Lonely, Longing and LOVED


Oft I’ve wondered why we go through so many dry times as Christians.  I’m not talking about the times when we have unconfessed sin in our lives, or are in a place distant from God because of our own wrongdoing or negligence.  I’m concerned with the times in our lives when we are doing everything right, obeying the Lord, studying His word and praying fervently.  The times when we are longing to hear from heaven but yet feel so lonely without His manifested presence everyday.   We know that God is omnipresent and would never leave us nor forsake us and that our salvation is eternal, but there’s a fellowship with Him in which we at times are just yearning for a cool breeze from heaven’s shore.  We can feel so alone, dry and thirsty during these times.  This scripture has been on my heart a lot lately, and I’ve been pondering on it for some time:

And he spake this parable unto them, saying,

What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Luke 15 (KJV)

Such a common scripture that we all have heard many times and one that we can draw many lessons from.  No doubt we see the forgiveness of God and His desire for us to be with Him.  All hundred sheep belonged to the shepherd, just as we that are saved by God’s grace belong to the Lord.  I have been the lost sheep many times in my life when I have gotten out of God’s will and ended up in a mess that only God could get me out of.  He has restored me each time, praise God!  My thought today is with the ninety-nine obedient sheep.  They are exactly where the shepherd wants them, doing no wrong, yet they have to go without the shepherd for a period of time while he searches for the lost one.  We can spiritually be right in the center of God’s will, studying, praying and living for Him, but not feel His presence with us daily.  He is still there, omnipresent, but we can’t see or hear Him.  These sheep were left alone for a time and they could not see or hear their shepherd either.  They were no doubt lonely and longed for their shepherd to feed them and comfort them.  They probably were bleating away at the surrounding wilderness just crying for a sound from their shepherd.  We should likewise be praying and desiring God to manifest Himself in our lives daily.

I’ve heard that sheep are not very smart (and we aren’t either), but I’m sure that they are familiar with other members of their flock.  Some of the sheep were probably wondering what happened to the sheep that always ate beside them or walked closest to them as they grazed.  In our churches, “flocks”, we should likewise be aware of those around us.  We should concern ourselves with the well-being of our brothers and sisters.  I’m not justifying gossip or meddling in other people’s business, we have scripture that proves that is wrong.  We do not need to know the details of our sister’s situation, we can pray just the same because God knows the details.  Pray for one another!  It may be that the Lord has us personally in a spiritual wilderness but that He is much at work in someone else’s life, trying to get their attention and restore them to Himself.  Do you care enough for your sister’s that you would notice if one of them was “missing” in a service?  I pray that we all would have that burden for one another.

It is also worth mentioning that no doubt the shepherd would have made provision for the sheep while he was away.  He loved these sheep and would not have left them in an overly vulnerable place of imminent danger.  He may have found a natural shelter of sorts in the wilderness where they would be safest while he was away.  The shepherd would have most definitely known exactly where he left his sheep so that he could return to them once the lost sheep was found.  Our Saviour is always looking out for us as His children.  The Bible says that He will never leave us nor forsake us so we can be assured that He is always aware of our situation.  We are also promised that He will always provide our needs (not wants) so we always have the comfort of knowing that He will always allow provision for us just as the shepherd does his sheep.  Praise God!

When asking my wonderful pastor about this issue, he informed me that sometimes shepherds would notice when one of the obedient sheep was longing for his attention and he would rest his staff on their back as they grazed.  He would leave it there long enough that it would thrill the sheep’s heart that the shepherd was giving it the attention it so longed for.  How amazing this is for us as well when our Shepherd gives us personal attention and love that we have been yearning for.  If we had not been without it for this period of time, we wouldn’t rejoice when we finally received it.  Praise the Lord that he always thrills our hearts with His presence when we need it most!

 

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Flat Tire this Morning….Praise God!


I left my house this morning, running late as usual, just to discover I had a flat tire.  No fun!  I was discouraged and started feeling sorry for myself because of course when something “bad” happens you automatically begin thinking the whole world is working against you and if anything else could ruin your day it will surely happen too!  I was pretty defeated before the flat tire anyway.  The last couple weeks it seemed I could only see all the “bad” happening around me, my housework piling up, finances not looking good, tricky child-care situations, misbehaving rambunctious kids and overall stressful occurrences of life. I was definitely feeling like I couldn’t take one more “bad” thing, then a flat tire!  Bummer.

So there I sat at the end of my driveway waiting on my wonderful husband to come to my rescue with the air compressor.  Then it hit me! I hadn’t given God any of my time.  I hadn’t read my bible or even prayed because I was in so much of a hurry to get the boys ready and get out the door.  So since I didn’t have my bible with me, I searched on my phone “KJV daily verse”.    The first one on the list was Psalm 118.

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.

O how guilty I felt!  The Lord is good, and I hadn’t even so much as thanked him that I woke up this morning, or that I was breathing, or for my children’s health, or for the fact that we had food to eat for breakfast.  Much less had I thanked God that I had a job to go to or that my son can go to school, or that I had a car to drive even if it did have a flat tire at the moment.  Furthermore, I should have thanked God that I had a husband who would take care of my flat tire so that I didn’t have to get down in the wet grass and dirt in my nice dressy outfit.  Better yet, when I picked out my matching (brand new, even) outfit I hadn’t even managed to utter a word of thanks to God for my closet full of clothes.  How overwhelmed with thankfulness I was.

I kept on reading to find in verse #5-6:

I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place.

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

Wow!  I had been pouring out my troubles to God for the past week or so, telling Him how defeated I was feeling.  I was concerned over my job, my finances, my duties as a wife and mother and just felt like I had been failing miserably at everything I was responsible for doing.  Here my Lord was working in my life, answering my distress call by the way of a flat tire!  Who would have ever thought?  So my situation in all of my problems hadn’t changed at all physically, but spiritually they were altogether different.  I realized that God was in control of all my “problems” and He would take care of me as long as I would stay “on His side”.   Why should I fear? Why should I worry?  I am the Lord’s and He is mine, He heard my cry and answered me.  With God, He can change your whole outlook on your situation, give you peace during your heartaches and trials, and you will see that your situation really isn’t “bad” after all.  When God saves us, we are His for eternity.  So when times are tough, or when you’re facing the impossible, remember that God is in control and He is on our side.  Whom shall we fear?  God will keep us for eternity and no man can remove us from Him.

Although, my heart was overflowing, I continued reading,

23 This is the Lord‘s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

I’ve determined in my heart that my flat tire this morning was marvelous!  That’s because it was my Lord’s doing and everything He does is marvelous.  He gave me this day and He gave me a flat tire and I am going to rejoice all day and thank the Lord for it!  Because of my flat tire, I got a moment alone with God and He revealed to me how my situation was different from what I had perceived.  He gave me just the scripture I needed and convicted my heart for not giving Him the thanks and praise that He deserves.  So today, I am going to praise the Lord.  In everything.  All day.  Because sometimes He has to use a flat tire to get my attention and honestly, that’s pretty pathetic.  I should have been praising and thanking Him already.

Please read all of Psalm 118!  You won’t regret it!

To read online, click here: Psalm 118

Be Ye Seperate (Study of Saltwater)


