As much as I hate to admit it, I cannot do my work alone. I love to think I can be like Rambo, or some super hero who can handle everything on his own. For you ladies reading this, this is not just a guy thing, but most guys want to feel like they can conquer the world on their own.
So many of you have been blessing us with your prayers! Your gift of prayer has been a major source of encouragement and I know God has answered you along the way. We have received letters, messages, and gifts along the way. Each one was perfectly timed to remind us of God's care for us as we strive to tend to His flock through sharing stories from ours.
I cannot express to you the level of gratitude I have in my heart for each of you reading these words right now. My passion is to share the love of Jesus and hopefully through my life, allow others to learn to enjoy Him as their Good Shepherd. Hopefully, even my struggles through my own walk can be an encouragement to you.
For those who want to pray specifically, here are things on my heart.
1. I struggle with finding a way to balance this passion of sharing Jesus and providing for my family through work. It is just a wrestling match in my heart. I have set out this year to be more disciplined in my schedule for both of these, hopefully leading to better productivity for both. Please pray for God's abundance blessing on both my ministry and vocational ministry. My wife and kids deserve the best of both from me. I have plans to develop some discipleship course based on some of the lessons we have learned through sheep and make them available. Pray these will be a benefit to all who see them and for our family through the sale of them.
2. Pray I remain humble and passionate about Jesus. It is so easy to get focused on the work of the ministry that you can lose touch with the source of life, Jesus himself. Pray He clings to me tightly and that I discipline myself to sit daily at his feet.
3. There are several things on our farm that need completing. We also have need for a few additional buildings. Each takes provision for it to be done. Please pray my vocational work (Real Estate and Auctions) will be blessed so we can attend to these needs.
4. Pray I love God first, remembering I am the only one who can worship him like Ray Carman for He made each of us as unique reflections of Himself. Pray I love my wife. No other man has been given this privilege and honor, and I do not want to give them the opportunity to do what I was created to do for her. Pray I love my children. No other man was chosen by God to be their dad, pray that I fulfill that role as I was made to do.
5. Pray for the Enjoy The Shepherd family. Though we are spread far and wide, we are all members of one Body, that of Jesus Christ. Pray for one another, that we may function in unity as Jesus prayed in John 17.
For those who have asked, Ray, what can we do for you? Please see number 1-5 and do that with all your heart. Secondly, I would be honored if you would be my "sales force" for the devotional book. We do not have any huge marketing budget or sales plan, but I know if each one tells one, God loves to use word of mouth more than any other sales plan out there. If you would invite at least one more person to purchase the devotional book, I would consider that a true honor!