Simply Still Series: What can we Learn from Children about Rest?

As we wrap up this series, I want to accomplish 3 things: briefly summarize previous posts in the series; leave you with a gentle word of caution; and, finally, impart final words of encouragement.

Now, here’s the simplest part.  Lets review the topics covered in each of the 6 parts published so far (all are hyperlinked for easy reference):

Part 1

An Introduction to Being Still explored how being still is an imperative from God. In this way, being still isn’t a form of weakness; there is boldness in the obedience and stillness.

Part 2

Emptying Our Plates provided some advice on how to go about emptying already full plates. How can we be still if we are too busy to be still? Remember, we will be able to accomplish infinitely more for those entrusted to our care and for the kingdom if we surrender to God’s will for our lives. Sometimes less is more!

Part 3

Living it Out attempted to put my own advice and the Word of God into practice. Instead of spending more time on writing than I reasonably had to give during the busy holiday season and while my family quarantined; I opted to share some of the best content ever created: Scripture. Verses focusing on the need to rest were highlighted as I took a step back for a few days.

Part 4

Saying No offered additional examples of life application as related to being still, specifically on how to say, “No.” The latter skill is key if we want to keep our schedules balanced once we get them to where God would like them to be.

Part 5

Is Keeping the Sabbath Still for Real? established the Sabbath rest as part of God’s design for creation. God set the standard and the example for us, his creation, when he, the Creator, rested on the 7th day. Creation was incomplete until it encompassed the act of resting.

Part 6

Finally, Resting Better suggested an antidote to our restlessness: trusting in the Lord more during the times when we are asked to slow down. A biblical example from Exodus set the backdrop for this important and sometimes sensitive discussion.

Now, speaking of sensitive discussions, here is that promised word of caution I mentioned earlier: be wary of keeping “sabbath” rest for purely legalistic reasons.  While I understand we all have seasons where we need to “fake it until we make it,” Sabbath rest should be more of a mindset than something we feel obligated to squeeze into our schedules.  Once rest becomes something else to check off we are missing the point. Yes, we are to be obedient and be still, but its a heart change as much as it is either a scheduling or cerebral change.

The essence of the Sabbath (and being still) is to cease, stop striving and trust in Him.  As long as you are doing this intentionally out of a pure heart, you are doing just fine! Do not get hung up on the exact day you are keeping your Sabbath.  Doing so can push up against some dangerously legalistic territory!

Now that we have recapped the series as a whole and have received our loving dose of caution, let me share some final words of encouragement.

But first…

Do me a favor, and scroll up for a quick second.  See that picture?  That’s my 8-year old daughter, Kaleigh, laying on my lap during church two weeks ago.  Do you know what else she is resting on?  There’s something between her head and my lap…My Bible! The Word! She is literally and figuratively at rest on and in the Word during a worship service! 

Next time I need to be grounded and be still, I’m going to think of the simultaneously simple yet profound truths portrayed in that picture. The Word is around her; she’s soaking it in as she peacefully listens to the message. The Word is in Her. She loves Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is alive in her! The Word is touching her. She is literally touching it, but it is also moving her heart! This 8-year old had not a care in the world that Sunday: she just needed to be still while existing and absorbing His Word.

After looking at the picture some more I started to wonder what light a childlike faith could shed on the idea of resting on God. It is that simplicity and pureness of heart I’d like to leave you with today, which is why I asked each of my three children what resting on God meant to them. Here’s what they said:

Following what He says.

Kaleigh, age 8

Believing in God and putting faith in God.

Keira, age 10

Relying on His Word. Relying that He is there when you need Him the most. Relying that he is just there.

William, age 14

Right out of the mouths of babes, am I right?! Do you have a child in your life you could ask the same question to? See what they say! Perhaps their answers, lacking any pretense whatsoever, will provide you with a refreshing perspective: a perspective that can’t easily come from many well-read or even well-intentioned adults.

Friends, although I’ve now spent several weeks recounting scriptural truths and practical how-to-style advice, please know that resting on the Word of God doesn’t have to be difficult; but it does take our willingness.

As our pastor pointed out this morning during service, “we need to step back and step toward God.” Go to Him…be still…and find rest. It will change you.

Please be sure to check out the blog’s fb page for this 40-day posting eggtravaganza!

Also this week we reached 400 followers on fb! I’m doing a giveaway to celebrate! Leave a comment on the giveaway post on fb by 7pm to enter!

