THE GOOD SHEPHERD

 

THE GOOD SHEPHERD!

Jehovah Rohi

Matthew 2:5-7 (Ref. Micah 5:1-5)

 For this is what the prophet has written:

 6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
   are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come

a ruler
   who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.
’[d]”

         Have you ever wondered why God would chose to bring His son into a world in the most humble of circumstances: born from the womb of a Nazarene of no social status or standing and made His entrance in a manger among animals stench and dung. The creator of universe who owns it all, all of creation including our very breath enters our world in unexpected lowest undignified way.

 Philippians 2:5:

“In your relationship with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death even death on a cross.”(A criminal’s death)

         The creator resembled the created (became flesh), the most powerful ruler of the Universe became the helpless babe in need of earthly caretakers and protectors. To what end did he abase himself, and what caused this transition of emptying himself (becoming nothing). It is for our benefit: to feel what we felt and experience all our struggles in these fleshly (earthly) vessels so that we could come to him because He understands, because He knows what we are experiencing first hand. (ie: If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The servant is not above His Master…Paraphrase)

 Hebrews 4 15:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses (sympathizes), but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are_ yet did not sin.”

         When Christ was born and rested his head on a bed of straw and was wrapped with linen not fit for a King, but with what his earthly parents could offer out of their poverty, His first visitors were the Shepherds. Heaven rejoiced and Angels heralded the news to the lowest of men, to the loneliest of men, to the forgotten of men: The Shepherds. They were his first visitors who beheld the promise from Old and who reflected His heart. They offered their praise in fullness of heart.

 Luke 2: 8-20:

The Shepherds and the Angels8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest,
   and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”

        Then the three Magi payed their respect offering gifts fit for a King: Gold (for the Kings of Kings); Incense (for the Priest of All Priests); and Myrrh (To honor His sacrifice on the Cross). They understood that a King came so He could die. (The Nativity Story)

Matthew 2:9-12:

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east[e] went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

       The Kings of Kings was born among His subjects: The Shepherds. He was born in their midst as to declare I have come for the least of these, the poor, the hungry, the neglected, the forgotten, the oppressed, and I will be their head. I am the good Shepherd and will care for my sheep as was stated in Isaiah 40.

 I am the good Shepherd who will do the following:

Isaiah 40:11:

11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
   He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
   he gently leads those that have young.
A Shepherd who know that His sheep with be full of weariness and He will give His sheep rest in Himself and will daily bear their burdens (Psalm 68:9)

Matthew 11:28-30:

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
A Shepherd who will willingly protect and defend His sheep with my own life.

John 10:14-18:14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

I will remove those who scatter my sheep and do not care or protect them

Jeremiah 23: 1-4

The Righteous Branch

1 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. 2 Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the LORD. 3 “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4 I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD.

        This is our Savior’s heart! A true Shepherd and because He is such the proclamation in the Psalm of David stems from that realization: Because He is my Shepherd, I lack nothing. He is Jehovah Rohi!

Psalm 23: A psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
 3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
   for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
   through the valley of the shadow of death,[a]
I will fear no evil,
   for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
   they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
   in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
   my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
   all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
   forever.

        As our Lord restored Peter onto Himself and Ministry from the three denials by a camp fire marked by a Rooster Crowing and rewrote Peter”s story by the Sea of Tiberias where He cooked them breakfast and lavished grace, mercy, and love upon His disciple who now had laid hold of His frailty, a broken vessel, a Humpti Dumpti, devoid of arrogance and self reliance, He said in John 21:15-17: “Simon Peter, Do you love me more than these(fish)?” three times then the following instructions respectively: 1) then Feed my lambs, 2)then Take care of my sheep,3) then Feed my sheep”

Tend to them, Care for them, Protect them, Teach them, Correct them, but let all this be done in the power of My Spirit:

Galatians 5:22-23 

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
JEHOVAH ROHI, Good Shepherd, and Friend…..We Celebrate your birth and sacrifice on our behalf. As the three magi have done we honor you as King of Kings, Priest of All Priests, and The Lamb of God who was slain and has reconciled us to our Father and has torn the veil separating us from Him. God Most High, High Priest, Lion of Judah you are worthy of our praise and all that we are. May your heart shine in our lives. We have it all because we have “You” and you have given us yourself without limit. May our heart behold the Selfless King who stooped down and heard our cries to be redeemed and restored to the only One who could completely fill us and make us well: new. Glory to God in the Highest. Glory to God in the Highest. Glory be to God in the Highest

Now and Forevermore.

