One more day but another exciting day of things to do. Prayer starts the day and promotes calmness.
There is still a cold nip in the air as the breeze in the morning break was blowing out across from Pendle Hill, so the yard was bare and everyone was huddled in groups to keep warm. The children at school this morning were rather like sheep on a cold day huddled together.
The picture shows the sheep in the field underneath a bright but cloudy afternoon. The wind turbines moved in-between shots and so they have created wonderful six arm wind turbines. These stand like the giant Goliath and his kin ready to attack, but the sheep have nothing to fear because the farmer is managing them well. King David as a young man went against Goliath and his kin many years ago, and he was a shepherd caring for sheep. How greater is our Godly shepherd, the good shepherd – Jesus.
Sheep are pretty harmless creatures, even the wild ones can not really cause us much harm. I was once trekking over the outer hebrides with a friend, when I found a rogue wild sheep who wanted to assert its authority, so we were bumped along the road rather comically for about three miles until we jumped over a fence. The poor sheep must have been having a bad day, trying to take it out on us, but just ended up nudging us along the track and giving us some added energy to keep our tired legs moving.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
We are Jesus’ lambs. We are still growing and learning, but we are pretty helpless in some ways. We are helpless in the respect that we can not get rid of our sin, without the help of Jesus. If we do not seek God, and we deny that he is our shepherd, then we fool ourselves and deny the help from our shepherd – Jesus.
Sheep rely on the shepherds to keep them healthy and alive. Years ago I learned that the wool was something that we have bred into the sheep, and now they also rely on the coat to be cut off or they would get too hot.
Sheep in the old testament times were used for sacrifice, and also used for food.
We are to be a sacrifice for God. Does that sound a wonderful preposition? Most children would probably say “no way”. But wait! God is not expecting anything He has not done for us, because he sacrificed himself for us, so we in turn should do the same for Him. But what is that sacrifice? We have to take up our cross. We have to live for the sake of others, denying our own flesh for the benefit for others. Jesus does not really make things easy, but He sets things out for an interesting life that is full of fulfilment – fulfilment from God.
Selfless sacrifice for the benefit of others is a hard ask! I struggle somedays because my own ambitions get in the way. But I think why I keep trying to live this life is because God’s idea is much more better than anything I could ever even put into words.
Let our actions be pleasant food for God
We are lambs of Jesus, and Jesus is the Lamb of God. He cares for us, as in this psalm 23 it states “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
If we let Jesus be our Shepherd we shall not want, but shall be fulfilled with the smallest of foods, just like the lembas or waybread in J R R Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”. We see evidence of Jesus’ work in people across the world that are truly living out the gospel to sacrifice themselves, and he sustains them through courage. People in our own communities are truly living out a life of self sacrifice, if we can do one thing, perhaps we can sustain those people, those hard workers of God’s kingdom.
In this period of Lent I pray for the Christians all over the earth who are sacrificing themselves for God’s kingdom.
Just like Pope Francis recently said talking of the 21 Coptic Christians killed.
“It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ.”
I truly think we are in an age where the church will become one, but it will not be without struggle and sacrifice.
And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.
I pray we all come together, as the body of Christ.