The Great City of Nineveh

Dear Readers, 

I would like to share with you something I posted (a reply) on another Christians’ blog back in August.  I have always hoped my blog would be transparent and truthful, (that is why I am sharing this response) written mostly for the lost and hopeless among us!  A blog that intentionally does not mention denomination or religious creed! A blog I have shared my very personal life experiences with and shame!    A blog only to honor Christ… very little pics of me or my family….Christ only…Christ centered… and Christs’ love for all people… always!     The debate regarding homosexuality continues…never ending, sometimes (mostly) loveless and hateful toward each other.  This summer has been quite long and filled with utter hopelessness! I find myself now lost for words..unable to write anymore.  I have been the victim of attack from a Christian who I thought I was helping…I was also evaluated by a fellow Christian as to why I want to help people “spiritually”…and I lost!   God helps us all for thinking His Word…and His Gospel is only for a select group of people!  

I want to thank all of you for taking the time to read my blog!  It means more to me than you will ever know!  I have prayed for all of you and I love you all! I hope I have touched one soul… only one soul with my words…that truly was my only prayer!!  That was my intended purpose!!

The world we now live in is a very scary place…Christ did not promise this road..this life would be easy…but He does promise a glorious ending!  

again, I thank you and I love you all!! 

“And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night.  And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand for their left…”

(Jonah 4: 10-11 ESV)

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I was doing a Google search on heaven and came across this post and truly, I wish I hadn’t stumbled upon it!  This is so sad to read…to digest. To realize the length of time this post has survived…to read the hatred and bickering between Christians….the hatred from Christians to those who are still lost and in darkness…and in great need of our Savior….and to those few who were/ are struggling with same-sex attraction/ homosexual lifestyle….and decided to share their thoughts through their painfully honest and transparent testimony…..It is in times such as this….I must remind myself to keep my eyes focused on Christ alone….and not on a fallen humanity! 

We are all sinners, and we must remember that at our very best, we all have nothing but filthy rags to offer.  We all spat on Him and beat Him beyond recognition!   We ALL nailed Him to the cross!   We must love without compromising Truth.  We must be Christ- like in how we approach everyone!  God humbled himself and became one of us in a darkened and fallen world to save us all.  Jesus was approachable to the lowest members of society in His time…prostitutes and tax collectors….they felt very comfortable approaching Him….He never compromised truth yet He was able to serve those who were in greatest need. 

Please remember the story of Jonah…Jonah had an extraordinary calling to deal with a group of people he did not want to deal with…but he reluctantly went to this group of people and preached the worst evangelical sermon ever…..Destruction is coming!  Destruction is coming!  Then, Jonah went and purchased a front row seat to watch them burn….but Nineveh repented! Jonah wanted more than ever to see those people burn as He cared more for their destruction then for their repentance!  Let’s not become like Jonah….wanting complete destruction of an entire group of people instead of hoping for eventual repentance….no matter how long that repentance may take…..we are all currently under the state of grace….

The issue is…where do people stand?  Are they dead in sin or alive in Christ?  If they are dead in sin, it hardly matters what sin it is….the Gospel must be the priority of the homosexual just as it is for the heterosexual!  The church is the place to hear the gospel!  The church is a place for sinners! Jesus can and will transform lives! Transformation may take time!   Christians need to serve in truth!  Christians need to serve also…. in love.  We will all stand before the judgement seat of Christ!  We will all be asked about our lives while here on earth…..and how we all responded to the cultural issues and difficulties of our day…. Christ is not surprised by these issues….and He placed us as Christians in this exact moment in His creation for such a time as this!!  When I stand before Him, I pray I hear my Lord and Savior tell me…. “Well done good and faithful servant.”  As fellow Christians, I hope you all do too! 

 

 

 

 

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Death Grip

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“Jesus wept.”

(John 11:35 ESV)

There is probably nothing more tearfully heart wrenching than losing a loved one.  The grief endured when someone you love dies is excruciating and debilitating. You seem to exist in a surreal world temporarily suspended in time and space and hopeless to the stark reality you’re trying so desperately to avoid….your loved one is never coming back….

Not here….

Not now….

Not back here…

Not ever…

One distant memory of a most unfortunate death happened many, many years ago when I was still a young and inexperienced nurse working the midnight shift at a local hospital.  I stood quite fearful and reluctantly, beside an open incubator one cold and wintery night and gently caressed the very frail arm of a 14 ounce baby born way too soon…trying desperately to provide some sort of comfort to this beautifully perfect baby whose earthly life would ultimately be measured in mere hours….

