A Shepherd’s Care

I have a German friend that I met on our way to our mission trip to Spain last year. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned him on my blog, but it is a joy to my heart. My friend’s name is Claus. “Like Santa Claus – without the Santa” is what he told me when we met on the plane. The Lord gave me the sweet privilege of sharing the Gospel with him as we flew to Germany. Though he did not receive Christ, he is very open.

Last January he contacted me using the tract I had given him with our church name and address stamped on the back. Just recently we have been talking on Skype. He called yesterday and as my husband and I talked with him (Dale’s always in on our conversations – that’s the only way I communicate with him) Claus asked if Dale was a priest.

I said, “Well, sort of. In our denomination we call him a pastor. He is like a shepherd; he takes care of the people in our church. The food he feeds them is the Bible.” I then added, “But Jesus is the best Shepherd. He calls us sheep. He gave His life for His sheep. He takes better care of us than a pastor ever could.”

“Ya, that is goot” was Claus’ reply.

I think back to years ago when our oldest daughter, Whitney, cared for a sheep for 4-H. She had to get her sheep, Timothy, to follow her, to learn her voice, to trust her. She would put her arms around his neck to hold his head up for showing. He wasn’t always cooperative. He would jerk and bawl. That is so like me and my Shepherd. Jesus wants to just hold me, speak to me and comfort me, and I’m running the other direction busy and preoccupied instead of resting in His sweet embrace. Oh the sweetness of letting Him care for me and lead me. He quiets and soothes my anxious heart when I sit still and listen. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. There’s nothing I don’t have that I need when I’m content with His care. What a wonderful Shepherd He is. “Ya, that is goot!”

Life’s Interruptions


“Where has this blogger been this week?” you may have asked. Well…life happened. Interruptions came. It’s a part of life, isn’t it? We had the joy of having an open house at church for the four home-schooled students that are graduating. That brought our older daughter and my parents to town to be here to help us celebrate – what a joy the whole weekend was!

This morning after company had left, laundry had been started and I got to my quiet place to read the Word I read II Samuel 12 about “life happening” in David’s life. He had a major interruption. He was being punished for his sin with Bathsheba. His baby son was struck by the Lord with an illness. David went to his quiet place to fast and pray for seven days. He wouldn’t eat or get up for anything because he was so given to prayer for his son. As his servants observed him they were sorrowful for their king and when the baby died they were frightened to tell David. They figured that if the child’s illness had caused such a reaction to David, the news of his death would push him over they edge. They were surprised, and I’m sure much relieved to see that after David learned the dreaded news of his son, he:

  1. Got up
  2. Washed himself
  3. anointed himself
  4. changed his clothes
  5. went to the house of the Lord and worshipped
  6. came back to his own house and ate

In other words, he went back to all the things he would normally do. We ask, how could he do this – his son had just died. His servants asked David the same question. His reply was that while the child was alive he knew he could make an appeal to God and pray for him. But now the Lord had made a decision and nothing David could do now would bring the child back. He had the confidence in verse 23 that he would go to the child some day (what a day that will be!). I don’t believe David had an attitude of “Well, it’s over now, so what’s the use?!” I believe that he had a solid understanding of the sovereignty of God. After all, after he learned the news he went to the sanctuary and worshipped – he could only do that with a love for God and acceptance of what the Lord decided for him and his wife.

“Life” happens to all of us. My interruptions were sweet ones, but sometimes those interruptions are things we can’t understand, they’re things that are hurtful. A kidney stone, changed plans, a job loss, the betrayal of a friend, someone else getting married instead of you, someone else having a baby while your arms are empty…all these things interrupt life as you planned it. How should we respond? David’s example is one we should follow. His heart was aching, yet he got up and continued to do the normal things of every day life. He also worshipped his God because he knew he could trust what His plan was for his life. He encouraged those around him by his response. Our biblical response will encourage our family and friends too. David was just like you and me. When “life” happens, read II Samuel 12 and follow David’s example. Life isn’t always easy, but we can trust our sovereign God.

No Perfect Family

Have you ever looked at a family and wished your family could be like theirs? Perhaps the family in view was a large family with many children and it seems that every time you watch them they have so much fun together! The older siblings look out for the younger ones, they get along with one another, and they seem to have it all together. Another family in your sight seem to have the best parents. They are patient with the children, always have clever ideas for fun ways to spend a day, and they teach their children about the Lord at every turn. Perhaps your pastor’s family is your envy – the time they spend serving the Lord together must bring them special blessings.

This week as I’ve seen Jon and Kate Gosselin (Jon and Kate Plus Eight) in the news, I’ve wondered how many people have seen their life as ideal up to this point. How many have wished themselves into their shoes? I’ve pitied those little ones who have had cameras on them every waking moment of their young lives. But it’s really about more than that. Each of us need to realize that every family deals with the same things. Those families that you’re watching up close and personal at church, or on a blog are real people. Even Christian families have the same issues you have. They are real, sinful people that have to deal with fatigue, tempers, selfishness, disobedience, money issues, rebellion, making time to have devotions, etc. No family is exempt. Of course the extent of each of these issues is different because of personalities and how the problems are dealt with, but my point is that they are there to be dealt with.

There are no perfect children or parents. There are no perfect marriages. We must each guard our hearts every day, ask the Lord for wisdom and His enablement to raise our family for Him, and be the best wife/mother with His help. When we mess up, we can’t give up – we must fess up – admit it and confess it! This is essential to getting back on track.

Behind the walls of the home that you may be envying there is a need for God’s intervention, just as there is in yours. The best news is that it is available for us all!

II Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.

A Day in Pictures

Here are some pictures from yesterday. We did see the sunshine a few times, which was a blessing and a nice change!

This is what blowing sand on the beach looks like. Note the empty beach!

We left the beach after about 5 minutes and headed for bicycles instead. We rode around Shipyard Plantation where we’re staying. Nice!
The paths wind through the golf courses and codo areas. You see some interesting things as you ride…
huge trees and Spanish moss swinging from the branches…also


ALLIGATORS! I wan’t nearly as close to this one as it looks – I used the zoom on my camera. Trust me, I kept my distance! We saw a total of four as we rode.

The afternoon ended with a little shopping, then home because of a migraine. Thank the Lord it’s gone this morning. Too bad the rain’s not gone too! No complaining, though. We’ll make the best of it on this our last day at HHI.

Pollyanna

The beach was an unpopular place to be yesterday. Off-shore the temperature was just about sixty when our family walked onto the sand. That means that at the oceanfront it was colder than that. The wind was blowing quite strongly – as you can see in the picture to the right. The waves crashed to the shore spraying water high into the air. The poor lifeguards that were on duty made themselves a little fort in the sand out of the beach umbrellas. They were covered in jackets with hoods, long pants and shoes. They looked more like they were working in the freezer section at Kroger than life guarding at the beach!

As we went to lunch I told the girls, “At least it’s not raining today! You know, it could even be snowing, but it’s not! We can be thankful for that!” Allison looked at me and said, “Mom, you sound like Pollyanna.” Whether she meant it as a compliment or not, I took it as one.

Pollyanna was a little girl in a movie that played “The Glad Game.” In any difficult or undesirable circumstance she would try to think of something for which she could be glad. When she found crutches in a box that was sent to her she was glad she didn’t need to use them! She was always searching for something for which she could be thankful.

People that love the Lord should be Pollyanna’s! In every thing give thanks…” is the command in I Thessalonians 5:18. Give thanks in all things. In other words, I am not necessarily thankful for the cold weather, but I need to have a thankful attitude in the midst of it. It’s an attitude that says, “Thank you, Lord, that I am away on vacation enjoying doing things different from my normal routine. Thank you that we are able to have lunch out today. Thank you for health and strength to be here…”

It’s so easy to complain…not so easy to be thankful when things don’t go the way we imagine they should. I’m preaching to my own heart today – my dream about warm sand on my toes and sitting by the pool reading is being traded for a warm jacket and bracing myself against the gusty winds. The forecast is looking not so much like beach vacation weather for the rest of the time we’re here. But I’m thankful the weather’s given me time to work on the new face for my blog! We played a new game as a family last night. I’m reading a library book at night before I fall asleep. All the pictures I’ve taken this week are safely in my computer and put on a scrap blog…all because the weather allowed me the time! This Pollyanna is determined not to whine, but be thankful!

Blinded By Religion

“Our God is in the heavens and he does what He pleases” – Psalm 115:3. Today it pleased God to send rain to HHI, along with cooler temperatures. I don’t believe it ever hit 60 degrees. I read the opening verse in my Bible reading today and said, “Lord, you are in control and you know what we need today and I know we can trust you.” I wondered what would take place today that we would later say, “If it hadn’t rained we would have missed out on…” So I entered the day not especially thankful for the rain, but knowing that my good God sent it and it was okay!


We took the opportunity to do what we wouldn’t want to do if it turns pretty this week, like going shopping! I found some good bargains for my home at my favorite store – TJ Maxx. The girls found Hilton Head t-shirts and other fun things. After several hours of shopping we ended up at Starbucks where hot beverages were ordered to ward off the chill of the 50-something temperatures. As we sat in the coffee shop there were two girls, probably college age, sitting very nearby. You couldn’t help but hear their conversation; they were discussing Catholicism. One was asking questions, the other was trying to answer. I saw her take out her Blackberry and it appeared she was looking for the answer to her friends’ questions.


The other girl, an Asian, mentioned Buddha and said, “He is powerless.” It appeared that the Asian girl was really searching and the catholic girl didn’t have answers…it was obvious. “HHI” came to my mind…”I’m here for Him. These girls need the Truth!” I got out two “Bridge tracts” http://www.cometocalvary.org/thebridge/ As we were leaving I stopped at their table.


“Excuse me, but I couldn’t help but hear your conversation. Can I leave you each with something to read that will answer your questions?”


Immediately the Catholic girl put up her hand in protest. “No! I’m already a Catholic.”


