Saturday, February 14, 2015

Our Shepherd



Below are some things that God has been teaching me in a devotional book called Worship the King.  Most of it is paraphrased so that it won’t be so long.

You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.  Ezekiel 34:31

Many of us may not realize how important the job of the shepherd is.  We all know that the shepherds job is to watch the sheep.  If a sheep gets lost it is a blow to the family income in terms of wool, milk, meat, and generations of offspring.  The danger of wolves lurking around ready to snatch one of the sheep are one of the reasons there needs to be a shepherd.  It is also important that the shepherd is with the sheep all the time so that the sheep will know his voice and so that he can protect them from danger.  Sheep aren’t the smartest of animals either.  Why would someone choose such a thankless job for such a creature as a sheep?  I would think that for most shepherds it is not their career of choice but a job given to them out of obligation from the family.   

I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord.  I will search for the lost and bring back the strays.  I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak.  Ezekiel 34:15-16

Jesus is our Shepherd.  He loves his position as shepherd.  We, his sheep, are the object of his affection.  We can wonder what would draw Him to such mangy creatures and argue that we are not worthy, but that doesn’t change what He has declared of Himself.  He’s a Shepherd who loves His job, and He loves it because of His affection for the sheep in His flock. 
This is one of the hardest things for Christians to grasp.  Even though we talk about God’s love a lot we don’t really understand it or at times even believe it.  God delights in His sheep.  He treasures them.  He adores them.  As sheep, our eyes tend to focus on our surroundings more than on the Shepherd, and our ears listen to other voices .  We are prone to wander according to our mood of the moment.  That can be very dangerous.  The world doesn’t seem very safe.  And, being sheep, we usually focus on the world , not the shepherds.  We feel defenseless against the predators, and the slopes seem awfully slippery. 
The Shepherd  doesn’t want us to be afraid.  He would say that we are perfectly safe already.  He won’t let us wander away too far.  He can see the predators coming from miles away, and He knows exactly where He is leading us.  At the end of wandering, there’s a safe pasture with flowing streams and ample grass.  The fears that seem so large to us are extremely small to Him. 
Living with that understanding is a huge part of what faith is all about.  When the sheep get a  glimpse of the Shepherd’s perspective, fear vanishes.  More than that, when the sheep get a glimpse of the Shepherds heart, fear becomes completely illogical.  A sheep that remains in ignorance spends its life in fear and apathy.  A sheep that trusts its Shepherd  implicitly becomes a noble creature of confidence and purpose.  And every member of the flock must decide which it wants to be.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Have you heard God's voice today?

Sometimes I wonder what God is thinking as He looks at us and our hearts.  I imagine Him waving His arms(as a warning) and yelling(in a kind way of course) to get our attention.  "No, don't go that way."  "You are about to make a mistake."  "Come, follow, and obey." "Spend time with me before going out."  The things of this world, if we allow it, can keep our focus off of God and on our problems.  So many voices are trying to get our attention and we try to listen to them all when all along we just need to listen to God's voice.  But how can we tell the difference in God's voice and all the other voices?  Below is what Oswald Chambers wrote in his devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest.  Let's make sure we are practicing listening to God on a daily basis.

"The goal of my spiritual life is such close identification with Jesus Christ that I will always hear God and know that God always hears me(see John 11:41).  If I am united with Jesus Christ, I hear God all the time through the devotion of hearing.  A flower, a tree, or a servant of God may convey God's message to me.  What hinders me from hearing is my attention to other things.  It is not that I don't want to hear God, but I am not devoted in the right areas of my life.  I am devoted to things and even to service and my own convictions.  God may say whatever He wants, but I just don't hear Him.  the attitude of a child of God should always be, "speak, for Your servant hears."  If I have not developed and nurtured this devotion of hearing, I can only hear God's voice at certain times.  At other times I become deaf to Him because my attention is to other things-things which I think I must do.  This is not living the life of a child of God.  Have you heard God's voice today?"  Oswald Chambers

Friday, February 6, 2015

Engagement Pics!

