Thursday, April 26, 2018

Bring Back Home Again

O. T. #1198  "Bring Back Home Again"
April 26, 2018
Psalms 23-Part 3
He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.  Psalms 23:3

LET IT GLOW

My two cats, they are something else. They are brothers, who remind me of the Prodigal son story. The orange one (Mr. T), tends to go astray from our farm. I really think he has another family, and we  are only his weekend family now. That seems to be when he shows up to eat here, anyway. Now the white one (Snowball), he is good to stay here, most of the time. So whenever I go out to feed and water them in the mornings, I'm not sure who will be there. Of course, he or they enjoy my petting and talking to them as they eat. I don't scold them for their wanderings, just welcome them back home again. And so it is at our house.
Sheep are wanderers, too. They may stray away from the herd and their shepherd as they eat, stray on the wrong path, or just go their own way. Sound familiar? Even the best saints have similar tendencies. We wander along on a side path off of God's path for us. We yield to sin and skip our prayer time and even walk by the Bible without opening it.

God knows where we are, though. The first part of our verse reassures us that He restores our soul.
Restores (shuwb, shoob)has several meanings: to turn back; to retreat; bring back home again; fetch home again; recover, refresh, render, rescue, retrieve, return, reverse, reward.

The shepherd know his sheep so intimately that he realizes when one or more have gone astray from the fold. So the shepherd goes through whatever terrain to fetch his sheep and bring them back again. If they are injured, he may carry them upon his shoulders. Now that is compassion.
Our Good Shepherd is the same way. He keeps up with His children, knows when we stray away from Him and His way, when we are down in trouble, need rescuing, need help and even carried.
Jesus' love never fail, it never gives up, never runs out on me, as the song goes. When burdens, persecution, trials exhaust our soul, or people discourage us,  He is there to restores. What a Wonderful Savior!

When part of the definition of restore do we need the Lord to supply for us today? He is everything that we need.

LET IT GROW

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.

The sheep may travel through dark valleys, yet they need not fear the danger as long as they remain near the shepherd.

Leadeth in the Hebrew language is the word nahal, naw-hal'; it refers to run with a sparkle, to flow, to protect, sustain-carry, feed, guide, lead gently, lead on.

The amazing grace of God does all these things for His beloved ones. Sometimes we need reminding that wherever we may go, and in every circumstance, we are near our Shepherd's watchful care. Our Savior wants to lead us, not just point the way, on the straight and narrow path for our life. So let us turn from our way to His way.

It is for His name's sake that he leads me in the paths of righteousness after Jesus restores my soul.

The Good Shepherd will never lead His sheep in paths that would prove harmful or destructive because it is contrary to His character. God only does that which brings honor to His name. (LifeWay's Bible Studies For Life)

LET IT GO

Keep praying for those who need to be brought back home to Jesus.
He is forever mine, so when I stray, Jesus fetches me home to His side.
Refresh and rejuvenate my soul when it is need.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Green Grass to Eat

O. T. #1197 "Green Grass to Eat"
April 25, 2018
Psalms 23-Part 2
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.  Psalms 23:2

LET IT GLOW

I recall whenever a kid, I would lie down in the green grass of the back yard, in the summer mind you, and looking up into the sky, using my imagination as to what animal shapes the white fluffy clouds made. Now that was a peaceful time. There were no jet planes going over, no semi trucks roaring on the highway every 5 minutes, no train whistle was loudly sounding like it was in the front yard, no hurried neighbors zooming by to get to their destinations, as it is nowadays. Except for Sundays, life on our country road has become anything but peaceful. Everyone is in a hurry. What a piety.
Has anyone ever eaten green grass? Can't say I have. But when animals, like cats and dogs, are sick, they often eat it so they throw up, clearing their stomach. Well, we know green grass is food for cows, sheep, goats. Just not for people, for we don't have stomachs that digest it.

