Sunday, January 21, 2018

Our Good Shepherd

Hello everyone,

We have begun a journey together, to know what God wants for our lives, and to walk in that, every day of this year.  I absolutely love this, because I know that His ways are perfect and just, and that His plans concerning us are good!  In fact, they are greater than we could ever dream or imagine!  So needless to say, I’m certainly eager and ready to learn and live out whatever God has on His mind for me, as I am sure you are too!

Obviously the very best way to learn what we need to know about God’s desire for our lives, is by going to the Word of God.  I believe God’s Word is the ultimate truth and final authority of our lives, and we can completely trust its wisdom.  I also believe It is alive, and has the power to transform us from the inside out! (2 Corinthians  3:18).  When we welcome God’s Word into our hearts, it’s not just knowledge gained, but life and truth infused into us, with the purpose of bringing change!  

The Holy Spirit, alive inside of every believer, is constantly at work, causing the Word we receive and believe, to have its supernatural influence on us. (Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 3:20; 2 Corinthians 6:1 AMPC). So when we love and value God’s Word, which holds His purpose for us, and we receive it, and believe it; it goes to work, by His Spirit inside us, producing exactly what it says, in our lives.  Quite a mouthful I know, but let it sink in for a moment.  I can’t over emphasis how powerful and active God’s Word is, and how it will always produce its purpose in our lives.  

You see, God’s intension for each one of us, is to see His Word go to work and transform us into His very image.  Even though our born again spirits have been miraculously recreated in Christ, it’s our thoughts, our emotions and our wills that must be transformed each day, so we can experience His fullness in our every day lives as we live for Him.  So, since living in Christ is His perfect will for us, it only makes sense to know Him more, and to become intimately acquainted with His character and the way He feels about us.  

In my previous letter, I wrote about how God loves and values us so much, that He bought and paid for us, to become His very own. And that the goodness He demonstrated in that act, is only the beginning of the good things He has in store for us, as we willingly, and thankfully surrender our lives to Him, every day.  And even this is something we don’t have to struggle to do on our own.  Jesus Himself, through His Holy Spirit within us, has promised to personally lead us each day, to walk in His ways.  And His ways are good!

In John 10:14, Jesus declares, “I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and recognise My own, and My own know and recognise Me—...”.  Two important truths stand out for me in this verse, firstly, that Jesus is good, and secondly, just as we are recognised and known by Him, He is recognised and known by us.

Since our primary purpose is to know our God more, in this letter, I would like to spend some time getting to know Him as our Good Shepherd. I believe this will help us to confidently trust, and surrender every aspect of our lives to the Lord, including the responsibility of them! That means when we realize our finances, every material possession, our spouse, our children, and even our bodies are His; we can trust Him to take good care of everything that concerns us, because He is our Good Shepherd! (Psalm 138:8).

And it’s His goodness that will always satisfy us and bring us great joy, irrespective of what we face in this life.  When we know we belong to God, and are under His protection and His provision, we always have a hope that His good intention concerning us, is exactly what our outcome will be, as we trust Him and follow His lead.

I read a PERSPECTIVE REMINDER, written by Dr. Michelle Strydom, which  shows how powerful and essential it is for us to know how good our Shepherd is, and just how good His intentions towards us are.  (I have adapted some grammar in her sentences for the purpose of better clarification).

She wrote, “When a crisis situation comes that would tend to disturb us (rob us of peace and take us into fear and anxiety), and our adrenal glands are fired up to produce stress hormones in reaction to that, it is because we anticipate that we are on the brink of one more loss or are on the verge of yet another destructive course that has the potential to devour our lives. 

However, we can become immune to many of these stressful assaults on our spirit, soul and body that cause the adrenal glands to fire up, if we learn to filter every situation that comes into our lives, whether initially perceived as good or bad, through the grid of the Father.   If we can renew our minds to His covenant with us (His Word and the nature of His character) – we can have the peaceful assurance that God’s primary heart and intention is not for our destruction, it is for our restoration.”

In other words, when we really know and recognise our Shepherd, in a way that distinguishes Him as being good, every thought or situation we face in life, can be measured up against His character, including His willingness and ability to take care of us.   Doesn’t this remind you of Romans 8:31&32“What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?] He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?” AMPC

John 10:14, gives us something we can use as an indicator to recognise the character of our Shepherd.   Jesus said He is the Good Shepherd.  I believe, we can recognise and know Him by His goodness! 

But what is God’s goodness? I believe, if we look at the scriptures, we will get a very clear picture of what His goodness really looks like.  And as we renew our minds to it, we will be able to grow our expectation and faith to receive and experience it in our lives. 

In next weeks letter, we are going to look at one particular scripture that describes God’s goodness towards us.  This week, I’d like to share something David wrote, it shows us how he relied on the dependable character of His Good Shepherd, and how knowing and expecting His goodness gave him the hope and strength he needed to get through very difficult times.  David used God’s character as the grid to filter his challenges through,  the scale by which each trial could be weighed or measured against.  And each time, God’s goodness towards him far outweighed what was against him.  As His children, who were bought and paid for by His own blood, we can also expect His goodness towards us to outweigh any situation we face.

Psalm 27:13&14, “[What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living! Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.”

Recognize and trust in His goodness to take care of your every need this week.

Much love,


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