REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP
THE SERIES – BOOK ELEVEN
AUTHOR – BILL TAYLOR
COPYRIGHT 2017 – BILL TAYLOR
PUBLISHED BY BILL TAYLOR AT Shakespir
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Special thanks to Shila and Pragna for their encouragement and inspiration
The Invisible Guest
Luke 12 - 12 : “For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say”.
I and my long-time friend and sister Pragna, like to chat. Well to be honest the word chat doesn’t accurately describe our Saturday phone conversations from England.
Marathons of between six and seven hours really can’t be called “chats”. We have mentioned on occasion that our initial intent isn’t a “Guinness World Book Of Records” qualifier, but the end result always is and without complaint!
Time passes effortlessly as if not existing as we immerse ourselves in talk about our great and glorious God. It would seem we have proven this scripture to be fact: “Where two or three are gathered together in the name of Jesus, there He will be in their midst”.
It’s the Holy Spirits invited by us inclusion, that transforms idle conversations into wonderful times of ministry as spirit speaks to spirit on a three-way basis. I am blessed to have a person who equally enjoys communicating, with our mutual Shepherd at the center of the commune.
The Holy Spirits involvement in our “everything” is the very essence that changes life itself from “mundane religious boredom” into “spiritually florescent reality”.
It’s never about where we are but rather, Who is with us that makes all the difference as we journey with Him as guide and orchestrator of our footsteps. With His one touch, the seemingly small and meaningless can become the big and meaningful.
Improvisational life with the Holy Spirit is exciting beyond measure! We must never think we are anywhere, with anyone, at any time, doing anything, by accident or coincidence. God has a well-designed plan for our every step as I would once again confirm today.
At the drug store I frequent in the area, I officially met a beautiful young lady named Mary. I had on two occasions, the privilege of saying ‘‘good morning’‘ to her but nothing much more than that. Well today was very different. She sought me out with a boisterous; “I’m so glad you are here today”, as she proceeded to share her news.
This was her last day on the job as Mary’s co-op had ended. She explained that she would be desperately looking for a new summer job, with this as the reason: “I have a condition that I’m not able to stay at home during the day”.
A condition? What could that mean I wondered, so I asked. “My parents are abusive to the extreme and I simply can’t stand being around them”. And the tears flowed!
Imagine for a moment: I’m pretty well a perfect stranger. Mary barely knew me! Why was she so comfortable in sharing the private “goings on” in her home with me? May I strongly suggest, the Holy Spirit.
There’s no other reason why she would think I’d care less unless He helped her think it. We talked for about twenty minutes during which I told her, that as much as her parents gave her birth, they were not her Creator.
I then proceeded to reveal God’s viewpoint regarding her worth and asked Mary to embrace it with both hands and never let go, accepting it as the final authoritative word concerning her value.
She thanked me and requested that we stay in touch. I left her my email address. We will chat again!
The Holy Spirit while being invisible, is the most tangibly powerful dynamic in our lives. He’s always desiring to speak into the hearts of others through us.
That makes us privileged and trusted participants in Heaven’s plan! As previously mentioned: That’s exciting beyond exciting!
“Lasting” answers to our spiritual dilemmas are not found by repeating parroted biblical clichéd mantras over and over again in the midst of our real life issues.
No doubt, we can achieve temporal relief from that practice, but in the end like all positive thinking medications it will wear off leading us back to where we started.
God offers something with a far greater permanency factor; Resurrection Lifestyles!
You see, we can know and say all the right things while simultaneously acting on none of them. We can sit in our boats “assuming” the ability to walk on water while never actually having done it. Therefore, we can become intellectual water walkers with dry feet.
We can become complacent with simply knowing it. If we were tested based on what we know we’d pass with flying colors.
The query in need of answering is; do our lives verify what we know? Our clichés while encompassing the truth can easily become no more than spiritual pacifiers, rather than life changers.
Question: When does the empowering truth of God’s word, empower us in our daily lives? When does it transform us out of our “back seat” timidity status to “front seat” resurrection boldness? When do we stop being dictated to and start dictating to?
When do we join heaven’s chorus and shout with absolute assurance; If God is for us, who can be against us in victorious jubilation with a sincere emphaticness that dispels all things that don’t align themselves with that truth?
