The Parable of the Two Lost Sons

 

NIV DAILY DEVOTIONAL

 (Luke 15:11–32)

For a son to ask for his inheritance before the death of his father was a severe cultural offense, equivalent to wishing for the father’s death. The lost son ended up in the worst of circumstances from a Jewish point of view: a place where even unclean pigs were faring better than he was. The father’s extravagant mercy turned out to be as far-reaching as the son’s offenses. The story turns near the end, when the older brother refused to join the party, revealing that he was as lost as his younger brother. This parable probably was meant to illustrate the self-righteous attitudes of observant religious people who felt entitled to the kingdom because they “never disobeyed” (Luke 15:29). Jesus left the parable unresolved, forcing his listeners to see themselves in the story.

What did this parable teach you about mercy?

Taken from NIV First-Century Study Bible

 

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Get ’em Through It

NIGHT LIKE FOR COUPLES

If you find [wisdom], there is a future hope for you. Proverbs 24:14

A waitress once recognized me (JCD) when I came into the restaurant where she worked. She was a single mother and wanted to talk about her twelve-year-old daughter, who had been a struggle to raise. “We have fought tooth and nail for this entire year,” she said. “We argue nearly every night, and most of our fights are over the same issue. She wants to shave her legs, but I feel she’s too young.” My response? “Lady, buy your daughter a razor!”

That twelve-year-old was paddling into a time of life that would rock her canoe. As a single parent, this mother would soon be trying to keep her rebellious adolescent away from drugs, alcohol, sex and pregnancy, early marriage, school failure, and the possibility of running away. In that setting, it seemed unwise to make a big deal over such a small issue as shaving. While I agreed with the mother that adolescence should not be brought on prematurely, there were higher priorities to consider.

Scripture says that “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established” (Proverbs 24:3). Those same qualities should be applied to raising families. It takes both wisdom and understanding to know when to tighten your grip and when to loosen it. In the case of hardheaded kids floating toward the rapids in the teenage years, the wisest approach may be to simply get ’em through it.

Before you say good night…

Are you focusing on the matters that most affect your kids’ welfare?

Do you always seek God for wisdom and understanding in your parental decisions?

Father, may we keep our focus on those things that are most important to the well-being of our children. May our discernment be equal to the task. Most of all, help both of us to keep our eyes upon You. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Second Time Around

NIGHT LIKE FOR COUPLES

“I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Jeremiah 31:34

Many of you reading these discussions about the consequences of divorce have already taken that fateful step— willingly or not—and then remarried. You may also be facing the unique challenge of raising children from two sets of parents. We assure you that it has not been our intention to heap additional guilt on you. We have a loving God who offers forgiveness to those who truly seek His will. Only He knows the condition of your spiritual “heart” and the circumstances that led to the end of your first marriage. If you have not dealt with those matters before God, we urge you to do so tonight.

Our hope is that you will reaffirm the sanctity of your present marriage and fight to preserve it with all your heart and soul. With the Lord’s help, you can still forge a marriage that lasts a lifetime. We encourage you to learn from the mistakes of your previous relationships, rely wholeheartedly on God’s principles for marriage, and make the firm decision that nothing will tear you away from your mate.

Remember, there are no second‐class members of God’s family. God still wants to give you His best. And as you seek Him together, He will.

Just between us…

  • What would be (or is) most difficult about a second marriage?
  • Is God willing to forgive those who divorce for the wrong reasons?
  • What do you think is the most painful part of a divorce? How can we use this information to keep our marriage strong?

Father, forgive our sins and selfish mistakes. We cast all our hopes for our marriage on Your truths, and together we wholeheartedly seek to obey Your will for us. Thank You for Your mercies, which are new every morning. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.