I AM…the Good Shepherd

john 10 11“I am the good shepherd.” Jesus made this bold statement in John 10:11 and 14.  He knew the people understood the job of a shepherd and the sacrifice it entailed.  They were to guard their sheep with their life both during the day and night against wolves, bears, and any disaster that might come their way.  He was their first and only line of defense against the outside world.  Jesus was identifying and claiming this same relationship and responsibility with those who were following Him then and those of us who would follow Him in the future.  I love the passage in John 10 as it gives me comfort and assurance of who Jesus is to and for me.

11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

Jesus promises that He is the good type of shepherd that will stick with us always.  He was not hired to watch over us but is committed to us because He loves us.  He affirms that He has a relationship with us in verse 14 and He knows us and we know Him.  Jesus says He willingly sacrificed His life to save us and bring us into a close relationship with Him and the Father.  Romans 5:8 puts it this way, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Hand lettering God is good on watercolor heart.The attribute of being good belongs to God alone.  It is His nature to be good where our nature is rooted in sin.  So when Jesus says He is the good shepherd, He alone can claim this as He is God.  Here are a few verses extolling God’s goodness:   Psalm 34:8 “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!  Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”   Lamentations 3:25 “The Lord is good to those who wait for him,  to the soul who seeks him.”  Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good,  a stronghold in the day of trouble;  he knows those who take refuge in him.” Titus 3:4 “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,”    God’s goodness was truly shone when He sent Jesus to redeem us.  He desires to know us and love us.  Through Jesus we can be  brought into the arms of our loving Father.

john 10 14Jesus rightly claims to be our good shepherd, do you know Him?   He knows you and desires to embrace you with His love and care.  Step into His arms today and receive His love and protection and find that safe harbor in Him for eternity.

Linda

A Day of Remembrance-9/11

9 11As we ponder the significance of 9/11 today, what comes to your mind?  This is the 19th year anniversary of that tragic attack on the twin towers in NY and the Pentagon.  Many of those alive today have no memory of that horrific day and those terrifying events.  The same could be said for December 7th and the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Both bring extreme sadness at the unnecessary loss of innocent lives, the aftermath of the events and their impact on families, the nation and our way of life.  A great sense of invasion and insecurity looms in my mind.

As I looked back, four years ago on 9/11 my new book, Promises for Dynamic Living arrived.  The arrival of a new book you’ve written is a momentous time for an author.  At the heart of this book is hope and security.  God’s Word provides us with an anchor for our souls in Christ and redemption though His work on the cross.   Knowing promises our Heavenly Father has made to us, gives me hope as I know He is eternal and always faithful to keep His promises.  He promised to send a savior and He did in the person of His own Son- Jesus.  What hope we have in Christ! He fulfilled all the promises in the Bible about himself and all questions about redemption are Yes in Him.  We do not need to fear for our future as it is guaranteed by Christ himself.

So what of 9/11 and those fears and insecurities?  Turn them over to Jesus and depend upon Him in all things.  We can cling to Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”    Nahum 1:7  “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in him.”  Isaiah 26:3-4 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”  John 14:27  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”    I pray one of these verses gives you added hope in Jesus today.

Living in a troubled world with HOPE,

hope in Christ

Linda

A study in God’s Word that will bring you hope and assurance for living in a troubled world.  Available on Amazon or at Certa Publishing.Promises-for-dynamic-living-cover

I AM…the door of the sheep

John-10-9Many translations use the word gate instead of door, but the sheep pen used by shepherds was a rock enclosure with only 1 gate or door into the pen.  They would sleep at the door preventing anyone or thing from entering and harming their sheep.  This is a wonderful picture of Jesus as our protector or guardian of our safety.  One we are in his ‘pen’ no one or nothing can ever take us away from Him.

