THE LOST AND LONELY

When was the last time that you felt truly lost or alone? Do you remember what that feels like? Maybe you feel that way right now. Maybe you’re not physically lost, but you feel like you’re lost in your life without any direction.

It happens to all of us at some point in time or another along our Christian walk; we lose sight of Jesus and we feel lost and alone and it is a horrible feeling. There is a feeling of helplessness that overwhelms us when this happens and we wonder what went wrong or how did we get so far away from God that we can’t seem to hear His voice anymore.

Now try to think back to before you knew Jesus and how you felt. Chances are that if you really think about it you can remember feeling utterly lost in life and completely alone; like you had no purpose in life. Or maybe you found your complete purpose in your job, or family, friends, or whatever else we turn to instead of God and still you felt empty.

This feeling of desperation and being lost is something that people go through every day all around us. There are possibly times in which they feel like things are coming together for them if only they can maintain what they are doing, but then…BAM…something happens again that puts them right back where they started if not even further back and the cycle starts over again.

Yesterday I posted a poem that I felt like God placed on my heart after finishing reading the book “Exposed: True Stories of Messy Survivals from Rolla, MO.” It is a book of seven stories from seven people who were saved by Jesus and how they came to know Him. It was written by people from Christian Life Center in Rolla, Missouri and it shows just how messy life really is and it reminded me how it feels to not know God.

It is a book of pain, desperation, fear, addiction, etc… But it is also a book of hope and life in Jesus Christ. It is a book of reality. It is a book about the people who Jesus gave His life for. He came to heal the sick and to help the lost find their way home. Jesus said that it is not the healthy who need a doctor, it is the sick (Mk. 2:17). Often times we tend to forget what being a Christian is really about, we forget that Jesus came to heal the sick.

After Jesus’ death and burial He arose and appeared to many people before He ascended into heaven and before He left He Commissioned all who would answer the call to follow Him when He said,

Matthew 28:18-20 (New Living Translation)

I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Being a Christian does not mean going to church on Sunday, or singing in the choir or on the praise team, it does not mean reading your Bible, it doesn’t even mean living a moral life. Although all of these things are a part of being a Christian they alone do not bring life. Being a Christian means doing the things that Jesus did and answering the call of the Great Commission. It means that we must not raise ourselves up above others and think that we are better than them. It does not mean that we must have everything together. It does not mean that we should preach to people about their sin, rather we should walk alongside them in their struggles in prayer and encouragement that God desires more for their life.

Being a Christian means that we must love God first and foremost. We must love Him more than anything else in our life. This takes time and faithfully following Him, but when we start with loving God above all else He changes our hearts for others. He helps us to see the hurting people all around us. He gives us compassion and love for our neighbors, people on the street, our friends, and our family.

If you call yourself a Christian you have been given a portion of the light of the world and it is your job to let it shine so that others can find their way. It is your job to listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in your heart to humbly follow Him wherever He would call you to go and to do whatever He would call you to do.

There are lost and lonely people all around you. There are people hurting and in despair in which you have influence. You have a responsibility to share the love of Jesus with them. Don’t worry about what you know or don’t know. People don’t really care what you know until they know that you care about them. So love on people and be in prayer for them especially when you are with them. And when you feel the Holy Spirit prompting you to share your story about how God redeemed you; about how God changed your life when you started following Him, then share it in love and listen to your friend. Listen to what they are saying and how they are feeling and trust in God to do the rest.

There is nothing that any of us are going to say in our own power that will convince someone that they need Jesus, only God can do that. All we can do is to come along side what God is already doing in that person’s life and share how God has changed our life and then when they give you permission and are ready to listen we can tell them all about Jesus and maybe even have a chance to lead them to the Lord. But, even if that chance to lead them to Christ never comes for you stand strong in knowing that God is leading them and desires for them to know Jesus even more than you do.

You cannot fail if you share your faith in love. The only way you can fail is by keeping silent. The only way you can fail is by not loving and by trying to convince someone by your vast understanding of the Bible. Just like you needed to be ready to hear the Word of God spoken in truth and love they must also be ready and until God brings that time to pass they will reject everything that you try to tell them. So relax and trust that God has everything in His hands and that He wants to use you and then pray, pray, pray, and when you sense that God wants you to act then act and understand that He is doing all the work, but He is allowing you to join in with what He is doing so that He can deepen His relationship with you and show more of Himself to you.

We have a glorious God who wants to bring people to Him. He wants to reveal the love that He has for His people and He has given us the opportunity to join in with Him to share that love. The choice is yours and the choice is mine to follow Jesus’ example and to love the people around us, even those who may seem hard to love. What will you chose to do?

