We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Andrea Johnson.

 

Bible Reading:

Luke 15:11-32

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. 17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. 25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

Word:

The whole of last year placed a pause in most of our lives. My husband and I had to move and shift a few things in our home to make sure my daughter could learn virtually. I had to make accommodations to be able to work from home. Our church had to quickly learn how to “vurch” (virtual church)! Looking back at it all now, I do believe there was a purpose for the pause.

God has promised in Romans to “work all things together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose,” and last year was no exception. Sure at the beginning of 2020, our family made all kinds of plans, and we had all sorts of visions for our year, but I am quickly humbled when I remember that “many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (be carried out)” (Proverbs 19:21).

We find the same to be true in the scripture focus for today; the parable of the lost son. This son had a vision of living large. He took all that was portioned to him and set out for extravagance. Unfortunately, this lifestyle didn’t last long. He wasted everything. His plans came to a halt. The good news is that he realized his father’s home was a place of refuge. He knew he could return there and find security. Even if he had to return and take the role of a servant, it would be better than staying in his mess.

As we are coming out of the pause of 2020 and finding our new normal, I, too, can see that God was and is our refuge and our fortress (Psalm 91). Even if we find ourselves in a pigpen, a mess we may have created ourselves, our Saviour is right there with open arms awaiting our return. There will be singing and rejoicing when we humble ourselves and seek Him with our whole hearts. God will not only forget all of our transgressions; He will make all things new. HALLELUJAH!

God has a plan for each of us, plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) There is undoubtedly purpose in every moment, the seemingly low moments as well. Trust God.

 

Prayer:

Father, thank you for your mercies that are new every morning and your compassions that fail not. Thank you for your faithfulness, even in my faithlessness. Thank you for being my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

 

Skillwork:

If you are in a place that does not feel comfortable, take some time to run to Jesus. Hebrews 10 reminds us not to fling away our confidence, for it has a glorious and great reward. Seek God for endurance to bear up under difficult circumstances without compromising. Know that our loving Father is always there with open arms!

 

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