You’re Back!

Steve Arterburn

The story of the prodigal son is intriguing because it mirror’s God the Father’s view of you. Like the father in the story, His eyes are always fixed on the crest of the hill, longing to see you coming over the horizon on your way home.

God isn’t the slightest bit preoccupied with whether or not you’re worthy to return to Him. He knows you’re not. Personal worth isn’t the issue at hand. The prodigal son worried about this too. He was certain that his sinful lifestyle had disqualified him’had made him unworthy of being considered his father’s son.

But the father quickly brushed all that aside. ‘What’s this talk about worthiness? You’re back! That’s what matters!’ Their relationship was restored instantly. No paybacks. No shame. No looking back.

Why? What’s Jesus’ point in telling the story? On what basis can the son return? Be careful. Ripping this story from its biblical context distorts its meaning and defuses its power.

Jesus’ point is we’re all prodigal sons. We’ve all taken from our heavenly Father’s generosity, snubbed our noses at Him, and went off to abuse His gifts’using them to cover ourselves in the pig muck of sin!

We can return to Him because we’ve been sought and found by Jesus Christ. His cross has removed everything that separated us from God the Father. So if you’re in the far country, don’t be foolish! Return to the Father through Jesus Christ today. 

Parental Teamwork

Steve Arterburn

Men, as the father in the home, you shoulder a great responsibility in raising your children. How will you and your wife go about it? What standards will you choose? How will you discipline? What values will you teach and demonstrate?

 

These questions are crucial; and whether it’s intentional or merely by default, they’re all communicated to your children. Intentionality is the key; and it’s a huge help when you and your wife are on the same page.

You and your wife can provide two basic elements in your home that are invaluable to helping your children become the individuals God wants them to be. One is consistency. There are few things worse than one parent operating off one set of values while the other confuses, and ultimately, sabotages those principles with a competing set of values. Parents must strive to agree on core values’living them and passing them on in a unified front to their kids.

The second important concept in raising kids is teamwork. Guys, surrender your individual rights and the blatant exertion of authority and be your wife’s teammate. Help her. Share duties. Pitch in. And never undermine your wife’s position by making yourself appear more important in the eyes of your children.

Instead, help your children learn to honor their mother and to appreciate the value of a woman. This bedrock principle will have a tremendous impact on your kids’ future.

Portrait Of A Son

Steve Arterburn

There once lived a wealthy widower who shared a passion for collecting art with his beloved son. Priceless works adorned the family estate.

Then war interrupted. The son enlisted, and after only a few weeks, the father’s worst fears were realized: his son was killed in action.

Months later the bereaved old man was awakened by a visitor. “I was a friend of your son,’ said the stranger at the door, ‘He was rescuing me when he died. I have something to show you.”

The package contained a portrait of the man’s son! It wasn’t a masterpiece, but precious nonetheless. The old man was overcome with emotion and gratitude.

When the old man died, his paintings were slated for auction. The event began with a painting that wasn’t on the docket, the painting of the man’s son.

Bidding opened at $100. Silence. ‘Who cares about that painting?’ someone cried, ‘Let’s get to the good stuff.” Voices clamored in agreement.

Finally, an elderly gentleman asked, “Will you take $10? That’s all I have but I know the lad and would love to have the portrait.” After more silence, the auctioneer said, “Going once, going twice. Gone.”

Then to everyone’s surprise, the auctioneer closed the auction! Stunned disbelief filled the room. “What do you mean?’ voices demanded, ‘There’s still millions of dollars of art here!”

The auctioneer replied, “Simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes his son gets it all.’

Men, behold the glory of the gospel: whosoever takes the Son in faith receives all the Father’s benefits!