Waiting In His Sheepfold

I would like to share a story with you.

The other day, I visited a church in a small town. I had been there 5-10 times over the last 15 years. The pastors who presided there had come as a young couple and built the church up through the solid teaching of the Word, their love for the community, and consistent dedication to serve. They had their children and raised them there with their church family. They had bloomed alongside the church body, which appeared to be healthy and strong.

When I arrived that day, the parking lot was full, and the greeters were greeting. The worship was joyful and enthusiastic, and the pews were filled with families. I recognized some of the people there from the other times I had visited. As before, the pastor’s wife, who is the worship leader, was singing and playing the piano. This beautiful woman has the warmest smile and shines with the love of Jesus. 

As the worship time came to an end, the individual who gave the message was one of the elder women in their body, and she gave the word for the day. It was on the gifts of the Spirit. She did a great job as she spoke from a place of wisdom and maturity. I assumed that she was filling in for the pastor as I began to notice that he was not in attendance. 

Before I left, I did a little visiting and waited to give the pastor’s wife a hug of hello and goodbye. I have always been fond of this kind and loving family. 

It was the oddest thing, and I don’t know quite how it happened, but a few days later, I was sharing Jesus with an individual I had never met before. This individual shared very openly with me about his desire to outgrow his spiritual shortcomings. We had some wonderful fellowship around Jesus’ faithfulness. 

During this conversation, I learned the reason why the pastor was not attending his church the day I had visited. It was because He had recently stepped down from his position due to an extramarital affair. This broke my heart as I pleaded, “No, Lord, not another one.” This strategic snare of Satan has become an epidemic within the Body of Christ. I grieved about this for several days.

A few more days after I learned about the pastor, I prayed for them and Jesus’ powerful working love of restoration. It was then that I was taken back—in memory—to the recent church service, remembering how I saw the body standing, heard them praising, and felt their strong stance to walk in the Word. I saw the picture of the pastor’s wife worshiping in song with a smile and the warmth of Jesus’ love radiating out from her beautiful spirit. 

This caused a ponder within me, and I asked Jesus how this woman was able to stand up there in worship, singing her praises in front of the congregation?  He said to me, “She has no shame!  Why should she? She walks in My presence with clean hands and a pure heart. Her marriage is unto Me, and she knows how to stand. I am the one who leads My sheep, and these sheep were strong enough not to scatter. They know Me as their faithful Shepherd. See this as a testimony!” Wow. This is so unusual in these dark days, and that is why my spirit took note and why I am sharing this story. 

We need to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying. Let’s read John 10:1-17

Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in some other way is a thief and a robber. But the one who enters by the gate is the Shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for Him, and the sheep listen for His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.

When He has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will flee from him because they do not recognize his voice.”

Jesus spoke to them using this illustration, but they did not understand what He was telling them. So He said to them again, “Truly, truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before Me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness.

I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd, and the sheep are not his own. When he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf pounces on them and scatters the flock. The man runs away because he is a hired servant and is unconcerned for the sheep.

I am the Good Shepherd. I know My sheep and My sheep know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them in as well, and they will listen to My voice. Then, there will be one flock and one Shepherd.

The reason the Father loves Me is that I lay down My life in order to take it up again. 

Now that you have read this passage let’s clarify this truth: the pastor is not the wolf! The enemy is the wolf. Of course, we need to pray for the pastor, his wife, and the church. We need to pray for a complete restoration and a great victory over the enemy. We must stand and praise Him when His sheep don’t run because the enemy raised his ugly head. We need to be encouraged by this powerful example of knowing the Shepherd’s voice. 

So if you find yourself or others around you in sin or conflict, do not run, do not take on shame, do not fight each other, stay in the pastures of Psalm 23. Stay in the sheepfold, stay in the arms of the faithful Shepherd, and listen to His voice. He laid down His life for His sheep, and you are His bride.

Love from one warrior to another,

Melissa Norris

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