Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ. With Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide, Proverbs 31 Ministries reaches women right in the middle of their busy day through free daily devotions, radio program, speaking events, conferences, monthly magazine, resources, online communities, and Gather and Grow groups. We are real women offering real-life solutions to women who are striving to maintain life’s balance, in spite of today’s hectic pace and cultural pull away from godly principles. Wherever a woman may be on her spiritual journey, Proverbs 31 Ministries exists to be a trusted friend who takes her by the hand and walks by her side, leading her one step closer to the heart of God.
May 27, 2004
Encouragement for Today
The Lost Sheep
Marie Ogram, speaker team and Ministry Coordinator
Matthew 18:14 Your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost. (NIV)
Pass any neighborhood on a hot summer's day and chances are you would find at least one household washing the family car. Ours was no different. Several weeks after returning home from a month-long deployment on a submarine my husband, Don, decided to give me a much-needed break from two busy toddlers. He pulled the car down to the middle of the driveway making sure that the windows were up all the way and proceeded to fill a bucket with soap and water from the hose. The boys had a ball chasing each other with soapy sponges and taking turns spraying the hose at daddy and the car.
As Don stood up from washing a front tire, he looked around but only saw one boy. Scotty, our 18-month old, was nowhere in sight. Seth, age 3 1/2 ran into the house to see if Scotty had somehow slipped in without being noticed. I assured him that Scotty was not in the house so we both went outside again. By this time Don was beginning to look quite concerned. How could Scotty just disappear? Where was he? We began calling Scotty's name in hopes of hearing our toddler answer back. Neighbors hearing the concern in our voices began to file out of their homes. All began calling Scotty's name without an answer. Don's voice could soon be heard several streets away as he began to circle our huge block - the panic in his voice increasing with each painful step as his bare feet burned on the hot asphalt. We continued to check and recheck some of Scotty's favorite places - all to no avail.
As Don finally rounded the block I ran out to the end of the driveway past the half-washed car to see if he had found my precious little boy. Looking at Don's face told me that Scotty was still missing; he was lost. Walking past the car once again to call the military police, I saw Scotty's lifeless body on the back seat. I quickly opened the scorching hot door as the searing heat escaped and made me wince. Thinking about the dozens of times that many of us had passed by Scotty never seeing or hearing him angered me. Why hadn't we seen him? Would he be ok? People were always making the news leaving children in hot cars to their deaths. Please God let him be ok. As I lifted Scotty's lifeless, clammy body, I felt for a pulse. He was still breathing and began to move a little as the 90-degree air, cooled his wet noodle-like body. We took him into the house and put him in front of the fan and gave him some cool water to drink knowing that cold water might shock his heart. Before long Scotty was up and running around again with his brother as though nothing had ever happened. But Don's blistered feet told us otherwise.
Just as we diligently searched high and low for our lost little boy, God searches for us - with at least the same diligence and passion. He loves us even more than we love our own children. That is even hard to comprehend. Our heavenly Father loves us even more. In Ezekiel 34:11-12 the Lord tells us that He will search for His lost sheep that have scattered from the rest of the flock. In verse 16a He tells us that He will search for the lost and bring back the strays. He will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak. He will do the same in our lives. When one of us has wandered away from the rest of the flock, He searches for us and brings us back into the fold - lost no more.
My Prayer for today:
Dear Lord, please help me to remember that You love and care for me so much more than I could ever imagine. Thank you for searching for me until I found You, adding me back to Your flock, and providing for my every need.
Think back to when you first gave your life to God. Journal the feelings you experienced at that moment.
Do you still feel the same excitement you felt when you first gave your life to the Lord?
In what ways has your faith grown?
What areas do you still need to work on?
When was the last time you helped someone else who was lost find their way to Him?
Thank God for the way He has worked in your life.
Luke 15:4-7 "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not 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.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."
Luke 15:8-10 "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
Luke 15:24 'For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'
Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."
Ezekiel 34:11-12, 16a "'For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy.
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