Monday June 28, 2004
InTouch Early Light Devotional
The Good Shepherd
"He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul" (Psalm 23:2-3). You have probably heard this passage quoted more times than you can count. No matter how often we hear this most-loved psalm is recited, however, we still seem to miss the full impact of the message: God restores your soul.
How does He do this? He restores our souls through fellowship with Himself. Even though we stray far from Him at times, He remains the Good Shepherd. Though we wander, He receives us back gladly and is always willing to pardon His wayward sheep.
Why would we ever leave such a loving Guide? Most likely, you have never made a conscious decision to forsake the Father; instead, this happens subtly as a result of our wandering desires and selfish attempts to meet our own needs. When we strive to bring comfort and safety to ourselves apart from God, we stray farther and farther away.
In Luke 15:3-7, Jesus presents a wonderful picture of the warm reception that awaits a lost "sheep." Did the shepherd in that parable scold or punish the wayward lamb? No! Instead, all of heaven celebrated because what was once lost had been found. In the same way, heaven celebrates when a wandering child of God returns "to the fold."
In returning, you may experience God's discipline, but never His wrath. That has already been poured out upon His Son, who bore the punishment on our behalf. If you are a lost sheep, wandering far from home, stop and listen for the voice of your Shepherd. His voice will lead you safely home.
For free online one-to-one mentoring with Dr. Charles Stanley, visit www.charlesstanleyinstitute.com.
To delve deeper into this subject and more, visit the In Touch Web site: www.intouch.org.