VIDEO The God of Everything Needed

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. Psalm 23:1, NLT

Every August, lists are prepared by parents to make sure their children have everything they need for the new school year—from pencils, paper, and lunchboxes for the little ones; to computers, smartphones, and residential furnishings for the college students. The most satisfying phrase a parent can hear on the night before the first day of school is: “Don’t worry—I have everything I need.”

That is the opening line of David’s twenty-third psalm, a summary statement of how the Good Shepherd takes care of His sheep. Traditionally, that first line has been rendered, “I shall not want.” But a modern, more positive rendering is, “I have all that I need.” There is no need to consider what we might need and then remember that we have it. Instead, we know, without wondering, that we have everything we need. For David, playing the role of a sheep, that meant lush pastures and quiet waters; restoration of the soul; protection from evil; a luxurious banquet table; an eternal home forever.

If you are Christ’s, you belong to the Good Shepherd—and you have everything you need in Him.

He who has the Holy Spirit in his heart and the Scripture in his hands has all he needs. Alexander MacLaren


My Shepherd, Psalm 23 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

Steel and Velvet

Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. John 8:7

Poet Carl Sandburg wrote of former US president Abraham Lincoln, “Not often in the story of mankind does a man arrive on earth who is both steel and velvet, . . . who holds in his heart and mind the paradox of terrible storm and peace unspeakable and perfect.” “Steel and velvet” described how Lincoln balanced the power of his office with concern for individuals longing for freedom.

Only one person in all history perfectly balanced strength and gentleness, power and compassion. That man is Jesus Christ. In John 8, when confronted by the religious leaders to condemn a guilty woman, Jesus displayed both steel and velvet. He showed steel by withstanding the demands of a bloodthirsty mob, instead turning their critical eyes upon themselves. He said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (v. 7). Then Jesus modeled the velvet of compassion by telling the woman, “Neither do I condemn you . . . . Go now and leave your life of sin” (v. 11).

Reflecting His “steel and velvet” in our own responses to others can reveal the Father’s work of conforming us to be like Jesus. We can show His heart to a world hungry for both the velvet of mercy and the steel of justice.

By:  Bill Crowder

Reflect & Pray

How does your response to the brokenness of this world compare to Christ’s balance of mercy and justice? Where do you need God’s help to enable you to show His compassion to others?

Dear Father, I thank You for Your Son, whose strength and tenderness perfectly reveal Your heart for our lost world.

Discerning God’s Will

Matthew 16:21-26

It’s tempting to think we know what’s best, and this tendency often shows up in our prayers. Instead of laying our concerns at the Lord’s feet and asking Him for guidance and peace in the situation, we start telling Him exactly how we want Him to answer. Although today’s passage isn’t about prayer, it demonstrates a biblical principle that applies to our communication with God.

In making our requests, we should seek to align them as closely as possible with God’s revealed will as found in Scripture. This requires setting our minds on the Lord’s interests, not our own desires.

The way Peter saw things, rejecting Jesus’ announcement of His death made perfect sense. Even though this prophesy came directly from his Lord, Peter couldn’t reconcile the words crucified and Messiah. He had left everything to follow Jesus and was expecting to share in the glory. If Jesus was killed, there would be no kingdom. What he didn’t understand at the time was Isaiah’s prophesy of the suffering Messiah (Isa. 53:1-12).

By becoming students of God’s Word, we have more insight into His ways, will, and desires. With God’s perspective in mind, we can pray more knowledgeably, which in turn leads to increased answers to prayer (John 15:7).

To accept Jesus’ words, Peter would have to surrender his expectations for both himself and Christ. And the same is true for us as well. To follow Jesus, we must deny ourselves and even be willing to die for Him, if necessary. Sometimes dying to self involves surrendering how we want God to answer prayer. But when we do, we’ll find His best.

