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Entries in Pam Farrel (20)

Tuesday
Sep042018

Upgrade Your Destiny: The Obvious Choice

Pam Farrel is a woman with much life wisdom, and in this Spiritual Live UPGRADE, she reminds us to check our level of spiritual maturity and the choices we make.

The real complications in life come when our maturity does not match our challenges," Pam says. "Simplicity will come when our maturity surpasses our challenges."

I (Dawn) think we sometimes complicate our journey with God. We want more and more knowledge and opportunities, but we may be failing to obey the "first things"—the simple things God asks us to do, and the simple, unfettered way He wants us to live.

Pam continues . . .

God’s will lead us to maturity step by step, if we will simply follow His light and His leading through His Word.

My husband, Bill, and I consistently share a simple, obvious statement to gain success:

“We make our choices and our choices make us: Healthy choices gain a healthier life.”

Healthy decisions cause growth and improvement in our lives. With each passing year, we are faced with challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities that seemingly are bigger and more demanding than the year before.

Healthy decisions move us forward step by step so that each year we are better prepared for what comes our way.

In 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: Success at Keeping It All Together, I share a series of tests we can use to check our choices and upgrade decision-making skills. Here is one of those tests.

Decision Making Skill 1: The Obvious Test

Ask yourself, “Is this decision so obvious that I am wasting time thinking about it?”

The reason these decisions are obvious is that God has already clearly spoken to these areas of life or they are generally accepted as the best practices. 

Consider these obvious decisions based on the best practices in life:

  • Get out of bed. Get dressed. Brush your teeth.
  • If a police car pulls up behind you and turns its lights on, pull over.
  • Get a good night’s sleep regularly.
  • If someone does something nice, say, “Thank you.”

God wants to strengthen our life, beginning with the obvious.

We all want to gain God’s blessings, yet struggle to place ourselves under His “Umbrella of Blessing”—that is, choosing to live a life of integrity.

"He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity" (Proverbs 2:7).

Just as an umbrella shades us from harmful rays of the sun or protects us in the rain, even so, obedience to God’s stated will protect us—mostly from our own misguided choices.

God’s stated will is the foundation on which we all can build a stronger, more stable life.

We long to know God’s will, yet often many of us fail to obey the obvious verses where God clearly lays out the place to begin knowing His plan for our lives.

Here are a few verses that share God’s will for our lives.

Ask yourself, "Am I . . . "

. . . Saved?"

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

. . . Spirit-filled?"

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

. . . Sanctified?"

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:1-2).

. . . Sexually Pure?"

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

. . . Saying Thanks?"

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

. . . Suffering for Right?"

It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil (1 Peter 3:17).

So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (1 Peter 4:19).

. . . Seeking God?"

Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart (Psalm 119:2).

I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me (Proverbs 8:17).

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul (Deuteronomy 4:29). *

Start doing—or continue walking out—these OBVIOUS things that God says are His will for you and three things will happen:

  • Your heart will become more in tune to God’s heart,
  • Your ability to understand the Bible will increase, and
  • You will gain insights from God for your future.

Which is God asking you to upgrade by obeying?

For me, I keep Praise Pages in my Bullet Journal to help me keep an attitude of gratitude. This obvious habit helps me keep a positive mindset, and I make better, wiser decisions as a result.

By simply obeying God’s Word, you gain the ability to walk in God’s will.

Can you thank God today for all these “obvious” things? Take a moment to consider which one/s might need some fresh obedience in your journey with God today.

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of over 45 books including 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: Success In Keeping It All Together which looks at how to strengthen 7 core areas of a woman’s life to move it forward.(This article is adapted from the Simple Skills material)  To gain more from Pam ‘s insights, join the Living Love-Wise Community. Simply go to www.Love-Wise.com and click the subscribe tab and select the membership option that best fits your life.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Delanie at Lightstock.

* The 7 "obvious" verses are from 10 Best Decisions a Woman Can Make (Harvest House, 1999), pp. 142-143.

Tuesday
Mar062018

Your 3:20 Life!—a Breakthrough to Gain God's Best

When I first saw some statements by mega-author Pam Farrel about something called a "3:20 life," I invited her to share the concept with us. In this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, she suggests a simple habit that can change our entire perspective.

"What do you think might happen," Pam asks, "if you put feet to your faith and acted on the belief that God really cares about your hopes and dreams?"

