Following the Real Good Shepherd

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

Hmmm. Do we ever behave as if Jesus is the One Who has come to steal, kill, and destroy? And doing what we want to do is the “abundant life”? Don’t the commercials we watch and listen to promise “abundant life” if we just feed our human appetites? It can sometimes seem as if He is the “bad guy”, much as good parents wanting the best for their children. Or when bad things happen it can be easy to question God’s goodness, even momentarily. It is at those times that scripture will bolster our flagging faith and remind us that God is always good.

Here are a few scriptures to remind us Who our Good Shepherd is, and to help us move in the right direction:
There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
Proverbs 14:12 NLT

You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.
Job 42:3 NLT

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 NLT

Horatio Spafford wrote one of the most beloved hymns ever, “It is Well with my Soul”. It resonates with so many of us because he had “been there”, and knew what he was talking about. A successful lawyer, he lost most of his wealth in the Chicago fire of 1871. Two years later, his wife and four girls were in an horrific accident at sea and only his wife survived. This hymn was written by him on his way to be with his grieving wife.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
“Even so,” it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul,
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

When troubles overwhelm us and we have nowhere else to turn, Jesus is the Friend Who sticks closer than a brother. Because He has “shed His own blood for my soul” and because I have placed my trust and hope in Him, there is absolutely nothing I cannot walk through because He is with me. Mr. Spafford gained strength from looking back to the cross. It is also apparent he looked forward to the the day he would leave this world and its trouble to spend eternity with Jesus.

And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. (italics mine)

2 Timothy 4:8 NLT

Are you eagerly looking forward to His appearing? Do you know for certain that you are ready to meet Him as the Judge of all mankind?

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.
John 3:16‭-‬18 NLT

Jesus said to all of them, “If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing to give up their lives daily to follow me.
Luke 9:23 NCV

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. We believe with our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we declare with our mouths that we believe, and so we are saved.
Romans 10:9‭-‬10 NCV

Not just head knowledge, but following Jesus is a way of life — the way of abundant life.