"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
August 28, 2013
My sister, Janie, and I bought our puppies at the same time. Both dogs are a poodle-bichon frise mix and have the same dad but a different mom. They are just a couple days difference in their ages. My sister's dog, Lilah, was born in a litter with several other puppies and Samson was an "only child".
The two dogs enjoying being together to play, but they are very different in personality. Lilah started jumping at a very early age and is like a cat. She can jump high and is extremely agile. Sammie, on the other hand, is not quite so agile.
For the longest time, when we tried to get Sammie to jump, it was as if he had to work up the nerve. He finally got where he was pretty good at jumping up on our living room chairs or up on our lap if we were sitting outside on the porch swing. But we tried and tried to get him to jump up on our bed and he would act as if that were just too high and he couldn't do it. The thing is, he would wait until we were laying down in bed, then decide that he wanted to be with us, so would paw and paw on the side of the bed until we finally got up and lifted him up on the bed. And yes, he is spoiled!
Sammie jumped up on the bed a couple times so we knew he was capable of doing it, but he acted like it was too hard for him and he was incapable of jumping that high. He would crouch down like he was trying to work up the nerve to attempt such a difficult feat; then would give up and scratch on the side instead until we got up and picked him up.
The first week in August I was gone to Orlando with my sister. While I was gone, Jon said that Sammie suddenly started jumping up on the bed as if he had been doing it all along. He now will spring on and off the bed with ease. He has finally overcome his fear. Previously, it was as if he were afraid that he wouldn't be able to jump that high. I'm sure from his small size and perspective of looking up from the floor to the top of the bed, it looked daunting. But now he knows that he is capable of jumping that high and safely land.
We often will let fear hinder us from attemping things, because it looks too hard. We may even allow ourselves to be intimidated by what we think the opinion of others will be if we try and should fail. Or we will compare what we think our talents or capabilities are and they seem to come up short in comparison to someone else.
We can either choose to listen to our fear, which will hold us back and prevent us from moving forward and trying new things, or we can go to the Word of God and find comfort in the scriptures.
Proverbs 29:25 says, "Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety."
Psalm 27:1 tells us, "The Lord is my light and my salvation -- so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?"
1 Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline."
Fear is not of God. We may be nervous or tense when doing something for the first time, but we don't have to give in to a spirit of fear. But we can be confident, if not in ourself, then in knowing that God is with us and has empowered us with a spirit of power, love and self-discipline -- or a sound mind.
When we fear what others will think of our decisions or choices, then we fall into a trap of being enslaved to the opinions of others. God will open doors for us thoughout our life, and sometimes others won't understand when we make changes and choose to obey God and go through those doors. Sometimes people can be critical and unsupportive when we don't do what they want us to do. Why? Because people often don't deal with changes very well. When we change how we do something or make major life changes, then it often affects others, and they don't like it.
But when we obey God and choose to trust Him, the scripture says that that means safety. God is our fortress and will give us His protection and care when we stay under the perimeters of His care.
1 John 4 speaks of the love that we should have for one another. We are told that we are to love one another in the same way that God loves us. Wow! That's a strong, steady, forgiving, merciful love!! Verse 18 tells us that such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.
When we have the love of God within us, it will cause us to have love for others; regardless of their flaws and mistakes. If we will truly walk in the kind of love that God has called us to, then we will have no room for fear in our lives. We will be so full of love, that fear can't abide within us.
None of us truly know what we're capable of, until we try. Until Sammie decided that he wanted up on the bed, regardless of whether or not Jon or I am there to help him, he gained the confidence to jump and found that it was much easier than he apparently had anticipated. Now he jumps with confidence and self-assurance.
If we look at the situation in front of us, it will often seem overwhelming and more than we are capable of handling. But once we decide that "if God calls us, He will equip us with what we need", then we will gain the faith and confidence to go forward.
Who knows what God has in the future for us? He may have a new ministry, a new job or position, a new situation that will require daily trust and dependence on Him, etc. Not everything that happens is always joyful and exciting. Sometimes we have to walk through those "valleys of the shadow of death" where our situation feels overwhelming and more than we can bear. But even then, God will be our fortress and our place of safety. We don't have to fear the unknown, but can choose to put our trust in God, and allow Him to fill us with a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.
Sometimes there's nothing more frightening than standing up to 'friends'. We have a young relative with a scheming friend. The friend will come up with some crazy idea like figuring out how to climb out of a second story window. The 12-year-old in our family will usually say "No" once. But when his friend says "Please", he always gives in.
He may be afraid to do the wrong thing. But he's also afraid to disappoint a friend.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." He didn't need to be afraid of losing his friend. It's a poor friend who would abandon someone for refusing to try to climb out of a window and shimmy down a sheet. But it is right to fear (or more accurately 'respect') The Lord.
8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1 oz. Sour Cream
Flour Tortillas (I use the large size)
8 oz. Cheddar Cheese, grated
3 green onions, chopped (optional)
Mix cream cheese and sour cream together. Add in the cheddar cheese and onion (onion is optional). Season with garlic salt; mix well. Spread mixture thinly on the entire surface of a flour tortilla. Roll up, then cut in 1/2-inch pieces. Serve with picante sauce.
Today would have been Mama's 81st birthday. She has been celebrating in heaven for the past 33 years. I am so thankful that God blessed me with such a godly mother who taught her daughters about the love of Jesus. Daily, she was an example of what it truly meant to be a christian woman, wife, and mother. Everyone who knew her had nothing but wonderful things to say about her. She taught me a lot those 15 years that I had her in my life; and has continued to teach me through her example being lived out in the lives of my sisters. I am blessed beyond words to have had a Proverbs 31 woman as my mama. My prayer is that I leave behind a godly legacy and testimony, like mama did. Can't wait to be reunited with her again someday soon and feel her arms wrapped around me in the kind of hug only a mother can give!
The closer you walk with God, the less room for anything to come between. - unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon