DATE POSTED: Monday, May 22, 2023, and I was blessed to be at O’Brien, FL when God inspired me to write this blog post. Please see my Footnote on how you might read or listen to this devotional or any past posts.
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE FROM THE The Message (MSG) IS FOUND IN Luke 15:1-4; 7
THE BIBLE TEXT IS: By this time a lot of men and women of questionable reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, “He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends.” Their grumbling triggered this story. “Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? ….
Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.
MY INITIAL THOUGHTS: I believe that most churches will have as a part of their Mission Statement, that they exist to save sinners and disciple the saved. How will you rate your church in achieving their Mission Statement? In today’s Scripture, Jesus had to remind the Pharisees and religion scholars the purpose for His coming. I hope that we will be reminded of the same as we meditate on this Scripture today.
APPLICATION OF THE WORD: I wonder if each reader took a moment to peruse your church congregation, how many might be present who are unsaved. Yes, survey the crowd before and after your service to see if needs were met through the preaching of God’s Word that day. If one is saved during the service, do you take a moment, as a congregation, to celebrate the one that was rescued from sin and now anew in Jesus? Less we be discouraged, many churches will have very few opportunities to celebrate the victorious touch of God’s hand on the unsaved, for some pastors do not offer an altar call, and some don’t always preach an evangelical message. So perhaps a pastor from one of my past churches was right when he said that most people are saved outside of the church doors, and then the celebration takes place inside of the church. Perhaps our children are saved at home, perhaps we have opportunity to lead a coworker to the Lord during our lunch break. Perhaps a waitress asked to meet with us after work to learn more about the Savior she saw evident in our character or in our actions, through public prayer over our food, etc. These seem like obvious opportunities to evangelize the lost, but to try and identify with where the Pharisees may have been coming from in doubting Jesus, what if you saw your pastor lunching with the known drug lord who lives in your neighborhood? What if you saw the Pastor’s wife entering the home of a known prostitute? What if any of these events were noticed on several occasions, do you suppose that you would approach the elders of your church to report your observations? What if any of these irreputable individuals visited your church? Will you be among the number to greet them and welcome them into worship with you and other worshippers? Or, will you be one of the ones who will look down your glasses with a question mark as to why they left their illicit businesses long enough to attend church? Dear friends, I hope that your hearts and eyes were opened and humbled like mine were upon reading these verses again. It is awesome to worship with other believers, most of them already saved, but our real work is in witnessing to the unsaved in our circle of friends, encouraging the ones who visit our church in search of the Savior they may have seen evident in the lives of a Christian who touched their lives that week. Perhaps if we were as determined as we should be about reaching the lost in our circle of family, friends and coworkers, we would be more understanding of who others are meeting with. Take note of the story used by Jesus to teach the religious leaders, and then go after the lost sheep – the unsaved. Let’s learn to look forward to times of rejoicing at our next church service as we learn of the lost sheep that were found and/or saved and given freedom in knowing Jesus Christ as Lord.
BLESSINGS WORTH NOTING: Anticipate rejoicing with other believers at your next church service over lost ‘sheep’ that were found, saved and now in worship with you!
PRAYER BECAUSE OF THE IMPACT OF TODAY’S SCRIPTURE: Thank You Lord for saving my soul through the preaching of Your Word many years ago. Praise God for church members, parents and friends who prayed for my salvation! They all rejoiced at the good news of one lost ‘sheep’ being saved into the fold of Jesus! Lord, I want to be bold enough to witness to the unsaved in every location that I find them, not just inside the church doors. Please help our pastors, church leaders, and all Christians to have that same mindset, for we don’t know the date of Your return, nor if the unsaved will choose to enter our church doors. So, please help us all to not delay in sharing Your love and sacrifice in every circumstance, every day. As prepared children of God, perhaps we could break the cycle of lost opportunities and hearts that are hardened to see Jesus work in ALL lives and not just the ones that are obviously searching for the Savior. May we be known to the world as loving children following the footsteps of our loving Lord, and concerned about all the unsaved, no matter what label the world has placed over their heads. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading/listening to this devotional, please click on this page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin or continue your walk with Jesus. If you would like to see or hear more of my devotionals, please go to NuggetsFromGodsWord.org and read more, or go to Apple Podcasts and search for Nuggets From Gods Word to listen to more podcasts. You can also choose to freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s written devotional, or on the Apple Podcast app, simply search for Nuggets From God’s Word and click ‘Follow’ to be notified of Podcast updates. Please allow me to encourage you to find a church home near by your home and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!