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A Scattered Flock

  • A Scattered Flock from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

    Jesus was the good Shepherd (John 10:1), and He was also our example of how to live a perfect life. He came to Earth at a dark, difficult time, especially in religion, for God’s presence had left the temple. The last book in the Old Testament is the prophet Malachi, and this is what the Lord told the priests that took care of His temple: 

    (Malachi 1:10 NASB) “Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD of hosts, “nor will I accept an offering from you.”

    When Mary gave birth to Jesus, over 400 years of spiritual silence had passed since Malachi’s time, without a single word of prophecy or any sign of a prophet of God. That is the gap between the Old and the New Testaments in our Bible. Then Gabriel appeared to Zacharias, the father of John the baptist, who began to prepare the way for the Lord. The religious practices and sacrifices had carried on daily at the temple without God even being involved for over 400 years. It was just rote repetition. Which tells us that religious institutions can carry on, long after God has gone. God had become frustrated with the shepherds of Israel:

    (Ezekiel 34:7–11 NASB) Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: “As I live,” declares the Lord GOD, “surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock; therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them.” For thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.

    God said that His sheep had been scattered because of those shepherds and that He would take His sheep away from them and seek out the lost Himself. After the 400 years of silence, the Angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias and told him that his wife Elizabeth would have a son and to name him John. Six months later, Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would have a Son, and to name Him Jesus. John grew up and began to preach in the wilderness, urging the people to repent:

    (Matthew 3:1–3 NASB) Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!’ ”

    John was speaking of Jesus, and he called for the people to repent. He was preparing the hearts of the people for the ministry of Jesus who was coming soon. Repentance is always the forerunner of a renewal. No revival begins until a heart is changed, but like a fire, once lit it will soon spread to others.

    John the Baptist, and then Jesus were raised up outside of the existing religious circles. The pharisees, and even the high priest, did not know what to make of them. They watched huge crowds of people going out to be baptized by John in the wilderness, and Jesus performed miracle after miracle, even raising the dead, while they watched in envy. God was beginning to gather His flock once again, but He chose new shepherds. There was often friction between the old and the new: 

    (Luke 19:1–10 NASB)  He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

    Jesus told Zaccheus that He must stay at his house. The word used here for must means compelled, inevitable, necessary. The crowd began to murmur because Jesus entered the house of a “sinner” but Jesus said that He came to seek and save the lost, and Zaccheus was one of them. Tax collectors were banned from the synagogues and could not testify in court. Jesus’ fellowship with them was considered scandalous by the religious leaders who could not conceive that such people could be saved at all:

    (Matthew 9:11–12 NASB) When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.

    (Mark 2:16–17 NASB) When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    (Luke 5:30–32 NASB) The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

    (Luke 15:1–4 NASB) Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 

    Then in Matthew 21:31, Jesus told the chief priests that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you:

    (Matthew 21:31 NASB) Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.”   

    Oh my. How did they miss it? The hated outcasts were actually some of God’s sheep. Can we do the same? The religion of their day had built up a class system; some were comfortably inside with their robes while others were considered unredeemable trash, the untouchables. Jesus was busy gathering the flock of God who had been scattered by the shepherds. He touched the lepers, the sick, the lame, the unloved, the tax collectors, even His enemies, and He allowed people to touch Him back (Matt. 8:3, Matt. 20:34, Luke 22:51, Mark 5:27, Luke 7:39, Luke 18:15). Even Matthew the Apostle was a former tax collector.

    Jesus was inclusive while religious tradition tends to be exclusive. Please let us include everyone, love everyone, and let God sort them out on judgement day. Let us gather His flock, and not scatter them.

    You can pray this with me if you like:

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, please let me discern the body of Christ and be wary of pointing fingers at others. You know their hearts, I will let You sort them out. Help me show Your compassion to the world and to be inclusive instead of exclusive, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen!


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23 comments
  • 1
Wesley Cox
Wesley Cox

This is powerful, it helps open my mind in understanding. Thank you for taking the time to make these.

Jan 19
  • 1
Kay Collinsworth
Kay Collinsworth

Amen!

