The Prodigal Son: Who Do You Identify With?

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At my church, we have trainings for  members who want to serve in different ministries. They call it, Discipleshift (not mis-spelled) Training. Throughout the day we have small break out sessions, activities and exercises to better assist us with complicated issues that we as Christians and the church face. This training also goes deep and we learn a lot about our own personal relationship with our family, friends, co-workers, God and ourselves.  One of the exercises that brought me to tears and a deep pain I had been harboring since childhood was the parable of, “The Prodigal Son” (Luke 15:11-31). Here is my abridged version:

The youngest son tells his father to give him his share of the estate. He wanted to go out into the world and experience life. His father gives him his share. Of course the young man squandered all of his wealth on wild living. Soon, a severe famine his the country and the young man had to resort to hiring himself out to a farmer to feed the pigs and tend the land. He realizes the pigs were eating better than he was and decides that he will return home and humble himself to his father in hopes he could just be a servant.  When the father sees him in the far distance, he runs to his son, embraces and kisses him. He instructs the servants to bring his best robe, ring and sandals to put on his son and then to slaughter the fattened calf. This was to be a celebration that his youngest son has returned home.  

The older brother was still out in the field working. When he came near the house, he could hear the music and laughter. He asks one of the servants what was happening. He learns that his brother had returned home and they were celebrating. The older brother was angry and refused to go inside. His father comes out and pleads with him to come and celebrate. The eldest son then points out the obvious, that it was he who had stayed and worked while his younger brother went off and wasted all the money. The father says to him, “My son, you are always with me and everything I have is yours But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive and again; he was lost but now is found.” 

Who do you best relate to in the story, and why? I related to the oldest brother, but not for what might be the obvious reason. Those who chose the older brother related to feeling angry that he was the responsible brother that stayed home and helped his father while his younger brother left the family, took his money and went off on his own. Instead of consequences, the father welcomes him home with open arms and a celebration. As I speak as the eldest son, my resentment was that my father didn’t even consider me at the moment of recognizing my brother. He didn’t run to get me and share with me the good news. Instead, I was left in the field continuing to work.  Forgotten. It wasn’t until I asked about the commotion was I informed of the festivities. It was though I was an after thought.

Once I realized how this story upset me, I identified some of my childhood resentment. Often times, I did feel left out.  I was ten years younger than my sister, coupled with the fact I was too young to participate in the activities they enjoyed.

Our Lord never abandons us. He enjoys the fact that we want to spend time with Him. Because of the Lord, I am able to let go of the anger and resentment I held on to for so many years. I honestly don’t believe my mother nor my sister were intentionally trying to hurt me. The reality is, there were many events with my mother that didn’t include my sister.

I am so grateful that I have a God who loves me unconditionally. Through Him, I am able to forgive those who hurt me in the past. I have grown so much in Christ that all the “little” things that used to eat me alive, really don’t matter at all anymore. Grace be to God!

Who do you identify with and why?  I’d love to hear what you have to say.

 

Children With Special Needs Are Gifts From God Too

As a retired special education teacher, I have watched the up’s and down’s of a parent coming to terms with their child’s diagnosis of autism, ADHD, behavior disorders  and mental retardation just to name a few.  I have witnessed the anger and frustration toward God asking, “Why my child God? I never did drugs or alcohol while pregnant. I was careful with my diet. Why did this happen to me?”  This is not the time to tell a parent that it’s,  “God’s will” or that, “God has a reason”.  What I prefer to do in such cases is to introduce them to the poem, “Welcome To Holland” By Emily Perl Kingsley. (http://dsnetworkaz.org/holland ). Since I retired from the school district, I  spend time advocating for parents and their child reach their full potential in the public school system as well as at home and their community.  

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” ~Jeremiah 1:5

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb”           ~Psalm 139:13

  God does not make mistakes.  I have never been able to answer the parent’s question, “Why?” but I love to share with parents what wonderful gifts I see in their child. Working with these children, I have discovered that I learn as much from them as I hope they learn from me. God has blessed me with a special gift of being able to work with His  children. As a teacher, the job can be stressful at times, but patience and continuity are essential. I see the potential and celebrate their gifts that God gave them as well. While many children with autism share similar  characteristics of autism, they are still unique individuals with their own special skills. They are God’s sons and daughters. Look beyond the disability and see their distinctive ABILITIES!

