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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Seven Chickens and a Llama

And fifteen sheep. We don't want them to feel left out.

It's funny, the lessons God can teach you using the strangest things. Like sheep. Like chickens. And, yes, even a llama. I've shared some of my sheep-lessons with you already, but I thought I'd pass on some chicken and llama wisdom to you today. And if you'll indulge me a bit, I'll show you that we are more like these critters than you realize.

Trust is a big deal when it comes to raising animals.They need to learn that their caretakers are trustworthy. Sometimes that takes time; sometimes it's just a natural thing. Jaxx the Llama gave us his full trust from the get-go. Of course, he'd been raised with human contact, so it wasn't a stretch for him to accept us, especially with a bag of sweet feed in our hands. But even so, in the two months we've had him, he's learned that we represent good things. He'll come galloping across the pasture when he hears the ATV, knowing we'll have a treat for him. He isn't hesitant at all and sometimes won't even wait until we come to a stop before sticking his nose into the bucket he knows is in the bed. Had he not trusted us or thought we were a threat, we would no doubt be covered in llama spit and even risk injury from his sharp hooves.

LESSON FROM JAXX: Put your trust fully in your Caretaker. He knows your needs. He has good things waiting for you. Don't doubt Him. Don't hesitate to run to Him. Let Him love on you. You may have known God your whole life or be fairly new in your faith. Either way, you know your trust is well placed. But if you have trouble trusting God for whatever reason, dare I suggest you become a bit llama-ish? The blessings are sure to follow.

"But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence." Jeremiah 17:7 (NLT)
Jaxx and me. Isn't he adorable?!
The chickens---hereafter referred to as the girls---arrived at our post office, tiny, three-day-old balls of fluff. I ordered them long before they hatched though, preparing for them like an expectant mother. They required a ton of care and depended on me completely for survival. Like a newborn baby is helpless to care for itself, so too were these babies. They didn't have their mama. They had me. And still do. When I greet them in the mornings, the girls chatter and dance and scurry around, excited that I've finally arrived. Sure, I'll give them a treat or two, but even when I don't have a snack they are happy to see me. One of my favorite things to do in the evenings is to sit with them, letting them hop on and off my lap, chatting away about all kinds of things. I love my girls and they love me.

LESSON FROM THE GIRLS: God has been with us from the moment we were born. He saw us even before we hatched and made plans for us. Just as I won't leave the girls on their own for survival, God won't leave us on our own. He will protect us from the foxes and hawks that want to destroy us. He'll bring us treats as well as provide our daily needs. The happiest part of your day will be when you sit quietly with Him, enjoying His presence "in the cool of the day." He may even let you sit on his lap.

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:13-16

Fluff balls!

Georgie and I have the best conversations! 

Back on March 7, I asked you a question: Is Jesus Your Shepherd? In my post that day, I admitted that being a shepherd is hard on your heart. We'd lost a number of lambs to a coyote or some other predator, and I was feeling pretty low. We take the task of keeping our sheep safe seriously. We've hired hunters. We've bought rifles and various hunting equipment. We've set traps, snares and cameras. Finally, we moved the sheep to an enclosed pasture and bought Jaxx because llamas make good guard animals. They've been there six weeks now and we haven't lost any. They've calmed down and aren't as skittish as they used to be, no doubt because they aren't being attacked every night.  

LESSON FROM THE SHEEP: There is a Shepherd working on your behalf all the time, day and night, whether you acknowledge Him or not. The sheep are clueless to the measures we've taken to keep them safe and happy. If you asked them, they would say we only bring them treats a few times a week. Yet they don't know that we check on them twice a day, every day, from a distance. We count them, making sure all are there. If someone is missing, we locate him or her, just like our Heavenly Father will leave the ninety-nine to go after the one who is missing.  (Luke 15:3-7) We check the fence daily, making sure nothing can get in. We bring fresh water. Not one day goes by that the sheep aren't cared for. And you know what? The same goes for YOU and ME! Not one day goes by that the Father is not taking care of you.

"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul." Psalm 23:1-3

Sweetie waits patiently to eat corn out of my hand.
Seven chickens and llama. Oh, and fifteen sheep. Who woulda thought you could learn so much from 'em. 

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This week's Prayer Shout-Out countries are:
USA, Germany, Nigeria, Russia, Canada, United Kingdom, Lithuania, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Moldova, Spain

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