A Favorite Quote

"If you look the right way you can see that the whole world is a garden." from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Shepherd - Part II

Last time we talked about Psalm 23 and how the shepherd provides for the sheep.  I introduced you to my friend Louise and her sheep farm.  I just have to tell you another cute story from Louise that brings another scripture verse to life, this time from the New Testament.
      Louise had to continuously lead her sheep from one field to another so they could have clean fresh pasture land.  She told us, “Sheep need new pastures to keep down the bugs and illness that can plaque them if they stay in one spot with too many droppings. They need you to lead the way.  They won’t go through the gate to another pasture unless you take them there.”

          She also told us how her sheep would come to her when she called.  She learned from her sheep keeping days that sheep only heed the call of their shepherd and don’t answer when other people try to call them.  She tried a little experiment with her husband, Ernie.
          “One day as Ernie and I drove to the farm,” she explained, “I asked him to stop the car next to the fence rail, beyond the barn.  I asked him to call out to the sheep ‘Here girls!’ and to wait and see what happened.  He called out, but nothing happened.”  She was excited to show him this because she wanted to make a point and share with her dear husband how God had opened up the scripture to her.  “He wasn’t their shepherd, you see, and they never even looked at him.  Then I called ‘Here girls!’”, she told us, “and pretty soon we saw heads pop out of the barn and they came out and ran over to me.”

          How exciting to feel the scriptures come alive before our very eyes as the ladies in our Sunday School class listened to these stories of sheep and read John 10: 27-28
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
          In John 10:14 Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd.  He calls to us and bids us come.  For those who are part of His flock He not only gives us an abundance of what we need here on earth, but He gives to us the promise of eternal life.  By His loving grace we can respond to His call; we are fed and led to that perfect restored garden in the paradise of God.
          Good and gentle shepherd, help me to always follow where you lead.



Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Shepherd – Part I
          I’m sitting on my back porch listening to the locusts hum and the birds call.  My lawn is a lush green carpet after all that voluminous rain.  As I look at how the rain brought the grass back to life after the long drawn out heat wave and drought, I find my mind’s eye traveling to a beautiful little farm setting.  As I walk along the old dirt road, I can envision the gentle woolly sheep in the pasture that my friend Louise talked about in our ladies’ Sunday School class a few weeks ago.
Louise raised sheep for about 15 years and during that time the Lord taught her some lessons about His Word.  She so generously shared with us (in our Sunday School class) about her experiences with the sheep and the scripture verses she associated with taking care of them.
 She said “Sheep won’t lie down unless they are fed and cared for.  They have to be comfortable and content with their surroundings.  I thought it would be easy to care for sheep.  I thought they would eat the tall grass in the field and it would save me from mowing.  I thought they would drink from the little tumbling creek running alongside the field.  Boy, did I learn a lot.”
          I chuckle to myself as I think of Louise having to ride a big tractor to mow the field for her cute little flock that she thought would be so easy to manage.  She found out her lovely little farm animals would not eat the grass unless she mowed the field.  They just happen to like short grass and they weren’t content.
          Not only would they not eat the long growth in the field, but they would not drink from the beautiful little bubbling brook.  Come to find out that sheep like still water…not running water.  They are afraid of the running water.  She had to go out and find some of those old antique, claw foot bathtubs so she could put them in the barn in the shade and fill them with clean water for these wonderful woolly sheep to drink from.
          Louise was a good shepherdess to her sheep.  She took good care of them and gave them everything they needed.  She mowed the field so the grass was short and green; she installed special tubs for clean, still water; she kept the fences mended so the sheep couldn’t get out and nothing could get in to hurt the sheep.
          So I contemplate the 23rd Psalm and how Louise related her sheep stories to us that day.  I am so thankful that the Lord is my shepherd.  I am content because He has given me all the things I need in life.  He has led me along the path to righteousness and has given me an abundance of blessings.  When you read the 23rd Psalm may you remember these special stories about Louise and her sheep.  May they be a blessing to your heart and bring your thoughts to the Good Shepherd. 

Psalm 23

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

N Y Botanical Gardens

The New York Botanical Gardens
In June my husband and I had the pleasure of going on a bus trip to see the New York Botanical Gardens.  Who would think that such a beautiful site bursting with nature lies right in the middle of the city!  It sure was hot that day.  But inside the conservatory were some beautiful plants.