Tag Archives: Psalm 23

The Good Shepherd

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The Good Shepherd

Psalm 23 NKJV
“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.
He restores my soul;
He leads 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 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 runs 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.”

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* A shepherd is someone who takes care of and protects. Jesus is truly our shepherd. He is our guide, He directs our path, and He protects us and cares for us.

* A shepherd protects his sheep even at his own expense. Jesus laid down His physical life so that we can have eternal life.

* A shepherd puts the best interest of the sheep above his own.

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John 10:11-16 NKJV
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.
The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.
I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.
As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father, and I lay down My life for the sheep.
And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.”

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1. When Jesus is my Shepherd I have no fear.
2. When Jesus is my Shepherd I have abundance.
3. When Jesus is my Shepherd I have peace and calmness.
4. When Jesus is my Shepherd my soul is restored.
5. When Jesus is my Shepherd He leads me through the dark places.
6. When Jesus is my Shepherd He is always with me.
7. When Jesus is my Shepherd I can rejoice always.
8. When Jesus is my Shepherd I experience an abundant amount of mercy and goodness.
9. With Jesus as my shepherd I have the promise of eternal life.

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Dear Lord,
I thank-you for all that You do for me. I have no want because You provide for me in abundance. With You as my Shepherd I have no fear. Peace and calmness surround me and my soul is restored. By the power of the Holy Spirit help me, when going through dark places, to remember that You are with me. May I rejoice always for mercy and goodness follow me always. And most of all, I thank-you for the promise of eternal life that You have given me.
In Your precious name, Amen.

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Don’t Be Fearful

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Don’t Be Fearful

DRAWING WATER FROM THE WELLWe need to present all our worries and problems to God so that He can calm our fear and help us. As we pray our worries are replaced with God’s peace.

1 Peter 5:7 NKJV

“…casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”

When we have God’s peace we are filled with a calmness and quietness. We have freedom from struggles in our mind and heart.

 

Psalm 85:8 NKJV

“I will hear what God the Lord will speak,

For He will speak peace

To His people and to His saints;

But let them not turn back to folly.”

As we pray to God about our worries and problems we must listen for His voice. As God speaks peace to us concerning our situation we must keep our eyes on Him.

 

Isaiah 26:3 NKJV

“You will keep him in perfect peace,

Whose mind is stayed on You,

Because he trusts in You.”

Psalm 29:11 NKJV

“The Lord will give strength to His people;

The Lord will bless His people with peace.”

The peace that God gives us is not the same as the peace that the world has to offer. God’s peace is superior in every way, in every situation. It drives away fear, terror, and uneasiness because God is in control of every situation and circumstance.

 

John 14:27 NKJV

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

God doesn’t want His people to be fearful or full of worry. He wants us to come to Him, our Father, in prayer about any and every circumstance that we face. He doesn’t want us to worry or fret over them. Instead He wants us to commit them ( or to hand them over) to Him, believing that He will provide our rescue (our deliverance or release). When we do this God will give us a peace that we never knew existed.

 

Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

I. Jesus Speaks Peace To The Storm

Matthew 8:23-27 NKJV

“Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him.
And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep.
Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

One evening, after ministering to a large crowd, Jesus told His disciples that He wanted to go to the other side of the lake. After they began to cross the lake Jesus laid down on the bottom of the boat and went to sleep. While asleep, a big storm came up and the boats were tossed to and fro. Large waves began to come into the boat that Jesus and His disciples were in.

The disciples were afraid and they woke Jesus up. When they told Jesus that they were about to die He asked they why they were afraid.

Jesus arose and rebuked the wind. As soon as Jesus said ,“Peace, be still,” everything was calm, the storm was over. The disciples were amazed at the power of Jesus.

 

II. A Mother Has Peace Through Trials

2 Kings 4:18-37 NKJV

“And the child grew. Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers. And he said to his father, “My head, my head!” So he said to a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out. Then she called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.” So he said, “Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.” And she said, “It is well.”
Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.” And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel. So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, the Shunammite woman! Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’” And she answered, “It is well.” Now when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet, but Gehazi came near to push her away. But the man of God said, “Let her alone; for her soul is in deep distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me, and has not told me.” So she said, “Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me’?” Then he said to Gehazi, “Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child.” And the mother of the child said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her. Now Gehazi went on ahead of them, and laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing. Therefore he went back to meet him, and told him, saying, “The child has not awakened.” When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite woman.” So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out.”

