Jesus Is Coming Again

Jesus is coming back to earth someday! If He came today would you be ready? Are you looking for Him and longing for His coming? Heb 9:28 says, “…Christ …shall appear a second time…to those who eagerly await Him.”

The early believers spoke and wrote about His coming soon but they did not know when. When the disciples asked when it will happen,  Jesus answered, “…No one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” Matt 24:36

Not long before His crucifixion,  as Jesus was sitting with His disciples on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, they asked Him,  “What will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3)

Several times before this as He was teaching the disciples He told them that He was going to be killed and raised to life again.  Mark 9:32 says,  “They did not understand this statement and they were afraid to ask Him.”

Now Jesus begins speaking about His coming and of the end of the age. He begins with a warning, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ, the Messiah’  and will mislead many.”

Then He describes the state of chaos the world will be in. There will be wars and rumors of wars, nations rising against nation, kingdom against kingdom and in various places famines and earthquakes. This could be today’s newspaper!

He says they will be persecuted and hated by all nations  because they bear the name of Jesus.  Many will leave the faith and  betray and hate one another. The love of many people will grow cold because of the lawlessness and iniquity.

False Christs and false prophets  will show great signs and wonders so as to mislead people, even Christians. If someone says He is in this or that place, do not believe them because Christ’s coming will be like a flash of lightning, from the east to the west.

Just like in the days of Noah, people were living ordinary lives, eating and drinking, and marrying until the day Noah entered the ark, and they didn’t understand until the flood came and took them all away; that’s how His coming will be. There will be two men working side by side, one will be taken and the other left.

Over and over He told them to be ready because they do not know when He will come. He is coming on a day and at an hour when they do not expect Him. He warns them not to live without restraint, as if His coming is a long way off.

Luke 21:25-36 says “there will be signs in the sun, moon and stars and upon  the earth, distress of nations in bewilderment and perplexity at the roaring of the tossing of the sea . Men will be fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

“Then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near…recognize that the kingdom of God is near….Be on your guard….keep on the alert at all times, praying….”

At the Passover meal, the last supper Jesus had with His disciples, He knew His time had come to leave this world and go back to His Father in heaven.  He tried to prepare them but they didn’t understand. He told Peter, “Where I go, you cannot follow me now, but you shall follow later.”  John 13:36

He told them, “Let not your hearts be troubled, believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places… I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3

After His crucifixion and resurrection Jesus was with them for forty days teaching them.  His last words to them were, “Stay in Jerusalem, wait for the Father’s promised baptism of the Holy Spirit that I told you about, Who will empower you to be My witnesses to the end of the earth.”  Acts 1:1-5

After He had said these things, as they were looking into the sky, He disappeared into a cloud. Two men in white clothing appeared and said to them, “Why are you looking into the heavens (sky)? This Jesus will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”  Acts 1:9-11

Peter, who was there as Jesus disappeared in the cloud, that day, waited with others in the upper room in Jerusalem for the promised baptism. After he received the Holy Spirit with power to witness, he stood up and preached his first sermon with the result that three thousand souls believed on Jesus.

From that day on Peter determined to tell people about Jesus! The man who had run in fear and denied that he knew Jesus, now boldly encouraged believers to continue in the faith in spite of the Roman persecution under Nero’s reign. He wrote letters of encouragement and also of warning.

He reminded them that he was an eye witness to all that he told them about Jesus. He had heard the Father’s voice out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son with Whom I am well pleased.” But the message will not be accepted by everyone!

Mockers will come saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since our fathers passed away, all continues as it was from the beginning of creation.”2 Pet 3:3

They forget that God already destroyed the earth once by a flood. He is not slow about His promise, but He is patiently giving people time to repent. He does not want anyone to perish. His patience is their opportunity for salvation.  But eventually the Lord will come as He promised.

In Paul’s letter to Timothy he told him, “Realize this, that in the last days difficult, perilous times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable,”

“Malicious gossips, without self control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as this.” 2 Tim 3:1-5

As believers who are looking eagerly for His coming we are to live differently. We are to “abide (stand firm)  in him, so that when he appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him at His coming.” 1 John 2:28

“Now we are children of God, and it has not yet appeared what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see him just as he is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3

“Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes (kindred) of the earth will mourn (lament) over Him…’I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, ‘Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty.” Rev 1:7-8

In a  letter to the Thessalonian believers Paul  tells them that those who are alive when Jesus comes will not go before those who have died. He describes the coming of the Lord. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God;”

“And the dead in Christ (believers who  have died) will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord…Comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13 -18

Jesus’ words of comfort to Martha regarding Lazarus’ death were, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.” John 11:25-26

Paul explains a mystery to the Corinthian believers, “We shall not all sleep (die) but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.  For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.” 1 Cor 15:50-53

In the light of Christ’s coming, how should we live? Jesus explained the way to live to the multitudes and to His disciples. “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

“For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”

“For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man (Jesus) will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-38

Jesus is coming for all those who have repented of their sins and have accepted His salvation. He is coming for all who believe in Him. Those who are trying to establish their own righteousness will not go with Him. They will be left behind!

Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Jesus is not going to take unrighteous sinners to heaven. His death on the cross made salvation available to all who believe and accept His provision.

Romans 10:8-10 “The word of faith is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”

Jesus is coming! The fact that He has not come yet does not mean He is not still coming! His words to us are, “Be ready! Live as if He is coming today! Watch!”

 

 

 

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DRIFTING IS DANGEROUS

 

There are many Evangelical preachers, teachers and church leaders who believe we are living in the last days before Jesus comes again. They do not know the day or the hour but from everything they study in the Bible they see events as shaping up to His soon return. Never before have so many things come together as signs which Jesus said to watch for. (Matthew 24)

If you grew up in Church you heard sermons and read books or heard people talking about this. I remember in the 60’s people feared that another war was imminent.They began gathering food and other supplies and a few even made themselves underground shelters. Along the way there were some books written that actually set dates like, 1988 which was changed to 1989 when it didn’t happen.

When we hear something often we may tune out or tend not to listen very carefully. I remember when I was a child and my mother would tell a familiar story from her past. Because I had heard it before, I did not listen very carefully. Now, many years later I wish I had paid more careful attention. I let her words drift by because they were nothing new. I heard it before.

The writer to the Hebrews says, long ago God spoke through prophets and in many other ways but in these last days, He has spoken in His Son, Jesus. He then gives a warning, ” For this reason, we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” It’s possible to hear the message of salvation but not pay attention, instead let it drift, in one ear & out the other. (Heb 1:1-2; 2:1)

He gives another warning  in 3:12 “Take care, lest there be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away (standing aloof) from the living God.” More than once he entreats them not to “harden their hearts.” There’s a downward trend; drifting, then doubting and finally disbelief, refusal to believe because of a hardened heart. Today as He speaks, we need to pay careful attention.

Peter writes to his followers so that they will remember the words spoken to them by the prophets and apostles. He wants them to know that in the last days, mockers are going to come who will say, “Where is the promise of His coming? It didn’t happen in our fathers day and everything is carrying on as it always has since the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:1-4)

“When they say this, they willfully forget that, by the Word of God, the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water through which the world at that time was destroyed being flooded with water. But the present heavens and earth, by His Word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgement and destruction of ungodly people.”  (3:5-7)

Peter also wants them to pay close attention, to not let the truth drift by. “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, with the Lord, one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (3:8-9)

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?” (3:10-11)

The message of salvation is an old, old story. God created man to have fellowship with Him but man rebelled. His rebellion carried the death penalty but Jesus, God’s Son paid the death penalty by dying on a cross, in our place. God raised Him from the dead and now He lives and is interceding for us. My part is to believe in my heart and confess with my mouth that Jesus died for me and that He is alive today. (Rom 10:9-11)

You may have heard this message many times but you have not taken it seriously. You think you have lots of time to make a commitment to Jesus Christ. Drifting is dangerous! Drifting is perilous to your soul! Time as we know it, is running out! It’s time to stop drifting! An old gospel song depicts this as someone who is out on a sea drifting farther and farther from the safety of the shore.

DRIFTING TOO FAR FROM THE SHORE           by Charles E. Moody 1923

Out on the perilous deep where danger silently creeps
and storms so violently sweeping, you’re drifting too far from the shore.

Today the tempest rose high and clouds o’ershadow the sky
Sure death is hovering nigh, you’re drifting too far from the shore

Why meet a terrible fate, mercies abundantly await
Turn back before it’s too late, you’re drifting too far from the shore.

Chorus
Drifting too far from the shore, you;re drifting too far from the shore.
Come to Jesus today, He will show you the way.
You’re drifting too far from the shore.

FROM FEAR TO FAITH

Recently I decided to review a course I had taken some years ago. I needed some answers and this would be a good place to start. The course, “Counseled by God” is taught by Mark Virkler who also teaches “How to Hear the Voice of God.” I started each morning  by watching the DVD for that day’s lesson, then spending time with the Lord journaling my questions and His answers.

