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Important lessons from the field

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ELISA NORMAN

The Living Word

The Bible compares all of us to sheep and goats and the spiritual leaders among us as shepherds.

The analogy of sheep and shepherds falls on deaf ears in our meat-comes-from-the-store culture.

We can study the Bible all day long, but unless we have firsthand experience with certain things, we cannot really understand them.

I learned a lot in seminary.

I learned more from the school of life, but the most important lessons I’ve learned have probably come out my own backyard.

I went down to the barn to feed our goats late one night and discovered that our little eight-week-old doe was missing.

I took care of everyone else, closed up the barn after peeking under every cozy corner she might have found, and went out into the dark to look for her.

God doesn’t leave us out in the cold.

The good shepherd knows his sheep and his sheep know his voice.

I found her on our neighbor’s property.

She recognized my voice and came towards me, but she stop-ped about 20 feet short.

She was terrified from being lost and wouldn’t let me get close enough to catch her.

I tried to coax her with grain, alfalfa and even her own mother on the other side of the fence, but nothing worked.

We danced around each other for two hours.

I realized at this point that I had not spent enough time developing a good relationship with her.

The shepherd and his sheep need to meet with each other multiple times a day.

The sheep need to know they can trust their shepherd.

I knew that giving up was not an option.

God does not give up on his prodigals.

The night was too cold for her to spend alone and there were coyotes and bobcats in the area.

I had to figure out a way to get her back to the barn.

I finally enlisted help.

As human shepherds, we have access to the power of the Spirit, but God also expects us to need and accept outside help.

Our boys had a friend spending the night.

He lifted a kennel containing grain and our little doe’s tied-up twin brother over the fence, and one of my boys scaled the fence to help me corral our little prodigal towards the kennel. It worked.

In the daylight, I found and repaired the spot in the fence where she had escaped.

The only Good Shepherd is Yeshua our Messiah; the bad shepherds are, unfortunately, all the rest (Ezekiel 34).

The responsibility of a shepherd is great (Matthew 5:19).

Try as we might, living up to Yeshua’s example is a lifetime journey, but he sustains us along the way.

Real life application is the purpose for studying the Bible.

Come join us this Shabbat at the Living Word in DeSoto!


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Nelson Propane

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