As a gift of gratitude for making him a place to stay (a room on the top of their house), the prophet Elisha gave a Shunamite woman a promise that she and her husband would have a son. Within a year his prophesy came true – she had a baby boy. One day, years later, while the boy was out in the field with his father his head began to hurt. The father told one of the servants to carry the boy to his mom. When the servant brought the boy to his mom she held him in her lap. Around noon the little boy dies in her arms.

The woman knew that God had promised her a son so she did not accept the boy’s death a final. She got up out of her chair and carried her son and laid him on Elisha’s bed and closed the door. Then she went to tell her husband that she was going to see the prophet Elisha. He was surprised that she wanted to see Elisha right away. When he asked her why she responded to him, “All is well.”

When the woman found Elisha she told him what had happened to her son. Elisha returned with her to her house. He went into his room where the dead boy ay on his bed. Elisha prayed and through the power of the Holy Spirit he breathed life back into the boy. During this time the mother had peace given to her by God.

 

III. Paul Has Peace During A Storm

Acts 27:13-26 NKJV

“When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete. But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon. So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive. And running under the shelter of an island called Clyde, we secured the skiff with difficulty. When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven. And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands. Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up. But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. However, we must run aground on a certain island.”

Paul had been arrested and he was to appear in court in Rome, so King Agrippa sent Paul to Rome by ship along with many other prisoners. It was just before winter which was not a good time for sailing. During the winter the winds were very strong and they made it difficult and dangerous to travel by ship.

After they had traveled for 130 miles the weather began to change. The wind was so strong that they could not land (dock) where they wanted to. They were forced to sail further southward. Finally they were able to dock at a small town.

Because of his experience with sailing and boats, Paul knew that they should stay where they were and not travel any further until winter was over. He told the owner of the ship and the sailors, however they did not listen. They wanted to go on so that they could stop for the winter at a larger town about 60 miles away. Several times Paul tried to tell them that it was too dangerous, but each time his advice was rejected.

The next morning the sea was calm and a slight breeze was blowing so the ship set sail, staying close to the shoreline for protection. Suddenly a violent storm hit the ship. The wind pushed the ship south of a small island. The sailors were afraid and they began to take measures to try to save the ship. They attached ropes around the ship in order to try to hold it together and let down the anchor. They hoped that the anchor would slow them own some so when it didn’t they let down the life boats. Paul told them that if they didn’t stay on the ship they would die. Finally they listened to Paul and they cut the ropes to the life boats.

The next morning Paul told them that they needed to eat some food. They had been in the storm for about 2 weeks and during this time they had not eaten properly. God had assured Paul that not one of them would die. As Paul broke bread he gave thanks to God for His hand of protection.

After everyone ate they lightened the ship by throwing the cargo overboard. They could see a small island not far away so they let go of the anchors and raised the sail. As they approached a the island the ship got stuck on a sandbar and the waves crashed violently against them.

The soldier’s were afraid that the ship was going to break apart. Their thought was to kill the prisoners then try to swim to safety. However, the commander liked Paul and he did not want them to kill him. He told everyone that could swim to jump overboard and swim to the island. Those that could not swim were to float to the island on a board or some other part of the ship. Just like God had promised no one died -they all were saved. Throughout the entire time Paul had peace given to him by God.

 

IV. Believers Should Live In Peace

2 Corinthians 13:11-14 NKJV

“Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.”

Peace means the absence of hostility, strife, and disorder. It is also the condition and sense of being safe and secure. Peace describes a state of physical and/or spiritual well-being. As a believer, our peace come through Jesus.

In his writing to the Corinthians, Paul encouraged the believers to live in peace. In order for them to do that they need God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. They need grace from Jesus, the love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. When believers have grace from Jesus, the love of God and communion with the Holy Spirit they will live in peace – peace will rule their lives. Instead of fighting and living in conflict they will walk in love, harmony, unity, and encouragement.

 

V. God’s Peace Should Rule The Believer’s Heart And Mind

Philippians 4:7 NKJV

“…and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

God’s peace can guard our hearts and minds. It (the peace of God) protects the mind and heart from untruthful, bad, evil, and wicked influences and it keeps us focused on God’s truth.

Colossians 3:15 NKJV

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

God’s peace should guide and rule the actions of the believer. When it doesn’t we should pray to God and ask Him to fill us with His peace.

 

2 Thessalonians 3:16 NKJV

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.”

