Monday, December 14, 2009
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Firstborn children are usually known for their independence, which can sometimes get them in trouble. When our daughter was four years old, we were on a family shopping trip to the local grocery store. Her little brother was riding in the cart and our daughter was walking ahead of Mom and me and the cart. At a moment when we were looking at the corn flakes or something, she wandered off and into another aisle. To this day she remembers the panic of realizing she did not know where she was or where we were. She told me, "The aisle looked so long, the shelves looked so high, and I didn't recognize anybody." Suddenly, our little girl realized that she was lost.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "When You Realize You're Lost."
Our daughter never meant to get separated from her parents, but suddenly she was lost. It could be that you never meant to get separated from your Heavenly Father, but you are. And you're realizing that you're lost.
Jesus said we're like sheep. And I don't think a sheep wakes up one day and says, "I'm tired of the shepherd. I think I'll just run away from Him." Sheep don't run away; they wander away. Just a little off the shepherd's path to check out that tuft of grass, then up that hill, then over the hill, until suddenly the sheep says, "Oh no! Where's my shepherd?" Maybe that's your story. You never meant to get this far from God. But one wandering step at a time, you've ended up farther from your Lord than you ever thought you'd get, maybe doing things you never thought you would do - trying to get other things to meet needs in you that Jesus once met. And those other things are not working.
So how do you get back? The same way the prodigal son got back to his father. Jesus said, "He set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth ... he had spent everything." You know, he ended up feeding pigs - not exactly his dream when he left his father. Now covered with shame and pig slop, Jesus says in Luke 15, beginning with verse 17, our word for today from the Word of God, "he came to his senses. He said ... 'I will set out and go back to my father and I will say to him: 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.' ... So he got up and went to his father."
You wandered away from Jesus, but you can't wander back. You have to decide that this is your last day away from home. This is the day you're getting up and going home to your Father. A lot of things may be holding you back: your shame over what you've done, which God is ready to trade for His forgiveness; your fear of failing, which God is ready to replace with His strength; or your unwillingness to let go of your idols, wondering if you can do without them now. You've forgotten that the cost of not following Jesus is far greater than the cost of following Him. You've lived that one haven't you?
It's never going to be easier to start back home to Jesus than it is today. Every day you wait, the ropes that are holding you get tighter and tighter. Every day you wait, your heart's getting harder.
You've been lost long enough. Our website lays that out for you in a way that I think will make it clear and help you be sure you have begun your life-saving relationship with Jesus. Just check it out today. Go to YoursForLife.net. Or you can call toll free if you'd like to get this in booklet form. You can ask for Yours For Life at this number - 877-741-1200.
Your Heavenly Father is waiting right now to welcome you home with arms wide open. Don't waste another day. This can be your personal Homecoming Day!