Wednesday, October 31, 2018



We have a couple of challenges to our schedule this next month. First, we are trying to put together a year-long devotional book to be published by December. Second, we are moving to a new apartment, an opportunity we could not pass up because it is completely power-chair accessible. Praise the Lord!  However, this means we will have limited time to post to our blogs. Our plan is to put a “Thanksgiving” devotion post up each Thursday in November on and resume posting on the other two blogs in December. We appreciate your prayers as we take this brief break from blogging to take care of other necessary business!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


LUKE 16:14-18

Luke 16:14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.

Susie: In the last lesson we saw that money itself is amoral, neither good nor bad. The scripture says the LOVE of money is the problem (1 Timothy 6:10). Let’s look at our current verse in a new translation we enjoy found at

Luke 16:14 (Berean Literal Bible) Now the Pharisees, being lovers of money, were listening to all these things, and they were ridiculing Him.

Susan: The Pharisees loved money, which means they did not give God the higher place He deserves. They were attempting to serve two masters. They were satisfied straddling the fence.

Susie: Obviously, that is a position that cannot be maintained. As Jesus taught in the previous lesson, it is impossible to completely serve two masters (Luke 16:13).

Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

Susan: Jesus being all-knowing called the Pharisees out on their self-righteousness. Everything they did was to keep up outward appearances. It was not for the sake of God and His kingdom. Their good works were for their own elitist gain in the sight of the people.

Susie: Jesus pointed out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees on numerous occasions. They made a big production of their giving to the poor rather than doing so quietly.

Matthew 6:2-4 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

Susan: On the outside, the Pharisees looked well put together, more righteous than others; but on the inside their spirits were as black as coal.

Matthew 23:27-28 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Susie: The Pharisees made an outward show of following the minutia of the Law and the rabbis’ traditions (Matthew 23:23) but inwardly they did not follow the two greatest commandments: to love God and to love others (Matthew 22:36-40). However, God sees beyond the outside and looks within.

1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

Susan: I am thankful the Lord does not judge me by my earth-suit but sees the righteousness of Christ covering me. I am humbled to have the awesome privilege to serve God in whatever way He chooses to use me.

Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

Susie: John the Baptist ushered in the preaching of the Gospel and was the first to present Jesus as the Messiah, the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29).

Susan: I love John’s name for Jesus: The Lamb of God. Twila Paris has a beautiful song about Him:

Susan: The Pharisees totally missed the point that Jesus fulfilled the Law. They were indeed lead heads or osmium heads (denser than lead). However, the people the Pharisees gave the label sinners—the tax collectors, the harlots, the Samaritans—were “pressing” into the Gospel. The common people clamored, jockeyed for position in a crowd, to be the nearest to Jesus and possibly even be able to touch Him. The picture is like people fighting their way into a colosseum to see the Beetles or Elvis. Oops, showing my age. Perhaps they crowd in to see Taylor Swift today.

Susie: While the self-righteous Pharisees missed the boat, the humble sinners were welcomed aboard.

Luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

Susie: As I stated before, Jesus did not want them to think that the Gospel message of salvation by grace through faith did away with the Law. When we place our trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit writes God’s law on our hearts and enables us to obey Him out of love and not for outward show or in trying to earn His love. God loves us first. Then He enables us to love and obey Him.

1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

Luke 16:18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

Susie: As an example of the fact that the moral excellence of the Law had not passed away, Jesus taught on divorce. This was a law the Pharisees liked to bend, saying a man could divorce his wife for any reason.

Matthew 5:31-32 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Susan: Jesus came to give explanation, greater understanding, and application of the Law rather than to abolish it.

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”

Susie: The Pharisees were so busy trying to look good to others, that they missed the total point that the Law and Prophets pointed to Jesus as the Messiah. They were blinded by their own self-righteousness to the point that most of them missed the Redeemer, the truly Righteous One.

Susan: They were blinded by their own hypocrisy.

Ponder this and Apply it: God sees the motives behind our actions in a way that no human being can. We need to examine ourselves, perform a heart-check, periodically to be sure we are not just putting on a show for others but are serving God with all we have and all we are from a pure heart of love for Him.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


LUKE 16:10-13

Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

Susan: If a person is diligent and honest when given a small task or amount to manage, it follows that he will be the same way when entrusted with more.

Susie: Jesus made that same point in the parable about the man who left three servants in charge of portions of his money. Two wisely invested it, and the third just buried it. Those who were wise were rewarded for their integrity and diligence by being given more to manage:

Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Luke 16:11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

Susie: Several times in the New Testament we see Jesus indicating that the way we use the resources God gives us on earth will be rewarded with treasure in Heaven.  The true riches are spiritual, the truths the Holy Spirit infuses in us as we follow Christ.

Susan: True riches have eternal significance—relationships with fellow believers, those we have introduced to Jesus, etc. The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to exhort people who had worldly wealth to be wise, generous, and responsible with their God given abundance.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

Susie: Many of the wealthiest Christians I have known, did not in any way flaunt their riches. In fact, most people did not know their net worth. What I found true about most of them was that they quietly helped others, opened their large homes for fellowships and Bible studies, and were faithful givers to their local church. They were living out Paul’s admonishment to use their earthly abundance to further the kingdom of God.

Susan: What I have noticed about the well-off Christians I know is that they socialize with all socio-economic classes of people. They are not snobbish.

Luke 16:12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?

Susie: Stewards were managers of their master’s money and estate. We are stewards of another “man’s” wealth. However, our master is the Lord God Himself. Here on earth we manage what He graciously allows us to use.

Susan: At God’s appointed time, we who trust in Jesus will be given an inheritance that will not diminish, that is eternal. The greatest of these blessings will be communing with Jesus face to face, in His physical presence.

1 Peter 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. . .

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Susie: Money in and of itself is neither good nor evil.

Susan: It is a tool of exchange. Where the good or evil comes in is in how a person views wealth, and the attitude of their heart, whether it is focused on the world or on honoring the Lord.

Susie: Wealth can lead to evil if we begin to worship riches rather than worshipping the God who provides them. Wealth used to meet our needs, the needs of others, and to further God’s kingdom is being used wisely.

Susan: Wealth that is hoarded is not being put to its best use. None of us can take the earthly wealth we’ve been given into the next life.

Susie: Money does not necessarily guarantee happiness. Many rich people are not content, continually striving like a baby crying, “More! More! More!” The things entrusted to us by our Master, our Father, are to be held lightly in order to be available for His purposes. Our devotion must be focused on our Redeemer and not on the gifts He gives us. They are merely tools to be used to further His kingdom.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

1 John 2:15-16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Ponder this and Apply it: God provides all we need. We are stewards of the blessings He bestows. He does not call everyone to sell everything to follow Him, but He does require us to use what He has given us wisely. We need to evaluate our finances in light of kingdom goals and hold onto things loosely. Not always easy to do (in fact, very difficult at times) but will be richly rewarded with peace now and treasure in Heaven.

Monday, October 8, 2018


LUKE 16:1-9

Luke 16:1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.

Susan: Let’s start by explaining the function of a steward in the time of Christ.

This steward was a freeman, had full charge of his master's affairs and could use them to his own advantage if he chose, was fully accountable to his master and had to render an account when called upon. If unfaithful he was usually discharged at once.

Susie: Back in Luke 12:42, Jesus spoke of another steward. We saw that we as Christians are to be wise stewards of all the Lord has given to us. In the present verse, Jesus speaks of a steward who, in the best case was simply unwise with his master’s assets; and in the worst case, had been caught embezzling or deliberately wasting what belonged to the master.

Luke 16:2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.

Susan: The Lord does not say who exposed the steward’s improper dealings with the master’s goods . . .

Susie: . . . but it is clear, that someone ratted him out. Nevertheless, sin that people think is well hidden is always exposed to God.

Numbers 32:23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out.

Susan: The master needed to see how much damage had been done and required the steward to give a full reckoning of all accounts, all transactions.

Susie: He was to bring all books up to date and give a full report to the master before his termination date.

Luke 16:3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.

Susan: The steward says to himself, “Oh no! What am I going to do? I’m not capable of strenuous labor. What’s going to become of me when my position is gone?”

Susie: He had to admit to himself that he had too much pride to become a beggar. What I find interesting in this is that he never considers finding another job! Of course, he would never get a good letter of recommendation from his master.

Luke 16:4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.

Susie: The steward knew he would never work in a trusted supervisory position again. Therefore, he concocts a devious plan to ingratiate his master’s debtors to himself.

Susan: His plan was to “forgive” a portion of what each person owed his master.

Susie: As steward, he had that power; but that was with the assumption that the master approved. He did this behind his master’s back.

Luke 16:5-6 So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.

Susie: He called in every man that owed his master money or goods. The first man’s debt, he reduced by half, telling him to quickly cross out 100 and write 50.

Susan: The operative word here is “quickly” as in before anyone sees you. He had to accomplish these agreements before they came to the master’s knowledge.

Susie: The steward’s urgency and clandestine approach to writing off these debts should have raised concern with the debtors. By agreeing to his plan, they were complicit to his actions. 

Luke 16:7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.

Susie: He reduced the second man’s bill by twenty percent. No reason is given for the differing percentages. Some commentators say he may have just written off his own commission. Others believe his master had grossly overcharged the people in the first place. Either of those theories imply there would be no true net loss to the master.

Susan: However, the gain to the debtors would be significant and would make them feel indebted and obligated to the steward. They would be so ingratiated toward him that he felt he could count on them to come to his aid in whatever way he asked them once he was out of a job.

Luke 16:8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.

Susie: The master is not praising the steward’s underhanded dealings with goods that were not his own but belonging to the master. He is praising his worldly wisdom, his shrewdness or cunning in using the situation to his advantage. John MacArthur gives a good explanation of this verse:

MacArthur Study Bible

16:8 the master commended the unjust steward. Outwitted, he applauded the man’s cunning. His admiration for the evil steward’s criminal genius shows that he, too, was a wicked man. It is the natural tendency of fallen hearts to admire a villain’s craftiness (Ps. 49:18). Note that all the characters in this parable are unjust, unscrupulous, and corrupt. More shrewd, i.e., most unbelievers are wiser in the ways of the world than some believers (“sons of light,” cf. John 12:36; Eph. 5:18) are toward the things of God.

Luke 16:9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.

Susie: Jesus teaches that we are to be like sheep in this world, not participating in sordid gain. However, we are to be wise to the ways of the world, not to be tread on by it.

Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Susie: This unjust, shrewd servant was using his wily ways to prepare a future for himself. As stewards in the kingdom of God, we should use our means and all our blessings to share Jesus with others. Those who come to know Christ are truly a treasure of friends we will have in the Kingdom of God, both here on earth and in our forever home with Him. Benevolence toward others in Jesus’s name is one way we store up treasure for our future.

Matthew 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

Ponder this and Apply it: Money in and of itself is not evil. It is the love of, the coveting of riches, the selfish used of it, that can be sinful. As wise stewards of all the Lord has given us, we should be laying up treasure in Heaven. Believers should be characterized by generosity. I had a pastor who said a man’s checkbook can be quite revealing regarding his relationship to the Lord. These days, it might be a man’s online transactions. At any rate, would a close look into your finances reveal your heart for God?

Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018


LUKE 15:25-32

Luke 15:25-26 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.

Susie: The older brother must have been terribly confused. He comes home from a hard day’s work and hears dancing music.  He had not been there when his brother returned and was, in essence, restored to full sonship by their father.  There were certain times for dancing and making merry; and as far as he knew this day was not one of them. It’s not a feast day or a full moon, so why the party?

Ecclesiastes 3:4 . . . A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance . . .

Susan: He calls over one of the household servants and asks what is all the merriment about?

Luke 15:27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.

Susan: This staff member assumes that he is delivering good news to the older brother. Wrong! As we will see, the news makes him boiling hot and bothered.