Before Jesus returned to heaven He gave a farewell to His followers. He told them that He was giving them His peace. His peace would be different than that of the world. The peace that Jesus gave them, and us, banishes fear and dread from the heart because He is in control of everything – all situations and all circumstances.

 

John 14:27 NKJV

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you: not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

VI. When Jesus Is Our Shepherd

We should not fear when Jesus is our Shepherd. Sheep can trust their shepherd in every situation. When the sheep are hungry, the shepherd takes them to pastures where they have plenty to eat. When the sheep are thirsty, he leads them to a quiet stream where they can drink. When the sheep are in danger of being eaten by wild animals, the shepherd is their protector. The sheep can trust the shepherd in every situation.

 

Psalm 23 NKJV

“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.

He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sakes.

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.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup runs over.

Surley goodness and mercy shall follow me

All the days of my life;

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Forever.”

Jesus is our shepherd and we can trust Him in every situation. We must cast our cares on Him because He truly cares for us and He is in control of all our situations and circumstances.

Dear Father,

Thank-you for calming my fear and helping me. You replace my worries with Your peace. You, O Lord, are in control of every situation and circumstance. The peace that You give surpasses all understanding. Your peace gives me freedom from struggles in my mind and heart. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to listen for Your voice and to follow Your leading.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

The Good Shepherd

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BIBLE THOUGHTS

Psalm 23 NKJV

“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.

He restores my soul;

He leads 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 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 runs 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.”

* A shepherd is someone who takes care of and protects. Jesus is truly our shepherd. He is our guide, He directs our path, and He protects us and cares for us.

* A shepherd protects his sheep even at his own expense. Jesus laid down His physical life so that we can have eternal life.

* A shepherd puts the best interest of the sheep above his own.

John 10:11-16 NKJV

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.

The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.

I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.

As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father, and I lay down My life for the sheep.

And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.”

1. When Jesus is my Shepherd I have no fear.

2. When Jesus is my Shepherd I have abundance.

3. When Jesus is my Shepherd I have peace and calmness.

4. When Jesus is my Shepherd my soul is restored.

5. When Jesus is my Shepherd He leads me through the dark places.

6. When Jesus is my Shepherd He is always with me.

7. When Jesus is my Shepherd I can rejoice always.

8. When Jesus is my Shepherd I experience an abundant amount of mercy and goodness.

9. With Jesus as my shepherd I have the promise of eternal life.

Dear Lord,

I thank-you for all that You do for me. I have no want because You provide for me in abundance. With You as my Shepherd I have no fear. Peace and calmness surround me and my soul is restored. By the power of the Holy Spirit help me, when going through dark places, to remember that You are with me. May I rejoice always for mercy and goodness follow me always. And most of all, I thank-you for the promise of eternal life that You have given me.

In Your precious name, Amen.

 

The Sights And The Sounds Of The Season

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The Sights And The Sounds Of The Season

food for thought - Copy

 

This year let the sights and the sounds of the holiday season remind you of God’s great plan, love and provision for mankind. Gingerbread men, candy canes, bells, snowflakes and lights all can be used to point people to Jesus Christ and to show the great love that God has for man.

 

I. Jesus Spices Up My Life

 

The sacrifices in the Old Testament, when properly done, were a sweet aroma to God. Aaron and his sons needed to offer sacrifices for themselves and for the people.

 

Exodus 29:15-18 NKJV      

“You shall also take one ram, and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands on the head of the ram; and you shall kill the ram, and you shall take its blood and sprinkle it all around on the altar. Then you shall cut the ram in pieces, wash the entrails and its legs, and put them with its pieces and with its head. And you shall burn the whole ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the Lord; it is a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the Lord.”

 

Leviticus 1:9 NKJV    

 “…And the priest shall burn all on the altar as a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord.”

 

In the Bible when we read that something is a “stench” it means that God hates it or rejects it. When we read that something is a “sweet smell” it means that God is pleased or accepts it. No sacrifices (burnt offerings) were needed after the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Jesus left His place in heaven and came to this earth so that He could pay our penalty for our sin. Through Jesus’ sacrifice we a can be a sweet aroma (smell) to God. The “stench” of our sin is done away with when the blood of Jesus is applied to our life. Jesus truly “spices up our live” and makes us acceptable to God, our Father. He paid for our salvation (made us acceptable to God) with His own life and blood.

 

Isaiah 53:10 NKJV     

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him,

 

He has put Him to grief.

