I HAVE AN ETERNITY AHEAD OF ME 


CHAPTER 17


 BURDENED PART I

 

 

Matthew 11:28-30 King James Version (KJV)

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

 

 

Pastors, Priests, Bishops, Evangelists, Teachers, Apostles, Prophets and ALL Believers in God and Christ Jesus, we all need to be able to answer one question honestly and simply, with YES or NO. Did God sacrifice His Son upon the cross to create a new religion? Where is your proof?  If yes, then, which religion--Christianity? Then, which religion properly represents Christianity: Catholicism, Protestantism, or perhaps a specific denomination or sect? 

 

Or, did God sacrifice His Son upon the cross to create a NEW COVENANT? Where is your proof? Was the new covenant only with Israel? How did the Gentiles become part of this new covenant? These are things we need to know as Believers, so that we aren't misled or swept into the bondage of religion. 

 

If we are living abundantly and eternally within a NEW COVENANT, then, why have we burdened our Brothers and Sisters, along with mankind, with religion? 

 

Jeremiah 31 : 31-34 King James Version (KJV)

 

31 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

 

32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:

 

33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

 

34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

 

 

The Pharisee and Sadducee were guilty of burdening the people, needlessly and living unholy lives, themselves. Today, there are numerous religions spread across the globe and the people remain...burdened and in bondage to false doctrine and sinful lives.

 

Instead of the knowledge of God and Christ changing lives around the world, worldly knowledge has placed a burden upon countless lives, dragging them into bondage.  The people are crumbling under the pressure and weight of the world upon their shoulders and have lost their way.

 

Many try to seek the Lord within the confines of the church, however, instead of finding God and Christ, once again, they are burdened, pressured and more weight is piled upon their backs. 

 

Is it that no one has truly shown these people who are lost, confused, forgotten, shunned, etc., how to follow Jesus to His and their Father? Not having been shown how to find God, have we left them with no other choice other than to return to the world...still, burdened?

 

Some people learn to temporarily unload their heavy burdens and attend services knowing they can at least get two hours of respite or temporary relief. Yet, upon leaving their location marked as hallowed ground, they load up their burdens and might even take upon some more from the church. Then, weighed down, they return to the ways of the world, still not following Christ...still, burdened.

 

They believe they are following Jesus, at least, that's what they're being told during worship service. However, Jesus said, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." So, shouldn't following Jesus be less cumbersome? Then, why are they still so burdened? Why do so many people see it as a burden to attend church? Is it because they're HOPELESS? Can NOTHING pull them out of the world? --Out of bed? --Out of the house? Out of despair? --Out of depression? Out of apathy?  --Out of sin? Or, are they just, too, burdened and they dread more burdens?

 

Who wouldn't dread being overly burdened with rules, procedures, rituals, bylaws, more financial worries, meetings, and long drawn out services that don't really provide what you need or only temporarily alleviate your problems? On top of all of that, you might have to deal with scrutinizing eyes, gossiping lips and repeated criticism for not faithfully attending or participating. Who wants to sign up for the Christian Jubilee and end up on the guilt trip? What makes this EASY Jesus and where is Your light yoke?

 

In many communities, it seems that the drug houses are getting fuller and the church pews are getting emptier. If we allow our faith to wane, darkness will lead us to believe that it is doing a new thing and taking over. However, IF we remain in the LIGHT, then, we can see that it is GOD who is doing a NEW THING and darkness is only trying to mimic God. Hallelujah! 

 

We will MISS the new thing , if we remain in the dark! We will MISS the new thing if we remain stubborn and proud, unwilling to change our ways or listen to those we've hardened our heart against. We will MISS the new thing if we have not been made PERFECT in love. If we cannot love and obey God, loving others as ourselves, we will MISS the new thing and not be part of the REMNANT entering into the Kingdom of God; for only the pure in heart, shall see God. 

 

What have we done to ourselves and the church to make it so hard for many people to come into the House of the Lord and whose fault is it? Where lies the blame? 

 

In most cases, the institutionalization of the church has removed God from the structural building and the bodily temples of men. While, people have removed God from their hearts, due to their PRIDE and love of the world. 

 

Matthew 11: 16-19 King James Version (KJV)
16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,

17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.

19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

 

 

Time and time again, we find pastors and church members blaming vacant church pews on absent church members. Yet, if the Body of Christ were not WHOLE, it could not function! IS Christ's Body  incapacitated, disabled, dysfunctional, impaired or impeded in any way? Will the absenteeism of several or more church members cause the Body of Christ to shut down? 

