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This week starts the second half of the season for the Surprise Royals. The season ends on September 2 followed by the playoffs two days later. The only way for us to make the playoffs is to either win the first half of the season or win the second half of the season. We lost the first half, so we need to finish strong and win this second half to make the playoffs.

Also, this week marks the second week since I had a cortisone shot in my shoulder. My throwing progression has gone smoothly and I am hoping to get in the outfield within the next 10 days.

This morning in our bible study I was talking to Carter about the Parable of The Prodigal Son. As soon I brought up the topic he started to tell me about his testimony. He said, “I am that son and ran from God for the longest time. After years of trying to go through life holding my own guilt and shame, I realized that God accepts me for who I am, what I have done, and loves me regardless of my condition, so I came running home.” I couldn’t help but to think, I had to share one of my favorite scriptures in the Bible with you guys.

Let me set the story up real quick.

In Luke 15, Jesus is telling parables at the dinner table to sinners, tax collectors, Pharisees, and Scribes. During this time, the sinners and tax collectors were the lowest of all social classes and the Pharisees and the Scribes were the religious group that considered themselves more worthy than others. In verse 2, the Pharisees muttered between the guys, “Why does Jesus welcome and eat with the sinners and tax collectors?”

The story goes on to the third parable of a family of 3 (2 sons and a father) that have a nice estate. The youngest son asks his father for his inheritance so he could go to the distant country and live away from home. The father gave his son half the inheritance and sent him on his way. The son then goes to the city and squanders his wealth on reckless living. After becoming desperately in need he hired himself out as a servant and fed pigs in the field.

After nearly starving to death, he came to his senses and was reminded that his father always has food to spare for his servants. So he journeys back to his father’s estate and plans to apologize to his father and ask to be hired as a servant (not even to be his son).

Before he could get to the house, his father saw him in the distance and was “filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). Before he was able to finish the apology to his father, the father says to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:22).

This is such an incredible act of love and compassion from the father. His son, who basically asked to be out of the family, came back to the estate after blowing his inheritance, and is welcomed home with open arms and forgiveness.

This is so relatable to us. Using two sons and a family’s inheritance, God paints a picture that is relatable to our daily lives. So often we get caught up in things that are of this world that distract us, mold us, and ultimately pull us away from being who we are called to be. Often times we feel depleted, not good enough, and so far from God that He will never meet us where we are.

NOT TRUE! This story is exactly like our Father, God, who will meet you where you are; you can be in the dumps, full of sin, and still come home to the father. I love how in the parable the son wanted to go back to the estate to be a servant (not even a son), but the father was so gracious he would not let him. The same is for us; we do not have to work for our salvation; God gives us this salvation free through Jesus Christ.

Regardless of where you are in your life, God will meet you right there. He does not mind bending down to get His children from the lowest of lows. You don’t have to pay for it, work for it, or be perfect; you just have to be willing to give up yourself for Him. Come how you are, he will cleanse you, forgive you, and make you new. He just has to have a relationship with you in order to do that.

Now maybe you already are saved, well Jesus has a lesson for you too.  The older son, who was working in the field, heard music and dancing and asked a servant what was going on. The son became angry and would not go in. But his father came out and begged with him to come in. The son then answers back to the father that, “I have done everything right, but got no celebration.”

The father says to him,  “My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:31).

As believers sometimes we get caught up and get complacent with what we have. Or maybe we complain about what we don’t have. But in reality we have ultimate reward, we have a loving Father, full of grace and forgiveness that calls us to be one of His disciples, encouraging and leading others to a relationship with our God.

My challenge for you is to look in the mirror… Are you satisfied with how you are living your life? Are you trying to carry the weight yourself? Are you living out your full potential? Do you wake up and realize God’s goodness every day?

Think about it. It will change your life.

God Bless and Go Royals!

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