Summary: A mother’s love is the closest thing on earth to the love of God

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Mother’s Day - 2005

As it is Mother’s Day, I have a story about a mother to share with you today

Christina lives in a small dusty village in Brazil. Her heart was empty and she felt like society had cheated her of its joys. She longed for the excitement of the big city of Rio.

• Not an unfamiliar story I grew up on a sugar cane farm in North Queensland and when I reached my teenage years thought I was missing out on all the fun of living in town

• But this can also happen to kids raised in Christian homes

• They see their non-christian friends apparently having all this fun and there is a tendency to think, “I’m missing out” – “Why was I born in a Christian home?”

• It may appear that way but a lot of the things the world calls fun usually have a sting in their tails as we will go on to see in this story

• Moses faced a similar dilemma

Hebrews 11:24-25 (NLT)It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be treated as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.

• Do you know what it would have meant to be the son of Pharaoh’s daughter – power, prestige, position

• 25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin.

• Um….Let me see here, I have a choice, power, prestige, and position or bondage, slavery and oppression

• Sin is attractive, it’s pleasurable. People don’t do these things because they’re unpleasant, they engage in them because they are pleasurable

• but notice it also says, “the fleeting pleasures of sin”

• We will come back to this in a moment

One morning her mother Maria found Christina’s bed empty. Maria knew immediately where her daughter had gone. She also knew immediately what she must do to find her. She quickly threw some clothes in a bag, gathered up all her money, and ran out of the house.

• What story does this remind you of that Jesus told?

Matthew 18:12-14 (NCV) 12 “If a man has a hundred sheep but one of the sheep gets lost, he will leave the other ninety-nine on the hill and go to look for the lost sheep.

• God is not satisfied with the 99 sheep He has sitting happily in a holy huddle in a church building He goes off pursuing the one lost sheep

• That’s the type of church we want to be. We want to share what God has shared with us with the people of Bendigo

• We should never be content while there is one lost sheep out there

• 13 I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that were never lost.

• Think about this for a moment. What this is saying is that God gets more pleasure from one sinner who accepts Him as their Saviour than the 99 left sitting in the church

• 14 In the same way, your Father in heaven does not want any of these little children to be lost.

• There is also a message here for despairing Christian parents whose children have not yet followed in their steps

• God is going to pursue them, He doesn’t want any to be lost

• God intention is to reach out to all mankind – the only ones who are finally lost are those who refuse to accept His Son

On her way to the bus stop she entered a drug-store to get one last thing. Pictures. She sat in the photograph booth, closed the curtain, and spent all she could on pictures of herself. With her purse full of small black-and-white photos, she boarded the next bus to Rio de Janeiro. Maria knew Christina had no way to earn money. She also knew that her daughter was too stubborn to give up. When pride meets hunger, a human will do things that were before unthinkable. Knowing this, Maria began her search. Bars, hotels, nightclubs, any place with the reputation for streetwalkers or prostitutes. She went to them all. And at each place she left her picture--taped on a bathroom mirror, tacked to a hotel bulletin board, fastened to a corner phone booth . . . . It wasn’t too long before both the money and the pictures ran out, and Maria had to go home. The weary mother wept as the bus began its long journey back to her small village. It was a few weeks later that young Christina descended the hotel stairs. Her young face was tired. Her brown eyes no longer danced with youth but spoke of pain and fear. Her laughter was broken. Her dream had become a nightmare.

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