Tuesday, March 31

All We Like Sheep 2

Last time, we saw that sheep…

* are not very intelligent and are not trainable,
* need constant supervision,
* have a strong instinct to follow a leader,
* have no sense of direction and will wander off, getting into trouble,
* and will follow the one in front of him even if it goes over a cliff.

Let’s see what other characteristics they have.


…are non-aggressive…

Their non-aggressive temperament exhibits itself as being gregarious, calm, and easy to manage creatures. Because they love to be a part of the gang, a sheep will become agitated if it is separated from the group.

…are loving and love affection…

The sense of touch seems to be important to sheep because they seek bodily contact with a daily touch from their shepherd. They love their shepherd and can often be found lingering at his feet, awaiting a pat on the head. They will even rub against his leg and wag their tails.

They learn to recognize the voice of their shepherd as He regularly speaks gently to them and calls them each by name. They follow him because they know he will take care of them.

…are defenseless…

Because they are defenseless, they make easy prey for their enemies and are very vulnerable to fear. With no means of self-defense, their natural instinct causes them to run.

A lone sheep is doomed. Needing protection from predators, they use their herding instinct to stick close to each other for safety and depend on their shepherd as their defense against their enemies, as he uses his staff to keep the sheep in line and within safe boundaries and his rod to ward off the predators.

…are fearful…

As we read last time, where one sheep goes, the rest are sure to follow. So, because they are fearful, if one becomes skittish, the whole flock will stampede easily.

Because of their “sheepishness,” they are even frightened by running water.

…have little discernment as to choosing the best food and drink…

Sheep are stubborn and will insist on their own way, even eating poisonous plants or drinking dirty water. They need constant fresh pasture and fresh water.

Not always aware that they need to drink, they can even be found grazing beside water while in the early stages of dehydration. Because of this, they must be constantly led to clean, still water.


* Are you friendly? Do you become agitated if separated from the group and interaction with others?
* Do you stay close to the flock for comfort, support, and safety?
* Is the Shepherd’s daily touch important to you?
* Can you be found lingering at the Shepherd’s feet?
* Do you recognize the voice of your Shepherd when He calls your name?
* Do you follow the Shepherd knowing He will take care of you?
* Because you are prey for the enemy, do you become fearful or do you trust in and depend on the Shepherd to protect you and fight off the predators for you?
* Do you become skittish, your circumstances frightening you as though they were rampaging waters?
* Are you stubborn, insisting on your own way? Do you lack discernment in choosing where and what you feed your soul and spirit?
* Do you feed on poisonous matter or drink from dirty waters? Do you realize you are suffering a dehydrated spirit, ignoring the fresh waters of the Lord before you?

“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Heb 13:20-21 NKJV)

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

Thursday, March 26

All We Like Sheep

Sheep intrigue me. I started a small collection of little sheep figurines. The ones found in a crèche set. I love them. I place them around a shepherd that looks like he might have been David with a precious lamb wrapped around his shoulders. I always think of him as Jesus carrying me.

The figurines have different looks on their tiny faces and they stand in different positions, some look up adoringly at the shepherd and some graze at his feet. Reminds me of how I place myself at Jesus’ feet.

If we compare sheep’s characteristics with those of humans, we’ll find they are very similar. No wonder Jesus lovingly calls us His sheep.

I thought it would be fun to take the next few posts and look at some of the shared characteristics.

The first characteristic is…drum roll, please! Ta-dah!

Sheep are not very intelligent!

Actually, they are notoriously dumb! They have the IQ of a rubber tree plant! Because of this brain deficiency, they are the only herd-type animal that require a custodian or guardian to give them constant care and supervision 24/7. A shepherd must commit his whole life to watching over his flock.

Because they have a strong instinct to follow a leader, when one sheep decides to wander off, the rest of the flock usually follows, no matter where it takes them. For example, if the lead sheep jumps over a cliff, the others will more than likely follow.

Because of their lack of intelligence, they…

…are not trainable…

They also need constant supervision because they are not trainable. You’ll never see them in the circus doing tricks on command, like the silly image above.

Though they are not teachable, they will do the exact thing that the one in front of them does. For instance, I read that, if you hold a stick in front of the first sheep in a line and it jumps over the stick, the rest of the flock will mindlessly follow suit, leaping over the stick, even when it is taken away!

Because they are not trainable, pain and punishment have little or no effect on their behavior because they have no memory and do not learn from their mistakes. They keep doing the same dumb things over and over.

…will wander off, go astray, and, with no sense of direction, get into trouble.

And since they will senselessly follow the one in front of them, they will all wander off in any direction and probably get into trouble. Therefore, with no sense of direction, if one sheep wanders off and gets lost, the rest of the flock will follow right along, even if the sheep jumps over a cliff.

As people…

Please don’t get the wrong idea. I don’t mean people are as dumb as rubber tree plants, but sometimes I wonder about the things we humans do! Sometimes, I don’t think we learn. We do the same dumb things over and over, going around, as some say, the same ol’ mountain again and again. It takes a while for us to be trained, if at all. If we could just learn a lesson the first time around, we wouldn’t suffer some of the same consequences.

This is why we need a guardian for constant care, just as the sheep do.

We have a strong instinct to follow a leader, but we need to make sure it is the right Leader. We will wander off aimlessly and follow the flock right over the cliff if we do not listen to the Shepherd’s voice and follow His footsteps.

With no sense of direction, we will always pick the wrong way without the Shepherd. We will continue to go astray and get lost.

The disciple Peter recognized that we all need the true Shepherd. Having known Him himself, Peter wrote, “Like sheep you wandered away from God, but now you have returned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:25a TLB)

* Do you repeat the same mistakes over and over?
* Have you wandered off aimlessly and lost your way?
* Or do you listen to the Shepherd’s voice and follow in His footsteps?

May you be blessed with the Great Shepherd’s constant care.

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

Sunday, March 22

Ten I's of Prayer 10

10) Intimacy

Well, we come to the end of our I’s, and I saved the best one for last, at least, I think it’s the best one. Intimacy.

What is intimacy? We think we know. Let’s check and see.

The main definitions of ‘intimacy’ mean a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group, an act or expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection, or the like, the quality of being comfortable, warm, or familiar, and privacy especially as suitable to the telling of a secret.

Ooo…don’t you love that?

According to all our words on prayer…

* intercede
* invade
* inspire
* influence
* instruction
* invest
* increase
* impact
* imbue

…none of them will be effective if we do not have an intimate relationship with the Lord.

Though we have virtually perfected our horizontal conversations, we have seriously failed in our Vertical one. Prayer is the development of our personal relationship with the Lord, as our intimate friend.

This spirit-converse can be found only when one retreats to that quiet place, to listen for the intimate whisperings of our precious Lord.

The intimacy of prayer is like a child or grandchild crawling up in your lap just to snuggle with you because he or she loves you. Do you ever crawl up in the Father’s lap just to love on Him? He delights in that, just as you do.

Do you make time to experience this cherished alone-time with the Lord? Or do you merely rush in, lay out your plans and wishes, and rush out again?

No great soul ever grew in intimacy with the Lord on the streets of a busy life, only in the solitude of prayer. When busyness keeps us from hearing the whispers of our Beloved and keeps us too distracted to feel the comfort of His arms and the peace of His words, we will never discover what Mary did as she sat as His feet.

We need to be alone with God, where no outcries of earth intrude, where no ghosts of years past interrupt, where no outside opinions interfere, where no urgency of decisions impede.

Is intimacy with the Lord missing in your life? If you want to know the Lord and grow the fruit of spiritual graces, spend time in His presence, for only then will deep affection blossom, resulting in a richer relationship with Him.

Speaking of prayer, Martin Luther said “to be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

If I could inject anything into your heart about prayer, it would be this: be still in His presence and listen, guard your heart against intruders, have the right attitude by not being in fear or doubt, or being timid, whiney, or hypocritical, do not take it for granted or leave it out of your daily schedule, claim your inherited rights and privileges in Christ and the promises of the Word, pray for all men, pray for Israel, rely on the Holy Spirit, fast when necessary, pray according to God’s Word and His will, pray in faith, trust, confidence, patience, boldness, and expectation, all in the Name of Jesus, and until you have peace, praising and giving thanks to God at all times.

~~Blessings of intimacy, Lynn~~

Step Into Your Future

Step Into Your Future: A Women's Guide to Business Success by Rosemary Hossenlopp (Morgan James Publishing)

Business owner, speaker and author, Rosemary Hossenlopp has learned the secret to Business Diva Success. This is the only business plan that aligns head and heart to let you live your business dream. It provides a unique process to unlock your passion and accelerate your business growth.

Rosemary Regier-Hossenlopp, MBA, is one of the most dynamic speakers on business success. Audiences call her brilliant and inspiring as she shares her personal journey on becoming a successful small business owner. She has advice for women that no one else has, on how to take your business to the next level.

