AUG 21 / Sunday – Read 1 Pet 2:23-25 / Matt 18:12-14 / Ps 23 / John 10:1-18
Overview: Sheep are not smart, stray easily, and need a shepherd to survive. Ditto for us, despite our best efforts. Fortunately, we have Jesus–our shepherd–who goes to extremes to save us.
22 / Mon – Sheep? | Read Psalm 23:1 / Matt 9:35-36 / John 10:11-14 / Is 53:6
Psalm 23 is one of the most recognizable passages in scripture. Even those who don’t read the Bible know of it. What does a good shepherd look like? What do these verses reveal about Jesus? About yourself? Do you bristle at being compared to sheep or do you realize how often you might act like them? There is no shame. Instead, this is a tribute to God’s great love and care for you.
23 / Tue – For your own good | Read Psalm 23:2 / Ps 46:10
A shepherd’s main job is taking care of his sheep. They need to lie down in green pastures after grazing so they can rest and chew their cud and he makes them do it. He takes them to drink in quiet streams. A rushing stream is a death trap; it will knock them off their feet and they will drown from the weight of their water-soaked wool. Do you regularly take time to rest and think about (chew on) God’s words? Are you attracted to busy streams, not realizing their danger?
24 / Wed – Not just any path | Read Psalm 23:3 / Matt 18:12-14
A shepherd knows that making his sheep rest in good pastures and giving them water from a safe source will refresh them. Where does your Shepherd take you that refreshes your soul (life)? After enough rest, the shepherd leads his sheep along the right paths. There are many paths and some are dangerous. They may not seem so at first, but the shepherd knows what lies ahead. Do you ever balk at the path your Shepherd seems to be leading you down?
25 / Thu – Dark valleys | Read Psalm 23:4 / Jn 10:27-28
Sometimes a shepherd takes his sheep through dark valleys in order to bring them to higher pastures. This can make the sheep fearful and hesitant. It is the shepherd’s voice that reassures them. They follow because he goes before them. They don’t always know how he will bring them through that darkness but they trust him. They don’t fear any harm because he is with them and has the means and the ability to protect them. Do you believe your Shepherd will do the same for you?
26 / Fri – Enemies | Read Psalm 23:5 / Ps 18:17-19
When you face the enemies in front of you, a physical person who wishes you harm or the devil who wants to destroy your faith and your life, what is your first response? For sheep, it is to run the other way but that is not what God has for you. He not only provides what you need in full view of your enemies, but he pours oil on your head, a sign of high honor. And then he fills you to overflowing with whatever it is you need. What might that be for you right now?
27 / Sat – Looking back | Read Psalm 23:6 / Ps 118:1
David was known as a man after God’s own heart. As a former shepherd and also knowing himself to be a sheep in God’s pasture, he believed whole-heartedly that he would see the goodness and mercy of God following him all his life. As he looked back over his life, he did. Do you? Is it your highest goal to live in God’s presence every day of your life? Do you believe that you will someday see all he has done? Your Shepherd says you will. Give thanks for what you have seen so far.