Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 23’

I lift up my eyes to the hills and ask, “From where does my help come?”

My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2


The President cannot say “Who!”

As Pastor I cannot say “Why!”

In my helplessness, I turn to you O’ Lord.

You who have been our help in ages past,

let us find our peace in You.


I do not know what to say to the injured.

I do not know what to say to the grieving.

In my speechlessness, I turn to you O’ Lord.

As we walk through the valley of shadows,

let us see You at our side.


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If you have been encouraged by Jesus …

if you have been comforted by His love …

if  you have fellowshipped with the Holy Spirit … 

if you have personally felt God’s tender love …

(Philippians 2:1)

In these words Paul reminds us of the personal blessings of our experiences of God’s grace, which God has showered upon up.

We frequently forget all which God has done for us in the course of our everyday lives.  It is these small yet significant blessings of encouragement, comfort, fellowship, and tender love which sustain us.

As a classic debater Paul uses his gift of persuasion to encourage us to live the life God calls us to live.  Paul believes we owe a personal debt to God.

His reasoning and pleading is, “Since God has been merciful and gracious to you, then you should joyfully live from the bounty of His love?”

As a Pastor, I fear that we live in a world where more and more Christians live with a sense of entitlement.

They believe God owes them.  They believe God is in debt to them. They believe they deserve special treatment from God.

I see this sense of entitlement expressed in worship.  Do you go to worship for the simple pleasure of adoring God and learning from His Word or do you go to worship expecting to be fulfilled, to sing music you enjoy, and to have worship your way?

I see this sense of entitlement expressed in our demands for grace. When you sin do you demand that their should be no consequences to your behavior or do you submit yourself to biblical discipline.

I see this sense of entitlement expressed in difficult times.  When life is hard do you complain to God, questioning His grace and love or do you see Him walking with you through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4)?

Christians who live from a sense of entitlement will never be happy and will never find joy in Christ, much-less in life.

This is why Paul begs us to remember our experiences of God’s grace, they are key to your joy and peace today.

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The Crucible of Love


Love is easy when it blesses.  


But what happens to you when love lacks benefit, becomes a cross to bear, or a curse upon you?


Oswald Chambers asks a question which causes me to pause: 

Have you come to the place where God can withdraw His blessings and it does not affect your trust in Him? (1)


I would be lying if I claimed that a withdrawal of God’s blessing would not affect my trust in Him.  


This is why I cling to these verses:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for God is with me; His rod and His staff, they comfort me.


Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (2)


In those times when doubt has crept into my heart and mind these verses remind me that God never withdraws His blessing from me.  


I may perceive God has withdrawn His blessing, but He does not.  


God sends His blessings in comforts and in difficulties, in joy and in sorrow, in praise and in discipline, in gain and in loss. 


Knowing this sustains me when His love is greater than a warm fuzzy for the day.


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  1. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Psalm 23:4, Romans 8:39, and Hebrews 4:16.

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Faith never knows where it is being led. (1)

This may be our biggest problem with faith, not knowing where it will lead us.

While I permit my wife, my administrative assistant, and God to add things to my daily calendar. I covet controlling my own schedule.

Years ago I read David P. Campbell’s book If You Do Not Know Where You are Going, You’ll End up Somewhere Else.  The book scared me because up until then, I went with the flow trusting circumstances and others to clear a path for me.

For years I thought ending up somewhere else was the worst thing that could happen to a person.  Being somewhere else implied that it was not a land of green pastures, flowing with milk and honey.

Since reading that book, I have grown stronger in my faith.  I have learned to trust God.  When my faith was weaker I loved God, but now I love Him and trust Him.

We can love people we do not trust and trust people we do not love, yet have faith in neither.

Faith in all of it’s fulness is the unique mixture of love and trust.

When a Christian loves and trusts God, he does not worry about ending up somewhere else.  He knows that God will keep His promise, best expressed in Psalm 23:1-4

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 

He leads me to rest in green pastures. 

He leads me beside still waters where He restores my soul. 

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 

When He leads me through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for He is with me.

Once I yielded my life to God, He led me to some amazing places.  Each of these would have been on my list of somewhere else places I would have never chosen to go.

I have been blessed by passing through the somewhere else places God has led me, even when some of the roads traveled through fiery pits of hell and valleys of death.

The road best traveled is the road of faith!

With God you never know where you are going, but it will be a good way because you are being led by someone who loves you.

Keep the faith and enjoy God’s trip to somewhere else.

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  1. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest : Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers, 1993).

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