Feed My Sheep
One day, I was driving my taxi cab through a run down section of downtown Cincinnati, called "Over the Rhine". I noticed, painted on the outside of this building for all to see, a very large message saying:
At the time, I had been seeking guidance from God, yet I had not yet submitted myself to "Walking in the Spirit". Therefore I was having a very difficult time "Hearing" from God, as one Truly DOES "Hear" from God when they are "Walking in the Spirit". However, something about the message weighed on me. As I stated, it was in a very run down section of downtown, and a very poor neighborhood. It's where all the prositutes hang out, all along vine street, It's where all the crack dealers stand around on almost every street corner waiting for customers in search of drugs. I knew exactly what the message was suppose to mean to the person who painted it on that building. It was quite obvious to me that it was put there, as an indication that we are suppose to help feed the poor. That certainly would be an act of LOVE, would it not? I'm quite poor myself and there are, were, and will be times I need financial assistance, food, shelter, etc. I certainly believe other "so-called Christians" should make a better effort to help me in my times of need, yet it's rare. As much as it grieves me, I always come to the same conclusions. "Where is the LOVE?"
At the time I seen that message, there were some things weighing heavy on my heart. Cincinnati has a ton of "pan-handlers" roaming our streets. You will find them on just about every single corner. Being a taxi cab driver, I am constantly being approached by them. It is so bad that it's been making me sick inside. I can bearly make ends meet myself and here I have all these people coming up to me all evening long asking me "can you spare some change?" "can you spare a cigarette?" "can you take this change I have and give me paper money for it?". Yes, they even come to me wanting to exchange quarters, dimes, nickels & pennies for dollar bills. I have a very bad feeling about what is going on here and I have been having a hard time dealing with what I am suppose to do, according to God's will.
I have always been taught that we should give to every man who ask something of me. I am getting very confused for I have also been told that most pan-handlers are only bumming money for drugs and/or alcohol, and that true homeless people are too proud to ask for anything. I was even considering on doing a web page entitled "Pan-Handlers vs. The Homeless". Someday I probably still will, but for now, back to my story.
I am seeking God's guidance. I wondered at the time, why didn't the person who painted that message, also include where that scripture can be found. Hmmmmmmmm I figured I would just have to go look it up for myself. I put it off for quite some time. Then a while later I ran across this scripture.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 - For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
When God showed this scripture to me, it really started me thinking. Not just that scripture alone, but the whole context of what Paul is teaching here. Teaching? maybe I should rephrase that and say
6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
8 Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:
9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.
14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
16 Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.
17 The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Did you read That? Not only was this an answer to my own prayer, but it also made me quite ashamed of myself. The answer to my own prayer was in verse 13 "But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing." God does not want me tiring myself out trying to "do well". In Fact, it says "And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed" WOW! Talk about a double-edged sword. I Thank God for showing me that I don't have to kill myself over trying to help every single person I come in contact with, where at the exact same time God shows me that I better not sit here thinking that I can spend all my time "Teaching & Preaching the Gospel" and expect my "brethren" to support my butt.
"Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:"
Please understand what is being said here people. This is for ALL the brothers and sisters in Christ. We are not to think ourselves so high & mighty to where we will ever be able to sit back and live off the hand-outs of our fellow brothers & sisters in Christ. Receiving donations for the work we do for the Lord is one thing, but at the same time, WE ourselves are EXPECTED to "labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:"
Oh sure, I know what some of you preachers & teachers & evangelists & So-Called "Men of God" might be saying concerning this matter. Well, whatever it is, that's between YOU & GOD
I just pray that you consider all the eyes that are out there in the world today, watching you, watching US. "that we might not be chargeable to any of you:"
Feed My Sheep
Bear with me for a moment and let's get back to several weeks ago when I saw that message. I am still in my taxi cab driving down Vine street. Something is still not setting right in my mind here.
The Holy Spirit is grieving within me and I'm still trying to figure out why. Here I am, full of an abundance amount of God's love towards all my brothers and sisters in Christ, and also full of an abundance amount of God's love towards the lost, and I am striving diligently to be full of an abundance amount of God's love towards all my enemies. What must I do God? Where are my answers God?
"I'm feeling a bit confused dear Lord, please help me out here." I read this message on the side of that building, and I start questioning exactly where God said this at, in his Word. I don't bother looking it up, it's now weeks later and God shows me where I am told (or COMMANDED) in 2 Thessalonians "if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed", indicating to ME that surely I'm not suppose to nescessarily and literally "feed the poor". How can I any way? I'm blessed day by day to be able to feed even myself . Praise God. And now I'm thankful to find out that God doesn't want me to tire myself out in "well doing".
"But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing."
Ok. Now I'm still having a bit of trouble "hearing" from God. I'm wanting some answers and I'm really trying very hard to figure out what I'm suppose to be doing.
