The Way Back Home


 

There are far too many people in this world that are helping God’s children get lost.

Too many kids are missin’ Is anybody listening? Won’t you be the children’s eyes They’re all alone The hardest part’s not knowing Where they are or where they’re going Won’t you help the children find The way back home

God knows where His children are –

but those lost ones – they don’t know where they are themselves – and they don’t know where they’re going either.

God’s asking us to be the eyes of those lost children – He’s asking us to help them find their way back home – to Him.


I wrote this one back on October 25, 2013.
I cried when I wrote it.
It still makes me cry.
Even when I hear this song now, it's got a whole added meaning to it.

I made some updates on October 24, 2014 - marked as such.

Updates from today - August 15, 2016 - will be in text like this.

Introduction

There are a couple ways to read this post.
One is from the point of view of the person who is already a Christian.
The other is from the point of view of someone who is looking for God.

The reality is – both are searching for their true “home”.

One is on The Way – still having problems – still needing guidance from God – loved by Jesus, but forgiven, because they asked for that forgiveness.

The other is looking for The Way – also having problems – also needing guidance from God – also loved by Jesus – but not yet having asked forgiveness.

Before you read it though – here’s a question.
I said above that both are loved by Jesus.
Do you believe this?

If you’re the Christian – one would expect you to believe it.

If you’re not – you maybe don’t believe it.

Maybe you think you’ve done something so bad that Jesus couldn’t possibly love you – but He does.

Maybe you don’t even believe in Jesus – and maybe you don’t even care if He loves you – but He does.

Take a look at the example from Mark 10:17-27 below. This is a man who wanted to follow Jesus, but on his own terms – not the way Jesus wanted. This man ends up walking away from Jesus – at least at this time.

Mk 10:17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Mk 10:18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’’”
Mk 10:20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
Mk 10:21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Mk 10:22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Mk 10:23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
Mk 10:24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Mk 10:26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
Mk 10:27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Did you catch the part in verse 21 – Jesus looked at him and loved him. This is someone who is rejecting Jesus – and Jesus still loves Him.
Like I said – doesn’t matter what we’ve done – He still loves us.

There’s another thing here as well.  It’s something I assumed would be recognized, but have come to realize that I should have explicitly pointed it out.  It’s something we probably would not do ourselves.  When someone rejects us – maybe we write them off, so to speak.  They reject us – so we reject them.
Not so with Jesus.  We can reject Him,, but He still loves us.  If we change our minds and want to go to Him – He’s more than ready to welcome us.  I read someplace, and I believe it’s true, that God is more ready to welcome us than we are to accept Him.  That’s not the way we would generally act towards someone else, so we probably don’t expect it from anyone else.  Maybe we even expect it less from God, because of things we’ve heard about Him.  But He really does welcome us – even welcome us back – over and over.  As long as we’re alive – He’s waiting for us.  I know – I’ve done it -and so has He.

And here’s a question for the Christian readers.
Do you know what our task is here? Consider this from Hebrews 12:14-15 –

Warning Against Refusing God

Heb 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

As the title implies – this has to do with helping people (ourselves included) to find the way back home. We cannot do this if people don’t want anything to do with us. And also remember – it’s not actually “us” doing anything. The man in Mark 10 – by himself, he couldn’t get back home to the kingdom of God. Jesus said that could only be done with God. Translation – it’s not done by us either! It’s done by God. Our only involvement is to let people know that we are all loved by God. Period. End of discussion. The rest is up to Him.

As you read this, you’ll see the direct message is to Christians – what we should be doing to help the children find their way back home.

If you’re one of the many people who are still looking for that way –
this is God’s message to you –
that He loves you –
and He wants you to find your way back to Him.

And He’s placed people here to help you.
I wish I could say that everyone who claims to be a Christian knows how to help.
Unfortunately, as the one sentence above points out – this isn’t always true.

See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

The fact that this is in the Bible is a warning to all of us that God already knows this statement is necessary. So – if you’re looking for the way back home, please pray to Jesus, who loves you, to help you find someone that really truly will lead you to the way back home.
He’s waiting for you to sincerely ask. He will answer.
As He said in Rev 3:14 –

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

Jesus is knocking – all we need to do is answer His knock.

Please keep the introduction in mind as you read the rest.