Rosemary is an expert on the mindset needed for business change. She is the founder of Business Success Plan group and inspires small business owners, professional services consultants and other women leaders to create personal business plans. She makes it easy for business owners to define and execute success plans. Her book on Step Into Your Future: A Businesswoman’s Guide to Success sets the standard for realigning to current market needs.

Rosemary Regier-Hossenlopp, consultant, author, and workshop leader is a member of the National Speakers Association (NSA). She received her B.S. from Oregon State University and M.B.A. from Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California.

This is an online event. Please visit the blog tour itinerary at anytime 24/7 during the tour to read the interview and post your comments. FREE BOOKS will be given away at various blog stops.

Please visit: http://www.christianspeakerservices.com/css_stepintoyourfuture_blogtour.htm

Thursday, March 19

Ten I's of Prayer 9

9) Imbue

Since I’ve started these prayer posts with a definition, this one is no different. In part, the word ‘imbue’ means to fill with moisture, permeate or saturate, to fill the mind (etc.), to impregnate or inspire with feelings, opinions (etc.), to influence thoroughly, pervade, to cause to become impressed or penetrated, to cause to absorb, and so on.

How do these definitions fit in with prayer? We’ll find out in a second.

First, in our prayer times, don’t we usually run to the Lord to pray…

…when a child is in a car wreck,
…when peace disintegrates into chaos,
…when a best friend stabs us in the back,
…when the repo man stands knocking at the door,
…when the cupboard holds little more than the cup,
…when pain strikes the chest and there is no insurance,
…when a husband loses his job and finances are cut off,
…when buying Christmas presents is a vague recollection,
…when the roof overhead is in jeopardy of being taken away?

When these things occur, do we then allow raging emotions to fill us? In our immaturity, do we stomp our feet and whine at life’s circumstances, “Why me?”

And with what do we usually try to satiate our emptiness and pain? Do our circumstances call us to raid the refrigerator, drive us to the local bar, lure us to try drugs, tempt our eyes and lusts with porn or an affair?

Or do we seek the Lord, allowing Him to fill us with all that we need? According to our word’s definitions, the Lord will…

…imbue us with His power, His plan, His holiness, and His will,
…saturate our negative minds with the positive mind of Christ,
…inspire our misplaced feelings and opinions to be transformed,
…fill us with His Spirit and quench our thirst in those dry, wilderness days,
…pervade and influence our new-creation lives by impressing us with the image of His Son.

The lyrics of Fill Me Up, Lord by Richard Blanchard seem appropriate:

Like the woman at the well I was seeking
For things that could not satisfy;
And then I heard my Savior speaking:
“Draw from My well that never shall run dry.”

Fill my cup, Lord, I lift it up, Lord!
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul;
Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more--
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole!

Which do we seek from the Lord to fill us up and make us whole: His hand to give us something or His face and His presence? When we seek Him, do we praise Him? Scripture says, “They who seek the LORD will praise him.” (Ps. 22:26 NIV)

When you lift your hands to the Father, with what are they filled? God says as He did to Moses, “What is that in your hand?” (Ex. 4:2 NKJV) What does He see? Does He see fingers tightly clutching anger? A palm filled with the works of self-righteousness? A glove stuffed with hidden schemes?

If you are filled with hatred, unforgiveness, bitterness, or anything else from your trials and heartaches, how can you have room to be filled with the Lord and His praise?

Paul instructs us, “Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18 Amp) Are you obeying God’s will to praise and thank Him?

One definition I left for the end. Absorb. The Lord has been so gracious and loving to me that, when I sit adoringly at His feet, I do not ever want to miss out on being filled with His presence and absorbing all He has for me.

Are you imbued with all of the Lord?

~~May you be filled to overflowing, Lynn~~

Sunday, March 15

Ten I's of Prayer 8

8) Impact

According to the English dictionaries, some of the meanings of the word ‘impact’ say the effect of one thing on another, the power of making a strong, immediate impression, bear on, touch on, influence, effect, the force exerted by a new idea, concept, technology, or ideology, to fill up, or alter.

Can all this be applied to our prayer times? Do our prayers have…

1) an impact on us?
2) an impact on our family, others, or the world?

1) …on us?
If our intimate conversations with the Lord do not impact us in some way…touching, influencing, effecting us…are we making the most of our prayer times?

* Do we allow God’s Word to alter us?
* Do we allow the Lord to fill us with His purpose, His vision, His heart?
* Do we sit still long enough to allow His presence to make an impression on us, influencing the way we think and ultimately changing the way we speak and act?

