Psalm 23 – Line by line – A different view

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd = Christ is the good shepherd of my life.

I shall not want = Christ is all I need, He is my supply.

He makes me lie down in green pastures = Christ is my rest.

He leads me besides still waters = Christ is the water of life.

He restores my soul = Christ is my restorer and healer.

He guides me in the paths of righteousness = Christ leads me and I follow.

For his name’s sake = God does all these things for His purpose in my life.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil = Christ has conquered death therefore I will not fear evil.

For you are with me = Christ will never leave me or forsake me.

Your rod and staff they comfort me = God disciplines those he loves.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies = Christ always provides.

You anoint my head with oil = Christ consecrates me.

My cup overflows = Christ gives me more than I can use and I can bless others.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life = God has given me all spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus.

 

Jesus said: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me”  John 5:39

There is so much more of Christ in this Psalm but this is just a taste.

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Leadership ???

How many times does leader, leaders, or leadership appear in the New Testament?

Please note that these are approximate numbers (they varies depending on what translation you read)

  • Leadership      : 9 times
  • In Christ            : 142 times
  • One another    : 147 times

What teachings and how many have you heard with the above titles?

I wonder if the Church looks at the world for inspiration instead of Christ.

I already asked the question “How many times does leader, leaders, or leadership appear in the New Testament?”

Now let ask it slightly differently; In what context are these words used?

Mark 10:42 – Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 “But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Luke 22:26 – Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.

Matthew 23:10 – Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11 “But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

Acts 5:31 – God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

Hebrews 2:10 – And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering,
a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation…

1 Cor 12:28 – third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, …   Notice it is a gift.

So we can see that Whoever wants to be a leader should be a slave or a servant in the Kingdom of God. ( Matthew, Mark and Luke)

There is only one leader; that is Christ the Messiah. (Matthew, Acts and Hebrew)

Leadership is a gift from God. (1 Cor)

The current churches obsession with leadership creates the type of problem where people are trying to “succeed” (a worldly term) and the only way they see success in the church is if they lead their own group. (the bigger the more ‘respect’ you have). So you will have division in the church with this approach. The “Elder” can’t be the “Chief Elder” unless he leads his own group.

It is often said that the people want leader to do the work for them. That is only true if you view the church as a organisation – like most worldly organisations – and not a as a Family, Building, Body and Bride as is described in the New Testament.

This reminds me of the Israelite’s of old in that they rejected God as King and wanted a king like the nations around them.

1 Samuel 8 NASB
1 And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel. 2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judging in Beersheba. 3 His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice. 4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; 5 and they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD. 7 The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. 8 “Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9 “Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them.” 10 So Samuel spoke all the words of the LORD to the people who had asked of him a king. 11 He said, “This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots. 12 “He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 “He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 “He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants. 15 “He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants. 16 “He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use them for his work. 17 “He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants. 18 “Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.” 19 Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

Have the people reject Christ as king? Do they want to be like other nations and have a visible leader?
Do we not learn from History?

Chris wants Followers not leaders. Jesus’ first words to his disciples were ” Follow me”.

Paul Did not say “Follow me even as I lead in Christ’ name”; He said ” Follow me even as I follow Christ”

Lets us look at some scriptures about leadership in the church:

1 Peter 5:3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;

Titus 1:
5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders(4245) in every city as I directed you, 6 [namely], if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. 7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward(1985), not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, 8 but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

From Strongs Concordance
4245 Elder : presbyteros – properly, a mature man having seasoned judgment (experience); an elder.

1985 overseer : (epískopos) has been regarded traditionally as a position of authority, in reality the focus is upon the responsibility for caring for others.

In reality we are always followers. we do not take Jesus to the people but we follow His spirit who is already at work in the world. No one can say I started a ministry. Rather we say we followed the leading of the Spirit to do the work of the ministry with Him who leads us.

A question that I always ask myself.
Do we ever stop been followers of Christ. If so then who leads us?  

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God does not want our commitment

I know I will hear many people say but, but, but I am always told that we must commit ourselves to God, or to the church. I have also heard this many time. I do not see how God wants our commitment when He never asks for it. You see, I can’t seem to find the word “commitment” in the New Testament. Please go and check it out for yourself before you read further.

