Are You Standing in God’s Way or Standing in God’s Will?

You Better Get Out of the Way Before You Get Run Over

Most people fall in one of two groups…rule keepers or rule breakers. You know which you are.

Either of these taken too far can result in standing in God’s way.

Rules can be misinterpreted and misunderstood. For example –

When a mother returned from the grocery store, her small son pulled out the box of animal crackers he had asked for. He opened the box and began spreading the animal-shaped crackers out on the kitchen counter. “What are you doing?” his mom asked.

“The box says you shouldn’t eat them if the seal is broken,” the boy explained.

“I’m looking to see if there are any broken seals.”

In Acts 11:1-18 some of the Jewish followers began arguing with Peter about his staying in the homes of uncircumcised Gentiles and eating with them. This was forbidden by Jewish rules.

Peter shared a vision he had while praying.

He saw heaven open and something like a huge sheet held by its four corners came down. When he looked in it, he saw animals, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds. He heard a voice saying, “Peter, get up! Kill these and eat them.”But I said, “Lord, I can’t do that! I’ve never taken a bite of anything that is unclean and not fit to eat.”

The voice from heaven spoke again, “When God says that something can be used for food, don’t say it isn’t fit to eat.”This happened three times before it was all taken back into heaven.

“God gave those Gentiles the same gift that he gave us when we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. So how could I have gone against God?”

When they heard what Peter told them they stopped arguing and praised God.

Too many times in the Bible the Jewish leaders are rule followers and get in God’s way.

This doesn’t mean that rules aren’t important. Sometimes we go too far the other way and don’t want to adhere to any rules. Or we pick and choose the rules we follow. We think rules can be restrictive and suppressing.

Ignoring the rules doesn’t work very well either.

God has given us our instructions of how we are to live. It’s called the Bible. Like any instructions, if you don’t read, learn and implement them, you won’t get the outcome God wants for you.

God loves us and wants what’s best for us. It’s up to us to read His instructions and put them into action.

Action causes movement, movement causes momentum and if you get in the way of momentum, you’re likely to get run over.

Being a person of action is good. You’re less likely to get run over.

If you read, learn and implement God’s instructions you can inspire others. To lead, you must move forward. People move out of the way of a person on the run; or they’re caught up in his wake.

An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by a sheep!

Be a lion for God.

A person who moves neither left nor right is destined to get in the way. Many people say they are waiting for God. But in most cases, God is waiting for us!

Read God’s instructions so that you will know His will. Because if you’re not standing in His will, you’re standing in His way…and that’s a good way to get run over.

Some content taken from Andy Andrews’ Active Decision

How Do I Find Focus When Dealing with Unplanned Chaos?

The Unplanned Part Is What I Struggle with the Most

I like having a well-planned and organized life. Our level of control in a world with so many moving parts is minimal.

Last week I wrote about how when life happens it’s up to us to decide what we’re going to do. The importance of being flexibly rigid when the unplanned happens.

The focus of last week’s post was what I’m going to do about repairing or replacing my truck after being rear ended. When processing this situation last week, I felt confident that we would repair.

In that post I had a list of things that would affect my decision.

The answer to one of those questions has changed everything.

I expected two options from the insurance company. One to pay me and take the truck…I would buy another truck.

Second was pay me, I keep the truck and repair it. This was my preference and my plan…until I got their offer.

The price difference was staggering. I still haven’t figured out how they arrived at these amounts.

  • $18,449.00 – they take the truck
  • $8,832.17 – I keep the truck and repair it

That’s almost a $10,000 difference. It seems clear what the best choice is.

The problem now…the unplanned chaos.

With me being a planner and liking things organized…this is a problem. Before hearing from the insurance company yesterday, I had a clear plan of how I was going to move forward.

Everything changed after that call.

Since that call, I’ve struggled to stay focused on the things that I normally would and should be focused on.

For example, this morning it took me twice as long to do my daily Bible reading. My mind kept wondering…what am I going to do about a truck. This afternoon I was taking an escrow payment to the title company and walked several buildings past theirs…I was thinking about trucks. I get sidetracked when starting a new task, because…I’m off in truck land.

Then there is the time needed to search for a truck. As particular as I am about my vehicles this isn’t a simple process.

