We had an amazing REDEEMED seminar weekend inside. We all want to thank you, everyone, for the prayers. This post is to give you a little glimpse into how our time was spent.
We began reading through Luke 15. We read how God seeks out “ONE” lost sheep and when he finds it He REJOICES! He cleans and sweeps the house looking for “ONE” lost coin and rejoices when it is found because of the coins great value to Him. How amazing to think He seeks us out. Our God, unlike in other religions, will go after our hearts to save that which is lost. Part of the way through our study we were able to take time out to study a few “Christianese” words and what their true meanings are. We studied; Grace, Holy, Repent, Redeemed, Mercy, and Righteous. This really helped the ladies understand the story better.
Than we dug into the story of the Prodigal son and how selfish and greedy he started out. Life was all about him and his stuff, his freedom, and wanting his time his way. He lived in a “Me, me, me!!” world and had no faith. He just wanted out of there to be free with no responsibilities. He soon found that sin truly is only pleasurable for a time. Sin takes you farther into darkness than you really want to go. Sin keeps you longer than you really want to stay. It took this son into depths that even his self-made and self-trusting plans were not succeeding. There was even a famine in this Gentile land to intensify his emptiness. He had now succumbed to craving what the pigs were eating which wasn’t even digestible nor had any nutritional value. This truly paints a picture of how far our sin and selfishness will take us.
Than the story changes…and REPENTANCE enters the picture. True repentance! This wasn’t the, “I will just fake it and be good for a while” type of repentance, or the, “sorry I was caught,” but the TRUE TRANSFORMING-LIFE CHANGING- EYE OPENING kind. This kind involves HUMILITY!! When there is a total lack of any strength, complete weakness, and no SELF-Pride is left. This is when the only strength left is used to make a U-TURN! He turned around in all his filth and stink and finally knew the real condition of his heart. He knew how much he had sinned against his father, thought he would go back, beg, and would need to work & work as a hired hand to earn his way back into the family. This is brokenness.
How close did this son have to get before His Father would turn to see him coming?? Not close at all. See, his father hadn’t EVER turned away from watching for him. He never quit thinking upon this lost son of his. The story tells us when he was still a ways off His Father saw him coming and RAN to him. This speaks about how deep the Fathers LOVE is for us. We understand that men NEVER ran in those countries because this would be “shameful” to lift their robes, show their legs, and not have control. But our God took all our shame for us and He meets us right where we are in all our stink and filth. This father also hugged his son and kissed him. This was another outward affection men never showed. They showed no hugs or kisses and let alone on a pig slopped dirty son. Wow, doesn’t that paint a picture of love?
Now, let the party begin!!! The father calls for the fatted calf (a real celebration meal on as they rarely ate meat & only on special occasions.) The father called for the robe (sign of royalty and power in this fathers house), the ring (shows he is given authority), and sandals (shoes were only for the masters and their sons.) This all shows us how DEEP our Fathers love is for us a sinner who repents. The son now knows how much he is loved, accepted, and forgiven as he also knows no work is required to be brought in to His Fathers house. He must have seen his Fathers true joy on his face.
Now, enters the son who thinks he has been the righteous one, and always doing right in his actions. His jealousy and anger, however, quickly became apparent. His heart is speaking. This son wants to know “Why??” they are celebrating because this brother of his hasn’t “performed or worked” or done anything but throw all his belongings away and bring shame to his father. He than lists off “ALL” the things he has done and says I this, I that, I, me, my, and mine. He is all about boasting of his religious actions. This shows us his heart has not ever been about having a relationship with his father but all about his outward religion.
The father loves this religious son no less and was willing to leave the party to go out and speak to him. It was another shameful act as a master of ceremonies would never leave the festivities. This father is obviously not your ordinary father because he sacrifices his image for the love of both of his sons. The religious son, however, isn’t willing to humble himself and enter into the presence of his father’s celebration. We never know exactly what he decides as the story ends.
We watched the story of a true prodigal and a true religious son who both repented and God is using them both in ministry to further His Kingdom. They shared of how the Potter molds us into His perfect image and places us in His house. It is not the clay who works but the Potter. As it is not us who changes our hearts but the Holy Spirit inside of us.
We learned how our Father loves us and rejoices greatly when just one of us repent and turn to him. This is the JOY of The Lord to have a child come home. And we know the party truly wasn’t just for the son but to celebrate how much the father has done and sacrificed for the son (His children.) There is a big celebration waiting for those who repent.
All Glory to God!! Please, continue to pray for these women, their faith to continue to grow, for others who do not know Him personally to see His light. Pray for their challenging and difficult living situations. Pray for the extreme anger in various units.
In His Grace, Mercy, & Eternal Redemption,
The ROC TEAM!