We are interrupting our Ephesians study for one more week in order to share with you one of the most important podcasts Nicole and Sharon ever taped. Listen in to hear their stories of how they came to the Shepherd and became His very own. This episode was first aired near the beginning of our podcast taping, but we want to make sure you have heard this. It's at the very heart of who we are and why we come to you each week with a little message and words of encouragement. Be blessed. And if you are not His? Join the flock. There's always room for one more.
EPISODE 74. BECOMING HIS. This is a repeat of Season One Episode 7. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we were unable to tape in time for this week’s new episode study of Ephesians. Instead, we are encoring this very important podcast where we share our faith stories. Enjoy!!
Speaker 1 (00:01):
Well. Hello, tired one. Are you feeling a bit frazzled and worn out? Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments podcast. We hope lessons from God’s word and encouragement from us will lead you to soul rest. Sweet Selah Moments podcast is brought to you by word radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.
Hello and welcome friends. This is Nicole Olstad and Sharon Gamble here to welcome you to episode seven of the Sweet Selah Moments podcast. Today we’re going to be talking about Becoming His. We’re going to start in God’s word today in John chapter 10 and see what he has for us first.
Well Nicole, as we open today and talk about belonging to Christ, I’m thinking of junior high where I felt I didn’t belong anywhere. Oh my goodness. It was such a hard time for me. I had a face that just was not attractive due to acne at the time. And then on top of that I had braces and a head gear. So not only did I have braces on my teeth, but I had this thing that went around my head and over it.
Oh, those are awful.
It’s really so sad. So, and on top of that, I was kind of geeky.
So people called me brains. And when you’re in junior high and you’re a girl, at least this girl did not want to be known for her brains. I wanted to be pretty. And I wasn’t and I didn’t feel like I belonged. I felt very out of it like an outsider. And I tried my best to fit in, but I never felt like I quite succeeded at the fitting in thing. So we’re going to talk today about how we do belong if we know Christ, and we’re going to read one of my favorite passages about that, the good shepherd and his sheep. So John 10 starting at verse one and why don’t we just read back and forth together for this Sweet Selah moment.
I tell you the truth. Anyone who sneaks over the wall of the sheepfold rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber.
But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens the gate for him and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
After he has gathered his own flock. He walks ahead of them and they follow him because they know his voice.
They won’t follow a stranger. They will run from him because they don’t know his voice.
Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what it meant.
So he explained it to them. I tell you the truth. I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me were thieves and robbers, but the true sheep did not listen to them.
Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come in and go freely and will find good pastures.
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for his sheep.
A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd and so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock.
The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and they know me.
Just as my father knows me and I know the father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep too that are not in this sheep fold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
The father loves me because I sacrifice my life, so I may take it back again.
No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily for I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again for this is what my father has commanded.
Oh, there’s so much in those verses. I love them! I wanted to be his sheep. Yeah, I really did. So what did you like best about this passage? And then tell me about your journey to becoming a sheep and belonging.
I love how he describes himself to us. He’s the good shepherd and we know his voice and that he just puts himself out there for his flock. He’ll ward off the wolves and the thieves and everyone else, and he sacrifices himself for us. I don’t, I don’t think you can get any better love than that you know.
So my story and how God found me,, he found me when I was six years old. I was a very impulsive and rambunctious child, so I think he took one look at me and said, I think this one’s going to be trouble. We better keep her close. I remember my parents reading this book to me about these two children in a school and there was a bully and there was the good kid so far, and the bully was just so mean to this one child and, and stole his lunch and hit him. It was just not very nice. And it came time for the bully to get his punishment at school and the kid that he had been bullying stepped up instead and took his punishment. Wow. And as a six year old, I’m like, why would he do that?
