Do We Have To Bear Our Grief And Sorrow Alone?

Do We Have To Bear Our Grief And Sorrow Alone?

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4)

We know that our Redeemer has redeemed us from sin by paying for those sins while He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the Cross of Calvary. If we repent for those sins then the ransom that justice demands is paid for. We no longer carry the weight of those sins around. It’s like we had never committed those sins.

Repenting is like having a great burden taken of you shoulders. Just as sin can weigh us down, so to can sorrow and grief weigh us down.

The same can be true of our griefs and sorrows. Christ The Lord, has born our grief’s and carried our sorrows already. Why do we insist on bearing them ourselves? We can come unto Jesus and let him help us through our sorrows and our grief. We do not need to face those feelings alone.

As repentance requires effort on our part, so does overcoming grief and sorrow. We have to put for effort toward overcoming out griefs and sorrows asking The Lord to help us. As we open the door to The Lord in our trying times, he can bear us up and give us comfort as we strive to overcome. But we have to open the door to Him first.

Purpose In Trials

Purpose In Trials

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)

How do we apply this scripture in our lives? If we are disciples of Jesus Christ then we are the branches that are bearing fruit. The branches that are not bearing fruit are everyone else that is not a disciple of Christ.

This paper will look at the branches that bear fruit, those of us who choose to follow Jesus of Nazareth. Meaning of purge is to remove or cleanse.

If you have a fruit tree, you want to harvest the fruit of the tree. That is the measure of its creation, to put forth fruit. You remove any and all branches that do not produce fruit. The branches left are the ones bearing fruit. With those fruit bearing branches you prune them after the harvest. To prune them is to strategically cut the branches back so that they will devote the energy of the tree to producing more fruit the next season. That’s also why you cut the worthless branches off.

Doing all this work to a fruit tree takes an average fruit tree and makes it far more valuable by making it produce much more fruit. Doing this yearly keeps the tree healthy and productive. Every year some branches will die off and new branches will grow. It becomes a cycle that will keep the tree alive for a long and productive time.

As fruitful branches of the tree we have to go through the pruning process, on a regular basis to be even more fruitful, and thus more valuable. Applied to us, we grow as we get pruned by the caring, expert fruit grower. Christ knows our potential and He knows how to guide us to that potential, through expertly crafted trials and tribulations.

Having said all that, not all trials and tribulations come from The Master. Some trials come from the consequences of bad or sinful choices. If we are humble and repent for those sinful choices we can learn from those consequences and become fruitful again.

There are other types of trial and tribulation that come to us through no fault of our own. We can grow and become more valuable and a stronger Christian through The Lords helps. It’s up to us to determine the source of the trial just as it is up to us to determine how we respond to the trial and whether or not we will allow ourselves to grow according to The Lords will or get tired and rebel against The Lord.

But rest assured that for whatever trial or tribulation we go through, we can make it purposeful and fruitful if we go through it with The Lords help and let His master hand guide to the right outcome.

IF IT IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, THEN IT IS?

IF IT IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, THEN IT IS?

We’ve all heard the old adage that “if it’s too good to be true” then it is. However, I take issue with that aphorism, I say that if it is too good to be true it probably is, but not always.

2_good_2_b_trueLet’s take the following story as an example to the exception of this adage. Imagine that you have lost all your worldly possessions, you’ve lost your family and you have been living in the street for ten years. You have no income forcing you to beg for money and food, and you sleep for wherever you can find shelter. Let’s add to this sad scenario, a substance abuse problem. You have many illnesses related to exposure to the elements, poor diet and substance abuse problems. It all seems hopeless and it all seems lost! Surely, there is no hope.

You have been raised right, you know that you not supposed to steal or lie. Living on the streets has jaded you. The environment that you are forced to live in has taken away much of your humanity and your sensibilities. You find yourself committing crimes to survive and you find yourself committing crimes to sustain your substance abuse. You’re living a senseless life filled with despair and no hope.

