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Scared of Knowledge? I think not! People herding….

In Proverbs 1:7 scripture says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”  When I was in my teens I lived on a farm that was located in Howell Valley.  Howell Valley was a valley just outside of West Plains, Missouri and my dad moved us to our 63 acre farm when I was just about 12 years old.  I can visualize the valley right now as I look out our back door across the road where 60 beautiful “bottom land” acres were situated.  I had many a great time on those acres and most of them involved horses and cattle.  My dad was a cattle auctioneer and cattle buyer, and from time to time we might have as many as 80 head of cattle roaming that acreage.  We would fatten those cows up and then ship them off to be sold.  When it came time to bring in those cattle to load them up I had a little cattle pony I would hop on and ride out to the main pasture and start gathering up our stock and guide them toward a lane that had been made by narrowing the fence to make it only 14 feet wide.  That lane allowed us to keep the cows moving into the holding pen that led to the shoot that led to the truck.   You get it.  We were herding cattle.  Before the cattle got to that lane they had every chance of getting away from me and my horse because we were in the big pasture and all they needed to do was start running in different directions.  That would overwhelm my ability to keep them moving forward and I couldn’t keep 20 different cows together when they were moving in different directions.  So it was my goal to gently move them to a  place where I could control them better, and getting them to the lane was my main goal.  Most of the time this plan worked, but every once in a while we would have a wild cow or two who would realize what was happening and then they would make a break for it.  When they got away the others turned around and realized they could break free too.  Havoc ensued when this happened and I had to start the whole thing over again.  Like I said, most of the time it all went as planned and the lane would serve it’s purpose in getting the cattle herded in the same direction and they would end up in the same pen.  Job completed!!!  Whew!!  I don’t know what was more difficult, doing the cattle herding or telling you about it.  Anyway, cattle are just a little dumb, so they can be manipulated to move from here to there pretty easily.  

As Christians we are led by God’s hand from here to there at times as he gently moves us to another place in our life.  When he is gently moving us we, as trusting souls, keep moving forward as he places us in another location for doing what he wants with us.  It is called the “will of God.”  God also puts us in a position to listen to Him and follow His direction many times as He fine tunes our options to direct in the way we should go.  Sometimes our wants and desires can come across as looking pretty dumb when we try to revolt against the direction God is taking us.  But our fear of God should kick in and cause  us not to “buck” against His will, but follow it completely.  When we learn to fear God to that point, we start to show we have some knowledge of who God is and what He wants.  This narrowing of purpose, God’s Will, is a part of a perfect plan God has for our life.  That plan’s defining moment is when our knowledge of God kicks in and we step in the footsteps He has laid out before us.  There is a poem entitled Footprints in the Sand that speaks to this very thing.

One night I dreamed a dream. As I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it. “Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You’d walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.” 

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you Never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.”

So as the scripture I quoted at the beginning of this blog says,  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  That fear sparks a Holy Spirit led lifestyle that seeks God and His ways, and God is faithful to direct us in the direction He wants us to go and sometimes He carries us there through trials and testing.  The scripture goes on to alert us to the fact that we are fools when we don’t follow His ways.  

On one of my cattle drives I was herding a bunch of mothers with new calves.  One calf was so young and weak that it couldn’t go any further and it just laid down.  At that point I picked the calf up in my arms and carried it through the lane to the new pen where it’s mother was waiting for it.  When I got it there it’s mother ran over to make sure the calf was not hurt and helped it continue on.  There may be times in  your Christian journey when you feel like you cannot go any further and you just want to quit.  God will pick you up and help you  make it to the next place of growth in your life and make sure you are ok and strengthened.  The Psalmist says in Psalm 68:35  “You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!”  God is our strength and our song and He not only directs us, but picks us up when we cannot go on our own strength.  If that is knowledge, I want all I can get!!  In my  heart I need to fear God and follow His plan and trust His ways are higher than my ways and let Him direct my path to that new place He has for me.  If I will learn to follow God’s ways my life will be solid and secure.  In Matthew 7:24 Jesus said it like this “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a  wise man who built his house on the rock.”  Don’t be foolish.  God’s ways are the best ways and it is time to let Him guide you into a deeper walk with Him.  Learn to fear God and let Him guide you into the way of everlasting.  I love the story told by Elizabeth Elliot, wife of Jim Elliot, the missionary who was killed by the Auca indians while trying to share the gospel with them.

Elizabeth Elliot tells of two adventurers who stopped by to see her, all loaded with equipment for the rain forest east of the Andes. They sought no advice, just a few phrases to converse with the Indians. She writes: “Sometimes we come to God as the two adventurers came to me — confident and, we think, well-informed and well equipped. But has it occurred to us that with all our accumulation of stuff, something is missing?

She suggests that we often ask God for too little. We know what we need–a yes or no answer, please, to a simple question. Or perhaps a road sign. Something quick and easy to point the way. What we really ought to have is the Guide himself. Maps, road signs, a few useful phrases are things, but infinitely better is someone who has been there before and knows the way.

God knows the way. Let Him be your guide to get there.

The Pilgrimage continues… David Warren

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