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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Five Ways Jesus Protects and Directs Me

In review of John 10:10-11 it says, “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (TLB).

Today’s passage is from John 10. In verse 10-11 Jesus tells me that the thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I (Jesus) have come in order that I might have life, life in all its fullness. “I am the good shepherd, who is willing to die for his sheep.

In contrast to the thief who takes, Jesus gives me life, which is abundantly rich and full. It is eternal and begins immediately. Life in Christ is lived on a higher plane because of his overflowing forgiveness, love, and guidance.

A hired hand tends the sheep, but only for money, while the shepherd does it out of love. The shepherd owns the sheep and is committed to them. Jesus is not merely doing a job; he is committed to love me and even lay down his life for me.

Sheep are essentially defenseless animals, so a shepherd uses a few tools to care for and protect his sheep. He uses a rod for guarding and protecting and a staff with a little crook in it to rescue the sheep.

I am much like a lost sheep, so Jesus came to Earth to be my Good Shepherd. Just as a shepherd uses the physical tools of the rod and the staff for direction and protection, God protects and directs me. I’m reminded this morning of five ways he does that:

1). If I bring my hurts to him, Jesus is compassionate. Jesus has compassion on me, because he knows that I am helpless without him (Matthew 9:36). He doesn’t put me down; he lifts me up. He doesn’t hassle me; rather he heals me. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 ESV).

2). If I follow him, Jesus leads me in the right direction. The Shepherd goes before. He leads from the front and calls me forward. Jesus is not going to push me through life. He’s going to say, “Watch how I do it. Look where I go.” “When he has led out all of his sheep, he walks in front of them, and they follow, because they know his voice” (John 10:4 CEV).

3). If I get confused or wander away, Jesus will find me and bring me back.When God brings me back from wandering away from him, he will not punish me, but he may discipline me. If a shepherd has a sheep that is prone to wander, he will often wrap that sheep’s leg so it can’t move. In the same way, sometimes God gives me a limp to keep me from wandering. “If a man has a hundred sheep but one of the sheep gets lost, he will leave the other ninety-nine on the hill and go to look for the lost sheep” (Matthew 18:12 NCV).

4). If I fail or fall, Jesus rescues me and sets me on the road to recovery. Like all sheep, I not only wander, but I also stumble. When I trust that God is going to restore me and rescue me when I fail, I’ll faithfully run to him every time I mess up. “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not rescue it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep!” (Matthew 12:11-12 NIV).

5). If I trust him to save me, Jesus will keep his promise to do just that. It’s not my job to save myself. My job is simply to put my hand in God’s and say, “God, I’m all yours, the good, the bad, the ugly.” I’m learning that God loves me too much to ever let me go. “My Father gave my sheep to me. He is greater than all, and no person can steal my sheep out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:29 NCV).

The goodness of God means he’s going to guide, guard, protect, direct, and save me. No one else can offer me these five benefits. They only come from Jesus, my Good Shepherd.

Bottom Line:
A thief only steals and destroys, Jesus came to give us a full life. He loves us so much that he laid down his life for us.

What this means to me:
Jesus wants me to have an abundant life. He loves me so much that he gave his life for me. If I allow myself to be distracted from Jesus leading, it's much like me following someone or something that will rob everything eternal from me.

In summary, Jesus came so that I might have a full and abundant life. He was willing to die for me to have this. If I bring my hurts to him, he has compassion on me. If I follow him, he will lead me in the right direction. If I get confused or wander, he will bring me back. If I fail or fail, he'll set me back on the road to recovery. If I trust him to save me, he promises to do just that. The goodness of God means he'll guide, guard, protect, direct and save me.

Father thank you for your loving kindness and care to me. You sacrifice a lot just so that I can have an abundant and full life, not only hear on earth but in eternity. Thank you for leading me and guiding me each day as I have asked. My life and effectiveness goes in helpful ways and enables me to make a difference to those I work and interact with. This morning I pray for your continued wisdom and guidance in handling my work task and responsibilities, in leading my team and with my interactions with others. I pray this through your Son Jesus name, amen!