Volume XIII Issue II Men of the Bible – Prodigal Son

Volume XIII Issue II Men of the Bible – Prodigal Son

Name: Prodigal Son
His Character: The Prodigal Son was rebellious, immature, extravagant, lavish, and wasteful. But, in the end, he came to himself and returned home.
His Sorrow: He squandered his inheritance and was forced to work for a farmer tending pigs or starve.<
His Triumph: He came to himself and was able to return home and be received by his father as a son.
Key Scriptures: Luke 15:11-32

Many of us are familiar with the story of the Prodigal Son. He was unnamed and featured in a parable told by Jesus. He was the younger son who arrogantly asked his father for his inheritance while his father still lived. This was paramount to telling his father he did not care if his father lived, and it was shameful to the family. As the younger son, his inheritance would have been about one third of his father’s estate. With a heavy and broken heart, the father gave the Prodigal Son his share.

The Prodigal Son then left his country and wasted his inheritance by living wildly, lavishly, and foolishly. His money soon ran out. When his money ran out, so did his newly acquired friends. Around this time, a famine hit the country he was living in. He got a job tending to the pigs in the field of a farmer. Pigs were considered unclean to Jews. Jews would not even touch pigs, so we can see how low the Prodigal Son had fallen. Times were rough. He was so hungry that he craved the food he fed to the pigs. At this time, the Prodigal Son came to himself. He remembered that even the servants in his father’s house had food to spare. Yet here he was dying of hunger. He decided to go home, ask his father for forgiveness, and plead to be hired as a servant

As if he was watching and waiting for the return of his Prodigal Son, the father saw his son returning! The father met the Prodigal Son with open arms, compassion, forgiveness, and unconditional love. The Prodigal Son’s return was celebrated with a feast, and he was restored to his rightful place as a son, regardless of the objections of his older brother who had stayed.

Sometimes we have to reach rock bottom before we come to our senses. Let us remember the story of the Prodigal Son and come to our senses before this point. God is patiently waiting for us. No matter how far from home we stray, God’s love will receive us when we return. And, as people return, don’t be like the older brother. Have we not all fallen short and are any of us so much better than anyone else? We should rejoice because we are witnesses to the unconditional love of the Father (the same love He would/does have for us)!

The story of the Prodigal Son is such a wonderful reminder of God’s unconditional love for us! No matter how far off track our immature and rebellious natures have taken us, God has always welcomed us back with open arms, forgiveness, and restoration, despite what anyone else may say, feel, or think. When we repent of our sins and come back home, God has a place for us at His table.

In the end, the story of the Prodigal Son is about sin, repentance, and a loving Father who is waiting for us to come to our senses and return home.

Volume XIII Issue II Women of the Bible – Miriam

Volume XIII Issue II Women of the Bible – Miriam

Name: Miriam
Meaning: Obstinacy (Stubbornness)
Her Character: Miriam was a quick thinker, courageous, and she handled herself well under pressure.
Her Sorrow: Miriam was jealous of the authority of Moses and this jealousy caused her to be openly critical of his leadership. She was stricken with leprosy, but she was healed.
Her Triumph: Alongside Moses and Aaron, Miriam led God’s people out of Egypt. Upon the defeat of pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea, Miriam led the women of Israel in giving praises to God.
Key Scriptures: Exodus 2, 15; Numbers 2

Miriam was the sister of Moses and Aaron. She was a prophetess of Israel, and she was a leader during the Exodus of the Israelites and during their 40 years wandering in the wilderness.

Miriam displayed her courage and intelligence at an early age. When we first encounter Miriam, she is a young girl. One account puts her at seven, and another account puts her at 12. She was watching her younger brother, Moses, float along the Nile. After he was discovered by pharaoh’s daughter, Miriam’s quick thinking and boldness enabled their mom to be his nursemaid.

From her life story, we can find two great life lessons. In her, we see an example of a woman who is a leader and a woman who recognized God for the victories. In her, we also see the frailty of our human emotions in her jealousy over the leadership role her younger brother, Moses, had among the Children of Israel.

In the first example, we see Miriam lead the women in song and dance in honor of God’s victory over the Egyptian army. Her celebration over this victory truly falls in line with the theme of this quarter’s newsletter.

Then there is the second example. As an older sister, it was probably hard for Miriam to see her younger brother be more successful than her, at least more successful in her own eyes. It was finally Moses’ choice of wives that gave her the opportunity to be openly critical of him. Whether it was her seeing her own role as the leading lady in his life and their community downsized or true concern, we don’t know. We do know that she murmured against Moses to Aaron over Moses’ choice of wives.

Miriam and Aaron were both jealous about Moses’ leadership role. Miriam pointed out that Moses was not the only sibling to be used by God. God reprimanded both Miriam and Aaron for their insubordination. As mentioned in the introduction, Miriam was stricken with leprosy, but she was cured after Moses intervened. Miriam was led from the camp and quarantined for seven days. She was not mentioned again until after her death. Like the other older leaders, she did not live to see the Promised Land.

From this story, we can see how jealousy and criticism can cloud our motives. There is a fine line between criticism to be constructive and criticism out of envy and jealousy. There is a danger in trying to raise ourselves up by taking someone else down. Before we point out anyone, we must first deal with the beam in our own eye. Each of has a unique place in the body of Christ. Being jealous or envious of another’s talent is a disservice to what we have to offer. Our role in the body of Christ is just as important as the next person’s role.

To leave on a positive role, let us focus on Miriam as a woman who celebrated her God. Let us focus on her as a courageous, intelligent woman who was a leader among her people. This is a role we all have.

Volume XIII Issue II Editor’s Corner

Volume XIII Issue II Editor’s Corner

By nature, I consider myself to be an optimist. I like to think I see the best in people and that I look for the best in every situation regardless of how dire or muddy it may appear. Regardless of what I see, feel, or think, I try to hold on to the belief that my overall existence will get better each day, each week, each month, and each year.

Not because I will feel extremely happy all of the time. Not because bad things won’t happen to me or those I love. Not because I won’t face any serious issues or struggles. Not because I will get everything I want or desire. But because of God’s promise that all things will work out for my good. To me this means that even situations and circumstances I thought were defeats, were, are, or will be situations and circumstances of victory.

I remember many years back, I applied for a job at another company. I was sad when I did not get the job because I thought I was quite qualified. I thought the job sounded perfect for me. While it was happening, it felt like a defeat. It was right around this time that I was offered a promotion at the company I worked for, which was quite similar to the job I had applied for. Then, less than a year later, the company had layoffs. Word on the street is that they began with their most recent hires. It was one of the moments where I clearly realized that God does know what He is doing and that things do work out for my best, even when I cannot see it.

As I remember the victories in my life, I realize that often times they began as what seemed like defeats. But, in the end, the perceived defeat was the best thing for me. So when defeat comes, I try not to despair because I remember and know that God will turn it into a victory.

As you face your challenges, remember the victories you have had when the odds were against you and people counted you out. They became your victories.

Look at the story of David. As he faced Goliath, he remembered how God had already delivered him from a lion and from a bear. He reasoned that if God had delivered him in the past, God would deliver him then. When he faced Saul, all he had to do was remember facing Goliath, the lion, and the bear. David was a man who made mistakes, yet his faith and belief in God was unshakable regardless of what life brought him.

Look at the story of the Prodigal Son. Here was a man returning home with defeat and shame, but he was restored because of his father’s love. This story is such an amazing example of the love, compassion, and care God has for us regardless of our situations and circumstances.

When facing tough challenges, remember the good in your life and remember the victories that have been won in the past. Trust God and have faith that He will see you through once again.

Volume XIII Issue II Word of the Quarter

Volume XIII Issue II Word of the Quarter

When you get a moment, really look around your home. It is filled with items that commemorate the most important events and memories of your life.

You probably have pictures of weddings, children, grandchildren, friends, vacations, and family. You probably have gifts you received from close family and friends. You probably have something that belonged to an important relative or friend who has since passed on. You probably have plaques recognizing degrees, honors, and other accomplishments.

We have surrounded ourselves with these “monuments” that represent highlights in our lives. These possessions are a reminder of people and events that we celebrate, and they help us remember important milestones. In the moments we truly see them, they have the ability to evoke positive and happy feelings.

In the Bible, there are many stories of God’s people gaining great victories over their enemies. In many of the events, God instructed His people to commemorate the victory by writing an account or building a monument to serve as a reminder of the victory won. In Exodus 17:8, the Amalekites attacked the Israelites in Rephidim. Under Moses’ direction, Joshua led the Israeli army to victory. After the battle, God instructed Moses to, “Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua” – Exodus 17:14. In Joshua 4, after the Israelites crossed the Jordan, God instructed Joshua to have the Israelites build a stone monument as a reminder of the victory.

The Bible is also filled with stories of people celebrating their victories. Miriam, who is featured in “Women of the Bible,” led the women in a celebratory song and dance after the defeat of pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea. David celebrated by dancing when the Ark of the Covenant was brought back to Jerusalem. In the story of the Prodigal Son, which is featured in “Men of the Bible,” we find a father celebrating the victory of the return of his son.

As we look back over our individual lives, we can all see many victories. All we must do is look back and see how much we’ve grown and how far we’ve come. Each victory prepares us for a greater victory that is to come. We are moving from faith to faith. Because God provided victory in the past, we have faith that He will do so again and again.

We wonder. Is there a way we can memorialize the victories God has won in our lives? What can serve as a reminder of how God delivered us in the past, and that He will deliver us in the future?

In the ESV, Deuteronomy 20:4 says, “For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.” As you fight your battle today, remember how far God has already brought you from! Hold out for victory because you know it will come! After the victory, comes your celebration!