Of course, with the way things are currently, used truck prices are crazy….am I going to be able to afford it? Not to mention that good clean used trucks are hard to find.

One of the things on my list today was to write this week’s solution. I started working on it yesterday afternoon, but was having trouble focusing (I kept thinking about the truck). This morning I kicked around some other ideas, but I was having trouble focusing (I kept getting sidetracked thinking about a truck).

That’s when I decided to just write about it.

My hope is to accomplish a couple of things with this. First, that it will help me work through this problem toward a solution. Second, I will at least get this weekly solution written.

In addition, maybe it will help you if you’re working through a similar situation.

Life is going to give us times of chaos. It’s up to you to work through it however works best for you.

You have control over your thoughts and actions. Take control!

I will keep you posted on the truck situation as it unfolds.

Compassion Takes More Than Just Words…It Takes Action

It’s Up to You to Determine What Those Actions Will Be

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. Motherhood involves both compassion and action.

One mother shared her recipe for iced coffee.

  1. Have kids
  2. Make coffee
  3. Forget you made the coffee
  4. Warm the coffee in the microwave
  5. Forget you warmed the coffee
  6. Drink it cold

This humorous story is a good example of how busy life can get. We need to remember to enjoy the coffee…iced or hot.

A lady slipped on the ice as she walked across a parking lot. A driver stopped and asked if she was hurt. The lady responded that she was alright. The driver then asked, “Can I have your parking space?

Compassion is something that requires more than just saying, it takes doing.

Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” It is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.

Compassion is not the same as empathy or altruism, though the concepts are related. While empathy refers more generally to our ability to take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another person, compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help.

In Acts 9:36-43 we find out about Tabitha, she was compassionate. Many widows of the time struggled. Tabitha helped them by making clothes for them. She showed her compassion by doing.

In the same way when Tabitha died the widows sent for Peter. Peter went to Tabitha and told her to get up…and she did. Peter was also a doer.

Dr. Martha Myers is a good example of compassion with action.

Called as a little girl to missions, she served in Yemen for 25 years as a doctor of obstetrics and gynecology. As such, she delivered hundreds of babies, but she was even better known for her love for the Yemeni people, her late-night village visits, her unending pursuit to love and care for the people. This endeared her to many, but also made her a target of Al-Qaeda extremists.

One woman went home and told her husband that she had never been treated with such love and compassion. This man was so angered that he burst into the Jibla hospital and gunned down Martha and two colleagues in hopes of keeping Christianity out of his country. Instead, her grave stands today as a testimony to the love of Christ for the Yemeni people.

Former IMB President Jerry Rankin said, “Martha’s colleagues said the gunmen did not take her life.

She lost her life to Jesus Christ years ago when she trusted Him. Martha was not living for herself, but to serve others.”

Too much of the time we’re scared so we don’t do. We tell ourselves; I don’t have the skills for that. Someone else will do it. We’re too busy, we don’t have time. And the excuses go on.

This doesn’t mean that we all have to be a missionary doctor in Yemen. It means we need to minister with our God given talent and gifts to those around us wherever we are.

Compassion is often dismissed as a touchy-feely or irrational emotion. Not so…

It takes courage to care.

The world will be better if we lose our lives to Christ and show compassion through action.

Life Happens…The Question Is, What Are You Going to Do When It Does?

I Think Flexible Rigidity Is the Best Plan

I am an organizer and planner by nature. I like having a clear direction. A system in place to expedite those wonderfully crafted plans. Knowing what I’m going to do today.

But then…’life happens’.

You know what I mean. You’re going along, following those well-organized plans and then out of nowhere…something comes along and messes the whole thing up.

Just because I’m a planner doesn’t mean that I can’t be flexible, because I can. Sometimes maybe too much. It has always been pretty easy for me to make adjustments when something unexpected happens.

The problem with this is, getting derailed by distractions makes it hard to stay on task. Then of course that plan, that wonderfully crafted plan, is all messed up. For years I have worked to be better at balancing the plan and flexibility.

You may be on the other side and have the gift of doing. The ability to make a decision and move on it. You find it frustrating when the unexpected happens and you struggle to deal with it.

Knowing what character, personality and gifts you have is critical to being prepared in your own way to handle the unexpected.

