Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Words of Encouragement

Can you image this mother leaving her child alone to take care of herself? No, she would not leave her young child alone. Instead she would willingly sacrifice herself for her child's safety. She carried this child and cannot think of doing anything to harm her. That is the same with God. He "birth" us as his children and he will not leave us alone to take care of ourselves. He willingly sacrificed his Son so that we would not have to be lost and alone.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. - John 10:11-15

Feed my Sheep. I love my Sheep. Jesus uses the example of the shepherd to bring the message of how important the people are to him. He tells about himself being the shepherd. The shepherd cares so much for the sheep that he does not think his life is more important than the sheep, because he willingly will lay it down to protect them.

He then uses the contrast of what the hired help looks like. The hired help as soon as trouble comes will abandon the sheep and leave them at the prey of those that will kill or destroy the sheep.

This is true for the Father. God knows Jesus because he is his son. Jesus says he willingly lay down his life for the sheep because they belong to his Father and his love for the Father is what is most important.

What is the lesson for you and I? The question arises again that Jesus asked Peter, do you love me? Then feed my sheep. Jesus loves the sheep. He is willing to lay his own life down so that the sheep are protected. What Jesus then calls you and I to is to be Him in the lives of his people. Oh we are not able to save as Jesus, but just as Jesus stood to represent the Father, we must be willing to represent the Son. When I stand for Jesus as his representative I cannot run away like a hired hand at the first sign of trouble. Instead, I must be willing to stand with the sheep (the people) and help them fight off the destroyer.

This is just another way of saying God calls us to intercede in the lives of our brothers and sisters. When they are going through a hard place we cannot run away, but we must stand just as Jesus would. We stand because when Jesus asked us the vital question of do you love me, we answered yes. And when we answered yes he then said show it, take care of my sheep.

Jesus loves his sheep, aren't you glad about that? Jesus does not leave you and I alone to fight our battles. His presence is with us, and he will also place us on the hearts of others so they too will stand with us.

Today, Lord help us to be willing to love your sheep, because you love them as well. You call us to love you and to love another. Help us this day to feed your sheep. There is someone this day, that will need us to stand for you in their lives, help us not run away, but to stand with spiritual weapons in hand, and fight for your sheep that you love.