Monday, December 15, 2008

Jehovah Raah- Lesson Eight

"Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!

For His mercy endures forever."

Psalm 136:1


In this, our final lesson already, we will look at the Lord's mercy toward His people...His flock...and how our participation in His presence is the ultimate gift He gave us.

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

All the days of my life;

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD


Psalm 23:6


We have looked at God as our Good Shepherd these past lessons. We have seen just how He provides for His flock, He protects His flock, and He dwells with His flock as an example of what shepherds of His people should be and do.

Please read:

Ez 34:22-24

God tells us that it is He who shall save us and judge us according to His perfect righteousness. We are no longer prey subject to destruction by the beasts of the field. No, He took care of that for us.

He appointed David as the earthly shepherd who was a foreshadowing of the Messiah to come. But David did fail because he was a man afterall. That is why we do not pray in the name of David.

So, God Himself condescended toward man by walking the earth to leave us with an example to follow. An example of perfect submission and obedience, Christ Jesus conquered death once and for all that we, His flock, might live with Him forever.

David knew of this peace. He sang of it and wrote of it long ago.

Psalm 100

Psalm 101


Seeking God's mercy and goodness should be the goal of every Christian walking the earth today.

But we should also long for the day when we shall be in His presence forever.

John 14:23

Ez 34:25-26

Showers of blessing. Can you just smell the clean rain that will fall all around us? That fresh clean smell that comes with the clean rain will surround us....except there will be showers of blessings all around us.

Psalm 145:8-9, 15, 16

Rom 2:4

His supreme goodness and kindness was shown when He forgave us sinners while we were still in sin....still in rebellion against Him. We were His enemies and yet He forgave us.

Rom 5:5-8

Rom 8:32-39

Eph 2:1-10

People, like David, will let us down. We will fail those around us. People lie, cheat, steal and kill.

But our God is faithful to the end. His promises endure forever.

Lam 3:22-23

Psalm 36:5

Psalm 89:1-2, 14, 24, 33

Just think of the despair of the disciples when they watched Jesus die. All their hopes went with Him into that tomb. But then they saw Him again...the risen Christ, just as He said He would come!

We have that hope. His faithfulness endures forever. King David knew he would dwell with the Lord forever. That was his hope. It should be our hope as well.


We have that Good Shepherd who puts all earthly shepherds to shame. He is perfection. In Him alone should we rely.

But our earthly shepherds need our prayers. We should lift them up to the Lord daily not because we hope they won't fail us....but that when they do we will love them support them as they do when we fail.

Pray for your shepherd that he might be strong and courageous in times of battle. But also that he would be responsible for his flock and provide for them.

One day we will see our Good Shepherd as He is. And we shall be like Him. What a glorious day that will be when all striving ceases and that covenant of peace will be complete.

Thank you for joining me on this short journey through Scripture where we see God as our Good Shepherd.....our Jehovah-Raah.

I pray you have been encouraged through the reading of God's word. Take it with you and share what you have learned with other believers who may not know that they have a Holy Shepherd who loves them, protects them, watches over them and longs to dwell with them in peace.



Monday, December 1, 2008

Jehovah Raah- Lesson Seven

"Bless the LORD,
O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits;
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your mouth is renewed like the eagle's."

Psalm 103:1-5


Jehovah Raah

The Lord My Shepherd

Good morning! As we read and study God's word today, take time to pray and ask Him to speak to you. I want you to glean all that you can from today's lesson.

In our last lesson we looked at how the Lord protects us with His discipline. It can be hard to take, but we know His discipline is perfect because He is perfect. So, David wrote that the Lord's discipline and guidance is a comfort to him. It should be to us as well.

Today we will look at Psalm 23:5-

"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over."


You Prepare a Table Before Me

We can see in this verse how the Lord God treats David as an honored guest at His table. All the provisions have been placed there by the Lord. The psalmist takes no credit, nor should we for any of the blessings bestowed upon us by God.

Please read:

Ps 104:14-18

Acts 14:17

1 Tim 4:3-4

God warns us that if we obey Him we will have blessings....but if we disobey:

Deut 11:12-17


In the Presence of My Enemies

It is important that we see how David tells us that not only is the table provided by the Lord and he is the honored guest, but that this is a victory table because the battle is won. This table has been set before the enemies of David.

We know that it is the Lord who scatters the enemies away from His people:

Num 10:35

Ps 3:3

Ps 5:12

Ps 18:48-49

Ps 27:6

Ps 68:1-2

Notice how the psalmist describes the Lord. He is our shield that protects us from the enemy. He lifts us up above those who attack us. He is the intense heat that melts the enemy like wax!

Praise God!

Our enemies have been conquered once and for all by the Lord who conquered death for us when He rose again. Take time today to really thank the Lord for fighting the battle for us.


You Anoint My Head With Oil

As the honored guest at the table, it was the Jewish custom to anoint him with oil as a way of setting them apart, or sanctifying them, from other guests. Here we read how it is David whose head is anointed at the table provided by the Lord.

Ps 92:10-11

Notice how Jesus was treated when He was a guest at a Jewish table...

Luke 7:36-50

Compare the two. Jesus should have been treated as the honored guest by the Jewish leaders. He was their Messiah. He was there to sacrifice Himself that they would be reconciled to God.

Yet it was the woman with great sin who saw Jesus as the honored guest. She not only anoint his head, but His feet as well and with the oil of great price too.

Have we taken time to anoint our Lord as our honored guest? Is He welcome at our table? Would He feel welcome in our homes? Take time to meditate on what you have learned here today.


