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Today's Word: Nov 29, 2022
In the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15, the young man took his father's inheritance, wasted it all on wild living, and ended up destitute on a pig farm. When he returned home in hopes of becoming a servant, his father was so overjoyed that he gave him the best robe, a ring, and new sandals. Immediately, the son didn't look like the guy from the pig pen. He looked like a celebrated son of honor.
This shows us the heart of God. Even when we've made mistakes and brought trouble upon ourselves, He doesn't want us to look like what we've been through. He doesn't want you to live in the constant memory of the failure, the hurt, the injustice. God still says to get the best robe. He still restores back to a place of honor. Your part is to receive the mercy of your heavenly Father. Shake off the guilt, put on your robe of honor, and rejoice. Nobody is going to be able to tell what you've been through.
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Division. It's everywhere we look these days. Every time we watch the news, we see divisiveness tearing apart the fabric of our society as well as our relationships, especially our families. The enemy has put wedges of strife and enmity between people that seem overwhelming. Too often we find that we're fighting against one another when we should be fighting for one another. That's not a place where any of us want to live.
The psalmist David said, "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes. For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore" (Psalm 133:1-3). That's where I want to live in a good and pleasant place where we live together in harmony, because there is an anointing of peace and power that flows in and through our lives and touches everything we touch. There's a commanded blessing from God that is there for all of us to receive and walk in...together.
The best place to start to bring this unity, this togetherness, is in our own families. When you start with your family, that commanded blessing not only flows down through you, through your children, and through your entire family, but it flows and follows you everywhere you go. That blessing will follow you to your workplace and into any difficult situation, because when God commands a blessing, nothing can stop it.
If we're going to live together in unity, we have to agree to walk together "with all lowliness and gentleness, with long suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:2-3). That doesn't mean we have to agree with everyone all the time. But it does mean to humbly recognize that we are different people with different opinions, and those opinions don't have to fragment us. That does not have to cause us to be angry or bitter toward one another. We can maintain the bond of peace through our love. That's where we find the common ground.
One practical way you can do that is when you're tempted to say what you know you shouldn't say or win an argument no matter what, ask yourself, "If I say it or do it, will I miss out on God's blessing?" You could forfeit your commanded blessing because you want to get some temporary gratification. Put things into perspective and realize that unity and peace are worth fighting for. Don't give in to what will divide you. Pursue unity, because that's where the commanded blessing is.
Your Heavenly Father is the only one that has the right to name you. Don’t go through life letting other people put their names on you. They’ll try to name you addicted, struggling, but God names you free, whole, victorious. They will name you average, mediocre, limited. God names you exceptional, one of a kind, a masterpiece. People may name you washed up, too many mistakes, but God names you forgiven, redeemed, restored.