Merry Christmas!!!!!

Happy Birthday Good Shepherd!!!

Memory Verse: (Jars of Clay)

2 Corinthians 4:7-12

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

Reference:

  1. Bible
  2. The Nativity Story
  3. Sermon from GCC

DELAYS

 DELAYS

Accident Report submitted to my insurance company reads: Raining at times, getting off Ramp to go onto I-75, Vehicle 1 lost control, hit pole and ended up in ditch.

Date of Accident: January 2nd, 2005 @1pm

Payment to fix car (Collision): $3120.97

Rental: $275.00

Medical Payment: $2658 (Back alignment and electric treatment)

Total Payment: $6053.97

Violation: Insured lost control….

Ticket fee: $99.00 (It didn’t matter if I hydro-planned…..Why then are they called accidents?)

         My reason for remembering such a scary event is of tremendous importance: first and foremost to acknowledge His faithfulness of Old and to accept His delays as protection. I had made a trip to Cincinnati, Ohio to visit my Pastor and his family for Christmas of 2004, whom I had lived with for 9 months in 2002. It was a great time of reunion and just celebrating the reason for the Season:Jesus and also to usher the new year with all its promises. January 2nd was a Sunday and the day was far from ordinary. I had stayed in the same room I lived in 2002, but that morning was filled with apprehension and heaviness I couldn’t quite shake off. My dream had made the day all that puzzling. Here was my dream: I saw a off-white column with a glass light box on top of it. That light glass was lit and I could see so many birds (white ones) suspended upside down and motionless. In my dream, I started running towards the column, and was praying out loud: “Please God, don’t let them be dead!” and as I approached the column all of them were flapping their wings though upside down and relief filled my heart and I breathed a sigh. Okay don’t get freaked out about this part, but just at that very moment, I physically felt someone breath cold air on my neck (not imagined, but felt) to make all the hairs on my body stand up and I jumped out of my bed and stood erect mortified by what I had just experienced. Since my bed’s head board was near a window, I checked for cracks that may explain the unwelcomed cold breeze on my neck that made my whole body stand on Alert. I checked the door, it was the way I left it the night before…still locked and no apparent room for the cold breeze enter. I made the bed, took a shower and tried to spend time in Isaiah 53, but felt an oppression over me I couldn’t sake off, but still kept inviting Jesus into the situation.

        We arrived at the Church and worshiped. I sat through the sermon, but couldn’t tell you what was preached…I was in a fog I couldn’t shake it off….”Lord what is going on???” Church ended and I was ready to get back to Indianapolis, but as I headed towards the church doors after saying my goodbyes to my Pastor and his family, several of the church members wanted to visit with me: not one, two, or three….several…and I kept on saying: I am trying to get home at a decent hour and all these interruptions….The one time when interaction was not on my mind or on my agenda, that very day it came like a flood and I will be honest with you….I was irritated and was relieved when my last interaction ceased and I made my way to the parking lot. I remember praying for God to give me safe journey back since it started sprinkling when I got into my car and started my journey to my destination. The church was located less than a mile from the church, and I took the slow descent of the ramp leading onto I-75 towards Indianapolis at not more than 20 miles per/hour speed. I have never seen a ramp so curved or weirdly shaped, but I was steady then onto I-75, but instead of steady forward motion, my car hydro-planned and started picking up speed and momentum, which propelled it into a spinning 360 degrees motion couple of times. I remember every thing slowing down in my mind to realize: “Omg, my car is spinning, it is out of control”. The sober realization that three sure destinations awaited me was daunting: 1) the concrete divider of the Highway, 2) The Ditch on the other side of the concrete, and 3) Oncoming Traffic on one of the busiest Highways of Cincinnati (Lord Help). Any attempts to correct the now self ruling car was useless, BUT GOD who is rich in mercy, grace, love, and all good things ever created or given propelled my car onto the muddy ditch where my car hit a light pole (remember the column in my dream) which fell into the Highway, but there were no cars on the Highway……I am having a “Chris Tucker” moment : DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE WORDS THAT ARE COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH???? No Cars!!!!!! The light pole stopped traffic alright (Post Accident)….Complete stop! My Car was buried in a muddy ditch, but the windshield wasn’t broken, the airbag didn’t deploy, and the front side of my car was gone. The 360 motion of the car had twisted my body to where my back was now against the door and the seat belt around my neck: no broken bones, no blood, just been shifted. I sat in disbelief shaking….everything was a blurr…..There was a lot of commotion around me with police officers and firefighters….I can’t recount all that went on except that the police officer who was there first on the scene called a tow truck, moved my luggage to his car , and drove me to my Pastor’shouse.                                                                