I’ve had this electronic sticky note on my PC for quite a while now to write about Vince Gill’s song – The Way Back Home

Yesterday afternoon – I felt like it’s time – time to write about it.
It’s a song about children who have been taken away from their parents – and can’t find the way back home.
It’s the kind of song that gets right to your heart – at least it does mine.

But after something that happened yesterday and the book I was reading last night – it does even more so.
If you don’t know the song – or even if you do – I invite you to check it out.

Get some kleenex first.
Now – here’s a You Tube link to a slide show that someone put together to go with it.  

Here are the words so you can follow along –

A little girl was cryin’ For her mama and her daddy She couldn’t understand why they were gone She never knew the danger Of talking to a stranger Now the girl can’t find her way back home

A little boy went walkin’ Down to the corner market To buy a loaf of bread and an ice cream cone He never knew the danger Of talkin’ to a stranger Now the boy can’t find the way back home

Too many kids are missin’ Is anybody listening? Won’t you be the children’s eyes They’re all alone The hardest part’s not knowing Where they are or where they’re going Won’t you help the children find The way back home

The faces on milk cartons Thrown away and soon forgotten What if one of those sweet kids Was your very own

Tonight those kids are weeping While yours are safely sleeping Won’t you help the children find The way back home

Too many kids are missin’ Is anybody listening? Won’t you be the children’s eyes They’re all alone The hardest part’s not knowing Where they are or where they’re going Won’t you help the children find The way back home

Won’t you help the children find The way back home

Way Back Home lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Vince Gilbert/Benefit Music/Vinny Mae Music

So – here’s what happened yesterday afternoon –

Our yard got fertilized today and the two little dogs like to eat fresh fertilizer (yuck) –
so I had to take them for a walk instead of just letting them out in the back yard before dinner.

While we were out there – I saw a small black dog – never saw him before – just sitting on the corner.
I figured I’d take my guys back home (just a few houses away) and go back to check him out.
As I was watching, someone pulled up in an SUV – got out and went over to the dog.
I assumed it was the dog’s owner – out looking for him.
No – it was another person like me – concerned about this dog just sitting there.

To keep it short – she brought the dog over to my house –
we called the number on his tag – got voice mail –
and since she didn’t live in the neighborhood – I kept the dog.
BTW – he got along just fine with my three guys – we all watched a hockey game together.

Anyway – the owner returns the call – from Florida!

Turns out she was staying with a friend right down the street from us – and apparently escaped somehow.
I went over to the house – found the hole the dog had dug to escape – and put a brick in it.
Still had no way to get the dog back in – since there was a very high fence and it was locked.
Their own dog (the owner of the house) was still in the back yard.
If you’re a dog person and have ever had one get away from you – you know how they felt.
They were very happy to have their little one find the way back home.

Since that time, my wife and I have rescued other dogs and reunited them with their people.
I’ve also learned some things from my own guys.  If you’re a dog person, or want to see what makes the human / dig relationship so special, you should check out the series on the right side of this page – “Learning from dogs”.
I’m sure more will be added, so feel free to follow this site by clicking on one of the links at the top of the page to receive notices when new articles go up.

Then – last night – I was reading The Gospel According To Jesus: what is authentic faith, by John MacArthur.
That was research for a discussion of “works” –
and the difference between doing things to try to please God –
versus doing things after conversion because we have accepted Jesus as our “Lord and Master”.
Huge difference – but that’s maybe for another day.

The point here is that – according to MacArthur – we do things after accepting Jesus – because we are accepting Him as our Lord and Master.
Without getting into the details of what that means –
let me just say that I do not believe we can do anything on our own to earn salvation.
If that were possible – Jesus died for nothing.

So – it begs the question – what are we supposed to do?
One thing we’re not told to do is convert people to Christianity – and then they’re done.

No – that’s just the beginning – as we see in Matthew 28:16-20 –

The Great Commission

Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Note the words: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations And – after they’ve been baptized – teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
Oh – that’s work. Work for those we are reaching out to – but in the same light – it’s work for us as well.

<10.24.14 – Added note there’s a journey here – first a person has to want to be baptized (God’s work, not ours) – then they get baptized – then they start to walk on the way back home. It doesn’t happen all at once – and we don’t make it happen.>

Again – what are we supposed to do?
Let’s take a look at what Paul says in 1 Cor 3:10-17 –

1Co 3:10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

1Co 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

So – Paul talks about building and about God’s temple.
Note – God’s temple is us.
The building part – that’s work again.
So – what are we building for God – something that God wants us to do?

