“As the deer pants for water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God…” Psalm 42:1Psalm 42:1 English: World English Bible - WEB BOOK II
For the Chief Musician. A contemplation by the sons of Korah.
1 As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants after you, God.
I have to admit one of my greatest struggles has been this business of being myself.
Affirmation was in short supply in the home I grew up in, and that created (at least in me) a very unhealthy dynamic. I learned early on that if I could discover what someone expected from me, and deliver on that expectation, I could easily recieve the acceptance and love I hungered for. The problem wasn’t in finding out what people wanted. I became very adept at that. No, my problem soon became deciding what to do, or how to react, when someone else’s expectations conflicted with my own expectations for myself and what I knew in my heart was the “right thing” for me. I’m sorry to admit this, but too often, my desire to please someone I deeply cared for, won out over my own sense of what may, or may not, have been right for me.
Pop psychologists call this “people-pleasing” as though it were some terrible dread disease. Personally, I don’t think it is wrong in all instances, when we are faced with a choice, to choose to please someone else rather than ourselves. People who consistantly choose to please no one BUT themselves, soon earn the title of selfish, and rightly so since self comes first in each of their choices.
Finding the balance. There’s been the challenge! Knowing when to say, “When!”
Learning to do this has been a real uphill battle for me, but I should add, a very necessary one. The bible is quick to admonish us to think of others before ourselves. To serve rather than be served. Jesus Himself modeled this for His followers. Laying aside His Rabbi’s robes, He picked up a towel, and bending down, He washed His disciples feet. He took the place of the lowest servant in the house. He was wanting to give all of us a “word picture” that we would need to remember. One of willing servanthood.
Let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to be the guy getting your feet washed, than being the guy with the basin and towel. We all like it when people seek to please us rather than expecting us to please them. So when is it right to please others? And, when is it right to please ourselves, because let’s face it, sometimes our foot-washing and people-pleasing, can get way out of balance in our relationships.
When is it time, and I might add healthy to say, “when”?
This can require some real, deep down, soul-searching.
There are times in our relationships (I believe) when it is entirely necessary and appropriate to stand up, and be true to yourself, and say, “Not this time.” To be yourself should be a freedom that is granted in every loving and healthy relationship.
Sometimes our no is more loving than our yes. When we our not free to say no?
Perhaps we’ve unconciously exchanged our servanthood for a doormat.
We’re not going to do this the way it’s always been done.
I want you to listen to Me. We are partners, you and I. You will not have to break down doors. You will not have to be clever, or glib, or false. We haven’t come all this way to get bogged down in that nonsense.
I want you to be yourself. Yourself.
You are the only you I’ve made. People, even well meaning people, will try to convince you that “being you” won’t work. Forget them. Hold your ground. (In peace.) Listen to their ideas, but bring everything to Me. We will decide together how to proceed.
(This is a true partnership.)
Remember always sow good seed, in good ground. Give to others and give generously. Credit. Wisdom. Love. (Above all love.) I will multiply it in My own time and My own way.
Do not say “Yes.” to eveything. Sort through the good, get down to the best, then choose the excellent! (I’ll help.) There is only one you. Remember you are finite in strength. Use what you have wisely. I will always provide what you need, so don’t be afraid to give much away.
Have I not promised to give you much so that you may give much away?
Always be generous, then you shall always have what you need.
Strive to keep your life simple. (I have given you clear direction on this matter.) You know what to do. Just do it.
I bless you child. Now go, and bless others. “I will guard and support you…” Isaiah 42:6Isaiah 42:6 English: World English Bible - WEB 6 I, Yahweh, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and give you for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
In this hour of all-but-universal darkness one cheering gleam appears: within the fold of conservative Christianity there are to be found increasing numbers of persons whose religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself. They are eager for spiritual realities and will not be put off with words, nor will they be content with correct “interpretations” of truth. They are athirst for God, and they will not be satisfied till they have drunk deep at the Fountain of Living Water.
This is the only real harbinger of revival which I have been able to detect anywhere on the religious horizon. It may be the cloud the size of a man’s hand for which a few saints here and there have been looking. It can result in a resurrection of life for many souls and a recapture of that radiant wonder which should accompany faith in Christ, that wonder which has all but fled the Church of God in our day.