That doesn’t make sense. He was a good kid. And that shocked me so deeply. Even at that young age. I just really felt the burden of my sin and was more than happy to ask Jesus to take that from me. And I remember that feeling of just elation and lightness after I prayed. And for me personally, I felt God’s presence so strong in my life from day one, from the day I asked him into my heart, I have never doubted my salvation. He knew I would need him through life and to feel him really strong. So he’s been very,, just very near to me ever since then.
I love that. Yeah, we are so alike. It’s scary Nicole.
Because I accepted Christ when I was four. A little younger than you, but I remember it so well too. And I had that same joy feeling when I received him into my heart. Mine came on the eve of my brother being born. My mom was nine months pregnant and packing her suitcase for the hospital in early labor. Oh my goodness. You know, with my stellar timing, right. I mean I couldn’t have done this in Sunday school where I heard how to ask Jesus into your heart. I couldn’t have done it at devotions. My parents did devotions with us every night. Oh no.
I chose that moment to say, mommy, I really want to have Jesus into my heart. But I really did. So imagine a woman in early labor kneeling, cause she always knelt when she prayed. She still does. My mom is so, I just love my mom. So she knelt with me and I folded my little hands and was right beside her and asked Jesus to come into my heart. And I think, I think she probably said the words and then I repeated them. But I, I really wanted it. And it was a genuine, I know for some kids they kind of just do it cause they’re told to. But sounds like for you too, it was genuine. I wanted God in me. I wanted Jesus to be my Savior. I wanted to belong even at four years of age, I wanted to belong.
And I’m so thankful for that. So, but because they’re both so similar, I should tell a third salvation story because not everybody has this la–, wonderful moment in their early childhood and then feels close to God for the rest of their lives, which you and I have. I mean, we’ve had our desert times and we’ve talked about those. But by and large, when we asked Christ in, he came in, I mean, it’s not made up. The Holy Spirit is living in Nicole and Sharon whoa, and, and helping us walk out the path that God planned for us. It’s, it’s amazing and it’s wonderful to have a life with that kind of purpose in it. It really is. So, all right. So I met my husband who was definitely not a Christian when we were in high school. I was in a play. I was Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank, and he was asked by a friend if he would help with the lights for the production.
They didn’t have enough people on lights. And his one instruction was keep the spotlight on Sharon because I was Anne Frank. So God was like, this one, this was quite easy, right? Gaze fixed on you for the whole night. How cool is that? So we kind of got to know each other. He started dating a friend of mine and then I realized he wasn’t a Christian. And so I didn’t date non-Christians, you know, I dated Christians. So he was not just sort of neutral about it, Ray was an atheist. Ray absolutely believed that God did not exist. And he delighted in tormenting me about this. Oh, for crying out loud. He called me freak in the hallway all the time for Jesus freak. So I’d walk by him and I’d hear freak, you know, I know. And then I ended up marrying him. So we were in the library a lot and he would ask me these really hard questions that I had never thought of before that I had a hard time answering.
Like, okay Sharon. So there was just Adam and Eve, right? Just two people. I’m like, yes there were. And he said, so who did Cain marry? His sister? And I’m like, what? Did Cain marry his sister? So I had to run to my pastor and get answers and then I come back and I’d say, well, yes he did. But at that point the genetic pool was completely pure and, and then he’d have another one for me and I was the good kid that never got kicked out of the library. And that year I kept getting kicked out of the library because he would make me so mad, just make me mad. So we had a rather antagonistic relationship, but I prayed for him. And I, I would go into soliloquies, you know, monologues on the value of being saved. And Ray would fold his arms and just think freak, you know?
And so if, if it were up to my words, Ray Gamble would still not be saved I cannot say that my words saved him. But this is what did Nicole, he’s a history teacher as you know. He was saved because he started on his own, because Ray loves to read, studying the Roman empire. He was very fascinated by it. So he’s studying it. And he’s noticing that at the time of Nero when Rome burned, Nero blamed the Christians at the time. And Christianity was definitely on Ray’s radar because of me. I guess in that sense I had some sway over it because he was interested in the Christians. But what he could not get over was how many Christians died. Painful deaths, not easy deaths, very painful deaths, you know, and lions tearing them apart in the, Oh, what do you call it, the Colosseum fights, and even being used as torches to light the way into a stadium.
