Sunday, September 9, 2018

My Shepherd and My Father

My Shepherd and My Father


The God of the Bible is known by many names/titles. He is my Lord, God, Savior, King, Master, Redeemer, deliverer, rock, fortress, shelter, strength, shield, etc. However, there are two specific designations for God that I will focus on in this devotion. In Psalm 23, He is called Shepherd. In Matthew 6:9-13, He is called Father. Although He is called Shepherd and Father in many other scriptures, these are two of the most well-known and beloved passages found in all the Bible.

And as the years pass, and as I grow closer and closer to Him (by His grace and mercy), I believe there are three primary reasons for the popularity of these verses. In these verses we find:
  1. A crystal-clear picture of the profoundly personal relationship we can have with the creator, sustainer and judge of the universe.
  2. The benevolent, loving and unchanging character of the one true God is presented with concepts that can be readily embraced by all peoples.
  3. That the hope for reconciliation and restoration of this broken world and the broken people who populate it is not only a reality, but is desired and made available by the One righteous King who rules over all things.

Let’s take a closer look at what these verses tell us about who God is, what He does, and how He does it.


His Position

Shepherd
  • Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    • My perfect provider and protector keeps a close eye on me. He comes after me when I stray. 
Father 
  • Matthew 6:9-10 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
    • I am loved by a Father who knows me better than I know myself. His plans for me are best. 

His Provision
 
Domain
  • Psalm 23:2a He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
    • He has provided a glorious eternal destination for those who love and obey Him.
Nourishment
  • Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.
    • He meets all my physical and spiritual needs (even when I think it isn’t enough).

His Peace
 
Environment
  • Psalm 23:2b He leads me beside the still waters.
    • My peace is not defined by my surroundings, it is found only in Him.
Relationships
  • Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
    • Through His grace and mercy, we find forgiveness of sins and peace with Him. We find peace with others when we are gracious and merciful.

His Pardon
 
Reconciler
  • Psalm 23:3a He restores my soul;
    • I born into sin and condemned to death – He paid for my soul by shedding His sinless blood. Now I have eternal life.
Liberator
  • Matthew 6:13a-b And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.
    • He has rescued me from my depraved nature, the sinful ways of the world, and the adversary.

His Participation
 
Providence
  • Psalm 23:3b He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
    • He is deeply and personally engaged with my life – that’s what He is known for.
Sovereignty
  • Matthew 6:13c For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
    • Not only is He the all-powerful, all-knowing ruler over all things, He receives glory and honor for how, when and why He righteously exercises His authority.

Here are a few final thoughts – Jesus said:
  • John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
  • Matthew 7:11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Follow the Shepherd!
Honor the Father!
Embrace Him as Both!!


Prayer

I am in awe of You my Selfless Shepherd and Faithful Father. Teach, correct and guide me as I seek to know You better and honor You with all that I am. Please help me surrender everything to You. I am tired of holding back. I am sick of the fear and doubts. Use me for Your glory. I ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Amen. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Never Say Never

Never Say Never


Have you ever heard someone say something like,

‘He would never __________.’
‘She could never __________.’
‘No matter what, I will never __________.’
‘My child would never __________.’

Such statements often produce the following response, ‘Never say never.” Why is that?

‘Never say never.’, is one of the world’s unintended confessions of a Biblical truth that they would otherwise vigorously deny – namely, that all people are depraved by nature! But, according to the Bible, since all people fall short, rebel, shock, disappoint, disobey, surprise, etc. with regards to living up to God’s moral standards and requirements, it is completely appropriate and accurate to say that man can never:

Live Without Sinning
All people sin, that is why Jesus had to die.
  • Romans 3:23 or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Be Reconciled to God Through His Own Efforts
There is only way to an eternal life in heaven with God, Jesus.
  • John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Avoid Eternal Blessings or Torment
Every person will spend eternity in heaven or hell.
  • John 5:28-29 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
    • Note: The use of the phrases ‘those who have done good’ and ‘those who have done evil’ in vs 29, does not refer to earning salvation through good works. These phrases refer to the life of a person who has surrendered to Christ as Savior honoring God in how they live, as opposed to someone who has rejected Christ and lives in rebellion against God.

Additionally, the Bible also teaches that it is correct to say that God never:

Lies
God and His Word are absolute truth.
  • Titus 1:1-2 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began
Changes 
The character, motivations and trustworthiness of God never change.
  • Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
Tempts (or is Tempted)
God is above reproach and never entices us to sin (but he may allow us to be tested).
  • James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone 
Leaves or Forsakes His Children
He will not abandon those who truly love him.
  • Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 
Dies
We serve an eternal God with no beginning and no end.
  • Psalm 102:27 But You are the same, And Your years will have no end. 
Fails
God can do anything that doesn’t contradict His character.
  • Jeremiah 32:17 ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. 

As Christians, we reject the saying, 
‘Never say never.’ 
We put our trust in the 
absolute truths of God’s Holy Word! 


The unwillingness of a born again follower of Jesus Christ to take firm positions based on what the Word of God teaches shows a lack of:

Comprehension
No Christian fully understands God. But when a Christian has not matured in their knowledge and understanding of scripture, they will not have a stable foundation of absolute truth to stand on.

Confidence
Knowledge without faith is impotent. A person won’t stand for something they don’t trust.

Courage
Trust that overcomes fear leads to the embracing and sharing of truth; even when that truth is rejected by the world.

Conviction
A passion for truth is revealed when faced with opposition.

Commitment
Christians are called to persevere in truth regardless of the form or extent of the opposition faced.


Prayer

Forgive me Father
for how short I fall of
what You have
called and empowered
me to be
in Christ Jesus.
Amen