Susie: The servant informed him that the calf fattened up for a feast day had been slaughtered to celebrate the younger brother’s return home.

Luke 15:28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore, came his father out, and intreated him.

Susie: The elder brother was angry. In the next few verses we will see that he felt himself wronged because of his hard work to earn his father’s favor. He was jealous that the son who had abdicated his responsibilities to the family was being celebrated while he, who had obeyed in order to receive reward, felt neglected.

Susan: The father, the host of this magnificent soiree, left the party to go out and persuade the older son to come celebrate with them.

Susie: But the older son would not be convinced.

Luke 15:29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

Susan: The older son’s obedience wasn’t founded on respect or reverence for his father. His motivation and intention was what he would get by being the “good son.” He saw himself as blameless.

1 John 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Susie: Many commentators compare the elder son with the Pharisees who thought their good works and exacting obedience to the Law put them in favor with God. The younger son is the tax collectors and sinners with whom Jesus associated, those who because of their humility in admitting their sin, benefited from the free gift of His grace. In reality, there are Pharisaical people in all ages who think themselves better than others. However, it is those who humbly admit their sin and unworthiness and come to Christ by faith who receive the reward of Heaven.

Susan: The older son complains that the father never even let him throw a backyard barbeque featuring young goat for his friends. He callously compares that type of party to the joyous celebration his father is having over a lost son, a lost soul, returning home.

Susie: Note that he does not refer to the prodigal as “my brother” but as “thy son.” He no longer claims relationship with his younger brother and points out his reckless and sinful living to the father.

Susan: It’s like a mother telling her husband, “Your son did such and such.”

Susie: Again, this is similar to how the Pharisees pointed out the sins of those following Jesus, thinking them unworthy of being accepted by God.

Luke 15:31-32 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

Susie: The father points out that the elder son has been enjoying the comfort of his father’s home, the service of his father’s workers, and the joy of his father’s presence. The father has constantly shared with the older son, so why should he be jealous.

Susan: The father freely gave of himself to the elder son, not only the comforts of home but the benefit of his wisdom. The son had obeyed out of obligation rather than the heart, and had missed seeing the love in his father’s heart for him. God does not desire our obligatory obedience. He desires our hearts, a greater depth of obedience out of love.

Susie: The father tries to help the older brother see that for all intents and purposes, the younger son had been dead. Now he has returned home alive which is ample cause for celebration.  We, too, were dead in our trespasses and sins, and the point of these three parables—the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son—is that God our Father celebrates when we come into His kingdom by humbly relying on Jesus’s work on the cross to redeem us.

Ephesians 2:1-10 (KJV) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ponder this and Apply it: God created us, knit each of us together in our mothers’ wombs (Psalm 139:13). However, we are all sinners, prodigals, until the Holy Spirit quickens us, makes us alive to understand God’s grace and surrender our lives to Him. Then Heaven rejoices over our repentance and adoption into God’s family. Have you experienced the joy of being received into our Heavenly Father’s kingdom? If not, approach Him humbly, acknowledging your sin like the prodigal son. God is merciful and gracious and wants to welcome you home. Then Heaven will throw a party!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


LUKE 15:20-24

Susie: This is part 2 of 3 on the parable of the “Prodigal Son” and his “Forgiving Father.” It is the third parable Jesus told about the Father’s eagerness to forgive repentant sinners. As with the son in the story, to be outside the family (in our case, God’s family) is to feel intense loneliness, completely without help.

The IVP New Testament Commentary Series

The parable is Jesus' final defense of the offer of good news in the face of official criticism of his association with sinners.

Luke 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

Susie: The son followed through with the plan we saw in the last lesson. He returned home intending to beg for a job as his father’s servant.

Susan: His father had been praying and pining, longing for his son and watched the road each day, pregnant with expectation.

Susie: Since the father was checking the horizon for the figure of his son, he saw him while he was still a distance from home. He must have looked pitifully poor because even from that distance, his appearance provoked compassion from his father.

Susan: The father abandoned all cultural protocol, picked up his long garment and ran with joyful abandon to embrace his son. He gave his son the greatest expression of tender endearment, a kiss on the cheek.

