We are in the middle of summer and feeling the heat! The first thing on most of our minds, when we think of cooling down is WATER!
No matter if we run and jump into a swimming pool, float down the river in a raft, take a boat ride on the lake, wade out into a creek and feel the water run through our toes, or even run through a sprinkler while watering our lawn! WATER is our source to cool down and quench our bodies heat!
For me, my family is blessed each July as the temperatures rise in Northern California where we live, to spend time at the ocean in Southern California with our dear friends! We ride the waves, body surf the waves, run into the waves, and let the waves roll over our feet as we feel the coolness of the ocean water! I can literally feel the heat leave my body as it is replaced with the cool, fresh feeling that the ocean water gifts!
For me I’m blessed from the outside in as the cool water of the ocean refreshes my body and the time spent with my family and best friends restores my soul!
This time each year is a treasured value to us! We plan for it, look forward to it and even long for it as it draws nearer each year. It is a joy from beginning to end, but it does eventually come to an end. All we can do at the end of our time, is long for next year!
However, there is a WATER that restores my soul that never ends. It is the living water, Jesus Christ my Lord!
Jesus is the LIVING WATER! When we are filled with Him, we are satisfied!
“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who is saying to you, “give me a drink,” you would have asked Him, and He would have given you LIVING WATER!”
And just three verses further, in verses 13 and 14, we see that natural water satisfies for the moment, but we thirst again!
Verse 13, “everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again…“
Verse 14, “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him, shall never be thirsty again!”
When we splash ourselves with the living water, Jesus Christ, we will always be satisfied!
So no matter how hot or cold life gets, let’s remember to discipline ourselves and cover ourselves in Jesus Christ the living water that always satisfies completely!
Summer Steppin Discipline #9
Splash yourself daily with the Living Water of Jesus Christ!
I hope you had a wonderful time celebrating this great country of ours!
“You my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh, rather serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13
In America we value freedom above all else, but we were never meant to use that freedom to just indulge our sinful nature. God tells us to take that freedom and to serve one another in love!
So the question for us this week is…
How are you doing at exercising your freedom?
We have a double freedom as Americans and followers of Christ Jesus. We have the freedom to go after, “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and as Christ followers, we are now free from the bondage of sin and death.
Therefore, our freedom does not just allow us to live selfish lives doing things that are wrong, but to pursue a God honoring life and do what is right!
Paul says in Corinthians “All things are permissible, but all things are not beneficial.”
I Corinthians 6:12
For example, I have the freedom to eat a dozen cupcakes! And I’m not gonna lie, there are days when I think of doing just that! However, that would not be beneficial to my body!
As well, I have the freedom to binge watch FRIENDS until my hands grow numb from doing the intro clap,”Da da da dada!” That would only leave me “stuck in second gear!“
You probably have your own list of “I’m free to do…” The question remains, is that beneficial to you, to your friends, to your family or to others?
Freedom is a great privilege, but not when we abuse it!
Discipline #8-Exercise your freedom in Christ!
As we celebrate the freedom that we have as United States citizens, we celebrate patriotism which is the love of our country, and the freedom that it provides us.
Do you want to make your country even better? Then use your freedom in Christ to serve one another!
In Christ we are free to love and serve one another well!
The sun is out and it’s time to soak up every ounce of Vitamin D that we can!
On our Summer Journey to practice healthy disciplines we’ve been STEPPIN, AND SIPPIN AND NOW WE ARE READY TO PRACTICE SOAKIN!
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient to our overall health and well-being. While other essential vitamins and nutrients must be sought after, this one is easy to find!
Just step outside!
The Creator of the Universe made this one so simple to soak in! In God’s perfect creation, the sun does a beautiful job of distributing vitamin D in abundance!
It just requires, once again, that we discipline ourselves to get STEPPIN! Walk outside and SOAK in the lovely rays the sun provides. It will flood your body with healing, healthy vitamin D and fill your spirit with “happy endorphins!”
Endorphins are; “brain vertebrates that react with the brain’s opiate receptors to raise the pain threshold.” In other words, they are the magic God put inside us to tolerate pain better and feel good!
Endorphins are our “HAPPY HELPERS!”
In order to activate them we need to step outside and soak in the Sun’s rays!
Vitamin D does not come from the sun, it is obtained through natural sources like fish or supplements. Then vitamin D is obtained by irradiating it with ultraviolet light, AKA the SUN, and is essential to maintaining healthy bones and teeth!
The Bible tells us that,
“A merry heart is good like a medicine.”
It’s those endorphins at work within us producing a happy, healthy and merry heart! Not to mention healthy bones and teeth!
AS YOU SOAK IN THE RAYS OF THE SUN, ALLOW THE SON OF GOD TO MAKE YOUR HEART HAPPY!
So, this week I’m adding discipline number seven to my summer Steppin!
#7 Summer SOAKIN!
When you’re outside this week, soaking in all those healthy rays, don’t forget to be practicing steps one through SIX…
Number One, ask God to be your source today, and pray!
Number Two, read God’s Word!
Number Three, MOVE!
Number Four, FAST!
NUMBER FIVE, PERSEVERANCE!
Number Six, SIPPIN
And Add Step Number Seven, SOAKEN!
Spend this week SOAKEN IN THOSE HEALTHY RAYS AND FEEL THE LOVE OF GOD WARMING YOU FROM THE INSIDE OUT!
This week California has experienced, ‘Summer Sizzlin!’ It was HOT! If you were like me, you could not get enough water! I did not just fill one water bottle as I left my house each morning. I carried a cinch sack that had two full hydro’s and held a full bottle in my hand.
I returned home with 3 empty bottles to wash and refill each evening. I realized that I wasn’t even doing the “dance” as much as usual. You know what I mean. That side to side, up and down, can’t find a bathroom quick enough, “dance.” Why? Because I was so hot that I was absorbing the water throughout my overheated body. I also realized that the more I drank, the more I wanted. I simply could not get enough! My thirst seemed unquenchable!
That is the kind of thirst that I believe God wants from us every single day. He desires that we wake up each and every morning feeling like we just can’t get enough of Him!
“OH, TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD! BLESSED IS THE MAN THAT TAKES REFUGE IN HIM!” PSALM 34:8
I think it is easy to pass over the most common definition of, TASTE, and miss it’s deeper meaning all together.
Commonly, the definition of Taste is, “To try and test the flavor of something by taking some into the mouth.”
I personally have this definition of TASTE down very well!
The word, TASTE, also means, “To perceive, or distinguish the flavor of.” And, “To have or get to experience something.”
This definition is the one David is referring to in Psalm 34.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
David is confident and sure, from past experience, that when you experience God by spending time with Him, like we have been disciplining ourselves to do, you will see that HE IS GOOD!
So, I got to thinking…Why not combine the two definitions and make it a double Summer Steppin Discipline? Two ways will always increase our experience and make it even better!
Summer Steppin Discipline #5) SUMMER SIPPIN!
As we are practicing the second definition of “Tasting and Seeing That The Lord is Good,”
reading His Word and spending time in prayer with Him, Disciplines #2, and #3, let’s also practice the first definition of TASTE and sip a refreshing cool summer drink.
WE ARE TRULY REFRESHED BY GOD WHEN WE TASTE AND SEE THAT HE IS GOOD!
In the spirit of ‘Summer Steppin,’ I want my ‘Summer Sippin’ to be healthy and refreshing to my physical body and to my spiritual body! Here are a few of my favorites…
*Sparkling Water with a Twist
Pour sparkling water into a glass of ice. Slice your favorite fruit(mine is lemon) and squeeze the juice of that fruit straight into your glass. Then, drop that fruit into your glass, add a straw and sip away! The fruit infusses the water the entire time you sip!
-If you prefer still water, it works just as well!
*Jump Start Latte
Fill a glass with ice, select your preferred dairy or non-dairy creamer, mine is almond milk, fill the glass half full with the creamer, pour coffee over the creamer and ice, fill to the top of the glass. Add a straw and sip away!
You can adapt this delectable sip any way you like. Use caffeinated coffee or decaf, use dairy or non-dairy creamer, add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg to the top. Anyway you prefer it, sip it!