Simply Still Series: Top 6 Stillness Verses

Well, with my first full week of seminary behind me and almost a full semester left to go, I am definitely feeling the need to rest! How hypocritical would it be if I wrote about being still but did not also live it out?! So…although I am leaving you with very little content today, in all the ways that matter it’s all that you need: God’s own Words. Here are some verses to pray over which reinforce the biblical imperative to be still:

Be still, and know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

Exodus 14:14

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Psalm 37:7

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.

Psalm 23:1-2

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.

Hebrews 4:9-10

Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes!

1 Samuel 12:16

The Lord continues to do remarkable things, just as He did in the time of Samuel. Awe-inspiring works in those around us and in you. Follow me this week in being simply still and let’s see what divine works we can notice! What may He change or soften in us?! How much more will we be restored this time next week?!

As as a closing devotional, here today’s Jesus Calling which seems to be especially fitting:

Let my love enfold you in the radiance of My Glory. Sit still in the light of my presence, and receive My Peace. These quiet moments with Me transcend time, accomplishing far more than you can imagine. Bring Me the sacrifice of your time, and watch to see how abundantly I bless you and your loved ones.

Through the intimacy of our relationship, you are being transformed from the inside out. As you keep your focus on Me, I form you into the one I desire you to be. Your part is to yield to My creative work in you, neither resisting it nor trying to speed it up. Enjoy the tempo of a God-breathed life by letting Me set the pace. Hold My hand in childlike trust, and the way before you will open up step by step.

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, January 25

Missed other posts in the series? I got you… ❤

Simply Still Series: How to Forego What is Good for What is Best

In a short video for my first post, I mentioned how I didn’t want to start this blog unless I knew that God willed me to write it.  Over the years I learned that one of the most significant contributors to burnout is piling responsibilities on top of responsibilities, without ever considering if those commitments were actually willed by God to be a part of my life at that time.  Of course, we will experience burnout if we fill up our time with things that were never meant to be there to begin with!

Today’s post in the Simply Still Series will focus on shifting away from being overcommitted. If you didn’t check out the first post in the series from last week, please be sure to do that!

Here’s a gentle warning: even commitments which are “for God” or which are “good” and “healthy” are generally not worth the trouble if they are not aligned with God’s will for our lives at that point.  That means praying through some hard choices.  It also means possibly foregoing what is good for what is best. 

If you struggle with being overcommitted and a general lack of stillness, there could be a number of contributing factors.  Maybe there is a value system which does not prioritize time and resources the way God would prefer? Maybe there is apprehension around saying, “No.”. The possibilities are endless, none are mutually exclusive, and I have been guilty of most!  Regardless of why you are overextended, today, I’m going to offer two pieces of advice on how to reduce your current commitments:

1st Piece of Advice

Make a list of everything on your plate right now.  What can you outsource (i.e., shoppers at the grocery store or pick up options)?  What can a spouse or significant other do or be taught to do?  An older child?  What can you do away with all together? What needs to be put on hold for a period of time? Sometimes seeing things on paper can help make sense of what stays and what goes.  Of course, pray on it!

2nd Piece of Advice

If you are really struggling (or even if you are not), consider clearing as much as possible from your schedule. This may sound like a silly or extreme idea, but I LOVE doing this each winter.  We live in the Poconos and although I love looking at the snow, I don’t necessarily love being in it.  It also gets dark very early in the winter…very, very early. 

Needless to say, winter in the Poconos really lends itself very well to a homebody seeking to lessen their load.  Also, with all the hustle and bustle of beginning a new school year finally far enough behind us, it really is an opportune time to deliberately press pause on activities. 

Maybe those expensive gymnastic lessons lose some appeal after taking a break from them?  Maybe that ministry you are serving in will be able to open the door for someone else to come in and serve in your absence? Only move toward reintroducing or introducing a commitment once you are certain it is meant to be there. More on this in a future post!

Now, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, I will never offer advice that I don’t follow myself or that is not a product of my own experience.  Here is one example of how God worked through my commitments, or lack thereof, about a year ago. 

I found myself in school (yet again!), only this time for my Doctorate. At the time, I really sensed God wanted me back in school to open up new doors with a higher level of education. I was right about the school part, but wrong about the focus area. You see, I was pursuing a Doctor of Public Administration to supplement my Masters in the same subject area. I was about a semester or two in when I sensed God gently pressing me to stop. I had no idea why; nor did I know what else He might want me to pursue.