Several years ago, I (Dawn) remember gazing at a wall in the Farrels' home that was covered with framed book covers of all the books they've written. I thought at that time they were already putting feet to their faith. But as Pam explains, God often stirs us up afresh, because He has new growth and new adventures in mind!

Pam continues . . . 

How would you live if you really trusted in the power of the God you read about in the Bible—but for YOUR life, on behalf of YOUR future? 

It was an ordinary day, but the extraordinary God challenged me in an unexpected way.

As I remember it, the Facebook post was simply a friend sharing that she was on her way to pick up her kids at school, and it was 3:20 and she was praying the verse her pastor had challenged their church to pray—Ephesians 3:20.

Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us." (Amplified version)

That day, it was as if God pushed me off a high cliff and I dove into the deep waters of His Majesty with a rush of excitement.

  • Lord, what if I made the commitment to pray Ephesians 3:20 every day at 3:20?
  • And what if I put my whole weight into my commitment, and prayed believing for many of the hopes, dreams, prayers and secret longings of my heart that only You and I talk about?
  • What if I set my alarm on my phone and pray at 3:20—not matter where I am or who I am with?
  • What if I really took you up on your offer to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all I can ask or think?
  • How would my life change?

That was almost four years ago. At the time, Bill and I were in what felt like a deep, dark, endless, hopeless pit that was an excruciatingly difficult mix of an overwhelmingly heavy workload of responsibilities: ministry, traveling, writing and speaking accompanied with weekly commuting to care for ailing, aging parents which created a burden financially, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally.

I woke up daily dreading getting out of bed for fear of even more bad news. 

But this Ephesians 3:20 day, God was inviting me to become a more believing, praying adventurer with Him.

Too often we Christians allow the Word of God to become a nice book with a pretty leather cover that we might open for emotional comfort, or even for intellectual study. But rarely do we hunger for the Word to spur us forward in a “cattle-prod, get-out-of-our-comfort-zone, jump-from-the-plane-with-only-the-ripcord-of-the-character-of-God-to-save-us” kind of abandon. 

Seldom do we plunge head-first with only the bungee cord of the Word to rebound us to the safe center of God’s will.

It is an infrequent thrill to take the action steps of radical obedience when the full weight of your hopes, dreams and wild and wonderful imaginings will ONLY succeed if God shows up.

Powerfully. Supernaturally. Mightily!

So, what has changed in me and my life since I took God up on His offer to do “exceedingly, abundantly” more than this visionary, positive optimist can ask, think or dream?

First some things changed IN me.

1. Change in ALIGNMENT

Before you write this off as some “name it and claim it” prayerful magic pixie dust, dig a little deeper with me.  

The verse begins, “Now to Him who is able to do.” It is clear that I am NOT able—the power rests completely in GOD.One word that really wows my soul is the word “able” (dunamenō), because it is akin to the word we often use—DYNAMITE!

The power God will apply to your life and mine is EXPLOSIVE.

And it is CREATIVE.

God does the “do-ing”. The same Creator who designed and spoke the world and humankind into existence is the God who creates, manufactures, makes and produces His will in our lives. This spiritual “TNT”  is why Jesus can say things that make most of us very uncomfortable—but in a good way—like, Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20).

God wants to move our mountains. However, to see this kind of dynamite, earth-shaking power, it means me (and you) moving to see God clearer.

  • It is adjusting my sails to catch God’s wind.
  • It is aligning my heartbeat to match God’s.
  • It is putting on God’s spectacles to see my life from His heavenly perspective.
  • It is making the commitment to keep the defroster on and let the wipers of the Word keep the rain, fog, snow, and sleet off the faith windshield of my life so I have God’s vision for the path and plan ahead.

Praying Ephesians 3:20 keeps my heart in tune to God’s heart.

2. Change in APPRECIATION

This Creator God then out does Himself when He promises to do “far more abundantly beyond all we ask or think.”

Get this: When God is trying to impress something on a soul, He repeats himself. That is what He does here—three times.

(1) “Far more abundantly” means superabundantly, immeasurably more. 

(2) “Beyond” is hyper, or to go above and beyond, or over the top for the benefit and betterment of another.

(3) “All” means “each and every part, the totality, the whole.” Yep, God goes all the way, gives the whole enchilada, carries the plan to the finish line, ushers us into the end zone, over the goal line and into the winner’s circle. God doesn’t pull up short on His plans for us.