*Power House Smoothie
Add a huge handful of spinach or power greens to any blender, pour crushed ice and liquid, I use almond milk or coconut milk, about half way up. Add fresh fruit, any kind you prefer, and blend! Pour into a glass and sip away!
**Note, you can use frozen fruit in place of the fresh fruit and crushed ice!
*Fruit Juice Sparkling Water
Select your favorite fruit juice, fill a glass with ice, then pour it into the glass only one quarter of the way up. Fill the rest of the glass with sparkling water, add a straw and sip away!
**Another fun way to sip is to add fresh squeezed fruit or fruit juice to ice cube trays. Freeze them and fill a glass with them. Add sparkling water and sip away!
My mouth is already watering, no pun intended, as I picture myself, on these warm summer days, reading, praying and sippin, as I “TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD!”
These disciplines are the way to truly be refreshed in The Lord regardless of the weather!
Do you remember that classic children’s book, ‘The Little Engine That Could?’
The ordinary, plain little engine pulled a circus train, full of animals. As the train cars were filled with more and more animals the engine huffed and puffed to keep the circus train running along the tracks. The trip was not easy as he pulled cars of larger animals like elephants and giraffes. But he kept at the task knowing the animals needed to reach the circus on time. Tired already from the journey he faced his greatest obstacle yet! In front of him stood a hill. As he looked at it, stalled there on the tracks, he began to feel his exhaustion. He had gotten the circus animals this far, but now the road ahead loomed over him and brought despair. This was too much! He was just one little engine. There was no way he could pull this train full of circus animals up and over this great hill! He was tired, exhausted and “out of steam!” He felt discouraged that he had come all this way and could not finish. As he sat, stalled on the tracks, he had a choice to make. Would he press on or would he quit and fail at his goal? The choice was hard!
It would cost him something. Could he do it?
From his delima, come the encouraging words that have spoken over millions of people as they face similar crossroads…
“I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN!”
And so he did! The little engine mustered all his strength and he persevered!
He turned his negative thoughts into positive ones and climbed that hill!
This is the definition of PERSEVERANCE my friends! We keep on, keeping on, regardless of the obstacles that lie in front of us. We do not give up when the going gets tough. We push onward, much of the time, one small step at a time, but moving forward!
“Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all PERSEVERANCE.” Ephesians 6:18
As believers in Jesus, we have direct access to the source of all strength and perseverance. We can do it because we have the power of Jesus Christ living in us!
What roadblock are you facing as you find yourself “Summer Steppin,” and out of steam to keep on steppin?
Whatever you are facing, with Jesus, we have a mantra that will never fail. We do not just, “Think We Can,” we know HE CAN!
With Jesus, our mantra is,
“I KNOW HE CAN, I KNOW HE CAN, I KNOW HE CAN!”
JESUS IN US GIVES US ALL WE NEED TO PERSEVERE!
So what is it that you need to keep “Steppin” through? Maybe it is our ‘SUMMER DAILY DISCIPLINES,’ that we have committed to practice every day this Summer. If it is getting hard for you and you find yourself stalled on the tracks as Summer lingers on, let’s commit to putting Step #5 into our daily disciplines!
DAILY STEP #5 PERSEVERE
PRAY AND SAY, “I KNOW HE CAN, I KNOW HE CAN, I KNOW HE CAN,” AND DO IT!
Keep those feet up as you trust Jesus for your PERSEVERANCE to “Keep on Summer Steppin!”
I believe that the discipline of spiritual daily fasting can be the antidote to self-centeredness.
I was reminded this week of a quote by a well known pastor in Southern California, Rick Warren;
“This is true humility, not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.”
I am finding it more and more obvious, that when I am sad, lonely, hopeless, frustrated, discouraged or experience any other negative emotions, I am thinking of myself!
My focus has gone off of God and onto myself. So, what can I do?
The antidote for thinking of myself less is to think of God more! I cannot think of a better way to think of God more than when I have purposefully committed to going without food!
