Update From Bruce the Sheep


Yes I am back and it was a nice little break, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the last few days. Thinking about how to more effectively balance my priorities and how to move forward. Thinking about what really matters right now and the options that lay before me. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in prayer, earnest prayer, seeking the ordered foot steps that God would have me follow. And this body of mine isn’t getting any younger, and I am reminded daily of the frailty of my being and what yet needs to be accomplished, in myself and those that I love. Time after time, the absolute necessity of God’s continued grace, because of my own limitations, has been brought to the forefront of my mind. Jesus is my shepherd and I need to keep Him always in my sight. Feeding on His Word is so essential, and trusting in Him for the unknowns, that only He knows. 

I did a fair amount of additional research on the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement, especially it’s linkage history, and my intent is to do more posts on that later. It was interesting because I looked at the opposing perspectives and it struck me that if you want to, you can find Scriptures that will attempt to justify, just about anything. The words “grasping at straws” to justify, came to my mind so many times. But what I also noticed was on how tiring the process can be. Every little stone is twisted and that which seems obvious is moulded or changed into a different acceptance. I also noticed how time and time again, how so much of what we see in this “enlightened” NAR movement is focused on the individual, and not the edification of the Church. Satan certainly loves getting us to spin our wheels. 

But I keep being brought back to spending more time in God’s Holy Word. This is a MAJOR priority. Spinning our wheels doesn’t build our faith, it chips away. It stops or slows down the flow of the living water from within. And in these trying times, we need that living water to feed our spirit within. So I’m going to be focusing more on God’s Holy Word. Spend less time on “spinning those wheels”. 

I’ve mentioned before how this blog is a form of discipline for myself. It helps me to stay on course. It helps me to focus. It keeps me mindful of the trials that others are enduring. It helps keep things in perspective. And at times, it is a bit like a spiritual thermometer, letting me know when I am drifting to far to the left or to the right. The “inner core” of those that I exchange comments with, is important to me. I’m thinking we all need that. 

And one final thought. It struck me, during this time away, that our hearts can be mislead, distracted, lead us astray. That we’re all just sheep, with minor variations that we elevate to importance, when it ought not to be so. We have a shepherd like none other. He is our strength, He is our guide, He is our wisdom, He is our peace. Jesus is Lord in all things.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

35 comments

  1. Reading through my feed yesterday I thought, “Man, I miss hearing from Bruce. I hope he comes back soon.”

    As I read through your post, it struck me how folks like to create new religious personas—I’ll call them “Sheep 2.0’s.”
    The gospel is straightforward and simple, Christ sacrificed Himself for our sins so that we can be reconciled to God, but we love to make it complicated.

    This whole “Jesus Plus” movement puts the focus of the gospel right back on man, where it doesn’t belong.

    I’m rambled on enough. Welcome back, Bruce. I missed you, brother!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am encouraged by the results of your personal experience and reflections on what matters most : the Word of God. I agree there are too many areas where we can end up “spinning our wheels”, distractions from the core message. I am more convinced in my mid-fifties that I need to be increasingly wise how I use my remaining years; that I spend more time in His Word pointing folk to the only One who can save them for eternity.
    Welcome back brother Bruce! May our Father God continue to strengthen and guide you each day, 🙏

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  3. Thanks for the update, Bruce. I agree, priorities are so important. When I offer my mind to the Lord each day (Romans 12:2), my prayer is always the same: “Let my perceptions be accurate, my beliefs true, and my priorities perfectly lined up with Yours. Give me Your wisdom (James 1:5) discernment, and whatever knowledge I need to do Your will today. Give me the mind of Christ pertaining to … (Your will for me today)”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Annie, I think your prayer is better than mine but the essence is the same. I ask God to keep His thoughts and ways in the forefront of my mind, above my worldly thoughts and ways, that my heart would be moulded by Him to be more like His and that His spirit would dominate or fill my spirit. And I marvel at times how His grace does this, with His thoughts “out of the blue” coming into my mind, the curtailment of my first response actions and reminders of His grace towards me, which modifies how I sometimes respond to others. I can’t say enough about God’s grace. Being changed into His image is so much bigger than we can even imagine and it is indeed; God’s sheer grace. I am indebted to your insight. Blessings!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Welcome back, Bruce!
    Yes, my experience matches yours with respect to focusing on false teaching being very draining. I can only do it with any depth once in a while when moved by indignation or concern and even then I have to keep a 2:1 or 3:1 balance of focusing on the Word. Our minds are malleable and even focusing on things we know are false or wrong will start to conform our minds to those things. That’s part of the reason I try to avoid news and entertainment as much as practicable (is there a difference these days?).
    Glad to “see” you!
    Love in Christ,
    Craig

