I remember when I worked at the school district, the last week of school, that our bin of lost and found items would get drug out and the items hung up on racks, or laid out on tables in the front foyer, where parents and students would be coming and going, and hopefully they’d see an item that belonged to them and take it home. I was always amazed at how much stuff would accumulate over the year. Coats, hats, gloves, shirts, sweatpants, lunch boxes, shoes… just a myriad of things. My goodness, didn’t anyone miss this stuff?
I have lost things though, so who am I to judge?
I lost my cell phone once. I had it and then I didn’t have it. I always kept it in my purse. Then one day I went to lunch with friends and afterwards ran a few errands, and when I got back home and went to make a phone call it wasn’t there. I stirred the contents of my purse around with my hand, and then emptied it out completely, dumping the contents all over the floor. Nope, no cellphone.
I looked in my car, all over the car, under the seats, between the seats, in the console, and even in the backseats. I looked on the garage floor (maybe I accidentally kicked it out with my foot), and under the shelves along the wall. It wasn’t there. It wasn’t anywhere.
Like most people now-a-days I don’t have a landline, or even another cell phone as backup. And even if I had walked to the neighbors that day it would have been useless to borrow their phone. I did’t know anyone’s number. No one calls a NUMBER any more, we all call a NAME or a FACE. Oh dear. This was bad. This was my only communication with the outside world and it was gone, gone, gone, forever!
I went back in the house and looked on every surface where I might have laid the phone: the kitchen counters, the bedroom dressers, the bathroom, the laundry room. I retraced every step I’d made before leaving the house that day. And then I got back in my car and drove back to every business in town where I’d been, and asked if anyone had found a cell phone. Not a one.
I came back home and sat in a panic in the middle of my living room floor thinking intently about what to do next. And in the middle of my racing thoughts I heard it…I heard my cell phone ringing. “My phone! Oh my gosh, where is it coming from? I jumped to my feet and dashed around my house like a raving maniac, trying to get to the sound before it stopped ringing…….and where did I find it? My… PURSE!
It had slipped through a tear in the lining and was caught between the lining and the shell of my hard leather purse. I felt like an idiot, and at the same time was soooooooo relieved to have found it. So happy in fact that I wanted to drive back to every place I’d been, call all my friends, and tell them all, “I FOUND IT!!!!”
So, I completely relate to the thrill of the woman finding her lost coin in the story below.
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The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Matthew 18:10-14 (NKJV) Courtesy of Bible Gateway
10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.[a]
12 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? 13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
Luke 15:1-7 (NKJV) Courtesy of Bible Gateway
Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So He spoke this parable to them, saying:
4 “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? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 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!’ 7 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.
The Parable of the Lost Coin
Luke 15:8-10 (NKJV) Courtesy of Bible Gateway
“Or what woman, having ten silver coins,[a] if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 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
Luke 15:11-32 (NKJV) Courtesy of Bible Gateway
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. 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.”’
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[a] out the best robe and putit 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.’”
Here’s my story:
I had been born an innocent child of God and raised going to church, but somewhere early in life I saw the things that the world had to offer and I was lured away by deception. It’s a great cavernous thing that the world offers. There’s never money enough, or time enough, or energy enough to attain that carrot that Satan dangles before our faces, but the game is so enticing (everybody’s doing it) that we continue to seek to try until we have nothing left to give. That’s when we realize we are now slaves to things we hate (relationships, drugs, alcohol, situations), and it was all just a trap. God in His mercy didn’t let it get so far with me that I was stealing pig slop out of hunger, but a diet of rice and oatmeal are close enough. My father was about as far from rich as one can be, but he met me at the train station with as much relief and love and thankfulness as the father in Jesus’s story. He had his own demons that he was fighting, and it was still a while before I came to my senses, but thankfully I settled down eventually, got married, was blessed with a child, and landed a decent job back home where I belonged.
