Friday, August 19, 2016

DON'T PANIC!

Image result for panic

            SHEPHERD TO SHEEP 
DON’T PANIC 
(Pro 3:25-26) Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; 26 For the Lord will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught. 
Many of us live with deep-rooted fear.  And so often we don’t even recognize it until crisis brings it out.  Something unexpectedly happens and it hits a nerve and terror seizes us.  We feel kidnapped and held against our will.  Our bodies react with stiffness and shortness of breath.  Our minds begin to think catastrophically. Our faith takes a vacation and we forget all we have learned about the truths of the Bible.  Crazy stuff!  How can have more peace in our lives, especially when large and ugly things loom over us and seek to intimidate us? 
When you are reading the Bible and questions arise, if you keep on reading it usually explains itself.  The wise man of Proverbs says there is a reason to not panic and experience sudden terror.  He says the Lord will be your confidence.  I used to think that confidence was being proud.  But then I saw confidence in a person who was very humble.  I rejoiced that I could have confidence too, not in myself but in the Lord.  Then when the biggie came into my life I wouldn’t be so overwhelmed.  The Lord is bigger than the biggie!  And He will keep my foot from being caught.  Think of it, when your foot is caught the rest of you isn’t going anywhere!  Fear immobilizes a person but the Lord keeps your feet going forward in life to where you need to be. 
David and Goliath.  Now there’s a story.  Everyone else was paralyzed by fear except young David.  He had so much confidence in the Lord and he didn’t let Goliath scare him.  He actually ran to the giant instead of away from him.  (1 Sam 17:48) So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.   
So many of us fear about the welfare of our loved ones.  We worry and fret over them and so often the devil brings his camping gear and sets up his site in our minds.  He just loves to push us around with negative thoughts about what if this or that happened to them.  We must replace our fear with confidence!  (Pro 14:26) In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge.  Take that negative fear and replace it with positive fear of the Lord, which is standing in awe of Him.  When you do that then you start claiming the promises of God for your loved ones.  As you keep doing that then Satan is sent a message that he can no longer homestead in your territory and he’ll go and try to harass someone else.   
Sudden fear.  Satan likes to do everything quick or sudden to throw us off to where we don’t even have the time to think.  Whereas the Bible says to quietly wait for the salvation of our God. (Lam 3:26)  Let’s settle down and settle in to the fact that our God reigns and is in control!   
Louie

Thursday, May 12, 2016

YOU CAN LIVE ON HALF YOUR INCOME


                                                                             

SHEPHERD TO SHEEP 
YOU CAN LIVE ON HALF YOUR INCOME
 
(James 4:2-3) You lust and do not have…Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
 
There will times in our lives where we will really have to budget because certain things have transpired in our lives.  It could be a job loss, your salary was cut, you want to go back to school, pay off debts, retire early, a mother wanting to quit her job to stay at home with the kids, or some other kind of life transition. You need to know that you really can live on less if you take these simple steps:
 
RECOGNIZE THAT GOD PROVIDES ALL YOUR NEEDS: (Phil 4:19) And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  The basic thing you need to know when your budget is drastically cut is that God is in control and that He has promised to provide for your every need.  It is time to trust God for everything in your life and to walk by faith.  Being dependent on God is a good place to be.  So often we are so self-sufficient but there are times when God will bring us to the place of total reliance on Him.  It might be scary at first but you have to remember if God brought you to it…He’ll bring you through it!  You will see miracles of provision like you’ve never seen before.  These will be stories you will tell your kids and grandkids about.  They too will be encouraged by how God takes care of His own! (Mat 7:7-11)
 
REEVALUATE WANTS VS. NEEDS:  The apostle James says it the best.  He says we have desires that we have to put down because those desires can get us into trouble.  And that can includes living for greeds instead of needs.  We live in a covetous culture that teaches more is better.  But in God’s economy less is more.  We can live without all the things we think we need.  What we have to do is curb our desires and use discipline to say no to our impulses.  You’re craving your favorite burger.  But you drive by that fast food place and head for home to make your self a sandwich instead.  And that is a thousand times over when you’re at the store, online, and etc.  You learn to say no to yourself.  It’s that time in your life where you just have to let go a lot of things you want and desire.  But that is being a true disciple of Jesus Christ! (Mat 16:24) Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
 
BUDGET TIME!:  It’s time to get a budget.  When you have a budget you tell your money where to go instead of it telling you where to go.  You have allotments for certain items and you stick with it without budging. (Pro 6:6-8, 27:23-27; 1 Cor 4:2; Eph 5:15)
 
On a personal note, Cheryl and I have had to live on half our income more than once and God has provided each time for us.  He brought us through to greater abundance! (Gen 26:13)
 
Louie


 

THE ANXIOUS MOTHER

                                                                          

 
SHEPHERD TO SHEEP 
THE ANXIOUS MOTHER 
(Luke 2:48)…His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”
 
It’s hard to perceive Mary the mother of Jesus as being an anxious woman.  But that’s exactly what the Bible portrays and what she even said of herself.  They had lost Jesus in the crowd of Passover pilgrims returning home from Jerusalem.  The parents panicked and retraced their steps back to the city and eventually found Jesus in the Temple after three days interacting with the teachers.  When they found him Mary chided her son.  Jesus replied that He must be about His Father’s business. 
 
Well, you really can’t blame Mary for her anxiety.  Jesus was a special child with a special birth.  This was probably the first time something like this happened between Mary and Jesus.  He was twelve years old and was now considered almost an adult.  And yet you see Mary’s worry surfacing and overflowing by the incident.  I hope this will encourage the most spiritual of moms that anxiety will be something to deal with when it comes to growing children. 
 
There is so much to worry about as a mother.  With that beautiful mother’s heart you are after your child’s constant safety and security and progress in every area of life.  You’re happy when your child succeeds and concerned when they are struggling.  But when does that concern cross the line into anxiety?  It’s almost imperceptible because you are so wrapped up in your child’s life.  But you start feeling negative emotions and it begins to ring through your body and breed uneasy thoughts in your mind.  Your apprehensions begin to get the best of you.  Perhaps your husband tries to cool your jets but you dismiss him by saying what does he know?  So what is a mom to do at this juncture?  It’s time to pray!  Here’s a verse for you. 
 
(Phil 4:6-7) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
 
As you turn your cares into prayers you will find peace coming back into your mother’s heart.  Then you can focus on God’s promise for your children:
 
(Isa 54:13) All your children shall be taught by the Lord, And great shall be the peace of your children. (see also Psa 112:1-2; Pro 22:6; Isa 49:25; Jer 31:17; Joel 2:28; Acts 2:39, 16:31)
 
There is peace for you, mom, and your anxious heart.  Don’t be overly concerned about your kids.  God is watching out for them and they will grow up to be about their Father’s business!
 
Louie


 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

SO YOU’RE NOT A MOTHER


                                                             SHEPHERD TO SHEEP



SO YOU’RE NOT A MOTHER
(1 Sam 1:2) …Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
Mother’s Day can be so hard on women who do not have children.  You see, some women want kids but are not able to and other women will choose not to be a mother.  So when this special day comes around it can kind of rub the woman the wrong way and for different reasons.  
Let’s talk first about the woman who is not able to get pregnant.  Well, you just can’t read the Bible without seeing the obvious in its beginning pages.  You see Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel childless.  Later on you see Hannah and then when you roll over into the New Testament you see Elizabeth right away.  As you read their stories you find the anguish that emerges:  (Gen 30:1) Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die!”  (1 Sam 1:10) And she (Hannah) was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.  
So what happened to these women?  They eventually had babies and it was from God.  Kind of like what we have seen in the church today when couples come up for prayer who are struggling with infertility.  God has answered prayer and so many “miracle babies” have been dedicated to the Lord.  It was truly a work of the Lord.  Others have had answered prayer through medical help or by adoption.  Whatever way, that couple has received a bundle of blessings from above:  (Psa 121:2) My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
Other couples have talked together and have decided to not have children.  For whatever reason they just want it to be a two-some and three’s a crowd.  It kind of reminds me of Aquila and Pricilla in the Bible.  They were a couple with no kids that were free do so much ministry and to travel.  Every time they pop up they are doing something for the Lord and for God’s people.  They helped the apostle Paul, were influential in Apollos’ life, and even had a church in their house.  But they sure couldn’t do that with children around!  I remember the few years before Cheryl and I had kids and how were able to jet around for the Lord and do so much.  But when the kids were added the brakes came on!  
But there is a stigma that the couple will have to work through.  Especially when people who don’t mind their own business ask you when you’re going to have kids.  That can be annoying as well as upsetting because some people just don’t get it.  Children are their life and they just can’t believe anyone can be happy without them.  (Rom 14:5)…Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. (1 Cor 7:20) Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called.
So you’re not a mother?  That can be a good thing or a hurtful thing.  But whatever way it is for you, remember God ordains our life and we have to follow that course and trust His plan.    
Louie

Thursday, March 24, 2016

WHO WILL ROLL AWAY THE STONE?


                                                                           
SHEPHERD TO SHEEP
 WHO WILL ROLL AWAY THE STONE? 
(Mark 16:3) And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 
Have you been trying lately to gain entrance to somewhere in life you’ve been wanting to go but it’s like a big stone is blocking the door?  That’s how the women felt on resurrection morning.  Jesus had been crucified and laid in a tomb but they wanted to give Him a proper burial with the anointing of spices.  They had a willing heart and the materials on hand but one big problem kept shutting them out.  So they asked…who will roll away the stone?   
Maybe that’s how you’ve been feeling recently.  You are willing as your heart could be.  You have everything on hand as far as resources are concerned.  But it’s that one big heavy thing that is obstructing your progress.  So what do you do?  Well, do what the women did: 
-STEP OUT IN FAITH:  The text says “they came to the tomb”.  That means they got moving toward their goal instead of their goal dropping into their lap.  In this life of faith we cooperate with God by doing our part in response to His leading in our lives.  Remember Peter?  He had to get out of the boat before he could float!  (Mat 14:28-29) And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.  Maybe God is waiting for you to do that part of faith that needs to be done.  (Heb 11:6) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. 
-LOOK UP:  In the next verse it says they “looked up” (v. 4).  To have that stone roll away from our lives we must look up to Jesus for it is He alone that has the power to effect change.  (John 12:21) Then they came to Philip…saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”  When things don’t go our way it’s easy to count the cracks on the sidewalk instead of the clouds in the sky!  (Luke 21:28) Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”  When you look up to Jesus, things start looking up!   
Well, what happened in the rest of the story of the women at the tomb?  The next verse says it all:  (Mark 16:4) But when they looked up, they saw that THE STONE HAD BEEN ROLLED AWAY—for it was very large.  God took care of the problem and they walked right through that door!  Isn’t that great how the Lord goes before us and takes care of the problems we face?  No need to worry. No need to strive.  God has it all figured out from the very beginning.  (John 6:6) But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.  HE IS RISEN!  And your door will be opening soon! 
Louie


