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The Lord Is My Shepherd | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
April 28, 2024 3:00 am

The Lord Is My Shepherd | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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April 28, 2024 3:00 am

One of the best known Psalms is Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd. . .” Pastor Greg Laurie describes it as a masterpiece every believer should memorize. And in this message, he helps us see it in a whole new light.

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Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie, encouraging you.

If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. Today I'm very excited because I'm going to study one of my favorite passages in all of the Bible, Psalm 23. The title of my message is very imaginative. Are you ready for it? The Lord is my shepherd.

I thought I can improve on perfection, right? You know, we live in such a crazy, chaotic, scary world right now. Fear is everywhere. People are so stressed out. War around the world, violence in our streets, an uncertain future. Social media only fuels this fear, and what we need is calm in the midst of the storm.

We need an oasis in the middle of that hot desert, a safe place to retreat to. Now if you were to take your Bible, let's try this as an experiment. How many of you have a Bible with you today? A Bible, not your tablet, not your phone. Take your Bible, just kind of randomly open it in the middle. Just open it up in the middle, no particular place. Did it fall in the book of Psalms for any of you?

Yes, that's often the case. So if you basically open your Bible somewhere in the middle, I just opened mine, it opened up to the book of Psalms. Now in this beautiful book that we're studying together in this series that we're calling Psalms of David, we have the pearl of the Psalms. We have the crown jewel of the Psalms, Psalm 23. Next to the Lord's Prayer, this is probably the best known passage of scripture in all of the world. This particular Psalm, Psalm 23, has brought hope to millions of people through the world through the years. Pastors have used it to bring comfort to those in hospital beds and even on death beds.

People have passed into eternity hearing these words. Psalm 23 is an absolute masterpiece from beginning to end, and every believer should commit it to memory. If you're going to memorize this scripture, and you should, you've got to start with Psalm 23. How many of you have memorized Psalm 23? Oh, I'm so tempted to call on you. I'm so tempted. Okay, who has memorized Psalm 23?

Where do the hands go? Who has memorized Psalm 23? Okay, ma'am, in the striped shirt.

Him, sir, in the Hawaiian shirt. Now neither one of you are doing it, so nobody here has memorized it. You have. All right, you just don't want to be embarrassed. But I'll admit to you, I know Psalm 23, but when I recite it from memory, I get things out of order.

It's very easy to do. It's a very interesting Psalm, the way it's structured. But I remember hearing the story of a Sunday school class that was happening at church, and the teacher said, Okay, kids, next Sunday I want you to memorize Psalm 23. And so they all were working on it.

One little boy was really struggling. And so that next Sunday came, and the kids got up and recited it, and it was his turn, and he got up and he said, The Lord is my shepherd. And he paused and he said, And that's all I need to know.

And he sat down. In a way, that's true. In the very simplest way of looking at that, that's all you need to know. If you really know that the Lord is your shepherd, and we're going to define what that means in a few moments, that changes everything. I can also say, if you know Genesis 1, 1, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and you believe that, it affects everything that you face in life. So let's read it now together, Psalm 23. And I'm reading from the King James Version. Now there's a lot of great translations, but I learned this in the King James Version. And I still have it in my memory. And I'll tell you what, it's on the screen, so let's all read it together.

Ready? The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Isn't that the best? Psalm 23. And that's all you need to know. God bless and goodbye.

I can literally walk away and we've already heard so much. But if you're taking notes because I'm a preacher, I have to give you a sermon now. OK. So here's point number one.

Very simple, very obvious. The Lord is our shepherd. The Lord is our shepherd. Now when we think of shepherds, we imagine an idyllic scene. A shepherd calmly watching over his tranquil little flock out in a field somewhere.

Maybe this sun is setting. But actually, the shepherd was more than just a guy who watched over a flock of sheep. He was a warrior. He was a protector.

He was a provider. A David, of course, who was the author of this psalm, mentioned to King Saul when he was preparing to go fight Goliath in the valley of Elah in 1 Samuel 1734. He said, as a shepherd, when a lion or bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and attacked him and rescued it from his mouth.

That's hard core. Maybe we should say they're more like a ninja than a shepherd. This is a courageous person that watches over a flock of sheep. In fact, the Bible tells us that when David did go into battle against Goliath, that his stone sank into the forehead of Goliath. It's been estimated that a competent shepherd with a sling and a well-placed stone can get it up to a speed of 100 to 150 miles per hour. Boom! Right into the forehead of Goliath.

