One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 23. My Life Application Bible shared a wonderful exhortation about this Psalm that I would like to impart it to you. It says: "In describing the Lord as a Shepherd, David wrote out of his own experience because he had spent his early years caring for the sheep (1 Samuel 16:10-11). Sheep are completely dependent upon the shepherd for provision, guidance, and protection. The New Testament calls Jesus the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), the Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20-21), and the Chief Shepherd (1Peter 5:4). As the Lord is the Good Shepherd, so we are His sheep---not frightened, passive animals, but obedient followers, wise enough to follow one who will lead us in the right places and in right ways. This psalm does not focus on the animal-like qualities of sheep, but on the discipleship qualities of those who follow. When you recognize the Good Shepherd, follow Him!
One of the videos I've seen a while back was of a farm where people were encouraged to call a flock of sheep by teaching them the word/sound to make. One by one, they tried to call the sheep and they all failed as the sheep seemed deaf to the noise they're making. Then finally, the shepherd (farmer) called them and all of a sudden, they heard him and rushed toward his direction. It was a wonderful sight as I was reminded of what Jesus said in John 10:27-28 which says, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand." See the video HERE.
In the world today, we hear a lot of different voices (noise) that tempt/lead us to follow a different path other than what the Lord Jesus provided for us. Many of them are outright evil that promotes temporary pleasures for the body while simultaneously destroying it as well. Drug addiction, alcoholism, smoking, sexual perversion are some we see daily on TV, movies or even in our neighborhood (just to name a few). While many other temptations are hidden under a spiritual disguise---those that deceive people to find their own way to God. One great example of that is RELIGION (man's way to reach God). Every religion incorporates a certain truth taken from the Word of God. Like the Devil, Religion perverts God's Word by adding or subtracting to the Truth in order to persuade many to follow them. Salvation through good works, bowing down to idols of every kind and earning (bogus) rewards by killing and harming others are some of the things made up by people's religion. You don't have to look very far to see how "TRUE LOVE" is given a whole new meaning in today's society. Their new worldly definition requires that you love people and embrace their sinfulness to the point that you not only tolerate it but practice it as well. That if anyone points them to the Truth of God's Word that contradicts their sinful lifestyle, you are hateful and judgmental. John 3:16 shows us what LOVE truly means when it says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." GOD IS LOVE and God's kind of love is UNSELFISH! God calls us to serve than to be served. In our service to God, we want people to find the Truth even in the midst and danger of persecution in the hopes that in their repentance, they will find eternal peace with God. Another thing this world is pushing these days is selfishness---"Be an American Idol/Icon, show off our talents, fulfill our dreams to stardom and to follow our own path to success. It teaches us to love ourselves and not deprived us of all the pleasure we crave for." Though it may sound wonderfully encouraging---IT IS NOT! I used to sing the song "My Way" by Frank Sinatra as it's a fave of my Dad. But now, I could no longer identify with the lyrics. Since Christ ruled my life, I no longer do it my way but "God's Way!" Everyone who placed their faith in the Lordship of Jesus Christ should acknowledge this Scripture in Galatians 2:20 which states, "I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." The moment we came to the saving knowledge of Jesus, we also surrendered to Him our earthly lives and dreams. That when His Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us, we acknowledge that He makes the decision where to take and use us. So when a believer says, "Live/Follow Your Dreams" to a congregation/audience, I can't help but ask, "whose dreams he or she is talking about?" For "living our dream" for many (sadly even for most believers) always involve power, fame, influence and material success. These things are not bad in itself but we saw how many were destroyed by the very things they crave for and how it caused them to be blind and deaf to the true voice and calling of their Shepherd (the Lord). The farther away we distance ourselves from the flock (Church-Body of Christ) and God's Word, the less we hear of God's voice. Without our Shepherd, we are vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy (1 Peter 5:8). For our safety is in knowing Jesus Christ, the Truth of His Word and having other believers to encourage us to follow Him daily. For everything in this world is temporary. While we are here, we experience the goodness, grace and love of our Father through the Holy Spirit that leads us in His straight, narrow and safe path. Let us focus on the voice of our Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who is able to lead us out of the temporary to eternal happiness in His presence. Like the sheep who knows and follows the Shepherd, let us eagerly follow Jesus, our Good, Great and Chief Shepherd who will keep us to Himself now and forever.
For this Card, I used an image from Bugaboo Stamps called "AKV Army Truck" (retired) that I colored using my Prismacolor markers. The base is Kraft, cut and scored to make a 5.5 inches square card. The DP's are from Recollections and Paper Studio. The metal embellishments are from Imaginisce and the stitching are added using my sewing machine.
I WILL DWELL IN THE HOUSE CARD
I WILL DWELL IN THE HOUSE CARD LAYERS
I WILL DWELL IN THE HOUSE CARD INSIDE
I WILL DWELL IN THE HOUSE CARD WITH ENVELOPE-BOX
This Card is entered into the following Challenges:
Crafting with Friends---ATG
Crafty Catz---ATG/Summer Fun
Jo's Scrap Shack---ATG
Crafting with an Attitude---ATG
Little Miss Muffet---ATG
Make sure you join us at WAW Challenge. You can use the free Word Art in your creation and link it to our Challenge but is not a requirement. As long as it's family-friendly, uplifting and inspirational, you can enter up to 5 times this week. Wonderful prizes to be won from our wonderful sponsors---Wild Orchid Crafts (flowers and leaves), Sunny Studio Stamps ($25 GC) and Jane's Doodles (digi stasmps). So excited to see what you come up with. Anyway, cheer up and let the peace of the Lord overtake you today. I follow a good and faithful Shepherd---Jesus Christ!