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Good Morning MVC - July 16thby Kami Wright on July 16, 2020
Good Morning, Church Family!
Long before I'm scheduled to go live on Facebook with my staff message, I ask God to lead me in what to say. It's a format that has great reach and I want the words to matter. One of the ways God likes to speak to me is through the repetition of a certain topic. In a short span of time, the same word or concept will cross my path. By the 3rd appearing, I say, "Ok! I hear you, Father. I'll start digging into it!"
So what was God leading me to think about for this week?
My response? Hmmm. Let me play that out in my head: "Good Morning everyone! Grab a cup of coffee and let's talk about sheep!" Lord, I just don't know where you want to take this. But alas, I waded into the concept in which God was leading me -- and you know what? He had something to say.
It started with hearing the word "Sheeple" (1), then I passed a field of sheep in rural Minnesota over the weekend (2), and finally, I rewatched the video on the church homepage where Pastor Pete describes God's heart for the lost and story of the 99 sheep (3). I didn't have too much to say about the sheep, but I sure could talk about appreciating the Shepherd and hearing the Shepherd's voice.
Appreciate the Shepherd
Despite all of the ways sheep have to cause themselves harm, back in the times of Jesus, they were very good at one thing. Discerning that voice. They sure knew the voice of their shepherd. They were defenseless, prone to go astray, had poor eyesight, followed other sheep without thinking and were pretty stubborn for no good reason. Yet, each day they followed the voice that led them, provided for them, and put himself in harm's way to protect them.
In my digging, I learned that many families in a Jewish village would partner together so they could put all the sheep in one place. They built round, stone wall enclosures, and the sheep were kept there overnight. Did you know the top of the round wall was totally covered with thorns to keep the wild animals out? That bit of symbology blew my mind. Inside the enclosure, the sheep were safe as long as the entrance was secured by the shepherd. Because there was no door on the pen, the shepherd would sleep across the entrance, battered by the elements, 7 days a week.
The Lord turned my study to John 10 and my old NIV Study Bible (Zondervan, 1986) had an illustration of a good shepherd in an "insight" box when it recounted a tragedy on Mount Rainier one Memorial Weekend decades ago. I was stopped in my tracks because I had heard this story remembered locally just this May. What were the odds of that? A Christian dentist named James Reddick was teaching his 12-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son the joy of hiking. A sudden storm came up battering them with 75 mph+ winds and thick, wet sheets of snow. A blinding whiteout made it impossible to see or move on the slope.
Making every effort to save his children, Reddick dug an oblong trench with his mess kit and tucked his children into sleeping bags away from the entrance. He covered the opening with a tarp but it kept blowing away, exposing the trench to the wind and snow. Reddick found he had to lie directly across the opening, using his body weight to hold down the edges of the tarp. His body protected his son and daughter from the storm and it was a job only he could do and he did it willingly out of the deep love he held for little Sharon and David.
Two days passed before searchers found a corner of a backpack protruding from the snow. Inside, they found the children very much alive but their deceased father lay frozen against one wall of the snow cave. He had taken the "cold spot" in one searcher's words, by using his back as an outer wall to lay across the entrance and secure it, just as a shepherd did.
Appreciate the Shepherd, the Lord said to me. Yes, Lord, we do. Thank you for laying across the gap and putting down your life for ours.
Hear the Shepherd's Voice
Will you, when the time comes, be able to be counted as sheep who know His voice? In English, we only have one word for "know", but in Greek there are two. The first is eido and it describes a head knowledge or factual knowledge about something. The second, and the one used in John 10 is ginōskō, which is defined as a heart knowledge...that which learned through process, perceived, recognized through deep knowing.
Hear the Shepherd's voice, the Lord said to me. Yes, Lord, we will seek it. Thank you, that despite all the times we look and act like sheep, we also have a strong ability to hear your voice leading us when we hear it daily. I'll leave you with a few things to remember that will help the process.
- Stay in Scripture
- Watch for the Peace of God within you
- Seek Godly counsel
- Set time aside to listen to Him in prayer
Have a wonderful weekend, Family!
With God's love and mine,