Thursday, January 7, 2016

Name Above All Names--Good Shepherd


artwork by Krista Hamrick


Krista Hamrick’s beautiful original art print, Name Above All Names Alphabet, has so inspired me. Each of the 26 individual Names she has identified are so special, as Krista has intricately painted, almost like stained glass windows, each one with its Scripture reference. Krista said, “This is probably the painting that I have most enjoyed researching, designing, redesigning and painting. Beth Willis Miller has expanded upon each name with devotional word studies. By knowing, believing and trusting who God says He is, we can be confident in who He has created us to be.” I so agree with Krista! 

My heart has been drawn to do a word study for each of the names included in her art print. Krista and I felt led to publish our Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ available now on Amazon as a softcover book and as a Kindle book at this link.

Combining the beauty of Krista's artistic excellence with these word study devotionals is perfect for individual quiet reflection or small group Bible studies focusing on the Name Above All Names—Jesus Christ—and His attributes and characteristics.

Review by Michele Morin: “The infinite variety in nature, the curious complexity of human behavior, the synchronicity of multiple systems in our own anatomy — and in the solar system — all point, through general revelation, to the nature of God: multi-faceted, magnificent, and yet mysterious. Special revelation in Scripture picks up where creation leaves off, and Beth Willis Miller has teamed up with artist Krista Hamrick to focus on twenty-six pieces of evidence in Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ. The result is an alphabetical collection that resembles a twenty-six sided gem, each facet reflecting a slightly different hue of the nature of God the Son. From Alpha and Omega to King of Zion, each devotional highlights the Scriptural basis for the name in multiple translations and then provides commentary on the verses. Beth applies the truth and then invites her readers to join her in a prayer that turns the truth into a paean of praise. No mere academic exercise, the point of Name Above All Names Devotional is threefold:



Look up – Meditate on the name and what it reveals about the character of God.

Look in – I am propelled to ask galvanizing questions about my discoveries: “Because God is ___________________, I should therefore _______________.”


Look out – Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.



With full-color art work and space for notes, Name Above All Names Devotional is a treasure for devotional reading, a resource for serious study, and a thoughtful and inspiring gift for loved ones.” (review by Michele Morin)





I was inspired by Chris Tomlin's Good, Good Father while studying  John 10:11

NASB:
  I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

Amplified: I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His [own] life for the sheep.

J. B. Phillips: I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd will give his life for the sake of his sheep.

The Message: I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary.


Psalm 23 is perhaps the most beloved scripture about our Good Shepherd. I wanted to share this wonderful verse-by-verse study of Psalm 23 by Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe from The Transformation Study Bible:

Psalm 23:1—The present tense verb “is” means, “the Lord is shepherding me,” indicating an ongoing relationship. Eastern shepherds guarded their sheep, led them, provided food and water for them; took care of them when they were wearied, bruised, cut or sick; rescued them when they strayed; knew their names; assisted in delivering the lambs; and in every way simply loved them.
23:2—The word translated, “leads,” in verse 2 means “to lead gently.” You cannot drive sheep. The sheep hear the shepherd’s voice and follow him, just as we listen to Christ in His Word and obey Him.

23:3—God cares for us because He loves us and wants us to glorify Him. The shepherd cares for his sheep because he loves them and wants to maintain his own good reputation as a faithful shepherd.

23:4a—This is the central verse of the psalm, and the personal pronoun changes from “he” to “you.” David is not speaking about the shepherd, but speaking to the shepherd. In the dark valley, God is not before us but beside us, leading the way and calming our fears. The “darkest valley” represents any difficult experience of life that makes us afraid, and that includes death.

23:4b—Sheep lack good vision and are easily frightened in new circumstances, especially when it’s dark. The presence of the shepherd calms them.

23:4c—The rod was a heavy cudgel with which the shepherd could stun or kill an attacking beast, and the staff was the shepherd’s crook, which he used to assist the individual sheep.

23:5a—Another word for “feast” is “table.” This table doesn’t necessarily refer to a piece of furniture used by humans, for the word simply means, “something spread out.” Flat places in the hilly country were called “tables,” and sometimes the shepherd stopped the flock at these “tables” and allowed them to eat and rest as they headed for the fold.

23:5b—The shepherd would examine the sheep as they entered the fold to be sure none of them was bruised, injured, or sick from eating a poisonous plant. To the wounds, he applied the soothing oil, and for the thirsty, he had his large two-handled cup filled with water. He would also apply the oil to the heads and the horns of the sheep to help keep the flies and other insects away. The sheep knew they were safe, and they could sleep without fear.

