I have just returned from the trip of a lifetime made possible by the women of Cornerstone Baptist Church. As I prepared for retirement, the women were pooling their money to send me, cost free to, Disneyworld. It was a surprise that still overwhelms me. I didn’t even have to drive. My friend, Kim, did all of the driving. Now the “magic” is over and retirement really begins. It occurred to me that, perhaps, you might be interested in lessons available even in Disneyworld. I will take a few blogs and share those with you. May God use these for our good making us more like Jesus.

Lesson One – God’s arms are always open to his children.

We visited all four Disney parks while we were there. I observed the same thing in every park. There were children and parents making their way through the crowds. It is very easy to lose your party as you make your way around so many people. There was the little boy or girl ahead of parents looking around, being distracted by all he or she could see. Their eyes and smiles were so big you could almost feel their excitement. But wait, something changed, no smiles and eyes darting in panic mode. What happened? They remembered they had parents and they couldn’t see them. As they turned to see mom or dad, they began to run with arms held high. When mom or dad embraced them, there was relief written all over their faces. Many times, I witnessed the child being picked up and carried which was so reassuring to the child.

This was a very common occurrence. Sometimes, we get ahead of those we’re supposed to be walking along side. We think we know a better way or an easier way so we take it. leaving others behind. Families are meant to stay together. A church is family and should stay together. We should be willing to keep up with, walk alongside of, and carry our brothers and sisters. This world can be distracting to us and cause us to lose our way. We must keep our eyes on Jesus. “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith,…” Hebrews 12:1b-2a  As Followers of Christ, we know we must keep our eyes on him, but so many times we don’t. Is there any hope for us? Yes, because God’s arms are always open for his children.

We all know the parable of the Prodigal Son. There is much we can learn from this parable about the sons but more about the father, who represents God, the Father. Let’s focus on one verse. Luke 15:20b “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”  God, our Father, looks at us in our sinful condition. In fact, his eyes are always on us. He sees our ugly and then he feels compassion. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, God sees his righteousness and not our ugly but he knows it’s there. He has compassion and wants to help. The greatest help immediately needed is the connection with him. When we turn (repent) and look to him, we connect with our Father. He meets us by running and then embracing and kissing us. God never turns his children away, but meets us as we repent. He never leaves us wondering if he cares. He has proven his care for us in the sacrifice of his son.

Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus as we move through life in this world. There will be distractions and temptations but we must remember that our Father is watching over us. He is a loving parent who knows everywhere his children are. Above all remember his arms are always open to us. We can’t make him turn away. It’s not in his nature!

“As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” Psalm 40:17 

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