"...this then is how we know we belong to the truth...and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us...for God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything..." (1 John 3:19)
"...if then the light within you is darkness...how profound is that darkness..." [Jesus] (Matthew 6:29b)
"...don't give dogs what is sacred...don't throw your pearls to the pigs... if you do, they will trample them under your feet and then turn and tear you to pieces..." [Jesus] (Matthew 7:6)
"...I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly..." [Jesus] "...when Jesus finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at His teaching...because He taught as one who has authority, and not as their teachers of the law..." (Matthew 7:28-29)
Dear Lord, you are the Good Shepherd. You seek the lost, and sometimes that lost sheep is us. You guide us when we are perplexed and bring us into your forever fold. Feed us this day. Bless those suffering and feeling alone. Make us to be satisfied in our lives as you comfort and heal us daily. More than anything else, allow us to feel the fullness you have built within us. Make us one with you. Allow us to live in that fullness and one day be united with you in eternal life, based upon your undeserved grace. In Jesus' name.
"...the One who is within you is greater than the one who is in the world..." (1 John 3:4b)
This is the Sunday of the Good Shepherd, the fourth Sunday of Easter. I have always had mixed thoughts about Jesus' teaching in this regard, until I had the opportunity to witness shepherds, first of all, in Pakistan, up in the foothills of the Karakorum range, (the Himalayas), above Chikagali, some miles from Abbottabad, way up there. You see, I was raised in Wisconsin, and we knew nothing about shepherds, except what we heard about in church on Sunday.
On several occasions, sitting together looking down thousands of feet to the plains of the Punjab, we were fascinated by a child tending her sheep, a shepherd girl, not more than nine years of age. She always seemed covered with dust, sometimes caked with dirt, face covered with her soiled niqab, because she was perhaps always outside without the convenience of water to wash. Such a sweet little girl she was and so attentive to her sheep. The sheep were like "living play-things" to her. You could see that she loved them, and that, they were her only companions day after day. Where she slept I don't know.
Whether she had regular time with her human family. I don't know. She was a small, female copy of the shepherd boy, David. She seemed so attentive and so responsible for her tender age. I often wondered what kind of future she could possibly have...I think I really knew...but for those days...her sheep were everything to her. I could imagine David being much the same as this little girl.
Jesus described himself as the Good Shepherd. The people listening to him could understand exactly what He was trying to say in providing an image for them. They could respond in a way I hadn't been able to embrace, if you will, until observing this little shepherd girl on a regular basis. Because of customs and language we were not able to communicate verbally. We were getting a footing in Urdu, but she spoke B'hari, the mountain dialect.
The boy shepherd basically lives with his sheep. They are very affectionate and sweet and communicative. He directs them, as Psalm 23 suggests, to clean, refreshing water. He leads them to green pastures. He protects them from the mountain lion, the bear, and the wolf. He develops strategies to
fend off predators that would harm or kill them. His clothing and his food come from them, almost exclusively. Frankly, I don't know how a person can live with sheep, and share so much, (sheep are capable of communicating very well), and then kill them and eat them. I guess it's just a matter of survival...
I let the Good Shepherd lead me. It seems to me that you've got to "Let go and let God" in your life, for things to really work. Yes. We always want control...and we want what is convenient...and safe...and comfortable...and familiar.
But to allow the Good Shepherd to guide and lead us is to experience adventure, a powerful and very helpful change in priorities for us. Let the Good Shepherd take control. Let the Good Shepherd have sway. Let the Good Shepherd speak to your heart about the reason you were born and the purpose in your existence.
God bless us all in these difficult days. We are in the Lord's hands. However, be safe, be healthy, be available, be well. You are precious in His sight!