In the past few posts, we’ve been considering Psalm 23 as a Model for Living. There are at least four values in this Psalm by which David patterned his life. This post brings us to the fourth and final value.
At the close of Psalm 23, David stuns us with a novel thought. He writes, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Notice all the ways David sites in which the Lord graciously served him. This particular value recognizes, “It’s not about my service for God, but about His service for me!”
This is a difficult value for many of us to swallow. We may feel like we “owe” God big-time. Obviously, we do owe Him our lives and everything He gives us to enjoy. But we do not “owe” Him in the sense that we can pay Him back or even attempt to do so. Why? Because salvation (complete forgiveness and restored relationship with Him) is God’s gracious gift to us. To even suggest that we should try to pay Him back is foolish and would diminish the magnitude of His free gift. God is not the beneficiary of our beneficence; we are the beneficiaries of His. [Read more →]
November 8, 2012 No Comments
In the previous three posts, I’ve introduced the idea that Psalm 23 serves as a Model for Living. We’re looking at four values from that Psalm by which David patterned his life. This post brings us to the third value.
David reminds us that as God’s children, we bear our heavenly Father’s name. He “guides us” or “leads us” in “paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” This value states that we glorify and represent the Lord well as we follow Him in paths of righteousness, or in right-living.
The apostle Paul reminds us, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth and find out what pleases the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:8-10) We are to live in a manner consistent with our heritage—we are the Lord’s children. We bear His name. [Read more →]
October 5, 2012 No Comments
The second value that David gives us for living he expresses like this, “He leads me…” That is, “The Lord is the one who is leading me, which means that I follow Him!” Many of us go through life making and following our own feeble plans. We may long for God’s approval and presence with us in our plans, but we’re asking Him to join us—or follow us— as it were. “Lord, bless my plans!”
I know of no better way to ensure God’s presence with us than by following Him! It’s no coincidence that the Lord Jesus said in John 10, “I am the good Shepherd. My sheep hear my voice and they follow me.” And by the way, following Jesus is precisely what it means to be His disciple. So the value here is, “He leads I follow.”
© 2012 Rob Fischer
October 2, 2012 No Comments
First, David shares with us, “I find my ultimate satisfaction in the Lord” (period!) Now, David worded this a bit differently. He said, “Because the Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need!” The “quiet waters” and “green grass” that God gives me—those are just a bonus! But the real reward and riches are in knowing Him! “I find my satisfaction in the Lord.”
The apostle Paul expressed the same thing when he declared, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.” (Philippians 3:8) [Read more →]
September 26, 2012 No Comments
Psalm 23 is no doubt the most well-known Psalm from the Bible. But I’m going to ask us to set aside our familiarity with it for a few minutes, and to consider it with a fresh perspective as a model for living.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even 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 overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23 NIV) [Read more →]
September 24, 2012 No Comments
Last week, legislation that would’ve banned sex-selection abortion failed to pass in the House of Representatives. Whether the bill itself was well-constructed is another matter. Of course, I contend that all human life is sacred and that abortion is nothing less than the willful murder of a baby. Now the American people are wrestling with sex-selection abortion, which is already widely practiced in China and India. Isn’t sex-selection abortion (i.e., abortion based on the gender of a child) the most extreme form of gender discrimination imaginable? And since sex-selection abortion historically favors killing baby girls, how is this practice not the most heinous crime against women? What do you think?
June 4, 2012 2 Comments
The Gospel (or good news) of Jesus Christ has always been a message of life, not only in the joyful anticipation of eternal life, but in the fullness of life that we experience in Christ right now. Jesus explained, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV) And later in John’s Gospel Jesus declared, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26 NIV)
We must remember that death (both physical and eternal) entered the world as a result of sin (Romans 5:12). Satan, the deceiver, confused and misled Adam and Eve. Jesus describes the character of the evil one in John 8:44, “The devil…was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” And the apostle Paul explains that apart from Christ, people are in the clutches of the evil one, that Satan is doing his work in them and that they have been “trapped” by him, “who has taken them captive to do his will.” (Ephesians 2:1-2 and 2 Timothy 2:26) [Read more →]
May 31, 2012 No Comments
Those of us who follow Jesus Christ claim that we maintain the sanctity of human life. When it comes to the issue of abortion, we recognize it for what it is: the taking of a human life; killing; murder. We have strong moral and ethical convictions and we back them up with Scripture and our consciences that are being formed by the Holy Spirit to reflect the character of God. We know the arguments and can articulate them well. For us, the issue of abortion has already been dealt with and defeated—intellectually—but to what effect?
For those of us who fall into the above category and who believe we understand the heart of God on the issue of abortion, what impact has our position made on our culture? Have our personal or collective beliefs, convictions and rhetoric made any dent in curbing the number of abortions conducted every year? Since the Rowe vs. Wade decision in 1973, we—as a nation—have the blood of over 54,000,000 babies on our hands. When is enough, enough? When will we realize that our personal and even collective position on abortion, in and of itself, makes no strategic difference? We must speak up. [Read more →]
April 26, 2012 1 Comment
21. Small groups provide a way for us to be involved in something greater than ourselves! This past Christmas a small group rallied around a family that was hurting financially due to an onslaught of medical bills. This small group gave generously to provide a Christmas for this family! The noteworthy thing about this incident is that the majority of the small group members had never met this needy family. Small groups truly do give us opportunities to be a part of something bigger than ourselves!
22. Small groups cultivate an environment in which the Lord is present with us! Jesus said in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” When the Twin Towers came down in the awful terrorist attack on the US in 2001, my wife and I met a couple of days later with our small group of young single adults. With the emotions of this horrible tragedy still raw in our minds and hearts, we gathered together that evening to worship and pray to the One who could make sense of it all. We spent the evening simply worshiping God, praying for the victims and their families and for our nation. The sense of God’s presence among us was overwhelming. [Read more →]
March 9, 2012 No Comments
16. Small groups are like the “mud room” in the farm house! Come as you are! A small group must be a safe place to be transparent and honest. In the small group we cry and laugh together. As long as we live behind a facade before others, we will not grow in Christ and we cannot help others grow in Christ. James said, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other.” (James 5:16)
17. Small groups provide us with the accountability that we desperately need! A few years ago, I was leading a men’s small group over the lunch hour. One of our guys (I’ll call him Kent) came in late and was noticeably troubled. We greeted Kent and I asked him what was wrong. He blurted out that he had just had a fight with his wife. I asked him if he had reconciled with her, to which he answered no. He explained what their argument was over and it was crystal clear to all of us that Kent was being extremely unreasonable and unloving toward his wife. Playfully, we told him to get back home and make things right with his wife and to let us know how things went. To Kent’s credit, he did! Kent was grateful for our tough love for him (and so was his wife!). [Read more →]
February 27, 2012 No Comments
Rob Fischer is a transformed follower of Jesus Christ. He is happily married to Linda (34 years) has three grown children and five grandchildren. Rob currently serves as one of the pastors at Southside Christian Church. Rob loves to write, hike, work with wood and ride motorcycle with Linda!