Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Shepherd’

Searching for Peace?

The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul:

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil:

For thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

Thou anointest my head with oil;

My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
~~  Psalm 23  (KJV)

David’s psalms are beautiful, but this is probably the most familiar. It teaches you a lot of theology by describing God as a shepherd.

“The Lord is my shepherd.” Notice that He is MY shepherd. He is personal to me. This is a one on one relationship.

“I shall not want.” He is able and willing to fulfill my every need.

Green pastures are areas of abundance and peace. Still waters allow the sheep to drink without the possibility of drowning. Restoration of the soul gives one the ability to rejoice anew.

Heeding and obeying His commandments will keep us from doing evil. No matter where we are, His constant presence reassures us that He is sovereign. When all the world seems to be against us, He provides whatever we need. He adopts us as His children, children of the King.

His presence in our lives is our abundance and provision. Now and always. We are His forever. That is the essence of our peace – not who we are, but whose we are.

Father, God,

Thank you for being our peace, our total provision at all times and in all circumstances. Grant that we, like sheep, may hear and follow only the Shepherd’s voice.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Advertisements

The Promised One

Focus verses: Micah 5:1-5

These verses tell us of the coming Messiah. It is one of a number of foreshadowings of Christ in the Old Testament.

In this prophesy, Israel has been abandoned until such time as the birth of this Ruler. Israel was under the thumb of Rome at the time of Christ’s birth. Roman troops occupied the land. The priestly authorities had to go to the Roman ruler of the land to verify whether they could function or not. Israel was merely a geographical designation for a portion of the Roman Empire.

“He will stand and shepherd his flock.” A shepherd was a nomad. He traveled the area with his flock, moving from one pasture to the next. Sheep have a split lip and can get their teeth even with the ground, cutting the blades of grass next to the roots. When sheep have grazed in a pasture, it needs time to regrow before it can be used again.

The Lord moved with His disciples, from one city to another in the land. At each location He taught or did something different from the last time. Then He moved on, leaving the people to assimilate what He had done or said. Or the people followed Him to the next place where He taught something more.

“He will be their peace.” Sheep follow their shepherd in confidence because they know he will never lead them in dangerous places.

He is our peace in all circumstances, if we have put Him at the center of our lives. He will never lead us astray. We can rest securely in Him.

Father, God,

Reinforce in us the desire to follow the Good Shepherd. Help us to keep our eyes on Him and the narrow path He leads us.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Prepare To Meet Your God

Focus verses: Amos 4:12, 13

Amos was a shepherd, not a scholar. He speaks in plain language, but his speech is a warning and judgment upon Israel.

The most frightening words of today’s reading, however, are these: “Prepare to meet your God, O Israel.”

People who do not ordinarily give God a second thought frequently turn to Him when things go desperately wrong in their lives. The old saying “there are no atheists in foxholes” was coined during a war. When one’s life is on the line, it is comforting to think that someone in authority cares about it.

But Amos lists a series of calamities that befell Israel, and the people hardened their hearts and did not return to the Lord. He implies that the Lord brought these calamities on the people for the purpose of turning their hearts toward Him, but this stubborn and stiff-necked people thought they knew best.

Meeting the Lord, face to face, when one has not served Him, when one has given lip service only, when one has left Him out of one’s life, can be a scary thought. Imagine meeting this all-powerful stranger!

We should spend our entire lives preparing to meet our God. Reading His word, praying, serving, praising, relying on Him for our every breath. Those are the preparations to meet our God. If we do this, when the time comes to meet Him face to face, we will be greeting a loving, doting, benevolent Father, not some impersonal stranger.

Father, God,

Help us to spend more time with You in our busy days. Teach us what You would have us know about Yourself. Grant us an awareness of our total dependence upon You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Familiar Territory

Focus verses: Psalm 23

David’s psalms are beautiful, but this is probably the most familiar. It teaches you a lot of theology by describing God as a shepherd.

“The Lord is my shepherd.” Notice that He is MY shepherd. He is personal to me. This is a one on one relationship.

“I shall not want.” He is able and willing to fulfill my every need.

Green pastures are areas of abundance and peace. Still waters allow the sheep to drink without the possibility of drowning. Restoration of the soul gives one the ability to rejoice anew.

Heeding and obeying His commandments will keep us from doing evil. No matter where we are, His constant presence reassures us that He is sovereign. When all the world seems to be against us, He provides whatever we need. He adopts us as His children, children of the King.

His presence in our lives is our abundance and provision. Now and always. We are His forever.

Father, God,
Thank you for being our total provision at all times and in all circumstances. Grant that we, like sheep, may hear and follow only the Shepherd’s voice.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.