Goat or Sheep?

Goat or Sheep?

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.’“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:32-46 NIV

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words When We Look At AHCA!

Based upon God’s Word stated by Jesus–which political party is more like Him–the Sheep or the Goats?

goats and sheep.jpg

When we learn to be more like Jesus by doing what He did and would do, then we can claim to belong to Him.

 

 

 

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The Lord Is!

The Lord is my my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me to lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for name’s sake.(Psalm 23:1-3 NIV)

A familiar passage of scripture reference should always be re-viewed for fresh introspection and although what I am inspired to say today may not be fresh for some, it will encourage others. We have no need to fear what the enemy might do when we know–The Lord is–everything we need.

Since David was a shepherd caring for his father’s sheep, he knew exactly what a shepherd’s role was–as a caretaker for the flock which would later provide for the family.

So what does a shepherd do? The shepherd’s role is to make sure the sheep–all of the flock–are kept safe from harm, led to good grazing areas and by water. The shepherd makes sure that the sheep lack for nothing and when some stray or fall off cliffs, the shepherd is there to lead them back to safety or to rescue them, making sure they get back in the sheepfold unharmed.

Considering the fact that most leaders in the churches are supposed to model the role of a shepherd, are they doing so? Are church leaders feeding the sheep or fleecing the sheep? Are they concerned with the welfare of the sheep or do they only care about their own well-being? Are they guiding the sheep along right paths–The Word of God–or are they pimping The Word, selectively, to make the sheep think they are more than they are and emptying the pockets and bank accounts of the masses?

If we truly understand the picture that David paints for us of the role of a shepherd, we’d have to admit that many of our church leaders are not good shepherds–with a heart to please God. And this is why so many congregants are mislead, misused and abused by those in leadership for their hearts are far from God and when they distort The Word of God for personal gain–the enemy gets a foothold in the heart of the building which influences the sheep and they are lost.

But if The Lord is–our Great Shepherd–we are confident that all of our needs are met in Him. We know that He will never lead us astray, but will always lead us to rich pastures (or passages in The Word) so we’ll be well fed and have our thirst quenched by The Word. When The Lord is our Shepherd, we can sleep at night without worry about tomorrow because we know that angels are guarding us throughout the night and we have nothing to fear. When The Lord is our Shepherd–He speaks those things to us that the Father says and we develop a desire to please the Father–knowing how He wants us to live, thrive and survive the attacks of the enemy.

The Lord is–our healer, our comforter, our provider, our counselor, our teacher, our guide through all the muck we face in life and when we hear and obey–we are victorious and nothing the enemy does, no weapon tossed our way, will have any effect on our lives or our desire to please God. The Lord is everything we will ever need and He will lead us to those He has anointed and appointed to lead His sheep–in all truth, according to The Word.

We need to know The Word for ourselves so when we hear someone say something that is not The Word, we’ll know it and not be led astray, opening the door for the enemy to step in and destroy our lives. Know The Word–Know The Lord. If we don’t know The Word, any fool can lead us astray when they make sounds like they know The Word, when they don’t even know The Lord. Be wise, knowledgeable and realize that wolves (in shepherd’s clothing) disguise themselves with just enough Word to get close enough to devour. If they are not saying what The Lord says and reminding people who The Lord is–run and don’t look back!

Why Jesus Said, “My Father and I Are The Same.”

“I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30 NIV)

This statement has triggered controversy for generations since many have not understood why Jesus said this or to whom. The simple explanation is this–God the Father and God the Son are one in purpose and intent. They do not vary nor are they ever in conflict with one another. God is Spirit, and loved us so much He decided that the only way to reconcile mankind back to Him, was to make the ultimate sacrifice, the blood sacrifice that many recognized as atonement for sin, so He came–wrapped in flesh and born of a woman–to experience life as we do–tempted to sin, but didn’t. Under the Law, a pure lamb was to offered and Jesus is the pure Lamb–sacrificed for the sins of man–for all who believe.

But let’s go back and see what led to this statement when the Jews questioned Jesus’ veracity.

John 10:24-29

v. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

v.25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me,

v.26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.

v.27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

v. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand,

v. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

What follows is the attempt by them to stone Jesus for blasphemy–accusing Him of claiming to be God when He was a mere man.

Some people–those who say they believe and those who don’t–still do not understand that Jesus and God are one. When we pray to the Father, in Jesus’ name, we are talking to both and Jesus said (in another verse of scripture), whatever we asked of the Father in His name, it would be given to us. When we attempt to separate God as one entity and Jesus as another, and Holy Spirit as another, we nullify the power of the three since they are One in purpose. I have never understood how people can say they believe in God and yet not believe God or in how they can establish, “Jesus Only,” doctrines.

