Tag Archives: Deep Restoration

Realigning Yourself With Christ

We are bombarded daily.  That’s just something we cannot ignore.  There is so much going on day after day and it is so easy to feel so overwhelmed.  You ever feel that way?  Feeling like the world is just trying to take you out?  I know I feel it from time to time.  This past week, I felt simply overloaded.  So much so, that I could not even focus my mind to even write at all.  The mind was all over the place from school, to my regular work, and my family.  It can get very difficult to manage life’s demands and then it can be so easy to simply throw in the towel and give up.

I was reminded of something last week though while the mind was racing.  Something that for a couple of days that I lost sight of because of the chaos.  That is realigning my life with Jesus.  Realigning every aspect and dimension of me with Him.  This starts from the moment I get out of bed every morning.  Before the day begins, just stopping and bring consecrate your life, bringing every part of your life under the authority of Jesus Christ.  This sounds so simple, but wow, it is so important to do every day.

pour-out-your-heart-to-godWhen this is remembered, it brings so much more clarity to the day to come.  I have found myself more capable to deal with the difficulties that may come and stand strong in any warfare I may face.  Psalm 62:8 says “Pour out your heart before Him.  God is a refuge for us.”  He is there for every part of all we face.  We have to call out to Him though.  We have to bring our lives under Him.  Realizing that we are powerless to face all of the struggles of life by ourselves.  When we start our day before God, we lay it all out there for Him.  Let it come under Christ’s authority to see you through.

As we begin this week I wanted to write out this reminder for not only myself but for all of you too.  It’s not about just whining about our troubles, but realizing that God is over all of it and aligning ourselves under the authority of Christ, we bring us into better focus and bring clarity on what matters.  Oswald Chambers said, “We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.”   This is taking the focus off the troubles and keeping our eyes on Him.

So as you start each day.  Think about this.  Before anything begins, look to the Lord.  Fix your heart to Him first before anything in the day comes in.  Christ overcame, so we can overcome what this world throws at us.  We need to be restored and renewed daily in Christ.

The Fog of Religion

I’m going to talk about something today that will not be very popular with many people.  This has to do with the religious veil that is pulled over many of our faces still to this day.  A veil that Jesus himself brought down and that was torn in two, forever opening the door to the Father through Christ.  I guess it’s appropriate that this is on my mind today on Ash Wednesday.  This day is observed by many as the start of Lent, leading up to Easter.  Even before I fully came into my faith, something never sat right with me about it all.  Now that my eyes have been opened, I see it more clearly.

We have a serious religious problem across the Christian faith.  I guess it’s bound to happen over a 2,000 year period as messages get skewed and people begin to prop themselves up through the creation of new religious practices.  While Lent and Ash Wednesday are not referenced anywhere in Scripture, I don’t have an issue with people that want to observe this time.  The problem lies in the motives of the heart.  There are many people and I know many, that use the time leading up to Lent to indulge however they want. To live like hell and just whatever.  Then Lent comes, they get the ashes on their forehead and then portray to be living a like a Christian for 40 days.  Easter comes and goes and right back to life as usual.  Living a life in Christ.  Seeking holiness and sanctification is not for only 40 day out of the 365 days we have each year.  This is meant to be a 24/7 365 life.  People think that this time can make up for the rest of their crazy living.   Doesn’t work that way.

a43673c9d067ac92903fa8250de42be5In his book, ‘Beautiful Outlaw,’ John Eldredge speaks to the religious fog and how Jesus himself was very much anti-religious.  That’s who he went after directly more times than not through the Gospels.  John says this, “The religious fog uses sanctified worlds and activities, things that look and sound very Sunday school to distort our perception of God and our experience of Him.  It is cunning as a snake and adaptive as the flu, infiltrating our practices to make them ever so false.”  Read the Gospels and as John stated, there is one thing that is unmistakably clear…religion is the enemy.  “Every hostile encounter Jesus has is with very “churchy” people.  This spirit is the great enemy of our life with God, and it is this spirit that Jesus warned his boys about when they were whispering in the boat about the bread” (See Matthew 16:6-12).