The Bible tells us to “be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Rom. 12:2 Amp)

‘Renew’ defined, by Vine’s Expository Dictionary, says it is “the adjustment of the moral and spiritual vision and thinking to the mind of God, which is designed to have a transforming effect upon the life.” There’s that impact.

Are our morals and spiritual thinking impacted and renewed as we sit at the foot of the throne?

As new creations, “what counts is whether we really have been changed into new and different people.” (Gal. 6:15 TLB)

2) …on our family, others, or the world?
If our intimate conversations with the Lord do not impact us, how then do we think outside of ourselves and plea for others, thus impacting their lives?

Sometimes God calls on us to pray for a certain person or situation even when we have no knowledge of the whys or what-fors. It may be to save someone from a disastrous circumstance, to give them needed comfort, or to right some wrong. The Spirit leads us in those times to be an intercessor.

Do we obey the Spirit’s call? Do we also make it a regular habit to pray for those other than our family members? Do we have a worldview, praying around the world to save the oppressed, the hungry, the poor, the naked, the hurting, the lost?

Jesus said, “Look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” (John 4:35b NIV) Therefore, we pray that the Lord will send someone to cross the path of the lost, for scripture says we are to “pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matt. 9:38 NKJV)

God “doesn’t want anyone lost.” (2 Peter 3:9b Msg) He desires all mankind to recognize Him as the Good Shepherd of the sheep. Of those who do not yet acknowledge Him as the Shepherd, He agonizes that they are lost without Him. His family flock is incomplete without them.

Just while you are reading this, hoards of lost sheep have wandered off the path and have fallen off the precipice of life. Is there a lost sheep you can rescue from falling into the great abyss of eternal death?

Is your life impacted by those intimate words shared with the Lord in your prayer times? Are you influenced, transformed, and renewed enough to impact the lives of others with your prayers?

May your prayer times transform you and, in turn, impact the lives of others for the Kingdom of God!

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

Wednesday, March 11

Ten I's of Prayer 7

7) Increase

The English dictionaries define ‘increase’ as to make greater as in number, size, strength, extent, capacity, scope, or quality, augment, add to, multiply, to reproduce, intensify, or enlarge.

Since this is on prayer, two things come to mind when I think of increase. Well, more than two, but we’ll just look at two.

Our prayers…

* increase our faith

First of all, faith and prayer must go hand in hand. If we believe and have confidence in God, then we pray to Him.

Prayer without faith degenerates into ineffective utterances. What’s the point of praying if we have no faith? A prayer breathed in faith unfurls its fragrance at the Father’s feet. Spurgeon said, “Prayer cannot draw down answers from God’s throne except it be the earnest prayer of the man who believes.”

Through our intimate conversations with the Father, He reveals Himself and His truths to us, communicating His heart to us as we listen to Him, which then increases our faith.

However, if we do not mix faith with God’s Word, His promises, and the things He whispers to our hearts, then, we resemble the Israelites, for “the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” (Heb. 4:2b NKJV)

Sometimes a promise of God stalls in its appearance. What happens when inactivity occurs, when a promise seems to drift farther and farther away, when circumstances linger incessantly and patience wears thin? Are we more concerned about the problem or God’s promise? What happens to our faith? Does it increase or decrease?

God’s purpose in inspiring the writing of His Word was to “give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for His promises,” (Rom. 15:4b NLT) to increase our faith that we “do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Heb. 6:12 NKJV)

James said, “If you don’t ask with faith, don’t expect the Lord to give you any solid answer.” (James 1:7 TLB)

Our waiting may seem unproductive, yet, “we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently.” (Rom. 8:25 TLB)

If our prayers increase our faith, then they also…

* magnify the Lord

To increase or enlarge also means to magnify, as to increase in actual size, exaggerate, amplify, and intensify. ‘Magnify’ is also defined as to extol, praise, glorify, to make seem more important, and so on.

The disciple John said it most succinctly, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 NKJV)

How do we do that? As we release ourselves to the Lord for His total control, He increases and we decrease.

As the definition also says, it means to magnify. So we increase or magnify the Lord in our prayers. How do we do that? I don’t think we fully understand what magnifying the Lord means.

To extol or praise highly and exalt God enlarges His image, His power, His love, all His characteristics, intensifying them more than our circumstances or our list of wants.

If we constantly boo-hoo our circumstances or our unfulfilled desires more than praising God, we magnify our circumstances and lack above God’s character and power. David said, “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.” (Ps. 69:30 NKJV)

Prayer is not complete without praise and thanksgiving. Paul said, “Always maintain the habit of prayer; be both alert and thankful as you pray.” (Col. 4:2 Phillips)

Therefore, do we still raise our hands in praise and worship when in painful despair? Do we still fall on our knees in His presence and exalt His name when in a heart-wrenching trial?

