"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." John 10:27-28 (ESV)
HEART CHECK: How's your relationship with Jesus? Do you follow his voice? Can you even hear his voice? Have you tried lately? Have you grown a little distant from God through the years, confident in your own ability to know and do the right thing? I can relate to all these things.
Luke 15 tells the story of the wealthy man who had two sons. One wild-child son decided he wanted to cash in on his inheritance early and go his own way, and he did. He lived it up, partied, had a good ole time until the money ran out and things went south quickly. His 'friends' when life was good, abandoned him. Eventually he found himself wallowing in filth and eating food intended for pigs just to survive -- like eating out of a dumpster today. In a rare moment of self-awareness, he realized it would be better to swallow his pride, return home and beg his father to let him be his servant, not his son, than to continue living this way. And that's what he did.
The father saw his son approaching in the distance, and what did he do? What would you do?
The Bible says, "And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. **FILLED WITH LOVE AND COMPASSION**, he RAN to his son, embraced him, and kissed him." The father then goes on to clothe him in the finest robe, prepare an elaborate meal for his returned son and invites the whole town to celebrate with him. Wow.
The other son who had remained faithful to his father the whole time was understandably upset, but his father said to him: “Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!”
Jesus also told this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ **IN THE SAME WAY, THERE IS MORE JOY IN HEAVEN OVER ONE LOST SINNER WHO REPENTS AND RETURNS TO GOD THAN OVER 99 OTHERS WHO ARE RIGHTEOUS AND HAVEN'T STRAYED AWAY!"**
WHAT'S IT ALL MEAN?
It means it's never too late. If you have fallen away from the faith, or never truly had it, maybe it's time to rethink that.
I'm not talking about RELIGION; I'm talking about RELATIONSHIP. God wants to be in relationship with you. But the choice is yours. He offers the gift, but you need to receive it.
“I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I HAVE OTHER SHEEP THAT ARE NOT OF THIS SHEEP PEN. I MUST BRING THEM ALSO. THEY TOO WILL LISTEN TO MY VOICE, AND THERE SHALL BE ONE FLOCK AND ONE SHEPHERD.”
Come on home where you belong.