Friday, January 9, 2009

Your Rod and Your Staff, They Comfort Me

Your Rod and Your Staff, They Comfort Me

A shepherd uses tools to assist him in caring for his sheep. He employs a rod, a straight pole-like apparatus to check the sheep coats for hidden problems. He can also use it as a weapon against wild animals. The rod also acts as an extension of the herder’s arm.

Each shepherd has a staff, a hook-like tool that was unique to his profession. No other worker in any calling uses a staff. The staff comes in handy when a shepherd is standing watch and gets tired. He can lean against it and prop himself up. Each shepherd makes his own staff and rod. The young shepherd goes into woods and selects the wood he wants to fashion into his tools. They make their staff in proportion to their own height.

The shepherd uses his staff to place new-born lambs next to their mothers. If the shepherd handles the babies, the mother could smell the scent of the shepherd on the lamb and will have nothing to do with it. The staff is also a rescue tool. A young lamb or sheep might get lodged between two boulders. The shepherd might see there is only so much room. He uses the staff’s hook end to get a grip on the endangered sheep and allows it to go free.

Our Heavenly Father, our Shepherd, who loves us very much, comforts us in ways He chooses. He uses His Word. He employs others to speak kindnesses to us. He soothes those who hurt.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I Will Fear No Evil

We see a lot of evil in this world. The headlines in our newspapers speak of murder, theft, suicide, and mayhem. We should not fear these things. No matter how strong evil seems, He is stronger.

God’s word tells us numerous times not to be afraid. If we fear something, that event or action becomes our master. We start dwelling on that thing. It becomes real to us. We begin to worry--to the point of making ourselves sick.

This is where our faith and trust come to the forefront of who we are. Believing in God allows us to trust Him for the outcome. We are not to fear because God has all things under control.

Our nation, at present is besieged by an economic crisis. Many areas of our lifestyle are affected. God knows what we need. We have to trust Him for the outcome, no matter how long it takes us to get through it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Even Though I Walk Through . . .

. . . the Valley of the Shadow of Death

We never know where God will lead us-down a road of bleak uncertain times or into a protected canyon of comparative ease and comfort. We do not control our futures-God does. He might lead us away from our homeland to a place where He calls us to rely on Him completely. He might choose to take us through a time of lingering illness, ours or that of a loved one. God might choose to take that loved one home to heaven.

When we have a less-than-perfect day, we should stop and remember God may have something He wants us to learn that might make us better people. No matter what our valley happens to be, we have to go through it. God allows us to have these valleys in our lives to make us stronger.

God lays out our paths. Sometimes we have several conflicting plans--all worthwhile--for an evening. God steps in and leads us to yet another option. God’s input into the list gets the priority. This blogger and a friend lived this scenario in the past few months.

Even if the path we walk is extremely bleak, we aren’t alone. God walks it with us.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...