Monday, April 04, 2011
Today’s Topic: Contrasts
Today’s Text: Isaiah 40:10-11 (New Living Translation) Yes, the Sovereign LORD is coming in all his glorious power. He will rule with awesome strength. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes. He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.
I hope you are not getting bored with all the stories of the mission trip I took to the Bayou of Louisiana. I prayed before I left that the Lord would combine my reflections on Isaiah 40 with the applications of the trip, and that is what He did. These articles are the product of that.
Contrast makes things more visible. Try this right now: on your computer screen find the contrast control and set it to its lowest setting. How does that look? Washed out, isn’t it? Now set it to its highest setting. Quite a difference isn’t it. Contrast makes things stand out more clearly.
My dear friend Pastor Jerry is man of contrasts. How I admire and respect him. God is using this humble man to accomplish great things for God’s glory. His long full beard seems out of place in the hot and humid weather of the Bayou. It may be a carry-over from the hippie days on the west coast when he ministered to that generation alongside people like the late Keith Green.
On the outside he appears rough. However, on the inside he’s soft and supple. By his own admission he struggles with frustration, but in reality the Holy Spirit shows more than his flesh. He is to me the model of meekness like Jesus. He is a man of great strength but it is under the absolute control of the Holy Spirit so that his nature is that of a shepherd.
I watch Pastor Jerry a lot when I am there. I am learning to appreciate his sense of humor that is revealed by the gleam in his eyes. I am blessed by his sensitive heart that is seen by the tears in his eyes. His strength is revealed in the calluses on his hands. His compassion is revealed as he uses those same hands to care for his wife and the sheep of his flock.
Strength under control: that’s what meekness is. That’s who Jerry is. That’s who Jesus is.
The Sovereign Lord is coming in glorious power. He will rule in awesome strength. And when He comes to His people He has all of that power under control. How thankful we must be for that, or we would surely die. Yet Jesus comes to us as a shepherd. He feeds us. He carries us. He holds us close to His heart. He gently leads us. He doesn’t force us. He doesn’t push us. He doesn’t manipulate us. He doesn’t overpower us. He comes along side of us and befriends us.
I need to be more like Brother Jerry. I need to be more like Jesus. Far too many times I fall back on my own strength and let it rise to the forefront of my circumstances and relationships. I take control. I push. Oh that I would be more gentle in spirit and let the Lord Jesus not only shepherd me but then shepherd others through me.
Maybe you have issues of control. Maybe your strength comes to the surface more than it should. It’s possible that the way you communicate with and respond to people comes across harsh and frustrated. It may be that some wrong of the past corrupts your present relationship with someone. Maybe it’s your own insecurities that you cover with an attitude of power and strength and control.
Whatever it may be, will you seek the heart of Jesus and learn meekness? Fine tune the contrast on the screen of your life so Jesus is more clearly visible.