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CALIMAN1's Photo CALIMAN1 Posts: 2,538
7/25/11 3:11 P

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Partying in God's house? I really like that term and have never thought about it before...I was once very much a "bible-thumper" once upon a time...I was so busy looking "down" at others that I forgot about the oak tree in my own eyes. God has humbled me often since then...it has been a good fall because if I hadn't fallen, I would not have known that I needed to get up...and love others regardless of their station in life and regardless of mine.

Thank you, again, Ksenija, for sharing your insights with us....really made me take inventory of where I am today.

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KATVHALE's Photo KATVHALE Posts: 5,179
7/20/11 10:12 A

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Junia, I too, have studied that this parable is more about the older son (like the Pharisees) than the younger one. Folks get so caught up in tradition and going through the motions of their faith that they actually don't have any real faith!

Faith is a one on one relationship with our Creator and living out that relationship by loving our neighbors like ourselves. We are to be set apart and live by example of Jesus Christ.

Thanks for sharing!

Kat

Saints have a past; Sinners have a future!

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

"Sin will keep you from God's Word---God's Word will keep you from sin!"


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JUNIAAGAIN's Photo JUNIAAGAIN Posts: 4,169
7/20/11 3:15 A

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All right - I am a bit lost as where exactly to post this - so decided to do it here. Blessings to you and: ENJOY THE PARTY GOD HAS FOR YOU TODAY.

Lk 15:25-32
Apparently, so the new census says, I live in a country where over 90% of people consider themselves Christians . Lucky us! ... or not so, given the fact that our former prime minister has just returned from an Austrian prison to be tried at home for organized crime; and that our former county mayor (in his eye Ďa fine Christian maní) is sending him greetings from a Bosnian prison where he is sitting for immense war crime! It would be funny if it were a joke...
Now, that we have dutifully condemned all those nominal Christians, continuing reading Lk 15 may haunt us, too. As bad as nominality is Ė according to Jesusí story Ė there is a thing worse and thatís the Ďreligious Christianí. There are people who call themselves Christian AND do ALL the right Christian things, but Jesus apparently claims that they can be as lost as it gets.
The story of the Ďprodigal soní is geared at such people in particular (Lk 15:1-2), the group in Jesusí audience who are utterly unhappy with Jesusí deliberations and his love for sinners. They mumble in disapproval and Jesus reacts to it by telling the story. I donít think Lk 15 is about the prodigal. Itís about the one at home. In Jesusí day thatís the pious Pharisee; today Ė the formal, strict Christian, may be?
Jesus stories are traps for audience. Here, Jesus establishes that lost needs finding! The Pharisees agree when it comes to sheep and coins. So Jesus asks: what about lost people?! How can God, the Father, abandon his creation? Sometimes, truly religious people are lost in the rules and obligations and forget that faith is really and only about Godís heart.
Real Christians are known by their love, not rules. The Jesus of Revelation criticizes those who have a Ďreputation of being alive, but are deadí (Rev 3:1)! In Matthew he calls religious leaders Ďwhite washed tombsí that look good on the outside, but inside they are full of death (Mt 23: 27). Jesus thinks that being a religious Christian is more dangerous than not being one at all. Religion makes one blind for oneís true self and the worth of others; it creates self-righteousness and exclusion of others. And worse of all it misrepresents God. The Ďolder-son-syndromeí is powerful: a nice pious front, conformity to right doctrines and practices, the heartís not important!
But for God itís all about the heart! Being a Christian means sharing Godís heart and that heart is full of love, compassion and mercy for people. It is full of joy when prodigals return home be it from a Ďfar away landí or from labouring in the field. Godís love is out there waiting, welcoming reasoning and convincing all his children: I love you; I have thrown you a party. Come in. Rejoice!
Have we checked our heart lately? Is it buried in religious chores that make us and others tired and unhappy or is it partying in Godís house and drawing others in too by it's love?