Nonetheless, I obeyed and withdrew.

Within a few weeks, God was igniting a long-dormant call to pursue ministry. Within a few more months I started down a path which could culminate in ordination, and just this week I begin a new higher education journey in seminary. What a whirlwind! Do you think I could have been able to identify what God wanted my next steps to be if I didn’t create margin by first relinquishing some responsibilities on my plate? Maybe. Probably not.

You see, I LOVED going for my doctorate! I thrive when I’m surrounded by minds brighter than my own, pushing me to think beyond what I’m currently capable of. Is pursuing a higher education bad? Nope! But here’s the thing: those were my plans, not His. Once I sensed that God had different plans for me, I adjusted my course. I didn’t know why or to what end. I simply obeyed.

God took care of the rest of the details and revealed some of the missing pieces once I was open to seeing them. I still don’t have all the pieces in front of me, but I trust Him and now I know through Spirit-led affirmations that I am indeed on the right path this time…at least until God gives me new directions.

Our stories will look different, but there will be a common dominator between you and I:  we can accomplish infinitely more for those entrusted to our care and for the Kingdom if we surrender to God’s will for our lives.  Sometimes less is more!

Don’t get me wrong, I can still overcommit, but I am getting better about consulting with God while I decide what to take on. 

Now that we have reviewed some ways to think about and actually create more time in our busy schedules, we will spend the next posts delving into some ideas around how to keep our schedules manageable.  Without that, we will be back to square one in no time at all. Think of it as the maintenance phase in weight loss. That juice cleanse won’t help much if we drive to Starbucks for some creamy, caffeinated goodness as soon as the cleanse is up!


Father God, in your infinite wisdom, help me to discern which responsibilities are really mine and mine alone.  I feel comfortable when I am in control so I don’t delegate as often as I should, but I know this is not your desire for me.  It can’t be!  Trusting you is more than enough. When I feel led to transition out of participating in an activity in some capacity, I will trust that you know what is best for me and the others around me.  I will humbly follow where you lead.

In Jesus’ Holy & Precious Name,


Simply Still Series: Tired of Being Tired?

Why do we let ourselves run so ragged? I mean think about it…why do we let ourselves become so depleted? No one is forcing us to chair that fundraiser. If we have kids, no one is asking us sign them up for yet another extra curricular…except perhaps the kids themselves. So why do we do it? Surely we have the capacity to take on or not take on the vast majority of activities which vie for our time and money. Yet, here we are.

Running on empty is clearly not God’s intention for us.  He could never want this lifestyle of perpetual exhaustion and restlessness for us, His children whom He delights so much in.

So again I ask, “Why do we let this happen?” Do we think we know better than God does when it comes to what’s best? 

Over recent weeks I have had different versions of the same conversation with various friends.  These conversations are what prompted me to address the topics we are covering over the next few weeks together. “I just don’t know how to say, ‘No’,” said one.  “I don’t even know myself anymore,” said another. 

In fact, we know from David that our Almighty Father desires the complete opposite of this for us:

Be Still and Know I am God. 

Psalm 46:10a

Be Still. This is not just a mere suggestion. It’s an imperative straight from the Lord, calling upon us to take up stillness as a part of our very being. This is more than acting still or desiring to be still, or thinking about being still.  It’s actually a state of being.  A state of being still. But how do we get there?

I don’t pretend to know all the answers, or even a fraction of the answers.  However, I do know what it is like to experience burnout and have nothing left for the people I should have the most for. I know what it’s like just going through the motions, too worn and defeated to even know I was worn and defeated.  I know what its like giving God my leftover time and energy, if anything at all, and not my very best.

I know what it’s like to try and remedy this imbalance on my own.

Once I got clued in that my body was keeping the score, I knew some changes were in order.  I read the books.  I did the things (think yoga, breathwork, and other practices).  None of these are bad things! In many ways, they are quite helpful, especially when they promote self-healing. However, they won’t sustain us, and they shouldn’t be done apart from a larger framework defined and ordained by God.

I also do not pretend to live the most balanced life at all times. Nonetheless, by the grace of God, I also know what it’s like to surrender a worn-out body and mind to Him. This allowed Him, not I, to re-prioritize how I spend my time and who I spend it with. 

