My memory verse this week:
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15
NTC Day 36
Luke 15 and 1 Thessalonians 1-3
I chose the memory verse above for several reasons...for one thing, I have a personality which seeks approval. I like to be doing the "right" thing and I like to do it well and I like to hear that I am doing it well. Sometimes that kind of personality trait can get you in trouble because you end up being a "people pleaser" and do things because OTHERS want you to and not necessarily because YOU want to. But...when the person I am trying to get approval from is God, I will do whatever I can to please him, and I long to hear "Well done, good and faithful servant."
I also chose that verse because I want to be one who handles the word of truth correctly. I do a lot of writing about the Bible and how I feel about the Bible. I want what I write and share with others to be as correct as it can be, coming from the mind of a flawed human being.
For example, one of our readings for today's NTC was Luke 15. This chapter contains 3 of Jesus' most familiar and most loved parables: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son. I know how those stories make me feel and what they make me think...when I share those feelings with you, I pray that my thoughts are at least closely tied to God's purposes.
Lost and found. We all have lost something important to us...whether we just misplace it or it is gone forever, we all HATE that feeling of loss when we don't know where it is. We will search and search, spending a LOT of time looking, sometimes growing more panicked as time goes on. IF AND WHEN we find that item, we are elated! We celebrate with a cheer, a yell, a dance for joy...I found it!!!
When that item is a loved one...we only then understand the father's actions in the parable of the prodigal son...and then we realize who was telling the story and what that story really means.
Jesus, who was from God, who WAS God on earth...he told that story to help us understand our heavenly Father's love for us. He created us, but gave us the choice to love him and accept his great love for us. So very few of his beloved creations make that choice to love and accept him that when one does...HE CELEBRATES!
Jesus also told that story to teach the negative Pharisees why he hung out with sinners. He hung out with sinners because they hadn't made that choice to love and accept God yet. He hoped that his teachings would touch some of their hearts and be moved to love God.
Lost and found...there are so very many lost people out there in our world today, lost and looking for love and acceptance. Those of us that already love God can reach out to those lost souls and share the faith, hope and love that we have found in Jesus with them. That doesn't mean we have to go around preaching and scaring people away with our "religion." We can find HUNDREDS of ways to share God's love in practical ways...giving the lost just a glimpse at what it's like to be found. They might just make that choice themselves and then...there will be a party in heaven as God celebrates!