We cannot win eternal joy by living on the surface.
P. Tillich
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JUNIAAGAIN's Photo JUNIAAGAIN Posts: 4,169
6/26/11 11:58 A

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@DIETSAFARI: you are right! Living with our children (and that applies especially to teenagers and young adults, it seems) makes us see a little more about God. Thankfully. When we realize how much we love our children, the thought of God the Father who 'watches the road Home' is so comforting.
@John - that's a real thought for the procrastinator! You can have all the right ideas and decisions but they are NOTHING if you don't act upon that. On so many levels this is the thought of the week!

We cannot win eternal joy by living on the surface.
P. Tillich
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DIETSAFARI's Photo DIETSAFARI Posts: 870
6/25/11 5:56 A

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I think the Father gives us children so that we can understand a little about Him.
I am just so thankful that He is a Father who watches the road Home.
Right after giving my heart to Jesus, this parpable made me feel safe and know that the Almighty God loves me.
Thank you for this amazing Bible Study Post
Bless you all


CALIMAN1's Photo CALIMAN1 Posts: 2,538
6/23/11 3:58 P

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"There's No Place Like Home..."

Ksenija's thougth-provoking post in the Verse of the Week on the Father's use of imperfection to bring about something critical really led me back to the young son...specifically, Ksenija's following words left me really thinking about the Prodigal Son story in view of God's welcoming arms and, hopeful, yes, hopeful patience for His children to come home again...

"You donít let them go by giving up on them Ė but from afar, waiting. That is the other part of the Fatherís story. He counts on it that eventually, Prodigals recognize that the Fatherís house is the best place to be and they are ready to come home to learn more, to participate in the Fatherís love. The time of waiting is painful for the Father."

In Luke 15:17-19, we explore exactly what Ksenija was sharing...the youngest son, after rejecting his father, squandering his wealth with fast living, and now wishing that he had it as good as the pigs he was feeding finally came to his senses...

"When he came to his senses, he said, "How many of my father's hred men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.'"

What is it that people often say about those who are struggling with vices or addiction, "Sometimes someone has to hit rock bottom before they get it." Well, this boy, he hit rock bottom. From spoiled kid with nothing to spare to a servant of pigs. He was finally able to sit back, probably covered in filth with little food to speak of, and perspective came and smacked him on the forehead. How many of us haven't had those same types of life-altering moments? I know I have...I actually remember just sitting there after one of those moments and sadly thinking, "Wow, look at all this time and all this life I have wasted..."

But even after you have these realizations, you still have to decide what to do next...it's easy to say, "I'm ready" than to actually put your plan into action. So what does this young man do? He prepares a speech for his dad, a very humbling, sobering speech...and in part A of verse 20....

"he got up and went to his father...."

Humbled, embarrassed, enlightened, "he got up and went to his father...."

Who better to return to than our Father when reality smacks us in the forehead...we go to our ABBA....but how was he to be received?





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CALIMAN1's Photo CALIMAN1 Posts: 2,538
6/23/11 3:37 P

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Marcy, thank you for not only sharing the story, but also recognizing God's hand in the "healing"...God bless you over and over!

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MARCYNA's Photo MARCYNA Posts: 1,806
6/22/11 9:24 A

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I have a friend who has betrayed me so I have been through all stages of anger resentment hatred and now the Lord has made me understand He wants me to love thisperson and pray for him. It took me years as I was hurt deeply but His love has worked wonders. emoticon


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CALIMAN1's Photo CALIMAN1 Posts: 2,538
6/10/11 3:45 P

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Kay, lifting up prayers for your son...perhaps he hasn't made peace with God, yet, but as long as we can pray and as long as we believe that God is fully able, we have hope for a personal reconciliation....God is amazing in the ocean of His love and patience...

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KAYDE53's Photo KAYDE53 Posts: 39,577
6/4/11 7:39 P

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I just keep thinking of my son & how his life parallels this parable. We didn't give him his inheritance but he went off to live his life his way. When he called wanting to come back home, we went and got him, the way he was living was pretty close to a pig sty or being homeless. He still hasn't made his peace with God, I pray he is closer to doing that because of his experience.

