I am Guided by the Good Shepherd

He Leads Me ….

He leads me along the right paths for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:3, HCSB

I settled into the saddle, took up the reigns and held my breath.  My mule was about to step into the Grand Canyon, and the first bend we rounded caused me to cry out, “How beautiful!”  I couldn’t help myself.  The morning sun turned the red rock to fire, the depth was dizzying, the patterns amazing.  That canyon deserved praise.  To see it and not verbalize its beauty was unthinkable.

How much more does the creator of the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains and Victoria Falls deserve our praise?  His name is worthy of anthems and orchestras and poetry.  And, just as I’d love to show you the splendor of the earthly places I’ve seen, God wants to display his own splendor to the people He created. He wants them to revel in His beauty and lift up His name.

And so, He does something that perhaps we don’t think about much when we read the 23rd Psalm.  He guides His sheep along paths that will glorify His name.

But sometimes, the sheep don’t like it much. We’d rather pick the paths that glorify our own names, or at least give us some comfort and luxury.  I mean, won’t a good shepherd want the best for fluffy little ‘ole bleating me?  He’ll guide me in the path of a nice, air-conditioned home, a lucrative job and excellent schools for my children, right?

Not necessarily.  Those aren’t His goals when he picks out my paths.  His goal is to bring glory to His own name. That means He may send this sheep to dirty, hot, hungry places to tell others about His love.  That means he may allow me to suffer in the short term so that my trust in His redemption so impresses those around me that they, too, glorify His name.

And, in the future, we will see that those sojourns on the difficult paths not only glorified God’s name, but also made us into stronger sheep.  And when we step into heaven, our reward awaits us – the reward of the Good Shepherd to his faithful flock.

So, choose my path, Faithful Father.  And guard me from complaining when it doesn’t suit my fancy.  Keep my eyes on You, not myself.  May Your name be glorified on every road my hooves walk.

I am secure

I am Secure: A Joint Post

 

“My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of my hand” ~John 10:27-28 HCS

From Susan

My husband, Steve, carrying two porcupines but no warthog, walked back to the village outpost, which was nothing more than a couple of mud huts and a watering hole.  He and his West African hunting buddies sank into bamboo chairs in the shade under a rice-sack lean-to.  They’d have to wait until evening to try again.  The conversation died down, and a few of the men drifted off to sleep.

Steve was awake, though, when two flocks of sheep arrived at the watering hole from two different directions, each led by a Fulani man carrying a shepherd’s stick across his shoulders.  Sheep from both flocks melded together in one bleating, thirsty mass.  The shepherds spread out their mats under a mango tree and brewed tea over a little fire while the animals drank and milled around.

About an hour later, one of the shepherds stood to leave.  He didn’t even glance at the sheep.  He just took out a tin can and beat a rhythm on it as he walked away.Fulani Shepherd

Half the sheep scrambled, pushed and even climbed over others in a frantic effort to follow him.  The shepherd chose a path next to Steve’s lean-to, and the sheep, many running to catch up, did too.

The other half of the sheep? They just hung out at the watering hole, unfazed.  Their shepherd still sat beneath the tree.

From Jen

As Christians, we may mingle and blend with another flock, but the sheep who belong to the Savior follow His voice. In Him we have safety. In Him we have everything we need.

Sheep need the care of the shepherd. Left to their own, they overgraze their food source, and have a tendency to get themselves in difficult, life-threatening situations. They simply need the overseeing protection of one who is wiser and who can meet the needs they are unable to meet on their own.

No wonder God often uses the image of a shepherd and his sheep. Left to our own, we take the good in front of us and misuse it to our destruction, we let ‘blessings’ over come us until we cannot stand under the weight of it all, and we love to see how far we can stretch the boundaries until we find ourselves in difficult, sometimes life-threatening situations.

We need His care. His protection.

Security comes from the shepherd. He tends His flock with wisdom and love. He leads us to green pastures and guides us to calm waters. He meets every one of our needs.

And all I need to do? Simply follow His voice.