Being Part of The Herd (Guess Blogger)

Hi, my name is Laurie, sometimes I go by the nick-name Lulu. I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and proud of it, yup, I am a Jesus girl. I am married to my first husband, Richard. Richard is an amazing man and father and has been putting up with me since we tied the knot in 1994. We have two amazing boys that are wonderfully amazing young men that have been a pure joy to raise thus far. We also have two fur babies. Ike is a handsome Chawiener (half long hair chiwawa and half wiener dog) and Stella is the sweetest cat I have ever had, she loves kisses and snuggles under the covers with us. I live in the Mid-West where I enjoy 3 of the 4 seasons, I could really be fine with skipping summer. In my spare time I am a writer, reader, quilter, student and employee. Thank you so much for visiting my blog, please leave me comments, my love language is Words of Affirmation and I am not ashamed to beg! Welcome Laurie

Being Part of the Herd

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23 (KJV)
I grew up learning, memorizing and reciting this Psalm. If I had to guess, this is probably one of the most memorized passage in the Bible.
As we continue in our “Little Golden Book” series, I thought it would be fun to take a closer look at Psalm 23, and if you have not memorized it yet, I challenge you to do so.

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As a child I remember this Psalm bringing me so much comfort and a feeling of God’s protection over me. I would recite it anytime I was anxious or worried about things. I would dream of walking beside Jesus in a meadow of flowers and resting near a pretty stream. I could imagine Him catching me when I fell, and I could feel His presence with me as I would pray this Psalm.
I never once thought about what it would cost me to be one of His sheep or what it meant to be part of the herd. These thoughts didn’t occur to me until I was an adult.
So, what does it mean to be part of His herd? Why does God repeatedly refer to us as His sheep? Let’s start by looking at what it means to be one of His sheep and why we need Him as our Shepherd:

First, sheep are conformists. They enjoy being in a herd. They find protection in numbers. Sheep are good this way, but people often are not. (Nathan Tabor)
So let’s learn a little more about sheep and how we may be like them. Like sheep, we are a bit dense. While researching sheep I found a story about a sheep that fell off a cliff and the other 400 sheep in the herd followed him to their death. We tend to follow the herd people! Think about it and I bet you can find at least a dozen examples in your life where you followed the herd. We need a shepherd!
Sheep are defenseless. They cannot fend for themselves and they cannot fight off the attacks of other animals. They are the wooly snack food of the wild. Ok, I know what you are thinking right now….YOU are not defenseless. Hmmmm….are you sure? Can you really handle ANYTHING that comes your way?

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
But the most dangerous thing sheep do is wander. And they tend to wander off for no good reason. They can have everything they need right where they are but they still wander off.
We as a human race are prone to wander too. The bible is full of examples of people, cities and nations who wander away from God. It has been that way since the beginning, Adam and Eve wander over to the tree of Knowledge. The whole human race wandered so far from God that a flood came and took over the earth.
You see, we are prone to wander in our faith and that is the greatest tragedy we could suffer. I am so thankful that I have a good shepherd who will leave the 99 and rescue me!

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? Luke 15:4
I think that it is obvious that we are in desperate need of a Shepherd, someone who will watch over us and protect us from ourselves. Someone who spends all of his time with us, His sheep. Someone whose voice we will be able to discern above all other voices.

“My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:27
So what does it mean to be part of the herd? It means life, it means freedom from death, it means assurance that we are loved and looked after. It means experiencing goodness and mercy all the days of our life and finally, it means that we will dwell in the house of the Lets end our time now by praying through Psalm 23:
Lord our shepherd, you leave me wanting for nothing. I walk with you through green pastures and lie with you by the still waters. You restore my soul and lead me in the path of righteousness. Your protection is with me as I walk through the valley of death, I fear no evil. Your rod and your staff they comfort me. When the enemy attacks, you prepare a table before me and anoint my head with oil. My cup is running over with your goodness and mercy and I delight in you as I dwell in your house forever. Amen

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Comfort One Another

2 Corinthians 1.pngPraise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in your patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so we also share in our comfort.                            2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Often, shortly after we have been through a difficult situation in our own life, we have found comfort, we meet someone who has to handle a similar situation. It is God who leads us to these people because the comfort that we offer is sincere and they know that we have wrestled with a similar experience ourselves.

