Friday, February 28, 2020

I am a Sheep, He's My Shepherd

He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Psalm 23:3 

Your Shepherd knows your every need. He knows you will grow weary in your pilgrimage with Him. He knows there are times when you need rest. Your Shepherd knows just what you need to be refreshed. At times you need to lie in lush meadows or beside quiet streams. Sometimes you need to be held by your Shepherd. At other times you need to enjoy the pleasures the Shepherd provides. The Shepherd will not always replenish you in the same way; His response to you will always perfectly correspond to your present need. As you follow your Shepherd there will be times when your soul becomes exhausted, perhaps because of trials you are experiencing or temptations you are resisting. The persecution you face or the burdens you are carrying for others may be wearing you down. You may be weary from the discipline the Shepherd has brought upon you. There will be times when you feel you can go no further in your Christian pilgrimage. Your Shepherd knows when you have reached this point, and He always has a remedy! There are many ways He can strengthen you: through His word, through others, or through your circumstances. He knows what you need even better than you do. Have you grown weary? Does your soul need to be refreshed? Don't attempt to recover on your own. Only God knows how to heal and rejuvenate a soul (Isa. 40:28—31; Matt. 11:28—30). He will do it perfectly, sometimes in surprising ways. Ask Him to restore you, and then be prepared to respond to what He does next. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

My dear reader, in this world you've likely heard the lies about those who have found something in Christ.  Those who have been saved aren't 'missing out'. They aren't wasting their time.  They aren't giving up. Nor are they believing in fairytales.  Likewise those who have come to Christ aren't automatically going to become rich and have no troubles in this world. 

An interesting effect happens when an eye perceives light.  If it's suddenly then the eyelids tend to kick in and want to limit the amount of light until the receptors in the retina can catch up to the level of intensity.  Along that line is that when the eye does catch up, all that is revealed us seen.  The mind takes over and understanding is sought.  

Next comes distractions.  The mind tries to digest everything being perceived.  Looking to understand the details. 

The inevitable is next, the rest of the body begins to interact with the environment. 

What we do from this point, which altogether probably took seconds, is up to us.

Excitement at remembering what is to come or lack of it.  We begin to follow the rules we have learned of life to this point. 

So where is this going?  Growing up most of us learned from others as to how to go through life.  What we do in public as well as in the privacy of ourselves is governed by do's and don'ts.  

A life with Christ Jesus has rules. They are there to help us grow in Christ.  To become what we are to be in Him.  Those same excuses that I mentioned at the beginning can also be said of everyday life.  There are rules and regulations the world imposes that people don't like.  Many ignore them and do so at their own peril. 
Thus the need for, in some cases, law enforcement. Others are called Doctors. 
Depending upon the circumstances. 

In Christ we voluntarily give up or hold onto things in our lives.  Largely it depends upon our obedience.  Learning what's important to life isn't anything new.  Adult behavior may vary but knowing that adults shouldn't necessarily do what they did as children is what happens when they grow up.  You learn to let go of what you did in favor of what's expected of you now.

For those in Christ we have an analogy of sheep and a Shepherd.  Sheep, like people, can be stubborn, can be single minded, can be difficult.  It takes a patient Shepherd to work with that sheep to bring about obedience.  Jesus used many analogies concerning people and sheep.  Those who are His hear His voice. 

What does that mean?  In His day, as in today, many shepherds worked together.  Both for the safety and sake of their charges.  As a group they would secure an area and all the sheep would be kept together.  This would allow the shepherds to take turns looking after them to get sleep or to gather food.  When the time came to go each Shepherd would call out. Those who were his or hers would recognize their voice and come to them. 

Further examples are that we originally are like sheep having gone astray each doing what is right in our own eyes.  Human behavior and that of sheep really is the same. 

It helps not that in this world we have Satan and his followers goading people to do things or think things that are contrary to the truth of God.  The example of today's post being all that we would lose or have to give up by coming to Christ. 

Think on this very real scenario.  Your life is in danger and by some great miracle a stranger to you steps in and quite clearly saves your life.  The image of that permanently implanted in your mind.  The joy the relief.  You know that you owe a debt that you cannot pay to that individual.  But you feel the need to find some way to repay.  You find yourself altering your life to do things for this one who's saved you.  Sacrifices maybe.  Doing things that you hadn't thought about before. Your belief that this is the right thing to do is strong. 

Those of us who have come to Christ are living that out.  We understand that Jesus stepped in and saved us.  The penalty of sin is death.  The gavel has come down in judgment upon us and the sentence presented. Guilty. Guilty on all counts. 
We who have believed and trust in Jesus Christ alone for Salvation find Him stepping out and taking our place in this. He would bear our punishment in our place.  Relief comes in that we won't suffer the judgment. The need to live for Jesus as He would have us live becomes all important.  It won't be easy but it is possible.  

I don't miss what the world says is all important.  I don't miss the stuff that I no longer have nor do I crave what's out there to get.  It not a crutch living for Jesus.  It's not anything but living life in the way He wants of me.  A sheep obeying his Shepherd.  

I don't want to gain the whole world and forfeit my soul.  Scripture speaks to this. 
Matthew 16:26 "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"

Life is more than what we see. Jesus said and did things to open the Spiritual eyes of those He touched.  This physical world is going away.  Time will be no more after the final judgment after the thousand year reign of Christ.  Eternity will have begun.  Really consider this my friend, at any moment now we will be 7 years plus a 1 thousand years away from the end of all things.  

Once the Rapture of the Church occurs, shortly thereafter 7 years of judgements will be happening here on Earth.  After they are done, Jesus Himself will be ruling here on Earth for one thousand years.  

If everything else that has happened in the Bible is true, and yes, it's been proven to be true, then you can count on what hasn't happened yet to be coming soon.

I have learned that I need Him to Shepherd me.  I need taught how to live for Jesus.  I wasted decades trying to do it my own way.  I am learning that indeed taking up His yoke upon me indeed was light. That it's not a burden.  I am not losing out on life because I live for Jesus.  I am finding life by living for Jesus. 

What about you? Ready to learn how to live?  Come to the Shepherd and believe in Christ.  He will by no means cast you out. 
Learn and learn to live. 

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