The grief stricken mother was just outside our unit door and down the pastel pink and blue wall-papered hallway.  Her life so completely different just hours before.…But now, two earthly lives forever altered in a matter of minutes…of one soon to be taken and of one left behind… unbearable grief and excruciating sorrow…of dreams shattered and plans thwarted. This tragic loss so severe for it’s victim…it rendered her emotionally unable to speak a “temporary” goodbye…

Death

 So final is your grip…..

There was an unexpected death in the town of Bethany.  As this unfortunate news spread quickly, mourners came and gathered close to the grieving family.  Many who gathered there were visibly sobbing for this man who once was.  The sisters had sent word to the only One who could save him from his acute onset, but death had visited him quickly and he lay entombed for four days prior to His arrival. As The One approached, one sister fell to His feet in anguish and sorrow…the mourners also followed her there… standing behind and beside her as she mourned loudly at the Feet of our God…but all expressing the sorrow and grief that only death can bring….

When He looked upon the grief and anguish of the one sister who lay at His feet, and of those who believed, and of all those who would eventually believe, and also for those who would remain lost, He was deeply moved and greatly troubled…..as He filled with love and compassion for all who gathered there to openly grieve ….

And He gently began to weep….

Tears…slowing and quietly streaming from the Sovereign eyes of the only One who can bring us back to life….a deeply human expression from this Man of Sorrows…who is well acquainted with grief… who came to serve…who came to save….grief and sorrow He experienced as He mourned for a dying humanity…..and motivated by pure unconditional love for us….He willingly came and stepped into this darkness just to taste this bitter vial of death for one and all…..

Grief stricken tears actually touched the Almighty face of our God…

Death

Where is your grip now?

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“Often we say That Christ will meet us on the other side.  That is true of course, but misleading.  Let us never forget that He walks with us on this side of the curtain and then guides us through the opening.  We will meet Him there, because we have met Him here.”

–Erwin Lutzer

 

 

Black vs. Blue

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

(John 5: 24 ESV)

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The hopeless state of my country…how very disheartening it truly is to me… and our world is in complete disarray…a vast multitude of empty voices crying from within a deepened and divided bottomless pit of pure helplessness….revenge and sorrow add additional hot flamed fuel which is poured over long existing festering wounds of past wrongs and wrongful undoing… of unpaid vendettas…. seemingly only to be paid in full from the current lives of complete innocence…

The constant bloodshed in our inner- city streets… the increase of anarchy and civil disorder….the ever- threatening global terrorism… and now sadly, a new domestic terrorism… a killing machine of extreme militancy outside our borders and now even within ….and the endless debates and political rhetoric….existing everywhere…a constant reminder of the sinful hearts which exists in all of us…it exists within me! It also exists within you!  It knows no color barrier…no ethnicity or racial barrier…. Prideful sin forcing sides in shameless conceit and wanting its own way….insisting on strict conformity and nothing else will please… and this results in even further division…and further unrest…..civil unrest… racial unrest….

I will continue cling to Jesus’ promise…that’s really all I have… for there is no other promise so fulfilling….so real…so gratifying….so complete!

  Jesus promised….For those who believe…they will be given eternal life….

From death to complete paradise… where no color exists….no racial disparity exists…no discrimination exists… no hatred…no sorrow…and every tear (from every skin color) will be wiped dry…

“…Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise…”

(Luke 23: 43 ESV)

In honor of some racially diverse, Christian… and unfortunately… forgotten martyrs of the American Civil Rights Movement….

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Clyde Kennard

Wanting admission to the all-white Mississippi Southern College…he faced roadblock after roadblock…but Clyde, a devout Baptist man had an impeccable life and school record…they couldn’t dissuade him. So they framed him with a felony…convicted by an all-white jury…he was sentenced to seven years of hard labor…while incarcerated, he became seriously ill and was denied medical treatment…he died six months later of an intestinal cancer… but died never bitter or angry…

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Rev. James Reeb

A white Unitarian minister who answered the call of Dr. King’s call for clergy to join him in Selma… he left for a diner and was accosted by a trio of white men…he was beaten with a club and slipped into a coma, dying the following day.

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Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley

These children were getting ready for church services when a bomb exploded at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, killing all four of the school-age girls.

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Johnathan Myrick Daniels

An Episcopal Seminary student, he came to help with black voter registration….he was arrested…jailed… and then released…moments after his release from confinement, he was shot to death by a deputy sheriff.