In this letter in Corinthians from the Apostle Paul, Paul praises God for using the church of Corinth to “give the same comfort God has given us” What would it take for you to proclaim God as your helper and Deliverer? What would it take for you to look to God alone for the solution to your problems? When you find yourselves or an acquaintance in a difficult situation, approach God’s throne of grace in prayer. Declare boldly to God that you trust in Him alone to deliver you.

In prayer and with gratitude, consider all the ways in which God has comforted you in times of affliction and tell God that you are willing to let Him use you to bring comfort to others.

Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for the comfort you have given me in the past as well as the comfort you will give to me in the future, help me to comfort others in return.

Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friend

The Promise of Hope

John 14  If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you and another advocate to help you and be with you forever. The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you. 

John 14:15-18

There is something terribly painful about losing a parent, even of the person was elderly and forgetful. When a second parent dies, the child’s small world of comfort and security that they grew up in is something of the past. These feelings I also had recently, I lost my mom while growing up and this past Christmas season my father as well. It seems so long ago when I was a little girl that I did have a safe and secure place, and everything in life is always changing. Often students who finish their course and leave college feel the same when they say good-bye to teachers and friends as well.

Jesus knew that this was precisely what His disciples would experience at His death. Without Him they would feel lost. like orphaned children. He knew they would be heartbroken. But He would come back again, back from the dead to comfort them and inspire them to accomplish their mission. Tragedy would change to triumph. They would not despair any longer. Their night would be changed into a brighter day. The miracle of Jesus resurrection would change their whole world. And Jesus would be with them again.

If you feel lonely, or if despair makes you feel that life is pointless, or if painful experiences have made you a broken person, think about this promise the Master made. It comes from Jesus Himself. It is as true for you as it ever was for those first disciples. It often seems that the world is without God and one can easily feel rejected. Don’t give in to these feelings. There is greater Presence, whether you sense it or not. Jesus is with you today, tomorrow, and every day of your life. He will hold you tight through all tragedy and trauma that might still await you.

Prayer: Jesus I ask that you all stay close to me for without you it would be impossible to face another day.                           Amen

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

God’s Love

Psalm 62.pngTruly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock ad my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.                    Psalm 62:1-2

God’s love for his children is never changing, he is the same as yesterday, today, and all of our tomorrows. Praise His Name that he doesn’t not change like we as humans can, sometimes we change daily. I have read one of Sarah Young book called Jesus lives, it is a daily devotions that all can benefit from. We find comfort in knowing God. He is perfectly good and infinitely strong. If God were good but lacking in strength, we would not have any stronghold in times of trouble. If God were strong but not totally good, his massive strength could be terrifying. In fact, God’s power is threatening to those who oppose. However, He is the Good Shepherd, Jesus knows his sheep and his sheep knows him. Sheep have nothing to fear from a shepherd who is good. On the contrary, they feel safe in his protective presence. So it with him, we can feel safe and secure in his sheltering presence. The best way to avail yourself of his protection is to trust Jesus wholeheartedly. His unfailing love surrounds all those who trust in him. So your most important task as a sheep in his pasture is to keep on trusting him-the perfect Shepherd of our soul. Find rest in Jesus alone, for he is a surrounding stronghold of unfailing love. Sarah Young shares these words with you and me, and devotions book as well as reading scriptures daily continues our walk with the Master the “Great I Am”, and I encourage all to listen for our Shepherd’s voice as he guides our every step in our journey.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Second Sunday of Advent

