Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
Protection and Blessing are two other benefits of following and listening to the Good Shepherd. We can know that when the dark times come, and they will, that He will be beside us. He will comfort us and protect us even in the midst of difficulty. He will bless us with His anointing and His goodness in this life and He promises us the certainty of life with Him in the eternal realm. - Meghan
Pastor Don spoke about Jesus being the Good Shepherd. He acknowledged that when one needs a shepherd and is involved in a relationship with the shepherd daily, one recognizes him. In Psalm 23, several characteristics of a shepherd are mentioned. Two we will focus on today are Provider and Leader.
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
God will always provide for us. He gives us all that we need. He may take us on a journey, or He may let us rest. Different times in our lives will be a different path, but it will always be the right one when we put our trust in HIM.
How has God provided for you recently or is He leading you in a new way you would like to share? - Meghan
11 I am the Good Shepherd who lays down my life as a sacrifice for the sheep. 12-13 But the worker who serves only for wages is not a real shepherd. Because he has no heart for the sheep he will run away and abandon them when he sees the wolf coming. And then the wolf mauls the sheep, drags them off, and scatters them. 12-13 But the worker who serves only for wages is not a real shepherd. Because he has no heart for the sheep he will run away and abandon them when he sees the wolf coming. And then the wolf mauls the sheep, drags them off, and scatters them. 14 “I alone am the Good Shepherd, and I know those whose hearts are mine, for they recognize me and know me, 15 just as my Father knows my heart and I know my Father’s heart. I am ready to give my life for the sheep. 16 “And I have other sheep that I will gather which are not of this Jewish flock. And I, their shepherd, must lead them too, and they will follow me and listen to my voice. And I will join them all into one flock with one shepherd. 17 “The Father has an intense love for me because I freely give my own life—to raise it up again. 18 I surrender my own life, and no one has the power to take my life from me. I have the authority to lay it down and the power to take it back again. This is the destiny my Father has set before me.
Boundaries are a good thing. We need our rest as much as we need our work. When you’re called to do something (and we ALL are), It is important to be sure that you are including rest. Even Jesus went by Himself to pray and rest. You are not being ungodly if you take time for yourself. Only when you are cared for, can you serve others well. Make your wellness a priority this week. What might that look like for you? What is one step you can take to possibly invest in yourself? -Meghan
1 Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Listen to this eternal truth: The person who sneaks over the wall to enter into the sheep pen, rather than coming through the gate, reveals himself as a thief coming to steal. 2 But the true Shepherd walks right up to the gate, 3 and because the gatekeeper knows who he is, he opens the gate to let him in. And the sheep recognize the voice of the true Shepherd, for he calls his own by name and leads them out, for they belong to him. 4 And when he has brought out all his sheep, he walks ahead of them and they will follow him, for they are familiar with his voice. 5 But they will run away from strangers and never follow them because they know it’s the voice of a stranger.” 6 Jesus told the Pharisees this parable even though they didn’t understand a word of what he meant. 7 So Jesus went over it again, “I speak to you eternal truth: I am the Gate for the flock. 8 All those who broke in before me are thieves who came to steal, but the sheep never listened to them. 9 I am the Gateway. To enter through me is to experience life, freedom, and satisfaction. 10 A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect —life in its fullness until you overflow!
I pray not only for these followers but also for those who will believe in me because of their teaching. Father, I pray that all who believe in me can be one. You are in me and I am in you. I pray that they can also be one in us. Then the world will believe that you sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me. I gave them this glory so that they can be one, just as you and I are one. I will be in them, and you will be in me. So they will be completely one. Then the world will know that you sent me and that you loved them just as you loved me.
John 17:20-23 ERV
Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears. Then, without warning, a huge earthquake! The jailhouse tottered, every door flew open, all the prisoners were loose.
How about this? Paul and Silas were imprisoned for their faith and while they were in the jail, they began praising. During this time their shackles loosened and they were set free. The awesome thing that this passage shows is that their faith and praise not only set them free, but the people around them. Our faith can raise others because when they see our Savior for who He is, they cannot help but want to be a part of it. The guards made a terrible mistake putting Paul and Silas together in a cell- let alone with others. The enemy wants to separate and isolate us from other believers and also from those we can influence. In this time of social distancing, please remember to keep connected in a safe way so that you can be refreshed by other’s fellowship and you can refresh others as well.
A fisherman was at sea when a storm came up and they feared it would sink his ship. His friends who were with him begged him to pray; but he said, “It’s been a long time since I’ve done that!" They kept asking and he finally cried out, “O Lord, I haven’t asked anything of You in 15 years, and if You help us now and bring us safely to land, I promise I won’t bother You again for another 15!”
God doesn't want this! He wants to be in constant contact with Him even about the small things. He cares about every little detail of our lives.
We can pray for ourselves or for others which is called intercession.
Intercession simply means we are praying for others. They may not even realize that we are praying for them, but the prayer of a believer holds power. Don't give up on the people that you love and are praying for just because it seems to be a lot of work. Those pains that you have related to their growth will be crowns for you, and watching their growth and their favor as fruit of your prayers and faithfulness will be sweet.
We live out God's kingdom in the same fullness we believe it and all we need is a tiny mustard seed of faith.
Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives.
Galatians 4:19 NLT
Jesus stood up and asked her, “Where is everyone? Isn't there anyone left to accuse you?” “No sir,” the woman answered.
Then Jesus told her, “I am not going to accuse you either. You may go now, but don't sin anymore.”
Then early the next morning he went to the temple. The people came to him, and he sat down and started teaching them.
The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law of Moses brought in a woman who had been caught in bed with a man who wasn't her husband. They made her stand in the middle of the crowd.
Then they said, “Teacher, this woman was caught sleeping with a man who isn't her husband.
The Law of Moses teaches that a woman like this should be stoned to death!
What do you say?” They asked Jesus this question, because they wanted to test him and bring some charge against him.
But Jesus simply bent over and started writing on the ground with his finger. They kept on asking Jesus about the woman. Finally, he stood up and said,
“If any of you have never sinned, then go ahead and throw the first stone at her!”
Once again he bent over and began writing on the ground.
The people left one by one, beginning with the oldest.
Finally, Jesus and the woman were there alone.