Now we may not fully comprehend His timing or His methods but we can rest assured in His ability to bring victory in His way, using His methods, in His time.

His plans will be better, greater, and more wonderful than anything I can ask or request. His ways will be so much more than I can think, consider, ponder, perceive, or dream up! (And if you ask my husband, I can dream up A LOT!)

God is just infinitively, wiser, smarter, and grander! While I can create hopes and dreams, God can turn hopes and dreams that line up to His best for us a REALITY!

Praying Ephesian 3:20 keeps me living in humble awe of the God who elevates and lifts us to His best for our lives. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:6).

3. Change in ACCESSIBILITY

This creative power to make hopes, dreams and awesome imaginings come into being is done “according to His power that is at work within us."

This dunamis power is the miraculous, marvelous, might of God that works within us. If we peek forward, we see that God’s ability and strength is given for our good (v 20) and for HIS glory (v 21). “To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”  

This dunamis term for the power of God is repeated 120 times in the New Testament. God weaves Himself and His power into our lives is through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:8 explains, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…” While I have always sought to walk moment by moment in step with God’s Spirit, praying Ephesians 3:20 has kept me ultra-sensitive to the tiniest whisper, course correction or prompting to pursue an opportunity.  

If we picture this God-powered plan in human terms, God builds our elite race car (us and His plan for us); He is the rocket fuel propelling us forward; and we are in the driver’s seat with the Spirit of God inside steering and guiding us in the most exciting race set out before us (Hebrews 12:1).

Our biggest (and sometimes the hardest) job is to yield enthusiastically to God’s leadership in our heart and life.

Praying Ephesians 3:20 allows God to live His best life:

  • FOR us
  • THROUGH us
  • to BLESS us
  • and BUILD us,
  • and to bless others through us.
  • and build His eternal kingdom using us

So, this is what God changed IN me.

What did God change FOR me in the process?

  1. God gave us the courage to sell our home. (It took about 18 very long months to prepare and find God’s buyer—a church planter and his family!)
  2. God challenged us to be compassionate enough to move nearer Bill’s parents (one frail of body, the other frail of mind), and be bold enough to sell and give away 90% of our belongings to move on to a live aboard boat!

The 3:20 life was very rigorous in getting us to this space where we are moored in a lovely marina, but God and His dynamite power was WITH us each step along the way!

We watched miracle after miracle unfold as God knocked down obstacle after obstacle.

We LOVE our simple beachfront 3:20 Life—teaching #biblefromtheboat, living a healthier pace while embracing a more physical active life where we kayak to get our mail and enjoy breath-taking sunsets of over the Pacific Ocean.

My husband, Bill, and I are writing a soon to be released workbook: Your 3:20 Life: Breakthrough to God’s Blessings to help build a life to look forward to living.

Are you ready for God’s 3:20 life for you?

Pull out your phone, set the alarm to ring at 3:20 each day; and if you are like me, you will wake up each day looking forward to the “exceedingly abundantly” moments God has in store for you!  

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of over 45 books including bestselling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti and her newest Your 3:20 Life (both co-authored with her husband, Bill) To learn more about Pam and Bill Farrels ministry and how they can help you live Your 3:20 Life, go to www.Love-Wise.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Pixabay.

Wednesday
Jan312018

Create More Opportunities for Margin - Part 2

In Part 1 of the Self-Care UPGRADE, “Create More Opportunities for Margin,” Dawn Wilson, explained the importance of creating more “spacious opportunities” in our lives to counter the busyness and mindlessness that can lead to stress, over-commitment and exhaustion.

To repeat from Part 1: We won’t have wonderful, spacious opportunities unless we're purposeful in making room for them.

“Margin,” said Richard Swenson, M.D., “is the space between our load and our limits.” We want to intentionally fill that space wisely, even if it means “not filling” by allowing more space to grow.

In Part 1, we considered the need for more margin in our home, calendars and budgets. In Part 2, let's tackle four more areas: Health, People, Mind and God.

4. Create more space in regard to your HEALTH. For the Christian, this is important not only for ourselves, but as a testimony to others of the power of God working in our habits (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

How do we create margin for better health?