I do not know about you but when I get up in the morning I am thinking about two main things, coffee and food! I would love to tell you that I am so spiritually mature, that my first thought in the morning is God and I am all pumped to sit and spend time with Him.
Truth is, I need DISCIPLINE! This is the very reason we are focusing on practicing daily DISCIPLINES. We are by nature, selfish, and in order to develop a character like Christ, we must develop disciplines that create in us a Christ-like character.
Jesus Himself fasted to keep His focus on God and off of the distractions and temptations around Him.
“After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Matthew 4:2-3
I think verse 2 may be the greatest understatement in the history of the world,
“HE WAS HUNGRY!” As my daughter would say, “Thank you Captain Obvious!”
But because He is Jesus, He answers with complete focus and discipline.
“Jesus answered, “It is written; Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
If we want to be more like Jesus than I believe it is important to continue developing Daily Disciplines that emulate the character of Jesus.
I am not saying that we have to fast for 40 days! That actually would not work as a daily discipline. Eventually, we would need to eat or we would die! That is the way God created our bodies. It is possible however, to develop a daily time when you purposefully go without food in order to turn your focus toward God.
I realize most of you have heard of INTERMITTENT FASTING, it can be a healthy way to manage your weight. I am not talking about that! That is a practice for your physical health. The FASTING I am talking about is a time each and every day, that you go without food in order to focus on God.
For example, because I have already committed myself to Disciplines 1, 2, and 3, I am going to add discipline #4, and set the first two hours I get up each day to fast, to go without any food.
This means I am disciplining myself to #1) Pray and acknowledge my need for God, #2) Read God’s Word, #3) MOVE, and #4) FAST for the first two hours of each day!
You may have a medical need to have food as soon as you wake up. You may be able to go without food for a longer stretch of time. You may focus on your time alone with God at your lunch time and want to FAST then. Maybe you prefer to end your day praying and reading God’s Word and you choose to FAST from 6:00 or 7:00 in the evening until you get up the next morning. There is no right or wrong way to practice this discipline. You may find any time of the day or amount of time in your day to FAST from food and focus on God.
Does it have to be food? No, it really does not. But food is typically something we all enjoy, look forward to and notice if we are not partaking of it. Therefore, for me, it is the perfect discipline to choose to FAST from!
THE DISCIPLINE OF FASTING HELPS DEVELOP A CHRIST-LIKE CHARACTER IN US.
MY COMMITMENT TO “SUMMER STEPIN,” DEVELOPING DAILY DISCIPLINES, IS TO TAKE THIS SUMMER AND DEVELOP DISCIPLINES THAT WILL MAKE ME MORE LIKE JESUS.
The temperatures are rising and it is truly beginning to feel like Summer. So why am I not feeling energetic and enthused about my “Summer Steppin?”
It’s week 3 of Developing Daily Disciplines and my steps have come to a halt!
I’m doing well with steps 1 and 2, but this week I am committing to step 3, and my body is not conforming!
My Third Healthy Habit is to MOVE!
No matter how big or how small, MOVE!
Talk a walk, take a run, hike, bike or stretch! Complete a full workout, or stretch for 20 minutes…just get moving! Do something!
I am encouraged by the song,
“You’ve got to move it, move it!
You’ve got to move it, move it!
You’ve got to move it, move it!
“You’ve got to, You’ve got to!”
But it’s June 1st, Summer is in the air and my body is singing a different tune!
The lyrics in my head sound more like;
“ I don’t want to move it, move it!”
“ I don’t want to move it, move it!”
“I don’t want to move it, move it!”
“I don’t want to!”
“I don’t want to!”
Do you relate? Or, am I the only one who runs out of strength, energy and will- power?
The problem with the second version of my song is the word “I!” In my own strength, in my own flesh, depending on my will power, I AM WEAK! It is only when I depend on God that I am able to find the strength to accomplish these healthy habits and anything else God has for me!
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26
Did you catch that?
I am weak, I get tired, my flesh fails…
BUT GOD IS MY STRENGTH AND PORTION AND WITH HIM I CAN PERSEVERE!
The entire chapter of Psalm 73 teaches us this Truth!