And of course, he fell forward and pretty much was dead. The Lord is your shepherd. It's interesting, in Israel today, they have these defense systems that worked very effectively when Iran attacked them. One of them is called the Iron Dome, but another one of their defense systems, which is a rocket system, is called the Sling of David.

I like that. The Sling of David. The Lord is your shepherd. The Lord is your protector. David later wrote in Psalm 91, he will cover you with his wings. You'll be safe in his care. His faithfulness will protect and defend you. You need not fear any dangers at night, or sudden attacks during the day, or the plagues that strike in the dark, or the evils that kill in daylight. Listen to this. No matter what you are facing, remember the almighty God, the creator of the universe, is your shepherd. One night, probably watching over his flock, David wrote these words in Psalm 8. When I look at the night sky, and I see the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, that you have set into place, what is man that you should think of him?

The human beings that you should care for them. How true. You know, when I was in Maui a couple of trips ago, I went out one night and just looked up. Oh my goodness, you can see so many stars there.

I thought, what is the problem with California? It's the same night sky, but it's just beautiful and clear, and you can see so much. You can just lay down on the beach and look up and see the handiwork of God. And when you do that, you're reminded of the fact that your father made all of those things.

Astronomers estimate there are more than 100 billion galaxies, and in each galaxy there are more than 100 billion stars. And each of these was created by God, and each has a name according to scripture. Your father, your God, your shepherd created all of those. Notice that David does not say the Lord is a shepherd, though he is a shepherd. He says the Lord is my shepherd.

See, this is personal. The Lord is my shepherd. The Lord is your shepherd. I love how we're told over in Jeremiah, God says, I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord. Thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope. He could have just said, I know the thoughts that I think toward everyone, and that would have been true, but that's not what he said. I know the thoughts that I think toward you.

This is personal. The Lord is your shepherd. Paul said, Christ loved me and gave himself for me. Oh, it's true Christ died for the whole world. Jesus said it best. For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son.

But Paul personalized it. He gave himself for me. The Lord is your shepherd. God has particular thoughts that are good toward you as an individual. Even if others forget you, God never forgets you. David wrote this, if my mother and father forsake me, excuse me, when my mother and father forsake me, the Lord will take me up.

That's in Psalm 27. David knew what he was talking about. David was not the favorite son in his family. In fact, when the prophet Samuel came to Bethlehem, the hometown of David, to find the next king of Israel, because the Lord had told him that in the house of Jesse was the next one who would ascend to the throne to take the place of the wicked king Saul, who had been rejected by God, all Samuel knew was one of these boys was God's choice. So he comes to Jesse's house. He says, I'd like to meet your sons.

And Jesse parades out these seven strapping boys. And one of them was taller than all the rest. His name was Eliab.

And so Samuel's walking down the line. The Lord says, that's not the one. Next one, that's not the one. Next one, that's not the one. Then he sees Eliab, tall, handsome. That's got to be the one. This guy's like a movie star. It's like he came out of central casting.

This has to be the next king of Israel. The Lord says, that's not the one. Then the Lord says to Samuel, I don't judge by outward appearance. I look on the heart. But we all judge by outward appearance, don't we? We make evaluations on how people look.

Even when you take a photo. Let's take a group photo. Then you take it. I'm going to pose it. Let me see it first. Why do you want to see it first? You want to make sure everyone looks really good?

You could care less about those people. You want to know how you look. And if you don't like the way you look, you say, please don't post that photo. We care about the way we look, and we should. Some of you should care more about the way you look, honestly. But, just kidding. But not really. But anyway. But we place so much emphasis on the outward appearance. Did you know that $16 billion a year is spent on cosmetic surgery?

That's Newport Beach only. But we do make evaluations on appearance. Now, some of you are not old enough to remember this, so this is a little history lesson for the kids, okay? We had two men who were running for the presidency, and it was Richard Milhouse Nixon and John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Now, you see those two guys? Now, they had a debate. It was on television and radio. Nixon was a very competent, intelligent communicator, as was Kennedy.

But come on now. Who's the best looking of the two? So those that watched it on television thought Kennedy won the debate. Those that listened on radio thought Nixon won the debate. Why did they think Kennedy won the debate over Nixon? Because he looked better. And we notice when people look better.

Don't say you don't because you do. Even babies are judging us. Studies have been done that have revealed that babies as young as one day old are drawn to a more attractive face. So if you want to know if you're attractive or not, go to a baby.

Hi. If they look at you and smile, good. If they turn away, poor little babies. You know, they're stuck in a high chair.

People come, oh, hello, hello, hello. And the baby's like, don't want to look at your unattractive face any longer. God looks on the heart. And that's what the Lord was saying to the prophet, hey, I'm looking on the heart. And my choice is not in this line of young men. This magnificent seven standing here, these are not the ones. And so Samuel says to Jesse, do you have any other sense?

Yeah, I got one more. He's out in the field. He's kind of weird. He's a musician. Probably writing a new song. He's a poet. Weird kid.

Yeah, bring him in here right now. So they bring in young David and God says that's the one. This young boy was the one God had chosen to be the next king of Israel. And what did David do for a living? He was a shepherd. Being a shepherd was looked down upon, by the way.

Not a popular profession. And it usually fell to the youngest son. You're going to be the shepherd. The shepherds were so looked down upon that the testimony of a shepherd was not even allowed in a court of law.

Because they were not thought to be honest individuals. And I love the fact how shepherds are sort of elevated in the Bible. Moses was a shepherd. David, of course, was a shepherd.

When the angels came with a wonderful announcement that the savior of the world had been born, who did the announcement go to first? It went to shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night. Great training to be a shepherd. So here he was watching over his flock of sheep and the Lord is our shepherd. Jesus said, I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me. Number two, God is our shepherd and we are his sheep. We are his sheep and that is not a compliment.

Sheep are really one of the dumbest animals on the face of the earth. He could have said we're a lot of things. He could have said we're his dolphins.

Dolphins are very intelligent. We're his dogs even. Even cats do better than sheep. We have a cat in our neighborhood. I love this cat. I know you think I hate cats.

I actually like some cats. And I like this cat. And he is old and he is wise and he has no fear. And I saw him the other day just walking across the street like he is a lion. He acts like he is a lion.

He is walking across the street. And some person is walking a dog and the dog starts lunging at this cat. And the person is holding him back with a leash. And the cat just like looks at him like, hey, you're looking at me. You want some of this. You know forget about it.

I mean I don't know why I made him Italian all of a sudden or a New Yorker. But I just love the attitude of this cat. You know cats have skills. They can jump so high. They can fall off the greatest heights and survive.

You've heard the expression a cat has nine lives. They've got their claws. They've got their teeth. Sheep have nothing. They can't run. They can't claw. They can't bite. They're like leg of lamb for the taking. Now might as well just walk around with mint jelly. Here I am.

Make a sweater out of my fur and then have me for lunch. It'll all be good. They're completely dependent upon the shepherd. They can't run fast. They've kept themselves in trouble. And then they go astray all the time. This is why the Bible says all we like sheep have gone astray. We've turned everyone to his own way.

I read an article about what happened in Turkey in 2005. One sheep walked off a cliff. Okay that's crazy. They just walked off the cliff. And 1,500 other sheep follow. That's how stupid they are. One sheep walks off.

The other's like okay form a single line. We're going off the cliff today. Everybody come on.

It's not that bad. Let's go. And they would have all been dead, but the fact of the matter is only 450 sheep died because the ones that hit the ground first were like a cushion to absorb the others. Crazy. We say oh sheep are so stupid. Oh and we're not.

We're not influenced by peer pressure. Look at the things that people will do. Look at these crazy TikTok challenges. I looked this up. I thought well what are these TikTok challenges? I've heard about a few of them. These are real.

I'm not making this up. Some of these things have gone viral. So basically someone does it.

They film it and challenge others to do it as well. One of them was called the Nyquil Sleep Chicken Challenge. So you took chicken and you basted it in Nyquil.

Nyquil's a cold medication. And you ate it. That's a challenge.

Brilliant. Then there was a corn cob challenge. Someone took a corn cob, attached it to a spinning drill bit, fired it up, tried to eat it. One guy broke his tooth doing it.

Get stranger. The cereal challenge, you lay on the ground, and someone pours cereal in your mouth. Then they pour milk in your mouth.

That makes a lot of sense. This one is crazy. The Skull Breaker Challenge. You go up behind a person, knock their feet out from under them with the hope that their head will hit the concrete and you film it. That's the challenge.

And there's a blackout challenge. You choke yourself and film it. This is stupid behavior, people. We're just like sheep. Oh, but they're doing it.

I want to get more likes on my post when I'm doing it. You know, it's just crazy. And so sometimes the shepherd has to save the sheep from themself because they're so wayward, they're so foolish, and he has to be there watching over them. The Lord is our shepherd.