But this hunger must be recognized by our religious leaders. Current evangelicalism has (to change the figure) laid the altar and divided the sacrifice into parts, but now seems satisfied to count the stones and rearrange the pieces with never a care that there is not a sign of fire upon the top of lofty Carmel. But God be thanked that there are a few who care. They are those who, while they love the altar and delight in the sacrifice, are yet unable to reconcile themselves to the continued absence of fire. They desire God above all. They are athirst to taste for themselves the “piercing sweetness” of the love of Christ about Whom all the holy prophets did write and the psalmists did sing.
There is today no lack of Bible teachers to set forth correctly the principles of the doctrines of Christ, but too many of these seem satisfied to teach the fundamentals of the faith year after year, strangely unaware that there is in their ministry no manifest Presence, nor anything unusual in their personal lives. They minister constantly to believers who feel within their breasts a longing which their teaching simply does not satisfy.
I trust I speak in charity, but the lack in our pulpits is real. Milton’s terrible sentence applies to our day as accurately as it did to his: “The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.” It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table. The truth of Wesley’s words is established before our eyes: “Orthodoxy, or right opinion, is, at best, a very slender part of religion. Though right tempers cannot subsist without right the Father’s table. The truth of Wesley’s words is established before our eyes: “Orthodoxy, or right opinion, is, at best, a very slender part of religion. Though right tempers cannot subsist without right opinions, yet right opinions may subsist without right tempers. There may be a right opinion of God without either love or one right temper toward Him. Satan is proof of this.”
Thanks to our splendid Bible societies and to other effective agencies for the dissemination of the Word, there are today many millions of people who hold “right opinions,” probably more than ever before in the history of the Church. Yet I wonder if there was ever a time when true spiritual worship was at a lower ebb. To great sections of the Church the art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has come that strange and foreign thing called the “program.” This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the type of public service which now passes for worship among us.
Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience, they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.
This book is a modest attempt to aid God’s hungry children so to find Him. Nothing here is new except in the sense that it is a discovery which my own heart has made of spiritual realities most delightful and wonderful to me. Others before me have gone much farther into these holy mysteries than I have done, but if my fire is not large it is yet real, and there may be those who can light their candle at its flame.
It has taken me a long time to learn what great power there is in weakness. For most of my life I was like the world I grew up in. I was not a fan of weakness or vulnerability.
Weakness and extreme shyness were not admired traits in my home. As I said before, I grew up in a house-full of boisterous and outgoing people of sanguine temperament.
For those of you who are not up on the lingo of temperament analysis, Sanguines are “the life of the party” types.
Those fun-loving non-serious and bold types.
I, on the other hand was the very serious contemplative type.
Yeah, born a misfit (I believed) as an out-of-place, “What’s WRONG with you?” solitude-loving, thinker-type.
Put me in a room full of strangers and watch me melt into the wallpaper, tongue-tied, and looking for the nearest exit!
Hardly “life-of-the-party” material!
So, naturally I longed, no maybe that’s not quite right—I LONGED to be more outgoing.
Why is it God often will “call us” to that VERY THING we are convinced we CANNOT do?
(I think there’s something a little mischievous about that!)
Yet, in my own ordeals with my personal weaknesses, that is the very place God wants to use me—right in the spot I feel most helpless.
Here’s what God had to teach me.
He does not want us “out there strutting our stuff” where we feel all capable, and ready to take on the world.
In my own case it’s in those areas where I feel strongest that He will pull back hardest on the reins.
And, where I feel the weakest?
He cheers for me with gusto and abandon!
Actually our so called “strengths” are our weaknesses, and visa-versa our weaknesses, are our greatest strengths from a Kingdom point of view.
The Apostle Paul knew all about this upside down way things work. In 2 Corinthians 12 he tells us, “Three different times I begged God…” He had a weakness he desperately wanted to be rid of. God’s response to his prayers? “Each time He said, ‘No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.” [vs. 8, 9 TLB]
From God’s point of view our weakness is the place where He can shine. I don’t like it. (You probably don’t like it either.) But that’s the deal. Where I am weak? God’s power is perfected in me.
Where your hands shake, your voice quakes, and your knees wobble?
Yep, that’s the spot, where you will cling to Him for all you’re worth!
YOU ARE READY
All eyes will be upon you now.
(Don’t be frightened.)
You are ready.