Previously, in verse 1 of this chapter, we learned that when the LORD is our Shepherd, we shall not want, lack. When we follow and trust Him, our needs will be met at the right time. He will give us the best of His which is best for us. Our Good Shepherd cares for His sheep and laid down His life for them. (John 10:11)

Look at the first part of today's key verse. What is significant about green pastures for sheep? One thing is that it is the sufficient, substantial food that sheep need in order to survive and grow. In Palestine, green pastures are far and few between, so the sheep must be lead from pasture to pasture. Another thing, once a pasture is found, it is there they rest before moving on to the next pasture. The shepherd knows where the food is.

We can't skip over the word maketh. You mean to say that Jesus makes us lie down in green pastures? Who wants to lie in itchy green staining grass? Hold on friend.

The word maketh means to level, yield, behaves, adjust.

Putting this into proper perspective, does the Lord have to level us flat in bed before we look to Him for direction and peace in our life? Yes, many times I have been sick in bed, forced to spend time alone, which results in my taking advantage of quiet time for prayer. That is when I yield to listening to Him speak.
You know what, if we will make the adjustments in our time schedule to spend time with Him in Bible study and prayer, then we will find food for our hungry soul. Will we yield to Jesus before He has to level us? Maybe He has a different direction for us to go and we are not listening to hear His directions. Maybe we are feeling empty inside-let Jesus fill us with His Holy Spirit and a purpose for our life.


LET IT GROW

The second part of this verse says our Shepherd leads us beside the still waters. We know that sheep need water in order to live. It is a necessity for life. However, if the stream is swift, then it might knock down the sheep, fill its wool with water, and take it under. That is why the stream needed to be still instead of swiftly flowing.

Leadeth means to protect, sustain, lead gently on.

The Hebrew word for still refers to a place of rest.

In my area of the state, there are shade trees along the banks of our creeks and rivers. The shade of the trees and a cool breeze blowing off the water provide a wonderful place to rest during the heat of a summer's day.

So we can conclude that our Good Shepherd protects us and gently leads us on to a place of rest for our soul. The more time we spend with Him, the deeper our experience with the Shepherd is. We find peace and contentment in minds as we rest in His will. Jesus becomes our Living Water for our thirsty soul. We find joy and love from Him. When our life becomes like a turmoil troubled sea or rapid rolling flood of problems sweep us off our feet, we can roll with the flow with Jesus in our boat. He once commanded the wind and the sea to be still when the disciples' boat was rocking and filling with waves.

LET IT GO

Come to Jesus for food of His Word to fill my hungry soul and water for my thirsty spirit as the Holy Spirit swishes in.
Ask Jesus to wash my sins away.
Let Him adjust my life so there is rest for my weary soul.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

What do You Want?

O. T. #1196  "What do You Want?"
April 24, 2018
Psalms 23
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  Psalms 23:1

LET IT GLOW

What do we want, lack, need? If Jesus is our Good Shepherd, then we will not want, lack, anything that is necessary and good for us. Notice, the want is not an extra desire on our wish list. Throughout the years, I have experienced God's provisions of jobs, cars, money for tuition, forgiveness, love, strength, healing, etc.

David grew up taking care of his father's sheep. He learned to lead them, care for them, provide for them and protect them. It is no wonder that he used the metaphor of God being our Great Shepherd that takes care of us His sheep. So let us take this familiar chapter a verse at a time in order to soak in a deeper meaning.

The Hebrew word for LORD Shepherd is Jehovah-Raah, which means to tend a flock, pasture it,  herdman, to associate with as a friend, pastor.

Here are some things I have learned about sheep and shepherds. The shepherd of sheep went before them, making sure they are not walking into danger. If the sheep followed him, they were provided for and protected. Sheep are actually dumb animals, grazing and wandering off on its own into danger. Not looking where they are going while grazing, they can fall off a cliff, stray away from the flock, become prey for a lion or bear, and even fall into a stream, having their wool soak up the water, thus drowning the sheep. The shepherd is greatly need by the sheep, they just don't know it. And when a sheep got stuck in a thicket, the shepherd would use the crook of his staff to deliver it. He would apply ointment to sores the sheep got. If a sheep became crippled, he would tenderly carry it upon his shoulders. At the end of the day, the shepherd would lead his sheep back into the corral, inspecting each one for cuts or sores. If needed, he would apply soothing oil for healing. Then, the shepherd would lie down at the doorway so nothing could enter to harm the sheep. He knows his sheep, perhaps by name, and knows if any are missing from the fold.
If David was out on the hillside at night watching over his sheep, he would play his little harp, singing songs (psalms) unto his God. Such a practice continued in his adult life.

