The Prodigal Son, part 3…

Sorry I’ve been absent from here for quite a while, but I’m finally back to take this post out of drafts and publish it, which was always my intention!

If you read The Prodigal Son parts one and two, thank you – and I hope it all made sense. I just wanted to add a final few thoughts from this multi-layered parable!

Our pastor recently made a fairly random comment whilst preaching about something else. He said, “What if the prodigal son had been met by his brother, instead of his father…?” Woah! That’s the kind of comment that gets me thinking!

The older brother had never developed a close relationship with his father or his brother. He was focused on what he could do to build his inheritance. He had a works based mentality. He was angry at his brother for taking his share of the estate (and no doubt jealous that he was out living his life – he felt like a martyr!) When he heard his brother had returned home penniless, he was angry with his father for welcoming him with open arms and showing him favour he didn’t deserve!

As the father pleaded with him to join in the celebration he refused, saying, “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.” [Luke 15:29] He had served the father and kept his commands, but out of duty – he was only thinking of building the family business for himself. He wanted to celebrate with his friends and did not desire to spend time with his father, or build a close relationship with him. He did not understand his father’s heart of love for both his sons and his longing to have both at his side.

When we believe on Jesus – who he is and what he’s done for us, we are saved by grace, through faith. (Eph 2:8) The debt for our sins was paid in full at the cross and there is no further punishment that can be meted out to us because we have been pronounced “Not guilty!” for eternity. At that very moment, we too receive the Father’s undeserved favour.

The parable could also demonstrate the positions of both Jews and Christians and their perspective perhaps? Both see God as Father. The Jews represent the older brother, working and keeping the law, thus hoping they do enough to inherit the kingdom. Christians have seen the love of the Father through Jesus, the Messiah that the Jews failed to recognise, and they rejoice in their relationship with him knowing that they are loved unconditionally.

If you were to put yourself into the parable, which brother would you be? Does your honest response give you pause for thought…? Are you hedging your bets and working for your inheritance or simply trusting in the finished work of Jesus, grateful and overjoyed to be wrapped in the Father’s loving arms.

The world stops…

The world stops

For me.

My world stops.

I can’t hear the birds,

The wind in the trees.

The sea is silent.

My world has stopped.

She’s gone.


My baby has left me


I feel so alone.

Can’t think straight,

but so much going on in my head.

Why did you leave?

How could you leave?

Leave me?

Leave US?

We miss you so much.

No more laughter, chatter, shouting, crying…

The sound of your footsteps,

the flick of your hair…

All gone.

Our. World. Has. Stopped.

For dear Jo, following the sudden and unexplained death of her 16 year old daughter.

I am set with the seal of God…

I wrote this many years ago at a church quiet day at a nearby abbey.

I am set with the seal of God. Like a parcel – stamped; my destination and the name of the one sending me, written. All I have to do is be. He has done the rest.

I will travel through “the system” wrapped in his covering, his string “crossed” over me to keep me secure. I will not get lost, for he is my deliverer; the sender and the receiver. I am his. I am set with the seal of God.

The Prodigal Son, part two!

So, I’ve been thinking about the parable of the prodigal son a lot lately, hence part two, after the original post a few days ago.

The Lord never wasted words or chatted idly, he always spoke what we need to hear and understand. Perhaps there is something important here for us to know…?

The prodigal son had received his inheritance. The father knew he wasn’t mature or wise enough to use it well, yet he gave the inheritance because the son asked (1) him for it!

The son went off with his inheritance, not realising the true value of what he’d been given. He carried on his life without regard for the worth of the father’s gift (it wasn’t really an inheritance as his father was not dead.) It was only when the son had tried to live his life his own way, in his own strength, and failed miserably that his thoughts turned back (2) to the father and he saw how good he was and how much he needed to be with him.

When he had returned, not expecting anything more than to be treated as a lowly servant, he realised that his father loved him beyond measure, had been waiting for him to come back and welcomed him with open arms. He did not condemn him (3) for the mistakes he’d made or the time he’d been away. He gave him a robe, a ring and sandals for his feet – all symbols of sonship. The son realised that he had not lost his place in the family but would always be a son to his father.

To me this speaks volumes into the “Once saved, always saved” debate. If you are truly born again into God’s family, you cannot be “unborn”. Once given the Holy Spirit, you are saved and sealed – your position is secure.

Though you may go your own way for a time, or not use what you’ve been given with wisdom, you will not lose the position you hold. And when you realise your great need to be in your father’s presence, he will welcome you back and remind you again of your sonship (yes, even the ladies – sons traditionally inherited.)

This parable is for those who are already one of the family; who’ve messed up, who’ve gone astray and feel like a failure, who think they can’t possibly be loved or accepted, who are reluctant to come home because they don’t feel worthy…

The reason you ARE worthy is because at some point, you said YES to Jesus and believed in him by faith and are now IN CHRIST. Everything that Jesus is to the father is now imputed to you, because (4) “As he is, so are you in this world.” Is Jesus pleasing to the father? Absolutely!

(1) Matthew 7:7-11

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. [8] For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. [9] “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? [10] Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? [11] If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

(2) Metanoia / repentance / to turn or change one’s mind.

(3) Romans 8:1-2
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, [2] because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

(4) 1 John 4:15-17
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. [16] So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. [17] By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.

Part two: … than we can ask or imagine.

