LollipopandPearls Theme Song

"Lollipop and Pearls" - Jared Kraft

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Baaaaaa" ~ Sheep & Goats? Which are you?

This weekend I had the awesome privilege of attending a 20-hour women’s retreat sponsored by the woman’s ministry at Fairview Community Church entitled “They Smell Like Sheep”. Based on the 23rd Psalm “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” we were asked to try and identify which of 3 types of sheep we were.

Let me introduce them to you and ask you to ponder the same question.

A. “Baaa-bara” is a black sheep. She is a loner and lives only for herself. She doesn’t need people, as she enjoys herself and is content.
B. “Bo-Peep” has an owner who loves her and provides for her every need. She is totally taken care of and knows she can always depend on her owner/master for her every need.

C. “Dottie” is a confused sheep. She wants to be a Baaa-bara at times; other times, she’d love to be a Bo-Peep. But, then, being a Baaa-bara isn’t all that bad. However, there are good parts to being a Bo-Peep….and on and on she goes, first wanting to be one, then the other. In other words, she straddles the fence most of the time! Did you know that there are over 200 species or breeds of sheep? Yet, no matter their specieis of origin, certain characteristics are true of all sheep:

1. Sheep hate to be alone. They naturally flock together.

God created humankind for relationship~ with Him and with one another.

2. Sheep need constant care. They are dependent upon their shepherd for that care.

We need constant care from our Good shepherd, even when we don't recognize
or acknowledge it.

3. Sheep are afraid of swift and splashy water, and will not enter into it. However, if the master goes in the water, they will follow suit, fully trusting in the master.

We face times of insecurity, uncertainty, confusion…perhaps even fear. Yet,
when we walk fully with the Master, we have nothing to fear. When we followHis lead, we know we are safe and that He will protect us and provide for our needs.

4. Sheep are thin-skinned…

not unlike many of us.

5. Sheep are 80% water;

humans are 95 % water.

6. Sheep tend to be timid, prideful, and sometimes selfish.

It is human nature to be selfish; it takes work to be selfless. And “prideful”? Only you and God know!

7. Sheep stray easily.

Have you ever strayed from the Lord and come back to find He’s right there where He has always been, patiently waiting for your return? How comforting it is to know that our Good Shepherd will never “leave us nor forsake us” (Heb. 13:5); He’s the God of 2nd chances.

8. Sheep have no sense of direction and have to be brought back by the shepherd.

We may stray off the straight and narrow path; yet, we are never far from His presence, and He always knows where we are and what our situation is. Ps. 139 says: “…Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; If I make my bed in the depths,a you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. “

9. If a sheep continues to stray the shepherd may have to break one of its legs and have to carry that one sheep until that leg mends. If that occurs, that sheep will never stray again.

Have you ever had to learn a “God lesson” the hard way? We usually do not forget those lessons!

10. Each sheep knows its own shepherds call. Several shepherds may be in a field with their flocks. When a shepherd comes to gather his flock and calls them to himself, his sheep KNOW his call, and only those sheep will come to him. In order to get them to leave the area, the shepherd lies down and allows each sheep to walk over him.

Do you know your Master’s call? Can you hear His voice? Do you know that He lay His life down in order for you to walk into eternity with Him? If you are not completely confident of that today, please do whatever you must at this moment to spend time with Him in confession, invitation and submission. Please contact me and I will be honored to talk with you and pray with you.

11. Sheep get tired and need rest. The shepherd provides rich green pastures for sustenance for the sheep. The shepherd provides a place of freedom from fears and from pests and aggravations.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28

12. By nature, sheep are edgy, tense and restless.

Strike a chord?

13. There is a “butting order” among sheep (not unlike people) and the only thing that will keep them from butting heads is the presence of their owner.

My observation is that, even when our “owner”/Master/Great Shepherd is present, there are those who continue to butt heads in competition to be #1. Perhaps we need to learn from the little sheep.

14. The shepherd counts his sheep every single day. Each of them has a name, and he calls them by name. As each one approaches him, he runs his hands through the wool to check for pests or sores. He knows them intimately…

Ps. 139 assures us that our Lord knows each of us by name; He knows us intimately; He knows every single detail of our life that was determined before the foundation of the world. We, as believers in Christ, belong to Him, and He to us. Remember, we are joint heirs with Christ!

15. The shepherd’s staff guides his sheep; his rod and staff discipline or corrects the sheep.

We often need disciplining or correcting by our Master’s rod (His Word).

16. Even in the dark a shepherd can match a lamb to its mother. He is “intimately acquainted with all their ways” (italics mine).

Sound familiar?

17. To rid sheep of the pesky nose flies, the shepherd rubs oil all over their heads.

“Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over”. Ps. 23: 5b

I leave you with this question: Are you His sheep…or are you a goat? Are you really His…or do you just know about Him?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Unplugged, Replugged, Redirected

I cannot believe the last post I did was September 12! I was way out west in New Mexico for a watercolor workshop/extravaganza/adventure...blah, blah, blah! It was absolutely incredible! To paint the very vistas that the famous Georgia O'Keefe painted from views in her home at Ghost Ranch and from her Abiqui home was almost surreal! This was my 4th time to Ghost Ranch, and every time I am reminded again of just how much the Creator of the Universe loves us, and wanted us to enjoy the world in which we live. You will see in a few photos below (more on my facebook site) the handiwork of the Master Artist. It takes my breath away!

