Harassed and Helpless

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.

When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.

Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

 

—Matthew 9:35-38

I am a sheep.

By myself, I don’t know what is best for me.

I might choose green grass to eat –right on the edge of a cliff– without even once understanding the danger.

I can’t fight a wolf.

If a predator comes after me, I must have protection or I will perish.

If I see no water to drink, I may wander aimlessly looking for it.

I am a sheep, but I’m not alone.

I have a Shepherd.

He knows what is best for me.

I must trust Him to guide me.

He chooses what grass I will eat and where I will eat it.

He protects me against my enemies.

There is none who attacks that He cannot stop.

I am a sheep, but I’m not alone.

I have a Shepherd.

Do you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

sheep Shepherd

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to My Voice

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It’s been a rainy afternoon—the kind that throws your sense of time off a bit because it looks like dusk at three o’clock.

My basset hound had the look about her that begged for a walk, so with leash in hand, we ventured outside.

A few feet into the yard, I became aware of the slightest sound of wind chimes delicately moving in the breeze.

Immediately, I was aware that it was quiet enough for my ears to acknowledge them.

With my mind in comparison mode, my thoughts quickly ran to an experience from just days ago.

I had been staying at a hotel near the ocean with friends for some much needed rest and calm.

The hotel had a very nice pool for its guests to enjoy, along with scheduled poolside events throughout the week.

Along with things like water games, hula hoop contests and making your own tie-dyed shirt, they also offered a game where those participating were given a card with numbers.

During that activity, everyone had to be very quiet to see if a number on their card was being announced.

On this particular occasion, my friends and I were not involved in the game.

Sitting almost at the edge of the pool deck, we were talking together when it happened—-

I noticed that the noise was gone.

Suddenly, everyone had stopped talking, listening only for the voice of the game announcer.

The significant thing to me–even then–was that I hadn’t even noticed that there WAS any noise, until it stopped.

I had grown used to the clutter of sounds around me, adapting my hearing to only selected conversation.

What would it take for me to really listen for God?

For all the noise to cease, listening only for His voice, like the delicate tones of wind chimes on a quiet, rainy day?

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My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.

–John 10:27

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listen

He Sees the Wolf Coming

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It was a very captivating nature movie, showcasing the lives of a mother bear and her two cubs.

To be honest, I didn’t want to miss a thing as I looked intently at each scene.

Drawing a deeper meaning than what was actually on the screen, a particular part of the movie really made an impression.

The movie was narrated, but the “acting” wasn’t acting at all, since it was just the filming of bears in the wild.

The narrator simply explained some of what was happening, adding comments of interest.

At one point, the mother bear and two very small cubs were walking together.

The narrator points out that a predator has come onto the scene.

A stealthy wolf is walking slowing with a determined gait, his eyes locked onto the cubs.

He means them total harm, without apology.

The camera zooms in on his cold, hard gaze as he continues to move forward with undaunted resolve.

Zooming out, the viewers see the mother bear and cubs walking along, unaware of the danger immediately behind them.

What was it that I was seeing in all this?

I realized that the bears were like people.

We can be looking ahead, unaware of the danger, as Satan lurks quietly behind us, with a resolute intent to harm.

As the wolf’s lean legs planted each step with purpose, I could picture the Enemy moving forward, silent and vicious, waiting to attack you and me.

We are definitely just tiny cubs in this world.

Yet, we need not fear.

As we walk along, Jesus is with us.

He is aware of the “wolf” following behind.

He warns us of the “wolf’s” presence.

He will not leave our side.

Jesus speaks of us in the Bible as being His sheep.

He is our Shepherd:

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.  All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.  I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  

 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.  The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”

When the Enemy lurks behind us, we are not alone.

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have life

I Was in Prison

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“Do you want to go to church?” my husband asked.

We were out of town on a trip and the next day would be Sunday.

Just down the highway from where we were staying, we had noticed a church.

That’s where we would go.

When Sunday morning came, we pulled into the parking lot and began searching for the entrance.

Making our way inside the large building, we sat down in a meeting room.

Quickly, we were greeted by the pastor who told us that the next service would be across the hallway.

We made our way to the sanctuary and found seats.

A man came in alone and sat down in front of us.

He seemed to have some physical issues, with one shoulder higher than the other.

It was difficult for him to look up and straight ahead.

His pants were badly torn.

He was wearing pull over rain boots, and it wasn’t raining.

When the pastor spoke on a specific scripture, the man took his own Bible and looked up the passage to follow along.

The Bible was worn and dirty.

When the service was over, my husband and I spoke with the man.

His name was George.

He told us he had been coming to the church for about a year.

We offered to take him out for lunch.

He said that he already had plans.

I was disappointed.

I had even hoped that if he had lunch with us, we could also take him to a store and buy some pants for him.

We said goodbye and went on our way.

I will remember George for a long time, sitting there, bent over, turning the pages of his Bible.

We didn’t actually get to help him in any way, but God knows that we cared.

 

Jesus once told the story of the sheep and the goats:

 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

—Matthew 25:31-36

Those on the right asked Him when it was that they gave Him food or drink, invited Him in, clothed Him, took care of Him when He was sick, or visited Him in prison.

He replied by saying that whatever they had done for the least of people, they had done for Him.

As each day unfolds, I need to remember that.

If Jesus had badly torn clothing, would I want to get new clothes for Him?

If Jesus looked hungry, would I want to buy food for Him?

Jesus wasn’t sitting in the pew in front of me last Sunday in church—–

 

but George was.

 

 

clothed me