Sunday, February 18, 2007

Captured by Grace

The current Christian book that I have been reading is called, "Captured by Grace" by David Jeremiah. I have only gotten through chapter three, but I already know that it will end up on my "top ten list" of favorite books. That usually means that a previous choice will be bumped down the list. But that's O.K.

Ranking the books that I read is very important to me. It helps me determine which ones to recommend to family and friends who are in need of finding meaning in life, comfort, encouragement and/or finding salvation in Christ Jesus.

I love what the book jacket says on the back:

Grace - it's a stained-glass, impersonal word until it happens to you...

Until you have been broken beyond belief and need a miracle for your soul.

Until you have betrayed a loved one and cannot bring them back. Until you have befriended every darkness and are desperate for the light.

That's when God's relentless, amazing, very personalized grace finds you.

It reached a slave trader onboard a ship raiding Africa's coast in March 1748. He later gave the world its most beloved hymn.

It struck the Christian church's most treacherous enemy on a Damascus road in A.D. 45...and he became the gospel's greatest messenger.

And it can free you too...of any shameful memory, open wound, unthinking mistake or willful choice.

Encountering God's grace changes lives forever. Let Dr. David Jeremiah show you how the transforming mercy that captured songwriter John Newton and the apostle Paul can awaken within you a fresh experience for the God who love you fearlessly and pursues you with abandon.

Such beautiful words!

I plan to share portions of chapter three later today. Meanwhile, I am posting (below) the parable of Jesus which is about the Prodigal Son.

I'm sure that several of you have heard this story. Some have heard it many times. But I am always amazed that when it is shared by different preachers, I often learn something new and profound about the story.

Jesus is the master storyteller. His parables have such depth and meaning that even a seasoned, 19-year-student of the Bible like me can still gain more enlightenment and insight from just one parable!

That is just one of the facts that makes the Bible such a unique, profound, and miraculous book! A believer can study it for their entire life and never arrive at knowing all the wisdom and knowledge that is contained within its precious pages! I am so excited about this and can't wait to share it!

For now, here's the parable as recorded in the book of Luke, chapter 15:

Luk 15:1 THEN all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him.

Luk 15:2 And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, "This Man receives sinners and eats with them."

Luk 15:3 So He spoke this parable to them, saying:

Luk 15:4 "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?

Luk 15:5 "And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

Luk 15:6 "And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'

Luk 15:7 "I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.

Luk 15:8 "Or what woman, having ten silver coins,* if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?

Luk 15:9 "And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!'

Luk 15:10 "Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

Luk 15:11 Then He said: "A certain man had two sons.

Luk 15:12 "And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.' So he divided to them his livelihood.

Luk 15:13 "And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.

Luk 15:14 "But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.

Luk 15:15 "Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

Luk 15:16 "And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

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

Luk 15:18 'I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you,

Luk 15:19 "and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants."'

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

Luk 15:21 "And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.'

Luk 15:22 "But the father said to his servants, 'Bring* out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.

Luk 15:23 'And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry;

Luk 15:24 'for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry.

Luk 15:25 "Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.

Luk 15:26 "So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.

Luk 15:27 "And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.'

Luk 15:28 "But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.

Luk 15:29 "So he answered and said to his father, 'Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.

Luk 15:30 'But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.'

Luk 15:31 "And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.

Luk 15:32 'It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.'"

15:8 Greek drachma, a valuable coin often worn in a ten-piece garland by married women
15:22 NU-Text reads Quickly bring.

Even before I come back to finish this post later today, please feel free to comment, ask questions and/or share any personal feelings about this parable in the comment section.

God bless your day!


Update: 2/19/07 @ 9:20 a.m.
Here it is Monday morning and I have not completed this post! I apologize for the delay. Had a busy Sunday! Started out with some great worship at church then fun times with the family!

The sermon topic was awesome! I want to share that with readers here, too! So much of God's awesome Word to share; so little time!

I will continue in a new post...


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