Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Wayward

 (Luke 15: 11 - 16) Jesus said: “There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.’ He divided his living between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, there he squandered his property in loose living, when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine, he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate because no one gave him anything.”

How many parents and friends have shed tears while questioning themselves about what had gone wrong when one of their children or friends have run off to places unknown and have intentionally estranged themselves from everyone who loves and cares for them? How many siblings have wondered and worried about their brother or sister, missing and perhaps sick or dead in some God forsaken situation or evil place?
What about a strong willed individual refusing to listen to common sense or parental admonitions who opts to follow after peer group miscreants with drugs, alcohol and licentious sexual activity and purposefully walks away from home and family to follow after wrong headed and useless pursuits? How often have we heard this story and even experienced it with a family member or a friend? 

Oftentimes we wonder if that person is going to wind up living in desperate conditions or perhaps dead through some act of violence or dying of a disease in a hapless situation. These are questions that so often go unanswered, but the bible has the answers for those that diligently seek them. There is hope, when we earnestly pray for those who seem lost. First it is important to understand what is written in (Ephesians 6: 12) For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” So often it seems that we are engaged in a battle for the mind of a wayward, stubborn individual who might benefit from a trip behind the woodshed to bring them back to their senses. However scripture says, it’s not a flesh and blood struggle, but a spiritual battle wherein a dark force is corrupting their thought processes. The previous verse, is a directive for us in how to begin to deal with the problem. (Ephesians 6:11) Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” So how do we do this? First of all we have to relinquish control of that person completely and turn them over to God. Sometimes it’s difficult as we battle with our own desire to maintain control over a situation that we don’t really control at all. It requires a heartfelt conversation (prayer) with the Lord acknowledging that what we have been doing is actually a sin (meaning failure, falling short or missing the perfect mark) We inadvertently do this by trying to handle things by our own wit and flesh things out, things that are all decidedly well beyond our own understanding. When we confess our shortcomings to God and ask Him each day to intercede in the life of our estranged one, the dynamic will begin to change and we will start to understand the power behind the following verses. 
(2 Corinthians 10: 3 - 5) “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” The meaning of this becomes abundantly clear, we are dealing with entities that we cannot see who have been exerting their influence on those that we care for and whose power can only be broken by the higher power of God. Finally keep in mind the following: (James 5:16) Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.” As believers in God and in His Christ we need to first own up to our own shortcomings and where we have failed and then begin to take a stand on behalf of our lost friend or loved one through fervent prayer, requesting God’s intercession in their life. The first sign of a change will become evident as God brings the bottom up for them until reality begins to smack them in the face much like what happened in the story of the prodigal son, then we will begin to see some changes taking place. Don’t forget to thank God daily giving joy for their deliverance as the rest of the story unfolds.

(Luke 15: 17 - 24)  “But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.”

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