I first wrote about this topic of being flexibly rigid back in 2016. It’s interesting that the instigation for that post was a brake line leaking on my truck. Now I’m writing about this again today, six years later.

Today’s situation involves brake lines and a whole lot more.

As I was turning into the church this past Sunday morning, I was rear ended. The accident knocked the rear axle out of the truck as well as causing some damage to the truck bed.

First and foremost, I’m grateful that neither I or the other driver were hurt…the vehicles didn’t fare so well.

Looking at the blessings is a great way to put things into perspective.

I’ve had this truck for twenty-two years and have put 523,000 miles on it, toward my goal of a million miles. People who know me, know that I like my truck…but ultimately, it’s just a truck.

Now, let’s look at how flexible rigidity works.

I need to start with considering my options –

  • Is the truck repairable?
  • If so, what’s it going to take to repair it?
  • If so, is repairing it worth the cost?
  • Is the insurance going to total the truck?
  • How much is insurance going to pay?

After I get the answers to these questions and others. I will weigh the options, ask God for His thoughts and make a decision.

He is the Master Planner and it is important for our plans to align with His.

We need to determine what our priorities are before the scheduling fiascos happen. Figure out who we are and what we want, so we are ready when the unexpected happens.

This doesn’t mean that everything will go perfectly, but as we search for clarity and work through each schedule disruption…

We will get a little closer to being who we were designed to be.

Being flexibly rigid is the balance of staying on task while handling things when life happens.

Too Often Misunderstandings Cause Us to Do the Wrong Thing

It’s Important to Ask Questions Outside Your Internal Perspective Box

Asking questions is the best way to get a clear understanding. Too often we assume things and don’t take time to ask questions. Questions are the only way to get past misunderstandings.

Have you ever felt misunderstood?

This is a question Norm Williams a Readers Digest contributor had when he was searching the library for two books by communications expert Deborah Tannen. It turned into an Abbott and Costello comedy routine.

“What’s the first book?” the librarian asked.

That’s Not What I Meant,” I said.

“Well, what did you mean?”

“That’s the title of the book,” I explained.

“Okay,” she said, looking at me a little skeptically. “And the other book?”

You Just Don’t Understand.”

“Excuse me?”

I got both books. Eventually.

When it comes to clear communication, even the experts can have trouble. Don’t give up! Hang in there. Work through it. Communication is key to a healthy relationship. And remember in the process, it is more important to understand than to be understood.

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (Proverbs 18:2).

Clarity doesn’t mean we will agree, but it gives us understanding.

In Acts 9:1-6, Saul got some clarity. He was on the road to Damascus to find and kill followers of Christ. He was passionate about this. He was certain he was doing the right thing…until a bright light from heaven surrounded him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say, “Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute Me?”

“Who are you?” asked Saul.

“I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get up, go into the city where you will be told what to do.”

And boy did he ever. He became Paul and changed his mission.

Saul’s faith wasn’t in God, it was in the misunderstanding of who God is.

A Jewish father was very troubled by his son wanting to become a Christian and went to see his rabbi about it.

“Rabbi, I brought him up in the faith. Then he tells me last week, he’s decided to be a Christian. Rabbi, where did I go wrong?”

The rabbi says, “Funny you should ask that. I too, brought up my son as a boy of faith and then one day he comes to me and tells me he wants to be a Christian.”

“What did you do?” asked the man of the rabbi.

“I turned to God for the answer,” replied the rabbi.

“What did He say?” asked the man.

He said, “Funny you should ask that…”

Too often we focus on the laws rather than the love.

“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do” – Anne Lamott

Hate makes Satan’s job a lot easier and there is a lot of hate out there.

Katherine Thacker needed a healthy outlet and she found it.

Her mind was obsessed with hateful thoughts directed toward the suspect who killed her father, a cop, while he was on duty. Forgiveness was out of the question.

“I started writing very angry letters to the man who killed my dad and expressed my hurt.” “But not only did I express my hurt, I also expressed what I wished could happen to him. And they were really really hateful.”

Broken in spirit, she turned away from God.

“Why did God let my dad die?” she asked. “If God’s good, why did He let the man who killed my dad do this?”

