No Lamb Cuddles

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This past weekend, I was able to gain firsthand experience of one of Jesus’ parables. A friend’s parents own a sheep farm, and while visiting him and his wife with another friend, he asked if I would like to see the lambs and possibly get a cuddle.

Umm, yes, please!

While giving a tour of the sheep farm, he explained that we would be going to a field where 1-year lambs were grazing with rams, rather than visiting the field where lambs were with the ewes, because the ewes can become feisty, while the rams remain chill. It reminded me of the difference between some mothers and fathers— mothers tend to be more protective and careful, while fathers tend to be more relaxed when it comes to their children.

As we drew near to the sheep, although they were mildly curious, they did not recognize our voices, so they would not come near, and some even moved further away. No matter how sweetly we spoke to the sheep and tried to convince them to come near, there were no lamb cuddles for us that day. My friend said that if his mother, their shepherdess, was with us, they would have come running as soon as they heard her.

Jesus’ parable, directed toward the Pharisees, stated that His sheep follow Him because they recognize His voice, but will never follow a stranger and will even run away, because they do not recognize the stranger’s voice. The point Jesus was making to the religious leaders, who were considered by most Jews to be closest to God, was they were not recognizing Him as being from God, because they were not His sheep and even accused Him of being a demon possessed sinner. Instead of recognizing God’s voice and following Jesus as the Good Shepherd, they refused to follow Him and were even trying to kill Him and steal His sheep by trying to convince people to believe and follow them! I have come across people who are so done with religion and traditional church, myself included, but still believe in God. Could it be that we are running away, because we realize some of the voices don’t really sound like Jesus’?

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Love in the Garden

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Although I’ve never read a romance novel, the Song of Solomon in the Bible gets pretty risqué when you understand the symbolism, and I can only imagine it is kind of like a romance novel.  Who ever said God is a prude?

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Wisdom Wednesday: Dance to the Rhythm

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Have you ever really, really looked forward to something only to have things change and cause your heart to sink? Seems like I’ve been experiencing a greater share of disappointments lately. I thought I was already pretty flexible and spontaneous, but with encountering so many changes in plans, I can’t help but realize God’s hand at work, teaching me to become more adaptive and able to roll with the punches.

If the rhythm of the drum beat changes, the dance step must adapt.” —African proverb

“The wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water molds itself to the pitcher.” —Zen proverb

Sometimes we become angry when something upsets our plans. The apostle James explained that we become angry and fight because we aren’t getting what we want. (James 4:1-3)

“Flexible people don’t get bent out of shape.” —Unknown

“Satisfied desire is sweet to a person; therefore, it is hateful and exceedingly offensive to fools to give up evil [upon which they have set their hearts].” —Proverbs 13:19 TAB

Sometimes even if we don’t realize it right away, a change in plans can actually work out better in some way, or at least in the long run. One example involved two events scheduled for the same day. I had planned on attending a “Blessing of the Bikes” with a friend, and had to change plans when a zip lining birthday celebration for my mother-in-law was scheduled for the same day. Because the zip lining event was originally scheduled for early afternoon, I felt free to take on partial duty coverage for one of my firefighter brothers. I agreed to cover from the night before up to a certain hour the next morning. The night before the zip lining event, I was informed that the reservation was for one hour after my duty would end, giving me no time to shower and travel to the destination. Then it was changed to the very hour my shift would end. Fortunately, my daughter was able to take my reservation. I also thought that since I could no longer participate, I could possibly go on the “Blessing of the Bikes” ride after all! The possibility did, indeed, exist, until it was decided that they would be departing half an hour before my shift ended. At least I was able to have breakfast with them! Things worked out well in the end. My daughter was able to take my place and go zip lining and celebrate with her Nana, and I was able to do driver trainer on one of the fire apparatus for the first time.

“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” —Proverbs 13:12 KJV

Another reason to be flexible, spontaneous, and able to adapt is because of love. I was talking to a former firefighter recently, and he related a time when he had come home late at night from a structure fire in -40° weather. He and his gear were frozen, and as he was thawing in the kitchen, his wife (at the time) complained that he was dripping all over the floor. Although it’s very likely as a firefighter’s wife, she had already faced many changes in plans and disappointments, to react in such a way to a frozen hero was… cold. Martin Luther said, “Faith, like light, should always be simple and unbending; while love, like warmth, should beam forth on every side, and bend to every necessity of our brethren.”

“Yielding flexibility is a virtue of an ever-expanding heart.” —Molly Friedenfeld, author

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Wisdom Wednesday: Put Your Heart Into Caring

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It has been a while since I have posted a Wisdom Wednesday, but now that my EMT classes are over, and because I have a good friend who encourages and motivates me, I decided to post one today.  Thank you, Randell!

Have you ever been caught by surprise and left wondering, “How did that just happen?!”

While looking over proverbs that I had noted months ago, Proverbs 27:23 jumped out at me— “Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds.” That’s only part of the entire proverb, but it stood out to me for a few personal reasons, and I realized how multi-faceted it is. It’s not just about flocks and herds, being a farmer, or finances; it’s about stewardship, leadership, and relationships. Good shepherds know their sheep, good leaders know their people, and good relationships are kept intact when we know and love each other in the way we each need to feel loved. If we neglect to “know the face of our flocks” or “put our heart into caring”, as the literal Hebrew implies, we may find ourselves caught by surprise when something or someone slips away.

“It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.” —George Lorimer

“For willful waste makes woeful want, and I may live to say, ‘Oh! How I wish I had the bread that once I threw away!’” —Unknown

“When you’re dying of thirst it’s too late to think about digging a well.” —Japanese Proverb

“He who would enjoy the fruit must not spoil the blossoms.” —Gaelic proverb

“When men say [“Oh, I’ve loaded my shotgun”], ‘cause I know when men say that, they’re trying to pretend they have taken their position of leadership. You don’t need to load your shotgun, you need to love your daughter. You need to know your daughter. You need to pray with your daughter. You need to invest in your daughter, ‘cause the main thing is not to blow his head off, but to keep her heart.” —Mark Driscoll, pastor in Honor Your Father and Mother

“Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds, for riches don’t last forever, and the crown might not be passed to the next generation.” —Proverbs 27:23, 24 NLT

“Effective leaders are engaged in the lives of the people they are leading and are constantly seeking to understand how they can create an environment in which people succeed.” —Nathan Mellor, president of Strata Leadership, LLC

“He who wants to travel far takes care of his beast.” —French proverb

 
 

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Who Needs Watering?

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Lord, open our eyes to see those who are dry and in need of watering, even if they are smiling and trying to be strong.

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Independence vs. Freedom

Let us never forget the sacrifices made.

Let us never forget the sacrifices made.

Is there a difference between independence and freedom? Our nation fought for independence from a ruling body that allowed us no representation, as well as for the freedom to worship God freely without government interference. Like the relationship between a child and a parent, independence comes with maturity and doesn’t mean ties are completely severed. It means we have become responsible enough that we no longer depend on them to survive. I think freedom has more to do with ruling ourselves and making our own choices, while independence has more to do with being responsible and not dependent.  Similar, but different.  Both come with responsibility and consequences.  In either case, exchanges and sacrifices are made in order to obtain and maintain freedom and independence. Neither is free, so let us never forget the sacrifices that have been made and are still being made today to keep both!

Happy Independence Day!!!

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My Heart Is…

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“If you want to know where your heart is, look at where your mind goes when it wanders.” —Unknown

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  —Jesus

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Set the World on Fire… Not Literally, But Stop Making Excuses

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“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”  —Neale Donald Walsch

“Fire tests gold, adversity brave men.”  —Latin proverb

“The lazy person is full of excuses, saying,If I go outside, I might meet a lion in the street and be killed!'”  —Proverbs 22:13 NLT

What’s holding you back?  Be wise, but stop making excuses!

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A Tiny Gift

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Isn’t it nice to find out someone was thinking of you while they were away? And isn’t it nice when they say something or give you something that says “I know you, and I love you”? My daughter found this tiny heart pebble while looking for shark’s teeth on a North Carolina beach, and she brought it back for me! She is truly a gift!

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Finding Love

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Driftwood and a heart discovered by my daughter and me while waiting for a friend to arrive via a ferry.  Thank you, Lord, for the different ways You speak to us and reveal Your love!!

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Heart Stones

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