God is always faithful to the promises in His Word, for the One Who breathes His promises into our hearts will not fail to manifest them, when our faith is increased to obey His Word and we magnify His presence and His name above all else.

~~Magnifying the Lord with you, Lynn~~

Monday, March 9

Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth

I’m happy to be a part of the blog tour for Mary’s new book Daisy Chain. I’ve just started reading it and I’m drawn in completely. Here’s a snippet of description…

The abrupt disappearance of young Daisy Chance from a small Texas town in 1973 spins three lives out of control-Jed, whose guilt over not protecting his friend Daisy strangles him; Emory Chance, who blames her own choices for her daughter’s demise; and Ouisie Pepper, who is plagued by headaches while pierced by the shattered pieces of a family in crisis.

In this first book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper has a sickening secret: He’s convinced it’s his fault his best friend Daisy went missing. Jed’s pain sends him on a quest for answers to mysteries woven through the fabric of his own life and the lives of the families of Defiance, Texas. When he finally confronts the terrible truths he’s been denying all his life, Jed must choose between rebellion and love, anger and freedom.

Daisy Chain is an achingly beautiful southern coming-of-age story crafted by a bright new literary talent. It offers a haunting yet hopeful backdrop for human depravity and beauty, for terrible secrets and God’s surprising redemption.

Here's where you can find Mary...

Mary DeMuth’s Website: http://blog.myfamilysecrets.org/
Mary DeMuth’s Blog: http://relevantblog.blogspot.com
Mary DeMuth’s Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-DeMuth/33200616570
Follow Mary DeMuth on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mdemuth

Friday, March 6

Ten I's of Prayer 6

6) Invest

Invest. A word with a multitude of definitions, including to use, give, or devote (time, talent, etc.) as for a purpose or to achieve something, to clothe, attire, or dress, to cover, adorn, or envelop, to furnish with power, authority, or rank, or to endow or infuse with a quality or characteristic.

I find this very interesting. This is so saturated with applications. Let’s go over it again and make a list…

1) use, give, or devote time, talent, etc. as for a purpose or to achieve something
2) clothe, attire, dress
3) cover, adorn, envelop
4) furnish with power, authority, rank
5) endow or infuse with a quality or characteristic

Wow! Do you see the spiritual wealth in this?

Since this series is on prayer, what happens when we apply these to prayer?

First, do we invest part of our time in prayer to take advantage of all this, of all that God has in store for us? Investing time in prayer has a myriad of purposes. Foremost, prayer is a private, exclusive audience with the Creator of heaven, in which we spend time in His presence to worship Him and to love Him.

If we do not take time for prayer, our lives will be powerless and prosperless in all areas.

When we devote time in prayer, don’t we want to achieve the other things listed?

Such as having God…

* clothe us with salvation
* array us with righteousness and cover us with protection
* supply us with power and authority through the name of Jesus
* infuse us with the qualities and characteristics of Jesus, transforming us into His image and endowing us with the Holy Spirit

What do you think is God’s highest quality or characteristic that He desires to instill in us? Love? Peace? Justice? Joy? This is just my opinion but I think God’s highest characteristic is holiness with all else flowing from it.

Did you know the Word says we have been “called with a holy calling” (2 Tim. 1:9b)? By definition, we are called, bid by name, with a holy invitation, and we are “to walk worthy of the calling with which [we] were called.” (Eph. 4:1 NKJV)

As the disciple Peter said, “As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:15-16 NKJV)

Do we allow the Lord to transform us into His holy image? If we don’t invest time in prayer and in the Word, to become like Jesus, we cannot become holy, because we’ll never know what holiness looks like.

The writer of Hebrews wrote, “Pursue…holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14 NKJV)

If we desire to “see” the Lord, to meet with Him in prayer, we must come before the Throne of the Father cleansed of all unholiness, asking forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus.

What do you pursue in prayer? Just to hand God your list of wants? God knows your prayer list. You can make your requests of Him but He desires more than anything else your attention, your worship, and your companionship.

He longs to share with you His heart’s desires for you, your family, your friends, your world. He longs to accomplish that above list, and more, in you and for you.

If your heart’s desire is to know the Lord and to be clothed, arrayed, covered, supplied with all God offers, and to be infused with holiness, spend time in His presence, for only then will deep affection blossom, resulting in a richer relationship with Him.

May all your prayer pursuits be holy ones.

~~Blessings, Lynn~~