Wounded Sheep..Strong Sheep

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.

Awake Awake

Morning my friends. The Lord has reminded me of 3 words which I posted in 2020 which started with a post called “Awake Awake”. This post is a warning that the Lord God is a God who will judge righteously. We are called as followers of Jesus to stand for truth, justice and righteousness and not conform to this world. It’s a call to be ready and persevere in the times we are in. Trust in God.

I am re-posting these words again as I feel prompted by the Holy Spirit to do so. Please read them again or for the first time. I hope they bless you and speak to us all in some way for God’s glory and to advance His Kingdom. Perhaps there is a word in season for someone that will speak to their heart today.

The second post that linked to Awake Awake was The Heavenly Steed which talks of Jesus’ second coming and the glorious horse that bears Him. A reminder that Jesus is Lord and is coming again. The time is set and will not be delayed. He is the King of Glory. It’s a call to salvation for those who do not yet know Jesus as Lord. Call on Him whilst He is near and there is time.

The third word in the series is Take hold of today – Make it count which reminds us as followers of Christ that we are called to grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus and do His good works. The power of the Holy Spirit is at work in each one of us who has been born again into the Kingdom of God through faith in Jesus. One day we will each give an account to our loving Master Jesus.

Have a blessed day my friends.

Deep Clean

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.

Have a blessed day my friends.

It’s just like me cleaning every day 😂 and sing,sing,sing

Walking on Sunshine ☀️

Do you know or remember this song called “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves? It’s one of those songs that makes me smile every time I hear it. There’s a particular lyric which says “I’m walking on sunshine yeah and don’t it feel great”.

These lyrics remind me what our new life in Jesus is like – Walking on Sunshine and doesn’t it feel great!!!

Isn’t it good to reflect on that truth -that as Christians we are no longer walking in darkness- the darkness of sin, death, judgment and ignorance of our minds but we’ve discovered the truth about God through Jesus our Saviour and through his death and resurrection, we have crossed over from darkness into the light.

We are now light and walking in the light of Christ.

This is what the bible says. Ephesians 5:8 – “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord”

It’s so good to remind ourselves constantly of that truth. We have been rescued from the darkness of sin and death- Praise God. Not from our own efforts but through God’s rich love and mercy. Last Sunday the preacher encouraged us to thank God each day this week for the gift of salvation. Thank you God for saving me.

Now truthfully do I “feel” like I’m walking on sunshine all the time. I’d be lying if I said yes but the truth of what Christ has done for me is not altered by my feelings or circumstances. The truth does not change and is based on God’s Word and I make the decision to choose to believe it whether I “feel” like it or not. If I let my feelings rule then I’m on a slippery slope of trouble.

I am light in the Lord. I am a child of the light.

Now we know that as Christians once we’ve become light we are called to live as children of light – to continue walking in righteousness living godly lives. We encourage each other to walk worthy of our calling in Christ and help each other to pursue godliness. Being accountable and challenging each other in the right loving way. Not being all judgmental, gossiping and trying to dress it up as “telling the truth in love” – that’s not right or helpful. Let’s not forget gentleness and loving kindness when dealing with each other.

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”

What a great instruction. Live right, produce fruit through the Spirit of God now at work in us and…….Find out what pleases God. That’s the mandate.

Some Christians I know wonder or fret about what they should be doing for God. They worry in case they get it “wrong”. Paul gives us some simple instructions to help us here in these verses – find out what pleases God and then let’s just get on and do it.

So what pleases God?

We find that out from reading the bible for ourselves (no shortcuts here – you need to read and study it) and in being in fellowship with other believers where we are taught and discipled.

Here’s just a few things the bible says please God:

Faith in Him – Hebrews 11:6 – “without faith it is impossible to please God”.

Generosity and an unselfish attitude – God loves a cheerful giver – 2 Corinthians 9:7

A humble attitude – God does not like pride. In fact God opposes the proud. James 4:6 tell us that God’s face is against the proud.

An obedient attitude – Obedience is better than Sacrifice -1 Samuel 15:22

A peacemaker – Matthew 5:9

Jesus pleased God – “This is my son in whom I am well pleased”. Luke 3:22

So, we learn what pleases God from studying Jesus.

Jesus himself was:

Humble – “But made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant” Philippians 2:7

Selfless – He gave himself freely for us.

Obedient – “and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross”. He said to His father “not my will but yours be done”.

Forgiving – “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. Luke 23:34

Compassionate – “When He saw the crowds his heart moved with compassion” Matthew 9:36

Loving – “nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 8:39

These are just a few things which please God. There’s more you can discover in the bible.

I want to be a God pleaser. How about you?

Have a blessed day my friends.

#Freedom Day

Well today 19th July has been labelled “Freedom Day” here at home in England now that more Covid lockdown restrictions have been lifted. Given current circumstances though it’s not really a “Freedom Day” -we’re not all truly free as there are still restrictions in place and also a lot of people who can’t enjoy the full benefits for various reasons. Its not full freedom by any means.

I find it significant and interesting that our own Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Chancellor Rishi Sunak can’t participate fully in #Freedom Day as they have to follow the rules and self isolate having come into close contact with the Health Secretary who has Covid – although they did try some creative thinking or was it rule bending 🤔 to try and get the rule dis-applied to them. Thankfully they wisely did a U-turn and agreed to comply with current rules like responsible citizens.

You can’t write about #Freedom Day without thinking of true freedom and what that means. It will mean different things to different people dependent on their experiences and circumstances. As Christians we can truly celebrate a #Freedom Day that is available to everyone to participate in through simple faith in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the one who has set us free from the effects of sin and death so that we can live in true freedom and have ever lasting life. He took our punishment through His sacrifice and death on the cross. He was punished for us and we have obtained freedom through God’s grace and mercy.

My own personal #Freedom Day was 26th June 1976 when I asked God to forgive me for the wrong things in my life and accepted Jesus as my Saviour. I gave my life to Him and went on to be baptised in water as a sign of repentance and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Praise God that I’m truly free and I hope dear reader that you also have your own #Freedom Day to celebrate or if not, that you discover Jesus and become truly free.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:3-8

Although we may live under permanent or temporary physical restrictions, in Jesus we are truly free spiritually. Amen and thanks to our Father in heaven, Christ Jesus and Holy Spirit.

True freedom
Photo from 2015 trip to Robben Island. Freedom cannot be manacled