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Lost Sheep

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Lost Sheep

We cannot take a personal affront at sheep who make rebellious choices, we can’t harbor resentment at their foolish choices, we can’t be nettled at their backsliding and lagging behind the rest. We can’t allow thoughts of relief when they have left the herd and are no longer our problem.

When Jesus looked at the multitudes, He was “moved with compassion on them, because they fainted and were scattered abroad , as sheep having no shepherd.” (Matt. 9:36)

Do we even care about the sheep that are scattered and no longer have a shepherd? Where is our compassion for those who once were part of a flock but because of their own wanderings no longer have a shepherd? Do we say within ourselves, “They are the ones who chose to leave. They know the door is open and they can come back anytime they choose to. It’s their own fault for making these choices. Let them find out how hard it is.”

Why have we closed our hearts to those who do not agree with us on every point? Where is our compassion? Why aren’t our hearts wounded at the loss of even one sheep? Why aren’t we weeping over them as Jesus wept? Why are we so complacent when Jesus was willing to lay down His life for that very one that we have decided is not worth our efforts?

Jesus sought out those wasted lives. He befriended the rebellious, disobedient ones (the publicans and sinners) by sitting and building relationships with them. He broke down the walls built around those in His midst with slightly differing viewpoints (the Samaritans) by not keeping the traditions of His people. His kindness to one Samaritan woman captured the heart of an entire nation!

Why are we content to groom our healthy herd when reaching even one lost individual is what Jesus would rather we do? Do we not care that scattered, hungry, needy sheep will follow false shepherds or have their very life snuffed out by wolves?

~ Simon F

Shame and Joy

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Jesus submitted to the shame involved in the trial, the scourging and the cross with its ridicule. He endured the cross, despising the shame because of the joy that was set before him (Heb. 12:2).

To despise shame means to refuse to allow it to influence your decision, to do the right thing in the face of being shamed. The joy set before him was the many sons who would be brought to glory, sons of glory who would be his brothers (Heb. 2:10).

Adam and Eve covered their shame with fig leaves because they were not aware of the joy that had been set before them.

On Word Ministries Morning Meditation

Love Heals

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Love Heals

“It is only in the things a man loves that he can be hurt,
And it is only in love that man suffers and recognizes the deadliness of death” (Jurgen Moltmann).
If I love money, I hurt when people cheat me.
If I love my reputation, I hurt when people speak evil of me.
If I love my wife (and I do), I hurt when she shuns me (which she doesn’t do).
The only thing that can heal a wounded heart is love.
Love covers a multitude of sins.
God was wounded on the cross
Because the ones he loves (that’s us) shunned him
And pushed him out of their lives.
Love hurts and love heals.

Fount Lee Shults
On Word Ministries Morning Meditation

O Holy Savior

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O Holy Savior

O holy Savior, Friend unseen,
The faint, the weak on Thee may lean,
Help me, throughout life’s varying scene,
By faith to cling to Thee.

Blessed with this fellowship divine,
Take what Thou wilt, I’ll ne’er repine;
E’en as the branches to the vine,
My soul would cling to Thee.

Far from her home, fatigued, oppressed,
Here she has found her place of rest
An exile still, yet not unblest,
While she can cling to Thee.

What though the world deceitful prove,
And earthly friends and joys remove,
With patient, uncomplaining love
Still would I cling to Thee.

Though faith and hope may long be tried,
I ask not, need not aught beside;
How safe, how calm, how satisfied,
The soul that clings to Thee!

Blessed is my lot, whate’er befall;
What can disturb me, who appall,
While as my Strength, my Rock, my All,
Savior, I cling to Thee!

Charlotte Elliott

Moses’ Law

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Moses’ Law

Gather the people together,
Men and women and little ones,
And the stranger who is within your gates,
That they may hear
And that they may learn to fear the LORD your God
And carefully observe all the words of this law,
And that their children,
Who have not known it,
May hear and learn to fear the LORD your God
As long as you live in the land
Which you cross the Jordan to possess.

Deuteronomy 31:12-13

Genes and Memes

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Genes and Memes

Life is made of genes and memes. We inherit the genes and we inherit/adopt the memes. Genes determine some of our physical makeup. Memes determine our lifestyle.

Memes are critical because they give us our narrative – our story. We accept our story and then our story becomes us. Our story makes us who we are, unless we are young and/or are searching for another narrative. Our upbringing and experiences contain the memes that produce our beliefs and behaviors. We adopt/imitate and then express those memes.

A meme can be a statement, a belief, a concept, an image, or a belief that is passed to the next generations. We are somewhat familiar with genetic defects. They cause physical and mental problems for those who inherit them. Memes can also be defective and/or destructive. A meme that causes a lack of care for the poor or downtrodden, a meme that allows for powerful people to injure the innocent and helpless, a meme that prevents individuals from rising to their potential; these are defective and destructive concepts.

In this age there are many memes/stories from which to choose. There are many memes to imitate. Modern communication makes everything available. The good, the bad, and the ugly – everything is there. The choices are yours.

Youth – Youth are looking for community that they can and want to emulate. They are looking for authentic family and church where people are real and love each other and build each other up – a place where people are safe and secure from shame and wrong – a place where love, joy and peace flourish.

They have seen and experienced enough of the pretence and politics. They are looking for a life after which they can pattern their lives.

They are looking for a life that they want and need and then they want to follow that life in the community and in the church. If they cannot find that, they will “quietly walk away” from the life they have known and will create their own version of reality. They will likely adopt another way of life that has, for them, a convincing message.

Many of them no longer have loyalty to systems, no matter how persuasive. It will have to be authenticity and integrity or nothing. They are even resisting marriages that will funnel them into dysfunctional systems.

To the older generation of parents and church leaders – it is so critical that the memes/lives we produce are worth imitating. “Follow me as I follow Christ.” Can we say that? Are we doing that? If not, it must start now. We are about to lose a generation and with that loss, our entire culture.

Are we living a life that our children want to duplicate? Are they attracted to our life-style and worship? Are we displaying the real joy of life or do we cope each day to just survive? Is love the characteristic of our life and relationships? That is God’s way.

Those questions must be answered. Those questions are being answered by how you live. You must get it right. Whatever the cost, you must get it right. You do not have to be perfect but, your heart must be right. You do not have forever. Now is the time. A whole generation is making choices. You must provide a life they want to imitate. If you do not, they will disappear. They will walk away. They are walking away. Now.

Do they want what you have? You can do something about that. Now.

Life is made of genes and memes. The genes are settled fact. Your hair color, your height and body type are mostly determined before your birth.

Memes also determine your life. Memes are beliefs, behaviors and ideas that are passed along from generation to generation. Those concepts become the formative factors in the behaviors of the next generation. Beliefs produce behaviors. The underlying beliefs are the memes that frame the behaviors for following generations. Chose the good and useful and reject the evil and destructive.
Life depends upon that. Now.

Jesus – Your Name

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Jesus, Your Name

Jesus, Your Name is power,
Jesus, Your Name is might!
Jesus, Your Name will break every stronghold
Jesus Your Name is life.

Jesus, Your Name is healing,
Jesus, Your Name gives sight!
Jesus, Your Name will free every captive,
Jesus, Your Name is life

Jesus, Your Name is holy,
Jesus, Your Name brings light!
Jesus, Your Name is above every other,
Jesus, Your Name is life.

Morris Chapman