The prodigals are coming home.

I love it when the Lord takes two separate stories, from two completely different books in the Bible and combines them to give me a word. I know we Americans are very preoccupied with our election results, but there is so much more going on in the world today than just that. There are frightening things happening such as natural disasters, economic hardships, uncertainty and fear of the future. Unless you have your head in the sand, you know that the world is no longer a safe place. It may never have been safe, but at least we all had some illusion of safety, at least in the western world. So with all that as a backdrop, I was reading the book of John this morning, and I couldn’t help but notice how many times it tells us that “no one laid hands on Jesus, because His hour had not yet come”. This sentence is repeated numerous times, just in John chapters 7 and 8 alone. They could not take Jesus and kill Him, even though they wanted to because it wasn’t time yet. So I asked the Lord, “Has the hour which the enemy is planning for the whole world, come yet? No, my question is not entirely clear here, and I’m not trying to get into eschatology with anyone. But I do realize we are very, very close to the end. How close, was really my question. He responded by pointing out that if I know that a harvest has to come first, then so does the devil. The devil is of course trying to bypass the harvest, speed things up if you will. He’s got some nifty plans in the works too. Look up “the great reset” on google, and you will be surprised at what they are planning. Anyway, this is where things got interesting in my conversation with the Lord. He took me back to Genesis 27, which I had just finished reading. It is the story of how Jacob managed to get Esau’s blessing for the firstborn. He lied and pretended to be Esau and fooled his dad. However, the blessing was actually his to begin with, but none of them really understand that, yet. When Esau realized what had happened, he planned to kill Jacob, after their father was dead. But God intervened and told Rebekah so that she persuaded Isaac, his father, to send Jacob to her brother Laban, back home. Interestingly enough, Jacob ended up with two blessings. The first one that he stole from his brother was really just a general blessing if you will (Genesis 27:27-29) but it is the second one that really caught my attention. It was like a light bulb went off in Isaac’s mind. Here it is: 

“May God Almighty bless you,

And make you fruitful and multiply you,

That you may be an assembly of peoples;

And give you the blessing of Abraham,

To you and your descendants with you,

That you may inherit the land

In which you are a stranger,

Which God gave to Abraham.” Genesis 28:3-4

Do you see it? The blessing of Abraham! The promise that this land would one day belong to his children’s children. The promised land! And here is the amazing revelation that God gave me this very morning.  In his fear of being killed, Jacob obeys his parents and leaves. The very thing that Jacob was afraid of, was the thing that drove him into his destiny: Rachel and Leah. It was because of his leaving when he did, that he ended up marrying these two women (yes, there were two others as well) and producing the twelve tribes of Israel, which would many years in the future, produce the nation of Israel. And if you take it even further, brought us the promised Messiah, Jesus. So how does all this speak to us today? The Lord longs to gather His children, all those whose names are written in the book of life. They have not been willing, but, but, the hour has come. His promises are yes and amen. The prodigals are about to come home. He told me that the pilgrimage has already begun, and to keep watch on the horizon because the harvest has started. The very thing that frightens us all, all the things happening on our earth, will actually drive us and them into our destinies. The enemy’s plans are but for a moment, but God’s plans are eternal. He is gathering His children from the far ends of the earth, for such a time as this. Do not fear for them. Do not despair if they have to go through tough times. The prodigal had to lose everything before he came to himself and remembered his father. God is using what the enemy means for evil, to accomplish His purposes on this earth. Do not be afraid. God is in control!

Trusting God

I have walked with the Lord for over 45 years now and it has always been my habit to spend my early mornings with Him. I love to read His word, I love to hear His voice, I love to feel His peace and His presence. But I have to be honest, it has been a real struggle these past few months. My struggle has not been with spending my time with Him, it has been to believe that I am hearing His voice. This year has been a year of turmoil and so many of the people I care about and love have dealt with trials. Hard, hard trials. Trials that made no sense in many ways. When you add all the trials to the situation going on in our nation, to the things happening in our world, it is easy to become confused. So many people have spoken “peace, peace”, when there really was no peace. I know that confusion is not of God, and yet, I really did not know in many ways what He was really doing, both on an individual level and a global level. I know that I am not alone in this struggle. The Lord has been teaching me the difference between truth, and people’s interpretation of the truth. Many of the things I have been taught over the course of my life were not actually truth, they were merely someone else’s understanding of the truth. So with that in mind, I have been asking the Lord for months now, “what are you doing? Teach me how to pray your will. Help me to understand”. It is not that I did not hear Him, I did, but often what I heard was very different from what I heard elsewhere. So who is right? This morning I sat here once again, reading His word, listening for His voice, talking to Him, and He told me something that I want to share with you. He told me that He sees my struggle to sit here and believe that it is His voice that I am hearing. He told me that He knows I am confused, and yet I persist in sitting here at His feet, drawing close to Him and choosing faith over fear. He told me that by continuing to do that day after day, month after month, I am learning to overcome. I am not shrinking back (Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back,

My soul has no pleasure in him.”Hebrews 10:38). But then He told me something that surprised me even more. He told me that He has allowed this time of confusion in my life because He wanted to see how determined I am to obey Him, to trust Him, when it would be easy to draw back, to walk away and to give up. He told me that by continuing to come to Him every single morning, I was in fact choosing Him, over my own understanding. I am choosing Him, over my fears. He is a jealous God and He is looking for people He can trust in the midst of confusion, people who will not walk away and become offended, when they don’t understand. The image He gave me was that of a blind man learning to use a cane. He must learn to trust the cane, not himself. That level of trust is very hard because it goes against the flesh. We want, we feel the need, to be in control, but it is necessary to give up that control, even crucial, if the cane is to actually work. I am to a large extent spiritually blind. If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that we all are. Yes, we have some level of understanding, but none of us see clearly. (“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, (darkly) but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known”. 1 Corinthians 13:12). We do not see what is going on in the spirit realm around us. We might, like the blind man, hear things, even see a tiny bit, and know some things, but we do not see clearly. We must learn to realize that we cannot navigate the spirit realm in the flesh. We must learn to lay aside our natural desire to follow our own understanding, and learn to trust Him, and Him alone. If you have been having this struggle of trying to understand and wanting to giving up, then let me reassure you. He sees you. He knows what you are dealing with and He understands. Don’t give up. Don’t shrink back. Don’t lean on your own understanding. Don’t be like John the Baptist and question who He really is. Don’t be offended. Choose faith over fear. Choose Him over all else because He is trustworthy. He is still in control and He knows the plans He has for you, for us, for this nation and for this world. He loves you and He is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).