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Brackish water: salt water mixed with fresh water.  It can be found where rivers meet the ocean or estuaries.  In many places where this occurs, the tide pushes saltwater back up the freshwater river a long way, miles even. The saltwater is denser and therefore it’s on the bottom while the freshwater is at the surface.  The surface can give the appearance of being very calm and serene, while underneath, the saltwater current going the opposite direction causes the water to violently roil.
I’ve pondered on this saltwater and freshwater illustration for several weeks and wasn’t really able to understand what there was to learn from it, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I believe God made everything in nature a certain way so that we may learn from it and most everything will teach us several lessons if we pay attention.  The Bible says that no fountain can yield both salt water and fresh, see James 3:12.   Both types of water could be used to demonstrate a Christian, however, for this illustration let’s say salt water is representative of the born-again believer.  (“Ye are the salt of the earth” Matthew 5:13.)  When we get saved, God makes us one of His own and we belong to Him, or in the ocean.  Salt water is also denser than freshwater.  Density can be described as how much “stuff” you can put into the same area.  A saved person may be the same size as a lost person but they have the Holy Spirit living inside them and have hidden God’s words in their heart, therefore they are denser.  The freshwater represents the world, other people who are lost in sin, those working for the devil and sin itself.  Where these types of water meet become brackish areas of water.  We should strive to stay out in the ocean but oftentimes we find ourselves drifting near the “fresher” areas of water, being pushed miles upstream by the tides.  God commands us to live a separate life in II Corinthians 6:17, but oft times we fail.  It’s here we are in danger of becoming affected by the world, damaging our testimony and harming our relationship with Jesus Christ.  The “freshwater” seems to be calmer on the surface, peaceful, and we are fooled into believing that our lives will be better.  But when the saltwater is being pushed upstream against the current, it creates a violent area that confuses and disorients the fish that are living in each type of water.  Predators are always alert and active at these places because they can easily catch these fish when they’re so disoriented.  We as Christians only cause confusion in our children and families when we tell them to live for God and then we contradict ourselves and live like the rest of the world.  If we say that a good Christian should dress modestly, use clean language, read the Bible and obey God and then we watch ungodly television shows or listen to filthy music this causes much confusion to those around us watching our lives.  Predators are watching for our children and lost loved ones to get so disoriented that they become easy prey.  Predators will even prey on you when you get yourself so mixed up in sin that you cannot tell which way you are going anymore.  In studying these areas of brackish water, I found that they are very populated not only by fish but also by predators such as birds and seals.  The devil knows exactly where to find you and he will wait and use your weakness against you. These areas that are so calm on the surface are alluring good Christians away from the ocean each and every day, beware!

In estuaries and even mangroves, the brackish water serves as a nursery.  Here you will find both a newly born-again believer or simply children of non-believers.  Many people who do not go to church or worship God, feel the need to take their children anyway.  It’s usually sporadic and never constant, but they feel like they are doing right by telling their kids about God once in awhile, teaching them “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” and “Jesus Loves Me”.  Some people even turn to believers for prayer or help in their time of need with small children and the redeemed should use these times to witness to the lost and make a lasting influence on the children.  The newly born-again believer will find that in the nursery, or estuary, he can find saints, or saltwater, that can guide him to the ocean where he now belongs.  But he is still surrounded by the friends of his past, and must start to separate himself from the freshwater of his past.  We should always encourage the newly saved so that they will have courage to continue on living for the Lord without returning to the river they were delivered from.  The predator will be waiting for them to look back so he can lure them in with the calm and peaceful surface that appears to be easier than the rough, choppy waves of the ocean.
The ocean is controlled by the tides which are created by the gravitational forces of the moon, sun and rotation of the earth.  After we are saved, we belong in God’s ocean where He is in control.  We should pray for Him to send us where He will use us and follow His direction.  If His will is for us to be in a storm, then we should have faith that He will see us through it.  If God is putting us into the deep, we will become closer to Him and get to know Him better.  If He has us in a mission field, or an estuary, we should diligently do His work.  Christian life is not a walk in the park, as you can easy see the oceans surface is always wavy, rough or choppy with huge waves sometimes crashing.  But when you are in the Lord’s will, He will use you in those times and you will be unaware of how rough your situation seems to the onlooker.  He will provide you peace while the storms are raging.
In rivers, the freshwater is constantly being washed away by the current.  “All rivers lead to the ocean”, they say, but sadly all people will not end up in heaven.  Some of the water will be evaporated, or dead, before it reaches the ocean.  If God has given you just one chance to accept Jesus Christ as your saviour, and you denied Him, then your fate for eternity in Hell is sealed if you were to “evaporate”.  All the remaining freshwater is along for the ride over the rocks and through the floods being led either to its destruction or conversion.  Satan will deceive and destroy many in this life, but some will come to know the Lord.  Some will be made into saltwater and will join the waters of the ocean.

It is said that only 5 percent of the oceans have been discovered, and I say that is correct spiritually as well.  We only know a very small amount of what there is to know about God and His kingdom.  He says the things which He has prepared haven’t even entered into the heart of man, (1 Corinthians 2:9), and I’m sure there are many creatures and formations unknown to man living in the deep of the ocean that we couldn’t even begin to imagine them all.  Scientists think that they have figured out much about this world and how it was created but God made it all and He is the only one who knows everything there is to know about it.  The oceans are an integral part of life and most scientists believe that all life is dependent upon it.  How true this is!  God is the integral part of all our lives, whether we accept Him or not.  He created us and our very life is completely dependent upon Him!