Tag Archives: fear

TOASTMASTERS WORD OF THE DAY

Fear. That was the “word of the day” or Table Topic for the day. I am on the job only three days and my department – Training and Consulting – are attending a weekly meeting of Toastmasters. I have heard of this fine organization but never attended a meeting. My trainer for this week told me that it is “Voluntold” that we go to these meetings… lol … instead of Volunteer… our manager encourages us to go to help us with our speaking and presentation skills. I jumped at the chance! It was great fun and we all learned some good “stuff” about each other. Let me explain a bit.

The speaker for the day was a very “together” lady that spoke of an event in her life that brought about “fear” and she spent about 15 minutes speaking about her “fear event”. It was quite enlightening and transparent as she reveals an event in her life that would have elicited fear in anyone. It was an emotional, yet entertaining story and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. She ended with a wonderful statement that encouraged me. She said something like… “This was very hard for me to go through, but it was nothing like what Jesus went through His last night on earth.” Now that is paraphrased, but you get the idea. She didn’t elaborate on that but God just showed me a believer in the crowd and I felt His peace.isaiah-41-10-facebook-cover-photo

After she told her story, we all had the opportunity – well, we didn’t have a choice – to get up and tell about our greatest fear. There was the three of us new Trainers/Consultants and then the two veterans – they have only been there 6 months – and then our manager, who has been with the company for 15+ years. Also attending was one other gentleman and another lady. It was most fun and I really enjoyed the time spent with these wonderful co-workers.

Not surprising that the main fear of these young men from my department was the fear of failure or disappointing someone or not doing all they could for the day to the best of their ability. I thought that to be a little sad. Young men in today’s society – and sometimes young women – are pushed to achieve, succeed, make a name for yourself. These young men are bright, funny, personable, handsome young men and definitely over achievers, but they still have this fear of failure.ShelterStorm

My parents always encouraged us three kids to go for it. Go for whatever you think you can do and do it your best. Never can I ever remember either of them saying “You were not good enough … you could have done better.” Or “You have to achieve to be someone in life.” Etc. I can only remember encouraging words and of course instructional words… I needed a lot of those, most of the teen years. However, I cannot think of a time when I felt pushedPL-TLC186-WB-12x18 so much to have a “fear” of not being good enough, not achieving enough, or not being successful. I am so thankful my parents instilled in us three kids, myself and my two brothers, that our worth is priceless because of the finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s Cross and the empty tomb and not because of anything we do or don’t do in life! Praise God! God loved us from before we were conceived and will love us for eternity because we are children of the King! He calls us His beloved for a reason! Because He created us ad He loves us greatly!

Psalm 139

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall[a] on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[b]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.

19 Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!
Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
20 For they speak against You wickedly;
Your enemies take Your name in vain.[c]
21 Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

article_images-12_1_home_whom_shall_i_fear__557426976

So the Toastmaster experience was quite enlightening and informative. I am looking forward to each day with anticipation of how God is going to grow me some more. I am in another type of growth period right now, I believe. It is yet another wonderful God experience at every turn. I am in my element, for sure! I am finally using my brain… well, expanding it at least for now. I haven’t used my brain quite like am now in a very long time and it is screaming for more! I love my new job and like I said, I can’t wait to share the new journey with you. God is such a Good God and one that cares about each step of my journey. He has prepared me for such a time as this and I know I will be successful because He is my Rock, my Shield, my Deliverer, my sustainer, my very present help in time of need.

Psalm 46:1-3

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.

Psalm 18:1-3, 35-36

I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;

35 You have also given me the shield of Your salvation;
Your right hand has held me up,
Your gentleness has made me great.
36 You enlarged my path under me,
So my feet did not slip.

Just a few verses of encouragement for you as well. Let’s make our Word of the Day something that is wonderful, encouraging, helpful, and so powerful!  YOU.  You are the word of the day!  You are His beloved and He cares for you too! He wants you to know you are good, great just like you are. Your worth is NOT in what the world sees as worth. Your worth – if you are “In Christ” is in Him! He is your worth. You are a priceless child of the King of Creation! Jesus didn’t come to earth and live and die and rise again just because He could. He did it for you, He did it for me! He wants to spend eternity with each of us. Call out to Him today. If you want to know more about what it means to be a Christ follower, click this linkBible.org. It will take you to a webpage that tells you about how to follow a Simple Plan of Salvation and you, too, can spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