 

When You make His soul an offering for sin,

 

He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,

 

And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.”

 

Sin stinks to God. When we have sin in our life we stink to God, and we are unacceptable. God hates sin. He does not hate the sinner, but He hates the sin! When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior we become a “sweet” smell to God. We are accept by God only through the blood of Jesus.

 

Ephesians 1:7 NKJV       

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

 

If we have accepted salvation when God looks down upon us, he does not see the sin that we committed, all He sees is the blood of Jesus Christ.

 

Hebrews 10:19-22 NKJV  

    “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

 

Jesus turns our stink into a sweet aroma that God accepts. Jesus spices up our life!

 

II. Jesus Is The Great Shepherd

 

A shepherd is someone who takes care of and protects. Jesus is truly our shepherd. He is our guide, He directs our path, and He protects us and cares for us.

 

Psalm 23 NKJV   

   “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.

 

He restores my soul;

 

He leads 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 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 runs 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.”

 

A shepherd protects his sheep even at his own expense. Jesus laid down His physical life so that we can have eternal life. A shepherd puts the best interest of the sheep above his own.

 

John 10:11-16 NKJV   

   “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father, and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.”

 

1. When Jesus is my Shepherd I have no fear.

 

Sheep are normally very fearful animals and will not lie down to rest unless they feel secure.

 

Psalm 5:8 NKJV   

   “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;

 

For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

 

Fear is a feeling that danger or evil is near; being afraid; an uneasy feeling; anxious. With Jesus we are secure. We do not have to fear. He will watch over us and protect us- He will help us overcome our fears confusion.

 

Luke 12:7 NKJV

“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

 

2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV    

 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

 

2. When Jesus is my Shepherd I have abundance.

 

The shepherd would lead the sheep to green pastures where there was abundance. Just as the shepherd provided for the needs of the sheep, Jesus provides everything we need. We will not be forsaken when Jesus is our shepherd.

 

Psalm 37:25 NKJV   

    “I have been young, and now am old;

 

Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,

 

Nor his descendants begging bread.”

 

3. When Jesus is my Shepherd I have peace and calmness.

 

Sheep are afraid of streams that are flowing fast. The shepherd would find a slow moving stream (still waters) for the sheep so that they could drink without fear. God provides us with still waters also so that we will be soothed and calmed.

 

Isaiah 26:3 NKJV     

 “You will keep him in perfect peace,

 

Whose mind is stayed on You,

 

Because he trusts in You.”

 

2 Corinthians 13:11 NKJV      

    “Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

 

Peace is freedom from strife of any kind; condition of quiet, order, and security; quiet; calm; serenity; peace of mind.

 

John 16:33 NKJV         

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.

 

In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

 

When Jesus is our shepherd we can be confident and courageous at all times. With Him we can have peace of mind even in the midst of tribulations, trials and pressures. He overcame everything that came against Him and He will help us do the same.

 

4. When Jesus is my Shepherd my soul is restored.

 

Restore means bring back; establish again; bring back to a former condition or to a normal condition; give back; put back.

 

Job 33:26 NKJV       

   “He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him,

 

He shall see His face with joy,

 

For He restores to man His righteousness.”

 

God restores those who turn to Him. He refreshes those who love Him by speaking quietly to them. As Christian we know the quiet voice of God and His gentle touch.

 

John 10:3-5 NKJV     

  “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

 

John 10:14 NKJV        

  “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.”

 

5. When Jesus is my Shepherd He leads me through the dark places.

 

Lead means show the way by going with or in front of; guide; guide or direct in action, policy, opinion; influence.

 

Isaiah 28:29 NKJV   

  “This also comes from the Lord of hosts,

 

Who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance.”

 

Psalm 32:8 NKJV    

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.”

 

The Lord will show us the way that we should go. He will go every step of the way with us.

 

6. When Jesus is my Shepherd He is always with me.

 

No matter where we go or what is happening, Jesus is with us. He rescues, protects and guides us along every path of our life. Jesus will never ever forsake you.

 

Hebrews 13:5 NKJV  

   “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ ”

 

Deuteronomy 31:6-8 NKJV    

“ ‘Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.’

 

Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, ‘Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it.

 

And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.’ ”

 

Like the Israelites, we too, sometimes need to be reminded that the Lord will not leave us or forsake us. The Lord promises us that He will remain with us, protect us, fight for us and bless us.

 

Matthew 28:20 NKJV   

“Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

 

Jesus is truly the Immanuel (Emmanuel), “God with us.” He will show us the path that we should take.

 

Psalm 16:11 NKJV  

   “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

 

7. When Jesus is my Shepherd I can rejoice always.

 

Knowing that Jesus is by our side we can rejoice at all time, even in the presence of our enemies. Even in the midst of difficulties, in very situation, we are to rejoice.

 

Our rejoicing is not based on circumstances, but on our relationship with the Lord.

 

Philippians 4:4 NKJV   

  “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”

 

We will always face trouble and difficult situations and circumstances as long as we are in this world. We should rejoice, knowing that the Lord is with us.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:16 NKJV   

  “Rejoice always”

 

8. When Jesus is my Shepherd I experience an abundant amount of mercy and goodness.

 

God showers us with His great love. He is kinder to us than justice requires. His kindness goes way beyond what can be claimed or expected. The Lord is kind, sympathetic and compassionate toward the hurting and the lost.

 

Matthew 9:36 NKJV   

  “ But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”

 

There is not one problem or sorrow that we go through that the Lord is not there with us. He feels everything that we do.

 

Psalm 145:8-9 NKJV   

  “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,

 

Slow to anger and great in mercy.

 

The Lord is good to all,

 

And His tender mercies are over all His works.”

 

Just as He is compassionate, God has instructed us to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.

 

Romans 12:15 NKJV    

“Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”

 

9. With Jesus as my shepherd I have the promise of eternal life.

 

Sin results in death (separation from the presence of God), but God offers the gift of eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ.

 

Romans 6:23 NKJV  

   “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

Titus 1:2 NKJV  

   “In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began”

 

God is faithful to His Word (His promises). What He has promised will be fulfilled, we can count on it.

 

1 John 2:25 NKJV  

    “And this is the promise that He has promised us – eternal life.”

 

III. Jesus Puts A Jingle In My Step

 

Ephesians 5:18-20 NKJV   

   “…but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always, for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”

 

Before Jesus ascended to heaven (after His crucifixion and resurrection), He promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to help and comfort us.

 

John 14:15-17 NKJV  

   “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you will know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”

 

Acts 1:4-9 NKJV   

  “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’ Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.”

 

God desire for us to worship Him in spirit and in truth. The only way to do that is to allow the Holy Spirit to worship God through us. When we are filled with the Spirit, He will help us in our worship to God. He will put a song on our lips and a melody in our heart.

 

Psalm 33:3 NKJV     

“Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.”

 

Psalm 40:3 NKJV    

 “He has put a new song in my mouth –

 

Praise to our God;

 

Many will see it and fear,

 

And will trust in the Lord.”

 

Psalm 96:1-3 NKJV    

 “Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!

 

Sing to the Lord, all the earth.

 

Sing to the Lord, bless His name:

 

Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.

 

Declare His glory among the nations,

 

His wonders among all peoples.”

 

Psalm 144:9 NKJV   

    “I will sing a new song to You, O God;

 

On a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You”

 

Psalm 149:1 NKJV “Praise the Lord!

 

Sing to the Lord a new song,

 

And His praise in the assembly of saints.”

 

The first thing that the people in the upper room did after receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit was to praise and worship God.

 

Acts 2:11 NKJV   

   “…we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

 

They did so in a language that they had never learned. They praised and worshiped God in spirit and in truth through the enabling of the Holy Spirit. They were able to worship God in spirit and in truth because Jesus had sent the Holy Spirit to them, just like He had promised.

 

There is power in praise and worship, and even more power in praise and worship led and enabled by the Holy Spirit.

 

Acts 16:25-26 NKJV    

 “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.”

 

We should bless the Lord at all times. In order for us to do this we must have the Promise of the Father that Jesus said that He would sent to us. It is very hard to bless the Lord when things are bad or when everything seems to go wrong unless you have been filled with the Holy Spirit, the gift that Jesus said that He would send.

 

Psalm 34:1-3 NKJV    

 “I will bless the Lord at all times;

 

His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

 

My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;

 

The humble shall hear of it and be glad.

 

Oh, magnify the Lord with me,

 

And let us exalt His name together.”

 

 

 

IV. God Made You Unique

 

Each and every snow flake is different – each one unique. Also there are no two diamonds that are alike. Each one is cut differently. The same is true with us. You are one of a kind and special. God made you unique and He has a very special plan for your life.

 

Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV    

  “For 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.”

