discipleship

A Shepherd’s Toolbox: The Reed

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Every Easter, I try to learn something new about the Passover, the Passion, or the Good Shepherd. This morning, I began to think about a shepherd’s toolbox. There were a few interesting items in his tool chest including the sling, staff/rod, scrip, and reed pipe.

 Today, the tool that piqued my interest most was the reed pipe used to soothe the sheep. It was common practice for Biblical shepherds to fashion a musical reed pipe from two pieces of hollowed-out cane. The sound was made by blowing across a sharp edge. Notes were controlled by blocking holes with the fingers in each tube. This Biblical reed pipe is an ancestor of modern day “reed” instruments such as the saxophone, clarinet, oboe etc.

The materials for making Biblical reed pipes were very plentiful and readily accessible to shepherds. They were also extremely easy to make. Because of this, it was common practice for the shepherd to break and dispose of a torn reed choosing rather to craft a new one versus repairing the torn one. It is this custom that Isaiah referenced when he prophetically spoke these words:

A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench; he shall bring forth judgement unto truth. Isaiah 42:3

You see, even though it was the custom of Biblical shepherds to discard a torn reed, it is not the practice of the Good Shepherd to do so. Jesus does not break and toss out the torn, bruised, and broken. He is and will always be a repairer of breaches. If this Easter finds you torn and broken, take heart…there is a Good Shepherd who will not cast you aside.

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. John 10:11

Your brokenness does not repel the Good Shepherd. Your bruises do not offend Him. In fact, He was bruised for you. He bore your grief and carried your pain. Your peace is upon Him.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5

The Good Shepherd will not break a bruised reed. Jesus is in the mending business!

discipleship

The Gallery of Grace

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Once, during a particularly tough trial our family was facing, my husband saw an image of Pinkie (above right) in prayer. At the time, we had no idea what God was trying to say. Being artists and art lovers, we decided to dig a little deeper. What we discovered profoundly changed our lives.

We stumbled upon a very unique relationship between The Blue Boy (above left) and Pinkie. Like many, we’d seen them together many times throughout our lives. My husband’s mother had replicas of both on display in his childhood home. It was this image that God called to his remembrance in prayer. These two works of art have been displayed together over the years on everything from drink coasters and magazine ads to esteemed exhibits at the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, CA. Even the set designers of the TV show Leave It To Beaver frequently paid homage to their special bond.

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I’d studied The Blue Boy masterpiece by Thomas Gainsborough in school. Being widely known as the most famous work by a British artist, it’s masterpiece status is questioned by none. In 1921, The Blue Boy was sold to American railway pioneer Henry Huntington for a record setting $640,000. To keep things in perspective, this $640K was equivalent to over 8.5 million dollars today.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Because the two works of art are frequently displayed together, many erroneously believe both to be masterpiece works of Gainsborough. The truth is…Pinkie isn’t even considered to be a masterpiece at all. She was painted 25 years apart from The Blue Boy by another notable British artist named Thomas Lawrence. Lawrence’s works, unlike that of Gainsborough, would never achieve masterpiece status in the art world. In fact, Pinkie would become the most notable of Lawrence’s works due to her connection with Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy.

Pinkie and The Blue Boy weren’t associated until 1927 when she was purchased by The Blue Boy’s owner, Henry Huntington. She was immediately put on display facing The Blue Boy where she remains to this day. I’ve come to call her resting place the Gallery of Grace.

grace: /ɡrās/

(noun)

the free, unmerited favor of God

Because of her relationship to The Blue Boy masterpiece, she has been heralded alongside him on exhibit at the Pageant of the Masters time and again.

My point, and more importantly God’s point in the midst of our struggle, is that Pinkie didn’t need to be a masterpiece after all. She has experienced every honor and esteem possible in the art world solely because of her relationship to the Master.

We realized, like Pinkie, we are esteemed and lifted from obscurity because of our relationship to Him and Him alone. The Syrophoenician woman understood the significance of being in close proximity to the Master.

And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. Matthew 15:27-28

Incredible things happen at the feet of the Master. He can take us to unimaginable heights if we’ll only do what Pinkie has done…remain in the presence of the Master. The splash-over blessing (crumbs) of His glory is more than enough to accomplish anything in this life. He will take you from the prison to the palace Joseph. He will move you from the lion’s den to the King’s advisory panel Daniel. He will lift you from captivity to the throne Queen Esther.

You need no one and no thing save a relationship with the Master!

discipleship

Your Voice + His Word = Change

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You can wait out a storm but battles are won and lost in the fight. If you find yourself in the middle of a spiritual attack, FIGHT! You will not come out the victor until you do. In all the pieces in the armor of God, there is only one offensive weapon listed…the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Ephesians 6:17

Someone who is hungry wouldn’t sit in a room with a biscuit on the shelf all week long and wait to be spoon fed on Sunday. Dust off your Bible and dig out a word for your situation! Heaven and earth shall pass away. However, the Word is forever settled!

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew 24:35

For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89

Everything else is temporal…temporary, subject to change.

TEMPORARY
adjective tem·po·rary \ˈtem-pə-ˌrer-ē\
: continuing for a limited amount of time : not permanent
: intended to be used for a limited amount of time

What changes it? He does. Who is He? The Word. The Word is forever settled and He changes the times and seasons!

And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: Daniel 2:21

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou? Ecclesiastes 8:4

The angels hearken to what? The voice of my word? No! They hearken to the voice of His word.

Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Psalm 103:20

Your Voice + His Word = Change.

The angels are ministering spirits who minister for the heirs of salvation.

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? Hebrews 1:14

We are washed by the water of the word.

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word… Ephesians 5:26

In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God, and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.

Read: John 1:1-17

The word wasn’t made flesh one time only then mysteriously robbed of its power. It is made flesh over and over again when we speak it! God breathed the breath of life into Adam’s nostrils and he became a living soul.

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:45

This “living soul” is best translated “speaking or discoursing spirit.” Mankind was given a gift unlike any other in Creation!

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21

But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil… Deuteronomy 30:14-15

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live..Deuteronomy 30:19

It’s your choice! Death and life are in the power of your tongue. What you speak will be made flesh. What we bind here is bound there and what we loose here is loosed there.

Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Matthew 18:18

When you speak the Word only, it supercharges your voice because it never returns void!

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

The centurion understood the power of the Word!

The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. Matthew 8:8

His words are spirit and life!

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63

That’s why scripture identifies the Word of God as a sword. It is a weapon…use it!

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Ephesians 6:17

If you do not know the Word of God, you ARE NOT equipped for battle! Know it. Believe it. Speak it. Receive it.

Your Voice + His Word = Change

Related Posts:
Your Mouth Will Abort The Promise
A Right Appetite: Bread of God