December 6, 2014
John 10:11 "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep."
Life is not as it used to be when I grew up, or when you did; is no longer as safe or secure. As well, we cannot trust strangers as easily as we could then, have to be extra alert, as to where our children are and who they are with. I can testify, from my own life experiences, how foolish a thing it is to place my trust in people, places or things; all will disappoint, though people not always on purpose.
My life, being quite difficult, found me constantly searching for something to make me feel safe, something that would make me feel better about myself, something that would change the way I woke up every day, which was waking up only to start my day in fear, wondering what is the next horrible thing that will happen to me? How am I going to get my daily needs met? Who can I trust? Who is next to abandon me, to criticize me, make me feel horrible about being me? Who is next to toss me aside like garbage, leaving me feeling dirty, ashamed, unlovable, unwanted - undeserving of anything good?
I am sharing today's post because I have received mail from so many friends throughout the past twenty years, friends whose emails sounded exactly like what I just shared. They asked me questions like: "Barb. Why is life so hard for me when I always do my best? Why, after giving my best, loving my best, sharing all I had, did the love of my life abandon me just like my father did? What can I do in order to feel safer, Barb, to not be so fearful? Why does nothing work out for me, and how can I feel good about the person I am when I get put down so much, when nobody tries to understand? Barb, what can I do to not be so afraid? Am I truly that unlovely friend? "
Life is very hard these days, harder than it has ever been, is far more dangerous and painful. The tsunami's, earthquakes and other national disasters we have been experiencing have been the worst in the history of our world.
Along with these scary things, we're having to deal with the ever rising number of murders, rapes, child abuse cases, school shootings, and domestic violence, and this is the short list. Is it any wonder that fear stalks everybody?
Where are we to find help? The answer is that our help comes, and will always come, from above, from JESUS, OUR GOOD SHEPHERD.
What is good about the fact that Jesus is our Good Shepherd? Have you ever thought about all that a good shepherd does, or maybe you have just forgotten.
1- A good shepherd leads his sheep, sees what they sometimes miss, or are
unaware of. He walks ahead of his sheep, encounters every danger (before) his
sheep do. Jesus, our good shepherd, went before us, so knows all the dangers
we must pass through before the end of our lives. It won't be easy, going the
rest of the way. But if we will just walk in his footsteps we will be safe.
2- A good shepherd pastors his sheep, nurtures them; provides their daily needs.
We can trust our Good Shepherd.
3- A good shepherd names his sheep.
In the Bible, it tells about a night two shepherds were tending their flock, (meaning they had merged their flocks together). When morning came, and it was time to separate the sheep, the shepherds only had to call out to the sheep in order to separate them; the sheep knew their shepherds voice, knew to whom they belonged.
Jesus said "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and are known of mine."
He knows where we live, who we live with, how old we are, whether we are sick or well. and what our needs are. We don't worship or love an impersonal God, but one who desires our company, who loves nothing better than to spend time with us.
4- A good shepherd protects his sheep.
A shepherd always goes ahead of his sheep, watching for wolves, snakes, or
anything that might harm them. Jesus, having already gone ahead of us to
prepare the way, knows all we will experience in this life. Does he understand
our feelings and frustrations?
He most certainly does. He was persecuted, misunderstood, criticized. He was betrayed, and humiliated. He know how it feels to have friends disappoint you, to let you down. He knows how it feels to be hungry, tired, sick, hurt, and
rejected. He went ahead of us, and still, though we cannot see Him, is beside us
every day, paving our way, making our paths easier.
5- A good shepherd loves his sheep
Jesus, Our Good Shepherd, loves us with all his heart. Unless we make the
choice to leave him, He will hold us fast, keep us at his side. If we fall, and get
lost, he will search for us until he finds us. He will never, not EVER, give up
on us, but will, as he promised to do, finish the work he began in us.
I would like to point out something in the book of John. Jesus says, in
"Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again."
He laid down His life for my wretched, miserable, unlovely one. There is no love
greater than that. No wonder our Heavenly Father loves Jesus so very much.
Knowing all these things, dear ones. Knowing how greatly he loves me, and you,
I ask you, how then shall we live?
Be happy, Be healthy, Love one another.
Love you much,