Lost Sheep

It seems like Jesus had his pull among the sinners and tax collectors.  After all they knew they were sinners, and He was offering forgiveness and restoration. But the Pharisees and scribes were complaining saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them!”  Jesus  would offer this as a response to their accusations: “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? When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over  99 righteous people who don’t need repentance.” Luke 15:3-7  Jesus said that because he wanted them to know the joy of heaven that comes with the salvation of the lost. But even more than that, in His parable, he talks about one who was already a part of the sheep pen, but went wandering, and was lost.  It was the rejoicing over the (repentance) of the lost brother. I understand this, as I have a brother struggling with the isolation of wandering away from the sheep pen. He is lost, and he doesn’t even realize it.  The sheep that was wandering was focused on things other than the rest of the sheep, and ended up in territory that he felt he could not return from. I want to tell my lost friend that there is a way home. This way is through the repentance of your lostness and the need for you to be found.  Now imagine that sheep, when the master took to looking, when the sheep saw him, he started to run from the master. He did not want to be found, so he hid. He hid because of his shame and guilt, but the master wanted to find him anyway. He understood that the sheep wandered off, because he lost his sight of that which kept him secure and strong. He lost sight of what was most important in his life.  You, my friend, have lost sight of what is around you. You think you are too lost  to ever be found, but I want to tell you that you are not. All you have to do is reach out to another, reach out to one who loves you, and desire to be home. Stop trying to run away.  People today run toward their addictions instead of away from that which will harm the body and the family. They find excuses to run, thinking their addiction is too strong, has too much of a pull on them, and nobody can understand. You are wrong! We all understand, and you, in your addiction must choose to be found. Those who love you are like the master who is looking for you, but instead of wanting to be found, be cleared of your hopelessness, you simply hide and continue in the lies and the torment of those who want to find the real you.  Stop running!  Stop making excuses for wandering away from the love of your life.  If you think this might be you, it probably is you, so why not look around you. Is the place you have wandered to better now than before? Is your heart better than before? Why not surrender to the wandering, the becoming lost, hoping to be found, but continue hiding behind addictions. You are worth so much to the Father, and to me and to those around you. Stop trying to make excuses and live for Christ.  He is out there waiting for you to grab hold of His hand and come back to us. Pastor Andy

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