Recent Blog Entries

  • 6 hours ago
    Posted by Dion Todd
    But you, when you pray, enter into your inner room, and having shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. In praying, don't use vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking. ...
  • Sat at 3:01 AM
    Posted by Dion Todd
    Behold, I will do a new thing. It springs out now. Don't you know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19 WEBA wealthy friend of mine once picked up his daughter's car to take it in for an oil change while she was at work. He stayed gone a really long tim...
  • Fri at 3:01 AM
    Posted by Dion Todd
    For I also am a man placed under authority, having under myself soldiers. I tell this one, 'Go!' and he goes; and to another, 'Come!' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it.' When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turned and said to the multitude who followed him,...
View All




Spiritual Bullies

  • RHM Devotional: Spiritual Bullies from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

    Today I want to talk about the heart of Jesus towards the lost sheep, compared to the heart of the religious leaders that should have been taking care of them. Luke chapter 15 reads:

    Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. Luke 15:1–5 ESV

    During Jesus’ ministry on earth, the upstanding citizens, the holiest, sanctified elders, the leaders of the people, were a group called the Pharisees, who were very strict sect of Judaism. They studied the Scriptures, tithed, and fasted twice a week. They were at the temple regularly making sacrifices. We would have looked up to them as our example of how to please God.

    Then Jesus came, and the sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers, and other social outcasts flocked to Him in droves. They tried to draw near to Jesus when they could, and He sought them out, but the highly religious pharisees grumbled about this. They felt that they were too holy to have “outcasts” like that in their midst. They also made long prayers on the street corners, and thanked God that they were not like other men (Luke 18:10).

    The pharisees had developed a social caste system at God’s temple. They opened and shut the doors. They felt that they controlled God, that they were the gateway, and that you only could meet God by coming through them. Jesus rocked their boat.

     The harshest words that Jesus spoke in scripture were not to the sinners, but to the highly religious, elite, scribes and pharisees: the spiritual leaders. In Matthew chapter 23 Jesus said that they did not practice what they preached. They placed heavy burdens on people, but would not lift a finger to help them. Any good deeds they may have done were just for showing off to others. They would shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces, neither entering themselves, nor allowing others to do so. He said “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” several times. He saw them as nothing but actors playing a role.

     Jesus said these Pharisees would travel across the sea to convert one person, but then make them twice as much a child of hell as themselves. He called them “blind guides” that strained out a gnat, but swallowed a camel, for they would tithe on tiny things like their mint leaves, but completely ignore justice, mercy, and faithfulness. They were like whitewashed tombs that outside appeared beautiful, but inside were full death.

    Jesus completed His assessment in verse 33: “You snakes, you brood of vipers, how are you going to escape the fires of hell?” This scalding chapter was not aimed at the sinners, but at the religious leaders of the day who wore the long flowing robes, and prayed the long prayers.

    Now with that in mind, let’s think of the lost sheep. A sheep is a pitifully helpless animal. Its instincts are virtually useless, and it is pathetically defenseless. In the parable, the good shepherd had a hundred of them, but one wondered off and was lost. From what I hear about sheep, this is common. A friend of mine that cared for sheep told me that sheep can wander behind a tree where it can’t see the rest of the flock, then panic and take off running in the wrong direction. He concluded that sheep were one of the dumbest animals on earth.

     The sheep in the parable is hopelessly lost, defenseless, powerless, lonely, sad. It wants to be with the flock, but can’t  find its way back on its own. To the Good Shepherd, the lost sheep is more than a missing piece of livestock, and He searches diligently for it.

     When the shepherd finds the lost sheep alive, He races to it, picks it up, checks it over, plucks away some thorns, nuzzles it, joyfully lifts it high on his shoulders, then strides home. The good Shepherd, of course, is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus takes lost, perishing sinners on his powerful shoulders and takes them to His own home.

     In Ezekiel 34, the Lord says that because the shepherds of Israel had not taken care of His sheep, He would rescue His sheep from all the places where they were scattered” (v. 12). He would search for the lost and bring back the strays, bind up the injured and strengthen the weak (v. 16). He would save His flock, and they would no longer be plundered” (v. 22).

     When you bring all this together, the Pharisees, the religious leaders, should have been the shepherds that cared for the sheep, but instead they separated themselves from them and in doing so, from God. Their temples became nothing more than a social club. They invited people like themselves, and excommunicated the rest. 

    The sheep were the common people who didn’t know much about the scriptures, but just what the leaders had told them. The lost sheep were the ones who wandered off: the sinners, the outcasts, the hurting, the hopeless. The shepherds were supposed to go after them and bring them back.

    Though this parable was written many centuries ago, I see these attitudes alive and well in the church today. What I want to make clear is that you don’t need a church to know Jesus, for He actively seeks the lost where they are. I was not saved in a church, but in a bar. That is when I made my decision to live for Christ. I attended church later.

    I want to be clear that no one can cut you off from Jesus Christ, no matter what they tell you. No matter how much experience they have, no matter how long their robes are, or how big the congregation. They do not control your salvation. Sadly, there are those that would have you think they can take away, or grant your salvation with a wave of their hand, but nothing in creation can cut us off from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37). 

    Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). No man can stop you from knowing Jesus Christ. Even prison cannot stop you from experiencing His presence, and no man alive can condemn you to hell.

