Excerpt for Reflections Of A Sheep - The Series - Book Fourteen by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

REFLECTIONS OF A SHEEP

THE SERIES - BOOK FOURTEEN



AUTHOR - BILL TAYLOR

COPYRIGHT 2017 - BILL TAYLOR

PUBLISHED BY BILL TAYLOR AT SMASHWORDS



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*Special thanks to Shila and Pragna for their encouragement and inspiration*



From Glory To Glory

2 Corinthians 3 - 18: “And we all who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit”.

What a powerful scripture! We are literally being transformed into His image with “ever increasing” glory. No casual dormancy inferred here. No I'm sitting at the side of the “road less traveled” in “neutral”. What's being described here is emphatically active and intensely ongoing.

We who have been granted, “with unveiled faces”, access to the progressive unveiling of our Shepherd's glory, find ourselves spiritually expectant with the anticipation of wider, higher, and deeper promised revelations of Jesus to behold. 

As we breathe, we are constantly being exposed to a clearer visual, then re-invented to reflect a more glorious likeness of the One we call, Altogether Lovely! Now that's overwhelmingly exciting!

We know Jesus, as seen from any perspective is beautiful. It would seem, His beauty is such that it can't be ingested in one sitting so we are brought back to His banquet table over and over again to delight in Him from different angles, thereby knowing Him better.

Knowing Him better always results in loving Him more! Loving Him more always results in wanting to be more like Him. “From glory to glory”!

Imagine, our Lord's beauty is so magnificent that we have to be fed it incrementally one drop at a time. I'm guessing God knows, anything more intense would stop our hearts.

This is our Shepherd! How incredibly blessed and privileged we are to have been given by grace, the opportunity to not only know Him, but equally incredible, to partner with Him as His sheep! 

Zechariah 9 - 16: “The Lord their God will save His people on that day as a Shepherd saves His flock. They will sparkle in His land like jewels in a crown”.

And the more we become like our Shepherd the brighter we will sparkle! The revelation of Jesus can never be exhausted. He's that magnificent! There's always more of His loveliness  to discover! Don't you just love being a sheep!



Things Have Changed

Matthew 28 - 16 > 20: And Jesus came and spoke to them saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you; And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”.

I find it profoundly interesting that immediately after Jesus enlightens His disciples to His all authority status, He says GO! These disciples had spent three years with Jesus. They had seen Him perform many astounding miracles.

They saw Him crucified, buried and raised from the dead. Therefore they knew He had serious authority!

Up until then Jesus “did the doing” and they “watched”. Jesus “taught the teachings” and they “listened”. They themselves had basically done nothing at all, yet! So, their Lord's final words were not a reminder regarding Him but rather an announcement concerning them.

“Things are about to change on a massive scale”, for you! The authority I have, will soon indwell you by My Spirit. 

Therefore go, do, and teach in My name, using My “residing in you”' authority! The things you have seen me do, greater things than these you will do!

Shockingly empowering words spoken by Jesus but to his disciples, declarations that had to be strangely confusing. 

Their leader was about to leave, with instructions that to them in their immediate natural, must have seemed impossible. Jesus also threw these words of mystery into the equation: “It's good that I leave”. How is that a “good thing”, they must have wondered.

They were so stunned that after Jesus ascended, angels had to appear asking the disciples the question: Why are you still standing here? 

Peter likely thought: We're taking a moment to process what we just heard and seen. It's all a little overwhelming!

Jesus, in His final words to His disciples made two major information imparting and confidence instilling statements that need to ring true in our lives today.

Statements of extreme clarity, comfort, empowered enablement, and assurance for us all. Thus, the reason Jesus waited until the last second to announce them. “Last words spoken are seldom forgotten”. 

First: I have been given all authority. Second: I am with you, therefore the authority that I speak of will be residing in you always. 

Translated to our personal lives: I have “all” authority for you to use as you speak Heaven's viewpoints into the issues of your world and I will “always” be with you and in you!

All and Always are emphatically powerful words! By His Spirit Jesus has taken up permanent residence as the overseer of our lives. Whether on the “mountain top” or in the “valley”, the same truth applies, always. 

A truth we are encouraged by our Lord to embrace with our whole hearts! These statements of Jesus can be trusted as fact. They are in fact the foundation to our “new reality”. 

A reality that is “in the world” but does not adhere or bend a knee to “the world”. We are no longer victims of circumstance, we are circumstance overcomers. In fact we are circumstance changers! As His children “things have changed” for us, as was the case with these disciples of Jesus.

We neither have to, or are encouraged to, be common or ordinary in the way we live life. As we walk in our inherited changes, Goliath's will fall. They have no real choice. We are called, anointed, and authorized to dominate, not be dominated!

When we entered into this spiritually intimate relationship with Jesus our external was never again meant to have predominance over our conclusionary thinking.

From the inside out is our “new” direction and directive. Our internal dictating to our external in heavenly imparted “all-authority” power!

Isaiah 48 - 17: “This is what the Lord says, your Redeemer the Holy One of Israel. I am the Lord your God who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go”.

What our Lord teaches and His direction will never align itself with the natural. Why would it? That would constitute a serious down-grade of gargantuan proportion. In fact His leadings will always be diametrically opposite to natural.

No doubt, going “against the grain” can feel awkward. But going “with it” can feel painful!

When you think about it, we were not called to fit in but rather stand out. If a person has “the answer” why would they choose to reside in “the question”?

We are by Gods design and choosing, the residing places of the literal essence and presence of God! Not a truth to be ingested as a fantasy type feel good thing, but rather a powerful reality to walk, talk and breathe in!

We, like those early disciples should take a moment and process that information. Then go and live it!

Isaiah 41 - 10: “So do not fear for I am with you; Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand”.

“The Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not want”!



The Seen Versus The Unseen

John 16 - 13: “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble ( the seen ). But take heart, I ( the unseen ) have ( past tense ) overcome the world”.

1 John 4 - 4: “You dear children are from God and have ( past tense ) overcome them because the One who is in you ( the unseen ) is greater than the one who is in the world” ( the seen ).

Our first scripture reference in the Gospel of John is interestingly pre-cross. We hear Jesus proclaiming “He has overcome the world” while in His immediately future lies an arrest, conviction and crucifixion.

The “seen” strongly suggests that Jesus has been overcome! The “unseen” says, not at all. Those in attendance including His own are saying “He is finished” while Jesus is saying “It is finished”.

Then in 1 John ( post-resurrection ) we see John applying the all-important layer of transference from “I have overcome” to “you have overcome”.

The combination of both scriptures exposes the “I in you and you in Me” promised by our Lord dynamic and foundation to our justifiable peace.

It's our position of “in Him and Him in us” that allows us heavenly licence to have peace in the middle of our storms! In fact power over our storms! It's why we are different, uncommon, and not ordinary.

Our Shepherd has provided for us a banquet of available, indwelling, faith information to enable us to dictate to our hearts and world, our higher truth. It's not that we ignore their obvious ( seen ), we just don't adhere to it.

Our lives as sheep, are to be lived in the world of spectacular unseen faith. Heaven has called and anointed us to do so. It's where our power of the cross resides.

No doubt it's radicle. But what could ever be more radical than hanging from a cross while simultaneously declaring victory!

Galatians 2 - 20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body ( the seen ) I live by faith ( the unseen ) in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me”.

Just one time, wouldn't you just love to stare into the face of darkness as it shows up with its attempts to distract or scare and proclaim: Do you have any idea how close you are to your worst nightmare and watch it run!

I think it would become an addictive behavior. I also think it's an available heavenly prescribed behavior! Don't fear, don't worry and don't be anxious are all encapsulated in “live by faith”. 

If we're going to “do the don'ts” then how does that make us different than anyone else?

Romans 1 - 16 & 17: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew and then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed. A righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written; The righteous will live by faith”.

Faith is so much more than dormantly claiming to be something. It's actively acting, thinking, and talking like the something we are claiming to be. Something very powerful in God's eyes.

Let's bless Him by living it out in all its meant to be glory! 

Hebrews 11- 6: “And without faith it's impossible to please God because anyone that comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him”.

So what is the God pleasing “faith approach” to our days? Taking hold of and applying the all authority status of “Christ in us” and walking in it with enthusiasm and conviction.

Overcomers to the extreme by faith, because He has overcome! Past, present, and future!



Thankfulness = Wholeness

This heavenly equation, while scripturally described as having the utmost of importance, so often finds itself being the most neglected. I'm not sure why. It's a spiritually chilling mystery to be honest.

One that drives me back, time and time again to the story of the ten men with leprosy that Jesus healed.

All were healed but only one was made “whole”. The one who felt the “need” to say thank you, was not comfortable with the assumption that Jesus probably understood.

You see he had a burning ''need'' that the others didn't have. Little did he know that his “need” would be the pathway to his “wholeness”.

I'm convinced that the non-returning nine were thankful on some level. No one could be that oblivious. They had just been given back their lives top to bottom. Of course they were thankful, but casually and complacently so. Thus, not near enough to express it!

On that day Jesus gave each of the ten the exact same blessing. Jesus then waited. How do I know He waited? Well, all ten left together but the one who came back found our Lord standing exactly where he had left Him, “waiting” at the scene of the multiple healing.

What Jesus didn't do was chase the men down the road insisting they say thank you. No He waited, thereby allowing the ten to determine their own wholeness. Jesus provided the blessing but it was they who would determine its degree of impact in and on their lives.

It would seem that Jesus finds a person's “need to be expressively thankful” delightfully refreshing and most worthy of His attention and indulgence. 

He knows He's not dealing with the majority but finds much value in the “One”. I find it amazingly beautiful that my Shepherd isn't interested in numbers.

He gracefully passes by the complacent majority always in search of the “One”. The thankful one. It would seem His interest is in quality over quantity.

Here's the spiritually chilling part: The nine never did say “thank you”, choosing instead to adopt a comfort level with their “casual” mindset toward this massively important spiritual dynamic. A mindset that would leave them “never whole” by choice and never knowing why.

The nine who never returned prove to us: We can deem casually complacent as acceptable and become so comfortable with it, that in time we don't even notice the “condition” as it becomes our normal lifestyle! Again chilling, with its self-destructive ramifications!

Expressed thankfulness is the biblical pre-requisite to wholeness. It's the ingredient that completes the “heavenly equation”. It's the action that blesses the heart of Jesus the most.

That's a truth that cannot be avoided, therefore worthy of pausing for a moment to expose its importance.

It's interesting how God provides humbling real life examples to fortify and verify His truth. I have a grandson named Kellen. He’s often God’s tool of teaching me valuable lessons.

When given a gift from Grandpa, he won't stop saying “thank you” until he's convinced I know he is thankful. It seems important to him that I know. Kellen is only five years old and has always been like this. He has a wonderful heart.

He hasn't spent a single day in Bible College or for that matter reading the bible. He doesn't have a shelf full of commentaries. I highly doubt he would claim to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

He does go to Catholic School where he was taught to say grace and will fight you for the “privileged calling” to do so. You see it's his job and one he takes seriously!

I love the blessing that Kellen is to me. In his own “little” way he teaches me “grand” and “wonderful” things. I never miss an occasion to bring him a gift.

I so enjoy his extreme, non-optional mindset toward thankfulness. It's in those moments I get a glimpse of how Jesus must feel when we do likewise.

You see, thankfulness “kept a secret” defeats the purpose of being thankful. In our story of the ten lepers it's interesting to note: The one who returned was asked by Jesus; Were there not ten?

That would strongly suggest Jesus notices both the returners and the non-returners. It's important to be the ones asked the question and not be the ones the question is being asked about.

Expressed thankfulness while costing nothing, is seen by Jesus as having great value! In short: Everything we do and say causes a reaction. Thankfulness inspires the one being thanked, while a lack of it creates the exact opposite result.

Therefore casualness when it comes to thankfulness, is a spiritually toxic mindset with far reaching implications. Thus emphatically important!


My Ministry Into Our Ministry


Mark 6 - 38 & 41: “How many loaves do you have He asked?” “Go and see”. When they found out they said, “Five and two fish”. Taking the five loaves and two fish and looking up to heaven He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to His disciples to DISTRIBUTE to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all”. ( Five thousand plus, were fed that day! )


In the biblical story of the “fishes and loaves”, I so clearly see three dynamics in play to achieve the desired completion of the heavenly orchestrated equation. The young boy GAVE what little he had, our Lord then MULTIPLIED it, and the disciples then DISTRIBUTED it.


It’s interesting to note that Jesus, after the multiplying didn’t say, “Come and get it”. What He did say was, “Everyone find a place to sit on the grass and I’ll bring it to you, through my own”. Folks, He loves to involve us. He loves to make us matter! We are blessed beyond measure to be written into, His stories! Just imagine: Invited by Him to participate in His plans for others!


From the inception of the idea of writing books to be made available to “all freely”, there has never been a moment when I haven’t been aware of its ministry context. I could easily be seen as the “young boy” in the story. Jesus has most certainly multiplied my meager offering to Him.


So may I invite and encourage you to be a distributor of that which He has multiplied, thereby elevating “My Ministry” into “Our Ministry”, thus completing “His Ministry”. There’s something about that idea that sounds “perfect” to my heart!


We all have friends, family, work mates, school mates, etc. I’ve included a simple directional on “how to find” the “fishes and loaves”. Please feel free to share “what you eat” with others. You have no idea where it could lead to! That young boy’s mother could never have dreamed, what that little lunch she had prepared for her son on that fateful morning, would produce!


Thanks in advance. Bill Taylor


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