 

The plan that God has for you is not the same plan that He has for someone else. It is up to each one of us to walk the path that God has laid out before us. Not someone else’ path, but our path. God’s plan for us is filled with hope. God’s plan for you is a good plan, not an evil plan. Before you were even born, God knew you and had a plan for you. God never makes mistakes and there are no accidents with God.

 

Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV   

   “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;

 

Before you were born I sanctified you;

 

I ordained you a prophet to the nations”

 

God has a call on each of our lives even before we are born, before our very conception. You were born where and when God desired (ordained). Each of us was born for such a time as this. All (every Christian) of us are to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ. God has set each one of us apart for His special purpose.

 

Psalm 37:23-24 NKJV  

    “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,

 

And He delights in his way.

 

Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;

 

For the Lord upholds him with His hand.”

 

The Lord has not left to chance anything about His unique body, the body of Christ. We (individually and as a body / church) have been chosen by God, the very creator of the entire universe, to serve Him as a royal priest.

 

1 Peter 2:9 NKJV    

 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”

 

May everything that we do and say point people to Jesus Christ. May we be God’s mouth proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. Each one of us truly are unique and has a special gift to offer the body of Christ and each of us has a special work to do in advancing the kingdom of God.

 

Esther 4:14 NKJV   

   “…Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

 

V. Jesus Lights Up My Life

 

John 3:6-13 NKJV   

   “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a w9itness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believed in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

 

Light is a brightness that enables us to see. Light brings understanding or shows the way.

 

Matthew 5:16 NKJV    

 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

 

Everything we do and say should point people to God. When people look at us they should not see us (fleshly man), they should see Jesus living in us. Just as salt in the natural realm will make a person thirsty, “salt” in the spiritual realm will make a person thirsty for the living water (the Word of God, Jesus Christ). There are people watching each and everyone of us. May what they see be the “salt” and the “light” that they need to created a hunger for God and the things of God. Jesus is the Light of the World and we are to be a reflection of Him. He preached several sermons in which He declared Himself to be the Light of the World.

 

John 12:35-36    

 “Then Jesus said to them, ‘A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.’ These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.”

 

We should remember that we are the light of Jesus Christ, that we have no light outside of Jesus Christ, that the light within us is to be shared, that we should walk in the light each day, that we are to spread the light, and that the light brings New beginnings.

 

1. We Are The Light Of Jesus Christ

 

We are the temple of God. As the temple of God we are the light of Jesus Christ.

 

I Corinthians 3:16-17 NKJV   

   “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”

 

God is interested in the temple (man) today. He has set the standards for His temple.

 

Matthew 15:16-20 NKJV    

   “So Jesus said, ‘Are you still without understanding?

 

Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated?

 

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.

 

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

 

Man does what he thinks in his heart. Thoughts enter into our heart by what we allow to enter through our eyes and ears.

 

Psalm 119:11 NKJV   

   “Your word I have hidden in my heart,

 

That I might not sin against You”

 

Psalm 101:3 NKJV

“I will set nothing wicked before my eyes…”

 

During Jesus’ ministry the temple was the focal point. Jesus was very interested in the temple and what it reflected. He went in and cleansed the temple the first time at the beginning of His ministry. After Jesus turned the water into wine He went to the temple (the outer portion). His ministry as the Messiah began in the temple. He cleansed the outer portion of the temple.

 

John 2:13-16 NKJV   

   “Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, ‘Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!’ ”

 

Jesus maintained the cleanliness of the temple. At the end of Jesus’ ministry He went back to the temple again to cleanse it again. At this time He did not use a whip, He used the Word.

 

Matthew 21:12-13 NKJV  

    “Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, ‘It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.’ ”

 

God is a holy God. There is no evil or sin in Him. If we (man) desire to have fellowship with Him we also must be pure. God is interested in the temple (man) today and what we reflect. We must regularly cleanse our temple. Like Jesus, we must use the Word to cleanse our temple and to keep it holy.

 

Are you desperate for the light of Jesus to shine in you?

 

Is your temple reflecting the holiness of God?

 

In the beginning God said, “Let there be light.”

 

Genesis 1:1-4 NKJV    

 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.”

 

The ultimate goal and purpose of creation is that the divine light (the Light of the World) shine throughout the world, transforming everything. God has always divided the “light” from the “dark”. Just as the natural light was separated from the dark, one day the “spiritual light” will be separated from the “spiritual dark.”

 

2. We Have No Light Outside Of Jesus Christ.

 

At creation God made two great lights, the sun and the moon.

