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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Greenberg

Welcoming Prodigals Home

Passover is God’s open invitation for all His sons and daughters to come home for the Holy Day.  Passover isn’t just a day of remembrance, Passover is a feast of ADONAI, the first and most important date Festival on the Biblical Calendar. Passover is the night that God waits, keeping vigil overnight to see the lost find their way back to who created them, in His image.

There is a parable about the two sons, one who stays to live side-by-side with his father to safeguard the family business and build together, and the other son who demands his inheritance and runs off to squander all that had been provided by God for him to face the world by relying on his own way.  That son’s road to mature into his destiny landed him into poverty and finally, he went home to ask his father for help. And according to this parable in the Gospel of Luke, the father waited and watched, keeping vigil for the lost son, while the older son who stayed actually helping and sustaining their livelihood ultimately felt ignored.

Why is it that some people have to lose everything to find God while others who have so much don’t ever feel they have enough? Did you know that I have heard this mysterious parable preached so many different ways? Is the first son ‘the Jews’ and the prodigal ‘the church?’ Is the first son ‘the believer’ and the second son ‘the sinner?’ Or do the two of them represent Abraham’s two sons, or is one of the Judah and the other Ephriam? I will tell you what I think.  I think the Father of Eternity is always keeping vigil for every soul. I know He kept a vigil for me. I thought I didn’t need a father, that I could ‘make my own way.’

Once God gave Mark and I more than one child, we felt as if the second child already had it so much better than the first. At least we felt like we had learned a few things and this second child would have things easier. After all, our first baby needed BOTH of us to switch off back and forth just to make it through that first year. New parenthood is such a miraculous time. But, somehow, when the second child came, even though our hearts multiplied love for both of them, we still kept urging God to make our time with them – both together and separately – as loving and often as possible. Then, with more care, and more need and less TIME, we began to understand the timeless truth about ‘the challenges of living for God.’

The greatest challenge of building a family is knowing where and with whom to invest yourself. Knowing just exactly when to let go and trust God is working behind the scene to care for your needs is a steep learning curve – especially with your own children. Just don’t ever give up believing God can rescue your loved ones. Make no mistake, we are each under our father’s watchcare. The Old Testament is filled with stories of family trees devastated by favoring one child and neglecting another. This story in Luke is a sharp reminder to consider on your way to Passover with family and friends this year.

Two years ago, I finally agreed to write my testimony about how I found God. Our Board of Directors knew the ‘good news’ has to fight to get out and no one who knows me now would believe it! Most folks kept asking because everybody knows there just has to be some juicy story behind the truth of how low I sank. Heroine addiction ripped my family apart when I was a tween. It was a long trip down, with plenty of trauma before I finally surrendering myself to my Heavenly Father’s faithful love. I am so grateful to share my story in Simply Sacred, in pre-release now on BarnesandNoble.com. If you know someone in trouble who really needs to know that God is real, get them a copy and we will use that money to print even more TLV Bibles.

Here is the interesting thing…  In all the years I have been sharing about the TLV, I tried to keep everyone focused clearly on the Bible translation. I want EVERYONE to read the Bible first, and often, and especially for themselves and their own loved ones. Now, after 30 years of following God and teaching young people and children to explore The Jewish Bible stories, why am I suddenly finding myself feeling anxious? I am excited to glorify God in all He did to save me! But, another part of my heart, the little girl in me who got so lost just one town away, is wondering…  why do I feel so naked? Is this really necessary?

Let me be clear, I don’t want ONE more child to go ONE more day feeling unloved or ashamed of their past – once God becomes your real Dad. Yes, I believe God is my real dad. He is the one who chose my parents for me, knowing He would have to rescue me Himself by sending His Son.

I am a mother of three children, and my youngest is graduating this year. I can’t explain how excited I am to see him run his race, find his calling, and meet the Father on his journey. He grew up with so much more than I had, but his journey is just as open a future as I could imagine. He knows he is loved and I am on the brink of a new adventure myself. All my kids read the book. My brothers read it, my Rabbi loved it, my husband and my friends loved it. Silly thing is, I wouldn’t be so in love with my Savior if I did not need Him so desperately as I did.

Don’t ever lose the joy of your salvation. Yeshua really is the gift of love that keeps right on giving. Sow hope into someone’s life today by being brave enough to tell YOUR story.

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