Her distancing from God continued until she went to a week-long summer Christian camp.

Slowly but surely, she began to unbuild, brick by brick, the wall she had erected to keep God out of her life.

“I assumed that if I built up this wall, God would be long gone. He’d be so far gone,” she recalls. “I realized that when I took it down and He was still right there. He didn’t leave or walk away.”

Katherine became a Christian and realized she must forgive her dad’s killer.

“My anger was consuming my thoughts, consuming my heart. It was blocking out parts of my heart that God could easily fill up,” she says. “So I ended up, through a lot of prayer, able to fully forgive the man who killed my dad. I hold no grudge against him. He can experience God’s forgiveness too, because he’s a sinful human just like me.”

Katherine stopped writing hateful letters that she never sent to the murderer. Instead, she started writing letters to the bereaved families of fallen policemen.

The power of forgiveness brought healing to her heart and a blessing to many others.

What kind of God do you believe God is?

Who is Jesus and how does He expect His followers to live?

Lord, what do you want me to do?

When our mission is aligned with Christ’s heart then our lives will have an eternal impact

Fear is a Powerful Force, But Faith Can Help You Overcome It

Like Every Other Decision in Your Life…It’s Up to You

Believing in something we can’t see can be hard. This is where faith comes in.

Last week we celebrated Easter and Christ’s resurrection. We talked about the women finding the empty tomb and how the apostles thought this was nonsense.

This week we’ll pick up from there. In John 20:19-31, the disciples were afraid and hiding in a locked room, when Jesus showed up. He showed them His hands and feet and gave them the Holy Spirit to go out and spread the message of how we can spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

Thomas, one of the disciples wasn’t with them when this happened. When they told him…he didn’t believe them. He said, “I won’t believe unless I see and touch the scars.”

We’re more like Thomas than we would like to believe. We tell ourselves we believe, but do we really?

Thomas’s need for proof was like a farmer from South Carolina in the early 1900s.

 He said that he thought the existence of Europe was fictional. He believed that there was no such place as the continent of Europe. He found it hard to believe that anything existed beyond the Atlantic Ocean. Nevertheless, in 1918, the last year of WWI, he was drafted into the Army and had the opportunity to experience Europe as a fact. He said, “You wouldn’t believe what lies over there.”

This is often how we feel about life beyond the grave.

You wouldn’t believe what lies over there.

Thomas went on to share Christ’s message in India, where he was killed for the work he was doing.

We can believe because people like doubting Thomas gave their lives to get the word out.

It is easy to be afraid. Like the disciples too often we can hide behind locked doors. On the other hand, if we believe, we can share the message that we’ve been given.

Being afraid prevents us from doing amazing things.

The lyrics of Bette Midler song The Rose, from the movie with the same name, we are given a good example of what we miss when we live our lives in fear.

It’s the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance
It’s the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance
It’s the one who won’t be taken
Who cannot seem to give
And the soul afraid of dying
That never learns to live

Think of what can we do if we truly believe Christ is risen?

Don’t be afraid to live your life. Live faith over fear!

There’s a Lot More to Easter Than Bunnies, Baskets and Eggs

It’s About Being Given the Gift of Living Forever

The Bible makes no mention of a long-eared, short-tailed creature who delivers decorated eggs to well-behaved children on Easter Sunday; nevertheless, the Easter bunny has become a prominent symbol of Christianity’s most important holiday. The exact origins of this mythical mammal are unclear, but rabbits, known to be prolific procreators, are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. 

According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.”

Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests.

Easter Symbols and Traditions – Easter Bunny, Easter Eggs & Christianity – HISTORY

I certainly like the chocolate part of this tradition. The important thing with any tradition is to not let it become the reason or purpose behind the celebration.

We need to remember what Easter is really about.

In Luke 24:1-12 the women went to the tomb. When they got there, they found the stone rolled away and no body. Jesus was gone. Suddenly there were two angels standing there. They told the women, “Why are you looking in a place of the dead for someone who is alive?”

The women went and told the eleven apostles and other followers what they found. “The apostles thought it was nonsense.”

These men had been living and working alongside of Jesus daily. He had told them that, “The Son of Man will be handed over to sinners who will nail Him to a cross. But three days later He will rise to life.” And they still didn’t believe.