Put yourself in that situation, assume that you do not know of the tender mercies of Christ. You’re sitting on the street corner in filthy clothes with filthy hygiene and you’re holding a sign asking for money. Someone comes up to you and talks to you while they’re putting money in your hand and they start to tell you about a person who came to earth and he paid the price for all of your sins, and of all the sins of all the people on earth. This man has felt everything that you have ever felt or that you will ever fill. This man has provided a way for you to not only get off the street and not only get into clean clothes but to get into heaven with the righteous.

truth_never_2_good_2_b_trueDoes this sound too good to be true? If you’re reading this Blog then you know where I’m going with this illustration, but really think what would be like to be in those circumstances and then you are introduced to Christ and his love and his boundless saving grace and mercy, wouldn’t that all seem just a little too good to be true? Well it’s not too good to be true. It is a fact. It is the most blessed fact or truth on the earth.

The story of Jesus Christ, and the doctrine contained in the Bible that teaches us about His Life and His teachings are true. Within the book covers of the Bible is the way to the truth and salvation, they are the pathways whereby we can receive eternal happiness.

Consider what the word eternal means? The word eternal means “without end.” So think what this means, happiness without end. To live with God and his son Jesus Christ is happiness forever, without end.

Even though we started off with the story of the homeless person that appeared to have no hope, each one of us are beggars, we all depend on the same God to give us life, we all rely on that same God to forgive us of our sins and through His grace and His mercy to live with Him throughout eternity.

We can all say that this idea is too good to be true. But it is true! So when you hear the old adage “if it’s too good to be true, it is” always keep in the back of my mind that sometimes it can be that good and still be true. When it comes to Jesus Christ, it is too good to be true but it is true. We all need to remember Jesus Christ our Savior, and our Eternal Father in Heaven love us unconditionally, they are perfectly willing to give us grace and mercy if we are willing to reach out to them.

 

Lessons Learned From the Parable of the Prodigal Son

Lessons Learned From the Parable of the Prodigal Son

It is no secret to any Christian that Jesus taught frequently in Parables. He used the Parable style of teaching so that those who heard Him teach, but were not ready to receive the message, wouldn’t be condemned. He taught in Parables so that those who had eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to know and feel the message, could by taught important saving principles The Savior had to offer.

Parables are a symbolic way to teach. Like a metaphor, the symbols give us something to compare the teachings with which can greatly aid our understanding. With Parables you can learn lessons beyond what a superficial reading can teach you. In that vein, we will look at the Parable of The Prodigal Son.

The primary message is about repentance, mercy and forgiveness. Luke 15 begins with begins with the Parable of The Lost Sheep which is followed by the Parable of The Lost Piece of Silver. The Parable of The Prodigal Son brings up the rear with a little more detail about forgiveness than what is found in the first two Parables. The clear lesson to the first two Parables is the joy that the Father has when we repent and He forgives us.

The Parable of The Lost Sheep found in Luke 15: 3-7 is best summed up in verses 6-7. The Shepherd leaves the ninety and nine and goes after the one lost sheep. When he finds that sheep he says to his friends, “Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.”

Then The Master goes on to teach, “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”

The next Parable, The Lost Piece of Silver, emphasizes the joy the woman had in finding her lost piece of silver. She wants to share the joy with her friends. Then comes the punch line in verse 10: “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

The recurring theme in Luke 15 is about sinners that were lost, then repented and were found through repentance by The Lord. Luke 15 teaches us also about the very great joy that our Savior and our Father in Heaven have when we repent and are found again.

Parable of The Prodigal Son

To drive the point home, the Master Teacher uses The Parable of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). The lesson of repentance and forgiveness through God’s mercy is illustrated in this Parable, but there is more to learn from that Parable.

The great Parable tells of a man with two sons. One son was faithful and stayed with his father. The other son asked for and received his portion of his inheritance. He left his father and brother and went off to a far country and spent his inheritance over many years of riotous living with harlots. After the prodigal son had exhausted his resources, there arose a famine in the land and he had nothing to live on.

He went to work for a farmer and was given the job to feed swine. All that the prodigal son had to eat were the husks that were fed to the swine. This indicates the prodigal son was as low as he could get. After a while he “came to himself” realizing that even his father’s servants had more than enough bread to eat.

The thought occurred to him that he could return to his father and be a servant and have plenty to eat in return for his labor. He realized that he was no more worthy to be called his father’s son. He knew he had sinned greatly both before his father and against Heaven.

lessons_learned_from_prodigal_sonHe journeyed back to his father’s house. While he was yet along way off his father saw him returning. The father of the prodigal son had compassion upon his returning son. The loving Father ran to met his son and wrapped him up in his loving arms and kissed him.

