Awash with Insecurity?

I’ve found in recent months a strong tendency towards insecurity.  What is it that perpetuates this vicious self-defeating cycle in my heart, mind and soul? The answer is varied and includes a  recognition of my inadequacies, a desire for perfection, and a focus on me.  My insecurities haven’t arisen from a lack of love from family, friends, or my God; He gave His life for me.  It does, however, affect friends and family as they expend their energy boosting my self-confidence and saddens my Father who showers me with His love.  How much more I would accomplish if I devoted that same energy to sharing God’s love.

About a year and a half ago, I read the book, Kisses From Katie.

It is an inspirational true story of a 18 year old woman who is modeling her life after Jesus through self-sacrifice and love in Uganda.  She does this by adopting 13 orphan girls and transforming a poor community by establishing a feeding program for the children and a vocational program for the mothers.  She is filled with and displays God’s grace, patience, joy and love and shares those gifts with those she serves.  How can my life be all about me when Jesus life was poured out for me?  How can I continually doubt his presence when He tells me to ask and He will fill me with His gifts of the Spirit, Mark 11.  I know He will fill me because I’ve seen His fruit become manifest in the lives of others.

My prayer today is for forgiveness.  I ask for forgiveness for minimizing your power, goodness and mercy.  Forgiveness for not asking and therefore not receiving.  Forgiveness for being filled with me rather than being filled with You.  I love you Lord.

1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.

There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Space Oddity

The nucleus of the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51). The...

The nucleus of the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51). The Cross marks the Lords signature on the galaxy he created. The location of the black hole at the center of the galaxy. The cross was first interpreted as two dust rings circling the nucleus. It was later determined to simply be foreground dust lanes silhouetted by the active nucleus. Bright ionization cones can be seen extending perpendicular to the largest dust feature. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m inspired by Chris Hadfield’s rendition of David Bowie’s song, Space Oddity.  Listening to the words to this song, I remember my utter powerlessness and depend more completely on God’s providence, his plan for humanity since time began; dependence on Him, love for Him, faith in Him.  The world is in His hands and it is through these three things that the purpose of life is revealed.

Lord, thank you for reminding me of my need for you.  So often I rely on my strength to accomplish everyday goals and forget that you are the power that gives me that strength.  May your will be done.

(Be sure to click on the link below to see his video.)

Going to Town!

I used to find that going to town elicited a feeling of anticipation and excitement.  What will I buy; a new dress, a new chair, knickknacks or a book?  Those were fun days and I look back on them with a fond remembrance of time spent with children, sisters, friends, and parents but the thrill of the hunt is now a feeling of dread and I feel an intense longing to stay at home with a good book and cup(s) of coffee!  What changed?  Instead of the beauty of each moment spent frantically looking for something to buy, I now feel a strong desire to commune with God and revere His majestic creation.

Concurrently, I feel more creative and watch amazed as that creativity blossoms and grows.  I’m not talking about having a tremendous gift for anything creative, but rather the allowing of God’s genius to flow through me in very small increments!  I’m not a naturally gifted artist, musician, student; you get the idea, but I do thrill at experiencing something greater than myself within me.  Wow!  When I know without a doubt that the result is not of my ability or making, I’m overwhelmed with the need to praise God!  Lord, I praise your name, and thank you for helping me find relief from the endless monotony of going to town!

Holy Spirit Stained Glass

Holy Spirit Stained Glass (Photo credit: hickory hardscrabble)

A Modern Day Shepherd

Jonathan

Jonathan

Sweet Lambs

Sweet Lambs

The Flock

The Flock

I met a man today who is one of the last of his kind in our country, a nomadic shepherd.  He is Navajo and his anglicized name is Jonathan Tomtom (his Navajo name is only known by a few close family members).  He can’t find anyone who is willing to do what he does and become responsible for the flock, so he states,”this is probably the last year I can make this journey to the high country.  I had to start earlier this year due to last years drought.  I can’t afford to feed them and they don’t have enough grass to graze on at home.”  At one time he had over 2000 sheep and presently he owns only 190. He stopped to answer my questions and allow me to take his picture, and said, “many people will snap my picture or video me as they drive past but rarely does anyone want to talk.”  He seemed grateful for a moments companionship.  I asked him if his wife worries about him when he leaves each spring/summer, and he smiled and said, “I have a cell phone!”  I live in a place where cell phone reception is not always reliable and I’ve become reacquainted with Ma Bell, much to my chagrin, so cell phone coverage didn’t occur to me for his journey!  I asked him if he had ever read Bible accounts of shepherds, especially David and he told me there are many differences in Navaho beliefs and in our Bible.  I encouraged him to read about David as a shepherd boy, thinking of Psalm 23 as a point of interest, because his life experience as a shepherd mirrors David’s life .  He brought a box of books to read and said he might look at David’s story.

