Saturday, March 12, 2011


Waiting is hard to do! One waits at the gas pumps, at the check-out line, for rides at DisneyWorld, even for commercials to end and the tv show to continue.  Wouldn't you like to reclaim all the time you waited in rush hour traffic or at a stoplight? It's particularly difficult when one waits for crucial news: a medical test to determine cancer, news of loved ones in harms way, or to learn if one has received gainful employment. The latter is where we are right now.

The Bible speaks often on the value of waiting on the Lord. Do a word search sometime. We find waiting is difficult because we are a people who value progress. Waiting is construed as laziness. "Certainly there is something that you can do" - as if one can perform in a way to make God do what you want him to do.  Actually waiting is one of the Christian's greatest works. It is not a passive inactivity. On the contrary, waiting is hard work. It calls for deliberate yieldness of control to God.

If you are looking for work, you have the responsiblity of creating a resume, visiting possible employers, studying, dressing and preparing for the interview. However, the ultimate decision of a job offer rests not in the candidate but in the employer. And for the Christian, the control of one's life rests in the Lord. He's in charge and he guides and directs. Proverbs 3:5-6 saya, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths."  Though the word "wait" is not used here, the precept is. When one waits and trusts in God's leading, and one is willing to allow God to change one's plans, then there is a sense of peace knowing that He is in charge and will direct one's path.

I hope you learn about the blessing of waiting; it beats worrying any day.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Prodigal has come home

This morning, Twix came home! She was emaciated, weak, and starving - but alive. Twix is one of our three cats that ran from home about a month ago. She's an indoor cat that has not experienced the outdoors until now. Apparently one of the boys accidently left the basement door ajar and Twix wandered away from home. She experienced two snowstorms and several below zero days.

We thought for sure that she had become victim to a wild animal or was driven far from home by the neighborhood dogs. We even believed that she had frozen to death. Yet, we were continually alert to any signs of Twix. There were days when we thought we had heard her meow. It led to an all out search around the house and under the porches. Lately we saw some Twix sightings - a white streak darting across the backyard at night.

Then this morning, she dared to approach the yard. My wife went out with a full cup of cat food and gently waited, calling for her to come out of the woods. Twix relented; completely famished she approached the outstretched hand and devoured the kitty treats.

Our prodigal kitty is now resting comfortably at the foot of our bed, purring. She has lost a great deal of weight and we can count every bone in her scrawny body.

Just when I thought I had a good understanding of Jesus' parable of the Lost Son in Luke 15, I now have new insight on the ravages of sin, the immense love of God and the blessing of a lost one who has come home again. Consider the following from Luke 15:11ff.:
1. A young man chooses to reject the comfort and safety of home and family. He believes that he's missing the fun that others experience in the world. Who cares if it goes against the morals and values of the family or if it brings dishonor, shame, and embarrassment to the father.
2. At first the son is intoxicated by a newly found freedom to do as he pleases - away from the prying eyes of his parents and brother. Then he becomes addicted to pleasure, popularity, and promiscuity
3. After he squanders his money, his so-called friends disappear and he is left financially, emotionally, and spiritually bankrupt. He hits bottom as he is hired to slop hogs.
4. Starving, ragged, and sickly, the homeless man reflects upon the life he had given up, considering that his life of sin brought him to ruin. He remembered home and how the servants lived in his father's house. And he rehearsed what he would say to his father and to his God.
5. In repentance, he turned his heart toward home and fell into the embrace of his ever searching father.

Here's what I learned from our family experience.
1. It's never to late to come home. Regardless of what you have done and where you have been, you can come home again to the outstretched arms of God.
2. Sin is pleasurable for a time but it carries with it a heavy price upon one's soul. The payback is always more than you bargained for. James 1:14-15 states, "but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. It happened to Eve in the garden and it happened to King David (See 2 Samuel 11:2-17).
3. The Father is always searching and waiting for the lost to come home. He's not angry or ready to whip the son. No, there is rejoicing! There's a party! There's expressions of love and acceptance. . Twice in Luke 15 Jesus says, "There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (v.7, 10). Can you picture the father longing, praying, seeking desiring for his son to return home?

Have I described your life? It's not too late to come home to Jesus. Confess that your sins have separated you from God. Call upon His name and ask Christ to forgive you and cleanse you from the inside out. Believe that Jesus Christ is God's only Son, whose death on the cross has borne the penalty for and has paid the price for your sins. He came from the Father, lived a sinless life, suffered a cruel death on our behalf and rose physically victorious from the grave. He stands at the Father's right hand, living and interceding for you. Invite Him into your life right now and allow Him first place. Give yourself wholeheartedly to Him. Thank Him for what He has done. And then find someone whom you can tell about the decision you have made.

He is one final thought for those art lovers out there. Rembrandt was a famous renaissance painter. He often chose to paint religious scenes because of its marketability. However, he was fascinated with the story of the prodigal son. His first painting was of the prodigal son (Rembrandt himself) as a dashing suave swashbuckler with girl friend on one knee and wine in his cup. he was having a party. The second painting was of the prodigal son returning home, This portrait may be found in St. Petersburg, Russia. I urge you to study this portrait.

For those who love to read, I recommend the book, "The Story of the Prodigal Son" by Henri Nouwen.

God bless you all.