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Christ’s sacrificial death paid the penalty for sin….

It guarantees the final escape from the very presence of sin…

These Christian Civil Rights Movement martyrs instantly awoke into the arms of their Savior!! 

We Must believe this!

Sin exists!

…and sin will continue to exist!

may I ask …What really has changed over the years? 

Jesus is Faithful

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“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”

(1 Thessalonians 5: 24 ESV)

I truly believe the highest response, the absolute and ultimate primary response Christ so desires in all His followers is their undying faithfulness.  We read in Christ’s ministry how He commends those for their faith, even those who were considered scandalous, sinful, and/or unclean.  The Centurion who desperately wanted his servant healed and thought himself unworthy of Christ’s visit was told, “…Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.” (Matt 8: 10 ESV)  The sinful woman who risked everything to walk into the home of a mighty and “righteous” Pharisee just to be near Christ is told, “…Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7: 50 ESV)  The two blind men who referred to Christ as Son of David…and begged for His Mercy, and Jesus intently asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matt 9: 28 ESV)  It was according to their faith that their eyes were opened, when gently touched by the One, their eyes were opened wide and they were able to see. 

Then we can examine His disciples.  Christ’s disciples were weak and ordinary men.  Peter denied Him, Thomas doubted Him, and almost all fled Him in fear when the authorities drew near, but almost all were tortured and killed for their undying faith.  The great apostle Paul mentions in Scripture, “For I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7: 15 ESV)  Anticipating debate here, let me clearly state Paul was just another ordinary and sinful man, for no one walked sinless on this Earth except Christ.  Yet Paul mentions to Timothy late in his life the one and only valuable possession he held tightly and securely to throughout his life, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim 4: 7 ESV) 

        Christ also desires obedience, humility, love, worship, submission, and service in His followers, but I have failed miserably at many times and at various stages of my life in one or all of these other “godly” attributes.  I am fallen and sinful. I still at times, flee and rebel.  I am weak and ordinary.  I stand as nothing before Him, yet through His blood which was spilled and painfully… brutally covered the stained crimson red Cross of Calvary, I am given a free gift!   “For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Eph 2: 8 ESV)  It is absolutely nothing that I do, but ONLY what CHRIST has done for me, and all He asks of me in return is simply, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”  In my many seasons of darkness and despair, in my continual sinfulness and doubt, in my discouragement and sometimes overwhelming grief…I can honestly say… I still believe!  “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  (Hebrews 11:1ESV)   I will openly admit I have failed Him miserably throughout my life, and throughout my many long and suffering days, yet I still believe when my life is complete and as I struggle to draw my very last breath here on Earth, I will quickly awaken in His gentle and warm embrace and I will at once, simply fall to His feet and shout, “Jesus, I always believed you could do this…. And now you have… and I am finally…finally with You… always and forevermore!”

JUST AS HE PROMISED!

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A Love Story

“When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.  A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.  As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears.  Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”

(Luke 7: 36-38 NIV)

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This is a love story…a genuine and authentic love story… which actually occurred and was recorded in Scripture very long ago.  A sinful woman coming into the house of a righteous Pharisee to be near Jesus…and wanting to do so much more….wanting desperately to express her love for Him with the deepest of intimacy…  Many believe she was a prostitute, broken and torn, used and abused by the many townsmen…many of the men who visited her for her services were probably outstanding and reputable citizens of their town…as we still witness over and over again in today’s’ society…for nothing has really changed in the darkened hearts of a fallen humanity… self-confessed righteous men hiding in the darkness of their multitude of secrets… their sinful secrets…masking their fallen humanity with self-righteousness and pride…and judging others for what they themselves will do in secret…until the truth is finally revealed…and the truth is always revealed…

 This sinful woman was greatly disliked by the people of the town…most avoided her company…whispered and sneered as she walked near…hated by the women and the wives of the many men who must have enjoyed her company and contributed to her infamous notoriety… voluntarily engaging in all the secret sinful pleasures of her well- known ungodly profession. And at this recorded moment in Scripture, we find her standing next to her Savior…standing in the house of a strict, self-righteous, and religious Jewish leader…and we find her there weeping…and sobbing uncontrollably…overwhelmed and overcome with unmanageable emotion…her heart breaking and sorrowful…sobbing enough to wet His feet with her painfully broken tears…. then… in an act of utmost intimacy of love and devotion in first century Jewish culture….and even breaking from traditional Jewish custom…she let down her locks….and she gently took the most glorious part of her body… and dried His feet with her hair….