Religion is a major problem that we to contend with.  Religion is built by man on rules and regulation that continually build up larger walls between man and God.  Jesus tore those walls down.  Our salvation, our freedom, our restoration, our eternity lies with Him and Him alone.  Not in religious practices and rituals.  We are to be disciplined spiritually through prayer, studying and learning Scripture, and so on, but getting caught up in religious discipline and practices can be a real problem and can begin to pull you away from the heart of God.  Following Jesus does not require the burden of religion.  Matthew 11:29-30, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

9780060694425_p0_v2_s192x300Why do we forget this?  There is a cost to following Christ as it will pull you away from many around you, even if you are close them them, if they do not follow as well.  However, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  Jesus did not put up more religious walls to shield us from God.  No…He opened the door. The goal of living a life in Christ is to live as Christ lived.  Not to follow every little thing that He may did, specifically, but to follow His example.  In ‘The Spirit of the Disciplines,’ Dallas Willard explained it this way, “The secret of the easy yoke is simple, actually.  It is the intelligent, informed, unyielding resolve to live as Jesus lived in all aspects of life, not just in the moment of specific choice or action.” 

I have grown to become very much against religion.  Actually, I hate religion.  It is the enemies ploy to skew the message and the Good News to pull us away from the heart of God and truly living our lives in Christ.  Christ is the example, not the pompous religious pharisees of today that prance around with so much pomp and circumstance just as the pharisees and religious leaders in Jesus’ time did.  Christ challenged them directly and fiercely.  We should not let our lives fall into their trap again.  Clear the religious fog and live in the freedom and restoration found in Christ alone and is directly available to each and everyone of us.

No religious ritual can ever make one’s heart right with God.  That only comes through the grace and spiritual blessings of the Father through the works (life, death, resurrection, and ascension) of Christ Jesus.  Religion keeps you in chains and bondage behind a veil. Jesus tears down the veil, breaks those chains, and sets you free.

A Year Later – An Amazing Journey

Since this time last year, I have been continually sharing with all of you pieces of this journey that God has placed me on as He took a hold of my life and transformed me like I never, ever thought possible.  Looking back to where I stood a year ago, the growth in my life, the movement that the Holy Spirit has brought to me, and the purpose and direction that I now follow is like nothing I ever thought possible.  All of that came because of two major events for me, first during a mens’ ministry study at my church a year ago last week, and then the adventure to Colorado a year ago this week to Wild at Heart.

I continue to look back over this journey with a joyful heart as to what God has opened.  It all came down to one thing though.  Making that decision that I was no longer going to walk on this journey alone and that I was going to put that stake in the ground and draw a line in the sand to follow Jesus from here on out into the the unknown.   I surrendered my life and told God that I was now all in.  I was no longer going to be stranded and just dip my toes in the water.  I was diving in.

I know I mention Wild at Heart continuously on this page and in my writing.  I have discussed pieces of the journey and where it has taken me, but it’s all for a significant reason.  I firmly believe that this transformation in life is available to each and every one of us.  If God can make use of my life, he can make use of everyone.  He is calling on each and everyone of us.  Ephesians 1, the Father chose us before the foundations of the earth.  He chose everyone of us and wants to use each of us for His glory.  Not our…His.

That’s been the important thing to remember.  I was on long journey to nowhere for along time.  I was a husband and father to the best way I knew how and I thought part of that was working for my own successes.  It was all about what I can do for me which was in turn to provide for them.  That was the limit of it all.  It was not for God’s glory.  He was literally an afterthought.  I became cynical and complacent in life.  I battled issues of being angry, being deceitful.  I battled lust and pornography, which consumed me as an escape.  I hid behind my false self.  I loved food and was way out of shape.  Just didn’t care to take of myself and my health was affected.  I entered a dark time where I was even more lost when my Dad died.  I carried wounds and sins with me and hid them deep inside of my heart.  I no longer had any guidance and the little guidance I did receive came from self-consumed people.

In the months and weeks leading to last January, God began a real work to prepare me for what was about to come.  My heart slowly opened.  When I was accepted to go to Wild At Heart, I knew something big was beginning to happen.  I just didn’t know what.  I tried my best to just let the week happen, preparing myself with an open heart to let God unveil all He was looking to.  I was completely blown away by what the entire experience brought and the way my life was going to change afterwards.

I knew things weren’t going to be the same and they certainly weren’t.  I battled though at times. There were days when it became very easy to just go back to who I was.  To just settle with life and not take a risk to make a change I knew that had to be done.  God called and I responded, though.  I now knew Him as Father and I allowed Him to Father me through it all and He still does today.  I shed the old self, the false self, the old nature and I put on my new nature as God’s son and now alive and restored through Jesus Christ.

Densely-01-2For each and everyone of to go on the journey of transformation requires something big of us and something that is very difficult to do.  It requires allowing ourselves to be torn down and rebuilt.  I saw a quote from Mike Mason that said, “A thirty-year-old man is like a densely populated city. Nothing new can be built, in its heart, without something else being torn down.”   At 36 years of age, that’s exactly what I had to do and what each of us have to do.  We have to open the door to our heart to Jesus and allow Him to enter and bring out those wounds and sins, so that we can then renounce and repent and then drive forward to be healed and restored to who we were meant to be.  In my counseling studies, this is called exposure.  It’s very much needed.  We need to be exposed to ourselves and to Christ in order to have a chance at the life we were meant to have.

This journey is far from over.  I was broken and then restored.  I was dead and then reborn.  I had no direction and now I have God’s purpose and direction.  It’s possible for all who are willing to let go and turn to Him.  Trust me.  I didn’t think it was possible and yet here I stand.  Restoration and life is very much possible if we will just trust God’s will and allow the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts.  It takes work and you will be opposed, but trust God with your life is all you need

Get Ourselves Out of the Way

It never ceases to amaze me the things that God will reveal to me or remind me about at the most random times and in moments when I’m not even locked into receiving anything.  Usually when I get to late in the evening, my mind begins to wind down as we all do, getting ready to turn in for the night.  Last night was a exception.  Coming home from an evening watching my daughter sing at a Talent Show, which was awesome by the way, we came home to wind down.  Kids went off to bed.  Amber was working on a couple things, and I flipped the TV channels and found “The Legend of Bagger Vance.”  It was about mid-way through, but I didn’t care.  Love that movie, so I kept it there and watched.

If you’re not familiar with the movie, Matt Damon plays a man named Rannulph Junuh from Savannah, GA, who had everything going for him as a golfer and then after losing his entire unit in World War I, even though he was decorated with the Medal of Honor, Junuh was completely lost and taken out, still stuck on the battlefield.  A chance to find his way back to the game comes a decade later to play against two great golfers, Bobby Jones and Walter Hagan.  Along comes Bagger Vance, played by Will Smith.  A simple looking man, who just happened to walk up one night and offered Junuh his services a caddie. It was on from that point and the work began to restore Junuh, not to who he was, but to who he was meant to be.

There’s something very mystical about this movie and one thing that John Eldredge shared at Wild at Heart was that Bagger Vance, in this movie, is the image of the Holy Spirit, looking to restore Junuh to his true self and finding his place in the field, or as we would say, finding himself in Christ.  Bagger counsels and guides Junuh in just the way I see the Holy Spirit working on us in restoring our union with the Father and the Son.  It’s really quite something to see and think about.  Follow-me a little here as I share this.

When Junuh first starts to play in the tournament.  He is terrible and falls 12 strokes behind Jones and Hagan.  He looks to Bagger for help and Bagger offers him little help.  He asks Bagger, “Any ideas?” when Junuh is in a bunker.  Bagger says, “huh..about what?”  Junuh frustrated, just grabs a club and Bagger says, “Yeah, that’s a good one there.”  At this point, Junuh is completely relying on himself.  thinking he can just get back to the way things were.  His game would return to the glory it once was.  Bagger leaves him alone in this self-reliance and Junuh pays for it as his game suffers.  After the round, Bagger tells him, “The Junuh you was, you ain’t never gonna be again; ever.”

