Under good management

Under good management

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”-Luke 12:32

How would you define contentment? Is it having all your wants and needs satisfied, or do you see it as a state of being at peace regardless of the condition of things around you. The latter state is produced by gaining a 360, well rounded, biblical understanding of the work of Christ in the life of the believer.  Jesus states this in clear terms in John 10:10 “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” There’s a difference between overemphasizing the benefits of the Cross of Christ in our presentation of the Gospel, at the expense it’s central message, and apprehending the full measure of what It means to have been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 1: 3 tells us that God has “…blessed us with all spiritual blessings …”

We all like sheep, have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6). We were helpless, weary and worn out like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). But with His blood, He purchased us, to bring us into an intimate, personal relationship with Him, as the sheep of His pasture under His special care and covering. We easily embrace God’s sacrifice for our salvation, but we struggle with grasping his concern and diligent commitment to our daily needs and well-being. Christ did not pay a high prize to make us His possession, to then abandon us to figure out life on our own. God is Jealous for His Name.  Philip Keller describes Him as “The Sheepman to whom no trouble is too great as He cares for His flock. He is the rancher who is outstanding because of His fondness for sheep…He is the owner who delights in…seeing His sheep contented, well fed, safe and flourishing under His care.”

Entrusting our lives to Christ’s control does not mean we are shielded from the hardships, frustrations, and stressors of life. But because we belong to the Father, we face trouble with the proper biblical perspective, with peace and confidence, knowing that God is watching and working things for our good. He is the Good Shepherd who did not spare Himself but laid down His life for us (1 John 3:16).

 

In Him,

Aline Ehade

 

I am sheep

sheep-275928_640

“Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:3

Of all the animals he created, God chose to call us sheep, and in the process characterized himself as our Shepherd. “…I am the good shepherd…I lay down my life for the sheep.” –John 10:14-15. Short of having a real life experience tending sheep, (which I did seriously consider) we can understand the dynamics between sheep and Shepherd through the eyes of a sheepman. David as a shepherd uses this very imagery in Psalm 23, to speak of the benefits God’s children enjoy under His care.

  • His Proprietorship.

Just as sheep carry the seal of their shepherd, David opens Psalm 23 by identifying His owner. It makes all the difference who we belong to; “I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:14). The Lord God is our Maker. He has set His seal of ownership over us (2 Corinthians 1:22). The psalmist marvels that His life is under the care of the Architect of the Universe, and the Creator of all things visible and invisible; he proudly proclaims “The Lord is my Shepherd.”!

  • His Provision

Sheep are helpless creatures that are utterly dependent on their shepherd for their daily sustenance and ultimately their survival. In his book “A shepherd looks at Psalm 23”, Philip Keller writes: “The Good Shepherd…delights in his flock…He will go to no end of trouble and labor to supply them with the finest grazing, the richest pasturage, ample winter feed and clean water.”. David said:  “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.” (Psalm 23:2)

  • His protection

Sheep are feeble, fearful and timid beings, with little to no self-defense, whose only recourse is to run when frightened.  The Good Shepherd watches over his flock by day and by night ready to protect them against predators. “The Lord is for me; I will not fear…” Psalm 118:6.

  • His Presence

When sheep are restless, agitated, aggravated, discontented, they cannot rest. Philip Keller explains: “nothing so quieted and reassured the sheep as to see me in the field. The presence of their master…put them at ease as nothing else could do…”

Society says take care of yourself, look out for yourself, and be in charge of yourself. So we live weary, restless and anxious lives. Provision has been made for us to experience security, peace, rest and the comfort God offers, when we come under His care, as the sheep of his pasture.

In Him,

Aline Ehade

Right focus

Storm

“Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”-Matthew 14:28-30

The disciples find themselves in yet another storm. During the first storm, Jesus is traveling with them (Matthew 8:23-27), but this time, the disciples are left facing the elements of nature alone. Peter had witnessed Jesus previously calm a storm and perform miracles after miracles. So when Jesus comes to them walking on water, Peter’s eyes are on Jesus, in spite of the storm. Peter steps out in faith, believing that at the command of the Lord, He can do the impossible. There’s a boldness that arises in us when we hear the voice of the Lord, whereby our confidence is rooted in the One who calls us. It reads in Acts 4:13 that “when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men… they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” The New Testament followers of Christ courageously preached the Gospel, in obedience of Jesus’ command to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel…” (Mark 15:16).

After the initial phase of stepping out in the power and the authority of Christ, comes the process of walking out your calling. Your ability to fulfill God’s intended purpose for your life will be determined by the direction of your focus. After you set sail, storms begin to crash against your boat; doubts from within, negative/critical voices from without, health, family or financial challenges, distractions and worldly lusts that pull your focus away from Christ.

The reason we find ourselves losing battles and sinking spiritually, is because we have taken our eyes off of Jesus;  we start rely on own abilities and resources, we turn to others for direction and validation, and we despair at the storms of life. Peter walked on water, but then he began to sink the moment his focus shifted.  Keeping your eyes turned to Jesus requires a conscious effort, day by day, but only then you will experience the supernatural power of God in your life.

