Watched by the Good Shepherd

We are never alone, we are never without help. God will not forsake us, so we have nothing to fear. Photo: Jaci Lopes dos Santos (Flickr)

CORAL GABLES, Fla., September 1, 2012 — I am blessed to have a beautiful natural area near my home where I am able to take uninterrupted morning walks with my pup, Mater. One of my favorite sites on my path is the local pasture filled with lots of sheep and two cute donkeys. Most mornings, these sheep are resting quietly in the morning dew as the donkeys munch on some nearby grass. And every morning, Mater tries to disturb their morning rest by letting out an excited bark to announce his presence.

One morning as I was walking, I noticed a car driving through the field in the direction of the sheep’s pasture. I watched as the vehicle made its way over to the field where the sheep were resting and drove slowly alongside the fence. I imagine it was the owner of the property or a hired hand making sure the pasture was secure and the sheep were accounted for. I couldn’t help but reflect on the illustration Jesus used so often in the Bible, that He was the Good Shepherd and His followers, the sheep (John 10:11).

As I watched the car ride past the sheep’s pasture, I thanked God for sending His Son, Jesus, to be my Good Shepherd. I also thanked Him for always keeping watch over me. Unlike the person in the car who did a “drive by” check on the animals, God is always with me, watching over every detail of my life, caring for me every moment of every day. He never leaves me abandoned in the pastures of life. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid … for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. “

Forsake is one of those words you don’t hear often in today’s culture. Just for fun, I decided to look up its definition. I knew generally that the word “forsake” meant to leave or abandon something, but the dictionary’s definition went a little further. It defined “forsake” as leaving or abandoning something precious, something of value. 

Unlike the owner of the sheep who had left the sheep out in the pasture alone (ok, there were 2 donkeys there to protect them), God never leaves us nor forsakes us. He is our constant defender, provider, protector, and deliverer. Why? Because we are valuable to Him. We are precious in His sight. We are His treasured possessions (Dt. 7:6). We are His handiwork, His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). We are worth everything to Him, so much so that Jesus laid down His life for us so that we can have eternal life and an abundant life here on earth (see John 3:16 and John 10:10-11). 

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). When we grasp how deep and how wide the Good Shepherd’s love is towards us, when we understand how precious and valuable we are to Him, when we understand that He will protect us with His very life, we can rest in His care.

Take courage today in the fact that the Good Shepherd is watching over you. You are never alone, you are never without hope. God’s eyes are ever watching over you and His heart of love is ready to act on your behalf.

 


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Kristi Overton-Johnson

 

As a professional water skier for over 20 years and the World Record Holder in women’s slalom from 1992-2010, Kristi Overton Johnson has taken to the waters of the world with passion and perseverance. Kristi began her waterskiing career at the age of 4 and turned professional at 13. For 15 years, Kristi dominated women’s slalom, accumulating 80 professional wins and capturing more number one world rankings than any other female skier in history.
Before retiring from professional sports, Kristi founded a non-profit water sports ministry In His Wakes. Since its inception, In His Wakes has touched the lives of over 10,000 at-risk youth across the nation and internationally. This unique ministry brings hope, healing and encouragement through the avenue of water sports and through the message of God's love.
For years, Kristi has travelled nationally and internationally as a faith-based motivational speaker encouraging people through her life experiences as an athlete, wife, mother and ministry leader. Kristi also ministers through song and through her gift as a writer. In Running the Course, her first book, she wrote about her experiences as a top professional athlete and how through faith she found purpose for her life. 
Although Kristi is committed to helping others achieve their God-given destinies, she realizes that her first priority is her family. Kristi has been married to best friend Tim Johnson since 1994. Tim and Kristi have three children, the youngest of which were both adopted from Russia in 2004. They reside in North Florida where they raise their family and serve their community through Kristi Overton Johnson Ministries

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