Every spring I take my children to a nearby farm to see all the baby animals. Last year there was a particular lamb that I was drawn to.
This little lamb was blind in one eye.
And He was standing all alone.
All the other lambs were running here and there with their mothers protectively chasing after them. This little guy looked lost. Scared. Overwhelmed by all that was going on around him.
He caught my eye because I knew how it felt to be lost. Scared. Overwhelmed.
My son spotted him standing there too, but not for the reasons I did - he just wanted to hold a lamb so badly!
He ran over and when the little lamb didn't try to run away from him, he immediately scooped him up into his arms. And then my son clung to him. Clung to him like he was never going to let go. And the lamb let him. Even snuggled into my son.
I realized something in that moment. The lamb? He didn't look so alone anymore. He didn't look so scared or overwhelmed. Why? Because he now had a Shepard that didn't just tend his flock, but carried it in his arms.
We have a Shepard too.
His name is Jesus.
When we are feeling lost, or overwhelmed in a chaotic life...
When we are blinded by the darkness around us....
May we KNOW there is a Shepard just waiting to scoop US up.
He wants to hold us and walk with us when we can't put a foot in front of the other. When we can't see the path in front of us. When we can't see a way out.
He wants to lift us above the chaos.
He wants to pull us close.
And He never wants to leave us.
Sometimes our troubles paralyze, blind, or immobilize us to one spot. We see this as a bad thing, but count it a blessing! If we are running here and there, we cannot be scooped up into Jesus' loving arms! And that my friend, is the greatest place to be!
"Like a Shepard he will tend his flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom." Isaiah 40:11
I felt God's nudge as I was drawn to the third commandment in Exodus 20:7, "Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain".
This was a commandment I had struggled with for a long time. Long before I had a relationship with Him. And while this habit has greatly diminished, I am still growing; still a work in progress. From time to time, a casual utterance of His name may still cross my lips.
At first I thought that I was being pulled towards this commandment because I still had room to grow. And while this is true, I do, as I began to dig deeper, I realized that the lesson was not admonishment. It was "Reverence".
This post is not to talk about why we shouldn't misuse the Lord's name, rather, it is to encourage each of us to use it with reverence and renewed praise.
So what is reverence?
Reverence is deep respect, it is love beyond doubt, it is honor, and having regard for the revered's feelings and wishes.
So what is in a name?
In Scripture, a name not only identified a person, but it stood for something. Often that was an attribute. I think it is important to note here, that God chose His name. Whenever a name was given to Him, it was not the people who named Him. It was God
And He reveals to us who He is in this way.
So to revere His Holy name, to revere the name God, Lord, Jesus, is to revere the characteristics and attributes that make Him who He is. This is where I could spend quite a bit of time but let me say it like this to keep it short and sweet:
So who is He?
He is the "I am"
He is the alpha and omega
The bread of life
A mighty warrior
Prince of Peace
Lamb of God
King of Kings
Lord of Lords
The Morning Star
Light of the world
Horn of Salvation
And the Messiah
He is Beauty and Blessedness.
He is Glory and Holiness and Knowledge.
He is Eternity.
He is love and peace and perfection.
He is wisdom.
He is freedom and righteousness and mercy.
He is omnipresent.
And He is good.
His name is a reflection of all that He is.
And in His name there is:
Life. Hope. Redemption. Truth. Salvation.
In His name:
We are baptized. Washed clean. Strengthened. Sanctified. Justified.
To His name every knee will bow. And in His name we. rise. up.
We rise up. And we have eternal life.
You see, when we walk into a room and everyone is talking around us and then someone says our name? Our ears perk up. We respond to the sound of our name; we are moved.
When I think of this fact, it encourages me and creates in me a desire, in a new and profound way, to want to move the heart of God when His name is on my lips. When I speak His name I want to revere it.
For it is mighty.
It is beautiful.
It is Grace and love unimaginable.
"Holy and reverend is His name."
Let His name be revered on our lips every day!
Lord, great is your name!
We praise you and thank you for giving us your name. And sometimes, in our brokenness, the only prayer we can utter is your beautiful name...Jesus.
For some of us, Lord, there are things pushed down deep in our hearts, prayers our soul longs to whisper to you. Lord, I pray for those things. I pray that you make those things rise up so that we may lay them at your feet, Jesus.
I pray, Lord, for every prayer on every heart that calls out to you.
You are a good, good father.
May we revere your Holy name!
May we not only know there is new life in your name, Jesus, but may we breathe it in.
May we live in it!
And when your name crosses our lips, may it always glorify you!
In Jesus name I pray,
I took this photo below at my brother's cottage. The light on the lake at this time is my favorite, and I had a vision (for months) of how I wanted this photo shoot to go. But, as often times happens, our vision is not the one God has in mind.
From the moment we began to prepare, the vision of what I had in mind slowly started deteriorating. The row boat was an old boat of my brother's and we didn't realize until turning it over, that it had a hole in it. But we attempted to use it anyway. Water started seeping in as soon as I pushed it out into the lake.
My daughter was a trooper, and posed for this photo even though water was slowly filling in around her feet. After only being able to snap a few quick photos, it became evident that the row boat was going to start sinking if much more water seeped in. So she headed back to shore; those rugged paddles rowing her safely in before the boat was too full and sank.
She got out-her white dress dirty and wet. And as we dragged the boat onto shore, I thought to myself that it had all been for nothing, as I had barely had a chance to take any photos. Certainly there were none that could be used for what I had planned.
But later, when I looked my camera, I saw a few that I loved - like this one. A few that were worth the effort and that I will treasure. A few that could be used. And used in other ways than I had originally intended.
Our lives and circumstances are the same as this photo shoot, aren't they? We have one vision, things don't go as planned, but God uses it in unexpected, beautiful ways?
Sometimes, we need to get in the boat. Even if it's leaking water and we think it will go no where. Sometimes we have to trust the rugged oars will get us back to shore. And sometimes, we won't see the photos that are created when we bravely step out amid the sinking boats, the holes, and the rising waters. But that doesn't mean they don't exist. That you didn't make a few "photos" worth saving in your effort.
Sometimes those "photos" that God creates when we are brave and step out into uncertainty? The ones you can't see? I imagine they are some of the best. I imagine they are beautiful. And I imagine someone is looking at them-in thankfulness-that you were brave and trusted an old boat and some rugged oars.
Wife. Mother. Writer. Photographer. Child of God. Encouraging others in faith through a lens of grace and seeing beauty in the ashes.
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