February 11. John 10:1-18
So ... how's it going? Are you enjoying your little bit of quiet each day, studying God's Word and meeting with Him? I have such a happy picture in my mind of all of us nestled in close to the Father, learning as He teaches us!
So how familiar are you with sheep and shepherds? I didn't know too much about either until we moved to Stuttgart, Germany in 1989. We lived in a huge military apartment complex in a place called Robinson Barracks. The buildings were huge and drab. They each housed 6 families and the top floor of each one was a general recreation room, a bathroom, and 6 "maids quarters", although none of us had maids - ha! We used them for our guest rooms or for storage. In any case, the one redeeming feature of this rather stark location was the huge field in front of our apartments. It was much larger than a football field and had dips and hollows and the occasional shade tree in it. Best of all, sheep came often to graze in that field, led there by their shepherd and his dog.
My girls and I were enthralled. The shepherd spoke no English and our German was quite limited, but we smiled and nodded and a friendship of sorts sprang up. He even let the girls hold a lamb! The sheep were a peaceful lot, all clumped together eating and then moving to another patch. The field was bordered on three sides by our military compound. The fourth side was bordered by a very busy highway. The sheep and shepherd literally stopped traffic twice a day to cross the highway and come and graze!
One fateful day, our dog Tank got away from me when the sheep were in the field. He was a Chow/Shepherd/Some Other Kinds of Dog mixture. And boy oh boy did he take off after the sheep! He rounded them up like a pro, although to my knowledge he'd never been around sheep in his life. I shouted in despair, losing my voice commanding him to come back, but to no avail. He was doing what he was born for - but doing it very poorly. He was herding them right toward that busy highway and they were trotting along at a hefty pace. I still can remember my heart palpitations. The shepherd, however, was alert and quick. He shouted a command to his own dog, who immediately raced to the far side of the trotting sheep and stopped them in a huge clump while I finally caught up with Tank and dragged him away as the shepherd shouted at me. (I'm very glad I did not know what he was saying!)
So. I have witnessed what happens when sheep need to be protected and a good shepherd is close at hand and watching. We have the Best Shepherd of all. And when some threat comes toward us, He is on guard and ready to protect us. I'm so grateful that He calls me by name and I belong to His fold ... with all of you who know Him, too!
My verse: John 10:10 "The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."
My response: Lord, this teaches me so much about You. You come to give life, and life abundant! It's the enemy who seeks to steal, kill and destroy. Help me to readily identify where the enemy has been at work, stealing abundant life away, and help me to remember that from You come the good gifts of rich and satisfying life to the full.