 

How do we compensate for missing church members? What must the shepherd do for lost or missing sheep? Who do these people belong to? Who is their Master? 

 

Questions, questions, always questions. Lord, we need answers! What are we overlooking? What are we not seeing?

 

CHILDREN! It is not a matter of looking or seeing something, but, SOMEONE! It is a matter of OVERCOMING! In order to overcome you must first be BORN AGAIN to FOLLOW; not something, but, HE, who overcame the world.

 

Now, some might say, "But, Father, I preached the word to them and they came not and/or followed not! What more can I do? I cannot make them come and follow!"

 

Yet, if God changes the wind to blow East, why do you keep your sail turned to the South? GOD IS DOING A NEW THING! As He ALWAYS does, God sifts the wheat from the tares. Why do we fret when we see our cup almost empty? Did God not fill it to begin with?

 

The ability of our cup to hold more has not diminished. Neither has God's ability to fill it. God is IDENTIFYING ANOTHER DEFICIT--OUR FAITH! 

 

Oh, we of little faith, who cry out, when the wolf has stolen the sheep, or prevented them from following! God has not forsaken us! Nonetheless, He expects us to do more than just REACT negatively to this new event! He expects us to ACT and act in a positive way! Therefore, the shepherd must act in accordance to the Master's wishes and follow a new path to find the lost sheep, instead of expecting the lost or stolen sheep to return upon their on volition.

 

 

THE BODY OF CHRIST HAS NOT AND WILL NOT CHANGE. 

 

Within this NEW THING, God is moving to AWAKEN the sleeping and calling the institutional church to find its IDENTITY, EMPOWERMENT and TRUE FAITH IN and LOVE FOR CHRIST!

The institutional church must decide WHO it will SERVE and WHO it will FOLLOW!  

 

God has taken its temperature and checked its heart. It is neither hot or cold and its heart is still in the world. 

 

God finds His sheep lost, confused, and not healed. Can we blame the sheep, or, is it time for the institutional church to wake up and remove the veil from its eyes and the shackles from its feet? Will God's sheep wander endlessly, in vain, looking for greener pastures? 

 

GREENER PASTURES

 

Perhaps, the sheep have wandered off to greener pastures. How do we convince the sheep to come home? Should we try to entice the sheep with an even greener pasture? How do we give account to the Master for allowing His sheep to wander off because we neglected to properly feed the sheep and provide for their needs?

 

Or was it that the sheep weren't properly trained or could not see and appreciate the nourishment God had provided for them? Hence, they were easily misled into believing someone else could better provide for them or they were better off taking care of themselves? 

 

WHAT WAS MISSING FOR THE SHEEP TO STRAY AND NEVER WANT TO RETURN? TRAINING? OBEDIENCE? 

 

WERE THEY JUST BAD SHEEP?

 

 

THE BURDEN OF PROOF

 

One day, a shepherd took his Master's sheep out to pasture to graze. He noticed one sheep wandering off and angrily asked him where he was going, not really expecting the sheep to answer. However, unknowingly, to the shepherd, the sheep did answer.

 

"Baa, greener pastures," said the sheep. 

 

Since the shepherd thought the Master had many sheep and too many to take care of all by himself, he let the sheep wander off, then, scolded all the sheep who had stayed, for what the one sheep did.

 

That evening, the shepherd returned home with the sheep and the Master was waiting to get an account of all of the sheep He had entrusted to the shepherd's care.  Reluctantly, the shepherd told the Master that he had lost one sheep and gave the excuse that there were just too many sheep for one shepherd. 

 

The next day, the shepherd was preparing to take the sheep out to the pasture, when the Master called to him. He was standing with a young boy. He told him that the young boy was well-trained and he would be helping him with the sheep everyday, from now on.

 

The shepherd looked at the boy and thought, "What can he do? He's just a boy and nobody is as good as I am with the Master's sheep and nobody is going to take my place! We'll see about this boy helping me. I didn't ask for him. This boy is just another burden."

 

When they reached the pasture, the shepherd sat under a shady tree and called to the boy. The boy was happy to be asked to come sit with him.

 

"Why did the Master send you to help me? You're just a boy! You're not even trained to be a shepherd! What can you do?!" He angrily asked the boy.

 

The boy kept smiling. "I can talk to the sheep and understand their hearts."

 

The shepherd laughed at the boy. He had never heard of such a thing. 

 

"You need me to teach you about sheep and shepherding," he boastfully told the boy. 

 

"Only a shepherd can teach you about the Master and how to take care of His sheep. I don't need your help and I don't want it! You're just a burden! Now, go on, get out of here!"

