Monday, October 28, 2013

Five Reasons Why God Calls His People "Sheep"

Ever wonder why God calls us “sheep” so much?

We can be just as foolish and helpless. We easily stray. We can’t be left to ourselves. All of these are obvious reasons.

But I think there’s more to it.

I think He calls us "sheep" because that's the way we were made.

He made us to need Him that much. 

Here are five reasons (of many) why God calls His people "sheep."
Sheep weren’t made to carry burdens.
You will never see a sheep carrying a pack on its back. Other animals are good for carrying things. But not sheep.

Sheep can’t handle burdens.

“Cast your burdens on the Lord, and He will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22).

Sheep can’t defend themselves.
When a sheep is frightened, the only thing it knows to do is run. Other animals were made with defense mechanisms. But not sheep.

Sheep aren’t able to defend themselves.

“The LORD is my defense; and my God is the rock of my refuge” (Psalm 94:22).

                Sheep can’t find their own way.
When sheep are lost, they are unable to find their way home again. Other animals were made with instincts that can. But not sheep.

Sheep have trouble finding the right way.

“Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face” (Psalm 5:8).

                Sheep are content with whatever satisfies.
When sheep are thirsty, they will stop at a puddle, even when clean, still waters are nearby. Sheep are content with filth, so long as it satisfies. A good shepherd always knows what’s better and best. But not sheep.

Sheep will take whatever they can get.

“[He is] able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

 Sheep need a shepherd.
Sheep need a constant overseer. Other animals can fend for themselves. But not sheep. Sheep need a shepherd whose life work is to care for his sheep. They need someone to protect, defend, lead, guide, and provide for them at all times.

We have that in our God, whose name is “The Lord is my Shepherd” (Psalm 23:1).

He calls His people “sheep” because we need a Shepherd.

We need Him that much.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Autumn Moments

We’re surrounded by a season of death right now.

But it's breathtaking.

Have you ever known an Autumn moment?

Autumn moments come to all of us – death to self, death to our own desires, death to plans and hopes and joys.

Yet, even in autumn death, there is beauty – beauty making way for a season of new paths and new beauty.

“I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:11).

“I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight” (Isaiah 42:16).

Autumn moments in the hands of autumn’s Creator are deaths to a beauty about to blossom into more beauty.

Never despise little deaths and subtle beauty. 

He can turn any autumn moment into something breathtaking.

CONGRATULATIONS to Diane Morris (aka "Melinda's Mom") for winning your free copy of the "My Name is Erin" series! Thank you to all who entered. I wish each of you could have won!

Monday, October 14, 2013

What I Wish Someone Had Told Me Twenty Years Ago

[Be sure to enter the Free Book Giveaway below – “My Name is Erin” series for teen girls.]

When you were a teenager, what did you care about most? Volleyball games, getting good grades, what people thought about you, boys?

What do you wish someone had told you?

In a 4-book series called “My Name is Erin,” Erin Davis addresses questions teenage girls need the answers for – questions that desperately need right, Biblical answers.

Who am I?

Where should I get my answers for life?

What purpose do I have in this world?

Can I do something big for God?

Maybe you asked these questions as a teenager.
Maybe you know a young girl struggling to hear the right answers.

If so, you HAVE to read these books!  I found my own faith challenged as I read them.

Erin Davis is a fun writer, personable, honest about her own struggles, and always points her readers to God’s truth. Each book is less than eighty pages – a quick read and practical to the lives of today’s teenage girls.

Here are few excerpts to give you a taste:

From One Girl’s Journey to Discover Truth:
“The culture says truth can change. God’s Word says Truth is solid. Most people make decisions based on what feels right. God’s Word says that our gut can’t always be trusted.” (p. 21)

From One Girl’s Journey to Discover Who She Is:
“Understanding your unique role as a girl isn’t really about being a certain kind of girl. It isn’t about rules. It’s not about profile. It’s about putting God on display . . . Instead of trying to figure out who we are and then trying to decide if that’s okay with God, we need to flip the mirror outward.” (p.26, 30)

From One Girl’s Mission to Make a Difference:
“Your life is not a series of coincidences strung together between birth and death. Nope. God has a mission for you.” (p. 12)

From One Girl’s Plan for Radical Faith:
“[Jesus] didn’t come to earth to give everyone a giant, warm, fuzzy feeling. . . Following Him will cost us. . . Trust God that the life He calls you to
 is the very best way to live.” (p. 18,19)

In the “My Name is Erin” series, Erin Davis encourages young women to surrender their lives to what God intends for them to be. Every page is saturated with Biblical truth ready to guide them to a life with Him in charge.

“God has a plan for your life. When you say yes to the script He has written for you, that’s when the real story begins.” 
(from One Girl’s Mission to Make a Difference,” p. 76)

I highly recommend buying a copy of these books. Read them first and have some of your own questions answered and your own faith challenged. Then, give them to a young girl who needs Biblical answers to tough questions – questions that are being answered by voices that are wrong, but much louder.

Or better yet. . .

Enter your name below for a Free Copy!!!
Leave a comment or question on this post by Sunday at 9:00 p.m. PST to be entered into a drawing to win a copy of this series. One person will be chosen randomly using and will be contacted by email. Please make sure to leave an e-mail address with your comment. Books can only be sent to addresses in the United States and Canada.

Monday, October 7, 2013

What Matters Most

Ever visited a cemetery, and felt this amazing sense come over you that underneath the earth lay a myriad of lives, stories, personalities, hopes, heartaches, and dreams?

I walk through a cemetery, and I want to know their stories.
I want to know more than the date they were born and the date they died.
I want to know more than the fact they were a “beloved mother” or someone missed.

I want to know what their lives had once looked like.

Why did he only live to be sixteen?
What exactly was she like to gain the title “beloved mother”?
What drove her to get up in the morning?
Did he ever fall in love?
What kind of legacy did he leave?

Most importantly, did they believe God?

I just started a series with the ladies of my church on the “Hall of Faith.” 

Hebrews 11 is a graveyard of tombstones that each say one thing:

                He believed God.

                She believed God.

Imagine visiting a cemetery where every tombstone said the same thing.

Where every tombstone said, So-and-so believed God.

We only have a glimpse into these people’s lives, but they were included in one of the most beloved chapters in the Bible because they believed God.

They weren’t heroes.

These men and women believed the One who is faithful.

They each lived a life that based everything they believed and everything they did on who God is and what He has said. They were fully convinced about who God is; fully convinced about His promises.

And they lived their lives based on that conviction.

                He believed God.

                She believed God.

And if that’s all our life says to this world, that’s all that matters in God’s estimation.

We’re told to look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

These men and women in Hebrews 11 all died in faith.
We’re seeking to live our lives by faith.
                ONLY because He is the Author of our Faith.

And He’s also the Finisher.

This chapter of gravestones testify to this fact.

He began their faith.

And He finished it.

That’s the only reason it will be said of any of us:

                _______________________  believed God.

[Click here to listen to the introductory lesson on The Hall of Faith.]