His Favor

“For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

King David dedicates the temple and declares God’s presence, God’s provision and God’s promise to us.  Before Christ’s propitionary death, God’s anger was appeased by the blood of sacrificial lambs.  With Christ’s shed blood as the perfect Lamb, God was appeased and His grace applied.  Because we live in Jesus’death, we live in God’s favor.

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Being A Good Shepherd

“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
~John 10:11

I’m a big “Star Trek” fan. One of the most memorable lines in one of the Star Trek movies was in “The Wrath of Khan”. Spock, a stellar first-office who never allowed emotion to overrule logic, sacrifices his life for the sake of his captain and crew. He makes a comment, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

What an incredible reminder of the willing and voluntary sacrifice of Jesus . . . The God-Man gave His life so we, as men without God could have ours.

Jesus calls Himself, “The Good Shepherd” in John 10. He reminds us that The Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep. The sacrifice of Jesus is again refocused. He gives His life.

Those who shepherd the flock of God . . . pastors, elders, ministers, teachers, small group leaders . . . all who have spiritual responsibility and/or authority are exhorted or advised to lead sacrificially, humbly and willing. (I Peter 5)

What a paradox from what many model today as spiritual leadership.

We see many spiritual leaders practice honor over humility. Preference instead of deference. Personal acceptance of sin instead of public admonishment of sin.

Some even cloud the responsibility of leaders to live a holy and exemplary life by claiming the right of license to practice unholy and dishonoring life choices.

A leader who diverts the responsibility and consequences of their own sin with a demand of receiving grace and forgiveness is selfish and proud. This not considering the sheep . . . it’s covering for self.

Jesus reminds us of example as The Good Shepherd, with encouragement for us to be good shepherds.

A Good Shepherd Provides. Psalm 23 tells us that The Lord leads us beside still waters. He provides a cup that runs over. He prepares a table for us. Good shepherds know how to provide for their sheep. They give nourishment with teaching and enrichment with encouragement.

A Good Shepherd Protects. Jesus contrasts a good shepherd and a hired hand. When danger comes, the hired hand will leave the sheep unprotected and vulnerable. A good shepherd willingly “stands in the gap” for the sheep. He is willing to give his all in order to keep his sheep safe.

A Good Shepherd Practice. Peter encourages leaders to be examples to the flock. Simply put, those who have spiritual oversight and responsibility are to live a life as a good shepherd that exemplifies The Good Shepherd . . . one who serves willingly, for the right motive and by living a right example. “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you;not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.”

We all are shepherds to someone . . . pastor to a church, boss to employee, teacher to students, parent to child.

In these roles, let’s take time to provide some encouragement, protect from any enemy and, practice by being an example.

The Voice Of God

“The Voice” debuted in the spring of 2011 as a TV hit. The series employs a panel of four coaches who, using their powerful experience and talent, critique and guide artists’ performances.  image

The psalmist emphasizes six times the power of another Voice in Psalm 29. David writes, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.” (Ps 29:2)

God speaks to us in our deepest need, calming our deepest fear, comforting our deepest sorrow and soothing our deepest pain. His speaks with a still, small voice and with thunderous authority. He says just the right thing at just the right time in just the right way. He speaks with ultimate authority and understanding affection. He is “The Voice”.

The voice of The Lord creates. He spoke creation into existence, a chosen people out of bondage and a new promise of redemption and reconciliation. “When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means He has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.” (Heb 8:13)

The voice of The Lord commands. “The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.” (Ps 29:4). The omnipotence of His voice commands our obedience. “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters.” (Ps 29:3)

The voice of The Lord convicts. He speaks with the voice of a loving Father. “Have you forgotten the encouraging words which God speaks to you as his children? “My child, pay attention when the Lord corrects you, and do not be discouraged when He rebukes you.” (Heb 12:5)

The voice of The Lord calls. He calls sinners to repentance. (Mark 2:17). He calls His sheep and they hear His voice. (Jn 10:3). He calls us to holy living. (1 Pet 1:15-16). When He calls with compassion, we answer in confidence.

The voice of The Lord calms. The psalmist describes The Lord’s control over chaos and calm, “For He commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea . . . He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.” (Ps 107:25, 29) In Mark 4:39, He spoke to the storm that terrified His disciples, “Peace. Be still.” He is always there with words of comfort.

The enemy speaks with a voice of untruth to confuse, condem, and corrupt. God speaks with a voice of truth with clarity, confirmation and comfort. Casting Crowns reminds us of God’s voice of authority and assurance.

But the voice of truth tells me a different story.
The voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
The voice of truth says, “This is for My glory”.
Out of all the voices calling out to me,
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.

Attend to His voice. Ascribe Glory to Him. Adore Him with worship.

Can You See Him?

“When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.  Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight.”
— Luke 24:32  Hands of Jesus
Luke 24 contains one of my favorite stories in all of Scripture.  On the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, two of followers of Jesus found themselves walking with the Resurrected Christ.  We are not told why “but they were kept from recognizing Him.” (Luke 24:16)
During this seven mile journey, Jesus begins as a stranger, becomes a teacher, is welcomed as a guest and is recognized as the One who had risen from the grave.
Scripture tells us that these men were “downcast” or “looking sad”.  It’s fair to Read More