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Gather Us In

Healing For The Spiritually Wounded

By Diane Jurino
 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

About The Author
Disclaimer

Dedication
Preface
Introduction

Chapter 1 – Broken And Wounded
Chapter 2 – Stray Sheep
Chapter 3 – False Shepherds
Chapter 4 – Christ As The Good Shepherd
Chapter 5 – Gather Us In
Chapter 6 – Safe Pasture
Chapter 7 – Kingdom Living
Epilogue
Thy Kingdom Come

 

About The Author

Diane Jurino is a Spirit-filled Christian who resides in Erie, Pennsylvania. She is the mother of three grown children, and four grandchildren. Her professional background is in Copywriting, Sales, Advertising, and Marketing. She has developed and conducted custom training courses in Human Relations, Communications, Personal and Professional Development.

 

Disclaimer:

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations in this volume are from the King James Version of the Bible.

 

Dedication

Psalm 79:13 “So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.”

To all those who have been spiritually wounded; there is hope. The Lord Himself will restore us completely, and gather us in to His Kingdom.

 

Preface

There are many individuals who are spiritually wounded. They may have a variety of personal problems poverty, disease, addictions and broken relationships. They experience temporal as well as spiritual pain, and their needs may be oppressive and overwhelming to them. They desperately need relief and comfort.

Matthew 7:2 “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

While they may turn to the church for help, they are often disappointed and rejected. They may be accused of bringing punishment on themselves through sin, when in reality they have been attacked by the enemy or overcome by the world. They require healing and guidance, not criticism and condemnation.

They need strong pastoral leaders that will minister to their needs and urge them to rise above their adversity. They should be encouraged to heal and grow into full spiritual maturity, so that they can avoid further pain in their lives. But all too often, they are ignored or judged instead of being comforted and cheered. Many end up as stray sheep that leave the church altogether.

So too, we have an abundance of wounded shepherds who are criticized and discouraged in their roles of pastoral leadership. In their efforts to minister to others, they often deal with spirits of rebellion and lawlessness that attack them mercilessly. They end up becoming disillusioned, abandoning not only their sheep, but their callings as well.

1John 3:10 “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”

We are quick to point a finger at each other, and the Lord is appalled at our lack of love for the brotherhood. We must learn to overcome our differences and walk in unity. We have to prevent erosion in church membership, and minister in love and compassion to those wounded on both sides of the pulpit.

We are all responsible for the communication breakdown in our churches. When one of us hurt, we all suffer. We must cry out to God for His intervention. The Lord Himself can and will help us reconcile our differences. God is love and He wants us to love Him and one another; that is His measure of our righteousness.

Zechariah 7:9 “Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:”

We will be judged by the same standards that we use to judge others. As Christians we are to show love, compassion, mercy and kindness, and regard others’ needs as important as our own. We must expand our churches and attract new believers, rather than allow strife and division to creep into our midst.

The Lord calls us the sheep of His pasture; there is no excuse for our going astray. He will arbitrate our disputes, judge fairly and equitably between us, and restore peace to our fellowships. We will walk in love and unity as He binds up our wounds and gathers us into the Kingdom of God for all eternity.

 

Introduction

Proverbs 18:14 “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?”

Man is a walking, talking spirit that has a soul and lives in a body. He is a true spirit being having a human experience. Every part of a man has to be in perfect balance for him to be healthy and functioning normally. If he is attacked in any one area, the resulting pain can be debilitating to the whole person, and his overall well-being may be affected.

There are various types of pain that human beings incur from time to time, but perhaps the most severe of all is a wounded or broken spirit. It all starts with subtle feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that progress to more pronounced emotions such as fear and anxiety. Spiritual woundedness is demonic in origin and leads to despondency and depression, death and destruction in its extreme.

The spirit of a man gives life to his body that may be diseased or injured. However, when the spirit itself is afflicted, there is no remedy except direct intervention from God Himself. The Lord is the Father of all spirits and He alone can minister to spiritual needs and afflictions. It is vital that we turn to Him in our pain and seek His healing for every area of our lives.

1Peter 2:19 “For this [is] thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.”

Suffering people may get little or no help from those in the organized church, for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they are negative and difficult to approach. It may be that people are unsure how to minister to them appropriately. Whatever the case, the last thing they need is criticism or condemnation. But they often receive that and worse from their Christian brothers and sisters.

Harsh, controlling, religious spirits tell them that God is trying to teach them something, or that they deserve punishment for their sins. They may be judged mercilessly or shunned altogether. What results is that the suffering individual may feel rejected and discouraged, isolated and alone, and come to believe that even God has abandoned him in his pain.

Many are disappointed because their pastoral leaders have ignored their needs, or someone in the congregation has callously offended them. And while it is true that hurting people often hurt others, some have even bought into a spirit of lawlessness and rebellion, and they lash out at all those around them in their pain.

Proverbs 17:14 “The beginning of strife [is as] when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.”

They may be angry and contentious and cause open strife and division in the church. They often challenge all spiritual authority, even God Himself. They may ultimately end up leaving the fellowship altogether. They become stray sheep that are prey to the enemy, who wants nothing less than to isolate and destroy them.

No matter what side of the pulpit we may be on, we can experience spiritual woundedness. There are devoted men and women of God who are misjudged and overly criticized in performing their pastoral duties. They are slandered and disliked for a variety of reasons. They often become discouraged and depressed, and their ministry careers can be permanently affected.

2Corinthians 13:11 “… Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”

God is calling each of us to come up higher in our love walk. It is a command of the Lord that we love and revere Him, and treat others as we ourselves would like to be treated. We must reach out in empathy and compassion to those hurting people around us. Regardless of who they are or why they suffer, we should respond to their needs in love.

We should never judge, criticize or condemn one another. We should be walking in peace and unity in our churches wherever possible. The artificial barriers that separate us must be dissolved. Legalism and pointing the finger has to go; proud and haughty controlling spirits must cease and desist. We should never be a stumbling block to a brother or sister.

The Lord is holding us to a much higher degree of accountability as He judges His church in the days to come. We must overcome our individual differences and seek a commonality of interest that binds us together, rather than scatters the flock. Mercy has to overcome judgment in sheep and shepherds alike. Love and unity must be restored in the church.

Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Jesus Christ came as God in the flesh, to take on all our sin, discouragement and failure, and trade it for His righteousness, joy and victory. The Bible says that He bore all our weaknesses and carried our diseases, so that we might have life in abundance. He experienced disillusion and rejection Himself, and He can empathize with our pain and restore us to wholeness.

Christ calls Himself the Good Shepherd and refers to us as the sheep of His flock. He is distressed when His sheep go astray for any reason. He is equally disappointed when His shepherds are hurt and leave their callings. He will arbitrate all our disputes fairly and equitably, so that we can reconcile our differences peacefully.

Jesus will bring unity to our fellowships once again, and prepare us all for the coming of His Kingdom. If we are willing to minister to one another in love, He will bless us abundantly. He will increase our numbers and endow us with divine power and authority to do all that we are called to do in the days ahead.

The Lord loves us with an everlasting love. He wants to dwell with us in close, intimate fellowship. He will gather us in and bind up our wounds, so that we can enjoy good and safe pasture in His Kingdom when it comes to the earth. Instead of failure, conflict and sorrow, we will experience righteousness, peace and joy for all eternity.

 

Chapter 1 – Broken And Wounded

 

Revelation 13:7 “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”

The enemy knows that his time is short, and he is wreaking havoc on God’s people all over the earth. Mind-blinding spirits have dulled our perception of sin, and left chaos and confusion in their stead. Hindering spirits cause us to fuss and fight with one another, and interfere with our unity. Satan brings curses of loneliness and depression, poverty and infirmity on us; he destroys our relationships and wounds our bodies, souls and spirits.

The devil’s strategy is to find those who are emotionally and spiritually vulnerable, then isolate them and attack. He wants to avenge his hatred on God’s people, and cause them misery and pain. He is not out to just harass and inconvenience us; his mission is to utterly destroy us as individuals and as a church. He will do whatever is necessary to prevent the coming of God’s Kingdom to the earth, and violate His people wherever possible.

Psalm 18:38 “I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet.”

While Christ overcame the devil at Calvary in His victory over sin, death and the grave, he is still active in our lives if we permit him access. We give him legal right of entry with our sin and bad habits. We then experience all sorts of physical, emotional and spiritual woundeness due to our own human weakness. We become ashamed, isolated and separated in our pain, which makes us even more vulnerable to further attack.

We may be resentful and envious of those who do not experience what we do. We often pull away from the very people who can comfort us and ease our suffering the most. We go astray like lost sheep. This is all part of the enemy’s plan to divide and separate us. If he is successful in building a stronghold of strife and division among us, he can easily overtake us and interfere with God’s plan and purpose for our lives.

Demonic spirits run in gangs that attack us; they seldom operate alone. Mind-blinding and hindering spirits bind themselves together to oppress, attack and wreak havoc. For example, deception and denial attempt to blind us to the truth. Envy and resentfulness bind together and influence how we view others. Fear and anxiety enter in when we are depressed. Anger and bitterness team up with hatred.

These negative spirits gather to attack in strongholds that are not easily broken, and they do irreparable damage if they are left unchecked. They cloud our minds to the truth, disturb our relationships with one another, and keep us in weakness and sin rather than in the Lord’s divine strength and righteousness. We must cut them out at their very roots to overcome them and loose blessings in our lives instead.

Reasons For Woundedness

Psalm 69:26 “For they persecute [him] whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.”

We are spiritual beings having human experiences and not all of them are pleasant and uplifting. Broken relationships, disease, poverty, and personal failures of all types take their toll on our bodies, souls and spirits. They leave us feeling emotionally drained and spiritually wounded. We experience pain, suffering and affliction from which it may be difficult to recover.

Many people suffer from broken relationships of various types. They could be estranged from friends, loved ones or going through a divorce. They may be sad and depressed, and grieve as if they lost someone to death. Their disappointment and sense of loss is so strong, that they become vulnerable to egregious spiritual attack.

Others permanently lose someone to death. They are bereft of someone they cherished and experience total anguish in their loss. They may blame God and others in their grieving. They often resent those who are left behind, or feel personally responsible for the loss of their loved one. They are emotionally wounded and may lack the spiritual strength to fully recover.

Psalm 109:22 “For I [am] poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.”

Still others are downcast because of disease or disability in their bodies. They may be victims of chronic pain and horrible debilitation. They feel the Lord has abandoned them. They often feel hopeless and cursed, afraid and alone. They may experience anger and frustration, and could also be depressed and despondent. They are difficult to approach and are prey for more of the enemy’s attacks.

Some individuals grieve the loss of their jobs, homes or other material possessions. They feel robbed and cheated of what is due them; they may be angry and resentful. They often blame others who had nothing to do with their loss. They could have a strong sense of entitlement and resent those who have more than they do. They are emotionally and spiritually challenged, and easily overcome by demonic influence.

Others may have experienced emotional loss and spiritual woundedness at the hands of their church leaders or fellow congregants. Perhaps they’ve been misjudged, criticized or rejected. These individuals may be so broken from their church experiences that they become lawless and rebellious, or even leave the church altogether. They lose their corporate covering and become easy prey to the enemy.

Weary In Woundedness

Psalm 6:6 “I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.”

There are many reasons for woundedness, all valid to those who are suffering from them. While we may be able to sustain hardship and disappointment for a season, ongoing adversity depletes our resources so that we are left vulnerable to spiritual and emotional brokenness. And our negative feelings may only escalate as time goes on.

It all starts with a spirit of heaviness, vague uncomfortable feelings that come on us. These feelings can progress from generalized sadness and disappointment, to sorrow and despair if they remain unchecked. These, in turn, can lead to despondency and depression in the extreme. We then become susceptible to anxiety and fear that enter our lives and paralyze us.

We become self-centered, but in a negative way. We may tend to feel sorry for ourselves, blame others and withdraw from them in all out paranoia. We erroneously think that everyone is out to get us. We may be envious of others who have blessings in their lives. We reject all attempts to reach out to us, which only exacerbates the problem and makes us feel more alone.

These overwhelmingly negative feelings are not only unhealthy, but also cumulative in their effect until they threaten to overtake us altogether. We lose our hope and confidence; life appears dull and flat. We isolate and withdraw from those who can help us the most. We may ultimately turn away from the Lord Himself, mistakenly thinking that not even He cares for us.

The strength of our inner man ultimately determines how we will react and how quickly we will recuperate from physical, emotional or spiritual pain. We can focus on our pain or concentrate on the solution to our problems. We can heal in the love of the Lord and accept the comfort of others or go it alone as stray sheep. The choice is ours; people will never force us to receive their help, and God Himself will never override our free will.

The Enemy Attacks With Depression

Ecclesiastes 2:20 “Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.”

The devil wants to isolate us from others in our pain. He causes us to feel hopeless and helpless. He whispers that we are all alone and that no one cares. He makes us anxious and afraid, and he tells us that we will never recover. He aggravates our pain, by adding negativity to our perception. The enemy wants us totally destroyed, because he knows that the Lord loves us with a deep and everlasting love.

Satan is jealous of man and hates us because the Lord took such pride in our creation; he does whatever he can to bring pain and disillusionment to our lives. The more we entertain thoughts of depression and despair, the more exaggerated they become until they reach crisis proportion and we lose all sense of perspective. We grow desperate for relief and we may even entertain thoughts of self-destructiveness, playing right into the enemy’s hands.

Depression is an insidious condition that plagues millions. There are many under doctors’ care, and medicated with anti-depressant drugs of all types. There are still others who often resort to self-medicating with street drugs and alcohol. Whatever the case, this is just a band-aid approach in the physical realm for a truly spiritual condition. It requires a spiritual remedy if we would heal and be made whole again.

The Lord can and will heal us of depression. It is a demonic spirit and we should bind it and cast it out of our lives. We can loose feelings of joy and gladness, and focus on God and His promises for us. We need never feel despondent or depressed. The Lord has the solution to every perplexity we face. He will never leave us or forsake us, and He will supply all that we need to lead happy, fruitful lives.

People often let us down.

Zechariah 13:6 “And [one] shall say unto him, What [are] these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, [Those] with which I was wounded [in] the house of my friends.”

Our friends and family are sometimes callous to our needs and feelings. They may have pain and suffering of their own, and they often fail to reach out to us just when we need them the most. They could brush us aside with indifference or insensitivity. They may make disparaging remarks that wound us further. That interferes in our relationship with them, and often leaves us feeling rejected, isolated and alone.

Our pastors and church associations can also let us down. After all, there are many people with problems today, and sometimes it is impossible to meet every need on a timely basis. We shouldn’t assume that no one cares, simply because they may not appear to be rallying to our cause just when we think they should. They may have other priorities in their lives at the time we need their help that prevent them from ministering to our needs.

It is unrealistic to think we ought to have every need met by others at our convenience. And it is childish and immature to sever relationships, just because people don’t respond to our needs the way we think they should. Each of us has our own burdens to bear, and we may not always have the time or the experience to effectively deal with others in pain.

Pain is subjective, and not everyone senses the urgency that we experience in our personal circumstances. We must avoid becoming angry and frustrated with others, because they do not commiserate with us or help alleviate our suffering. We should avoid all resentment and bitterness, because this opens the door to the enemy to wreak even more havoc in our lives. And we must never blame God, because He is not the author of our pain.

The Church And The Spiritually Wounded

2Corinthians 10:3 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:”

The church has to recognize spiritual woundedness in all its forms, preferably at an early stage before depression of spirits takes over. We have to fight back against the enemy and prevent the spread of death and destruction in God’s people. We have to destroy enemy strongholds at their very roots. We should do spiritual warfare and drive the enemy out of the arena; we can loose blessings instead of curses in their lives.

We have to be compassionate to those in our midst who suffer, and make every effort to minister to their needs. We must overlook their tendency to lash out at others in their pain. We should not judge and criticize them, nor assume that they deserve what they are going through. We should not even suggest that God is trying to teach them something, or worse yet, that He is punishing them. This violates the law of love, and subjects us to judgment by the Lord Himself.

There is hope for all those who suffer spiritual woundedness of any kind. We can pray for and encourage those among us who are suffering in any way. We can help to cheer them and buoy their spirits. We can cry out to God and intercede for those who require healing and restoration. We should never look down on them or ignore their plight, as it could someday be our very own.

All that being said, we are only human and there is still a distinct possibility that we will let others down in their time of need. We may have limited time and resources to minister to them, or they may be so far gone in their pain that they are unreachable. We can and should always exhort them to seek God in the midst of their suffering. Only He can provide the total cure for woundedness of all types; He is ever compassionate and merciful to those in need.

The Lord is the Creator and Father of all spirits, and He alone can minister to spiritual needs and afflictions. He never brings suffering on men to punish or teach them something. On the contrary, He will bind up the broken hearted and heal all those who are emotionally and spiritually wounded among us. He will help them overcome the flesh, the world and the devil. He will restore them to health and wholeness in every area of their lives.

Avoid Judgment

Romans 14:10 “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, [As] I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in [his] brother's way.”

Hurting people often hurt others unknowingly. Much of what they say and do in their suffering should be overlooked. But all too often we react and overreact to those who are in pain. A spirit of offense comes in, and strife and division result. We have to quit pointing the finger and judging one another in the church body. No one benefits from criticism and condemnation; that only causes more hurt. Only Jesus Christ is the righteous judge of all men, and He insists that we walk in love for others.

So too, we should never purposely ignore a brother or sister in physical, emotional or spiritual pain. This also violates the law of love and displeases God. It is counter-productive to peace and unity among us, and robs us of our corporate and individual blessings. We must be sincerely compassionate to those who suffer, be quick to pray for them in their need, and lend a helping hand whenever we are able.

The Lord will judge each of us with the same fair, equitable standards. And not a one of us deserves His mercy and loving kindness, yet we all receive it over and over again. The very least we could do is have empathy for those who are suffering for any reason. We need not be a stumbling block to our brothers and sisters, nor get in the way of their recovery.

Psalm 34:13-14 “Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.”

We have to get over our petty differences. We must be walking in peace and in unity with our fellow man, wherever possible. We have to get back to our first love, and quit all this immature faultfinding and critical judgment. And we must never gossip about those who are suffering in our midst. It is not an issue of who’s right and who’s wrong, who’s blessed or cursed, but rather, who is walking in love and peace. That determines our righteousness with the Lord.

So too, we have to examine our hearts to see if we nurture feelings of spiritual pride or elitist attitudes in our dealings with fellow believers. Maybe we are convinced that they have sinned and that God is punishing them. Perhaps we believe that they deserve what they are experiencing. Or it could be that we just don’t care. These types of attitudes are unbecoming at best, and downright sinful at worst.

When one of us hurts, we all suffer. Each of us is important to the Lord and His eternal purposes. We are all vital to the smooth operation of the entire group. We must put others’ needs on an even plane with our own, and do what we can to comfort and encourage one another in our time of need. Mercy should always prevail over judgment, as the law of love requires it of us.

Hatred, Anger And Bitterness

Hebrews 12:15 “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled;”

When we are suffering for any reason, we become touchy and overly sensitive in our reactions to others. We lash out at them in our pain. We assume that no one cares or understands what we are going through. We are proud and private about our suffering. We may desire comfort, but resent interference. We may discourage and prevent the attempts of others to reach out and help us overcome whatever is plaguing us.

Even if others do minister to our needs, it may not be what we need or would like to have done for us. We may have preconceived notions of a remedy and require something totally different to ease our pain. There are many broken relationships that result from unreasonable expectations in situations like this. The main reason is that we become offended for some reason or another, and then grow hateful, angry and bitter in our dealings with others.

These negative feelings are demonic in origin and can take root deep in our spirits and destroy the very life of God in us. We should guard our hearts against offending others in any way, and we should not permit ourselves to be offended. A spirit of offense will divide and separate us, often permanently. None of us need to add to our pain and aggravation by causing trouble with our friends, families or churches.

So too, when we become hateful, angry or bitter, it pours out on all our relationships and affects our total attitude towards others. People tend to avoid us, and they are often justified in doing this. It’s not pleasant to be around someone who is experiencing negative feelings and holding onto negative attitudes at the same time. These negativities lead to hard-heartedness and unforgiveness, which are blatantly sinful.

We should never let a root of hatred, anger and bitterness spring up in our fellowships, regardless of the pain and aggravation that we may be experiencing. Nurturing negative thoughts and feelings may prevent our healing and restoration altogether. God is love and He expects us to walk in love and compassion for one another’s needs. Then He is free to bestow blessing on our lives and heal us from our pain.

Choose To Be Positive

Psalm 56:13 “For thou hast delivered my soul from death: [wilt] not [thou deliver] my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?”

It’s understandable to feel some discouragement when things don’t go our way. But regardless of what happens to us in life, we always have a choice how we will react. We must remember that we reap whatever we sow in every area. The Lord Himself has taught us that. If we sow positively, we reap positive results. If we are negative, we attract bad things to our lives.

We can choose to wallow in our pain, become angry and bitter, and isolate ourselves, but that only intensifies and prolongs our physical, emotional and spiritual woundedness. Or we can hope in the Lord for comfort and relief, maintain our sense of perspective, overcome our circumstances and heal totally and completely.

Negative attitudes, thoughts and feelings attract more negative circumstances, and it becomes a never-ending vicious circle from which it’s difficult to break free. On the other hand, positive attitudes, thoughts and feelings attract positive outcomes. They will propel us to physical, emotional and spiritual healing, and improve our overall well-being.

Our goal, then, should be to recognize our negative emotions as soon as they surface. We must get to the root of the problem, purge ourselves of negativity, and change how we think and feel. While it may not be easy to do so, we ought to convert negative feelings to positive goals and seek these with all our strength. We should never discuss our problems in great detail; this gives them added power to destroy us.

Our focus and perspective can and should change. We need to renew our minds and hearts to line up with the Word of God for our lives. We should visualize positive outcomes, and speak words of life to our situations and circumstances. We ought to make positive decrees and declare what we would like to see manifest in our environment. This will keep us focused on recovery rather than suffering.

Settle the issue of good vs. evil.

John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.”

The Lord’s taken a bad rap over the years. He does not cause our loss, nor bring hardship to our lives to punish us or teach us something. That is a lie from the pit of hell that needs to stop in the church. God is not someone to be dreaded and feared. He is well capable of persuading us with gentleness; He does not beat us into submission by inflicting pain and suffering on us.

He is the source of all good, while the devil is the source of all evil. Satan is a real enemy, whose mission is to steal, kill and destroy us. He has a demonic assignment to eradicate all of mankind, and he brings suffering of all types on us. If we become vulnerable and give him legal access to our lives, he will afflict our minds, bodies and spirits with total destruction as his ultimate goal.

But we can’t blame the devil for everything; sometimes our brokenness is due our own willful stubbornness and bad decisions. We fail to get all the facts before we act, or we have bad habits and attitudes that bring trouble on us. We sometimes allow ourselves to be overcome by worldliness and the desires of the flesh.

So too, our sin always has consequences. We often bring them on ourselves. The good news is that we have the power to change. There is always opportunity for us to turn our lives around. We can repent and go on in our walk with the Lord. We can turn to Him and begin again, no matter what has plagued us in the past.

The Lord sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins and to restore us to right standing with Him. Righteousness is available to each of us, no matter how many times we sin and miss the mark. We can always turn to our loving and merciful God in repentance of our sins and experience total restoration.

Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and provide us with life in abundance. He said that He wants us to prosper and be in health even as our souls – our minds, wills and emotions – prosper. He knows our human frailty, and is willing to provide us with His very own strength and wisdom to meet every perplexity in life.

Trust God

Job 16:20 “My friends scorn me: [but] mine eye poureth out [tears] unto God.”

We cannot rely on our friends, families or the church to heal our woundedness. And while it is difficult to know what to do and who to turn to in our pain, the worst thing we could ever do is run from the Lord. The solution to our problems is to seek help from the Creator and Savior of our bodies, souls and spirits. While people may often let us down, God will always lift us up and strengthen us. We can trust Him with every area of our lives.

We must keep our problems in perspective and look to the Lord as our solution. He alone should be our source for total emotional and spiritual healing, just as He is for physical restoration. When we rely on other human beings to make us happy or relieve our pain, we always come up short, wanting and expecting more than they are capable of giving us.

The cycle is then repeated with more loss, pain and disappointment. The only remedy is to overcome offense, exercise forgiveness, forget what lies behind, and move forward in the Lord for healing and wholeness to be restored. We need not go astray in our hour of need. We can and must remain focused on God as our source for healing.

It’s wise to leave the past in the past. We should take from it what we need to learn, and move onward and upward, if we would succeed in life. We can overcome all physical, emotional and spiritual pain; and replace it with what the Bible calls “the peace that passes understanding.” We can rise above all sorts of adversity with God’s help. It all starts with a quality decision to trust Him for healing in every area of our lives.

Psalm 42:3 “My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where [is] thy God?”

Although others sometimes ridicule us for trusting in the Lord, we can be assured that He is there for us, and is the source for our healing. He does hear our cries, and He will meet all of our needs. He will never leave us or forsake us. It is never a waste of time to cry out to a loving and merciful God. Prayer is our connector to His intimate love. His answer to that prayer is always on time and appropriate.

God is love itself, and He wants to lavish all that He is and all that He has on us. He has made provision for our salvation and healing in every area of our lives. He will strengthen and guide us as we learn to overcome all adversity and suffering. He will bind up all our wounds, lift our spirits and restore our wholeness before our very eyes.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

The Lord is involved in our present situation and circumstances and concerned about our future, as well. He has a great plan for our lives, and always has our welfare in mind. He wants us healed and intact, so that we can enjoy life and serve Him with gladness and enthusiasm. He will remove all our woundedness and make us whole again. If we will walk in His ways and be attentive to His direction for our lives, we will be totally restored.

Very soon we will reside in the Kingdom of God on this earth. There will be no more pain and sorrow, no disappointment or disillusionment. All evil will be rooted out, and we will have joy and comfort for our former suffering. We must overcome the enemy that threatens to isolate and divide us in our pain, and forego all unrighteousness in our dealing with others. As a result, we will live together in love, peace and unity with our God for all eternity.

Our Source For Healing

Psalm 39:12 “Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears…”

The first step towards healing begins with a decision to reach out to God. The Lord hears our cries, and He is compassionate to our pain. He meets us just where we are, even if it’s in the pit of hell, where we experience physical, emotional and spiritual suffering. He will never leave us or forsake us; He is our constant companion and our source for hope and confidence in the future.

The Lord is ever merciful and kind. He waits for us to come to the end of ourselves, and He is right there to bind up our wounds. He sets our feet on a straight path that leads to life and wholeness. He delights in our health and well-being, our joy and our peace. He wants us in a place where we rely on Him for all that we require. He is ever loving and quick to answer our prayers of affliction. He will partner with us so that we will be able to overcome all adversity.

Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Our spirits should cry out to our God whenever we experience hardship and suffering of any type. He offers a solution for every sorrow and failure. He is interested in every area of our lives, and wants only the best for each of us. We are intimately connected to the Lord and one another. We should strive for love, peace and joy in all of our relationships, regardless of what we may be temporarily experiencing.

We cannot afford to be caught up in our pain and isolate ourselves from God or the church covering that He has provided for us. We all need comfort and protection. There are divine destinies that must be fulfilled in the days ahead that require us to walk in strong unity with one another as we usher in the Kingdom of God. So too, the law of love demands that we have a sincere love for one another at all times.

There will be no pain or sorrow when heaven comes to the earth. All evil will be destroyed and banished from our midst. All our tears and depression will become a thing of the past, blotted from our memories for all time. There will be safety and security for all who enter in to the Kingdom. We will experience righteousness, peace and joy as we dwell with the Lord and with one another in total love and unity for all eternity.

 

Topics For Discussion

1. How The Enemy Attacks Us

2. Reasons For Woundedness

3. The Role Of Others In Our Healing

4. The Issue Of Good vs. Evil

5. How The Lord Responds To Our Needs

6. Our Source For Healing

7. Life In God’s Kingdom

 

Chapter 2 – Stray Sheep

 

Psalm 119:175-176 “Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let they judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.”

