In John 15 verse 11, Jesus talks about how our joy can be overflowing when we walk side-by-side with Him. This can sometimes be a challenge, especially when we feel that our cup of joy is empty. This Sunday, we will be looking at the part in Psalm 23 that talks about our cup overflowing. My prayer is that God allows us to grasp just how full and deep our joy can be in Him and how it can last through thick and thin.
Dear church family, I want you to know that you have been prayed for. Life is sometimes good and sometimes tough. I am very thankful that this world is not our home. It's hard to admit, but today my struggles aren't with physical enemies, but mental ones. I'm trying hard not to borrow tomorrow's or the next day's or the next week's or even the next month's worries, but I'm not succeeding.
God has promised to give His followers peace that passes all understanding. That means peace from worries, from problems, from challenges...EVERYTHING! He promised to abundantly provide for us even while in the presence of our enemies. And since God's word is true and He keeps His word, that means He will give true peace, He will provide what I need when I need it. My prayer is that I can trust His timing and for me to know His peace in this moment. As I pray for me, I pray also for you.
This Sunday, we will be talking about shepherding equipment, specifically the rod and staff. I guess that I have never really thought much about these tools, but I’ve learned a lot lately. One thing I discovered is that the rod, while used for defense, also was used for correction. When a sheep would wander away from the flock, often looking for something different or new, the rod would be thrown with such skill that it would whiz right past the sheep’s ears and it would come back to its senses and run back to the shepherd. The shepherd knows that it is important for his sheep to be near him because he is their safety, protection, and provision. Sheep can only survive because of a good shepherd’s care.
But the sad thing is that we as smart humans are the very same as sheep! Our Shepherd takes care of our needs, guides us, and protects us, but many times we think we know better than Him and seek to break away and do our own thing. And that is the very thing our enemy - that prowling lion Satan! - wants us to do. Shepherd Philip Keller puts it this way, “At all times we would be wise to walk a little closer to Christ. This is one sure place of safety. It was always the distant sheep, the roamers, the wanderers that were picked off by the predators in an unsuspecting moment.”
Have you ever been in a place where God was trying to get your attention? Did you heed that warning or just keep going your own way? The path away from God leads to destruction, deception, and death. God throws His “rod” near your head, trying to get you to return to your senses and run back to Him. I’m thankful that God does not give up on us. He loves us too much to leave us in our rebellious state. He knows that our only chance of a fulfilled life is in the Good Shepherd’s care.
We take turns writing when God gives us an idea. The author will be noted.