Before Jesus came (God in the flesh), God spoke to the people through the prophets or whoever else He chose to use. While He was here on earth, He was limited by His fleshly body to a point, but He knew what people were thinking and He knew all the Father had spoken to those of old and this is why the Pharisees were amazed at the knowledge He had since He had not been taught by them. Jesus is The Word so He would certainly know The Word as God spoke it to those who were before Him. Now, since His ascension back to heaven, we have access to Him through Holy Spirit and when we are filled with His Spirit and allow His spirit to guide us in all things, we no longer have need for others to “tell us” what The Lord says about anything. But this is for those who Believe! God is yet speaking to us, directly–and those who know His Word, know His voice when we hear Him and He knows all who belong to Him, by our obedience to His Word. Glory Hallelujah!

When we belong to God, we listen and obey. If we do not belong to God, we will not hear and certainly will not obey. So, when people claim to believe in God yet encourage or promote others to live in opposition to His Word, they are really saying they believe in a force greater than them, but since they do not what God has said, they cannot believe God.

Jesus is the Great Shepherd, I am one of the sheep who belongs to Him and I know His voice because I know what the Father has said. It is my relationship with God through His Son, that I can stand firmly on The Word as my foundation for living and knowing how to live–unconditionally, but also knowing that loving comes with the responsibility of correction, and instruction. 

God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ are one and since I belong to them, my purpose is the same as theirs–to bring all into the knowledge of who He is, acceptance of the work on the cross for our sins, and encouraging obedience in all things so we can all hear, “Well done” and live with Him for all eternity.

More about what Jesus said and why, next time.

According To His Truth!

“Teach me your ways, O LORD that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you. With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever”(Psalm 86:11,12 NLT).

How long has it been since we asked God to teach us–His ways–according to His truth?

This is probably why our society is in the shape it is today! We have not asked God to teach us anything, but have been willing to listen to any and everyone who has something to say that–sounds good. And then we wonder why–we don’t hear God speaking to us. If we don’t know His voice, how can we hear Him?

The only way we’ll ever understand when God is speaking and when people are speaking (their version of truth) is by knowing what He has said in His Word. This cannot be said often enough. If we know His Word, we’ll know His voice because He will not say anything contrary to His written Word! This is why Jesus said through John, “My sheep know my voice and another they will not hear (or listen to, or obey).”

Until we determine, collectively, to hear and obey His voice–our prayers are in vain. It is not that He does not hear us, but that we cannot hear Him or choose to ignore Him when we hear Him because sometimes–what He has to say–we just don’t want to hear.

In verse six of this Psalm, the psalmist is asking God to hear his prayer and then goes on to tell Him all of the wonderful things He is to him. Is that what we do or do we just ask–selfishly for those things we want?

Prayer–our communication with God–should not just be about asking for things, but praising Him for who He is to us and our gratitude because He is who He is!

If we want to see a change in our society–change worth having that eliminates the hatred and violence–then those of us who know Him and will hear His voice when He speaks–need to know how to pray, hear, and respond;  know His voice and obey!

Prayer changes things, but only when those who are praying are willing to hear and obey and then do things, according to His Truth!

 

Know His Voice and Follow!

“But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:26-28 NKJV).

What would happen to children if they did not know their parent’s voice in the midst of chaos–in a crowd? What usually happens when children hear their parent’s voice and they recognize what’s about to happen because they know the “tone”of that voice?

In response to questions by the religious leaders of the day, who kept trying to determine who Jesus was, He told them–and basically what He was saying was this–“because I did not give you the answer you wanted to hear, you do not believe me.” But then He continues by letting them know–they did not really know or understand God by being in relationship with Him; if they did,they would have recognized that Jesus was only doing what the Father had instructed Him to do.

We cannot hear God or understand clearly what scripture is saying to us today, unless we have a relationship with God and know His voice above all the mindless, godless chatter that we hear. Not everyone who professes to believe in God–knows His voice. But those who have a relationship with Him–can commune with Him–and know His voice and follow the Great Shepherd.

The shepherd’s role in the natural is to take care of the sheep–feed, protect, and guide. The role of the Great Shepherd is the same–provide for us, protect us and guide us and we are protected from the enemy when we “hear His voice” and “follow” His instructions and directions.”

The enemy (sometimes in sheep’s clothing) deceives and masquerades as a ministering angel, but is role is to steal, kill, and destroy. He is a master of deception and the father of liars. The enemy today, attempts to thwart the Word of God by twisting and curling God’s Word into so many knots of deception that they really make themselves look foolish. Anyone who has a relationship with God is not deceived or fooled by the machinations of the enemy and God will not allow those who know Him to become fuel for the fodder that the enemy spreads.

If greatness for any nation is going to abound–it will be because of those who “know God’s voice and follow Him,” not the latest trends of treachery and political correctness. God is yet speaking, but many are  not hearing or believing because they do not know His voice.

Know the voice of God by comprehending clearly His Written Word and communing with Him on a daily basis. When we lack wisdom–we seek Him, not those who do not know the voice of God and we know them because of their lack of understanding God. Don’t put yourself in the position to be plucked out of God’s hand because of the enemy’s deceptive practices.  Remember–he wants to destroy every chance of happiness and joy that God has promised. The enemy will lie at every turn and try to use God’s Word to support his lie. When we know the Word, we cannot be deceived by those who manipulate the Word for their advantage. God knows who belongs to Him and He knows who the enemy is and those who are cloaked in deceptive practices.

Know God’s voice and do not follow the others who attempt to mimic Him!

Pulpit Idiocy!

One of the reasons our society at-large is in the shape that it is in is because of some of  those in leadership in churches. When leadership fails to live up to standards of integrity and virtue, then the whole house (for which it leads) is subject to failure!

This didactic is not about casting judgment upon those who have exercised no wisdom in the things they do, but it is an attempt to bring to the forefront–awareness–so that all of the idiocy that begins in a pulpit–regardless of denomination–is exposed and those who perpetrate it have room to repent and desist.

First of all, if a person has never been taught The Word in a structured, educational environment that provides guidance in extrapolating, dissecting and “rightly dividing the word,” they should never be allowed to present information to others that they do not understand.  Why does this happen? When the leadership is not led by God, but by emotions or familial connection, we end up with idiots in a pulpit.

Does that mean that everyone with a degree in theology or Christian Education belongs in a pulpit? No, it does not.  We have all seen the messes created with some who hold degrees and titles who–because of their lack of relationship with God–have  made a mockery of the church, Christianity and all that it involves.

Who’s left? For those who “hire” the pastor or church leader by any other name, accountability lies with them.  If their relationship is not right with God, they may end up making a decision that will prove detrimental to the whole body. Congregations need to know–if the leadership is not living a godly life–they are under no obligation to support idiocy and should not support idiocy.  Unfortunately, many people in the congregation of a church are cajoled “to forgive” those who commit transgressions and move on, but few have actually forced the guilty leadership to repent and rethink what they’re doing.  As a result, wrong-thinking people continue to lead entire congregations astray and many have bullied the congregation into allowing them to keep their position. If the people–in the congregation–understood The Word–this could never happen. There are far too many wolves in our society, pretending to be something they are not and far, far too many sheep who fall into their clutches.

How do we get rid of the idiocy in the pulpit? Every born-again believer needs to understand The Word for themselves and when they hear and see conduct that is not of God in the leadership, they should act to rid themselves of that person. If more people did this, we would have fewer people in leadership positions, conning the people.

How do we know when there is idiocy in the pulpit? When the leadership (male or female) is abusing/misusing their position with members of the congregation. No one in a church should be subjected to sexual advances from any church leadership for any reason. That is not God speaking to them, but the devil himself.  No one should be subjected to listening to a preacher who has proven themselves to be less than honest, never really teaches The Word, but is always fussing and negative about those in the church. No church should be subjected to those who steal from the church in an effort to make themselves look good. No one should ever have to feel that they have to support idiocy when they see it–when the pastor wants more for a salary than the church can support. That is total idiocy! And then we have the church leaders who want to “build unto themselves a mini-kingdom” and expect the congregation to foot the bill, whether building is needed or not–idiocy!

How do we avoid the pulpit idiocy? The Word tells us that we ought to always pray. We should pray about where we worship, asking God to reveal everything we need to know about a situation before we settle there. We should pray for the leaders–all over the land–in every church–that they will hear and obey the voice of God. We should know The Word for ourselves so when we hear error being taught, we know it and can do something about it. We should pray for ourselves and our families, and church congregations that they would understand the legal ramifications for the role and duties of a church. Every person attending a church as a member and supporting it has a right to know how decisions are made and how money is spent. When leadership is found not living according to the Word, the congregants should make it known and with discussion–provide an avenue for the leadership to get it together or leave. These should be the only two options.  If the leadership won’t listen to the congregants, then the congregants should leave and find a place of worship where the leadership hears God.

One of the biggest problems we have with church leadership today is the practice of nepotism. Every son thinks that if their father is a pastor, they should be next in line. Churches should never be treated like a family business; especially if no training has been afforded to those being put in leadershipFathers and mothers need to stop “calling” their sons into ministry and allow God to be God in the lives of their children. Not every offspring of a preacher was intended by God to preach, but in our society that seems to be the rule rather than the exception. When we do not do things God’s way, we mess up and end up with idiocy in the pulpit.

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to be more sensitive to You in hearing and obeying Your voice and not the one of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Remind us to pray about everything we do–where we worship, how we support that place and who we should “hear” as a leader. And when we find idiocy, help us to be bold enough to expose it for the benefit of all. Amen!