We see two major truths in this Psalm;
#1) We can be weak as humans no matter of our gender, race or age.
#2) We need God as our source of strength!
At times we are weak, BUT GOD!
The Psalm repeats these two truths over and over…
“My feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.”
“For all day long I had been stricken.”
“It seemed a wearisome task.”
“When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart.”
“…you hold my right hand.”
“You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory!”
“God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
“But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made The Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all your works.”
So let’s get moving!
Let’s continue “Summer Steppin” as we develop healthy daily disciplines remembering that when we are weak, “BUT GOD!”
Summer is quickly approaching and with it comes the carefree desires to trade in my ankle booties for a pair of sassy sandals, to untie my tennies and replace them with flip flops, and even to run barefoot through the soft green grass or the ocean sands!
Summer brings more sunlight, longer daylight hours, and greater opportunity to be outdoors. However, it can also bring discouragement as we realize our well meaning goals or “New Year’s Resolutions” we made, we have not achieved.
I believe that with each new season God offers us a fresh opportunity to set our minds on Him and step forward with renewed strength and commitment.
So I am introducing a Seasonal Challenge to form Healthy Habits, ‘Summer Steps to Daily Disciplines.’
We committed last week to ‘Changing Our Lives By The Disciplines Of Our Day’ because taking it one day at a time is the way to create a habit!
We began by remembering that,
“Healthy Habits Form When I Commit Each Day To Prayer And Doing What Is Right In The Eyes Of God!”
I started my First Healthy Habit and committed to following through on it for 7 days, all week long.
My first Healthy Habit was:
#1) Prayer and Acknowledgement Of My Need For God Today!
I was successful at praying these words to God each day last week, but I have to admit that there were a couple of days where I found myself saying them as I crawled into bed instead of when I was getting out of bed that morning!
Creating Healthy Habits takes commitment but it also takes staying power. This is more commonly known as PERSEVERANCE! That is why I have made the commitment to PERSEVERE through the Summer and take the Steps needed to form healthy habits and change my life by the disciplines of my day! AKA: SUMMER STEPS TO DAILY DISCIPLINE!
To quote the words from one of my favorite oldie but goodie worship songs by Stephen Curtis Chapman…”I’m diving in, I’m going deep, in over my head I want to be. Caught in the flood, lost in the flow, in over my head I want to go. The Rivers deep, the Rivers wide, the Rivers water is alive, SO SINK OR SWIM I’M DIVING IN!”
Will you dive in with me as we make this a Summer to Remember?
A Summer when we PERSEVERED even when it got difficult. When we stayed the course even when we vered to the left or to the right and had to straighten ourselves out again. When we trusted God over all the other voices in our lives and formed Healthy Habits and made our spiritual lives stronger!
Afterall, the River we are jumping into is ALIVE! Jesus is our living water and He will fill us up, quench our thirst, and sustain us as we go!
JESUS IS THE LIVING WATER THAT WILL SUSTAIN, REFRESH AND QUENCH ANY THIRST WE HAVE!
My second healthy habit,
#2) READING GOD’S WORD!
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling THE WORD OF TRUTH(AKA: The Bible!)!” 2 Timothy 2:15
Reading the Bible every day can be intimidating, but it does not have to be. We can be in God’s Word every single day if we just begin one step at a time!
Choose a book of the Bible that you have been meaning to study or that you have always been interested in. Whisper a prayer and ask God to direct you to the book.
If reading is a challenge for you, select a Bible app and listen as the word of God is read to you!
Regardless of how you do it, putting God’s Truth into your head and heart every single day will change your life!
What is God telling you to implement as your next Daily Discipline?
I would love for you to share it with me in the comments! I pray we can encourage each other along this journey through the Summer to grow closer to God as we form Healthy Daily Disciplines!
“One Day At A Time,” wasn’t that the name of an old T.V. sitcom? I can hear the theme song playing in my head as I write this. Isn’t it interesting how things stick with us?
I can recall songs to my favorite cartoons I watched as a kid. I can sing ‘Little Red Caboose,’ as clearly as I could sitting cross legged on my kindergarten rug at school all those years ago. Why? Because my Kindergarten teacher understood the principle of repetition. The practice of doing something over and over and over again until it becomes ingrained in us.