The Lord had a great deal of heart work to do within me (and he still does). That is not something anyone but God can do for you, and will only come from abiding in Him. That said, I also learned a lot along the path toward balanced living where the Lord is prioritized above all else. When doing so, believe it or not, I still had more than enough time and energy for anything which followed Him.

In 2021 I published a similar series, Be Still. I have taken that content and reimagined it, additionally applying what I’ve learned between then and now. Snippets of content may be the same, but I don’t know about you but I forget A LOT and need gentle reminders even more than I forget. So what about it, will you join me?

Over the next few weeks, let us seek out simplicity.  We will explore priorities, commitments and boundaries so that we may be obedient in Being Still. We will see what God has to say about all this since our actions and thoughts must be grounded in Truth…His Truth…if they are to be sustained and done for His glory.  In doing so we will be set free from what we were never intended to take on to begin with. Is there a bolder way to enter the new year than declaring that our time and priorities are His?  Don’t be fooled!  There’s boldness in the obedience and stillness. 


Father God, Help me to slow down.  I am tired of doing things my own way.  Literally tired. Mentally tired.  Spiritually tired. At times, I have nothing left for my family, myself or you.  I know there must be another way. I know you desire me to be still.  Can you help me with that, please?  You are far wiser than I, and I seek to do your will! 

In Jesus’ Holy and Precious Name,



Let’s Normalize This…

On occasion, in addition to the blogs on this page, I also post microblogs to Living Simply With God’s facebook page. Today was one of those days, and I wanted to share it with this audience as well. It’s important enough and so are you.

Written for fb today:

Think about how well you do your job. Could any friend or family member just come along and do what you do? Probably not. You’ve been trained in what you do. You may have gone to school for it. You may have gone for a really, really long time. SAHMs, could just anyone parent the way you do? No. You’re the most qualified. Why then, do we allow friends and family (or our own minds) to take the place of therapists when therapists can offer expertise like no one else can? Here’s some things that have been on my heart:

❤️ Therapists aren’t only for people with “something wrong with them”.

❤️ Someone with a diagnosis doesn’t have “something wrong with them” anyway. They have a diagnosis & it’s just a part of a whole person.

❤️ Since someone isn’t their diagnosis we should never say the “schizophrenic” or the “autistic” kid. They are a person with schizophrenia or autism. Person first language, ALWAYS, but just names are even better.

❤️ Major Depressive Disorder is different than depression and vice versa. Same for Anxiety Disorder/Anxiety, etc. All can be conquered, albeit differently, which is where a good therapist can come in.

❤️ Therapists can help people live their lives better, even if there’s no presenting diagnosis, depression, anxiety, etc.

❤️Feeling overwhelmed with packed schedules? Therapists can help.

❤️ Have that one family member, friend, or co-worker that you just can’t deal with? Therapists can help.

❤️ Can’t say no or habitually withdraw? Therapists can help with both.

❤️ We may not vibe with a therapist, and that’s ok. They are people with personalities just like us. Don’t despair, just try someone else. I found mine on my second try, but I would have had a third if we didn’t click.

❤️ Medication isn’t for everyone; but for some it can make all the difference in getting brain chemicals to balance out within normal ranges.

❤️Even if medication does help, therapists can’t hurt.

❤️Therapists can be long-time supports or in our lives just for a season.

❤️My season was for one year. Weekly & then bi-monthly, and then I moved on. Maybe I’ll see someone again in the future, but for now, I’m implementing the practices I learned during that year, which came after a few years of chronic stress. My body was taking the toll and keeping score without me even knowing it, and I needed help. My regular doctor helped as much as she could, but God and my therapist took over the rest.

❤️One of the biggest comforts to someone in therapy is hearing someone else say something like, “I learned this in therapy this week” or “My therapist said…” It helps them know they are not alone and that other people are comfortable with therapy, so maybe they can be, too.
❤️Let’s normalize therapy, shall we?

❤️If you’re Christian, protect that worldview in your sessions. Let your therapist know on day 1 that you only want to work within the scope of His Truth. That changes the advice given at times. If a secular counselor can’t do that well and respectfully, find a Christian counselor.

❤️Therapy works best when we also cast our fears upon the Lord & allow Him to direct our steps.

All my love,
Helen ❤️

Now that the advent study is done, wondering what’s in store? I plan on going back to my weekly Wednesday posts, starting next week and will start by sharing an updated version of last year’s Be Still Series. What better time to examine what’s on our plates and learn about balance than at the new year? See you then!

