Friday, April 29, 2011

Shepherd Part 2

“He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams” (Psalms 23:2 NLT).

The vision of green meadows brings with it sense of rest, comfort and security. There is nothing more comforting than being in a place free of those things that would prey upon our peace. The gentle sound of a brook, flowing through this green meadow is an amazing picture of what our shepherd wants for us.

Jesus said, “After he [the shepherd] has gathered His flock, He walks ahead of them, and they follow Him because they recognize His voice” (John 10:4 NLT). With our faith firmly focused on our Shepherd, we follow Him and he walks ahead of us and leads us to green meadows of peace, security comfort and rest. We can depend on this for we know He is good.

When sheep are disturbed by fear and predators, they can't rest. If they are not listening for their Shepherd's voice, they are distracted. What has happened? They have taken their eyes and attention off the shepherd.

The Gospels record a situation such as this. Jesus told His disciples to get into a boat and go to the other side of the lake. Not long after they were in the boat, a storm arose and they were terrified. Jesus came to them in the midst of the storm walking on the water. The disciples didn't recognize Him at first, but then Peter called out, “If that is really you, tell me to come to you by walking on the water.” Jesus agreed. After only a few steps on the water, Peter took his eyes off Jesus and he began to sink - Matthew 14: 22-30.

Peter looked at his surroundings and not at Jesus. Peter was frightened and lost all sense of the miracle that had taken place because of faith. It was faith that enabled Peter to walk on water and a lack of faith that caused him to fear. He was distracted.

The same is true of us. When we take our eyes off our Shepherd and wonder off from His voice, we allow fear of our situation to control our faith. We will not find the green meadows of peace, security and rest that Jesus is leading us to.

Most of  the Old Testament tells how the Lord our God dealt patiently with the children of Israel. How mercifully He dealt with their sin and rebellion against His authority. How He proved over and over again His power and might against all that wanted to destroy His people. How He wanted them to obey Him, so that the world would see His love and kindness and desire that for themselves.

The scriptures also tell us there was only momentary peace for the children of Israel in the land God promised. Peace came only during times when the nation repented of their sin and chose to love God and obey His commandments.

The writer of Hebrews spoke of these times and wrote, “Be careful then dear brothers and sisters. Make sure your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning away from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:12 NLT) also “And to whom was God speaking when he vowed that they would never enter His place of rest? He was speaking to those who disobeyed Him. So we see that they were not able to enter into His rest because of their unbelief” (Hebrews 3:18-19 NLT).

Isaiah wrote, “Unto us a child is born, upon to us a Son is given. And the government will rest upon His shoulders. These will be His royal titles: Wonderful Councilor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 NLT)

These are the Royal titles of Jesus. He is not only our shepherd [Jehovah Rohi], but He is our Prince of Peace [Jehovah Shalom]. Trust Him, Believe Him, Follow Him; only in Jesus will you find rest for your souls.

Jesus said, “I leave you with a gift –Peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like to the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 NLT).Have you received His gift?

Copyright©2011 tathorpe- All Rights Reserved-

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Shepherd – Part 1

“The Lord is my shepherd, I everything I need” Psalms 23:1 NLT

The most endearing of the Psalms is the 23rd. This the first Psalm taught to children to build the foundation of truth in their young lives. This Psalm details the greatness of God and His love to us.

In the first verse we learn it's the Lord (Master/Supreme Ruler) who is our shepherd. From the first words the objective is achieved. The Master and Supreme Ruler of everything is the One who takes care of us as a shepherd.

The role of the shepherd is vital in the lives of his flock. Without the guidance of the shepherd the sheep can not survive. Shepherd means “Caretaker and Guardian” The shepherd is responsible to feed, lead and protect the sheep.

For the sheep to follow the shepherd there are two things that must occur. The first the sheep must identify the shepherd. The basic recognition is the sound of his voice. Jesus said, “My sheep recognize my voice and follow me” (John 10:5.) This is the establishment of relationship and trust. If someone else calls to the sheep, they will not follow.

The second thing that is established is a home. Sheep know where they belong and have a sense of security within a flock. Although they tend to wonder off easily, they usually stay within range of the shepherd's voice. (John 10:27).

Sheep need constant supervision because they become preoccupied with grazing, following the next tasty treat; they find themselves alone without the protection of the flock or the shepherd. They tend to play “follow the leader” whoever that maybe. They frighten easily and can not rest if they are disturbed.

Sheep that are lost are easy prey for all kinds of predators. They have no fangs or claws to defend themselves and no sense of aversion. Once under attack it doesn't take much to kill these animals, most die of fright.

Like sheep, we have a herd mentality, we wonder off easily, have very few defenses, we can't rest if disturbed, and have a poor sense of direction. Eating our way to the illusion that the next tasty treat will be the last satisfying morsel of the day, until we want something else. We need our shepherd to watch over, protect and care for us. Our shepherd knows what is best for us. He has charted a course for our lives and will see it fulfilled.

It should bring comfort to know that the Master and Supreme Ruler of everything is our Shepherd. Who never leaves his flock. Who knows where each and everyone of us is all the time. Who knows our personalities and knows why we react to situations the way we do. Whose voice we hear calling us when we are lost and the same voice brings comfort when we are frightened.

There is a vast chasm between our Wants and Needs. Whenever a “want” comes into our vocabulary, there is usually some type of self serving agenda attached, which is anything that will bring you pleasure and not greatly benefit someone else.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians; “How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms, because we belong to Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3 NLT)

With the Lord God as our shepherd, have everything we need.

Copyright©2011 tathorpe-All Rights Reserved-