        I was numb and overloaded with too much to process, but had enough strength to hall my stuff from the Patrol Car into my Pastor’s the house. Needless to say, they were surprised to see me so soon. I called my mom immediately who was in London and said: “Mom, I am okay, but I was in a car accident. I can’t remember all that was said except that I shared with her my dream and she responded with the following: “I have been on my knees for you for the last two weeks. I didn’t know what was coming, but this very day Mimi the Lord has saved you!”. Indeed mom, He has!!!! As I thought more and more about the dream, the fact that those birds were alive and not dead was not a coincidence. Think about it for a moment: If there were any cars going 65 to 70 miles per hour had hit a falling light pole death would be inevitable and I would have lived with that knowledge, grief, and burden for the rest of my life, BUT God who is rich in mercy delayed me enough to where there was no traffic (none) on one of the Busiest Highways of Cincinnati. Thank you for answering my prayers, even prayers prayed in my dreams and for moving my mother to intercede for me for two weeks. Thank you for the irritable and inconvenient delays which has saved me and others on that remarkable day. O foul breath of Satan, MY GOD IS MIGHTY TO SAVE!!!! I REMEMBER YOUR FAITHFULNESS LORD!!!!

He is an Awesome God who Rocks!!!!!

“GUARD YOUR HEART”
Proverbs 4:23:

23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.

        These very words were spoken to me by my Great Shepherd in May of this year as I sat in my car, crying to the living God to care for my hurting heart. Phil Wickam’s song: “You will be safe in His arms “ was His grace being poured out on me like refreshing water over a burnt soul. He was my only safe refuge. Since then I have tried to understand His instruction to “guard my heart” for the last 7 months and have searched for it as on searches for a treasure. It is amazing to me how the enemy always aims to wound our hearts so that the pain would cause us to fix our gaze on ourselves and not on the Glorious One. If you let it, pain would dictate your steps or make every one of your steps calculated to avoid likely encounters. One the other hand, it will make Jesus more real and His guidance ever needed in all aspects of life. It will cause you to wrestle with the Living God, your emotions, why He permitted such hurtful things to happen, and why He didn’t intervene ( I didn‘t say they were the right questions…but our humanity comes into play). In time, you will see that He was present as He is right at this moment, saw and heard what was said, and knew the motives of the hearts behind it when it happened and what was said…..And in that your heart will find comfort along with His sovereignty, and relinquishing it all in His capable hands is the only best move.

        Last week, a friend of mine asked me to have lunch with her and some sisters and I spat answers of mistrust in the hopes of guarding my heart, which ended up wounding my well to do friend . I hated how my experience back in May had truly colored my friendships and how I related to people. God in His love and mercy restored us back to one another in forgiveness and love. I love this friend more today and I am slowly on the road to allowing people in again. I love my Savior’s gentleness for His restorative hands who has placed sweet aromas of Himself around me. I am so thankful for the compassionate souls who have cried and sat with me in my times of utmost pain, and continually have pointed me to the Savior. Still the question of guarding one’s heart remained…..and it came like a flood as I read a FB status from none other than “Jesus” (How Hilarious that He makes it so obvious it was Him and would not share His Glory with anyone.) He reminded me as I stood in my friend’s apartment of the following scripture, I have memorized, cited, and stood upon it for the last at least 11 years of my life. It was as though the scales fell out my eyes and there it was in plain letters how I am to guard my heart:

