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!