Because everybody needs a shepherd!!!
Because everybody needs a shepherd!!!
A casual perusing of your local newspaper or almost any magazine will reveal that our world is obsessed with the concept of “connecting”. A brief journey through primetime TV with your remote control will affirm the same. Cell phones promote 24/7 connections with those that matter most to us. Text messaging is the new email. Media commercials guarantee connections with self, our new car or house and even with nature. The internet, with “instant messaging” and Facebook promises a connection with just about everyone and everything instaneously.
Because of the way we are made, connections are very important to us. This month I want to talk about four connections that God, the one who designed and created us, wants us to experience above any others. Let’s call these HiPri (High Priority) connections.
The first connection God wants us to have is a connection with Himself. The Lord of the universe has made it possible for us to enter into a relationship, a connection, with Him. The Bible teaches us that our sin separates us from God but that His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ died for those sins to make it possible for us to experience a connection, a relationship with Him. The Scripture says “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God…” (1 Peter 3:18). Having been brought to God through Christ we are now eternally connected to Him. Thus we will call this our HiPri eternal connection.
This brings us to a second connection that God would have us to experience. Beyond an initial connection to Himself, the Lord would have us cultivate and develop an ongoing personal relationship with Him. This involves the regular hearing of His voice through His written Word, the Holy Scriptures and the ongoing expression of our worship and needs to Him through prayer. Let’s call this our HiPri daily connection.
A third HiPri connection is the one we have with other believers. The apostle Paul says “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (Romans 12:5). In Christ we are united, we are mutually dependant on one another, we are connected. Because of our connections we are to “bear one another’s burden and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). In light of our connection we are to provoke one another to love and good works (Heb. 10:24-25). Biblically we are challenged to have a fervent love toward one another (1 Peter 4:8). Let’s call this our HiPri family connection.
A fourth and a final HiPri connection we are told to have is described for us in the book of 1Peter 3:15. It says “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear…” The very clear implication of this verse is that we are to be interacting and connecting with people who don’t have Jesus Christ in their lives. A similar implication can be drawn from Matthew 5 where Jesus calls us the salt of the earth and the light of the world. The world we live in desperately needs the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Sharing our hope is one of the main reasons we are here. In order to tell others about Christ we must connect with them. The last HiPri connection could be called our redemptive connection.
We all have the possibility of so many different connections in our lives. It seems to me that these four are to be our highest priorities. So let us, having experienced an eternal connection with Almighty God, now cultivate that relationship through a daily connection with our Heavenly Father. Let us as well enjoy and minister through our family connections with other believers. Finally let us not forget the importance of sharing our faith with those around us and let us seek redemptive connections with those who need Christ. In short, let’s connect.
I am a part of the “Fellowship of the Unashamed.” The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense and my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap giving and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, love with patience, live by prayer and labor with power.
My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable and my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, let up or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up and spoken up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner is clear: I am a part of the “Fellowship of the Unashamed.” – Anonymous