Sunday, May 16, 2010
The LORD is my Shepherd...
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His names's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
I have been whispering these words to myself for days now. I know they're true. I need to hear them and remind myself of those great promises over and over and over. God knows what we need and when. I just noticed in my Bible there is a scripture reference next to the first verse of Psalm 23. This referenced verse is what Pastor Mike Brown preached on this morning; "And my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
The title of his message was, "How to over come economic downturn" or "How to receive God's provision". I am denial about living the actuality of the first so I like the second title better. Pastor Mike gave us three points to remember about Philippians 4:19...first, don't be passive about this verse. Present your specific need to God and do it with expectancy - believe your need will be filled. Don't let your need distract your view of God. (Liz, are we doing this?) Are we letting our need distract our view of God? Remember that ALL things are possible with God! Keep in mind that fabulous promise in Isaiah 26:3, "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You."
The second thing to remember about waiting on our need to be filled is: REFUSE TO FEAR! Pastor Mike declared this simple truth: fear produces NOTHING. Worry produces NOTHING. When you're choosing the right spiritual things in life then you're setting spiritual law in motion. Sowing brings reaping. If you sow honor, godliness and peace you'll reap them. If you sow dishonor, ungodliness and strife you will reap them. Honor God while you wait for your provision.
Psalm 55:16-17 says, "As for me, I will call upon God and the LORD shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice." Verse 22 adds, "Cast your burden on the LORD and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved."
Sometimes I don't feel very righteous. Pastor Mike read my mind, "YOU are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, if you belong to HIM!" He pointed at us with the fire of heaven in his voice.
He continued by reminding us that when we get into fear we get into torment. 1 John 4:18 teaches us that "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment." Following after the thread of fear leads us to the land of doubt. But, the LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures, not on a bed of hot coals. He leads me beside the still waters, not throw me down a torrential waterfall. Amen. So, Pastor Mike, said, "Be confident and refuse to fear as you make your requests known to God."
The third thing to practice in order to receive God's provision is to know His covenant promises. The Bible is filled with promises from the loving God of all to His chosen people. From Genesis to Revelation they're all there. One promise after another. Psalm 23 is six verses of promises for me. I especially like verse four, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me." I smile to myself, even laugh out loud with God about this verse. He has given me His Rod. My Rod. My Rod comforts me. He did just that this morning with what the LORD was showing him in his Bible study. "For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." Philippians 2:13. Rod said, "God is working in us to do His will."
Needless to say, we left Crossroads Assembly of God this morning refreshed with the encouraging word settling down in its rightful place. I am so grateful for His word. I am relieved that as Pastor Mike put it, "every season of suffering has an expiration date". A year from now we may not even remember the dire stress of the current trials we are going through today. God promises, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever." I love that.