Horrible, horrible things. And yet all they had to do was deny that they saw Christ walking again after he was dead. That’s all they had to do. They just had to say that they were making it up, right? And they wouldn’t. And he started thinking, you know, one or two crazy people maybe. Right. But there were hundreds upon hundreds that died, singing, singing in agony. How, I mean, honestly, I still think about it. Think, but they had seen Jesus after he was dead, not just one or two. The Bible says at one point five hundred people saw Jesus walking after they knew he had died because a ton were at that crucifixion too. So Ray in his logical mind, cause Ray’s very logical said, I think it was true. I think it was true because that many people would not have done that for a lie.
What do you gain from keeping a lie if all you’re going to get for it is death and, Oh a painful death. How about that? You can’t die singing. They couldn’t all be crazy unless you really had seen a dead man walking. So my husband became a Christian because of the blood of the martyrs. Isn’t that the wildest thing? I think of that. I think some of the Christians that died had no idea that because they died singing somebody in 2000, well actually we were younger than that, 1900s, came to know Christ because of their testimony. It’s just so cool. So, so anyways, he accepted Christ and he told me about it. He knelt in his bedroom by himself and he said, I believe in you. I can’t not believe based on the evidence. So a very different conversion experience. You know, no parents that led him to it and all that. But he’s been a strong believer ever since. I mean he’s, you know, like us, he’s had desert times, but now he teaches in a Christian school and his faith has not wavered. So it wasn’t any wonderful wonder thing I said. It was history, it was history that converted him. But it’s been fun to watch him grow in his faith. And just for the record, I still would not date him until I was sure it was genuine.
Let’s see some fruit there, Buddy.
That’s right. Don’t you just be telling me this. So, but he started coming to our Bible study and just devouring the word of God and wanting to learn more. So it was just a really, really fun thing to see the change in him. So.
It’s fun to see the hunger and excitement in an older believer like we’ve known Christ since we were little. So we’ve always heard the stories and we’ve always, Jesus has always been a part of our lives, but to have someone in their teens or twenties or later, they get so excited and it kind of reinvigorates me when I hear them. Like, did you read this in the Bible? I’m like, Oh yeah. Oh, that is really cool.
You kind of see it with the a new light.
Yeah. Because of their enthusiasm. It must’ve been fun to be around him at that time.
It was and his questions were much easier because he was coming from a place of belief. Well, that reminds me of my Sunday school teacher in sixth grade. His name was Rocky Taylor and he accepted Christ into his sixties so talk about a late conversion. His wife had married him at 19 as a believer, marrying someone that didn’t know Christ and really knew she shouldn’t have and really had a rocky marriage. They did. He was a carouser, a bit, and so she prayed and she prayed and she prayed from 19 to 60 I mean, that’s a lot of prayer to wait for. And then Rocky Taylor accepted Christ. And just what you were saying, he was so on fire. It’s like he had to make up for lost time. He didn’t have that many years left. And I never had more fun than in my sixth grade, or in any Sunday school class, than I did in my sixth grade Sunday school class. Cause he said we cannot make it boring for them. This is good stuff.
So yeah, I know. It was so neat. It really was. So no matter your age, no matter what it is, coming to Christ and belonging and choosing the one who made you as your Savior, the one who in his grace says, you don’t have to come. You can ask me and I will give you the gift of eternal life, but I’m not going to make robots. I’m going to make people that have choice. It’s just stunning. Absolutely stunning to me. So woo. So much. So let’s go back to John 10:17 and 18 for a minute. Just talk about the significance of that cross, that death where Jesus died and then rose again that convinced Ray that Jesus was real, says this, the father loves me because I sacrificed my life.