Number three. Our shepherd is our provider. Our shepherd is our provider. Verse one, 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. Not only are our sheep defenseless, they're also helpless.

They're completely dependent on the shepherd for provision. And you are, too. Well, Greg, I don't know, you know. I mean, yes, but also I built an amazing career through my hard work, my brilliant investments. My shrewd decisions and my deep humility. I've become the success that I am.

And there's no question that many people go out, often entrepreneurial folks, and they accomplish great things and make a lot of money. But just remember, God gave you the ability to do that. We're told over in Deuteronomy 8, 18, remember the Lord your God. It is he who gives you the power to get wealth. Because the bottom line is, that beat of your heart right now that's a gift to you from God. Not a gift from you to you.

You can try to be the healthiest person you can potentially be and take care of yourself and eat right. But still, the beat of your heart, that's a gift from God. The thought in your head, that's a gift from God. Everything that you have has been given to you by him.

The breath you just drew in your lungs. I read an interesting quote, a sad quote really, from Steve Jobs when he was on his death bed and he made this statement and I quote, at this moment, lying on the bed, sick and remembering all of my life, I realize that all of my recognition and wealth that I have is meaningless in the face of imminent death. One can find material things, but there's one thing that cannot be found when it is lost. It's life, end quote. So when you're laying on your death bed and you realize you don't have much longer to live, you realize what a precious gift life is. That's why you don't wanna waste your life and squander your life that God has given to you. Jesus said, what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?

But listen to this. When the Lord is your shepherd, you will not want. You'll find contentment. Paul wrote in Philippians 4, I've learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything, but I've learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it's with a full stomach or an empty one, with plenty or little, the secret of contentment.

What is the secret of contentment? It's not what you have, it's who you know. It's not what you have, it's who you know. Over in Hebrews 13 five, Paul writes, or the author of Hebrews writes rather, keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what you have, for he himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you. Do you have Jesus?

And you have more than enough. Now maybe you'd like a little more money or a little more of this or a little more of that, but the contentment comes from your relationship with God so you can say, the Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. Contentment should be the hallmark of the godly person. Number four, our shepherd is our restorer. He restores us. Coming back to what he says, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside the still waters, he restores my soul.

Oh yeah, sheep need restoration. Jesus told the story of a shepherd who had 100 sheep, one went astray, so he left the 99 and searched for that one stray lamb until he found it. He wrapped it around his shoulders and came back rejoicing. And then he said, in the same way, there's rejoicing in heaven over every sinner that comes to repentance. That's, by the way, in Luke chapter 15. And in that same sequence of teachings, Jesus then tells the story of the prodigal son. That wayward boy ran away from home, went to a distant land, spent all of his money, drug the family name to the gutter, finally came to his senses and returned home, never expecting to be treated as a son. He thought he had forfeited that. He just thought if I could just get a job working for my dad, that's even better than the way I'm living now. But when the father saw him a great way off, and Jesus told this story to show us what God is like, the father saw him and threw his arms around his son and said, son, welcome home. And he put new clothes on him and a ring on his finger signifying sonship.

And then he said, this my son who is dead is alive again and he who was lost is now found. So here's the point, we may go astray, but that doesn't stop us from being children of God. You don't lose your relationship with God, you just lose your fellowship with God. And sometimes sheep go astray as well. It's called being cast down. So what happens is a sheep will go out and wander off on its own and they'll get cast down.

David even wrote about this in Psalm 42. He said, why are you cast down, oh my soul, why are you disturbed within me? So what it means to be cast down is a sheep, usually the fat ones I might add, will be eating, he'll lay on his side and then he rolls on his back, maybe in a little ravine or a little ditch and he gets stuck on his back, sort of like a turtle, you know how they can't get back up, he's stuck on his back. That's called being cast down.

So the sheep's there stuck, he has this little life alert, he's trying to get it, I've fallen and I can't get up. And the only way that sheep is gonna be restored is if the shepherd walks up to the sheep, picks him up and puts him back on his feet again and we get cast down as well. So David says, why are you cast down, oh my soul? That's what he's referring to.

Why are you so disturbed within me? And then correcting his thinking, he says, put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my savior and my God. Christians also fall prey to sin when we become complacent and lower our guards. David later in his life, of course, fell into sin with Bathsheba and that story begins with, at the time when kings go forth to battle, David was on his rooftop.

So he's kind of resting, he's not leading his troops as he normally did, he's idle, he sees the beautiful Bathsheba bathing herself and you know the rest of that story. And then Nathan comes and confronts him and says, God knows what you've done, you need to repent of this. And when a believer goes astray, our objective should be to restore them, not destroy them. He restoreth my soul and we should seek to restore others because we all stumble and fall. We all get cast down at times, we all mess up. He restoreth my soul and we should want to restore others as well. Paul writes in Galatians six, brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by a sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path and be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Okay, so number five, our shepherd is our guide. Our shepherd is our guide. David writes, 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. Am I talking to somebody right now that's in a very deep, dark, scary valley, so to speak? Perhaps it was unexpected circumstances that have overwhelmed you. Perhaps it was a time, or is a time, where you even feel that God has abandoned you. Maybe it's a valley of sickness, maybe it's a legal problem, maybe it's a family problem, maybe it's some other kind of problem, an addiction problem, and you're in this valley and it seems like you're never going to get out of it. Well, David was no stranger to calamity and hardship.

He knew what it was like to suffer. He had been to the valley of the shadow of death after he was anointed king, what a wonderful day that was, but immediately, King Saul, threatened by this upstart, makes it the mission of his life to kill David, and David has to literally go into the wilderness and flee, and then later, after David ascended to the throne and became king, his own son Absalom turned on him and betrayed him, and he was running from Absalom, so he knew what it was like to go through valleys. And I know, we'll say, I don't do valleys, Lord.

I just do mountain tops. I just like the good times when the sun is out and the birds are singing and the sky is blue and I don't wanna go through those valleys, but the fact of the matter is, is if you wanna get to that mountain top, you're gonna have to go through that valley first. But you're gonna learn things in that valley you will not learn anywhere else.

Listen to this, fruit does not grow on mountain tops, it grows in valleys. When I say fruit, I'm talking about spiritual fruit. Job talked about the suffering he went through and he says, God knows where I'm going and when he tests me, I will come out as pure gold. So whatever you're going through, there's a purpose, there's meaning in it, it's not random, God's in control, yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

He did not write, yea, though I collapse and die in the valley of the shadow of death. Nor did he say, yea, though I crawl through the valley of the shadow of death. He said, yea, though I walk through the valley. In other words, I'm gonna keep walking. I'm gonna get up and I'm gonna keep walking forward. I'm gonna keep moving and God is gonna get me through it. Your shepherd did not say you're merely going to go to the valley, he said you're gonna go through the valley. You're gonna get through your valley.

You're gonna get through your storm. Jesus once said to his disciples, get on the boat, we're going over the other side. And of course they got on the boat and a big storm came and they're probably pretty scared. But he did not say, let's go in the boat and drown in the middle of Galilee.

I don't think anyone would have boarded the little boat. He said, let's get to the other side. He did not promise them smooth sailing but he promised them a safe arrival. The same is true for us. We're gonna get to the other side.

We're gonna get through our valley. Number six, our shepherd loves us. Our shepherd loves us. Look at verse four, your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Now do you know what a rod and a staff are? So a staff, that's a long crooked instrument we so often associate with a shepherd. And a staff, it's basically a rod.

It's a club. So the staff was used to pull in a wayward sheep. So the sheep's going astray, shepherd reaches out with the staff, pulls him in. Sheep goes astray again, shepherd repeats it, keeps using it. But then you have that one wayward sheep that won't stop going astray and we already found out what happens when one walks off a cliff. So the shepherd may have to use a rod and give the sheep a good whack. Better to have a broken leg than to be leg of lamb.

So in the same way in our life, God uses the staff. Now, Greg, I don't want you to do that. Come on back here. Now hey, I don't want you to do that, Christine. You come back over here. Hey, I don't want you to do that, Josh. That's not my plan for you. Hey, Sarah, that's not where I want you to go and you disobey and you disobey and the Lord says, don't make me use this rod.

But I will if I have to. And then he uses it and we say, God doesn't love me. Now that's actually an indication that God does love you.

You say, how do you get to that? Because Jesus said in Revelation 3.19, I correct and discipline everyone I love. Okay, so if you're being disciplined by God, that is a reminder you are a child of God. And you are loved by God. On the other hand, if you can go and blatant open outright sin without any conviction or any remorse or any guilt, I'm concerned for your soul. But if you have those pings of guilt, it means your conscience is working.