Prodigal Series Day 20: Good Father, Wrapping Up

Let’s think back to where all this started: people who thought they knew more about the Kingdom of God than Jesus did asked how He could eat with sinners. As we’ve seen, our merciful and gracious God invites everyone into His house.  As such, eating with sinners doesn’t contradict God’s teachings at all; it reinforces them.  If God forgives and Christ forgives, as in this story, and we are called to be Christlike than we should do the same.

How else can this parable inform our actions?  Well, while of course it is comforting to acknowledge the reality that we are all forgiven when we repent and are welcome in the Father’s house, we must not stop at accepting that mercy. 

We must extend it to others.  Yes, God is revealing aspects of His character here, but in doing so, it begs us to implement the same.

If God welcomes sinners home, then certainly those who trust in God should do likewise. If God has compassion, then certainly those who love God should be compassionate as well.

Just like we were called to be like Jesus who was the perfect younger brother without the disobedience and the perfect older brother without the pride, we are also called to be like the father.

We should not just be the one who is forgiven, but also the one who forgives.  This may mean allowing myself to get a little uncomfortable, check my ego at the door, and surrender to how God wants me to live as His follower.

Let us not just be the ones who are welcomed home, but also the ones who welcome others home. 

Let us not just be the ones who receive compassion, but the ones who offer it well.

God’s compassion is described by Jesus not simply to show how willing God is to forgive, but to invite us to become like God and show the same compassion to others.

We’ve covered so much ground together!

Where do you see yourself in this parable? Ask God to reveal that to you.  Where is your distant country?  Are you there now?  Do you need to turn from it and to God? Have you turned away from sin, but still need to accept forgiveness? 

If you have been delivered from a distant country, spend time praising him this week for that!

Tomorrow will bring another short testimony and then our time in this series will come to a close.  Before we get there, though, take 4 minutes to watch this video. You’ll be grateful you did! I’d love it if you leave your reactions in the comments.

Accompanying Playlist

Did you know I created a worship playlist just for this series?!

Celebrate a good, good Father who is always calling and welcoming his children home!

Previous posts from the Prodigal Series

Miss one? I got you covered! All teachings from this series are found here.

The Prodigal Series Day 19: Good Father, Our Father

Today, we are going to bask in the glory that is God, our good, good Father.  Isn’t it incredible that this God we have, the creator of heaven and earth, has chosen, first and foremost, to be a father?!  He could have literally picked any role He wanted to, and yet He chose to be a father. 

He’s OUR father.  That doesn’t just mean you and I, or the just people we congregate with on Sundays, if that’s something we do.  It means ALL believers of ALL time, past, current, and future!  He is the Father to all of us! When Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father…” he was connecting all believers together with Himself in three syllables. (Jesus didn’t say, “Say, My Father,” but rather the 1st person plural, “our”).  Here’s a little tidbit for you:  Until Jesus taught us how to pray, God was only “Father” in the Old Testament.  The “our” was introduced by Jesus. 

There’s something to understand about our Father’s love though: it doesn’t force itself on us.  We can choose to walk in the light with Him or not.  If he compelled us to love Him, that wouldn’t be very remarkable at all.  That would be a dictatorship as opposed to a reciprocal relationship and would take the beauty out of knowing Him.  His love is there for the taking if we choose it.  Remember the sun metaphor? God’s love does not depend on our repentance.  It is there before we repent.  The father invited the son into the party before he apologized, and Christ dies while we were still sinners.

Consider this quote from Arthur Freeman:

The father loves each son and gives each the freedom to be what he can, but he cannot give them freedom they will not take nor adequately understand. The father seems to realize, beyond the customs of his society, the need of his sons to be themselves. But he also knows their need for his love and a home. How their stories will be completed is up to them. The fact that the parable is not completed makes it certain that the father’s love is not dependent upon an appropriate completion of the story. The father’s love is only dependent on himself and remains part of his character.

Arthur Freeman

So here we have a situation where we can accept God’s love or reject it.  We know neither how the younger son fared at the celebration nor how he lived with his father after his return. We also do not know whether the elder son ever reconciled himself with his brother, his father, or himself. But we do know that the father was merciful. By knowing this and not the rest from what Jesus tells us here, we have further proof that God’s mercy is extended whether or not we are ready to accept it.

So what does all this mean for us?  There’s a very specific call to action for those who desire to apply this particular teaching to their lives.  Are you here for it? Let’s discuss tomorrow.



