REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP
THE SERIES – BOOK FIFTEEN
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
No Longer A Slave To Fear
In the 23rd Psalm David is making a verbal stand of defiance as he emphatically states. “I will fear no evil”! I refuse to submit my emotions to fear. I will not bend my knee to anything other than my trust in God Almighty!
I have made a choice to honor my God by proclaiming His sovereignty over all things including my circumstantial evidence.
I will deny access to that which suggests my Shepherd is less than what He declared Himself to be. I do not believe my Lord is intimidated by anything going on in my world, therefore I will follow suit and: “fear no evil”.
Romans 8 – 31: “What then shall we say in response to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” In other words; What does it matter who is against us!
Paul knew his God very well and concluded, it’s not about who is against us but rather Who is for us that will dictate the final outcome of “all things”.
Paul further downgrades the comparative relevance of “all things” in Romans 8 – 37:[_ _]“No in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us”.
That’s rather emphatic don’t you think! So, if we do fear it seems clear, we do so by choice or habit but not necessity.
While neither David or Paul are denying the existence of evil, both are declaring that fearing it is wrong, realizing that their God is greater than evil!
Each man had their own unique run-ins with evil throughout their lives. Experience being a wonderful teacher, led them both to the same conclusion. A conclusion we have every right to embrace as our own.
Fear is a crippling emotion that disables the soul. It enslaves us! It puts all the magnificent attributes of walking with God “on hold” while we entertain its tantrums as it screams for our attention.
Heaven’s antidote? Denied access, based on our understanding of God’s almightiness! Simply stated: We will fear no evil because God said we don’t have to!
As those living on planet earth, fear will show up from time to time. Its “showing up” won’t be the determining factor as to its effect, but rather how we “react” to its “showing up”.
God has given us an appropriate reaction, “Fear Not” with a reason: I’m God!
The Provision Of His Presence
Psalm 27 – 5: “For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me high upon a rock”.
Psalm 55 – 8: “I will hurry to my place of shelter far from the tempest and storm”.
Psalm 61 – 4: “I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings”.
Psalm 91 – 1: “Whoever dwells in the shadow of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty”.
How magnificent an inherited place of safety our Shepherd has provided us! God has always been the protector of His own.
From the days of the children of Israel’s forty year trek through the wilderness we see God providing faithfully and always. A cloud by day to protect them from the blistering daytime sun and a fire by night to keep the evening desert chill from having impact on their comfort.
No food, no problem as God provides Manna from Heaven to feed His children. With their Egyptian enemies charging from behind and the Red Sea in their immediate future, God parts the waters providing safe passage for them to cross while using the very same waters to destroy their haters.
Wow, these children of Israel must have been quite the righteous folk! No, just the opposite was true as they mumbled and grumbled throughout their every step, complaining all the way to the Promised Land. You see, God made a promise before they left Egypt, reinforced by His “grace”!
Here in the Psalms we see David referring to “the tent” which in his day was the place of God’s presence. David knew that in God’s presence was absolute protection, therefore he “hurried” to it. He had many enemies therefore trusting in God’s provisionary protection was paramount to his survival emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
David is the one responsible for penning; “The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want”. His vast experiences in life provided an unshakeable foundation of truth, thereby allowing Him to trust in his Shepherd, with just cause!
As we fast forward to today, we find nothing has changed. The Lord is still “our” Shepherd and “we” shall not want. As we walk through the blistering heat of our often difficult days we are covered by a cloud of protection from the U.V. rays of life’s experiences. When we need the comfort of his warm embrace by night, it is always there and never denied.
Wow, we must be quite the righteous folk! No, you see God has made “us” a promise, secured by His grace! Wonderfully humbling for a sheep when self-sufficiency is replaced by absolute reliance.
Staying with the present and correcting the “nothing’s changed” comment: The “tent” David spoke of as his place of refuge has changed. We are now the “tent”! The dwelling place of the Most High and Almighty, with instant access to His “all-inclusive provision”.
With David “the tent’ seemed to be a place of “coming and going”, while for us, a place of residing. Residing and trusting in a promise. God doesn’t make promises and then leave it up to the recipients of His promises to fulfill their completion. He has always made Himself the determining factor. Aren’t we all thankful for that!
