Posts Tagged With: Good Shepherd

What kind of Monster do you think God is?

I woke up praying,”Lord Jesus, fill me with the Holy Spirit.”

I’ve been praying this prayer for over a decade and I know Jesus is and has been answering this prayer. This is a prayer that makes him really happy to hear. I started praying this on a fairly regular basis since I read the following from Luke 11 years ago:

“Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

2 Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:

“Father, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
3 Give us each day the food we need,
4 and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.”

5 Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, 6 ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ 7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ 8 But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.

9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

11 “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

Notice how it ends? He is telling us the best thing to ask for and seek after… the best gift of all… is His Presence in the Holy Spirit!

Now, do you think for a moment that if one of his children asks for the Holy Spirit that the Lord Jesus gives him an imposter spirit? A false Holy Spirit? A demon? Can you imagine God sitting back on his throne drink in hand laughing to himself, “Ha ha got him that time. He really trusts us, doesn’t he? Isn’t that so dumb? What an idiot! We’ll teach him a lesson.”

What kind of a monster do you think God is?

No, the Good Shepherd does not feed his lambs to the wolves. Again, can you imagine Jesus saying to you, his sheep, “You annoyed me today.” “Come here wolf and teach this one a lesson!” As he holds you down and lets the wolf gnaw on your leg for a while.

Yet, this is the very attitude I see in some “believers” that I meet. I have heard them say things like, “Having kids is scary. If they don’t accept Christ right away then it would be a blessing if they died before the age of accountability.”

Ridiculous! How could this kind of thought even enter our minds? It seems that some “believers” are bound in fear instead of delighting in the simple pure devotion and childlike trust that Jesus encourages and examples for us. He wants to set us ALL free from ALL our fears and teach us how to live in ‘his perfect love that casts out all fear’.

Perfect Love casts out all fear

Believers need not ever be afraid of our Good Shepherd.

By the way: “Being afraid” differs from what the Bible teaches us about the “fear of the Lord” – which means “to have Reverent Trust”! Listen to what Jesus says here:

“Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. 5 But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear.

6 “What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. 7 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

8 “I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels. 9 But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels. 10 Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” Luke 12 NLT

Jesus is right here with you now to deal with ALL that fear in your heart. As the Bible says, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.”

Listen to this how this passage begins and how the Lord deals with our irrational fears:

And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. 14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first.

20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.” (1 John 4 NLT)

Here is our brand new song based out of the Lord’s prayer quoted above:

Holy is Your Name (Our Father) by Reflect Worship with lyrics from Daniel & Catherine Lovett on Vimeo.

Categories: Love of God | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

I AM Salvation, the Name of Jesus (Yeshua)

Here are a few thoughts regarding the Good News (Gospel) of Jesus and the Name of Jesus. After watching the word for word rendition of the “Gospel of John” (Visual Bible), I was stunned. My faith was challenged as I watched this actor playing the role of Jesus saying the audacious things he was saying.

If you read through John’s Gospel you can’t escape the fact that Jesus was claiming to be God. This flesh and blood, quite ordinary looking Jewish man, claimed to be God! Any serious look into who who exactly this Jesus was (and still is) forces us to wrestle with his claims and make a decision about him.

C. S. Lewis writes that for a man to make the kind of claims Jesus made he could not simply be just a prophet or just a good moral teacher. No, He would have to be much more than that or very, very much worse.

Lewis points out that either Jesus was a liar and a great deceiver, or he was a lunatic or, that he was and is exactly who he says he is. The LORD. God incarnate. The only way of salvation. The “I AM”. There is no way around it!

God has left it to you to decide. Will you believe in Jesus? Will you receive him or reject him? Will you submit to him or chase after sin? But you must not and cannot come with any patronizing nonsense about him being just a good moral teacher or just a prophet. He didn’t leave that option open to us. He did not intend to.

Well put C.S. Lewis.

God revealed his name to Moses as “I AM” (YHWH) in the burning bush experience (Exodus 3). This is often rendered Jehovah or Yahweh and in most bibles will read “LORD” (all caps) throughout the Old Testament. God progressively reveals himself to his people by pairing his Name “I AM” with his attributes. In Genesis 22 He reveals himself to Abraham as “I AM your provider” (YHWH Jirah) Genesis 22:14 . The Bible goes on to describe him with these names:

  • I AM your Righteousness (YHWH tsidkenu) Jeremiah 23:6
  • I AM your Healer (YHWH rapha) Exodus 15:26
  • I AM your Peace (YHWH-shalom) Judges 6:24
  • I AM here for you (YHWH shammah) Ezekiel 48:35
  • I AM your Creator (YHWH hoseenu) Psalm 95:6
  • I AM your Banner of victory (YHWH nissi) Exodus 17:15
  • I AM your Sanctifier (I make you holy) (YHWH-m’kaddesh) Exodus 31:13
  • I AM your Shepherd (YHWH-raah) Psalm 23:1
  • I AM Lord of hosts (armies) (YHWH-sabaoth) 1 Samuel 1:3

In his Gospel, the apostle John picks up on this theme and gives us at least 7 “I AM” statements of Jesus.

1. The Bread Of Life
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

2. The Light Of The World
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

3. The Gate
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)

4. The Good Shepherd
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

5. The Resurrection And The Life
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)

6. The Way, The Truth, And The Life
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

7. The Vine
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

On one occasion Jesus makes his identity abundantly clear to his Jewish audience who then picks up stones to stone him for blasphemy. He says them, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!” (John 8:58 NLT)

They all knew what he was claiming and were going to kill him for it.

Here is another account where Jesus makes a claim that the people knew was a claim to be God from John 10:30-33 (NIV):

I and the Father are one.”

Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him,  but Jesus said to them,“I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

Take a look at this account of when Jesus was being arrested in John 18:4-6 (NLT):

“Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked.

“Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied.

“I AM he,”[b] Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) As Jesus said “I AM he,” they all drew back and fell to the ground!”

(Here is the footnote [b] John 18:5 Or “The ‘I AM’ is here”; or “I am the Lord”; Greek reads I am; also in 18:6, 8. See Exod 3:14.)

Amazing isn’t it? This Jesus whose very name means “I AM Salvation” is the very same God who spoke the world into existence, who created you and I for his glory, and then gave his life on a cross. His love for us made him do it.

I will leave you with this last verse I just stumbled upon:

“Unless you believe that I am you will die in your sins”  ~ Jesus (John 8:24)

The following are some videos I put together on this subject and more. I particularly like Part 2 and I think you will too:

Categories: Jesus, Love of God | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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