Monday, February 2, 2009

Words of Encouragement

This week on the website you will see a list of characteristics of goats.  We will look at that more indepth this week.  What are some of the characteristics of goats and what does that tells us about ourselves?

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness"; - 1 Corinthians 3:19

Goats. Highly Intelligent. When I did this study I found some interesting things about goats and sheep.  Goats are said to be an intelligent animal.  This would not seem to be a problem, however goats are "strong headed" and they are not an animal that is easily controlled. So what is this characteristic of the goat trying to tell us about ourselves?  What it tells us is God does not want us to depend on our wisdom.  He does not want us to be strongheaded.  He considers all our wisdom foolishness when compared against his wisdom. Just like the goat that often finds itself in trouble, so do the wise often find themselves in trouble because of their craftiness.  So we need to ask God to help us turn over our intelligence into his hand and ask him to use it for his good.

Prayer: Lord my ways are not your ways and my understanding is not your understanding.  Help me not to be so strongheaded in my ideas and thoughts. Help me to be teachable and to learn of your ways.  For your ways are higher than mine. This is my prayer, amen.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. - Proverbs 16:18

Goat. Independent. Goats are very stubborn animals and they want to do and go as they please.  They do not want to be hindered in their activities. How is this a bad trait? The problem is when the goat does not want its owner to do as the owner desires.  The goat may butt his head or try to move away as he pleases.  This trait when looked at from that point isn't a good one for humans to have.  God does not want us to be proud and determine we can do as we please and when he, the owner wants us to do something or go some place we want to butt against his plans and try to have our own freedom.  This proud attitude says I am in charge of my own life and no one can tell me what to do.  This is the kind of attitude that goes before a fall.

Prayer: Lord, help me to let go of my own ideas and desire to do things my own way.  I no longer live but Christ within me lives.  Help me to humble myself so that you can use me your way. Amen.

They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, each seeks his own gain. - Isaiah 56:11

Goat. Greedy. When goats are first born they begin to fight with their siblings for their mothers milk. There desire is to feed and get all that they want without care of anyone else around them. We would say this is natural.  Everyone wants to eat and survive.  We would actually honor individuals that have a desire or hunger for success.  Yet we do not want to miss what God's word is trying to tell us about greed.  In the scripture it talks about shepherds of God's people but it can be applied to all of us.  The scripture calls them dogs with great appetites, so great they never get enough.  This attitude of always wanting something is not one that God looks upon favorably.  The scripture says individuals that are like that lack understanding.  The understanding they lack is that God is the only thing they need.  While they are seeking to fill themselves on stuff, God is waiting to fill them with his Spirit and his righteousness. Being greedy makes an individual turn away from others and toward themselves.  Everything becomes what is important to me?  What does life have to offer me?  Never what do I have to offer to life or to those around me.  That's why the title of dog was given.  When we become greedy we live beneath being the human God wants us to be, the one created in his image.  We do not look any different than a mere animal.

Prayer: Lord help me this day to look upon the needs of others. Help me to feast upon your word so that I can be satisfied in you.  All those things that would get in the way of me being a yielded vessel, I release them into your hand and ask that you would make me more into your image, amen.

Keep on loving each other as brothers. -Hebrews 13:1

Goat. Selfish. The strong goats are the ones that survive. The weak goats are left behind or die because the other goats neglect it. This is not a trait God wants to see in his people.  God does not want us to think only of ourselves, but to think about our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We are to love them and in doing so we are to care for them as Christ would care for them.  We do not leave the weak behind to starve to death. We are to feed them the truth of God's word so that they can grow and their spiritual bones strengthened. We are to care for one another so that the world sees we are different. We cannot be like a selfish goat only looking out for themselves.  We must be mindful of others around us.  We must be mindful not to step on them or crush them under foot.  We do not want our words, actions or deeds to be what destroys the already weak brother or sister.

Prayer: Lord, today help me to be more caring for those around me.  Help me to see those in need of help, love and care.  Help me to strengthen someone that is feeling weak along this path and in need of strength.  Today use me to represent to someone your love, Amen.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. - Ephesians 4:14

Goat. Flighty. Goats are intensely curious and will investigate any thing that piques their interest. Because of that, they will wonder off and are hard to keep confined to areas.  They will jump fences if they see something that catches their eye. They are flighty.  They do not like to stay content in one area and move around. Well God does not want flighty children.  He does not have a problem with our intense interest in things.  The problem is we are not alway interested in the right things.  We investigate things that will bring us harm instead of asking him to help us investigate his word.  We do not always want to stay content in the places that we have been planted, and we want to jump the fences to see what greener grasses are growing.  We become like the scripture says, children tossed back and forth with everything that comes our way and catches it. God does not want us chasing after every thing that catches our fancy. He does not want us tossed to and fro. Instead he wants us to learn to stay put and content in the safety of the "pen" he has put us in.  He wants us to know that in the area he has placed us is all that we need and there is much for us to discover right where we are.  Flighty isn't a good look for a believer in Christ Jesus.

Prayer: Lord, help me to learn to be content in you.  You are the one that gave us imagination and the ability to create and dream.  Help us to use it within the areas of your glory and with your wisdom.  Help us this day to follow after righteousness.  Allow your righteousness to draw us so that we are not turned away after foolish things, but turned toward you for the sake of the cross of Christ, Amen.