As I journaled, my time and conversation with the Lord was always meaningful. Although there were aspects of ministry and healing in previous lessons, session seven was very close to home, “From Fear to Faith.”  The application exercise addressed the question, “Are there areas of fear in your life? To help you discern them, list five “what if”s…you have asked yourself recently.”

Ask the Lord, “What do You want to say about these “what if’s?” I made my list and I asked the Lord what He would say to me. His answer was loving, encouraging, and He reminded me that He has always taken care of me all these years. He said, “Let the light of My Word shine into all the corners, the places where dust webs of doubt are lurking. Have faith in Me!” Certain Scriptures came to mind.

One book in the Old Testament written by the prophet, Habakkuk, addresses fear and faith with all the implications we face today. He had a lot of questions concerning things that were bothering him. The world around him was much like ours and he wanted to know why God was allowing the violence and injustice and how long it would go on. God’s answer was, “I am doing something in your days-”

Habakkuk says,”You don’t approve evil or wickedness so why do You look with favor on those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than they are?”He says I don’t understand but I want to. “I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the rampart and I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me and how I may reply when I am reproved.”

Then the Lord answered Habakkuk, “Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets that the one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay.  Behold, as for the proud one, his soul is not right within him; but the righteous will live by his faith.”

He has a conversation with the Lord, remembering His Majesty and Power displayed in the past. His mind turns to the coming invasion which God has told him will come and he almost hears the sound of their coming. His lips quiver and his body trembles as he sets himself to wait quietly for the day of distress and the invading people.

Suddenly his faith rises within him and he says, “Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold, and there be no cattle in the stalls. yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord GOD is my strength, and he has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places.”

Listen to any news channel and you will be bombarded with all that’s wrong in the world. From fires in California and as of today’s report, five hundred fires in BC to floods in Texas. We need rain and may have a shortage of water here. Shootings and stabbings every day for no reason. Greece is in financial trouble again and our economy is supposed to take a down turn by the fall.

I was born in the great depression is this the full circle for me? I can’t control the world market or the weather patterns but I can control my attitude. I can be filled with fear, try to stash money or food and wait quietly for the invasion of adverse circumstances or I can say, I will remember that the Lord GOD is my strength. I choose to depend on Him. He will enable me to make it through.

What a wonderful affirmation of faith is Habakkuk’s testimony. As he moves from fear to faith he says, “I will not live in fear, according to my circumstances, the joy of the Lord GOD is my strength. He will enable me to overcome. I will not only survive but thrive!” Our hope is not in this world, it must be in God Who is the only source of stability when the world is crumbling around us. I choose to put my faith in Him.

LETTING GO AND PRESSING ON

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” The past is gone and we have before us a new year of opportunities. As I look back on the events of 2014 I am almost overwhelmed by all the changes I have gone through, which I could not have predicted. Not only location but also lifestyle. I could never have foreseen the challenges.

In January 2014, I moved 400 miles from Castlegar, in the interior, to Langley, on the west coast. The year before had been stressful for me with my daughter’s close brush with death and my brother, Orval’s sudden stroke, rendering him helpless. Shortly after his stroke, one Doctor in the hospital urged me to apply for Committeeship because he felt Orval would need someone to make decisions for him, for the rest of his life.

Orval said he wanted me to do that for him. Through the years he had distanced himself from most of the family but we had maintained a relationship through daily phone calls and occaisional visits. So, 2013 ended with me taking on the responsibility of my brother’s care as he made his way through the health care system, being moved five times in five months. I felt I needed to live near his care facility in order to give him emotional support.

Ecclesiastes 3:2 “A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.” On January 10, I flew from Vancouver to Castlegar to pack my belongings. Determined to move with the least stress possible, I hired a moving company. My children would have rented a truck and moved me but the mountain passes could be difficult and I was very concerned about accidents such as Larry and I had in 2011 which contributed to his death three weeks later.

My son, Dwayne met me at the Airport, we went for lunch and then drove home. A beautiful basement suite in Dwayne and Maureen’s home was where Larry and I had lived since 2007.  After Larry’s death in 2011, I continued to live there and was thankful to be so well cared for by my children. A part of me was sorry to leave the umbrella of protection and attention afforded me by living so near my children but another part of me felt called to give my brother the best care possible. I had mixed feelings about moving.

Although packing was work, the time I would spend in this place was many other things to me. It was also respite and remembrance. Strange as it may sound, it was respite. For the past eight months I had lived with other people, on the edge of their lives, not having any of my own things around me. I felt the need to have a place of my own. This time was remembrance too, because of all the memories that surfaced. Larry and I had moved into the suite after selling our Pass Creek property. Dwayne and Maureen told us it was part of the plan when they had built the suite.

Ecclesiastes 3:6 “A time to keep and a time to throw away.” As I made decisions about what to keep and what not to keep, the memories flooded my soul. I was saying a final goodbye to the life Larry and I had here together. From this point on, my life would never be the same. Daily, as I listened to CD’s of gospel music I was able to focus on the reality that my future was in God’s hands. Leaving was sad but I accepted it as part of life.

Finally everything was packed, the movers came and my worldly possessions were on their way to a new place. As I walked through the suite, I thought about my life. I had known both happiness and sadness here and my future was unknown. I’m not sure anyone understood my choices but they helped me as much as they could. I said goodbye to Dwayne, Maureen, Fran and Jake. I was grateful for their love and care. The next day I flew back to Vancouver.

My niece, Corrine met me at Vancouver airport and drove me to my sister’s. The next day when the movers arrived at the apartment, my children, Dustin, Laurie and Elizabeth were there to set up and bring order to the new place. I was fortunate to have children helping on both ends of the move! Before long many boxes were unpacked, there were dishes organized in cupboards and my bed was ready to climb into. I said a prayer of thanks for each of them! I could not have done it without them!

The next months were filled with selling Orval’s house, getting his affairs in order, having lunch with him every day and starting with his Dentist appointments etc. Along the way there was time with family and friends. Once in awhile I managed to spend an afternoon pursuing one of my interests, tracing my family history through the computers at the Cloverdale Library. Dwayne came for a visit in April and my daughter, Brenda and grandson, Josh, visited in May. In August I was able to attend Jeremy and Sarah’s lovely garden wedding in Anmore. (Love the GPS!)

Ecclesiastes 3:2 “A time to be born and a time to die.” On May 21 my great granddaughter, Ivy Vivienne, was born. This beautiful little girl was welcomed by my granddaughter, Ayron and her husband, Stefan and brother, Madden. On December 19 I had angioplasty in Royal Columbia hospital. Dustin took me there and stayed with me. I was thankful for his help. The surgery went well and I have two new stents. I will need repair on a previous stent later. Sadly, on the same day, Dwayne’s dad passed away in a different hospital. Life is a mixture of joy and sorrow!

What will the next year bring? Like the old, gospel song by Ira Stamphill says, “I don’t know about tomorrow” but I know the One Who does! God already sees my days before they show up, so I do not need to worry about them. The words of the chorus reflect my feelings, “Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand! But I know Who holds tomorrow and I know Who holds my hand!” My future is as bright as the promises of God!

Philippians 3:13-14 “Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

 

WHERE IS GOD?

When I listen to the news, it seems like evil is winning. Leaders of nations are wringing their hands over how to stop the terrorists from gaining more ground and murdering more people. The terrorists think no one can stop them. Kingdoms are clashing!

As Christians we should not be surprised. Jesus said we would have tribulation in this world. We wonder why God does not intervene and stop the terrible bloodshed. Sometimes He does. And then sometimes He doesn’t.

I’m reminded of the three Hebrew children in Daniel 3 who were faced with death in a fiery furnace if they refused to bow down to the image the king had made. The king asked the question, “What god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?” They answered, “Our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the the fire and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king!”

But, even if He does not, we will not worship the image. The king was so incensed he ordered the furnace to be made seven times hotter than normal. They would not bow and they were thrown in the furnace. The fire was so hot it killed the men who threw them in. In the furnace they were not alone. The king noticed a fourth man in there. They were all walking around in there without the fetters. God was with them and they came out without even the smell of smoke on them. Amazing!

Today, many people in places like Iraq and Syria are refusing to give up their faith. Even children have stood firm in the face of death and have been killed by the terrorists. They are victorious in their stand. They look to God for deliverance but even if He does not they will not bow to any other god.

When we think about the mess the world is in we wonder why we can’t all “live and let live?” The people in Iraq and Syria were just living their ordinary lives, when all hell broke loose.Suddenly life as they used to live, was over! There was chaos, confusion and death.,

Where was God? Where is God? I believe He is there, in the midst of their fiery furnace. I don’t pretend to understand why He has not delivered them. One answer comes, Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation BUT be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

If we choose to follow Christ, we are not called to a life of ease, but we are called to bear a cross. The cross is my right to myself, my right to my life. The cross is my will. Luke 9:23  Jesus said, “If anyone wished to follow Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Many people are doing just that, choosing to follow Jesus, no matter what the cost. I pray for them! We may be called to do that too. So far we are living far away from the noise of battle. We don’t know about tomorrow!

Our God is able to deliver and He will deliver – BUT, if He does not, we will not give up our faith, we will follow Jesus, no matter what. He has a better place prepared for those who follow Him. Our sights are set on that.

Undimmed Memory

“There’s a storm coming.” This was the reason given by the cashier at the grocery store, for the lack of bread on the shelves. When I came home and turned on the TV, the weather channel carried the warnings of snowfall in the many areas, especially in the higher elevations.

My mind goes back to March 2, 2011. Larry and I had left home the day before and stayed over night at Princeton, something we liked to do, when we drove to the Coast. On March 4, he would be 80 years old, and he was very excited about the celebration his daughter, Brenda had planned for Saturday. He loved to get together with family and friends. This would be the highlight of his life. He had reached a milestone after a long climb.

There was a lot of snow on the highway but with all his trucking experience, Larry was not concerned. When we reached the divided highway the other side of Hope we felt that the worst was behind us. But suddenly the wheel was caught in the pothole, the car left the road, and suddenly we were airborne into the median. Held by our seat belts we seemed to be watching a movie. We saw the snowbanks & the highway as we spun around. Finally, the car fishtailed, slammed against a bank and came to rest on two wheels.

Although we were not protected from the accident, I believe we were protected during the accident. There were some things that I believe were not coincidence. All of the apparent damage was in the back with windows smashed and the back seat filled with snow. The front windshield and two windows were intact and the airbags did not deploy.

Help was there in the people who were on the scene immediately, a truck driver and two RCMP officers, one travelling East and the other officer going West on the opposite side of the highway. The men put the car on it’s four wheels and the ambulance was called. They walked us out to the road to the waiting ambulance. The car was totaled but we walked out. Later, when he saw the car, Dustin remarked, “Someone was looking after you.”

Yes, Someone was looking after us! But in the days that followed we might have wondered why some things that happened had a happy ending and other things did not. We walked away from the accident but on March 5, Larry had a stroke, missed his big celebration and ended up in one hospital. That was followed later by more strokes, another hospital, pneumonia, paralysis and finally death. Within three weeks he was gone.

As Larry was in a private room, the family was able to be with him around the clock. Some good happened in those three weeks as we drew together as a family. Larry prayed for that and I believe he knew and was happy to see our blended family drawn closer. Through the years, he prayed for each one every day, morning and evening. He had their names written on a paper so he wouldn’t forget anyone. Remembering now, I can hear him saying each name.

Undimmed memories are footprints in the sands of time. Although the memory of the storm brings tears, yet there is a peace that comes with it. My loving God is in the memories. I can put my hand in His and trust Him for the future.

The Dusty Road

There are many examples in Scripture of God’s love for those who did not return His love or for those who had known His love and then turned away. Sometimes He asked His prophets to demonstrate what He was trying to teach the people about His love.

Haggai was one of those prophets God used. He was married and then his wife became a prostitute. God asked him to find her and take her back as his wife, as an example of His love for Israel, even after she turned her back on Him.

So often we accept His love and salvation, become His beloved, and then we follow the allure of the world and, like Haggai’s wife, we prostitute ourselves. He doesn’t give up on us. He may come after us like the Shepherd looking for the lost or wandering sheep.

One familiar story that Jesus told about the prodigal son, always captures our imagination. He asked for his inheritance while his father was still alive and then went off and wasted it, in a far away land. We might wonder, how long it took him to realize that he had made some bad choices?

And what about the father, who never stopped looking down that dusty road, shading his eyes against the hot sun, longing to see his son coming. Patiently he waited and the day finally came when his waiting was rewarded. Away, in the distance he saw something. Could it be? Eagerly, he watches.

He sees someone, clad in scanty, dirty clothes, trudging wearily along the dusty road. The father runs, something out of character for a man of his stature. He runs toward him and embraces this unkempt child who smells like pigs.

The father disregards the appearance of his child, he is filled with love and joy for his return. The son returns in an attitude of humility. Gone is the pride, gone is the sense of entitlement. Now the words are, “Make me as one of your servants.”

The circle is complete, the same dusty road going away, leads home. Broken and wiser, the son is home. Jesus told this story about a son but it could just as easily be about a daughter. I’ve been on that dusty road. Coming home, I found the Father’s love and forgiveness.