The answer: When God’s promises and truths move south from our minds and memorization skills, to that sacred place of residence, our hearts. Faith resides in hearts not minds. Our individual walks with God are meant to be experiential to the extreme, radiating reality with each and every step we take.
While the mind busily occupies itself reasoning, diluting and debating faith as to its practical relevance, it’s the heart that turns God provided faith into perspective changing fact.
So, do we “repeat” truth over and over again or do we “act on” truth over and over again?
One, leads to a life of cliché-ism while the second explodes into a life of real-ism, where God’s sovereign reality is at the center of all conclusions. God’s limitlessness is not discovered as a tangible reality by simply knowing but rather experiencing what we know.
When they came to the tomb of Jesus, they found the stone had been rolled away by an angel.
That stone wasn’t displaced to let Jesus out but rather to allow us access to experience and see first-hand what God had done as confirmed by the angel as he said in Matthew 28 – 6: “He is not here, He has risen, just as He said. Come and see ( experiential ) the place where He lay”.
Thank You Brother Lawrence
I just finished reading and re-reading a more than three hundred year old Christian classic entitled; “The Practise Of The Presence Of God”, written by the closest friend and spiritual confidant of a man identified as Brother Lawrence, after his passing..
Presented autobiographically, it is composed by a closely intimate observer, in its portrayal of Lawrence’s life. It chronicles his all-consuming adoration, passion and love for God and God’s presence. One in the same, I’m thinking.
Oh how he valued and cherished God’s presence above all. Almost painfully so as the pages would progressively reveal. Pain with an expectancy I suspect. Like a woman giving birth.
Have you ever read something that so clearly describes everything your heart wants to be, but isn’t? It leaves you desirous and breathless simultaneously! Envious while being deflated within your own humbling awareness of lack. A strange two-some to navigate around no doubt.
Perhaps “navigating around it” isn’t the point, but rather “hungering for it” is God’s desired direction for my response!
It’s not a long book with its less than one hundred pages in total. But my goodness it’s a vision changer. Its considered “classic” status is by no means an over-statement. So, what do I do with this offering of insightfully profound literature? One based on a man’s experience rather than a man’s theory. Thus valuable.
Do I place it back on the shelf to collect dust along with my now well established appreciation for Brother Lawrence as a follower of Jesus? Is that what I do?
Or do I pile it on top of the other books that proclaim through other’s personal testimonies, the value of complete surrender to Jesus, and then carry on with my “as is” intact and undisturbed.
Is that what I do? Or perhaps do I do this?
Look into the eyes of my beautiful Shepherd and with all the sincerity I can muster, declare to His heart:[_ “There is “no part” of me worthy of retaining, if the cost is “any part” of you ][_Jesus”.]
[*Once again: Thank you Brother Lawrence for your to be applauded example and thanks be to God it was documented. *]
A quote from the writer describing his friend Lawrence’s mode of existence; He learned to cultivate the deep presence of God so thoroughly in his own heart that he was able to joyfully exclaim, “I am doing now what I will be doing for all eternity. I am blessing God, praising Him, adoring Him, and loving Him with all my heart”.
A quote from Lawrence; “Everything should be an expression of my love for God no matter how menial the task”.
Everything? That’s serious and seriously impressive!
I’m aware the “state of being” described in our text won’t simply fall on me as if it were an entitlement for simply showing up to some religious party.
There’s nothing scripturally or historically speaking that even infers, casual and complacent will get me to my desired destination of total immersion in my Lord’s presence.
My longing is to “dwell” not “visit”. I’m convinced there’s a voluntary hungering and thirsting involved on my part to complete this spiritual transaction.
That reality doesn’t intimidate nor discourage me, but rather inspires and enlightens my heart as to the supreme value of intimacy with *]Jesus, [*He best described as “the object of my affection”.
“I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection”, not as a memorized scripture verse but an everyday reality! Radiantly real or nothing at all are my two choices of preference. Hot or cold but God forbid, not luke-warm.
Hopefully having the “want to” opens the door, enabling God to accomplish in me what I so desire; A removal of self! I pray to that end.
Words from an old worship chorus derived from [_Jeremiah 29 – 13 _]come to mind as extremely applicable and seriously instructional.
“You shall seek Me and you shall find Me when _][_you seek Me with all your heart”.
[It would seem, “all my heart” is the price for such riches. That truth motivates and propels my desire forward as I embrace the scripturally included promise from God; *]“You Shall Find Me”[.*]
It’s been said and correctly so: “The road less travelled isn’t a crowded path to sojourn while on planet earth”. That being true, there must be room for one more sheep!
The Inheritance Of Joy
All things temporal have no ability to create lasting joy with their already built in worldly expiry dates attached. It’s not their fault for failure, it’s ours for expecting them to provide that which they can’t then becoming frustrated when they don’t.
High above the things of this world Jesus stands at the ready to impart “joy unspeakable and full of glory”. Joy everlasting, in that its Provider is incorruptible and unchangingly eternal. No shelf life or expiry date from heaven is included. Its source is perfect therefore its quality is likewise.
Even the “new whatever” with its momentary euphoria soon becomes old as does the euphoric emotion that once belonged to the acquisition.
The joy that our Lord provides “detaches” our emotional dependence on this world and “attaches” us to heaven’s provision. Therefore it is not contingent on circumstances but rather transcends circumstances.
Peter and John considered it “joy” to be flogged for the name and sake of Jesus! Either they were masochistically insane or were living in a joy that was so transcendent that it could not be shaken. A joy that had nothing to do with worldly content.
So I’m thinking: True joy isn’t an “emotion” but rather an imparted by God characteristic of Jesus! The joy of the Lord is our strength!
If the world didn’t give it to us, it equally can’t take it away. Thus, safe and secure from theft and deterioration.
Joy is our “cross purchased” inheritance. One we have every right to and one that heaven directs and encourages us to immerse ourselves in.
I Hate Mondays – Perspective
It was quite a while ago when I met my young gentleman friend. I can’t remember how long but I definitely remember “it was a Monday”.
I should preface my commentary by mentioning that I talk to everything that breathes. They all deserve to have their existences acknowledged as important, so I do.
As a long-time but now retired courier, I discovered elevators to be the most anointed places of conversational ministry.
Captive type audiences realize there is no way out, therefore my fellow travellers momentary captivity always worked nicely to mine and God’s advantage.
He was only twenty two years of age. As the elevator door closed I greeted him with a, “Good morning, how are you today”.
My soon to be friend responded with: “Terrible, I hate Mondays”. ‘‘All Mondays or just this one’‘, I queried. ‘‘Yup, every single one of them, he repeated, ‘‘I’ve always hated Mondays’! “I can fix that”, I offered.
And the “chat” was officially on! “Do you realize that’s one seventh of your life you have already evaluated as hated. Are you sure you can afford that luxury”, I commented? His response? “It’s always been and always will be that way”.
The descriptive “always” sounded a little dramatic for having lived only twenty two years but out of concern I repeated: “I can fix that if you wish”.
“Take your best shot” he consented, with a challenging tone of doubt regarding my confident claim.
“OK, follow me’”, I said as I directed him to his needed final conclusion. “If today is Monday then yesterday was Sunday. Yesterday in the city of Toronto hundreds of people in hospitals and elsewhere were praying for one more day and didn’t get it. You fortunately did and you are complaining about it. Does that make sense to you at all”?
It took my friend a few moments to speak these life changing words, but he did eventually get them out. “NO, and thank you. I’ll never forget what you just said. That was powerful”!
Folks, perspective is powerful when it’s emphatically truthful! 1Thessalonians 5 – 18: “Give thanks in all circumstances ( even on Mondays ) for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.
[FREE E-BOOKS BY BILL TAYLOR]
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK ONE
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK TWO
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK THREE
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK FOUR
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK FIVE
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK SIX
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK SEVEN
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK EIGHT
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK NINE
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK TEN
THE ROSE AND THE THORN
WILLING HEARTS – NO LIMITS
THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
THE SECOND CROSS
BULLS IN CHINA SHOPS
FAITH IS A JOURNEY
THE HEART IS SACRED
REJOICE – IT’S A NEW DAY!
BLESSED & CONTENT
MY FRIEND – MY PEACE – MY LORD
YOU DECIDE – CHOICES
THE REAR VIEW MIRROR