“Persistent love only gives up when God gives up, which is never…He is always in hot pursuit of cold hearts.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 23, 2022
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep. Luke 15:4-7
In this parable of the lost sheep, Jesus describes the persistent love of God. Like a shepherd ever in pursuit of a single sheep…until he finds it. Likewise, the Lord seeks us out until He finds us! A love not deterred by deeds done in the dark of night or distracted from the fatiguing heat of the day. His love lights up the dark places in our hearts and exposes the areas that need His comfort and forgiveness. His love delivers us from the ever-present newest shiny object that distracts us from the warmth of His pure love. He brings us back to treasure trusting in His ways, as the wisest, best path to travel in life. Once he secured His stray one, the shepherd invites a compassionate community to rejoice in one more who was brought back into the fold of faith. A life in need of the wisdom, love, and accountability of a caring community… that embodies God’s persistent love.
Charles Spurgeon explains the energy required in Jesus’s story of the shepherd’s pursuit of the sheep: “The shepherd is pursuing him, hot foot, over hill and dale, but the sheep is carelessly picking what little herbage it is able to find, thinking only of the present, and making itself as happy as it can without a thought of the future. This is still the condition of the great mass of our fellow men. Until Christ finds them, they are thoughtless, careless, indifferent about eternal things.” So true, how the appetites of this world lead individuals to aimlessly roam around reacting only to filling their bellies, fulfilling their ambitions (no matter the cost), and indulging lust. Once exhausted, they find themselves on the verge of a selfishness-induced, emotional coma of apathy. Fortunately, the Lord’s persistent love is in hot pursuit of lost souls…cold to Christ.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing… He guides me along the right paths” (Psalm 23:1,3).
Stay within the fold of God’s love and you will lack nothing. He has all you need, no need to look for what you think you need in other attention-grabbing places. Engage in and enjoy a compassionate community of Christ followers. You may discover “your people” by volunteering at church or in a Bible study of other like-minded hearts with a hunger to learn and apply God’s word. The flock of God is not without its faults, but it is the best thing going to become more like Jesus. Relational diversity and vulnerability are the Spirit’s way to shave away rough edges and replace them with patient love, which pursues others with unyielding love. Persistent love shows up!
The Holy Spirit will guide you along the right paths. So, make sure the proximity of your life is close to the compassion and wisdom of your Shepherd’s staff. He is able to wisely lead/prod/yank you in the direction of His will. The closer you move toward unwise living the more intense God’s intervention to protect you from yourself. It’s ok to be curious about life, as the Lord’s love is discovered in the mystery of cherished relationships and in the complexity of His vast creation. If you must begin to stray to have your own way…He may let you learn the hard way. Come back, before He finds you on your back, lifts you up, binds you up, and brings you back. Persistent love only gives up when God gives up, which is never…He is always in hot pursuit of cold hearts.
“For thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out” (Ezekiel 34:11).
Heavenly Father, protect me from myself when I begin to stray from your love as a beloved child and from your wisdom to follow your will, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
Who has strayed from the Lord who needs your persistent love?
We the Kingdom: Peace
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