 

Genesis 1:16-1     8 “Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the darkness. And God saw that it was good.”

 

In the natural, the sun gives off light and the moon has no light except the reflected light of the sun. In the spiritual, the “sun” is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and we are the reflected light of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the True Light and we are to be a reflection of Him.

 

3. The Light Within Us Is To Be Shared

 

When we share something we make a conscience decision to give part of what we have to another. We do not try to keep things (knowledge or possessions) to ourselves.

 

Matthew 5:14 NKJV   

   “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

 

Without light we have no way of seeing in the dark. Without the light of Jesus Christ the world has no way of “seeing” in this dark (sinful) world. We are to be the light of the world.

 

Colossians 1:12 NKJV    

 “…giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”

 

With every inheritance comes responsibilities. Christians have a responsibility to be a light everywhere they go and in everything they do.

 

Matthew 5:16    

  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

 

Luke 11:33      “No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light.”

 

Philippians 2:14-15 NKJV   

   “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”

 

4. We Should Walk In The Light Each Day

 

Ephesians 5:8-14    

 “For you were once darkness, but now you are a light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light. (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth).

 

finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep,

 

Arise from the dead,

 

And Christ will give you light.’ ”

 

The sun is the physical light of the world, but Jesus is the spiritual light of the world. As the Light of the World, Jesus exposes sin and sinful ways, actions and attitudes.

 

John 8:12 NKJV   

   “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’ ”

 

In the physical realm, when the light is bright we can see the path that we are on more clearly. It is the same in the spiritual realm – as we walk in the light of Jesus Christ we can see the path that we are on more clearly. Our fellowship with God depends on our walking in the light. In the light our sins are revealed, enabling us to see our sins and to bring them to Jesus to be washed away by His blood (salvation.)

 

I John 1:5 NKJV   

   “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

 

5. We Are To Spread The Light

 

Day means light. Our task is to spread light, to illuminate the world with the light of God’s Word. As more light is produced the darkness and the night will disappear.

 

Philippians 2:14-15 NKJV    

 “Do all things without complaining and disputing,

 

that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you shine as lights in the world.”

 

Wherever we go the light of Christ should be shining from us, and spreading into the darkness around us. The light within us (the light of Christ) should penetrate the spiritual darkness around us. We do not have any light of our own. We are the reflective light of Jesus Christ. As we behold the glory of the Lord, we reflect it. We are the light of the world as long as we reflect Jesus Christ. We must make sure that nothing comes between us and the light of Jesus Christ.

 

Not only are we to share the light with a dark world, we are to spread the light to those in the house also.

 

Matthew 5:15 NKJV   

   “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”

 

Light indicates deliverance from darkness. Each Christian has been delivered from darkness. Each one has a testimony and they should be ready to give it. We should never hide what God has done for us. Other Christians are encouraged by our testimonies. The Bible tells us that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Just because a person is a Christian it does not mean that they will not struggle with things. What God has delivered you from can help someone else that is faced with the same thing. Your deliverance can be light to someone else.

 

6. The Light Brings New Beginnings

 

At the end of a long dark night, right before daybreak, we may be tempted to fall asleep. The Holy Spirit gives us strength to be awake and aware of the approaching daylight. God’s mercy is new every morning.

 

Matthew 25:1-13 NKJV   

   “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five of them were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a dry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”

 

Count It All Joy – For He Will

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Count It All Joy – For He Will

desperation - Copy 

Isaiah 45:2-3  NKJV    

“I will go before You

And make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze

And cut the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness

And hidden riches of secret places,

That you may know that I, the Lord,

Who calls you by your name,

Am the God of Israel.”

          When we are faced with desperate times and situations we should “count it all joy.” We should continue to praise God – not for the problems or the situations, but because God can take every desperate situation and problem and turn it around for His glory and for good.

Our joy is not based on circumstances, but on our relationship with Jesus Christ. Therefore, our praise and thankfulness should not be based on our circumstances, but on our relationship with Jesus Christ and what He says. We serve a God that will do what He says that He will do.

Ephesians 5:20  NKJV   

  “giving thanks always, for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”

Psalm 31:1-3  NKJV    “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me,

And let us exalt His name together.”

 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  NKJV    

“Rejoice always,

pray without ceasing,

in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

          A Christian always has a reason for rejoicing. No matter what is going on all around you, God is still in control. Thankfulness should be reflected in a Christian’s life in every circumstance. It is God’s desire for us to remain thankful in everything.

