Prodigal Humility III

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And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.” ~Luke 15:13 (NKJV)
Today I am picking up where I left off with humility. If you remember I had found some notes on my desk that I got some time ago concerning humility in the life of the prodigal son. Now within these notes is the term Colony 101. For any of you who know Chaplin Jim Freed, the parable of the prodigal son is one of his strong suits and he uses this parable to help us Colony guys get our heads around The Fathers forgiveness for us when we repent and turn 180* to Jesus and seek to live an exchanged life. Over the years I myself have seen the layers that is in this parable so I think this would definitely be Colony 101 stuff.
Now previously I suggested that this young man may have practiced some sorta pseudo-humility by asking for his inheritance before his father passed on. After all, just walking up to dad and saying, “Dude, I can’t wait for you to die so can I have my stuff now?” fly’s…right? Well in the 1st century dem’s was fightin’ words and this guy would have gotten his tail kicked in or at the very least got nuttin’ when dad died (however in the 21st century kids really do have the brass to ask for this thing to actually happen, just sayin’). But for the sake of illustration Jesus chooses to begin this parable with someone who is obviously morally wrong and this would have gotten their attention. (ya think?)
So there is no doubt that the prodigal was seeking instant gratification and from what I see in these notes I got there is this statement… “He was the Dead Sea of all his intentions”. Hmmm…that’s like saying he swims in “Lake Loser” right? But do you realize that there are contemporary counterparts to the prodigal and maybe you see them in your everyday? Those folks who are down on their luck riding the bus or the train, walking down the road with all their possessions in plastic Walmart bags, locked up in jail, on television running for president (oops let that one slip, sorry) or maybe they are like 40 totally different men at the Colony of Mercy. You could say that these people had their chance in life—like everyone else—but they threw their chance away. Maybe, in a way, they deserve to feel humiliated…
Well, when you look into Luke 15:15-16 you can see a movement to justify that statement. We tend to focus in what is going on to the prodigal but I see a fine display of attitude from people as well. I see man’s ability to humiliate in verse 15, I see man’s ability to exploit in verse 16 and what I don’t see is man’s ability to show grace and mercy. It’s at this moment in the parable that Jesus will flip the script on what should happen to us when we are in that spiritual “famine in the land” moment. It’s this moment in the life of the prodigal where humiliation becomes humility.
Now just because the prodigal finally comes to his senses, realizes that he has sinned against heaven, his father and isn’t worthy to be called a son doesn’t mean he got the whole idea of humility down. OH NO, because what it took was the father’s response to the very sight of him. Running down the road in a robe and sandals ain’t no easy task but for the “pater familias” to do this is unthinkable in the 1st century…well in any century. If I do this, I feel that I’m falling flat on my face no matter overjoyed I would be seeing my son CHOOSING to come home. Choosing to come home is the humbling action that has the father showering his wayward son with love and grace. Putting better clothes on him, shoes and a ring on him is the father showering him with mercy.
So why is this a cool parable? Well I guess I’ll just have to take my shot at answering that the next time I am with you. But until then think about the audience that is hearing this parable…those wacky Pharisees. All the way up to this point everything that Jesus has spoken to has gotta be seething in the hearts of those men, after all, they have the ability to humiliate and to exploit just like those that done so to the prodigal when he became in need. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they hadn’t already done so to those people that YHVH Himself handpicked to bring into the Promised Land. Now does this stuff still happen in the 21st century? You better believe it…Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married with two adult children (you may remember them from summer staff) and serves on the Deacon Board at Trinity Alliance Church in Cologne NJ

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 96; Proverbs 5

Click Here to Download our 2016 Daily Bible Reading Plan

Daily Quote: “Let us, from the beginning, admit that there is nothing so natural to man, nothing so insidious and hidden from our sight, nothing so difficult and dangerous, as pride. Let us feel that nothing but a very determined and persevering waiting on God and Christ will disclose how lacking we are in the grace of humility, and how weak we are to obtain what we seek.” ~Andrew Murray

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: 

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid? ~Psalm 27:1

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The Two Sides to Our Devastation

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The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know – if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy, oh, but it is such fun to see it coming away. ~C.S. Lewis, Voyage of the Dawn Treader

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. ~Paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Colossians 3

Devastate

1: to bring to ruin or desolation by violent action

2: to reduce to chaos, disorder, or helplessness : Overwhelming, Overpowering, Irresistible

Oh beloved, it is true. Have no doubt, when we first became members of the family of G_d, there began an Act of devastation in our lives. Upon trusting Christ for His work on the cross, the Holy Spirit took up a dwelling place in our being. And in taking up residence He began a relentless pursuit of every aspect of our lives.

As needed, He will slash, burn, crush, ruin, and bring chaos to our lives in order to bring us into a right relationship with Him. Said simply, He devastates us. Oh, some of us fight it for years. But, He will be the Fire inside us burning away the dross of that old man. He will make us one with Him – or kill us in the making. It’s terrible. It’s awesome. It’s epic.

We whimper and cry. He comforts us for a moment, and then goes back to hammering away at ANYTHING that is not Him in our lives. “Oh G_D, PLEASE STOP!,” we say. But – thankfully – He will not and does not.

