Re: flect-Ing on Jesus as the Good Shepherd

I am a part of a small group meeting at the home of a sheep farmer. I grew up in the city. The closest I ever got to animals was at the zoo, and sheep certainly were not the animals that I was drawn to. Yet a sheep is what I am likened to in the Bible—not the speed of a cheetah, or the strength of a lion, or even the beauty of a bird. Just a dumb sheep.  

As I have seen these sheep week after week, I realize how much they need someone to care for them. God could have likened us to an animal created with the ability to protect and care for ourselves, but He did not. He says that we are like sheep and in need of the care the shepherd offers.

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths  for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercyshall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.                                                                                                Psalm 23

 

A shepherd cares for his sheep's every need. He protects them from the things which desire to prey upon them, he provides for their physical needs, he binds up their wounds and tends to them until they have regained strength. The shepherd fights off wild beasts, caring more for the sheep’s life than for his own. The sheep trust their shepherd. They follow him when he calls and know that he will provide and care for them. Sheep never fight against their shepherd.

 

Have you considered what it means for Jesus to be your Good Shepherd? It is peace, comfort, trust, security, love, and abundance. But it was also death.

 

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

John 10:11

 

Jesus laid down His life that we might live. Sheep were created to follow and depend on their shepherd. Are you a happy sheep? Are you content to be cared for by the Shepherd? Do you know the voice of the Good Shepherd and joyfully follow His Word?

 

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, thorough Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Hebrews 12:20-21

Love, Cheryl

Re: flect-Ing on Jesus as the Branch

 

 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Isaiah 11: 1-2

 

Growing up, I spent many hours working with plants and flowers.  I remember my dad showing me how to start roses.  We’d cut off select branches from good healthy plants and dip them into a special rooting hormone to promote growth.  Hopefully, they would grow and we would build our rose inventory with potential big profits.  It was frustrating work as many did not start like we had hoped.

Interestingly, Christ is referenced as “the branch” or "shoot".  However, He doesn’t need any starters or special chemical concoctions to grow or live.  In fact, He is directly from the root which is God. They are the same plant — they are one and have always been.

This righteous branch will reign wisely, do what is right in the land and lead His people to live in safety.  Through this branch, and only through this branch, salvation and eternity are ours.

Have you shared this exciting news with someone today?

Recently, I have been visiting the same salon to get my hair cut with the purpose of developing a relationship with someone outside of my home and church.  As I sat down, I began to ask questions to the hair stylist.  She shared her belief of Mormonism with me as she snipped and styled my hair. Then I  shared tidbits of what I believe which is vastly different from her religion.

Mainly, we discussed Jesus and how we view Him. No arguing, no conflict.

I didn’t change her mind.  And I don’t think I offended her directly as my hair looked pretty good when she was done. :)

In fact, I headed over there a week ago and requested her again just to build this relationship even more.

Are you seeking out opportunities to get to know those who don't know Christ?

Are you looking for opportunities to “fly the flag” of Christ readily and faithfully to others?

Are you prepared to share of this Branch and His story?

Perhaps take a few minutes to consider how  you might share with others about Christ and why we celebrate Easter each year.   Pray, look for an opportunity and then be quick to share and respond.

Love,  Julie

 

Re: flect-Ing on Jesus as the Ancient of Days

Ever since I was a little girl, I have found it fascinating to imagine living during an earlier time.  My parents were teenagers during the 1950's, the era of "Happy Days".  They experienced the drive-ins, sock hops, poodle skirts, the first tastes of rock 'n roll.  Just put me in a DeLorean time machine and I know which decade I would head for! My grandfather had been born in 1898; that seemed like a million years ago to me when I was younger.  I mean, it was a completely different century after all.  He experienced the early wave of electricity in homes, the Roaring 20's, the Great Depression.

It's humbling to consider life before we existed.  Before 1968, men and women were going about their business, young people were diligently working in college, women were having babies, children were playing...life was going along just fine even before I entered the scene, wasn't it?!?

There is One, though, who existed before time even began.  In fact, He created time.  He is the First and the Last, Everlasting to Everlasting, the Ancient of Days.

As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.

Daniel 7:9

This title for Jesus is mentioned three times in chapter 7 of Daniel.  In this prophetic vision, Daniel vividly describes how the Ancient of Days, Jesus, will come and make a favorable judgment for the saints and give them the kingdom.  He will also destroy the pompous beasts who exalted themselves above Him.  The Ancient of Days is powerful, holy, eternal and victorious.

In the here and now, we can get a little full of ourselves.  We learn a lot of science or math or just acquire so much life experience that we begin to believe that all wisdom comes from us.  Or others who are smart like us.  I can get tunnel-vision and begin to believe that I am far more powerful and greater than is true.

Then, I am reminded of who Jesus is...He is the One who was before time, who created everything, who made math and science, who gives me life to experience and who is Wisdom.

And I, like Job, must humble myself before this Great Ancient of Days and repent of my own foolish reasoning  and independence from the One who has always been.  In this meek posture, I can then worship Him more fully...

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,

In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,

Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,

Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise!

Love, Wendy