Are you a Son or a Slave?
When we read Luke 15, we come to this passage of a story of two sons. One is a shameful son who asks for his inheritance before his Father dies to burn it on shameful living. And you have another son who serves faithfully with his Father.
When the shameful son figures out his foolish choices, he heads back to his Father, asking to be treated as a servant. But his Father embraces him as his loved, lost son and celebrates his return.
The other son who has served with his Father can't even call his brother "brother" (Luke 15:30) is outraged when his Father accepts the person he has already rejected.
If you have spent any time in the church, you have heard this story. But the more I read this passage, the more I see how our Father God wants to relate to us and how we relate to Him. It shows how our Father views us and how we view Him. It exposes His heart for us and reveals the true nature of our hearts to ourselves.
We have a loving Father who deeply loves His children. But some of us failed so much that we feel that we should not even be called sons but treated like slaves. Others of us publicly are called sons and have no seen fault but hidden in our hearts we carry a relationship that functions more like a slave with his master.
One is entering in repentance to the Father. The other is avoiding a celebration with the Father.
One broken. The other is hard.
One is asking to be a slave—the other is living like one.
I look at this passage, and I see myself. Not only as a prodigal son who has sinned but also as the other son who acts like a slave.
God has been working on me for the last few years on what it means to be a son. He is teaching me what it means to be in his family, not just a servant in his household.
I am longing to grow deeper as a son. Being a missionary, it is easy to step into being a slave/servant in the house of God. But God has so much more for us. We don't fully understand His deep love for us. We don't fully understand how much He accepts us as His beloved children.
Where do you see yourself? Are you a son or a slave? Where are you standing with our Father?
Wherever you stand, I pray you would walk with me on this path of intimacy, going deeper in our relationship with our Father. For sure, down this path, there will be times when we will need to let go of things through repentance. We must understand that with intimacy comes exposure. Anything hidden will be brought into the light. But there will be acceptance. We will have no greater joy than in the loving arms of our Father.
Let us hold the hand of our Father as we journey down this path. I don't fully understand where He will take us or what is ahead. But let us trust our Father. He knows what is best. He can see down the road. He knows the way.
Come, let us walk with our Father.
If you would like more info about who you are, please watch a couple of videos that can help you.
CLICK HERE for a short video
CLICK HERE for a teaching video
Baguio, Antipolo, and Thailand
In the last month I have slept in my bed only 4 nights. We started by traveling to Baguio as a family. The kids loved being at the base and I also enjoyed teaching in the Making Disciple Makers (MDM) staff and leaders training. It was also a delight to meet up with old friends and talk to John and Angie Parsons who are currently leading the base. We really enjoyed our time.
Outside of the teaching Baguio is where Haydee and I met and also where we had our honeymoon. We have a lot of fond memories of Baguio and it was nice to walk down memory lane!
After Baguio we headed home and celebrated Lemuel's birthday by heading to Star City; an amusement park in Manila with family. Lemuel said it was the best Birthday ever!
After that we headed up to YWAM Antipolo as a family where I went to teach in their DTS on Father Heart of God. God showed up! He was not only touching the students but also me!
Right after teaching in Antipolo I flew out to Thailand and last week taught in Chiang Rai's Thai/ English DTS on Relationships and this week I am teaching Re-entry in their English DTS.
Being back in Thailand has been a blessing reconnecting with friends.
In the midst of busyness God has been speaking to me and I am very encouraged on how He is leading us. We still got a lot more stuff coming, but thank you for taking the time to pray and support us during this time. It means more then you can imagine. (In the picture is a lady who a lot of staff in the YWAM Chiang Rai has befriended. Could you please pray for the next 30 sec. that she will know God more? Thanks!)
Hand of Our Father
One morning I was praying. I was bringing all my concerns to God. All the stress points and worries. Then I asked Him if there was a Word He wanted to speak to me. Then in my spirit, I heard, "Hold on to My hand. Walk with Me." I then saw a picture of me as a small boy around five years old, holding the hand of our Father God. He was leading me through some dangerous and dark areas. Then He leads me into a field full of light and hope.
We are the children of our Father, and He is holding our hand.
At the time, my daughter Michaella was three and a half years old. I was learning (and still learning) how to be a father. But I knew that if I was walking with her either in the mall or through the field, it was best if I was holding her hand. Why? For several reasons.
1) She could trip. If I were holding her hand, I could pull her up so she wouldn't fall on the rocky ground.
God wants us to hold His hand. It is an acknowledgment that we are safer in His hands.
We don't always know how to proceed as we walk through life. We sometimes lose our footing and could fall. But if we are holding God's hand, he can pull us up. We find security in the hand of our Father.
Our Father doesn't promise us that we will not walk through rocky fields. But He will be there to help us guide the way. He will hold our hand.
There were also times when my daughter didn't want me to hold her hand. She wanted to do it herself, even if I warned her several times that it was best that she would hold my hand through the rocky field. As a father, I can see what is about to happen. She could trip and lose her footing and then fall. She scraps her knee and/or her hand. She then cries. Who does she cry out to? She cries out to her daddy. I then could pick her up and hug her. I would clean her wounds and then warn her that it is best to hold my hand in the rocky field.
Sometimes we insist on not holding the hand of our Father. He has warned us to stay near Him and to hold his hand. But we want to do it on our own. But when we fall and cry out, He is quick to pick us up, comfort us, and clean our wounds.
