Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lost & Found

Oh the joy of finding lost treasure!!

Last July my husband Vinnie and I flew to Hartford, CT for my in-laws 25 year wedding anniversary. We packed light and I made sure to place all my jewelry in a small zip lock baggie which I stowed in the inner pocket zipped up and hidden from either interested persons, TSA covert thieves or quick fingers of any kind.

I was very good about hiding that jewelry. So good about hiding it that I never saw it again.

In that baggie was a crystal cross my parents gave me on a cruise they took two years ago. It was sentimental for several reasons. The first reason I enjoyed wearing that cross is naturally because I love the cross and I love Jesus and I wear my cross proudly. The second reason that cross was special to me is because I no longer speak to my parents. For reasons too lengthy to get into here and now, God is working on my parents and me. I trust our time away from each other will be fruitful and lead my parents to the foot of the cross.

Also in that baggie was a silver and gold chain that my husband had bought me for Valentine's Day three years ago. I had always said if I had a chain with silver and gold, why would I need another chain?? That chain did come in handy, as it was the perfect length - 16" and coordinated with silver and gold.

A pair of gold drop earrings with a tiny flourish - a fleur de lis at the base I fondly remembered stuffing in that baggie at the very last minute before jumping in the car to catch our flight. Lest I forget a pair of antique silver earrings with precious pink stones that matched a pair of pink aurora borealis studs were also contained within the confines of that ziploc. I never did wear those antique pink dangly earrings to the anniversary celebration. Now why did I even pack them to begin with? Nevertheless - that bag was not to be found.

Oh yes, I turned my purse inside out several times. I unloaded the contents of my carry-on a week after I checked my purse the second time. I did not find the baggie - that is - until today - 370 days later!

I have a beautiful jewelry armoire on the wall in my bedroom. You would never know jewelry is hanging behind the mirror on the wall! And I never thought of looking in a long blue box for my July jewelry stash! My jewelry armoire would not close. The mirror kept opening. I asked my husband to fix it. His solution? He pulled out five cardboard jewelry boxes and left them on the bathroom counter. For no reason I can recall, I opened every one and the last one contained my jewelry from July!!!

How you are wondering does this affect anyone other than me and why am I blogging about it??

Indulge me for a minute.

In Luke 15:6 the Lord tells us, "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!'

Let's back up and start at the beginning of Luke 15:

Luke 15:1 Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him.

Luke 15:2 And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, "This Man receives sinners and eats with them."

Luke 15:3 So He spoke this parable to them, saying:

Luke 15:4 "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?

Luke 15:5 And when he has found [it], he lays [it] on his shoulders, rejoicing.

Luke 15:6 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!'

Luke 15:7 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.

Luk 15:8 "Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds [it]?

Luke 15:9 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!'

Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

Another glory story found in Luke 15:11-31:

Then He said: "A certain man had two sons. 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. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.

But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him [anything].

"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! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants." '

"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. 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.'

"But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put [it] on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on [his] feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill [it], and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry.

"Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 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.'

"But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.

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.

But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.' "And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. Luke 15:32 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.' "

What a wonderfully blessed God we have! In verse Luke 15:8 we learn of a woman who we all can relate to. The verse states: "Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds [it]?

Then the very next verse Luke 15:9 what does she do? Luke 15:9 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!'

Ahh...I read this and relate. My jewelry baggie. I rejoiced. I blogged to tell you all about it....but the story never does end with us. True believers in Christ know there is more to the story than treasure which is temporarily lost.

See, we cannot ignore the verse just before Luke 15:8 (the woman's lost coins verse). Luke 15:7 states, "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." And just to make sure after we related to that woman finding her lost coin, the Lord gives us Luke 15:10, "Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."And do not miss the placement of the quotations just to tie it all in together (I challenge you to go back up and check out the quotations and locate the beginning of the quotation Luke 15:8 - Luke 15:10.

So what does the woman who lost and found a coin have to do with the sinner who repents? Nothing - - and everything!

In my experience, I looked high and low for my necklace and several pairs of earrings. After all, though I had many more in my jewelry box, I still searched for what was lost. That which was lost was precious to me.

In this parable in Luke 15, we read one sheep was lost. Ninety-nine were safe in the flock. What did the shepherd do? He went after the one. Yes, there were 99 but that one lost sheep was precious. So the search was on...

The father in the story (Luke 15:11) symbolized our eternal Father God in Heaven. What impressed me so very much is that in Luke 15:20 we read, "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." His father saw him from far away. So his father was waiting? Looking? Searching though he had another son? His son was precious to him and his son was lost. So the search was on...

We are lost apart from God. Jesus died apart from God (Hebrews 2:9). Yes, we know Jesus died for us "by the grace of God" as in Hebrews 2:9. See, Jesus died experiencing his suffering as a full human being - just like the rest of us, apart from any divine intervention or supernatural relief (cf. Hebrews 5:7, 12:2-3) so that we would not have to experience being lost apart from God.

Just about 12 years ago I realized just how lost I was apart from God. I had a 'hole in my heart' all my life. I searched but could not find anything to fill that hole in my heart. All the stuff and false religions I sought after did not plug up that hole. Only Jesus Christ filled the hole in my heart. I stopped searching. I was no longer lost. I rejoiced with the angels in Heaven. I was found (Romans 10:9-11)!

My life is precious to Him. Your life is precious to Him. Your life is more precious to Him than anything. Matthew 6:19 & 20 tell me what I need to know about eternal treasure : Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: Mat 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.

Quit searching for lost coins, jewelry or other. Yes, finding sentimental items is cause for celebration. But finding the Lord Jesus who has waited at the top of the hill all your life is worth more than anything we could hold precious this side of Heaven.

Run to Him.

He's been waiting for you to come home. He has been watching you from afar. Romans 10:9-11. He has the feast prepared.

What are you waiting for???
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