Happy Valentine’s Day to you! There is no better day to remember the great love that God has shown to each of us in giving us life, salvation, and a tremendous future. There is so much hope and life in Christ!
God so loved the world, that He gave His Son to save us. When we were yet sinners, God rescued us from our helplessness. It seems almost too good to be true, yet it is true. And this reality is what so many lovely fairytales are based upon - a wonderful king who leaves everything to save the one he loves.
Jesus Himself told many stories about the True King and His Kingdom. Our family favorite has always been that tremendous parable Jesus told about the Good Shepherd...
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Then Jesus told them this parable: “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: 1-6
I am mindful today of a meeting we attended a year or so ago, in which the superintendent of the Assemblies of God fellowship from a war-torn nation on the other side of the globe addressed us. He told many stories of the bravery of the believers in his nation, where it is actually illegal to convert to Christianity. The men, women and children who have given their hearts to Jesus there are in constant danger from the government, their countrymen, and even their own families. Still, many are putting their hope and trust in beautiful Jesus, who truly does bring real hope and peace even in the midst of suffering.
One story in particular was about a little boy, whose believing parents had been killed. He was suddenly homeless, and had to forage the filthy streets of their great capital city to find enough to eat to stay alive. Thankfully, another believing family found him and took him in - but what might have become of him?
The gentleman finished addressing us, and the congregation joined in a time of worship. We sang this song, which has been a popular chorus in our fellowship lately, which again tells the story of the Great Shepherd…
There's no shadow You won't light up
Mountain You won't climb up
Coming after me
There's no wall You won't kick down
Lie You won't tear down
Coming after me
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God -
It chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine.
I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still You give Yourself away,
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.
We have sung this song many times, but this time was different for me. I could not get the image of that little boy, homeless and alone in the gutters of a town I cannot even easily pronounce. I wept as I sang, wondering how many boys and girls, men and women exist right now that desperately need to know the Good News of a King who loves them and who would leave everything to save them?
But then, I remembered that the song is true - there truly is no shadow He won't light up, or mountain He won't climb up coming after precious souls like that little boy. There is no wall He won't kick down, or lie He won't tear down coming after His dear lost lambs all over the world.
How does He do it? How do they hear of this Good Shepherd, especially in places hostile to Christianity?
God sends His message through our friends and co-laborers who have responded to His call to serve all across the globe - our great missionary family. There are so many missions fellowships and agencies that are mobilizing many thousands of people from all over the world to go and tell the Good News of Jesus. These courageous souls have left behind everything that is familiar and comfortable to take the message of the Cross to God's lost lambs everywhere. At great risk to themselves, they daily climb mountains, light up the shadows, kick down walls, and tear down lies to bring one more home for our King.
This Valentine's Day, would you join me in praying for our missionaries all over the world? Pray for their children on the field with them, their families here in the States, and for their budgets and their safety. Pray that everyone they are meeting and befriending would be open and responsive to the Good News of our Great Shepherd. Pray that the wicked spiritual forces and also wicked people who might be conspiring against them would be thwarted. Pray that all of Heaven will be able to rejoice today as many more lost sheep are brought home.
To all of our missionary friends who might be reading this, please know that you are remembered and covered in prayer. Thank you for your great sacrifice for Jesus, and know that you are dearly loved!
Hi! I'm Mary - mother to two wonderful grown daughters, wife to an incredible husband, and loving our life in the piney woods of Texas... (read more!)
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