Tending the flock at home

Exodus 3:1, 7-10 New Living Translation (NLT)

One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro,[a] the priest of Midian.

Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. 10 Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”

We all know the story of Moses and the burning bush. God called an adopted Egyptian, as he was tending his father in laws sheep, to do an extraordinary thing. Moses would be the one to confront Pharaoh and lead God’s people out of Egypt – out of slavery. The entire nation of Israel would be taken through the wilderness by a tongue-tied shepherd who was married…with children.

Moses didn’t abandon his wife and sons to fulfill the call. He didn’t neglect his God given role as husband and father in order to perform miraculous signs in front of Pharaoh. He didn’t choose to lead the people into the Promised Land and ignore his family. Moses went back to Egypt with his wife and children as he carried the staff of God in his hand.

Exodus 4:18-20 New Living Translation (NLT)

18 So Moses went back home to Jethro, his father-in-law. “Please let me return to my relatives in Egypt,” Moses said. “I don’t even know if they are still alive.”

“Go in peace,” Jethro replied.

19 Before Moses left Midian, the Lord said to him, “Return to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you have died.”

20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey, and headed back to the land of Egypt. In his hand he carried the staff of God.

 

For a time, Exodus 18 tells us, Zipporah and their sons went home to stay with her father (the boys probably had school and soccer practice to attend!). Regardless of the reason, Jethro eventually escorted them back to be with Moses and the people.

Exodus 18:2-6 New Living Translation (NLT)

Earlier, Moses had sent his wife, Zipporah, and his two sons back to Jethro, who had taken them in. (Moses’ first son was named Gershom,[a] for Moses had said when the boy was born, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.” His second son was named Eliezer,[b] for Moses had said, “The God of my ancestors was my helper; he rescued me from the sword of Pharaoh.”) Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, now came to visit Moses in the wilderness. He brought Moses’ wife and two sons with him, and they arrived while Moses and the people were camped near the mountain of God. Jethro had sent a message to Moses, saying, “I, Jethro, your father-in-law, am coming to see you with your wife and your two sons.”

All throughout Scripture, we read about the heroes of faith. Ordinary men, called by God to do extraordinary things:

Noah.

Abraham.

Joseph.

These ordinary men married ordinary women and raised ordinary children.

My husband is an ordinary man. I’m ordinary. Our kids are ordinary. My man, an adopted child of God, has been called to lead His people out of slavery to sin. But in this season of life, the Lord is teaching him to be a shepherd. He’s tending to the flock at home. He’s loving his wife. He’s training our children. And soon, when the Lord speaks to him through a “burning bush,” he will GO, make disciples…with his wife and children.

sheepAre you an ordinary man? Do you have an ordinary wife? (perhaps you shouldn’t answer that!) Are you raising ordinary children? Whether you are called to lead a nation out of bondage, a local church or a small group, you are a child of God and you must GO, make disciples… with your wife and children.

Spend some time with the Great Shepherd. Ask Him: “Lord, am I tending the flock at home? Am I loving my wife? Am I training our children?” If any answer brings conviction from the Holy Spirit, confess, repent, and choose this day to serve the Lord, by serving your family. They are part of your extraordinary call. And one day, as you’re tending the flock, the Lord will tell you it’s time to GO.

1 Timothy 3:1-7 New Living Translation (NLT)

This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be a church leader,[a] he desires an honorable position.” So a church leader must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife.[b] He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker[c] or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?

A church leader must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall.[d] Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.

Part of the Family

John 8:31-44 New Living Translation (NLT)

31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33 “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?”

34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. 37 Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message. 38 I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.”

39 “Our father is Abraham!” they declared.

“No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example.[a] 40 Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. 41 No, you are imitating your real father.”

They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father.”

42 Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. 43 Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! 44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.

I am TRYING to consider it pure joy as I face yet another trail in parenting. A trial which I have had the displeasure of repeatedly facing. A trial that I repeatedly faced when I was a child.

Lying.

Why do we lie?

The short answer is pride.