Philippians 4:6-7: 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

        I kept on repeating it to myself as if I heard it for the first time and His joy engulfed me to the point of overflow. He wasn’t done speaking. I hurried for any utensil I could find to write down all the scriptures He brought to my remembrance. It was His perfect timing and everything fell into place. Here they are friends! See His deliverance of an anguished heart:

Isaiah 26:3: 3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you.

John14: 26-27: 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid

Colossians 3:14-16: 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

        My friend and I worshipped Him for His revelation with Fred Hammon’s song: “No Weapon”. I am in love with My Savior and He is right, all things work together for our good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. You are Awesome and You Rock!!!!! Hello Jesus J !!!!!

IMPOSSIBILITY

IMPOSSIBILITY

      My sweet sister has been sending me this particular scripture for the last couple of months. It is one of the simplest instruction from our Savior to His ever easily frazzled children: “Don’t be afraid, just BELIEVE” Mark 5:36. Every time, I have needed to be reminded of it, my sister would randomly send me an email with that scripture tagged to her email. The timing of her email has brought many smiles to my face and only God could coordinate such assurance. He is perfect at it. The last two weeks, I have been pondering over Luke 1 and I am now totally convinced that He wanted to usher me to this monumental chapter where that was illustrated and could not be missed.

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold: Luke 1: 5-19:                                  5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.[b] 16 Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”19 The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.”

      Zechariah was chosen by a lot (chosen by God at that specific time) to enter the Holy of Hollies and burn incense (the prayer of the saints) while the rest were praying outside the Temple to the Most High God : An audience of one with God, a privilege of worshipping through the clouds of incense, and a duty turned into an answer to prayer. God sends His angel Gabriel to herald His good news of a granted desire and wish to the family who has blamelessly served and walked with him , and a servant who knew Him and new of His faithfulness. The answer came and the desire granted with tremendous detail baring name, character, and choice of food for the one who was to be born, but it was met with human limitation “How could I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years”. Here is a servant who is well acquainted with the story of Abraham and Sarah (cloud of witnesses), a man who knows His God through His Laws, knows the promise of a coming Messiah, and God speaks to Him through an angel and He spouts his inability, but did not focus on God’s might. God silenced Zechariah because of his unbelief until the appointed time of John’s Birth. Elizabeth was now with Child!

The Birth of Jesus Foretold: Luke 1:26-38: 26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[c] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month37 For nothing is impossible with God.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

        The same angel Gabriel who had bore the good news to Zechariah was now at Mary’s door step telling her she will carry God’s son. Hello! If any impossible thing to imagine would be to be the mother to God’s son. First and foremost, she is betrothed to another and pregnancy out of wedlock would equal stoning for her unfaithfulness. How does one explain this pregnancy to the one you are engaged to and also to your own family. She must have felt alone and so afraid hence the angel instruction “don’t be afraid Mary”, but followed by the assurance “for nothing is impossible with God” and Mary in simple faith responded: “I am the Lord’s servant” and “May it be to me as you have said”. And when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth who was now with child a holy worship manifested in the womb of Elizabeth who knew of the Holy one who was in Mary’s womb. And Elizabeth said the following of Mary: “42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

        Beloved, it is blessed to believe friends! It is blessed to believe the Most High God who does not lie, who does change like the shifting wind, and who doesn’t change His mind. His promises are “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ and O how we have His blessed assurance that He will work it all out for our good and for His glory. He is an Amazing God worthy of our Allegiance, Trust, and Simple Believe. So as He has said in Mark 5:36: “DON”T BE AFRAID, ONLY BELIEVE”.

 QUOTE:The condition for a miracle is difficulty, however the condition for a great miracle is IMPOSSIBILITY” Angus Buchan (Faith Like Potatoes)