~Kay~
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JUNIAAGAIN's Photo JUNIAAGAIN Posts: 4,169
6/4/11 1:40 P

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This Vegas story reminds me of Rom 1 - E. Kasemann, a German theologian made me realize how different God's judgment looks from Paul's perspective (and on my own I noticed how similar Paul's thought about the 'catalog of vices' has been to Jesus story about the prodigal. Letting us go off with our inheritance is probably the biggest punishment God could have invented - forget Judgment Day when we are off to Vegas 'enjoying' life by running it down to the point of a pig stall. Multiply that by the sheer amount of prodigals on the mission of self-realization and there is global disaster.

I'm amazed when I hear people complain about God 'letting' this happen... and go on living on their 'Vegas' trip.

We cannot win eternal joy by living on the surface.
P. Tillich
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CALIMAN1's Photo CALIMAN1 Posts: 2,538
6/2/11 3:13 P

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Kat, it's interesting that after I read your comments, it reminded me of how much we have become a "lottery-minded" people..get rich fast! I want it NOW! Or, the entitlement mentality...I DESERVE this...

and how often do we read about people who do get what they ask for and are miserable because of it...I know that in my life I have sought after some things that i shouldn't have and, while I learned from my ways, the after-effects can last a long long time...



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KATVHALE's Photo KATVHALE Posts: 5,179
6/2/11 10:22 A

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People without God rely on their "stuff" and themselves to get through life; how sad....

This parable shows us just how far we can get on our own; a pig sty! Why would anyone want to settle for "temporary" when God offers them "eternal"?

I pray that this parable and your words, John, will convict those who read it to see just how awesome our God really is!

God Bless You All!

Kat

Saints have a past; Sinners have a future!

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

"Sin will keep you from God's Word---God's Word will keep you from sin!"


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CALIMAN1's Photo CALIMAN1 Posts: 2,538
5/31/11 4:04 P

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"What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas..." or does it? This catch phrase is supposed to lure us to a place where, you know, we can let our hair down, slam down a few too many drinks, throw down all our money at the roulette table, maybe meet someone that we shouldn't be meeting...but, hey, it's not like anyone is going to find out, right? I mean, it says it right there, "....stays in Vegas."

Having recently demanded, and received, his share of his father's estate, this young lad was about to find out that the "Vegas" mentality when coupled with the "Vegas" actions, can lead to some devastating results...

Luke 15: 13-16

Not long after that, the youngest son got togther all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything."

So as if his public disrespect for his father wasn't enough, this son decided he would go one further..."I'm taking my ball and going...to Vegas.." Since the scripture says that he gathered all his stuff, I am led to believe that he sold his land, the land that his family worked for who knows how many years, and sold it...so his satchel was probably feeling mighty full...and a boy and his money can sometimes be easily separated...

To make the separation easier, to show his independence, he waddles off to a distant country, he finds his "Vegas"...and with his newfound wealth, what does he do? Feed the poor and the fatherless? That's not usually what we do when we don't want to be caught....Surely, the more distance I put between "home" and me, the better off I'll be...no one to tell ME what to do! I'm an adult! I make my own decisions....and...many women and much wine later, the prodigal son went from wealthy to...dirt broke. The Bible says he squandered it all on wild living...not half his money, not 75% of his money...he couldn't stop until he lost it all. Gone.

To make matters worse, a great recession strikes the land and a man without resources during a recession is more than destitute....he is the homeless man we see sleeping at the park...he is the person holding out his hand on the street corner...he is THAT man who breaks our hearts.

He finds a job...feeding pigs...from riches to swine....and even their food is better than what he has...in fact the Bible says he "longed" to eat the pigs food...that is almost a passionate word isn't it? To strongly want or desire the pods of pigs...when just a short time before that, he longed for his share of the estate and got it. He longed to go off to a distant country and got it. He longed for a life of reckless abandon....and got it. And now, the aptly named prodigal son longed for the pods of pigs...

