The Party’s Over

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Dad had just thrown the biggest party the neighbors had seen. No expense had been spared in the days long celebration of his son’s return.

Yes, this party was for the prodigal son. You know, the wayward one who had chosen to live a wild life, squandering his still-living father’s money – his own inheritance – until he had no more to spend. He decided to return home to offer himself as a servant to his father to put good food into his starving belly. From what we’re told, we can’t be sure his thinking had changed about anything else. But none of that mattered to the father who ran to embrace him.

That’s one of the things that draws us repeatedly to this story. That father didn’t wait for evidence of repentance or a transformed life before welcoming him or throwing him a lavish party. He wanted everyone to celebrate with him because his son had returned. Period. As great as that is, I think there’s more to this story.

Think about it. The party ended at some point. What happened when it was over? The prodigal son didn’t become suddenly perfect, making only good decisions going forward. For that matter, his jealous brother, the obedient son who did as he was told with a bad attitude, was in the same imperfect category.

Consider this, though. Dad put no post-celebration stipulations on the son before throwing a gala in his honor. It wasn’t due to the son’s righteousness, either before demanding his inheritance or after his return. Nor was it because of the bitter son’s outward obedience. Their righteousness would never be more than filthy rags1! No, the party always and only flowed from the dad’s perfect love for his children, and his joy at having them together with him. His goodness and his righteousness, not theirs, covered them before the party and after it ended.

Fast forward to 2016. As sons and daughters, we try to be obedient, to make the right choices and have the right attitude – all to please our Daddy. But we fail repeatedly. Luke 15:10 says there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Sounds like a party to me – held each time one of us receives Christ Jesus into our hearts. That rejoicing isn’t because of our perfect character when we were born again, but because of Christ’s righteousness. He still rejoices over us2 today, no matter how many years have passed and no matter how many wayward actions we’ve taken.

Earning Daddy’s celebration now is as impossible as it was in the beginning – our good works still counting for nothing. It’s all and only about our Father, the One Who is in us, loving us, simply because we belong to Him. And it’s all about our Christ, Who made the way for us.

The party may be over, but the joy of celebrating our Daddy’s righteousness, love, and mercy in Christ continues for us through eternity!

1 Isaiah 64:6 NKJV But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;

2 Zephaniah 3:17 AMP The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.

He Likes It!

Not long ago, I had the opportunity to hear myself on a recording of a meeting I had helped lead.  It’s been a long time since I had heard my voice in that way, and I cringed, as I always have.  I’ve always thought everyone else sounded exactly like their recordings, but didn’t want to believe that I did, too, for it was really bad to me.  I’m not talking about the southern accent or the alto tone.  It’s the sound the whole package makes.  Ugh!

Not long after I had experienced this, I was in prayer and heard, in my spirit, the most wonderful thing from my most wonderful Father!  He said, “I like your voice.”  Wow!  God likes my voice!  If He likes it, who am I to dislike it?!  After all, He created me in His image.  I’m always praying to see people the way He sees them.  I guess He wanted to remind me that I need to see myself the way He sees me, as well.  I can’t tell you how freeing this simple revelation is.

I don’t know any Bible verses that talk about God liking my voice, but there are those that remind me of how much He loves and delights in me, and that’s what I’m reminded of in His simple statement of approval.  While you read these verses, think about how much He loves and even likes the you He created.  Then, purpose to think of yourself and those things you see as bad about yourself the way God does.  As you begin to grasp this truth for yourself, you will be better able to think of others in the same way, and that’s what it’s all about.

Zephaniah 3:17  “The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.”  AMP

Song of Solomon 2:4  “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love [for love waved as a protecting and comforting banner over my head when I was near him].”  AMP