How incredibly beautiful the display of love…

…Her inner fear must have been immeasurable…the uncontrollable trembling of her body…the furious and rapid beating of her terrorized heart… the awkwardness and repercussion of possible public scorn and wounded humiliation….the fear of rejection…the fear of shame…the fear of abandonment….and the fear of rebuke…

The righteous Pharisee who invited Jesus to dinner quickly became self-righteous, as he always does… with his thoughts…and his thoughts were filled with disgust and dismay as to how a woman with such an ungodly character….a well-known town prostitute… could possibly kiss the feet of this Rabbi…this Mighty One, but when Jesus looked at her… Jesus saw her heart….and lovingly turned to her without rebuke, rejection, or abandonment…and in Christs’ response… we see the difference between a self-righteous heart and a heart filled with overflowing love and thankfulness toward a personal Savior…

“…Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.”

“You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.”

“You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.” (Luke 7: 44-46 ESV)

In the self-righteous heart of the Pharisee… he would have never allowed this woman to touch him nor he touch her….this woman was a great sinner…unlike him…at least he thought….but he thought wrong… “I’m a (self) righteous Pharisee with little sin to forgive”…. she is one who is to be despised and rejected… one who is thought to be beyond the reach of God’s love, grace, and forgiveness….one to be shunned by God and by man…expect of course…. for all those partaking in and enjoying her services….

In the overflowing love and thankful heart of the sinful woman, we see a woman who risks public humiliation and scorn to worship and love her Savior…taking the lowly and unworthy position of kneeling at and kissing His feet….a crying and repentant heart full of sorrow and regret… a woman with a multitude of sins to forgive… yet seeking forgiveness from the only One who can forgive….and wanting only to express her love and devotion for Him in the most intimate way…while risking it all to do so….

…To This Savior who forgives, restores, and transforms…

…Which heart do you possess?

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He who is forgiven much….loves much!

…But he who is forgiven little…loves little!

–Jesus

(Luke 7: 47 ESV)

“A cold self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to Hell than a prostitute.”

–C. S. Lewis

The Compassion of Christ

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.  When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

 (Matthew 9: 35-36 NIV)

pic of crowds in jesus day

When Jesus began His ministry, He would go from town to town and from village to village with His disciples ministering to the many needs of the large crowds who would gather to see Him… to hear Him… and to those who just greatly desired to be near Him.  Many extensive needs were represented within these crowds, and these crowds consisted of the many multitudes of downcast and distressed people of Israel… of the ordinary… and of the simple… and of all those soiled from life… 

The disciples of Christ were weak and ordinary men, much like us… actually…they were just like us… for they also were sinners and suffered many great failures and sorrows in life.  They enjoyed being with their Rabbi…their Master… when He was popular among the crowds but all abandoned Him when the crowds would disappear and the authorities grew ever more hostile. When these disciples joined Christ to minister to the needs of the crowds and evangelize and teach the crowds of people who would gather, they would gaze out at the crowds of multitudes, and see exactly what we would see, the faces of many people who would gather near to hear and see their Rabbi speak… speak of Truth… speak of Hope… and speak of Love.  When His disciples looked out into the crowds, they were only able to see the multitude of faces…the vast multitude of many different and scattered faces… only distinguishing the faces from the young and the old…from the suffering and of the sorrowful…from the faces of the sick and of those faces ravaged by debilitating disease.

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“She said to herself, “If I only touch His cloak, I will be healed.”

 (Matthew 9: 21 NIV)

When Jesus looked out among the crowds, He was able to see so much more… so much more than His ordinary and weak disciples… for He was the only One who saw everything.  And He knew each person by name…  He saw their entire life story in a mere moment of fleeting time… and He knew all of their personal life-long sufferings and struggles.  Christ knew of all their past sins, of great sins and of small.   He knew just how far each one traveled… to see Him… to just be near Him…the exact distance in miles… or perhaps in feet.  He knew exactly when each ate their last meal… perhaps for some it was just earlier in the day and for many more… perhaps even longer… maybe even a day or two before.  He knew who among them was hungry…. Just who among them had a great desire for the bread of Life. Christ also knew who among them was thirsty and parched… whose great thirst caused them to only be quenched and satisfied by the water of everlasting Life.