This living forever thing is something that can be hard to comprehend. It’s something that until we die, we can’t experience.

Even though it may seem like nonsense, I look at it this way. I have a choice to believe or not. At the very least if there is an eternal life after this earthly one, I would rather spend it in heaven rather than hell.

A man was standing on the sidewalk looking in a display in a store window. Because it was Easter time the store had a crucifixion scene set up. As he was standing there a small boy walked up and said, “Those are Roman soldiers.” The man said nothing and continued studying the window. “There is Jesus.”, said the boy. Still no response from the man. “They killed Him.”, said the boy.

The man, having satisfied his curiosity, turned and began walking away. He heard footsteps behind him and a tug on his sleeve. It was the boy. “Mister, I forgot to tell you the most important part.

He is alive again.”

Remember, this is the most important part as you enjoy your Easter chocolate.

Blindly Believing is Easier Than the Hard Work of Finding the Truth

Rejection Is a Driving Force in Why We Follow the Crowd

We naturally desire being accepted…being included in the group of cool people. This need starts at an early age.

You’re probably aware of the game spin the bottle. In one version, whoever the bottle points at must either kiss the spinner or pay them a quarter. One man said that he got so many quarters that he paid his first year of college with quarters.

Now that’s some major rejection. This humorous story may make us laugh, but…

There’s nothing funny about rejection.

Most of us are familiar with the Palm Sunday story of Jesus riding the donkey into Jerusalem. The people gave Him a king’s welcome. They spread coats and palm branches on the road in front of Him. As told in Luke 19:28-44, His followers were shouting “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

We know that in a few short days after Jesus is received as a king, he is killed like a criminal. Talk about rejection.

There were two groups of people observing Jesus’ arrival. The majority of both groups were wrong in their perception of what this arrival meant. Both thought Jesus was going to come in and overthrow the government.

The Pharisees were scared that this would be the end to their power. The others thought this would give them the power. All of them wanted to be part of the “cool crowd”.

Because their focus was on being in the “cool crowd”, they missed the truth.

Too often this desire to fit in, blinds us to the truth.

Being alone is scary. It’s easier to believe what we’re told than to be alone and ask the hard questions. There’s strength in numbers. We feel much safer in a group, even if that group believes the wrong things.

This was never more evident than when the Nazi German regime was able to carry out over eleven million institutional killings between 1933 and 1945. In Andy Andrews book, How Do You Kill 11 Million People? Why the Truth Matters More Than You Think, he shows us how deadly it can be to believe a lie.

Seeking and discerning the truth is of critical importance. Believing lies is the most dangerous thing you can do. Be a careful student of the past, seeking accurate, factual accounts of events that illuminate our choices.

We must become informed, passionate people or suffer the consequences of our own ignorance and apathy. We can no longer measure a group’s worth by what we hear or want to be true. Instead,

We must use an unchanging Biblical standard of the pure, unvarnished truth. 

This truth affects both the world we live in now and the one beyond.

Focus and Determination Beat Brains and Intellect Every Time

We Need to be More Like Squirrels

Most of us struggle with getting and staying focused. We are easily distracted and now more than ever we are surrounded by constant distractions.

Why Squirrels Get to Rock an “S” On Their Chest comes from “You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader” by Mark Sanborn does a great job of putting this in perspective.

Bill bought a new house on the edge of a lush, wooded area. Bill liked to feed birds, so Bill put a feeder up in his backyard. But before the sun even set that evening, squirrels were swinging off the bird feeder and chasing the birds away. Bill realized that he had to do something or the birds would soon be too scared to come near the feeder.

For the next two weeks he declared war on the squirrels. Bill wasn’t a mean guy and wouldn’t do anything to hurt the squirrels, but he was willing to use any peaceful means necessary to keep them out of his bird feeder.

He tried greasing the post, but that didn’t work. Stumped, Bill visited his local hardware store and bought a “squirrel-proof bird feeder”, an odd-looking feeder with wire mesh wrapped around it. The label said it was guaranteed, so Bill took it home and put it in his backyard.

By sunset squirrels were once again swinging off the bird feeder.

Bill was really upset, and the next day he took the feeder back to the hardware store. He asked to see the manager, demanding a full refund.