Your whole life has been in preparation for the door you are about to enter. Keep your eyes… (Oh, those beautiful eyes!) Keep them on Me. You know I have called you. Your suffering has made your calling sure. If you ever doubt it, you have only to look in the mirror. It is there, staring back at you. Your greatest weakness will become your greatest strength!
The world hates brokenness. It hates weakness. This you know quite well. But, now you see, when brokenness and weakness link up with Me, and My Spirit, power is the result!
My power. (Mightier than split atoms!) is perfected in weakness. This you have been learning. This you now know!
There will be many who will say I have not called you. (Forget them.) Look in the mirror. Remember, mighty are you in My Kingdom child. Angels will be at your beck and call. I AM in you. You are in Me. Vine and branch; potence and Omnipotence!
I will be at your side. I have have gone ahead of you, into your future to secure it, and I have your back. You are My child. No one can take you from My hand! Be strong. Be of a good courage. You can change the world.
You are going to change the world.
You are My beloved child.
Nothing, and no one, can ever change that!
“I the Lord have called you to demonstrate my righteousness.” Isaiah 42:6Isaiah 42:6 English: World English Bible - WEB 6 I, Yahweh, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and give you for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
The Valley of Baca is translated The Valley of Weeping and though I suppose it signifies a geographic place, I also think of this “valley of tears” as a soul-place.
All of us will have those circumstances and events that will bring our soul’s into this sorrowful place. Loss is a part of life none of us can avoid. Neither can we avoid the shadows that come with it. (We can try of course.) We can valiantly attempt to bury it, or outrun it, or deny it, but grief won’t be ignored forever. Eventually it will assert it’s domain.
I have grieved many times in my life. The deaths of my parents. The loss of cherished relationships. The crash of my health. That “halocaust experience” I wrote about earlier. In each journey through this valley of weeping I have to tell you, they were not all the same.
Grief is strange stuff. Not one of these trips through loss was the same. All were different.
I wonder now if that was because there were different lessons to be learned each time. Grief, like a kaliedoscope, held the same bits of broken glass each time, yet with each slight turning the light and shadows would shift and fall in different patterns, revealing beautiful and distinctly different things for my eyes view.
Sometimes these views simply arrested me. Taking me captive for a time against my will. But even in my captivity I began to learn. The value of rest; of stepping aside from the mad rush of life for a time of communion, just God and myself.
Then there were the times, when with brutal realities, grief taught valuable lessons about people. About where I should, and should not, place my trust.
Perhaps this is what the psalmist was trying to convey when he said,
“When they walk through the Valley of Weeping it will become a place of springs where pools of blessing and refreshment collect after rains! They will grow constantly in strength…” [TLB]
Grief is a harsh school-master. Yes, but I eventually came to understand the real value in her harsh lessons. I began to see the depth of character birthed by pain rightly borne. Truly, sorrows are the birth pangs of a deeper, richer life. Hope for others flows from such places.
It makes me think of the lines of the poem by Robert Browning Hamilton:
I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow;
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me.
THE VALLEY OF BACA
These days will soon be over, and shall I tell you something?
(It will surprise you.)
You are going to greatly miss this time of sorrow and suffering?
There, that’s got your attention!
You dream of getting your freedom of movement back; of days when you can feel “normal” again. (All your thoughts are open to Me child.) But I AM here today to tell you that you are going to miss these quiet days, when all the world was just we two. (Sigh!)
I confess, I will miss them more than you.
This journey through the Valley of Baca has been difficult for you. (I know.) Especially those first weeks. There was more confusion than peace, and joy seemed to be dressed in black crepe. Still… you must admit, after things settled down a bit, after you began to get in step with Me…
After we developed this habit of making, of those tears of yours, a wayside well… (Ah, after.)
It became quite pleasant in places, didn’t it? And you must also admit, that though we had been close friends, our friendship has deepened and grown richer through the things you’ve suffered. (Yes?)
Yes. All in all, it has been a highly satisfactory journey!
And, I will say it again, you’re going to miss these days. Ah, but never mind. We must be up and going.
We have to be about the Father’s business, you and I.
Like ripples on a pond your life affects the people around you.
This was one of the hardest lessons for me to learn as I was growing up. There were times when I wanted to do what I wanted to do and I didn’t want to feel responsible to (or for) anyone else. I thought freedom meant no responsibility to anyone but myself.
I was young and foolish seeing only the child’s eye view.
It sounds good but it isn’t real. Like it or not, our choices affect others. Our decisions and behavior have consequences. I see people trying to ignore these facts, living as though their choices are their’s alone.
(But they never are.)
What we say and do, the type of person we choose to become, will impact those around us in a thousand different ways. Sometimes for the better; sometimes not.
One can choose one’s course, yes.
But we cannot always choose the consequences that will ride in on the coat tails of our decisions.
We have all heard the saying, “No man is an island.” but we try to be don’t we? We take our life into our own hands, choosing a course that runs roughshod over every other life around us. We claim our right to choose for ourselves, to live only for ourselves, in spite of all consequences to others.
I see it everywhere—self enthroned—Jesus Christ dethroned.
(Sadly, even in the Church.)
We make our own rules.
We decide our own course believing our life belongs only to us.
We deny Scripture trampling it under our feet, but at what cost to ourselves, and those who watch our lives?
Foolishly, we believe we must answer to no one but ourselves?
There have been times you didn’t like this very much, being in My hands.
Oh, you like it fine when I use My hand to give you what you want. But, when I close My hand. You really struggle with that one.
Child, I would have you go far beyond this business of getting, or not getting, what you want. You are far more complex than that.
(And, so am I.)
When I say, “… your times are in My hands.” I don’t just refer to people, places, and things. The tangible is easy to fix your eyes upon, but look deeper. Your times are made up of much more than that!
What about, your gifts? Your calling? Your dreams? Your spirit-man? Your tragedies? Are not all these things in My hands as well? And if you could take them out of My hands? Which ones would you remove? You see through the glass darkly. You do not always see what I AM doing, or where I AM going.
Your life, and the events of your life, are like ripples made upon the water. The initial splash may be very small, but if you are patient and step back and watch, you will see those ripples growing in wider and wider circles, encompassing more and more.
To take your life back. To say, “It is mine and affects only me.” is just foolish rubbish. (And you know it.)
Everything… every… thing… you do, or say, will eventually impact someone else, someday, somewhere. (Selah, that!)
On Pinterest my handle is Molly~O. Molly is a nickname for Martha and O = Overcomer.
My mother used to tell me that her favorite picture of me was taken one day on the front lawn, me in diapers holding on to a little sapling tree announcing to the world, “I’s Marsa-Tanny!”
I was bold. I was fearless. I knew who I was! But, things changed. I changed. I became fearful. Unsure of myself. Slowly, bit by bit, year by year, that sure confidence began erroding away. The overcomer became lost, buried under years of debris.
I used to look at that picture and wonder, “Where did she go?”
It has taken me six decades, count them “Six!” but now (finally) I am becoming who I was always meant to be, created to be, knew originally who I was supposed to be, way back yonder in the beginning.
How is it possible that it takes a lifetime to finally believe what I was certain of at eighteen months?
I still shake my head at times wondering at the grace that has brought me so far.
I think it happens to a lot of us. (If we’re honest.) The real “us” that we were created by God to be, gets buried under so much guff-N-stuff we lose ourselves.
Our real selves.
Life happens, and in our growing up, we find out the world is a hostile place—and certainly no friend to children.
For some of us we’re fortunate, and it’s just the normal amount of heartaches and rejection with minimal amounts of bumps and bruises.
But, for others it’s worse. Much worse. And our overcoming becomes a life and death struggle. Overcome, or be overcome.
Whichever journey was yours, I am convinced no one becomes an Overcomer by chance. You choose it. You fight back every single time life comes to stomp you into the ground.
You become certain of one primary thing:
YOU WERE BORN FOR SOMETHING GREAT!
And, because God’s Word fiercely proclaims, you are worthy of love!You are deserving of respect!,You are of infinite value to the God who created you!
And, by the grace of God that’s what I’ve finally learned—and I’m sticking to it.
You see, He’s finally convinced me of how much I am loved by Him!
And believing that?
I can overcome anything!
ABOVE ALL ELSE
Did I not tell you? I AM not a man that I should lie! When I say it, it comes to pass.
(And, still, you are amazed?)
But, I thought you would know by now that nothing is too hard for your God?
(I confess, I do so enjoy making it look so easy.)
It always makes Me chuckle to see how easily man’s pride, and Satan’s schemes, come tumbling down!
My sweetest-heart, all this has been set in motion since your first faint cry. I know it has been a long and dusty road, full of sneering demons and the laughter of ungodliness.
