Tuesday, May 18, 2010
"He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters."
Sheep need a lot of grazing room, a lot of greens to be nutritionally satisfied and fed properly. Sheep are mainly plant eating animals and they spend much of their time eating and them ruminating or chewing their cud. They like to graze and then, like people after a big Thanksgiving dinner, stretch out on the couch and let all that good stuff digest!
Sheep, like people, seek a place of rest and relaxation. Sadly, in our world today, little "R & R" is found. The shepherd makes the sheep comfortable and makes them lie down and rest because he knows that if they don't chew the cud, it won't digest properly and problems will follow. This cud-chewing process can take several hours a day and the shepherd knows that the sheep must be relaxed and stress-free.
David was a shepherd in Israel where the terrain is anything but lush with green pastures. Israel's pastures are mostly on hillsides holding only clumps of grass sparingly dispersed. Was David seeing things? Yes, and no. I think David was seeing the provision of the Lord likened to green pastures where sheep can graze to their heart's content and have no lack. Then, only after all the cud-chewing process is finished, the sheep will drink. Sheep prefer a pool of still water as opposed to a troubled sea of unrest. I believe David was comparing his inner life and relationship with God to that of the sheep he cared for.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The other night I decided to do Phil Ross's Advanced Russian KB workout again. This time I had 2 10 lb KB to use with his 2 bell routines. I got to laughing so hard at myself trying to do what he was doing: up on hands and toes. lift one bell up, bending elbow. repeat other side. keep legs straight! Then he did the same thing, only he lifted one leg up! So you've got your right hand on the bell and your left leg in the air. Talk about hard! I was so wobbly my bells fell over a few times! My abs got a good workout just laughing at myself!
Then he did a two arm swing using a KB in each hand alternating the swing of each. With 10 lbs bells, I couldn't do it, so I grabbed my 5 lb Heavy Hands, but they didn't feel heavy enough. O well, practice will make perfect!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Psalm 23: 1, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want."
If we were to separate the things we have, sorting into two piles things we need and things we want, I know the "I want" pile would probably be 10 times higher than the "I need" pile. Things we want today are not necessarily the things we'll want tomorrow; and the things we need today may not be needed tomorrow, either.
What do people want most? Have you ever stopped to consider this? The majority would probably first respond with material "things" like a new car, a new house, a new boat, the newest iPod, the latest iphone. Have you ever noticed that whatever the manufacturers put out as "new" we all just have to have? Well, not all of us, but the "techies" are usually first in line.
A little child will see something in a store be it a grocery store or toy aisle in Wal-Mart and scream, "But I want this, I want this." And may ever cry and stomp their feet. What goes through a kid's head at that moment? The same thing we think when we think, "I want this." It may be disguised as "I need this" when you really don't recognize the difference.
The Lord knows our needs and our wants. People need and want satisfaction. Some, more desperate for it than others, will go to great extremes to find it and at any cost. Some want riches and fame and then when they get it, they can't handle it. Not because it wasn't what they wanted, but it wasn't what they really needed.
"I shall not want." What a powerful statement. It means I won't lack for anything, I won't fail, lessen, decrease or have any cause to fall. When you have all you want, you don't need anything! Our Great Shepherd is able to supply our every need; especially the ones deep down inside that drive us to find satisfaction that only He can provide.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Psalm 23:1a, "The Lord is my Shepherd..."
In ancient time shepherding was a major occupation and a very important one. Several occupations grew around shepherding such as sheep-breeding and sheep-shearing.
Ancient shepherds walked in front of their flock. A flock knew its shepherd's voice and only followed his voice. Shepherds would name each sheep and would take care of each one of the flock. His main task is to protect the flock from wild animals and thieves, find green grasslands and water for them and keep them from straying from his care. If a sheep or two wandered off, the shepherd was right there looking for them and bringing them back.
Jesus, our Good Shepherd, take His role very seriously; so much so that He became the Chief Shepherd, guarding His people like a shepherd guards and cares for a flock. A good Shepherd loves the sheep and develops a close relationship with each one so that each sheep knows the shepherd and knows he can be trusted. He also will understand what the sheep need better than the sheep! He knows what will hurt them, attack, them, make them sick, and keeps watch over them to guard and guide them away from harm.
Sometimes sheep will fight and bite each other and this is when the shepherd steps in and corrects and stops the fighting. They can be very jealous, competitive, perverse and stubborn, insisting on their own way even when that way may be dangerous or deadly. (Sound like anyone you know?) Of all the livestock, sheep are the ones that require the most care. Sheep are known to be some of the dumbest animals, will wander aimlessly without a leader, and become creatures of habit and just like people, can become "stuck in a rut.:
Little wonder that Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd!
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Isaiah 53: 12 says, "Therefore, I will give Him a portion among the great and He will divide the spoils with the strong, because He poured out His life unto death and was numbered with the transgressors." Because Jesus made His life a sacrifice and triumphed over the powers of darkness, spoiling their effect on us, we are no longer held by the "strong man." Colossians 2: 15 shows that Jesus "disarmed the powers and authorities; He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them."
We are told in Matthew 12: 28, 29 and Mark 3: 27 how the strength of the strong man was defeated by Jesus' power and we must do the same--bind the strong man, breaking his power over us and setting us free. Heaven backs this tremendous action, as proven in Jesus statement in Matt. 16: 19. Peter had just had the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God; Jesus also said the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church. His next statement shows us how hell will be prevented from overcoming: by binding the demons and spirits that enforce their influence on the ignorant and loosing all of God's power into every circumstance.
Psalm 149 gives us a clear view of a believer's stance in the kingdom of God. We have "the power to bind the kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all His saints. Wow! Satan has a kingdom of darkness. He binds people in chains of habits and addictions and assigns his demons to torment people with various circumstances, etc. Darkness always fights the Light, but God's power is greater. When God spoke, "Light, be", darkness fled!
Christians have the power to take the chains off of people and bind the demon with them that held the captive. This is true freedom!
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