The Video – He Has Made Me Glad (w/lyrics) – Hillsong

00-SIGNATURE

PRAYER – MOSES AND THE BURNING BUSH

As I mentioned in my post two days ago (PRAYER – MOSES THE SHEPHERD AND GOD), I do believe Moses knew God quite intimately from the aloneness of tending sheep. From the book I did a series on “A Shepherd Looks At The 23 Psalm”, I learned a lot about shepherds and how they lived. They lived a life of solitude with their flock. They became intimately acquainted with, not only the sheep, but nature and all that is in it. greenpastures 2And if you are out in nature long, you have to realize there is a God that created all of this wonderfulness. So I believe that Moses spent a lot of time talking with God out in nature and he also had a father-in-law that was the Midian Priest. Moses was very well educated in the stories of the Israelites and knew his history and where he came from. He had to have known the God of his father – and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Just because Egypt forgot all that Joseph did for them doesn’t mean that all of the Israelites did, and besides, Moses was born into a family from the House of Levi – who were Priests as well – to the Israelites. No, he had not forgotten all that he came from and his ancestry. He knew his God.3-4_moses-shepherd.

So when God spoke to him from this bush, I believe it wasn’t the voice he was unfamiliar with, it was the media in which the voice was coming from. A burning bush that is not consumed! That must be a strange site. So let me begin with the scripture.

Exodus 3:1-10

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”

So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.mosesbush.gif

I found another article on GotQuestions.org that is a very good article. The question posed was Why did God speak to Moses out of the burning bush?” There are so many points here that are answered and I would like to use a couple of their quotes in a moment. I will say that this was quite an encounter that Moses had which was a manifestation of God in a burning bush. I learned tonight that is called a theophany. That is a very cool word and here is the definition:

“A theophany is a manifestation of God in the Bible that is tangible to the human senses. In its most restrictive sense, it is a visible appearance of God in the Old Testament period, often, but not always, in human form.”

So here is this bush that is burning and the fire is not consuming the bush. God is speaking to Moses from the bush and telling him not to come close and to take off his sandals because he is standing on holy ground. I also learned tonight that this is the first time that the particular word holy is used to describe God. Here is what GotQuestions.org has to say about it.

“This is the first time the Bible uses the word “holy” with reference to God (verse 5). At the burning bush God revealed His holiness in a way it had never been revealed before. Moses was so awed by this experience that later when he wrote his famous victory hymn, he made sure to mention this divine attribute of God’s holiness: “Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (Exodus 15:11).

The fire is a representation of the purifying and refining quality of God’s holiness. All throughout scripture we find references to God revealing Himself as fire that is the image of His holiness. That is why Moses was instructed to take his sandals off. God’s holiness was present and it was a respectful act towards God.holy-holy-holy

I like what GotQuestions.org has to say about holiness…here is the quote.

“Holiness involves separation. God’s holiness means that He is set apart from everything He has made. Holiness is not simply His righteousness (although that is part of it), but also His otherness. It is the distinction between the Creator and the creature, the infinite distance between God’s deity and our humanity. God says, “I am God, and not man—the Holy One among you” (Hosea 11:9). His people respond by saying, “There is no one holy like the LORD” (1 Samuel 2:2).

Fire will also be a way that God will lead them in the wilderness after they leave Egypt.

Exodus 13:19-21

20 And they moved on from Succoth and encamped at Etham, on the edge of the wilderness. 21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.

That is getting way ahead… but the Pillar of Fire will be a representation of God leading them as well. We will come to that eventually… but for now let’s stick to the burning bush and the message to Moses.

When God speaks to Moses about going back to Egypt, Moses is quite disturbed and unwilling to do this. He tries, many times, to give excuses to God to wiggle out of this mission that God has for Moses. He tries to make the excuse that he is slow to speak. I love God’s response. It reminds me of how God responded to Job when Job questioned God (Job 38). There is a lot more to the conversation with God telling Moses about the miracles that He will perform in Egypt and I will not go into all of that but I do recommend that you read it yourself. It is quite interesting and God laid it all out for Moses, Yet, Moses was reluctant. Here is God’s response to Moses.

Exodus 4:10-12It's_All_About_Him

10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

11 So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”

How many excuses do we give God when He asks us to do something for him? It may never be to save a nation, but it might be to share Jesus with a neighbor. Or, share a gospel tract with someone at that fast food restaurant. Or even visit a shut-in or make a very timely phone call to someone that is lonely and hurting. We don’t have to save a nation. We just have to be willing to go or do when God calls us to go or do. We have to be sensitive to His voice though. You have to have a relationship with Him before you can recognize His voice. Here is a good scripture to encourage you in your acceptance of God’s plan or mission for you.

Romans 8:31

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

I believe this was yet another “beginning” for Moses and his relationship with God. God just took it to a new level. God was calling him to come up another step.  “Moses, you have walked with me for many years, now you are ready to go another level into a deeper relationship with Me.” I believe that is what God was trying to convince Moses of.article_images-12_1_home_whom_shall_i_fear__557426976

This last statement of Moses kindles a little bit of anger with God. But in God’s great compassion for His servant, He agrees to have Aaron, Moses’ brother, help him in this endeavor. Here is that scripture.

Exodus 4:13-17

13 But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.”

14 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and He said: “Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do. 16 So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God. 17 And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.”

Moses is finally at rest with that arrangement. God is also and so the next post will be about Moses and Aaron going to Egypt. There is always a lot to talk about in this book about Moses. I am thankful that God is allowing me to do this blog and this series to share with you. God has many lessons for us to learn from Moses and the Israelites. This first one is very important though. One must be willing when you are called, for when you are called, God has made a way for you, no matter what it is. You must trust his plan for your life – Jeremiah 29:11. He wants the best for you. He loves you so very much and calls you His beloved.

The Song – I Stand In Awe Of You – Hillsong

The Video- I Stand In Awe Of You – Hillsong (with lyrics)

00-SIGNATURE

PRAYER – ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND ISHMAEL

My last post ended with God’s conversation with Abraham ending and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah set in motion. Our next stop along the journey of Prayer will be the blessed even of the arrival of the long promised son, Isaac. This son of promise was promised by God 30 years earlier. However, before God could fulfill His promise, Sarai and Abram took matters into their own hands and tried to “help” God along. a1cadba9-d70a-4431-9a67-d211445f8746_273This resulted in the birth of the son Ishmael (before God changed their names to Sarah and Abraham – see Prayer – Abraham and Sarah post). This son was born of an Egyptian maidservant of Sarai’s and was not the promised son. This is a quote from that post, but I encourage you to read the entire post, if you have not been following the story.

“They did not wait for God’s plan to unfold because of their unbelief that with God all things are possible! They spent 13 long years in bitterness and misery because of their unwillingness to trust God’s plan. Because of their actions, a child named Ishmael, was born of Hagar, the maidservant, and Abram. As I said yesterday, this child grew to be the Father of the Arab nation, who has been a thorn in the side of Israel, to this day! These 13 years were spent out of the presence of God and His grace and mercy. The baby Ishmael grows to be a teenager and when he was 13 years old things began to change. However, I believe that things were changing over the course of these 13 years but things really changed when he was 13.”

So let’s begin this post with the scripture that introduces us to the “Promised Son”.

Genesis 21:1-7

And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him—whom Sarah bore to him—Isaac. Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and alABRAHAM AND ISAACl who hear will laugh with me.” She also said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age.”

This was definitely a blessed event. What a miracle has SARAH AND ISAACoccurred! God made it physically possible for this 90 year old woman and this 100 year old man to have a baby. Something that is beyond man, God can do! Always!

How many times do we doubt God’s power in our lives? God can make anything happen if it is His will. God loved Abraham and Sarah and gave them this wonderful promised son and through Isaac many will be born and inhabit the land that had been promised to Abraham many, many years earlier.

As young Isaac grew and was weaned they had a feast to celebrate. This is a day of gladness and excitement throughout the camp. As the scripture goes, as the festive occasion is going on, Sarah glances over and happens to see Ishmael, who is 14 years old now, and Isaac. The young lad of 14 is playing with his new half-brother. Sarah realizes that the two cannot possibly co-exist. Isaac is the promised son and the Covenant is to be fulfilled through him and not Ishmael.  As Sarah sees this unfolsarah-and-isaac-by-scott-snow-oil-on-canvas-2000ding, she can see that there could be real trouble. She knows what God has promised and now she believes the two shall not dwell together any longer. The maidservant, Hagar, the mother of Ishmael, and Ishmael must leave the camp. Sarah tells Abraham that they must leave and this is very disturbing to Abraham – rightfully so… however, God speaks to Abraham. Here is the scripture.

Genesis 21:12-14

12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. 13 Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed.”Hagar-And-Ishmael

14 So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water; and putting it on her shoulder, he gave it and the boy to Hagar, and sent her away. Then she departed and wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba.