  • Leave more time at nightfall for quality sleep. Work toward a healthy nightly rhythm that leads to better and deeper rest.
  • Think: healthy eating! Stop stuffing your body with multiple snacks and processed foods. Give your stomach “room” to function efficiently. Intermittent fasting can be beneficial. So is mindful planning for a weekly caloric budget and sticking to it.
  • Carve out time to move your body with whatever exercise you find most enjoyable. Think in terms of freedom of movement and building core strength.
  • Practice deep breathing! Breathe in through your nose, hold that breath, and then exhale slowly through your mouth.

One of the strongest voices helping me create nutritional margin is Lysa TerKeurst in Made to Crave, especially her devotional based on the book. Also, Lean Body, Fat Wallet is a double-whammy for health and finances, writen by Ellie Kay and Danna Demetre. Danna is one of the founders of Ageless Woman Living.

5. Create more space for PEOPLE, especially for family and friends. Our office files can’t hug us, and the television won’t give us love. Creating margin for relationships is even far more than social media, although that can play a small part.

Time is limited, so aim for true connection. Quantity time AND quality time.

Shut things off and turn up the volume on face-to-face connections. These times together will feed our need for emotional growth, and they will help us understand how we can “spur on” family and friends “toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).

We need one-on-one time to practice the "one anothers" of scripture.

Our busy lives leave us less than satisfied. God’s Word and people, it is said, are the only two things that last from earth into eternity; and that should give us a sense of what is truly important.

There are so many good books available on this topic. Just be sure their relationship counsel lines up with scripture truth. I learned a lot from Mary Kassian's Conversation Peace; Shaunti Feldhahn's book, The Kindness Challenge; and Gene Getz' book, Building Up One Another. And "Relationship specialists" Bill and Pam Farrel at Love-wise offer many, MANY books on building relationshps.

6. Create space for your MIND … time to think, ponder and meditate.

If we don’t want our brains to become mush, we need to feed them with truth and wisdom (James 1:5; Psalm 90:12). We need to renew our mind so we can know and do the will of God (Romans 12:2).

Spend time with a good book. The Bible, of course, will train our minds (2 Timothy 3:16); but biblically-based books or books of wise principles that do not contradict scriptural truth will also challenge us to think better. Or planning a social-mental “spacious opportunity” in a Bible or book study with a group of friends (Proverbs 13:20)

Think Biblically! (edited by John MacArthur) helped me think with a Christian worldview; and Lies Women Believe (updated/expanded edition) by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth helped me zero in on some foolish, unbiblical thinking. (Note: Lies Men Believe, written by Nancy's husband Robert, will come out in August 2018.)

7. And this is most important: create a greater margin of time for God.

  • We need space to pray and worship without distractions.
  • We need time for the Lord every day (Psalm 55:16-17) to feed our spirit, train our responses and calm our hearts.
  • We need to “Be still” and listen—to get to know our Father’s heart so we’ll know how to make wise choices (Psalm 46:10; Proverbs 2:6).
  • We need to live with eternity in mind, walk by faith, and aim to please the Lord (2 Corinthians 4:18; 5:6-10).

A life filled to the brim with a crowded or misguided schedule will never allow time for the Lord to fill us to overflowing with Himself.

By far, the book that helped me understand the need to create a daily time with the Lord was Seeking Him by Nancy Leigh DeMoss (Wolgemuth) and Tim Grissom; but Experiencing God by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby also built that relationship.

Notice the word “create” in each of my seven points about margin.

Be creative. Be intentional.

How can you create more spacious opportunities? Ask the Lord what would be best eliminated or pared down in your life so you will have more room to breathe and grow.

Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator of three blogs: Heart Choices TodayLOL with God (with Pam Farrel), and Upgrade with Dawn. She is a contracted researcher/reviewer for Revive Our Hearts and a writer at Crosswalk.com. She and her husband Bob live in Southern California and have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe

Thursday
Jan252018

Appreciation Fans the Flame on Love

Pam Farrel really cares about marriages, and she wants people to know the value of romance in the loving husband-wife relationship. In this Marriage UPGRADE just in time for Valentine's Day, she focuses on an attitude that can "fan the flame."

Appreciation can positively change the atmosphere in our marriage; vastly improve the confidence of our mate and raise the temperature of our own passion toward our husband,” Pam says. “In short, appreciation steams up the windows of desire in our heart.  

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and I (Dawn) agree. Appreciation is a great way for those who are married to prepare for this special day. Pam shares some practical ways to help your man feel he is number one in your heart—not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day!

