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[thoughts] A Dependable Shepherd (March 2-8, 2009)

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  • Mark Roth
    Thoughts for the Week Mark Roth http://www.anabaptists.org/clp/youth/ ... This edition goes out today to 4174 subscribers. Thank you! ... A DEPENDABLE SHEPHERD
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 4, 2009
      Thoughts for the Week
      Mark Roth
      http://www.anabaptists.org/clp/youth/


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      This edition goes out today to 4174 subscribers. Thank you!
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      A DEPENDABLE SHEPHERD
      (Ezekiel 34:20-31)


      INTRODUCTORY QUESTIONS TO CHEW

      What should be done with the diseased?

      Should the Good Shepherd's flock fear?

      What do faithful shepherds do?

      Whose shepherd are you?

      What does God promise His flock here?

      What does God expect from His flock?


      WHAT DOES OUR SHEPHERD DO?
      (originally written in mid-2001; used again in early 2007)

      Pity the sheep I see almost every day. They have no shepherd, at least
      not in the Middle Eastern sense and practice. The sheep I see generally
      fend for themselves; they have no idea of what it's like to have a real
      shepherd.

      "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." The sheep have walked
      a long way to reach the green pastures. They are so tired, but also so
      hungry. They want to get busy with the business of eating. But the
      shepherd knows it is better for them to rest first. Our Shepherd knows
      when we must slow down, lie down, and rest. If we don't do so on our
      own, He brings those circumstances which force us to rest.

      "He leadeth me beside the still waters." The rushing mountain streams
      have such cool, refreshing water. But those streams are a threat to sheep
      for their wool acts like a sponge. So the shepherd dams the streams to
      create still waters which the sheep may safely and fearlessly enter. How
      many times our Shepherd "dams the rushing streams" so that we might
      drink without danger or fear!

      "He restoreth my soul." When a sheep has been frightened or injured, the
      shepherd speaks to it quietly, calmly, reassuringly. He might even sing
      to it or play on his harp. Eventually the sheep, thus restored, is ready to
      return to its rest, grazing, or playing. Our Shepherd loves to meet us in
      our time of fear, need, and disquiet to restore our souls.

      "He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake."
      Traversing the canyons, valleys, and ridges are many paths, often with
      danger yawning on one side or the other. The sheep are uncertain and
      fearful, but not the shepherd. He knows the right way. Following him
      they are both safe and at peace. I don't know my own way through life,
      but my Shepherd both knows the way and *is* the Way.

      "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no
      evil: for thou art with me." No matter what wild animals may lurk and
      prowl through this region, the sheep know they are safe if they stay in
      the presence of the shepherd. Our Shepherd is with us also . . . if we
      don't wander from Him!

      "Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." The sheep have seen the
      shepherd use his rod to beat off marauding beasts and pry loose big
      stones that have trapped sheep legs. They have seen (and felt) the staff
      gently lift a fallen sheep back to safety. Our Shepherd is well-equipped
      and well-able to protect and rescue us in our moments of need,
      hopelessness, and desperation.

      "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies." The
      high grazing lands have plenty of natural enemies of sheep: sharp stones,
      poisonous plants, beasts of prey, and other dangers. Before taking his
      sheep there, the shepherd scouts the place. He removes as many dangers
      as possible and prepares himself to deal with the others. Then he brings
      his sheep to eat. Even in the presence of danger and opposition, our
      Shepherd feeds us in safety.

      "Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over" As they enter
      the sheepfold at night, the sheep are individually inspected by the
      shepherd. He pours medicinal oil in the cuts, scratches, and abrasions
      received during the day. Then he dips a bowl in a spring of fresh water,
      offering it to each sheep before it lies down to sleep. Does your
      Shepherd want to do that for you at day's end?

      Pity many of the sheep I see every day. They have no Shepherd. They
      fend for themselves. So I say, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow
      me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
      for ever."


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      Mark Roth


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