Historical note – In chapter 9 Jesus heals a blind man on the Sabbath, and he provokes the criticism of the Pharisees. The Pharisees put the man out of the synagogue, but Jesus consoles the man. The ensuing argument with the Pharisees is a prelude to Jesus’ teaching on the good shepherd. In the latter part of chapter 10 Jesus returns to Jerusalem for a feast of the tabernacles. There he declares he is the light of the world.
Sunday, February 14
John 10:14-15 I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Prayer: Jesus, you are the good shepherd. Thanks be to God that you care for us.
Thought for the day: Branding with a hot iron was necessary to mark ownership of cattle that did not answer to their owner’s call.
Monday, February 15
Psalm 23:1, 2 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.
Prayer: Jesus, you are our shepherd. You lead us to safety and rest.
Thought for the day: One of the most effective “white-noise” mechanisms is a sound-track of a slow running brook.
Tuesday, February 16
Psalm 119:176 I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commandments.
Prayer: God, we confess we have gone astray and at times we find ourselves lost.
Thought for the day: Topographical disorientation is the inability to orient oneself to one’s surroundings and may indicate the person is suffering from focal brain damage.
Wednesday, February 17
Isaiah 40:11 He tends his flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
Prayer: Jesus, if only you will carry us close to your heart we promise not to struggle or resist.
Thought for the day: Sheep101.info observes that sheep are mentioned more than 500 times in the Bible, and Able was a shepherd.
Thursday, February 18
Ezekiel 34:11-12 For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.
Prayer: O God, we are comforted in the knowledge that you are searching for us.
Thought for the day: The web site “Let’s Bring them Home” (www.lbth.org) offers helpful guidelines to locate missing person and to return them to their loved ones.
Friday, February 19
Matthew 18:13,14 And if [the shepherd] finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.
Prayer: Jesus, we count on you to never give us the search for the ones that are lost.
Thought for the day: One parent reported that his children were bickering about who was the favorite. He told the children, “I don’t love either of you less, but I do love you differently.”
Saturday, February 20
I Peter 2:24,25 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but not you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Prayer: O Lord, the price, the price, the price. You paid the price to rescue us. Thanks be to God.
Thought for the day: At the end of 2015 every person in the U.S. owed $58,361 as part of the national debt.
photo: “The Good Shepherd” by Waiting for the Word on http://www.flickr.com