Praise God, It Is Christ

“Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” (Romans 8:34)

In our text, Paul asks if there is anyone who can issue a guilty sentence against believers. In light of all Christ has done and the fact that the Father “hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22), only Christ has the authority to condemn. Will Christ condemn those for whom He died? Obviously not, and Paul gives four reasons why the very suggestion is absurd.

First: “It is Christ that died.” He is the very one who left heaven to die as a substitute for us. True, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), but “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3). Certainly, the one who bore condemnation for us will not turn and condemn us.

Second: He “is risen again.” He did not stay in the grave but rose victorious, proving that God the Father had accepted His sacrifice. Certainly “the firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18) who desires “that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29) will not turn and thwart His own work and plan.

Third: He is even now “at the right hand of God,” where He is, among other things, preparing a place for us (John 14:2-3). He intends for us to join Him and will not condemn us. One would think He had done enough for us, but no.

Fourth: He “also maketh intercession for us.” As long as we, His “brethren,” still live, He is interceding to God on our behalf. He asks the Father for our acceptance, not for our condemnation.

If the only one with authority to condemn will not condemn, then we have the assurance that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). JDM

Faith Really Dares to Fail

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

—1 Corinthians 4:5

God may allow His servant to succeed when He has disciplined him to a point where he does not need to succeed to be happy. The man who is elated by success and cast down by failure is still a carnal man. At best his fruit will have a worm in it.

God will allow His servant to succeed when he has learned that success does not make him dearer to God nor more valuable in the total scheme of things. We cannot buy God’s favor with crowds or converts or new missionaries sent out or Bibles distributed. All these things can be accomplished without the help of the Holy Spirit. A good personality and a shrewd knowledge of human nature is all that any man needs to be a success in religious circles today….

We can afford to follow Him to failure. Faith dares to fail. The resurrection and the judgment will demonstrate before all worlds who won and who lost. We can wait.   BAM059

Father, keep me faithful today. I don’t need to succeed in the world’s eyes; I’ll wait. Amen.

 

If this cup may not pass away from me

O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me except I drink it, Thy will be done.—Matthew 26:42.

 

To do or not to do,—to have,

Or not to have I leave to Thee;

To be or not to be, I leave,

Thy only will be done to me:

All my requests are lost in one,

Father, Thy only will be done!

Charles Wesley.

 

Dear Lord, in all our loneliest pains

Thou hast the largest share,

And that which is unbearable,

‘Tis Thine, not ours, to bear.

Frederick W. Faber.

 

Offer thyself as a sacrifice to God in peace and quietness of spirit. And the better to proceed in this journey, and support thyself without weariness and disquiet, dispose thy soul at every step, by widening out thy will to meet the Will of God. The more thou dost widen it, the more wilt thou receive, Thy will must be disposed as follows: to will everything and to will nothing, if God wills it or wills it not.

Lorenzo Scupoli.

 

You must make, at least once every week, a special act of love to God’s will above all else, and that not only in things supportable, but also in things insupportable.

St. Francis De Sales.

 

Our Regulated Chastisement

“I will correct thee in measure.” Jer. 30:11

To be left uncorrected would be a fatal sign: it would prove that the Lord had said, “He is given unto idols, let him alone.” God grant that such may never be our portion! Uninterrupted prosperity is a thing to cause fear and trembling. As many as God tenderly loves He rebukes and chastens: those for whom He has no esteem He allows to fatten themselves without fear, like bullocks for the slaughter. It is in love that our heavenly Father uses the rod upon His children.

Yet see, the correction is “in measure”: He gives us love without measure, but chastisement in measure.” As under the old law no Israelite could receive more than the “forty stripes save one, which ensured careful counting and limited suffering, so is it with each afflicted member of the household of faith -every stroke is counted. It is the measure of wisdom, the measure of sympathy, the measure of love, by which our chastisement is regulated. Far be it from us to rebel against appointments so divine. Lord, if thou standest by to measure the bitter drops into my cup, it is for me cheerfully to take that cup from thy hand, and drink according to thy directions, saying “Thy will be done.”