This is just how I see the Holy Spirit working in us and restoring us when we are taken out and lost.  Often times we try to get ourselves back on our own.  That’s exactly what I did.  Thinking I could just find my way, find my motivation in life and career again.  I wasted 3 years in doctorate studies and went to different seminars looking for motivation, but nothing doing.  Trying to make it on my own didn’t get me anywhere but back to square one.  This is much the same way that Junuh found himself way behind.

In much the same way as the Holy Spirit, at just the right moment, Bagger says, it’s time.  Time to see the field.  Time find our swing.  Time to find our true self.  Time to find our authentic self and to be who we were created to in Christ.  To “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” Ephesians 4:24.  Through the next parts of the movie, Junuh leans completely on Bagger, listening to him and all of a sudden, his game returned and he found confidence in himself to maybe win this tournament against to of the worlds greatest golfers.

At one point, Junuh’s old self returns and he becomes over confident in himself again and his game began to crash back down.  At the moment of most desperation, when Junuh is retrieving his ball in the woods, Bagger digs right in.  Takes him back to the moment he lost himself on that battlefield.  Telling him it’s time to let that go.  He says he’s right there with him and that he’s been there all along. Time to let the field choose him and bring out his true, authentic self, but all we have to do is get ourselves out of its way.  In the same way, Christ is choosing us and wants to restore us, if we will get out of our own way and let Him in.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” Revelation 3:20.  Jesus is there knocking, and ready to come in an restore us.  The Holy Spirit will be there to guide us through the whole thing.  It’s not an easy road and often times, it will be a painful one when we are brought back to the wounds and sins that took us out in the first place.

Jesus came into my heart and restored me over 9 months ago.  The Holy Spirit was with me over the last many years since I was lost and taken out.  He allowed me to go through it on my own at first, but at just the right time, caused me to throw my hand up in that Bible Study to admit I was doing things alone.  Caused me to venture outside my comfort level and head west for a few days. Then when I was at my moment of sheer desperation and pain, Jesus came into those wounds, having already chosen me, but I got out of His way and no longer relied myself.  It was all about Him and His choosing at that point and I’ve been following ever sense.

God wants to restore each and every one of us.  He choose each of us to put on our new nature of Christ.  We just have to get ourselves out of the way and let Him come in to restore us.  He’s there with us all along. He showed me that and just has Bagger told Junuh, “I’ve been right here with you all along.”  He has never given up on us and is waiting on us to open the door.

God Never Gave Up On Me

We’ve all had questions about life.  About who we are.  About why we are here.  We’ve all had doubts about ourselves and about our faith in some capacity and at some point in life.  It’s a part of our nature and a part of who we are a humans.  We are not infallible as some think they are.  We all jack it up at some point or another.  We all give in to temptation at some point or another.  It is a part of endemic sin nature.   It’s who we are.

As I wrote on Monday, we did this thing at Liberty last week called a spiritual life map.  I looked over mine over and over and as we were in class talking through them in practice sessions and discussions, my map revealed something very key to me and to all of us, through all of our doubts, questions, wounds, and sins.  God never once gave up on me.  At point after point I could see where His hands were there.  He brought Amber and me together at the right time.  He blessed us with 3 wonderful kids.  He brought me through the loss of my Dad which happened 6 years ago yesterday.  He used all of those circumstances even when I was not turning to Him, to continue pouring into me.  He used people around me to pour into me in different capacities, even when I didn’t realize it, and it all brought me to the point of complete surrender.

God never gave up on me and guess what, He has not given up on you.  He is eager to pull you back from the brink.  His hands are always there to grab us, even when we keep running from Him.  It takes our willingness to stop and face all of our sins and wounds, lay them at the feet of the cross and chose to live a life for only Him.  He desire that for each one of us, which is why He set aside his deitic privileges to walk as fully human in Jesus and willing give up that life and shed His blood for us.  That is the ultimate symbol of God not giving up on us.  To show that kind of love for us to bring us back to Himself.

When I thought of this last week, this was such a powerful time.  His hands have always been there through the ups and downs.  He never gave up on me and again, He has not given up on you.

Never Knew How Lost I Was

This year, I came to an amazing realization about my life.  I was lost.  I was desperately lost and wandering through each day unsure of myself.  I was coming to know God more steadily as I’ve written a great deal about lately, but still unsure.  Was I truly made new in Christ?  I really didn’t know answer for some time.  I knew that in years past, the answer was no.  Then something happened and God took a hold of my life and my heart on a level that I had never experienced before.  It started while sitting in a Bible study with our mens ministry at my church.  My heart was pierced and I realized I had wandered so far alone that I was just going to continue staying lost if I stayed that way.  A few weeks later, the whole world changed for me.  My view of life, my view of my faith, everything changed.

Until all of this happened, I never knew just how lost I truly was.  It was until I fully surrendered my life that it all became clear.  God showed me where I was off track, pulled me into my pain and brokenness and allowed me the chance to repent and renounce all of that and allow for Christ to restore me as He came to do.

It’s a truly amazing feeling when all of this happens; when your life is taken by storm and Christ opens our eyes (the blind see), opens our ears (the deaf hear), and you come alive and restored (heal the brokenhearted).  The clarity of life is amazing at this point and you truly begin to see that your old and false self for what it truly is.  Becoming a sold out follower of Jesus Christ was and is the only way to truly find your way again and live.

I was talking with a couple of brothers this week, one at service Sunday and then at the gym one morning this week.  We were talking about the desperate need of so many for counseling and restoration.  So many people all around us and some of you reading this may be included, are desperately lost.  You may have some idea of who Christ is, but you don’t fully know Him or have not opened the door to let Him into your heart (I stand at the door and knock).  These types of conversations have allowed me to continue seeing that God is moving me in the right direction to help lead people to discover their brokenness and that they are lost, and be able to find the real healing that is only available in Christ.

I never truly knew how lost I was until I truly found God and I allowed the restoration of Christ.  Wandering through this world without that relationship will only lead to emptiness in the end.  It’s a Truth that none of us are above.  Fortunately there is hope in Christ for ALL who come to Him.

 

Be Still…Clear The Mind

Writing on this blog is something I thoroughly enjoy doing, it feels like a gift that God has blessed me with as He blessed each of us in our own unique way.  I began this blog nearly 3 years ago.  In the first 2 years, I had about 90 posts over that time.  This year alone, God’s Holy Spirit has filled me tremendously and this will be my 81st post since January.  It’s amazing how much God has worked in my life this year alone, especially in my writing.

I sometimes, however will find myself getting so frustrated with myself when I hit the dreaded writers block.  When it seems the ideas just stop and it’s hard where to continue.  If feel like I need to write something, I need to put something out there and yet, I can’t figure out where to go.  I get that sometimes in school papers, which is frustrating, but sometimes it carries to this site and what I am able to write about.  I get those days where things just seem to be flowing and inspired, yet others where nothing seems to flow.

I was sitting with a brother the other day just talking about life, faith, and discipleship.  We both had similar experiences in being able to get away from the norms of life and escape to the wilderness to unplug and spend time with God and with God alone.  I’ve shared my Wild at Heart experiences on numerous occasions since January, but I was reminded of something very important in that conversation.  Sometimes we just need to be still and let our mind clear.  First, the power of this is huge in the rest it can provide, true Sabbath, but also, when we can get to a place in our minds and hearts where we are still, we can begin to hear God through the Holy Spirit and in these moments we can often receive our greatest inspirations.

The trouble today is that we are so busy, every single day, that doing this is hard to do.  We are filled and bombarded with clutter everyday as we live in a world that no longer even honors the Sabbath in anyway truly, and is constantly trying to fill our time up with more tasks, more to dos.  We get too busy.  We try to multi-task, we try to fill our days, thinking if I am busier and busier I am doing the right thing.  But doing so and never taking a time to rest and clear your mind and reset, can kill your soul.