Now, let’s stop here and think about this situation. Here is Abraham at 100 years old and Sarah at 90. Abraham has a 14 year old son that he had with his wife’s maidservant and now he has a brand new baby – Isaac. Abraham loves them both. However, Ishmael is a product of his flesh, when he allowed himself to be pulled into the “helping God” story. This is of the flesh no matter how you slice it. Isaac, on the other hand, is of the Spirit. He is the product of years of waiting and praying and much changing in both Sarah and Abraham’s life. They softened over time and became more pliable by God. God waited until it was weSarah and Isaac (?)ll past the time of child bearing years for both of them to make sure they understood it was of God and not man.

The same goes in our lives, we try to “help” God sometimes and it becomes an effort born of the flesh and not of the Spirit. When we walk and talk with God daily and are in close communion with Him regularly, we know how we must walk, what we must say and which direction to put our feet in. That is walking “in the Spirit”. When we go off on our own and do what we want, say what we want to say, and go where we want to go without talking to God about any of it, then that becomes walking “in the flesh”. I have walked in the flesh before, for years, and I tell you one thing, walking in the Spirit is a much sweeter place.

Another scripture that references Ishmael being of the flesh and Isaac being of the Spirit is this:

Galatians 4:21-23

22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 2

The next thing to look at is the need for Ishmael to go! You say, oh how terrible that is to cast out this woman and her child into the wilderness. It had to be a very, very hard thing for Abraham to do. He loved Ishmael greatly, I feel certain. However, he was born of the flesh and had no place in the lives of those walking in the Spirit.

When we are new Christians, there are many things in our lives that change. Some things seem to change overnight (i.e., quit smoking, quit drinking, quit carousing, etc.) and other things seem to linger for years. God allows things to remain and others he takes the desire for them away totally. I for one, when I re-dedicated my life totally to God, was smoking 1-1 ½ packs of cigarettes a day. God spoke to me one night while I was praying and said “Leah, you are not being the example I need you to be with your smoking.” I stopped that very moment and never wanted another one. That has been 24 years ago November 1, 2014. Praise God! Other things didn’t leave so fast. Things born of the flesh are hard to let go of sometimes – most of the time. However, we reach a point in our walk with God when we must let go of things that were of the flesh so we can grow in the Spirit. God doesn’t promise an easy time always, but He does promise that it will be well worth every bit of the effort!

God was serious about Ishmael. For the journey that Abraham, Sarah and now Isaac was on with God to progress, Ishmael must go. Now.8033817_f520  God is serious about you too!  If you want to grow in the Spirit, you must cast out the Ishmaels that linger in your life.

All of us have Ishmaels in our lives. Things (or people) we don’t want to let go of.  Things that we have, or things that we have  done, and continue to do or ideas that we have had for many years. Or places we have gone for many years.  I know this first hand. I also know that God’s love and plan is perfect and if you let them go and trust God, He will replace them with Isaacs – laughter, goodness, happiness, fulfillment, a deeper relationship with Him. God is a good God that loves you so much. Talk to God today. He is waiting to hear from you. He calls you His beloved.

The Song – Voice of Truth – Casting Crowns

THE GOOD SHEPHERD AND HIS FLOCK (Part 8)

Yesterday’s post (here’s the link to yesterday’s) was ended talking about becoming submissive to Jesus – The Good Shepherd. Since He knows the best path for us to take, would it not behoove us to follow His lead? The shepherd… a “good shepherd” knows where the good part of the pasture is for his sheep. He leads them sometimes daily into a new field to graze. One thing I didn’t mention last night… the author of the book, “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23”, mentioned that th69462fd3cd8d16d26f75810cee31e3a8e day he moves his sheep to a new meadow or field to graze, the sheep were so excited. He said even the older ewes were almost kicking up their heels in excitement as they entered the gate to the new meadow.

Looking at the comparison with Christians, we should also be excited as our Good Shepherd leads us into new areas of our life journey. Trusting Him to take us to the best place for us to thrive and flourish. This is sometimes very hard for some of us, I know. I am one of those. However, I have found that if I submit to His will and look for the silver lining, it will appear. He knows best for me. I am learning still. I call Him my Good Shepherd.

