Updated: Feb 22
("God's Unfolding Message" Series 1, Post 13)
*This is the continuation of an unfolding message. Please go back if you haven’t already and read past blogs or watch the videos in “God’s Unfolding Message“ for God builds upon His message.
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
God wanted me to share two stories from last year:
A few weeks ago, I went on a search to find new shoes. After leaving my third store I noticed that I was missing an earring. Although this pair of earrings wasn’t expensive, I loved them. I had had a hard time finding just the right pair of earrings when I found these. As I drove back to the first store I had been to, mainly because I had decided on a pair of shoes they carried, I found myself also hoping that my earring would be there, that I would find it on the floor or in the parking lot. While driving there, I heard, “Susan, everything lost can be found.”
I really started to ponder this statement, for more than give me hope that I would find my lost earring, I knew God was speaking to my heart about something greater. God was highlighting some sin in my heart. I had been struggling with judging others, judging their callings and even if some people being processed Christians, actually were. But with this one statement, God brought clarity and restoration to my mind. He reminded me of His sovereignty and of His great mercy. Everything lost can be found. Who am I to truly judge the journey that God has someone on? God qualifies the called, even if they don’t appear worthy at the initial calling. And for those that may not be strong Christians, or Christians at all, God is not done with them. Everything lost can be found. No one is too far gone. No one is too inadequate. No one is too wayward that God cannot bring them back, even me. For, I didn’t find my earring at that store, but I did find it. It was at home right where I left it. That morning I had tried on two different earrings to see which ones I would wear for the day and after choosing this particular pair, I forgot to actually put in the other earring. So, you see, the issue was with me. The earring wasn’t the thing that was lost, I was the one with the wrong thinking. Everything lost can be found. With this one statement God softened my heart and I have begun to see other people and their circumstances quite differently. It has been very freeing and I thank God for bringing me this freedom, for realigning my mind with Him.
Everything lost can be found.
I finally stopped to focus in on something that had been catching the corner of my eye. Recently I have been noticing that hanging on the side of a house on my same street that I drive by every day hangs a sign that looks like one that used to hang at my dad’s ranch. My dad used to own a ranch in a small town about an hour away from our hometown. My dad sold this ranch many years ago but because the man who bought it had the same initials as my dad, he wanted the ranch signs as well.
Anyway, I finally stopped and focused on this oval metal sign hanging from this house that literally sits between my house and the house I grew up in, the one my dad built, which is just down the street. Sure enough, it was one of my dad’s ranch signs from long ago. I couldn’t believe it and so I got out of my car, walked closer, and took a picture. Being an introvert, I showed this picture to my brother who often walks around this neighborhood, knowing that he would be better equipped to knock on the door of this house and inquire about the sign. Several weeks later, my brother did get a chance to talk to this man as he was out doing yardwork. The man said that he had acquired this sign at a salvage yard in yet another small city that wasn’t even the city where my dad’s ranch had been. A few days later this man left the sign on my mother’s driveway as a gift. It now adorns my mother’s backyard.
Several things amaze me about this story. First, it intrigues me that someone would want to display a sign as decoration on their house that has a different name than their own, for the sign says my dad’s last name or my maiden name. Second, this man bought this sign in a completely different city which means anyone could’ve bought this sign from any small town around that area. Also, my city is also rather big, which means this man could have lived on the other side of town or even in another neighborhood adjacent to mine. But no, not only did he live in my city, but he lives in my neighborhood, on my street, almost exactly between my house and the house I grew up in that my father built. You can’t make this stuff up. But, the best part of all of this, is what God brought to my mind, a lesson He began earlier in the year: Everything lost can be found.
We now have a sign that my dad had made years ago that I didn’t even know I wanted. For when my dad’s ranch was sold, I didn’t really care. It was a short-lived endeavor and I didn’t really care about the signs or the fact that they were being sold with the ranch, but now that my dad is gone, what joy it is to look at that sign in order to remember my father but even more so, to remember God’s purpose in these events, to point out that everything lost can be found, and that everything forgotten can be made new or repurposed.