Jeremiah 29:11  NKJV   

  “For 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.”

          We can rejoice at all time knowing that the thoughts God has toward us are good. The plans that God has for us are plans of a future filled with hope. When we are faced with desperation we must remember that God has promised us that He will go before us, that He will make the crooked places straight, that He will break the gates of bronze, that He would cut the bars of iron, that He will give us the treasures of darkness, and that He will give us hidden riches.

I. God will go before us.

The Lord is our good shepherd, and as a shepherd He will go before us. Every place we go, He has already been there and He knows what lies ahead for us.

Psalm 23  NKJV    

“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. He restores my soul; He leads 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 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 runs 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 Lord leads us on the paths that we should follow. We can be assured that wherever our road leads us, God has gone before us and is with us.

II. God will make the crooked places straight.

God will make the path that He has for us and our destination more accessible. With the Lord our destination is attainable.

Isaiah 40:4  NKJV  

  “Every valley shall be exalted

And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight

And the rough places smooth”

          As a child of God we are in the hand of God’s providence and protection. God intervenes on our behalf. As we look back on our lives we can see where God has made the crooked places straight and the rough places smooth. Our very steps are ordered by the Lord. With the Lord’s help our destination (the one He has ordered for us) can be reached. As a Christian every one of our steps is planned out by God.

Psalm 37:23  NKJV  

   “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,

And He delights in his way.”

III. God will break the gates of bronze.

The Lord will break (destroy) the gate that the enemy has erected in order to keep you or your loved ones in bondage.

 

IV. God will cut the bars of iron.

Iron is a very hard, strong, firm and unyielding metal. Iron bars are very hard to get out of.

Psalm 107:10-16  NKJV   

“Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,

Bound in affliction and irons-

Because they rebelled against the words of God,

And despised the counsel of the Most High,

Therefore He brought down their heart with labor; They fell down, and there was none to help. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,

And He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,

And broke their chains in pieces.

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,

And for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He has broken the gates of bronze,

And cut the bars of iron in two.”

          No matter what type of iron bars we have put ourselves behind, or allowed the enemy to put us behind, God can cut them apart, allowing us to go free.

When we know the Lord we can call out to Him in our time of need and He will help us, even though we may have caused the problem (need).

VI. God will give us the treasures of darkness.

The greatest treasures come from the deepest, darkest valleys. Many want the treasures, but few want to go into the darkness to get them.

Acts 5:40-42  NKJV   

  “And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”

          When the apostles were persecuted they were in a dark valley. They did not feel sorry for themselves or complain about their situation. They rejoiced because they knew that there was more going on than what they saw with their eyes or felt in their bodies. God used their suffering to bring people into His kingdom, souls were saved. Through their suffering, the disciples gained treasures from the darkness.

Matthew 5:10-12  NKJV  

  “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

          As we go through dark valleys God is not only moving on our behalf, but  on behalf of others that are also in a dark valley. God will always take a bad situation and bring good out of it, for you and for others.

Isaiah 61:3  NKJV  

   “To console those who mourn in Zion, to give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

          When we allow God to, He will take us from sorrow to joy, from mourning to rejoicing.

Esther 9:22  NKJV    

“As the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from  mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor.”

VI. God will give us hidden riches.

Many times we can not see the wonderful things that God wants to give us with our natural eyes.

1 Corinthians 2:9  NKJV    

“But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”  

      Through our intimacy with God, He will show us many secret and hidden things.

Conclusion:

God will truly go before us. He will lead, guide and direct us. When life throws us a curve, God will make the crooked places straight. By the power of God we can be set free from the prison that we or the enemy has placed us in.

Isaiah 64:4  NKJV    

“For since the beginning of the world

Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear,

Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,

Who acts for the one waits for Him.”

     There are many treasures and hidden riches laid up for us, if only we will reach out in faith and draw closer to God.

Psalm 31:19-24  NKJV   

  “Oh, how great is Your goodness,

Which You have laid up for those who fear You,

Which You have prepared for those who trust in You

In the presence of the sons of men! You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence

From the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion

From the strife of tongues. Blessed be the Lord,

For He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city! For I said in my haste,

“I am cut off from before Your eyes”; Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications

When I cried out to You. Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints!

For the Lord preserves the faithful,

And fully repays the proud person. Be of good courage,

And He shall strengthen your heart,

All you who hope in the Lord.”