2 Corinthians 1 – 20: “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘‘Yes’‘ in Christ. And so through Him ( Jesus ) the ‘‘Amen’‘ is spoken by us to the glory of God”.
He Came For Us – Darkness To Light
Isaiah 9 – 6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace”.
John 1 – 1: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God”.
Within the vastness of the universe Jesus created, planet earth is a dot. Therefore we are a dot within a dot. And yet He came for us at great cost to himself!
As those who love and follow Him, the beautiful descriptives pointed out in our scripture reference in Isaiah have been experienced first-hand. He have known Him as: Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and our Prince of Peace and may I add: “Our Great Light”!
I love how God writes us into the story in Isaiah verse two of chapter nine: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light: They that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined”.
Ephesians 5 – 8: “For you were once darkness but now you are light in the Lord ( positionally ). Live as children of light” ( experientially ).
1 Thessalonians 5 – 5: “You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness”.
Isn’t it wonderful how God makes clear, who we are, where we belong, and Who we belong to, thereby avoiding any confusion.
The world and its evaluating systems would suggest that we as people range from “somewhat” to “not at all” relevant. The vast majority of us seen as rather disposable in the big picture.
That’s a system the bible refers to as “in but not of” regarding us. Therefore that’s a tree we have no business eating from!
As those who by grace have their citizenship firmly entranced and established in heaven we are different in the most interesting of ways.
We understand that if one life is relegated to meaningless, all life eventually follows suit.
But our Shepherd “came for us” declaring by His appearance; Life is majestically sacred and never to be trivialized! So sacred, that He came to save it eternally.
We are a dot within a dot but not just any dot. We are the only dynamic within creation that is capable of intimate relationship with God.
We have been created in His image, designed and enabled to love Him. The universe can worship its creator but it cannot love Him. You see it is an it and we are a who.
We are those “who” God so loved that He gave His only begotten Son that “who” so ever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. Therefore we walk in the light of the dignity that our Creator has bestowed upon us.
We have been given heavenly license and a calling to be conspicuously radiant, as is fitting for those who have seen and are in-dwelled by a “Great Light”.
Matthew 5 – 16: “In the same way let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”.
Super Natural Responses
The Apostle Paul said from a prison cell as he wrote to the Philippians ( Chapter 4 verse 12 ):
“I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret, ( spiritual insight ), of being content in any and every situation, whether well feed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want”.
What Paul was describing as a solution to the adversities and complexities of life on planet earth is; “super natural responses to natural situations”. Adversity is a very real dynamic in our lives on this planet. We aren’t immune from it. We can’t avoid nor escape its reality.
A fairy-tale existence complete with a magic wand, isn’t what our Lord has promised us nor is indicative of our historied forefather’s lives.
One of those lives belonged to Paul who so beautifully shared this from his place of adversity. We have been empowered by God with the heavenly privilege of divine insight into adversity, thereby enabled to remove its instant sense of negativism.
Hindsight is a valued revealer! As I reflect back on my forty two years of knowing God there’s one thing that stands out as radiantly clear.
All the truly meaningful things that have been accomplished to this point in my life have been birthed “by God” through “adversity”! That’s a sobering truth for me to embrace. It keeps my complaining at a minimum and my praising at a maximum, thus proportionately correct.
So, in hindsight I think it fair and correct of me to refer to adversity in a far more spiritually flattering way. A friend, a teacher, and a gift from God. It’s the God granted tool He has used to make me into what I am today and what I will be in the future.
When I approach adversity with the insight of it having profound purpose in my life, ‘”adversity” has a far less “adversary” flavor to it.
Let’s listen into The Apostle Paul as he explains far better than I in: 2 Corinthians 12 - 7 > 10:
“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given ( a gift ) a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me ( adversity ).^ Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. ^That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong”.
Paul would also add: Be content in “all things” knowing that God makes “all things” work together for good for those who love Him! ( including adversity ).
Adversity is not meant to crush but rather mold! Therefore adversity to us is what the cocoon is to the caterpillar, and may I add, soon to be Butterfly. It would seem “adversity” always precedes the miracle of transformation!
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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
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK ELEVEN
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK TWELVE
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK THIRTEEN
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK FOURTEEN
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK FIFTEEN
REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP – THE SERIES – BOOK SIXTEEN
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
HIS LOVE MADE PERFECT
AMAZING GRACE – AMAZING SAVIOR