This goes back to my writing.  I found when we hit the summer months, the inspiration was hard to come by.  This is usually are busiest time of year as a family, and constantly being on the go filled my mind with more clutter and it was often difficult to just stop and rest.  This made writing often times challenging, when the inspiration was hard to come by.

This is important for all of us. Rest, renewal, and restoration.  Look at the life of Jesus.  How often did He retreat away from the crowds and His disciples into the wilderness to sit in prayer.  It was necessary for Him and you can bet it is necessary for us.  It’s a vital part of our existence.  God created the Sabbath for us for a reason.  We need that rest.

I challenge you to look at your life and find where you are just cluttered with life.  If you feel bogged down with busyness and the troubles of life, find time to stop.  Even if you get up early in the morning before the day begins.  Before getting on email or social media.  Before turning on the TV.  Before waking up the family.  Take that time to sit in prayer and even in Scripture and writing in a journal.  The power in starting this way is so huge.  Before the chaos of the day begins, set our heart and mind on God alone.  Let your mind clear.  There’s great power in this…trust me.

Amazing Week and Amazing People

These last few days have been more than I could have ever hoped for.  As I wrote last week, this past Sunday, I made the decision to be Baptized declaring my faith in Jesus Christ to the world.  The man that Baptized me is someone I have grown to have great respect and love for as a friend and brother in the Christ as well as a pastor and mentor.  Truly blessed and honored that having this guy, who has been a big part of my journey, to do this for me.  Many have differing view of what Baptism is.  This is not where my salvation lies, but rather the way to show the world that I died with Christ to my sins and have now been raised to a new life in Christ.

What was one of the most amazing parts of the day was the genuine love that was poured out from people.  Not just from my family, Amber and the kids, but from having my mom come out, a brother from the Wild at Heart Boot Camp, and then so many that are a part of my church family including brothers that have joined in my faith walk.  I’m a real subtle  and laid back kind of guy, but through this whole thing as I sat in that water, there was a smile on my face, that I could not get rid of.  My pastor shared some of my story and then hearing the cheers of those in the congregation, was so awesome.

That night, we had the chance to celebrate more as Mac Powell from Third Day came out for a night of worship, joining our awesome worship team.  What a great way to cap off an amazing day and one I will never forget.  I feel like God has just opened up so much in my life.

Being around everyone through this celebration; I’m reminded of the importance of fellowship and having people in your life to walk in the faith with.  There is true discipleship of walking with God and being guided by the Holy Spirit.  There is also genuine discipleship and fellowship in doing life with others in the faith.  I’ve had some awesome encounters with brothers this week and I can only pray to grow more, spiritually from these moments.  It’s so important to have real and authentic connections with people throughout our life and I’m blessed God has brought these men in to my life.

I have not written much this week as I’ve been just basking in all that has happened and what is to come.  It doesn’t stop here.   The growth will continue.  Here are a few pictures from Sunday…

Baptism1 Baptism2 MacNic

Washed By The Water

This Sunday, August 23, is going to be another huge day in my life, and especially in my journey in faith in Christ.  I have thought about his for some time, and have now decided that I will be Baptized.  Yes, I was Baptized 23 years ago, but at that time, I just got wet.  I did so under the thought that it was the right thing to do, but there was no ‘why’ behind it.  There was no real surrender to Christ in my heart and I was not at point to really get to know Him.  But now, 23 years later, I know the ‘why.’  Having given myself fully to Christ with full repentance and surrender, it is now time to do this and this time to do it for real.

I used to be self-righteous in the sense that, yes, I already got Baptized.  I’m good to go.  I realized thought it was not yet well with my soul.  I needed to show the world that I truly have repented of my sins, I have surrendered to the will of the Father, I have accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, and I want to live my life with Him above all else from here on out.

