Psalm 95:6-7 O come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand.
My sister’s and I have a name for people who, not paying attention, just follow the person in front of them. Seemingly unable to think for themselves, these folks just blindly line up wherever. They could be mere feet from a better option, but they don’t notice. It’s like they just trust that the person in front of them knew what they were doing – and so they’ve followed. We call them sheep. It is not meant to be a compliment. I’ve been thinking about sheep in a different light today. During my sermon yesterday, our guest speaker mentioned being the people of God’s pasture – His sheep. So, if God is my shepherd, I’m a sheep right? But what does that really mean?
Sheep are often thought of as dumb animals, but in fact they are equally as intelligent as cattle. Sheep have the ability to remember faces for years and can be taught their own names. However, their instinctual panic and flee characteristics make them seem downright stupid. As humans, we don’t really respect creatures that just scatter screaming like crazy when faced with danger. Sheep are very influenced by their leader and have a natural inclination to follow as a pack wherever they are led. They know their master’s voice and willingly go where the voice commands.
I want to be like that. I want to know God’s voice. To hear His instruction in my life and follow it. I want to delight in the pastures He brings me to, knowing that He has selected the best for me. I don’t want to flip out in the face of trials and bleating scatter like crazy. I want to know the security of the flock the Lord has me in. To rest that God is prowling the edges, keeping me safe. I’m ok being a sheep, so long as Jesus is my shepherd.
*2 C all purpose flour
*1 C sugar
*1 t salt
*1 t baking powder
*¼ t baking soda
*2/3 C buttermilk (or can use sour milk – 1 C milk, 1 T lemon juice or white vinegar at room temp for 10 minutes. *Use 2/3 C.)
*6 T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
*1/3 C orange juice
*1 large egg
*1 T grated fresh orange zest
*1½ C dried cranberries (crazins)
1.Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 ½ by 4 ½ inch loaf pan.
2.In a small bowl, combine the crazins with the orange juice, stirring to incorporate until the cranberries plump slightly. Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, melted butter, egg and orange zest together until smooth. Fold the buttermilk mixture and the crazins (including juice) into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined. Do not overmix.
3.Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just few crumbs attached, about 1 hour, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
4.Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour before serving.
Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
One day at a time. Just today. That’s all I need to concern myself with.
But it is just so hard!
The past few days I feel a bit like the proverbial chicken missing his head. I suddenly have many many many things to juggle, and I feel like my hands can’t move fast enough to keep all the balls in the air. For example, yesterday I went down to my church to work on a few things I needed to do. I got a lot accomplished and felt great, until I got home and realized I’d forgotten to drop of my husband’s bass guitar so the worship team could use it. “Oh well, I’ll just take it down tomorrow morning after my workout” I thought. Continue reading
Yesterday, as my family sat eating a rare dinner out, I had one of those Mommy moments you aren’t sure if you should be proud of or embarrassed by.
A lady in the booth beside us had a bit of a cold and was coughing. Suddenly my three-year old’s loud voice rang through the restaurant “Mommy! She used her hand to cover her mouth when she coughed!”. “It’s ok sweetie”, I assured Madison as I tried to distract her with a french fry. “No!” she continued forcefully, “You’re supposed to cough like this.”. Maddie then demonstrated how to properly cough into your arm at the elbow, looking pointedly at the woman across from us. “See, like that”, she directed her. I dared a glance over to the other table, gave my best I’m-so-sorry-my-daughter-is-calling-you-out-on-your-poor-coughing-technique look and then verbally apologized as well. Thankfully, the woman was kind and told Madison what a smart girl she was to know the proper way to cover your mouth.
I want to be proud of my little girl for (obviously) listening to me when I’ve instructed her how to keep a cough to herself. At the same time, I certainly don’t want her to think it’s ok to verbally berate perfect strangers in the middle of dinner, or anywhere for that matter. Ah, the great dilemmas of mommy-hood.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
What an awesome day. I am continually impressed with God’s ability to mold me and shape me into a better version of myself. Closer to His own image. Transforming me little by little, or sometimes (like today) suddenly in a big chunk.
I am a perfectionist by nature. My own worst critic, I have a tendency to never allow myself a passing grade. I realize God has gifted me in many ways, but my first instinct is usually to find fault with just about everything. No matter what my success, I’m always following it up with a list of ways I could have done better. This is an area the Lord has been working on with me for several years. Slowly changing my heart to allow for the things in life I cannot change, nor can I control. Do you know how God “fixes” a control-freak-perfectionist? He gives you things utterly completely and entirely beyond your ability to handle or even manage. And you know what, it works really well. Continue reading
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Thanks again Mom for my “Jesus Calling” devotional. It’s awesome. From today’s reading “If you live your life too safely, you will never know the thrill of seeing Me work through you. — It is so wrong to measure your energy level against the challenges ahead of you. The issue is not your strength, but Mine, which is limitless.”
So often in life, I see obstacles and suddenly, my focus shifts from allowing God to work through me, to figuring out how to conquer the problem myself. I easily forget that regardless of what I see or feel, the Lord has it under control. At no time in the history of the universe has God said “Wow. Didn’t see that coming.”. Continue reading
As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD is flawless.
He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
Flawless. Perfect. These words describe the unattainable in life. For us at least, but not for God. The word “flawless” in the King James is “tried”, which is from the Hebrew word tsaraph, which refers to the process a smelter uses to refine metal, making it pure. Flawless. Ready to be used. How amazing is it that back in the day one of the primary uses for metals having gone thru this process was fashioning weaponry…like, a shield. The Bible is so cool. Continue reading
1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
I was reflecting this morning on how it feels to be loved. There are people in life who radiate the love of Christ. It absolutely seeps out of their very pores. It’s infectious, overpowering and wonderful to see. When you are with them, you can feel that they care. These are the people in your life who never have a harsh word to say about anyone, they give of themselves freely and fully yet never make you feel that it’s a hardship for them to do so. I have several friends who are amazing in this way, and it never ceases to impress me. I come away from my time with them feeling peaceful and filled up with joy and love. How can I become more like that? Continue reading
1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore!
I’ve fallen off the bandwagon. In more ways than one. First, with my devotional time. Second, with my exercise routine. I have been lamenting my loss of passion for the gym (what I call “Jim”). I went on a cruise a couple weeks ago, gained 8 pounds in those 7 blissful days and have not managed to get myself back to a good workout/eating right schedule since I’ve been back. But NOT being at the gym so much this past week has made me realize a few things.
The past year or so, exercise has become a HUGE portion of my life. I spend 8-10 hours a week visiting “Jim”. Not getting my time in lately has caused some unexpected results. My house is clean. I’m spending more time playing with my children, errands are done, I’m talking to my mom and sisters more, I’m back in the word in my devotional time. I’m feeling very convicted this morning that my enthusiasm for weight loss has become something more. It’s become an idol. Continue reading
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.
Good to know God is waiting for me right where I left Him. I’ve struggled with my quiet time lately. I’m allowing life to get in the way. I had myself in such a great rhythm, but have totally lost momentum. Although getting back into my devotionals has been on my mind frequently the last few weeks, I have been keenly aware the past 48 hours of how much I miss my time with the Lord.
My daughter is sick and I’ve been up dealing with vomit the last two nights. Not fun stuff. In the midst of all those night-time dashes between my room and hers, I’ve felt totally unprepared for this thing called parenting. Holding back my own nausea at the smells and sounds of a sick child, I’ve prayed for strength and wisdom frequently. Finally, after Madison’s bedroom was no fit place for anyone, I slept (or more accurately did not sleep) on the playroom floor, comforting my child. I used the time awake to pray for my baby girl, and think about how God cares for me. Stroking Maddie’s hair and listening to her breathing made me think how much it would hurt me if my little girl decided she didn’t want to spend any time with me. And yet I’m doing that same thing to a God who loves me infinitely more than I cherish my daughter.
Then, my first devotional back begins with this wonderful passage from Psalm 63 and a reminder that Jesus wants to help me through my day – that the challenges I face are only going to be handled well in Him. Thank the Lord that He is my help. I’m so in awe this morning at God’s ability to continually meet me right where I am. That in my night watches over my daughter, God has been drawing me back to Himself. That in my bleary-eyed, weary state, He is waiting to stroke my hair and help me through all that is before me in this day.