In the past few months, I have been blessed to have several encounters with the Lord in which He revealed Himself to me chiefly as the Shepherd. In modern-day terms we might say he manifested Himself as a Pastor, or perhaps as a very wise and dear Companion.
Whatever the terminology, I was reminded more than once of the scripture in 1 Peter 2:25 which reads: "You were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls." I have been thoroughly captured by the gentleness, patience, and love I have seen as He manifested Himself to me this way!
We know from 1 Peter 1:9 that the goal of our faith is the salvation (the word savlvation here means a full deliverance or purifying) of our souls. Since Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith, His chief concern will always be for our souls!
The book of Hebrews says that believers are "those who have faith to the preserving of our souls," and that leaders in the Kingdom of God are to be like Christ in that they also keep watch over our souls, as those who will give an account to the Lord.
In several recent prayer times, the Lord took me into specific scriptures to see the depth of His love and concern for the soul (which I define as our mind, our will, and our emotions). Perhaps the best known of these scriptures is Psalm 23, but there are many others!
One early morning, I was awakened from my sleep by the Holy Spirit, hearing clearly the words I transcribed below. They come straight from the Shepherd's heart, and I believe they will be a blessing to you as they are to me.
"Shepherds who know how to feed themselves will be in great demand at this time. Those who know how to come to My table will be filled with good and nourishing things, entering into places of deep rest and personal refreshment. They will then be strengthened to prepare a table for the ones they are called to serve in this hour.
The weak and sick among you are many, and I will not forget them. I am raising up shepherds and guardians who will care for the 'Mephibosheths:' the ones who require greater care in My Kingdom. (See 2 Samuel 9.)
Like David, set a table for those whom you serve and share freely of the goodness of My Kingdom! Invite the weak, invite the lame, invite the sick and the troubled, because I have done the same for you, and will continue to do so. You have nothing to fear; you cannot exhaust the provision of your One True Shepherd, whose eyes are ever on His flock to care for them and feed them.
Rest in My perfect provision for you, Dear Ones, and let the waters of life wash over you as you enjoy these times in My presence. I will refresh and restore your souls until there is no need for refreshment anymore. A day is coming when you will rejoice constantly and will weep no more, reveling in My goodness and mercy and filled with My presence! This "saturation point" in My Spirit is quickly approaching; even now the River is rising and you are being flooded with light and glory!
Release yourselves to rest in these times of intimacy and feasting with Me, for it will always be out of the overflow of My goodness to you that you serve and minister to others.
Begin here with Me, and let Me lead you into quiet places that will sustain you all along this journey; green pastures which will delight you even as you continue to labor in the fields of My Kingdom."
May you take your place at the Lord's table daily as rightful sons and daughters of our King, feasting on all that He is!
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.