What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountain and go in search of the one that went astray?

Matthew 18: 12

 

As He tells this story, Jesus is sharing the Father’s heart and His own. For in the greater sense of things Jesus was doing this very thing. He was on a dangerous journey that was going to bring back many of the lost among God’s sheep. His days upon earth were focused on sharing in actions and by His words of truth God’s redemptive desire and plan for creation. Then, that plan was fully launched as Jesus gave Himself as the sacrifice that would pay all of our sin-debt, and this was followed by the glorious victory over death by which God demonstrated His sovereignty over every force and power that was present in this world and beyond it.

 

In all of this, Christ has demonstrated His authority and power to accomplish what God desires by way of rescue of the lost and restoration of these wandering sheep to the eternal fold of His kingdom. So, the answer to all of the needs that my soul has is Jesus, and the same is true for every other person on the earth. Each of us is born with a heart that is lost in its wandering and is in need of finding its way home. All people have a desire to know God; yet, most of us have no real idea about who that god is or where to find him. Thus, we travel the treacherous paths of this world until we recognize our Savior in the presence of the great soul-seeker, Christ.

 

We may be one short step away from the precipice or our minds might be shrouded in the shadows of a deep valley when the voice of redemption penetrates our hearing. That day may seem to be bright and full of promise; yet, the heart is needy and starved for love as we encounter the One whose love gives all to enter into relationship with us. There is no place that is too remote for Christ to discover His people, and there are no circumstances too desperate or despicable for Christ to enter in and to provide forgiveness and restoration. He brings home everyone who accepts Him, and He does this over and over again throughout all the hours of each day. In the entire universe Christ is the singular relentless seeker after the lost, as I have answered His call to me, I pray that my life would reflect this same unceasing desire to bring others home to God’s redemptive kingdom.

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The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,

my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,

my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 18: 2

 

In my town this is truly the season of delivery. There are official vehicles of many different colors and sizes zipping about the streets as they bring the goods that we have purchased and the items that others have sent to our homes. In many ways, these vehicles and their drivers are a modern, generally more fit but less colorful version of Santa and his famous Caribou. Although these deliveries are usually enjoyable and may bring something of real worth into our lives, they are not even close to the reason for all of the attention that is focused on these late December days. In this far end of the year with its extremes of darkness in the north and the exact opposite in the south we recognize, remember, and worship the One who God sent to bring about the deliverance of all of creation.

 

Christ came into our world in order to bring the miracle of relationship with God to me. That is a powerful truth to grasp and to consider. The One who resided in the perfection of heaven with nothing but worship surrounding Him, deliberately left all of that behind and came into this world in the form of humanity with our frail and vulnerable composition. He did this so that everyone who would surrender self in order to believe could be saved, delivered from, the certain death that our chosen sinfulness had decreed for all of us. This is the true miracle of this season. This is my reason for celebration and for the joy that permeates my heart and that overcomes everything else that comes my way in the course of life.

 

I may know doubt or fear with sadness and grief coming my way in real life measure, but this land of shadows is no longer my home. My heart and my mind live in a stout fortress of faith that is grounded in God’s Word and that is walled in by His Spirit. That doesn’t mean that I have it all together so that there are never times of wandering or periods of doubt. What it does mean is that the Lord is with me in those periods when the stresses and the concerns of this life seem to shadow Christ’s radiance from my eyes. He breaks through to my soul with the angelic music of truth so that these familiar tunes begin to lift my darkened spirit. I know that I can turn to Christ in every situation that I might encounter, and He will shelter my frailty from the destruction that I fear. In this season, all of my being celebrates that precious and glorious delivery of my redeemer. In Him I find my strength!