Hello Friend,

I’m so glad you’ve chosen to spend this time with me! As you read this letter, I pray you receive all that the Lord has for you and allow Him to minister to you. He is drawing near to you as you draw near to Him. I’ve shared with you before about the goodness of God, and how through the sacrifice of His precious Son, He wants to freely give to us. Romans 8:32 says:

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

We can see from this scripture that God wants to give us all things. But God also does not want us to miss out on receiving what He has for us.

In Luke, we read about two brothers who took two very different roads to receive what their father had for them. They were both his sons — they belonged to their father, they were loved by their father, and they each had an inheritance. But both sons made choices, and those choices were very costly. Like these two sons, you and I have been richly graced and lavished with the love of our Father, but it is still our choice how we come to know our Father more intimately and receive all He has for us.

Let’s begin in Luke 15:11 and 12.

Then He [Jesus] said: “A certain man had two sons. 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.”

Some biblical commentators have said that for this younger son to ask for his share of the inheritance was very disrespectful and dishonoring to his father. In the language used in this young man’s request, there is even a tone of urgency. The request of the son that he be given his inheritance while the father was still alive and in good health was an insult to his father. It was as if the son said, “Father, I cannot wait for you to die! Give me what is mine now!”

This son, who already had everything his father wanted to give him, was so selfish and impatient that he basically said, “I want my money now! I am not waiting for it.” And the loving father freely gave his son all he asked for. The next verse says,

“And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.”

— Luke 15:13,14

This young man thought he now had everything he ever wanted and didn’t need his father anymore. He had asked for and received all his money, but this wayward son didn’t know there was going to be a severe famine in the land. Having spent everything he had, he was not prepared, and the Bible says “he began to be in want” (v. 14). Now poor and hungry, the prodigal son had no one to turn to. The story continues in verse 15:

“Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.”

By this time, the young man had so little favor on him that the person he befriended sent him out to feed the swine rather than take him in to care for him. Feeding the pigs was considered to be the very lowest job that one could have because it was often offered to those you wanted to get rid of. Most would refuse this type of employment, but the prodigal son was desperate, so he took the job. Verse 16 says:

“And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.”

The young man was essentially a slave, and as a slave, any food taken from the swine would have been considered stealing, and he would have been beaten and punished for stealing from his master. He was destitute, and he was close to death.

One commentator stated that the prodigal son would have been so malnourished from lack of food and care that his condition would have been life-threatening. Another biblical commentator compared his life to that of a candle with only a flicker left. It was in this desperate situation that he made a wise choice. Luke 15:17-20 says:

“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! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ 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.”

Notice, friend, it wasn’t the son who was looking for the father, and it was not the son who ran out to meet the father. It was the father who was searching for his son. It was the father who was filled with compassion, fell on his son’s neck, and kissed him. And look at what happened next:

“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.’ 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. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry.’”

— Luke 15:21-23

Amazingly, the father did not even respond to the son’s remorse or guilt but, instead, was ready to receive him just as he was. The elated father called for the servants to bring out his best robe and put it on his son, to put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet, and to bring the fatted calf to eat and be merry. The reason for the father’s joy is expressed in verse 24:

“‘For this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.”

In these verses, we see the loving and compassionate actions of this father in welcoming home his prodigal son. We see that the father was out looking for his son because the Bible said “he was still a great way off” when the father saw him and ran to him. The son was not met with condemnation or harsh words of correction. The son was met with love and compassion from a father who had been waiting for his son’s return.

This son must have been filthy and smelled horrible. His clothes were probably torn and tattered. But it didn’t stop the father from kissing him and falling on his neck. It didn’t stop the father from giving this dirty, rejected-by-society son his very best robe! The father’s compassion put a ring on his son’s hand, put sandals on his son’s feet, commanded the fatted calf be killed, and ensured the rejoicing began!

You may be thinking, Why would a son leave a father like this? Could it be that this son didn’t take the time to get to know his father? Was he too busy and prideful about his own life? Sadly, this son took for granted the blessings that he had and didn’t take the time to get to know the one from which all the blessings came.

Friend, could it be that we have some of these characteristics of the younger son — enjoying the blessings of our Father but not spending time to get to know the One who is blessing us? Instead of being grateful, are we tempted to complain? And instead of recognizing what He has done for us, are we questioning why He hasn’t done more? Could this kind of deception have knocked on our doors at different times to seduce us away from the beauty and intimacy of our Father? Before you answer those questions, let’s turn our attention to the actions and attitudes of the older son who remained with the father while his younger brother squandered the family fortune.

“Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 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.’

“But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 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. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’”

— Luke 15:25-30

We see in these verses that the older son made some wrong choices of his own. Yes, he had been obedient and worked hard, but he did not know the heart of the father. He was so unacquainted with his father that he questioned his father’s love for his brother. This son had been given the opportunity to not just work for his father but to serve and really get to know his father. But he still did not know him. He knew his father so little that he didn’t understand why his father would want to bless his brother after what he had done.

The story continues with the father pleading with his older son to come in and celebrate. And then in verse 31, we come to a very sad part of this story. The older son got upset with the father and then the father said to him:

“‘…Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.’”

When I read that verse, I think of Romans 8:32, which again says, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” God did not spare Jesus but gave Him up for us. He wants to give us everything — just like the father of these two young men did.

Let’s not make the mistake of being like the younger son — enjoying the blessings of his father but with a thankless heart. And let’s not be like the older son who was obedient and worked very hard but never took the time to really get to know his father. Neither son really knew the blessing of what they already had and all that the father wanted to freely give them.

In this hour, when it is getting closer and closer to the time of Jesus’ coming, God is pouring out His Spirit. Let’s make whatever changes we need to make to spend more time with our Father, whether it’s by reading His Word, praying, or meditating in His Word. It is never wasted time. The Bible even says that if we meditate in the Word of God, we will have good success (see Joshua 1:8). God has freely given us everything we need to come through victorious in whatever battle we find ourselves in.

Thank you so much for spending this time with me. If you would like more encouragement from the Word, I invite you to join me for my program, TIME With Denise Renner, on Wednesdays at 12:00 p.m. CT on YouTube and Facebook. You can also find me Saturdays at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. CT on GospelTruth.TV and Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. CT on PTL. And you can access my audio podcast on Spotify, Apple, and Google with new episodes every Monday at 5:00 a.m.

Will you let us know how we can pray for you? If you have a special prayer request, one of our prayer partners is just a phone call or email away. Call 1.800.742.5593 or send us an email at prayer@deniserenner.org. We are believing for you to experience the fullness of God’s blessings in your life and the depth of His great love for you!

We are receiving our healing together,

Denise Renner