Psalm 25 – God’s Steadfast Love

God is steadfast in his love for us and by his love we are saved, renewed, exalted, and used to build the Kingdom of God. Each of us has a part to play in reaching the lost. The more we give our life to God and follow Him the more we will become like him in everyway which will not only change our lives but the lives of those around us.

The Good American (Samaritan)

A couple was taking a trip to a nearby city to do some shopping when on their way out of town they came across an older gentleman along the side of the road with a duffle bag and his thumb in the air. The couple drove on past, but the wife asked her husband if he wanted to pick the gentleman up. A moment of decision was at hand, should they turn around and pick up this stranger and take a risk or should they just continue on driving as though there had never been anyone there. They turned around, still with some fear and anxiety about the person that they were about to pick up, but they decided to trust in God for their protection. They turned around again, this time in sight of the man and headed back towards him to pick him up. This time the decision was the man’s. Would he trust total strangers enough to get into the vehicle and accept a ride knowing that he would be at their mercy? He knew that he needed a ride as the hill that he had only made it a quarter of the way up had already been about all that his old bones could bear. He had already spent two nights sleeping under a bridge in the cold to stay out of the rain and desperately needed to make it to his friend’s house who had agreed to take him in and get him off of the street. Could he really chance passing up a ride, how much longer could he continue? He decided to trust in God for his protection and to get into the vehicle.

Photo taken by Pedro Robeiro Simoes.  Some rights reserved.
Photo taken by Pedro Robeiro Simoes. Some rights reserved by owner.

It was time to meet. The gentleman, who was 64 years old, opened the door with a smile and graciously thanked them for the ride as he placed his bag into the vehicle. The couple knew immediately that they had made the right choice. They could sense that the Lord was with them and that the Lord was with the man. As they drove down the road they were blessed by each other in learning about each other’s lives and their walk with the Lord. The homeless gentleman would learn that they were pregnant and would be the first person to know the name of their child. The couple would learn about the difficulties in life that the gentleman had faced and the decisions that he made which landed him in jail where he would come to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and that would ultimately leave him homeless for the last eight years of his life. They continued on and would eventually share a meal together and would end up well past their original destination to take this gentleman as far as he would accept a ride from them, but the impact would be lasting. They would reflect upon what Jesus had done for them to guide them down this path, all the while keeping them safe on their journey. All because they decided to trust and to obey.

This story makes me think about the Good Samaritan and about how many people had passed by the man as he lay their half dead and naked on the road, just like the countless number of people that had passed by this homeless man. Here is the parable of the Good Samaritan as told by Jesus.

Luke 10:25-37

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where this man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

The Good Samaritan by Aimé Morot (1880)
The Good Samaritan by Aimé Morot (1880)
“But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “and who is my neighbor?” (10:28). It is difficult to love people, it is difficult to accept that we are to love all people not just the ones that are closest to us or that we care about the most or even just the ones that are easiest to love. I cannot even begin to count how many times I have been like the expert of the law who asked Jesus who was considered to be his neighbor. I know that I fail at this so often, but I want to do better. Just today I failed miserably at this and had to repent and ask God to show me how to love someone whom I have no understanding of how to love. I had to ask God to soften my heart for this person and to show me who they really are, to show me their hurts, their desires, to show me what He sees not just what I see. You see I have a bad habit of judging people and trying to justify myself, just as the teacher of the law was trying to do, but Jesus is clear in His teaching. We are to love, even when it is difficult, even when it costs, even when the other person could never repay us because our reward will be waiting for us in heaven. So where is your love?

Father you are so gracious and mighty. Your ways are above my ways oh Lord. Let your Kingdom come down to this earth just as it is in Heaven. Forgive me for all of the times that I have failed you. Forgive me for my hard heart and the hurt that I have caused others. Forgive me for being judgmental and not loving those whom you have told me to love. Father protect me from the schemes of the enemy who is out to destroy me and to make me ineffective with those around me. Protect those around me and allow them to feel safe in my presence so that I can show them who you really are and what you are able to do. Lord you have restored my life, you are still restoring my life and I want to pass that on to others. I want to show them what it looks like to be made whole by the maker of the Heavens and the Earth, by the creator of man and woman, who desires to see all of us made whole. All we have to do is accept you God, to trust you, and to obey you. Keep me from growing weary in doing your work Lord. Help me to be an effective member of your body. I thank you for your love and kindness and mercy. I thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ, and it is in his name I pray. Amen.

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