September 12, 2013
“He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness…” (Psalm 23: 3)
What is considered by some to be the greatest chapter in the Bible is the best description ever written of what the relationship of a human being with God can be. I call this psalm “Sheep Talk” because it’s like a sheep is telling us what a great Shepherd he has. The opening statement of the sheep is the key to the relationship. When the Lord is his Shepherd he has multiple blessings. According to the second verse this relationship is established when his Shepherd makes him lie down. When he gets up again he loses those blessings.
He is telling us this has happened and he needs a spiritual comeback. The prescription for his comeback is that his Shepherd leads him in the paths of righteousness. This is the second time he uses the word “leads.” His Shepherd not only leads him beside still waters but when he needs restoration he is led in the paths of righteousness. The second time he uses this word it is a Hebrew word for “drives me” into what is right.
By application, when we need a comeback we should not seek a cheap one. We should cooperate with our Shepherd as He drives us into the paths of what is right, perhaps for several years, until He restores our soul. I personally experienced this kind of comeback in the early eighties that lasted nearly a decade.
Rick Warren said “We’re all in recovery. What do you think the word ‘salvation’ means?” Do you need a spiritual comeback? Don’t look for a cheap one. Ask God to show you the paths of righteousness that will restore your soul.
June 20, 2013
“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)
A large convoy of ships was on elaborate maneuvers. The flagship at the center of the convoy signaled a hard right turn for the entire convoy. The commanding officer of a large cruiser missed the signal from the flagship. His cruiser was not in line with that right turn. The cruiser thrashed around, hopelessly out of formation. There was chaos on the bridge of the cruiser when the standard Navy signal came from the flagship: “What are your intentions?” The skipper of that cruiser flashed this return signal: “My intentions are to buy a farm!” (In the Navy, there is a fast track that makes admirals out of captains and there is a slow track that sends captains into retirement. When a captain makes a mistake like that one, he might as well make his retirement plans).
The cause of Christ is moving through this world like a convoy, in perfect formation, supernaturally synchronized by the Holy Spirit. The risen, living Christ is the Flagship at the heart of that convoy. Jesus Christ is sending signals to that convoy all the time. If you have your eye on the Flagship and you get your signals from Him, you will be in formation and part of His great work in this world. If you do not have your eye on the Flagship and you miss His signals, the work of Christ will move on without you, while you thrash around, out of formation, never a synchronized part this magnificent convoy.
Servants of the Lord must keep their eye on the Flagship and not get their signals from their culture, but from the risen, living Christ.
June 15, 2013
“In a multitude of counselors, there is safety.” (Proverbs 24:6; 11:14)
THE TWELFTH STEP: Seek wise spiritual counsel.
The verse quoted above is found twice in the book of Proverbs (the Bible uses repetition for emphasis.) This proverb of the wise does not mean you should consult a multitude of counselors when you come to that fork in the road; that would be very confusing, because a multitude of counselors could possibly give you a multitude of opinions regarding your difficult decision.
When the wise men who wrote the book of Proverbs made this statement twice, they were teaching two basic truths. In the first one (Proverbs 24:6), they are telling us that when two nations go to war with each other, the nation with the multitude of counselors will more than likely win that war. (That is what our Pentagon is all about.) In the other proverb (Proverbs 11:14), they are telling us that when we come to that fork in the road, if we have had a multitude of good counselors in our lifetime, in other words, a good spiritual education and spiritual mentors, we will be better equipped as we make our difficult decision as to which side of that road we should travel.
There is a beautiful passage in the prophecy of Isaiah that affirms this:
“… But your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30: 20-21)
Are you making time for good Scriptural spiritual education and spiritual mentors now, so when you face a fork in the road you will hear God’s word for you?