Category — Discipleship
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
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
11. Small groups exhibit Christ in the home to our children, neighbors and friends. Acts 2:47, they were “praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” Our singles small group used to meet on our back patio on warm summer evenings. We sang praises to God accompanied by a guitar. To be honest, I was a bit self-conscious, concerned that we might be disturbing the neighbors. On the contrary, our neighbors loved the fact that these young people were singing praises to God! Also, over many years of leading small groups, our children watched, participated and took it all in. Today they are leading, participating in and understand the importance of small groups because of what we modeled for them.
12. Small groups demonstrate that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts! Two Small groups raised over $10,000 to dig a well in Uganda and in the process impacted hundreds of people. Their efforts even made the evening news on television! [Read more →]
February 22, 2012 No Comments
6. Small groups help fulfill Christ’s design for us to be part of His family. We read about that in Ephesians 2:19-21. We can be a part of a large church, but we may not experience family unless we’re part of a small group.
7. Small groups follow Jesus’ example with His twelve disciples! Jesus chose twelve men…that they might be with Him…(Mark 3:14)Jesus spent time with many others too, but he focused on the twelve. There is a limit to the number of people we can impact deeply with our lives. Small groups provide a great environment in which to influence and impact a few deeply. [Read more →]
February 4, 2012 No Comments
December 29, 2011 No Comments
We now come to our final request in the Lord’s Prayer, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” At first glance, the phrase, “Lead us not into temptation,” seems a bit strange or out of place. The reason for this is that God would never tempt us (James 1:13). Some have a distorted view of God and think that He’s waiting to trip us up or expose us to sin’s lures. But that is not God’s way with us. He may test us through hardship, but he does not tempt us with sin.
In the Lord’s Prayer we are asking Him for strength to resist temptation. The New Living Translation renders it, “And don’t let us yield to temptation.” Another way to put it might be, “Lord, please lead me out of and away from the things that tempt me!” Jesus warned His disciples on the night He was betrayed, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) As we’ve seen elsewhere in this prayer, we are dependent on our heavenly Father and in this case, we’re dependent on His strength to resist temptation. [Read more →]
November 21, 2011 No Comments
“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12) By debts, Jesus is not referring to financial indebtedness, but our sins. The New Living Translation renders this verse, “And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” Just prior to modeling this prayer, Jesus reminded His listeners, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8) If God knows what we need before we ask Him, then why ask? We ask God because it’s fitting to do so.
As we read or pray this prayer, it would be easy for us to see our “daily bread” or the “forgiveness of our debts” as the focal things, but they aren’t. The focal thing in this prayer is God and our relationship with Him. When we express our need to Him for bread and for forgiveness, we interact with Him in a way that cultivates our relationship with Him and acknowledges who He is. God is not merely the “bread-Giver” or “Forgiver,” He is our Father. “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11) [Read more →]
November 16, 2011 No Comments
As the Lord’s Prayer continues, we pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) Very simply, we are declaring God’s kingship in our lives. We are praying, “You, Lord, are my God and my King. I invite Your reign in my life and long for Your reign in this world.”
Imagine God’s kingdom, a kingdom in which there is no sin, evil or anything wicked. Our world today is polluted and permeated with sin and evil. God will one day renew the earth and set up His eternal rule. The apostle John, seeing and hearing a preview of God’s coming kingdom, writes, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4) [Read more →]
November 7, 2011 No Comments
The Lord’s Prayer continues, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name….”Our Father in heaven—our God— is holy. He is pure and unblemished. He is not only free from any hint of evil, but He is infinite love, goodness and righteousness through and through. In the heavenly scene in Revelation, the angels cry out before Him, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” (Revelation 4:8)
When we pray to God, “Hallowed be your name,” we both declare that God is holy and that we desire our lives to honor Him as holy. We profane Him when we ascribe attributes or works to Him that are not holy or are inconsistent with His character. Paul warns in this regard, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.” (Romans 1:21-23) [Read more →]
October 30, 2011 No Comments