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Friday, March 9, 2007
Sheep and lambs curious as to what I was up to trying to get near them for a photo!
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"The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day" (Genesis 48:15). "The Lord is my shepherd" (Psalm 23:1).
Today is our daughter, Ester's 18th birthday. She is so excited that she awakened on her own at 6:15 this morning (even though there's no school today.) She told me the other day in anticipation of this big day, "I just can't believe I made it this far." Well, that's really a phrase you might expect from someone 81 rather than 18, but she is aware of her many major medical overcomings and the blessing of living another year on this side of eternity.
The other day Ester and I passed the farm scene above although there wasn't snow on the ground at the time. When she saw the lambs Ester said, "Daddy, they're so cute, let's stop and look." What a great opportunity to reinforce the Biblical teaching of the role of the Shepherd. Christ Himself declared, "I am the Good Shepherd" * and the Psalmist reveals our role as His followers to be "the sheep of His pasture."
The twenty-third Psalm is especially comforting near life's end. We typically recite it at the bedsides of the infirmed and elderly. But we would do well to recite this Psalm regularly as we awaken to a new day and recognize our need to look to the Great Shepherd for all that lies ahead, whether it be unexpected blessings or unexpected trials.
In the first daily text Jacob is blessing his sons as he recognizes his departure from this life is near and he makes a wonderful profession of his faith. He acknowledged his godly heritage as, "The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked."
I am especially blessed by this phrase, "The God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day." This is the very first reference in the Bible that speaks of God as a Shepherd. The shepherd is one of the most familiar images used in the Bible to describe God's relationship with humanity. Note the beginning of the 23rd Psalm where David addresses God as "my shepherd" signifying the personal aspect of his individual relationship with Him.
May we rejoice in the wonderful truth as we individually proclaim, "The Lord is my shepherd."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: We look to You, our Great Shepherd, as we follow in the paths You have marked out for us. We lack for nothing even when we go through the valleys, because we are led by Your hand. It is when we seek a different route that we find ourselves weak, lacking, and unprotected. Help us to hold fast to Your direction and always listen for Your voice. Because we have entered through You, the Gate, we will be saved. Though the thief seeks to kill us You, the Good Shepherd, laid down Your life for us, so that we might have eternal life with You.
Note from Ester on her 18th birthday: I want to thank God that He has been watching over my life from the day I was born. I've had lots of health problems but God has been good to me through it all. My daddy taught me a very important Greek word years ago and I look at it often when I take off my class ring. My parents had the word "hupernikomen" engraved inside the ring band before they gave it to me on my birthday last year. "Hupernikomen" means "overcomer" and that's exactly what I am. I like to read the Daily Encouragement when I'm at school. I am always excited when I get an email from a reader and I thank you all for the prayers you pray for me when I'm having a hard time.
* The name of the chapel at Lancaster Bible College is "The Good Shepherd Chapel"
Here's a current photo of Ester taken this week with Lynn, one of her favorite nurses at the Hershey Pediatric Heart Clinic.
Tommorow morning I will be going with my friend Jesse and his son Moses to the Gordonville Spring Mud Sale and Auction, a Lancaster County "mud sale"
Here's a beautiful piece of art titled "Happier Days" with a touching story.
"Savior Like A Shepherd Lead Us" audio file from this informative page.
"Song to My Shepherd" audio file on this page with lyrics.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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