Friday, July 10, 2009

Coming home today

Today’s Reading: Acts 3:22-23 (NIV)

22 “For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything He tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to Him will be completely cut off from among His people.’”

Good morning!

I don’t know of anyone who likes being cut off. Technology is great, until it does not work, and then it can be extremely frustrating. My husband has been having some ongoing cell phone issues. If I need to reach him urgently and his phone is not working properly, he may not be able to pick up my voice mail message or page. While we were on vacation last week, I had difficulty transmitting documents online. After we returned home, I discovered I had a far greater issue than mere internet connectivity. My laptop is simply malfunctioning and this has caused a great deal of anxiety with course work coming due. If you’ve ever tried to start your automobile in a parking garage downtown on a cold winter’s day, only to find that your battery is dead and the towing company cannot get to you for at least three hours, then you may understand what it feels like to be totally cut off and standing out in the cold.

We get cut off by our family, especially when disagreements arise. Spouses forget how to communicate their differences of opinion in a loving way, attacking each other with sharp and hateful words. Harsh criticism and hurtful actions will often lead to someone shutting down after a time. I’m sorry to say that I have instigated more hateful conversations than I can count. Fortunately, I’m married to a man who practices daily forgiveness and he continually extends his unconditional love to me, especially when I least deserve it. A short fuse and uncontrolled tongue often gets me in over my head before I realize it. I spend more time repenting for this very thing. That is why I can relate so well to the Apostle Peter. He had a short fuse too, and I am convinced we are definitely related by blood.

Children often clash with their parents, disrespecting their authority over their lives. Sometimes children try to cut their families off, simply out of spite, hurt and resentment, but mostly out of shame. When we choose to cut ourselves off from our family, we hurt ourselves most of all. I often think of how the Prodigal Son ran as far away and as fast as he could, with the gift of his inheritance burning a hole in his back pocket, thinking of no one but himself and his own personal pleasures. When every dime was spent and all seemed totally lost, the son recognized the error of his way and made a conscious decision to seek forgiveness and reconciliation with his dad. What is most touching about this story is not the son’s return, but how the Father reacted when he saw his son coming back. He ran to him, with arms outstretched, welcoming him home with absolutely no hesitation, no harboring of resentment. He held only great love and joy that his son, the one who was so lost, chose to turn around and come home.

If you are feeling cut off from your people today, God has provided a way for you to come home. Through faith in Christ alone, we have the opportunity to repent, turn around, and receive forgiveness for the attitudes and issues that have caused us to be cut off. Harsh words can be forgiven; broken hearts are healed at the foot of Christ’s cross every day. We need to pay close attention and learn to obey the sound instruction of those who have been placed in positions of authority over us, whether it is our parents, spouses, pastors and teachers, and even our employers. As we willingly serve others through Jesus Christ, we can learn how to forgive what seems to be unforgivable in the human realm.

Have you walked away from the God’s authority over your life? Are you ready to come back home? When you take that step of faith and ask Jesus to help you, the Father will run to you with arms outstretched, eager to welcome you back. Just tell Him how sorry you are for the mistakes you’ve made, and ask Jesus to help you daily obey His instruction, trusting Him with your life. You’ll no longer be cut off from the one relationship your heart longs for. Come home to Jesus Christ today.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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