The maybe not so obvious answer – I believe – is that we’re supposed to build His temple.
Unlike the Old Testament – where the goal was to build and keep up a “real” stone building – our task is to build up the temple that Paul refers to – us.
So at least part of our task is to build up God’s people –
Bring more people to Him –
not just as converts to sit in church and be comfortable –
but to become disciples –
and do things –
the things He asks us to do –
including – but not limited to – building more disciples.

<10.24.14 – note again – remember the journey. The way back home is just that – the way – the journey – not everything all at once and we’re home!>

Which now brings me to the point of the song.

If we listen to it at face value –
it’s a very moving song.
Kids – taken from their parents –
Kids – unable to find their way back to safety –
Kids – with lots of questions that may not ever be answered –
Kids – with fear that may never be calmed –
Kids – feeling like they are doomed.

As for the dog story –
lots of us are on the lookout to rescue dogs that escaped –
or were abandoned.
Lots of us also take in those rescue dogs.

But – what about the kids?
They are an even more touching story.

We saw Jesus’ concern for children – in Matthew 18:5-6

Mt 18:5 “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. 6 But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

The picture at the top of this page is from the You Tube video. My original intent – months ago – was to write about this song from God’s point of view – and there it is – in that picture. Think about it. We’re born here. But after we accept Jesus as our Lord and Master – we’re not really “of” here anymore.

Jn 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

Ro 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Is this part of our task becoming clearer? Check out this- from 1Jn 2:28-3:10 –

Children of God

1Jn 2:28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.

1Jn 2:29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

1Jn 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

1Jn 3:4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

1Jn 3:7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

So now we have –

A little girl was cryin’
For her mama and her daddy
She couldn’t understand why they were gone
She never knew the danger
Of talking to a stranger
Now the girl can’t find her way back home

A little boy went walkin’
Down to the corner market
To buy a loaf of bread and an ice cream cone
He never knew the danger
Of talkin’ to a stranger
Now the boy can’t find the way back home

1Jn 3:7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.

If we are truly children of God – should we not be helping other children of God – our “brothers and sisters” –
Find their way back home?

Now – I’m asking you to listen to the song again –
watch the video – but see it through God’s eyes.
Imagine Him – the Father – with His children – including you –
here on earth –
and He desperately wants all of His children to find their way back home.
But – He gave us free will –
He gave us the choice to return home –
or not.

There are far too many people in this world that are helping God’s children get lost.

Too many kids are missin’ Is anybody listening?
Won’t you be the children’s eyes
They’re all alone
The hardest part’s not knowing
Where they are or where they’re going
Won’t you help the children find The way back home

God knows where His children are –
but those lost ones –
they don’t know where they are themselves –
and they don’t know where they’re going either.

God’s asking us to be the eyes of those lost children –
He’s asking us to help them find their way back home – to Him.
If you’re a Christian – you’ve found your way home.

Now it’s our turn. God has a task for us –

Won’t you help the children find

The way back home

Now – watch the video again. When you start to cry –
don’t hold it back –
let it out.
And while that’s happening –
let the Holy Spirit in –
truly feel what God wants you to do.

When you ask Him –
He will tell you.

The faces on milk cartons
Thrown away and soon forgotten
What if one of those sweet kids
Was your very own

Tonight those kids are weeping
While yours are safely sleeping
Won’t you help the children find
The way back home

It doesn’t matter how young or how old the person is –
every one of us comes into this world – and get’s lost.
Every one of us gets separated from God.
Somewhere inside each of us, there’s a desire to get back to Him.

Maybe that desire ins’t so obvious.
Maybe there’s not even the tiniest visible indication of desire.
But it’s there.

All it takes to get that desire going again is for one of us –
one of us who has been reunited with God –
to reach out to that person and try to help them.

Maybe they’ll find their way back home to God.
Maybe they won’t.

But one thing is for sure –

if no one reaches out to any of God’s children – that child will stay lost.

We should be so grateful that someone helped us to find that way home.

It seems like we should be more than willing to reach out and help others, just like those that helped us.

 

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