The long answer is we desire something or someone more than God. When we are tempted by the lust of the eyes and flesh we make a decision in our soul to flee or forward march in our own strength to obtain what we want. When we begin suffering the consequences that inevitably follow, we hide, just like Adam & Eve. We cover ourselves. We blame others, or the enemy. But when we are born again, we become part of the family of Christ. He gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit who tells us how to escape temptation. Yet even when we fail to obey, the Spirit helps us return to our Father by convicting us of sin so that we will confess, repent and be restored.

familyThe bible says, “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but discipline will drive it far away.” (Proverbs 22:15) So when I came emotionally undone again today, and yelled again, at our child who lied- again, the Holy Spirit was my helper. “Lord!” I cried, I am soooo tired of battling this issue. Please help me. What can I do?!?”

“Discipline,” He whispered.

“You MUST discipline.”

Then He revealed what was going on in my own heart; foolishness. Not wanting to be inconvienced in putting forth the time, energy and effort to train, I have failed to discipline consistently. I’m not a failure. But I have failed. And in doing so I have foolishly given power to the devil to entrap our child as a slave of sin. Please understand me, our child has chosen over and over to disobey. I am not to blame, nor is the enemy. Children are foolish! They need parents to train them. Otherwise, they will develop rebellious character which imitates the father of lies.

So today I choose to:

-Shut up, get up and armor up.

-Develop a battle plan.

-Swing my double edged sword!

-Teach our children to obey God by obeying me.

-Train our children in the way that they should go.

Because when I do, God promises, it will go well for them and they will not depart from Him when they are older!

 

Uprooted

Matthew 15:1-3, 10-20

New Living Translation (NLT)

Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him, “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.”

Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God?

10 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 11 It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.”

12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?”

13 Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted,14 so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.”

15 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Explain to us the parable that says people aren’t defiled by what they eat.”

16 “Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus asked. 17 “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. 18 But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. 20 These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.”

I have a stubborn planter wart on the bottom of my foot. Gross, I know. For the last year, I’ve been pulling, picking and smothering the seeds with Compound W that have risen to the surface. Several months ago, I finally relented in trying to eradicate the thing by myself, so I scheduled an appointment with the dermatologist. She brought out the big gun: dry ice (solid form of carbon dioxide). After 3 painful, burning procedures that sucker still wasn’t gone! The latest treatment involved injecting chemotherapy into the wart to kill the infection at its root. Needle into the foot? AHHHHHHHHH! Yes, I cried out to the Lord… as I was trying not to kick the doctor in her face.

Hobbling through the house, trying to avoid the pain that permeates every time I step on the affected area, I realized that I attempted to pull, pick and smother my sins…especially those that were deeply rooted in sexual immorality. After I accepted Jesus, who saved me from eternity in hell, I still experienced hell on earth as the seeds of sexual sin continued rising to the surface of my life. Ashamed, I tried covering them up with a band aid (just like I did the wart). I pleaded with God, “PLEASE make it go away!” (just like I did with the wart).

Nothing happened.

Until I asked for help. Help from my Savior and Lord. Help from others in the body of Christ. What do I mean by that? I mean bowing my will to the King of kings and Lord of lords. I mean crying out, “create in me a clean heart oh God, that I might not sin against you!” (Psalm 51:10, emphasis added). I mean taking off the cloak of shame I was wearing and laying it at His feet. I mean confessing the pain my body and soul were suffering as a result of sin. I mean standing before God naked. I mean allowing Him to shine His light on the darkest areas of my soul, to expose every single temptation and sin related to sexual immorality. I mean giving the Holy Spirit permission to dig until the first seed of sin was exposed, injected with fire, and uprooted. I mean extending forgiveness to those who sinned against me. I mean asking forgiveness for those I sinned against. I mean confessing to God- and others. I mean feeling the deep grief of repentance for the sins I committed against God and His commands. I mean asking Jesus to deliver me from the evil that resided in my wicked heart. I mean accepting His sacrifice for my sin. I mean receiving supernatural healing for my body and soul because He bore the stripes upon His body for ME.

Uprooted-2

My friend, your evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, lying and slander cannot be removed by religious activity (washing your hands). The seeds of your sin cannot be smothered in Compound W. But submitting to Jesus as Savior and Lord and asking other believers for help can uproot the rebellion that lies hidden within your heart. Yes, injecting Truth into the lies will be painful. The procedure will hurt some. You will be embarrassed that others know your deep, dart secrets. But death WILL come to the sin, and life WILL grow in its place as you confess your sins in prayer!!! (James 5:16)