I painted “Ovejas Hacienda”, a 9 x 12″ oil on canvas En Plein Air. The backdrop of this “Sheep Dwelling” is close to our home in Tucson, Arizona. The farms near our home gives me the best of both worlds: the West that I dearly love and my roots growing up on an Ohio farm that I dearly love.
In yesterday’s Life Palette Blog we looked at Truth #1, from “A Challenge That Will Change Your Life”: “God Meets All My Needs”. Today, I want to continue by looking at the 2nd truth from the reading challenge. (If you’ve missed the prescribe reading be sure to get started by looking back at the last two posts: “Sheep: A Challenge That Will Change Your Life” and “Sheep (Part 2), Truth #1: “God Meets All My Needs”. I guarantee this 30 day challenge will change your life!)
Truth #2: God Gives Me Peace
“He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.” Ps. 23:2 (NLT)
I love to watch sheep graze. My grandfather grazed his sheep in a pasture next to our home. They would often start grazing in the early morning hours as the sun was beginning to rise. In the summer, as the morning would heat up, they would become tired and thirsty and at about 10 a.m. they would lie down to rest.
A wise shepherd, the Psalmist, knows that sheep should not drink when it is hot or when its stomach is full of undigested grass so, the shepherd would make the sheep lie down in a green meadow in the heat of the morning and allow it time to chew its cud (A sheep’s way of digesting.).
We tend to think that our net worth equals our self-worth and it’s just not true. As a result, we are busy working and striving, all the while not getting the rest we need nor having time to do things we really love to do and are gifted by God to do. We are busy, busy, busy and wondering where the peace is. In the midst of our busy schedule, our God gives us peace. We must grasp the truth that we are his sheep, he loves us, he knows us and it has nothing to do with how much we do.
As a kid I would especially marvel in the winter as my grandfather would break the ice so that the sheep would have something to drink. The Psalmist states, “he leads me beside peaceful streams.”
As a timid creature, sheep are afraid of swift moving water. They are poor swimmers with their thick wool, it would be like us getting dressed to go snow skiing with all the coats and gear and jumping in the pool for a swim. Therefore, the shepherd would look for still waters for the sheep to drink. If none could be found, he would dam a spot and create still and waters for the sheep to drink.
The shepherd does not laugh at the sheep’s limitations or fears, he does not force them to go beyond where they could safely and happily go. Jesus said, in Matthew 11:28-29, in the Message paraphrase: “Are you tired? Are you worn-out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
When we are stressed out from busyness we need to get with the Shepherd who gives us peace and rest.
In the morning, Read Psalm 23 in silence when you first arise. Read carefully and slowly. Don’t rush through it so that you can say with fidelity that you did it. Instead, let the truth of each phrase capture the attention of your heart, mind and spirit. Read it again in like manner at noon. Read it once more just before going to bed at night, only this time read it out loud. Do this for thirty days consecutively and let nothing come between you and this transformation process. As Paul says in Romans 12, you will be a transformed into a “New person by changing the way you think.”
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