“This isn’t about religion; this will tell you how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.” I answered.


“That says, ‘The Bridge to Eternal Life’ and we don’t need that” she retorted.


“This will tell you how you can know you have eternal life in heaven when you die.” I turned to the Asian girl, “Won’t you read this?”


“She’s Buddhist and doesn’t want that” the Catholic girl said.


I turned to the Asian girl questioning her with my eyes. “Well, no, but thank you” she answered.


“I respect you for what you’re doing,” the Catholic girl said, “but we don’t want that.”


“Okay then.”


I turned and left, my heart breaking for those girls that have been blinded by religion – man’s attempt to get to God. They weren’t rejecting me; they were rejecting Christ. Satan loves it; it’s one of his best hindrances to people being saved.


What are you trusting in for your salvation? Anything apart from receiving Christ’s sacrifice for your sins is not enough. Nothing we could do will ever save us. Christ did all that was necessary when He died on the cross. Being a good person, giving money to a needy organization, or joining a church are all man’s attempt to cross the bridge to eternal life, but they’re not enough. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” Acts 16:31 Please click on The Bridge link above, then see each of the seven points to understand clearer how to know you have eternal life.

If it hadn’t rained today I wouldn’t have met those two dear girls at Starbucks. Now I can add them to my prayer list and pray for them to see the Truth and receive Christ. “Thank you, Lord for a rainy day, and thank you for the precious gift of eternal life.”

HHI – Here for Him

I’m on vacation this week. We’re at Hilton Head Island (HHI). I stood at the beach entrance Saturday afternoon looking out through the sea oats at the sand, beach umbrellas and the ocean and said, “Lord, You are so good to me. Thank you for allowing me to be here at my favorite place again.” I’ve sighed so many times since Saturday. It’s a sigh of contentment, rest, and pure happiness. Here I am for nearly a week at the most beautiful beach with my family and our daughter’s friend who is also celebrating her graduation. Our condo is perfect, we’re next to the pool, school’s over and a summer of special events is before me. God is so good and I acknowledge Him for His grace gifts that He pours out on His undeserving child.

After supper last night we strolled over to the pool where our daughter and her friend were swimming. Just moments after sitting under an umbrella table a man in his late 60’s came to the pool with his daughter and grandchildren. He was very friendly with everyone. He spoke to us, then initiated conversation, asking where we were from, etc. My husband shared with him that we were here to celebrate our daughter and her friend’s graduation from high school. He told him that we had homeschooled Allison all the way through. His interest piqued with this information. As a matter of fact, he then pulled up a chair and began asking questions. I gave testimony about how it was the Lord that led us to the decision to homeschool. He had provided the wisdom and the tools to accomplish the task. He was somewhat blown away that I would spend my time teaching my daughter all those years instead of “running around during the day”! I assured Him it had been a privilege and joy, even on the hard days, because it was the Lord that did it through me.

When this gentleman (Gary) sat down, his daughter and grandchildren left, and I knew in my heart that the Lord had brought him here in answer to my husband’s prayer before we left the house Saturday morning, “Lord, give us opportunities to be a witness for you while we’re away.” was his prayer. Here was our opportunity. Gary began telling us about his life, his occupation, and his moves. As he talked I could see how gracious the Lord had been to this man who was obviously unsaved. God had provided a wonderful job, family, retirement, and now he was enjoying the fruit of all those years of work, yet he was taking all the credit because he didn’t understand or know the God that had been so gracious. Using the Sharing Jesus Without Fear questions, http://www.sharejesuswithoutfear.com/templates/System/default.asp?id=27043 my husband led the conversation to the place where he could ask him who Jesus was to him.

“I’m Episcopalian” was his answer.

“So where will you go when you die?”

“Heaven, I hope! I’ve tried to be the best man I could be.”

I prayed…while my compassionate husband gave Gary the Gospel in simple, biblical terms. This man, who had barely let us get a word in edgewise up to this point, was silent. He listened with great interest, tears filling his eyes at one point.

“Wow, that is powerful” was his response.

It was evident that the Holy Spirit was working in this dear man’s heart.

The invitation was given – “Will you bow your head and trust Christ as your Savior right now, Gary?”

“I will in the privacy of my room tonight.”

“Okay. I pray you’ll take care of it then. God loves you and wants to save you.”

Before we left Gary said, “I knew when I first started talking to you both that there was something different about you. When you told me about homeschooling your daughter, and just how you handle yourselves. You’re different – you know what I mean?”

My heart cries out, Yes, Gary, we know – Christ has made the difference. We acknowledge Him for all we are, all we have, all we hope for in the future. Without Him we would be nothing. Christ gives a purpose for every day of life…even while away on vacation. We’re not here for us or because we deserve a break. No, we’re here for Him (HHI).

Will you pray for Gary? Pray that he’ll trust Christ if he hasn’t done so yet. Pray that the Lord will give us other opportunities to witness while we’re here and that we’ll obey and speak up for Him. He is so good, and we are so undeserving to be used, yet what a wonderful privilege!