“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.”

Luke 15:20

The parable of the prodigal son is one of my absolute favorites. I can see it all in my mind. The young man, who was given everything he needed financially, leaves home in search of greener grass. I imagine he met some people he thought would be life-long friends, people he shared his riches with but ultimately was betrayed by.

He partied and squandered everything he had until he finally came to himself and realized the terrible mistake he had made. He had lost himself in the chaos of sin.

He threw away family for friends who were only interested in his financial status.

He replaced love and comfort with emptiness and shame.

He traded security for fear.

Through all of this though, his father was watching for him. God is working on your children, your spouse, and your family and friends. We have to keep watch, for one day we will strain our eyes to get a better look and our precious sons and daughters will be walking down the road – coming home at last.

Don’t lose hope Mothers and Grandmothers, God is doing the impossible. So keep watch.

God, I am so thankful today for Your mercies that are new every morning. I’m thankful that you do Your best work all the time, and I know You are performing a miracle in my family right now.

“So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore, let us no longer judge one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in the way of your brother or sister” (Romans 14:12-13, Christian Standard Bible).

When I was a small child, one of the hymns sometimes sung was “Watching You.” The chorus went like this:

Watching you, watching you,
Ev’ry day mind the course you pursue,
Watching you, watching you,
There’s an all seeing Eye watching you.

                                                                                  “Watching You” by John M. Henson

As you can imagine, as a child this “eye in the sky” concept did not make me comfortable. God leaning over from Heaven, just waiting to catch me doing wrong, was a scary thought. I haven’t heard that hymn sung in many years, and I realize God isn’t just waiting to pounce if I stumble. With maturity, I’ve also come to understand God does care about my actions (but isn’t going to pounce) and how I live also affects those around me. Whether we realize it or not, someone is always watching—and that someone may be our child, a coworker, our neighbor, or those we meet each day. How my action affects them is the ripple effect.

ripple effect (noun)  a series of things that happen as the result of a particular action or event. (from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary).

Whether consciously or unconsciously, how we live affects those around us. This can be a good thing or in some instances not so good. When Paul addressed the young men of the church in the Book of Titus, he explained how living a life of integrity is a good witness to the non-believer. The same holds true for any age.

“Showing yourself to be an example of good works in every way. In your teaching show integrity, dignity, and a sound message that cannot be criticized, so that any opponent will be at a loss, because he has nothing evil to say about us” (Titus 2:7-8, New English Translation).

Modern culture tells us it doesn’t matter how we live. It’s our right, our freedom, to choose the lifestyle we want. If we aren’t breaking the law or harming someone else, it’s okay. Others should have no say in the matter. Culture may declare this, but the church must not. It is counter to biblical teaching. We may be the only example of Christ-like living someone will ever see.

“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13, New Living Translation).

Prayer: Lord, help me to live in such a way that others can see You shining through my actions. I want to live with integrity and humility. I never want my actions to harm another or dishonor Your name in any way. It is my desire to draw others to You, not drive them away.

weeds watching“But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.” Matthew 13:25

Sometimes it might seem that you get up in the morning, and someone has planted weeds among your beautiful flowers. Where did they come from so fast? What happened while you were sleeping?

If we fall asleep spiritually, or slip into neutral and just try to coast along, the enemy of our souls will seize this opportunity to plant spiritual weeds in our heart. A root of bitterness will take hold, and slowly start to destroy us.

We must stay alert and on guard spiritually! Keep your eyes on your spiritual garden, and don’t let the enemy come in and plant his ungodly seeds.

Prayer: Lord, let me alert and awake spiritually. Open my eyes to the tricks of the enemy, and show me how to protect my spiritual life.

Devotion by Liane Grant