Stuck in my Hometown

HGTV is my favorite channel on TV, and I love to watch Hometown. The show is centered around a couple who for the love of their little town, Laurel MS, have made it their mission to fix it up one home at a time.  I love to imagine what the little old houses will end up looking like; and, I am always amazed at the transformation.  This power couple definitely has skills!  The show reminds me of a great passage in Isaiah regarding the “Master” Craftsman.

Is. 41:6-10 says–

“Everyone helps his neighbor and says to his brother, “Be strong!”  The craftsman strengthens the goldsmith, and he who smooths with the hammer him who strikes the anvil, saying of the soldering, “It is good”; and they strengthen it with nails so that it cannot be moved.  But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

–“Everyone helps his neighbor and says to his brother, “Be strong!”

I don’t know about you, but in times like these we need to think about what we can do to improve the welfare of others.  We need to step up as Christian brothers and sisters and lend a helping hand, or encourage, or pray for the needs of those around us.  Maybe, we can improve the lives of others in the same way that Erin and Ben have improved the homes where they live.  For example, you could deliver groceries on a door step, or let someone know you care by cleaning or fixing things for them.  By finding ways to share God’s love, our community can become the beautiful transformation God had in mind.

–“You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”

If you watch the show, you will see how important it is for Ben, the carpenter, to re-use old wood from houses to make something new out of it— “a piece of history.”  In the same way God will never “cast us aside,” and if we accept Jesus as the Lord of our life, he takes what is falling apart, and makes it lasting and brand new.

–“Fear not, for I am with you”

On Hometown the hosts walk through the houses before and after the renovation.  I love how the producer shows the before and after pictures of each room at the end of the show—what an improvement!  Before, during, and after the storms of life, whatever they may be, we need not be anxious.  Never fear, the God of the impossible is here!  We do have reason to feel unsettled when trouble comes on a global scale.  However, Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”  I promise, God is going through it with you, and will see you through to the other side of it—and only he knows the outcome. Continue Reading →

Stay The Course In 2018

I don’t know about you, but as each day passes in this new year, I’ve been wanting to slow it down already.  I feel like I should have accomplished more than I have, but where does the time go?   Maybe, like me, you thought you would have your calendar all planned out already, and it’s still empty.  Or, you may have projects that you were planning on starting on day one of January, and they are still looming over you.  Statistics say that 80% of people who make New Year’s resolutions don’t even follow through with them.  It’s easy to feel disheartened with all the stress we put on ourselves to be more and do more.

So, how do we start the year off right, and stay true to our resolutions?  Here are three sure ways to help us become more productive and keep our resolve.

Stay Plugged In.

If we want to get more done in the coming year and feel more productive, we should start by plugging in to God’s word.  Otherwise, we may just be spinning our wheels.  God looks at our year in focus,  from a different perspective.  While we tend to work on our “to-do” list first, His primary focus is on our “to-be” list. 

Staying in God’s word matures us so that we are true to our commitments, and genuine in our pursuits.  In 2 Pet. 1:5-8 it says, “5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love 8For if you possess these qualities and continue to grow in them, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.…”.  The word for knowledge comes from the Greek word gnosis meaning “known by experience or gained by a direct relationship.” [Strong’s].  So, as we grow in our knowledge of Him, and seek to do God’s will;  His guidance will encompass every aspect of our life in 2018 and beyond.

Stay Devoted.

Along with commitment to God’s word, comes devotion in the year ahead.  Yes, I think the time is right for us to become more devout as believers.  Let’s look at Titus’ exhortation to us in Titus 3:14, “And our people must also learn to devote themselves to good works in order to meet the pressing needs of others, so that they will not be unfruitful.…”.  In other words, the key to living more productive lives, is by touching others with the gospel and providing care and love to those in need.

Before we move on, let’s examine the word “unfruitful” in this passage.  It refers to any works accomplished outside of our decisions based on faith.  In James 2:17, putting our faith into action is the driving principle, “So too, faith by itself, if it is not complemented by action, is dead.”  Therefore, a fruitful year of harvest is based on our will to be obedient in the days ahead.

Now I know you all will have some pretty lofty goals in the new year.  For example, writing a book, running a marathon, or possibly spending 10% of your income on coffee beverages throughout the year–ugh! (not doing too well on that one).  Our resolve should be to make S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Real, and Timely) goals for sure; but more importantly, we should have goals that reflect our true devotion to God in being salt and light in the coming year.

