Sheep and the Shepherd

Working in the Highlands of the Purépecha Nation, there are many shepherds.  Often or not, it is the women or children.  You will see them herding the sheep out to the pastures or back home at the end of the day.  The sheep chewing on small pieces of grass that pop up in-between the rocky soil. Never once have I seen a sheep lying down when the flock is out for the day.  Only at the end of the day, when the sheep are back home in the coral.   When it is fed and comfortable back home where it is safe. It is a beautiful reminder that God is our shepherd and to rest in Him. That God guides into green pastures and by still waters. That God is with us in the valley of the shadow of darkness. That God is guiding us.

As we drive to the villages.  It is beautiful.  Greenery all around.  Avocado trees, pine trees, mango trees, and farmlands.  Mountains as far as an eye can see.     Villages are engulfed with fog with the shifting climate. It is a land made for mystery adventures.  The rainy season bring dark pitch-black skies, electrifying electric storms, and rains down hail. It would make one shudder.

Driving into a valley of darkness. Down from the mountains.  Into the unknown.  But trusting in God is all that is important.  Faith comes with action.  Faith comes hand in hand with fear.  We must refuse to allow fear to overcome us.

God takes care of the birds.  Birds do not worry about where their food comes from.  Have you ever seen a worried bird?  Or any worried animal?  So, if God cares enough about the birds how much more does God care about us.  God will take care of us.  He will not leave us. 

“There do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.” -Matthew 6:34 NIV

There are so many things going on in our world.  Sickness, war, and famine to just name a few.  We must seek first the kingdom of God.  It can be scary.  Everyone experiences fear.  Fear is not wrong to feel.  What is wrong is to allow fear to crimple you.  We must take every thought captive.  Take that thought.  Throw out the lie.  Cast it down.  It is a battle.  It is not one battle and done.  It is every day. Casting out the lies.  Trusting in God’s word.  Who God is.  Satan knows how to attack our hearts.  He has been around for a long time. 

For me its not entertaining any negative thought.  Yes, living in the Highlands of the Purépecha Nation has its challenges.  Safety, is the number one.  If I allow myself to be controlled by the negative comments and ideas about this area.  My mind would go crazy.  Every day, we hear stories.  We hear about not to travel to this part because its dangerous.  What happens if the Lord is saying go to this unreached village.  Do we not go, because it sounds scary or out of fear.  No, we trust in the Lord.  We don’t allow fear to overcome us.  It is taking every thought captive.

It sounds easy on paper.  It sounds great.  But the reality of it.  It is hard.  It is hard to take every thought captive.  It is hard not allowing fear to consume us.  It is hard not spiraling down into the pit of fear and doom. 

Fear can become crimpling.  Fear of not getting a job.  Fear of not being accepted. Fear of not being loved back.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of failure.  Fear of imperfection. Fear of man. Fear of not having enough money.  Fear of something happening to my children.  Fear that they won’t want to hear the God news. Fear of taking the next step.  Fear of going in the unknown.  The list goes on. 



Take a deep breath. 

We give our fear over to God.  Laying it before him.  Thinking of whatever is good, pure and perfect.

Courage is not the absent of fear. Courage is the strength in the face of difficulty.  Courage is doing it despite fear.  Taking one step at a time. It is saying and speaking out what is true.  Despite our fears, flaws, and worries.  Our great faith walk is not easy.  It is being courageous and taking one step at a time.  No matter our feelings.  Choosing to trust God. 

As David says, “Oh, my soul, wait in silence for God alone, For my hope is from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, My refuge; I will not be shaken. My salvation and my glory rest on God; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your hearts before Him;
God is a refuge for us.” Psalms 62:5-8 NASB

I might feel it.  I might question it.  But I trust in you, Lord.  Do the next right thing.  Do what’s right in front of you.  Love the people God has given you. Love the green pastures.  Don’t compare.  It is enough.  Trust Him.

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