Thursday, March 4, 2010
~The Lost Sheep~
I've debated on whether I should save this post and put it into my "Friday's Thoughts"...but then I thought...I didn't think about this on Friday...I'm thinking about it NOW! So, I just wanted to share this with yall. I hope this will challenge you and make you think, like it did me.
I have shared a little bit about my spiritual warfare over the past couple of weeks. However, I haven't shared as much as I'd like to. Like I said before, I like to show that I have it all together...but God is breaking me of that. He is showing me that it's better to be real and open so that people can relate to you and be fed by your honesty. Well...I've been going through this for about 2 years now. I'm not where I want to be spiritually, and I lack the desire to get there!! This is really hard for me because in high school-I was on fire for the Lord! Then, in junior college I drifted and decided partying was much more fun. Then, at Southern, I met my husband and he helped me get back on track. Then, we moved to Brookhaven and "church hopped" for a year. Then, we finally found a church that we felt God was calling us to, but after a while we discovered we weren't being fed spiritually. I take that back..we WERE being fed, but it was more like little snacks rather than big meals. So, over the past few months we've really struggled with the desire to even get up Sunday morning to go to church. We've prayed about it and just haven't felt God telling us to leave that church. Well, this past week, our church has gone through some major changes. I won't go into details, but I will say that I feel like prayers are being answered and that Easthaven Baptist Church is doing what is necessary to follow God's will for our church.
Ok so last night at church, we had a "guest pastor" come in. And I can honestly say that last night was the first time (besides for Sunday School)that I (let me emphasize I, because this post is my opinion)have felt the Holy Spirit and truly left there feeling refreshed. I'm terrible with names, so for a lack of better words, I will call this man "the preacher." So, the preacher gave a sermon on ~remove, restrict, and restore~ He said that the Lord will remove things from your life, He will restrict things from your life, and then He will RESTORE you! This was refreshing for me personally, and for the future of our church. But beyond that, this is what stood out to me the most....
He talked about the relationship a shepherd has with his sheep. I don't have a Bible around right now, so I will have to tell this in "Tonya Translation." You know that when a shepherd loses just ONE sheep, he will search night and day, around the clock, until he finds that sheep. NOT ONE SHEEP gets forgotten. And when the shepherd finally finds that sheep, after it's been rolling in dirt, covered in mud, with sticks and thorns stuck in it's fleece...you know what he does with that sheep? No, he doesn't just leave it there to die. He doesn't think that the sheep is useless just because it got dirty. No, he takes the sheep to be cleaned up. The first thing that the shepherd will do is to shave the sheep to it's bare NAKEDNESS. He doesn't just wash the sheep, he strips it of all the filth. WOW-WOW-WOW-WOW!!! Praise you, Jesus, for not turning your back on us when we're filthy. Over the past several months I have felt filthy. I'm not in the Word like I should be, I'm not spending quality time with my Savior, I'm not being the "go tell it on the mountain" Christian that I should be. I'm just simply going through the motions. And I have felt like God has given up His search for me, and decided to take his flock of sheep and go elsewhere. BUT NO!!! That is not what shepherds do, and that is not what THE Shepherd (God) does with his sheep (us). I needed that simple reminder last night that I have NOT been forgotten. God will search for the next 50 years if He has to, until He finds me, or until I'm ready to be found. And at that time, He will take me and strip me to my bare nakedness. And He will let a new fleece coat cover me. A new, fresh, clean fleece coat! And you want to know the even better news...He will strip you naked as many times as you need. We are all sinners, and we will all have filth in our lives at some point. But don't be ashamed and run from God. Let Him find you and clean you up. You are his sheep, and He loves you!
ready to be found and stripped,