walk in the word
Forgiveness, Your Walk With God
“There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living…But when he came to his senses…” Luke 15:11-13, 17
One of my privileges as a pastor is to hear real-life stories of modern prodigals. I’m still fired up from last weekend when we got to hear repeated accounts of God’s work in people’s lives. We heard 254 life stories in all, as these 254 joyous, awe-struck people were baptized. It was a great weekend of victory.
Here’s what’s interesting—they all told the same story. Now, if you were there you might say, “No—their stories were different.” Yes, but in a deeper way they were the same. Every life had the same theme; “I was going along, thinking I had life under control and then God dropped a boulder on my life.” By boulder I mean some crushing personal experience that obliterates pride and independence from God. The only thing different in their stories was the label on the boulder. For some it was a marriage crisis others suffered a health or financial burden. Still others reported a penetrating loneliness or a profound loss that they just couldn’t shake . . . then came God! They went on to report with different words but total unanimity that when they turned to God, they discovered Him waiting with open arms.
The prodigal son in Luke 15 is the poster boy for this crisis and process. Remember how he got his inheritance early, took off, and lived like a pig and then ended up moving in with the pigs? Many of those baptized told his same story. Suddenly I woke up, they said. I don’t have to be here. I can choose differently. Repentance always involves a change of mind and then heart. What you once thought was so cool, now leaves a dirty taste in your mouth. Even as repentance is forming in your heart, the will is beginning to make a plan of action. The prodigal’s feet were already moving toward home and back to his father to confess and do the horizontal business of making his sin right.
I never tire of hearing how God changes lives. Have you ever been to that place of repentance? If you woke up this morning feeling really far from God, listen—turn around! You can be in a different place with God by the end of the day! Yes—you can! Your heavenly Father is waiting with open arms.
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