He kills us, and then He tears us out of ourselves… alive! We wake up panting as if having just run a sprint in a dream. And suddenly everything is so quiet, so beautiful. We simply understand the underpinning principle of the universe: It is all about Him. And HE is not only devastating, He is devastatingly beautiful.

Then, for each of us (if we live), the new creation we truly are comes to the forefront. We are called many things in the New Testament: Tents, Vessels, Jars, Ambassadors, Instruments, and Weapons. And all of these are for, by, through, and in Him. We become privileged creatures imbued with the very same devastating beauty that destroyed the old ugliness of the past. Our lives literally shine forth this devastation into the world. And it is a beauty against which the gates of hell cannot stand.

Can we see it? The devastated old man of Romans 7 becomes the devastatingly loved, devastatingly beautiful, Spirit-filled over-comer of Romans 8 that can never be separated from the One that has made him that way. It’s not even a contest any more.

G_d wins.

So the next time that old liar, the devil, the adversary tries to tell you that you are just a wreck; that your life is just devastated, tell him, “yeah, and i hope my Savior doesn’t stop. He’s kicking at the darkness in my life and it’s starting to bleed daylight! You don’t like light, do you devil? Go away now. you are dismissed. Christ is busy here and you are not welcome.”

G_d will do it beloved. Let Him! Don’t wait! You can literally shine forth the Light of Creation through every bit of you. It is devastatingly beautiful to a darkened world.

Written by Makala (Mak) Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of God, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, God’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 92; Proverbs 1

Click Here to Download our 2016 Daily Bible Reading Plan

Daily Quote: You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. ~Matthew 5:14-16 

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: 

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah ~Psalm 46:1-3

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Prodigal Humility

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“But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.’” ~James 4:6 (NKJV)
 
(Before I go too much further I have to confess that this writing is going to come from some notes that I found on my desk that I know came from a Keswick conference. I just don’t know from whom I got them from or how long ago I got them. So if what I write looks familiar to what you spoke on…let me know who you are, you musta gave some sermon that time period)
 
One of the things I have been encouraging folks to understand is that humiliation only pleases Satan. If we were to go back to the beginning of The Book everything Elohim created was good until Satan showed up. It was in humiliation that Adam and Eve covered up their disobedience their own way and when YHVH asked “Where are you?” it was all over, shame set in. Now here we are, in the 21st century and very few of us can truly say it’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” and it’s all because of this skewed view we have of humility (thought I was gonna say humiliation, didn’t you?) Anyway…
 
So often in the Christian world we tend to parley humility to each other. If you treat me with humility, I’ll treat you likewise. So from the view point of a guy that greets everyone at the front door of the church he attends, every now and again, parley is no way to handle humility. Now, at times, when I hand out bulletins to people with a gracious smile, a big ole’ “GOOD MORNING” what I’ll get in return is a growl of “…morin’…” then off they go. Now if I parley my composure for the next time I see them they might just get “…mornin’-ing…” themselves. In essence it is no way to show Christian humility, however, when it does come to showing Christian humility we’ll go philia before agape every time. Sad…but true!
 
Now God’s Word makes this one point very clear, God gives grace to the humble. That in and of its self should blow us away. Our problem is that after we’ve gone through a time of brokenness we relax and get comfortable, pride creeps back into our everyday and then it becomes all about us again. But then on the flip side there is a widespread misunderstanding of this whole sense of humility. Like what was written back in the 6th century by a monk named Benedict. He had these 12 steps to humility and in the 7th step he suggested to other monks that they look at themselves as the lowest and vilest of men and quietly say to themselves, “But I am a worm and no man, the reproach of men and the outcast of people.” Not sure about you but I ain’t saying nuttin’ like that! God don’t make no junk like that…besides God already created worms. Can’t question The Creator.
 
So I guess we need to wrap our minds around what motivates humility in our Christian walk. Andrew Murray wrote that there three motives that should urge us to humility…I like the second one. Humility should “appeal to us in our fallen state, and points out the only way through which we can return to our right place as men” (or women). It’s being oriented away from ourselves and being there to serve the interests of others. But what it’s not is a license to keep screwing up so we can get back to a contrite position with God. If you have been saved and truly believe it is by grace that you have been saved, then you should already be at the contrite part. It’s not sin that makes you humble its grace…got it?
 
Well this is about as far as I can go today but in the next few Freedom Fighters I hope to be able to work us through humility in the parable of The Prodigal Son. It is my view that Jesus does us a great favor by flipping the script on what was once look upon as humiliation to levels of humility we get the rest of time on earth to achieve. And yes I am proposing that you have the rest of your time here to work on humility. I think one of the greatest disservices we do to ourselves is we think we have to have this all together at the moment we’ve confessed with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Jesus saves. Au Contraire…I believe that God wants us to keep working at it because it shows Him that we love Him enough to pressing on. Amen?
 
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (November 2003), is married with two adult children (who you may remember from summer staff) and serves on the Deacon Board at Trinity Alliance Church in Cologne NJ.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 76; Proverbs 16

Click Here to Download our 2016 Daily Bible Reading Plan

Daily Quote: “When I look back on my own religious experience, or on the Church of Christ in the world, I stand amazed at the thought of how little humility is sought after as the distinguishing feature of the discipleship of Jesus. “ ~Andrew Murray

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11  (NKJV)

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