Friday, April 3, 2015

Mary had a little Lamb

I Believe in Easter by Gary Wilkinson
What do “ewe” first think of when it comes to Easter?  Do you believe in Easter like I do?

When most of us think of Easter certain things immediately pop into our heads: colored eggs, marshmallow chicks, chocolate goodies, furry bunnies and of course, the precious little lamb. 

Not everyone automatically thinks of it as Resurrection Day for Jesus Christ or the message that was to follow the conquering of the cross. 

Welcome to this Special Holiday Edition of Daily Favor!

Note: News on Sally the Sheep - see below.

Lambing Season 

It’s “lambing season” as my writer friend and breeder of sheep Titia would call it; something we look forward to each spring.  Her 30 years of expertise lies in the breeding of the rare Dutch sheep called Drenthen Heath Sheep (Drents Heideschaap). 

I first heard of Titia’s lambs on a writing platform where we both worked.  In 2011 she began writing about the birthing process and kindly started naming the newborns after fellow writers.

Over the years she has continued sharing her stories about the lambing seasons and follows up on each of them.  Although lambs are always adorable, there was something else that caught my attention as she shared her experiences through her online pen. 

The Second Chance Sheep 

I’ve never been one to fall asleep counting sheep, although I have dared to try.  Counting sheep stories would even be more tiresome if they were all the same and followed the traditional “cute little lamby pamby” scenario.  That’s why when I began to follow Titia’s sheep stories they stood out from the rest.  The distinctive thing about my friend is the way she treats each lamb that is birthed in her care.   

There are numerous reasons why a newborn animal may be rejected by its mother.  Most breeders think that when a ewe wards off her offspring, it’s a sign of nature, and consequently the newbies of such activity rarely live.  Titia isn’t like those breeders, she believes in second chances for all her lambs.
The Bible refers to people as sheep that have gone astray.  We are in need of someone to see past our flaws and give us a second chance.  Titia’s way of thinking and doing is godly. 

Not a Nursery Rhyme 

As I prepared for this week’s writing the first thing that came to mind was “Mary had a little lamb,” and I’m not referring to the nursery rhyme.  
Following the stories of my friend led me back over 2,000 years when another lamb was born in Bethlehem … one that Mary the mother of Jesus would have to sacrifice one day because of sin that had come into the world.  

“But now the Righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the Righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. 

For there is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His Righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His Righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-26 NKJV)

God would send His Son, Jesus, a human lamb that would replace the sacrifice of lambs of all breeders.  The Lamb of God would be the second chance that we would all need, but not all would believe is necessary. 

Like some of the breeders Titia refers to in her writings, not everyone believes in second chances, good outcomes or taking on that which was rejected.  Thankfully we have a God that doesn’t think that way and Jesus understands exactly how we feel. 

Today is Good Friday, a Holy day in which we remember the death of Jesus Christ who was crucified for sinners.  Many places of business close their doors at 2 PM as a gesture of “holiness” and good practice for those who do follow the Messiah.  Oh how we forget what happened between 9 AM – 3 PM. 

When you see films or photographs they depict Mary as broken and distraught over the death of her little lamb, her son who would be born with the “soul” purpose of dying.  Those scenes bother me tremendously for several reasons.  Yes, Mary would see her son crucified, something that would tear at her heart, but we’ve forgotten something. 

What we forget is that Jesus didn’t stay the little lamb in flesh, but in spirit.  Jesus was pure in every aspect of His life, without spot or blemish. This is something Mary never would forget.  The Bible tells us that Mary was fully aware of the day her Son would be led to the slaughter like a sheep, and that she “pondered these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) 

Although it may be hard for us to understand this concept, God didn’t leave Mary unprepared.  She would see God’s purpose for Jesus carried out in her lifetime. 
Mary would bear witness of who really believed the message Jesus proclaimed and see the powerful arm of God when she stood at the foot of the cross.  Her eyes would gaze on the Son of Man being rejected, despised, weakened in flesh, and weighed down by sorrows sickness and disease.  

She saw a sinless individual take on the punishment of sin for all stray sheep (mankind) and submit to the Will of the Heavenly Father without opening His mouth for reprieve. (Isaiah 53) 

Mary’s lamb was always the sacrificed sheep from the day He was born. There would be no other substitute before or after Jesus’ birth. This wasn’t a concept she had to come to believe.  It was already in her heart from conception. 

Mourning Turned to Gladness 

We assume that Mary was full of tears and doubt when she saw Jesus’ lifeless body being removed from the cross.  However, there is nothing to bear this as truth except our own feeling of losing a loved one to death, especially a child.  

