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Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs. Isaiah 61:7

He didn’t have it all wrong. He’s gone down in history as being selfish, greedy and unforgiving, but the brother of the Prodigal Son had a point….sort of. He just took it a little too far. While his motives may not have been quite right and his heart was set on his own profit, the ‘other son’ had a few things going for him.

He was a model son, at least until his rebellious, stubborn brother showed back up on the scene. He’d worked hard for his father. So much so that dad had time to spend his days scouring the hillside for a sign that his ‘little boy’ may be coming home.

He was certainly faithful. While his younger brother, the brat, was off carousing with women, bringing shame and embarrassment to the family and squandering away his fortune, the ‘other son’ was home protecting the dignity and status of the family name. No doubt everyone in the community knew about the goings on of little brother. They no doubt looked at ‘the other son’ with pride. “What a fine, outstanding young man, especially in light of…you know who.”

For all the good and understanding he had, the ‘other son’ lost sight of one thing, the promise. In Jewish society the inheritance was normally split up into thirds. The oldest son would get 2/3 of the inheritance and the other son would get the other 1/3.

The prodigal son took his inheritance and wasted it. When he returned home he was greeted with open arms by the father. He was treated to a celebration and given a place of honor. Scripture implies he spent the rest of his life as a son. What he didn’t get was an inheritance. That was the consequence of his spend-thrift lifestyle.

Isaiah tells us that God’s people will receive a double portion of the inheritance. Because of Jesus we are not ashamed. Because of Jesus we are not disgraced. We are promised a place of honor and celebration. As we travel this journey called life we may encounter much pain. Some of that pain may be the result of our own poor choices. We may bear the scars and consequences of bad decisions. But that won’t affect our inheritance because that inheritance is secure because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Our ‘sonship’ was sealed when the seal on Jesus’ tomb was shattered by His resurrection.

The ‘other son’ should have realized what each of us should realize as well. Our inheritance is secure. Sometimes we have to wait a long time to receive an inheritance. But once we do, it’s well worth the wait.

The obstacles that hinder you on this journey called life may seem insurmountable, but remember this, as Christ-followers we will not be ashamed. Because of Jesus we will not be disgraced. The enemy will constantly try to remind you of your failings. Don’t let that liar put you down! We are children of the King and in Him our inheritance is secure. No one can take it from us.

PRAYER: Holy Father. I thank you for the promise I have that because of Jesus my inheritance with you is secure. I’ve made many mistakes. I struggle to do the things that I know I should do. I earnestly desire to be free from the pain of my own consequences. Help me to be patient in life. Empower me to live for you so I won’t squander away my life on temporary things that only bring happiness for a short time. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.


So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NLT)

If we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that one of the hardest parts of living a life of faith is that so much of our belief system is built on the reality of things that we don’t see and the assurance that things in our lives are not coincidental but part of an overall plan by an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving eternal being.

It’s far easier to put our trust in things we can see, touch, hear and smell. Our entire lives are made up of the five senses that make us aware of life in the good times as well as in the bad times. We evaluate everything on the basis of sight, touch, feel, smell and hearing.

The Bible challenges us to implement a sixth sense into our thought processes. It’s the sense that we call faith. Just as our five senses can be trained to evaluate our environment, our ‘faith-sense’ can be trained to evaluate the things we can’t see.

When we focus our minds on the trials we are in the midst of then everything we think, say and do is affected by our perception of things. Even those things that are ‘insignificant’ can appear exceedingly difficult to endure.

If we are able to look at things through our ‘faith-sense’ then the things that trouble us can be looked at as temporary glitches in a life bound for eternal happiness such as our physical senses are incapable of comprehending.

Using our ‘faith-sense’ doesn’t remove the stress and pressure of our physical existence, but we will find it easier to bear the pain and agony of life and all that we have to endure until we get to glory.

When troubles seem to overwhelm you, train yourself to look at things through the ‘eyes’ of your ‘faith-sense’. Everything you see around you will someday end. Relationships, the earth’s beauty, money, toys, even life itself. But some things will never end. For Example:

  • God will never end. He is the same today, yesterday and forever. Nothing on this earth, neither, the things you see with your physical senses or the things you can’t see (spirit world, future, etc.) will ever be able to change the God we worship as Creator/sustainer of the universe. He’s simply NOT going away!
  • God’s Love will never end. To love someone who loves you is normal. To love someone who only ‘likes you’ is noble. To love someone who openly hates you is Divine. God’s love for you is the same regardless of how you treat Him, the mistakes or your past or the habits you wrestle with on a daily basis.
  • Salvation through Jesus Christ is always available. Jesus doesn’t require you to ‘clean up’ our act to qualify for forgiveness. It’s free for the asking to all who desire it. Simply admit you have failed and ask Him to forgive you. It’s that easy.
  • Heaven. I don’t know what heaven will be like. Looking at the good part of life now, I don’t think it will be all angel wings and choirs. Heaven is a real place for us to enjoy each other and God. It’s not changing. It’s a place where all the things we are troubled by now will simply be non-existent.

The beauty of this world will pass away. The struggles of this world will end. Relationships, the good ones and the bad ones will fade away. Financial stability, health and all the troubles of this life will end. Focus on the things that will endure the heat of the fire and the test of time

PRAYER: Lord Jesus. I look around me at all the things that affect my life. Some of them are so very good, like the fall colors, the smell of spring rain, the awesome storms of summer and the purity of the new fallen snow. Yet in the midst of all this beauty pain and agony seem to follow me. Empower me by Your Spirit to focus my heart and mind on the things that won’t pass away. Forgive me for my past and my doubt and help me see Jesus. Amen.


Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

A friend of mine I’ll call John tells the story of how he had befriended a person who was really struggling with life. John spent hours listening to his new friend tell of her pain, encouraged her when she was feeling down, called her when she was sick and rejoiced with her when things were going well. In the process of building this friendship John told her of the weaknesses he had in order to help her see that she wasn’t the only one that struggled.

One day John found out that the young lady he was helping was telling everyone she knew about his ‘weaknesses’. John was hurt, embarrassed and frustrated by the betrayal and told me he was ‘done helping people.’

As John was sharing his hurt with me I thought of the verse in Galatians where Paul tells us to ‘never grow weary in doing good.’ Each of us takes a risk when we reach out to those around us who are in need. We put ourselves in risk of being hurt ourselves. We put ourselves in danger of falling into sin.

Another risk we take in reaching out to other people is that our motives can be misunderstood. Try as we might to be honest and reach out to others, they may reject our attempts to help or even accuse us of meddling. It seems that those of us in ministry (not JUST pastors) are the most vulnerable to growing weary from helping others.

There always seems to be opposition to the best plans for helping others. It takes time away from our own lives, people are often ungrateful or demanding, some just want to take advantage of our generosity for their own selfish means. It’s no wonder we become disheartened. But Paul exhorts us not to give up doing good but to persevere in spite of how we are treated.

Sometimes there are people we come across who are never satisfied with what we do. We wear our hair wrong, wear the wrong clothes, go to the wrong church, like the wrong music…and the list goes on and on. There is much truth to the saying you can please some people some of the time but you can’t please all the people all the time. We can add to that the reality that there are some people we will never please ANY of the time.

The lesson we as Christ followers must realize is that our reward for doing good won’t necessarily come while we are on earth. It’s a hard lesson to learn but we may be totally unappreciated for what we do until we get to heaven. But don’t get tired. Don’t give up. God sees your efforts. He knows your heart. Even if people don’t understand, your Heavenly Father does understand.

When you feel unappreciated or taken advantage of, or when you can’t seem to please some people, do your deeds as though you were doing them for Jesus. He not only will appreciate you, He and the angels applaud your efforts!

PRAYER: Father, I’m tired of the people around me who never seem satisfied with my efforts. I’m tired of being taken advantage of and betrayed by those who say they are my friends. I’m appalled at the fact that many of the people who have hurt me the worst claim to be followers of you. I ask that you would heal me of the wounds others have placed on me when I’ve only tried to help them. Empower me to continue to work for the good of those around me for Your sake. I ask this in your Holy name, Amen.


But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Psalm 31:14-15

Imagine what it must have been like for King David when he was growing up. He was the youngest in the family and, as a result, most likely the one that picked on the most. Dad was a rancher so he probably got the messiest jobs around. He may have looked forward to the day when he could shepherd the sheep like his older brothers.

Once he was old enough to shepherd he may have realized that the job wasn’t what he expected. He endured long, lonely cold nights where the only light was the fire and stars. Those nights with a full moon must have made things a little better, but the shadows and sounds of the night were still ominous for a young man of 12-14 years of age. Then, of course there was the danger of attack by wild animals and protecting the little lambs that always seemed to be wandering off into dangerous territory. Being shepherd was anything but fun!