23:6—As the shepherd lay each night at the door of the sheepfold, he looked back over the day and gave thanks that the Lord had blessed them with goodness and mercy. Dr. Harry Ironside used to say that goodness and mercy are the two sheepdogs that help keep the sheep where they belong. We live our lives one day at a time, because God built the universe to run one day at a time. There must be a time for labor and a time for rest. When we try to live two or three days at a time, we cannot enjoy today. Eventually, this catches up with us physically, emotionally and spiritually. As an old man, David looked back over his long life and came to the same conclusion. In spite of his sins and failures, he had been followed by goodness and mercy, which is the Old Testament equivalent of Romans 8:28. Under the old covenant, the sheep died for the shepherd,  but under the new covenant, the Shepherd died for the sheep—and we shall meet our Shepherd in heaven! “For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes” (Rev. 7:17). As David looked ahead, he knew he would be in heaven—the Father’s house—forever.

When I am praying, I picture Jesus Christ, my Good Shepherd, in the green pasture of the 23rd Psalm. As I pray, I take whatever concern I have, or the person for whom I am interceding by the hand. I walk out to the meadow, the green pasture, and I place my concern, or the hand of the person for whom I am interceding, in Jesus’ hand…knowing that He is sovereign, He loves me, and He loves the person for whom I am interceding more than I do. He has a plan, a hope, and a future for each of us…and I walk away, thanking God for how He is working in my life and in the lives of those for whom I am interceding. I experience a feeling of peace…as Catherine Marshall prayed, Lord, I trust You…You know what You’re doing…I relinquish my will to Yours.

Good Shepherd,
we ask you to wrap Your Loving Arms around us today. You are close to the brokenhearted and You save those who are crushed in spirit. You are our Good Shepherd, we lack nothing. You make us lie down in green pastures, You lead us beside the still waters. You restore our souls. You lead us in the path of righteousness for Your name’s sake. Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil, for You are with us. You are Emmanuel, God with us, we are absolutely certain, You are with us at this time. Your rod and Your staff, Your Holy Spirit and Your Word, they comfort us. You prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies. You anoint our heads with oil, our cup overflows with blessings. Surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. In Your mighty Name Above All Names—Good Shepherd, we pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on John 10:11

Look In
—as you meditate on John 10:11 pray to see how you might apply it to your life.

Look Out—as you meditate on John 10:11 pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others.

Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ

Weekly LinkUps…

22 comments:

  1. Loving on our Good Shepherd with you dear Beth.
    Thank you for sharing about placing another's hand in His as you pray for them..that is such a beautiful concept; one I will adopt !
    God Bless you.

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    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words and for sharing this with others! You are such a blessing from the Lord to me...may God wrap you in His loving arms and bless you richly ❤️

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  2. It's good to be your neighbor once again, Beth! I've always appreciated your in-depth pursuit of the truth of God's Word.

    Blessings to you ...

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    1. Thank you, Linda! You are a wonderful encourager to me and so many others...many blessings to you ❤️

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  3. What a blessing it is to have our Good Shepherd take care of us. Always. Thank you, neighbor. Blessings to you!

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    1. Mari-Anna, I so appreciate you stopping by. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  4. I love the picture of Jesus as our Good Shepherd! Psalm 23 has long been a favorite passage and one I often turn to in times of distress.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Amen, Joe, I so agree with you. Many blessings!

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  5. What a beautiful meditation, Beth. Psalm 23 is my favorite. Yes, goodness and mercy WILL follow us all the days of our lives.

    Congratulations on your new devotional book. It looks absolutely lovely.

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    1. Thank you, Betsy. I so appreciate your encouraging words! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  6. Congratulations on the book! What a wonderful and needed study - one that will bring us closer to God and into a deeper understanding of who He is in our lives. I pray it touches many!

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    1. Kristine, thank you so much for your prayers and kind words--they mean so much to me...truly, you expressed the desire of my heart! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  7. Jesus, as our shepherd, did give His life for us. He loves us so much and is right now interceding on our behalf. What a wonderful God we have! I'm so thankful to know He cares so much for me. Blessings to you! I'm your neighbor at #TellHisStory.

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    1. Gayl, thank you so much for stopping by! I so agree with you, I often picture myself as a little sheep resting in my Good Shepherd's arms...such peace and comfort there! Many blessings to you!

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  8. I love how the Amplified says "risks and lays down ..." It's humbling to know Jesus does that for us. Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

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    1. Yes, Kristin, it is so amazing to think of all the many ways our Good Shepherd lays down His life for us. Many blessings to you!

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  9. So grateful for our good, good Father. Joining you in prayer and praise today. Your neighbor at #threewordwednesday.

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    1. Thank you, Tiffany. I am so glad that song has caught on worldwide. When it comes on the radio, I find myself relaxing and peaceful as I sing along with those powerful lyrics. Many blessings to you!

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  10. Good Shepherd is one of my favorite images of God, and I especially love teaching it alongside Jesus words about the Good Shepherd who gives his life for the sheep.

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    1. Yes, Michele. I so agree with you...it is the Name Above All Names that draws me into His Loving Arms, just like a little sheep, loved and protected. Many blessings to you!

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  11. Thank you for sharing with Pin worthy Wednesday Beth

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Amber. Many blessings to you!

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