CrossReads Short Takes: The Prodigal’s Wilderness & The Beatitudes

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CrossReadsShortTakes

CrossReads Short Takes

The Prodigal’s Wilderness

When the “Wrong” Path Really Is the Right Path

by Sue White

The Prodigal’s Wilderness

PARABLE OF TRANSFORMATION: Much has been written regarding Luke Chapter 15 and there’s been a great debate regarding which theme(s) should be considered and which one(s) ignored; however, this book takes a different approach by viewing it as a parable of transformation.

Are you in need of transformation?

•Are you confused, overwhelmed and struggling to make sense of life’s challenges? Lost a loved one? Suffered a serious health crisis?
•Have you made some poor life choices that negatively affect your life? Afraid that God is angry with you? That he won’t forgive you?
•Are you experiencing a period of spiritual dryness? Prayers bouncing off the ceiling? Relationship with God grown cold?
•Do you feel like you’re all alone in the world and no one understands you? Feel criticized, rejected or ostracized by friends or family?
•Have you lost hope? Don’t know what to do or where to go?

If any of these situations apply to you, this book is for you!

Take the first step in your transformation – discover how God works and how he can create dramatic change in your life, just like he did for the prodigal son.

God loves you and has a plan for your life – even when life doesn’t go according to plan, is confusing, stressful and overwhelming.

The desert is God’s preferred learning laboratory for believers. All believers will likely spend some time in the wilderness, in God’s “boot camp.” Some will enroll multiple times. But, the bottom line is this: God is still in control and he has a plan to conform you to his image (Rom. 12:2) so that he can have greater fellowship with you. God is sovereign even when you’re suffering and feeling scared, confused or overwhelmed.

The wilderness may seem like it’s the “wrong” path, that you’ve gotten lost or strayed from God, but he can redeem even the most crooked path and use your experiences along the way for good (Rom. 8:28).

In the end, the “right” path ultimately brings you closer to God whereas the wrong path ultimately takes you further away from him. You can’t really tell until you get to the end of the path. People in your life may be critical of your life choices, but in reality, they may not be seeing God’s hand at work in your life, invisibly, behind the scenes. Consequently, you need to be true to yourself and trust God to bring you home, and he will!

 

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The Beatitudes

Growing in Kingdom Character

(The Bible Teacher’s Guide Book 16)

by Gregory Brown

The Beatitudes

How can we grow in kingdom character?

When Christ came into the world, he preached the kingdom of heaven (Matt 4:17). He taught that not only was the kingdom something future but a present reality, as the kingdom of heaven was in their midst (Lk 17:21). The kingdom consists of all those who profess Christ as Lord—though all who profess are not truly saved (cf. Matt 7:21-23, 13:36-43). In Matthew 5:3-10, Christ introduces the character of those who are truly part of his kingdom. They are the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. They are the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted for righteousness. These character traits are affectionately called the Beatitudes, as each one begins with “Blessed” and finishes with a promise of God. If these characteristics are not in our lives, at least imperfectly, we are not truly part of Christ’s kingdom.

However, the Beatitudes not only represent the nature of kingdom citizens, they also represent the aspirations of them. Only Christ perfectly modeled these characteristics, but each kingdom citizen should constantly aim to grow in them. As we consider the Beatitudes, they will both affirm if we have truly entered God’s kingdom and also challenge us to grow in these kingdom characteristics. Let’s study them together with The Bible Teacher’s Guide.

“Helpful to both the layman and the serious student, The Bible Teacher’s Guide, by Dr. Greg Brown, is outstanding!”
—Dr. Neal Weaver, President of Louisiana Baptist University

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