Saturday, May 14, 2011

He left

You may be familiar with an old story about how Jesus is our shepherd. And a good shepherd, when one sheep is lost, will leave the other 99 and go in pursuit to find the lost sheep. As I read yesterday, a thought struck me. I have been that one.

There was a time in my life and probably a time in yours when I felt certain that God has left me. My life was a mess, I couldn't feel His presence, I was alone. As I read the story about the one sheep that He went in search of I realized, He hadn't left me, I had left Him. Now, before you think further, I already knew I was the one that had walked away. That part wasn't new to me. But the thoughts that followed were. I had turned away from God. I had put my earbuds in my ears and cranked up the volume on the ipod. I couldn't hear Him because I wasn't listening. I couldn't feel Him because I was dead inside.

And as I look back, I can see His pursuit. He was pursuing me. I couldn't hear or see or feel Him and didn't want to and yet, He pursued me. I was the one lost sheep and He would do anything to bring me back. There were people that He put in my life that He used as His hands. I didn't recognize them as Jesus at the time, but that's who they were. Someone who, seeing I had a crying baby and a cart full of groceries, let me go in front of them in line. Someone who offered to buy me a cup of coffee and offered a shoulder to lean on. Someone who spoke words of comfort, encouragement and strength and yet didn't preach at me. Someone who called just to say "I've missed seeing you". These people were all Jesus. They showed me His love, His kindness, His forgiveness, His comfort. He pursued me.

Today, I am far from where I was back then, but I'm sure you know there are always those days. I am starting to feel a little worn down and getting a little sick and it began to distract me. I started thinking things like, "really, I'm getting sick again!". I started to feel discouraged. And I tried to pull up my boot straps and get back on track. When suddenly, there was a knock at the door. When I answered I saw a bouquet of flowers sitting on my porch with a thank you card unsigned. The love of Jesus went straight to my soul. I don't know who they were from, or what I had done to deserve a thank you card, let alone flowers, but they came at a time when I needed some encouragement. He pursued me.

Each week Pastor Chris tells us to go out and "Be the life of Jesus to our world". We are to do that because God is in pursuit of someone who has wandered away from the flock. Maybe they've wandered far, maybe they just got a little distracted, but He wants to use us to pursue them.
Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Do You Remember?

Deut. 1: 29-32 "Then I said to you, "Do not be terrified or afraid of them. The Lord your God who goes before you, He will fight for you according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place. yet, for all that, you did not believe the Lord your God..."

I was reading that passage today and though about all the times the Lord has asked me to do something and I said no, I don't want to, or doubted that I was capable and that God would provide a way for it to happen. Have you ever been there? Have you ever let your fear and doubt stop you? I remember when I was first asked to speak at one of our women's meetings. I had known that God was sending me in that direction. And yet, when the time came, I was scared. All of these doubts flooded my mind. What right do I have to teach women about God? Have I prepared enough? Do I really have a word from God to share with these women or am I fooling myself? Has God really prepared me? I have to think that's what the Israelites went through. They knew God was moving them in the direction of the promised land, but when they got there and God told them to take the land, they got scared.

They didn't look at God's track record and trust Him. They just let their fear stop them from doing what God had called them to do. And that angered God. It made Him so angry that He no longer allowed them to take the land as a consequence to their rebellion and disobedience. The next generation took the land.

When you are facing something that is scary, do you look at God's track record? Trust me, He has an amazing track record. In spite of the bad that has happened in my life I can look back and and see how God was working in that situation. He never left me. He has always been there, He has saved, He has prepared me, and He has been faithful.

So the next time you are afraid and consider letting your fear keep you from doing what God wants you to do; Look back at what He has done in your life. Then move forward and go into the promised land that He has prepared for you.