Still, I was always there.
You know that now.
(You really know it.)
I will never leave you or forsake you. Nothing can separate you from Me and My love for you. Above all else… remember this!
My love is eternal.
My fidelity unwavering.
You have had to endure so many betrayals; so much abandonment. (It’s true.) But you have come closer and closer to Me in the process. Is this not bringing good out of evil?
And, you have come to see My love for you from new eyes of fresh perspective. Is this not also very, very good?
To hope one is loved is so inferior to knowing, really knowing, that one is!
To know that one will stay by your side come hell or high water, this can only be discovered through great adversities.
In his book, 21 SECONDS TO CHANGE THE WORLD, Dr. Mark Rutland makes the following statement: “I will (not might) have enemies.”
He continues by saying,
“This last assumption is probably the most painful to learn. When I was young, and I believe many young folks feel this way, I thought that if I was a nice person I would not have enemies. Now I see that nothing you can do can keep someone else from deciding that they are your enemy. You may indeed make enemies with your own actions, but you are likely to have enemies regardless of how nice or good or generous or anything you are. It is so hard for those who desire to be no one’s enemy to realize that they themselves have enemies not of their own making. On the other hand, it is a joy to realize that though I may be surrounded by enemies, I am not abandoned. Even in their mocking presence, I am loved, guarded, and provided for by my Father and Shepherd…
It is dangerous naivete to think that because you are a decent, God-fearing person who tries to be friendly and fair to everyone, you will have no enemies. Psalm 23 assumes the presence of enemies, not the absence of enemies. Just like Mordecai, you have enemies. And just like Haman, they feel justified, even righteous in their every attempt to bring you down. Haman justified his efforts to destroy Mordecai by wrapping it in the claim that it would be good for Xerxes and his kingdom. You have enemies who assume your destruction might even be good for God and His kingdom. When my soul most needed restoration, I was shocked to discover that some did not want me healed, but instead wanted me strung up.
As in the case of Haman and Mordecai, God will also care for you miraculously. At one point, Mordecai’s archenemy, Haman, must lead Mordecai through the streets of the capital, proclaiming the kings favor on the hated Jew. Finally, of course, Esther is used by God to foil the murderous plot, and Haman himself is hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai.
We can rest in the knowledge that God will protect us and give us victory over those who hate us without cause.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”
I might paraphrase this line from Psalm 23 in this way: “He puts food on the table for me and makes my enemies stand around and watch while I eat.” That puts a whimisical little touch of gloating on the verse. Not enough to be sinful, I think, but enough to be fun in the face of adversity. Yes, there are enemies around me, some of whom I do not even realize are enemies. I will not worry that they are watching me. I rejoice for them to see how extravagantly God takes care of me.” (published Bethany House, 2016) To be hated without cause is very painful indeed. Nevertheless, we must set our faces like flint and finish the work God has called us to do.
MANY SHALL SEE
I AM coming soon dearest, and I AM coming in resurrection power. Forget the past. Look! I AM about to do something new…
Keep your eyes on Me. Guard your heart while you wait. Life has changed, yes, but it is far from over! That is the enemy of your soul whispering those lies to you.
(You have him scared to death, you know.)
Oh yes, you do!
He expected you to give up and turn back long ago. He’s thrown everything he’s got at you, but there you stand, both feet planted on My promises.
(Oh, My darling One, how you delight My heart.) [Malachi 3:12Malachi 3:12 English: World English Bible - WEB 12 “All nations shall call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,” says Yahweh of Armies.
How it thrills Me to see you there, standing on My promises! Through the storms, through the swollen rivers of difficulty, the floods of ungodliness, through the fiery oppression of the enemy, your foot has not moved.
Did I not promise you I would not suffer your foot to be moved? [Psalm 121:3Psalm 121:3 English: World English Bible - WEB 3 He will not allow your foot to be moved.
He who keeps you will not slumber.
And, look! (My angels are.) Your other foot, planted on the Truth, that though you may go through sorrow and suffering, I AM coming personally to pick you up. (And give you My glory.) [1 Peter 5:101 Peter 5:10 English: World English Bible - WEB 10 But may the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
WP-Bible plugin TLB] Angels have wept beholding such trust, such faith.
Oh, how I have beamed as you stood for Truth, taking blow upon blow.
(The enemy said he had you.)