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Craig, I agree with your observations. Voicing discernment concerns with regard to doctrines and practises that are not supported by Scripture is indeed absolutely necessary, but it is HARD work and draining, involving an inordinate amount of time, that does need to be balanced, leaning on the side of feeding oneself in God’s Word and prayer, more. The extent to which the enemy will go to deceive can be at times, overwhelming. But God does raise warriors who tackle this, most times much better than I can. Mine is but a small faint voice, away in the back forty. Common folk or sheep, as it were. It makes me mindful of Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” When one begins to see the magnitude of the deception, this reality becomes self-evident. One aspect at a time, as the Lord leads, in His timing and towards His purposes. I sent you an email not too long ago, not sure if you got it? Blessings brother!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey, thanks for mentioning your email. I had not received it. I went and checked and evidently your email looks suspiciously like spam, LOL. I added your email to the contact list for that account (I use Thunderbird on my local PC for all my email so my contacts are not listed on the server). I had assumed you were busy. Blessings to you!

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  5. Hi Bruce, welcome back. I missed your posts. First of all I love the picture of the sheep that you use. It always makes me smile, the expression on its face is wonderful. Today at church our preach was about Psalm 23. The Lord truly is our Shepherd. It is only Jesus our chief shepherd who can guide us and lead us into God’s truth in His holy Word. We talked today about how important it is to be intentional in reading and studying God’s Word. It needs to have the highest priority in our lives. I’m so glad to see you will be doing this. What a blessing. I’m looking forward to your posts. You know from my posts that the Lord has always laid on my heart that the Word and Spirit must be in balance. That’s not easy sometimes which is why I really appreciate my brothers and sisters in Christ helping me in my walk with the Lord. Bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Nicola. Yes, there is something about that sheep picture that caught my eye too. Eyes set wide apart, blank puzzled stare, the off white color etc, seems pretty close to home! You’re right about keeping the balance between God’s Word and Spirit not being easy and I’m with you on the appreciation factor. God’s blessings to you and yours as always!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Glad you’re back, Bruce. You wrote: “I also noticed how time and time again, how so much of what we see in this “enlightened” NAR movement is focused on the individual, and not the edification of the Church.”

    I agree.

    I also have noticed this in the the charismatic and Pentecostal churches I’ve visited over the years. (This is not an attack on them; just an observation.) So much of what they teach is about having an “experience,” of having “more” of what God wants to give you.

    Though the intentions are good, I’ve seen this expressed in a way as to solely benefit the individual and not take into account the caring of the flock.

    The NAR, however, takes this to a far greater and much more dangerous extent.

    Keep plugging away, Bruce, you’re doing a great job!

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  7. Hi Bruce, First of all, I’m glad you’re back! I had a couple of thoughts on this. Having been part of a Word of Faith/ NAR church for several years, I can tell you that you hit the nail on the head when you said, “this “enlightened” NAR movement” because that’s the problem. They think they are “enlightened” and the only reason you don’t get it is because you are NOT enlightened. They feel superior and think mainstream churches are just “religious”.
    The other thing is, you said, “…spending more time in God’s Holy Word. This is a MAJOR priority.” I believe this is the most important message for the Church today. We must read the WHOLE Bible and study it everyday.
    The other thing I wanted to say is that you are a great encouragement to me. I hope I can say this right, but having discernment about false teaching can be difficult because sometimes I feel like no one else gets it. It seems like Christians flock to any book with a “Christian” label. Not participating in these “Bible Studies” can be difficult when others in your church are all enthusiastic about this great “Bible teacher”. So I urge you to keep speaking Truth. It not only provides a path out for those who are deceived, it encourages those who have been set free from deception. Blessings, Brother!!

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    • Thank you, Cindy. For sure there is no shortage of those who want to label those who do practise discernment. But, it comes with the territory. The hard part is not responding to personal slights. No shortage of those either. Not to worry, one day at a time, keeping or at least trying to keep all things in balance. God’s blessings to you and yours, Cindy!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks, Bruce. It was good to get caught up on your life. I hope all is well. I have been intending on checking in with you but life gets away from me sometimes and then I realize I didn’t do what I intended.

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  9. I’m glad you’re back Bruce and that all is well. Your writing was missed by us fellow sheep! But I can understand how the burden you carry to expose the lies of NAR must be tiresome at times. I’m glad you were able to recognises the need for a break. Blessings to you today!

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