As for the parents of these wonderful children, God never gives us more than we can bear (even though we all question just how strong He thinks we are) God has chosen you because you have a gift to raise this child with love, patience and understanding. There will be tough days, but the successes and milestones your child reaches, no matter how small it seems, is cause for celebration.  God bless you.

 

 

GOD VS. SCIENCE

Isn’t it curious how a thought or issue somehow gets in our head and demands further exploration? The general acceptance of the earths age and the seemingly contradictory opinion of the scientific community and the teachings of scripture often result either side scoffing at the other.

Anyone who dares to question the belief that carbon dating is the indisputable proof of the how long ago the earth was formed, or created, is mocked as a “Science De nier”. What is seldom, if ever, reported is that there are actual scientists that do not accept the group think about this issue as well as many other conclusions that widely accepted as fact. The example of what the cause and effect of “global warming” is “settled science” is evidence that something reported often enough becomes truth.

The media are complicit in the indoctrination of the public and the immoral brain washing of our children. From early education in our public schools though the annals of higher learning, students are no longer taught to question but to obediently repeat and accept what their teachers and/or professors say is fact.

How old is the earth? I have no idea! I simply have a problem with proliferation of Lemmings in our society. We often forget that the Enemy easily sways us to believe things that serve his purposes. It’s not uncommon for a minority opinion to be well founded in truth. (1 Cor 1:20) “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” When confronted with ideas that seem to contradict scripture ask questions. Look deeper into what may or may not be the evidence behind the opposing view.

Many teachers tell our children the conservative thinkers are narrow minded and less intelligent than more liberal people. Faith is for the weak minded. A large percentage of academia and the press believe those statements to be factual. Does that make them true? Why then do we blindly accept what so called scientists tell us to be facts?

What we call science is most often a theory in search of evidence to support a pre-conceived conclusion. What is considered to be a scientific fact is simply a theory un-supportive evidence cannot be found. Does that mean that the exculpatory evidence does not exist? History is littered with scientific facts later to be disproved by newly discovered evidence.

The message I am communicating here is to neither accept nor dismiss ideas that may seem contradictory to scripture. Find out what is behind that thinking and always remember that the age of the earth, global warming or any other scientific opinions have no bearing on our salvation. In the end none of this will matter!

Some Reasons I believe Jesus raised from the dead

church_nave_jesus_227826 I wasn’t always a follower of Jesus Christ. In fact, I only identified as a Christian growing up in the same way you identify as an American. When I hit my 20’s, my mother passed away. That was when I turned away from God, Christianity and Jesus. I just didn’t understand why God would take my mother from me when He had taken my father only a year after my birth. I decided that religions were for weak people that needed a crutch to get through the day. Growing up in Oregon, a very secular state, I found my lack of belief was part of the majority. many years later, my older sister introduced me to Ernest Holmes teaching of the new age religion, Science of Mind. I liked that church because it didn’t have any rules. I wasn’t being told I was a sinner and I was going to hell if I didn’t believe in Jesus. Another decade went by and I met my now husband who was a Christian. He never pushed me or tried to convert me. We would often have deep conversations where he would just “plant the seeds” and make me curious about Christianity. I have to admit, I really didn’t know all that much about it. I tried reading the bible, but it never made sense and it just seemed too, “Out There.” I had grown into an adult who enjoyed research and cross referencing information. It wasn’t until I went to see The Passion of The Christ that my life was changed forever. That was my turning point. That was when I began trying to prove to myself that Christ was our savior. I wanted to know everything there was to know about Jesus and answer those questions most people ask when they truly don’t want to accept Christianity.

Easter has since become the most important holiday to me. These are the reasons I know that Jesus is my savior, that he lived, he died and he raised from the dead to save those people who believe in Him and his teachings. These are just a few of the reasons I believe:

1. The disciples had nothing to gain and everything to lose for preaching that Jesus had raised in the very city that Jesus had been killed in front of the very people who had killed Him.

2. Those who had killed Jesus admitted Jesus had done miracles (historically provable by non- Christian eye witnesses) and that the disciples said that Jesus had risen. The story hasn’t changed from the beginning –we have early copies of the same story (it did not change over time). Non-Christians tell us the same story we have today–there were no changes added over time–what we have today, even no- Christians 2000 years ago tell us the same story.

3. The archeology for the New Testament is proven flawless over and over again. The prophecy we see in Old Testament scripture tells us the whole story ahead of time.

4. Many of the prophecies about the coming Messiah could not have been fulfilled by a person trying to fulfill them–Jesus could not have maneuvered the Roman soldiers into casting lots for His clothing, or piercing His side rather than breaking His legs–and so on.

5. Jesus taught, and the disciples recorded and taught in scripture things that the normal human being would not teach. For instance –store up in heaven treasure rather than on earth…forgive again and again…serve rather than be served…turn the other cheek…love those who persecute you…and so many other things.

Many want to debate these and so many others things. However, no one can tell me that Jesus hasn’t changed my life. I was broken, feeling lost, alone, hurt and angry. Then, Jesus came into my heart and changed my life. He is risen…and the fact that He kept promises made in the old testament gives me confidence He will keep the promises He made in the new testament.
With all the hoopla around Easter egg hunts, Easter bunnies and candy, I ask that you please remember what the true celebration of Easter is truly all about and give thanks to the Lord who has given all of us salvation and grace.

SCIENCE VS. GOD

Isn’t it curious how a thought or issue somehow gets in our head and demands further exploration? The general acceptance of the earths age and the seemingly contradictory opinion of the scientific community and the teachings of scripture often result either side scoffing at the other.

Anyone who dares to question the belief that carbon dating is the indisputable proof of the how long ago the earth was formed, or created, is mocked as a “Science De nier”. What is seldom, if ever, reported is that there are actual scientists that do not accept the group think about this issue as well as many other conclusions that widely accepted as fact. The example of what the cause and effect of “global warming” is “settled science” is evidence that something reported often enough becomes truth.

The media are complicit in the indoctrination of the public and the immoral brain washing of our children. From early education in our public schools though the annals of higher learning, students are no longer taught to question but to obediently repeat and accept what their teachers and/or professors say is fact.

How old is the earth? I have no idea! I simply have a problem with proliferation of Lemmings in our society. We often forget that the Enemy easily sways us to believe things that serve his purposes. It’s not uncommon for a minority opinion to be well founded in truth. (1 Cor 1:20) “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” When confronted with ideas that seem to contradict scripture ask questions. Look deeper into what may or may not be the evidence behind the opposing view.

Many teachers tell our children the conservative thinkers are narrow minded and less intelligent than more liberal people. Faith is for the weak minded. A large percentage of academia and the press believe those statements to be factual. Does that make them true? Why then do we blindly accept what so called scientists tell us to be facts?

What we call science is most often a theory in search of evidence to support a pre-conceived conclusion. What is considered to be a scientific fact is simply a theory un-supportive evidence cannot be found. Does that mean that the exculpatory evidence does not exist? History is littered with scientific facts later to be disproved by newly discovered evidence.

The message I am communicating here is to neither accept nor dismiss ideas that may seem contradictory to scripture. Find out what is behind that thinking and always remember that the age of the earth, global warming or any other scientific opinions have no bearing on our salvation. In the end none of this will matter!

The Sister Christian 2017

I am so grateful for the readers who have taken the time to read my articles and have left such wonderful comments. Thank you. Your words continue to inspire me to write when the mood has long fled from my mind.

This year I want to focus more on my articles and develop a following of 100+ people.  I encourage those of you to interact with me and let me know if there is a particular issue or topic you would like to know more about.

Please feel free to email me with any comments, suggestions, or questions.  Have a Happy New Year.