Jesus adds to this idea of guardian by saying He is the door.  John 10:7 -9 “So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”   When we accept Jesus into our life we have entered by the door- the only door to salvation.  Act 4:12 confirms this truth, “12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  Many might say there are many ways to be saved, many doors or gates but Jesus is emphatic that He is the only true door to salvation.  He warns that others -thieves and robbers have or will come, but He admonishes us to not listen to their lies and depend upon Him for salvation.

Why choose Jesus?  His door leads to love, compassion, freedom from sin, an inheritance sealed with by the Holy Spirit, life eternal, …. the benefits are many for those that choose to enter into a relationship with Jesus.  He is the only one who can redeem us romans 5 9from our sin-filled state of being, Romans 5:8-9  “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”  Meditate upon His goodness and love for you today and His mercy in loving you even when you still in sin- He sent Jesus to redeem you!  Praise God! 

Linda

Is God your Shepherd?

good shepherdDavid saw God as His shepherd and wrote about him in Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.          The shepherd provides.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.       The shepherd guides
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.                                          The shepherd restores.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;                                      The shepherd protects and comforts.
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me              The shepherd knows the future and
in the presence of my enemies;                                prepares for me.
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me        The shepherd is with me eternally.
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

 

Do you regard the Lord God as your shepherd?  The shepherd was the one who tended, cared, protected, defended and loved his sheep.  God is described as the shepherd of the nation of Israel in Isaiah 40: 10-11 “See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,….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.”  Jesus described himself as the good shepherd in John 10:11 “ “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”  Then in John 10:14-16 “ “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. (Here Jesus was referring to those who were not Jews, the Gentiles.) I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”   Jesus is the perfect image of the good shepherd.  The sheep listen to Him, know Him and He sacrifices Himself for this beloved sheep.  What a beautiful pictures of our loving God.

good shepherd 1Today as you reflect upon God, consider the 23rd Psalm and Jesus’ words in John.  Know that you are loved and cared for by your loving heavenly Father and that your good shepherd, Jesus, will guide, protect, defend, hear, and love you. 

Linda

Remembering Father’s Day

 

 

Psalm 103:13 “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.”

Proverbs 23:24 “The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him.”

Sunday is Father’s Day and it’s approach has caused me to think reflectively about  my earthly father, Henry Beecher Chrisp. He was a loving father, but demanded that we behave well, work hard, show respect and not give up easily.  He loved to work with his hands building things and to fish.  Dad loved the outdoors by cultivating flowers, growing a vegetable garden or simply taking a hike or ride through the forest.  He had a deep faith in God.    He showed me God, the Father, through his compassion and love for me.  Dad was always one to love what we did and took pride in our accomplishments.

I hope your own father reminds you of God, the Father,  in some personal way.  I felt blessed and fortunate to have a father who loved me and wanted the best for me.  I know all earthly fathers are not like that.  Fortunately, we all have a perfect Heavenly Father we can look up to and depend upon.  He will always be there for us and promises to never leave us or forsake us.   Thank you Lord.

Have a blessed Father’s Day filled with good memories or activities with your father.

Linda

“The Memory of the Righteous is a blessing”… Semper Fi (forever faithful)

IMG_0825
Normandy cemetery, Normandy, France

For this holiday- Memorial Day- the greeting, “Happy Memorial Day” just does not express the appropriate sentiment.  Memorial Day is a day to remember the sacrifice of soldiers who have died in war.  It began after the Civil war and was originally called ‘Decoration Day’.  It was later extended to honor all fallen soldiers in any war.  Jesus told us in John 15:13  “Greater love has no one than his, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Anyone who joins the military knows they might be called to go to war and fight.  Believing in life, freedom and the independent pursuit of happiness is declared in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights and gives motivation and heart to their call to defend our nation.  It is an honorable calling that is worthy of our acknowledgement and remembrance.  Proverbs 10:7The memory of the righteous is a blessing,
 but the name of the wicked will rot.” 
  Who will you remember today that has answered the call and given their life for their friends?  You and I need to consider ourselves their friends and it is our obligation to their sacrifice that we remember them.  Scripture teaches that remembering will be and is a blessing to us.  Remember both the living and the dead, as both made or are making sacrifices on our behalf.

