REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP
THE SERIES - BOOK TWELVE
AUTHOR - BILL TAYLOR
COPYRIGHT 2017 - BILL TAYLOR
PUBLISHED BY BILL TAYLOR AT
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*Special thanks to Shila and
Pragna for their encouragement and inspiration*
The Privilege Of
unavoidable qualifier to the quality of spiritual content in our
choices is always found in the motivation. There is one choice
that transcends all others in the light of the One it impacts.
important to recognize; it's a choice that selflessly excludes me as
have the choice to love God. That's
amazing! Especially when I factor in this truth; He gave me
the indwelling ability to do so!
a spiritually super-natural dynamic to be able to love the “un-seen”
or “never-seen” and yet we can.
not a decision that can be lectured or coaxed out of me. It
can't be legislated as in “I have to”. I can't be guilted or
shamed into it. It's completely voluntary.
you find it compelling that God honors are right to choose? I
have thought at times; would it have been in God's best interest
to “make us” love Him? He could have quite easily.
why did He leave us on our own to make such a monumental decision?
Why did He expose his heart to the possibility of rejection? Did he
not “so love the world” to be loved back? The short answer is,
Yes and No. He loved the world voluntarily, graciously and selflessly
then left it up to the world to reciprocate in kind by choice thus
making the world’s response contextually legitimate in His sight.
God has no appetite for forced legislated love. What Father would?
us activating this privileged “gift of choice” what might
heaven's desired result be?
we would bless the heart of God voluntarily, personally, intimately
and selflessly, thereby creating a relationship of mutual two-way
blessing between God and ourselves. A relationship containing
profound importance from both perspectives.
we peruse the landscape of the “big picture” and conclude we
are “very little fish” in a “very big pond”. May I
encourage you to embrace this truth.
does not get loved by “schools of fish”. It's one fish at a
time as we step up and place at His feet our “choice” to
offer Him our love simply because we can and desire to do so.
we as individuals have “the privilege of choice” to bless the
heart of the Creator of the universe. Little fish? I think not!
loved us “first” thereby setting the standard. It's truly our
choice whether to reciprocate in kind. I love “the privilege”
when it comes to other matters but I must remember the “purpose of
privilege” has far greater implications than to serve my best
can't bring my “perfection” to Him seeing as I don't have any.
But I do have love and it does my heart good to know I can bless His.
is always the case, choices include priorities. Perhaps with one
of this supreme importance and magnitude, it's a “first
things first” type of thing. As previously mentioned; He loved me
“first” therefore I will love Him “first”.
better said; I can honor God “first” or honor Him “only”. In
choosing the second option I’m thinking the “first” will take
care of itself!
amazing how all the other priorities get well taken care of when we
put; “First Things First”.
Hope Met Hopeless
3 - 17: “For God did not send His Son into the
world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him”.
is a very profoundly pivotal geographical location on planet
earth. In fact there is none like it! It was there
God birthed “hope” to the “hopeless” in the form of
often wondered, why an infant? Why not have Jesus descend as a
thirty year old in a like manner as He ascended as a
thirty three year old. Was His first thirty years necessary, knowing
His actual ministry lasted only three years? Did the accumulated
calluses He acquired on His hands as He apprenticed as a
carpenter under the tutelage of his Father have purpose?
know God doesn't make it up as He goes. There's always a purpose
that parallels His ultimate plan. His purpose? As we speak, Jesus
sits at the right hand of the Father as our advocate,
representing and defending us in Heaven.
sacrifice not only purchased our forgiveness but equally His
authority as our counsel to speak on our behalf. To legitimately do
so, He had to live among us. He had to experience humanness..
to experience a broken heart to sympathize with our at times
brokenness. He had to walk in our emotional shoes to feel what the
blisters of life felt like. In short: He had to know what it was
like to be us.
He voluntarily leaves His ivory tower existence in heaven to
come as a baby. In love He empties Himself to become one of us.
We can only imagine what a massive “step down” that was for
Jesus. We can only imagine the quality of love that would
motivate Him to gladly agree to such a demotion. We can only
imagine the loving intensity of His heart as He willingly
came to us, knowing we couldn't come to Him.
Met Hopeless and
we are the benefactors of God's desired introduction!
4 - 14 > 16: “Therefore since we have a
great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God,
let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high
priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have
one who has been tempted in every way just as we are - yet He did not
sin. Let us then approach God's throne of grace with
confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time
so glad there were no short cuts implemented in God's
plan for His visitation in the flesh.
find great comfort in knowing, Jesus knows what it's like
to be me.