Accompanying Playlist

Did you know I created a worship playlist just for this series?!

Celebrate a good, good Father who is always calling and welcoming his children home!

Previous posts from the Prodigal Series

Miss one? I got you covered! All teachings from this series are found here.

The Prodigal Series Day 18: Good Father, An Open Invite

Today is going to be a short one!  So far we have seen how the father didn’t respond as expected when it came to his younger son’s departure and return.  He also would have turned some heads when it came to how he responded to his older son as well.

Remember last week how we highlighted how disrespectful the older son was? Well, given how we now know how patriarchal Middle Eastern society was, how do you think it should have gone over once the older son got his two cents in?

Not very well at all.

Again, the father could have met his son with physical blows in response to how the son addressed him and rejected the party invite.

Did he do this?

No!  He tenderly responds with, “My son…”

Despite the hissy fit, the father STILL wanted him at the feast.  The father wanted BOTH sons there.  It didn’t matter how they sinned.  He wanted BOTH of his children, which, as we saw, represents two ways to sin.  The “traditional” sinners AND the Pharisees! Together! At the feast! 

The father wasn’t about to disown the younger, but he wasn’t about to disown the older, either. As long as the older could swallow his pride, he could enter the feast.  In fact, his pride was the only thing standing in the way between him and celebrating with His father! The choice was all his.  In turn, it’s also the very the same choice Jesus was presenting to the Pharisees. 

It’s the same choice we have today. Can we swallow our pride so we can truly be in the presence of our Father?

You see, the father’s love was offered wholly AND equally to both sons.  Both were wrong, but both belong to him.  Jesus isn’t pitting the two brothers against each other.  He isn’t saying one is more or less right than the other.  He is leveling the playing field by saying both are wrong.  The father alone is the righteous character in this story.

If the father isn’t segregating by types of sin than neither should we.  He alone is the one who is righteous enough to judge and save!

Yes, different sins carry different consequences, but let’s stop thinking we are better OR worse than someone because either they or us sin differently. If God allows both into His presence than so should we….and we should do so in love, not apprehensively or resentfully, because that is not the example we have playing out here. 

We are almost done with our time together in this series, but first I have a bit more to share with you.  Join me tomorrow? 

Until then,


Accompanying Playlist

Did you know I created a worship playlist just for this series?!

Celebrate a good, good Father who is always calling and welcoming his children home!

Here’s a playlist created just for this series! Celebrate a good, good Father who is always calling and welcoming his children home.

Prodigal Series Day 17: Good Father, A Runner

Well, we know how the father left things when his son abandoned him.  But how about when the son returned?  It’s this second father/son interaction we are focusing on today. 

With the father acting as gracious upon his son’s return as he did when the son left, we can notice that the son’s poor choices and disobedience were bookended with the father’s mercy and grace. 

The father doesn’t ignore his son.  He doesn’t wait for him to come to him, with flat affect and no emotion.  He RUNS to his son!

We know from Jesus and Luke’s storytelling that this father was very wealthy with landholdings and servants.  Do you think a man of that stature would have run to anyone? Not a chance!  Such frolicking would have been reserved for children or young men engaging in sport.

Middle Eastern patriarchs did not run.

Not only did the father disregard what would have been acceptable behavior, he also totally preempted his son’s apology by extending forgiveness right on the spot! Remember how the son had a whole plan of how he would redeem himself by becoming a servant?  Not even his best laid plan could compare to what his father had in mind!

Nothing is good enough for the son! The father isn’t holding past transgressions against him.  Not in how he left and not in how he squandered money.  It’s ALL water under the bridge. 

Some scholars maintain that the robe the father calls for was either the father’s own robe or a robe only reserved for distinguished quests.  Nonetheless, we see him pulling out all the stops.  If, indeed, it was the former, that would be completely representative of the son’s reinstatement into the family.

In either case, the father is sending a clear message: he is not waiting for debts to be paid (which would have been customary as we learned in week 1) or for the son to grovel.  No one needs to earn their way back into that family.  Their place is secured just in the very fact that they came back.  The father’s love never went away so nothing had to be done to earn it back.


I’ll provide proof in the text later in the week, but for now consider this analogy:

Does the sun still shine on cloudy days? Of course. We are simply beneath the cloud covering so we can’t perceive it to be so.  If you were to take a flight on that same cloudy day, for example, would you notice the light above the clouds? Yes! Again, of course!  We have no bearing whatsoever on the sun’s ability to shine. Rather, we are more or less inclined to perceive it’s reality in relation to our proximity to it.