Finally, I know it isn’t by accident that this man gave my mom this sign almost on the exact anniversary of my dad’s passing. In my heart I know it is God’s way of showing us that my dad lives on. Although I don’t think about my dad as much as I used to, having been gone for eight years, he is alive and well and ever present with the Lord.
Back to present day. Last Tuesday (3-29-22) after I wrote my message and recorded my video, once again I had to drive my mother to one of her appointments, this time a hair appointment. As she was walking out to my car, I was taken aback as I saw her carrying that silly small broken table towards my car and started to put it in the backseat. I wondered what was going on. Years ago, my brother had moved back to town from New York City, bringing with him a lot of furniture that had adorned his apartment there, including this little table. It was a small end table with wooden legs and a glass top that had broken during the move. But for some reason, now I know for God’s reason, my brother just wouldn’t throw this rugged old table away. In fact, he tried to get my aunt, my husband, and myself, all being artistic people, to make something new out of this broken table, mostly out of the broken glass pieces. None of us were ever interested. I then tried several times to sell this “art project” in several garage sales but no one ever bought it, and so year after year it just sat in my mother’s garage collecting dust.
So now you can understand my shock. Why was my mother putting this thing into my car, this silly old table, especially taking it to her hair appointment? Well, as she told me, she had been inspired to fix this little table, already having found someone to repair the legs. And then, after her hair appointment, my aunt was going to take her to a glass company so that a new glass top could be put on it, all for my brother’s birthday, which is the first day of Spring I might add. Oh, the symbolism – New Life within a New Spring!!
I used to play softball when I was younger and this glass company my mother was going to use was started by my coach. So, on the way to my mom’s hair appointment, knowing that she could run into someone from this family at the glass company that we haven’t seen in at least 30 years, she asked me what his daughter’s name was, a girl my age who had also been on this softball team. Believe it or not but I have a bad memory and so even I was amazed when I was eventually able to muster up her name. As we pulled up to my mom’s salon, a lady walked past our car and into the salon and I instantly looked at my mom and said, “That lady looks familiar. I know I know that woman somehow.” I later got a text message from my mom, telling me that she had had an encounter with this woman only to find out that this was my coach’s wife and my teammate’s mother. A few hours after that, my mom sent me another text message, this time a picture of her with my coach’s daughter who now ran the glass business. Wow! I knew God was in this somehow!
So, later in the day after this series of events wouldn’t leave my mind, God spoke:
Susan, it’s time to make all things new, to revive old and broken things. To bring new life to things long forgotten and stored away, to things people held onto in hope.
Your brother always tried to revive that table, always trying to find a way to make it into something new and now I am. I make all things new, even the old. Even the old and broken. There is nothing that I cannot bring back to life. How much more do I care about My people.
Susan, it’s time to make old things new. I will make My people new. They will be revived. They will be restored. They will be fully filled with My Spirit. Hear My words My people for I am the God of newness. I will make you new! You will shine like the noonday sun and the world will take notice. Believe I can do all things.
At church before service, I heard:
Write these words down Susan:
Behold the Lamb stands ready, eager. He longs for His Bride. He longs for her to arise, to Arise and Shine. You are the Light My people, the light Christ desires to return to. He deserves this light. The King of kings deserves this light. Arise. Arise and Shine. Shine for the Resurrected One. Shine bright for your Savior, for your Ultimate Love. He longs for your light. He deserves your light. This world NEEDS this light, for Your light is His light. Your shining is He shining. Shine Christ’s light for this world to see. You do this by experiencing Me fully through My Spirit being poured freshly upon you. Take Him in. Breathe deep. Let Him open you up to Me anew. See Me My people. See Me fully. You have strayed and no longer see My face clearly but a new, renewed, day is upon you when you WILL see Me anew. Oh, glorious day. Oh, glorious day. Breathe in My Spirit My people. None of this will be possible without Him, for He is Me. His power is Mine. My very Presence within you. What can this world do to you if I am for you? If I live within you? Well, I do! I live within you. Think about this. I LIVE WITHIN YOU! Whom shall you fear? No one and nothing! Fear nothing My people for I am YAHWEH. I AM the Lord and My very Presence is within My people. Rise up! It is time for this head knowledge to become heart knowledge. It is time to live as though what you believe is true. No more half-lives. No more half knowledge. It is time to know all of Me, to experience ALL, and to fully live as though the very Presence of God lives within you. Arise! Arise and shine My Stars. This world needs My Light.