With my youngest son safely at senior school, I was looking to get back into part time work that would fit in with family life.

I heard that a nearby church school might be looking for midday supervisors and, as it turned out, an old acquaintance was the chair of governors. I emailed her to ask and she replied yes, ring the secretary to arrange a chat with the head teacher.

So I rang, to find that the head teacher was very busy as it was the week before the Easter holidays and she may not be able to see me for quite a while. Feeling bold, I said, “Is she busy now? I’m free.” As it turned out, she wasn’t, so I went and had a quick tour of the school, then went to her office for a chat.

It didn’t really go quite how I expected. I was being asked a lot of questions about previous experience, qualifications, interests etc – rather more than would be expected for someone supervising lunches – and she was making lots of notes! After half an hour I had been interviewed and offered a position that didn’t yet exist, as a one-to-one teaching assistant to a young boy with special needs who had just received a Statement! Wow! I was not expecting that, but obviously God was speaking to this Christian lady – and she was listening!

We didn’t know when this job would start exactly, but we agreed to continue to pray about it and speak again in due course. After several weeks, I was officially offered the position and started at the beginning of the next school year.

I’m not going to say it was easy! In at the deep end was an understatement, but I learned, out of necessity, to rely on the Lord every day for inspiration and guidance and we had some amazing moments as my young pupil and I found new ways of learning. I felt as though I’d waited my whole life for this opportunity and it was the most fulfilling experience I’ve ever had in a job of work!

Every little achievement made me as proud as if he’d been my own son. When he moved on to his next school I was happy and sad all at the same time, but I knew the season was coming to an end and I had been there just for him, because God has a plan for his life too and I was honoured to be a small part of it.

I think what I’ve been trying to say, is that God really can do immeasurably more than all we can ask OR imagine! When we submit to his will, the yoke is easy and the burden is light. We find unimaginable joy in what seemed impossible, unattainable, way beyond us. But he KNOWS us, better than we know ourselves! I am so very grateful for what he’s given me in my life; the people, the experiences (both easy and difficult) because he’s shown me that, no matter what, he is faithful and I am loved – immeasurably!

Part one: He can do immeasurably more…

When I went on maternity leave with my first child, I strongly felt that the Lord wanted me to be a stay at home mother until my youngest child was twelve – who knew when that would be?! I hadn’t even given birth to the first one! That would mean a drastic drop in our household income for a long time to come, but it’s what we decided to do, and trust him to meet our needs – which he did in various and unexpected ways. We’ve sailed pretty close to the wind at times, but have never actually sunk!

Oh, and I neglected to tell you that I was an “older” mother! We had been married for several years before we decided to start a family and then it seemed like it might not happen at all. After a year of trying, I gave it over to the Lord and said, “If it’s not your will for us to have children, that’s ok. We’ll just accept that you have something else planned for us.”

That same morning, I opened my bible and my eyes fell on Psalm 113 …. He settles the barren woman into her home as a happy mother of children. I chuckled to myself. “Ok, Lord..!”

That was Tuesday. On Saturday I had a positive pregnancy test! When I surrendered to the Lord’s will, I was already pregnant but didn’t know it! He knew, of course, and of all the verses I could have randomly arrived at, he showed me that one! We’d moved house 15 months earlier and truly had just settled in.

So, the night before I was due to go for my first scan, I said to my husband, “We’re having a boy.” “What do you mean? How do you know?” he asked. “I don’t know how I know,” I replied, “but we’re having a boy! God said boy this time, girl next time.”

Though I had many problems during that pregnancy, ending up with pre-eclampsia and an emergency c-section, I knew all would be well, because he’d told me in advance. How could I be a happy mother if something happened to my unborn son?

Fast forward a couple of years… having had a molar pregnancy (not very common) which ended in miscarriage, followed by another miscarriage, finally I had a viable pregnancy. Well, he did say “children”!

I was wondering to myself whether this one was going to be a girl, since the original word was boy this time, girl next time. Then, a few weeks later, during an afternoon nap, I saw a baby lying on the bed and heard my voice exclaim, “Oh! It’s a boy!” And it was!

Some years later, I had a dream that a young girl with long straight hair, similar to mine when I was a teenager, came over and touched me on the arm. I thought she looked familiar but I didn’t know who she was. When I woke up I felt the Lord said, “That was your daughter.” Her name is Kathryn Louisa Grace – the name we chose for a girl – and I believe I will meet her in heaven one day.

I am a happy mother of children, three actually, just as he said. Praise his name!

No limits…

You, Lord, are the God of no limits.

There was no limit to your love for us when you hung on the cross.

There was no limit to the suffering you were willing to bear as you took upon yourself all the sin of mankind, once, for all.

There is no limit to your forgiveness when we call on your name and surrender our lives, so filled with pride and self righteousness, for a life hidden in you.

There is no limit to who you are. You exist eternally, with no beginning and no end, the alpha and the omega. In you, it is always today, for you are the great I AM. To be in your presence is now, this moment, not yesterday or tomorrow.

There is no limit to our hope in you, in your name, in your blood. You have defeated every unholy thing.

There is no limit to the power of the Holy Spirit, who was there at the beginning, as the universe was created, and who resurrected you, Jesus, as the firstborn from among the dead; who lives in us as the deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.

There will be no limit to the joy we will experience when we finally meet you face to face… then our worship will have no limit as we dwell in your presence for ever.

Love you Lord! ❤