Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Sheep Grazing

Sheep_grazing_near_to_Pentraeth_-_geograph.org

Sheep follow one another.  They will wander into areas that may lead to danger, or cause them to hunger or thirst.  Sheep, left on their own, will graze the same area over and over until there is nothing left to eat, gnawing the grass right down to the dirt.  As they graze and re-graze one area, they will make ruts in the dirt.

A shepherd’s reputation is based on the appearance of his pastures as well as the condition of the sheep.  If the pastures are run down, not very green, filled with deep ruts, then it is safe to assume that he is not a good shepherd.  The same could be said of the shepherd if the sheep are not well cared for.  They need to be constantly tended to, groomed, fed, and protected.  The shepherd’s reputation is on the line.

When sheep are led by a good shepherd, he/she will drive them into fresh pastures regularly.  He will have a pattern whereby he leads his sheep from one area of new grasses to another so that they are continually fed, and minimally damaging the land.  The shepherd will know his land well in order to drive or lead them each day into an area that would be a benefit to his sheep.  He will know right where the watering holes are as well.      

He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Psalm 23:3

Jesus is our Shepherd.  He leads us.  However, we don’t always trust Him (or anyone else) to lead us where we think best.  Instead, like sheep, we will often stay in one pasture, working ourselves along the same paths turning them into ruts.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on Him
the iniquity of us all.  
Isaiah 53:6

We can be stubborn, prideful, stiff-necked, filled with self.  We often blindly follow another or are determined to go our own way.

There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.  Proverbs 14:12

Looking around at others near to us or gazing into a mirror back at ourselves, we might see abuse of drugs or alcohol, sexual promiscuity, dead-end careers or jobs, wrong or falling-apart relationships, family members gone astray, following others into New Age religions, or so much more.

Can we ask: Where have I strayed away from the LORD?

The LORD calls us into fresh pastures…each day…for nourishment and refreshment.

It is important to note that it is for the LORD’s Name sake that He leads us. Our well-being, our peacefulness and joy reflect upon His character, His ownership, His management, His protection of us.  If we claim be to Christ’s, His image would be tarnished by our behavior or thought patterns when we go astray.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  John 10:10

Am I willing to be led?  Am I willing to follow Him to fresh pasture for nourishment?

Am I willing to love Christ and others more than myself?

By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.  1 John 3:16

Am I willing to be set apart for Him?

Am I willing to release what I might call my “rights”?

Jesus did not say this would be easy.

And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.  Mark 4:17

BUT…Jesus said,

“I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

Am I willing to rest in being His and not mine?  

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  John 14:6

Am I willing to be gracious and thankful for all situations, no matter what comes my way?

Am I willing to have no self-will, but have His will for my life?

Am I willing to follow Christ to obey all He asks of me?

“And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”  Acts 5:32

…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.  Philippians 2:13

LORD, I pray that I will be like a lamb that jumps and plays, that brings a smile due to joy-filled leaps into the Shepherd’s arms.  I want to be filled with that joy because You loved me first.  

June-21-2012-15-18-34-dsdsd

LORD, I thank You for caring for me always.  Thank You for loving me.  Even while I strayed, going my own way time and time again, You waited patiently for me.  Once I became Yours, I wanted to be Your sheep.  I have to admit that it has not been easy, but I love You so and want to please You more than anything.  May I walk in the steps You have prepared for me and stay close.  May I feed within the pastures where You lead me and drink from the water You know is thirst-quenching and safe.  LORD, You are my Shepherd.  Praises to the Shepherd of Israel.  In Your Name I pray.  Amen.  

bwdarkgreen sig

Sheep grazing near to Pentraeth by Nigel Williams  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Imgarcade: Baby Lamb Jumping

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Thirst – Sheep and Shepherds

He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.  Psalm 23:2

989248f123318eb9096f1a327c679896

“Water determines the vitality, strength, and vigor of the sheep and is essential to its health and general well-being.”  **

The physical body of sheep, of all animals, of all human beings, is made aware of a lack of water by thirst.  When a physical body has not had enough water, dehydration, weakness, and serious other problems and/or damages can occur.

158854023_5b931b9961_b

Interestingly, sheep do not require a pond or a water trough fed by a deep well in order to obtain the right amount of water for their physical well-being.  Sheep can even go for months without actually drinking.  Yet, they need water more often than “going for months without” might imply.  A very important source of water for sheep is a heavy dew on the grass…the pasture.  Sheep will usually begin feeding just before dawn.  They may also feed at night fall when the moon is bright.  If circumstances are right for dew, the grass would be drenched at those hours, making the sheep’s intake of water a feast enough for their bodies’ needs.

dew-grass

In order for sheep to have enough grass upon which to feed, the shepherd leads them to the pastures that have a fresh growth of grass and a stream with clean, clear water nearby.  He knows just where he is leading them for exactly what they need so that the sheep remain healthy.

lambs-pasture-3-1024x796

When sheep become thirsty, they become restless, setting out on their own if the shepherd leaves them to their own devices.  They may end up at a mud hole or at a water supply that is contaminated.  Consequently, they may end up with internal parasites or other disease germs.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Good Shepherd will lead us, as well.  He knows where “the quiet, deep, clean, pure water is to be found that can satisfy His sheep and keep them fit.”

Dew is such a beautiful picture of the still waters as they hang heavy as water droplets. Looking into a droplet, a tiny reflection can be seen in its clarity.  May we see clearly as we look into our souls and see that we need Jesus.  

Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the LORD, for My people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken Me,
the Fountain of Living Waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.  Jeremiah 2:12-13
 

I went my our own way.  I tried to do things my way.  I did not even look for anyone (or any One) to help me.  I drank muddy water.  I wandered aimlessly into fields where there was no water for my thirst.  Oh, so many times I searched for something I thought I needed or wanted in my life only to find that I was lost.  I had gone the wrong way, hewing out my own way, my own cistern.  I became broken.  I could not do things myself without becoming hungry or thirsty.  I needed Jesus.  I needed a Shepherd.

For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.  1 Peter 2:25

Little did I know that I needed Him to lead me in His ways…to those still, clear, refreshing waters where I could be refreshed and made whole.

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”  John 7:37-38

διψάω

dipsaō

to suffer thirst, suffer from thirst

  • figuratively, those who are said to thirst who painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened

When one drinks, she/he takes in, accepts, believes.  When I drank of the Living Waters, the life of Christ became a part of me.  I believed and asked Him to be my LORD and Savior. The closer I walk with my Shepherd, the more I become like Jesus.  I do not thirst.  My Shepherd quenches all thirst as long as I stay close.

Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst.  John 6:35

Thirsty souls are only quenched in Jesus, by Jesus, through Jesus.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”  Matthew 5:6

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  John 4:13-15

dew17

I will heal their apostasy;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them.

I will be like the dew to Israel;
he shall blossom like the lily;
he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon;
his shoots shall spread out;
his beauty shall be like the olive,
and his fragrance like Lebanon.  Hosea 14:4-6
Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.  

…from an old hymn, “Dear Lord and Father Of Mankind,” by John Greenleaf Whitter

When the poor and needy seek water,
and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I, the LORD, will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.  Isaiah 41:17

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.  (Hebrew 13:20-21)   Father God, I pray the words of Hebrew as my own and thank You for breathing new life into me through Your Son.  You led this sheep to water and I thirst no more.  I am sorry when I stray.  As I age, it seems I am doing that less and less.  I praise You for loving this sheep and never losing me.  I thank You and praise Your Name through Christ.  Amen.