Now Jesus is saying this before he died. He knows he’s going to, Jesus set his face like flint towards that cross and he knew in John 10 and in terms of when he dies, it’s like in John 24, you know, near the beginning of his thing that that’s what he was going to do. So the father loves me because I sacrificed my life so I may take it back again. So right there again, Jesus over and over said I will rise again. He told the disciples he was going to die. He told him he was going to rise again and they all went like, this must be some parable, right? It can’t be literal. So then he says, no one can take my life from me. And I think that’s so important too, he chose to allow that crucifixion.
Right. The Father didn’t make him..
Exactly. He could have called those legions of angels if he wanted to and they would have been incinerated. But you know, he didn’t. I sacrifice it voluntarily. Jesus chose to take that for, I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again for this is what my father has commanded. So this sacrifice was his choice. And what makes it so brutal is it wasn’t just the physical death, which was incredibly excruciatingly, awfully painful. It was the taking on of our sin and allowing the wrath of God to fall on him who did not deserve it. Like your story at the beginning about the bully, you know, and the good kid takes the punishment. This is what happened. It’s what happened when he died. That my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Cry from the cross was when, when the weight of all the sin and all the evil of the world fell on him.
And then God’s wrath dealt with it like it needed to be dealt with. But on Christ, not us. You know, it’s just amazing. And because he took it, we don’t suffer from the wrath. You know? That’s just such an amazing thing. My Rocky Taylor teacher who had lots of for which to be sorry, was constantly in awe of the fact that he did not get the punishment he deserved because Christ took it for him. Just constantly in awe of that. And it was so refreshing for a kid that kind of grew up good. Although trust me, I wasn’t. To hear the joy of someone that had gone through that. I love it. I love it. So, and then Matthew 27:50 talks about the fact that even the time of Christ’s death was his choice. It says, and when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
Even the moment of death was Jesus’ choice. You remember that the Sabbath was the next day. And so the guys that were staffing the crucifixion said, let’s break their legs because they could live for several more days and we don’t want that. We want to be done. And when they came to Jesus, who should have still been living at that point as a human being, being crucified. That’s why it was so awful. It lasted for days sometimes people that were being crucified. He was already dead and he gave up his spirit. So God was in control the whole time, even in that amazing situation. And then of course he did not stay dead. And we have the blood of the martyrs. We have the testimony of people that saw him saying, go ahead and kill me. I want to see him again. Anyways, you know?
So cool. So cool. Okay, so you’ve got small children.
I do, I had a few.
How do you as a parent share the gospel with them?
It’s, sometimes it’s easier. They just seem to accept the truth and sometimes they kind of cut through all the questions that we get so hung up on. So I enjoy talking to the girls about it because they come in, they’re just honest in their questions. But they’ve come through different questions and I try to keep it simple, but give them the basic truth that we’ve talked about, what sin is and how we’re born sinners and how we can’t clean our hearts. I would say their, our hearts are dirty. You know, sin makes it dirty. And Jesus had to die to take the punishment for our sin because we would have to die for our dirty hearts.
And God washes our hearts clean. And then he goes and makes a home in heaven for us. And they liked that part. What kind of home is he building? Well, I don’t know. We’ll have to find out. Maybe it’s a little castle. I don’t know. Is it pink? Well, maybe, they’re so curious about their home in heaven. And then we talk about how God sent his helper to live in their hearts and kind of help keep the hearts clean and how the Holy spirit prompts us to go back to God to confess the sins when we do get a little bit of dirt or sin back in our heart again, that we have the Holy spirit there to help us to be more like Christ and to remind us to read our Bible so that we can learn how to be more like Christ.
So that’s been our main theme for talking to the kids about Jesus.
I like that.
But they come up with some great questions.
I like the pink house one. That’s kind of wild to think isn’t it? That he is going to prepare a place for us that he wants us with him. We really do belong.
We do really do belong. He’s building a permanent home for us with him, and that just blows me away.
