Tag Archives: Good Shepherd

Sheep and goats

My recent encounters with our goat (this morning she broke into the rabbit feed again) has caused me to ponder scripture.

The Bible says a good deal about sheep and goats, but the words of Jesus have stood out as I’ve been praying.

All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
Matthew 25:32‭-‬33 NKJV

Jesus is talking about His return to earth and what will occur.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Matthew 25:34‭-‬40 KJV

Those who are “sheep” are commended by the way they served others.

He doesn’t conclude there, but next turns to the “goats”.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
Matthew 25:41‭-‬45 KJV

Talk about heavy.

These people are condemned by their lack of service.

Yet, we know it’s not by works which we are saved.

Jesus tells us that to be saved we simply need to believe in Him.

John 3:16 NKJV — “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

So, how is it that the “sheep” believe and yet it’s their works Jesus points to as the proof of their belief?

Because true faith is evident in the daily lives of those who believe.

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
James 2:14‭-‬17 NKJV

Jesus, Himself referred to this.

Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV — “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

Belief in Jesus Christ is a faith which changes our hearts and lives completely.

John 15:8 KJV — Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

I want to be a “sheep”, content with following my Master, bringing glory to God the Father through my daily obedience.

John 10:27 KJV — My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for using my sheep and goat to remind me of Your truths. You change my heart and through that my attitudes and actions. Lord, I thank You for saving me and making me Your sheep. I thank You for continuing to teach me through Your Word. Lord, please help me to listen intently for Your voice and walk faithfully in Your paths. Thank You for Your love and salvation. Amen.

May 30

Today’s prayer:

John 10:11 KJV — I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your sacrifice! Thank You for Your incredible love. How You, Creator of all, could love so deeply as to come as one of us and die for our sins! Lord, it’s beyond comprehension. How great You are! How greatly to be praised! May my life bring glory to Your name. May my every day be lived in thankfulness and praise to You. Thank You for Your wonderous works and Your blessings. I love You, Jesus. Thank You for first loving me. Amen.

Eight days before Christmas

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Luke 2:8 NKJV

Some of God’s most faithful followers have been shepherds.

Abraham, Moses, Israel, and David were all shepherds.

In fact all the sons of Israel were shepherds except Joseph.

The prophet Amos was a shepherd.

Then Amos answered, and said to Amaziah: “I was no prophet, Nor was I a son of a prophet, But I was a sheepbreeder And a tender of sycamore fruit. Then the Lord took me as I followed the flock, And the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to My people Israel.’
Amos 7:14‭-‬15 NKJV

There’s definitely something about shepherding which seems to draw one to God.

A group of shepherds were about to meet Him face to face.

And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will  be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:9‭-‬12 NKJV

As if this wasn’t enough to get their attention…

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Luke 2:13‭-‬14 NKJV

These nameless men, suddenly became historical giants.

Because they were given a very special gift.

They were invited to see the Babe Who would save the world.

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
Luke 2:15‭-‬18 NKJV

Obviously, God knew exactly who He was inviting to the Nativity.

These shepherds didn’t keep quiet about what they’d seen.

They shared the good news “widely”.

This Christmas let us follow their example.

Let us share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

His birth, His life, His death, and His Resurrection!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for choosing these humble shepherds to be the ones to receive the announcement of Your birth as well as spread the good news of Who You are. Lord, I love that You are the Good Shepherd. You have done more for me than I can even comprehend. Lord, thank You! Please help me and my family to share the good news of You. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

October 11

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Psalms 23:1 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for this verse. There is such peace and security in it. You truly are the Good Shepherd and You have cared for and provided for me in so many ways. I am so grateful and humbled by Your never-ending love. Lord Jesus, You alone are my strength and security. In You I find all that I need: peace, love, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, understanding, and eternal life. Lord, there are many things I do not understand, but I praise You that You are using all things for Your glory. Lord Jesus, for those who are suffering, please bring them comfort. Lord, for those who are afraid or in bondage, please bring healing and freedom. Lord, for those who are piercing themselves through with many sorrows, trying to fulfill their own salvation, please bring them to the truth. Soften the hearts and return those who know of You to a right relationship with You. Lord, for those who have yet to know You, please open their eyes that they might see, open their ears that they might hear, let the truth be planted in fruitful ground. Please, Lord, put godly men and women into places of authority. Let those who are in positions of leadership be honorable before You. Please do not allow anyone to use their authority to harm others. May our lives and the lives of those who are called by Your name, be honorable before You. Please be glorified in us. Lord Jesus, thank You for being my all. Thank You for blessing me in so many ways. Lord, thank You for shining Your truth into my life. Please continue to hone my heart into Your image. I love You, Jesus. Thank You. Amen.

Shepherd

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:6

Anyone who has raised sheep can tell you they “stray” a good deal.

Many a time, as a youth, my frustration over the wandering of the flock would cost me hours of fence repair and regrouping the animals.

When a sheep is wandering outside the protection of the fence, they rarely understand their danger.

Instead it is when the shepherd or caretaker shows up that they seem to suddenly panic over their wandering and will bolt for places unknown.

They can literally run themselves to death or fall and cast themselves which also leads to death, if left in that position.

But did this state of alarm hit them as they wandered through the hole in their protection?

No.

It came when they were face to face with the one who put the protection in place.

The one who actually cares for them and understands all the dangers they do not.

Does this wayward sheep call to the shepherd, or follow them back to their safety?

No.

They bolt.

As fast as their short skinny legs will carry them.

They will blindly flee straight into a dead end and then once at the end will dash madly back and forth, back and forth, all because they left the safety of the fence.

The protection set around a grassy area, supplied with fresh water, and normally cover, all set up for their care.

Do you see yourself in the wayward sheep?

I certainly can see myself.

I can tell you that a good shepherd never ignores the wayward sheep.

Instead they follow and do whatever is necessary to return the sheep to the safety of the fence.

Jesus is our Good Shepherd.

And He laid down His life for the sheep!

All this knowledge helps me to better understand how I need to handle my walk with the Lord Jesus.

Not to be unaware of the protection He placed in my life through His Holy Word.

To learn not to panic when confronted with an area of my life where I have strayed, but to instead humbly confess and seek the security of the protection and the way back to it by following the Good Shepherd.

To realize I will never completely understand all that goes on, but I can always trust the Good Shepherd.

He really has my best at heart.

As a person who has raised these animals I can tell you, there is only one kind of sheep which does not follow the average behavior.

It’s the one which has been hand-raised.

Whether by illness or some sort of loss, the lamb was raised, not by another sheep, but by the Shepherd alone.

Those are the only ones who will come when they are called.

Will seek the Shepherd when lost.

The ones who will bleat pleadingly when the Shepherd comes into sight.

That’s the kind of sheep I want to be.