Sin -> Shame -> Restoration

Take care of the flock

Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 21

We cannot read the shameful behavior of Peter without it resonating in our souls. How many times do we say “I won’t deny,” but then we do? We deny by our words, our mannerisms, and our choices. Jesus warned Peter that he would deny, but just like us, he vehemently said, “I won’t.” But the proof is in the pudding, he did deny, and we do as well.

It is in the next step that we want to focus on. Judas betrayed but did not exhibit shame like Peter. How often do we hide behind our shame like Judas? How often do we exhibit shame in our tears as Peter did? What caused the difference? Judas never saw the eyes of Jesus, but Peter did. The eyes tell us the heart of the individual, and as Jesus looked at Peter, the soul of Peter crashed. It was in that moment that his bravado turned to his bitterness of shame, and he wept.

But then the grace of our Lord sought to restore Peter on that day in Galilee by the seashore. As he denied Jesus three times, Jesus would restore him with three questions: Do you love me, Peter? With each question, Peter had to determine his love quotient. In his shame, he had to walk through those questions, and we do as well. Do we love Jesus? Then Jesus tells us to feed his lambs, shepherd his sheep, feed his sheep and follow Him.

Where are you today?

“Jesus in Ezekiel”

Jesus is shepherd Jesus is Lion of Judah

Ezekiel 34 From Genesis to Revelation, each author presents Jesus. He is sometimes seen as a teacher or a mentor, but in Ezekiel, he is the Good Shepherd in contrast to the bad shepherds who did not care for the sheep. Ezekiel receives a message from the Lord God to prophesy against the false shepherds of Israel. They plundered the weak sheep, which were scattered and became food for every wild beast. But, the Good Shepherd will search for His sheep and gather them from their distant places to feed on the rich grass of the mountains of Israel.

Later when Jesus came, he saw Israel once again floundering and the sheep wandering because of the bad shepherds. He pronounced judgment on them and reminded them that they would have repented long ago if they had seen the same miracles that Chorazin saw. Even though the bad shepherds refused to yield to God, one day the Good Shepherd would come, and He would lay down his life for them. Ezekiel’s message to the exiles was that the Sovereign Lord knew what was happening. He will seek the lost and bring back the strays, bandage the injured, and strengthen the sick while the bad shepherds would be judged. “And then you shall know that I am the Lord” for He is the Good Shepherd and the Lion of Judah. God sees and He will judge all sin.  [Num 32:23]

Trust God; He is Sovereign, He is the Good Shepherd and the Lion of Judah

God loves Shepherds!

James 1 2 shepherds2a

Advent Series: James 1 & 2 The Shepherds

Did you ever wonder why God Most High showered the shepherds with the gift of His Son? God loves shepherds and His Son would be known as the Good Shepherd. Think back to one starry night so long ago when God looked down from heaven and found a group of shepherds whose hearts were open to His gift. God gave His people the privilege of caring for sheep, the most vulnerable of all animals. Most likely Abel was a shepherd. When the children of Israel sojourned in Egypt the brothers of Joseph were shepherds. God lovingly provided a safe place to raise their flocks along with the Egyptian’s flocks and the flocks prospered under the care of the Israelites. Later, the psalmist sat on a hillside watching the flocks by night just as the shepherds Luke described. He wrote about himself as a sheep in need of peace and quiet–and God provided.

Truly the God Most High is the giver of gifts. He gives liberally and without reprimand. Yet, God does not give to just anyone but those whose hearts are responsive. If we want the gift to see His Son we must ask in faith without doubting because he who doubts is like one caught in the riptides of the sea being tossed to and fro. Perhaps James was considering that when he wrote: All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change.

God’s eye is upon those whose hearts are receptive to His gift of the Savior.


Broken & Flawed No More

zechariah kintsugi repaired pottery2a

Zechariah 11 In Chapter 11, we find the true character of the shepherds. They did not pity the people and took them for granted. As a shepherd, Zechariah asked them how much he was worth to them. They mockingly said 30 pieces of silver. According to Ex 21:32, thirty pieces of silver was the amount paid for a slave gored by an ox. Fast forward to the NT and we see that Judas asked the Pharisees, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him up to you?” The thirty pieces of silver picture the price of rejection.

As broken and rejected in the potter’s field, we lay there until the Good Shepherd reached down and took us and repaired our brokenness. In Japan, Kintsukuroi is the art of Japanese mending broken pottery. They cover each flaw in lacquer resin laced with gold or silver; each golden seam becoming part of the new design. Our flaws become symbols of events in our life that He has broken and repaired.

The world only sees our flaws, but the Shepherd sees each as part of His beautiful craftsmanship. He may have been only worth thirty pieces of silver to the religious leaders but to us, He is worth more than all the silver or gold this world has to offer. He purchased us, mended our flaws and gave us an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading and reserved it in heaven for you.

Where are your golden seams that Christ has mended? Use them to tell your story of redemption from the pottery field. 

Photo: ©

God’s Post-it-notes

joel 1-3 post it note2as

Joel 1-3  If you just read the first chapter of the Prophet Joel’s message you would just groan and say no more, no more! Like the nation to whom Joel is writing you too may be facing a time of crisis. Yet, Joel starts by listing all of God’s post-it-notes, the first of which is:  “He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, relenting of evil.”   Be convinced that He Is the Lord your God! He is the Lord who dwells in Zion. Joel reminds the people that God will have compassion on His people and then asks, did you forget? He promised long ago to restore your grain as well as fresh wine and olive oil and you will be fully satisfied! Those words remind us of one of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” [Matt 5]

So after all of the locusts who devour and the priests who are in mourning and the farmers who are wailing, God reminds them that they are to proclaim a holy and sacred assembly and call out for help from the Lord.

Have you forgotten the message of Joel? God is speaking directly, personally and urgently to you to call unto Him and seek His face.

Are You Guilty of Doing God’s Dirty Work?

Psalm 94  How often do we take on the role of God by becoming the avenger because we become impatient? The psalmist reminds us that God is the avenger and He is the judge of the earth. David knew God was the avenger and he told Goliath that before he slung that fateful stone. Gideon needed convincing but when he gathered courage, he was used by God to avenge Israel from the Midianites. Sometimes God uses us but more often than not He steps in to do the “dirty work.” He sometimes uses hailstorms like in Egypt or fire or blindness so the enemy cannot see. Whatever God decides fits the situation, He uses. The promise is what the Psalmist said: Lord the God who avenges that is his character. God uses what will reveal His splendor because we are the sheep of his pasture, the sheep he owns. It is fitting then that He would avenge the wrongs and He will render judgment to His righteous ones.

psalm 94 dirty work2a

Today be ye confident, the God who made the human ear hears your prayer. The God who made the human eye sees all that transpires. He is our avenger, protector, and deliverer.  Why? Because the Lord is our Shepherd and the Shepherd does not forsake his people, the sheep he owns.