The Old Oak Tree
Today’s Truth: Revelation 2:4-5, “4 However, I have this against you: The love you had at first is gone. 5 Remember how far you have fallen. Return to me and change the way you think and act, and do what you did at first…..” (GW)
From My Heart To Yours:
If you were born after in the 90’s you will probably laugh as you watch the following video. Now try to listen to the words of the song and not focus on the large mustache. If you were born before or right after 1973, go ahead and sing along, you know you want to. By the way, I immediately wanted to search for, watch and sing Knock Three Times, didn’t you?!?! Oh no, I couldn’t help myself…found it, watched and sang it too.
This popular song, Tie A Yellow Ribbon by Tony Orlando and Dawn, was based on the true story of a convict returning from jail who requested a sign from his wife to indicate that she would welcome him home. First he writes her a letter and puts it in the mail, text messaging, emails or cell phones didn’t exist back then. Ok so go ahead and laugh again those of you who laughed earlier. He doesn’t wait for her to rejection him, instead he jumps on a bus to go to her. In his letter he ask her give him a visual sign that she will take him back, a yellow ribbon around a tree he remembers in the front yard of her home.
As the song goes on you can hear the anticipation, urgency and yes even fear in the lyrics as he gets closer to her house. Rejection will be hard but easier to handle if he doesn’t have to see her face to face and hear the word NO. That’s why he has ask for visual sign.
Almost there, tension building, all the feelings of rejection and discouragement overwhelm him to the point that he can’t even look, can’t look for the sign he asked for a simple yellow ribbon around big old oak tree that he remembers standing in the front yard. He has pulled the other passengers on the bus into his story by telling them about his love and how he hopes she will take him back, about the simple sign of acceptance he hopes to see and his fear of not seeing it.
The passengers tell him he doesn’t even have to look, they will be his eyes. They too are now hoping and looking for HIS yellow ribbon on the tree. As they near the house I can see EVERYONE but the man standing on the same side of the bus stretching to see over the others to see if the simple yellow ribbon requested is on the tree. I can imagine as the man hears the shouts and cheers is he excited and stands to see what they see. It turned out that he was very welcomed home: there were a hundred yellow ribbons on that old oak tree. Whew, I almost want to cry and shout with joy myself as I am typing the description of this song.
This song really hits home with me not because I have lost an old love who was in prison or been separated from husband before, but because I know so many who have lost their love for Jesus. Todays scripture talks about returning to your first love, God. So many have strayed far away from God, almost forgotten that they were saved. Fear somehow replaced the faith they once had, causing them to run away from God and go back into the sinful world of the flesh to satisfy their doubt and unbelief. Have you or someone you know left God, been a prison of sin, and want to return but you have the same fears and anxiety about rejection as the man had in this song?
If you want to return to God you can do it. First you have to decide that you are tired of doing it your own way and remember that doing things God way is more satisfying. Proverbs 14:14 says: A heart that turns from God becomes bored with its own ways, but a good person is satisfied with God’s ways.(GW) YOU and only you can decide that you are tired of living the way you are.
God wants you to come back home to him. He knew that some of us would wonder so he has made a way for us to return home. You are not the first nor only one to stray away from God. He tells us in Jeremiah 6:22 “Come back, you rebellious people, and I will forgive you for being unfaithful….” (GW)
So how do you return to God? So change the way you think and act, and turn to God to have your sins removed Acts 3:19 (GW) Ask God to forgive you, get back into the word, and let God blot out your sins. It’s that simple. Just pray and ask God to forgive you and clean you up and HE DOES. How wonderful and amazing is that? No rejection letter, no door slammed in your face, just yellow ribbons all over the oak tree for you. Just like in the song not only will God say yes but He will say emphatically yes.
Now that you have been given the forgiveness to come home you should be careful so you do not stray away again. Jesus said, “Stay awake, and pray that you won’t be tempted. You want to do what’s right, but you’re weak.”, Matthew 26:41(GW). Tell other Christians about your return home to let them rejoice with you, like the passengers on the bus rejoiced with the man in the song. Ask them to pray for you and with you. Welcome home my friend.
Dear Lord, I am sorry for leaving You, my first love. Sometimes the pull from the world is so strong that I can lose my way. Help me to stay strong through the reading of your word, prayer and meeting together with other Christian brothers and sisters. Thank you for forgiving me, for loving me and for allowing me to come home. Let my light burn brightly once more for you. Hear my heart, Lord, and ignite my passion for you in a, fresh and dynamic way. In Jesus Name. AMEN.