 

The boy walked over to the sheep and started singing to them and they began to follow him. The shepherd's heart hardened. He didn't want the sheep following anyone's voice but his. He called to the boy and told him to sit under the tree. He decided never to give the boy a chance to talk to the sheep again.

 

The family of sheep the boy had been singing to decided they'd go someplace where they could hear singing. The shepherd asked them where they were going, not really expecting an answer. All they did was baa and ignore the shepherd. 

 

The shepherd hardened his heart and thought, "If they ignore me, I'll ignore them. If they won't talk to me, I won't talk to them. If they criticize me, I'll criticize them. I don't need to know why they left or, if they're coming back, and, I don't care what they think of me! They don't know anything anyway and they don't want anybody to teach them anything! I'm just here until I can go to a better job. They're just a burden and not worth my trouble. That's how I'll deal with that!"

 

But, that evening, when the shepherd brought the sheep home, the Master wanted an account of all the sheep. When He saw that some of the sheep that had been entrusted to the shepherd were missing, He asked where and how long the shepherd had looked for the missing sheep. He also, wanted to know how and why they went missing, as the shepherd had the boy to help him watch over the flock. 

 

The shepherd blamed the missing sheep on the boy.

 

"Did the sheep say anything?" The Master asked the boy.

 

"They wanted to hear music. They said they were going to find greener pastures where the shepherds were allowed to sing."

 

"The boy's not even a shepherd," the shepherd blurted out.

 

"The boy has a different gift that's needed. That's why I sent him. Let the boy sing tomorrow."

 

The shepherd hung his head down in shame, hardened his heart, and secretly resented the boy.

 

The next morning, the boy was waiting at the gate, eager to take the sheep to the field. When the shepherd saw the boy, he pretended to be kind to him in front of the Master, but, when he thought they were well out of sight and hearing, he once again began to belittle the boy.

 

The boy sang all the way to the pasture and the sheep obediently followed. The jealous shepherd called loudly to the sheep, making sure they heard his voice, too.

 

When they reached the field, the shepherd split the sheep up into two flocks. He gave one flock to the little boy, then, sat under the shady tree. The boy began to single each sheep out individually and talk to them lovingly, listening to them baa in reply.

 

A group of sheep from the shepherd's flock began baaing and leaving the pasture. The shepherd yelled after them, "Where do you think you're going?" --Not, really expecting an answer.

 

One sheep stopped momentarily and bleated loudly towards the boy.

 

The shepherd hardened his heart and thought, "If they ignore me, I'll ignore them. If they won't talk to me, I won't talk to them. If they criticize me, I'll criticize them. I don't need to know why they left or, if they're coming back, and, I don't care what they think of me! They don't know anything anyway and they don't want anybody to teach them anything! I'm just here until I can go to a better job. They're just a burden and not worth my trouble. That's how I'll deal with that!"

 

That evening they returned to the Master's house and the Master was waiting to get an account of His sheep. When He saw His small flock of sheep He was truly saddened.

 

The shepherd prepared a lie intending to blame the losses upon the boy and wolves, but, the Master did not ask him anything. 

 

Instead He asked the boy, "What was in my sheep's heart today?"

 

The boy answered, "They said they wanted to be truly loved like You love them."

 

The shepherd hung his head down in shame and admitted that he had let them wander off and didn't bother to look for them. The Master opened the gate for the sheep and the boy to enter, then, closed it to shut the shepherd out.

mishael

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REFERENCED SCRIPTURE 

 

Jeremiah 31King James Version (KJV)

31 At the same time, saith theLord, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.

2 Thus saith the Lord, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.

3 The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

4 Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.

5 Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things.

6 For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto theLord our God.

7 For thus saith the Lord; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.

8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.

9 They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

10 Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.

11 For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.

12 Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.

13 Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.

14 And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord.

15 Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.

16 Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.

17 And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.

18 I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the Lord my God.

19 Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.

20 Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith theLord.

21 Set thee up waymarks, make thee high heaps: set thine heart toward the highway, even the way which thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities.

22 How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.

23 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity; The Lord bless thee, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness.

24 And there shall dwell in Judah itself, and in all the cities thereof together, husbandmen, and they that go forth with flocks.

25 For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.

26 Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me.

27 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.

28 And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the Lord.

29 In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge.

30 But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.

31 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:

33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

35 Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name:

36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.

37 Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord.

38 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the city shall be built to the Lord from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner.

39 And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath.

40 And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the Lord; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.

 

Matthew 11King James Version (KJV)

11 And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.

2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,

3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?

4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:

5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?

8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.

9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.

10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

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

13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.

15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,

17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.

19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:

21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.

23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.