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Girlfriends in God - July 10, 2008

  • 2008 Jul 10
  • COMMENTS

July 10, 2008

I Make a Great Sheep!

Mary Southerland

 

 

Today’s Truth

Isaiah 40:1 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. (NIV)

 

Friend to Friend

Shepherds live with their sheep, finding places for them to feed and drink, providing shelter from the storms and protection from the heat. Sheep must eat the right amount of the right kinds of grass at the right times…or they will die. If the sheep eat too little one day and too much the next day, some of the bacteria which live in the stomach of the sheep will reproduce abnormal levels, creating toxins which cause sudden death. This problem was even more complex for the shepherds of the Bible. The type of shepherding referred to in the Bible is not the farming of fenced pasture lands but nomadic grazing. The shepherd must carefully plan the path and lead the way so that the sheep have neither too little nor too much grazing and are able to get to the water hole on time.

 

Pastures were often lost to extreme heat which meant the shepherd had to scour the countryside in search of green grass. Several flocks of sheep are gathered together at night in a sheltered place so that shepherds can share the watches of the night, protecting the sheep from wild animals and thieves. Good shepherds are always willing to risk their lives to save their flocks from any harm, any enemy and even from themselves.

 

The needs of sheep, compared to the needs of other animals, are greater because of their instinct to be afraid and when faced with a fearful situation, to run. Without a shepherd to care for the sheep, they would not last long. Sheep are dumb, can never be left alone and often stray, requiring the shepherd to find and rescue them. A shepherd never pushes his sheep but rather leads his sheep, going before them, making sure they are not walking into danger.

 

I make a great sheep – which is why I am so thankful that Jesus Christ is my Shepherd. I can’t count the number of times I have stubbornly stuck to my plan, foolishly thinking that it was better than His plan, only to have Him arrange my life circumstances so that they brought me back to Him. Like a sheep, I tend to run when I am afraid. Fear drives me to a place where I am trapped by doubts and darkness…until He comes and rescues me.

 

Like every sheep, I don’t like to be pushed. Shepherds do not push. A good shepherd stands in front of his sheep, leading them to a place where he has already been, positioning himself between danger, enemies and his sheep. A good shepherd is willing to lay down his life for his sheep, just as Jesus Christ laid down His life for you and for me. No matter where you have been, where you are today or where you are headed tomorrow, the Lord is your Shepherd. Trust Him.

 

Let’s Pray

Father, I don’t understand how or even why You love me and continually take care of me when I am often so disobedient and just plain stupid! When I cry, You collect my tears. When I am afraid, You fill my heart with peace. When I am lost, You make a way. You are everything I need…and so much more. I praise You, my Good Shepherd, and love You with all of my heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Now it’s Your Turn

Read Jeremiah 3:15 What kind of shepherds are describe in this verse? What place do they have in your life?

 

Read Matthew 9:36 Compare yourself to the sheep described in this verse. What circumstance in your life has you feeling “harassed and helpless”?

 

Make a list of sheep-like characteristics you can see in your own life.

How do you think a good shepherd would respond to those characteristics?

What steps do you need to take in order to let Jesus Christ be your Shepherd?

 

More from the Girls

We live in a world filled with people who, like sheep, are lost, confused, hungry, lonely and afraid. Who is it in your own life that is in desperate need of a shepherd? I encourage you to share the good news of the gospel with that person. Tell them that Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, loves them and stands waiting to lead, guide and care for them. While you are at it, take time to celebrate God’s presence and power at work in your own life. Mary’s CD, Love that Never Fails, will introduce you to the Good Shepherd and lead you to the place of experiencing the love of Jesus Christ, a true love that will not collapse under pressure or fall apart in the hard times.

 

 

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Girlfriends in God

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Matthews, NC 28106

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