"What's up Lord? What do you want me to do? Are you there? Are you listening to me? Talk to me God. What exactly is your WILL for me in my life? I'm really doing my best to be loving to everyone Lord. Look at all the work I have been doing out there for you. I'm telling everyone about your love, I'm not only telling them about it, I'm doing my part to even sacrifice my time to them, for YOU Lord. Isn't that what you want me to do Lord? for me to love them Lord? Why don't you talk to me Lord? I've heard you've been talking to quite a few other brothers & sisters and they seem to know what THEY'RE suppose to be doing. Why don't I Lord? You surely know my heart Lord, so there shouldn't be any question about my desire to serve you. Is there Lord? Surely not Lord. So what's the problem here? I keep praying to you Lord and trying to talk to you. You've even been blessing me Lord. I'm surely thankful to you that I'm not out on the streets, starving and homeless. I have a ton of Faith that you will take care of all my needs, just as you have promised me in your Word. Am I not praying enough for your satisfaction Lord? Come on Lord, you know as well as I do that I run out of things to pray for, besides you're not exactly doing your part in answering all my prayers, not to mention the fact that I remember reading one time where you already know our needs and you don't want us praying in repetition. You want me to have faith Lord? How's THAT for faith? I know you are the Almighty God, and that ALL things are possible for you. I definately never question THAT. Lord? I know I'm lacking faith in a few other areas, but Lord you surely know my heart and you surely know I'm trying harder and harder everyday. Geeeeezz Lord, I even have strong faith that I am going to get anything and everything I ask for. You know why Lord? Well I'm going to tell you any ways. Simply because that's YOUR Promise to me and we both know YOU can not lie, don't we Lord? Ha Ha Ha, I gotcha there, didn't I Lord? So now what do you have to say? I am still waiting for you to start delivering. "
Want to know what the Lord said to me?
All the while I continue to pray and talk to God, the only thought that keeps popping into my head is this: "READ GARY, READ! READ MY WORD! HOW WILL YOU HEAR ME IF YOU DON'T READ? READ! ONLY THEN WILL YOU WALK IN THE SPIRIT. ONLY THEN WILL YOU HEAR ME AND KNOW WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO. READ! READ! READ! BE STRONG AND WALK IN THE SPIRIT."
Over & Over, every time I tried to ask God a question, there it was "READ!"
At first he waited for me as I would continue talking to him, but after a while he started cutting me off quite quickly. It's as if I heard him and I knew what he wanted me to do, but then I would sorta forget what he said and start to ask him another question concerning something else. Then it started dawning on me that the moment I started to ask him something else, he already knew immediately what I was going to ask, so he would cut me off and say "READ!, JUST READ!"
Ok Ok I started getting the point, I'm not reading enough and when I WAS reading, I wasn't listening.
So I started listening to various books of the New Testament while I was in my taxi. Anytime I was alone and I knew I'd be alone for any length of time, I would pop in a CD. As I concentrated very hard on what I was hearing, often times I would catch myself "thinking" about something else. I would have to hit the back button on my CD player and start the track (the Chapter) all over again, for I had no idea what I was missing. If I got through a whole book without my thoughts wandering, I'd sometimes start the book all over again. I didn't want to just listen one time and then move on to another book. To me, that would a bit senceless. I felt I needed to "hear" the same book over & over again, as to burn it into my mind. Besides, I was starting to enjoy it more & more. I knew one thing for certain, without any doubts, whenever I was hearing God's Word I was being obedient to him. I was feeding on my Spiritual food and I was beginning to really "hear" God. The more I was feeding, the stronger I was becoming.
Years ago, I had already learned of God's Love. I count it as a Great Blessing upon me. A true Gift of God. I count it an Honor and a Blessing, especially when I talk to people who are so hurt and afraid to Love. It's the Greatest Gift I can imagine and I have thanked God more times than I can remember, for giving ME this Precious Gift. "Why Me Lord?" Surely I haven't done anything to deserve such understanding. I mean TRUE understanding of what LOVE TRULY IS. Not Love as most people perceive it, I mean GOD's LOVE. WOW!
Ok, I am not going to get into all the details of LOVE right now. You're just going to have to excersize a bit of faith, and believe that I know what I am talking about. All I am going to say is that it is POWERFUL! More Powerful than anything you have ever known or will EVER Know.
Ok, so now I have this Gift of Love and along with it, God has blessed me with an understanding.
As I think about it, he gave me the Gift of Love a long long time ago. It wasn't until he revealed this UNDERSTANDING to me, when I realized what I truly have within myself. I feel so Blessed.
Soon to be delivered
Feed My Sheep
15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
My Trials & Tribulations
September 6, 2003
Soon to be delivered
Are you prepared for the 2nd Coming?
Feed My Sheep
Ezekiel 34:10 - `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.""'