Thankful: God is the good shepherd

I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me, as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep.

– John 10:14-15

Today, I am thankful that Jesus is the good shepherd.

Jesus knows me. I am His. And Jesus intends for me to know Him, like He knows the Father. As the good shepherd, Jesus cares for me, provides for my needs, helps me to rest and enjoy the beauty He created (makes me lay down in green pastures) and guides me toward peace (leads me beside the still waters). Jesus protects me and teaches me to walk by His side.

He is my shepherd. Sometimes He needs to comfort me with His rod and staff, but He never gives up on me. When I wander off, He comes and finds me, rescuing me from the pit I’m ensnared in.

He is with me always, through the day and through the night. He knows my flaws and weaknesses. He knows what causes me to stumble. Jesus notices when I cannot take another step, and then carries me on His shoulders, just as He carried the cross.

His arms stretched out to take on my sin, to endure the punishment I deserved. Love compelled Jesus to lay down His life, lifted up on the cross.

I am secure as one of Jesus’s sheep. He says that “my sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish – ever! no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:27-28)

The Good Shepherd is so good to me.

Finish the sentence

Romans 8:28

Romans 8:28

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.

We’ve heard others use the Romans 8:28 reassurance so many times in the midst of tragedy or frustrating circumstances to basically say, everything is going to be okay. God will use all of our struggle for the good, eventually.

It’s “in the meantime” that threatens to defeat us.

When “we know that all things work together for the good” is not enough for our current suffering, finish the sentence.

This promise is for those who love God, those who are called according to His purpose.

When we are waiting for all things to work together for good, and the waiting is overwhelming, focus on these truths:

God loves you. His love never fails.
Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. We love because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:10, 19

Remember that God loved us first. He didn’t wait for us to get it together. He loved us so much, He stepped into this world to pay for our sins we hadn’t even yet committed and exchanged His life for ours. The only reason I can love is because He IS love and proved it. No matter what we are going through, His love is worth living for.

We are called on purpose and for His purpose.
As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we have been called by Him. He has called and chosen me by name. He has called and chosen you by name. That wasn’t an accident. We are called according to His purpose. Don’t let the gravity and wonder of that statement leave you. Romans 8 goes on to say “For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.”

Be encouraged by these Scriptures about our purpose:

If I walk into the thick of danger,
You will preserve my life
from the anger of my enemies.
You will extend Your hand;
Your right hand will save me.
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.
Lord, Your love is eternal;
do not abandon the work of Your hands.
– Psalm 138:7-8

“I, Yahweh, have called You
for a righteous purpose,
and I will hold You by Your hand.
I will keep You and appoint You
to be a covenant for the people
and a light to the nations,
in order to open blind eyes,
to bring out prisoners from the dungeon,
and those sitting in darkness from the prison house.
– Isaiah 42:6-7

But get up and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a witness of what you have seen and of what I will reveal to you.
– Acts 26:16

In fact, read all of Romans 8.

God is at work in “all things”. He wants us to experience His love and live out His calling, especially in the meantime.