When we read Luke 15 we come to this passage of a story of two sons. One is a shameful son who ask 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 exposes 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, so openly we feel that we should not even be called a sons, but treated like a 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 entering in repentance to the Father. The other avoiding a celebration with the Father.
One broken. The other hard.
One asking to be a slave. The other 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 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 do 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 where we will need to let go of things through repentance. We must understand that with intimacy comes exposure. Anything that is hidden will be brought into the light. But their 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.
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Currently I just got back yesterday from Thailand. On Tuesday as a family we head out toYWAM Battambang Cambodia where I will help co-lead the DTS Equip. where we train DTS school leaders and staff to be more effective. We have a mix of participants coming from many different nations and it is approaching fast!
There is a lot of work that needs to be done but I am looking forward to this time. 7 weeks in Cambodia is not easy, but to be able to touch many DTS schools in our region at the same time is exciting!
In light of that, Please keep the training in your prayers and also our family. My family will be with me for 1 month before they head back to the Philippines. I will follow them latter in mid- October.
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!)
We live in a broken world where there are dysfunctional, wrecked relationships. God created us for relationship with Him and with others, but many of us don't grow up in families that teach us how to have healthy relationships. How much more if a person grows up without much family at all?
Next week I (Dustin) Will be teaching in the Justice DTS in Phuket Thailand. Please take a look at their website and spend some time praying for the teaching next week. This topic usually brings up a lot of dysfunction on how we relate. Pray that God will bring out things in the student's lives that they need to face.
After Thailand I will come back to the Philippines for one week. Then I will fly to undisclosed country (email me if you want to know) and teach on Intercession. Then back to the Philippines for 4 days then fly back to Thailand to teach on the Lao Focues DTS in Ubon Ratchathani on Intimacy with God and Hearing the Voice of God. With me traveling so much these coming weeks we got a busy month! Please keep us in your prayers!
When Jesus died and rose from the grave He did it for more then just getting us saved from our sin so we can go to heaven. He did it so we can be sanctified to become more like Him, have a deep personal relationship with Him, and to know His purpose for our lives.
It is through this relationship with our Father we learn who we are has sons and daughters and receive healing.
This Easter Sunday thank God for His forgiveness, but also pursue a deeper in relationship with Him. Jesus is not only waiting for us to come, He is reaching out to us through the cross.
May you go deeper with Him this Easter season.
In May I (Dustin) will be teaching on Relationships in the Justice DTS in Phuket, Thailand. It is a DTS with the focus on Justice issues and God's heart toward them. If you read the overview (click here) you will see how important the topic of relationships is for this school
Even though I will not be teaching in the DTS until next month, please take the next minute to pray for this school which is currently running. Pray that God would move in the lives in the students and also staff of this school. I believe what God has big plans for the people in this DTS.
We are entering a new year. This is a great time to reflect and evaluate the past year and pray and ask God what is to come. There are a lot of areas we need to look at.
1- Ask God what areas where I have grown and where do I need to grow? Ask yourself the same question. A lot of times we don't take the time to do this simple principle. We are all in need of growth. We all have grown and need to grow. But it is powerful when we actually take an honest look at our growth and where we need to grow set goals to get there. Ask God what you need to do to get to those goals God has shown you. In Jer 29:11 it says, "For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." God's plans are good and for us. Through spending time with Him hear from him a practical plan to meet your goals. Ask Him for a daily plan if needed to get to your goals.
3- In Proverbs 29:18 it says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish..."
So the question I have for you (and myself) is what is God's vision for 2013 and beyond for you (and me)? When we get a hold of the vision God has for us, it will pull us into the discipline needed to follow through the plans God shows us to grow and the power to overcome the roadblocks that stop those things from happening. We need to have a vision! And that vision comes from God.
What does God have planned for you?
I believe that some people are reading this that you have made plans and they have failed. You came up with visions and they died. You have never overcome your roadblocks, but they have overcome you. For those of you out there, you need to go to the vision source. You need to go to the One who came to set the captives free (Luke 4:18). Jesus is your answer.
Go to Jesus the start of this year and stick with Him throughout. Most of the time He will bring others to help you get past the obstacles you are facing to experience His plan for you (Jer 29:11). He will give you a vision. Ask Him.
May our God who overcame death and the cross be the Over-comer for you in your life in this New Year!
On December 16, 2011 between 1am and 2 am a flash flood went through the city of Cagayan de Oro on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. At one point 75% of the city was underwater. Some places where 35 meters underwater. The water went to 8 feet within 30 seconds. Thousands lost their lives just a couple of weeks before Christmas.
We just got back from Thailand and were making plans for our move there. We as a family decided to give more then half our clothes and a bulk of our furniture to victims of the flood.
A day or so after the flood the Mayor came on TV with more than half the city destroyed and with no running water for over a month to come said, "We can't celebrate Christmas with so much destruction." It was dark times.
When Jesus was born it was also dark times in Israel. They had a power crazy man over them with the name of King Herod. Roman oppression was strong. And once Herod figured out a baby who would be called "King of Kings" would be born in Bethlehem he had all the baby boys under two years old killed. Much mourning took place that night.
Joseph and Mary had to flee to Egypt to hide Jesus from Herod until his death. They lived there as refuges in a strange land with people who were very ungodly who spoke a much different language.
Christmas is about Jesus coming and being a light in a dark world. It was dark times then as it is dark times now. But our hope is in Jesus.
Just as Christmas lights light up the night, Jesus is the Light that shines into our darkness and gives hope.
It is in the dark times we need to celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus.
You may be facing financial difficulty. You can't find a job. Look toward the Christmas Light.
You maybe facing the soon death of a loved one. He gives hope to the mourning.
A man walks into a elementary school and kills 20 children and 6 adults and then kills himself when he hears the police coming, all within 10 minutes. Jesus is our hope.
The most important time of all to celebrate Christmas is in the dark seasons of our lives. May the Light of Christmas (Jesus) shine bright in your Christmas season.
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 5 years old holding the hand of our Father God. He was leading me through some dangerous and dark areas. Then He lead 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 3 and a half years old. I was learning (and still learning) how to be a father. But I knew that if I am walking with her either in the mall or through the field it is best if I am holding her hand. Why? For a number of reasons.
1) She could trip. If I am 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.
As we walk through life we don't always know how to proceed. We sometimes loose 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 was also times when my daughter doesn't want me to hold her hand. She wanted to do it herself even if I warned her a number of times that it is best that she will hold my had through the rocky field. As a father I can see what is about to happen. She could trip and loose 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 to not hold 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 we cry out He is quick to pick us up, comfort, 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 are walking throughout our life we can be distracted by all that is around.
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 wants 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 are 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 are 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 were 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.
I was reading the book of Matthew and I noticed something. I kept on 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. All throughout the gospels you can find Jesus saying, “My Father.” 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 9 things in this passage that Jesus is trying to show us about our relationship with our Father. I would like 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 maybe 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 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 that 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). Do we give in secret and prepare for His reward openly? He has called us to give though our deeds and actions, not for public recognition, but as a way to express love to others and our Father.
God also wants us to know how to receive from Him. More will be touched 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 for us to pull the time away to be alone with Him to share with Him our deepest joys and desires. He also longs to share with us His deepest joys and desires for us.
When was the last time you had that intimidate 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 in 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 believe 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 so they could look holy to others. In short put on a mask to look good.
How many Christians put on their “Christian mask” and who are not being real? 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). Do you worry about your kids? Or how about to get 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? In verse 33 it says, “...seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Are you looking at your problem, or the problem Solver? Are you looking at your business our 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 2 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 mean asking Him about those things that He wants for you and that are good for you.
If you are asking for help with your character, habitual sin, or wisdom on what to do with your kids, your job/business. He wants to help.
If you need help paying the bills, saving your marriage, or need food on the table He wants to give.
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 does 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.
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Dustin has been serving as a missionary for 23 years. Here is where he places some of his teaching, thoughts, and updates.