Now for today’s post. This part is one I can personally relate to as well.  The next part of the 23rd Psalm speaks of trusting also. “Yea, though I walk through the valley…”. Let me begin by talking about the shepherd and his sheep. The author of the book talked about how a “good shepherd” goes before his flock before he moves them to another meadow or field. Well, the shepherd also moves them up the country side or mountain side and down the mountain side –  depending on the time of the year.380014 The author of the book talks about taking them to the high country … the wonderful meadows above the timber line. Going before the flock means that the shepherd must walk every square foot of land to know what advantages and disadvantages are there on the land that he will be taking them through to get to the good meadows (like I think I said … at the beginning of this series, a shepherd must REALLY like sheep to do all that is required for the flock to survive and flourish). So the shepherd goes up the mountain side, knowing he will find many areas that are dangerous for his sheep to pass through. However, he continues on because the best places to graze, the best meadows are in the high country above the timber line. The shepherd will find water, shelter, meadows and all kinds of things that would benefit his flock as well as be damaging to his flock along the way. He knows where the wild animals might be hiding and all the pitfalls and dangerous places are before he ever thinks of bringing his sheep to the area. I once read another book about this same topic. That book said the shepherd might go so far as to go through the fields and uproot any poisonous plants and take out the rocks and every hurtful thing. So the shepherd has gone before the sheep to ensure their safety.

Now, I know you can imagine the comparison here. The phrase does say “…. Though I walk through the valley…”. So our Good Shepherd has gone before us and will get us through the valleys of our life. Even the death of loved ones, diseases that may have racked our bodies, wayward children, broken homes, loss of jobs, loss of a home, loss of a friend, etc. So many things in this life that are hard times – or our “Valleys”.  image4932We can take comfort in the fact that our Good Shepherd will get us through to the other side because He has gone before us and is aware of every possible thing that could happen to us. He will always be right by our side and never, ever leave us. We can say, with confidence …

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.laneve-wool-farm-in-new-zealand

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;

I know the Good Shepherd is listening for your voice. He is waiting for you to call out to Him to help you through that rough time in your life. He wants to help you. He loves you that much! After all you are His beloved.Shepherd and Sheep_0

Tomorrow we will continue the series with “Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me”.

 

The Song – How Great Is Your Love – Mercy Me

THE GOOD SHEPHERD AND HIS FLOCK (Part 4)

In yesterday’s post (click here to go to it) I talked about the “mark” of a Christian and how Jesus started that “mark” with His “Everlasting Stain” of the blood He shed on the Cross for our sins. Also, I mentioned how we, as Christians, rely on The Good Shepherd to provide for our needs and how we should be content and satisfied. And lastly, I talked about the Christian that wants the “best of both worlds”… the carnal world and the life of a Christian and how God deals with them sometimes.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am following the 23rd Psalm and also referring to a book I read “A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm”. The book was a wonderful book as the author, W. Phillip Keller, talks about his days as a shepherd and how sheep and humans are so much alike. It explains, in detail, the life of the shepherd (a good shepherd) and how that relates to Jesus Christ being The Good Shepherd. It is a very good book and one that I think anyone would enjoy reading. You can order it from one of the Amazon icons down on the lower left had side of this page. It helped me understand how much work it is for a shepherd in caring for his flock and how much the shepherd must love the sheep of his flock to do it all. In comparing that to what Jesus does for each of us, I can see how much Jesus loves us to have done what He did to save us.

In today’s post I wiimages 2ll look at how we as Christians need certain things in place to feel safe and flourish in our lives and our walk with The Lord. Let’s look at the same pertaining to the sheep also.

This 4th part is based on the next part of the 23rd Psalm – “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” Sheep need 4 things in place to feel safe enough to lie down and rest.

1)     Free from fear

2)     Free from friction among the other sheep

3)     Free from the pests such as flies and parasites

4)     Free from hunger

I understand now, since reading the book, sheep just simply will not rest unless these 4 things are in place. They are very timid creatures and the slightest thing can cause them to run away and a whole herd can stampede if feel threatened in the slightest way. The book talks about how the presence of the shepherd in the field with the sheep is such a calming thing. The sheep become accustomed to the Shepherd’s presence and feel that safety when he is there with them.

This is a lot like humans. Sometimes we can be so afraid of the slightest bit of change or something out of the ordinary. We get into a routine and get a littlesafe_in_his_presence-297520 unsettled when that routine is broken up. We tend to fear change and like things to stay the same, nice and quiet. I know that the presence of God in my life is simply a calming factor for sure! Just coming into the presence of God Almighty is such an awesome feeling – whether it is in a church service or driving down the street. Since God is Spirit, He is everywhere and we can be in His presence anytime, anyplace! We just have to recognize that He is there and acknowledge His presence to feel that peace.

