Archives for May 2014

Part 5: PSALM 23:3a “…he restoreth my soul.”

Surely, it would be assumed that anyone in the Good Shepherd’s care could never become so distressed in soul as to need restoration.  NOT!

David, the writer of this Psalm was acquainted with the bitterness of feeling hopeless and without strength in himself. In Ps. 42:11 he cries out, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” 

 “Cast Down” is an old English shepherd’s term for a sheep that has turned over on its back and cannot get up again by itself.

A good shepherd keeps close watch over his sheep. He must count them frequently so that he knows when one is missing.  A sheep can die in just a few hours if he is not rescued by the Shepherd.  He wants to “restore it.”  When he finds it he will turn the sheep over and massage its leg to restore the circulation, then he will lift the sheep onto his shoulders and carry it home… He is not angry with the sheep. He is happy to find it and wants to help it.

The story of the ninety and nine  in Luke 15:1-6  is a very significant story depicting the shepherd leaving the 99 to look for the one lost sheep.

Our children have this little joke  about “who is the favorite child” and as we told our eldest son about a week ago, when he was very sick… “we are doing our favorite child act today”.   He laughed because the truth weighed heavily on him of our concern.  The one who needed us most at the time was the one who gets our attention or is  our “favorite”.

When the sheep is weak and his legs are wobbly he will need to be carried by the Shepherd, but once he gains his strength he can walk on his own.

Our Shepherd is the one,“…who came to seek and to save that which  was lost.” Luke 19:10  

We as Christians also need to pray for those who are “lost sheep”. The Lord cares for the lost sinner and has compassion for His children also.

“As the shepherd seeks out his flock… So will I seek out My sheep… from all the places where they were scattered.”   Ezekiel 34:12

Keller says in his little book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, “The life for Christ is not an easy one,  but the toughness it takes to face life and its difficult setbacks… can come only through the discipline of endurance and hardship.”  (p.69  in the church Library).

…He knows best and HE WILL SEEK YOU OUT WHEN YOU STRAY….

 “…He restoreth my soul.”

Part 4: PSALM 23: 2b “…He leadeth me beside the still waters.”

Sheep need to drink a lot of water…Their bodies are made up of 70% water.  When they are thirsty they drink any water they can find without knowing the danger of mud puddles with dust and mold and places other animal walk through and worse. Some may become sick or even die because they don’t know the difference between clean and dirty water. So the shepherd needs to find clean water that is  still and quiet or the sheep become frightened. At times the shepherd needs to make a pool of water so the sheep may drink in peace.

Jesus promised living water to everyone whose heart thirsts for God. If you go your own way, your thirst will lead you to dirty waters. You’ll make choices that can hurt you. JESUS gives you living water and helps you make the best choices.

Are  you thirsty to know Jesus better? Do you want  to please Jesus?  How do you let the Lord help you to know and do what is best for you? He alone can satisfy your thirst.

John 7:37 says, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst for righteousness,for they shall be filled.” 

In Mat. 5:6, Jesus said,”If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink.” 

It is important that we spend time in the Word so that we will get the clean water.  This is how the Lord speaks to us and guides us.

 Ask yourself before your feet hit the floor in the morning. Before you speak, dress, pick up something to read, turn on the TV, go someplace for recreation:  Am I drinking from clean pure water? Is this Christ honoring and making me a clean vessel for Christ? Am I a bright shining light for my Saviour that will make a difference in the lives with whom I come in contact.?

Ladies, let’s make sure that our greatest desire is to live for Christ and share His love with others and only drink from the pure clean waters.

Are you depressed and discouraged with what is going on in your life and dissatisfied with your surroundings and your relationship with God is rough?   Are the waters of you life rough and disturbed? The Good Shepherd  leads us by giving us  His Holy Spirit to guide us to the things that truly satisfy as, we make our daily choices in our lives.

Are these desires missing from your life? Fall on your face before the Lord and  tell him, “I thirst, I do hunger and thirst after righteousness. Call out  in surrender to Him and He will …”lead you beside the still waters..”    Don’t delay… begin today.

 “…He leadeth me beside the still waters.”

(Quote from Face Book – Zig Ziggler)

Be the kind of woman who, when your feet hit the floor in the morning  the Devil says, Oh no she’s up!