And then I was working for a small town newspaper and calling on a customer for an ad. This customer had a wrapping and shipping business located inside a liquor store on the east side of town. As I made my acquaintance on my first visit, the woman of this husband/wife team set me on my heels with a pretty direct question. One I wasn’t prepared for, or was even expecting that day. She asked me if I knew Jesus, and if I were to die today if I knew where I would be going. Wow…I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. She made me very uncomfortable. But her words haunted me for weeks after that.
I knew what she was talking about. I had been raised in Sunday school. I had Christian grandparents. My dad had always said he hoped his daughters would get baptized at some time in our lives. I always intended to get baptized, but being fresh into my young life I wasn’t sure I was done sowing my wild oats yet. Somehow I had it in my head that making a commitment to God meant the end of “fun.”
I avoided her in every way after that, but a month down the road when I stopped in to pick up their ad for our paper, being careful to go in the afternoon when I knew she wouldn’t be there, she WAS there and smiling at me as I walked through the door. DANG-IT! But as much as I make this out to be a bad thing, truly our conversation had been all I could think about. I had wrestled with God over what she said for weeks. So when she asked if I had thought about what we talked about, I humbly confessed I’d thought of nothing else.
She asked me if I was ready to make the commitment and I said yes, afraid I may not get a second chance. She whisked me off to the bathroom grabbed my hands and told me to pray with her, “Repeat after me” she said, and I did.
I honestly couldn’t tell you the words I prayed with her that day. All of them escape my memory. But something incredible happened in that bathroom when I said, “Amen.” My blood felt strangely carbonated in my veins, like life was flooding into me in some magical, spiritual way (very much the way life flooded into the Beast when Bell, the Beauty, kissed him and told him she loved him). That very similar magical effervesence bubbled up inside of me and all around me. I was saved from spiritual death that day. My legs were wobbly and weak. My mind was swirling. I absolutely was not the same person walking out of that bathroom as the person who walked into it moments earlier. I followed her out to her desk and stared in a daze out the huge picture window. All of a sudden I became aware of the sky and the most gorgeous sunset I’ve ever seen. It was magnificent with reds and purples. I wondered in my heart and asked God, “Have sunsets always been this beautiful and I never noticed, or did You make this one especially for me?”
Just as I thought this I saw a figment of angels in the clouds…thousands of them. They were all singing and rejoicing. It was so emotionally moving to me that I dissolved to tears instantly. It was some months later that I came across the scripture that says, there is “more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7, and how we have so great a cloud of witnesses watching from above (Hebrews 12:1).
The angels were rejoicing over me that day, a great cloud of witnesses, and God gave me a brief and beautiful glimpse. But I’m not the only one; they are gathered to rejoice over you too!
If you are reading this and have never asked Jesus into your heart, but feel His Spirit speaking to you, take heed my friend. He is seeking you. You didn’t end up here by accident. God brought you to these words today for a reason. He wants you. He’s reaching out to you right here and right now. Please trust Him! Give Him your heart today. You don’t need any fancy words. You just need to talk to Him. If you would feel better talking to a real person right now about this decision, that’s good too, and CBN has prayer partners ready to pray at any time of day, just give them a call (1-800-823-6053), or seek out a local pastor. Pray right now, whereever you are, and ask Jesus to come into your heart while He is knocking on your heart’s door, and let Him be Lord of your life. Don’t quench His Spirit! Don’t let the devil lure you away. Let God’s Spirit lead you. Trust me, it’s the best decision you will ever make, and the greatest love story!
(This is a video of Glen Campbell, sometime soon after he got saved. I’m a big Glen Campbell fan, and this is one of my favorite songs. I am pretty sure it tells his personal story, and that’s really what I love about it. At the time of this video it wasn’t recorded on a CD yet, but it is now. He actually recorded several Christian albums! Glen has gone on to be with Jesus, but his beautiful, personal songs and music live on for us to listen to, and you can get them at Amazon.com.)
You are the Lord’s Pearl of Great Price!
You are His Hidden Treasure!
The Parable of the Hidden Treasure
Matthew 13:44-46 (NKJV)
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
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I dearly hope you have trusted Him as Savior today.