Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Feed My Sheep

No one I know likes trials, emotional pain or the testing of our faith; yet, it's in the fiery trials of life that give us experiences that others can relate to. It's what makes our testimonies and our character authentic. Would you want someone who hasn't gone through some things to counsel you or give you advice on how to get through your mess? I wouldn't, and I'm guessing neither would you! 

Some times we experience the pain of loss and grief so deep we feel that no one else knows what we are feeling. God allows us to go through those things knowing that it will produce compassion and an ability to minister to others that He will bring across our path in due season. He wants us to have answers that give others hope and encouragement, and ultimately so that they can hear the testimony that God is able to be trusted during their difficult times.

Never be afraid to share what God has brought you out of, because it's your experience and testimony that makes your life authentic in Christ. You have been given an incredible gift to be able to minister hope and healing to others that are hurting. Your testimony now belongs to God and others in need. Humility is love in action, giving away what no longer belongs to you. To you, it is proven experience with the Lord; to others, it is fresh manna from heaven.

In John 21, we read the account of Jesus walking on the beach with his followers. He asked them, "Children, do you have any food?" The people responded, "No." And immediately they went fishing. 

I thought about this in light of the fact that there are so many people that are afraid to be transparent about the painful parts of their life. When we refuse to share the embarrassing or awkward parts of our past, not only does it rob us of authenticity and a witness to others, it actually robs others of food. When we refuse to feed others from the experiences, trials, and difficulties of our lives, we rob them. We are actually participating with the thief in order to deprive others of spiritual nourishment, because those things can help give them strength to get through their own painful experiences in life. We call it fear, but God calls it pride and selfishness, because we're really thinking more about ourselves than others.

Back to John 21. After the people were fed, Jesus turned to Peter, one of His beloved disciples, and asked him, "Peter, do you love me?" Peter of course was mortified that the Lord would ask that, and convicted as well. Peter said, "Yes, Lord! You know that I do!" 

Three times Jesus asked Peter the same question and three times Peter affirmed that he did indeed love the Christ. Each time, Jesus reminded Peter, as He reminds all of us, to take care of His little ones and feed them in love. Remember, we don't all have to be standing behind a pulpit, but we are all ministers. Take the leap of faith and unlock your heart. There is a hurting world out there and someone today needs to hear YOUR story. 

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