Christian, women

Monday’s Verse, 9/13/21

“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NLT Read full chapter

With Love, Cindy

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Michael Alain on Unsplash Red River Gorge, Kentucky, USA

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Christian, women

Sunday’s Memory Verse, 9/12/21

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4 NIV Read full chapter

With Love, Cindy

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

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Christian, women

A Shepherd’s Perspective on Psalm 23

“I have concluded based on my years of experience that sheep are stupid. Not just stupid but mind-numbingly stupid— sometimes I wonder how they manage to breath and eat.” Glenn Brunkow, Rancher¹

Somehow, that quote from Brunkow gives me comfort. God wants to lead us, feed us, and guide us. Our responsibility is to just obey.

*********

I’m re-reading a fascinating book by Phillip Keller called A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.² Keller was a shepherd for years and explains many things about sheep that most people don’t know.The book is eye-opening and provides a deeper understanding of our relationship with the Lord, the Great Shepherd.

I memorized Psalm 23 as a young child and received a glow-in-the-dark cross for a reward. I can still recite it after all these years! I am thankful for my Sunday School teachers who required it and my grandmother who helped me learn it. I consider it a great blessing in my life. (If you haven’t memorized it, I highly recommend that you do!)

“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’s 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 for ever.” Psalm 23 KJV

The shepherd watches over his sheep day and night. They cannot take care of themselves, and they get into all kinds of trouble. They will drink polluted water, wander off and be attacked by a wild animals, get stuck in the same fence repeatedly, etc.

” … he who watches over you will not slumber” Psalm 121:3 NIV

Sheep are fearful, timid, and skittish. A rabbit hopping by suddenly can send them into a panic. But they calm down when the shepherd walks into view, and they are comforted. So many times in my life, when I was in a panic, the Lord has comforted me and calmed my fears. That’s when I wonder how people who don’t know Him get through tough times.

We do “not want” because Jesus is always with us, in good times and in bad.  Our joy and peace comes from His presence in our life, not in what we have or the way life goes. We are content to be led by Him, doing His will.

One thing I found interesting is the fact that like humans, some sheep refuse to follow the shepherd and instead do their own thing. (Ouch!) This can result in lots of serious problems for the sheep, problems they would have never experienced – if only they had followed the shepherd. (I could write a book about all the times I did my own thing instead of following the Good Shepherd. It never turned out well!)

Without a shepherd, the sheep blindly follow other sheep. When one walks over a cliff, the others follow right behind him!

Keller tells how he would lead his sheep to a clean, clear stream and a stubborn ewe would go off and drink from a polluted, parasite-infested puddle instead. Isn’t that what some people do? We choose the unclean ways of the world instead of the ways of God.

Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:37-38 NIV

A good shepherd provides good forage for the sheep, lush green vegetation, so that the sheep can have plenty to eat, grow, and thrive. However, some sheep will wander off and eat from barren, dry brush instead. Many times, we prefer to feed on the barren ground of the world around us instead of the peace and comfort that comes from dwelling in His Word and walking in His steps.

The final parallel I want to share is the most extraordinary. Sheep must have plenty of pure clean water. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to lead them to a lush green field heavy with morning dew.

The sheep can keep fit and hydrated for months just by grazing right before dawn when the field is heavy with dew. The sheep feed heavily and are most content at this time of day. A good shepherd will make sure his sheep have this opportunity to drink in the “still waters” of dew.

“In the Christian life it is of more than passing significance to observe that those who are often the most serene, most confident and able to cope with life’s complexities are those who rise early each day to feed on God’s Word.” (Keller)

These are just a few of the many insights from A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller.

I don’t know about you, but it gives me great comfort to know that I don’t have to be smart to thrive. I need only to follow Jesus, the Great Shepherd. He leads us by His Word.

Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” Isaiah 53:6 NIV

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11 NIV

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:12-14 NIV

With Love, Cindy

Do you want to know more about Jesus? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

¹https://www.agupdate.com/midwestmessenger/opinion/columnists/glenn_brunkow/the-questionable-intelligence-of-sheep/article_69540f07-7577-5559-bfde-a31ea95acc0c.html

²ISBN 0-310-26790-0 available on Amazon

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Christian, women

Friday’s Verse, 9/10/21

“But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
    on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,” Psalm 33:18 NIV Read full chapter

With Love, Cindy

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

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Christian, women

Verses for Meditation, 9/9/21

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
    go into his courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him and praise his name.
 For the Lord is good.
    His unfailing love continues forever,
    and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” Psalm 100: 4-5 NLT Read full chapter

With Love, Cindy

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by MD Duran on Unsplash

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Quote of the Week, 9/8/21

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”

Corrie Ten Boom

With Love, Cindy

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Hendrik Kuterman on Unsplash

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Christian, women

Tuesday’s Verse, 9/7/21

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NLT Read full chapter

With Love, Cindy

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Kateryna Tyshkul on Unsplash

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Monday’s Verse, 9/6/21

“Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake,  in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:10-11 NIV Read full chapter

With Love, Cindy

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash

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Christian, women

Sunday’s Memory Verse, 9/5/21

“God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
 though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46:1-3 NIV Read full chapter

With Love, Cindy

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Barth Bailey on Unsplash

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Choose Faith Over Fear

After church one Wednesday night, my daughter asked me to stop by her house because she had something to tell me. I knew right then I needed to brace myself. I had no idea what she wanted to tell me, but I had a feeling it was going to be something I wouldn’t like.

She sat me down on the couch and with all seriousness she said, “God has called me to be a missionary. I’m going to Africa. My heart practically stopped.

The witness in my spirit said this was of God, but the mother in me froze in fright. She wasn’t going with an established missionary society. She was just going, alone. But first she would be stopping off in Bangladesh. (I reminded myself to breathe.)

She Face-Timed me along the way. “Hi Mom I’m in the airport in Istanbul!” (Breathe!)

“Hi Mom, I’m in Kisumu. A man just asked Helen how many cows he would need to pay to marry me! (Breathe!)

Then, Covid-19 hit and all flights to America from Nairobi were canceled. I didn’t know it then, but it would be six months before I would see her again. I’m sure I needed God’s strength more than she did. You’ll understand if you’re a mother.

She had never lived far from me. I thought I could always protect her and keep her from harm. Now she was on the other side of the world. I was in for the greatest spiritual battle of my life – against fear.

I made a conscious decision to trust God and not cave in to fear. I fiercely fought against fear every day, refusing to let it in for even a minute. I refused to entertain thoughts of what could happen. I knew that if I didn’t trust the Lord to bring her home safe and sound, I would never make it.

God gave me the peace that passes understanding. I know that. It wasn’t by my own strength. It was the grace of God.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Clinging to the Lord and His precious promises, I wrote this poem.

Your love, O God,
Will hold us near.
It shields us from
our darkest fears.

In times of darkness
Where I can't see,
Your loving eye
Will watch for me.

When I can't see
What lies ahead,
I'll trust you, Lord,
And what You've said.

Your promises
Are my delight.
They guide my way.
They are my light.

With my whole heart
I trust in you.
Your loving hands
Will see us through.

Your faithful love
Forever watches
Your precious child
In all Earth's places.

In Africa, playing cards with the boys before bedtime.

“God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.‘” Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.” Psalm 56:3-4 NIV

The Lord kept her safe and brought her home again. It was the experience of a lifetime – for both of us!

Maybe you’re wondering, “How? How do I trust and not give in to fear? Here are some practical steps you can take:

  • Write down the Scripture verses that strengthen your faith.
  • Read them whenever doubt starts to creep in.
  • Ask God to give you more faith to believe His promises.
  • Thank God daily for being with you (and her) every step of the way.

I have written more about this experience, including numerous Scriptures, in my post Is God Testing My Faith?

With Love, Cindy

Do you want to know more about Jesus? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

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