EVERYTHING OLD CAN BE MADE NEW. Remember this. Nothing is too lost or too far gone. Stop hating, My people. Stop hating those I created. And stop judging them for their judgment belongs to Me. I created every living being. Who are you to write them out of My ever-unfolding story? They are not the enemy. Satan is the enemy and those he has deceived need your light, Christ’s light, not your condemnation. Whoa to you who judge outside your place. Are you judge? Will they someday stand before you? NO. A resounding no. Whoa to you. Whoa to you who place yourself as judge. My salvation was given to all. My Son came to seek and save the lost, the sick, the oppressed, the downtrodden. Instead of judge rise up and shine - Shine for the True Judge, the Righteous Living One. It is His job to sort, to divide My creation into sheep and goats, NOT you. This burden was never meant to fall upon you. Remember the Apostle Paul. What a foe he was to Me and My chosen. There was no one more far gone or lost at the time then he, but I REDEEMED him. I revealed Myself to him, through a bright light. This light was so bright it blinded him. YOU My people are NOW this light, this blinding, transforming light. This light that will shine through you is this same light, the Light of Christ and My people, it is the only thing capable of bringing true change, true lasting salvation and transformation. So, stop judging and start shining. Get out of your own head, breathe in My Spirit, My very Presence and be transformed as Paul was by the Light of Jesus Christ. As you do true change will come. A revival that will take place unlike any this world has ever seen. There will arise a Light through My unified Stars, My Wonderful Web of Wonder that will bring life to this world. The darkness will have no place to hide.
At this point, I tuned into the worship song that was being sung and heard, “Jesus, Jesus, you make the darkness tremble . . . You brought me out of darkness.”
Everything lost can be found. EVERYTHING lost can be found. Everything, My people, everything. If you choose not to believe this you not only deny the testimony of Paul and many others within My Word but you change Me. You have redefined the Creator, the Giver of Life. Be ashamed, but then pick yourself up within My redemption and let’s go again into My newness. You have been washed clean by My blood. The Blood of the Lamb is what allows you to rise and shine. RISE and SHINE. RISE and SHINE. Arise and SHINE My people. A new day has come. Breathe it in. Breathe in My Spirit. Breathe Him in anew. Unleash Him through belief. Believe and take possession of your inheritance. There is no more precious gift to be given - ME WITHIN YOU. Don’t take Me for granted for I long to write. My story isn’t over. Let Me continue a glorious, BRIGHT, story through you My child - My Word made flesh. This is what will unleash My Son upon this earth once again, like never before. My sons and daughters arise - ARISE- ARISE - ARISE- ARISE and shine Christ’s Light for this world to see. Amen and Amen! Believe!
After this they instantly started to show a video about Jesus and Zacchaeus and I started to cry. I knew strongly in my spirit that God was confirming His Word. How easily we forget Jesus’ true purpose - to seek and save the lost. For this story within Luke chapter 19 is where we find this verse that God just brought forth, that the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).
God always speaks to me before church and during the worship time, before I know what the sermon topic will be for the day. But God always knows and always sets the stage. For the title of the sermon was “A Seeking Savior” and revolved around Luke 19:1-10.
My pastor pointed out that Jesus called Zacchaeus by name. He didn’t refer to him as a “Tax Collector” or “Sinner.” What came to my mind is that we could insert any name in place of “Zacchaeus,” a politician you don’t like, a coworker from a different political party, you name it. Jesus came to seek and save even them!
My pastor then pointed out that Jesus wants to be seen. There was such a crowd pressing in upon Jesus that Zacchaeus had to climb a tree. My pastor asked, “Are you making it easy for people to see Jesus or are you like the crowd?” Are we blocking people from seeing Jesus?
Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
2 Corinthians 3:2-3 says, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”
My pastor then brought up the point that Jesus seeks relationship, that He values the one.
Revelation 3:20 says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
So, when I went back today to find my story from last year about my lost earring and God’s message that “Everything lost can be found,” my eyes briefly fell on the next story but I dismissed it because I thought it irrelevant for the moment but then as I just now wrote down Revelation 3:20 my spirit perked up and I remembered what had come next. Here were my next journal entries:
While getting ready in the bathroom, I heard 3 knocks at the door. I went over to the door expecting to see my husband or daughter, but they were both downstairs. I then heard, “Susan I stand at the door and knock. Your belief will open the door. I am waiting for you to believe.”
“Lord, what do I need to do? What does belief look like?” Questions I asked the Lord before getting ready to go to my old church for my niece’s baptism.
“Live with confidence Susan . . . Be confident. Live with confidence, My beloved. You are Mine Susan and I will not fail you. All of My plans for you will come to pass. I am calling you to believe this with great confidence. Shine Susan. Shine My light. I desire to shine through you for the world to see. Live in confident expectation because I can be trusted. I will walk you into your future which is bright and lovely. You are Mine, now and always. Get a glimpse of where you came from Susan. You will never be there again because I will take you toward great heights. There you will shine for the world to see. The entire world. You are My beloved and I am yours. Make this truth your reality, your constant reality. I love you, Susan. Be blessed. And be a blessing in return.”
What God then brought to my mind were the events of the night before that once again I thought were irrelevant but I see now that they had purpose. God is always writing, always setting the stage and we need to remember that nothing happens by accident. Anyway, I had attended a birthday party the night before and I particularly wanted to go because I don’t often get a chance to hang out with church friends outside of church and I wanted a chance for them to see me as a “regular Joe.” I have started to fear that this group only sees me as “holier than thou” and I wanted them to know that I am just a regular girl who desires friendship. It isn’t that they don’t appreciate my stories or wisdom but I started to wonder if I also came across as unapproachable.
I see now that this was the heart of God for as Jesus knew, a meal was a place of connectivity. Jesus spent a lot of time around the table, even drinking wine. Because of this, people were drawn to Him. They knew He loved them and cared for them and they never saw Him as “holier than thou” or unapproachable.
Jesus never wrote off anyone. Instead, He always sought the one, that one lost person that needed Him. We can clearly see the Father’s heart through the story of Zacchaeus but also in the parables in Luke 15 which includes the parable of the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son. How valuable one is to God. Sadly, at this same party I listened to two men “write off” many people, saying name after name of people that they disagreed with politically, people that they thought were too far gone. I have to admit that it was hard not to agree with them all the while as I remembered the lesson God taught me back when I sat in Paris cafes teaching English to non-Christian Arab men after 9/11 – “That they are not the enemy, Satan is the enemy. Satan has simply deceived many of them and they know not what they do.” I have found myself having to remember this truth a lot lately as I listen to the radio and to the events of the day. Oh, how Satan just loves the hate he is causing within God’s people right now. It is a disease. He does this because He knows that it keeps us from shining Christ’s Light. He knows that Jesus came to seek and save the lost, not to condemn them.
My pastor finished by saying that Zacchaeus was called a “Chief Tax Collector,” which as my pastor pointed out essentially made him like a “Mob Boss.” It was probably easy for the pharisees back then to think, “I’m not a mob boss. I am better than him.”
After this thought we had communion and my pastor pointed out that we sat at yet another table. As we came back from getting our juice and bread, my in-laws accidently went too far leaving a gap between us and so I decided to shift over one seat to sit next to my mother-in-law. After a little giggle from all of us, my eyes focused in on my view. The way that the heads of the people in the rows in front of me were arranged, gave me within my new seat a picture perfect, almost framed, view of the sign at the front of the sanctuary. It is big letters that spell “LOVE” and the “O” is a crown of thorns. I knew God was speaking to me and what strongly came to my mind was: We need a shift, a shift back to love. We need a renewed perspective or simply a reminder that our Savior is LOVE, that He came to seek and save the lost.
Forgive me Lord, for I have written people off. I have judged and I have hated. Redeem me and help me through the power of Your Holy Spirit to truly love, to truly be able to Shine the Light of Jesus Christ for this world to see. Thank You!