Friday, August 28, 2009

Psalm 23

You, LORD, are my shepherd. I will never be in need. You let me rest in fields of green grass. You lead me to streams of peaceful water, and you refresh my life. You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths. I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won't be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd's rod makes me feel safe. You treat me to a feast, while my enemies watch. You honor me as your guest, and you fill my cup until it overflows. Your kindness and love will always be with me each day of my life, and I will live forever in your house, LORD. Ps. 23

In his classic book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, W. Phillip Keller gives a striking picture of the care and gentleness of a shepherd. In verse 3 when David says, “He restores my soul,” he uses language every shepherd would understand.
Sheep are built in such a way that if they fall over on their side and then onto their back, it is very difficult for them to get up again. They flail their legs in the air, bleat, and cry. After a few hours on their backs, gas begins to collect in their stomachs, the stomach hardens, the air passage is cut off, and the sheep will eventually suffocate. This is referred to as a “cast down” position.

When a shepherd restores a cast down sheep, he reassures it, massages its legs to restore circulation, gently turns the sheep over, lifts it up, and holds it so it can regain its equilibrium.

What a picture of what God wants to do for us! When we are on our backs, flailing because of guilt, grief, or grudges, our loving Shepherd reassures us with His grace, lifts us up, and holds us until we’ve gained our spiritual equilibrium.
If you’ve been cast down for any reason, God is the only one who can help you get on your feet again. He will restore your confidence, joy, and strength. — Marvin Williams

This Shepherd of mine knows each trial, each snare,And at just the right moment my Lord will be there,On His shoulders to carry each burden for me—Yes, the Lord is my Shepherd, and always shall be.

The weak and the helpless are in the Good Shepherd’s special care

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Respect Your Elders!

Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Romans 13:7

Respect! Oh! Most shudder at the word, yet today that is a dying necessity. Too many parents now adays are not instilling this in their kids. Not only are kids disrespecting their parents, siblings and teachers, but it is being carried into the workplace that they blindly go in to thinking if their boss does not treat them with respect, they don't have to treat their boss with respect. This is wrong.

This has been a growing issue in our home, especially with my son. I recently made my two youngest skip dessert because they were being disrespectful. I had brought out a cake and cut it into pieces. My son, even though he was not near finished with his supper, immediately claimed a piece. My youngest daughter did not want to be outdone and intentionally put her finger in the piece he chose. Then my son put his finger in another piece and told her that was her piece. I immediately took the cake away and told both they were disrespecting the family's cake and each other and that, because of their disrespect, neither would have a piece of cake.

We need to teach our children to respect us, as their authority and each other. How can they learn to respect others if they don't learn it at home? They need to learn that although you may not feel respected by the person or you disagree with them, you need to still show respect and that needs to follow them into the classroom and the workplace. I recently had a conversation with my baby brother who was borm much later than I about our mother. He carried quite a bit of disdain for my parents authority, especially my mother. The conversation got around as to why I listen to her. I told him that she is my mother and, even if I do not agree with everything she says, I do show her the respect of listening to her. I am hoping he took something from that conversation.

We, as the parents, are given the responsibility of teaching our children. If they don't learn this from us, they most certainly won't learn this in the world that teaches the total opposite.