Part 3: PSALM 23: 2a “…He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;”

PSALM 23: 2a “…He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;”

Sheep graze from dawn until midmorning then the shepherd leads them to new green pastures which they can’t find on their own, or they will eat the grass to the bare ground. Once the sheep eat all they need they must lie down and chew their cud.  If one sheep bullies or butts another, this upsets all the sheep. They  refuse to lie down, their food cannot digest and they soon lose weight and grow weak.  The shepherd stops the fighting at once and the sheep lie down to chew their cud. Just as a shepherd calms his flock as he sits down among them, Jesus will calm you with His peace.  He does not want you to feel upset. 

In Lettie Cowman”s  book Streams in the Desert, P. 257) she writes of an experience shared by the captain, when on a steamer just  off the coast of Newfoundland.      He said, “The last time I crossed here, five weeks ago, something happened which changed my whole Christian life. 

Missionary George Mueller of Bristol was on board. He told me that he needed to be in Quebec Saturday afternoon and when I told him it is was impossible he told me that he had never missed a speaking engagement in 57 years and if the ship could not take him that God would find another way. He then suggested that we go to the chart room and pray. I looked at that man of God and thought to myself, “this man must be crazy”.  I said to him, “Surely you do not know what a dense fog this is.” 

He said, “My eye is not on the fog, but on the living God who controls every circumstance of my life.”  He knelt down and prayed the most simple prayer I had ever heard, and when he had finished I was going to pray: but he put his hand on my shoulder and told me not to pray. “First, you do not believe He will answer; and second I BELIEVE HE HAS, and there is no need whatever for you to pray about it.” Get up, Captain …open the door, and you will find the fog gone.”  I got up, and indeed, the fog was gone. George Mueller was in Quebec for his engagement.  George Mueller had a great unswerving faith in the Good Shepherd.

You can give you burdens to the Shepherd, and show your husband,  children, parents, grandchildren, neighbors and co-workers the Lord can bring peace around you by your own example of trust in your Shepherd in every area of you life.  Just like a sheep lying down in green pastures…. You too can rest in Christ’s promises.

If our love were but more simple, 

We should take Him at His word;

And our lives would be all sunshine,

In the sweetness of the Lord.          

PSALM 23: 2a 

“…He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;”

Part 2: PSALM 23:1b “……I SHALL NOT WANT.”

Jane’s Heart to Heart…….Pastor’s Helpmate

Psalm 23:1b  “… I shall not want”.

… I search my closets for my dress shoes to replace my warm boots. I look in every possible place and I ended up wearing my everyday flats. I breathed a prayer that the Lord would help me to find them. I did not want to have to buy another pair. 

Did I leave them at Camp Barakel in December while attending Taylor & Lydia’s wedding? I didn’t miss them until I put my boots away this spring. Lydia’s mom & dad have been on staff at Camp Barakel for  over 25 years so I contacted her on FB and described them.  

A week later she messaged me on FB  and asked if they were in a little brown bag with ‘MP’ on them. (A bag our daughter, Melony used when she was with the Agape Players before she was married. The lost was found and  we were both  at Lydia’s Pinning and graduation from Cedarville University in OH this week end, so  no need to mail them. God’s timing.

This week we went to get salt for the water softener.  I stayed in the car and prayed the Lord would send someone  to help  load the salt.  While he was loading the first bag  my answer to prayer came out the door and said “Sir, how many of these did you get?”  Ken said, “Five, as he picked up the second bag.”  The man asked,” How many more do you need.”  Ken said, ”Three, Thank you.”   The man bent over and stacked all three 40 # bags and placed them in the trunk.”  This man was a customer that the Lord sent along to help. ”Thank you, Father.  There is something I can do to help.”  Answers to my humble prayers are continual reminders …  If the Lord cares about my little black sandals and forty pound  salt bags, He surely cares about our greatest needs.  LUKE 9:11 “Ask and it shall be given unto you, Seek and ye shall find.”

Matthew 14 reminds us of how Jesus not only fed the five thousand but had plenty of leftovers.  Matthew 6:25, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on…”

“I shall not want” doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t want things. It means that you can trust Jesus to know what you need.  

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

When we are right with Him, Our Desires will be right.

I shall not want.” Ps. 23:1

He promises to give you everything you need

 and the one thing that you need most is JESUS.