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Shepherd of the Sheep

Growing up in the hills of Pennsylvania, we would travel by car to my grandparent’s house every Sunday. Along to way one of my favorite highlights was seeing a hill with three crosses atop of it. Scattered on the grassy hill were sheep grazing. I was always drawn to how peaceful they looked. Though I attended church, I didn’t grasp the significance of this sight. Today it’s a beautiful picture of Jesus as our Good Shepherd who laid down his life for His sheep.

I’d like to share some passages from John 10:1-5 with you about the relationship Jesus has with His sheep. In this section Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees. “Anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters the by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all of his own, he goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” The Pharisees hear this message from Jesus but don’t understand what it means.

Let’s break this passage down. A sheep pen or sheepfold was a place where the sheep could sleep at night . Each night this would be guarded and protected by the gatekeeper. In the morning the shepherd would come and call his sheep to himself. An interesting note, a sheep pen would be a good shelter for many flocks of sheep that belonged to a variety of shepherds. Though the sheep know the voice of their shepherd and follow only him.

So what is the meaning of this passage. Jesus did a wonderful job explaining it in verses 7-16. We know the shepherd as Jesus. Any other person besides Him is a robber or thief. The sheep are those who are believers in Jesus. Jesus is our Good Shepherd because he laid down his life for those who believe in Him. (John 10:17,18)

Jesus wanted to make it clear that there are false shepherds out there. “This was a powerful message to the Jewish religious leaders who considered themselves to be the true shepherds of God’s flock.”

Jesus is our true shepherd and we can know His voice. If you have His Word them you know what His voice sounds like. His voice is truthful yet filled with grace. His voice is strong yet gentle. His voice is hopeful and life giving. Take some time to listen and be still and listen to His voice today. Let His Words wash over you and fill you with the fullness of joy!

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Alive To Righteousness

Do you see yourself today dead to sin and alive to righteousness?  Dead to negative behaviors and actions that once ruled your life.  Alive to to an uprightness of spirit and carrying now the DNA of right living that our Savior modeled. 

Let’s go back and think on today what we were once like?  What did your life look like before you met Jesus?  What were your daily thoughts and activities?  For me, I thought much about myself.  I was consumed with looking beautiful.  I desperately wanted to find someone who would love me.  So I found myself in a lot of bad dating relationships.  I wanted to be accepted, so I went out and drank with my friends and got inebriated.  My relationship with my mom wasn’t good because I would come home at 3AM.  My life apart from Christ was a mess.

The breaking and turning point of my life happened in the spring of 1990.  In one week I was fired from my job. I got a really expensive speeding ticket and almost lost my license.  To top things off the boy I was dating who I thought was “the one” broke up with me.  As a young adult, I came to the end of myself.  I remember being in the home I grew up putting the pots and pans away.  I began to talk to God.  I told him that I had been living my life for my own desires and pleasures and they left me feeling very empty and alone.  I decided to surrender myself to God that day.  Though I didn’t know fully what that meant.  So I called up my youth pastor and asked him to explain to me how to know God personally.  

Once I became a believer my life radically changed.  You might ask why?  Well, my desires changed.  I found myself going to church regularly and studying the Bible.  I wanted to help high school students who might have similar struggles that I had, so I began to work with the youth group.  I no longer had the desire to go out drinking.  My relationship with my mom changed for the better.  I no longer wanted to be out late making her worry if I was going to come home safe. God totally took my broken life and restored it to something of beauty, worth, and value.

Is there someone who needs to hear your story of redemption?  Think of a few people today that you could share your story with.  Maybe it will be a game changer in their life too.

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