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God’s Relentless Pursuit
by Sarah Schroeder
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
It’s funny how God can use everyday experiences to teach us more about His grace. I found myself in one of those situations recently – and as I stepped back and thought about it, I had to thank God for the way in which He used this ordinary experience to remind me of His love.
Just a few months ago, my husband, Eric, and I adopted a dog from a local shelter. The volunteers at the shelter explained that this dog was very sweet and well-mannered, but had a track record of escaping. Despite the warning, we were confident that this was the dog for us and brought home our dog, Deegan, at the beginning of August.
Deegan didn’t escape right away. It took about 2 months before he started jumping the fence. It was amazing, really. As soon as he jumped the fence he transformed from a sweet, timid dog into a wild, adventurous animal that didn’t listen to a thing we said. After he escaped twice, we modified our fence to keep him from escaping. Things went back to normal for a while until just a few weeks ago.
It was early morning and Eric was walking the dog around the neighborhood before work. Deegan got frightened on the walk and ended up pulling back violently and slipping out of his collar. Again, the switch flipped in his little brain and he bolted away immediately. For the next hour, Eric and I ran around in the freezing rain and darkness trying to find and capture Deegan. Every time we would get close to Deegan, he would run further away. It wasn’t until he got trapped in someone’s backyard that we were able to get close and grab hold of him. He seemed completely happy to be running free in the freezing cold rain – he probably would have kept running for a very long time if we had not captured him. However, once we got back to the warmth of the house, Deegan started shaking violently from the ice that had stuck all over his little body. He realized how miserable he actually was after running around cold, wet, and hungry. We dried him off, fed him some food, and soon he calmed down and fell asleep.
After the ordeal was over and the frustration and panic of losing our dog had worn off, I couldn’t help but be reminded of God’s grace. You see, most of the time I live in the comfort and warmth of God’s love. Yet, there are times when I pull back from Him. Something happens in my life that causes me to step away and run in a direction away from Him. I think I know best. I think that my selfish pursuits will provide me with more fulfillment and joy. I run from one thing to the next, convinced that my way is better than God’s. The things of the world look appealing, and I lose sight of the reality of my situation – the fact that I am cold, miserable, and hungry for the truth of God.
Just at the moment when I am completely trapped by my own sin, I get a glimpse of God. Actually, He has been there the entire time, pursuing me and calling my name. He draws me back to His side and brings me home once again. And by His grace, he washes me of my sin and feeds me with His Word. I realize that my own pursuits only lead to destruction. It is only in Him that I find true life.
I am thankful for the way in which God can use the everyday things in life to remind us of His grace and love. And I am forever grateful for His relentless pursuit to bring us back when we go astray…
About Sarah: Sarah grew up in Moorestown, NJ where she met her husband Eric. Eric and Sarah have been married for 5 years and have lived in the Fredericksburg area for 3 years. Sarah is the Reading Specialist at Ferry Farm Elementary School and loves being a part of the music ministries at New Life. You can contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ruth de los Santos’ baby girl is expected by C-section January 14th.
- Pray for healthy and safe delivery.
- Pray that Ruth’s pregnancy induced carpel tunnel will cease.
- Contact Phyllis DiBella if you are willing to prepare a meal when the baby arrives.
Commit to reading the Bible in 2014
Pastor Sean has challenged the congregation to read through the Bible in the year (or at least read it regularly on a plan). Check out some of the plans he recommends in the Weekender or if you are even mildly tech-savvy check out an app like YouVersion and read on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
NLICC hosting local Presbytery Meeting on January 11th – Help Needed!
The Session has asked us to provide breakfast and lunch for our presbytery leaders on Saturday, January 11th. In lieu of a Women’s Prayer Breakfast in January we ask that you pray about preparing food or helping to serve our leaders while they meet together. We’ll also need volunteers to set out each of the meals and clean up. CLICK HERE to sign up for food and help. Contact Christine Fulcrod or Brenda Deaconson if you have any questions.
Update your Calendar: Women’s Prayer Breakfasts will resume in February at 9am on the 2nd Saturday of the month this year (a change from the 3rd Saturday).
Resolve to join us! Women’s Bible Studies begin January 13th and 14th
- The Westminster Confession of Faith, led by Christine Fulcrod resuming Tuesdays from 9:30-11:30am on January 14th
Child care available!
Sign up with Christine at email@example.com
- How People Change, led by Pam Lopes beginning Monday evenings at 7pm on January 13th
Minimum 4 participants required, please RSVP by January 6th
Sign up with Pam at firstname.lastname@example.org
As you reflect on 2013, consider sharing what God has taught you in His Word or shown you through His providence as an encouragement or challenge to your sisters. Thank you, Sarah, for the picture of God’s relentless pursuit of our wayward hearts. Contact Annie Jedick or email@example.com to share your story. Has a sister in Christ shared an encouraging testimony of God’s faithfulness with you lately? Ask her to share with the rest of us.
Have a Happy New Year!
in His grace,
for the Women’s Ministry Committee
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