There is a woman in the crowd who has suffered uterine bleeding for twelve years, a debilitating hemorrhage which has also caused her severe social and spiritual consequences BUT… she believes in the One… her Messiah….her Lord…. The Son of the Living God….and she simply desires to reach out and gently touch the edge of His cloak… for she is unable to face Him for the shame of her condition must be severe…so she reaches out and is able to touch the mere fringe of His cloak… and Christ turns…and He lovingly looks at her… and His compassion is great…His compassion… is over-flowing… and He affectionately calls her “daughter ”…… for He knows her intimately…she is His child… and He is able to see all of her past sins…all her past sufferings… all her sorrows in life… and of her long-suffering sickness…and she is immediately healed of her bleeding simply for her great act of faith.

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“And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.”

(Matthew 9:27 ESV)

Also in the crowd, Christ notices the two blind men standing there…for they were desperately… in their darkened blindness….trying to follow the One… and Christ knew them by name….  He knew of all their past sorrows and sufferings, and of their past sins… of great sins and of small… but they believed in Him…their Messiah… and their Lord.  For they even refer and cry out for Him by His Messianic Title… “Son of David”…as they continue to follow the One.  Once inside… He asks them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”….and they believe…they truly believe…. then Christ merely touches their eyes…He touches their eyes with His hands…and His compassion is great…His compassion is abundant and over-flowing… for He always touches the blind to heal them …which is so very compassionate and thoughtful to their condition….for they could not see Him due to their blindness… but they could certainly feel His touch…. and their sight is immediately restored…. And their eyes are open wide.  And they were both healed from their blindness simply by their great act of faith.

The Gospels teach us that Jesus was moved with deep emotion for ordinary people, especially for all those living in darkness, sorrow, suffering, and in deep sin.  Jesus looked through non-judgmental eyes at a fallen and broken world.  He knew their life stories, and all He has always remained insistent on is that they have faith…faith in Him… and faith in Him to transform…

Right now, do you feel you cannot approach Jesus because of past sin or past sorrow?  He knows your life story, every sordid detail…every failed attempt… every suffering endured…every sorrow experienced….When you finally decide to approach Him…He asks only for your faithfulness, not for sinless perfection…

“Every Christian generation tries to dim the blinding brightness of its meaning because the Gospel seems too good to be true.  We think salvation belongs to the proper and pious, to those who stand at a safe distance from the back alleys of existence, clucking their judgments at those who have been soiled by life.”

–Brennan Manning

A Prodigals Cry

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

(1 Samuel 16:7 ESV)

pic of heart

I prefer to wear black as opposed to lots of bright color

Warm myself in dark leather as opposed to fur, wool, or polyester

I regret no past piercings or bodily signs of a distant crazed fad

For He transcends all culture, space, and time…

And my heart has always cried out with only one name…Jesus!

I prefer the sounds of a screeching guitar as opposed to a plain and simple melody

With lyrics expressing regretful life-long pain or remorse

I still search for and sing all the familiar songs of my yesteryears

For He transcends all culture, space, and time

And my heart has always sung with only one name…Jesus!

I have walked in the season of darkness but the Light has always been with me

I have numbed my past conscience to avoid facing the pain of a present reality

And I have mostly preferred times of solitude over times of spent togetherness

For He transcends all culture, space, and time

And my heart has always bled out with only one name…Jesus!

I prefer true melancholy over a false sense of joy

I confess I am forever a sinner and will never achieve sainthood

Always uncomfortable around fake righteousness and opaque holiness

For He transcends all culture, space, and time

And my heart has always screamed out with only one name…Jesus!

And when my heart cried out your name… “Jesus!”

How so very fortunate I was to initially meet the loving and welcoming embrace of my Heavenly Father

And not the self-righteousness of one of my many elder brothers (or sisters)

And You simply could not stop kissing me…

And… You simply have not stopped kissing me!!

For You love me so much!

JESUS!

When I come into Your Kingdom

I do not desire a mighty mansion or a brilliant jeweled crown

For I do not deserve such indulgence

For the Glory is Yours…. And Yours alone!

 My only desire is to surround myself with your Presence…

You being forever present with someone like me…

And when my heart screams out your name…. “Jesus!”…

                        There as I stand in your eternal Kingdom               

And I will know You are eternally present with me forever there

And I simply will not be able to stop kissing you…

And, I WILL NOT stop kissing you!!

For I love You so much!

“When the Father’s house is filled with the Father’s love, the prodigals will come home.”

–Rob Parsons

This blog was inspired by the book entitled, “Bringing Home the Prodigals”… by Rob Parsons    

briging home the prodigals book cover