Pam continues . . .

For the past few years, a few times a year, I run a Romance Challenge for Wives. Together, we look at the 26 traits, A to Z, that make a wife more loving, more caring—and yes, more desirable—to her husband.

These wives value love, cherish the institute of marriage and even recognize the significance of their man; yet they are looking for a few more creative ideas to fan the flame on love.

They long to keep that spark and sizzle in their love life.

In the heart of a woman is a desire to help their man feel like the luckiest, most blessed male on the face of the globe!

Yet, women struggle to keep gratitude and thankfulness in their hearts—especially toward the man God gave them to marry.

Because we women can drift to feelings of frustration toward our spouse, we need a way to drift BACK to emotions of appreciation, gratitude and gratefulness toward our husband and marriage.

If you are struggling to find anything positive about the man God gave you, here is the baseline:

He had the good sense to marry YOU!

We can have confidence that God will meet us in the middle of our desire to be more loving and appreciative because He commands us to have an attitude of gratitude:

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (I Thessalonians 5:18).

One of the basic components of a strong love is when a man feels appreciated, valued and esteemed.

I love the look in the eyes of newlywed brides. They beam as they hang on the arm of their groom. That gleam in the eye and broad smile—that is appreciation!

When he senses you feel you won the grand prize when you married him, his heart will be drawn toward you; and then your worth is like the upward trajectory of a positive stock market report. You become priceless!

The Bible encourages, “…esteem them very highly in love…” (1 Thessalonians 5:13). Esteem means to regard as particularly important; admire, approve, favor, treasure.

Is that how you feel about your husband?

As a motivated wife, you have the honor of being the spark plug for your marriage, the igniter of romance and the match to light the flame of intimacy.

If you want to kickstart appreciation to fan the flame on love, simply say “Thanks!”

How?

Try one of the ways below to tangibly express your gratitude to your man:

♥ Admire in a letter or with your verbal praise one of his good qualities
♥ Applaud his effort or an accomplishment
♥ Approve of his choice (of anything) heartily!
♥ Commend of him in front of his friends or colleagues
♥ Compliment one of his handsome features
♥ Positively inquire more information about one of his interests
♥ Accept one of his quirks with a quick hug or kiss when you see it
♥ Laud an accomplishment with a gift or a family party to celebrate.
♥ Warm toward an idea he has brought up by asking to learn more.
♥ Support one of his dreams by placing a photo of him doing it on your desk or refrigerator.
♥ Sympathize with an emotional hurt with a hug. 
♥ Adore his body in the bed room.
♥ Enthusiastically embrace one of his opinions with an “I so agree!”
♥ Show pleasure of his company with a “So nice to have you in my life”.
♥ Be sensitive to his stress by giving a shoulder or neck rub.
♥ Be mindful of one of his needs by running an errand or picking up an item without being asked.
♥ Be responsive to one of advances for “red hot monogamy”.
♥ Order a coffee mug with “I thank God 4 U!” printed on it, then bring him breakfast in bed, complete with the coffee mug.
♥ Place a thank you note on a helium balloon and float it into his office.
♥ Make your own list, A to Z, why you are thankful for your man, then read it to him; give it to him, one letter at a time; create a photo book with pictures of him for each letter and each trait you find attractive; or write the list on the same kind of paper you sent the first love note on!

Which of these “appreciation fans" would make the biggest difference in your marriage today?

What are you waiting for?

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of over 45 books including Red Hot Romance Tips for Women (which this blog is adapted from); Red Hot Monogamy,  A Couple’s Journey with God, and  best-selling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti. Pam encourages women to join the 26 day Red Hot Wife Challenge, and her husband Bill hosts the Her Best Friend phone APP to equip husbands to romance their wives. Learn more about Pam and Bill Farrels’ ministry at www.Love-Wise.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Tumisu at Pixabay.

Wednesday
Nov222017

Be Thankful—God Loves Ewe!

In this Spiritual Growth UPGRADE, Pam Farrel encourages us to upgrade our lives with a little help from the Good Shepherd.

Our Good Shepherd pursues us to give his faithful love and all things beautiful and beneficial,” Pam says.

I (Dawn) have watched Pam in ministry. She knows a little about shepherds and sheep—the kind that go "baaa," and the human "sheep" who struggle and cry out to their Shepherd.

Pam continues . . .