I was reminded this weekend by my favorite pastor, just how important daily habits are! They form us, they shape us, and they set our emotional tone!
Think about it…
When you get up with an agenda and you complete it, what is your emotional state of mind? Do you feel satisfied, confident, successful, and more sure of yourself?
Now think about it in reverse…
If you get up with an agenda and do not complete it, what is your emotional state of mind? Do you feel discouraged, frustrated, overwhelmed, and maybe even a bit depressed?
Considering what a beating our emotional health takes on a daily basis as we are bombarded with both the knowns and the unknowns, I believe it would be wise for us to begin forming healthy habits to maintain and sustain our emotional health and well being. I also firmly believe that the only habits worth forming are those connected to our spiritual health and well being.
So here goes! As spring seems to quickly be coming to an end, and summer is approaching, I am challenging myself to begin healthy daily habits that will strengthen my emotional health and build an even stronger spiritual health in me.
I can glance down the aisle at the supermarket and see 12 magazines promising “A New Me,” in 28 days. I can scroll down my social media and pass Ad after Ad for 30 days to change my life for the better. I can walk down the self-help aisle at the bookstore or scroll down my computer screen on Amazon books and find numerous ways to improve myself.
IT IS OVERWHELMING!
Simply trying to “improve myself,” can become the outward bombardment that leads to that emotional failure I spoke about initially!
SO WHAT IS A GIRL TO DO?
She has to look to the only source that is constant and TRUE. She has to realize it is a spiritual habit in her life that will lead to the emotional health she desires. She has to look to God and His Word of Truth!
“For the eyes of The Lord watch over those who do right, and His ears are open to their prayer.” I Peter 3:12a
Healthy habits form when I commit each day to prayer and doing what is right in the eyes of God!
Where does a girl or guy start when they are seeking emotional health? They look to the Lord, do what is RIGHT and PRAY!
Research has shown that a habit is formed by repeating it over and over and over again.
I am challenging myself to take on a healthy spiritual daily habit one week at a time, repeat it for seven days in a row and be held accountable by all of you!
I will state my “HEALTHY HABIT,” here each week on my blog, repeat it for 7 days and then share with all of you how my 7 days went the following Tuesday.
I am praying that with accountability, repetition, and strength from the Lord that I will have strong healthy habits in my life at the end of the Summer.
Are you ready to “jump into the deep end of the pool with me?” You knew I had to have a Summer joke in here somewhere!
MY FIRST HEALTHY DAILY HABIT
#1) PRAYER AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF MY NEED FOR GOD TODAY!
BEFORE MY FEET EVEN HIT THE GROUND GETTING UP IN THE MORNING, I WILL ASK GOD TO BE MY SOURCE ALL DAY LONG!
As my feet hit the ground I will say to God, “This is the Day The Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!” (That is a daily healthy Habit my grandma taught me!)
Friends, nothing is “EASY,” in this life! We are thrown curve balls around every corner. We are, like I said above, bombarded by this world inside and out on a continuous basis. The only way to keep our heads held up is to look up!
We must look up to Jesus and form those healthy habits that will keep us walking with Him, not just when we are desperate, but on the DAILY!
I look forward to a SUMMER OF BUILDING THOSE HEALTHY HABITS ALONGSIDE YOU!
Will you take the plunge with me? Haha, there’s another one! Can’t promise it will be the last. But I do promise to be here for you each week as we commit to FORMING HEALTHY HABITS!
Who says, when asked what animal they would like to be or see themselves as, “I want to be a sheep.” I am not sure anyone, ever on the planet has had that response?
“I want to be a Lion!”
“I want to be a Tiger!”
“I want to be a Leopard!”
“I want to be a Bear!”
Some may even declare, “I want to be an Elephant or a Gorilla.”
However I doubt most of us would say, “I want to be a sheep!”
We may even stretch our imaginations far enough and want to be a cuddly, soft little lamb, but not a SHEEP!
Sheep are vulnerable, they need care and they are prone to stray. These are not the top 10 characteristics of ourselves that we would love to share, post or brag about.
The TRUTH is, they are however, the traits that we possess.
How can I say that with confidence? Because the One who knows us best, inside and out, down to our innermost parts, says it!
“All of us are like sheep who have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way…”
And when we do wander, forget our way, and get lost, what do we tend to do? Just like David the shepherd, we cry out to our Good Shepherd to come rescue us!
“I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.” Psalm 119:176
God knows us better than anyone. God knows us inside and out. He created us and he knows our tendencies. When we are hurting, when we are sad, when we are frightened, when we are confused and frustrated and do not know which way to turn, we are like sheep! God knew that what we needed was a GOOD SHEPHERD! And because He loves us so much, HE GAVE US ONE!
JESUS IS OUR GOOD SHEPHERD BECAUSE AND WE ARE HIS SHEEP!
There is no place for guilt in this! There is no place for shame in this! God did not tell us to be a lion, or a bear, or an elephant, or an alligator. God knows that we are sheep! And that is not a put down, it should give us comfort in knowing and understanding how God understands us!
And because He understands us and knows us like none other, He sent us not just a shepherd, but THE GOOD SHEPHERD!
Think about it?
What is your tendency when life gets tough? When it throws you for a loop or knocks you off your feet. Or even sometimes, flat on your back!
My go to is to become a lion! I don’t even think about it, it is just my natural tendency. I have done too many personality tests to count. And regardless of the labeling… Numbers, letters, or even animals, I come out as a lion!
Before you go into a thought process that this is in anyway bragging or a strength, it is not! Doubt it? Let me show you!
I have shared with you before that I am currently facing one of, if not the hardest life challenges I have ever faced. My mom has Alzheimer’s and grieving the loss of her through it and finding the best care for her has been nothing less than excruciating. My tendency to be the lion, to protect and rescue all those I love has landed me not just off my feet but flat on my face before our Good Shepherd!
Being the lion has brought feelings of failure, guilt and letting down those I love most of all. Only when I realized that I truly am a sheep and that I can cast my cares on my Good Shepherd, did I realize that only He can care for me and the other sheep that I love desperately!
He is our Good Shepherd!
I am valuable to the Good Shepherd! He sees me as worthy, so worthy that he will leave the ninety-nine to come after me!
Friends, there is nothing too horrible that we can do, and nothing too awful that we’ve done to keep the Good Shepherd from coming after us!
He will search high and low to find us. His desire is to bring us back to a place of security and safety!
The question is, do we want to be found?
Are you willing to be vulnerable enough to be a sheep?
Ask yourself that question and then pause for a moment.
Listen to your hearts answer.
Until we are vulnerable enough to be a sheep, we will not experience all that the Lord, the Good Shepherd, can be for us and wants to be for us!
Read 1 Peter 5:7
“Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you.”
WHETHER YOU SEE YOURSELF AS A LION, TIGER OR BEAR, THE TRUTH IS WE ARE ALL SHEEP WHO NEED TO CAST OUR CARES ON OUR GOOD SHEPHERD!
We then need to act on 1 Peter and do what it says!
Number One: BELIEVE WHAT IT SAYS!
He cares for you!-Believe it!
He cares for you as an individual, not just part of a flock or group! -Believe it!
Number Two: DO WHAT IT SAYS!
If you are still trying to be the lion, the one that can handle it all, then you have not learned to be a sheep, trust the Good Shepherd, and give Him your cares!
Believe me, it takes practice. It is natural for us to want to be strong and take care of ourselves and others! But we must first humble ourselves and be like sheep. Realizing, that it is God‘s strength that makes us strong! He will make us lions when we need to be lions.
It does take practice. We can practice taking one care at a time and giving it to our Good Shepherd! See what He will do with it. You will be amazed!
Number Three: Pray It!
Speak it out loud or write it out! Send a prayer to your Good Shepherd speaking it out loud or writing it out. Ask Him to show you how He cares for you!
My friends, it is good to be a sheep, because we have a GOOD GOOD SHEPHERD!
He knows our needs, wants, desires, strengths and weaknesses, and He cares for us!