 

In Him,

Aline Ehade

Step

step

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

I had the blessing of witnessing my son take his first steps at 11 month old. Those are some the most emotionally intense few seconds I’ve experienced as a parent as I watched him stagger and wobble, and clumsily put one foot in front of the other. He had no conscious thought of what he was doing and he didn’t realize that he had just accomplished a major milestone in his life.

We’re constantly making decisions from what we will eat for lunch, to decisions that will impact our lives 10 years from now. For believers our decision making in every aspect of our lives should involve God.  Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs us to seek God’s guidance and direction. We often hear someone in the process of making decision say “I’m praying about it”, or perhaps we have given out that advice to someone telling them to pray about their next move. All this is well because we want God’s best for our lives, and we desire his favor and blessings. Moses had learned the hard way the consequences of acting on his own will without God, so that he was now able to tell God “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.” Exodus 33:15.

Through regeneration we have entered into God’s family, and through sanctification, we have been set apart for His sacred purpose as His vessels of honor. Our desires, our ways, and the purpose of our lives now belong to God. Walking with God according to His will entails a day by day process of taking small, and even big steps. Like a child learning to walk, our steps will sometimes be awkward and unsteady. But even when we will our lose balance, or misstep, our Father is attentively watching, ensuring our safety, redirecting us, but most of all, cheering us and rejoicing over the triumphant accomplishments we’re not even conscious of.  Don’t worry about making a perfect step, just step.

 

In Him,

Aline

Walk in the fire

fire-8837_640

“I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire,”Daniel 3:25

Sunday, November 5, 2017 is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP). The event that occurs every year on the 1st Sunday in November, calls for the body of Christ worldwide to pray for our brothers and sisters persecuted for their Christian faith and witness.

There’s greater awareness of the suffering Christians are experiencing around the world, thanks to the increased news coverage. However the scope of the persecution against the Church is well beyond what we’re exposed to, through the media. A sister-site of Voice of the Martyr, icommittopray.com, lists 222,067 prayers in 154 nations for Christians persecuted in Afghanistan, India, Syria, Iraq, China, Laos, Nigeria, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Uganda, Tanzania, etc.

In North Korea, which ranks #1 globally in Christian persecution, 30, 000 out of the 100,000 known Christians are in prison. In Somalia, those suspected or known to be Christians face execution.  Jesus prepared his followers of what was to come: “They will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons… for My name’s sake.” (Luke 21:12). After His resurrection we read accounts in the book of Acts of the persecution against the Early Church. The Bible gives us a narrative in the book of Daniel of three Hebrew boys, Shadrach, Meshach  and Abednego, who refused to deny their faith, and choose instead to face the fiery furnace.

Followers of Christ should expect persecution, but instead of running away from the fire, pray for God to give us the grace and boldness to run into the fire, to reach the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ, knowing that whatever the cost  in this life, ultimately, Jesus walks with us in the midst of the fire. “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

 

 

In Him,

Aline

New, not improved

recycle-57136_640

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. -2 Corinthians 5:17

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that in 2012, Americans generated approximately 251 million tons of trash, and recycled about 87million tons of that waste.  While the Reduce Reuse, Recycle concept, is beneficial in managing our eco system, it’s impractical to the spiritual walk of a believer.  Jesus death on the cross was to save us, not to salvage parts of us.

The pre- regenerated nature of man is anti-God (Romans 8:7) therefore it’s only through  the born again experience, that the life of Christ is formed in us (Galatians 4:19). How often have we prayed and asked God to change/fix the defective aspects of our character?  But Christ in us means instead of striving to manufacture godliness, we can now simply let the life of Christ manifest through us.  The Bible instructs us to cloth ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14) and to walk by the Spirit, that we may not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).

We cannot walk in freedom and victory if we’re constantly fearful that our old nature and its sinful ways will revive again. Paul declares in Galatians 2:20 that the old nature has been crucified with Christ: “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God…” .  Even as Jesus was raised from the dead, we too are walking in newness of life; the old is gone!

 

In Him,

Aline

In His authority

In His authorityMoses stands as one of the greatest leaders in Bible times. Being raised among the elite class of the house of Pharaoh, Moses was accustomed to operating in man’s system of power and authority. It’s not surprising therefore, to see Moses taking justice in his own hands and killing an Egyptian. As long as Moses saw himself as “ruler and judge” (Exodus 2:14), he wasn’t ready to be a part of God’s plan to deliver Israel; he needed to go through God’s process of submission.

40 years exile in the wilderness of Midian, transformed Moses self-will into surrender; No longer is he going out on the mission on his own, but he’s being sent in the authority of God: “This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”(Exodus 3:14).  No longer is Moses operating in his own abilities, but henceforth, the very words and works of God will be made manifest through Him. No longer is Moses the administrator of punishment, but rather an intercessor pleading, and willing to risk his own salvation on behalf of the guilty (Exodus 32:32). In Numbers 12:3, we read of the testimony God gave of Moses; that he was more humble than any other man on the face of the earth.

When we find ourselves defeated, disillusioned and discouraged, it’s because we have substituted our call as servants for a position of savior. The vision may have been revealed, but the worker is not ready, until he or she submits to the process of God’s discipline, and emptying of the self. As the song goes, “we have nothing to bring but empty hands.”

In Him,

Aline Ehade