Monday, July 24, 2017

The Lord Is My Shepherd

Psalm 23:1-6 “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. 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. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

This week, Michael writes: Christianity is reality because God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost exist. The words in the Word of God (the Holy Scriptures of the Holy Bible) are reality. Jesus Christ himself is the way, the truth and the life because no one comes to the Father except through Him. I read that though we know the final destination, the Christian journey is filled with uncertainty and we Christians are helplessly in need of a Good Shepherd. However, in Christ, our helplessness in the iniquity of sin is our best prayer. He hears our heart's desire as soon as we pray with humility with a heart of helplessness and surrender. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Our human pride got us into our sorrowful state and has no place in redemption or salvation. David cried out for his shepherd's help in Psalm 23 and the Lord heard him and delivered him.

The best way to experience the life of faith is to, "Let go and let God."  As Jehoshaphat said in 2 Chronicles at the end of his long prayer, "We have no battle plan and we don't know what to do, but Lord we're in your hands."  The prophet answered Jehoshaphat’s prayer and said, "Put the choir on the front lines when you go into the battle. The songs of praise and worship will go before you and the Lord will fight the battle for you."

Psalm 131:1-3 “My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.”

Our strength is only in you, Lord.  We don't concern our hearts with matters too great, too difficult, and too overwhelming for us to handle. Remind us, "don't look unto what you've lost."  Instead Lord, calm and quiet our heart. Jesus said to his disciples in the midst of the storm, "peace, be still." Like a weaned child who no longer cries for her mother's milk, the Lord weans us away from relying on others whom we love.  At that point, we find our way to the place where we lean only on Him.

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The problem with most of us is that we have no clear picture of the God whom we long to worship. Our heart's desire is that we may come to know Him. Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice and they know me and they follow me and I give unto them eternal life.  Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." David paints a picture in Psalm 23 of his longing to know the Lord. As a shepherd himself, David penned these words that we can all relate to: "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." The shepherd led his sheep. He did not drive them. When we wonder away, the shepherd will brake our legs and then carry us as a little lamb around his shoulders until we heal. When God uses pain to break our hearts, when he heals our broken heart, we as sheep will not leave our shepherd's side.  The ultimate lesson in this life is "all I need is thee." We can be thankful and praise Him as He leads us from the turbulence of this life to the quiet waters and into the path of righteousness for His name's sake.

While we grieve at the suffering and the mortality of those we love, we grieve not as others who have no hope.  As God said to Paul, "my strength is made perfect in thy weakness, my grace is sufficient for thee."  Psalm 23 concludes, "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.  For thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me... Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Let’s abide there!

May God richly bless you!

Your brother in Christ, Michael

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