I was curious as to whether he had to save the sheep and goats from mountain lions or bear as we have plenty of both.  My thoughts were still focused on David as he rescued his sheep from both predators;

I Samuel 17:34-37, “But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” 

Jonathan told me the mountain lions are afraid of his dogs and don’t approach the sheep.  On the other hand, he lost 60 of his flock to bear last summer and predicted his losses will be comparable this year.  He places his bedroll in the middle of the flock at night to protect them, but bear still take the sheep on the outlying edges as their own.  I am reminded of Jesus who is our shepherd,

John 10:1-18,”Very
truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by
the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.
 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the

The Good Shepherd 31 Del Parson

The Good Shepherd 31 Del Parson (Photo credit: Waiting For The Word)

gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.The
hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he
sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.
The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” 

Who are we but Jesus sheep, and He is our shepherd.  He protects us from the evil one and gave His life freely to protect His sheep, i.e. me!  I’m pleased to have met Jonathan and hope to see him when he returns through this valley in the fall, on his way back home.  I hope I will have another opportunity to learn about him and share my love of  The Shepherd.  Jonathan shared, “I have a picture of Jesus and His sheep hanging in my home.”

Friendship

Not many events in life surpass spending time with people you love. I’ve discovered life-long friendships are rare, especially between couples, so when that special magic occurs I cherish it.  I just spent a beautiful weekend with dear friends and while we knew the threads of our relationship ranged from our beliefs, to music, to good books, and family; it was pure joy to weave those threads into something stronger and more beautiful as we added dreams and goals for the future.

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”― William Shakespeare

“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly
smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration
that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you
and is willing to trust you with a friendship.”―Ralph Waldo Emerson

No matter life’s journeys, we are bound to each other.  Our future is the same.  We are heaven bound.  Thank you Lord Jesus for friendships that will survive this world  and belong to us in our heavenly home with you, our dearest friend.

Jesus on Friendship

John 15:12-15 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

David and Jonathan

David and Jonathan (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

St Paul writing to Timothy

St Paul writing to Timothy (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

Ruth and Naomi

Ruth and Naomi (Photo credit: Yersin

Springtime

I live in a high-desert area where the color green is in short supply!  That is why I love the spring!  Our fields are green and trees are budding.  Unfortunately, the prairie dogs ate the 100 bulbs my sister planted last fall!  I’m learning that country living is all about learning to coexist!

I watched a Scottish Highlander cow calving today and felt as if the world around me had been reborn.  I had never been a witness to the birthing process from beginning to end with our cows because generally they calve effortlessly.  My sister, husband and I watched as she competently gave birth to a healthy calf.  We felt like members of the herd as the other cows seemed to come from nowhere, surrounding us and greeting this cow and her new calf, one of five this spring.  It was a miraculous moment!The start of the maternal bonding.

My husband successfully hatched 13 chicks this year and we’ve watched in amazement as they mature and feathers replace their down.  Our granddaughter has spent as much time as possible holding each in their first weeks of life.  It’s been a joy to see the wonder and awe so inherent in a child’s face as she pays homage to new life.

Our world is new again, and I give God the glory for rebirth and new life all around us.  My heart explodes in gratefulness for my rebirth and for His presence within which transforms.

Thank-you Lord!

God Speaks

A Dust Bowl storm approaches Stratford, Texas ...

A Dust Bowl storm approaches Stratford, Texas in 1935. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever thought about the many ways in which God speaks?  I listened to His voice in the furious wind storm the last few days,  as dust thickly coated the air we breathe, reminiscent of the great American dust bowl of the 1930’s,The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan.  It seemed as if God’s righteous anger was on display after the most recent horrific terrorist attack, on the streets of Boston (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/04/19/fbi-releases-photos-boston-marathon-bombing-suspects/).

Today I listened to the talented Allison Krauss sing in her beautifully melodic style and it seemed as if God was quieting my soul and whispering, be at peace.  Colossians 3:12-17, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

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