Wednesday, November 28, 2007


It's from a few years back, don't worry! :-)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Prodigal Son...

After hearing an interesting twist on the story of the prodigal from the viewpoint of a Messianic Jew, I found this interesting article online.  He begins his dissertation by attempting to  dispel the stereotypical view that most of us Christians have for God:
This particular parable is especially important for us to rightly understand as Christians. Typically we labor under inadequate or inappropriate images of the God of Israel. We can be almost schizophrenic about Him at times. We know He is a loving Father, yet He seems so stern, demanding and distant. He's "Jehovah," the Law-giver -- a kind of IRS agent in the sky who is ever examining our conduct, looking for just one infraction so he can throw the book at us.

This kind of thinking is neither Hebraic nor Biblical. ... More importantly, it seriously impairs the very way you and I worship and relate to the God of Israel. Who wants to crawl up into the lap of an IRS agent? Who wants to practice the presence of a severe Judge who gives us an impossible law to live up to and then punishes us even for one infraction? Many Christians, I fear, suffer from this difficulty of being truly intimate with our Father in Heaven. We say the right words, but in our heart we are uncertain and uncomfortable. A faulty image of God can cause us to miss out on the fullness and the joy of our salvation in His presence and power.
After attempting to lay the foundation of who God truly is, he proceeds to show us the shocking blow that this parable would have dealt to the jewish culture.  Here in "Western" society, we are not surprised in the least to hear of a young man asking for money from his father, and then beating for the city to go "live it up."  In contrast, that was completely unheard of in the Jewish culture.  It just didn't happen. As the was mentioned in the article:
These last two seemingly simple statements were absolute shockers to the Jewish ear....Jesus' listeners understood that to demand your inheritance from a living father was equivalent to saying, "Father, I wish you would drop dead!"
He then proceeds to explain the horrors of the young man's other choices, and graphically portrays what must be running through the Jew's minds as Jesus spoke:
The emotions of Jesus' audience must have been on a roller-coaster ride during this tale. From disgust and righteous indignation one moment, to anxiety and even pity the next. Surely now they were empathizing with this young man's terrible fate. No money, no food, no friends and no security, exiled from his father, his family, his home, his land and his people -- and even estranged from his spiritual impulses as a Jew. He is having table fellowship with unclean swine! Truly, in every respect the prodigal is lost.
He goes on to state how different the scene of the son's reception probably was from our American mental picture.  I have always seen the father as looking out the window of his solitary home pushed back from the road a good distance.  Seeing a lone man walking down the lane, the father recognizes it as the walk of none other than his beloved son.  In reading further, Dwight points out that the Jews lived communally.  That is to say that the entire incident would have been viewed and scoffed at by the entire town.  They all knew the man, and they all knew the disgraceful wretch that had left.  He was an outcast.  By accepting him back, the father risked losing face to his townspeople.  He continues:
But again, Jesus turns the tables on his listeners. This remarkable father does not wait for his wayward son's repentance, as one would expect. Compelled by love, he seizes the initiative. He rushes to welcome his son. In an unprecedented act of grace and mercy, the father humiliates himself before the community so his son will be spared their harsh judgment. It was considered demeaning and uncouth for an elderly person to run. But this father eagerly runs the gauntlet of the opposition, so his son will not have to pass through judgment.
In closing, Dwight extends the same appeal that Jesus extended to his listeners: the appeal to repent from sin, and be reconciled to our Heavenly Father.
Dear friends, in this parable please hear the words of a loving Father, full of grace and truth, faithfulness and mercy. The God of Israel, our heavenly Father, has shown unprecedented grace and unmerited love towards you. ... By His grace, we who are separated and alienated from the family of God, can return and rejoice in the Father's presence. But the fullness of His fellowship is experienced only when our repentance is unstinting.

© 1995 by Return to God, P.O. Box 159, Carnation, WA 98014

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Reach out to Jesus

Reach Out to Jesus

Are you really seeking for fulfillment in your life?

Are you really longing for a life that’s free from strife?

Are you disappointed in what life has brought your way?

Oh my friend, reach out to Jesus and He will wipe your tears away!

Reach out to Jesus, with love He’s reaching out to you:

He’s so sympathetic, understanding, kind, and true!

His touch will heal you, His love will really make you whole;

Oh why not reach out to Jesus and He will satisfy your soul.

Are you broken hearted? Is your heart filled with grief and pain?

Have your pieces shattered, and your tears fell down like rain?

Bring your cares to Jesus for His arms are open wide:

Oh give Him your broken pieces and He will mend them all again.

Has your life been wasted? Is your heart filled with shame and sin?

Do you seek forgiveness and long for peace and joy within?

Do you feel so empty? “There’s no hope for me,” you say;

Oh my friend, reach out to Jesus and He will cleanse your heart today!