Wow it’s day 10 already – we are half way through this fast. I am doing well with the fast I’m on but I must admit it is very difficult while at work. I’m feeling weak and tired and just want to get off work while I’m there, I KNOW this is not good as I need to make money but even deeper than that is I need to be a good employee, honor God and not whine, make excuses etc. A couple people know I’m on the fast but that’s it and that is how it should be. I let them know for support and prayers. Yesterday everyone was eating some fantastic looking nacho’s and it was killing me. LOL that really only makes me stronger. Ok enough about the struggle, today I’m in John chapter 10.
It’s all about the “Good Shepherd” and his sheep. This story and the even the picture above that I posted just reminds me of being a little boy, it reminds me of such “old school” church and I really don’t like the feeling it gives me. I for the most part I just skip over this section of Scripture, I know it, I know what it means and I just don’t feel “good” reading it, writing about it or preaching it.
The ONLY memory I have of any church as a child was one that my mom sent us to, she would get us up early on Sunday morning and we would walk a couple miles to this church. It was a little church (I think it was Baptist) and we would go to Sunday School then church service. Now it was just us kids going not my mom or my dad. I’m not sure how long this lasted but I didn’t enjoy it one bit. I remember near the end of this time in church we would take the .50 cents our mother gave us for offering and go to the soda shop and have a milk shake with it and then walk home saying we went to church. This is my entire memory of church as a child. THIS story and THIS picture reminds me of those days!!
So today this is where I am in scripture, my first thought was to just skip over it and move on but the Lord said “no, I want you to read it” — I am not sure how to express this, how to word this without sounding cold. But as I was reading this I kept seeing myself and the place I was 20 years ago, 10 years ago and 5 years ago. The Lord was speaking to me about my progression downhill as a shepherd. There is NO DOUBT in my mind that the Lord called me to ministry, to preach, to pastor and the feed the sheep. My life was all about the sheep, all about finding the lost, keeping the sheep fed and protected. I LOVED what I did, I LOVED being a pastor and I LOVE the flock that the Lord had given me over the years.
I was not a perfect pastor and I had things in my life I kept buried praying they would go away one day. As the years passed by things got worse and worse for me. My finances were a mess and hidden, my private life was kept under control most of the time, my marriage was not good, I did not honor my wife. When it came to church as time went on I expect more and more, I need more money, better living conditions and blah blah blah…then one day I became the “bad shepherd” that Jesus is teaching about in this Scripture. It happened and I didn’t even realize it. I have to say GOD was so faithful and true and He never gave up on me… but for me, I let go of Him and didn’t even know it.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep. ~John 1-:11-13~
Verse 13 hit me like a ton of bricks — the hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep – This is what I had become!!!
Well, praise be to God I am no longer that man and God still loves me and God will still use me. It has been a long road but on this road, I DIED — any part of me that is raised up it is by God and GOD ALONE!!!
For me today was a tough one but I’m SO thankful for this day and the Love God has for me to even reveal this to me in this way.
Stay strong on the fast friends — God will show you things that will change your life