Shepherd

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1

The first thing that comes to mind when reading David’s psalm is a picture of Christ hanging on a cross, his body bruised and bloody. Not exactly the peaceful scene in paintings of a shepherd holding a lamb in a lush meadow.

However, if you’ve spent time with animals, you understand my thoughts. There is a price one must pay for the privilege of owning sheep. They require patience, energy, and sacrifice. David’s psalm helps me understand the price the Good Shepherd paid for me.

Through the years, I’ve taken care of horses, goats, chickens, rabbits, dogs, and hogs. And each one came with a price. For whether you buy, trade, or accept animals as gifts, you can bank on paying for that animal in blood, sweat, and tears.

Blood and sweat because caring for animals is a messy job. Your hands will become scarred and dirty in the process. Tears because caring for an animal while they are sick or dying is one of the hardest things an owner will ever do. Sooner or later, you will eventually give part of your life to and for that animal.

Another responsibility David spoke of in this psalm is guard duty. Shepherds must protect their sheep from parasites, disease, and predators.

Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” John 10:7

During good weather, shepherds kept their sheep in the countryside. A circle of rocks created a pen without a gate. The shepherd protected the sheep by stretching his body across the opening. What a beautiful depiction of his love and care for us.

I’m so glad the Lord is my Shepherd. How about you?

Conqueror

A conqueror is a person who conquers a place or people.

When the great conquerors of long ago invaded a territory, they paraded the defeated foes in a triumphal entry into the city.

One of my favorite scriptures describing this event is found in Colossians. “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15 KJV). 

What is the writer of Colossians talking about? Let’s take a look.

This Cause

“Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour” (John 12:27 KJV).

Amid the festive lights of Christmas, we often forget the child in the manger came to die and to conquer.

The Mission

“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (John 12:31 KJV).

His reason? To set us free from the power of sin.

The Prayer

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:20-21 KJV). 

. . . but for them also which shall believe on me through their word. He prayed for all believers in His hour of need. Let that sink in for a moment.

The Crucifixion

“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left” (Luke 23:33 KJV). 

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30 KJV).

I love the words “It is finished.” And I also love the fact that afterward He sat on the right side of the Father (Hebrews 7:27 KJV).

The Resurrection

“In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay” (Matthew 28:1-6 KJV). 

He is Risen! What a joy it is to know our Savior lives.

The Conqueror

“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18 KJV).

“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelations 5:9 KJV).

Ain’t no grave gonna hold my body down. 🙂 I hope there is someone out there who knows the song besides me.

The King

“And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelations 19:16 KJV).

Let us rejoice. He is Risen!

Image by Bess Hamiti on Pixabay

A Reason to Hope

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:12-13 KJV).

When reading the above scripture, one would think it is a hopeless situation. There is nothing hidden before God. We stand open and naked before Him. Our best effort of being good isn’t good enough. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. We need an Intercessor, for we are incapable of interceding for ourselves.

But, all is not lost. In fact, we have hope. There is One who’s perfect, and He alone paid the price for our sins. He alone is our Hope and Great High Priest. As children of God, we can approach His throne anytime day or night! It is at His throne we find mercy and grace!

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16 KJV).

I’m so glad He is our High Priest. He always knows what we’re going through, and He has made provisions for us. We can rest in peace knowing He has everything under control. Our circumstances doesn’t surprise Him because He holds tomorrow in His hands. And that my friend is a reason to hope!

Click to Tweet: I can rest in peace knowing He has everything under control. #hope #peace @GailJohnson87

I wouldn’t say my posts this year are full-length devotions. Instead, I’d like to refer to them as devotion prompts, something to get you started. If you’d like to read more about this subject, Hebrews is a great book to read more about our High Priest. The following scriptures are some of my favorites.

Hebrews 7:24-27

Hebrews 8:1-2

Hebrews 9:12

Hebrews 9:24

Hebrews 10:11-14

Hebrews 10:21-23

What nugget of hope have you found in the book of Hebrews?