We are no surprise to our God; He knows the frailty of the human condition. After all, He created us. He knew from the foundation of the world, that we would succumb to temptation and get sidetracked in our problems. He also knew that we would be disobedient to Him, forsake our fellowship with other believers, and try to go it alone in life like stray sheep. He will not leave us utterly defenseless, despite our stubborness.

The Lord Himself will seek us out when we step out of His will for our lives. We are not alone; He will never leave us or forsake us. He is ever loving and merciful; He wants nothing more than to comfort us in our time of need. He will bind up our woundedness, and restore all that the enemy has stolen from us. He will protect us from future harm if we invite His presence in our lives, and welcome His guidance and direction for us.

Jeremiah 13:17 “But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for [your] pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD'S flock is carried away captive.”

Fear and pride often keep us from turning to God in our need. We may be afraid that He will not hear our prayers because of our sin. We may be too proud to ask anyone for help when we are suffering in any way. What we must remember is that God will never fail us as men often do. He is not the author of our pain. He is not trying to teach us something through adversity. Only hypocritical religious spirits say that, and they are wrong.

The Lord loves us with an everlasting love, and He suffers when we do. He sees our tears, and He grieves when we are overcome by anything. His one desire is to alleviate our pain and give us joy instead of sorrow. It is not His will that even one of us should go astray for any reason. He is ever ready to gather us in and comfort us. All of heaven rejoices when we return to the Lord and are reconciled with Him.

Psalm 43:5 “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, [who is] the health of my countenance, and my God.”

When we are suffering in any way, life becomes very difficult for us. It loses its luster and all of our relationships are affected. We abandon our optimism and lose all hope. The strength of our spirit man ultimately determines how well we will bear up under this stress, and whether we will move forward or remain stagnated in our pain. If we turn to others, they may disappoint us, so we often turn to God in sheer desperation.

It is true that when all you have left is God, that God is all you need. He is the source of our hope and confidence. We can always cry out to the Lord, and He will comfort us and lead us into green pastures. We are the sheep of His flock, and He loves us unconditionally. He will protect and defend us against every attack of the enemy, and heal all of our pain and suffering. The Lord will restore us to health and wholeness, so that we can serve Him in joy and gladness.

God will never reject us, no matter how many times we have failed. He does not criticize us for wandering away from Him and going astray like lost sheep. He asks only that we come to our senses and repent of our independence and unrighteousness. His mercy is new every morning, and His love is everlasting. He waits for us to wear ourselves out and seek Him for all of our needs. He will never send us away empty handed or disappointed.

Isaiah 25: 8-9 “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken [it]. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this [is] our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this [is] the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

We don’t have to buy into sorrow and brokenness when it comes on us. The Lord promises us comfort, if only we will believe on Him and trust in His provision for all of our needs. There is a solution that was provided for us from the foundation of the world. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to seek all the lost sheep and gather them into safe pasture in His presence.

Adam’s transgression determined our fate for all eternity, until Christ came as God in the flesh to redeem and save us. He restored our righteousness; He redeemed us from the curse. He conquered sin, death and the grave so that we might have life. All we have to do is call on Him, and He will meet all our needs. We can make this life-changing decision at any time we choose and be welcomed back into the fold.

Christ came to take on all our suffering and trade it for His peace and joy. This divine exchange of pain for peace was an important by-product of His suffering and death. He promises us life in abundance, to the overflow, and He withholds no good thing from us. Jesus will avenge us before all our enemies and strengthen us in the power of His might. We can be healed of all our pain and suffering to serve Him in joy and gladness once again.

The Sheep Of His Pasture

Psalm 100:3 “Know ye that the LORD he [is] God: [it is] he [that] hath made us, and not we ourselves; [we are] his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”

There are many people that love God who go astray for lack of proper shepherding. They are spiritually wounded and desperate for God’s love. They hop from church to church, looking for someone to listen, understand and comfort them. While seeking human fellowship is usually a good idea, maybe what they really need is a deeper relationship with the Lord Himself.

He is our creator and our provider; we need not be self-sufficient. He wants us to depend on Him for everything in our lives, from the minutest detail to the greatest need we have. He wants to fellowship with us on an intimate basis, and share all our thoughts and concerns. He wants the opportunity to demonstrate His deep abiding love for us in every area of our lives. All we must do is trust Him and believe that He is indeed capable of blessing us regardless of our circumstances.

Psalm 95:7 “For he [is] our God; and we [are] the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand…”

We don’t ever have to feel alone and desperate when we lose our church covering. We can seek the face of God Himself at any time, and He will find us wherever we are. We know, for a fact, that He will provide all our needs, until we find a fellowship that lines itself up with the Word of God, and ministers to us in an appropriate way. Our relationship with Him should always have top priority in our lives. He wants to be our primary focus and the total supply for all or needs, temporal, spiritual and relational.

The Lord wants us to experience total, unconditional love that only He can provide. Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd and He proactively searches out the lost and stray sheep. He gathers us in to a place of safety and nurturance in Him. And while it may lack human companionship for a time and a season, we can be assured that He will fill the void in our lives with His very own joy and peace.

The Divine Exchange

Isaiah 53:5 “But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Man is a spirit that has a soul – mind, will and emotions – and lives in a body. We are tri-part creatures that struggle for balance in our earth walk, just as Jesus did during His life experience with us. Christ laid His deity aside when He came to the earth. Everything that He accomplished was as a mere man walking in the power of God. He went through all that we do and suffered just as we do in our lives.

Jesus’ victory over sin, death and the grave provided for the redemption of every part of human beings. He bore our infirmities and carried all of our diseases, and by His stripes we were healed. This divine exchange of sorrow for joy, and pain for healing, took place thousands of years ago for our eternal benefit. There is no need for us to bear any more pain and suffering; Christ took all that on Himself for our express benefit.

He conquered sin, so that our spirits would be renewed to right standing with God. He overcame temptation, disobedience and all human emotion so that our souls would be redeemed. He bore our sickness and destroyed death itself, so that our bodies would be healed and that we would enjoy long and happy lives.

Psalm 116:8 “For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, [and] my feet from falling.”

Healing was provided for every part of us two thousand years ago at Calvary; we need only lay claim to it. Jesus Christ suffered and died so that we don’t have to bear pain or affliction of any type. We should experience healing in every area of our lives. We must believe that we receive it totally and completely. There is nothing that He cannot or will not do for those who believe in Him and the power of His resurrection.

Jesus Himself comes to find us when we go astray. He catches us when we fall, and comforts us in our suffering. He offers us His peace in our affliction, and hope and confidence for the future. He is our total source for healing. With Christ, there is no occasion for pain, sorrow and depression. He will bring overwhelming joy to all those who love and trust in Him. Our part is to believe in Him and appropriate His promises for our lives.

The Lord is our Shepherd.

John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd, and know my [sheep], and am known of mine.”

Jesus referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd, and He called us His sheep. He used this allegory to illustrate the intimate relationship that He wants to have with us when we stray from the right path. Shepherds are devoted to their flocks, just as He is devoted to His followers. He will guide and protect those under His care.

Christ loves us with an everlasting love; He says He knows us and that we know Him. We can and do hear His voice calling to us. We should tune out all distraction and listen only to Him. We can respond and follow Him into safe pasture with hope and confidence that He will protect and defend us from every attack of the enemy.

It may be that He is calling us to a brief period of rest and refreshment in Him and Him alone.

He may wish to root out certain sins in us, heal our brokenness and give us a deeper revelation of Himself. We should neither fear nor attempt to escape His presence. There is peace and joy to be found in fellowship with Him.

There are many wonderful lessons that we learn through wilderness experiences, when we have only the Lord for our intimate companion. He will teach us His way of doing things, and help solve all our perplexity. He will guide us in a straight path and give us peace and joy for our former pain and sorrow.

Mark 6:34 “And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.”

Even today, the voice of Christ calls to us. His love and compassion reach out to us and bring us back to our right standing with the Lord. He reproves us with gentleness and persuasion, so that we might experience peace and wholeness in our relationship with Him. He will never be harsh or callous to our needs.

He ministers to us as no one else can, with love, mercy and compassion. Our Savior stands in the gap when we are going astray in search of comfort or meaning and truth. He intercedes on our behalf with the Father, so that we might be healed and restored in God’s love. He advocates for our rights and privileges and delivers all His promises to us.

Jesus teaches us Kingdom principles in the written Word of God, so that we have sound guidelines for living victorious lives, both now and for the future. All we need to do is to develop our relationship with Him through prayer and meditation. We can and will hear His voice so that we will never be in danger or without direction again.

The Good Shepherd

John 10:11-16 “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd, and know my [sheep], and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, [and] one shepherd.”

There are many pastoral leaders who are false shepherds that pretend to care for us, but end up abandoning us when things go wrong or opposition from the enemy comes. So too, some have mixed motives in church leadership and need to realign their priorities. Others may be abusive or neglectful. It is easy for us to become confused and disillusioned when we have a need and no church to back us up. It is then when we are most likely to go astray.

We can rest assured that Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd. He will never leave us or forsake us. The Bible tells us that He said He would be with us until the end of the world as we know it. That means we can rely on Him to lead us and guide us in our daily lives for all eternity. He will arrange our contacts so that we find the perfect human support and church fellowship for our particular situation and circumstances, as well.

Lawlessness and Rebellion Forbidden

2Thessalonians 2:10-12 “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

When we are hurting and desperate for comfort, it’s easy to fall prey to the lies of the enemy and develop a spirit of rebellion and lawlessness that resists those in authority, sometimes even God Himself. As human beings, we sometimes lay blame on others for our misfortune, and we lash out at those who can help us the most. We cannot succumb to this. It only brings strife and division in our relationships, and causes us to be avoided by others.

The enemy would deceive us, if possible, into thinking that our church doesn’t care about us, or that our pastoral leader is insensitive to our needs. More often than not, people do not understand what we need at the time we need it, or they may be ill equipped and unprepared to help us. They might feel awkward and at a loss for what to say and do. And while they may appear not to care, they are simply unsure of how to relieve our suffering.

We should not be deluded into thinking that only our needs matter. We should be tolerant of others’ needs and feelings as well as our own, despite what we might be going through. We are all connected to one another and we should strive for peace and unity. We are one in Christ and called to good works. We can learn from our individual and shared experiences, and try to bridge the gap between us with compassion and understanding.

Corinthians 10:32 “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:”

When one of us hurts in any way, the entire group suffers to an extent. At times like this, it is easy for the enemy to make access to the church with a spirit of offense. We should neither give offense to others, or receive it in any way. We must take a strong stand against anything that would divide us. We must always strive for a spirit of cooperation and mutual up building in our churches. This promotes fellowship and protects the anointing on the work.

The Lord withdraws His presence, His power and glory where there are spirits of offense, dispute and division. He abhors chaos and confusion; He is a God of peace and order. He will not tolerate controversy or disorder in our ranks. We are His family and He insists that we walk in love at all times. He expects that we at least try to provide comfort and encouragement to one another in our suffering, and be tolerant of our individual differences.

We must purposely think the best of others, and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. We should build bridges in our relationships rather than walls of self-interest. Just because we are hurting, it doesn’t give us the right to hurt others. We cannot find fault, gossip, criticize and condemn others for not meeting our needs, just how and when we think they should be met.

Although our needs are a priority with us, they are not always the most important issue that a church body faces. We should exercise patience and understanding if we would like to receive help from either our church leader or his ministry team. In the mean time, we can always rely on the Lord to heal us and provide comfort in our pain. We have an open invitation to approach the throne of God with every need.

Respect For Spiritual Authority Commanded

1Thessalonians 5:11-15 “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. [And] be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all [men]. See that none render evil for evil unto any [man]; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men].”

We should have respect for those in spiritual authority over us, even if they may be unable to meet all our needs. It could very well be that they do not have the education or experience to deal with our particular problems. Except in the case of blatantly abusive or neglectful pastoral leadership, we must never criticize or pass judgment on those who lead us in the church. Instead, we ought to cooperate with and pray for those in leadership over us.

We should always assume that our pastoral leaders seek the Lord and hear from Him, before they attempt to engage us in any dialogue that they deem necessary. They will never criticize or condemn us. Their intent should never be to harm us, but rather, to bring us back into full fellowship, and ease our pain and confusion. We should welcome their help and cooperate wherever possible. Their intentions are usually pure, and their motives are loving and unselfish.

Sometimes we require exhortation or a word of admonition to get us back on the right track. Other times a word of encouragement supplies our needs. Still other times, prayer and intercession can solve most of our problems. Whatever the case, we ought to permit our pastoral leadership an opportunity to minister to us before we give up and decide to bail out on our church covering altogether.

Handling Controversy In The Church

Psalm 34:14 “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.”

Although we may desire peace and unity in our hearts, there are some instances when our presence in a church causes us discomfort or may even create controversy in the fellowship. It may be that the leadership and congregation are split in their thinking or have contradictory goals. It could be that communication is the issue, or that man-made rules have somehow slipped in to hold us in bondage.

Perhaps we have grown in the Lord and are no longer being fed as we should be. It may be that the gospel message has been compromised and watered down to appeal to men rather than to glorify God. Whatever the case, we must exercise our God-given discernment and decide if the Lord wants us in that particular church environment over another that may better meet our needs.

That decision must never be made in anger or in haste, without taking the time and effort to seek the Lord’s will for our lives. He arranges our divine connections to suit His plan and purpose. We have a divine destiny; He will direct our path and give us wisdom. Everything that God tells us to do will line up with His Word, and result in peace and unity for all concerned.

We may ask for a meeting with the pastoral minister and/or his leadership team. If a church values the thoughts and opinions of its congregants, then dialogue is encouraged. If this is not the case, then we have no choice but to remain silent. We should perhaps choose to fellowship with others of like precious faith elsewhere. In all situations, we are called to love and peace regardless of the outcome.

When It’s Time To Go

While we may decide to leave a particular church, that leaves us no right to cause chaos and confusion in our departure. We should never find fault or lay blame on others. We must not gossip or disturb the comfort and peace of the fellowship of believers as a whole. What we decide to do should remain between the Lord and us. To avoid conflict, strife and division, it is wise to remain silent and leave quietly.

Proverbs 3:6 “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Although it may seem that we are without direction, we should always seek the Lord for His guidance in locating a new church home. We should never try to go it alone; we all need and deserve a corporate cover and we require the Lord’s guidance for our lives. When we isolate ourselves from other believers we set ourselves up for a vicious attack by the enemy. We become vulnerable to more pain and suffering.

The devil wants us to think that no one cares about us, but the Lord always has a perfect plan for His people. He will reveal His purpose for us and direct us in all our paths. He will arrange for divine connections and meet all our needs for sound teaching and joyous, peaceful fellowship. We should not ever feel like sheep without a shepherd. The Lord will always lead us into safe pasture in His presence. 

 

Topics For Discussion

1. Reasons For Stray Sheep

2. The Sheep Of His Pasture

3. The Divine Exchange

4. Christ As Our Shepherd

5. Respect For Spiritual Authority

6. Handling Controversy In The Church

7. When It’s Time To Go 

 

Chapter 3 – False Shepherds

 

Jeremiah 50:6 “My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away [on] the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.”

There are many spiritually wounded people today who have been victimized in organized churches, and betrayed by their pastors and the congregations alike. They have loved God and others and trusted their corporate coverings, yet ended up on the outside looking in. These are men and women that are devoted to the Lord and have the Holy Spirit operating in their lives. They are simply different from the norm and may have other beliefs and opinions.

They are not in rebellion, but rather, hurting and disappointed because of what they perceive as unfair treatment. They do not require admonition or re-direction in the Word. However, they desperately need to be rescued from false shepherds and overly religious, controlling Christians who may have caused or aggravated their spiritual woundedness.

Religious spirits hold people in bondage and the Lord is strongly against that. Some believers have different denominational backgrounds, and hold to different doctrines of the faith. Some may have experienced harsh, judgmental words from the pulpit. They may be the brunt of backbiting and gossip from fellow church members. They may have been bludgeoned when they experienced personal losses, instead of comforted in the love of the Lord.

Some are made to feel guilty when they miss the mark, instead of guided back on the right path. They may not have been gently corrected, with words of persuasion rather than accusation. They may have been wrongly judged, mercilessly condemned and overly criticized. Their pain and disillusionment are real and should not be dismissed as unimportant. Whenever any of us suffer in any way, the welfare of the entire group is jeopardized.

Pastoral Abuse

Ezekiel 34:4 “The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up [that which was] broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.”

Many individuals have been browbeaten by overbearing pastors and religious congregations, that attempt to silence or control them if they question certain beliefs or what goes on in the church. If they offer their input, criticism or advice, they are stripped of their dignity and told that they are not hearing from God as the others do. They are victimized by elitist spirits that attempt to silence them and minimize their importance.

If they disagree with the leadership, they are told that they do not support the work. They are often denied a voice, and attempts are made to override their free will to believe as they wish. If they choose to leave the church, they are told that they are being rebellious and that they will bring punishment on themselves. They are denied a voice and faced with a dilemma – to remain in bondage or go it alone.

All of these tactics are excessive and may even be construed as abusive. Regardless of the circumstances and motivation, the Lord holds the shepherd of the flock responsible for every stray sheep that results from these and similar efforts to coerce, manipulate and control. God Himself created us with free will and He never overrides it; He will not permit us to abuse that in our dealings with others either.

Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

There’s a trend towards the prophetic in the church today, and many traveling prophets and evangelists are offering so-called “personal prophecies” for monetary contributions. They show favoritism by ministering only to the affluent that can afford to pay them. They spurn the Lord by offering His anointing for hire. The fact remains that they may not even have a true prophetic gift at all. They will be subjected to a fearsome judgment from the Lord for these deceptive practices that fleece the sheep.

So too, some leaders of organized churches are intent only on fame and fortune. They are in the ministry for what they can glean from it. They may have ambitious aspirations to run mega-churches. They desire prestige or power, besides a comfortable life style, rather than approval from the Lord. These people constantly preach money and show partiality to those in their fellowships that make large offerings. They place heavy financial burdens on their congregants without regard for their personal circumstances.

Some pastors, teachers and evangelists preach a social gospel, where the Word of God is compromised and watered down to please people rather than God. Their seeker-friendly fellowships may never experience correction or admonition of any kind, even when they need it. While they may have large congregations as a result, the Lord insists that His sheep be fed both the pure and undefiled milk of the Word and the meat of it. He does not approve of diluting the gospel with man-made traditions that flatter and deceive.

The Word of God should never be sold or compromised in any way. To do so is both risky and blasphemous. Lack of genuine concern for their congregations usually ends up bringing judgment on these types of false shepherds. They lose their anointing and their effectiveness to lead. In some instances, they are removed from their positions, but not until they have caused tremendous damage to the flock as a whole.

The Lord is passing swift judgment on the pastoral leaders and traveling mercenaries who fleece or mislead His sheep. They will be held accountable for every believer that is beguiled, misinformed, injured or goes astray as a result of their actions. Rather than receiving an eternal reward, they will receive eternal judgment for their failure to line up with godly standards of pastoral conduct.

Pastoral Neglect

Jeremiah 23:1-2 “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.”

The Lord is dismayed when even one believer goes astray due to abusive pastoral leadership. Screaming and threatening from the pulpit is pompous and sanctimonious abuse. Flogging the sheep is anti-Christ, and will be severely punished. To add insult to injury, these church leaders often fail to determine why their congregation is diminishing, either through absenteeism or attrition. They may be so caught up in their own agendas that they are oblivious to what is happening all around them.

Some neglect to investigate what’s become of the people after they leave their churches, and they disregard the consequences that may result from the loss of a church covering. Their people are often led astray and become prey for enemy attack on their lives. Pastoral leaders have a tremendous responsibility to their flocks that comes with the privilege of leadership and authority. If they are not careful and focused on their congregation’s needs, they may be guilty of both abuse and neglect, and the Lord will hold them strictly accountable for their lack of love.

Matthew 18:12-13 “How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that [sheep], than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.”

You would think that the pastor of a church today would make the time to get to know and minister to the needs of those in His fold. You would expect him to go after those who stray and be glad when they are restored. But all too often, he is intent only on impressing the members of the church board and the leaders in his congregation.

He may have a personal agenda, worldly goals and ambitions that simply don’t permit the time and energy he needs to pastor those under his care. Maybe he is writing books or televising His sermons. Perhaps he makes a pretense of caring, but actually does as little as possible to minister to the needs of the people in a real and practical manner.

In this instance, the sheep themselves should not be blamed for rising up in protest or going astray; the greater responsibility lies with the shepherd who fails to lead and guide them in genuine love and concern. He may have abdicated His pastoral role altogether. Though he may preach the gospel, it holds no power for him. He considers himself spiritually superior, and he fails to walk as a humble servant as Jesus did.

The false shepherd abandons the lost and forsaken. He fails to visit the sick or comfort those who mourn. He does not administer aid or encouragement to the suffering in his congregation. He disdains those in his charge that may have destructive habits and addictions. He avoids relationship counseling and is lacking in compassion for those he is supposed to serve.

Christ set a high standard of behavior for church leadership. He told His followers that a shepherd should go in search of every lost sheep and bring him or her back into the fold. It ought to be a normal prudent ministerial practice to follow up on every believer that disappears from a fellowship, and a cause for rejoicing whenever they are reconciled to the church body.

Examine Your Motives

Zechariah 11:3-5 “[There is] a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled. Thus saith the LORD my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter; Whose possessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty: and they that sell them say, Blessed [be] the LORD; for I am rich: and their own shepherds pity them not.”

Many false shepherds object when their leadership practices are questioned or challenged. This should not be the case. They are required, rather, to examine their motives and methods, and gladly make the changes necessary to ensure that the needs of their congregations are met. People should take priority over private agendas, and a minister of the gospel should realize this.

The average church member may suffer health problems, death in the family, broken relationships, loss of home or job, and various other setbacks. The pastor may be content to have his needs met, yet lacks compassion for the needs of others – especially the members of his church that incur pain and hardship.

Dealing with their problems may be too time consuming, or make him feel uncomfortable. Or in some instances, perhaps he is ill equipped to deal with certain issues. In that case, he should refer his congregants to other professionals that can provide the help they need, while he ministers to their spiritual requirements in love and compassion. It is not acceptable that he totally abdicates his role in their lives when things go wrong for them.

Ezekiel 34:1-10

The book of Ezekiel, Chapter 34, delivers a scathing commentary from the Lord to all false shepherds that not only cause their flocks to be dispersed, but also fail to go after and seek the lost. If you are in organized church leadership, you may want to delve into an in-depth study of it for yourself and seek the Lord to discover how you measure up to His standards.

Ezekiel 34:1-3 “And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe [be] to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?”

There is a stricter personal accountability for those who preach and teach, than there is for the average believer. The Bible says that, “to those whom much is given, much is expected.” If a church leader is more learned in the Word than the members of his congregation, he is responsible to feed the flock accurately with what he himself has learned. He should put his faith into action and be a living example of love and truth.

The gospel must never be diluted for any reason. It should be preached in its full power and authority, yet geared to the level of understanding of the average listener. If a man of God receives direct revelation from the Lord, he is obligated to share it with his church members in an appropriate manner that will edify and exhort them. He should not be intent on winning friends and a following. His desire should be to share the revelatory truth with others, as it is shared with Him by the Lord Himself.

If a pastoral leader is truly called and anointed of God, He ought to preach the uncompromised Word of God with all attending signs and wonders in a genuine and impartial manner. Healing and prophecy should never be offered for hire; they are free gifts of God, meant to be shared with His people at no cost or obligation to them. The anointing will take leave of impure vessels, and the Lord will never permit His glory to be offered for sale.

Ezekiel 34:3 “Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: [but] ye feed not the flock.”

A ministry professional that has a legitimate calling to teach, preach and pastor, enjoys the very anointing of the Lord; he should not be greedy or power-hungry. His services should never be offered for hope of personal gain. He should lay down his personal agendas in favor of the Lord’s plan and purpose for his life. He should be a humble servant to all men as Christ Himself walked on the earth.

The power of Jesus Christ and the gospel of the Kingdom are not for rent, lease or sale. While the gifts and callings of God may be without repentance, they can and will be stripped from the unworthy and given to another more suitable steward. The Lord expects that His anointed use their gifts for the express benefit of others.

Ezekiel 34:4 “The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up [that which was] broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.”

Many leaders of churches today have a form of religion with no real anointing power to back them up. There is a deploring lack of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in their meetings. Healing is missing; the captives are not set free; the Gospel of the Kingdom is not preached. Revelation and prophecy are unheard of in their churches. Speaking in tongues is discouraged and the people perish for lack of knowledge.

Their fellowships are cheated out of the very things that the Lord wants to impart to them for their edification and spiritual maturity. They may have a middle-of-the-road, social gospel preached to them, with no power in it. Their individual gifts and callings may stagnate. They are compelled to go elsewhere for healing, deliverance and the good news of Jesus Christ. They may be oppressed and cursed due to the absence of the Holy Spirit in their midst.

While some ministers may go to the opposite extreme and preach a gospel of hell fire and damnation to their congregations, they often hold themselves above the very advice they mete out. Their attitudes and behaviors may be subject to scrutiny as they engage in the very acts they condemn. This is a hypocritical attitude that the Lord abhors, and He will judge them according to the standards by which they judge others.

Ezekiel 34:5-6 “And they were scattered, because [there is] no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek [after them].”

The Lord has seen both the flagrant abuse and purposeful neglect of false shepherds, and He will no longer tolerate it. Without sound leadership, believers are left as prey for the enemy to attack them. They need and deserve a safe corporate covering to shelter and protect them. The shepherd is responsible to provide that for his flock. If he is not up to the challenge, then he should resign his post, rather than abdicating it in avoidance of responsibility.

Ezekiel 34:7-10 “Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because [there was] no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.”

Jesus continually passed judgment on the Pharisees and Sadducees who hypocritically called themselves church leaders. He loathed their self-righteousness and their pride, and He repeatedly condemned their leadership methods. They set impossibly high standards for the people. They brow beat them with a spirit of control, but held themselves to very different standards. They taught in word only, and not by example.

So too, the Lord passes a strong indictment on pastoral leaders today who let their sheep stray and become prey to the enemy for any reason. He says that He will remove the false shepherds and rescue His sheep. The leaders will no longer feed off the innocent under their care. The Lord Himself will gather us in and provide for our needs.

Ezekiel 34:15-16 “I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up [that which was] broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.”

Babylonian religious systems with their hypocritical leaders are being destroyed because they have kept God’s people in bondage. Instead of showing love and compassion, they used and abused, or ignored and neglected, those under their guidance. The leadership they provided failed to line up with the Word of God. Those who exploit the sheep or cause them to stray will be severely judged and punished.

The Lord Himself will care for His sheep. He will seek the lost, and bring back those who were driven away by the false shepherds. He will heal all the brokenhearted and strengthen the weak. And He will avenge all the wrongs that were done to His beloved sheep by enemies in the pulpit.

Ezekiel 34:31 “And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, [are] men, [and] I [am] your God, saith the Lord GOD.”

This is the Lord’s promise to His sheep. He will raise up a righteous remnant of church leaders from all denominations and spiritual callings in the days ahead. These men and women will go forth and seek the lost and the wounded, both inside and outside the church. They will be His hands and His feet on the earth.

They will serve the Lord faithfully in spirit and in truth. They will show no partiality in their dealings with their followers. They will encourage peace and unity in their churches, and they will feed the flock both the milk and the meat of God’s Word. They will minister the Word of the Lord with love and conviction rather than judgment and condemnation.

These men and women of God will demonstrate healing, miraculous signs and wonders, as they preach the good news of the Kingdom of God. They will help bring in the full harvest of souls that is required. They will heal all who are infirm, and they will set the captives free of all enemy oppression, and help usher their sheep into safe pasture for all eternity.

Babylon Falling

1Samuel 2:4 “The bows of the mighty men [are] broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.”

The Lord has a high standard set for pastoral leadership today. He expects a man of God to walk in love and integrity, as a living example to those in his care. He will pass severe judgment on those who fail to feed, guide and protect their sheep. He will be relentless in His punishment of those who abuse their power with greed and fame as their goals.

But the sheep themselves, He will personally rescue and strengthen. Not a single soul will be lost that is intended for the Kingdom of God. The Lord will appoint new shepherds to care for His flock. They will lead by godly example and reprove with love and gentleness. They will never criticize or condemn those under their care; they will lead them into safe pasture.

Jeremiah 23:4 “And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.”

Many organized religions and established churches are failing. The reason lies in the fact that the pulpit is being used as an instrument for personal gain and/or abuse of power. The gospel is being diluted and watered down so much, that we have a form of religion with no power in it. It is offered for sale, rather than freely given to all men in search of the truth.

The Lord Himself is destroying the spirit of religion and man-made doctrines that are holding His people in bondage. He will ensure that the anointing leaves both the power hungry and the greedy before the flock is permanently damaged. He will not permit His precious sheep to be destroyed for lack of knowledge or due to enemies in the pulpit.

There will be a new breed of church leaders that rise up in the days ahead. They will seek the Lord for their agendas, and have pure, undefiled motivation to serve the church that they shepherd. Instead of manipulating and controlling their congregations, they will preach the uncompromised Word of God and the Gospel of the Kingdom. They will lead in love and by example, and their reputations will precede them in attracting many new believers to the faith.

The very power and anointing of Jesus Christ Himself will follow them in their ministry, as they work miraculous healings, signs and wonders for the benefit of their followers. They will do the work of Christ as He commissions them, and the Kingdom of God will be advanced tremendously to demonstrate the glory of God on the earth.

1Samuel 2:10 “The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

Organized religion will be shaken to its very foundations in the days ahead. The Lord will not tolerate lukewarm churches that have no regard for their flocks. He will set up Jesus Christ as the righteous judge of both sheep and shepherds. He will topple all the proud and lofty that mistreat or misguide His people. He is a jealous God and His love for the sheep is inestimable.

He will replace greed and apathy in pastoral leadership with shepherds that truly care for their sheep, the very least to the greatest of them. They will minister in love and concern for the needs of the people. The gospel will no longer be watered down for selfish purposes. The Kingdom of God with all its promises will be preached, and people’s lives will change as never before.

Feeding The Flock

1Peter 5:2 “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight [thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over [God’s] heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

This is sound advice to all pastoral leaders that would line up with Kingdom standards and be eternally rewarded for their efforts. Christ is coming back for His church, and to destroy all the ungodly and their ungodliness. Will He find shepherds who are earnest and sincere, or will He find hypocrisy and flagrant disobedience among them?

A minister of the gospel should willingly and devotedly embrace his duties. While he may have initially been assigned to his post by elders in the church, he should never serve under obligation or constraint. He should preach the uncompromised Word of God and the Gospel of the Kingdom with sincerity and conviction. So too, he must be a living testimony to Jesus Christ in all that He says and does. He should walk in love and concern for those in his charge and protect the flock under his care.

Judgment has already begun with the household of God. The Lord is holding us to much higher standards of accountability than He has in the past. He will no longer blink the eye at evil in us. When Christ appears, our judgment will be consummated. He will bring both punishments and rewards for those called of God to lead and minister to others.

Matthew 5:20 “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

The Lord is calling pastoral leaders to increased righteousness and a spirit of excellence in all that they do. They should be dedicated to the needs of their congregations. They must be preaching the Kingdom message, instead of popular folklore and the traditions of men. They should never water down the gospel to appease others. They are being carefully scrutinized, and will be held accountable for all of their sheep that go astray in search of the truth.

So too, the Babylonian spirit of controlling religion is coming down. God’s people will no longer be brow beaten or held in bondage to lies. The Holy Spirit is searching out those leaders who are pure in heart and dedicated to God’s Word. There will be no sham or pretense as we enter into the Kingdom of God on this earth. All pastoral leaders will walk in love and truth, or be ultimately disqualified. Christ Himself will be the Shepherd to His flock all around the world.

 

Topics For Discussion

1. Pastoral Abuse

2. Pastoral Neglect

3. Fleecing The Sheep

4. Discuss The Lord’s View Of The Shepherd’s Role

5. Ezekiel 34

6. Babylon Falling

7. Feeding The Flock Appropriately

 

Chapter 4 – Christ As The Good Shepherd

 

John 10:1-6 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.”

Jesus spoke in parables so that His followers would be able to understand the basic principles of the Kingdom of God. But sometimes they had difficulty even with the parables. Not everyone has “spiritual ears.” That is something we cultivate as we go into a deeper relationship with the Lord. We are then enabled to hear the Word of God through the power of the Holy Spirit, and process the information correctly.

Christ warned His disciples about false shepherds. They may have no divine calling or legitimate right to be leading the people of God. They enter into our fellowships using stealth and deceptiveness to impress their congregants. Then they use and abuse those under their care. Their lives do not line up with the Word of God, and they have no good fruits in their ministry.

Spiritual elitists would have us believe that they have superior insight and revelation than we do. Controlling religious people can mislead us with man-made doctrines that keep us in continual bondage. They pervert the Gospel of the Kingdom for their own selfish purposes, and lay heavy rules and burdens on men that are impossible to bear.

There are many voices that call out to us. They can take us in a variety of directions – mostly where we don’t want to go. Church leadership may have endless opinions about how we can change our lives. They often criticize and condemn. They threaten, manipulate and coerce. They do not use godly example or gentle persuasion to impact the lives of others.

The good news is that Jesus Christ Himself will shepherd, guide and protect us from false shepherds of all types. He will deliver us from all bondage and lead us into all truth in Him. We will hear His voice – and His alone – which gives us clear-cut revelation and direction for our lives. We can practice hearing the voice of Christ at any time and never be misled again.

Matthew 9:36 “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

The Lord wants to set us free to enjoy safe pasture. It may not be easy, but it is simple. We can hear the voice of Jesus and have a clear-cut path for our lives. Christ is our living example of righteous, victorious living. He continues to call out to us today, and we are able to hear His voice clearly, both in the written Word of God and in our spirit man.

Prayer, meditation, Bible study, praise and worship all take us into a deeper relationship with Jesus. As we grow in intimacy with Him, we are assured that we will hear His voice every time He speaks. The enemy will not harm us, as we walk in His very own hedge of protection. He is fair and just, and will never lead us into paths of harm or destruction.

Christ loves us and goes before us as the Good Shepherd. We should seek His lead and follow Him wherever He takes us. We must be careful to follow His law of love for God and for one another. Obedience to what He says promises us safety and security, joy and peace. We will share in His grace and favor in all that we do, now and in the Kingdom of God.

Enter through the door of the sheep.

John 10:7-9 “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

Jesus referred to Himself as “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” He also says that He is the door of the sheep. Through belief in Him, we are saved and made righteous before God. We have access to the throne of grace at any time. When we pray, we know that God always hears us. If we have faith, we know that He answers our prayers.

We enjoy an intimate relationship with the Creator of the universe and His Son, Jesus Christ. We are joint-heirs with Christ to all the promises of God. We are literally seated with Christ in heavenly places, far above all demonic influence. The Lord supplies all our needs, and provides us with the resources we need to live healthy, happy and prosperous lives.

When we fall for any reason, Christ Himself comes looking for us. He is the author and finisher of our faith, the Bible tells us. He leads us to righteousness in Him again. He intercedes on our behalf and restores our relationship with God. We have the opportunity to repent and get it right, not just once, but as many times as it takes to reach spiritual maturity.

Abundant Life

John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.”

The thief referred to here is the devil, the very enemy of our souls. He works through other people, and comes at our minds, wills and emotions. He attacks our bodies with lying infirmities, and often blinds us to the truth. He hinders our blessings and tries to keep us in bondage. He will do everything in His power to prevent us from knowing the truth.

Satan is real, and we should not underestimate his power to influence our lives. He is a fallen spirit that wants to wreak havoc in whatever he touches. He hates us because God loves us, and his mission is to destroy all that God values. The good news is that he is a defeated foe, and we have been given total dominion over him in our lives.

Christ made an open show of Satan and all his minions on the cross through His victory over sin, death and the grave. The Bible tells us that Jesus actually went to hell when He died, because He took all our sin on Himself at His death. The good news is that He also rose from the dead and was resurrected back to life. He is our model for righteous living, the pattern Son of God and the first-born of many sons and daughters who walk in power and authority as He does.

Jesus’ resurrection assures us that we will have life in abundance. All of our needs will be met, both spiritual and temporal. We can live by Kingdom principles in the here and now, and we can look forward to unlimited joy, peace, safety and security in the Kingdom of God as it is ushered in on the earth in the days to come.

1Peter 2:25 “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”

We have a responsibility to seek the Lord in all our ways. While we once may have had an excuse for going astray, the truth constrains us to re-think our position and follow Jesus Christ wherever He takes us. When the Lord reveals His ways to us, we are obliged to walk in the light and knowledge that we have. To do anything less is sin, and breaks our fellowship with God. Without Him in our lives we are pitiful and powerless.

There is no excuse for failing to follow Jesus Christ. He died to bring us righteousness. He judges with fairness and equity. He offers us wisdom and power to change our lives, and He assures us of total victory. He Himself will gather us in for a safe and secure future in His Kingdom. He will teach us to love God more intimately, and to walk in peace and unity with one another for all eternity.

Hebrews 13:20-21 “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Paul prayed that the followers of Christ would be worthy and acceptable in His sight. We have the Blood of Christ that has made us righteous, and the Name of Christ in which to be victorious.

The Lord Himself strengthens us with the same resurrection power that He used to raise Jesus from the dead. Through Christ, we can strive for holiness and spiritual perfection, and overcome our flesh, the world and the devil.

Walking in peace and unity with our fellow man is not an option. We are obligated to love the Lord and love others as we love ourselves. We will press on in good works towards full maturity in Christ, as the harvest of souls approaches, and He ushers in His Kingdom on the earth. We will preach the gospel to all men, heal the sick and set captives free of enemy oppression. This will bring honor and glory to the Lord as our Chief Shepherd.

Psalm 23

The 23rd Psalm talks about Jesus as the Good Shepherd who provides all our needs. He offers us rest in our weariness, strength instead of fear, and vengeance from our enemies. This Psalm is a type and shadow of what we can expect as we enter the safe pasture of the Kingdom of God on the earth. We should study it out for the insight it provides about our intimate relationship with Christ as the Good Shepherd.

Psalm 23:1 “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

Jesus Christ is our sufficiency; He will supply all our needs. We can rely on Him to intercede for us with the Father, and ensure that all our prayers are answered. We will never know want from an all-generous, loving God who provides for us in abundance according to His riches in glory.

Psalm 23:2 “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.”

Christ offers peace for our souls and spirits. In Him we have rest and refreshment, regardless of our situations and circumstances. We live in His very presence, and He leads and guides us into whatever we need to be at peace with ourselves and with others.

Psalm 23:3 “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

The Lord restores all that was taken from us. He heals our minds, wills and emotions. He leads us into His righteousness, so that we succeed in every area of our lives. He gives us power over sin and teaches us to overcome the world. He teaches us righteousness in His law of love. We do it all for Him and because of Him.

Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; they rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

We need not fear anything, not even death. The Lord walks by our side through all we experience. His rod of gentle correction is meant to guide us and keep us on the right path. His staff is meant to assure us of His authority and power. They are both a source of comfort to us as they give us boundaries and guidelines for righteous living.

Psalm 23:5 “Thou preparest a table for me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.”

The Lord raises us up even in the midst of our enemies. He will take vengeance for us; we need not avenge ourselves. He exalts us and rewards us. He meets all our temporal, spiritual and emotional needs to the overflow. We receive even more than we could ever ask or think.

Psalm 23:6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

The Lord showers us with loving kindness and mercy. He provides us with all good things. We dwell with Him in love and righteousness now, and we will live with Him forever in the Kingdom of God on the earth.

Christ provides all our needs.

3John 1:2 “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”

We cannot enjoy health, happiness and prosperity in every area of our lives until we lay down our souls and overcome our fleshly desires. We must learn to discipline and control our minds, wills and emotions, and subdue our bodies. Our spirit man should always be in the ascendancy to our soul and our body.

We have to get over ourselves by seeking the Lord, and relying on his power and strength to help us overcome in every area of our lives. When we seek Him, we will never leave the same, but become better in every way. We will strive for holiness and perfection, and reach full spiritual maturity with Christ as our role model.

The Lord wants to lavish all good things on us. As our souls prosper, He can do this and meet our needs more abundantly than we could ever ask or think. But it will cost us everything to gain everything. We should be willing to sacrifice our own personal goals and desires, in favor of the Lord’s plan and purpose for our lives. We have divine destinies that will impact the world around us now and for all eternity.

Joy And Gladness

Isaiah 51:11 “Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy [shall be] upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; [and] sorrow and mourning shall flee away.”

The Lord always turns our captivity; He never forsakes the sheep of His pasture. He has redeemed us and will alleviate all our suffering and disenchantment with His church. We can be assured that all pain and sorrow will pass, and that He blesses us with total emotional and spiritual healing, now and in the Kingdom to come.

There is no need for us to go astray and fail to hear His voice. He is always calling and reaching out to us in our need. We need only respond to His love for us. He will send us into fellowships with believers of like precious faith, that will encourage and lift us up. He will provide us with pastoral leaders that minister to our lives in a relevant way.

So too, we will enjoy life in abundance in the Kingdom of God when it comes to the earth. All pain and disillusionment will leave us, and be replaced with hope and confidence for the future. The Lord will meet all our needs, emotional, spiritual and relational as we serve Him in joy and gladness. We will walk in love and unity with all believers and enjoy their fellowship in His presence forever.

 

Topics For Discussion

1. Christ As The Good Shepherd

2. The Door Of The Sheep

3. Abundant Life

4. The 23rd Psalm

5. Christ Provides All Our Needs

6. Joy And Gladness For Pain And Sorrow 

 

Chapter 5 – Gather Us In

 

Matthew 24:31 “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

The Lord is calling for His sheep; they are being gathered from all over the face of the earth. Some will come willingly and eagerly; others may need to be persuaded. Those who have been scattered by false shepherds, and those who have gone astray for reasons of their own, are all being called in. There will be no partiality shown to either the believer or the pastoral leader. We will all be assembled and judged by our own individual merits.

The Lord is not biased in His love for us; He is no respecter of persons. What He does for one of us, He will do for all. The Lord will undo all our afflictions and release us from every form of bondage. Our pain and sorrow will be a thing of the past, as He purges us of all unrighteousness and prepares us to enter into His presence for all eternity.

Zephaniah 3:19-20 “Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time will I bring you [again], even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD.”

The Lord is preparing to gather us in to His everlasting Kingdom of God on the earth. Both His original chosen people and those who believed in Christ’s first advent will be ushered in. Many new believers will be added to our ranks as the end-time harvest of souls is brought in. We will all be valued members of His future church.

The gospel will be preached to all of the world, including the nation of Israel – her people will also be converted, baptized and brought into the Kingdom. All churches and denominations will be represented. Men, women and children of every tongue and race will be citizens of Christ’s Kingdom, and enjoy its blessings forever.

We are the Lord’s sheep, His beloved flock that desires safe pasture. He will heal our wounds and make our paths straight. He will turn our captivity, avenge all wrongs done to us and gather us in to safety and security in His presence. For our former shame and sorrow, we will experience joy and gladness, glory and honor for all eternity. This will be our greatest hour and our highest privilege.

Covenant People

Psalm 50:5 “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”

The church will be a light in a darkened world as the days progress. We have been prepared and sanctified, purged of all unrighteousness. We will be spiritually mature, perfected in holiness and walking in love and unity. We were created and called out for a divine destiny in the days ahead. The great harvest of the end of the ages is here, and the Lord has work for us to do in bringing in new believers.

It is critical that we are quick to hear and obey the Lord’s voice as He gathers us in. We are in covenant with Him as a special chosen people. The terms of that covenant require that we follow His lead closely, be obedient to His direction, and serve His eternal plan and purpose. We will be held to high standards of accountability and be judged according to our willingness and cooperation.

We are to overcome the flesh, the world and the devil for all time. We will do as Jesus Christ did on the earth – preach the gospel message, heal the sick, release the captives and even raise the dead. While we may feel unworthy to walk as He did, He will empower us with a divine anointing of power and authority so that we can accomplish everything that He calls us to do.

The Bride And The Body

Christ’s Bride, the church, will be comprised of the faithful overcomers from all nations and religious backgrounds. She will be multi-colored and multi-faceted in her glory. Sanctified, justified and glorified, she will be fully prepared to greet Christ at His coming. She will take her place next to Him, to rule and reign for all eternity.

Individual members of the church with diverse callings and gifts are being called and assembled to do the most critical of the Lord’s work in the days ahead. They will sanctify themselves and consecrate and dedicate all their efforts to serving the Lord in ushering in His Kingdom. These are members of the Body of Christ, and they take direction from Jesus Himself.

The Body of Christ will advance under the leadership and guidance of Christ Himself. They will overthrow the demonic hierarchy and shake up world governments to line up with Kingdom principles. They will take back full dominion over the earth in all areas, and see to it that fairness and equality, peace and prosperity prevail. They will put all of Christ’s enemies, to include death, under His feet before His second advent.

The End-Time Harvest

Romans 11:25-29 “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

As concerning the gospel, [they are] enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, [they are] beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.”

We are the grafted in portion of the Lord’s olive tree, His new chosen people. There is a full number of Gentiles that must be gathered in before the Jewish people are converted by hearing the Gospel of the Kingdom. These are they whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. They were called and elect from the very foundation of the world. (See Revelation 17 and 20)

The gifts and callings of God are for all time; He will not abandon any that He has called. It is not His will that any man should persih or be excluded from Kingdom blessings. The Gospel is going to be preached throughout the world. All that the Lord has predestined to come into His Kingdom have an equal opportunity to do so. The choice is theirs; they must repent and be baptized, walk in love with others and do the will of the Father in all things.

Matthew 13:30 “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”

The Lord has permitted the children of the world and demonic agents of the enemy to co-exist with us for a very important reason. They have tried and tested our faith. They have given us examples of how we ought not to live. We have sanctified and purged ourselves of all their defilement, and we are now fortified to do all that the Lord requires of us.

Many will be excluded from entering Christ’s Kingdom because of their stubborn refusal to hear the truth and repent of their sins. Their iniquity will be judged and they will endure punishment for all of eternity. They will be on the outside looking in, but for all their wistfulness, they will not be able to enter the Kingdom of God.

Through Christ, we have overcome the flesh, the world and the devil, and we share in His righteousness and victory. We have been refined and strengthened; our maturity should be complete. The harvest is here and we are being gathered in for eternal joy and our promised rewards, while the enemy is being prepared for eternal punishment. The Kingdom of God will be righteousness, peace and joy for all who enter in.

Jesus Christ As Righteous Judge

John 5:22 “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:”

God is just and justice requires accountability for sin. He has entrusted all judgment to His Son Jesus Christ. His victory over sin, death and the grave eminently qualifies Him to judge fairly and equitably all who would enter the Kingdom of God. He is responsible to see that nothing evil will be present in the Kingdom for all eternity.

We will be held to strict standards of righteousness if we would enter the Kingdom of God. Holiness should be our goal; there will be no compromise. Love and unity are no longer optional; humble servitude ought to be our intent. We are to reflect the very light of Christ to the world. We are to walk in love and service to others as He walked while on the earth.

Malachi 3:5 “And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in [his] wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger [from his right], and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.”

Believers and non-believers share the same fair and equitable standards for judgment in the Kingdom of God. Certain sins are an abomination to God, and we will be judged more stringently for these. Anything that violates the Lord’s law of love will disqualify us from entering the Kingdom altogether. Only those who do the express will of the Father will enter in.

Anything occult, sexual sins, lying, greed and oppression of all types will exclude us from dwelling in the Kingdom of God. Nothing defiling will enter in to contaminate God’s people. We have to purge ourselves of all fleshly desires and forego our soul’s ambitions. The Lord is holy, and He expects us to strive for spiritual maturity, holiness and perfection, as well.

We should have a genuine reverential fear of Him, if we would enter into His presence for all eternity. It is a terrible thing to be judged by an awesome and mighty God, and found guilty of transgression. His punishment will be permanent and endure for all eternity. There is a hell to shun and a paradise to be gained.

Judgment Of The Household of God

Hebrews 12:26-29 “Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this [word], Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God [is] a consuming fire.”

Christ’s judgment is beginning with the household of God. He is scrutinizing His church and shaking things up for the last time to rid us of all defilement, so that what cannot be shaken remains intact. He is purging and sanctifying us, and calling us to come up higher in Him. He expects an even greater degree of love and unity in us than we have demonstrated in the past. What will result is a glorified church that will be praised and admired all over the earth.

We will serve as living testimonies to the saving power of God to all mankind. Our numbers will greatly increase as we spread the good news of the Kingdom and invite everyone in. We will preach the gospel to all men, including the nation of Israel. We will baptize new believers in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and usher them into Christ’s Kingdom to enjoy blessings and rewards for all eternity.

We can expect corporate and individual rewards based on our obedience and our works in the days ahead. We are called to walk in love and unity and serve the Lord and one another. If we are dedicated to His plan and purpose, Jesus Christ will boast of us to all creation and we will rule and reign with Him for all eternity. We will enjoy heaven’s blessings right here on the earth, as the Lord comes to dwell with us in the Kingdom of God.

Judgment Of The Nations

Matthew 25:32 “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth [his] sheep from the goats:”

There is a strict judgment coming on all men, not just believers. Christ will judge the nations of the world, and the Father will set Him up to rule and reign over them with an iron rod. All earthly governments will be reorganized and absorbed into Christ’s Kingdom. They will employ fair and just Kingdom principles in dealing with their people. There will be no more war or genocide, no oppression or unrest of any type; all men will have peace, safety and security for all eternity.

Christ will eradicate all exploitation of the poor, and restore the underdeveloped countries that have been under a curse. We will all enjoy prosperity in His Kingdom. The Lord will anticipate all our needs, and supply them in such overwhelming abundance, that all mankind may freely share in the riches of His glory.

There will be no more religious persecution or doctrines of men that defile and separate us. All men will worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth. The Lord will take up residence on the earth, and we will all dwell in love and unity, peace and righteousness in the Kingdom of God forever. We will join in giving Him all the praise and glory that He deserves for generation after generation.

Judgment Of Evil

2Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.”

God’s judgment is coming right here to the earth. We were made righteous through our belief in Jesus Christ, but we will also be judged on the merits of what we did with what we were given. Our salvation is assured if we believe in Christ and the power of the cross, but the Lord determines our eternal rewards or punishments based on our works in the flesh.

His judgment is fair and equitable; He will judge all men and angels without partiality. Nothing evil will enter in to the Kingdom of God. All iniquity will burn in the lake of fire for all eternity. He will take vengeance on all our enemies. Only the righteous will dwell forever with the Lord, and enjoy all of His blessings.

Matthew 13:41 “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;”

The Lord’s judgment will be fair and permanent; His Kingdom will be one of total perfection on the earth. Christ is sending His angels to root out all rebellion and travesty off the face of the earth prior to His return. They will assist the Body of Christ and help pave the way for ushering in the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The Body of Christ is even now overpowering all demonic strongholds. There will be no satanic interference with setting up the Kingdom. Nothing that pollutes or defiles will be tolerated. Christ Himself is returning to destroy the ungodly and all their ungodliness in the wrath of His coming. All iniquity will be eradicated from the face of the earth, and burn in the lake of fire.

Kingdom Eligibility

Matthew 7:21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

We are being called to rise up higher in our relationship with Lord and with one another. We have to strive for greater sanctification by laying down our fleshly desires and our personal ambitions in favor of the Lord’s plan and purpose for our lives. Without holiness, we will not see God. We have to be humble servants of the Lord, ministering to one another in love, fairness and peace.

The Lord is not impressed by pretended piety; He abhors religion and hypocrisy. He sees the inner man of the heart. He is not interested in good intentions or sanctimonious shows. He is interested in faith backed up by our actions. The Lord will tear down all religious strongholds that have kept people in bondage for thousands of years.

He will smite all the ungodly and hypocritical individuals who have defiled and oppressed others. He seeks a people that will worship Him in Spirit and in truth, who remember His commandments and walk according to His ways. Jesus Christ will judge each of us fairly and equitably according to our works in the flesh, whether they are righteous or evil.

Jesus Christ has a higher standard of accountability for His church, because we are responsible to walk in the light as He is in the light. He expects His church to function as a unified whole, as an example to all mankind. Christ is coming back for an unspotted Bride; we should be walking in total righteousness, love, peace and unity as we usher in the Kingdom of God on the earth.

John 16:8 “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”

When Christ returns, He will reform and restore all things. His Kingdom guidelines are just and fair, and they will be strictly adhered to by anyone that would enter in. He will judge both great and small with unbiased standards. And He will rule and reign in full power and authority for all eternity, to ensure that the Kingdom plans, principles and procedures are not compromised.

All earthly and demonic kingdoms will be swallowed up, as the Kingdom of God takes pre-eminence in all things. All artificial barriers that have separated God’s people from one another will be destroyed, and love and unity will prevail. We will all enjoy life forever in perfect fellowship with one another, with our needs met by the Lord Himself.

Gathered Into One Kingdom

Ephesians 1:10 “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him:”

This is the time of the great ingathering of souls. The Lord is calling out to all of His beloved sheep. The gospel is being preached all around the world. Everyone whose name is written in the Book of Life will be called in. Heaven is coming to the earth and the good news of the Kingdom of God has become a reality.

We will experience righteousness, peace and joy for all eternity, as Jesus Christ ushers in His Kingdom and unites all things in Himself and presents us to His Father. He will boast of His Bride to all creation and shower us with His very own honor and glory. We will know heaven’s blessings right here on the earth as the Kingdom of God manifests in all of its splendor.

Psalm 79:13 “So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.”

The Kingdom of God promises peace, joy and prosperity for all who enter in. We know that there will be strict qualification standards for those who do participate in it. Only the loving and obedient will be eligible for life in the Kingdom. This is necessary to protect God’s people, so that they will enjoy peace, safety and security.

So too, the Lord will take up residence in the Kingdom; nothing that defiles can co-exist with our holy God. All evil will be forever expelled from God’s presence. The earth and everything in it will be restored and recreated to be a virtual paradise. We will put on glorious resurrection bodies that are sel-sustaining. There will be no disease, death or destruction for all of eternity.

We will raise families and dwell in our own homes in love and joy. We will teach our children, and our children’s children, to praise God and give Him thanks for His great glory. We will experience His personal presence in our lives and fellowship with Him intimately. We will be His people, the sheep of His pasture, forever and ever.

 

Topics For Discussion

1. Gather Us In

2. Covenant People

3. The Great Harvest

4. Judgment Of The Household Of God

5. Judgment Of The Nations

6. Kingdom Eligibility

7. Gathered Into One Kingdom

 

Chapter 6 – Safe Pasture

 

Ezekiel 34:11-14 “For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, [even] I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep [that are] scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and [in] a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.“

The Lord is gathering us in from all over the face of the planet. He Himself seeks out the lost and forsaken and calls them in for safe pasture in His Kingdom. All who hear His voice will respond with joy and gladness. He binds up all our wounds and heals all our brokenness. His desire is to provide us with life in abundance, and give us perpetual blessings with no curse added. He will feed us with good pasture; nothing will hurt, threaten or defile us ever again.

We are God’s people, the very own sheep of His flock. He has known us from the foundation of the world, and is calling us into His Kingdom for safe and peaceable pasture. It will most likely be located in the mountains of Israel near the city of Jerusalem, as He has purposed from the beginning of time. Men from every nation of the world will migrate there on feast days to glorify God and His people.

Psalm 119:117 “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.”

We will dwell together in the Kingdom of God in peace and unity, love and joy. We will have all our needs met – temporal, emotional, spiritual and relational. The Lord will set up a righteous and good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, to rule and reign over us. He will protect and defend us from all evil. He will see to it that Kingdom principles for government are strictly followed, and ensure us safety and security for all eternity.

