Monday, March 17, 2014

Daily Encouragement (03/17/14) "The Good Shepherd"

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber with lambs 3/16/14 (click on photo to enlarge)
Yesterday following our church service we stopped by some friends to see baby lambs, one set of triplets and one set of twins, born a few weeks ago. (Click on photo to enlarge)

"The Good Shepherd"

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"He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young" (Isaiah 40:11).
"I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." "I am the Good Shepherd...The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep" (John 10:9,11).

Gentle Shepherd come and feed us
for we need you to help us find our way
Gentle Shepherd come and feed us
for we need your strength from day to day

Brooksyne teaching Sunday School 3/16/14Yesterday morning Brooksyne taught Sunday School, grades 3 through 5 and expounded on one of Jesus' great "I Am" statements. He declared to His Jewish listeners, "I am the Good Shepherd" and proceeded to teach about the characteristics of a shepherd. She told the children a true story that took place 50 years ago about a "modern shepherd". We share it with you today:

A lifesaving story unfolded on Washington's Mount Rainier when a dentist by the name of James Reddick wanted to teach his children, 12 year old Sharon and 11 year old David, the joys of mountain climbing.

They set out to climb the mountain when suddenly a blinding white-out, hurricane-like storm emerged, battering them with wet sheets of snow. The father laboriously dug an oblong trench with his aluminum mess kit and tucked his children into sleeping bags away from the entrance covering the opening with a tarp. But the tarp kept blowing away so Reddick had to lie directly across the opening to hold the tarp edges down.

Two days later searchers spotted the corner of a backpack protruding from a snow covered mount. They feverishly dug up the snow and inside the trench found Sharon and David alive. But their father's stiff body lay against one wall of the snow cave. He had "taken the cold spot" in one searcher's words, using his own back as the outer wall.

Stephen Weber with lamb 3/16/14This dramatic story is representative of a modern shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep.

The Bible frequently uses the metaphor of a shepherd and sheep to demonstrate people's relationship with God. In fact it begins as early as Genesis 49:24 and continues through the final book of Revelation 7:17. Of course the most beloved and comforting passage using this metaphor from the Old Testament is Psalm 23, "The Lord is My Shepherd". In the New Testament the most familiar passage is our Lord's words, "I am the Good Shepherd" (John 10:11).

Sheepfold (Photo by Ferrell Jenkins)
In the Bible period a shepherd would build a temporary sheep pen by building a wall when staying overnight in distant pastureland. He'd leave an opening where the sheep could come and go and be safe. All that remained was the closing for the door, but there was no door. Somehow a door had to be provided in order for the sheep to dwell in security.

A good shepherd, in caring for his flock, would simply lie down across the small opening. The shepherd became the door, and in this way the sheep remained inside and the wild beasts remained outside. Because the shepherd had become the door, there was nothing for the sheep to fear. Their protector and provider had guaranteed their protection from predators while also preventing them from wandering from the secure sheepfold and entering enemy territory.

Sheep 3/16/14Just like the shepherd willingly lays his life down for his sheep so also Jesus willingly laid down His life for us. He took on our adversary, the devil, who takes people captive for his own diabolical plans. But Jesus struck down the devil's scheme to enslave and devour us, and his plan for death and the grave. Because Jesus paid our sin debt and because He rose from the grave we have life triumphant here and now, and eternal glories forevermore.

Jesus, our Good Shepherd, watches over us day in and day out. Let us be grateful, as sheep who follow their shepherd, fully dependent on Jesus and fully trusting His Word that He will accomplish that which He has promised concerning us.

Like a father feeds his children
Like a shepherd leads his flock
The Lord will always guide us
Show us where to walk
And in times when we have plenty
In times when we have not
He is our Provider
And His mercy never stops

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer:  Great Shepherd of our souls, we look to You for guidance, wisdom, and protection. Just as a good shepherd would lay down his life to save his sheep You laid down Your life to save us from our sins. There is none in all the world who can save us for all eternity except You so we are fully indebted to You for giving Your all that we might experience abundant life here, now, and forevermore. Amen.

Ester with lamb 3/16/14
Ester cuddling a lamb as well. I asked Jason about the writing on the barn but he didn't know what it said. Built in 1790, I could make that out, and I presume the writing above the date is German. Can any of our readers translate it for us? (Here's a larger view using our photo from above).

Baby lambs 4/21/13
  Last year we stopped by the same farm.
Following our church service as we were visiting with friends in the foyer when Tirza (pictured) came up and excitedly informed us, "We have baby lambs!" I asked her if they were white and, misunderstanding me, she responded, "No, they don't bite".

Sheep on Echo Valley Road
"All of us, like sheep, have gone astray" (Isaiah 53:6)."The King of Love My Shepherd Is"
We came upon these sheep who had clearly gone astray on Echo Valley Road here in Lancaster County PA on our way home from a church service several years ago. (They appear to be licking the freezing road surface, but they were likely licking salt that had been spread due to icy conditions.  I'm surprised their tongue didn't get stuck!

Lancaster County lambs 4/17/13
  A photo of baby lambs in Eastern Lancaster County.

Walter and Randi Walvogel 3/15/14
Randi and Walter Waldvogel joined us for breakfast and fellowship on Saturday morning. They moved to Peach Bottom in southern Lancaster County nearly two years ago from Long Island, NY. The morning turned into early afternoon as we enjoyed our friendly visit and had many things in common. We welcome any of our daily encouragement readers to come for a visit when you're in our area. We've met so many wonderful people over the years and built lasting friendships through this wonderful medium.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Gentle Shepherd"
Video  Gaither Vocal Band

"Savior Like A Shepherd Lead Us"  Video  Discover Singers

"Like A Shepherd"  Video  Don Moen

"He Leadeth Me"  Video 
Marshall Hall

"Saviour Like A Shepherd Lead Us (Blessed Jesus)"  Video  Leigh Nash

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Stephen and Brooksyne WeberStephen and Brooksyne Weber
(Click on photo to enlarge)

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Our other blogs:
"A Daily Prayer" - A blog simply posting the daily prayer. We keep this up each day since it's merely the prayer from the Daily Encouragement Net message!
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Personal Mission Statement "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
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