Sheep are social creatures, as well. If there is any dissension among the other sheep, they simply cannot lie down and rest. They have to have all their problems worked out before they can rest. Some folks are like this. I personally like to have my problems worked out with a friend before I can really rest. I don’t like dissension of any kind. I upset a girlfriend one time and she was not shy about telling me. I really knew the moment I did it that I shouldn’t have done it! She told me to give her a few days before I called or texted her again. It about killed me! I wanted it worked out RIGHT THEN! She, however, needed some time. I granted her time, or accepted her request for time and we did eventually get it worked out after a few days. I slept so good that night. All was well once again in Leah’s world.

The pests and parasites can be deadly to sheep. There is a parasite that can burrow up inside the nose into the brain and drive the sheep mad. That doesn’t sound very pleasant for sure! There are also things in our lives that are the little pesky things that are just not quite right and they peck away at us day in and day out. They are the pests and parasites. Other parasites can be the stuff that the world throws at us… if we are not careful it can get inside our brain and cause our spirits havoc! That is why daily communication – through prayer and The Word – with The Good Shepherd is vital.soaking

Lastly is hunger. I understand now that sheep simply will not lie down if they feel hungry or feel like they have to find food. No one likes to go to bed hungry. I have known someone in my past that had experienced that more than once or twice in their childhood. It wasn’t a pleasant memory at all. They told me they remembered that they would try to sneak into the kitchen at night and grab a bite out of the refrigerator before they got caught. It must have been a harrowing feeling. I cannot really imagine that feeling because I have been so blessed in my years. I have always had at least a can of mixed veggies and bread and butter (when I was single and living alone). That was something I liked and that was the least I have ever had, but I survived and that was only temporary! I never felt uncared for or the pangs of hunger, really.

In all of these scenarios, the solution to each and every probimageslem is the shepherd – whether it be the actual shepherd of actual sheep or The Good Shepherd of the flock of us as Christians. Or better said, the shepherd has the ability to address and resolve each of these problems – if he so chooses.

In my experience and my walk with the Lord, I have come to know that my needs will always be met. Whether it is the fear of something in this world, problems with friends or family, pests or parasites of this world or hunger. God will provide for His loved ones and has always provided. My father has said in the past, many times, “God would not have brought us this far to let us go.” With that comment, I will say that God has brought me a long distance in my lifetime. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He will never let me go! He promises in His Word.  I can say without reservation … The Lord Is My Shepherd and I shall not want.

John 10:27-29 – “27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” 184999_540372432645030_1018910340_nAnd…

Deuteronomy 31:6Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

And… there are so many more scriptures that remind us of God’s promises. Click this link to see 79 different scriptures that promise He will never leave us or forsake us.

I will end this post here with the thought that God will take care of you. He cares about every detail of our lives. Even the smallest thing. Really! I have experienced it and am amazed every time it happens! A wonderful old hymn comes to mind … “God Will Take Care of You”. The link beloimagesw is a You Tube Video with lyrics and beautiful scenery. Take the time to watch and listen.

I challenge you today to reach out to The Good Shepherd. He is waiting to hear from you. He loves you so much! After all, He calls you His beloved.

The Video– God Will Take Care of You – Antrim Mennonite Choir

00-SIGNATURE

LIVING WITH FEAR

Have you ever known anyone who is paranoid?  Maybe you are a little.  I have known a person that was very paranoid and felt so uncertain about most all things during the day.  Some folks have this disability and it afflicts them in terrible ways.  This person had many other problems as well to go along with the paranoia.  I never could understand that level of fear.  I have always been pretty sure of myself in most circumstances but there have been those times when I felt totally alone and not sure what to do.  Afraid to step out and take one step for fear of going in the wrong direction.  At those times in my life, I was not walking with the Lord and many things were not as clear or certain then.  I look back now and wish I had used the power available to me to help me through some trouble spots in my past. 5d8a0f359b89c923db6270c6773b7107However, those times serve as learning experiences and times that I can look back on and remember what it was like without God. That alone is enough to bring some fear into my heart! Since I have met the Savior and experienced His love, mercy and grace, I never again want to be without His presence in my life.

Living with fear is a hard thing to do and it is also not a healthy thing.  It affects our whole being.  There are some key verses in the Bible that address fear. The first one is 2 Timothy 1:7For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. And another is Joshua 1:9Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” And one of my favorites is Romans 8:1-4 – There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,[a] who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. afrais

If you click here, you will see 21 more verses that address living with fear. If you feel fearful about anything turn to the Bible and read or listen (on your Bible app).  Let the words sink into your soul and hear what God wants you to know through those scriptures.  Sometimes it is helpful to just stop and before you begin reading or listening, pray and ask God to reveal what He wants you to know. He will hear your prayer and help you understand or reveal His Word to you. God never wants His children to be fearful of “things”.  Now that is not to say that there is not healthy fear.  Of course you should be afraid of things in life and I believe you are smart enough to know what in life to be fearful of; snakes, jumping off a cliff without a parachute, going way to fast in that new car, etc.  LOL… There is one thing that you should be aware of and be very alert about. See this scripture 2 Corinthians 4:4Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.   Satan is someone who should be reckoned with but not in your own power. You don’t stand a chance without God and Jesus in your life. Here is another scripture you should be aware of regarding Satan – 1 Peter 5:8Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

The Bible also addresses Fear of The Lord.  Some folks are confused about this.  1e66198da11cb5b2aab81238eccc67afThese 95 verses in the Bible address this kind of fear.  This is the healthiest fear you can have!   The Fear of the Lord is not the same kind of fear as say … being fearful of snakes, jumping off a cliff without a parachute, going way to fast in that new car.  Fear of the Lord is a respect and reverence for the most powerful being around.  He is the Creator of all things!  From the tiniest of crawling creatures to the majestic mountains that reach to the sky to the magnificent stars and planets in the sky!  He hears us cry when our heart aches and He cries with us when we hurt yet He parted the sea so those folks that He loved could escape an army of men that was pursuing them.  Be fearful… yes, but be fearful of the right things and make sure you have the right kind of fear and know the One who made those things. Do-Not-Fear-Scripture-StudioJRU

I challenge you today to reach out to God and let Him help you with your fears of life. He is waiting to help you with your fear. God wants to know you and for you to know Him in the most intimate ways. He is always there to help you through your day. Just reach out to Him. He is a personal God. He wants to be involved in your daily life.

The Song – He Will Rescue Us – Greg Sykes

HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW

A few weeks ago I am standing at the kitchen sink watching my House Sparrow bird house because we have a clutch of 3 babies waiting to fly away.  They still have about OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAa week left but I look at them every day to keep up with the progress.  Momma and Daddy Sparrow are busy feeding and flying… that seems to be all they ever do… they must get exhausted.  One arrives with bugs in its mouth and the other hops out of the nest hole and takes off… the one with the bugs sticks its head in and out of the hole feeding the loud, hungry babies.  Every year we have been here (which was 5 years on May 2nd) we have had at least 2 nests of babies.  Last year we had four nests of babies in that same house throughout the summer months.  I am looking forward to more this year as well.  This is our first clutch this season.

Anyway, I was standing there just looking out and a Mockingbird caught my eye.  MOCKINGBIRD 2He chased a bug of some sort and had landed in the street just at the end of our driveway with it in his beak.  He put the bug down for just a split second and all of a sudden I saw a House Sparrow swoop in and grab that bug and take off into the shrubs across the street.  What drama!  The Mockingbird looked so stunned and surprised!  That little sparrow waSPARROW 4s moving so fast I bet the Mockingbird didn’t even see him swoop in and snatch that bug right out from under his beak!  All he knew was that his bug was gone!  In an instant!  This was a priceless drama that morning in a “day in the life of God’s Kingdom” that unfolded right before my eyes!  I so wish I had captured it on video!

Now there are several trails of thought I could go down here.  One is you better guard what you have with all you have or someone will come and steal it in a blink of an eye… another is “survival of the fittest” and another “only the strong survive” … but I choose to go down another trail of thought because when it happened right before my eyes … God said… “Here’s another topic to write about”, “I provide for the Sparrows and I will provide for you!”  Oh My Goodness!  I loved it!  God speaks to me in the greatest times!  You may actually have already determined which trail of thought that I might be going down now.  And you would be right if you guessed “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” trail of thought.  I love that song.  It has been one of my favorite songs for many years. SPARROW 2

Here are my thoughts on this subject.  God provides!  Simple as that.  God provides for His children!  You may have to work at it but the provision is there.  Being a Christian does not mean we sit back on our laurels, haunches or backsides and have God dole out the “goods”.  God told us in His Word that He will provide for His own.  However, we must do our part!  In God’s Word – Matthew 6:26-27 it says 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?”  and Philippians 4:19 says “19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”   I also found a wonderful website Bible.org and this particular page from that website talks about some various names of God.  Here is an excerpt from that site:

“The Revelation of the Name Jehovah-JirehGenesis 22:12-14. The meaning of this name is The Lord Who Provides. The name is literally, The Lord Who Sees, or The Lord Who Will See To It. This is what we long for when we have a need that is personal and special; One who will see to our needs and provide for us. This is what Jehovah-Jireh means; the Lord Who will see to it that my every need is met. One Who knows my need because He sees. One Who is able to meet my need in just the right time as He did for Abraham, and One Who can meet it fully. For Abraham, it was the ram caught in the thicket that was offered in Isaac’s place. For us it is whatever we need.” 

I love that about Ggod-provides-for-his-peopleod!  He sees and He provides!  God is never late… God is always on time in His provision.  We just have to step out in faith and know that He is God and we are not!  Why would He have brought you this far to let you go?  He wouldn’t!  He loves you!  He cares for you!  He will always be there for you!  If He provides for the birds of the air, how much more precious are you to Him!  Remember you are His beloved!

I know and understand how hard it is to step out in trust, and I also know that God will provide for your every need.  Not your every “want” but “need”.  Read the scriptures over again.  Let them sink deep into your soul and realize God Loves You!  He sent His son to earth to walk among us and to be our example.  Then He lived a sinless life and died on the cross for our sins and rose on the 3rd day just for you!  You, me and the rest of the world!  For Us!

The 1st video I am including is one of Larnelle Harris singing His Eye Is On The Sparrow at a Gaither Tent Revival.  After he sings Bill Gaither talks with Cliff Barrows and he recalls a Billy Graham Crusade where this wonderful lady sang the same song. The 2nd video that I have included here is that precious soul that is in the presence of Jesus now… Ethel Waters.  She sang at Billy Graham Crusades and this particular video is one of her singing at one.  Sit back and see how much she loves Jesus and knows her God loves her and watches over her!  Enjoy!

Larnelle Harris – His Eye Is On The Sparrow Video

Ethel Waters – His Eye Is On The Sparrow Video

SIGNATURE

GOD AMAZING

Sometimes I think about how God can do all things and is in control of all things and wonder if anyone else ever really thinks about this.  For many years I have known that God can even change the course of time if He so chooses.  There was a time in the Bible when time literally stood still.  Joshua 10 teSUN STANDS STILLlls the story of a whole day where the sun stood still in the sky.  And another time when God caused time to go backwards in 2 Kings 20.  Since God made time stand still and go backwards from a man’s request, He can sureTIME WENT BACKWARDSly help with any problem in this life we have!  I know my God can do all things and therefore I should not be afraid of anything that this life can throw at me.

I have prayed from time to time for God to change my circumstances if He chooses.  I want His will of course and if I have to learn something in the process, for Him to help me in that process.  Sometimes it seems He answers right away and other times I never seem to get an answer.. well, maybe the answer is just “wait”.  I have never been a very patient person but have learned in the last few years that there is really no reason to “hurry” and get all upset and “try to change my own circumstances.”

I have learned that trusting God for my destiny is much better than trusting me forEAGLE my destiny!  I have tried… I have screwed it up!  I prefer God’s plan now, thank you!  I love this scripture… Isaiah 40:31 31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”  See the entire chapter here.

I trust that each of you have the same desire.  If you are reading this post you more than likely have a longing heart and seeking spirit for God’s Truth!  And I pray that God helps you in whatever is on your heart and mind; those things that worry you, that bring you down and give you trouble during the day.  There are many scriptures that speak about worrying and fear and peace.  Here are a few:

PEACE2

Matthew 6:25-27  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

Matthew 6:34  Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew 11:28-30  “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Luke 12:25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his  span of life?”

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Colossians 3:15  “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

2 Thessalonians 3:16  “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”

Psalm 55:22  Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved”

And one of my favorites…

Romans 8:31  “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

I pray that whatever God lays on my heart to share with you every day helps you in some way throughout your day.  I know that God is an Amazing God!  His Word is an Amazing Love story to us about His Amazing Love for us!  If you haven’t met this God of mine, I encourage you to read about how He wants to know you personally.  Find it here.

SIGNATURE

GOD AMAZING

 

The Song – God Amazing – Charles Billingsley