Saturday, March 23, 2013

Black Sheep

   My husband and I recently moved to the country. It had been a dream of his to raise sheep when he retired. Although he dragged me, heels dug in, into his dream, I am absolutely loving this lifestyle. We've had five little lambs born this week, a set of triplets and a set of twins. One of the triplets is solid black except for a little comma of pink for a nose and a pink crescent mouth. I'm in love!
   This got me to thinking about the term "black sheep". In the English language," black sheep" is used to describe a disreputable or odd member of a group. You may have a "black sheep" in your family: an eccentric aunt, a wayward cousin, an alchoholic brother. I was the "black sheep" in my family. But my mother never stopped loving me and praying for me.
   This ewe, Big Mama, doesn't see any difference between this black lamb and the other two. She lets all three nurse as much as they need to. She head butts anyone who comes close to them. She doesn't  see the black lamb as an anomoly but as one of her babies to take good care of.
   I thought of how this is a picture of our Good Shepherd, Jesus. He doesn't see some of us as black beacuse our sins are greater. He sees all of us who believe in Him as white as wool and lovingly takes care of us all the same.
"So there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus", Romans 8:1. NLT 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Self Is A Slippery Slope

   What a slippery slope self is. I've been desperate for Jesus for as long as I can remember and in love with Him for a very long time. I've gone, over the years, to a lot of Bible studies and Christian conferences in order to know Him better. I've learned about grace, and mercy, and forgiveness, and unconditional love. Lately, I've spent time sitting alone in His Presence and I've been feeling good, victorious, like an overcomer. But still-self is a slippery slope.
   It only takes one morning when I have to rush off somewhere and I don't take the time to read my Bible or pray, and I've lost my footing. It doesn't take but one day of my family visiting and the old triggers ignite, and I'm starting to slide. It doesn't take but one afternoon of black storm clouds moving through and my body aches all over and I'm tripped up.
   You get the picture. It doesn't take much at all to make it all about me. "I don't feel good. I shouldn't have said that. I want what she has. I don't belong there. I'm too old to do that".
   It's time. I know it's time. Jesus has shown me it's time. Time to grab hold with both hands. Time to center myself in His Presence each day. Time to keep my focus on His love and grace. Time to make it all about Him.

"The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand", Psalm 37:23-24. NLT

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Living Like It

   Today is a beautiful spring-like day where I live. I'm thankful that we have had a mild winter. Except for a few snow flurries and a strectch of frigid weather last week, I can't complain about the cold. I'm so sorry for those of you who have had one major snowstorm after another. I know how difficult it can be to dig out from just one snowfall and I'm praying for you.
   I have felt really good this winter. January and February are usually the hardest months for me. I barely can drag myself out of bed; leaden with a heavy blanket of depression. But this year has been different. I don't attribute it to the mild weather we've had. I attribute it to the forced time of sitting because of my severe back pain a year ago. With nothing else to do as I sat, I turned to Jesus and spent more time in His presence, praying and reading the Bible.
   This may sound crazy, but even at Christmas I noticed a change. It was a feeling of being in the stable, kneeling at the feet of Jesus, worshipping Him with the shepherds. All of my life before, I had merely watched the Christ Child from a long distance. I have been praying for a while that Jesus would make me into a new creation. Recently I have realized that I already am that new creation. I just need to start living like it.
"For you are children of the light and of the day; we don't belong to darkness and night. But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation", 1 Thessalonians 5:5, 8. NLT