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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Life In the Flock

The Lambs of the Flock

"I have gone astray like a lost sheep...”  Psalm 119:176

Our Heavenly Father is a loving Father. Look at the beautiful garden He placed Adam and Eve in. It was beautiful and complete with everything that they needed to thrive. But, Eve strayed and got tangled up in the snare of the enemy. With just one bad decision, both Adam and Eve found themselves outside of the presence of God. What happened? Why did they stray?

In the Bible, God compare’s us to sheep, and rightfully so; sheep can’t survive without a shepherd. Think of all the other animals that can live on their own in the wild; bears, lions, coyotes and even some types of farm animals. But sheep can’t live on their own; within a day they are over a cliff or tangled up in the briar patch somewhere. If God said you are like a sheep, you can’t make it on your own. You will get tangled up within a day. One wrong decision can set you on a path that leads you right out of the blessings of God just like Adam and Eve. Think about it, what decisions have you made without seeking God? Are you tangled up in a mess? That’s certainly no little thing! 

When Jesus came things changed. He was the Good Shepherd that goes after the lost sheep. He left the ninety nine and went after the one sheep that strayed. He is the same today as He was yesterday; He reaches out to you with loving arms if you have strayed away. If you have made a mistake or made a wrong decision that has got you tangled up in a mess, cry out to Him and He will lift you out of the pit or the briar patch you are tangled up in.

Now, stay close to Jesus, He is The Good Shepherd the One that you must listen to in order to be safe.

Don’t Run After Every Thing...

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way…” Isaiah 53:6

We must face it. We are a bit like sheep, and it is our soul (mind, will, and emotions) that are the sheep-like part of us. Our soul strays away and runs after every thought. With just one fleeting thought, we can be disconnected from the conversation, and off we go into la-la land.

This is how it works: you can be sitting in a Bible study or an important meeting, and embrace the thought of how hungry you are. This one thought can lead your mind to stray into the kitchen and feast on the thought of German-chocolate cake. All the while, the meeting is still going and you have zoned out on the most important part. The good news is that this can stop today. You don’t have to run after every thought!

Once you understand that your mind is the sheep-like part of you, you will have to build a fence so that your mind does not stray away anymore. A fence is a predetermined boundary that you set up in your mind. Your spirit is the shepherd part of you that keeps your soul inside this fence. Your spirit is strengthened through worship and the Word of God. When your spirit is strong in the Lord, it can keep your soul or mind from running after fleeting thoughts. Your spirit keeps the fence up and says no to those thoughts when they are offered. A fence is built ahead of time. You determine what you will allow yourself to think on and what you will not allow.  Your mind needs to be shepherded in green grass; good thoughts full of life.

 “…Whatsoever is pure, lovely, and of a good report …think on these things.”  Phillipians 4:8

The ~Sheep~ Flock Response

Through age and time; God knew our body would be exposed to injuries that would create wounds that would need to heal.  He knew we would never live a life without pain and wounding.  This is proven by how He designed our body.  Our body has been built to respond to injury.

For example; the most common ways a wound occurs is through injury due to trauma (a thorn punctures your skin), or an invader (pathogen such as bacteria/virus) gets beyond our natural protective barriers (skin and the mucous membranes that line our nose, mouth, throat, lungs, etc).  We have a built in “911” call that goes throughout our body that calls for “HELP” when we are wounded through either one of these methods.  This process is called inflammation and is one of the first stages in wound healing. Inflammation is a type of survival mode.  There is damage, but work is being done to repair and clean up the damage and prevent further wounding.

Our body begins to send signals (chemicals, enzymes, proteins) that send out a message to specific “helpers”.  Those helpers get the message and come to help repair the damage.  The response your body has when there has been wounding is astounding.  Our body reacts as a community; helping one another to repair and restore that which was hurt.

This process would fail to happen if it were dependent on just one type of cell.  It needs many types of cells to help in order for healing to begin.  Each “helper” that receives the call for help and responds, has it’s own function.  Some cells come to clean up, some come to patch up what’s been breached, some fight off harmful bacteria, and some are still calling for more help.  Each one has it’s own role and each role is critical.

I believe that 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 MSG says it best.

The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as the many membered body of Christ: every part is dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.

God has designed us to help one another.  As we can see in the design of our own body, we need relationships with other Christians in times of trouble. Other sheep of the flock to look out for us and us for them.

“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me — you did it to me.’ – Matthew 25:40

In closing; I find it completely fantastic that the Word of the Lord so often refers to sheep and in the reference compares us to His sheep, His flock. When I visit my daughter; I often sit in a swing that look out over the back pasture that is filled with sheep as far as the eye can see. I am reminded that being a sheep is a wonderful thing ... in a whole lot of ways.

Thank You Lord for including me in Your Flock.

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