Sweet MusicWhat things have you been trying to handle without prayer?
Top Music Videos
Sunday March 23
rules and grace
Students in a Christian elementary school lined up at the lunch table to get their food. At the head of the table was a pile of apples. A teacher made the following note and posted it on the apple tray: “Take only ONE. God is watching.” At the end of the table, next to a large tray of chocolate chip cookies, a clever student placed this note, “Take all you want. God is watching the apples.”
This cute tale illustrates two different kinds of people— those who follow rules and those who break them.
In response to the Pharisees complaining about Jesus socializing with sinners, He shared a story about two brothers—one obsessed with rule-keeping, the other a rule-breaker (Luke 15:11-31). The youngest brother, the rule-breaking “prodigal son,” usually gets the most attention. But let’s briefly consider the rule-following older brother.
Furious that his father was throwing a huge welcome home party for “this son of yours” who broke every rule in the book, he spouts off to his dad, “All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to do. And in all that time you never gave me . . . a feast with my friends” (vv.29-30).
The older brother’s tirade says it all—a life controlled by rule-keeping turned him into an embittered slave who was just as “lost” as his brother.
The father (who represents God), however, was just as gracious with his older son as he was with his younger. When the oldest refused to enter the party, the father “came out” to see him. And rather than scold, he gently pleaded with his son to join the celebration (vv.28-31).
Are you like the “older brother”? Join the party of God’s grace. It’s for you too! —Jeff Olson
The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him (v.28).
Read Mark 2:23-28 and see how Jesus challenged the Pharisees’ interpretation of the Sabbath rules.
How does your life tend to be dominated by rules? Why is it important to follow God’s commands but also to understand His grace?
- Sweet Music - What things have you been trying to handle without prayer?...read more
- Laughter - How do joy and laughter reveal the heart of God?...read more
- Powerful Patience - How can you trust God more even as you wait on Him?...read more
- Overwhelmed - What has sunk your spirits today?...read more
- Greater - How does the knowledge that God is greater than our storms impact the way you feel?...read more
- Voice of Reason - How do you respond to the rage of others?...read more
- Source of Truth - What does Scripture reveal about the issues on your mind today?...read more
- Little Things - Do you measure yourself and others according to God’s standards or the world’s?...read more
- Jesus the Reconciler - What does it add to your understanding of the cross to recognize that Jesus was enacting your reconciliation with God?...read more
- Tasting Heaven - How can you echo God’s future banquet by inviting diverse guests to your dinner parties?...read more
- Possible - What does it mean for you to know that Jesus is your Shepherd?...read more
- "Follow Me!" - Why are you following Jesus?...read more
- Here’s Hope - Why do we sometimes keep our struggles to ourselves?...read more
- Is Jesus Enough? - How do you react when you see injustice in the world, or when circumstances are against you and God seems to be silent?...read more
- Greater Work - What life experience has most challenged your understanding of prayer?...read more
- Awe - Where and when do you find yourself most in awe of God?...read more