So it is with the father’s love.  It is there. It’s not going anywhere, yet sometimes when we travel to distant countries, far from our Fathers house, it can seem as though that is not so.  The enemy will even try to trick us into thinking its gone forever or until we pay some price.  That’s simply not true.

Grounded in love, the father restored the son and then some.  This is especially ironic since the son added insult to injury when he left.  The father though? He responds with grace on top of grace.

The fattened calf is another prime example of the father’s extravagant love.  That would have been the choiciest meat and reserved for only the finest of occasions.  This feast would have been one that had the whole town talking.  It would be Page Six material for sure.

Let’s consider all of what we went over the last two days so far in light of who Jesus was talking to: the sinners he was eating with and the Pharisees.  He would have been challenging their current mindset with this story: God’s love and forgiveness can pardon and restore any and every kind of sin or wrongdoing. Intentional acts of ill will? Harm? Murder? Self-sabotaging? Addictions? It doesn’t matter to God. All are welcome home.  

In the father’s home there is always abundant room with food and grace to spare.

No sin is a match for His grace.  Incase that is something you need to hear today: no sin is a match for His grace.  Go to Him! Let Him welcome you home! 

If you have time, sit with that for a bit today.  Tomorrow we will look at the 3rd way the father surprised the listeners.  There’s a valuable lesson in it for us.

Until tomorrow,


Accompanying Playlist

Did you know I created a worship playlist just for this series?!

Celebrate a good, good Father who is always calling and welcoming his children home!

Previous posts from the Prodigal Series

Miss one? I got you covered! All teachings from this series are found here.

Prodigal Series Day 16: Good Father, An Example

As a quick reminder, we are going to start to look at how the father figure challenged norms in how he responded throughout the parable.  In turn, we should be inspired to respectfully and appropriately challenge the norms of our society, opting instead for the more kingdom-mindful response.

Remember how the younger son was totally out of line to ask for the inheritance?  We discussed this in week 1 together.  Not only was it utterly insulting and against traditionally accepted behavior, but it required the father to uproot his life in order to make good on the request of him. 

Now, let’s look at the other side of the same coin, shifting our focus from the son to the father.  This response to the inheritance request will be the first response we look at together. Since we know the father figure is a stand in for our heavenly Father, by shifting our gaze upon Him, we are implementing a foundational practice while reading Scripture.

Focusing on what Scripture tells us about God is a significant rule of thumb, because the Bible is ultimately a story about God, HIS redemption story, His purposes, and HIS ways.  The misgivings of other characters are secondary plot lines and should serve to highlight the goodness and righteousness of God!

OK. Back to the parable at hand…

So when looking at the father, there’s a few things to understand.  First, this was an intensely patriarchal society. Respect for elders, particularly parents, was of monumental importance.  How should the father have acted within the confines of traditional Middle Eastern society?  Physical blows. That’s right! Physical retaliation would have been what was expected of the father and acting accordingly would have been totally justified, given the magnitude of the son’s request. 

But what did he actually do? 

He gave up what was his, apparently with neither hesitation nor animosity.

This would have been unheard of! Patriarchs would never have responded so patiently in the face of dishonor and rejected love.

What do we do when someone hurts us?  I know what we should do…but if we are truthful, we oftentimes don’t act as we should.  We may not necessarily downright retaliate with forthright pain or sinister schemes most foul, but perhaps we give the silent treatment? Gossip to others about it?  Harbor resentment (like the older brother)?  Love a little less? Perhaps we either self-soothe so the rejection doesn’t sting as much or avoid the person all together. 

Here, with the father’s example, we have a better option.  He bears the agony himself and maintains affection for his child.

Does this sound familiar?  When else can we think of a time our Father bared the agony in silence?

For the rest of today, and hopefully beyond, prayerfully contemplate how to use the Father’s example (both fictional and actual) to inform more biblically-based responses to nefarious words and actions.  Let the Word change where we need changing!

Tomorrow we will look at the next way the father went against the tide of normal expectations. 

Until then,


Accompanying Playlist

Did you know I created a worship playlist just for this series?!

Celebrate a good, good Father who is always calling and welcoming his children home!

Previous posts from the Prodigal Series

Miss one? I got you covered! All teachings from this series are found here.