Do We Have A
Jesus On-Off Switch
church a few weeks ago I noticed a very frustrated young male parking
attendant trying to, as best as he could, orchestrate the
safe passage of those exiting.
I crawled up close enough to be heard, I decided to impart a touch of
levity to hopefully save the fellow from exploding. I with tongue in
cheek counselled: Tell them “the
first shall be last”.
attempt at humour worked as he broke into a thankful laughter of
relief. But he did have something of a profound nature to say before
I made my way past him and out into the street.
shared: “I don't know what “they” look and sound like while in
the building but things sure do change when they leave”. He had
obviously manned his post-church ministry position long enough
to have established a well founded by experience opinion.
opinion that stuck with me throughout that day and in fact, many
subsequent days after.
became personally introspective to me as a possible explanation
for many of the issues we have in life, leaving me with this
question: Do we have a Jesus on-off
that's on just long enough to get our church attendance star, but
never on so long as to interfere in our “out of
we made ''church attendance'' the point and not the One who is the
singular reason for church?
we met on a Wednesday at a coffee shop, would Jesus be the center of
attention as He was for an hour or so on Sunday, or is that a mindset
that gets re-visited next Sunday?
we leave Him there last Sunday with a sense of confidence that He
will still be there when we return?
did we bring Jesus with us to accompany our every breath. This is
where we could jump into a theological discussion regarding, Jesus
always being with us as an indwelling presence in our lives, which is
perhaps the better way to pose the question should be: Do we care
about His presence or is that a “Sunday to care about” thing. The
so thankful for my long time two closest friends Shila and Pragna.
This dynamic duo are natural sisters to each other, while being
sisters in Christ to me.
lean heavily on the second as being the one of supreme
importance. We talk a lot, quickly getting through the at times
necessary somewhat trivial, to get to the “good stuff”.
are aware, the Darling Of Heaven Jesus awaits, wishing to impart
His magnificent ministry to our hearts as we invite Him to
be the center piece of our times together.
never disappoints as we eventually part company more deeply
in love with our Redeemer while looking forward to our next chat.
don't think we have a switch but
if we do it's stuck in the ON position! We’re aware “The
Switch” is our enemy with its always
available options of convenience. Options that tend to apply the
“pause button” to our moment by moment relationship with God.
of convenience come at a high price. In this case, too high!
a bride with a groom, thus married to Christ. What marriage
could possible sustain an attention span of an hour or so per
week? The cost of a switch is therefore unaffordable!
from the already mentioned massive benefits of
here's a side benefit you might be interested in considering. You
attract “switchless” spectacular Jesus
lovers into your life.
lady friends gladly invest themselves in my daily writing with their
much appreciated layers of inspiration. Based on the content, our
chats are always God centered. Shila is my anointed “proof reader”
while Pragna is my official Holy Spirit filled “cheerleader”. How
cool is that!
word itself sounds “heavy” doesn't it. A kind of dreary
dark vow of commitment to a “Monk Like” lifestyle. No
laughing, no joy, no talking, no: Well, just no everything!
could be further from the truth. Consecrated simply means giving back
for God's use, what He gave to us in the first place: Our
do so with an understanding that it is in fact His complete inclusion
in our lives that makes our lives worth living.
enhancement factor of a life committed to Jesus simply cannot be
equalled or measured.
being in one's heart consecrated is a trusted, grace-given, and
privileged opportunity to participate in heavens plan for others.
all the colors of the rainbow and so much more! The bible describes
it as: Abundant Life! Not beige, nor brown, nor off-white but rather
magnificently and colorfully radiant!
consecrated life style is so beautifully depicted in this great song
of the church:
“drearily heavy” here. In fact it’s spiritually enticing as I
see it. “Used by God”. What could be more thrilling than that!
is a desired in us response, to the One who gave His all for us.
Not out of guilt nor an attempt to pay back, but rather a birthed
in our hearts loving need to say thank you.
Immanuel - God
highly doubt there has ever been penned three more powerfully
profound words than these: “God with us”!
three words that changed everything, shaking the entire world to its
foundations with heavens glorious announcement; “You on planet
earth have very important company”!
is life altering massive news! The God of the Universe is
with us! Right now! This very moment! Intimately! Personally!
isn't “sort of” with us, He is “absolutely” with us! It
isn't hypothetically theoretical, it's realistically factual! It's
radical! God is with us in every way imaginable that one can be
us to acknowledge and be overwhelmed by that truth, as
we explode into our days with this revolutionary revelation
branded on our hearts.
we never relegate that thought's hugeness into
something smaller to accommodate our finite minds comfort levels with
being blown away.
1 - 23: The virgin will conceive and give birth
to a son and they will call him Immanuel ( which means “God
with us” ). I never
get tired of hearing that!
Contentment - The
is not found in the understanding of all things but rather in
intimately knowing the “One” who does”.
Timothy 6 - 6: “But godliness with contentment
is great gain”.
4 - 12: “I know what it is to be in need and I
know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the ''secret'' to
being content in any and every situation whether well fed
or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want”.
19 - 23: “The fear of the Lord leads to
life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble”.
goodness! Doesn't this sound like a euphorically fragrant atmosphere
to spend our days in! It certainly brings an enticing flavor to
our spiritual taste buds. Well, before we proceed let's be sure we
aren't over simplifying the word or confusing it with another word.
and “Happy” are not the same. Happy is externally motivated. Its
life span is always determined by the next event, good or bad.
Contentment, while not necessarily changing the immediate
circumstances of life, does change “us” in the middle of
the wonderful transcendency of contentment over happiness.
Contentment is a choice that is not contingent on anything other
than our choice to choose it!
derives its legitimacy from that sacred place where we
intimately commune with Jesus.
will notice that the descriptive “happy” is suspiciously missing
in our scripture references. The Apostle Paul said: “I have
learned the secret to
being content”. I think “happys” absence is the secret.
had learned the superiority of one over the other and decided to live
in the superior! In Paul's life, his frequent visits to prison we
not happy occasions. Being beaten by his enemies and often left
for dead would also be disqualified as “happy
times”. So what was Paul talking about ?
see happiness and contentment are far more than semantics
meaning the same thing. They are two totally different mindsets with
two totally different net results.
think Paul is saying: Happy is fine but there is something so much
more valuable available to us.
“secret” was found in his desire to be consistently mindful
within the context of what and Who he knew. His circumstances were
completely unrelated to his contentment.
what did Paul base his contentment on? What could be so incredible as
to have him relegate his circumstantial life so emphatically,
as confirmed in Philippians 3 -
8: “I consider everything a loss because
of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord for whose
sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage that I may gain
Paul, the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus was the singular
component to his sense of peace, reward, joy, and yes
contentment. A worth that was understood by Paul as never changing,
thus eternally significant beyond measure. All else he
concluded was fleetingly trivial by comparison.
would also say in: Philippians 3 -10:
“I want to know Christ - Yes, to know the power of His resurrection
and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His
wasn't saying he wanted to die but rather “die to himself” in
order to become more “alive” in Christ. Thus: “the power of His
resurrection”. All resurrections must be prefaced by a
death and Paul knew it as he wrote: “For to me to live is
Christ and to die is gain”: Philippians 1
Paul simply an extremist or did he realize, the extent of his
contentment was directly related to the extent of his “knowing
thinking, Paul came to a place in his spiritual life when he
understood: There's “knowing” and then there's “knowing” and
chose the deeper meaning of the word as his preferred lifestyle.
version that made Paul the powerfully undeterred man he was as he
lived out this mindset; I don't have the luxury of waiting for my
freedom to be content, therefore I will choose to be so in my
is Heaven’s antidote for the ups and downs of “fair
weather faith”. It also
removes us from the spiritual roller coaster we can find
ourselves on when “happy” is entrenched as the
is being happy wrong? No, as long as we realize that it can and
will change, thus not a mentality to attach our spiritual
when displayed “in spite of circumstances”, is powerfully
persuasive to a world that can barely spell the word!
maintains our calmness and stability during the storms of life.
Contentment says: I don’t have to be happy to “choose”
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OF A SHEEP
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OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK SEVEN
OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK EIGHT
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OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK TEN
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OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK TWELVE
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OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK FIFTEEN
OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK SIXTEEN
ROSE AND THE THORN
HEARTS - NO LIMITS
ROAD LESS TRAVELED
IN CHINA SHOPS
IS A JOURNEY
HEART IS SACRED
- IT’S A NEW DAY!
FRIEND - MY PEACE - MY LORD
DECIDE - CHOICES
REAR VIEW MIRROR
LOVE MADE PERFECT
GRACE - AMAZING SAVIOR
ME HOLY SPIRIT
- GOD IS NOT INTIMIDATED