Do you spend regular time with the Good Shepherd? Wendy shares how important it is for us to find our “green pasture”so that we can be still in the presence of the Good Shepherd and His word.
Spending Time With The Good Shepherd
I love books. In particular I’m fond of reading inspirational memoirs where the author shows how the Lord rescued them from a deep place through His grace and love. But my favorite book of all is the Word of God. Each morning I bring my first cup of coffee of the day into my writing room, settle into my antique rocking chair, and flip open my Recovery Devotional Bible.
This is my place of quiet waters, just as it says in Psalm 23:1-3 (NIV)
“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.”
I can’t imagine not spending regular time with the Good Shepherd. On the occasional morning I’ve slept in and then been swept into the tide of the day around me, I will eventually meander my way back to my writing room, thirsty for God’s Word, thirsty for His touch and thirsty for His filling. I need Him every hour, and especially in the first moments of the day. Otherwise I’m like a famished sheep who is weak and vulnerable to temptations and attacks, and I easily get lost in the woods of fear and despair. But within minutes of my time spent back in the green pastures and still waters of God’s Word and Presence, I’m restored with peace in my soul.
Flawed Lambs and Flawed People
Inspirational memoirs and the Bible both remind me that God loves flawed lambs and He works through flawed people. While our enemy, the devil, may busy himself with pointing out our past and present failures, the Holy Spirit is quick to teach us and remind us that the blood of Jesus is not spilled thickly over some of us and thinly over others. No. The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:9 (NIV) says:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
In 1 John 1:9 I don’t see a class system of sinners at play. I read that confessed sin is forgiven and the sinner is purified from “all unrighteousness”. Let this sink in if you have been like me in falsely believing you’re substandard to other lambs in the flock of the Lord. Christ poured His blood out freely for each one of us. There are no thin spots. There are no half-washed believers who aren’t quite up to par because of some false notion that the blood wasn’t able to wash away all their sin.
His Blood Is Enough
Please ponder the words of Psalm 103:11-12 (NIV)
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
Think about that. How far is the east from the west? When I consider outer space, I realize that the distance Jesus has removed my sin from me is incomprehensible. I’m thinking it’s an insult to Christ to worry about confessed sin. He’s not thinking about it at all. He’s thinking about the plans to prosper us in Him. He’s thinking about the good works He has for us to do. We need to be thinking about this whatsoever loveliness instead of dwelling on our unworthiness. His blood is enough.
New Creatures In Christ
While I was recently reading a recovery memoir, I discovered, once again, how wonderfully God delivers people from darkness. He doesn’t bring them into the shadows of grace; He brings them into the full-on marvelousness of His Light, His Love, His Power.
My, oh my, how I’ve mistakenly limited God’s way in my life. I, and you, need to remember that when we’ve come into fellowship with Jesus, we’ve also received in us the same Spirit that dwells in Him. We aren’t our old selves anymore. We’re new creatures in Christ. We’re set apart and redeemed fully and eternally by His blood, by His generously poured out over us cleansing blood so that we are seen as spotless in the eyes of the Father.
And just as memoir reminds me of the powerful, effective, and transformational power of God’s love, reading the Bible reminds me who I am and whose I am. We need to consider this truth daily because there’s an enemy waging war against us. Intimacy with God will arm us and preserve us. And closeness with God can’t be maintained through absence any more than a marriage can remain healthy when the couple rarely talk face to face or walk side by side.
Submit Ourselves To The Good Shepherd
We must heed the advice of James 4:7 (NIV)
Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 NIV
If you’re having trouble resisting the temptation to wallow in sin or despair, remember that the first part of James 4:7 says we’re to submit ourselves to the Shepherd first. A lamb who isn’t close to the Shepherd is close to danger. In all the Christian memoirs I’ve read so far, it was a renewed intimacy with Christ that brought the author to a place of quiet waters. A humble prayer mumbled from a heart shackled in darkness was all it took for our loving Father to reach out with His staff and gently hook onto the dehydrated and suffering lamb caught in a bramble of despair. He delights to lead lost lambs beside quiet waters.
He delights in us, He delights in you.
Wendy L. Macdonald
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