“Calm down,” the store manager told him. “I could have told you when you bought it that there is no such thing as a squirrel-proof bird feeder.”

Bill looked at him in disbelief. You mean we can land a man on the moon and send instantaneous messages via satellite to anywhere around the world, but our best and brightest scientists and engineers can’t design and manufacture a bird feeder that can outsmart an animal with the brain the size of a pea?

“Yep,” said the retailer.

“Why not?” Bill persisted.

“Let me ask you something sir,” the man replied. “How much time on average have you spent in the last two weeks trying to keep the squirrels out of your bird feeder?”

Bill thought it over for a moment and responded, “Maybe ten to fifteen minutes a day.”

“And how much time do you think the squirrels spend each day trying to get in?”

The answer, Bill learned, is almost every waking squirrel moment; squirrels spend 98 percent of their waking hours looking for food. In fact, they are unique in the animal kingdom in that they would rather eat than procreate; they prefer foraging to fooling around. This just goes to show the kind of focus the squirrel brings to its mission.

The moral of this story: 

Focus and determination beat brains and intellect every time.

You don’t necessarily have to be smarter or better educated to succeed. Your power lies in your ability to focus on doing what is important. If you focus on the right things, and work at them often, you will achieve exceptional results.

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

Benjamin Franklin

Just think what we could accomplish if we had the focus of a squirrel.

In Philippians 3:4-14, Paul speaks to the importance of working toward the goal. Running and struggling to take hold of the prize. Forgetting what is behind and fighting for what is ahead.

Determine what your purpose is. Commit to it and make it your priority. Focus on it like a squirrel would.

Coming Home is One of the Best Feelings Ever

Just Because We’re Welcomed with Open Arms, It Doesn’t Mean We Get Off Scot-free

Home is one of the best places. Whether it’s the home where you currently live or the one you grew up in. There’s something just warm and wonderful about home. Granted some physical homes aren’t so good, but the emotional feeling of “home” is the place where we want to be.

Some people want to get away from home and explore. Even those people have a sense of home. Part of their adventure may be a search for that place that feels like home.

When exploring, it’s important to know where you are.

Erwin Kreuz was a traveler who thought he knew where he was only to find out he didn’t. In 1977 he came to America from Germany. He had always wanted to visit San Francisco.

On a layover in Banger Maine, due to speaking no English, he misunderstood a flight attendant who wished him a pleasant visit to San Francisco. This led him to believe he was in California, and he got off the plane. After days of looking for the Golden Gate Bridge and other landmarks, he found some German speaking people and realized his situation. His story went on to become Maine folklore.

Like the Bible story about the prodigal son. The younger son went on an adventure that ended with him longing for home. There was a point when he decided that he needed to go home and ask for forgiveness.

This is one of those stories that can leave us with feelings of uneasiness.

If you’re an older sibling, like me, we can identify with the older brother. We’ve been here all along. Working hard and doing what we’re supposed to and now this rebel comes home and he gets a party.

Maybe you identify with the younger brother and regret some of the things you’ve done. You just want to come home but are afraid that you won’t be allowed to.

Or maybe this story is upsetting. To think that someone could be so disrespectful and frivolous and come back and live like you did nothing wrong.

For years I struggled with aspects of this story but have come to some conclusions.

We all have portions of both brothers.

We have all made mistakes. Whether they are the high and mighty, I think I’m better for doing the “right things” like the older brother. Or the more openly in your face wild living like the younger brother.

Both brothers need to realize who their father is and ask for forgiveness.

The other thing that helped me with this story is that we don’t know what happens after the son’s return celebration is over.

It is evident throughout the Bible that just because we ask for forgiveness and “come home”, that’s not the end. There are consequences to our actions even after we come home.

Just look at the story of David and what happens after he sleeps with Bathsheba and then has her husband killed. Even after David repents and “comes home” there is a price to pay. The newborn baby of Bathsheba dies. One of his other sons, Amnon, sleeps with one of his daughters, Tamar. Tamar’s brother Absalom kills Amnon. And then Absalom rebels against David and ends up being killed in a battle with David.

There are consequences to our actions. But it’s still better to come “home” to the open arms of our Father, accept our punishment in love and live the life we’ve been called to live.