His rod and his staff, they comfort us. You know, God also tells us in Hebrews 12, if God doesn't discipline you, if God doesn't discipline you, as he does all of his children, it means you're illegitimate and you're not really his children at all. Now I can't discipline someone else's kids.

Sometimes I wish I could. I see bad children. Maybe that's not the right word, but they're behaving badly, we'll put it that way.

Disrespectful, trouble making, doing things they should not do, and I look at them and I think bad parenting, right? How about these college students out protesting, holding up signs that say we are Hamas. Oh, you are Hamas? Oh, so you are for murderers and rapists and people that torture other people, you are Hamas?

Others holding up signs, gas the Jews, hello? Do you have any idea what you're saying? And I look at a generation of so many of these young kids out there and I'm thinking where are the parents?

Where's the parenting here? They need direction and we need direction as well because we have a natural tendency to go astray and to get ourselves into trouble. Okay, point number seven, we're almost done. Our shepherd will protect us and get us safely to heaven. Our shepherd will protect us and get us safely to heaven. Drop down to verse five. You prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.

You anoint my head with oil, my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. The Christian has three primary enemies, the world, the flesh, and the devil. The world with its allure is the external foe. The flesh with its evil enticements is the internal foe and Satan with his temptations is the infernal foe. So the world, the flesh, and the devil and every day we're gonna get barraged by temptation coming in some way, shape, or form but God promises he'll prepare a table before us in the presence of your enemies.

By the way, this is a table for two, you and Jesus. The devil is not invited. Don't give the devil a seat at your table. Don't let him enter the conversation.

The Bible says resist the devil and he will flee from you. The problem is we'll say I'm not gonna give in to what you're offering but just for the record, what are you offering? Let's hear it. Well, he's happy to give you a little sample. He's happy to let you take a test drive.

He's happy to put out what he has that will ultimately pull you down so you don't allow that. You are the air controller of your mind. You are the DJ of your set list. You decide what songs are gonna be played, not somebody else, not the devil.

You decide. Don't give the devil a seat at your table and I love how he ends and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I'm gonna get through this valley. I'm gonna get through the challenges of life and my shepherd will lovingly receive me into his presence on that final day.

Listen to this. Only the person who has said the Lord is my shepherd can also say I shall not want and only the person who says the Lord is my shepherd can also say and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. It's often said we're all children of God. That's really not true technically and theologically. Now we're all created by God.

We're all loved by God. We're all made in the image of God but we're separated from God by our sin but the way that I become a child of God, the way that he becomes my shepherd and I become his sheep is when I believe in him because our good shepherd, Jesus Christ, became the lamb. The shepherd became the lamb who takes away the sin of the world where a normal lamb is defenseless and has no ability to defend itself and anyway, Christ could have gotten out of the situation he found himself in as he stood before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. Christ with just a word to heaven could have found angelic deliverance but he laid his life down as a lamb would and he was sacrificed and his blood was shed and then our lamb became the shepherd and if you want to become his child, you must believe in him.

The Bible says for as many as believed in him or received him rather, he gave them the power to become sons of God. So if you want to have this relationship with God where you can say the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. If you want to have this relationship with God where you will say I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever, you have to ask him to come into your life and turn from your sin and believe in him and that can happen for you now. So we're gonna close in prayer and I want to extend an invitation for anyone here who has never asked Jesus to come into their life to do it. You will not regret this.

This is the greatest decision you will ever make in life. Let's pray. Father, I pray for any who are here who don't know you yet. They don't know you as their shepherd. They don't know you as their loving father in heaven.

They're just alone in life and they're afraid, trying to make their way in the dark, not even knowing where they're going and here you are, the light of the world. Here you are, the good shepherd. Here you are, the God in heaven who loves them and you're ready to enter into a relationship with them. You're ready to enter their hearts but they must believe and I pray for any listening, watching, wherever they are, if they have not yet believed, let this be the moment they put their faith in Jesus Christ and while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed, maybe you would like Christ to come into your life and if you want your sin forgiven, if you want to know that when you die, you will go to heaven, if you want the Lord to be your shepherd, if you want him to be your father, then pray this prayer with me. You could pray it out loud if you like. Just pray these words, Lord Jesus, I'm like a lost lamb. I don't know where I'm going but I need you as my shepherd. Thank you for dying on that cross for me and shedding your blood for my sin. I turn from my sin now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my shepherd, as my God, as my Lord, and as my friend. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer.

In Jesus' name I pray, amen. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-28 04:35:57 / 2024-04-28 04:52:29 / 17

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