Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fear Not, Little Flock!

Repairer of Broken Walls Ministry

This is my first blog posting. In this blog I intend sharing in a transparent way, thoughts from my personal devotional life and ministry:  

I teach at a Bible College part-time, but in the summer when classes are out, I do not receive income from the college. The small amounts that trickle in, come from itinerant speaking/ministry commitments. Nevertheless I have had an enormous amount to accomplish this summer, including the work on my PhD., and have been feeling additionally driven to generate income, barely being able to allow myself to rest. On the weekend just past, I experienced one of the worst fibromyalgia “wipe outs” I have had in a long time.

However… for several weeks now, the words of Luke 12:27 have been going around and around my head: “Consider the lilies of the field: they toil not, neither do they spin…”

This passage is so familiar, that I did not really pay attention, other than to think that I might put it on my Facebook ministry page sometime. I also took a picture of a lily in full bloom. This is an “Easter lily” that someone gave me several years ago. I have kept it, and it continues to flower every year, with more and more blooms.

Then, on Sunday night and Monday morning this week, Psalm 23:1 kept going around my head. Again, a very familiar passage, but I felt that I was to pay attention to just verse 1. On Sunday night, before I went to sleep, I said this verse aloud, as a declaration, from the Holman Christian Standard Bible: “The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I lack.” I repeated this declaration several times, each time actually naming the things I do not lack: health, provision, etc.

On Monday I felt that I should look at this verse more closely. Prayer time was so filled with the Lord’s presence, that I really, deeply, profoundly knew that “because of my position within the fold of the Shepherd, there is nothing I lack” (my words). In looking up the word that is translated “want” or “lack” in that verse, I discovered that it means, “to lack what one needs.” And so: “because of my position within the fold of the Shepherd, there is nothing that I need, that I lack”!

I looked at the commentary in various study Bibles, etc. and found this in the Life Application Bible: “… sheep are completely dependent on the shepherd for provision, guidance and protection… As the Lord is the Good Shepherd, so we are His sheep – not frightened, passive animals, but obedient followers, wise enough to follow one who will lead us in the right places and in right ways.”

On Tuesday morning, again in the tranquility of the Lord’s presence in prayer, the passage from Luke 12 returned very persistently to mind, and I finally “got it” that the Lord was speaking to me very specifically. I read Luke 12:24 – 34, and without quoting the whole passage, these are the things that stood out (again I was using the Holman CSB as my primary text): 

1. v. 29 in this translation reads as “Don’t keep striving for what you should eat… don’t be anxious… "

2. v. 30: “… your Father knows that you need them”

3. v.31: “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided…”

4. v. 32: “Don’t be afraid, little flock…”  Aha! The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I lack! Hearing “little flock”, a Jewish audience would have immediately made the association with Old Testament references to the Shepherd.

So, for me (and for you!)… I don’t have to strive for provision, or worry about it – the Father knows, and as I continue to make His kingdom the priority in my life, He will provide all that I need. I do not have to fear that He might not come through, because the Shepherd promises that because I am His, I do not lack anything I need!!

The Message paraphrases part of the Luke passage as follows, which helps to clarify this concept: “Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday concerns will be met.”

It took being laid low for a few days, for me to “get it”! And I was reminded, once again, of the statement in Graham Cooke’s book, “Crafted Prayer”: “We can thank God first, in every situation, because every problem we encounter comes with His provision attached to it.”

He is THE Good Shepherd!

And always utterly worthy of all praise!!

Be excited in watching the Shepherd accomplish more than we could ever ask or imagine!

From the Fold

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