Will you attend a parade, a breakfast, have a time of prayer, watch a war movie?   Any of these things can be a cause to remember those that have fallen and give thanks for their sacrifice for you and for me.  Have a blessed Memorial Day!  I think that would be the proper greeting and I send it to you!

Linda

IMG_0816Prayer:  Thank you Lord, for those brave men and women who have given their all- their lives- so that I can enjoy the freedoms our country provides.  Help me to be honoring to their memory and sacrifice knowing they laid their lives down for me, someone they did not even know.  Give me an attitude of thankfulness for those Veteran’s that are still living and help me to honor them.  Lord, give our leaders wisdom and a sense of unity in working to preserve that for  which so many have died.  Amen.

P.S. This year we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the “D” day landing at Normandy where so many died, June 6, 1944.   Today, remember their great sacrifice for freedom.

Loving Jesus Requires Faith in Action

Today’s post-resurrection appearance is a continuation of the fishing scene I wrote about in Encountering Jesus brings on May 17, 2019.  When they (Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, John and James and  two other disciples) had followed Jesus’ instructions and cast their nets as He directed, they hauled in a great catch.  Jesus had a welcoming fire waiting on the beach and beckoned them to bring some fish for roasting.   They ate together and then Jesus spoke to Peter.

john 21 15When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. ”  John 21:15-17

Jesus had previously had an encounter with Peter where I’m sure they dealt with Peter’s great guilt over his denial.  (Luke 24:34, 1 Corinthians 15:5)  Scholars put this first appearance to Peter on Resurrection Sunday where this encounter in Galilee is later.  Here it would seem Jesus is making a point of asking Peter about his proclaimed love for Him.  He asks 3 times, like his denials.  Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him and if he does, then Peter is to show his love for His sheep.  He is to feed or tend to His sheep.  Throughout the gospels sheep have been synonymous with followers and my sheep specifically believers in Jesus.   John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”  Jesus is the good shepherd who died for all believers.  John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,”  and John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”   Jesus is asking Peter to demonstrate his love for Him by leading, tending, loving, caring for, guiding, protecting…. those who are believers in Jesus.  He is saying ‘be a good shepherd’ to the flock of believers that come into your life.

Isn’t that what Jesus wants for us too?  As believers, like Peter, we are to look out for others, lead them towards Jesus, care for them, show them kindness and give that ‘cup of cold water’ in His name.  Knowing Jesus, requires us to take up this ‘job’ and love others.  We do it not because we have to but because we love Jesus.  James tells us faith without works is dead (James 2:26 ) and loving and showing Jesus to others is our compelling love Jesuswork for Him.  We do it not out of obligation or for future reward but out of love for our Savior.  Who will you show love to today?  Who will you ‘feed or tend’ in Jesus’ name?

Linda

Is Jesus personal to you?

Several of the post-resurrection appearances were to specific individuals instead of groups.  Jesus met Mary as I wrote about in the blog of May 3, 2019,  but today I want to look at Jesus’ appearance to Peter and James.  The appearance to Peter is mentioned in Peter appearancepassing in Luke 24:34 “saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”  and in 1 Corinthians 15:5 by Paul “and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve”.   The Luke message was delivered to the disciples by the two men who Jesus met on the Road to Emmaus (blog of 4/23/2019).  Here the men referred to Peter as Simon using his old name.   Jesus also referred to Peter by his old name when He told him he would deny Him three time before the rooster crowed. The prediction of the denial is recorded in both Matthew 26 and Mark 14.  The actual denial event is recorded in all 4 gospels, Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22 and John 18.   Peter was not acting with his new believing nature, clinging to the rock of faith which is Jesus, but with the old, impetuous, doubting nature of unbelieving Simon.  It shows great compassion from our Lord to singularly appear to Peter to forgive and restore him.  Jesus would have known the anguish and guilt Peter was feeling after his denial of Jesus the night before the Crucifixion.  The forgiven Peter went onward, never doubting nor denying his Lord and Savior again.  Jesus personally knows what we need and seeks to be there for each one of us.   What a wonderful, compassionate and loving Savior we serve.

