This son of mine was dead, but now is alive; he was lost, but now he is found. v 24

One day our daughter found a stray cat on our front porch. Without asking permission, she fed him and the inevitable happened. He moved in.

Old Tom made himself at home and soon his furry, grey body and quiet purring became an important part of our lives. But he had not given up his street life. He would disappear for weeks at a time, and just when we decided he was gone for good, he would return -- a torn and bloody skeleton of a cat.

The prodigal son, and most of us, have a little of Old Tom in us. While we enjoy the comfort of being part of God's family, our independent nature at times gets us in trouble and we end up spiritually, and sometimes even physically starved and wounded.

No matter how many times Old Tom wandered off, it was a day for rejoicing when someone shouted, "Guess who's back?" Someone would pour him a bowl of milk. And, against his better judgment, someone else would prepare him a warm bath.

Our scriptu re tells us that God's welcome mat is always out no matter how many times we stray. Imagine the cheering in heaven when someone shouts "Guess who's back?"

Lord, our sinful nature causes us to foolishly stray from your loving care. Thank you that your love is great enough to welcome your foolish children back home. Amen.

By Madeline, Nebraska