The prodigal son confesses to his father “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.”

The loving father of the prodigal son instructed his servants to clothe him in the best robe and put shoes on his feet and a ring on his finger.

In celebration of the prodigal sons return, the Father’s household killed the fatted calf for a feast and they were merry. Rejoicing, the father said, “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.”

Lessons Learned

Lessons learned from this Parable are emphasized in the preceding two Parables. The Lord our God rejoices in the sinner that humbly repents and seeks forgiveness. The father of the prodigal son celebrates the return of his lost son, restoring him with clothing and food in a joyous celebration.

The message of God’s mercy and grace is demonstrated in the act of forgiveness and also reinforced with the other two Parables in Luke 15. Again, Luke 15:7 in the Parable of the Lost Sheep we learn “Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.” And in the Parable of the Lost Piece Of Silver the woman finds the lost piece of silver and seeks to rejoice with her friends. Then in verse 10 it says, “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

The sinner who humbles himself and repents will be forgiven. Our Lord and Savior is anxious to forgive and does so through His tender mercies. Along with His angels, He celebrates in the return of the lost sinner. It is deeply moving that not only does the Lord want to forgive but also celebrates and finds great joy in forgiving the humble sinner. These Parables, especially the Parable of the Prodigal Son teaches us of humility, sorrow for sin, repentance, mercy, forgiveness and the joy that Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ has in forgiving us and bringing us back into the fold.

There are more lessons to be learned from the Parable of the Prodigal Son that highlight other important concepts than the Lost Sheep and the Lost Piece of Silver.

The father had two sons. We have discussed the prodigal son but there is another son who at the beginning of the Parable was the righteous son. He stayed with the father (keeping the commandments) while the prodigal went off in living.

The faithful son was tending to the fields while the drama of the return of the prodigal son took place. He comes back to the house and hears music and sees dancing. He asks one of his servants what was going on? The servant responded “Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.”

The faithful son refused to join in the celebration. After a while, noticing that his other son was not in attendance, the father went after the “righteous” son. After finding the faithful son the Father asked him what was troubling him?

The faithful son replied “Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.” (Luke 15:29-30)

lessons_learned_prodigal_sonFrom a natural man standpoint one can see his point. He was faithful and the sinner comes back after “sowing wild oats” and gets a big celebration. Perhaps we should make sure to rejoice in the good living of the faithful.

The father responds by saying “Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15:31-32)

In a sense, this Parable of the Prodigal son is a story of two prodigal sons. The second faithful son showed signs of not wanting to forgive. He showed a symptom of pride. But the good father taught him of the importance of finding the lost sheep and having joy in finding the lost sheep.

The Prodigal Son tells of a son who was rebellious and goes on to live a sinful life. Thankfully the son came to realize his sin and was humbled and sought forgiveness at his fathers hand.

The first two Parables talk of the joy of finding a lost sinner. The Prodigal Son takes it a step further and talks of a rebellious sinner. The Prodigal Son knew what he had and chose to take his inheritance and go after a worldly life of sin, lust, greed and riotous living. A sinner who has lived a life of sin and becomes humble and desires to repent needs to be saved from his sins through the mercies of the atonement of Jesus Christ. A rebellious sinner is a little more grave because they sinned against a greater light. Nevertheless, they can be, like the Prodigal Son, forgiven. The Lord rejoices in his repentance just like any other sinner.

We, like the faithful son, need to be willing to forgive the “sinner” just like our Savior is willing to forgive. That may not be as simple as it seems on the surface. After all, we are humans living in a world ripening in iniquity. Pressure abounds everywhere. Just trying to withstand the temptations we are faced with is a challenge.

Obviously we slip and fall from time to time and we are in need of The Lords’ forgiveness. The scriptures teach us to forgive others or to “forgive all men.” The Lords Prayer talks about “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

The Prodigal Son speaks of Gods mercy and joy in forgiving his lost sheep. It also speaks to us to forgive others their trespasses against us.

Troy Wagstaff © Copyright. All rights reserved.

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