2) She could get lost. In Asia, there are a lot of people everywhere you go. When we are in a mall, I want my daughter to hold my hand, so she doesn't get lost.
Sometimes, as we walk throughout our lives, we can be distracted by all that is around us.
We don't focus on our Father but focus on the movement of life around us.
Our Father wants us to hold His hand so we can stay focused on where He is taking us. He knows where we need to go. He knows how to get there.
I have seen my daughter not hold my hand in the mall and want to go ahead of me. I would call for her, but she wants to be upfront, heading the way. Then I would see her go off in the wrong direction, missing the place where we were heading. I had to call to her, but at times I had to run and get her and then guide her back to where we were going.
There are times we want to run ahead of our Father. And in most cases, we run in the wrong direction.
Even if we know where we are going, we don't know how to get there. Our Father does.
Are you holding the hand of the Father? We are His children. He is our Protector. He is our Guide. He knows the way.
Let us hold the hand of the Father.
The Way of the Father
I was reading the book of Matthew, and I noticed something. I kept seeing "your Father" or "your heavenly Father," and it got me thinking. What was Jesus trying to teach us? This is what I noticed. Between Matthew 5:43 to 7:11, Jesus mentions, your Father or your heavenly Father 14 times. And one time, He says, "Our Father."
Now Jesus is known for calling God His Father. You can find Jesus saying, "My Father" throughout the gospels. But here, in between the verses above, he never says, "My Father." Why?
I believe Jesus, in this portion of Scripture, is teaching us the way of the Father. We are called to grow and become more like our heavenly Father. I saw nine things in this passage that Jesus is trying to show us about our relationship with our Father. I want to share them with you.
1) We are called to LOVE like our Father (Matt 5:44). Jesus says that we are to love our enemies. We are called to love those who use us and persecute us. Do we love those who, in short, hurt us? You may be asking yourself, "How can I do that?" Just think of how much we have hurt God. Every time we sin, we are hurting Him. Yet He still chooses to love us. He asks us to do the same. God is asking us to love those who hurt us. He would never ask us something that He didn't give us the ability to do.
2) We are called to BE LIKE our Father (Matt 5:48). How are we not like the Father? Are we working on those areas where we are not like Him? I believe the other points will help us to be more like him.
3)We are called to GIVE AND RECEIVE like our Father (Matt 6:1-4). He has called us to give through our deeds and actions, not for public recognition, but as a way to express love to others and our Father. Do we give in secret and prepare for His reward openly?
God also wants us to know how to receive from Him. More will be touched on later on that one.
4) We are called to TALK with our Father (Matt 6:5-13). Our Father longs for the time alone with us in that place of intimacy. He deeply desires us to pull the time away to be alone with Him and share our deepest joys and desires with Him. He also longs to share with us His deepest joys and desires for us.
When was the last time you had that intimidating time with our Father? Is He calling you now?
5) We are called to FORGIVE as our Father (Matt 6:12, 14-15). Forgiveness is the bedrock of our relationship with our Father. We are called to forgive. Again, through God's grace, we have been given the ability to forgive those who have hurt us. That could be your spouse, friends, parents, sibling, whoever.
Is there someone you haven't forgiven?
I need to say that forgiveness is a process. Depending on how deep the wound, the longer the process takes. But know that forgiveness is a choice. We can choose to forgive. I also believe in the process of forgiving; we also receive the healing from the offense.
6) We are called to FAST with our Father (Matt 6:16-18). During fasting, we get closer to God. It should be a time of intimately and receiving a deeper understanding of Our Father. Back during the time of Jesus, people would fast to look holy to others. In short, put on a mask to look good.
How many Christians put on their "Christian mask" and who is not being honest? We do it to look good to others.
Christianity is not about looking good; it is all about intimacy with Our Father and sharing that with others.
When was the last time you fasted with Our Father?
7) We are called to TRUST in our Father (Matt 6:24-34). In verse 33, it says, "...seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Do you worry about your kids? Or how about getting all those bills paid? Or maybe for some of you, it was you worried about what you were going to eat. My question is, what are you looking at?
Are you looking at your problem or the Problem Solver? Are you looking at your business or His business? Are you looking up to Him, our down to your lack?
We don't need to worry. You will be tempted to worry, but you don't have to. Choose to trust in Him. Even when everything looks black, and there seems to be no way out, Our Father can open a door that was before unseen. If He can feed 5000 off of 5 loaves and two fish (Matt 14:13-21), He can meet your need.
This One speaks to us personally.
8) We are called to ASK from our Father (Matt7:7-12) Do you ask from our Father? I don't mean about asking Him to have you win the lotto. I suggest asking Him about those things that He wants for you and are good for you.
If you ask for help with your character, habitual sin, or wisdom on what to do with your kids, your job/business. He wants to help.
He wants to give if you need help paying the bills, saving your marriage, or need food on the table.
There are a lot of times we don't ask Him to give to these needs. Sometimes we don't have because we don't ask. ( James 4:2)
9)We are called to SHINE OUR LIGHT to glorify our Father (Matt 5:13-16). Does your light shine in a way that God gets the glory? Or by the way you live your life, do people become attracted to one who transformed your life?
By the way we live our lives, are people becoming attracted to our Father? If not, we must wonder if we are living "The way of our Father."
God is calling us to the way of our Father. Hear His call, and let us follow Him.
If you like to receive Dustin's Newsletters, Click here.
Dustin has been serving as a missionary for 24 years. Here is where he places some of his teaching, thoughts, and updates.