I am a true Bo Peep. I grew up on a Suffolk sheep farm in Idaho.

I was a fourth generation shepherd. If there is something I am familiar with, it is sheep!

So when I read Psalms 23, one of the most familiar of all Psalms, it is very personal, encouraging and comforting.

You may also need comfort or encouragement in your own life right now. There are a few qualities of your Good Shepherd that might encourage you, especially if you are feeling like you are traveling through the “valley of the shadow of death”.

1. The Shepherd is Personal

For example, the Psalmist’s opening line, “The Lord is my shepherd,” became more precious when I became a shepherdess. The relationship between a lamb and a shepherd can be a very close, caring and even sometimes, affectionate relationship.

For example, my first 4-H lamb was a “bummer,” meaning the mother had rejected or abandoned her own offspring.

These kinds of lambs need extra attention, so I fed my little lambie with a bottle twice a day, holding her in my arms like a baby.

I carded her wool, I hand fed her grain, I walked her, and yes, I talked to her.

On cold nights, I tucked her into a warm pen, and if I heard howling wild dogs or coyotes, I got up to go out to check on her.

I also named her, “Bunny” because when she wasn’t in my arms, she would delight herself jumping from rock to rock in our pasture. Ours was an “everywhere that Pammy went her lamb was sure to go” kind of relationship.

2. The Shepherd is a Protector

It is really a picture of my grandfather, father and brother, and their vigilance that I carry in my mind as to what a truly protective good shepherd is like.

Ravenous coyotes, wolves and wild dogs roamed the vast expanse of high desert in the area our family farm was located. These savage dogs would attack and kills whole flocks of sheep in a single night.

To help us keep our sheep safe, we place collars with bells on them. If they we heard an occasional gentle chime we knew our sheep were simply grazing calmly, but if we heard a cacophony of loud jingling, we knew the wild dogs were near by threatening an attack

To protect the sheep, the men in my family would post themselves in the pasture with the sheep. They would wrap themselves in a down sleeping bag with their “rod and staff” within arm’s reach. It was a cold, uncomfortable, thankless job, but it saved the lives of all our entire flock of sheep and their lambs.

To this day, when I picture my God as my Good Shepherd, I see Him as my strong, powerful and attentive protector.

3. The Shepherd is a Provider

When I read, “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul" (vv. 2-3), that is exactly the experience of my upbringing.

  • I would often walk barefoot through the deep, lush, green grass of the pasture, as the sheep serenely grazed.
  • I would take a blanket and a Bible, and lie down and spend quiet hours communing with God.
  • I might walk over to the creek, and sit on the simple wooden plank that created a bridge, and sit and rest quietly dipping my toes into the cool stream.

This was my place of solace and restoration, far away from the chaos my alcoholic, raging, earthly father might be creating in our small farm house. 

To this day, resting in an open meadow, or the sound of gently tinkling chimes, remind me of the restorative rest the Good Shepherd can create even in the midst of chaos.  

4. The Shepherd Is a Pursuer

As I have followed my Good Shepherd, I have seen how “goodness and mercy“ has surely followed me the days of my life. 

One could phrase the meaning of “goodness and mercy” as “certainly what is good, pleasant, agreeable, beneficial, desirable, beautiful and best, as well as God’s faithful, loyal, lovingkindness will pursue you.

Wow!

Our Good Shepherd pursues us to give His faithful love and all things beautiful and beneficial.

A recent example in my own life is the writing of this blog. It is an adaptation out of my newest book, Discovering Hope in the Psalms. I was going through one of my most challenging years of my entire life when my friend Jean asked me to edit, then co-author, this study with her.

See... my Shepherd sent goodness and mercy to pursue me, because He knew I was going to need to dwell in the green pastures of His Hope-filled Word to survive my own valley.

With the Shepherd, we can walk THROUGH the darkest valley and not tremble, because the Good Shepherd sees His sheep, knows His sheep and cares for each and every one of His sheep—including you!

What attribute of the Shepherd do you need, to hold on to hope?

Find a wool blanket, spread it in a green pasture near some still water, open your Bible and let the Shepherd send some goodness and mercy your way.

 Pam Farrel is still a shepherdess at heart. However, instead of living on her family farm, she now travels the world shepherding people’s hearts and relationships by speaking and teaching God’s goodness and mercy through the ministry she and her husband run: Love-Wise. She is the author of 45 books. Her newest is Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience.