Peter Horrobin

International Director of Ellel Ministries

October 29, 2012
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd

John 10:14, 27, NIV
“I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me… my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

Jesus often used pictures and analogies when teaching about the Kingdom. We see this in John Chapter 10, as He taught using the picture of a shepherd with His sheep.

At this time, the Middle East was an agricultural society. Although usually each shepherd would care for His own flock individually, at times multiple flocks would be combined together in a larger pen. A watchman would be appointed to guard the sheep on behalf of the shepherds. When they returned for their flock, each shepherd would go in to the pen and call the sheep that belonged to him. The sheep would recognise the voice of their master and would leave the pen to follow him.

I witnessed this happening during a previous trip to Israel. I was on a bus tour and we had stopped for a rest break at a roadside cafe. I looked over a wall and saw an Israeli shepherd leading his sheep out of a sheep pen. He was calling them individually by their names, “Bella, Mary…” and they were following him!

We stopped at the same spot the next day, and I ran to the wall with my video camera ready, wanting to capture the beautiful scene. To my horror, the shepherd was not calling the sheep forward like before – he was hitting them with a big stick, driving them from behind. I asked the coach driver what on earth the shepherd was doing! He replied, “That’s not the shepherd, it’s the butcher and he’s just bought them!”

Jesus is the Good Shepherd and He leads from ahead, calling us by name. The sheep recognise the Master’s voice, and when they obey and follow Him, they enjoy good pasture.

However, there’s an enemy who’s much like the butcher, driving the sheep from behind and hitting them. He came only to steal, kill and destroy.

The Good Shepherd has laid down His life for the sheep, in order to save them from the enemy. Not only did He willingly lay His life down, He also took it up again – just as He said He would. A dead shepherd is no good for the sheep!

Do you yearn to hear the voice of the shepherd more clearly? Then live close to the Shepherd and choose to follow Him today.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I want to hear and recognise Your voice today. Would You come and speak to me by name, in ways that I can’t possibly misunderstand. Please help me to recognise Your voice, to follow You and to trust You as my Good Shepherd. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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October 12, 2012
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on Hidden sins damage lives

Hidden sins damage lives

Joshua 7:12, NIV
“I will not be with you any more unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.”

The story of Achan’s sin (Joshua 7) is both sad and sobering. How could the people of Israel have fallen so quickly, after such an astounding victory over Jericho? The pathway that led Achan to sin (seen in verse 21) is the same pathway that Adam and Eve walked down back in Genesis: ‘I saw, I coveted, I took and I hid’. Sadly, we have all travelled this road to sin at some point ourselves, for we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

However, we do not always recognize the impact that our personal sin has on the body of believers to which we belong. Achan alone had sinned against God by stealing banned items from Jericho, yet God held the whole of Israel accountable for this sin. We are all susceptible to sin in one way or another, and our personal disobedience can have a negative effect on our entire community.

We must also recognise that yesterday’s victory is not an assurance of the same today. Following their victory at Jericho, the people of Israel went against Ai without inquiring of God first. They acted presumptuously, confident in their own ability, and 36 men died in battle as a result of this. Perhaps if they had stopped to inquire of the Lord first, He may have warned them not to attack whilst they were compromised by sin (as we see He did in Deuteronomy 1:42), and this discouraging defeat might have been avoided.

Achan did not repent of his sin, and God did not deal with his sin lightly. Though we do not know how much time elapsed between him stealing the items and being exposed, there was a window of opportunity in which he could have repented and did not. Even when he was identified by sacred lot, he confessed his sin but did not actually repent. As a result, Achan and his entire family died and were buried in the Valley of Achor.

Sin has serious consequences, both personally and corporately. We cannot stand against our enemies when sin is hidden in our midst. However, we read in Romans 6:23 that although ‘the wage of sin is death, the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’. Jesus has already taken upon Himself the punishment for all our sins. If we will repent and turn to Him, we receive the free gift of eternal life!

In Jesus, all things are made new; our ‘Valley of Achor’ (which literally means ‘valley of trouble’) becomes a door of hope (Hosea 2:15)! Let’s learn from Achan’s sin and acknowledge afresh today how dangerous our hidden sin truly is, that we might turn to Jesus in repentance, receiving His free gift of eternal life, and being able to stand firm against the enemy.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You that You love us enough to convict and correct us when we fall into sin. Please send Your Holy Spirit today; to convict us personally of any sin we have hidden within us. We choose now to humble ourselves before You, acknowledging that our victory is in Christ alone, not in our own strength or ability. We ask You to cleanse us and fill us afresh with Your Holy Spirit, so that we can stand against the enemy and walk in victory, in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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