Stephen Bransby - Sheep - Puerto Montt, Brazil

God fulfills His role as a tender and loving Shepherd when we follow Him. There are conditions. A meeting is helpful to us if we have a willing, committed heart. We want the blessing, but we are not always willing to open our heart so that the Lord can do His work. Blessing comes through listening to the voice of the Shepherd and obeying it. The voice of the workers will bring blessing if we accept the Spirit of Christ. Special meetings and conventions are like a thorough checkup. Isaiah  40:11, "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd, etc." I was with a shepherd and his sheep. He gathered them for a thorough checkup. When the sheep saw me, they began to come near me. I realized that in order for the sheep to come near the shepherd, I would have to stand behind the shepherd. In speaking to others, Christ has to be in the forefront, I must be in the background, then we can be of help to others.

There were some sheep that were very thin. I asked why. He said it was because they had wool around their eyes. It wasn't a lack of food. There was food, but they could not see it. The sheep needs help. A young person saw the truth, but was not willing, so he asked God for help. With the help of God he could do it, and he became the overseer in South Africa.

Sometimes sheep have parasites, internal or external. The shepherd knows best. A parasite sucks out the life of another. Our human nature wants to grow and sucks out the spiritual life. The shepherd looking at the sheep knows the cause of its illness. He knows, I don't.  If the sheep has a deep wound, it needs to be cleaned out. Sometimes a wound will heal on the outside but not on the inside. It needs to be cut out deep, even if it hurts, because the important thing is good health.

Some sheep fled from the fold. Later they were found, but they didn't look like the others. Their appearance was almost like wild sheep. Lost sheep don't know where to go. They run from one side to the other without finding rest. They can't find the same hole where they went out. It is easy to find a way out, the way in is not so easy to find, because it depends on God. One testimony was, "In the beginning I was afraid to start. Now I am afraid to stop."  Psalm 23, "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." Sometimes we don't 'pasture' (feed) because of our busy, agitated life, and then we don't benefit from the pasture. There is no rest without accepting the guidance of God.

I also saw the skins of dead sheep. I asked what had happened. The mothers didn't have milk and the little ones died. For the children to have life the parents must have life also. We need to show love and gratitude to Christ for what we have. With our cup overflowing we can be a help to others. When I began in the work I felt that I was obligated to serve because that is what God asked me to do, but I soon realized that I could not help anyone without love.

Obeying the plan of God works, our way doesn't work. Can anyone change the plan of God and come out winning? Salvation comes by hearing and following the voice of God.


*  Stephen is from South Africa. He has been preaching in the Southern Brazil for 20 years.