Ephesians 5:8-10 – “Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases God”
As followers of Jesus we are to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to God. The bible tells us about 6 things, actually 7 behaviours that God does not like at all.
I’m sure you’d agree that some of these behaviours we too would think are extremely bad but some like being proud or telling lies we could be tempted to ignore but this is what Proverbs 6:16 tells us:
“Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion:
eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies,
hands that murder the innocent; and
a heart that hatches evil plots,
feet that race down a wicked track,
a mouth that lies under oath, and
a troublemaker in the family”
Lord we want to live our lives in ways that are pleasing to you. Help us keep our feet on the paths of your right ways as you reveal to us in your precious Word, the Bible. Let us live today and tomorrow lives that are pleasing to you as we walk out our faith in your son, Jesus Christ. May your Holy Spirit convict our hearts of sin and wrong and may we turn in repentance to you through the richness of the grace and mercy that you pour out through Jesus on us as your children. Thank you Lord that when you look at us who are hidden in Christ Jesus you see your Son in whom you were well pleased. Thank you that in Jesus and through the work of the Holy Spirit we are empowered to live a life pleasing to you. Praise God. Amen
This weekend we have our first conference and prayer & prophetic day on Saturday in Stourbridge with Eagle Raisers and our dear Eric & Jackie McKenna. It was Eric who (gently!!) encouraged me to start my blog after many years of dithering.
It’s been a long time since we have been able to meet face to face because of Covid and I’m really looking forward to it.
Eric is one of those leaders who is a great encourager and teacher. I’m so looking forward to the weekend and am expectant to have some good things to share with you over the next weeks coming out of the day together.
The last time we gathered at Eagle Raisers was in October 2019. At that time I had a beautiful picture which I shared called The Wind of God’s spirit.
If you are interested then this is the link to Eagle Raisers and the ministry channel they have on Youtube here with a video by my dear friend, Mary.
So a couple of weeks ago I posted Refreshing Company about 3 believers named Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus, who the Apostle Paul commended for being people who had by their visit refreshed him and the other believers in Corinth.
Paul encouraged recognising such people, so today I want to give a quick shout out and thank you to some “Refreshers” that I know.
First off my fellowship friends who have journeyed with me for 22 years now. We have met regularly on Wednesday evenings and when Covid kept us apart we discovered Zoom and WhatsApp video. So to Mary, Geoff, Karen, Deb, Terry, and Heather thanks for refreshing me through your prayers, reading the bible together and your giftings in the Holy Spirit. You’re awesome and I thank God for each one of you x
Next my work buddy Rachel who just by her bubbly and caring nature is such a blessing to me at work. She picks me up when I’m feeling low but is also great at challenging me when I’m wallowing in a bit of self pity because work is hard and I just need to get over myself. I remember asking God to send me some Christian friends at work and he answered my prayer by blessing me with Rachel. She is a joy.
Lastly, but not least in any way are the lovely bloggers that I follow on here. There are so many of you that regularly pour out refreshment for us readers through your writings. There is such a variety of great writing on here and I always find something that makes me smile and encourages me. You know who you are and you’re great. Bless you all.
We recently returned from a church weekend away in beautiful Wales. It was so lovely to spend this time away in fellowship with our Christian family and to hear great teaching. Sharing meals together, chatting, fun, worship, prayer…all those things pre-Covid I took for granted. How precious they are.
The Holy Spirit was certainly present and moving in our midsts during that weekend away and many shared what they received from the Lord. Today, I want to share a picture that my dear friend Heather received and also the bible verses which the Lord gave her about the picture.
I believe there are brothers and sisters in Christ who connect with us through this blog who also need to hear this.
Heather saw a picture of a large flock of sheep who were all moving in one direction and from her perspective onto new pastures. At the front she could see some really strong and healthy sheep who were forging ahead with the Shepherd walking alongside them. However, at the back of the flock there were some sheep lagging well behind. The stragglers who were struggling.
These sheep were all wounded in some way. Some were limping, injured and crippled. Some had bad eyesight or were partly blinded and couldn’t see clearly where they were going. They kept bumping into things. Other sheep couldn’t hear clearly what the Shepherd at the front was saying. They were partly deaf and asking “What’s He saying”
These sheep at the back felt like losing heart and giving up. They couldn’t keep up with the other sheep. They were struggling and falling further behind. They were discouraged. They didn’t feel like they belonged.
However, the Shepherd was looking back and He noticed those sheep. He left the other sheep and goes right to the back of the flock to them. He starts calling each of those sheep by name because He knows them by name. He tells each one that He knows their name. The Shepherd tells each one that He will walk with them. He will heal them and He will take them into the new pasture.
These are the bible verses from Ezekiel:
“For thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I Myself will search for My flock and seek them out. As a shepherd cares for his sheep on the day that he is among his scattered flock, so I will care for My sheep; and I will rescue them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock and I will let them lie down [to rest],” says the Lord God. “
I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bandage the crippled, and strengthen the weak and the sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong [who have become hard-hearted and perverse]. I will feed them with judgment and punishment.” Ezekiel 34:11-17
There is great comfort and encouragement in this picture as Jesus who is our great and chief Shepherd seeks out those sheep who are lost and wounded but there is also I believe a gentle warning to those who are forging ahead at the front.
There is a danger that those sheep who are strong in faith and doctrine and pressing ahead will not remember and help those in the flock who are weak and struggling. They could become hard hearted to those who are more weak in faith or wounded. Those limping and carrying wounds may need help and support from past emotional wounds and abuse. Those not seeing or hearing clearly could be affected by false teaching or doctrine or sin. Let us not forget that the Lord has given gifts of ministry and service within the church that we may help each other grow and mature.
Is the Lord also calling you by name to walk alongside and help one of His wounded sheep with Him today?
Are you a wounded sheep who is suffering? Then be encouraged because Jesus the great Shepherd has seen you, will come to you right where you are and knows exactly what you need to heal and restore you. Don’t give up but look up.
Thank you Lord that you found me when I was lost, weak and hurting. Now let me also be a shepherd to those you bring into the fold. Amen.
So following on from my last post Purity and Preparation my friend Heather (who has guest posted here) told me this story which is a great encouragement.
Heather had decided to give her kitchen floor a scrub on her hands and knees with a scrubbing brush. Her floor didn’t look dirty because she mops it regularly but she felt prompted to get right down close and scrub it.
To her surprise the water in her bucket was soon black and dirty and she couldn’t believe how much ingrained dirt came out which the mop had missed.
She felt the Lord say that this can be the same for us. On the surface everything can look nice and clean but the Lord wants to get down deeper into some of those areas we just give a lick to and give us a deep clean. A deep, deep clean. Some of those bad habits and bad attitudes need to be submitted to God and broken in our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit and Cleansed by Jesus’ blood.
Lord you know which parts of our lives, our hearts and our attitudes need a deep clean. Come by your Holy Spirit Lord and show us where you want us to go deeper with you and what needs to change. Cleanse us Lord we pray and lead us deeper with you.