Our son, Zach, asked Megan Turner to marry him July 30th!  You may remember us announcing this back in August.  We are so excited that we are about to go back to the states for their wedding which will be March 14th.  If you would like to see their wedding website you can click here.
I just realized I had not posted any of their engagement pictures on here since we were traveling at the time.  Better late than never!  Hope you enjoy them!

 

 


 





 








Thursday, February 5, 2015

Be kind



"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle!"

 These are words we all need to reflect on from time to time.  It's not always an easy thing to do especially when someone is not treating you very nice.  However, as Christians, we need to remember Eph. 4:32  I like these two translations of this verse.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. NIV

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. NAS

Let us remember this today!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Teaching a new dog old tricks

 Many of you know that we got a new lab puppy a couple of months ago.  She has grown so much!  She is very smart too!  She is learning lots of new tricks!
She will go get the frisbee and a ball.

 She will shake.

 She will stay.

 This, she just does on her own.  Not quite sure why she does it but she loves to jump up on Xena's back all the time.

 She follows Xena around everywhere she goes.


 Kevin with Misty and Xena.

 Hannah, Kevin, and Misty

Hannah and Misty

She loves to give kisses!
 

More baby turtles!

 We have found this many baby turtles that came up out of the ground this past week.  We have them in a secluded area now so that the dogs can't get them.
Aren't the precious?

 The one on the left is one that was born last Jan.  The one on the right was born last week.

Here is one we found coming up out of the ground.
Come on out....

Sunday, January 18, 2015

20/20

 For the last couple of weeks we have been helping with 20/20 here in Zambia.  This is a shortened version of 40/40 that we used to do.  20/20 is supposed to be done in the country where the missionaries will serve but we decided that for at least our first one we would do it for our cluster here in Zambia.  So these missionaries who came are all new to Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique.
It was so nice to get to know this first group of participants!

 
 While we were in Lusaka we had help with the kids.  Langiwe and Irene have been nannies for us before in 40/40.  They did  a great job with the kids.

 Jessica had a birthday so we had pizza and cake to celebrate one night.



 One of the debriefings we had at our house.  
Taylor on the swing!



 The kids enjoyed the trampoline!

 Buddy and his mommy, Jessica.

 Hudson and Lily

  Late afternoons and some evenings we played games.

dominoes

 Hudson and his mommy, Lily.

 While in Petauke, this is where we ate 3 meals/day just about every day.  We did slip off to another lodge down the street twice for a change of pace.  

 Kevin and Jeff

While we were in Petauke we didn't have nannies.  Me, Hannah, and Hadassah took care of the kids.
Piper was my buddy this week!

 Hannah and Hudson

 Hadassah and Buddy

 I was able to take Piper to the market and watch this lady make fritas.  We also all enjoyed eating them!

 My friend Zeria who works in the market in Petauke.
It was so good to see her even if just for a few min.

 Hadassah and Buddy

 Hannah and Hudson

 Our whole 20/20 group! (minus Jeff-he was taking the picture)

The Veres Family
 
 The Wolf Family

 Hannah and Hadassah enjoyed spending time with Evie and Cathy-journeygirls in Moz. this week.  This picture is with Evie.

I love this picture!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Good News!

I talked with Esther this morning about Amai Ngoma's  situation.  Hospice came in to check out the situation and they said they would take her.  When other family members were talked to about this at first they said it was fine.  Then they changed their mind and said it was their responsibility and they would take her in to their home and care for her.  They live in another compound here in Lusaka.  So now Amai Ngoma is out of her home where the drunk relatives were not taking care of her.  That is such a huge praise! The only problem is that now the family members who said they would take care of her are asking for financial help from the palliative care givers.  I'm just thankful that Amai Ngoma is out of that situation now!  I'll try to go visit her in this other compound in a couple of weeks.  We are busy with another program now.  Thanks so much to all who have prayed for this sweet Zambian lady!