In the month of August in the year 2020 I celebrate my 63rd birthday, my 36th wedding anniversary.. AND it is my 57th anniversary for accepting Jesus into my heart ironically while sitting in the Back Pew of a little country church during Summer Bible School in my home town of Cable Wisconsin. John 3:16
Q. Should a fella receive a Gold Watch on my 50 YEAR 'Jesus in my Heart' Anniversary? asking for a friend.
Seriously, this was truly a cornerstone moment in my life. OK, I admit at age 6 I had neither a grasp on theology or anatomy but it was the very real beginning of my Christian journey.
Now 50+ years as a follower of Jesus Christ I am still a work in progress. I have made my share of compromises, bad choices, and had many regrets over the years.
But I look back fondly at that day in 1963 when I accepted Jesus in my heart. He has been there through all my ups and downs. I may have wandered a ways on my Prodigal Son vents a few times, but He was always there for me when I return.
So on this August day in 2020 I look forward to the next curve on life's road, and see the sun and son shining in my life. I am not ready to get off the ride, and the reward of Jesus in my life is better than any old Gold Watch.
Jeff (50+ in the Back Pew) Larson
I wrote a while back about GETTING WHAT I DESERVE from God. I shared in this blurb I deserve God's Grace, I deserve His Love because I am a child of God and God the Father is the perfect parent, and even as an imperfect parent myself I would always forgive and forget and strive to be patient and graceful towards my kids no matter their mistakes.
This GETTING WHAT I DESERVE writing was met with mixed reviews as some shared Grace is a gift we do not deserve, and our goodness is as filthy rags in comparison to our creator. This is also true.
Here in lies for me the PARADOX as both seemingly contradictory statements are true. We are all God's children, and He desires each one of us choose Him, BUT I know first hand my weaknesses my failures, my selfish desires are sometimes far from the heart of God.
I could ramble on about this topic and may do so another day, but today I will use the PRODIGAL SON as a great story of this paradox. This rebellious son chose his own way with his own free will and was allowed by the father to separate his life and choices totally from the father. During this time he was still the son and was loved, but far from doing anything remotely obedient or loving.
Once the prodigal son hit bottom, he grieved his poor decisions and with his same free will CHOSE to return to the father who welcomed him NOT with scolding words of disappointment BUT with open arms and love and a celebration of a son who was lost but is now found. My son was lost but now is found.
This prodigal son was both selfish, sinful, rebellious, and also loved beyond description by his Father. Both aspects of the son were true.. he was a walking talking (smelling like a pig pen) paradox... and so are we.
Our very best is NOTHING compared to our Heavenly Father. He deserves and desires our love and appreciation but we have the choice to 'GO PRODIGAL' on Him. Isn't it great to be loved like this. Unconditional love that welcomes us back when we blow it.
Of course you may be like the other son who has NOT wandered far from home and was good, BUT please take on the heart of the father when those who have suffered prodigal moments have returned. We should celebrate the return of a brother or sister, and not EVER shake our heads comparing our relative goodness. Note: The very best of any of us is still truly filthy rags compared to our Father. Not shaming anyone, but the very best virtuous, moral, giving, talented, gifted orators are clanging cymbals without God's love. So be thankful, stay humble, and rejoice with others and with the Father always.
This PARADOX is the heart of the gospel. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 Two seemingly contradictory statements that are both beautifully true.
May God bless and use you today no matter if you are the good rule following child of God OR.. the prodigal who has wandered away YET AGAIN. Both of you are His children and you are loved, and you DESERVE HIS GRACE if you choose it.. because that is what perfect love does. Accept this paradox from God.
Jeff (A living Breathing Back Pew Paradox) Larson
The Back Pew believes it is ok to have a sense of humor and still be allowed in Heaven.
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson