I've been preparing for this study for over 50 years. Actually, coming to know Christ as my Savior in 1953 brings me back 63 years ago as I started my Discipleship Training with my Lord. But it wasn't until I surrendered my life in 1963 that I seriously began coming to grips with what it meant to follow Jesus Christ.
What I plan on sharing in this study will be both challenging and expected. Challenging in the sense of pricking the sleeping parts of your spiritual life to WAKE UP to God's plan for YOU here and now!! Expected as what some would consider to be normal "discipleship talk," that is, the basics most Christians have heard for years. But don't let the "normal" mean "mundane!" Far from it.
Watch this site over the next few days as I seek to prepare you for what's coming in the weeks ahead.
THE "POWERFUL P'S" OF PSALM 23
I bring this study of Psalm 23 to show the impact this song of David should have on our lives. Some years ago I heard of another pastor who presented these same points from this passage. I gladly share his thoughts along with my own. Scripture taken from the NKJV
The Powerful "P" of Possession - Verse 1
"The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want."
Have you taken "possession" of Christ? As we possess Christ as our Shepherd we must understand that He possessed us first! And in our possession of Him we have everything we need.
Connection to the NT - John 10. Jesus is the Great Shepherd, the One searches for His lost sheep and brings them into the fold. The One who cares for them as we will see in the other Powerful "P's" of this Psalm.
Taking possession of Jesus is what happens at Salvation - He becomes ours as we trust Him as our Savior. It's the most important part of this Psalm! If Christ isn't my Shepherd then I don't get to enjoy what the Shepherd will only do for His sheep!
The Powerful "P" of Position - Verse 2
"He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters."
As we follow our Shepherd we find Him placing us just in the right place, not only geographically, but more so, spiritually. We are positioned where we can benefit most from His care.
The Powerful "P" of Pardon - Verse 3
"He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake."
Our Shepherd loves us enough to correct us and restore us to where we ought to be and then, He sets us back on the right path to follow Him in a life of righteousness.
The Powerful "P" of Protection - Verse 4
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."
Through the darkest experiences of our lives we find the Shepherd as close as ever. He is not only with us but He also constantly protects us with His power and love.
The Powerful "P" of Provision - Verse 5
"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over."
Our Shepherd provides our daily bread and everything else that is needed to bring refreshment and abundance into our lives.
The Powerful "P" of Prospect - Verse 6
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Our final destination is to be with our Shepherd forever! This is His promise and our anticipation.
THE WISDOM OF MOTHERS
God places our parents in a very important position. They represent Him! That's why God requires children to honor their parents, Exodus 20:15. God uses our parents to teach us a lot. Note the following passages that speak of God's way of using mother's to teach and influence their children. (All passages taken from the NLT)
Proverbs 4:3 - "For I, too, was once my father's son, tenderly loved as my mother's only child."
A wise mother learns the value of loving each of her children as if each one was the only child she had! That doesn't mean any of your children will feel "more important" than their siblings. What it does is helping each child to know they are as important as their siblings. Of course, God can make that happen because that is how He loves each of His children.
Proverbs 6:20-23 - "My son, obey your father's commands, and don't neglect your mother's instruction. Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. When you walk their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you. For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to life."
Note the ways a mother's instruction can influence her children for the rest of their lives. First, they cherish her teaching by storing these truths in their hearts and they "wear" them as if they were a necklace. Second, these instructions serve as guides as they move through life. Third, meditating on them at night gives a sense of security to give them peace. Fourth, as they wake up they have the advice of their mothers to give them a clear understanding of how to make the most out of every hour. Fifth, they have a clear vision on how to handle each circumstance without stumbling. And sixth, the correction their mothers gave them as children encourages them not to depart from living a righteous life. Most mothers have learned the promise of Proverbs 22:6 - "Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it."
Proverbs 23:13 - "Don't fail to discipline your children. They won't die if you spank them."
Corrective discipline, though painful with each spank, proves to have healing powers for the future. Disciplining children while they're young will help them avoid more serious punishment when they're older.
Proverbs 23:22 - "Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don't despise your mother when she is old."
The obvious lesson of this verse gives grounds for mothers to still seek to give good counsel to their grown children. Live in such a way that you will always maintain their respect and admiration
Isaiah 66:13 - "I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child."
Mothers have always been noted for their comfort. There are many times when it's not the words you say but the comforting touch you give that meets the deepest needs of your kids.
Titus 2:4 - "These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children."
Please note the order in which you love your family: Your husband first, then your children. Two points: A good loving relationship between husband and wife allows for a good loving relationship between parents and their children. When fathers and mothers love each other the way they should they will love their children the way they should. Another point is this: the greatest sense of security you can provide for your children is not necessarily telling them how much you love them. It's telling them how much you love their father! That lets them know that whatever they have to face out in the world, they know they're coming home to a safe refuge.