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 April 24 28, 2017

2 This week in Stillness & Silence The focus of this week s devotional is the True Shepherd of Israel. The shepherds of Israel were those responsible for providing leadership in Israel, especially the kings and their officials, but also the priests, and prophets. In Ezekiel 34 God rebukes these leaders of Israel for caring more for themselves than for the people they were meant to be leading. God says the day is coming when He Himself would come and be the True Shepherd of His people. As you enter begin the devotionals each day this week: Sit down and take a few deep breaths to settle into silence. Use the opening words of Psalm 23 to focus on your True Shepherd. The Lord is my Shepherd. Close your eyes and use this simple statement to invite Jesus to come and take up his rightful place as your shepherd today. When you become distracted, offer this simple prayer back to God again. After a few minutes, you are ready to begin the devotional.

3 Monday: Making the Connection Scripture: Ezekiel 34:23 and John 10: I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. 14 I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father and I lay down my life for the sheep. Devotional Through Ezekiel, the LORD declared His sovereign will in all the experiences His chosen ones did or would encounter, from the destruction of their homeland and humiliating exile, to their glorious restoration. The LORD was over, through and in all of it. The I will Father and He will Son together conveyed to us a we will spirit that sustains us on our pilgrimage journey home. We have been given, through Christ, a new kind of willingness opening a pathway to freely follow Jesus, unimpeded by life s burdens, into a loving relationship with our Heavenly Father born of Their loving relationship with each other. Question: Quietly reflect on how the Lord s will has touched your will recently Prayer: (John 17:23) I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Amen.

4 Tuesday: Prayer Scripture Ezekiel 34: 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice. Devotional: Aren t the words in Ezekiel 34:16 comforting? They are words that foreshadow the coming of the true Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. He cares for His sheep in amazing ways. Knowing this is just so uplifting. Ezekiel witnesses the Israelite leaders not being good shepherds. God is troubled by the mistakes of man. Therefore, Ezekiel reveals how God is going to set things right by bringing his Son, Jesus Christ to earth. It is our Lord who show us who the true Good Shepherd is so we can learn from Him. It s our honor to read about Jesus and discover how He treated His flock. It s within these stories we can witness how Jesus loved, served and communed with His Heavenly Father. We can prayerfully come before our God and ask Him to help us to apply what we ve learned about becoming a good shepherd, so that we can be more like His only Son. Question: What steps are you taking to be like the Good Shepherd? Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that each day I might become more like your Son, the Good Shepherd. Thank you for sending your Son so that I can have life more abundantly. Amen.

5 Wednesday: Rest Scripture: 34:23 and 34:31 23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. 31 You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord. Devotional Ezekiel s message turned to the Lord s consoling word of hope for His people who are in exile. God criticizes Israel s previous shepherds and promises to seek out his scattered flock. They will experience revival and restoration in the future, as God Himself is promises to be their true Shepherd. He further promises to send His servant, a ruler like David, and from his line. God fulfilled this prophesy with Jesus, the perfect Shepherd King. Sometimes the path we are traveling isn t always a path we would choose to go down, yet other times it is a path we would choose. We don t always know why God allows these different paths, but we do know He is always with us no matter what the path. He is our Shepherd, who shows us how to love, leads us in grace and mercy, and comforts us during trials. God sent Jesus to lead us, not only into salvation, but in our everyday lives. Jesus is with us, in mind, body, and soul. Just as God has promised, He sent His son who is our Mighty Shepherd King! Question: Have you ever found yourself lost like a sheep without a shepherd? Did you seek Jesus to come and be your Shepherd? Prayer: Lord, I thank You for always being faithful to Your promises. Help me to see Your faithfulness in my life and in all those I encounter. Let us all never forgot that You are the Mighty Shepherd.

6 Thursday: Relationships Scripture Ezekiel 34:2 This is what the Sovereign LORD says, Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? Devotional Using sheep and shepherds as an illustration, Ezekiel 34 gives us a clear example of what healthy relationships should look like - and what they shouldn t look like. Bad shepherds only take care of themselves. Their hearts are hard and they use the sheep for what the sheep can give. When the Lord describes what a good shepherd does for his sheep, he uses phrases like: look after, rescue, pasture them, lie down in a good grazing land, feed in a rich pasture, searches for the lost, brings back strays, bind up the injured, and strengthens the weak. The good shepherd always has the best interest of the sheep on his mind and in his heart. His actions indicate that the sheep are of great value to the shepherd. Question: What role do we play in the lives of those we care for? Do we treat them as a good shepherd would? Prayer: Lord, your word gives us a clear illustration of how you care for us. Help us to emulate your example, and by our actions grant that others may come to know the love of the Good Shepherd, too. Amen.

7 Friday: Work Scripture Ezekiel 34:12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. Devotional In John chapter 10 Jesus says I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. Today we are not too familiar with the profession of shepherding. According to the Mountain Plans Agricultural Service, A Shepherd s primary responsibility is the safety and welfare of the flock. Shepherds must be on call around the clock. Just as a shepherd needs to know his sheep in order to care for them properly, Jesus knows us well. Here are some interesting facts about sheep: sheep get jealous of each other (head butt, hoof stomp, etc.), they love affection, come running when you call their name, carry emotional baggage (if they have been mistreated), and grieve the loss of loved ones. Do any of these characteristics sound familiar? Jesus knows us so well that we can trust him, as our Good Shepherd, to give us the guidance and care that we need. Question: Who is the Lord calling you to get to know better today? Prayer: Lord, you know me so well and you have been my Shepherd throughout my whole life. Please lead me to someone today that I might even take the first step to get to know them better, and then allow you to do the rest. Amen.

8 This weeks devotional writers: Monday: Brad Edgerly Tuesday: Chris Redford Wednesday: Christine Bartholomew Thursday: Beth Govoni Friday: Susan Matos

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