A different look at every day issues.

The Prodigal Society

Apparently, only news items that mirror the dark side of our society warrant mention on the evening news. Rarely do we see positive reflections of a society gone derelict.  In fact, you might call us “The Prodigal Society” since we no longer care about pleasing God or allowing him in our public places, including schools.

By definition, “prodigal” means to leave a once-established place of safety and affirmation and choose rather to live in the forbidden zone of self-deprecation and indulgence. The Bible applied it to a son who desired to take his inheritance and leave home. After all, his older brother was the heir apparent to the family’s home and business. So, he traded his place of safety for a pit of pig slop.

Yet, it is not only individuals who have forsaken their place of safety and provision, it is our society at large. It has become prodigal from the provision and power that comes with a right relationship with a heavenly father who loves them very much.

What led up to our society becoming prodigal?
  1. The American church has left its place of authority in our society.
  2. It has wandered away from the provision of the Father.
  3.  It has forsaken spiritual disciplines that enable it to hear from the Father.
  4. It has secularized and sanitized its program to a point of powerlessness and impotence.
  5. Those who stayed in the church grew complacent and territorial (like the older brother in the story). 

We have left the place of provision and power because we’ve gone after other things. We need to return to the place where God can again touch our hearts.
Only when God touches the human heart can real change—or even transformation—take place. The human heart that invites God’s redeeming touch experiences what no human agency can offer.

The Father has his eye on the horizon—waiting for his people to return to Him. He wants us to be proximal and not prodigal. He has an incredible plan that includes us being in close proximity to his heart.

We can no longer surrender to the maddening cries of secularism. It has taken us far from where we really need to be.

It’s time to come home.

Obstacles - Part 1

The only thing about our journey through life (upon which we can depend) is that we will face obstacles along the way. I wish I could say that there is a viable option in which we can determine both the severity of the obstacle and its duration.

Obstacles (also known as challenges, trials, tests, tribulations, etc.) are what shape and mold us into a useful part of the human race. If nobody accepted the challenge of an obstacle and simply sat down and crossed arms, nothing of value would be learned or modeled for others.

Obstacles shape us in several ways. I know . . . who wants to be shaped by the difficulties inserted into our life? Probably nobody. However, obstacles are a part of life and we must learn to capitalize on the potential personal gain one can experience through head-on confrontation with whatever seeks to block our progress.

Obstacles take many forms. They can be rejection, character assault, or even prescribed training like our armed forces utilize to harden and shape those charged with keeping us safe and free. Obstacles can also take the form of repeated detours that leave us questioning our original travel plans though life.

Here are several questions you can ask yourself when faced with an obstacle.

What am I supposed to learn from this roadblock?
Am I on the right path?
Is my timing in God’s will? 
Is this roadblock actually a divine protection keeping me from disaster?
Have I sought God’s will for my life and did I listen when He revealed it?
Am I determined to face each obstacle with a willingness to overcome it?
Do I look at each obstacle as a sign that I’m not supposed to go that way?
Do the obstacles keep me in a continual state of defeat?

I intend to address some of these questions in Part 2. However, re-read the list above and really think about how they might represent your attitude toward obstacles. This article’s intent is to bring light on those things that may be keeping you from realizing your God-given potential.

“Living in the Moment"

During a recent trip to the east coast of Florida, my wife and I decided to take in some beach time since our hotel was close to the ocean. We relaxed as we strolled in the wet sand as the only sound was that of the crashing surf and countless sea gulls calling to each other. 

We walked down to the edge of the water and allowed the surf to lap at our ankles and then retreat to the collective body of water. The ebbing of the waves was, in itself, relaxing. We are often able to repeat this exercise in relaxation given our proximity to one of Florida’s beautiful beaches. We are truly blessed!

On this particular day, I came away with a little more than relaxation. I noticed that as long as the surf  didn’t wrap around my ankles, nothing changed. But when the surf enveloped my feet and ankles, I noticed that the sandy base beneath my feet began to erode from the water causing me to sink a little deeper into the wet sand. It didn’t take long before I had to step to the side and allow the process to start all over again. 

While I have experienced this erosion phenomenon many times during my residence in Florida, I had never really given much thought to it. Perhaps I was in a more perceptive state of mind as several thoughts came to me.

First, there are times when we just want to enjoy the moment but before long, find ourselves stuck in that which was once enjoyable but eventually become a trap. Rationalization and justification begin their predictable process only to leave us without an authentic exposure to what started the whole sensation in the first place.

Second, our lack of movement ensures an absence of new revelation. What was once enjoyable and relaxing has become a tedious process in maintaining what was lost through our stationary stance.

I believe that God wants to give us new experiences each day to keep life from lapping around our ankles and entrapping our future in a “moment” experience. He wants us to allow his mercy and grace to flow into our lives each day—not to entrap us but to free us from our propensity to live in the moment with no eye to our future. 

If the enemy of our soul can keep us from accepting new places and new adventures with the Father, he can stifle our spiritual growth.

Remember, we can live so much “in the minute” that we miss the big picture of God’s ongoing provision and revelation.