    Paul wrote in Romans 10:9 “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” And no one on earth can take that away from you. No one.

    If you want to get right with Jesus and make a fresh start today, then pray this with me:

    Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior from this day forward. In Your Name I pray. Amen.

    Note: It's almost Christmas and just wanted to wish you all a very merry, joyous and peaceful Christmas Eve and Day! We are blessed by all of you who have walked with us through this year, and pray that He guides your every moment as we move towards 2019! With love...Dion & Sylvia


Tip: You must be logged into the website to leave comments.

 

Social Sharing

28 comments
  • 0
Debbie Stiner
Debbie Stiner Merry Christmas Pastor Dion, Sylvia and all my fellow members of Refreshing Hope. May you and yours find the blessings of the season.
December 24, 2018
  • 0
Jamille Krupa
Jamille Krupa We Said.
December 24, 2018
  • 2
Cheryl Hepler
Cheryl Hepler

 Thank you!  I love this message when given..before being saved and experiencing the closeness of Jesus....I did not understand.  Going back over & over again to where Jesus the person of Jesus was being talked about, the words came real!  I accepted Him into my heart in someone's kitchen.  Praise God!  Not complicated but simple...that I understood   Thank you, Jesus for what You did & making it child like.

December 23, 2018
  • 2
Schalk  de Beer
Schalk de Beer

Amen Lord

December 23, 2018
  • 2
Liesel  aka  Lisa Wardle
Liesel aka Lisa Wardle

Amen! What a message, thank you Pastor Dion! Oh what blessed comfort we have knowing that no one and nothing can cut us off from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2018
  • 2
Sandra Colby
Sandra Colby

AMEN

December 23, 2018
  • 2
Susan Petho
Susan Petho

Amen!  Thank You Lord Jesus for sacrificing Your life so that I may be saved.

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Ed Frye
Ed Frye

Amen! What a great message! Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Mari Kaufmann
Mari Kaufmann

I feel like a powerless sheep. Please God watch out for us. Amen.

Merry Christmas

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Jim Jarrell
Jim Jarrell

Amen! There are many voices out there, only Jesus is King!

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Beth Green
Beth Green

Merry Christmas Dion and Sylvia!

 

love,

 

Beth Green

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Linda Clark
Linda Clark

Amen 

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd

Thank you all so much for your Christmas love :)! Hope y'all have the most wonderful Christmas ever <3!!!

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Kay Collinsworth
Kay Collinsworth

Amen Father. Thank you Pastor Dion and Sylvia, Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Roseanne Braverman
Roseanne Braverman

Amen!  Beautiful message:)

Merry Christmas Sylvia and Dion.  May the Lord continue to Bless you in 2019 and always! 

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Jackie Tipton
Jackie Tipton

Merry Christmas to.Dion n Sylvie.  Have a blessed Christmas n  Happy New Year 2019. Thank you for all you guys do for everyone.    Meery Christmas to all my RHM family.. God Bless.

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Jackie Tipton
Jackie Tipton

Sorry Sylvia for the misspelling.  MERRY ALSO.. 

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Marisa Jackson
Marisa Jackson

What a beautiful way to celebrate the season of Our Lord Jesus Christ!  May we NEVER FORGET that Christmas is the birth of Our most precious Savior whom we honor and thank God for this most precious gift!  Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus!

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Laura  Johnsen
Laura Johnsen

Amen! Awesome message!! Merry Christmas! Thank you Pastor Dion and Sylvia, for all you do and for being there for all of us! Much love to you both ! Laura ❤

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Stacie Chambers
Stacie Chambers

Merry Christmas, Pastor Dion and Sylvia! 

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Jose Simo
Jose Simo

Dear Lord, I thank You for been always there for us. Help us to follow Your designs wherever we are and to do what You wants us to do as You have done for us. In Jesus name I pray, Amen. This year has been through your devotionals and prayers a good year.

Thank you for been there for us,wishing you and Sylvia a most blessed arrival of baby Jesus. Merry Christmas to all.

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Rhonda Jones
Rhonda Jones

Amen.  Wonderful message.  Thank you.  Many blessings and a very Merry Christmas to all.  

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Sherry McCosh
Sherry McCosh

Thank you for this wonderful message today! Merry Christmas and Blessings Dion and Sylvia and everyone that participates with us at Refreshing Hope Ministries. Dion and Sylvia you are such a blessing to all of us!

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Flo Romero
Flo Romero

Wishing Everyone a Blessed and Merry Christmas

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Wesley Paulus
Wesley Paulus

Amen!

December 24, 2018
  • 1
Peg Brunner
Peg Brunner

What a great message for the New Year to come! I pray for humbleness, compassion and understanding when dealing with my fellow man. We never know what people have been through, but I hope to have a loving and caring heart to reach others for Christ in the future. Thank you, Pastor, fo reminding me!

December 25, 2018
  • 1
Silvina Potter
Silvina Potter

thank you so much pastor...merry christmas to you and sister Sylvia...more blessings to come...

December 25, 2018
  • 1
Celeste Strenn
Celeste Strenn

Amen!! God Bless You so much!! Thank you so very much for this wonderful devotional!! Merry Christmas!!

December 25, 2018