April 22, 2012
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” (Psalm 23: 1-3)
These are some of the most familiar words in the Bible loved by Protestants, Catholics and Jews. They describe our relationship with God. They tell us that when God is our Shepherd we have green pastures, still waters and a full cup that never empties. This is because our great Shepherd makes us lie down. He may use problems we cannot solve to make us lie down. However, since we are creatures of choice we can choose to get up again. When we do our green pastures turn brown and our cup empties again. He then restores our soul by driving us into the paths of righteousness that restore us.
Many devout souls also love this psalm because they see in it a description of a believer’s death. To them death is the great Shepherd coming into a life for the last time making a devout person lie down so He can give them the green pastures that never turn brown and the full cup that never empties in the eternal state. The only way He can give us these eternal blessings is to make us lie down in death.
The key to these eternal blessings is found in the opening words of the psalm: “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Meditate on these words one word at a time. They are the key to living here and in the hereafter. Can you say that He is your Shepherd today and always?
March 18, 2012
“Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God.’” (Psalm 3: 1, 2)
As David writes the Third Psalm he is facing the greatest crisis of his life. His son has turned the entire nation against him and has driven him out of Jerusalem into the wilderness where he hid from King Saul when he was a young fugitive. His situation is so desperate that many people said that even God could not help him. But in this psalm David explains how he knows God will be there for him; he is not having a panic attack so he gives us a prescription for one.
Observe the way David uses three tenses as he lays out his prescription that kept him from panicking. He recalls that in the past there were many times when he cried out to God and the Lord heard him. When he lay down to sleep not knowing if the enemy would slit his throat while he was sleeping, he awoke alive because the Lord sustained him. He then declared that he will not be afraid of the thousands of people who wanted to see him dead. He then declares in the present tense that God is with him and His present blessing is upon him.
When you are in crisis think back to times in the past when God met you and brought you through a crisis. Then let those past answered prayers inspire you to trust God for the present and the future crises in your life.
Look back. With faith, look forward. Then look around at your present circumstances, not with panic but with faith and peace.
November 29, 2011
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you rest in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4: 6, 7 NLT)
In these two verses the Apostle Paul is challenging us with two options: when we are facing challenging problems we can worry about them, or we can turn our challenging problems into prayer requests. The reason Paul writes that we are not to worry is because worry is counterproductive. He therefore prescribes that if we are overwhelmed with problems, we should let our mountain of problems turn us into prayer warriors.
So here we have two options. We can be worriers, or we can be warriors. Prayer changes things! Worry, on the other hand does not change anything except for the severe negative consequences it can have on our body, soul and spirit. When we consider the devastating effects of worry and the miraculous results of answered prayer, that no brainer should resolve our two options into one.
When we realize we are anxious or uptight and we know it is because we are choosing to be a worrier, we should ask God to convert us into a prayer warrior. We should hold our problems up before the Lord and trade our futile worries for powerful prayers. He may deliver us from those problems or give us the grace to cope with them. But, in either case, He will give us peace.
Paul writes that God will stand guard like a soldier over our hearts and minds and give us supernatural peace as they rest in what Christ will do.