 

bwdarkgreen sig
** quotes by W. Phillip Keller in “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23”
Photo: Dew17
Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Rooted

May we spend time out of this weekend in quiet contemplation of You, Father, Your Word, Your Love.  May we grow in You and be firmly rooted in You, that we would be pleasing to You in all ways.  Amen.

tumblr_mck5hjYIyj1qhmhdfo1_500

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.  Colossians 2:6-7

root-tree

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:14-19

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ῥιζόω

rhizoō

to cause to strike root, to strengthen with roots, to render firm, to fix, establish, cause a person or a thing to be thoroughly grounded

He is like a tree

planted by streams of water

that yields its fruit in its season,

and its leaf does not wither.

In all that he does, he prospers.  Psalm 1:3

Father God, as I think about being rooted in You, I feel this beautiful sense of strength…not my strength but Yours.  I am watered through those roots by Your Word, the Truth.  The roots grow…the tree grows.  I thirst for You, LORD.  And You fill me to full. The fullness is from You.  I gain because You bless me with Your love, Your grace, Your righteousness, Your all.  You build me up as I dwell in Your Presence.  As I am with You, I yield fruit…the more time I spend with You, the more fruit this tree yields.  And then others benefit from that fruit as I walk in this world.  You prosper me as I do my best to walk in Your ways for my life.  I hear a word behind me, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when I turn to the right or to the left.  I will walk there, LORD.  I am Yours and Yours alone, Father.  Thank You for Jesus for I would have no God-given root system without Him, without Your sacrifice, without Your love.  In His Name, I pray.  Amen.

bwdarkgreen sig  

First Graphic

Second Graphic

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.  Isaiah 30:21

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Hungry? Thirsty?

Hunger-Thirst-No-More-480x340
Jesus said to them, 
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, 
and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”  
John 6:35

I come to Jesus.

I believe in Jesus. 

So how can I be hungry?  hungry for God?

I have an insatiable appetite for my God.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
for they shall be satisfied.”  
Matthew 5:5hunger-and-thirst-01
So I am blessed as I hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God.
 
I will be satisfied.  I yearn for the Only One Who fills me up to full.

“The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers.  And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.  And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.   Deuteronomy 8:1-4

God reminds me of His Ways. 

My heart hungers for the taste of the One Who loves me so. His love is always waiting for me. That insatiable hunger that can never seem to be filled to the brim because I am who I am, this human being.

I hunger for His touch. I want to know He is right here. (He is, Linda. He is with you always…I remind myself.)

I hunger for His very Presence. He tells me He is in my life; He never leaves me nor forsakes me.

I hunger because I look to the world for the fulfillment of that which only God can give me completely.

God has so much more to give to me than I can possibly know.

Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.  So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.  Deuteronomy 8:5-6

Only God can quench the hunger and the thirst with His Living Waters, with His Love, with Himself. He calls me to be obedient. He will discipline me. He humbles me. I may be hungry, but He will quench my hunger with Himself. (Only God, Linda.)

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper.  Deuteronomy 8:7-9

The LORD my God leads me into abundance of life, of living, as I follow His ways, walk in obedience to His Voice.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And after fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.  And the tempter came and said to him, “If You are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”  But He answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”   Matthew 4:1-4

Jesus knew… He knew God’s commandments … the Truth. Jesus’ obedience is sure. His relationship with His Father brought Him through the temptation. I eat the Word. I devour His Truth. I learn of His Ways. I will not hunger nor thirst as I live by the Word.

Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O LORD, God of hosts.  Jeremiah 15:16

lord-i-hunger-and-thirst

And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.  Deuteronomy 8:10

I shall not live by bread alone, LORD.  I come to You with a hunger and thirst for You, for only You, knowing that You are my Fulfillment.  Forgive me when I look to the world for that filling.  Forgive me for my disobedience, for my closed eyes and ears.  You have promised to take me into Your Promised Land.  I want to eat from Your abundance, from Your Word.  I want to bless You, my Abba.  AsI thirst and hunger for more, I know You are already filling me because You love me.  And I love You, Sweet LORD.  Amen.

beblacksig