"The Lord is My Shepherd;
I shall not want."
The mother of a young boy who was dying of cancer taught him the Twenty-third Psalm, having him repeat “the Lord is my shepherd” by counting these five words with his fingers starting with the thumb. His ring finger was the word “my.” When he got to that word, his mother taught him to hold that finger in his fist, symbolizing the personal relationship which Jesus had for him. When the boy died, he was found holding his ring finger. He died in the Shepherd’s arms. (The Communicator’s Commentary, Psalms 1-71, Donald M. Williams, p. 183)
The God of David is the God of Israel, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the God of all Christians everywhere. We should carefully note the word “my.” He is not our God by some tribal or communal designation, but the God of the Bible is known in His personal relationship. All of us must come to the place that we can say the Lord is “MY Shepherd.” David’s Shepherd provides rest, direction, protection and restoration. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,” because MY Shepherd is with me.
GospeLines Prayer:Everlasting Shepherd, when I stray, correct me with your rod of discipline; when danger crosses my path, guard me with your staff of protection. Feed me when I hunger, lift me up when I fall, refresh me when I faint. And I shall abide in your presence forever and ever. Amen and amen.
"God is my strength and power, and He maketh my way perfect."
2nd Samuel 22:33 (21st Century KJV)
Several weeks ago, my spouse and I went on vacation to Florida. It had been quite a while since we had a change of scenery together. This was a short trip, but one that I looked forward to.
We spent four days in South Beach… no cares, no worries, just lots of heat, sometimes a breeze and plenty to eat and sites to see. We stayed in one of those boutique hotels on Ocean Drive in the Art Deco District and could have sand in between our toes in a matter of a few yards.
Of course, we did mostly touristy stuff - took a local bus around the area to see the sites; stopped in a local pub for lunch and visited with a lovely “local” and there was plenty of shopping available for both of us – Lincoln Road Mall for me and Peterson’s Harley Davidson for him!
We even enjoyed people-watching as we sat listening to a jazz violinist on the porch of our hotel. That was probably the most fun - the sidewalks and streets are packed at night.
Our only disappointment was that we forgot to bring the camera! “What a shame,” I thought to myself. But God reminded me that the joy was not lost because we had captured each precious moment with our memories.
What a gracious gift God has provided. Just when we think we are at the end of our rope, He pulls out the reflections of our minds, and we recall the countless times our Lord has brought us to the mountaintop after being in the valleys. It’s in those valleys I’ve grown. How majestic is His creation!
GospeLines Prayer:Father, thank you for a respite from the norm. Thank you for providing an opportunity for us to view your majesty from another perspective. Thanks for your traveling mercies and handling my joys and concerns.
While I’ve been on vacation, Lord… thankfully, you’re with me 24/7, 365!
Jews call it “The Binding of Isaac.” Christians most often call the story in Genesis 22, “The Testing of Abraham.”
God said to Abraham, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
His blood must have run cold as Abraham pondered the mandate from Jehovah. But the next morning he saddled his donkey and took with him his son, Isaac, two servants, and enough wood for a burnt offering. They traveled for three days before reaching the appointed place. There he placed the wood upon the shoulders of his only son, much as that wooden cross would later be borne upon the shoulders of the only begotten Son of God.
As they walked away from the servants, Isaac broke the silence. “Father…? The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” I believe Dad choked back a tear when he offered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”
Moments later, Isaac was bound for the sacrificial offering. Abraham drew back the knife he had used many times before to skillfully slaughter the lamb in a manner that would cause little suffering. As he looked into the eyes of his only son, at the very last moment, the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” When he looked up, there in a thicket was a ram caught by his horns. God had provided the sacrifice, just as Abraham had prayed He would!
So impressed was he, that from that day forward Abraham called the place, “The Lord Will Provide.”
Mt. Moriah. It was the place upon which Solomon would build the first temple, and the second would be built there as well. It was also the place where Abraham met and paid a tithe to Melchizedek, the high priest and “King of God Most High.” Today, Mt. Moriah is under Muslim control. The gold-topped “Dome of the Rock” is the most recognized present-day structure in all of Jerusalem.
Beloved, I want you to know that God is never late! Sometimes He may wait until the very last moment possible, but He is always on time. When we moved from Houston, TX to Tennessee, Sherry and I experienced an awesome outpouring of God’s benevolence as we saw Him meet impossible deadlines, provide resources at just the right time, and bless us with unusual spiritual and physical strength to overcome the enemy.
He provided just the right home for us in just the right place at just the right time. Our back yard is wooded, split into two levels (three levels, counting the one the house sets on). The top level is on the elevation of our roof, which is at least 25 feet above the street. As we were thanking God in our prayer time a few weeks ago, God impressed it upon us that we should make our lives, our home, and everything we have a living sacrifice unto Him. Thus, we have named our home Mt. Moriah. The top level in the back yard will have a gazebo, sitting under two tall pine trees. It is there that we will find sanctuary and offer ourselves anew day by day as living sacrifices unto the Father. Indeed He is “The Lord Who Provides!”
Just as the angel spoke a second time to Abraham, so God has spoken to us regarding our mission to the nations:
“...because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you obeyed me.” Amen and Amen!
The Boy Scouts have been around since 1907; and, if you've ever been in the Scouts or know anyone who has, you know that the biggest dream of any Scout is to attend at least one World Scout Jamboree. The 2007 World Scout Jamboree will be held at Hylands Park country house in Chlemsford, Essex, England, the birthplace of Scouting.
40,000 Scouts from all over the world will converge on this 574 acre park from July 27 until August 8, 2007. Attendees will see all sorts of Scouts from countries all around the world. There will be Tenderfoots, Second and First Class Scouts, Star and Life Scouts and many Eagle Scouts. Some will have all 120 available merit badges; some will only have a few. However, they will all share one thing in common. Each has agreed to live by the Scout Oath.
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
That "Scout Law" the Oath refers to requires each Scout to do his best to embrace these characteristics at all times. The Scout must be: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
They're all different, from different places, speaking different languages. They have different levels of achievement (within Scouting) and they're all different ages (At their age, 11-17, 6 years is very significant). Yet they get along.
They don't argue over which Merit Badges are the most important or which reward lever demands the most honor. They work together without complaint and they trust and respect their Scout Leaders.
Why can't Christians do the same thing…?
Christians from all over the world don't come together. But, if we did, we'd spend all our time arguing over our differences. Some would argue over baptism: does baptism save or is baptism what saved people do? Some would argue over communion: Should we have communion every time we meet or only on special occasions. Others would argue over Spiritual Gifts: are they for today or only for the first century. The list, and the arguments, would go on and on. We'd find so much to argue about that we'd never stop to look at our similarities.
Four times in the NIV New Testament, men asked, "What must I do…?" In Mark 10 and Luke 18, Jesus answered that question by replying, "Come, follow Me." He answered it in Luke 10 by telling a story about a Good Samaritan who showed mercy to a stranger and then saying, "Go and do likewise."
Paul and Silas told the Jailer in Acts 16 who asked what he must do to, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved - you and your household."
"Believe in Jesus; show mercy to each other; follow Jesus." What could we accomplish if there were a "World Christian Jamboree" where we came together to celebrate these simple commands while setting aside our differences?
Maybe then we could have another thing in common with the Scouts - Their Motto:
Except in our case, the thing we would be prepared for would be Christ's return.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 2:5
Most centipedes do not have one hundred feet. Some have only 30.
Daylight saving time was actually the brainchild of Benjamin Franklin.
A group of bears is a sloth; a group of caterpillars is an army; a group of elks is a gang; a group of jellyfish is a smack; a group of rattlesnakes is a rhumba.
When a fish is taken out of water, and exposed only to air, not to oxygen and hydrogen containing water, its gills are unable to control the oxygen intake, the delicate balance cannot be maintained, and the gills inhale a lethal overdose of oxygen. The fish essentially experiences death by "drowning."
TRIVIA - Many people survive by going from one trivial pursuit to the next. The apostle Paul said, "I would prefer to have you eating T-Bone steaks. Instead, you are only able to drink milk."
While living on the surface may be safe, it isn't satisfying. Eventually we need something more than shallow relationships and a life which is punctuated only by simple sentences and elementary textbooks. To grow, we must be nourished by a mature diet of deep friendships and a healthy relationship with God.
GospeLines Prayer:"Heavenly Father, love me as your child, nourish me into spiritual adulthood, and give me strength to walk and not be weary, to run and never faint, to soar as an eagle, and to be like you." Amen and amen.