When I read the word “commit” in the Bible, it is normally talking about sin. Matt 19:18; Romans 2:22; James 2:11, to quote but a few.
The funny thing is that when Peter had broken Jesus’ trust, Jesus did not say to him you must commit yourself more to me. No, Jesus asked Peter a simple question. ” Do you love me?” Jesus was not interested in commitment but in getting Peter back into a place of relationship where Peter knew he loved Jesus.
In the book of Revelation when the church at Ephesus was chastised, the words are not ” You have lost your commitment”, but rather Rev 2:4 states ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Commitment was not the problem but loss of love was the problem.
Jesus does not say He who keeps has my commandments and keeps them is committed to me. No in John 14:21 Jesus said “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
How many times was love mentioned in that verse?
God is looking for a people who will love Him because He first loved us. God is not looking for a people who are committed to his cause. He has no cause but He demonstrated His love for us in that Jesus laid down His life for the sins of many that those that Believe in Him will have everlasting live.
Our relationship with God is based on Love not on commitment. When we say a husband or a wife is faithful to their partner, do we mean that they are faithful because of fear or commitment, or rather they are faithful because they love their partner. It is the love for their partner that keeps them faithful, not their commitment to some ideal that keeps them. If love is the motivating factor then we do not need the seven steps, or the five points on commitment to get us through.
When we understand the Grace and the Love of God found in Christ Jesus and we start to see the richness of Christ then our love for Him increases and becomes the motivating factor that directs our actions.

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Forgiveness; does it make everything alright?

My story

A number of year ago I did something really stupid against my wife. I had broken her trust and the  great relationship that I had with her. Why am I telling you this?

Let me start by telling you about my wife. She is a woman full of love and grace. She is kind and generous. I say this not because she is my wife but because other people say it of her.

My wife loves me and because of that she already has forgiveness in her heart for me. I, the idiot that I am did not even realise that at the time, but even though she loved me it did not heal our relationship together. The saying goes, It takes two to tango. Well it took me to come to her with a repentant heart, wanting to have this relationship healed. Because she loved me she was ready and waiting for me to wake up and come to her wanting this marriage to work. Her forgiveness did not heal our relationship. When I came to her to confess my sin against her, she replied “ I forgive you, I love you”. That kind of response broke my heart. when I expected her to be angry, she was not but demonstrated that inner beauty that I fell in love with. I had to do my part of coming to her in repentance to heal our relationship. She had already forgiven me, but I had to do something as well. When I realised how much she loved me it changed me so that I made a decision not to hurt her again. This gave us back our oneness as a married couple that I had broken.

 

I asked the question “Why am I telling you this?”, well here is the answer.

Gods Story

Over the last few years I have seen many people get all upset over the Good News of the Kingdom that is preached about a God who loves us and has already forgiven us through our Lord Christ Jesus (past tense). A God who shows us mercy and grace even in our deepest sins. BUT all that the above is telling me is that God has prepared his heart to receive us. He shows us his inner beauty.

This does not heal our relationship with Him. There is no universal “we are right with God”. In our relationship with Him it does take two to dance. God has already prepared himself to receive us. It is up to us now to wake up, to see that the Love (John 3:16) that He has for us and that Grace that He has given us, and to repent (change our minds). Only is doing so does it heal our relationship with Him. When you make that decision you will realise that God has been there all the time watching and waiting with open arms to receive you just like the father of the prodigal son was doing.

Only when we come to God with a repentant heart does it heal our relationship and restore that oneness with him. God wants to come and dwell within us (John 14:23), to live His life through us, that we may be the arms, the legs, the outward expression of our indwelling Lord (Galatians 2:20).

As I grow older I realise that every day of my life I need His love, His mercy, His grace, His indwelling presence to live my life through Christ Jesus. Every day I am reminded that like in my relationship with my wife where we take the time to talk and discuss things that matter to both of us, so I take time to talk to my heavenly Father about things that matter to both of us (His will in my life).

If you realise how much God loves you then make that decision today to repent, He is waiting for you.

 

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The Gospel; The Good news

What do we need to understand the Gospel?

Firstly

You need to start to understand the Grace of God. His unmerited favor, His unconditional love.
God demonstrates His love for us by giving us His Son, His only begotten, His best. He shows us his mercy by doing this while we were still an enemy to Him in our mind and in our actions. He give us his grace that through what He has done for us in Christ’s death and resurrection that we may find forgiveness and salvation. There is nothing (good or bad) that you can do that will make God love you more or less than what He love you today.
What must we do to get this salvation?  Receive the Gift of eternal life from God. How do you do this? Change your mind about God, that is what repent means. Change your mind from seeing God as the enemy and seeing God as your friend.  Trusting Him for your salvation. This faith starts as a small seed but will grow into a large tree. Jesus disciples ran away at his crucifixion, but as their faith in God grew they changed and eventually were not even afraid to die for the gospel.

