Deadlines: Ours or God’s?

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But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 2 Peter 3:10

Today, I’m battling deadlines. In our world, we have the advantage of knowing the deadlines. Usually, I’m on top of things. I don’t like the rush at the last hour, so I tend to plan well and meet the finish line without adding to my grey hairs. Usually.

Not today. Today, I’m struggling to keep up because this week went off-kilter and never got back on track.

What about your Christian life? Are you off-kilter, trying to get back on track. The verse above might create fear in your heart, but I hope you’ll rest in the truth of His word and find peace instead of fear.

The verses prior to this warning say:

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9

The Lord wants all to come to repentance. He’s more forgiving than the deadlines I’m dealing with, but I give my deadlines more attention than the most important one: the day when the Lord returns.

What about you? Are you fighting the world’s deadlines and forgetting His? If so, I hope you pause and focus on the most important one. Seek Him first, find His love, His will, and the others should fall into place.

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What Makes Someone a Prodigal?

Image courtesy of Sommai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Sommai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” Luke 15:21

Not every wayward child qualifies as a prodigal.

That’s a hard pill to swallow.

I’ve written about my daughter a few times in relation to the prodigal story. I love and pray for her, and as the father in this parable does, I watch for her to return. The difference between the parable and her situation is how the child returns. My daughter has come home or asked to come home a few times, but she never has come back stating the words expressed by the prodigal son in Luke 15:21. She still wants a handout. She still wants acceptance and a place in the fold as if she’s done nothing wrong. That is not a prodigal’s return.

Although the story of the prodigal son gives us hope when we have a wayward family member, there are some significant points we must remember.

  1. Jesus told this story to explain how God greets the repentant sinner. He rejoices when a sinner turns away from sin and acknowledges his mistakes, not expecting a return to the position he had before. The beauty of this repentance is that God does give him that position of honor. He does not become less in God’s eyes because of his mistakes.
  2. The son realizes his mistake and returns but not expecting to step right back into the life he had. When she turns from her sin, she should do so with the realization that she deserves nothing. God will give her everything; she will become His daughter, but she must understand that this is His grace to give, not her due.
  3. This story is about who needs salvation. It’s not about the children in our lives who wander away from our family’s fold, although they do need salvation in most cases. Can we still apply it in that way? Sure, but we must remember that the parable was a response to who Jesus ate and socialized with:

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus.  But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:1-2

Why am I taking the time to explore this? Because my daughter has not qualified as the prodigal child. Yet. Her words and actions tell me she hasn’t accepted any responsibility for her life choices. She still wants me to bail her out. I can’t. I’ve actually tried that only to lose her again.

To be a prodigal, the person must accept his own responsibility in what drew him away. She must turn away from the life she’s fallen into. He must take the steps necessary to leave the poor life choices behind. She must show her heart in a way that tells us she is the prodigal come home.

Life: Not A Bowl Full of Cherries

When I remarried, I hoped for smoother roads, but life is not a bowl full of cherries, is it?Roaring Lion

Life doesn’t work that way.

Or have you noticed?

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I’m not trying to be a downer. I loved my expanded family with a new husband and three step-children, but life goes on.

In this world, we will have trouble. It’s that simple. My biggest troubles at the time came from my job. I was working in a great program helping a lot of people straighten out their lives, but Satan looks for any opening to attack.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  I Peter 5:8

Just before I started my new job, the President of the organization announced to his staff, “I’ve hired someone for this position, and she’s white.”

Since this was a primarily black organization, the comment ruffled feathers. Not that I was white, but how that was introduced to the staff.

One employee stressed over not being part of my interview process. She had nothing to do with my position, but she thought she deserved input.  Add this to the unfortunate way our boss announced his employment choice, and we have a formula for hate. At first, she pretended to befriend me. I soon realized her motives were not amiable, and I backed off.

She changed tactics, turning tattle-tale, looking for any possible misstep.

Everyone in the organization knew she didn’t like me.

I discussed this with the head of the organization several times, and he advised me to give back what I received.  As a Christian, I couldn’t do that. I turned the other cheek.

I can’t claim with certainty that she was behind the erroneous complaint filed by a customer, but most people believed she was.

A client called to complain that I had told them they didn’t qualify for my program and then had hung up on them. When people didn’t qualify for my program, which happened often, I referred them to other service agencies that could help. I never left people without an option, and I never hung up on a client.

I learned the customer was a plant. Without using my connections outside of work, I never would have been able to prove to my manager that the caller was lying. Thank goodness, I could prove it.

This world is not our home, and we are continually bombarded with problems. Without my church and my husband, I know this attack would have hurt much worse, but we know we are given what we need and never challenged beyond our capabilities.

Has your integrity ever been questioned? How did you respond when your life turned upside down thanks to another person’s jealousy?