Jesus spoke in John 10:11, I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
in verse 14, He says, I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

Likewise, Jesus, our Good Shepherd, takes care of His children, sheep if you may refer to us as such. There are times we wander away from Him, so He calls us by name, graciously bringing us back into the fold. When we get hurt, He tenderly soothes us and heals our wounds. Jesus leads us on a path that is right for us. He watches over us and protects us.
What a marvelous Shepherd we have! Are we obediently following Him today?

LET IT GROW

The second part of that first verse says, I shall not want.

The word want means to lack, to fail, bereave.

The shepherd knows what his sheep need-nourishing grass and cool water, protection from harm, love and care.

Jesus is called Jehovah-Jireh, The LORD will provide. This term is first mentioned in Genesis 22:123-14. Abraham was tested of his love for the LORD, if it was greater than love for his son Isaac. Abraham was told to offer his son on an altar as a sacrifice unto God, killing him. Abraham was obedient, believing God would provide, which He did. Before killing Isaac, God provided a ram in the thicket to be the substitute sacrifice.

Concerning this verse, Matthew Henry says," I shall be provided with whatever I need; and, if I have not every thing I desire, I may conclude it is either not fit for me or not good for me, or I shall have it in due time. "
God's loving, protective care is perfect; His sheep need nothing else. (David Jeremiah)

But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

If we need it, He will give it. Do we believe it?


LET IT GO

Follow my Good Shepherd.
Ask and trust Him to provide for my needs.
Thank Him for meeting those needs.

Monday, April 23, 2018

A Meek Servant

O. T. #1195  "A Meek Servant"
April 23, 2018
Psalms 22-Part 2
The meek shall eat and be satisfied. Psalms 22:26a

LET IT GLOW

Nowadays, we pay people to serve us. Think about it-the waitress brings our food and keeps our glass full, the motel lady cleans and straightens up our room, keeping our towels supplied, the mechanic services our car, keeping it running smoothly and the tires in top shape. Yet, when we have an opportunity to serve people, do we? Do we serve others without being paid to do it? Jesus serves us salvation by the price He paid with His life. Are we willing to serve Him by giving of our life?

Psalms 22, 23, and 24 present Christ as the Shepherd, with each emphasizing a different aspect. In the 22nd , He is the Good Shepherd dying for the sheep. In the 23rd, He is the Great Shepherd caring for the sheep. In the 24th, He is the Chief Shepherd coming for the sheep. In other words, Christ died for us, lives for us, and will come for us. (Wiersbe)

Since the Jews knew nothing of crucifixion in David's time, we can conclude that the description of Christ's death on the cross was inspired by the Spirit of God.

Christ felt forsaken by God His Father, but only because He could not look upon sin. Christ was bearing our sins upon Him as He hung upon the cross. He was the perfect Lamb-sacrifice as required in the Old Testament; the perfect blood-sacrifice required.

Jump down to verses 26-28 and we read about the meek.
Meek refers to gentle in the mind or circumstances; needy, especially saintly; humble; lowly, in the Hebrew language.

What is said about the meek?
  • They shall eat and be satisfied. Those who are famished and who had no spiritual sustenance may now eat of the finished work of Christ until they are full. (Falwell) Eat of the bread of life, feed with an appetite upon the doctrine of Christ's mediation, which is meat and drink to the soul that knows its own nature and case. Those that hunger and thirst after righteousness in Christ shall have all they can desire to satisfy them and make them easy. (Matthew Henry)
  • All who seek the Lord shall praise Him, for their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. We will be happy with Him forever. (verse 26)
  • The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to Him. Families of nations will bow down before Him. Gentiles will turn to Jesus for salvation and will be included in the church. (verse 27)
  • Their kingdom belongs to Jesus, for He will be their governor. Isaiah 9:6 tells us that the government shall be upon the Messiah's shoulders. He will be recognized as the King of Kings when He comes to reign upon this earth during His millennial reign.
Will we be meek and humble in mind?

