Rejoicing in heaven!

Scripture reading for July 18th: Luke 15, Psalm 142, Proverbs 18

Luke 15: 1-7 “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear Him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.””

The proud religious leaders of Jesus’ day were always judging Him and in need of correction. Jesus patiently and kindly taught them in parables. The stories He told would help unlock the Truth of Scripture in a gentle manner, enabling repentance leading to eternal life. This parable of the ‘lost sheep’ was meant to instruct the judgmental Pharisees about God’s heart for the lost and hurting. What truly brings joy in heaven is God’s joy and heaven’s rejoicing over the lost finding salvation and restoration to the family of the Father. God sends true ‘shepherds’ out into the world to seek lost sheep and love them back into the family. This requires prayer and humility and a teachable heart.

Psalm 142:5-7 “I cry to You, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my Portion in the land of the living.” Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me! Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to Your name! For the righteous will surround me, for You will deal bountifully with me.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for bringing me out of my own prison of pride and lust for the things of this world. Thank You for sending true ‘shepherd’s to me who did not judge me, but kindly shared the Good News of Jesus’ love and sacrifice on the cross. You have dealt bountifully with me! Open doors for me to share Your message of grace by sending me to the lost and hurting, bringing rejoicing in heaven.

Proverbs 18:23 “Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.”

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