The Shepherd Leads to Restore

Did you ever get in your car to go somewhere only to recognize that you had taken the wrong route and out of habit started driving to work? The route back on track is quite simple for a trip like this. However, if you were taking an extended trip and missed a turn some 25 miles back, the way to get back on track would be more difficult and time consuming.

Sometimes, we find ourselves turned away from God. Depending on how long we are in that state before recognizing or desiring to return will affect the route back to God and how long it will take. Regardless of whatever the situation, if you are turned away from God, the shepherd will provide leadership to restore you.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23:3)

The way back to the lord will vary slightly from person to person, but the shepherd will guide you back in the same basic manner.

First, the shepherd will lead you to recognize that you are away from him. This may seem basic, but it is not. It is the Lord who gives repentance and when he reveals to you that you have drifted or turned from him, he is doing a mighty work in your life that only he can do. (2 Timothy 2:25)

It is at this point that you must yield to him and if you do, he will continue to lead you on and his leading will bring you to see the stumbling blocks that you have allowed into your life. He will point out things such as people, places, entertainment or indulgences that are keeping you from victory and experiencing the joy that he has for you. By the power and leading of the shepherd, he will lead you to remove those obstacles.

The path, that the shepherd lead you back to himself, will bring you to resources for victory. Because truth brings victory and freedom, he will lead you to the truth that you need. You will find it in the Scriptures which may be revealed by friends and spiritual leaders. Evidence that you are following the shepherd towards truth will be when you are seeking truth from the Scriptures and attending services in the church. Truths from the word of God will usually encourage your faith and may instruct you as to what you may need to put off or put on in your spiritual life. (Ephesians 4:22-32; Romans 13:12; Colossians 3:8-14)

Another source of truth may come from spiritual music, which can minister to you and equip you with your worship and walk with the Lord. Your times of rejoicing in the Lord will be greater steps of progress on your way back. As your heart is lifted up in song, it is actually the shepherd interacting with you and lifting you up as he lead you along the path back to himself and to victory.

While you were fallen away from God, you hurt yourself and others. The Lord will lead you to repair the damaged relationships that your sin has caused. The shepherd is not only interested in delivering you from actions of sin: he also wants to restore you to himself and to others because he is concerned about relationship. It was his desire to have a relationship with you the caused him to seek you out and to lead you to trust his son. His desire and concern for relationships did not stop there. Relationships are vital to the Lord. The church, your family, your life as a child of God and your interactions with the world are all relationships that concerned him. The only way for those relationships to be right is for your relationship with him to be right and as a shepherd, he will restore you to that relationship by leading you to himself.

Remember, the steps back to him may be many or few, but they will involve recognizing your condition of being astray, removing stumbling blocks from your life, obtaining resources of truth for victory and repairing relationships.


What Is There to Declare? (1 John 1:1-3)

From the beginning of our salvation until now, we have heard the Lord and even seen him evident in our lives.  What is it that you have seen?  How many answered prayers have there been?  How many times has the Lord spoken to you through the scriptures.  On how many occasions has he guided you in your decisions?  Honestly speaking, we probably cannot number these occasions.  What I believe to be the best interactions with the Lord are when he encourages us.  He picks us up when we fall.  He mends our hearts when they become broken and encourages us as we live in this fallen world.  All of these instances are part of our fellowship with him and the fellowship continues as we lift our hearts to him and offer praise, thanksgiving and adoration.

As the apostles, we have a responsibility with this fellowship and that is to share it with others so that they too may fellowship with God.  We owe this responsibility to our brothers and sisters in Christ.  By doing so, we lead them from where they are in their fellowship and relationship with God to where we are.  It is the mature believer teaching the younger.

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3)

With these thoughts, we must ask ourselves a few questions.  Have I been having fellowship with the Lord?  We know that we have in the past, but in recent days has there been fellowship?  If you were to share a fellowship experience with someone, how far back would you need to reach?

Another question would be: have I shared my fellowship experiences with others?  Our lives are like plants bearing fruit and seed.  The fruit of the Spirit is what our lives should produce because of fellowship and the seed within the fruit comes from us sharing our fellowship experiences with others.

So, what should we do with this fellowship?  Share it at work.  Share it at home: even blog it on the media, but whatever you do, share it.  By doing so, others may begin to experience the wonderful relationship with God that he so longs to have with them.

What Are You Offering? (Psalm 50:14-15)

Have you discovered the most important things in life?  Years ago, I thought it was possessions and experiences.  Boy was I ever wrong.  You have heard the phrase, you never know how much you need something until you don’t have it.  Well it is true.  If you have buried a loved one, you experienced it.  They are gone and your heart longs to see them again.  Through that and other experiences in life, we can learn that the most important things in life are people and our interactive relationship with them.

Because we are created in the image of God, we are very similar to him.  He likewise desires a relationship with us.  He doesn’t need our money or any offerings that we choose to give him.  He already owns everything.  So there is nothing more on this earth that he could need.  Understandably, he may need “no thing”, but he does need someone and that someone is you.  

God wants to have a relationship with his creations and in that relationship, he wants us to give him something.  He wants what is in our hearts.

Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. (Psalms 50:14-15)

He seeks for individuals who are thankful, yielded, who look to him in times of trouble and will glorify his name.

Israel fell into the cold ritualistic mannerisms of their religion and if we are not careful, we can do the same.  So, as you assess your relationship with God, don’t count the “good” actions that you offer up to him, but instead focus on the motives behind them.  Do they reflect being thankful, yielded, seeking and glorifying?

How Can I Approach God?

As a kid, one of the greatest difficulties I faced was approaching my father and trying to get him to do something for me.  It seemed like I always faced some type of resistance and a troubling discussion.  Those childhood experiences affected my perspective of my Heavenly Father.  It wouldn’t take a counselor to recognize that as a believer in Christ, I would be convinced that my father in heaven would react the same way to my requests.

It took some time to overcome, but God eventually was able to get through to me and teach me about our relationship and how to approach him.  I finally recognized that he wants me to approach him and that there is a way to enter into his presence.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (Psalms 100:4)

In this Psalm, the writer uses the analogy of entering a king’s castle to teach us how to approach God.  The first step in approaching God should be to express thanks for whatever he is doing in your lives.  This can be very difficult for some of us, because there are many things that God allows into our lives, which are part of his sovereign plan that we may see as very unpleasant.  In order for us to be thankful, we will need to submit our will to him.  That is part of the great commandment loving God with all your heart, soul and mind.  When you express thanks to God, you enter through the gates and approach his presence.  You will not be as close as you could be, but you will be in his presence.  

After expressing thanks, you should praise God.  Praising God is done by declaring how wonderful God is and saying it to him in your own words and from your heart.  When you do this, you have entered into the court of his presence.  Once you enter this place, stay there, fellowship with him, make your petitions known to him and enjoy the splendor that you were created to experience.

Your Christian life was meant to be enjoyed.  It does not mean that all of life will be enjoyable, but regardless of what circumstances we face, we can enjoy God in the midst of them.

Don’t Wait, Call (Luke 11:37)

We know why Jesus accepted invitations to visit with the Publicans, but did you ever wonder why the Lord accepted them from the Pharisees.  From this account of Scripture, we can see that Jesus will go to wherever he is invited.  What we must understand is that we may invite him for one reason, but his purpose may be different.  In either case, it is great to know that whenever we invite the Lord to be with us, he will attend.

Regardless of our spiritual condition, he will attend.  He respond differently that we may think, but he will respond in a manner that is for our benefit.  So, wherever you are and in whatever state you may find yourself, invite the Lord to come and be with you.  He is waiting and has been for some time.

Getting Strength From Another (Psalm 73:17)

Life may be confusing, discouraging and appear to be unfair. On our own, we will never be able to figure things out. Our efforts of living for God and abstaining from wickedness may appear to be in vain. However when we enter into God’s presence and fellowship with him, he will perform a work in our hearts to bring things back into perspective. He did this for the Psalmist when he became envious of the wicked and he will do the same for you.

Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. (Psalms 73:17)

How soon we forget the wonders of his working. After being saved for over 30 years, it is difficult to remember exactly what it was like to be lost. The wounds from sins have been healed. All I can do is remember that at one time, I had great wounds in my heart to the point that I saw no significance of living. You would think that I should remember that and always be grateful in my heart. But it is not the case. It seems that the troubles and struggles of the day press more upon my heart than issues that should cause rejoicing. For that reason, I need to sit at the feet of the savior.

Recently, we rescued a dog that had been hit by a car and then abandoned for days. Needless to say, he has phobias. What makes him most able to endure these fear is when he gets close to those who love him. He gains our strength and becomes calm because of the security we provide. Is God any different to us? We have fears and worries, but it is when we draw close to him that we gain his strength and become secure.

When you struggle, draw close to God. He will open your eyes to the truths that you may need so as to gain the strength and comfort that only he can bring.

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Why Make Me Thirsty? (Psalm 63:1)

Over the years, I have heard many people say that it was during the good and prosperous times in their lives that they became complacent and wandered away from God. It seemed that because things were going well, the need for prayer diminished and the need for cautiously walking so as to please God and gain blessings was no longer urgent. How does God help us when we become like this? What does he do to bring us back to himself?

Sometimes God allows trials to come so that we may again recognize our need for him.

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; (Psalms 63:1)

In many cases, the trial is not a chastening, but the opportunity needed to brings us to the recognition of our need for him. A close friend of mine shared one time about how her parents had been struggling in their relationship. That was up until the time that one of them became very ill. It was the illness that shocked each of them into the reality of how much they really loved and needed each other. It was the wake up call. For us, trials can be much the same. Not all trials are for this purpose, but there are occasions when they are.

If you are currently in a trial, consider at least that The Lord may be trying to accomplish this work in your life. As you view others in trials, recognize that they may be right with God, but need to be drawn closer as well. They do not need your judgment at this time but rather your support.

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