"Therefore Jesus said again, I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep...whoever enters through me will be saved.He will come in and go out, and find pasture.The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."(John 10:7-10)
At night, the shepherd gathered the sheep into sheep-folds for protection.The villages had a communal fold where the sheep slept, guarded by a huge, heavy door.Only the gatekeeper had the key.Only he could decide who would go in or out, thus protecting the sheep from thieves.In the warm months the sheep would stay out in the fields at night.There was no door to block the entrance, only a walled area with an opening where the sheep could enter.The shepherd would lie down in the opening to block the sheep from leaving in the night, and to keep intruders from entering.In essence, the shepherd became the door for the sheep-fold.
That was what Jesus had in mind when he said "I am the gate."When the wolf comes to devour, our Shepherd will not abandon his post.The night-thief is blocked from entering the fold to steal away the sheep He has worked so hard to save.As sheep, we may feel secure in the green, plentiful pastures the Shepherd has prepared, and drink deeply from the waters of peace and security.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, your presence in time of trouble gives me blessed assurance that all is well even when there is danger all around me. You give me strength in my weakness, you sustain me in my time of hunger, you lift me up when I fall, and you set my feet straight again when I choose to follow the crooked path.Thank you for loving me.Amen and amen.
We had an assignment at work to create a medium for employees to pose questions to our CEO.It was to be a two-way discussion of sorts, but not in real time.The CEO could respond at his leisure.We would need a name for this concept and I put forth the name finally selected – “Virtual Voice.”
Virtual Voice may work wonders for technologically savvy people to question their CEO, but it won’t work with God.It’s got to be real!
We don’t need email; we only need “knee-mail.”We need to talk to Him directly; no middle man, no computer, no remote capability, “just me and Thee.”
Nothing special is required – we can talk to him in the closet, in the car, anywhere we are – he hears us.He knew us before we were born and yet still loves us despite our missteps.Whatever we offer him in prayer; it’s got to be real!
GospeLines Prayer:Father, thank you for keeping it real and for keeping us real with you.Often we mask ourselves pretty well from others, and sometimes even from ourselves.We aren’t very attractive when the mask is removed and we aren’t very pleased with what we see.
Gracious God, help us to know that we needn’t hide from you.We are safe and secure in your love.Help us to become what you say we are – not what the world says.Help us keep it real!
Upon receiving his sight, the blind man promoted Jesus from being a mere man to accepting Him as the Son of God!He knew that Jesus had powers beyond those of anyone he had ever known.
Napoleon was once with a group of skeptical men who were discussing the validity of the deity of Jesus.They dismissed Jesus as being nothing more than a very great man.Napoleon said, "Gentlemen, I know men, and Jesus Christ was more than a man."
The trouble with human relationships is that the more we know someone, his weaknesses and faults, the more we see that he has feet of clay.But the more we know Jesus, the greater the wonder becomes.Oh, that we could know Him better than we know ourselves, and see Him as one who will never let us down in time or eternity.Amen and amen.
Will God bring you peace in times of trouble?When you're ready to give up, will our Lord see you through?Can you really know the answers to these questions?
Before we try to answer, let's consider the circumstances of many Christians today concerning the written Word of God.We (Christians) argue and debate over which (English) bible translation is the true and correct Word of God.Some believe that the King James Version is the only "true" translation. Others believe that the NIV or the NASB are more correct because they make use of more recent discoveries of ancient texts.
For the next few moments, I ask you to step away from that debate and consider only these three scriptures:
"…the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" (John 14:26)
"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and for ever," (Hebrews 13:8)
"For I am the Lord, I change not." (Malachi 3:6)
With these scriptures in mind, let's read the following passage:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
Although I quoted this from the NIV, if you study several good Hebrew references (such as Strong's), you will quickly discover that a complete English translation of this passage might look something like this:
"For I know, acknowledge and declare the thoughts, purpose, work and plans that I have devised, forecast and conceived for you, says the Lord; thoughts, purpose, work and plans for welfare, prosperity, health and peace and not for trouble, adversity, affliction or evil; to give you hope and expectation, the thing that you long for, in your final outcome and reward."
Just as when God called Jeremiah and said, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew [chose] you; before you were born I set you apart…" (Jeremiah 1:4-5), God knows each of us.He has made plans for us that are good and holy and filled with His wonderful grace and love.All we have to do is accept His Son as our Lord and Savior and His hope, plans and expectations for us will be ours.The translation does not matter; God's Holy Spirit has written this message in your heart and you know it to be true.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, we accept Your Son Jesus as our Lord and Savior.We confess before all that He is Your Son, that He died for our sins and that He rose on the third day.Father, we accept Your plans for us; Your plans to prosper us and not to harm us; Your plans to give us hope and a future with Jesus, our Brother and Lord, for ever and ever.
“The mother of a young boy who was dying of cancer taught him the Twenty-third Psalm, having him repeat “The Lord is my shepherd” by counting these five words with his fingers starting with the thumb. His ring finger was the word “my.” When he got to that word, his mother taught him to hold that finger in his fist, symbolizing the personal relationship which Jesus had for him. When the boy died, he was found holding his ring finger. He died in the Shepherd’s arms.” (The Communicator’s Commentary, Psalms 1-71, Donald M. Williams, p. 183)
The God of David is the God of Israel, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the God of all Christians everywhere. We should carefully note the word “my.” He is not our God by some tribal or communal designation, but the God of the Bible is known in His personal relationship. All of us must come to the place that we can say the Lord is “MY Shepherd.” David’s Shepherd provides rest, direction, protection and restoration. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,” because MY Shepherd is with me.
GospeLines Prayer:Everlasting Shepherd, when I stray, correct me with your rod of discipline; when danger crosses my path, guard me with your staff of protection. Feed me when I hunger, lift me up when I fall, refresh me when I faint. And I shall abide in your presence forever and ever. Amen and amen.