Do you feel frazzled, confused, anxious, defeated? Like you’re running in circles, wearing yourself out without getting anywhere? Are you spending your days and nights stressing and angsting over everything from your children’s spiritual health to your job security?
Whatever we fear, whatever the struggle, there’s one answer: Fear of the Lord. Because fear of the Lord and fear of the world cannot coexist. At each moment, we’re fearing one of the other.
One depletes us, the other, like Proverbs 3:7-8 promises, nourishes us. “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones” (NIV).
Fear of the Lord, which is the act of surrendering to God in reverence and awe and resting in who He is, what He’s promised, and what He’s done, changes everything!
In the following post, today’s guests Betsy Duffey andLaurie Myers reminded me of this life-encompassing truth as they shared their thoughts on a pack of stupid, smelly animals. Read her thoughts then share yours. But first, I wanted to let you know, there’s still time to enter last week’s book give-away drawing. Go here to learn more.
AND… We’re launching another give-away today! The Writing Sisters are giving away a copy of their latest release, The Shepherd’s Song, to one of you (in the continental US), randomly selected from the comments left on today’s post.
Learning from The Shepherd by Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers
Have you ever thought about yourself as a sheep? In the Bible people are often compared to sheep. As we wrote The Shepherd’s Song we needed some firsthand experience with sheep so we found a farm in North Georgia and set up a visit. See if you can find yourself in what we learned.
The Shepherd prepares good things for us
As the shepherd filled up the feed buckets, he explained the importance of the formula of the food. Sheep cannot eat regular feed because it contains copper, but the feed he prepares is safe.
Carefully, the shepherd measured the quantity. “Sheep don’t know when to stop eating,” he explained. “Their appetite is bottomless. They will eat anything and they will eat until it is unhealthy.”
Our heavenly Shepherd knows what we need. He gives spiritual food that will satisfy, not like the world. And He gives the right amount and He gives to all.
The Shepherd protects the sheep
We were leaning over the wired enclosure to get better photographs when the shepherd called, “Be careful that’s an electric fence!” Quickly we jumped back. It turned out that only the bottom wire was electric. The electric fence may shock the sheep at first, until they learn to stay away, but it also keeps out predators that can kill them.
Our heavenly Shepherd protects us in ways we do not know or understand.
The Shepherd lets the sheep experience consequences.
Ultra, one of the bigger sheep ate too fast. The dry food caught in her throat and she began to gag. The shepherd shook his head. “She eats too much, too fast, and then can’t swallow it all. She has to work it out for herself.”
It was painful to watch her struggling to heave up the dry oats in her throat. She coughed and jumped and strained. But the shepherd could only watch. He was with her, but let her work out the problem caused by her own actions.
Our Shepherd may, at times, let us work out our problems, but He is always there with us.
Gratitude pleases the Shepherd.
The sheep’s pen was bare of grass, but we could see the meadow adjacent where the shepherd had planted rye grass for the winter. “What I love,” he explained, “is when I take the sheep to the grassy meadow to feed. They have all the food they want, they don’t need me, but some of them still come to me.”
Our Shepherd loves it when we come to Him in gratitude.
Time with the Shepherd makes the sheep love Him more.
Amanda was the oldest sheep, and older sheep have acquired wisdom. Amanda was a stabilizing force in the flock, and the most savvy about dangers. She was also the most grateful. She never misses an opportunity to spend time with the shepherd. “Even when there’s no food involved she’ll come out to see me,” he said.
Time with our Shepherd helps us love Him more.
Our field trip to learn about sheep and shepherds turned into a rich learning experience, one that we will not forget. God always grows us and teaches us sometimes in unexpected ways! Did you see yourself in any of the examples?
The Writing Sisters, Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers were born into a writing family, and began critiquing manuscripts at an early age for their mother, Newbery winner Betsy Byars. They went on to become authors of more than thirty-five children’s novels. Their first book for adults, The Shepherd’s Song, is being released in paperback April 2015.
You can connect with Laurie and Betsy on their monthly newsletter where they send out updates and their popular free devotional books. Contact them at WritingSisters.com and find them on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
Follow the incredible journey of one piece of paper—a copy of Psalm 23—as it travels around the world, linking lives and hearts with its simple but beautiful message.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures…
Shortly before a tragic car accident, Kate McConnell wrote down the powerful words of Psalm 23 on a piece of paper for her wayward son. Just before she loses consciousness, Kate wonders if she’s done enough with her life and prays, “Please, let my life count.”
Unbeknownst to Kate, her handwritten copy of Psalm 23 soon begins a remarkable journey around the world. From a lonely dry cleaning employee to a soldier wounded in Iraq, to a young Kurdish girl fleeing her country, to a Kenyan runner in the Rome Invitational marathon, this humble message forever changes the lives of twelve very different people. Eventually, Kate’s paper makes it back to its starting place, and she discovers the unexpected ways that God changes lives, even through the smallest gestures.
With beautiful prose evocative of master storyteller Andy Andrews’s The Butterfly Effect, this story will touch your heart and remind you of the ways God works through us to reach beyond what we can imagine.
Let’s talk about this! Besty said, “God always grows us and teaches us sometimes in unexpected ways! Did you see yourself in any of the examples?”
What are some unexpected ways God has grown and/or taught you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.