Fast forward a few years. You see your brother coming over the hillside. He tells you the prophet is at home for sacrifice and he’s asking for you. You go home in excitement and find out YOU will be anointed as the next King of Israel. Almost before you realize the significance you are thrust into the palace where the current King Saul is trying to kill you. You end up spending many years running for your life!

David’s life was anything but boring and yet there may have been some times later in life when the thought of sitting alone on a hillside seemed mighty tempting. The weight of ruling a kingdom and raising family was as hard then as it is today.

David is referred to as ‘a man after God’s own heart’ and as a courageous warrior. Yet there are many part s of David’s life that aren’t so glorious. He made many horrible mistakes that led to people’s deaths; he sinned mightily against God and his people. His family would be considered dysfunctional by many standards.

What was it that kept David going? How could he rebound from the fear and anxiety of his life? What enabled him to get past the abuse he suffered at the hands of others and the injustice that was thrown at him? How could he forgive himself for the times he openly rebelled against God’s commands?

In the midst of all the turmoil in David’s life, one thought kept him going. David knew God. He knew he could trust Him. He knew that no matter how bad things were, God was in control. Those lonely nights on the hillside taught David that nothing, absolutely nothing happened in life by accident or coincidence. Whether the circumstances around him were a result of his own poor choices or the abusive, evil actions of someone else, his God could be trusted to deliver him.

The same is true for us today. No matter where you are in life, God has your life in His hands. If you are suffering the consequences of your own poor choices He will forgive you and walk with you through the pain. If you are suffering at the hands of an evil enemy He will protect you and empower you to withstand the attack. You can trust God. He loves you and will never ever leave you.

PRAYER: Holy God I thank you for the story of David. There have been many times in my life when I’ve felt abused, alone and scared. There have been times when I’ve doubted your existence, presence or love. Forgive me for those times when I failed to see your loving, guiding hand. As I face an uncertain future I ask that you would comfort, guide and protect me. Amen.


Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. Isaiah 50:7

There are times in each of our lives when we feel inadequate for the task ahead of us. It happens to all of us. We feel inadequate in relationships, in our jobs, in our classes. The feeling of inadequacy can attack us at any time and in any place.

We feel in adequate as parents when our children make poor choices or challenge our authority; or when the boss gives us a new job we aren’t trained to do; or when we are forced to do something that is out of our comfort zone; or when we are challenged to try something new and risky.

Our past can make us feel inadequate as well. When we are growing up the reaction we sense we get from parents, teachers and friends can have a life-long impact on what we believe about our abilities. The mistakes we make as youth can haunt us and be a constant voice that tells us that there’s a big ‘L’ on our forehead and it stands for LOSER! Try as we may, we can’t help noticing the ‘L’, and if we let affect us it will change our lives forever.

Isaiah gives us a better way to think. Imagine that ‘L’ on your forehead stands for LOVED! If God is sovereign (and He is) then everything that happens in your life is ordained by Him. That doesn’t mean everything that happened in your life will necessarily be seen as good. What it does mean is that nothing can happen in your lifetime that God is not aware of and that He won’t see you through.

Following God in the tough times isn’t easy, it takes guts. It takes faith. It takes trusting in a power that is far great than us. But the rewards for following Him are eternally blessed. When we put our faith in what we know to be true about God, regardless of what society may say, we will never ever be put to shame. We aren’t called to perfection, we are called to live for Him to the best of our ability knowing that no matter how often we fail, He still loves us and still desires to have us in relationship with Him.

Isaiah says, “I set my face like flint”. The word picture he gives us is to ‘harden your face’ against those who may attack you. When we really come to the place where we realize how much God loves us we will not be afraid of the attacks of others. We won’t be dismayed when we are harassed or teased for our beliefs. We know who the King is and He’s our daddy!

When you feel completely overwhelmed; when it seems like the world is stacked against you, remember that the Sovereign God, the creator of the world, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is not only on your side. He’s madly in love with you. When you choose to follow Him the adversity and trouble of life will be easier to take because you are resolved to follow Him.

PRAYER: Holy Father. I thank you for the promise you made to always love me and protect me. Thank you for the patience you’ve shown to me by putting up with my failures and rebellion. I ask that you would enable me, by the power of your Holy Spirit to live a life that is free of shame because I have set my face like flint to follow you.

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