After the cross we next hear of Mary waiting her assignment from her risen Son and Savior as she prayed in the Upper Room with the rest of the believers. If she was stricken with grief, would she have followed such an instruction, or was it merely wishing the words of Christ would come to pass? 

How glorious to be in Mary’s position.  How pleased Jesus was to be that little lamb.  Those who looked upon the death of Christ saw it as loss, but Mary knew there was something to be gained.  She believed God and in Him.

Caring for God’s Lambs 

Newborn " Cooper" black Drenthe Heathe Sheep lamb
Photo Source: © Titia Geertman
Photo used by permission.
On Thursday, April 2, 2015 a new lamb called "Cooper" was born (namesake of another writer), to breeder Titia.  He is twin to brother Brad.

This little one will be loved and cared for in every aspect of his entire life, not only as a lamb but into adulthood. 

He is a reminder of lambs being born into the body of Christ each day; precious, hungry and waiting to be fed. 

Unlike Cooper, who has someone to watch over and guide him, there are thousands coming into the fold of Christ without caregivers.  

New believers or “lambies” often receive tremendous favor from God and have tons of bottled up energy bursting to be released. Lamb believers are sweet and full of excitement that the seasoned sheep sometimes don’t want to be bothered with or resent.  Lambs will eventually become sheep, and all sheep need to be shepherded. 

Just as Mary knew what was to come of her little lamb, scripture tells us what happens to those who fall away or never believe in the Son of God as the redeemer of sins and giver of eternal life. 

Those who remain in unbelief give up on hope, second chances and their part in the Resurrection.  If you have accepted Jesus as the Christ, Messiah and Living Son of God, it is part of your resurrection contract for eternal life to share what you know about the Word of God. 

Jesus, risen Son of God, thank You for the price paid and the victorious work of the Cross.  The tomb is empty giving hope forever more, with life everlasting.
Thank You for taking our sin and shame. Thank You for loving so much that You grant amazing favor, mercy and grace. You are worthy; Holy is the Lamb of God! 

Jesus is the Son of God, seated on His Throne in Heaven. Our Passover Lamb Christ Jesus who took our place on the cross, is worthy of our praise, but He is also worthy of our sharing the message of the Resurrection not just the cross.  

This Week’s Challenge:
Adopt a Lamb 

Sharing responsibility for a living thing is a tremendous undertaking as Titia would attest.  However, taking part in the eternal life of an individual is something that requires much favor from God if it is to be effective in changing that soul. 

Our challenge this week won’t be one that ends in seven days.  It is something that we want to do as an ongoing part of the flock of our Good Shepherd Jesus. God would have us “Adopt a lamb”, a new believer, by putting their name in your heart continually as if they were your own (like God did with you). 
In your prayers this week, ask the Lord who needs tending to when it comes to new lambs among the Christian flock.  Instead of just praying for them, get involved as an elder sheep by seeing to some of their needs spiritually.  Lead them to services such as small group classes for new believers, and even attend them with the lamb if need be in the beginning sessions. (Hebrews 3)  

Bring new believers to church socials, invite them to Christian fellowship dinners and provide them with literature or materials that will help them grow in their faith. Mind you, this isn’t to persuade them to your way of thinking, but to encourage them to seek God’s will and way for their life.  It’s their journey; lead them to the path of God. 
If you are not a lamb ... child of God's, you can be right now.  Read what to do here.

Mary gave birth to Jesus, God’s first little lamb; for Him it’s always lambing season. As we remember the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus this week, let us thank Him for the cross and be mindful that:

The Lamb of God’s message is still being birthed,
because lambing season is always in season!


Until next time, favor comes to all who believe.


Check Messages throughout the week. 

Special thanks to Titia for her kindness.  Read more about Titia my Dutch friend.
Sally the beloved virtual sheep has moved!  She is a reminder that all sheep (human or creature) have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus, so Sally now lives at Favored Pets.

“I favored you on the cross.”
Jesus Christ

What’s New This Week: Click on book/product or link.
Favored1 on Google Plus,  Facebook, TwitterYou Tube, Pinterest and Hub Pages Articles.

Maybe you don’t know the Living God that I know, but would like to have this kind of favor in your life also.  Click on the above tab “Tell Me” for more information on becoming a child of the Savior.

Content and Image Copyright from Favored1. Do not copy.

Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provided by Gateway Bible
Image credit: Google Images or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified.
Image: I Believe in Easter   Lambing Season  Manger Shadow Cross  Jesus Lamb of God John 1:12  Upper Room  Beyond the Cross
Poem: Mary Had A Little Lamb by Sarah Josepha Hale
Public Domain Mary Had a Little Lamb
Disclaimer Notes: Results may vary due to lack of belief.