Second

You need to understand what this Love, Mercy and Grace give you.
It gives you God. In you 24, hours a day 7 days a week. It is having the kingdom of God within you, His rule, His love, His mercy, His grace. There is no spiritual time and secular time, all the time God is in you. Christianity is Christ in you, the hope of glory. It is living by the indwelling Spirit of Christ. If you want more love, or more patients, or more power, then seek ‘more’ God. He is our all sufficiency. All we need is Him. Salvation is not found in a book, or what we do, or do not do, but it is found in Christ Jesus. God is not found in a ‘church’ building, or a special day, or a special festival.  He is found in people who have received His love, mercy, grace and His salvation found in Christ Jesus.

Third

Please refer to point 1 and 2, there is no third. Christianity is not complicated. The Gospel is very simple so that even a child can understand it and receive Him. When you start to strive to do things for God to earn His approval, please refer back to point 1 and then remember who is in you (point 2).

 

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Marriage a different view point

I hear the other day someone said that someone should get  married because they should not live in sin.  That is the worse this I have heard in a long time and it goes totally against Gods’ plan  for marriage.  Lets look at marriage through the different eyes.

  • Marriage is a union of two people Man and woman who become one flesh (Gen 2:24. ). Leaving your father and mother (the old) and cleaving to your wife (the new).
  • Marriage is about making a family.
  • Marriage is about unconditional love.
  • Marriage is about unity.
  • Marriage is about having the same goals.
  • Marriage is about working together to achieve the goals.
  • Marriage is about making a home where children feel loved and safe.
  • Marriage is long term (in years).
  • Marriage is about showing each other grace and forgiveness when the partner misses the mark.

 

Marriage is a symbol of what God wants to do with His people. Our Father is preparing a bride for His Son (eph 5-27). That bride is called the Church and she is beautiful. When I wrote about marriage in the paragraph above was I talking about natural marriage or the church?

  • Marriage is a union of two people who become one flesh. Christianity is about the union of God and Man in Christ Jesus (John 17:23). God want to share our lives with us. He wants to indwell us so that we may live our lives through His life, His Spirit, His Kingdom.
  • Marriage is about making a family. Do you know that we are the family of God (Gal 6:10). He calls us his children with Jesus the firstborn of many.
  • Marriage is about unconditional love. God has unconditional love for us. (John 3:16)
  • Marriage is about unity. Are we not ‘In Christ’ united with Him. (mentioned over 70 times in the New Testament)
  • Marriage is about having the same goals and working together to achieve the goals. Christianity is about doing the will of the one who loves us. Working together with God to achieve His purposes on earth because in so doing He will prosper us. We will have a fulfilled life in Him.
  • Marriage is about making a home where children feel loved and safe. Are we not describing how our Father make us feel and the function of the church.
  • Marriage is long term (in years). Long term is eternity
  • Marriage is about showing each other grace and forgiveness when the partner misses the mark.  Has not God our Father showed us Grace in our time of need and do we not have the forgiveness of sins through the Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom 5:15)

 

When conducting a marriage ceremony in the future;  how about instead of using the old words of ‘in sickness and health….’

we use this instead.

I _____ promise to help you ________ to lead a holy life in Christ Jesus.
To encourage you daily.
To lift you up daily in prayer.
To be intimate with you sexualy so as not to give the enemy a foothold in our lives.
To financially honour you and work together build up our household.
To provoke you to holy works.
To always see the good in you and build you up in our most holy faith.
To show you grace when you miss the mark.
So that we may demonstrate the Love of God together, united as one

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Mathematics

Simple Mathematics

I love Mathematics. The people who know me, know that I am a numbers guy. So, lets do some simple mathematics.

If G = L and G = H and G = R

therefore L = H and L = R.  so let put some words to the letters.

God = Love  :  1 John 4:16; 1 John 4:8

God = Holy  :  Joshua 24:19

God = Righteous  :  Isaiah 45:21

Therefore Love = Holy and love = Righteousness.

Do you want top be perfect (holy, righteous) see Matthew 5:43-48then Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
If you do not know how to love then come to God, He is love. In Christ you already have Gods love. 1 John 4:18 Colossians 3:14

We should stop striving after righteousness and holiness and rather allow the Love of God into us and live through us. 1 John 4:17.

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