Peace.pngWe began Advent last Sunday by lighting the first candle, the candle of Hope. We light it again today to remind us that Christ is coming to fulfill God’s promises. Today we light the second candle of Peace. The prophet Isaiah said, “Comfort, comfort my people” to a nation anxious about invasion and exile, as he foretold the coming of the Prince of Peace. Our world is still filled with violence and abuse, where families are torn apart by war and children used as soldiers. Isaiah’s words continue to speak to us that Jesus will bring us to an everlasting peace. Mary and Joseph found no room in the inn to give birth to Jesus, but we can heed John the Baptist’s command to make room in our hearts. Wherever there is war or mistrust between people, families, or our own hearts, God is present and leading us to imagine new ways of living in peace. Christ is our only hope, and our peace is found through him. We light this candle to remind us of Jesus’ life-giving peace to all who trust him. We light it in honor of those who live the Gospel truth that war does not make one great. It is the peace workers who risk much so that others may live without fear.

Prayer: We’re in trouble, Holy God. So many in the world do not know peace in their countries or in their hearts. We use weapons of steel and barbed words to wound one another. We seek balm for our restless hearts in the things that only make is more wounded. Open our hearts to Jesus so we may have the peace of his holy presence and live it in our unpeaceful world. Save us from outside violence and inner turmoil. We need you. Come, peaceful God, come.                            Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

God’s Love For You

Psalm 62.jpgTruly my soul finds rest in God, my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation, he is my fortress I will never be shaken. How long will you assault me? Would all of you throw me down, this leaning wall, this tottering fence? Surely they intend to topple me from lofty place, they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse. Yes, my soul, find rest in God, my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God, his is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people, pour out your hearts to him for God is our refuge.

Psalm 62:1-8

Find comfort in knowing that God is perfectly good and strong. If God was good but lack strength, we would have no stronghold in times of trouble. If he was strong, but not totally good, his massive strength could be terrifying. God’s power is a threat to all those who oppose him. Remember Jesus is the Good Shepherd and the Good Shepherd knows his sheep and his sheep knows him. (John:10) We can always feel safe and secure in the arms of the Good Shepherd. The best way to avail yourself of His protection is to trust him totally. Jesus  unfailing love surrounds all those who trust in him. So your most important task as one of his sheep is to keep on trusting in him, Jesus is the perfect Shepherd of your soul. Find rest in him alone, for he is a surrounding stronghold of unfailing love.

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Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Comfort

2 Corinthians 1.jpgPraise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.      2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Having someone or perhaps anyone comfort you when you are going thru difficulties or perhaps even pain is something we all want to have. Have you ever thought to bring those times of pain to God, he is the one who truly understands your pain. When those times come to you God always allow someone to come to you to comfort you, to perhaps say I am here for you, I too understand your pain, and just someone to say to you I will pray with you or just even someone to hold you in their arms without a single word spoken. When we see someone we know go thru the same pain we have gone thru it is our time to be able to comfort them.  When any of us have gone thru an illness of someone and death of someone we have loved the pain we experience can be horrible to go thru but if you and I look at the whole picture of what we just experience we can comfort another person when they too go thru those difficulties themselves. When life gets hard we say “Does anyone understand the pain I have right now” my answer is YES,  God does, this is why he sends someone to you saying my child I hear the pain you are telling me and I see the pain within your very own heart that you are going thru at this moment. I am saying trust God at all times. He knows your pain and sorrow you are feeling right now, and he wants you to pour out your heart in His Presence. You need to release all those emotions in a safe place. Demonstrate your trust in God by opening your heart right now in his presence and I promise he will comfort you, because Jesus is the “Great I Am”  This is one of the many reasons we need to always stay close to Christ by our prayer life as well as our scripture reading each day. When I am going thru times like this I turn to the Gospel of Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus is saying “Come to me, all you who are weary and I will give your rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. These words by Jesus himself when he walk the earth many years ago comforts my soul. It tells me at least Jesus understands the very pain of my soul at this moment.  God has given us a book of instructions to get those times like this and all we need to do is simply open it and read his words.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends