At the end of last week, I discovered money, credit cards and ID were missing from my purse.
There were few times my purse had not been with me. But there were some times. I had gone to various appointments. We had had multiple people in the house for our remodeling project.
We had welcomed them all as God’s Guests in His House, where God allows us to live. We had treated all of them well, even sharing bits and pieces of our life with each other.
I did not want to even consider the thought that any of our guests would steal. So Jay and I began an intensive search through our house, our cars, the yard, and the garbage. It was not there.
We retraced my steps for the past couple of weeks, went to each location, but still turned up empty handed.
Finally we had to consider the possibility that someone had taken it. My initial reaction was shock. I had said this was God’s House and people come here at His Invitation. Would God have invited a thief to come into His Home?
I asked Him. He referred me to the story of Zacheus. Jesus never called Zacheus a thief. But after spending time with Jesus Zacheus himself acknowledged if he had cheated anyone, he would repay it. (Luke 19:8)
Jesus knew all. He could have called him a thief, an embezzler, a cheat, but He didn’t. He called him by name. And He went to his house and dined with him.
Jesus knew Judas. It was said by some Judas was a thief. John said, “He was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” (John 12:6)
But Jesus still let Judas manage the money for the group. He still washed his feet. He still dined with him.
Jesus taught what to do if people work against you.
He said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
He said, “If anyone wants to take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.”
Jesus took a man some considered a thief with Him to Paradise.
The thief acknowledged his wrong doing. He only asked Jesus to remember him.
The one called a thief did not realize he was asking The Lord of The Universe for more than just holding him in His Memory.
He was asking that The Lord put all the parts of his soul in the right places He had designed them to go. He was about to be re-membered.
He had no idea how deep and wide God’s Mercy was. He had no idea He would ever get to go Home with Jesus.
But he did. Jesus told The Father He was bringing a friend Home.
We still do not know what happened to the items in my purse. Perhaps they were lost, accidentally fallen out of the purse and now innocently lying somewhere waiting to be found.
But if someone took them, I would say this to that person.
I forgive you. The temptation that drove you to steal is not big enough to snuff out God’s Grace.
God created you to do good things. He has a Plan for your life and it is a Good Plan.
God does not see you as a thief nor do I. We see you as The Perfect Creation He designed you to be.
I pray that you will cast off anything that hinders you from experiencing the full Joy of The Lord. I pray that you will trust Him to give you everything you need.
I trust you will be able to resist the temptation to steal what is not yours. Should that thought ever again come to you, I pray you will resist it and instead thank God that whatever you need, He will provide.
I pray that you come to the knowledge that you have not taken from us. Everything we have belongs to God. So what you took was never ours to begin with.
I pray you will talk with Him about it. You may be surprised to find He will not lecture you or condemn you.
He will not condone what you did, but He will forgive you and love you. Get to know Him. He knows you very well.
When you find out Who He is, you will know who you are and why you are here.
We will welcome you into His House if you come here. We will continue to see you as His Invited Guest. We will be watching for God’s Glory to shine through you!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
We used to get tickled at our daughter when she was very little. If she wanted something and our answer was no, she would look up very pitifully with her eyes opened wide and say, “But I need it.”
Then one day we realized she had learned that behavior from us. As we discussed purchasing something, the deciding vote was whether we really needed it.
We bought some real extravagances by coming up with pretty far fetched reasons we needed them.
I have had to ask myself recently whether I or anyone else I know is ever truly satisfied. As I have gotten older, what I believe I need has changed. I now believe I need more aging body restoration things than I need big screen TVs, or other material things.
But I still want. I still think I need things. I am not alone. Even those of us who pray usually fill our prayers with a “to do list” for God.
However, David tells us,
“The Lord is my Shepherd. I have everything I need.” (GNT)
Peter tells us,
“By His Divine Power The Lord has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of The One Who called us by His Own Honor and Glory.”
2 Peter 1:3
Paul tells us,
“My God will give you everything you need because of His Great Riches in Christ Jesus.
Now may our God and Father be honored forever. Let it be so.”
Notice, all three scriptures tell us God gives us everything we need. So perhaps, instead of asking God to give us things, we should begin by thanking Him for giving us everything we need.
And then we should ask Him to show us where it is and how to use it.
Be confident He will.
Next comes our conscious commitment to choose not to want.
The King James Version says,
“The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.”
Thanksgiving points us in the right direction. We can begin a life now of thanks giving to God Who gives us everything we need!
My father was a man of strong faith. He noticed things and wondered about them.
Once during a particularly thought provoking Sunday sermon, he leaned over to whisper in my ear. I was sure he was going to share some additional bit of profound wisdom.
He said, “Do you see that woman on the right on the back row in the choir?” I did.
He said, “She has a really long neck.”
By now, my mother was giving both of us a look of disapproval.
But Daddy continued. It turned out he was not just girl watching. He was marveling at God’s Creation.
He said, “Isn’t it amazing how God made all of us so different!”
I don’t remember a word the preacher said that day. But I do remember my father’s mini-sermon. I began to look around and more fully appreciate God’s Creation.
When I sometimes dismissed some of the things Daddy wondered about, he would laugh and say, “Have you no curiosity?”
Sometimes his wondering about how God worked led him in the wrong direction. Such was the case of his being sure he had figured out how God set the time for people to die.
As he read the obituaries, he noticed a trend. He said, “Have you ever noticed how people die around the time of their birthday?”
After he noticed the trend, every time he found another thing to support his conjecture, he was sure he had figured it out. People must have an expiration date, like milk!
However, his “discovery” had an adverse side effect. Every year around his birthday, he would get very nervous. He thought his time on earth might be drawing to a close. He could never fully celebrate life because he was preoccupied with death.
After years of birthday nervousness, Daddy died at age 96. His birthday was in May. He died November 13, 2001, six months after his last birthday and six months before what would have been his next birthday.
I imagine God welcomed Daddy into Heaven with a smile, as He told him there were no clocks or calendars there … and from then on life would be one long birthday with plenty to celebrate.
God lets us admire His Creation. He lets us wonder. But all our wondering should never lead to wandering off the path only He knows.
He calls us to trust Him. He has The Plan and it is a good one.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares The Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your Book . Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed!