Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

the Shepherd Archive



July 2021

Safe place for sheep

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

“I am the good shepherd:” Christ said in John 10:11, “the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” Shepherding is a calling that requires great patience, tenderness, and wisdom.

"The LORD is my shepherd...He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." Psalm 23:1,2 Read more at hopereflected.com

Beyond the basic needs of providing food and protection, the shepherd is responsible to navigate where the sheep are spending time, that the sheep don’t stray, interactions of the sheep (with one another, with sheepdogs, and even with themselves), and helping the sheep to overcome stress.

“God knows when we need rest, and sometimes He allows for us to be in a position where we have no other choice but to ‘lie down’.”

Hope reflected

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” David wrote in Psalm 23, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters.” Just as the shepherd leads the sheep, our Lord leads us and directs us where to spend time. Without His direction, we would stray (1 Peter 2:25). Note how David writes, “He maketh me to lie down…” (Ps. 23:1). God knows when we need rest, and sometimes He allows for us to be in a position where we have no other choice but to “lie down”. Our Lord provides for what we have need of, and we understand from Isaiah 40:11 that He “will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom”. Historically, if a young lamb were wandering or going astray, the shepherd would use the rod to break one of the lamb’s legs, and then carry the lamb on his shoulders until the leg healed. “He hath smitten, and He will bind us up,” (Hosea 6:1). To be gathered and carried by the arms of our Saviour is just one of the ways that Christ protects us and leads us in the right direction.

"He will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom." (Isaiah 40:11) See more at hopereflected.com

Sheep move in flocks, and part of the shepherd’s job is to watch how the sheep interact with one another, with the sheep dog, and with their surroundings. As our shepherd, Christ does the same for us, and He also instructs us to look out for our own behavior and for one another. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers,” Paul wrote in Acts 20:28. As part of God’s flock, we are not completely independent, we are not called solely to self-involvement, but rather to take a genuine interest in others – a genuine interest, not one that is insincere, nosy, or filled with ulterior motives.

"He hath smitten, and He will bind us up," (Hosea 6:1). Read more at hopereflected.com

Moving in a flock can often cause stress to the sheep, especially if they’re not handled correctly. With Christ as our shepherd, though we’ll go through trials and experience trouble, we can know we’re headed in the right direction when we purposefully follow Christ and His direction. “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” (John 10:4). Christ calls us by name, and He leads us. Sheep experience less stress when they stay close to the shepherd.

“The only safe place for a sheep is by the side of his shepherd, because the devil does not fear sheep; he just fears the shepherd, that is all.”

A.W. Tozer

Originally published as “Safe place for sheep.” Independent Plus. February 11, 2021: 5. Print. Web.



December 2017

Hope Reflected | The Fountain of Life

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"For the Lamb... will lead them to living fountains of waters." (Revelation 7:17) | Read more at hopereflected.com

The Fountain of Life

Easily one of the most recognizable tourist attractions in Rome, the Trevi Fountain is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture. It took thirty years to construct, is one of the oldest sources of water in Rome (the fountain is built at the end of the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct, which was used as early as 19 B.C. as water in the ancient Roman baths), and attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Throughout the Bible, our Lord is referred to as many things, one of the most fascinating of which is the fountain of life. Several times throughout Scripture, a parallel between God and a fountain or spring is drawn. During times of spiritual struggle, discouragement, or deep valleys in our lives, looking to God as our source of water, as our fountain, can provide just the relief, encouragement, and light that we need.

God is our source of life. “…on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.” (Genesis 7:11) In the midst of seasons when we are tired, drained, and wondering where we’ll muster the strength for the day ahead, recall this to mind: God is our source of life. While we don’t know when exactly David wrote Psalm 36, we can be sure he was looking to the Lord as his source of strength: “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.” (Psalm 36:9). In Christ alone, we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). When our strength seems small, or even when it seems like we’ve got the world wrapped around our finger, we need to claim Christ as our source of life.

God is our source of abundance. “A fountain will flow out of the LORD’s house and will water the valley of acacias.” (Joel 3:14) All that we are and all that we have comes from the Lord. As our source of abundance, we can rely on God to provide for our every need, even the things we haven’t thought of. It’s not until we learn (and will we really ever learn in this lifetime?!) to rest in Him, rather than our own power, that we will truly understand the blessing of relying on God as our source of abundance. He truly is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think! “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

God is our source of security. “For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:17) In a previous column, I wrote about God as our Shepherd. Just as a shepherd protects his sheep, God also protects His children. He’s our source of security (Isaiah 41:10). He is our Great Comforter (Psalm 23:4). He is our fortress (Psalm 91:2). Psalm 46:1 opens with the statement, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

One of the things that I love about the metaphor of God as our fountain is that throughout the Bible, we read how fountains flow down into valleys. Psalm 104:10 says that “He sends the springs into the valleys”. Isaiah 41:18 says that God opens “fountains in the midst of the valleys.” God is our source of life, abundance, and security. No matter how low or far down we may feel, God can reach us, especially in our valleys.

Originally published as “The Fountain of Life.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. November 2, 2017: 7. Print. Web.