The last one was tough, but you held your ground. You held on to Me. Many shall see and trust in the LORD.
I wonder how many there are? No I really wonder if you counted, “Would the numbers be staggering?” I’m talking about scattered “sheep.” Those who wanted to be a part of a vibrant and thriving Church, but for one sad reason or more took the back door, left the Church. Said a sad and brokenhearted, “Adios.”
I wonder if the Church is aware… or are they simply clueless?
(Do they even care?)
I saw a man come into the service one winter Sunday. Clothes rather shabby and more than a little soiled, no coat, hair long; matted. He sat on the end of the row, across the aisle. I watched to see what would happen. There had just been a sermon series about “loving others and reaching out” to the community. I wondered, “Would anyone actually reach out this man?” Had any of those high-sounding-sermons made the slightest difference?
No one approached. No one came near him. He left just as he had come, alone.
I thought, “So this is what you call loving outreach?”
Isn’t it tragic that such a large group of people who say LOVE is their highest aim, are so rude and ungracious, and dare I say it? Just downright, mean at times.
(Don’t they get it?)
I want to ask them: Do you think people don’t feel your rejection? Your condemnation? Do you actually believe that your haughty looks, and cold shoulders, don’t matter?
(Not to mention the really mean things I often hear said.)
I’m just one sheep. And I know, I’m probably going to get plenty of flack from Christians for saying these things, but I suppose that’s the point. Isn’t it?
I’m just weary of it. I’m a sheep, too, but doggone it. I don’t want to sit in a room full of people anymore with that mean-spirited “clubhouse” mentality!
(You know the one I mean.)
“Us four… and no more!”
The Super-Saints who regularly meet to show all the other lowly mortals and disgusting sinners, The So-Called-Soiled Outcasts or Lepers, just how super-undesireable, unloved, and unwelcome they are.
Dear Lord, please save us from the Super-Pious who say they are Lovers of Jesus, but who are so obviously Haters of those they consider “the great unwashed.” People who for one reason or another, fail to come up to their moral highground of superior faith and “genuine” Christ-likeness.
And you think you are going to evangelize the world?
With your loveless ultra-superior stony-stares of disapproving-disapproval?
Is that your idea of the kind of love the bible speaks about?
No wonder people are taking the back door of our churches in record numbers!
Why would they not?
“Are we really so clueless?”
(Or, …is the truth a whole lot uglier.)
Those to whom you turn up your noses? The despised? Are people Jesus laid down His life for, too. The scattered. The unwanted. The ignored. The broken. The messy ones.
(You know, the ones you are so disgusted by?)
Scattered sheep matter to God!
You may turn your backs… but my bible says God will not.
…”Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them… For the LORD God says: I will search and find My sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his flock. I will find My sheep and rescue them from all the places they were scattered…”
Ezekiel 34:2-6, 11Ezekiel 34:2-6, 11 English: World English Bible - WEB 2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and tell them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Shouldn’t the shepherds feed the sheep?
3 You eat the fat, and you clothe you with the wool, you kill the fatlings; but you don’t feed the sheep.
4 You haven’t strengthened the diseased, neither have you healed that which was sick, neither have you bound up that which was broken, neither have you brought back that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost; but with force and with rigor have you ruled over them.
5 They were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and they became food to all the animals of the field, and were scattered.
6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill: yes, my sheep were scattered on all the surface of the earth; and there was none who searched or sought.
11 For thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I myself, even I, will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.
Prayer is simply choosing to walk and talk with God in the unseen quiet places of the heart—the way it was in the garden in the very beginning.
I have always believed that God has every intention of making a garden of Eden out of our hearts, then walking with us there each day, the way He did in the beginning with Adam and Eve.
Becoming a “Christian” is NEVER about being better than anyone else, or doing all kinds of “good” things and avoiding all the “bad” things. It is about choosing each day to let God restore the garden of our heart, transforming it into what our Creator originally intended it to be—a place where love and joy, peace and gentleness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, patience and self-control—thrive.
It’s intended to be a place where we can come out from our hiding places and walk and talk with Him, face-to-face, and heart-to-heart.
I believe this is what He always intended for us.
I am to plant the seeds by sowing my prayers. He pulls the weeds by removing my fears and unbelief. Then His Love makes a path for my feet to run home; to return and rest dwelling safe in His arms.
Now, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.