DayBreaks for 11/08/19 – The Sheepdogs of Jesus

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DayBreaks for 11/08/19: The Sheepdogs of Jesus

From the DayBreaks archive, November 2009:

Everyone is familiar with the various images of Jesus in scripture as the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd is good not only because of what He does for the sheep, but because of who He is in His being.  Much has been written about the sheep and the Shepherd and rightly so, and of course, Psalm 23 is the most well-known passage describing the Lord as our Shepherd.

Max Lucado, in one of his books, was looking at Psalm 23:6 which says, Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever when he suggested that “goodness and mercy” are the names of God’s sheepdogs.  While on the surface it may seem to be a flippant comment, a bit more reflection is perhaps appropriate.  We’ve become so familiar with the words of this Psalm that it’s easy to miss what it is really trying to say to us.  Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is out in front leading us as a good shepherd must do.  But if he’s out leading, who’s watching the flock as it stretches out behind Him?  “Goodness and Mercy.”

It is goodness (not ours, but His) and mercy (certainly not ours, but His) that follows behind us making sure that none of us fall by the wayside or get so far behind that we can no longer see the Shepherd.  And we need both sheepdogs: we need His goodness for we have none of our own and we need His mercy because we are sinful.  These things, David said, would follow him for all the days of his life.  We might be tempted to think, “Sure, but I’m no David.  I’m not anything like David.”  That may be true but remember that David at times didn’t act like much of a saint, either.  Goodness and mercy didn’t follow David because he had earned it, but because that is the nature of how God deals with His flock…leading them with His Presence, following along behind them with His goodness and mercy.   

PRAYER: Jesus, thank You for leading us.  Thank You for pursuing us with Your goodness and mercy.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/31/19 – He Knows the Shepherd

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DayBreaks for 10/31/19: He Knows the Shepherd

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2009:

I have been preaching a series on the 23rd Psalm.  I’ve come to appreciate much about this song of David that I never had seen or apprehended before.  Not only did David know about the life of a shepherd, he knew the Shepherd about whom he was singing.

There is a story told about a famous actor who at a gathering was asked to recite something for those gathered there.  The actor was somewhat taken aback about what to recite when an old preacher who was in attendance suggested the actor recite the 23rd Psalm.  The actor did a great job in his oration and when he was finished, received a long round of applause.  Then the actor turned to the old preacher and suggested that he, too, should recite the Psalm.  The old man, in a weak voice that quivered as he spoke, recited the same words the actor had just quoted.  When the old preacher was done, no one clapped.  It was quiet…except for the sound of sobs as those in the audience subtly began to wipe tears from their eyes.  The actor rose once more to his feet and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I communicated with your ears and your eyes. I know the words. But my old friend here communicated with your hearts. He knows the Shepherd.”

I find myself constantly asking myself the question: do I really know the Shepherd, or do I just think I do?  Do I really know Him, or do I just amass facts about Him?  If I knew Him better, would my witness for Him be more powerful – as were the words of the old preacher in the story?  I must admit that I don’t always like the answers to those questions.  I am convinced that if we really knew the Shepherd as did David or the old preacher man, our testimony and sharing of Him would be more powerful because He would be more powerfully present within us. 

Have you asked yourself lately if you really know the Shepherd or not?  We will never know in full about Him for He is infinite.  But at the same time, we can never know Him too much!

PRAYER: May we come to truly know You, the only One who has the words of life!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 2/14/19 – I AM #3: The Good Shepherd

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DayBreaks for 2/14/2019: I AM #4: The Good Shepherd

John 10:11 (ESV) I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

We’ve all seen people who obviously work just because they want the money. Their attitude, effort and words make clear that they will do as little as they can to avoid being fired and they’re happy as long as their check shows up.

The Good Shepherd is quite the opposite. He’s no hireling. He is deeply invested in each lamb in his flock. He bought them and paid for them, perhaps watched each one being born and rejoiced to see them join “his family”. This is how the Good Shepherd feels about his sheep!

Being absolutely responsible for the welfare of the sheep, in ancient times, if anything happened to the sheep that were in his care, the shepherd was required to show proof that it was not his fault. In Amos, the shepherd was even required to bring a piece of a leg or an ear from the very mouth of the lion or wolf if necessary as proof of the reason for the loss.

The shepherd was sent out among the flock just as soon as he was old enough to go and the animals became his companions and yes, even friends.

Here’s the big difference between the shepherd and the hireling: the shepherd served because of his love for the flock in his care while the hireling only wanted money. Jesus called us his friends and wasn’t just willing to lay down his life for the poor flock in his care, but actually did lay it down. And that’s why he’s not just a good shepherd, he is THE Good Shepherd.

PRAYER: Thank you, Jesus, for shepherding us with love and rejoicing over each one of us! In your name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 07/31/12 – God the Shepherd

DayBreaks for 07/3112 – God the Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd…” (Ps. 23:1a)

I have often thought about the metaphors that scripture uses to describe God.  There are many!  God is simply too large to be contained in one single metaphor or analogy.  In Traveling Light, Max Lucado takes a look at the 23rd Psalm and he (as usual) had some interesting insights.

When I have thought about the concept of the shepherd, my mind (as is humanly selfish) is often drawn to what that analogy means about ME.  I spent my first 8 years or so on a farm with sheep and other animals, and I can tell you that being described as a sheep is not flattering.  Sheep are stubborn.  Sheep are stupid.  Sheep are fearful.  Sheep are prone to wander off.  Sheep, to put it delicately…stink.  And their wool doesn’t lend itself to cleanliness.  Sheep aren’t much good for anything except eating, shearing, being eaten or sleeping.  Sheep need someone to lead them.  Not a bad description of us as humans, right?

But Max turned the concept around and instead of focusing on what the sheep metaphor means about us he probed on what it means about the Shepherd.  Listen to his thoughts about this analogy: “Couldn’t David have thought of a better metaphor?  Surely he could have.  After all, he outran Saul and outgunned Goliath.  Why didn’t he choose something other than sheep?

“How about: ‘The Lord is my commander-in-chief, and I am his warrior.’  There.  We like that better.  A warrior gets a uniform and a weapon, maybe even a medal.

“Or, ‘The Lord is my inspiration, and I am his singer.’  We are in God’s choir; what a flattering assignment.

“Or, ‘The Lord is my king, and I am his ambassador.’  Who wouldn’t like to be a spokesman for God?

“Everyone stops when the ambassador speaks.  Everyone listens when God’s minstrel sings.  Everyone applauds when God’s warrior passes.

“But who notices when God’s sheep show up?  Who notices when the sheep sing or speak or act?  Only one person notices.   The Shepherd.  And that is precisely David’s point.”

I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to make too much of scripture focus on ME (the sheep) when I should be focusing on what it is saying about GOD (the Shepherd).  God, the Shepherd, is the one who notices.  No one else does.  But He is enough!!!

PRAYER: Let us be content to be Your sheep and to keep the focus on You, our Shepherd.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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