 


Friday, March 11, 2016

WHEN A CHRISTIAN REJECTS THE FAITH

                                                                            

SHEPHERD TO SHEEP 
WHEN A CHRISTIAN REJECTS THE FAITH 
(Mark 16:14) Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table… 
This is one of the saddest verses in the Bible.  It says Jesus appeared to the eleven.  That means one was missing.  And we know who that was…Judas.  In our churches we have empty seats that used to hold people of faith who no longer walk with the Lord.  They have rejected the Christian faith and have walked out into the night from the light they once knew.  So how does it all begin and what should we do when someone turns away from the Lord? 
 
The first thing we notice is a progression.  Demas in the Bible is a good example.  He is only mentioned three times in the New Testament but notice how he advances in the wrong direction:  (Phile 1:24) as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers…(Col 4:14) Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you…(2 Tim 4:10) for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed…  First Demas is a fellow laborer.  Then he only sends greetings.  Finally he has forsaken Paul and has gone back into the world and has departed.  Does this describe someone in your life?
 
My best friend and best man in my wedding did the same thing.  He taught a home Bible I attended when I was in college.  He then graduated from Bible college and seminary and had a wonderful calling to the ministry.  But soon he had an affair and left his wife and I then lost all contact with him and for many years now he has never surfaced to reclaim his faith.
 
The big question is did these know Christ and then reject the faith?  Or did they never know the Lord to begin with?  Well, only God knows!  (2 Tim 2:19)…The Lord knows those who are His…  So since we don’t know what should we do? 
 
-PRAY:  The best thing we can do is keep praying for them.  If they are truly the Lord’s they will come back.  (Luke 15:20) “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
 
-BELIEVE:  Since they don’t have faith anymore then we must have faith for them.  God can change the hardest of hearts!  (Eze 36:26) I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
 
-AVOID GUILT:  Many of us feel guilt because we think we could of done something to prevent them from slipping away from the Lord.  Christian parents are especially susceptible to this.  But remember they made a choice out of their own free will.  (Rom 8:1) There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…
 
Louie


 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

EMERGENCY BIBLE VERSES

 
                                                             SHEPHERD TO SHEEP 
EMERGENCY BIBLE VERSES 
Many of us have emergency phone numbers to call in case of an emergency.  Beyond 911 there is the doctor, lawyer, plumber, computer tech, etc.  But what about when you are in need and you don’t know where to turn in God’s Word?  Keep this handy chart in your Bible or somewhere close and refer to it often.  The Word of God answers all our needs and dilemmas! 
When you need SALVATION (Romans 10:9-10) 
When you are DEPRESSED (Psalm 42 & 43) 
When you are ANXIOUS (Philippians 4:6-7) 
When you are LONELY (Hebrews 13:5) 
When MONEY is low (Philippians 4:19) 
When you’ve been HURT (Ephesians 4:32) 
When you need a JOB (Psalm 90:17) 
When you need PATIENCE (James 1:2-4) 
When you are WORRIED ABOUT THE KIDS (Isaiah 54:13) 
When you have an UNSAVED LOVED ONE (Acts 16:31) 
When you have BACKSLIDDEN (Jeremiah 3:22) 
When your goals have been FRUSTRATED (Psalm 37:3-8) 
When you have been DISAPPOINTED (Revelation 3:7-8) 
When your MARRIAGE is being tested (1 Corinthians 13)
When you have SINNED (Psalm 51) 
When you are feeling WORTHLESS (Matthew 10:29-31) 
When there is nothing hopeful in your FUTURE (Jeremiah 29:11) 
When you need GUIDANCE (Psalm 32:8) 
When things DON’T MAKE SENSE (Proverbs 3:5-6) 
When you are FEARFUL (Isaiah 41:10) 
When you are ANGRY (Ephesians 4:26) 
When you lack COURAGE (Joshua 1:9) 
When you need FORGIVENESS (1 John 1:9) 
When you are facing TEMPTATION (1 Corinthians 10:13)
 
When you need HEALING (Exodus 15:26)
 
When you are SUFFERING (Romans 5:3-4)
 
When you need STRENGTH (Isaiah 40:27-31)
 
When you lack PURPOSE in life (Ephesians 2:10)