Posted in Devotionals

Lost Sheep

The Lord has really put something on my heart lately. He desires so much for us to be unified in our love and not to cause division or discord among each other.

Christ came to save the unsaved, to give life to the dead. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. (Matthew 18:11)

What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:4-7

I thought about this a while and prayed on it and I remembered a verse I read that refers to young, immature Christians.

but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6

Each person on this earth is a child of God, but many are lost sheep and God desires each one to be found and brought home. Each person must recognize this truth and believe in the sacrifice that Jesus made for them in order to receive the gift of salvation. But if one never has the opportunity to hear the truth, would they ever have hope or believe?

This verse in Matthew is referring to young immature children of God because they are “little ones who believe in Me”. They believe in the Lord, they have received the gift of life and now need nurturing.

And If we cause one of these young immature people to stumble or doubt who they are in Christ then we will be chastened, severely. If you keep reading a little further it says that it is better to cut off the hand or foot that causes you to stumble than to be cast into the eternal fire(Matthew 18:8)

Seems like a pretty stern warning to me. But here is my question. If this is referring to young Christians, what is the consequence of being a wall or stumbling block to those who are not yet born, those who are seeking?

If Christ had not gone to that cross we would be living in darkness, looking at eternal damnation. But Christ did go to that cross. He sacrificed Himself so that we may live. Why then would we not desire others to have that same gift? What if we are the cause of a person not coming to the Lord? Wouldn’t it be likened to an abortion? An unborn baby cast out because they are unwanted children by unloving parents.

God gave us two commandments. Love God with all your heart, mind and soul and love our neighbor as ourselves.

How can we honestly say we are following these commandments if we demean people because of how they look, dress, walk, talk, what music they like, what food they eat, what kind of car they drive, what version of the Bible they use or even how they desire to worship God. Are we reflecting Gods love if we turn them away because they do not conform to a “standard” of what people of God should be like?

I have heard so many who are seeking that say, “I don’t want to be a Christian because they are mean nasty people.”

Do you see a reflection of the Lord’s love in that statement? I know I sure don’t. But if we were reflecting the Lord’s love in truth we would hear them saying, “God really does love me, and I want to share that love with others.”

A scripture the Lord put on my heart when dealing with a person who was condemning all people from a particular denomination is this.

“For My people are foolish, They know Me not; They are stupid children And have no understanding. They are shrewd to do evil, But to do good they do not know.” Jeremiah 4:22

There are many out there that believe you must be absolutely perfect in order to come to the Lord because they insist on how perfect they are, that they can do no wrong since they are Christians.

Well as Jesus once said, “If any one of you is without sin, cast the first stone”. Most people who are lost do not understand the awesome forgiveness that God has because of what they see in the “church”. But there are so many examples in the Bible of God taking something less than perfect and making it perfect, but if a person is never given the opportunity to see these awesome truths, how will they ever desire to have that gift of life that each one of us has been given?

But so many Christians have not been shown the true love that God has. They never take the time to get into the Lords words more than church every few Sunday mornings. They never attempt that personal relationship with God and never grow. How can they share a love they do not understand themselves?

The Lord accepts us into his embrace, just as we are. This morning the Lord put a scripture on my heart that just spoke the world about what is trying to be said here.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2

Can we call ourselves imitators of God if we reject those who need Him the most?

Jesus said we must take up our own cross. Many believe this means you will have a burden to help someone, but the Lord put on my heart that it is more than that. In the Gospel Jesus also said you must deny yourself. (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23) It means you must give more than just a little bit to the Lord, we are to give our entire being to the Lord.

Most people are very reluctant to give that last little 2% over. In some ways they fear letting go. But there are others who believe they are already giving their all to God.

The Lord also says we should examine ourselves. I just wonder how many truly look at their selves from an external perspective. Meaning, do they see themselves as others see them in order to see where they need to improve.

I know God desires to unify, but if people are too proud too accept others just as they are, then how could that truly happen. The Bible says in the last days many will turn away. Maybe that is because there are too many prideful people not willing to give over that last 2% and humble themselves enough to accept others as they are.

I do not wish a millstone around my neck and thrown to the depths… or worse… I prefer to love and nurture all people– lost or found.

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I am just a person on a life journey to who knows where!

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