February 28, 2012 journal, You may enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season but then it all turns to ashes and death according to scripture and the message of Charles Stanley at the Atlanta First Baptist Church. A powerful message and it was well received by the people. People are hungry for good gospel delivered by genuine preachers, Holy Spirit anointed. "When Plans Turn to Ashes-Rebelling against God always ends in disappointment. Whatever you acquire outside of God's will eventually turns to ashes. The parable of the prodigal son illustrates this truth. The young man used his early inheritance to fulfill selfish desires. Yet when the money ran out, he found himself in a worse state than his father's servants. Rebellion resulted in spiritual, relational, and physical povertGod's will is always best for us. Obeying Him is the only way to find lasting joy and contentment in life. Unfortunately, you and I sometimes doubt that God's way is better than ours. We leave the narrow path to pursue our desires, ignoring the Holy Spirit and rejecting scriptural principles. Our own ways might satisfy us for a time. Ultimately, however, rebelling against the Father always ends in disappointment. Whatever you acquire outside of God's will eventually turns to ashes. The parable of the prodigal son illustrates this truth. The young man used his inheritance to fulfill selfish desires. Yet when the money ran out, he found himself in a worse state than his father's hired helpers. His rebellion resulted in spiritual, relational, and physical poverty. Scriptural principle:-God allows you and me to acquire things outside His will. In the parable, the father let his son leave home with his inheritance. The young man had been dreaming about being on his own for quite some time, and he deliberately planned to live a reckless, immoral lifestyle. Although his father might have known this, he didn't prevent his son from leaving. Similarly, the Lord gives you and me the freedom to make unwise decisions. Otherwise, we would be like emotionless robots that are simply programmed to follow His commands. That's why He gave the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, the opportunity to disregard His instructions. Since you and I have the option of disobeying, our obedience is evidence of our love for God and submission to His will. God allows us to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a little while. What is enjoyable about rebelling against the Lord? For a moment, it fulfills a desire. The fact that it is forbidden can increase its appeal. Sin also usually offers immediate gratification. Remember, the son wanted his inheritance early. Also, disobedience is pleasurable in some ways, but only for a short time. Hebrews 11:25 refers to the "passing pleasures of sin." However, in the long run, there are always consequences. The Prodigal Son traveled far from home in order to escape his father's restraints. Why? He wanted to follow his passions, regardless of the cost, so he chose to live immorally and waste his inheritance (Luke 15:15, 30). Although he started with plenty, he ended up with nothing. He lost his morality, fortune, companions, and self-respect. Why do you and I disobey God's will for our lives? One reason is that Satan encourages us to focus on our immediate desires rather than consider things from an eternal perspective. We forget about the blessings we already enjoy and fail to think about the consequences of wrong choices. This perspective is destructive to us morally, financially, and spiritually. God warns us that what we acquire outside His will turns to ashes. When a house burns down, nothing is left but ashes-insubstantial fragments of what was there. Sin may look appealing, but it leads to destruction. In other words, you reap what you sow, more than you sow, and later than you sow. There are always consequences to disobedience, and no one can get away with sin (Num. 32:23). Physically, we know what ashes are. But what are they in a spiritual sense? They are the remains of disobedience and rebellion. For instance, immorality leaves behind guilt and emptiness. A dishonest business deal undermines self-worth. A critical spirit leads to loneliness, and negativity can result in chronic anxiety. People may be able to cover up the external consequences of sin. But unless they turn from it, their wrongdoings will eventually destroy them. When we come to our senses, God offers us forgiveness, acceptance, restoration, and rejoicing. In this parable, the Prodigal Son had to feed pigs, the most demeaning job any Hebrew could imagine. The animals were unclean according to Jewish law-not fit for consumption. You see, once his money was gone, no one wanted him. His so-called friends weren't even willing to help him fi nd decent work, much less care for his daily needs. Jesus told this parable to the Pharisees. Why? As law-abiding religious leaders, they were critical of His association with sinners and tax collectors. Christ wanted to reveal the Father's heart for broken people. The father in the parable, who represents God, ran towards his repentant son. The young man asked for a job as a servant, but his father called for a ring, a robe, and a feast. The son may have left home, but he never stopped being a member of the family. Rather than just offering forgiveness, the father delighted in restoring all the benefi ts of sonship to him. You and I can have hope, even when we fi nd our lives-or areas of them-we must come to our senses like the Prodigal Son did (Luke 15:17). We have to admit that life would be better if we were within God's will, enjoying a loving relationship with Him and submitting to Him daily. Those who have never trusted Jesus as Savior must fi rst accept His forgiveness for a lifetime of rebellion. At that moment, the Spirit of God seals them for eternity as His children. You see, Jesus paid our sin debt in full when He went to the cross. Those of us who are believers are already forgiven for every transgression-past, present, and future. Does that mean you and I won't suffer as a result of our rebellion? No. The Prodigal Son lost his purity, inheritance, and time. Sin might cost us opportunities, health, fi nances, or relationships. God doesn't necessarily remove the natural consequences of poor choices. But we won't pay an eternal price for sin-Christ handled that debt already (Rom. 6:23). We simply have to ask Him to cleanse us from disobedience, and He will be faithful to do so (1 John 1:9). The Lord joyfully receives us and willingly restores all the benefi ts of membership in His family. conclusion: Has your life been reduced to nothing but ashes? Perhaps the devastation is obvious to everyone, or maybe the fi res of sin have burned away on the inside, leaving mostly internal damage. Our heavenly Father can bring restoration, no matter how complete the destruction may seem. Come to your senses, admit you have wandered out of His will, turn away from rebellion, and let God demonstrate His amazing mercy. Forgiveness, acceptance, restoration, and rejoicing await you at the foot of the throne. Are you ready to return to God and let Him make something beautiful out of the ashes of your life?" http://www.intouch.org/Content/27938/LP100214.pdf