THE SHEPHERD…


Psalms 23:1 – “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.”  NASB

I hope that you re-read this entire Psalm as we consider ‘The Shepherd of Shepherds.’  In John 10:10, Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”  Also, in Matthew 20:28, we discover the words of our LORD, “…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” 

The subject of the ministry of Jesus is an inexhaustible subject and this Psalm is a direct focus on that ministry.  Jesus came, without question, to be our Savior, our Healer, our Deliverer, and our Guide.  He came to give His life that we might have life, but His personal ministry to us and for us does not stop there.

The personal ministry of Jesus goes far beyond our present ability to comprehend.  When we consider some of the aspects of His ministry, we see things in Him that will or should help us better serve Him.  I am convinced that the more we know Him the better we can serve Him.  My friend Garry Smith says, “You can’t serve a Savior you do not love, and you cannot love a Savior you do not know.”  That may be a paraphrase of his saying, but I believe it conveys the idea.  The more we know Him the better we can serve Him!

I want us to consider some of the aspects of this personal ministry and hope it will inspire us, and build our faith, increase our confidence and trust in Him.  The Bible tells us that “In Him, we live and move and have our being.”  We also read that He is our “present help in the time of need.”  He is our Shepherd! 

The personal pronouns me, my mine, are used 16 times in this Psalm.  That personalizes it powerfully! What a statement the uttered by the – THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD!  But that leads to several questions.  What does it mean to you and me personally?  What does it say about Him?  What is a Shepherd, and what does a Shepherd do?  I want to hit the high-points on those questions and hope that I offer something that is beneficial in your continuing Christian walk.

THE SHEPHERD PROVIDES FOR HIS FLOCK.

Caring for the flock is a basic function of a shepherd.  Let me give you a Roy paraphrase of a portion of this Psalm: “The LORD is my shepherd; therefore, I cannot lack anything because He makes, takes me to a level path and adjusts my pathway so that I lie down in green pastures that are filled with abundance of provision, lush and filled with the needed refreshing.  He leads me beside the still waters the waters of refreshment.  He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies and anoints my head with oil so that my cup continuously runs over.  I am overflowing because of my Shepherd.”

The Shepherd provides nourishment for the flock.  He guides them into pastures where there is an abundance of rich nourishing food and leads them to the quiet waters of refreshing.  He spreads a table before them so that they never lack.  In fact, the sheep in this shepherd’s flock have no sense of lack because they totally rely on and trust him.

That principle is evidenced in things that God did for His flock.  There was bread (manna) in the wilderness.  The bowl of meal was ever empty for the widow who fed Elijah.  The 5,000 were fed with 5 loaves and 2 fish and the 4,000 with 7 loaves and a few fish.  He is a provider.

Matthew 6:11 instructs us to pray for our daily bread.  In Matthew 4:3 we see the temptation of our LORD by the devil trying to get Him to turn stones into bread.  Jesus’ response was, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

The Shepherd not only provides food he provides shelter.  Psalm 91:1 informs us, “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most-High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”  In verse 2 we see Him as our refuge and fortress and in verse 4 we are encouraged that under His wings we are protected and can trust.

In Matthew 11:28 our LORD invited us, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”  Jesus is our Shepherd.  He is our Provider and He is Always MORE THAN ENOUGH!  He is Jehovah-Ra’ah our Shepherd and as Hebrews 13:8 reveals, He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

I want to touch on more of the personal ministry of the Shepherd but will pause here and take this up in the next devotional.  It is my prayer that the LORD will watch over you in your walk today and keep you safe and lead you in right paths. 

God Bless you and I pray that you have a fantastic day!

BOTH LORD and CHRIST…


Spiritual Blog - Lord and Christ

Acts 2:36 – “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ — this Jesus whom you crucified.”  NASU

I don’t know about you but every time I read that verse it leaps off the page and into my spirit and I then pause to meditate on it.  Peter was addressing the Jews and attesting to the truth that Jesus was the sacrificial lamb of God and the Son of God.  He addressed the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  Then he makes this incredible statement that Jesus was “both Lord and Christ.” 

I’ve heard many preachers lament that too many have made Jesus Savior but not Lord of their lives.  There is some validity in that and it is possible to believe that He is the Messiah without fully coming to terms with His Lordship in our lives.  I had a preacher tell me that a “Carnal Christian was an Oxymoron.”  He insisted there was no such creature.  I did not want to argue but thought about the many people that I have encountered and even the times in my life when I named the Name of Jesus but allowed the flesh to direct some attitudes and even actions.  If there could be no place for a Christian to drift there would be no place for chastisement and correction from our Lord through the Holy Spirit.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve been taken to the woodshed before by the Spirit of God and corrected.

What I want to focus on is not Carnal Christians but the distinction between being Lord and being Christ.  Both are the same person but two different aspects or dimensions of His ministry, position, and person.  Peter tells the hearers that the Father made or gave Jesus both distinctions and functions.  So, I believe the examination of the distinction is worthy of consideration.

LORD – – If you examine the language and search for understanding as to what this word implied and contained you find some interesting and revealing things.  The word “lord” properly denotes “proprietor, master, or sovereign.”  Peter is affirming that God has elevated Jesus to the position of King and in that has given Him dominion in the heavens or as we might better understand, “ruler of all things.”  Everything is in subjection to Him and one day will bow before Him in full recognition.  John 17:2 makes that clear saying, “For you granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to those you have given Him.”  Paul reaffirms that in Ephesians 1:21 saying of Jesus that God had elevated him, “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”  That is amazing!  He is LORD of LORD and KING of KINGS.  We belong to Him.

CHRIST – – This word refers to the ministry of Jesus as Messiah.  Peter is informing them that they have crucified the Hope of the Nation and the world for that matter.  He is Messiah.  He is Savior.  Jesus is the ONLY way to God and therefore the ONLY way to heaven.  There are not many roads to Salvation.  Jesus made that perfectly clear in John 10:9 when He declared, “I am the door.”  In John 14:6 He expanded that reality saying, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  In Acts 4:12 we discover there is salvation in no other name, “for there is no other name under heaven given among me by which we must be saved.”  Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.  His blood was made in atonement for our sins and in His sacrificial death He bought us back from the legal control of the devil.

As Christ, He is my savior and as Lord, He is my sovereign and I serve Him.  He can only become my Lord after He becomes my Savior.  I enter his house through repentance and faith and I serve Him through obeying His commands, directions, and demonstrating His person and love.  If it is possible to get to heaven without truly following Him as Lord and getting in as some have said, “by the skin of our teeth” I would hate to stand before Him without any fruit.  I do not work to be saved but I long to do His will in this life and my daily prayer is, “Father hallowed by thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven and let it be done in me.  Let me manifest your person and work the be both a vessel God can use and a laborer in the harvest field of God.  Make me like Jesus.”  I am not trying to make a deep theological argument about Lord and Christ but trying to urge you to seek Him as not only Savior but also as Lord in your daily life.

May the Lord bless you richly as you manifest Him to others today!