Fresh Starts

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Several years ago Dennis and I traveled to New Zealand to celebrate 20 years of FamilyLife ministry with our friends and partners in that beautiful country. It was spring in the southern hemisphere; a heavy snow was just melting as we arrived in Queensland. And it was lambing season. For miles we drove over hills and into valleys soaking in the vibrant new greens peeking through patches of snow, leaf buds about to burst on trees, and best of all, farm after farm of grazing herds of sheep. Every time we could park safely and walk to a nearby fence row to watch the newborn lambs cuddled next to and peeking timidly from beneath the safety of their mothers we did. And I took hundreds of photographs of these beautiful creatures. My favorite was the rare sighting of a ewe and her young triplets.

Springtime is for birthing. New life in the animal and plant world bursts forth on wobbly legs and tender shoots.  Newborn lambs with their snowy white wool and pink ears are among the most lovable.  With their gentle demeanor, close family associations and eagerness to follow their leader, sheep have been a metaphor for Christians and our relationship to Jesus for centuries.

Jesus describes us as the sheep of His pasture. John recorded a long conversation Jesus had with His disciples and followers in which He used repeated terms and phrases familiar to these mostly rural folk. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;”* is one of the most memorable statements in a section of 30 verses in John chapter 10 all about sheep.

Not only are we referred to as sheep, but Jesus Himself is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. We celebrate this glorious truth every year at Easter, Resurrection Sunday, the culmination of His sacrificial death at Passover.

Because of these associations in the Bible I have a growing love and appreciation for sheep and lambs. To learn about these beautiful animals is to develop a greater understanding of the words of Christ about me. This spring I hope you will take your children or grandchildren to a farm to see some baby lambs and adult sheep; and at the same time I hope you will read John chapter 10 and listen closely to the voice of Jesus so you can follow nearer and not be led astray.

*John 10:27

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2 thoughts on “Fresh Starts”

  1. During my six week visit to New Zealand in my twenties, I enjoyed seeing the sheep there as well. At a sheep farm I saw how the sheep are sheared and how they are guided by a shepherd dog. Driving the countryside there were many sheep farms along the way. Also, New Zealand is a beautiful country. I would love to visit again one day!

  2. Dear Barbara
    Hi, I enjoy listening to your husbands radio program. I also have enjoyed the home décor, it is all very beautiful & speaks to the soul, too. For my wallet, they are on the high side, but glad to see it’s not stopping others!
    I do have to say though when you said there is no other place to buy Christian Easter décor, I thought I need to say something. Hobby Lobby has been selling Christian décor for every holiday for years, they play Christian music in their stores and have stood for Christian ideals even in the courts. I love supporting them as a Christian & as an artist & crafter. I’m NOT trying to put your work or you down, I just think you might want to be more careful in these remarks.
    Thank you for sharing your creative works. May God bless you with more creative & beautiful ideas!!
    In Christ,
    Sondy

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