace offering and of thanksgiving, and he commanded Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel!”

Listen, if the Lord can get through to Manasseh and save him, he can get through to anyone – including your son or daughter who is far from God, living in sin! Take heart, keep praying, and trust God! God has a thousand ways to get through to them when you can’t think of one!

God says He’ll provide “Everything you need!”

Headed off to college.jpgI have in my mind’s eye today a wonderful, loving, generous parent. I see the many ways their love and selfless giving has expressed itself from the moment of their child’s birth – better than that, even before the day they were born. Their dedication to the welfare of their child and their provision has been clearly in evidence all the way through their life… every moment, every day, each birthday, every significant milestone of their life… the first day of pre-school, kindergarten graduation, day 1 of elementary school, junior high, and all they way through high school… always there, always loving and praying, always providing… and then high school graduation – a really big day celebrated with special gifts. And then the day the car was packed with stuff for college. Finally the big hug and kiss, the credit card, the cell phone, and the words, “If there is anything else you need honey, you just call and let me know!”

I’m not talking about a parent who has “spoiled their child rotten” – They’ve also taught character – responsibility and accountability – but all along they’ve modeled loving provision as well!

Just like our Heavenly Father it seems to me! From the day of “new birth” – no, more than that, even before “new birth” – in eternity past provision was made! After all, according to Scripture, Jesus was “the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world” to provide salvation for all who would receive it (Revelation 13:8). Hey, our Heavenly Father’s generosity and loving provision through Jesus Christ was no afterthought! And then every day since… “From His fulness we have received grace upon grace” (John 1:16)!

All of this came to mind as I read these words during my time of “coffee with the Lord” today…

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them we might become partakes of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption this is in the world because of sinful desires… (and then the responsibility stuff – more than just the provision – the loving instruction…) “For this reason make every effort to supplement your faith [with godly character qualities]… For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful… If you practice these qualities you will never fall…. And you will be richly provided an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!” (From 2 Peter 1:2-11 ESV)

The car is loaded to the top… we’ve been given the credit card and the cell phone… Our Heavenly Father embraces us and gives us this promise… “Just let me know, I’ll provide everything you need!” I’d say we have a wonderful, loving Heavenly Father, wouldn’t you? Divine provision of everything needed – but more, a deep concern for the development of our character and fruitfulness! I love Him, don’t you?!

Arrogance and Pride – A sure way to get on the wrong side of God!

Arrogance and Pride…

Arrogance and PrideThey’re not just observable actions and activities directed toward other people (sometimes no more than a person’s “body language”)… Facts are arrogance and pride begin with attitudes of privilege and superiority (we think somehow we’re better than other people)… attitudes and actions like that are spiritually dangerous – even deadly! In fact, they’re sin! … and they put us on the wrong side of God (not a good place to be)! That’s the message of 1 Peter 5:5-6:

“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,”

God helping me, I never want to be guilty of the sins of arrogance and pride! “Search me O God and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! See if there be any wicked way in my and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23-24) I want to heed the prophetic admonition of this Scripture… “Humble yourself, therefore, under the mighty hand of God!”

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