Tag: protector

Jul 6 I am a sheep

CindySheep“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

This reminds me of the 23rd Psalm.  The sheep are made to “lie down in green pastures.”   And although I would much rather be thought of as an eagle or lion, I am very much like a sheep.  I’ve recently learned that sheep need four things to be able to lie down and sleep.  They need freedom from fear, anxiousness, hunger, and pests.

A sheep’s main fear is from predators.  Because they don’t have speed or cunning or defensive claws, talons or fangs; they rely on their shepherd for protection from predators.

Anything can spook them.  It is the watchfulness and skill of their shepherd that allows them to feel safe enough to put fear out of their minds.   And it is the same with me.  I know there is no enemy, real or imagined, that is too big, no foe more powerful than You, my Shepherd.

You are my shield, my fortress, my deliverer.  There is no enemy that is a match for Your power.  You can see an enemy coming from any direction, any time, because You are everywhere, all the time.   So I am safe and can rest when I am in Your presence.

 

Anxiousness in the flock comes from the rivalry and competition for status and position.  Like a “pecking order” with chickens, sheep have a “butting order.”  It’s hard to eat or sleep in peace when being rammed or butted out of the way is a possibility.   When the shepherd appears, the flock’s attention is shifted; the butting stops, and rivalries are forgotten.

Similarly, there is tension in many of my relationships.  In some, there is jealousy, in some, rivalry, hurt feelings, or a sense of being “done wrong” or not appreciated.  But in Your presence Father, none of that matters.   Those things fade.  I’m humbled.  I’m relaxed and content.  When I put my focus on You, my Shepherd, I am in a place of peace.

When sheep are hungry, they will stay on their feet and continue to wander around for one more mouthful.  Until they are satisfied, they will not lie down.  Besides physical hunger, if I am emotionally or spiritually unsatisfied, I cannot rest.  It is only You, Father, who can meet all my needs.  Rather than continue to chew on the same old issues and sins, You have shown me a “promised land” where I can live in Your victory and have all I need.  There, is peace and safety.

Sheep can be tormented and driven to distraction by all kinds of flies and ticks.  Without the care of a good shepherd who applies repellants, dips and balms, a flock will be unable to eat or sleep at all.  They can literally be ”bugged” to death.

When things “bug” me, I too need to come to You, my Shepherd.  Lying down to go to sleep, all the worries of the day return to replay in my mind.   There have been nights I hardly slept, anxious about my circumstances and what I would do.  But when I give them over to You, Lord, You give me a new perspective.  I see things differently.

You show me ways to deal with things, solutions I couldn’t have imagined.   Or tell me to stand aside and You will handle it for me.   Or help me forget about it and move on.  You give me peace, so I can sleep.

Thank You for being my Good Shepherd.  Remind me to take advantage of the peace and safety You offer me.

Remind me to spend time in Your presence.  There I find freedom from all fears, anxiousness, hunger and pests.  When my sleep is sweet, it is a gift from You.  And You alone, O Lord.  Amen

Psalm 4:8

May 2 All His benefits…

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“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…”

O Lord, if I took a whole day, I could never list all the benefits You lavish on me.  I take so many things for granted.  Often I don’t even think about how every breath that I take is from You!  And I should be thankful.

Beginning when I wake up in the morning, I am thankful that I do wake up!  And that I can breathe clean air in a warm bed, in a secure house, with a family I love, with food to eat and clean water to drink and bathe in.  I have more clothes in my closet than some people on this planet ever own in a lifetime!  And many pairs of shoes.

It’s a choice for me to eat breakfast or not.  And if I choose to eat, I have several options of clean, untainted food in a kitchen with running water and convenient appliances to make food preparation almost effortless.  My fridge keeps my food cold to preserve its freshness until I want it.  Then, at the turn of a switch or the push of a button, I can cook it.  Another button and my dishes are washed.

Just this part of my day is blessed far more than most of the people on this earth.

I live in freedom to be what I want to be, go where I want to go, with whom I want to be with.  I can choose my career, my husband, my entertainment.  I can worship You in the open however I want, read scripture without fear of arrest or imprisonment.  I can attend public church services without being detained and beaten, or having my property seized, or my life forfeited.

When I step outside my house, I see a beautiful sky, majestic mountains, flowering trees, gorgeous flowers.  We have warm, rainy, windy Springs, temperate Summers, gorgeously colored, cool Falls, and crisp, snow covered Winters – all four seasons in a beautiful and varied environment rich with birds of many kinds, singing their Spring songs and migrating south in the Fall.

On top of all this, You preserve my life, forgive my sins, deliver me from the oppression and deceit of satan.  You show me love I did not earn, and pour out mercy and compassion on me I do not deserve.

You satisfy my desires with good things, or remove those wrongful desires from me.  You answer my prayers, guide me with Your wisdom, encourage me with Your Word, and have promised to take me into paradise with You for all eternity.

