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Prodigal Life - A Devotion

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Psalm 34:12-14 (NLT)
Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

Psalm 34 makes a prosperous life seem so simple. Too simple for the intellectual mind and logical heart that cannot comprehend the magnitude of God’s Grace or fathom the depths of His Unfailing Love. God has prepared abundant life for every single person who He every created. He has given them a plan with a future and hope that includes prosperity. It is never God’s Ultimate Desire that His People suffer lack or live without enough. We assume such a role as we are all His Prodigal Children. But then again, even God has a prodigal nature by definition of the word. The young man in Luke 15 who takes his inheritance and wastes it in the world is known as the prodigal son. Therefore, we ignorantly assume that his world has a negative connotation. But the word “prodigal” is not a negative term, it means prolific, abundant or profuse. It means generous or liberal like God it is defined by extravagance. The young man who we call the prodigal son had every right to spend his inheritance any way which he chose because it belonged to him. The problem developed when he became disconnected from the source which was his father. The moment the abundance ran out, he realized that he needed to return home. His return was marked by guilt and shame so he decided that he would be his father’s servant no longer his son. But that was not the father’s plan as he welcomed him home with a robe and ring signifying that he was not a slave but his son. (Luke 15:11-32) We are to have an abundant life. The trouble is most people have no idea of the potential of prosperity in life so they settle for lesser things given their perception of God’s Grace. God’s Grace puts us back in right standing with the Father just like the prodigal son. The boy’s natural father did not scold him for wasting all that money or ending up face down in a pig pen eating garbage, no his father rejoiced that he had come back covering him with his mantle and calling him son. What if the only thing standing between you and the prosperity of God and a long satisfied life was you? “Turn away from evil and do good” is a change of heart that this world has nothing for you but most often we do not choose things like that as God’s Best but settle for them believing “prodigal” is a terminal condition. This is not the case. Extravagance and abundance awaited him upon his return home. He was just a little lost. What if we are just looking for God’s Goodness in the wrong place? What if we just searched for the Lord, we would find success? It’s true. You are prodigal. I am a prodigal. God is prodigal. We are called to have a prolific, abundant, profuse, generous and liberal life. So what is stopping you?

Luke 15:14-21 (NLT)
“About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything. When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’ “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’”

The moment that we recognize that everything we need is found in Jesus Christ, we will turn and head home. The problem is we have become excellent budgeters of worldly resources. The boy wasted his money quickly in the Parable of the Lost Son ended up working for a pig farmer and eating the pods that were meant to feed the pigs. Then it happened, “when he finally came to his senses.” He remembered that even the hired servants were given real food at his father’s house so it would be better to be a servant in his father’s house than the hired hand of this pig farmer. The extravagant nature of your Father did not change because you left home and went into the world. Just as this young man would discover God is telling you today. You are my Child. I have provided everything you need to be successful and prosper in this life. You are just lost right now. When we return to the Lord, He puts us back in right standing with God. We don’t have be His Servants but His Children. It is with the heart of a servant that we come to Him but it is with the heart of a Father that we are received. This will change your life if you begin to marinate on this truth and allow the Lord to make it a reality in your life. The House of God is firmly established. You have been set free. He will not force you to prosper or make you live in His Abundance but it is your personal choice.

Psalm 16:9-11 (NLT)
No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your Presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

Our youngest daughter is very particular about visiting friends and spending the night with them. She will spend time with other families like most little girls do. One night her best friend invited her to spend the night but she decided to come home which was strange. Upon her return, I asked her why she did not want to stay. She said, “Mom, they were yelling at their kids and it scared me.” Now I know this family and it was not abusive just not what she was used to, we do not yell a whole lot around our house especially given that more than half the kids are adults and maturity has led me to believe that they hear whispers more than wrath. I reminded her that I raise my voice sometimes just to get everyone’s attention and asked if she was scared of me. She emphatically shook her head “no”. She added, “But I trust you and dad.” Trust is the issue that we have with our Father, God. The lost son knew the prodigal nature of his father and had confidence in his father’s care and compassion for others. We must use our faith to produce confident hope in God if we want prosperity. Prosperity begins in our heart. Faith resides there. When God’s Spirit comes to label us “Children of God”, it becomes our life mission not to “get right with God” as the church would have us think but to “find our way home”. The Lord will show us the way of life, granting us joy and pleasures of living forever. Righteousness does not come by following the rules and regulations. It is fully discovered by following the Way who is Jesus Christ. By doing so, the Lord will make you successful in everything you do because you are obeying His Voice, following His Commands, and turning back for home with all your heart and soul. (Deuteronomy 30:9-10) But obedience is not what makes us righteous – Jesus is. Obedience leads us back to prosperity which has been waiting there all along. You have everything you need to live a prosperous and abundant life – you just need to find your way home. You must be strong and courageous to make such a journey staying focused along the way. (Joshua 1:7-8) There is a thief who wants to steal, kill and destroy everything that righteousness puts back in your life. (John 10:10) But Jesus has overcome the world so that you can prosper as a prodigal child once more.

