REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on August 29, 2016, is provided by Pastor Jason Sato who, along with his wife Jessica and three young children, serves in Japan as an AMI missionary. Jason, a graduate of UC San Diego (BS) and Westminster Theological Seminary (M.Div.), just moved to Tokyo where he plans to, the Lord willing, plant a church.
Devotional Thoughts for This Morning
“Distinguishing Between Good Guys and Bad Guys”
John 10:10-15 (ESV)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.  I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
In fairy tales like Red Riding Hood, no one is confused as to who is the “good guy” and who is the “bad guy.” The wolf wants to eat everyone and the huntsman wants to save everyone so things become clear fairly quickly. Unfortunately, things in real life do not always appear to be so simple.
As Jesus’s ministry becomes more prominent, opposition from the religious and political leaders of Israel grows as well. The growing divide between them is clear and the average Israelite is confused as to who is the “good guy” and who is the “bad guy.” Should he follow this new teacher, Jesus, or the established leaders of his nation and religion? In the midst of this turmoil, Jesus seeks to make the situation clear by explaining that He alone is the Good Shepherd.
In John 10, Jesus explains that the Good Shepherd is completely different from the thief and the hired hand. The shepherd comes to give life abundant. The thief “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (v. 10). “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (v. 11). The hired hand flees when he sees the wolf coming (v. 12). The shepherd knows his sheep (v. 14). The hired hand cares nothing for the sheep (v. 13). The difference between the Good Shepherd and all others is the difference between life and death.
The world, the flesh, and the devil work as hard as they can to confuse us as to who is the “good guy.” The Word of God makes things clear. No spouse or child can give us life abundant. Money and prestige have never laid down their lives for anyone. Comfort and security will not walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death. There is only one Good Shepherd and His name is Jesus.
Prayer: Father, we are so grateful that You have sent to us Your Son. He is the very radiance of Your beauty and glory, yet somehow, we can become confused as to whether He is our Ultimate Good. Give us eyes to see that Jesus alone is our Good Shepherd and that we need no other. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Chronicles 29
Lunch Break Study
Read Psalm 23 (ESV): The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Question to Consider
1. What does the Shepherd do for the Psalmist?
2. How does the Shepherd’s ministry affect the Psalmist?
3. What is the ultimate hope of the Psalmist as he is led by the Shepherd (v. 6)?
1. The Shepherd leads the Psalmist into rest and righteousness (v. 2, 3), He restores him (v. 3), comforts him (v.4), lavishly provides for and anoints him (v. 5-6).
2. The Psalmist shall not want (v. 1) and will not fear (v. 4).
3. The ultimate hope of the Psalmist is that he will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Reflect upon your day. Were you tempted to believe that someone or something other than Jesus is your shepherd? Did you doubt that Jesus is your Good Shepherd? Go to Him for grace.