Father, help me remember every day to thank You for something.  Open my eyes to things I take for granted, and accept my praise for Your goodness.  Remind me at the beginning of every month, to come back and read Psalm 103 and spend time “forgetting not, all of Your benefits”.  Amen

Psalm 103

June 21 In You I am made and known

sunset june 21

Oh Father! There is no person or created being like You! Nothing on earth, or beneath the earth, or in the heavens above. There is no other who knows me inside and out. Although billions and billions of people have lived, You are personally familiar with who I am. You recognize me; see what I do, when I come and where I go, when I lie down and when I get up.

Other people might also know me that well, but You also know me on the inside. You know when I have a thought, and what it is. You see into my mind and heart to know my motivation for all that I do. When I am forming a sentence, You know what I will say even before I speak.

You are everywhere at all times. Anyplace I can go You are already there and can see me. There is no place to hide from Your presence. I could go as far as is humanly possible, into the depths of the earth, or beneath the sea, or out into the vastness of space beyond the other planets and stars; and You would already be there. There is nothing that can conceal me from Your watchful eye. Even darkness does not prevent You from seeing me.

In one way, You are like a parent who knows their child. A parent learns the aptitudes and personality of their child so well that the child’s actions do not surprise the parent. Even motivation can be seen sometimes because children are often so transparent in their behaviors.

Because they are younger, they are limited in their ability and thinking so a parent can often hem them in to protect and teach them. But You are much more than simply older and wiser than me, as a parent is to a child. As a child is amazed by the power and ability and wisdom of a parent, I am amazed by You – to the zillionth power!

In Your sovereignty and power, You created my body, my mind, my spirit – before I was even born! You formed all that would be me in my mother’s womb. How amazing is that!   You have the power of life!

It is by Your design that I have two hands that give me the ability to work and craft, and gently hold a baby. It is by Your design that I have two eyes that can see the wonder You created in the beauty of the earth: flowers, birds, mountains, oceans, a sunrise! You gave me ears that hear, a brain that thinks, a mouth that speaks!

You chose when I would be born, where, and to whom! And You will close my eyes when my time on earth is ended.

In all this, You gave me the ability to know You. As You reveal Yourself to me in Your Word, and as we communicate in prayer, I am blown away by who You are. Your thoughts, Your creativity defy human imagination and understanding. They are too wonderful for me. And I am blessed beyond measure to know You.

Continue to lead me, teach me, test me, mature me, Father. Know me. And let me know You. Amen

Psalm 139:1-24

June 4 My All

Father, I am not free of sin like David in this psalm. I have not been obedient to all Your laws or kept all Your ways. And yet, I have Your righteousness. You cover me with the blood You shed at Calvary, giving me the status of being righteous in Your sight.

cross-1177327_640With this status, You are my lamp, turning the darkness around me into light so I can see and not be afraid.

You help me fight against the enemy and allow me to scale walls.

You become my shield and my refuge.

You arm me with strength, enable me and train me for the conflicts that come so I can stand firm.

I can say with David, “You give me Your shield of victory, You stoop down to make me great. You broaden the path beneath me so that my ankles do not turn.” You provide all this care I do not deserve.

So I will lift up Your name. I will give You the praise of my lips and the worship of my voice. You are my Savior, my Deliverer, my Redeemer. You are the Rock upon which I base my faith. I can trust in You. Thank You.  Amen

2 Samuel 22:21-51

Mar 20 Trust even in the desert

desert-984125_640“God, You are my God! Earnestly I seek You. [My soul] thirsts for You and my body longs for You in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

Father, on this earth, in this life, it does so often feel like trudging through a desert with no water in sight. I have lived in New Mexico on the edge of the desert. When we drove anywhere, we never left without five gallons of water and provisions to spend the night in case we broke down or had a flat.   Some of the places were so remote we could not count on help coming quickly.   After hearing stories of people perishing, we learned to adapt to the environment and its challenges.

It’s beginning to feel like our country has become a spiritual desert. Oases of living water, wells of wisdom, pools of purity, have been blown over and filled in with the sands of sin and the dust of depravity. Truly, even those who call themselves Christians have been seared by the heat of materialism and humanism and tolerance, to the point that they are almost unrecognizable as followers of Christ. A desert indeed.

But I have seen You at work – in my life – the lives of loved ones! I have seen You answer prayer! I have beheld Your power and glory! And because of this, I will sing praise to You as long as I live! I will lift up my hands to honor You! Trying to fall asleep, I will count my blessings.

You satisfy my soul as my stomach is satisfied with the richest of flavors! The deepest of chocolates!

You have been my help during times of stress, sorrow, helplessness, fear, anger, doubt, and frustration. And also You have rejoiced with me in times of incomparable joy, happiness, thankfulness, relief, delight, and quiet contentment.

You are like a mother hen that spreads her wings of protection over her chicks. Like Your child, I run under Your wings and cling to You!

Thank You! That when I seek You, I find You. That when I hunger and thirst for You, Your Word fills me up. That when I cling to You, I am safe and protected. I give You praise! Amen

Psalm 63:1-11