We were made to win. Nobody wants to lose. Consider joining the winning Team!
Our reading comes from the Book of Psalms 34: 1-22
"The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!"
Matthew 21:9 NASB1995
God never loses.
He sends His problem-solver, Jesus, His Son, to the world. He was born in Bethlehem—the Savior of the whole world.
Without Jesus, We lose-
We lose our way.
We lose our team.
We lose our focus.
We lose our hope.
Losing Our Way
Life's journey can often lead us astray. Amidst the hustle and bustle, as we immerse ourselves in our studies and pursuits, we may find ourselves losing sight of the path we tread. In our busy lives, it's easy to become consumed with our own concerns, forgetting to notice the movement around us. But in the eyes of God, every individual holds immeasurable value. None should be forsaken; all are worthy of redemption. God's desire is for the salvation of every soul, longing for each person to find their way back home.
The parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) exemplifies this truth. Here, a son's impulsive desire for his inheritance before his father's passing symbolizes the foolish ambitions that can lead us astray. Yet, amidst the son's recklessness, we witness the father's overwhelming grace, overshadowing his son's shortcomings. It's the memory of the father's goodness that ultimately prompts the prodigal son to repentance (Romans 2:4), showcasing the transformative power of divine mercy.
When the younger son requests his share of the estate, it's not just a matter of property division, but a reflection of his misguided priorities. Despite the hurt implicit in this request, the Father grants it without rebuke, symbolizing God's permissive will (Deuteronomy 30:19), allowing us the freedom to make our own choices. However, this freedom comes with consequences, as depicted by the younger son's journey into discontent and eventual realization of life's true treasures.
Much like the prodigal son, we all harbor the foolish desire for independence, a root cause of sin's persistence (Genesis 3:6; Romans 1:28). Sin separates us from God, leading us into a state of constant dissatisfaction and longing. Jesus warns against the dangers of greed, emphasizing that true life is not found in material abundance (Luke 12:15). The prodigal son's journey serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the emptiness of covetousness and the invaluable nature of intangible blessings.
Indeed, without Jesus, many find themselves adrift, lost in the tumult of worldly desires. But through His grace, we're offered a path of redemption and restoration. As we navigate life's complexities, let us remember the profound truth that all people matter to God. May we, like the loving father in the parable, extend grace and compassion to those who have lost their way, guiding them toward the eternal home found in the embrace of our Heavenly Father.
People lose their way without Jesus.
Losing Our Team
In life's journey, we not only lose our way but also our sense of belonging and our team. Without Jesus, we are vulnerable, like sheep without a shepherd, wandering and exposed to potential destruction. Just as sheep require the guidance and protection of their shepherd, we too need the support and companionship of one another.
Isaiah 53:6 reminds us of our tendency to stray, each pursuing our desires, but it's through the sacrifice of Jesus that our sins are borne, offering us redemption and reconciliation.
Isaiah 53:6 NASB. - "All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way, But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him".
Consider the analogy of sheep in a barn, obediently following the actions of their fellow flock members, even if it leads to harm. It's a stark reminder of our own propensity to blindly conform, emphasizing the importance of wise leadership and community.
One farmer said that if you have a bunch of sheep in a barn, stretch a rope across the door before you let them out.
The first few will jump over the rope when the sheep come out of the barn. If you cut the rope, the remaining sheep will still jump over the "invisible rope" because it's what the rest of the flock did.
That is pretty stupid. But, oh my goodness, I can see why God compares us to sheep.
David, the shepherd-king of Israel, exemplified the role of protector and guardian, just as Jesus does for us. As Jesus entered Jerusalem, he was hailed as the son of David, the long-awaited Messiah, greeted with shouts of "Hosanna," an exclamation of praise and supplication for salvation.
Hosanna, derived from Hebrew, signifies a cry for deliverance and prosperity, acknowledging Jesus as the source of salvation and blessing.
As believers in Christ, we are part of a team, with Jesus as our cornerstone, uniting us through his grace and favor. Just as draft horses exhibit exponential strength when harnessed together, so too do we, as members of the body of Christ, achieve more collectively than individually.
The power of teamwork is exemplified in the draft horses' ability to pull loads far beyond their individual capacity when working in tandem. Through collaboration and mutual support, we magnify our effectiveness and reach greater heights of success.
A single draft horse can pull a load of up to 8,000 pounds. So, we would expect that two draft horses linked together should be able to pull 16,000 pounds.
But here's the surprise!
Two draft horses can pull three times as much - 24,000 pounds!
But there's more - If the two horses have trained with one another and have worked together before, they can pull 32,000 pounds – double what two individual horses can pull.
That's the value of teamwork!
Teamwork is the long word for Success."
In essence, teamwork is the foundation of triumph, epitomizing the collective strength and synergy of unified efforts. As we journey together in Christ, let us cherish the camaraderie and support of our fellow believers, recognizing that our shared endeavors are enriched by the power of teamwork.
Losing Our Focus and Hope
In life's journey, one of our most precious assets is our focus. Yet, without Jesus, it's all too easy to lose sight of what truly matters. We often find ourselves fixating on past hurts, allowing them to cloud our judgment and influence our decisions for the future. It's natural to dwell on the pain of the past, but dwelling on it can lead us astray.
Just as the automatic focus setting on a camera ensures clarity, the presence of Jesus in our lives helps us maintain our spiritual focus. The Psalms remind us that the Lord is near to the brokenhearted, offering salvation to those crushed in spirit. Despite the afflictions that may beset the righteous, the Lord delivers them from all. (Psalms 34:18-19).
However, without Jesus, we risk losing not only our focus but also our hope. Hope is the anchor that sustains us in times of despair, allowing us to persevere when all seems lost. As G.K. Chesterton aptly said, true hope shines brightest in the darkest of times. It's easy to have hope when all is well, but it's in moments of hopelessness that our faith is truly tested and strengthened.
Even great saints like Paul and Barnabas faced moments of doubt and disagreement. Their struggles serve as a source of comfort and inspiration, reminding us that even the most faithful are not immune to hardship.
"No one has ever fallen so grievously that he may not rise again. Conversely, no one stands so firmly that he may not fall. If Peter (and Paul and Barnabas) fell, I too may fall. If they rose again, I too may rise again." Martin Luther.
A man approached a little league baseball game one afternoon. He asked a boy in the dugout what the score was. The boy responded, "Eighteen to nothing--we're behind." "Boy," said the spectator, "I'll bet you're discouraged." "Why should I be discouraged?" replied the little boy. "We haven't even gotten up to bat yet!"
In moments of doubt and despair, it's crucial to hold fast to the promises of God. As Warren W. Wiersbe wisely stated, never doubt in the darkness what God has revealed in the light. The road may be fraught with challenges, but each obstacle serves as an opportunity for growth and spiritual advancement.
When the journey seems arduous and the path uncertain, let us cling to our faith in Jesus, knowing that with Him, all things are possible. May we never lose sight of our focus and hope, for they are the guiding beacons that lead us through the darkest nights into the light of His eternal grace.
He is Coming Back for Us
In Matthew 24:37, Jesus draws a parallel between His second coming and the days of Noah, highlighting the pervasive wickedness and obliviousness that will characterize the world before His return. Just as in Noah's time, people will be preoccupied with their daily lives, unaware of the impending judgment.
The exact timing of Jesus' return remains a mystery, known only to the Father. The element of surprise underscores the urgency of preparedness, emphasizing the need for vigilance and spiritual readiness.
Reflecting on the days of Noah, we glimpse the gravity of the situation. God, seeing the rampant wickedness of humanity, instructs Noah to build an ark as a means of salvation amidst the impending flood of divine judgment.
Noah's obedience amidst the scoffing and disbelief of those around him serves as a poignant reminder of the necessity of faithfulness and obedience in the face of adversity. Despite the world's skepticism, Noah remained steadfast, trusting in God's promise of deliverance.
Similarly, as we await the return of Jesus, we are called to remain faithful and vigilant, steadfast in our commitment to Him. The world may mock and deride, but like Noah, we are called to stand firm in our faith, knowing that our salvation draws near.
As we contemplate the days of Noah, let us heed the warning and admonition of Jesus. Let us not be caught off guard, but rather, let us live each day in anticipation of His return, striving to walk in obedience and faithfulness, just as Noah did so long ago.
For just as in the days of Noah, when the flood came unexpectedly, so too will the return of the Son of Man catch the world unawares. May we be found ready and waiting, eagerly anticipating the glorious return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.