Psalm 23:1-6 (NLT)
The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.

Forgive me for stepping out of the super spiritual and thinking logically for a moment, but it would seem that leaving the father’s house was easy for his son. However, the return home was long and treacherous no doubt. He had no money. He was hungry and sorely depleted. He was alone and discouraged. His pride crushed and filled with embarrassment – it must have been the longest walk of his entire life. Why as believers do we think that going back is going to be easier than running away from God? Why don’t we expect to expend energy and effort in the journey? Over and over in the Word of God we see the journey but never expect to have to walk it out. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid.” This clearly does not seem exciting or fun but just plain scary. How about “you prepare a feast in the presence of my enemies,” oh what a joyous celebration that will be? (Insert a bit of sarcasm) The secret comes in the end where it says, “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life…” The Lord is constantly and chronically trying to pour his abundance and prosperity into a moving target. If we would only choose to live in the House of the Lord forever, it would make it to us. It’s not God who got lost or wandered off but us. We are the honored guests of the celebration when we finally make it home. God will prosper your life. He will shower you with His Abundance when you let the Lord make His Home in your heart!

John 16:21-24 (NLT)
It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy. At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.

The Lord has promised that we will not labor in vain. (I Corinthians 15:58) But this is not an excuse to do nothing but to work enthusiastically for the Lord in all we do. This is the reason that we must come to God with the heart of a servant. You are going to have to invest a little energy in this thing called obedience. The son who remained at home was working for his father. All that the father had belonged to him yet his heart became lost with jealousy and bitterness. Righteousness is given to us freely by Jesus Christ. You cannot work for it or earn it. You cannot expect it to do for you what Jesus has already done. Prosperity and abundance are produced by the condition of one’s heart so you cannot judge a person’s life by what you see but rather the fruit that is produced. If your heart’s desire is for the things of this world, you will become bitter, jealous and envious when other people are blessed monetarily or materially but you are “serving” God religiously and getting nowhere. It is a yielded heart that produces the abundance of God. It is given through Jesus Christ alone. You have everything in your life to prosper. The abundance of God has been provided for you in advance. The change from poverty to prosperity is in the heart. Lazy people who refuse to make the pilgrimage out of darkness into the Light will not prosper. (Proverbs 13:4) Learn to let God’s Grace work in and through your life until it overflows in the Abundance that He intended for you. (Romans 5:20-21)

Hosea 10:12 (NLT)
“I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’”

How does one plant seeds of righteousness? When we allow the Lord to break up the hardness of our heart, there is a place for our faith to grow into confident hope. Hope comes when everything we see is useless because all we need is in the Lord. It is by faith the righteous find life. Too often we think that we have a role in righteousness but we do not. Obedience is an act of faith qualifying our belief in the gift of righteousness that we have been given. Living water “makes us rich and fertile, drenching plowed ground, melting clods and leveling the ridges” of our hard and unyielding heart so that we can turn it all over to the Lord by faith that His Righteousness is enough to yield an abundance in our life. His Grace is sufficient for us to prosper. The Lord has promised to show us the best way to live to be successful in everything we do. You were meant to live a prodigal life. You just got a little lost along the way! Ask the Lord to right your way today. You have everything you need to prosper. Invest some time and energy in uncovering it. Expect the unexpected. Prepare for abundance. Use as much grace as you need, there is more than enough. But most important do not give up, your Father is calling – it’s time to come home!

Psalm 4:6-8 (NLT)
Many people say, “Who will show us better times?” Let your face smile on us, LORD. You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.

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