Peter describes the wife as an ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (1 Peter 3:4b)

So, can we conclude that a gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth in God's sight? Being meek is not being weak, but is having self control.
It is something that I have to constantly work on, ladies.

LET IT GROW

Until the Kingdom Age, how is the message of salvation to be kept alive?
Verse 30 tells us that a seed shall serve Him. God always has a remnant. Generations will continue to come to Christ through the grace of God. The message of the cross will never grow old, nor can it.

Do we continue to kneel at the cross to find grace and mercy there? The love of Jesus knows no boundaries. It is available to the great or small, wealthy or pauper, young or old. It never grows old.

LET IT GO

Seek to have a gentle and quiet spirit.
Be a seed that serves Jesus.
Look for opportunities to serve others in Jesus' name.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Forsaken

O. T. #1194  "Forsaken"
April 20, 2018
Psalms 22
For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

LET IT GLOW

Have you been made fun of because of your faith in Christ? Has it ever seemed like you were surrounded by a herd of bulls, roaring lions? Were your enemies attacking you so fierce that your heart melted like wax? Christ and David did. David writes a description of himself as well as that of Christ on the cross coming later.

Many of the psalms describe in detail events of the life and death of Christ, the Promised Messiah of Israel. Jesus quoted from the Psalms. Almost everything that happened at the Crucifixion and final hours were prophesied in Psalms. As references were made hundreds of years earlier before it actually occurred, we can read of the fulfillment in the New Testament.
We read this in:
  • Jesus feeling that His Father God had forsaken Him (verse 1); 
  • and was far away when He groaned for help. (Matthew 27:46)
  • Relief does not come as desired. (verse 2)
  • He considers himself a worm, not a man, but a reproach and despised by all. (verses 6-7)
  • People laugh Christ to scorn shaking their head.
  • He relies on the LORD, then let Him save this One; if He loves this One so much, then let Him be rescued, proving it. (verse 8)
  • You have been my God from the moment of birth. (verse 10) God the Son and God the Father were not separated until Calvary.
  • His enemies are surrounding Christ like a herd of bulls, roaring lions. (verses 12-13)
Christ could not comprehend all of that happened to Him as He hung on the cross. God did not forsake His Son in those moments, but Christ, who knew no sin, became sin for us. (2 Corinthians 5:21) God turned His back on the sin He hated, not the Son He loved. (Falwell)

God hears the cries of His children. He has the power to deliver, yet there are times He chooses not to do so. He always remains faithful. It would do us good if we remember that during our times of trouble.

LET IT GROW

How did Christ consider His life during His time on the cross, in verses 14-18?
His detailed descriptions were:
  • Life poured out like water.
  • Heart like melting wax.
  • Strength as dry clay.
  • Tongue sticks to the roof of the mouth.
  • Laid in dust left for dead.
  • Hands and feet are pierced.
  • Bones can be counted.
  • Garments are divided among the enemies.
  • Dice is thrown for clothing.
As for me, it is difficult to imagine such agony that Christ endured on the cross. He did it for us, because He loved us that much. He who knew no sin became our sin so we did not have to pay for our sins. Grace and mercy! He spared us that agony eternally. He did this so we could be made right with God and experience forgiveness and love.

LET IT GO

May God receive glory for my suffering for Christ.
Thanks be to God for enduring all of that for me.
Remind myself that He has been watching over me with a shield of love from my birth.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Unshakable Faith

O. T. #1193  "Unshakable Faith"
April 19, 2018
Psalms 21
For the king relies on the LORD; through the faithful love of the Most High he is not shaken.
  Psalms 21:7 HCSB


LET IT GLOW

Can anything shake you up? Is there anything that can cause you to walk away from your faith in Jesus? I pray not, dear one. Oh, winds of life, like hateful words, may blow us down for a time, but we get back up because great is His faithfulness. When the waters become too deep as grief comes and wave after wave knocks our feet out from under us, He comes to calm the storm. God's promises remain true. Nothing can overtake us since our King Jesus goes before us, never leaves our side, nor forsakes us. He is our hope as He was king David's too.

