Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Sheep Know My Voice

What is the difference between “Harassed and helpless” and displaying the great love of God? The wandering sheep has gone beyond the voice of the Shepherd. He no longer hears those calming tones, those assured directions, those tender affirmations. He directs his own way, searches for self-confidence, and tries to settle himself in the face of the Predator.
“My sheep hear my voice.” The sheep that is safe rejoices when he hears his shepherd. He runs to him because he knows the shepherd leads him to water, to food, to rest, to safety. He learns to love the shepherd not just for what he supplies, but for his faithfulness. Day after day, he has met the needs of one who cannot meet his own needs. He speaks clearly, lovingly, and with great affirmation. The Shepherd loves his sheep first, and sheep with good sense love him in return.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Show the Wonder

Jesus could see it. Those with spiritual eyes could see it as well. Harassed and helpless. It is not hard to see- the nervousness, the restlessness, the wide-eyed fear. There is another way to live. The Shepherd has another idea:
“I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; Give ear to me and hear my prayer. Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand, those who take refuge in you from their foes” (Psalm 17:6-7).
The Shepherd envisions a loving, compassionate relationship with his sheep. They will call and He will answer. Sheep take refuge from their foes in Him. They rest. They call. He answers. In the process, the watching world is awed by the shepherd’s care. God’s compassion for sheep like you and me should make the witnesses around us go “Wow! I want that kind of care.”
Lord, display your compassion in my life. Show your wonder. Let me witness the width and the depth of your great love. Use me to whet the appetite of others to seek after You. Keep me as the apple of your eye. In Jesus’ name.

Seven Steps to Giving a Testimony

Seven Steps to Giving a Testimony

1. Make Jesus the hero. Tell about his grace, love, mercy or help. The goal is to help others follow Christ better by your example.
2. Focus your testimony to one life lesson. What did God teach you through that experience, answered prayer, period of suffering, or miraculous intervention? Explain your testimony in a way that will help others learn the same life lesson.
3. Add a verse that briefly explains the biblical basis for your testimony.
4. Be careful with the past. Tell what God did. Don’t describe the past in such detail that the listener thinks you’d like to go back!
5. Talk about failures too. By sharing successes and failures, we give a hopeful picture to those who want to follow in our train.
6. Short is better than long. Share your life lesson, how God worked, and a Bible verse to show you have interpreted the lesson correctly. Most people wander because they feel like they need to fill time. Instead, stand and share confidently, then sit down. Practice with a friend. Have him check for clarity, focus, and time.
7. Pray. We share our testimony because we want to give examples of Christ’s faithfulness to us in our individual lives. We want others to be willing to follow him too. Ask God to help your testimony achieve the end of glorifying Him!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Harassed and Helpless

When Jesus watched crowds coming to hear the Good News, he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). Anxiety, sadness, stress, weariness, and fear. The enemy was closing in on his prey. Collapse was imminent.
This is the natural state of the unbeliever. Satan pursues his kill with unrelenting zeal. There is a growing realization in the mind of his prey that all his energy, speed, and cunning have been expended in vain. The race is coming to an end.
Too often, however, it has been reflective of my own spiritual state. In the life of a sheep, the shepherd makes all the difference. Water, food, and protection all come from his skill, his rod and staff. The life and health of the sheep is in his hands alone. What does it say to the watching world if I appear harassed and helpless? Worse, what does it say about my Shepherd?