Jan 20
  • 1
Schalk  de Beer
Schalk de Beer

Amen Lord Jesus, amen

Jan 20
  • 1
Patricia Walker
Patricia Walker

Amen. Very powerful and informative. I always learn something new Pastor Dion. Thank you for your wisdom and teaching of the Word of God. Amen

Jan 20
  • 1
Linda Clark
Linda Clark

Amen 

Jan 20
  • 1
Beverly Hagar-Schmerse
Beverly Hagar-Schmerse

Thanks for giving all these examples of times of stubborn sinfulness in even God's Chosen Ones, and yet each and every time He forgave them when the began to repent of their wicked ways!  What a great model of what we as adults ought to do as a disciplinarian of others.  Something I notice, I hadn't before, is that God complains a lot about what the people are doing wrong to his Prophets, but the ones who are leaders don't seem to be "listening" or "seeing" the wrongs being done.  Most of the time it is only after a period of "chastisement" that they begin to understand, and slowly begin to repent.  There is the one prophet, Jonah whom God chose to walk through Ninevah saying "Repent" when the King of that town listened, and he and the townsfolk put on sackcloth as a sign of their intent to change.  Stubborn pride and holding grudges are extremely difficult for humans to keep under control, I guess.  I dabble at writing.  Mostly poetry.  And this is one I wrote for a book I published 5 years ago:  

Forgiveness
Forgiving those who have harmed us, seems hard to do,
But it frees us up to live life anew.
Corrie ten Boom talks about forgiving
And living a life that is that freeing:
 While in a concentration camp, the SS officer
Where her parents and siblings died of torture.
She met later in life, shook his hand, showed him her love.
My mother was this kind of soul that I am proud of.

Jan 20
  • 1
Lynn Brown
Lynn Brown

Thank you Pastor Dion for this awesome message! Father, thank You for Your forgiveness and mercies for us, Amen.

Jan 20
  • 1
Wanda Pennington
Wanda Pennington

Thank you pastor.  May we all love more and pray for our friends,  family,  neighbors,  community. Help me Lord to be more like you. Let's all show more examples of God's love through our smiles,  speech,  and prayers.  Amen

Jan 20
  • 1
Jim Jarrell
Jim Jarrell

Amen! Thank You Lord! I said a while back that I do not want to come to the end of my life thinking I am something that I am not. Don't you think it is worth investigating? 

Jan 20
  • 1
Dave and Sue Earlywine
Dave and Sue Earlywine

Thank you Pastor Dion for the message,God bless you. Amen 

Jan 20
  • 1
Marisa Jackson
Marisa Jackson

Amen!!

Jan 20
  • 1
Cathy Webb
Cathy Webb

A timely topic, Pastor Dion. Praying for protection and insight within our RHM fold. Let me discern the body of Christ and be wary of pointing fingers at others. You know their hearts. I will let You sort them out. Help us show Your compassion to the world and to be inclusive instead of exclusive. Thank you, Lord! In Jesus' name, Amen

Jan 20
  • 1
Jose Simo
Jose Simo

Dear Father I want more of You in me, show us the way to love and care for those in need as You are so dearest to us. That Your Holy Spirit light up our hearts and follow Your designs, in the name of Your Son Jesus we pray,Amen. Love and care is what the world needs. 

Thank you Pastor and Sylvia for such explanatory message, God bless you both. 

Jan 20
  • 1
Mari Kaufmann
Mari Kaufmann

God please. Amen

Jan 20
  • 1
Yada (Wendy)
Yada (Wendy)

"good Shepard"
looks like the words good/evil in Hebrew

also neighbor often has the same root: רע

it punns with the word "see" : רא

see God is good
and good Shepard work together

both with with the phrase
good and evil to seemingly imply we don't know the difference, and thinking we do and judging/killing our neighbors or brothers is in itself a sign of the deception

there are better signs to be seen on the other side

John 6.29

Jan 20
  • 1
Richard Mondello
Richard Mondello

Amen! Praise be to our Lord and savior Yeshua Christ!

Jan 20
  • 1
Liesel  aka  Lisa Wardle
Liesel aka Lisa Wardleedited: Jan 20

Amen and Amen!!! - Malachi 1:10 is a strong saying, which I'm especially taking to my heart!!! Dear Lord, please keep me from being luke-warm, help me to be silent rather than offer empty talk, and keep me from being half-hearted going through the motions, and, Lord, please keep me from being judgemental, I ask and pray this in the holy name of Jesus, Amen! Thank you Pastor Dion!

Jan 20
  • 1
Deng Tembreza
Deng Tembreza

Thank you for this Pastor Dion. PRAISE THE LORD

Jan 20
  • 1
Liesel  aka  Lisa Wardle
Liesel aka Lisa Wardle

It's me again, Pastor Dion, what a powerful message straight from the Lord, thank you so much!!!

Jan 20
  • 1
Wesley Paulus
Wesley Paulus

Amen!

Jan 20
  • 1
Scott Riegelmann
Scott Riegelmannedited: Jan 20

Amen I needed to hear that today. I had a moment of thinking I am better than them thank you so much for these devotionals God uses them to speak to my heart.

Jan 20
  • 1
Shawn Schield
Shawn Schield

This was another timely message for me to hear. I'm definitely a work in progress. So thankful for your spirit filled mesages.

Jan 22
  • 1
Sandra Colby
Sandra Colby

AMEN

Jan 27