Stay With It.

Now we’ve established we’re going to make some meaningful New Year’s resolutions; next, comes the tricky part.   We would all like to see our fruitful goals come to fruition, right?  So, first try tackling each one day by day in bite-sized bits.  For example, I try to write for at least 15 minutes a day, as a songwriter.  My goal this year is to write a short Bible study book.  So far, by writing each day since the holidays, I’ve written through chapter two, already.  So, it really does work!  Besides, with distractions and household responsibilities, for me it makes more sense.

Mtt. 7:19 states, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”  I have goals for myself, and I’ve accomplished them in the past with songs that I’ve written, but if I keep them to myself, then it’s as if I am throwing them into the fire.  So, I have to be willing to put myself out there; no matter how vulnerable it seems.   It would definitely be worth it, if one more person accepted Jesus or was encouraged in their faith  as a result.

What about you?  Are you ready to make 2018 your year to shine?  Let’s be a part of bringing God glory, as He leads us into more attainable goals for the new year.

“And He addressed them thus: “The harvest is abundant, but the reapers are few: therefore entreat the Owner of the harvest to send out more reapers into His fields. And now go.”  Lk. 10:2 (WNT).

Why do I listen? I know the truth!  But I keep listening to those self-defeating lies in my head.  John 1:6 says, “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.”  So, why don’t I just ignore the lies, and trust in God’s words instead?  Jennifer Rothschild, a well-known women’s author, has just released her new book, Me, Myself & Lies.  As soon as I heard about the book, it inspired me to write a song.  I needed a broken record player to play over the negative self-talk with God’s truth.  The first verse of my song speaks to this:

Have you ever heard the voice inside your head,

The one that says, you’re not good enough?  Don’t listen!

Have you ever let the thought enter your mind,

You know the kind, that you’re not loved?  Don’t listen!

Just clear your mind, You don’t have to go there this time–

Satan wants to feed us the lie that we’re not ever going to be good enough.  I’ve heard that lie in my head, ya’ll–the struggle is real–I find myself constantly striving towards that “road to success” mentality out of my own selfish ambitions, or wanting others to view me as a success.  The world looks at climbing the ladder of success and fame as the ultimate goal in life. But, God looks at success differently, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph. 2:10, ESV.  “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and he delights in his way.” Ps. 37:23.  The Lord is always with us lovingly guiding us each step of the way.  Our success is in direct correlation to our daily walking in step with God in faithful obedience; and, out of that springs forth joy and blessings.   Those blessings are the truths we can remember to replace with those ugly lies.

Sometimes, Satan brings to your attention that you may be surrounded by people; but, you really are all alone in this world; or, you may be left alone or uncared for in the future.  Or, that you’re not loved; because, well, who could love someone like you?  These lies are from the pit of hell!  Yes, we women may need to feel more secure than our counterparts, but let’s face it, we all have had similar thoughts.  Please, send those lies back to hell where they came from; because, as a child of God, you are never alone, and you are always loved!  Amen!

I’ll never forget being left behind at youth camp as a young girl.  It was the last day, and we were all so hyped up from the week; and, in all the hustle and bustle, both vehicles loaded up the youth group and headed out–without me!  I never felt so alone!  It was kind of scary, especially, since home was a good 10 hours south of where I was.  They finally figured out I was missing when they stopped about two hours down the mountain to tour a college campus.  Thank goodness, we were reunited later, when a nice couple drove me down.  Oh what a relief it was to see their familiar faces!  But, as bad as it seemed, I was never really alone, and neither are you.  Psalm 139:8 is a comforting thought, “Where can I go from your spirit?  Or where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”  God will never leave us or forsake us!  God loves us too much!  God loves us so much that He sent His son to bear our sins upon a cross. I Pet. 2:24; I Jn. 4:9.  In the chorus it says:

Don’t listen, don’t listen to the lies!

Don’t let yourself get mesmerized

Seek the truth, God’s speaking over you

Only His love can ease your mind

Don’t listen to the lies!

How many times do we let our minds paralyze us to the point where we can’t even focus on what we’re doing?  Anxious thoughts, deceptive pondering, false realities, creep in tempting us to tune out.    Our minds become set on depraved thinking instead of being set apart for kingdom work.  “Set your mind on things above” not on the things of this world.  We start believing the lies instead of seeing and hearing through spiritual eyes and ears.