I’ve shared a good bit of my journey on this blog.  My life has been radically transformed through my faith and surrender to Christ.  He has made me new and showed me my brokenness, and took me there so that I could be healed and restored.  23 years ago, I never sought to develop and grow in a real relationship with God.  Now I am intentional on walking with Him every day, growing spiritually through each day I spend in His Word, in prayer, and in communion with my family in the faith.

The excitement I have to share this with everyone is so overwhelming.  This is my way of publicly declaring that my life and my heart has been transformed radically.  No longer hiding, but seeking to live a life as an authentic man of God.  It’s going to awesome.  I’ll share some of my experience and pictures later.

Prodigal Son – A Reflection

Many of you know the parable Jesus told of the prodigal son.  Shared in Luke 15:11-32, this is powerful story displaying the love of God for His children.  As you likely know, in this story there is a son who is given his inheritance before his father’s death.  Taking that and everything he has, this son goes out to live a life on his own, spending lavishly, partying, and just living the rock star life.  He spends so much that he runs out of money and goes to work for a farmer, but barely making enough for food.  Full of despair and regret, the son decides to return home, fully knowing he is not worthy of his father any longer, to be his son.

Then comes the best part of the story, from my point of view, in verse 20. “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion. he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” Happy to see his some return he gets the finest robe, sandals, and a ring and then throws a great party.  Not the reception this son had anywhere near expected.  His father said in verse 23-24, “We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mind was dead and has now returned t live. He was lost, but now he is found…”

What an incredible reflection of redemption and salvation found in the father through Jesus Christ.  I read through this parable again over the weekend just as there are parallels to this story for each of us, God revealed something pretty parable to me in my reading this time around.  I saw images of myself throughout my life and then over the last 4 years or so.  I truly saw how I was the prodigal son from my own story and perspective.  This reflection never even showed up in my mind until this time through.

For the fist 33 years of my life and as I came into adulthood, I just went along.  I had not been led by any deep faith or conviction and followed by the mind set that I just needed to live good.  If you have ever watched the show, Rosanne, there is an episode where their son, DJ, begins to question faith and takes it upon himself to attend church.  With questions of his own families faith, he asks his parents, Dan and Rosanne.  They proceed to go through the family background, Pentecostal, Baptist, Lutheran, and so on. He asked what they are now and they say that they believe in being good, so their good people.  Essentially, this is how I viewed life.  We just did and just lived life as we saw fit.

Fast forward to 2011.  Already in a world of brokenness after my Dad’s death nearly 2 years prior, I was unsure where to go.  I began to pick up Scripture and began to do that everyday.  In my reading this weekend, what God revealed to me was that this was the moment where I began to turn my eyes back to home.  Like the prodigal son, unsure of what was to come, I began the long journey.  I knew that I was unworthy of being called son as well. But still, I kept coming on the journey.

Fast forward to January 2015.  With still so much growth to do and a long ways off from where I knew I was headed, I ventured into the mountains.  A long ways off and still unsure of where I would end up, my Father showed up.  He came and met me in those frozen ice and snow of the Colorado mountains, embraced me and welcomed me home.  It was an awakening like I had never experienced in my life.  God took a hold of my heart, took me through my brokenness to restore me to Him once more and I found my identity as His son and now walk in sonship with the Father every single day.

As for the great feast, we’re on our way their now.  This year has been like a preparation for a great feast and party.  I know my place in the Father now through Christ, though unworthy, I am made new in Him and look to the wedding feast when Christ is reunited with His bride.  All the preparations are underway now.  Having been restored to the Father and accepted as His son, I am now called to a higher purpose for Him, to be a champion for Christ and to be a difference maker for His Kingdom as we are all called to do.

I’m so thankful for the things that Lord continues to reveal to me.  I don’t get something new every single day, but staying locked into Him, He continues to reveal things to me on His time and each time I stand in awe of Him for all that He is and thankful for His undeserved mercy and grace over my life as well as everyone else that chooses to accept Him.  If you still are lost in where you stand, just look to the Father, He will guide you Home and will bring you back in with open arms.  Let Him restore you.