It does, me too, because God, the Trinity, was perfectly fine without us. It’s not like he needed us, but he chose to make us and he chose to die for us so that we could live with him. It’s just, it’s such good news, Nicole, best news and it’s so hard sometimes when you see people struggling that don’t grasp it and you want them so much to know.
You do not have to carry this condemnation and this feeling that you’re, you’re flawed because God can lift that. He can take it from you and clothe you brand new with righteousness and you don’t have to wallow in the guilt and the shame. I think one of Satan’s biggest, biggest traps is when we do something wrong. He wants to keep us in that place of shame, that place of hiding, that place of if anybody could see my insides they would not like me so that we don’t go to God with it and yet here’s Jesus saying, I already took it. I’m just trying to give it to you. You just have to receive it. I won’t force you to take this gift that cleanses you, that gives you me, that brings you to heaven and gives you a home, you know? But would you receive it?
And I think it’s both. The hardest thing to do and the easiest, it’s hard because we surrender ourselves to God. I mean, he’s really real and he really lives in me and you. So we’re not talking about just a formula. We’re not talking about just saying words. We’re talking about saying that we want the living God who made us to be in charge of us. I mean, when the shepherd calls the sheep follow. So in that sense it’s hard, but the easy part is we don’t have to climb Mount Everest to get there. We just have to receive it, you know? Right. So that’s something. So anyways, if there’s anybody listening today, I want you to know that we are thinking of you. If you have accepted Christ, yay, we’re glad you’re a sister in the Lord. We’re glad that you’re part of the flock.
And hello fellow sheep. It’s good to have you here. And anybody’s listening today who is sort of a wandered away sheep who at one point prayed that prayer, but you feel like you’re so far away, you can’t come back. Oh would you please read about that last lamb that Jesus went and found. He left 99 healthy sheep and went looking for the one last one and threw a party when he found it. And that is how God handles people that have wandered away. As soon as they turn, there is a party. The prodigal son got one too. You know God’s joy at having you back is great and no sin, no repeated sins that you committed are so bad that he doesn’t want you back. So come back and if I’m talking to someone today who is listening to this conversation and going, well, I have never done this thing of asking God to come into my life.
We want you to do this, not for our sake, but for yours, for your sake. So that the guilt and the shame and the ‘I can’t get it right-ness’ is lifted from you. So that in place of that you have the God who loves you, shepherding you, never leaving you, loving you and helping you be all you were created to be. There is no greater joy than knowing that you were created with purpose, that that purpose is good and that you’re not left alone to figure out how to do it. But you have a guide. So I’m going to pray right now and if you would like to follow along with me, go ahead, but at least listen to what it sounds like and maybe later you’ll want to ask Christ into your heart because he would love to have you.
Oh heavenly father, I am a sinner and I thank you that you have saved me. And for those that are listening, I stand in their place and I ask you to forgive their sin and that they would ask you for that themselves. That you would enter in Holy spirit, that you would clothe them with righteousness, that you would tenderly shepherd them step by step into a closer walk with you. I thank you Lord Jesus for your sacrifice. I’m in awe still of what you did so that we could be with you. In your name I pray. Amen. Amen.
Oh, Sharon, what a beautiful conversation we had today as we talked about becoming his. God’s love for us is so great. Dear listener, we truly hope that you know how loved you are by God. If you have questions or want to tell us if you’ve become his today, you can comment and find our show notes @SweetSelah.org firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find us on Facebook and send us a message on there. If you want to know more about accepting Jesus as your Lord and savior and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter for daily encouragement. This is one of the greatest relationships you will ever have and we promise you won’t regret it. Thank you for joining us today. We would love it if you subscribed to this podcast and shared it with your friends.
(Next week, we will be back to our regularly scheduled study in Ephesians!)
Speaker 1 (28:21):
We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. Sweet Selah Moments is a cooperative production or Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast, including show notes, can be found@SweetSelah.org email@example.com. Thank you for joining us.
You can download and print the transcript here.