Psalms 100:3 Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, Will give You thanks forever; We will show forth Your praise to all generations. May 20, 2010
...our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep...
-- Hebrews 13:20
The ShepherdPhillip Keller, a shepherd (and also an author), once wrote,
"The day I bought my first thirty ewes, my neighbor and I sat on the dusty corral rails that enclosed the sheep pens and admired the choice, strong, well-bred ewes that had become mine. Turning to me he handed me a large, sharp, killing knife and remarked tersely, 'Well, Phillip, they're yours. Now you'll have to put your mark on them.'
"I knew exactly what he meant. Each sheep-man has his own distinctive earmark which he cuts into one or other of the ears of his sheep. In this way, even at a distance, it is easy to determine to whom the sheep belongs. It was not the most pleasant procedure to catch each ewe in turn and lay her ear on a wooden block then notch it deeply with the razor-sharp edge of the knife. There was pain for both of us. But from our mutual suffering an indelible lifelong mark of ownership was made that could never be erased. And from then on every sheep that came into my possession would bear my mark.
"As a sheep of the Good Shepherd, you bear His mark, a cross. It may be painful, but it's your mark of identification with your Shepherd. Ask yourself, 'Do I recognize His right and claim over me? Do I respond to His authority? Bear the mark He's given me?' If you do, you can exalt with the psalmist and say, 'The Lord is my Shepherd!'
"If His mark seems difficult to bear, remember: 'He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.'" (Isaiah 40:11).
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Lord, I remember how You came to earth to give Your life for us - all we are like sheep who have gone astray. Thank You for being our shepherd. And thank You for laying Your life down for Your sheep, You, the Lamb of God.
Blessings,Joni and Friends
I have to admit it - sometimes I'm a baaaaaaaaad sheep (sorry - I couln't help myself)! I bear His mark - and I try to live my life for Him, but there are times - too many times - when I fail. I'm grateful that I've gotten beyond the point of hiding from Him when I've failed - and I don't (usually) spend too much time in the doldrums over my failures - but I still fail. Sometimes unintentionally - sometimes not so unintential (and those are the hardest to admit). Either way, My Good Shepherd is SO patient with me - He doesn't yell and scream to get my attention - He gently uses His rod and staff to get me back on track.
Have you wondered away from the flock? Have you failed? Do you feel lost? Your Good Shepherd is waiting for you - His arms are open - He longs to bring you back into the fold. If you're like me, and you still find yourself on the discipline end of the Shepherds rod, remember that it's because He loves you and longs for you to be conformed into His image. Lean into the Shepherd - let Him love you - you are precious in His sight! Sharon www.joniandfriends.org
Joni and Friends Daily DevotionalThen Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.