Now it’s your turn:

Replace the lies with the truth of God’s word!  I found a good song for you to meditate on–it’s Deuteronomy 32.  You are the apple of His eye, and that’s no lie!




It’s Not About Me


People can easily figure out what’s important to us just by looking at our social media.   Whether it be your Facebook page, your Instagram posts, or your saved pins on Pinterest– it’s your own personal window to the world.   So, let’s take a peak, shall we?  How do we portray ourselves?  For the most part, we’re wrapped up in what matters the most to us.  For instance, our friends, family, interests, achievements, beliefs, to name a few.  Now, I want to probe in a little closer with my “proverbial” microscope, if you don’t mind, by asking what matters the most to you? Sometimes, we share a little too much information, and really put ourselves out there.  After all, didn’t Shakespeare always say, “To thine own self be true?”  Yeah, you’ve got to spotlight yourself, once in a while.  But what if we looked beyond ourselves, and discovered a noble reason for posting.

I wrote a song recently entitled, ‘It’s All For You’ which says:

I may never hear a thunderous applause, But Your love is shining out through all my flaws, And if a 1,000 eyes are staring back at me, Let them stare right through until it’s You they see, –It’s not about me—It’s all about You–

When people visit our page, or connect with us on the internet, our lives should point people away from us and towards God.  No, I am not saying anything against posting cute little puppy photos, or fun family vacations. I love to post those myself, and keep up with what’s happening in your neck of the woods.  It truly is a blessing that God bestowed; when, He made it possible for us to be so connected all over the world.  But, all the more reason, for our unique space to testify and glorify Him.   I Cor. 10:31 states:  “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” NIV.

In the chorus it says:

It’s all for You, For Your glory, Make my life tell Your story, While there’s breath in my lungs, and praises on my tongue, It’s all for You, For Your glory, It’s all for You, For Your glory

I hope that my life story is like a song of praise, lifting up the name of Jesus Christ in highest glory.  Isaiah 59:19 says, “Then at last they will reverence and glorify the name of God from west to east. For he will come like a flood tide driven by Jehovah’s breath.” ESV.  I love the word “reverence” in this verse, which also means respect and admiration.  When we give all the honor and glory back to God, we have the opportunity to put Him up on a pedestal just so the world can be in awe.


So, now it’s your turn:

As much as possible, start centering your posts around what God is doing in Your life.  We bring Him glory, out of our life experiences, mistakes and all, which also builds up the kingdom of God.  We all need to hear a lot more of the amazing things God is doing in our lives.  Please comment below, and let me know if this post helped you, and I’d love to have you join my blog, by subscribing to this page.






Check out my new single How Much You Love Me distributed by TuneCore and live on iTunes!

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Source: Check out my new single How Much You Love Me distributed by TuneCore and live on iTunes!



Have you ever just taken the time to reflect on the little blessings God sends your way on a daily basis?  Well, I thought of a jewel just today, in fact.  Drinking coffee with my friends has always been one of my favorite activities.  So, God orchestrated an opportunity for me to start leading worship for one of my dear friends’ Bible study at the Red Eye Coffee shop.     Continue Reading →

Looking Ahead

After the holidays I had, which included me being sick for the most part of it, I am now looking forward in hopeful expectation for the new year to come.  I am eager to see more success with my music ministry and songwriting; since, I’m getting close to the three year mark of following God’s call.  This past year had many highlights for me, as I was able to attend the Next Level Songs retreat, in Franklin, TN, followed by a six-week mentorship with Steven Duncan of Next Level Songs, as well.  Then, my crowning moment for the year was when I was selected to attend the GAP Intensive for Songwriters, which gave me the opportunity to write with pro-writers in Christian music.   I have learned so much this past year, and I was able to get to my 75th song by the end of it.  In 2017, my new year’s resolutions will definitely include writing a lot more songs, with God’s help.  However, I am even more excited to be embarking on my very first “single” recording in January.  It’s exciting news, and I will be giving you more details about that soon.

When I reflect on all that’s been happening, it helps me to realize that God has been good since the beginning.  I have a lot to be thankful for.  And when I look to the future, I have no need of fear–of failure, of trials, of getting a late start.  Whatever God is doing, He knows the outcome, and will equip me for His purpose in His perfect timing, and for His glory.  So, as I strive ahead, I am inspired to keep working towards God’s highest and best, and to finish strong the race He has set for me, with perseverance.  (Phil. 4:12-14).

As you look ahead, I hope you will also anticipate God’s best in your pursuit of God’s purpose in the new year.  We are all making “soul impact” in and around us, why not resolve to build souls for God’s kingdom in all our endeavors in the year 2017.  Remember God’s promise to us found in Psalm 65:11, “You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.” -NIV.  God promises to give us an ample supply of provision in whatever He has called us to do.  The word crown here in Hebrew also means complete.  Phil. 1:6 says, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  All we need to do is seek to honor Him first above all else, and everything will fall into place.   Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Mtt. 19:26, NIV.  I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you in 2017!  Please share your goals for 2017 in the comments section below.

Here’s your challenge:  Be willing and obedient to God, and humbly pray and seek after Him for the next 365 days, and see what happens. 

Happy New Year!!

The Greatest Gift By: Jolie Ozbun

giftThe Christmas season is a time of gift giving and receiving; even if, you believe having presents should not be your main focus.  Maybe out of the spirit of giving, your family chose this year to give to great causes instead.  However, even in that selfless act of sharing, your gifts will become a blessing to those around you.  In my blog this week, I decided to include a Christmas song as my gift to you, because it is centered around what I believe is the greatest gift anyone could ever receive or give, Jesus Christ.

My song talks about Jesus Christ coming to the world to give His life for us, which is by far the greatest gift I was ever given.  I remember each year at Christmas, out of six siblings, I was given the great privilege of reading from God’s word, the passage from Luke of Christ’s birth.  Now, why it was me I don’t know, but anytime you’re given the opportunity to shine in a big family– it’s a big deal.  In fact, even now in my own family, even though our children read scripture during the lighting of the Advent candles, I am still the one who gets to read the Christmas story on Christmas day.  I haven’t passed the tradition down yet, not because I want to “shine” necessarily.  After all, it is the greatest story of all time, and deserves our reflection.  But one thing’s for sure, I do have their full attention, before they dive into those presents.   I have to admit, it is a little fun making them wait for their gifts, –“I’ve got the power”– no, just kidding ; ).  Anyway, the beautiful story is found in Luke 2:1-20, and I encourage you to listen to the Charlie Brown version, “A Charlie Brown Christmas – True Meaning”– .  Linus does an excellent job of explaining the true meaning of Christmas.  I love how he goes to the middle of the stage and says, “Lights!”  Then, all the lights fade and spotlight right in on him, blanket in tow, as he quotes the passage from memory.  Good stuff!

My song was written mainly from verses 8-11 of Luke, which I think is at the heart of the story.  Mary delivers Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and then places Him in a manger.  7 “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”  Her little bundle of joy was to be the greatest joy the world could ever know.   Then the angels announced His birth to the shepherds; who were given the simple but glorious task of spreading the good news to all.  9 “And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”   When I think of the gift of salvation and what it means to me as a Christian, I can’t help but feel in awe.  11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.“-NKJV.  Thank You Jesus for your indescribable gift to me!  For You to take Your first breath in human form, in order to shed Your precious blood out of Your love for me!  That’s worth far more to me than anything money could buy. 

Also, I wrote my song in light of Ephesians 2:8-9, 8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”  My song is about the greatest gift ever given, the gift of God, Jesus Christ.  If anyone reading this blog, has not accepted the greatest gift ever given, I invite you now to receive Jesus Christ as Your Lord and Savior.  His gift awaits– it is up to you to open it, and you don’t have to wait for Christmas day either.   Read the Christmas story for yourself, and ask Jesus to save you from sin, and fill you with a new joy which is found in Christ.  The greatest joy you could ever know is offered to you by the Savior of the world, free of charge.  Jesus is the greatest gift you will ever know or ever be given.  My song is here below, and if you need guitar chords, I will be posting them soon.  Please comment if this blog was meaningful to you, or just feel free to leave questions or comments.  I love to hear from my readers.  Have a safe and blessed Merry Christmas full of joy as you reflect on the gift of Your Savior!

The Greatest Gift

Jolie Ozbun  ©11/30/16

Verse 1:

If you were given the greatest gift

Would you receive it?

If it was absolutely free

Would you believe it?

Would it be enough to celebrate God’s only Son?

A priceless gift wrapped for you in the Father’s love–


The greatest gift ever given,

Was Jesus Christ,

Who gave His life,

The greatest joy ever found,

Was found in a baby boy,

Let the earth rejoice,

For the Savior of the world,

Had you on His mind,

That glorious night,

It was Jesus Christ,

The greatest gift ever given

Verse 2:

If you could’ve heard the baby’s first cry

Would you hear the King?

If you could’ve felt His first warm breath

Would you get on your knees?

Would you bow down to worship God’s only Son?

A wondrous gift sent to you from heav’n above–

Repeat Chorus


Don’t let another moment pass you by

Without giving thanks to Jesus Christ

He offers You His precious life

Treasure it always, treasure it always


The Masks We Wear–Not Just On Halloween

Halloween is coming, and it made me wonder about something.  What if everyone literally turned into one of their worst character flaws on Halloween.  Similar to the Snickers commercial where people turn into grouchy characters until they satisfy their craving for a Snickers bar–I have experienced this, by the way.  But seriously, who might you become?  The control freak; the couch potato;  or, maybe the sweet tooth?–that one sounds kind of fun.  I am certain, if these costumes existed, they would fit right in with the other creepy masks you might find down the “scare” aisle.  Let’s imagine we’re taking a stroll down that aisle right now, and we put our masks on.  What might they look like?  Well, I’ll put mine on first, if you promise not to scream.  It’s the dreadfully horrid “worry-wart” mask–ugh!  Now, let me describe the gory details for you.

The “worry-wart” mask is completely covered in worry-warts from the past, present and future.  It has deeply recessed, wrinkle lines indented in the forehead caused by dwelling on past mistakes; trying to always measure up; and a constant fear of failure.  The hair looks frightfully scary standing end on end like a spooked cat.  Probably the result of the “worry-wart’s” continuous fretting about everything.  There’s this growth coming out of its brain that takes on a world of its own from being fed all the “what-ifs” that could possibly happen at all times.  You get the idea.  Now, I could say that this trait was passed down to me by my parents; and so, it could not be helped. Perhaps that’s true, but I took it on anyway, and it grew into the hideous monster it became.

Here’s a scenario of why I peg myself as the “worry-wart.”  Several years ago as a young mom, I attended a home school curriculum fair, and my kids were misbehaving.  As a parent, you learn to stick to a usual routine with children; otherwise, things can go awry rather quickly.  It became apparent, when my go-to method of counting to three to get their attention, was not working for me.  Next thing you know here comes “nosy-ninny”, let’s call her, since we’re all donning our masks.  Anyway, she notices my failed attempts and makes the helpful suggestion, “You must teach your children immediate obedience, or they will not listen.”  Well, after that I perused the book table lightning fast, and left in a huff, with her words on re-play in my head.  Immediately, the worry-wart mask came on, as I thought:  “What if I’m not disciplining my children in the right way?  Why can’t I get my kids to listen to me?  Will they turn out to be rebellious teenagers?   What will the other mom’s think of me as a parent?”  Blow by blow, I beat myself up over her comment for the rest of the day.

Worrying can take on several forms in our lives, if we let it.  Feed your worry, and it will lead you spiraling down into a pit of despair.  Thank goodness, there’s an answer for worry in Matthew 6:25-34.  When it comes to worry or anxiety, Jesus says, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?” v. 25, ESV.  The word “anxious”, comes from Greek origin <merimnao>, which means “being troubled, or looking out for ones’ own interests.” —The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon. 

Strong’s concordance defines worry as a distraction, or a literal pulling apart, or being divided.  Worry becomes such a distraction for us, because it takes our minds in several different directions.  Pretty soon, we start heading down a road of all these horrible scenarios of what might occur, before they even become a reality.  Now that explains why Satan would like nothing better than to fill our minds with worry.  God has a better solution in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Amen to that!  We can all pull off our “worry-wart” masks now, and as the glorious hymn says, ‘take it to the Lord in prayer’.  There is nothing too great or small that we can’t lay at the master’s feet.  So, let’s go ahead and lay down all those monstrous masks, and feel God’s peace resting on our faces, permeating into our hearts and minds.  Thank you Jesus, for Your perfect peace!









Lost And Found


Have you ever lost something important like your keys, your jewelry, or your cellphone?  You dig through everything:  your house, your car, the couch, even the garbage–are you with me?  You try retracing your steps, and saying a quick prayer, in hopes it will turn up?  What about your child?  Yeah, you heard right, have you ever lost your child?  This happened to me twice, as a young mom, and I can remember both instances, as if they were yesterday.  The first time it happened, I had just left choir practice.   As I was about to arrive home, I decided to call and check on things, when my husband said those crushing words, “Hanson’s with you right?”  “What?”  “No, I thought he was with you?”  Oh no, it dawned on me, he’s still at the church nursery.  Frantically, I made a quick U-turn, and high-tailed it back to the church, in a frenzy.  When I arrived back at the church, apparently everyone had already left.  All except for the PASTOR, of course, and I’ll never forget the look of concern on his face.  I don’t even want to know what he was thinking at that moment, like maybe, “What kind of person leaves their child behind like that?”  I felt about six inches tall at that moment, but after explaining myself, he completely understood.  However, my son hasn’t forgotten about it, and has brought it up on occasion– just to give me a hard time.  Maybe you’ve had a similar situation happen to you; or, maybe you were the one who was lost.  Let’s admit it, it happens to the best of us.  We get so distracted, or just plain careless, and we lose what’s important to us?

Now before I share my other story, I would like to turn your attention to what the Bible says about lost possessions in Luke 15.  Luke opens up with the parable of the lost sheep in verses 3-6.  The shepherd in this story has 100 sheep in all.  Now a shepherd’s whole livelihood is centered around the sheep under his care.  So, as he watches over them in the field, he makes sure to count every single one periodically making sure they are all accounted for.  However, as he’s counting the 99 that are under his watch, he realizes number 100 is missing.  So, he immediately leaves the 99 sheep in the open field, to look for the one lost sheep.   When he hears the bleating of his one lost, precious sheep, and finds the poor creature, he joyously carries it back to the fold.   So, we, as parents, can take heart that even an overcautious shepherd who is always on alert, can have a stray who wanders off from time to time.

Of course, we, as parents, take every precaution to ensure our children’s safety, just like this shepherd.  We might even go as far as putting those horrid, human leashes on them, (which I admit I did when I took my twins to Disney for the first time).  Yeah, it felt kind of weird, and I said I would never do that, but hey, I’m glad I did it.  In those crowds, it definitely made me feel so much better.  But, do we think about the people who are lost in this same manner?  Are we constantly concerned for their soul status?  Are we cautiously thinking of ways to be a better witness?  In v. 7, it compares the lost sheep to a sinner who repents.  Jesus says, “. . . there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous, . “

We are faced with opportunities of being around unbelievers all the time.  We  could be their only compass to point them to the gospel.   Jesus’ primary aim is for us to be more concerned over the lost, than we are about our own reputation.   The Pharisees needed to hear this message because they wouldn’t be caught talking to the wicked tax collectors, or criminals, for fear of being considered “unclean”.  They despised Jesus for welcoming these types of people.  Yes, it’s necessary for us to be around fellow believers, for encouragement and friendship; but, we also need to look beyond our circles to reach out to those outside of our comfort zone.  It’s not always easy to do this.  However, Jesus has shown us His great love, as He sought us out, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”–Ephesians 2:4-6.  Also, by building relationships with unsaved neighbors, co-workers, hair stylists, and acquaintances in our everyday routine, we might be just the person God uses to bring someone back to the fold.

Now, you’d think I’d learned my lesson from forgetting my son at church; but unfortunately, I did not.  I lost child number two when we were attending a birthday party at Funstation, a popular kids’ entertainment place.  The place was noisy, and jam-packed with children and parents, weaving in and out of arcade games like pinballs pinging off rubber bumpers.  We were just trying to keep our sanity, while at the same time enjoy ourselves, when all of a sudden we noticed we had one less child.   We went into panic mode as we searched for our daughter, who was about 6-years-old at the time.   After searching the main floor and the bathrooms, thank goodness, I finally found her crouched down in the far corner of the eating area.  She was smart to do that.  When I asked her later about it, she said she just wanted to wait for us to come find her.   That’s how it is with the lost sheep.  They just need a loving person to seek them out.  They may be wandering, not even realizing they are lost.  So, just as we prepare to take every precaution when it comes to our child’s safety; so, we must do the same to win others with the gospel of Christ.  For we know the lost souls are always on His mind.  “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” –2 Peter 3:9.