And you know what the kind people of that distant land did when they saw his longing..."no one gave him anything." Nothing. There was no mercy...there was no grace...there was no love....there was no embrace...there was only rockbottom.



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JUNIAAGAIN's Photo JUNIAAGAIN Posts: 4,169
5/25/11 2:08 A

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When I read this I can't help but thinking about the social impact of the story: look at the world and how it bahaves towards God? God is dead, it says - that's good as 'I' am now the meassure of all things. And when the problem arises of which 'I' has all the rights and you get family, nation and world conflicts - then it's suddenly again God's fault. Where is God to STOP violence and war and humanly inflicted pain?? Well, if you declare God dead, that's what you get, it seems to me.

Jesus stories amaze me. They not only hit directly in his setting - the pharisees wanted to kill him for them! - they keep hitting the nail on the head today. Great stuff. Hope we have the ability to react properly and find blessings.

We cannot win eternal joy by living on the surface.
P. Tillich
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KAYDE53's Photo KAYDE53 Posts: 39,577
5/24/11 7:19 P

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This parable is close to my heart..can't wait for the next part!! emoticon

~Kay~
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I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
Phillipians 4:13
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BEACHGIRL76's Photo BEACHGIRL76 Posts: 2,358
5/24/11 12:23 P

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Thank you for that. It was and is a great lesson to think about!

Jennifer from Indianapolis, IN

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CALIMAN1's Photo CALIMAN1 Posts: 2,538
5/23/11 3:52 P

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The Story of the Prodigal Son, also called the parable of the Lost Son, is timeless....it is a classic even in the Bible which is filled with incredible history, songs, poems, and letters...

While the story is not long, it is so full of substance that Ksenija and I knew that we had to break it down into smaller pieces, so we can get a better understanding of the purpose for the parable, the audience it was intended for, and 3 separate stories in one, three incredible character studies, and the comparisons with a loving Father.

I wondered what prodigal actually meant, so I wandered over to the World English Dictionary and found that one of the definitions of prodigal is "recklessly wasteful or extravagant, as in disposing of goods or money." Ah, yes, fits the "first" story perfectly...

Before we explore the first couple of verses of the Prodigal Son, let's backtrack to Luke 15, verses 1-2 as it is VERY important to know who Jesus was sharing the story with:

Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."

So here we are again, tax collectors (not greatly respected as many tended to be cheats and scoundrels) and "sinners" which probably referred to folk who one could outwardly pick out as a person of suspect morals....gathering around Jesus to hear him speak, to listen to his teachings....and what do the great religious leaders of the day have to say? Yep, putting down the people and putting down the one who was speaking. God forbid anyone challenge the ways and intellects of the religious leaders! What was this Nazarene thinking? Talking to people like THESE??? Jesus, knowing their thoughts, knowing how highly they thought of themselves, and also recognizing the ones who were really NEEDING to listen began a series of parables...including the one about the Prodigal Son.

Luke 15:11-12

Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.

So from 2 little verses, we get some of the picture...one dad, 2 boys...back in those days, the father lived his life and whatever he amassed, property, animals, funds was split among his sons upon his death. It was unheard of for a child to demand his inheritance from his father. Not appropriate...and, honestly, an incredible insult. The son was basically saying to his dad, "You are dead to me, give me what is owed me!" Ouch. So what does this particular father do? He relents...probably knowing better, having an older son that loyally works on his behalf, he looks at this rebellious kid and...gives him his part of the inheritance.

You can bet that in those days, these kids of rare outbursts were stuff for the gossipers of the day...it would have been front page news...son rebels...News at 11:00. I can't imagine the anger, the pain, the sadness that the father must have felt. Maybe we have all felt in at sometime in our lives..."After all I have done for you, tried to raise you right, this is how you treat me?" I know personally that I have had that moment with my oldest, many years ago...and I know that when I was younger, I was the son and had that moment with my own parents...

That is why the story is timeless...we can relate to it as parent, as child, and maybe even as the outside observor...

"You are dead to me, give me what is owed me...." Sometimes, a parent has to let the child test life to really learn a lesson.


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