Susie: Our heavenly Father is ready to receive us with joy when we realize our inability to approach Him on our own merit because of our sinful nature.

MacArthur Study Bible

From Gen. 3:8 to Rev. 22:17, from the fall to the consummation, God has been and will be seeking to save sinners, and rejoicing each time one repents and is converted.

Luke 15:21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

Susie: The son begins his rehearsed speech of repentance by admitting that his sin is both against God and in the sight of his father. He proclaims the truth that he has forfeited any right to claim sonship in his father’s household.

Susan: While the son proceeds to give his well-practiced, humble speech, the father abruptly interrupts.

Luke 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
Susan: The father was eager to get to the restoration celebration. He turned to the servants and gave three commands.

Susie: The father treated the son as an honored guest rather than an ornery, rebellious teenager by telling the servants to adorn him with the best robe.

Susan: The robe may symbolize that God the Father replaces the swiss cheese of the sinner’s filthy rags with the righteousness of Christ.

Susie: Like the son in the story, we do not deserve the best robe. We have earned our rags with sinful living; but when we turn to Him in humility, the Lord God imputes the righteousness of His own Son to us, covering our sin.

Susan: We do not deserve to wear the robe of Jesus’s righteousness. It is a free gift given to us when, like the prodigal son, we come to our senses and realize our lostness, our sinfulness, our unworthiness, and our complete separation from the Father, the source of our salvation.

Susie: The father did not rebuke the son or call for him to be punished in any way. Instead, he immediately implemented steps to restore him to his rights as a son.

Susan: The ring, probably a signet ring, restored his authority as a family member.

The ring represents: authority and total restoration. It was like the family credit card.

Susan: Like a Sam’s™ or Costco™ card, one had to be member of a family to wear the signet ring that allowed him to make transactions on the family’s behalf.

Susie: The father also instructed the slaves to bring his son a pair of sandals. Slaves or servants did not wear shoes. Therefore, sandals represented his restoration to sonship as well. The armor of the Lord written about by the Apostle Paul included shoes:

Ephesians 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace . . .

Luke 15:23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

Susie: The choicest calf that had been fattened up would be reserved for a sacrifice or an exceptionally special celebration feast.

Susan: In Texas speak, the father says, “Y’all bring me the prime rib. I’m throwin’ a banquet for my boy!”

Susie: Once again, Jesus tells of a celebration of a joy that must be shared.

Luke 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Susan: What exactly were they celebrating? The father had no idea where his son had traveled and no way to communicate that he was safe, so it was as if he were dead.

Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Susie: The father is elated to have his son home safe and sound once more.

Susan: I think the father may have been telling the family all along that he knew his son and believed he would come to his senses and return home again. He hoped against all hope, and eagerly anticipated the return of his son.

Susie: Therefore, following the father’s lead, they all began to celebrate. That is, all but one as we shall see in the next lesson.

Ponder this and Apply it: Are you resting secure in the knowledge that the Lord has adopted you into His forever family and will never let go of you (John 10:27-29)? Or are you still in a “far country,” living as you please but feeling empty and devoid of love? If you find yourself at rock bottom, look up. Return humbly to your Creator and surrender to His mercy and Grace. God will clothe you in the righteousness of Jesus, seal you with His Holy Spirit, and put the sandals of His peace upon your weary feet.

Monday, September 24, 2018


LUKE 15:11-19

Luke 15:11-12 And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

Susie: Jesus had told the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. Now He paints a scenario of a son so lost that he turns his back on his own family.

Susan: The younger son in essence was saying, “I wish you were dead so that I could live.” From his perspective, while his father was living, he was only existing and not having the opportunity live life as he saw fit.

Susie: The son may have felt suppressed by his father’s rules as many young sons to, not realizing that they are boundaries for their protection. Rather than appreciating his father’s provision for him while living in the father’s home, the son dishonors his dad by asking for his inheritance in order to leave home. He breaks the fifth commandment:

Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Susan: The father granted his son’s request and even divided the property between the two sons.  I had never noticed before that the older son was given his portion as well. The father may have done it out of an indulgent love for the younger son. Or he may have, in genuine love, wanted his son to learn life lessons he did not yet understand by letting him try to make it on his own.

