Prodigal Son Shows God’s Enduring Love for Us

Unfortunately, God’s love is foreign to many baptized in Christ. There are religious Christians, of all denominations, who can cite Scripture telling of God’s love for us over the epoch, but sadly many good, church-going Christians don’t know what it’s like to have an intimate loving relationship with God.

This presents a problem when non-believers, who are searching, run into Christians who have an academic knowledge of God’s love, but cannot share any loving experience that may inspire others to follow the Lord. In both cases, it’s troubling to see souls live without knowing that God truly loves us and He can instantly impact our hearts beyond what any words can describe.

The Bible does give many examples of God’s love that can kick start our heart into loving God. However, the one that hits me hard is Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son found in the Gospel of Luke (15:11-32). Be sure to check the link to read it.

In short, the youngest of two sons leaves home and squanders his share of his father’s estate. Alone, desolate and afraid, the son returns to his father, feeling unworthy, but repentant and ready to accept a lowly servant’s position. What happens in this parable as told by our Savior is profound in revealing how much God, Our Heavenly Father loves us.

Here is part of Luke’s Gospel 15:19-20

19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 

20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 

Did you catch that? In the parable, Jesus is teaching us that our Heavenly Father loves us so much that even when we sin against Him and even reject Him, all we have to do is come to God, confess our failings (which are many), and He will not only forgive us, but run to us, hug us, kiss us, and then celebrate our return to the fold.

I have met many people who have doubted the love of God. When they ask me about His love; Instead of reciting the Bible as part of my answer, I simply say, “Just reach out to God in prayer, ask for His love and help, and He won’t let you down.”

The Good News is in the privacy of your own mind, right now, you can reach out to God and establish your own unique relationship with Him. You don’t need a special prayer or preacher to guide you.

Sadly, it’s difficult for many: For believers, it’s hard because of either guilt or pride. For non-believers it feels silly to call out into the ether to something that’s not real to them. In both cases, I simply say, “What do you have to lose by reaching out to a higher power that only wants to love you…all you need to do is be repentant and trust God to love you.”

Love is an abstract that doesn’t fit neatly in the equations of rationality. But it is real and it emits from God. Don’t waste another day without asking God to enter into your life and experience a love that’s beyond words. Love is a choice and it begins with making yourself vulnerable to Him.

God won’t force you to love Him, so you have the power and control of freewill. My advice is don’t be afraid to surrender to the one who Created us and gave us his only Son. I promise you, you will experience a loving and caring God in ways you cannot imagine.

Rejoice! Once you let Him into your heart, your life will be transformed and you will be empowered beyond belief. What do you have to lose?

God Bless You.

The Conversion of Paul Proves the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Saul of Tarsus was a feared pharisee who hunted down the followers of Jesus in the months following the crucifixion. Saul was a notorious and effective prosecutor, if not executioner of Christians. So much so that Saul was believed to be involved in the first recorded Christian execution and martyrdom of Stephen, who was stoned to death.

The Bible alludes to the fact that Saul was there during the stoning of Stephen. In the Book of Acts 7: 58 it states, “and they cast him (Stephen) out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of the young man named Saul.”

So what does Saul have to do with the indisputable proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ? In my opinion, EVERYTHING.

Saul, who would become known as Paul one of the greatest Apostles for Christ, had everything going for him as a rising star with growing power as a feared Jewish pharisee. So why would he do the unthinkable and convert to a renegade Jewish cult, the very group he built his reputation persecuting?

It begins with his journey to Damascus to hunt down Christians to prosecute. However, something happened on the road to Damascus that not only changed his life, but changed the course of Christianity, if not civilization itself.

Here’s what the Bible lays out for us:

Days later Saul would regain his sight and be baptized, going on to be one of the greatest disciples of Christ in the history of Christianity.

Skeptics downplay the conversion of Paul by saying he must have landed on a rock when he fell off his horse, which caused his temporary blindness. If that’s close to even being true, it doesn’t explain how Saul dropped everything to follow our Savior.

Think about it, Paul had everything to lose and nothing to gain by accepting a fictional Savior figure. I believe Paul did witness the Resurrected Jesus. Who other than God can turn Christianity’s then greatest enemy into one of the New Testament’s greatest evangelists for Christ Jesus. It’s inexplicable, if not miraculous.

As far as I’m concerned, the Conversion of the Apostle Paul is irrefutable evidence that Jesus lived, died and resurrected giving humankind hope for redemption and eternal life.

On a side note: I want to be Heaven to see the expression on Stephen’s face when he looks around and eventually spots Paul. What will be going through his mind at that moment? My guess is that Stephen would rejoice knowing his death may have planted the seeds for Paul’s conversation.

This is where the beauty of God really shines through the darkest moments of life and how His Spirit works in us and through us. As Stephen was dying from the blows from the stones, he saw Jesus in the sky:

The mob covered their ears believing Stephen was blasphemous. It’s hard to ignore the fact the Saul was exposed to this scene and even hearing Stephen in his last breaths calling out to God to forgive his executioners, which Saul was one of them.

Acts 7:60: “Then he (Stephen) knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not charge them with this sin.’ And when had said this, he fell asleep.”

Every Christian owes a great debt of gratitude to Stephen whose death may changed the course of human history. If it weren’t for Paul’s conversion, we would be missing at least 8 books, maybe as much as 14 if we count Hebrews, in the New Testament.

For me, I find inspiration from Paul’s conversion that Jesus not only exists, but is active in our lives through the Holy Spirit. Every time we fall off our horse of faith, God is there to help us get back on through His Grace, Forgiveness and Love.

Praise God. Amen.