Lost and Found – 7-21-22

“Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Luke chapter 15 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

15 Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man [a]receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying:

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine [b]just persons who need no repentance.

The Parable of the Lost Coin

“Or what woman, having ten silver [c]coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ 10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with [d]prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the [e]pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’

20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, [f]‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’

28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

Footnotes

  1. Luke 15:2 welcomes
  2. Luke 15:7 upright
  3. Luke 15:8 Gr. drachma, a valuable coin often worn in a ten-piece garland by married women
  4. Luke 15:13 wasteful
  5. Luke 15:16 carob pods
  6. Luke 15:22 NU Quickly bring

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 6:1-2-

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Parables – as we’ve discussed a few times. Parables are a method of teaching through short stories. Usually three of them (sometimes more and sometimes less). The lesson would be the theme that overreaches all three stories. It is told in different ways so that different people can relate. Like today’s Parables: Maybe you are not a shepherd or any kind of farmer for that matter. You do not know personally what it is like to lose a sheep. And maybe you are not a parent, or you are and none of your children rebelled and ran off. But then possibly you have misplaced something valuable?

Today’s over reaching theme is lost and found. Jesus is trying to say we were lost, and through Him we are found (restored) and all of heaven rejoices because we are found.

1Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying:”

Parables are like riddles to people who God doesn’t reveal it to. It would be like the Pharisees asking why he eats with sinners and Jesus saying the sky smells like prickly nine. It sounded like foolishness. And then people like me try to explain their meanings and you can grasp the idea that something of great value was lost and found again and some will apply the prodigal son story to their wayward kids (and you can). But without revelation that is all you will get.
So here I go rambling on hoping you’ll receive something from God today – knowing I cannot reveal it, but only God can. Praying you have ears to hear what God wants to share with you and eyes to see yourself in the teaching and understand of what to do next. Always come eager to hear from God and receive. Come hungry.

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”

These parables are packed with metaphors and symbolism and are meant to stir feeling as well. Every person who worked the fields with sheep, or knew someone who did (and it was the most popular profession and an over saturated market so most did) immediate upon hearing it was lost felt some despair. They all new instinctually you had to leave the 99 and chase down the one and knew the dangers of leaving the 99 – another could wander off or a bear or pack of wolves could attack. And they all would have felt so much relief hearing Jesus say it was found. The Pharisees, on the other hand would not have felt anything and not understood.
I grew up across the street from a sheep farm. They had 7 huge fields with a flock in each and thousands of sheep. And NO ONE shepherded them. They had dogs who lived out there with the sheep and protected them. Each day they visited each flock to feed the dog and check on things. But they would have never known if a sheep went missing – at least I cannot imagine how they could ever tell. They rotated the flocks and brought each one to the barn field for sheering and interacting with people.
Modern sheep farmers might not understand – I watched the sheep every day and there was no way to count them and know if they were all there or not. They were really only counted and inventoried when it was sheering time or breeding time.

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ 10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

I am the queen of “let me put this somewhere safe” and then it is never seen again. Gone forever. I can search and search and call friends or my son to help me search and still call other to pray that I find it. And when I find it I will call all my friends and rejoice!
Who knows what I am talking about?!
Did you know a silver coin back then was worth more than a sheep?! Jesus raised the stakes. Sheep are alive and valuable. But I could buy more than a sheep with a silver coin.

The final of today’s Parables is the Prodigal Son. This parable does give insight on the situation and how to pray and how to behave when they come home. There is NO promise in the Bible that says they will – but our intersession on their behalf will surely help.

The return of prodigals is a huge burden on my heart. I have a prodigal son. I have also been a prodigal.

11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.”

There are a few characters in the story. The father and the two sons. At different points in our lives we all relate to the characters differently. It is important to keep in mind who the characters represent in the original telling – when Jesus told it. Jesus meant for the father in the story to represent God. The prodigal son represents mankind – who walked away from God with the original sin in the Garden of Eden. And the other son, reminds us of ourselves after being restored and watching the joy at others coming back.
Parents with a prodigal son, did not act like the father in the story (most of the time). Did you give your kid their inheritance?
Also, God sent a famine – God was already interceding. In the first parable, he went looking. And in the second one he was also looking. In this one He is also chasing down the one that walked away; because God is not only seen in the character of the Father but also God is everywhere.

15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”

It is good to pray for our prodigal children to come home, but we must remember “home” means saved by grace which may or may not bring a reconciliation with you. We should pray for the soil of their hearts to be prepared, pray for seed planters and waterers, and pray for harvesters!
DO NOT PRAY FOR ROCK BOTTOM. I hate when Christian do that. Bless your children and do not curse them. It is the goodness in the child’s memories of home that draw the child back. When I was doing my own thing, it was God’s goodness that drew me back.
God’s goodness is what we ALL want and are searching for when we fulfill the lusts of our flesh (we are looking for His goodness and do not find it) and seeking God Himself (we finally find and are fulfilled)!

20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.”

Ah, there is that table again. This is deeply soaked in rich spiritual symbolism. 
When prodigals come back, we often do not accept them this openly – we sit waiting for them to screw up – almost hoping, just to prove ourselves right. And it pushes them to leave again. A self-fulfilling prophecy or a curse.
Sometimes we pretend to accept them back openly, but subtly we continue to call them by their sins – still calling them a prodigal, when they are not. Reminding the recovering addict, that there were an addict. Clenching your purse tightly next to the former thief.
Oh yes, we identify as the father in the sense that: ‘Oh poor me, my child ran off’. But are we able to be Christ like enough to behave like the father in this tale and accept the son openly?

This tale also never says this son is restored. Maybe he is reconciled. The ring implies he receives back status as a son, but he’ll work the farm and not receive an inheritance at the end. He already took that.

25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

This final part is not in the first two parables. No one knows how the 99 sheep felt when the shepherd went off to look for the lost one. And coins do not have feelings.
Those who have not walked away – born and raised in the church – You testimony is look at all that the Lord KEPT you from. You were preserved and your added blessing in heaven is there for you. DO not be jealous or bitter. Rejoice at another coming to join us.
Do not, also, be jealous of other’s gifts and anointing.  Come along side and work together praying fervently for each other. And pray for more to come in! If you sing, pray for more singers. If you play instruments, pray for more musicians. If you pray, pray for more prayer warriors. If you teach and preach, then pray for more to teach and preach. The prodigal will come back for the goodness of God and the world will be drawn into our church by that same goodness. The more the merrier. Trust the process so to speak. God knows what he is doing.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: