The Road to Emmaus. A daily devotional for the Forestdale Community Church

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1 The Road to Emmaus A daily devotional for the Forestdale Community Church November 21 25, 2016

2 This week in Stillness & Silence The Lord is my shepherd. Psalm 23:1 Sit down and take a few deep breaths to settle into silence. Choose a very simple prayer to express your openness and desire for God. (like the verse above, or Lord, have mercy on me, or Abba, Father. ) Close your eyes and offer this prayer to Jesus, inviting Him to have full access to your life. When you become distracted, offer again your simple prayer back to God.

3 Monday: Making the Connection Scripture Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Devotional David, the warrior-king, chose to use his giftedness as a poet to best express his thanksgiving to God. As a shepherd, a servant to King Saul and Israel s greatest king, he had passed through many danger-filled valleys. He knew firsthand the difference between a good shepherd & a bad one, good leadership & bad. But he chose to compose his song to God from the viewpoint of a follower, vulnerable as a grazing sheep, valued as an honored guest at a banquet. The great shepherd-king profoundly understood his identity in relationship to God. Jesus referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd leads His sheep to safe pasture, defending them with the rod of His Word, willing to die for them in doing so. He comforts them with the grace of His staff, so with simple trust they follow only Him, sensing there is no other. In our relationship with the Good Shepherd, we learn inwardly of Jesus loving relationship with His Father and enter into that relationship ourselves, because of Him alone. Question: How would your poem of gratitude speak of the Lord & to the Lord? Prayer: Lord Jesus, show me Your ways, teach me Your paths, guide me in Your truths and teach me, for You are God, my Savior and my hope is in You all day long. Amen.

4 Tuesday: Prayer Scripture: Psalm 23:1-3 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. Devotional: It s inevitable: we all come to prayer with our lists, either of the needs of people in our lives, or our own immediate problems. Our first tendency isn t to quiet ourselves and allow our Shepherd, Jesus, to restore us. Yet the imagery of these well known verses from Psalm 23 draw us in, and we can t help but affirm deep inside us that this is exactly what we need. Listen to the words of Jesus from John 10:14-15, and if possible listen to the way they were put to music by Fernando Ortega. Let them be a reaffirming prayer that Jesus is your Good Shepherd and he is calling you to enter in for that deep restoration today. The Good Shepherd (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcquvt9w5sk) I Am the Good Shepherd; I lay down my life for you; enter in, enter in, enter in. I Am the Good Shepherd; as the Father knows me, I know you. I know you. I know you. I know you. And no one can take you away. And no one can take you away. You are the Good Shepherd; you lay down your life for me; enter in, enter in, enter in. You are the Good Shepherd; as the Father knows you, you know me. You know me, You know me, You know me. And no one can take you away. And no one can take you away.

5 Wednesday: Rest Scripture: Psalm 23 The LORD is my shepherd; I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name s sake. Devotional David was a man who walked through trouble constantly, yet kept his focus on the Lord. David believed God s promises. In this psalm, David is professing much joyful trust in the Lord as his good shepherd King. Jesus states, I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:11) When trouble arises for us, we too can trust God to deliver us. He sustains us through difficulties and walks with us every step of the way. The only way we can walk through these troubles is by keeping our focus on the Him, and resting in His promises just like David! Advice from others, or our own self-reliance, will never equal the help God s word offers us. When our trials have achieved His goal, He ll remove it! Until then, keep walking with your eyes on Him and resting in the knowledge that He is our shepherd King! Question: Resting in our trials is a trying task. Can it help you today to know that Jesus is listening, sees all, and will come to your rescue? Prayer: Oh Lord, it s so easy to become overwhelmed during our trials. Our human nature tells us to seek help wherever we can find it. Please instill in us patience and the understanding that You are truly all we need. Amen.

6 Thursday: Relationship Scripture: Psalm 23: 1-3 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. Devotional When I was in elementary school, I always wondered why the good shepherd was depicted in paintings as Jesus Christ. Wasn t Jesus in the New Testament and Psalm 23 in the Old Testament? But now it s clear. The shepherd of Psalm 23 is pointing to the Christ to come in the New Testament. Jesus is our Good Shepherd and we are his sheep. The relationship that we have with him is very special. He looks out for our needs; seeking out green pastures for us to lie down. Even though I often lead a chaotically busy life, I know He is leading me beside still waters. He is the only source of refreshment for my soul. All I need to do is to listen to His voice. Unfortunately, I often find I m listening to the din around me, and not paying attention to Him. Nonetheless, the Good Shepherd is faithfully there waiting for me. Question: How do you go about listening to Jesus, your Good Shepherd? Are you open to a relationship with Him? Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us, your sheep, to hear your voice. Help us to listen to you more than we ever have before and experience your faithful loving care in a new way. Amen.

7 Friday: Work Scripture: Psalm 23:2-3 He makes me lie down in green pastures.he restores my soul. Devotional: One of my favorite books (thanks to the recommendation from many friends at the Forestdale Women s Breakfast) is A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, by W. Phillip Keller. The book is filled with incredible comparisons between the Good Shepherd and the Lord Jesus. Here is a passage for your reflection: For the Child of God, the OT account of Israel moving from Egypt into the Promised Land is a picture of us moving from sin into the life of overcoming victory. We are promised such a life. It has been provided for us and is made possible by the unrelenting effort of Christ on our behalf. How He works to clear the life of rocks of stony unbelief. How he tries to tear out the roots of bitterness. He attempts to break up the hard proud human heart that is set like sun-dried clay. He then sows the seed of His own precious Word, which if given half a chance to grow, will produce rich crops of contentment and peace. He waters this with the dews and rain of His own presence by the Holy Spirit. He tends and cares and cultivates the life, longing to see it become rich and green and productive. Question: Where is your faith leading you? Have you experienced God s work of weeding, breaking and molding? Prayer: Thank you Lord for giving us the Holy Spirit and Your own precious Word. Let it produce in us rich crops of contentment and peace. But most of all, let it help us live in truth, walk in His light and be pleasing in Your sight. May we become rich, green and productive in Your kingdom. In His name we pray. Amen.

8 The Devotional writers this week: Monday: Brad Edgerly Tuesday: Susan Matos Wednesday: Christine Bartholomew Thursday: Chris Redford Friday: Nancy McLaughlin

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