True Shepherds

T.M. Moore“True shepherds go to their sheep, where they are, to watch over their souls and equip them for ministry.” —T.M. Moore

Jesus said His sheep knew His voice. Pastor,

  • Do your sheep know your voice?
  • Are you accessible to them?
  • Do you initiate contact with them?
  • Do they see you laugh and play with them?
  • Do you know where they work, study, live, and play?
  • Can you pray for very specific needs in their lives?

Just something to think about…

Thursdays With Oswald—Not Possessed By Possessions

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Oswald Chambers

Not Possessed By Possessions 

     For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9) 

     Rich in what? Not in possessions, but in personal identity. Our Lord Jesus Christ became poor, not as an example, but to give us the secret of His religion. The religion of Jesus Christ is a religion of personal relationship to God and has nothing to do with possessions. … The disciple realizes that his life does not consist in the abundance of things he possess, because what we possess often possesses us—we are possessed by possessions. 

From Bringing Sons Unto Glory 

I can’t stand seeing so-called “prosperity preachers” twisting Scripture to make it sound like God is some sort of cosmic slot machine, and if you pull His lever just right financial rewards will pour down on you. Rubbish!! 

Chambers said it succinctly and perfectly: The religion of Jesus Christ is a religion of personal relationship to God and has nothing to do with possessions.

The Price Of Divorce

There is a toll for divorce, and I think the price is higher than we want to pay. There is a price…

  • Michigan divorce rates…economically
  • …emotionally
  • …physically
  • …relationally
  • …spiritually

Wait, spiritually? Here’s what God says—

Here is another thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, weeping and groaning because He pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure. You cry out, “Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows.

Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are His. And what does He want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.” (Malachi 2:13-16, New Living Translation)

You Are Protected

Finger Of God“I drive out demons by the finger of God.” —Jesus

The finger of God is more powerful than the full armies of satan!

If God’s finger is that powerful, consider this…

You are held in God’s hands.

You are covered by His wings.

You are immersed in His Spirit.

You are hidden in Christ.

Greater is He who surrounds you and lives in You than anything that comes against you!

Two Angels

LongfellowThere are two angels, that attend unseen
Each one of us, and in great books record
Our good and evil deeds. He who writes down
The good ones, after every action closes
His volume, and ascends with it to God.
The other keeps his dreadful day-book open
Till sunset, that we may repent; which doing,
The record of the action fades away,
And leaves a line of white across the page.

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Help Of Humility

HumilityJesus was talking to His disciples about what was ahead for Him, and they responded in an all-too-typical way: “They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what ‘rising from the dead’ meant” (Mark 9:10).

There are times that Jesus interrupts His disciples’ musings with a question like, “What are you talking about among yourselves?” But in this instance, He kept quiet.

Why?

I think Jesus likes for us to ask Him for help.

There is a certain level of pride that says, “I can figure this out all by myself.” This pride leads to ignorance, and ignorance leads to fear (we tend to fear what we don’t know), and fear leads—more times than not—to poor choices.

“They didn’t understand what He meant and were afraid to ask Him about it” (v. 32). This fear probably led to their confusion in between the time of Christ’s crucifixion and His resurrection.

Think about it, we have two choices:

  • Confusion → Pride → Ignorance → Fear → Poor choices
  • Confusion → Humility → Answers → Boldness → God-honoring choices

Oh, for the humility to ask for God’s help when I am confused!

Filled Or Baptized?

Filled or Baptized.028Imagine I took a trip to the eastern seaboard of the United States, and I spent much of my time there walking along the shore in awe of the majesty of the Atlantic Ocean. When it came time for me to head home, I wanted to find something that would be a lasting memento of my time at the beach, so I took a glass bottle out into the surf and filled it with salty Atlantic Ocean water.

I now have the ocean in a bottle.

But showing my small bottle to a friend who had never seen the Atlantic Ocean for himself and trying to convey to him the majesty and splendor of this powerful ocean would be a pitiful experience.

Yes, my bottle contains some of the Atlantic Ocean. But it is limited, while the ocean is nearly limitless. The water in my bottle is tame, compared to the wild strength of the pounding Atlantic surf. The water in my bottle is stagnant, while the Atlantic is constantly moving and churning.

My bottle contains the ocean. But what if the ocean contained my bottle? 

This is an good example of someone who is merely filled with the Holy Spirit (the Spirit in their bottle) versus someone who is baptized with the Holy Spirit (their life immersed in the ocean of the Spirit). 

At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit enters the bottle of our lives as a deposit of our assurance of salvation and eternal life. But it is limited and tame, and can become stagnant if we’re not careful. But when someone is baptized in the Holy Spirit—when the bottle of their life is plunged into the limitless resources of the Spirit—a new power and effectiveness is released.

After His resurrection Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” But before His ascension, Jesus instructed them to wait in Jerusalem for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus wanted more for them … and He wants more for you too!

The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not a luxury; it is a necessity. Christ intended for it to be the normal state of a healthy Christian! Are you baptized in the Spirit, or are you content with merely being filled with the Spirit? I pray that you will allow your bottle to be plunged deep!

I am continuing my series called Come Holy Spirit next Sunday. Please join me!

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