"the Lord is my Shepherd, i lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for His name's sake."
the Shepherd works endlessly to keep His sheep - letting them feed on rich grass in the summer... protecting them from hungry predators... storing up hay for the coming winter... making sure all their needs are met through every season, every year...
"I will feed My sheep and I will cause them to lie down, says the Lord God.
I will seek that which was lost and bring back that which has strayed, and I will bandage the hurt and the crippled and will strengthen the weak and the sick...
And I will raise up over them one Shepherd and He shall feed them... and I will confirm with them a covenant of peace and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land, and [My people] shall dwell safely in the wilderness, desert, or pastureland and sleep confidently in the woods."
He finds us who are lost - lost in sin, lost in despair, lost in heartache, lost in legalistic rules - and rescues us, restoring our souls from every kind of hurt we can imagine. even when we've strayed from Him, He promises to bring us back. it's His grace and love and kindness that leads us to repentance, making us whole where we've been broken, bringing us to a place of peace where we've been anxious.... where all we have to do is feed on His faithfulness and trust as He guides.
"So Jesus said again, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that I Myself am the Door for the sheep.
I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved. he will come in and he will go out freely and will find pasture.
I am the Good Shepherd. the Good Shepherd risks and lays down His own life for the sheep.
And I give my sheep eternal life, and they shall never lose it or perish throughout the ages. And no one is able to snatch them out of My hand."
i'm continually learning and relearning that it's not by anything i do that i'm protected/restored/blessed, but what He's already done for me. it was out of His astounding grace that the Good Shepherd laid His own life down so that His sheep could enter into new, abundant, beautiful life, and there's nothing that can separate us from that. moving into the new year, i always want to keep that at the forefront of my mind... i belong to Him and no one can snatch me out of His loving grasp. i am His sheep and He restores my soul. :)
xo + happy new year!
[p.s. here's a little phone wallpaper to help us remember that. :)]