God Leads His Dear Children Along

I have been thinking a lot recently about seeking the Lord to know Who He is instead of just seeking His hand of direction. The following picture really put it into perspective for me:

There is a split in the road ahead just beyond where the Shepherd is walking. At his feet, a bunch of little woolly sheep are bouncing along the path. They sense Him begin to turn to the right and automatically turn that way as well thinking more about staying at His side than noticing so much where they are going. The Shepherd’s quite voice saying “This is the way” is not stressed or loud. His hand pointing to the right is clearly understood when seen from the same angle.


But not all the sheep are quite this close. One is following an older sheep that is following the Shepherd. Unexpectedly, the older sheep is no longer right in front of the younger sheep. This causes a little panic in the younger sheep’s life until he realizes he can follow the Shepherd directly now.


20140301_122131[1]Another sheep is following from a distance. He’s worried about which way to go.  He is straining to hear and his perspective of where he thought he saw the Shepherd pointing didn’t make any sense.  How would you advise him? To ask harder for directions or move a little closer?





  1. Marie K. March 12, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    Oh wow. So true! Thank You!

  2. Sarah Wilkes March 14, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

    Thank you Esther for the very timely encouragement! This was just what I needed today. The importance on keeping our eyes on the Shepherd and trusting Him for the valleys He takes us through. May the Lord continue to bless you as you keep listening to the Shepherd’s still small voice!

  3. Gemma March 16, 2014 at 4:48 am #

    Hi Staddon family,
    I am from Australia and have been watching the embassy institute messages for about 2 years. I really like the IBLP ministry and overall ATI kids seem like such great people. I think your ministry is really strange but I am drawn to it. I know that being a new christian I should be careful what I choose to follow, because everyone says it is a cult. I love the messages you guys preach, but the internet is full of warnings against it. So I feel confused. Now that Bill Gothard has stepped down I feel like I shouldnt watch the embassy institute messages anymore, and that I should be careful. My husband doesn’t want me to follow these standards, he believes it is legalism and a lot of the rules imposed on people (eg wearing skirts) is unfounded in the bible. Anyway, I really think you should retape the basic and advanced seminar with a new speaker. Maybe David Waller could do it? He has a great stage presence. Why don’t you give the ministry a bit of a facelift and include some younger folks? I think it’s time! 🙂 God bless you.

  4. Charity L. March 17, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    That was well put. It is a blessing to know that we can be closer to our Shepherd and keep trusting him even in the trials we come across in this life.

  5. Donald April 3, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    Hi Gemma,
    Thank you for your comment! You and your husband have a wise question there. Many people are, and should be, asking that question right now.
    First, about ministry: Any ministry can become a cult if the members are encouraged to follow the “leader” more than following Christ. As Esther said in the post, the key is strengthening our relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Many around the world are in need of encouragement to pray and read their Bible in such a way as to follow Christ when they feel more like following the world’s ways.
    In the same way, any standard can become legalistic if you lose the heart of it. From what we see going on at our time in history it is, generally, on the dangerous side to just say this or that is legalistic because that one short statement can so easily discourage people from having any practical standards of righteousness at all. I often remember the old saying: “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything” 🙂
    Matthew 6:33
    God bless you and your family.

    PS If you have a caution about the accuracy of a message in the Embassy Institute library, write to [email protected] and let them know the message title and concern. I am sure they will appreciate your input very much. Thanks!

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