Susie: I believe the father anticipated the younger son’s failure and planned all along to receive him back into his home, a better son for having experienced the harsh realities of life outside his father’s home. Perhaps he also knew the character of his older son, that he would make the wiser choice and stay with his father.

Luke 15:13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous811 living.

Susie: The son liquidated his assets, packed his bags, and moved far away from his father’s house and most likely, his father’s rules. He began blowing his money on indulgence.

Susan: According to The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, a synonym for riotous is “dissolute.” This is not a word we use often, so we looked it up in our favorite dictionary:

American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828:

DISSOLUTE, adjective [Latin]

1. Loose in behavior and morals; given to vice and dissipation; wanton; lewd; luxurious; debauched; not under the restraints of law; as a dissolute man; dissolute company.

2. Vicious; wanton; devoted to pleasure and dissipation; as a dissolute life.

Susan: Not realizing how fast wealth is depleted, the young son felt like he had all the money in the world. He didn’t think he needed to watch his pennies or seek a way to earn a living. He spent like he had his own personal money tree. He threw away his money on carousing, drinking, wasteful, indulgent things. He raced through town spending full-throttle on partying with bad companions. My granddad would quote:

1 Corinthians 15:33 (NASB) Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”

Luke 15:14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

Susan: I find it ironic that the famine did not occur until the young man had forfeited all of his inheritance. Perhaps the Lord was making sure he felt the consequences of his foolishness and disobedience with all his senses.

Susie: “Began to be in want” seems to be an understatement. He is in a foreign land, no family nearby and no true friends, just drinking buddies, and now he has no means of support.

Luke 15:15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

Susan: He had to stoop to working the absolutely most despicable, unpleasant job for Jew—tending pigs. Pigs were considered “unclean.” A Jew did not eat pigs or even touch them and would consider them completely repugnant and repulsive.

Luke 15:16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

Susie: The fact that he is feeding pigs reminds us that he is no longer among fellow Jews. He was desperate enough to want to pull up to the feeding trough and eat alongside these pigs.

Susan: He was willing to eat the pigs’ leftovers! Gross!

Susie: He was definitely not in Israel anymore. The Jewish law required people to make provision for those who were poor (Leviticus 23:22; 25:35 & 39), but this country had no such law or tradition. No one offered the prodigal son assistance of any kind.

Luke 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

Susan: Finally, he came to his senses!

Susie: Whereas, as a rash young man he may have thought of his father as a strict and harsh disciplinarian, he now remembers his father as a kind man who provides well for his servants.

Susan: He reviews and reassesses his father’s care in light of his experiences in the world. He realizes his father’s servants are far better off than he.

Luke 15:18-19 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

Susie: Having tried his hand at living out in the world, the young man now realizes he would be better off at his father’s house even as a hired hand rather than a son.

Susan: He realizes the boundaries of his father’s home and rules are not as bad as he once thought. He determines to go home and on bended knee, beg for a position as a servant in his father’s house because at least they never go hungry and have a roof over their heads.

Susie: He is ready to admit that he is unworthy to be called a son. He has come through the experience as a humble man rather than a haughty child.

Susan: A person is born or legally adopted into sonship, and it is an esteemed position. He realizes he has been foolish in disregarding the value of sonship.

Susie: Now his highest hope is to be a hired hand. He does not dare to expect the privilege of sonship.

Ponder this and Apply it: We are God’s creation, but in our natural state, we dare not assume the privilege of being His children. We are incapable of perfect obedience to God’s law. However, like the prodigal son, we need to humble ourselves and realize our complete need. Then we can approach the Lord in honesty. Has the Lord brought you to a place where you realize that Jesus is your only hope? If so, you can ask the Lord to forgive you and enable you to turn from sin by filling you with the power of the Holy Spirit. Pour out your heart to the Father.  He will hear your humble prayer.