One of the traditions that many churches celebrate from time to time is that of the lighting of the Advent Candles, reminding us for five weeks before Christmas, of another aspect of God becoming man in the Person of Jesus Christ. We have recently looked at a€?Prophecya€? a€“ the predictive emphasis of the first candle, unique to the Judeo-Christian Bible and, the following week, a€?Bethlehema€?, the lowly place to exemplify the Humility of Christ, for the second candle. 8A And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. It was to these shepherds in the fields on the outskirts of Bethlehem, watching their flocks by night that God chose to proclaim the most important announcement in the history of the world!
Anda€¦why does the occupation of a€?Shepherdinga€? permeate the history of Goda€™s Chosen People?
When Joseph, as governor of Egypt, brought his father, brothers and family into Egypt, they were introduced to Pharaoh as shepherds. David was a shepherd before he became King of Israel, and then he became a€?shepherda€? over Israel. 71A from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance. 5A Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, a€?Behold, we are your bone and flesh. We normally do not see many shepherds guiding their flocks through the streets and pathways in North America, so we who may have never seen a living shepherd might equate them as a truly a€?outdoora€? person a€“ maybe someone similar to our image of a cowboy a€“ spending nights around a campfire, being ever attuned to the wild environment around his flock or herd.
Why did God choose shepherds for this amazing announcement and for a continuing pattern of leadership for His Body?
If there were one attitude depicting responsible leadership and personal care that God wanted to reinforce on the hearts of His people a€“ it would be the humble, responsible care evidenced by shepherds.
12A Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? 15A Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. God wants Leadership under His Authority to Exemplify His Characteristics of being Good Shepherds! A true Shepherda€™s attitude epitomizes who God is and how He wants His servants to respond to those under their care and responsibility.
Did God reveal the message of Christa€™s Birth to those shepherds in the Judean fields beside Bethlehem, to point out the qualities of Responsible Carea€¦as qualities He wants Children of His Kingdom to replicate? Why did God choose shepherds for this amazing announcement by His angels and for a continuing pattern of leadership for His Body? Dads, moms, older brothers and sisters, those who care for those who are less fortunate, those who care for any in the Family of God, leaders in the Church, mature Christians a€“ a Shepherda€™s attitude is an example for us all! God also wants us to be aware that He has Special and Powerful Spiritual Angelic Representatives who interact in the lives of those on earth and are Attentive to His Will.
May we serve God faithfully with the humble responsible care in the attitude of Shepherds and may we realize that God has many angels and powerful means to fulfill His will! Anxiety: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
I have whole post on this, but let me just offer one piece of advice here: laugh with your team. If so, please join over 5000 people who receive exclusive weekly online worship ministry tips, and get a FREE COPY of my eBook, Beyond Sunday! 3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. 5:16-25 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. I will be committed to speaking biblical confessions and professions in alignment with God’s Covenant for my Life in 2016. I will be committed to my “Covenant of Possession” before God and align myself with God’s Kingdom order and His local church, Lifeway Church Ministries in 2016. I will commit all my resources “Possessions” (money, gifts, talents and time) as I operate by faith according to the established Plan and Purpose within the Kingdom of God for my life in 2016. 42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
I will be committed to the Plan and Purpose of God in my Life by operating in a conscious awareness of the opportunities that the Lord will open unto me in every season in 2016. I will be committed to good stewardship over all the “Possessions” that the Lord brings into my life each and every day in 2016.


24:45-47) 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? I will be committed to exercising wisdom and knowledge concerning the possession in which God has given me authority and dominion over in 2016. I will be committed to the call and the anointing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through missions and evangelism in 2016. I will be committed to following the leadership and guidance of the Holy Spirit in my life in 2016.
I will not quench the Spirit of God nor deny God the opportunity to bless and increase my “Possessions”. I will remain mindful of the fact that God wants to bless me, and allow the increase of blessing and possession in my life through the humility and heart for God and his People. I will be a partner as a member of Lifeway church to see You manifested in my life, family, church, community, and nation.
9A And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.
17A And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 2A In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. 17A All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. It’s a distraction because people are more preoccupied with you than with worshiping. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. 21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and forever. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 5 And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly. I will Execute the plan of God in my life by faith at a new level, like I have never experienced before in my life. I am committed to also praying and assisting my Pastor and never murmuring or complaining about the vision, position, or authority that You have placed in position. 12A He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. To focus your mind as a worship leader, you need to be present and sing your lyrics with conviction. This will make not only for better music and stronger team dynamics, it will help you lead happily and with excitement. Making eye contact with a few people around the room while honing in on the truth of the lyrics is what helps me get past my thoughts and into the now. 28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? 4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
Seeing God at work in people while singing and believing for him to continue to work in others is why I keep pressing in.
6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 20A And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. I know my own and my own know me, 15A just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. This is why it’s so important to choose songs with strong, objective lyrics about who God is.
I will be established in the year 2016 through diligent “Covenant Possession” of God’s Plan and Purpose for my life. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.


Maybe you imagined what it would be like to close your eyes, fall asleep, and wake up in the Presence of the Lord, never to awake again in this world. 4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Have you ever had a moment when such thoughts seemed so wonderful that you wished the Lord would immediately call you home to Heaven?A Judging from Paula€™s letter to the Philippians, we can see that his heart was being heavily tugged toward Heaven while he was a prisoner in Rome.
I will no longer worry about the cares of my life as one without faith, but I will live in accordance to the will of God and the divine direction of the Holy Spirit. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
Please take me home!a€?A When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he made it very clear that the temptation to leave life and to join the Lord was before him. This is a force that pulls a person first one way and then another, as if his arms are being pulled in two differentA directions by opponents in a fierce tug-of-war contest.
However, the Greek word indicates that theA person in the middle is the one who has the deciding vote as to who will win this tug-of-war.A Paul felt two different forces pulling at his heart. The word epi means for or over, and thumosA is the Greek word for aA strong passion or urge.
But when the word thumosA is compounded together with the word epi, forming the word epithumia, it depicts a person who is excited about something.
Instead of thinking of the cessation of life, he looked upon death as nothing more than aA departure that signaled the beginning of the next part of his journey in eternity. When he thought of death, to him it meant being set free from the human limitations and physical restrictions that had been imposed on him in this earthly life. Once liberated from this realm, he knew he would really be able to set sail in the Spirit and soar to spiritual heights he had never before attained. It was an exciting beginning, the next leg of his journey a€” a phase of his walk with God that he was excited and enthusiastic to experience!A But wait a€” therea€™s more to this word analusai (a€?to departa€?) that is very important to this text.
The wordA analusai was also a military word, used when a decision was made that it was time for an army to break camp, pack up their tents, pick up their gear, gather up all their other belongings, and moveA onward to conquer new territory. This gives us another view of the way Paul viewed the prospect of death.A As a soldier who had fought many battles on earth, Paul was ready to break camp and to move upward into new spiritual territory.
He had fought long and hard, and the expectation of moving onward to heavenly territory was a thought that captured his heart, his mind, and his imagination.
Paula€™s a€?desire to departa€? and to be with Christ was so strong that he felt as if he were in a a€?strait betwixt two.a€? He was pulled on one side to depart from this earthly realm and to be with Christ.
But he was also pulled from the other side to abide in the flesh a little longer.A You see, Paul knew that part of his ministry remained unfinished.
So although he was a€?pulleda€? to set sail, to break camp, and to move onward to be with the Lord, he could not allow himself to do that yet, because he knew there was still work for him to do for the Kingdom. It is the image of a racer who is pressing forward so hard and is so stretched out that his entire body is arching forward as his arms reach ahead to grasp the goal before him.A The word a€?marka€? is the Greek wordA skopos, which describes the finish line for a runner.
At that time in his life, he was on his last runA around the track before the race concluded.
When it was finally time for him to depart to be with Christ,A there would be a reward waiting for him. There is a day coming in your life when you will break camp from this earthly realm and move onward to heavenly territory. I dona€™t want to quit,A give up, or die until I can say Ia€™ve finished everything You have ever assigned for me to do.A Forgive me for allowing thoughts of death to dominate me.
God has givenA me a huge assignment for my life, and Ia€™m only getting started in fulfilling what He hasA asked me to do. Is it true that youa€™ve had moments when you wished you could pack it up and move on to Heaven? Once you were refreshed and feeling better again, werena€™t you glad that youA didna€™tA go to Heaven? Dona€™t you still have a great deal to accomplish for the Lord before you break camp, pack up your bags, and move onward to be with Christ?A 3.



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