Psalm 8: 3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:
7 all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
I stand in awe of the Giver of Life, and Author and Finisher of our faith, the Alpha and Omega, the Lover of our souls, our Redeemer, our Savior, our Lord, our Master, our Friend...who am I that He would care enough for me to create such beauty for me to enjoy? How dare anyone think of destroying His handiwork! How dare we take any of it for granted! Remember the words to the song "Oh How He loves you and Me"?........
"Oh, how He loves you and me,
Oh, how He loves you and me.
He gave His life, what more could He give?
Oh, how He loves you...
Oh, how He loves me...
Oh, how He loves you and me!"
Oh, that I would always remember His love for me and offer Him the sacrifice of praise that He simply asks for ~ not "requires", just "requests"'s a matter of the will. It's a choice! And I choose this day to give Jesus all glory, honor, power, and praise for giving me THIS day and all that comes with it!
You know, having been unplugged from the Internet, the cell phone (for the most part); having no TV or radio for 10 days...has shown me that I needed the respite. I also learned that I can choose to re-plug, but I need to re-direct my priorities. I love blogging, I like twittering, I get a kick out of Facebook...yet, none of that need ever replace the intimate, personal human relationships in my life. Technology is amazing and is needed! However, it need not consume our lives; for that matter, it shouldn't even necessarily be a dominant force in our lives. It should be a convenience used only as is absolutely necessary. We were created in God's image. We are told in His Word that He created us for fellowship ~ with Him and with one another. Tapping a keyboard and reading a screen cannot take the place of the hug, touch, kiss, or simple presence!
That being said, over the next few weeks I will be re-evaluating my reason(s) for blogging, my desires in blogging/tweeting, and above all I will be seeking God's will for me in the entire process. For it is my only desire to honor Him through these outlets; it is not for my glory, to gain hundreds of followers, to self-promote....I would like it to serve as a catalyst for encouragement, creativity, prayer and fellowship. I ask you to join me in praying for His guidance in this endeavor, and welcome any suggestions/ideas you may have to help me along the road. Also, please feel free to leave any prayer requests under the prayer tab, and know that I will be praying with and for you.
I must get back to searching for my paddles, as it has been raining 15-straight days in Tennessee! No deficit of rain this year to be sure!
Be blessed today!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

I will never forget and The Turquoise Trail...

September 11, 2009~ a day of remembrance, reflection, remorse, regret, reflection for those who lost their lives tragically and was also a day to rejoice, revisit, refresh, redirect, refocus and redefine stress release through the beauty in nature designed by the hand of the Master artist, Almighty God.

My dear friend, JJ and I are in Santa Fe, NM, celebrating with the natives the 400 years of celebration by the Spanish to this area. As we revisited the artsy community we love so very much in Madrid, NM (where the movie "Wild Hogs" was filmed) we laughed, we talked, oohhhed and aahhhed over the handiwork of local artisans (did I mentioned we talked?)and we asked, "Why didn't we think of that idea?"

So, sit back and enjoy the photos from Madrid, NM on the Turquoise Trail outside Santa Fem, NM....oh, and don't forget to thank the Lord for the freedom we have to live in the "land of the free and the home of the brave'! May we NEVER forget!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bragging rights!

YEAH! 2 folks from our church (our Sr. pastor and his assistant) made the "Top 100 Christian Blogs"--check it out here and click on numbers 21 and 27.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I'm back! and New Blog!

How do ya' like this new blog look? I LOVE IT, and it's all thanks to Abigail . SHE IS INCREDIBLE, and I encourage you to let her give you a "blog lift" if you feel you need something newer and "betterer" (hehehehe...a new word!) Thanks, Abs, for using your gift to make my blog look so much better! I absolutely love it!

Now, the reason for my lack of blogging for a while is that, once Abigail got it up and running, I added an email account, and unbeknownst to me, Blogger defaulted to that new address! UGH! Unfortunately, they never notified me of this change. So I have not been able to sign on and poor Abigail was confused, as well. Sorry, Abs!

The next news is that I leave this coming Thursday for 10 days at Ghost Ranch, NM watercolor painting....and I absolutely cannot wait! My friend and I fly to Albuquerque Thursday and drive to Santa Fe, via the Turquoise Travel (where the movie "Wild Hogs" was filmed--LOVE IT!!) We will hit our usual pawn shops while we are there; eventually we will drive on Sunday to the Ranch in Abiqui, NM, home to the famous watercolorist Georgia O'Keefe, and the site where many movies have been filmed, none of the least of which was "City Slickers". It is breathtakingly gorgeous out there.

However, computer access is limited, and we will be painting and site seeing a lot! Ssssoooooo.....I will check email every now and then and try to throw in a quick blog update if I can. Please don't give up on me....hang in there, as I will return to more regular blogging eventually!

Be blessed, this Labor Day!