In the previous chapter, David's people were praying for their king as he prepared for battle. Now that victory came, David is giving praise to God for it. In the first six verse, he describes all that he had as gifts from God:
  • his heart's desire, (verse 2)
  • rich blessings, (verse 3)
  • a crown of pure gold, (verse 3)
  • long life, (verse 4)
  • majesty and splendor, (verse 5)
  • joy. (verse 6)
In a similar way, David's king, King Jesus Christ, exchanged his crown of thorns for a crown of pure gold, because He is the victor. He will be victorious in the Battle of Armageddon. He has already been victorious over death.

So, my friends, if He can give David victory over mighty Syrian armies in battle, can't He give us victory over our enemies and battles we fight everyday? Oh, yes indeed! We must trust in God instead of our chariots and horses, (money, prestige) so to speak.

Are we looking upon all that we have-position, family, wealth, talent-as gifts from God, using them for His glory?

LET IT GROW

Do we consider a good leader as one who trusts the Lord and depends upon His unfailing love? Too often leaders trust in their own cleverness, popular support, or military power. God's power is above all of this. If we are in leadership, are we keeping the Lord at the center of our life and depending on Him? His love will keep us from stumbling.

God did not allow David to be shaken, removed from his position on the throne of Israel. We cannot be shaken from God's favor when we trust in Him. Although we may loose jobs, family, material possessions, we will not be moved or removed either. When God is our rock, the foundation on which we build our life, will remain solid, firm, and unshakable. His love will keep us from stumbling.


LET IT GO

Stand on the solid Rock, Jesus.
Look for blessings that are not visible.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

An Intense Time

O. T. #1192  "An Intense Time"
April 18, 2018
Psalms 20
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.  Psalms 20:7

LET IT GLOW

Have you ever had a situation in which you prayed intensely day and night? As I prayed for the healing of my sister in law a year ago, before, during, and after surgery, she was on my mind and heart. God heard my prayers and restored her health. However, there were hours of touch and go for her. Doctors did not know what to do at one point. I didn't give up on God. He was so merciful. Praise the Lord Jesus! She is still with us, leading a somewhat normal life.
David was facing an intense time, battle against the strong army of Syria.

Psalms 20 and 21 are twin warfare events. This psalm is mostly ceremony before a battle and the next is mostly celebration after a battle. (MacArthur)

As their king prepares for battle, prayers are offered for him by God's people. In the days of distress, they ask:
  • for the LORD to hear in the day of trouble (adversity, affliction, anguish, distress, tribulation);
  • for the God of Jacob to defend (keep safe, strong) him;
  • send help from the sanctuary;
  • strengthen him from Jerusalem;
  • remember all of David's offerings;
  • accept all his burnt offerings;
  • grant his desires of the heart (courage, understanding);
  • fulfill all his counsel (advice, plan, purpose).
What a prayer by the people. As believers, we should be praying for our military leaders and president as they make decisions concerning our nation's defense.

LET IT GROW

The congregation has been praising the Lord and petitioning Him for the safety of king David. Then either he or the high priest takes the lead in the prayer, in verses 6-7:

  • I know the LORD rescues His anointed.
  • He will answer him from His holy heaven.
  • God will rescue him by His great power.
  • We will remember, boast in the name of the LORD our God, not in chariots or horses. 


The Syrians were noted for their fierceness of driving armed with scythes that mowed down their enemy like grass. David's trust lay not in the power of horses but in the power of his God. No war machines would bring Israel victory, but Jehovah would.

Is our praise and trust directed to God or objects, things?

Does God hear their prayers and give His people victory? The next chapter gives the answer.

LET IT GO

Keep praying, believing, and trusting God for answers.
Share what all He has done for His glory.