The Lost & Found Department of the Universe

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“What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them,  does not leave the 99 in the open field  and go after the lost one until he finds it?” 

Luke 15:4

I like ‘red letter’ editions of the Holy Scriptures.  I will personally pause when I read these selected verses, pausing to process the steady fact that these are Jesus’ own words.  They are different, and there is a quality to them that is not found in the thoughts of mere men.  I have no doubt of the inspiration of all of God’s Word.  I trust it implicitly.

When I make that pause, very often I reflect afresh on what I’m about to read, and my heart starts preparing to listen closer.  In Luke 15, everything is lost; a lost coin, a lost sheep, and a lost son.  All three link and give a common theme of

1) Something getting away,

2) The value of that lost thing, 

3) The diligent searching that follows,  

4) The apprehension of that which is lost,  

5)  The joy of the finder over the recovery of the thing which was lost.

 

These three parables strengthen each other.  Together they have the deep power of declaration.  They speak of the merciful heart of our Heavenly Father with a permanence and eloquence that defies any comparison. 

When we read Jesus’ words they reveal to us the intense searching that the Lord has for our lost souls, and that is the central theme of all history.  Jesus is looking for you– concentrating intently and focused.

It doesn’t matter how ensnared you are, or how deeply you have sunk.  God’s love for you compels Him to seek you.  He will reach into the thorns and thistles, if He has to.  Perhaps your sin has been frequent and you are stained deeply.  The declaration of Jesus’ words reveals the heart of God.  It is irrevocable and central to the way God deals with us.

What is the secret of the universe?  Why does reality exist?  What is the purpose of human history? 

I believe it is the apprehension and deliverance of human beings. 

That’s it.  What should the Church be doing?  Finding and rescuing people who are lost.  That is the purpose of everything, and that searching is to be our focus.

The question remains of what about God’s thinking?  Jesus’ words (in red) reveal the true essence of His dealings with us.  He will always act this way! He is constant and true.  He will always be this way.  Searching, finding, redeeming and celebrating.  Don’t doubt His love for you.

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Judging Others: A Dangerous Post

Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged.”

Matt. 7:1

This is probably the most common sin that people commit. We stand in judgement more often than we realize, and it turns into an automatic response over time. The pointing of the finger has become an art form, and we can be deliciously mean and be applauded by others at the same time.

Our culture has been steeped in the judging of others. We point our fingers and focus our attention on the things that are not appropriate. Christians have a built-in knack for doing so and are tailor made for practicing this sin.

Repeatedly we are told not to judge others. And we repeatedly we do so. The Word tells us we are not to point our fingers, and Jesus was clear on this issue, stating that our own forgiveness would be nullified if we wouldn’t forgive. This is a little too much truth for us and we look for detours that circumvent so we spare ourselves the act of forgiving.

On the other hand, we demand that we be treated fairly by others. We expect leniency and a fair shake. We become hypersensitive to any perceived slight or a voice inflection. We wince under unjust judgments. We resent unkind fault-finding. We demand that people shall judge us fairly. We claim forbearance and charity in our derelictions in duty and for blemishes in our character. But can we expect other people to be any more lenient towards us than we are toward them?

We squabble and position ourselves into the best light possible. The words of Jesus get nullified or interpreted so repentance is avoided. We say we have a gift of discernment, and Jesus is begging us to drop every particular issue.

37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Luke 6:37-38, NLT

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A Full Quiver, to Press the Enemy

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In an old book of prayers, I discovered this list. As I read it, and pondered them, I felt like I had been given a giant pile of treasure. And I want to share the wealth with my friends.

The idea of “arrow prayers” maybe novel to you. I, myself, am a pure novice on these things. I often see the tremendous value, without the real commitment to live it out. I often aspire, but do not attain. (Lord, have mercy on me.)

Arrow praying is identified by a short, piercing exclamation. It has little flourish, and zero frills. Religious people will often not see their value. I’m convinced that believers with a broken life will understand. Broken people will often pray things that the Father hears. We do pray, but short and to the point. That is good.

“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:38

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14

“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:” Luke 2:29

“And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” Mark 9:24

““Save me, Lord!” he shouted.”  Matthew 14:30

‘ ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’” Luke 18;13

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”  Luke 23:42

“Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.” Luke 24:29

““Give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” John 4:15

“Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.” John 6:34

“Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.” John 6:68

“Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” John 11:3

“Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” John 14:8

“Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.”  John 21:16

“My Lord and my God!”  John 20:28

“Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20

These are all prayers, hidden in something direct and cool. These words which are sudden and aware, and press us into a special sensitivity of godliness. Our own cries, will ride need to ride piggyback on these certain cries, and right into the heart of God.

Let us turn, as much as we are able, to the One who heals the flawed, and all those who are crooked. He loves us constantly, even when we are confused by our twistedness. I tell you, He keeps reaching out for the ungodly, for His glory and by His grace.

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kyrie elesion, Bryan

(Lord, have Mercy on us, the sinners.)