The other post-resurrection appearance that was mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:7 was to James.  Scholars believe this was James the half-brother of Jesus and not one of the other followers named James.  His brother did not believe in Christ before the resurrection, but afterward became a prominent member of the church in Jerusalem, wrote james appearancethe book of James and died a martyr’s death in 62 A.D.  “Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.”  This appearance speaks to me of Jesus’ compassion and love for his earthly family and for those who are lost.  2 Peter 3:9  “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”.   He knew James needed to see Him personally to be confronted with his unbelief.  Jesus does that for each one of us as we seek to come to faith and trust in Him.  He is a personal God that loves and cares for each of us.

Jesus personal GodIs Jesus personal to you today?  Do you claim Him as your God and Savior?  Mary did in Luke 1:47 “and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,”  Thomas did in John 20:28 “ Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” and Paul in Philippians 4:19 “ And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”    Let Him hear your words of declaration today as you thank Him for being your God and Savior.

Linda

Love, where does it come from?

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have love for others. Jesus was very emphatic that as Christians we are to show love for one another. First we are to love God then others. Matthew 22:37-39 “Jesus replied, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Jesus also spoke of loving others in John 15:12, 15 “My commandment is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” “This is my command:Love each other.”

Why is loving others so important? It shows we strive to be like Jesus. His character and love are perfect and He desires that we grow to reflect Him. Jesus said in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” What is this love supposed to look like? Romans 12:10 gives us direction. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Hebrews 10:24 tells us it is to be a continual thought in our minds, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.

Where does this loving and honoring attitude come from? Since Jesus commands it, when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior His spirit indwells us and empowers us for right living! Paul eloquently wrote to the Ephesians in 3:17b-19 “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Being filled with the love of Christ leads us into a life filled with love and good deeds towards others.

Linda

Suggestion: Ask God to send you someone special to love with His love today.

“Stand with me bro” I need you by my side.

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have brothers and sisters in Christ.  Jesus speaks of His family of faith and calls us His brothers, sisters and Bro and sis familymother in Matthew 12:48-50. ” 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”    Jesus’ earthly family had come looking for Him and this was His reply.   Those who believe in Jesus and strive to follow God’s Word are considered family by Jesus.   What a privileged position this is!  Not only are we linked to Jesus but we share a family position with all believers who know Him as Lord and seek to follow His ways.  

This family bond is something very special.  I have sisters in Christ that I see infrequently as our paths in life have taken different directions.  It is amazing to me that when we meet it is as if we were never apart.  That instant bond is there and we see love, trust and hope in being with each other.  When a brother or sister leaves, it is always with the hope of seeing them again either here on earth or in heaven.  The constancy of the bond of fellowship is always present and binds us in love.

Here are a few scriptures about brothers and sisters in Christ and how we are to work together:  Romans 15:30 “I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf,”  We are to pray and strive together to do God’s will.    1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”  We are to stand together firmly as we work for the Lord with hope.    Philippians 4:1 “Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.”  We have a shared love in Christ and a desire to stand firmly for Christ.    2 Thessalonians 3:13 “As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.”   We are to work together to do good in the name of Christ.

What a great comfort and encouragement it is that we have brothers and sisters in faith that we can stand with in our shared love for Christ and work together to accomplish His purposes.

Linda

bro and sis in ChristSuggestionTell one of your brothers or sisters in Christ how you appreciate their prayers on your behalf or how you love standing and working with them or how much you love and appreciate them or how much it means to you to have someone to share in the good work of Jesus or all of the above!  A kind work of appreciation brings glory to God as He works within us.