The Lord Himself will take up residence on the earth and dwell with us in all His power and glory in the Kingdom of God. We will be His people and He will be our God. He will hold us up and protect us in all our ways. We will live long and strong in love and peace with our God and all men, and continually obey His commandments.

The Sheep Of His Pasture

Psalm 95:7 “For he [is] our God; and we [are] the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand…”

The Lord is our Shepherd; He created us and protects us from all harm. We are the very sheep of His pasture; we follow Him wherever He takes us. It is His express will and heart-felt desire to direct our paths so that we never lack guidance and direction or go astray ever again.

Life in the Kingdom of God will be peaceful and orderly, full of joy and love. The Lord will take up residence with us, close up and personal, as He intended from the very creation. We will commune with Him on a regular, intimate basis and give Him all the praise and glory that He so rightly deserves. He will provide us with all of our needs and protect us from all harm forever.

Psalm 100:3 “Know ye that the LORD he [is] God: [it is] he [that] hath made us, and not we ourselves; [we are] his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”

Everything that we are and everything that have is due to the loving generosity of our Creator. He knew us from the foundation of the world. He created us in His own image and likeness for the purpose of fellowshipping with Him. We are members of His very own family; He guides and protects us and provides all of our needs. He alone is our source and worthy of all praise.

We are the very sheep of His pasture, and the Lord desires that we rely on Him for everything in our lives. He is generous and loving and will never abandon us. He has our best interest at heart and gently persuades us to follow Him wherever He goes. He leads us by the power of the Holy Spirit and continually calls us back to Him whenever we go astray. We are the beloved sheep of His flock and He will gather us in for safe pasture for all eternity.

One Shepherd

Ezekiel 34:23-24 “And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, [even] my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken [it].”

The Lord wants to minister to all of our needs – both temporal and spiritual. He is restoring us to our rightful position on the earth; we will assume our roles in His plan of redemption for all mankind. We will help gather in more believers so that His fold ever increases until it covers the entire earth. He will give us our inheritance and eternal rewards, based on our obedience and performance in accord with His wishes.

We have been promised that we would always have a king from the Davidic line to lead and guide us. Christ Himself is that King, and He will rule and reign over us in righteousness forever. There will be no domination or oppression in the Kingdom of God. Christ will govern us in all fairness; He will protect us from all evil and avenge all wrongs that were done to us. He will serve as a good and righteous King and a loving Shepherd to His flock.

Isaiah 40:11 “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry [them] in his bosom, [and] shall gently lead those that are with young.”

The Lord is intimately concerned for our welfare. He has seen all our pain and suffering. There will be no harsh leadership in the Kingdom of God. Unlike the false shepherds that may have lorded over us in the past, the Lord is just and kind. He reproves with gentleness and persuades us for our own good. Jesus Christ will lead, guide and direct us into all love and peace in Him.

He will gather the young and the helpless. He will bind up the wounded and minister health and healing to them. He will protect all who are left in His care and avenge all wrong done to them. He will feed our faith and guide us in all spiritual matters. He will assure us of safe pasture in the Kingdom of God for all eternity, so that we may enjoy life in abundance.

John 10:9 “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

All that is necessary for us to enter the safe pasture of the Kingdom of God is a sincere faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We must be converted in our hearts and spirits and baptized in His Name. We then become eligible to enter His Kingdom. As long as we obey His law of love and do the will of God, we will be able to dwell with Him in heaven on the earth.

Christ is the door for His sheep to enter into safe pasture. He has saved us from our sins and restored our righteousness with God. His sacrifice brought us life in abundance and He personally sees that all of our needs are met. He will take vengeance on our enemies and destroy all evil at His coming.

Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit so that he can never oppress or attack us ever again. All that has ever defiled us – sin, disease, death, and destruction – will be abolished. We will be sinless and pure, loving and kind, gentle yet strong. Christ’s flock will experience safety and security, health and longevity, peace and joy for all eternity in the Kingdom of God.

Safe Pasture

Job 5:11 To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety.

No one will cause us harm of any kind in the presence of our all-powerful God. There will be no affliction or oppression any longer. There will be none who exploit or mislead us in any way. We will not experience physical, emotional or spiritual woundedness of any type. The Lord will bind up our wounds and elevate us to a place of safety and comfort in Him.

Christ will take vengeance on all our enemies, root them out and banish them from His Kingdom for all time. Many who are in a position of influence and power over God’s people now, will ultimately be on the outside looking in, because they failed to discharge their duties to the sheep appropriately. Those who have suffered abuse and neglect will be set on high and elevated to positions of honor and glory, while those who injured them will be debased.

Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the LORD [is] a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”

We have cried out to God in desperation for years, and He has heard our prayers. His perfect love casts out all fear in our lives. We have hope and confidence in Him. We can rest assured that He has a plan for our present welfare and our future well-being. He will protect and defend us against all harm in the safety and security that the Kingdom of God provides.

We will have no one that criticizes and condemns us, or causes us pain and suffering. Jesus Christ Himself will be our Shepherd and our Benefactor. All evil will be forever banished from our presence. We will experience peace and order, health and wholeness as the Lord Himself ministers to us for all eternity.

Leviticus 25:18-19 “Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety. And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety.”

If we walk in righteousness and love for God and for others we will enjoy eternal life in His Kingdom. If we live by godly principles and obey all that the Lord tells us, we will have everlasting joy and peace. There are awesome benefits stored up for us in God’s Kingdom, and He is willing and ready to share all of them with us.

The Garden of Eden is returning to the earth, but in a new and improved version, and we will enjoy it for all eternity. The entire planet will be restored to its original beauty and balance. Mankind will enjoy paradise on the earth once more, and have total dominion over all of nature. The climate will be perfect and controlled. All plants and animals will live in harmony with men.

The land will yield all that we require for good and healthy food, and we will partake of its bounty in awe and gratitude. We will build homes and long enjoy the works of our hands. We will raise families and enjoy their companionship forever. We will teach God’s ways to our children and our children’s children. They will all learn to love and praise the Lord for all generations.

There will be no death or destruction in Christ’s Kingdom. We will be given incorruptible, resurrection bodies that are impervious to death and disease. We will enjoy safety and security, without fear of oppression or molestation of any kind. We will dwell in the very presence of the Lord Himself, protected from all harm forever.

1Chronicles 4:40 “And they found fat pasture and good, and the land [was] wide, and quiet, and peaceable; …”

The Kingdom of God will be a real place on the earth where God’s people will have all their needs met in abundance. It will be self-sustaining, quiet and peaceable, perpetually safe and secure. No evil will touch our lives. No one will ever criticize and condemn, oppress or exploit us again. There will be no pain or suffering of any kind in the presence of our loving God, who anticipates our every need.

All Kingdom residents will enjoy true blessings and eternal prosperity. We will raise families for generations and commune with our neighbors in love, peace and joy. There will be no border disputes of any kind; the Kingdom will provide more than enough space for all to dwell in comfort. We will long enjoy the works of our hands and partake freely of all the beauty and bounty that the earth has to offer.

Thine Is The Kingdom, And The Power And the Glory Forever

Instead of hoping for evacuation from the earth and all its defilement in the days ahead, we should be eagerly awaiting the Kingdom of God to manifest. That will solve all of our problems for all eternity. We know it is imminent as the Lord promised us. We ought to be preparing ourselves through sanctification in the truth. It can and will come to the earth realm soon.

We are a chosen generation, the Bible tells us – a people after God’s very own heart. We will assist Him in fulfilling His eternal redemption plan for all mankind. In return for our loyalty and devotion, He will elevate us to positions of honor and glory with Jesus Christ in the coming of His Kingdom to the earth.

Luke 11:2 “And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.”

Christ Himself taught us to pray for the coming of the Kingdom, and eagerly expect it. The Lord’s Prayer is not just a memory verse that we should recite without feeling. It is our spiritual ticket into the Kingdom of God. We should pray it passionately, thank the Lord, and expect the Kingdom to manifest in all its power and glory. We should actually visualize it in our mind’s eye.

We must speak and decree that heaven is coming to the earth realm. We should earnestly contend with the Lord to keep His promise of the Kingdom to us. We ought to petition Him to bring it quickly, so that we might enjoy its benefits now when they are needed the most. We must always remember that it is His desire to love and protect us. It is His express will to gather us in, and give us safe pasture in His presence for all eternity.

 

Topics For Discussion

1. Pasture In God’s Kingdom

2. We Are The Sheep

3. One Shepherd

4. Safe Pasture

5. What Is Our Part?

6. Prayer For Birthing The Kingdom

 

Chapter 7 – Kingdom Living

Mark 10:15 “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.”

Children are innocent and trusting; they embrace every good thing. So it will be with us as we enter into the Kingdom of God. We have to cleanse ourselves of all defilement and be sanctified in the truth. Our faith has to be pure and child-like; we must believe that the Kingdom is real and that we have a right to enter in to it. We must learn to walk in peace and love with all men, and strive for holiness so that we can dwell with our God.

We should pray the Lord’s Prayer fervently in the days to come, and expectantly wait for the Kingdom of God to manifest on the earth. The miraculous will become the norm as people everywhere are healed of their infirmities. Captives of the enemy will be set free, and the dead will even be raised as Christ Himself was resurrected!

The end-time harvest is here and there are many souls to be reaped. Millions will flock to hear the good news of the Kingdom. They have been in darkness and despair, and the Kingdom of God promises them life and hope for the future. As we preach and teach in every nation of the world, all of mankind will have an opportunity to be saved and baptized into the faith. We will all dwell in the very presence of almighty God for all eternity.

Luke 17:21 “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

The gap has been bridged; heaven is touching down on the earth. In fact the Kingdom of God is already here in us, and will also come on us in a more significant way in the days to come. It will also manifest through us in miraculous signs and wonders as a witness to God’s power and glory, as we share the good news of its coming with others.

We know the truth and it will make us free. As a spiritual kingdom, the Kingdom of God resides in our spirit man now in all its potential. We should already be living by Kingdom principles. When Christ and His Body usher in the temporal Kingdom of God in the earth, it will come on us and overtake us. As we embrace its principles and implement them in our lives, it will work through us to influence those around us.

Entering Into The Kingdom

John 3:5-6 “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

The Kingdom of God referred to here is a spiritual Kingdom that is resident within every believer. When we are baptized into repentance and accept Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives, our salvation becomes secure. We have right standing with God restored to us through faith in Christ’s atonement on the cross, and we become joint-heirs with Him to all the Kingdom promises.

When we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, our human spirits are renewed and they take ascendancy over our souls and flesh. We actually become re-created spirit beings and are qualified for Kingdom membership. As long as we walk in total obedience to the Lord’s law of love, we remain eligible to dwell in the temporal Kingdom with all its blessings forever.

1Corinthians 15:50 “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”

The Kingdom of God is built on spiritual principles. We cannot enter into it in the flesh. The flesh and all its lusts must be overcome. Just as our spirits have been renewed, so must our bodies be transformed before we can actually enter in to the Kingdom of God.

Our mortal bodies will be changed in their very essence at the second coming of Jesus Christ, as the last enemy – death itself – is put under His feet. We can only speculate as to how this will occur. Perhaps there will be an atomic reaction of sorts; the Bible tells us that we will all be changed in the twinkling of an eye, what we can interpret as being a nanosecond. Perhaps the very molecular structure of our anatomical bodies will be altered, as the awesome power and glory of the Lord are ushered into the earth realm.

Whatever the case, the Bible says that we will be re-created and restored together with all of creation. We will trade our corruptible flesh that was susceptible to disease and death, for glorious, incorruptible, resurrection bodies that will live forever in the presence of the Lord.

What is the Kingdom of God?

Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

The Kingdom of God is a spiritual Kingdom and it will be a temporal Kingdom as well. It will actually overtake us and come on us, as we will dwell in it with all its benefits and privileges. It will swallow up all earthly and demonic kingdoms and be an actual way of life on the earth where heavenly principles and practices are in force.

There will be no sin or unrighteousness of any type in the Kingdom of God. Nothing defiling will ever enter in. All evil will be excluded and banished to the abyss. It will be governed by Jesus Christ, His Body and His Bride; they will rule and reign with fairness and equality for all men.

There will be no strife or division in God’s Kingdom; all men will dwell there in peace and unity. There will be no pain or sorrow; we will experience joy and gladness. There will be no oppression or exploitation; everyone will have safety and security. The Lord Himself will meet all our needs and dwell with us for all eternity.

Luke 13:29 “And they shall come from the east, and [from] the west, and from the north, and [from] the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.”

Heaven is coming to the earth realm. The Kingdom of God will be an actual place to which men will migrate – a physical location where they will reside. It will be a new and improved version of the Garden of Eden right here on the earth. It will be a virtual paradise for all who dwell there, and be peaceful and orderly.

The Bible says that Jesus will touch His feet down on the Mt. of Olives on His return. This is near the city of Jerusalem, in what is now known as the nation of Israel. It will be out of this area that Christ probably rules and reigns over all the nations of the world. All men will come to pay homage to the Lord and celebrate His appointed feast days in Jerusalem. (See Zechariah 14)

Regardless of the exact geographic location of the Kingdom, there will be safety and security, peace and prosperity, joy and love for all who dwell there. We will sit down in the very presence of God, and fellowship with Him as He intended for us to do from the foundation of the world.

Luke 14:15 “And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed [is] he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.”

All of our spiritual, relational and temporal needs will be satisfied in the Kingdom of God when it comes to the earth. We will actually enjoy the fruits of our labor; we will no longer have to struggle to find our daily provisions. There will be no poverty or lack in the presence of our loving God, who supplies all our needs richly and abundantly.

There are enormous promises laid up for Kingdom residents. They will enjoy health, longevity, prosperity, peace and joy for all eternity. Disease and death will be abolished. All will enjoy the work of their hands and be richly rewarded. Strife and division will not enter in to our fellowships.

All pain and sorrow will be a thing of the past, and blotted from our memories.

Who will reside there?

1Thessalonians 2:12 “That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.”

Paul prayed that we would be found worthy to enter into the Kingdom of God. We must first be born again and baptized. We must forsake all known sin and unrighteousness. We must believe that the Kingdom exists and seek it with all our hearts. We must continuously walk in love and peace with one another. We must do the will of the Father as Jesus taught us.

We should walk in the Spirit instead of our flesh. We should seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit so that He indwells us, and the fruit of the Spirit manifest in our lives. We should seek peace, love, joy, goodness and gentleness in our relationships with one another. We should develop our faith and walk in the hope of our divine calling.

The Kingdom will have residents from every tongue and nation; every religious sect and denomination will be represented. There will be men, women and children who live there. But the most important resident of all will be the Lord Himself, as He comes to receive the Kingdom from His Son, Jesus Christ, and dwell with His people for all eternity.

1Corinthians 6:9 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

The Lord has set high standards for inheritance of the Kingdom of God. It is for the faithful and the righteous only. All sin and iniquity will be judged at Christ’s coming. Nothing defiling will ever enter in. Everything evil will be destroyed off the face of the earth. We will enjoy safety and security, peace and prosperity, righteousness and joy for all eternity.

It’s important that we all examine ourselves, repent of all known sin and turn again towards righteousness. We should ask the Lord to purge and refine us, strip us of our earthly lusts and soul desires, so that we might be found worthy to enter into His presence. He is a holy God, and insists that we be holy and walk in love and unity with Him and with one another.

The Kingdom Comes In Power

1Corinthians 4:20 “For the kingdom of God [is] not in word, but in power.”

The Kingdom of God will be free of all defilement of soul, flesh and spirit. Nothing corrupt will enter in to it. Those who embrace Kingdom principles will walk in resurrection power and divine authority over disease and death and all demonic interference. Nothing evil will be present in their lives. They will have overcome all adversity that they experienced in the world.

The Kingdom of God will be ushered in to the earth realm by the Body of Christ with all divine power and glory. They will put all enemies under Christ’s feet, to include death. Then Christ Himself will return to destroy all evil and banish it to the bottomless pit. Christ and His Body and Bride will rule and reign over His Kingdom forever.

Act 14:22 “Confirming the souls of the disciples, [and] exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

The enemy does not want to see heaven touch the earth in the Kingdom of God. He took control of the earth with Adam’s transgression, and he has enjoyed wreaking havoc on God’s creation ever since. However, Christ stripped him of his power at the cross and restored authority on the earth back to man.

This makes the devil furious. He knows that his time is short, and he will do everything possible to persuade us that the Kingdom of God does not exist, and that we will not qualify to enter in. Both are lies from the father of lies, and we must be strong in our faith to overcome these.

So too, he will engage in all out warfare with Jesus and the Body of Christ to prevent the coming of the Kingdom, and the transfer of all power and dominion back to mankind. He will defend his strongholds of disease and death, power and greed, war and unrest wherever possible. The Lord is dispatching armies of angelic hosts that are currently battling him in the second heaven.

We will have to resist him in all his efforts to hinder and deceive us, and engage in some serious spiritual warfare to destroy the demonic kingdom off the face of the earth. But light always overcomes darkness; good will overcome evil as we usher the Kingdom of God in to the earth realm. Satan and all his minions will be bound in the bottomless pit at Christ’s coming, and he will no longer harass God’s people.

Matthew 11:12 “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”

The Body of Christ is even now working together with Jesus to forcibly set up the Kingdom of God on the earth. Demonic strongholds are being torn down and replaced with Kingdom principles and infrastructure. Men are learning God’s way of doing things and being right even before they actually enter into the Kingdom itself.

The uncompromised gospel is being preached throughout the entire world, and the end-time harvest of souls is being brought in. Everyone whose name is written in the Book of Life will be saved. Millions are being baptized with water and the Holy Spirit, and they are assuming their individual roles and divine destinies in the Lord’s eternal redemption plan for mankind.

Multitudes of people are experiencing supernatural healings. There are creative restorative miracles that are taking place. All captives of the enemy are being set free as God’s people war against the devil. There are miraculous signs and wonders of all kinds that accompany the outpouring of the glory of God all over the face of the earth.

Kingdom principles are now being used for judgment of all unrighteousness and in the reformation of world government. All creation is being restored to its original state of beauty and balance. The last thing that remains is for death to be put under His feet, and for Christ to actually return for the redemption of our bodies.

Revelation 12:10 “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”

Satan is being dethroned and exiled all at one time, as the Kingdom of God is ushered in on the earth. He will no longer have power and authority to accuse men of sin, nor will he be able to tempt them or bring pain and hardship to their lives. He will not bring any more strife or division in to contaminate our fellowship with one another. All men will walk in love, peace and unity.

While the devil had power and authority on the earth for a season, Christ defeated Him for all time, and rules and reigns forever in the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God will come in with such strength and power that it will consume and overthrow all earthly kingdoms and demonic strongholds. It will be an actual takeover of the entire planet!

Keys To The Kingdom

Matthew 16:19 “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

The Kingdom of God will be ushered in totally and completely, as we learn its basic principles and how it operates. The Lord has conferred power and authority on us to help bring it into existence on the earth. Jesus Christ gave us the keys to His Kingdom – they are voice-activated.

Our words have the same creative power that the Lord had when He created the universe with His words. We are created in His very image and likeness, the Bible tells us, so that our words are potential dynamos of power, as well.

Whatever we would see manifested on the earth, we should call forth and decree. If we bind all evil and strip the enemy of his power, we must also loose blessings. Christ gave us His power of attorney; we have the power to do this with our own words, used in His Name.

For example, we should bind spirits of discord, poverty and infirmity and loose spirits of peace, prosperity and good health. We must bind every effort of the enemy to blind and hinder us, and loose accurate discernment, wisdom and revelation in our lives. All heaven stands behind our words as we speak the Word of God over our lives.

We ought to be extremely careful not to cancel our positive decrees with subsequent words of fear, doubt and unbelief. We should decree the solution, and not the problem. Any negativity we release with our words will destroy the Kingdom of God’s efforts to build us up and restore us. Negativity will prolong our pain and prevent the Kingdom from coming sooner.

What will the Kingdom be like?

Isaiah 64:4 “For since the beginning of the world, men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.”

We cannot even begin to imagine how wonderful our lives will be when heaven comes to the earth. Life will never be the same for us. The Lord will take up residence with His people, and be a living presence in our midst in the Kingdom of God. His power and glory will overcome all evil with good.

Our God will fellowship with us intimately for all eternity, and anticipate our every need even before we ask Him. He will be loving and generous, merciful and kind, and we will thrive and rejoice in His presence as never before. Christ will be our King and our Shepherd; He will protect us from all evil and make certain that Kingdom integrity is preserved.

The Bible says that the Lord will make all things new in the Kingdom. We will not even remember our former pain and sorrow, shame and oppression. We will, instead, celebrate life and walk in joy and prosperity. We long enjoy the works of our hands; we will raise families in love and peace; all generations will praise the Lord for His kindness and generosity towards us.

Revelation 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

The Lord will heal all our wounds; wipe away all our tears and minister to our hearts and spirits for all eternity. We will not suffer from pain, suffering or brokenness of any type. He will blot all that from our memories. We will be made strong and whole again. All disease and death will be abolished; we will have new resurrection bodies that live forever.

We will be in total awe as the earth is re-created and restored to all its original beauty and balance. Heaven will actually come to the earth realm with all of its glory. There will be no climatic disturbances or natural catastrophes in the Kingdom of God. The animal and plant kingdoms will be in harmony and under man’s dominion once again.

Life in the Kingdom will be as it was in the Garden of Eden, only bigger and better – new and improved. All evil will be banished forever. Nothing will hurt or destroy the peace and joy that reign there. All people will live in love and unity in paradise on the earth, and dwell forever in the presence of their holy God.

Isaiah 60:18-21 “Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also [shall be] all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.”

The awesome power and glory of God that was present at creation and when Christ was raised from the dead, will be manifested in the Kingdom of God on the earth. Nothing defiling will co-exist in the presence of a holy God. All evil will be abolished from the face of the earth. The Lord will be our source of light and life. We will not even require the sun and moon to light our way.

There will be no more war, conflict or violence. Sin will be eradicated. The people will no longer mourn. We will inherit the earth as the Lord intended from the beginning as His legacy to mankind. We will enjoy safety and security for all eternity. All our needs will be met in abundance, as we fellowship with God and with one another in peace and joy.

The prophet Isaiah had a clear cut vision of the Kingdom of God centuries before Christ appeared with His good news of it. If we examine Isaiah 65, we will get an idea of what we can expect to see in the days ahead.

Isaiah 65:17-25

Isaiah 65:17 “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”

The earth itself will be re-created to its original state, yet even better than we can imagine. Death will be wiped away and decay will become a thing of the past. All creation will be restored to beauty and balance. The heavens will be restored to their original condition before Satan’s fall and the disturbance of the entire universe. We will not even remember things as they formerly were on the earth in its darkness and destruction.

Isaiah 65:18 “But be ye glad and rejoice for ever [in that] which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.”

The Lord calls His people Jerusalem, representative of His former chosen people. He causes us to rejoice in the Kingdom of God as it is ushered in on the earth. He will be our God and we will be His people. We will be a joy to Him as He originally created us to be. We will fellowship with Him in close intimate relationship, as His very family.

Isaiah 65:19 “And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.”

We will rejoice and the Lord will rejoice in us, as He takes His place on the earth as our Father and our God. There will be no more weeping, because all traces of pain, sorrow and sadness will be wiped away and replaced with joy and gladness, peace and prosperity.

Isaiah 65:20 “There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner [being] an hundred years old shall be accursed.”

The childbearing experience will be greatly enhanced in the Kingdom of God, where there is no pain and suffering of any kind. We will be blessed, and our families will be blessed. Children will not be born to suffer and die. Longevity will be the rule, not the exception.

Premature death will be a thing of the past, as death will be put under the Lord’s feet as the last enemy that exists on the earth. All evil will be eradicated from the face of the earth. No sin will be tolerated in the Kingdom, in the presence of a holy God.

Isaiah 65:21 “And they shall build houses, and inhabit [them]; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.”

The Kingdom of God will be a real, tangible Kingdom where people work and live. They will dwell in safety and peace as they build their homes and raise their families. They will plant and reap their own food, and enjoy temporal blessings along with spiritual benefits.

Isaiah 65:22 “They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree [are] the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

Everyone will work for himself in the Kingdom. There will be no more coercive labor for the benefit of another. There will be no exploitation of the poor by the rich. All men will prosper. We will reap what we sow and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

There is no mention of a monetary system, so perhaps we will barter goods and services in the Kingdom, or have all our needs supernaturally provided. The Lord will anticipate all that we require, and supply us from the wealth of the universe.

Isaiah 65:23 “They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they [are] the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.”

People will not travail in their labor for the benefit of another in the Kingdom of God. They will be blessed in all that they do. Instead of generational curses for disobedience, men will enjoy generational blessings, since all who dwell there will be righteous.

Isaiah 65:24 “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”

The Lord will be in constant, ongoing communication with us. He will meet every need before we even ask Him. There will be no reason to cry out to God in desperation any longer. He will fellowship with us continually in love and intimacy.

Isaiah 65:25 “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust [shall be] the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.”

The Lord is gathering us in from all over the world. It is not His desire that anyone should perish or be denied the blessings of life in the Kingdom of God. All that is necessary to enter into the Kingdom is total righteousness and faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He will make certain that nothing disrupts our peace and joy, as He rules His Kingdom with all honor and glory.

Nothing evil will be present; there will be no death and destruction. The serpent will be punished, and all of the animal kingdom will live in peace and harmony with one another. Man will have total dominion over nature as he once had. The balance and beauty of the original creation will be restored; God and man will dwell in a virtual paradise again for all eternity.

 

Topics For Discussion

1. What Is The Kingdom Of God?

2. Where Is The Kingdom?

3. Who Resides In The Kingdom

4. The Coming Of The Kingdom In Power

5. Keys To The Kingdom

6. Describe Life In The Kingdom

7. Isaiah 65:17-25 

 

Epilogue

 

Thy Kingdom Come

The Kingdom of God is not a fable; it’s not a doctrine or a tradition of men. Jesus Christ taught us to pray it into existence thousands of years ago. Its principles reside in every believer potentially now, and it is a real spiritual and temporal Kingdom that is coming on the earth very soon. It is characterized by righteousness, peace and joy, and only those who walk in love and do the will of the Father will be eligible to enter in to its blessings for all eternity.

We are already experiencing a tremendous outpouring of the power and glory of God that is to precede the coming of His Kingdom. It is global in scope and it far surpasses any revival or spiritual re-awakening that we have seen up until now. This is an integral part of the Lord’s eternal plan of salvation for mankind, and is designed as both a wake-up call for all men, and to prepare us for all that lies ahead.

God’s people will be mobilized for His purposes. We will perform miraculous signs and wonders, that will astonish men and women from every nation as the days progress. Huge numbers will flock to churches all over the world in search of salvation and the good news of the Gospel of the Kingdom. They will be desperate for peace and prosperity and finally willing to embrace all that the Lord promises them.

They will seek comfort and compassion, healing and wholeness in every area of their lives. They will need to be set free of enemy oppression, and baptized in water and the Holy Spirit for the remission of their sins. They will come seeking the truth and the power of God, and we will be privileged to meet their needs. We will be living testimonies of God’s mercy as we minister to them in unselfish love.

But first, the anti-Christ spirit of religion is coming down. Organized churches will need to re-think their goals and revise their mission statements. Babylonian religious systems and man-made traditions will be destroyed by the Lord Himself. He abhors anything that keeps people in bondage, and He will no longer blink the eye at enemies in the pulpit. He will replace a large number of pastoral leaders with those who truly love and care for others.

We need to examine our consciences and repent of all unrighteousness and works in the flesh that have interfered with the move of God in men’s lives. We should get back to our first love, and seek revelation and understanding from the Lord Himself in the days ahead. It is more critical than ever that we walk in unity as a church. He will gather us in one by one sheep and shepherds alike and we will each give full accountability for our actions.

Matthew 20:16 “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.”

 

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