Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rejoice Much?

(picture from tapestrynvelvet.com)
The other day while pondering the book of Luke, reading many of the stories therein with fresh eyes, chapter 15 humbled me and brought me to my knees with rejoicing my heart has needed for a long time.

Years ago, I turned my back on God; some might call it backsliding, who knows what others may call it. It vexed me terribly that I could do such a thing. I repented, I cried, I groveled, I rose up and followed Jesus again, more quietly.

Satan beat me up with scriptures like Luke 9:62 (Jesus replied, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.") And, Romans 11:21-23 (For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.....) And Hebrews 10:26-31 (For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins.....)

Scriptures that should have brought the God-kind-of-peace didn’t quite rescue me from the guilt and shame the enemy pours over us; 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.

As I wrestled with the enemy, I'd say things like: "Well, I don't care, Satan, I'm going to serve God anyway, I'm going to praise Him and love Him and honor Him and share Him....and if, in the end, He chooses not to let me into His kingdom, that's His right, I submit myself to God, therefore, now flee from me!" (James 4:7)

While reading the story of the prodigal son with a seasoned heart and yearning that’s been growing, I realized that, years ago, when I repented of my sinfulness, I came back to God just as the prodigal son went back to his father, asking, not to be treated as a son, but as a servant, hoping for morsels that even the animals might receive.....

In verse 21 we see the prodigal son say to his father, just as he’d rehearsed, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”

My heart began to dance with delight as revelation flooded my being. This story came alive inside of me!

How did his father respond? Did he delegate this wayward son to the outer fields to tend sheep or to the servants lodging? No! The very next verse his father’s response comes with so much joy and excitement he can barely contain it.

(picture from ncregister.com)
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” (verses 22-24)

Can you feel his father’s excitement? I CAN!

Just as his father dismissed the idea of treating his son as merely a servant, MY FATHER, didn't consider it either. I AM AND ALWAYS WILL BE -------- HIS DAUGHTER, whom He loves unconditionally!


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