My Cup Runs Over

We have seen how the Lord scattered away the enemies of His people. As humans, we desire justice from our enemies:

Ps 27:1-3

But how does God speak of our enemies?

Ex 23:4

Luke 6:27-36

Matt 5:44-45

Here we read what God says about enemies. He shows mercy and grace and tells us to do likewise.

Man wants justice taken out on his enemies by God:

Ps 55

Vengeance- That is the human reaction.

My son, Nathan, read this Psalm and said it shows a contradiction in Scripture in that Jesus was saying that we should love our enemies, but David asks God for vengeance upon the heads of his enemies.

I ask you, is this a contradiction in Scripture?

I asked my son, "Who is speaking in Luke, Matthew, and Exodus?" He answered, "God." Then I asked him, "Who is speaking in Psalm 55?"

And he answered, "David."

I was able to show him that man's desires for his enemies are far different that God's. Therefore, there is no contradiction. Had God been speaking in Psalm 55, then we would have a clear contradiction. But instead we see how man desires vengeance on those who have wronged him.

How does God respond to those who have wronged Him?

Luke 23:34

Luke 23:39-43

And why is this important to point out?

How did God see us before He saved us?

Ro 5:9-11

We were the enemies of God before the blood of Christ reconciled us to God! Now can you see why God tells us to love our enemies and pray for them? He tells us to lend to them and not to sue them. Why? Because that is what He has done for us.

And that is why our cups run over with all the blessings that the Lord has given us! Praise Him today with all your heart and soul.



So what is the greatest provision that the Lord bestowed upon us?

Salvation from His wrath and judgment. We are now reconciled to a holy God because He Himself became the propitiation for our sins. He Himself, knowing that only a perfect sacrifice would do, came down and became that spotless Lamb of the Passover for us.

Jesus overcame death for us. It was Jesus who conquered our enemies once and for all.

Luke 1:67-71

That's how much He loves us.

Now that's a Good Shepherd!


"Loyalty is essential to leadership. The wise leader cultivates loyalty by being loyal- loyal to the Lord, loyal to the truth, and loyal to the people he leads. Nothing is more destructive of leadership that the leader who compromises his own loyalty."

-John MacArthur (The Book on Leadership, 2004, p. 70)



Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jehovah Raah: Lesson Six

"The rod and rebuke
give wisdom,
But a child left to himself
brings shame to his mother."

Proverbs 29:15


In our last lesson, we looked at how believers in Christ are not to fear the world nor man simply because Christ has already conquered death for us. We learned that it is wisdom to fear the LORD God of Israel rather than man because it is God who has all the power and sovereignty.

Today we will look at the last half of Psalm 23:4

"For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."

King David was a shepherd at heart. He knew what it meant to be alone with the sheep in the wilderness. He knew what it meant to protect them, provide for them, and be with them at all times. He also knew the dangers of leaving the flock alone without protection.

We have read about the irresponsible shepherds in Ezekiel...

Please read:

Ez 34:1-10

These selfish shepherds worried more about feeding themselves than the flock. They abandoned the flock and allowed the beasts of the field to devour them. They were scattered.

As a result, the LORD became the shepherd of His people and gathered them together.

Now, as a result of Christ's New Covenant with man, we are part of that flock. We are being led by a benevolent shepherd who loves us because He died for us.


Your rod and Your staff

When we think of the rod and staff, we tend to think of the harsh discipline of the Lord. But to the shepherd, the rod and staff were used for very specific things.

For Jacob, the staff helped him cross the Jordan:

Gen 32:10

For Moses, he took the rod of God into his hand when he went to Egypt:

Ex 4:20

And during the first Passover, Moses was commanded to take leave in haste with God's people with staff in hand in order to properly direct God's people.....His flock:

Ex 12:11


We read in Scripture that the rod was used for discipline and fighting off attackers, and the staff for leading and directing the flock. Remember, sheep are not driven from behind, but they are led by the shepherd who walks in front of the sheep using his staff to direct them.

The flock looks to the staff for leadership of the shepherd. He could quickly use the rod to defend the flock against the beasts, and the rod was used to discipline stray sheep back into the fold.

2 Sam 7:14

We see that though discipline comes from the Lord, He never removes His love from those in the covenant. He always loved David.

Jer 48:17

It is the LORD God who can break the staff of the wicked and take over as shepherd.

1 Cor 4:21

Here Paul warns of discipline by the rod.

Our Messiah will rule with the rod:

Ps 2:8

Rev 2:27

So, in Scripture we read how the rod and staff truly are comforting to the believer and complete fear and dread to the non-believer. The Lord will break the staff and rod of the wicked who mislead and rule the flock with cruelty:

Ez 34:4

King David in all his wisdom, understood that once in awhile the shepherd has to use the staff to re-direct the flock back into the fold and use rod to fight off attackers for the flock.

Therefore, he found much comfort in the LORD's discipline and guidance. He knew the LORD personally. They had a very close relationship. God knew David's heart because he had the heart of a shepherd.

Part of our covenant with the Lord is His protection (rod) and presence (staff) in our lives. Both of these promises should bring us great comfort each day as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.


"Leadership is all about motivating people to follow. Therefore everything in leadership hinges on the leader's relationship to his people. It is possible to motivate people simply by sheer force, but that is not real leadership; it's dictatorship. And it never really achieves the goals of leadership. That can be accomplished only by a loving loyalty."

-John MacArthur (The Book on Leadership, 2004, p. 70)



Monday, November 24, 2008

Jehovah Raah: Lesson Five

"I called on the LORD in distress;
The LORD answered me
and set me in a broad place.
The LORD is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?"

Psalm 118:5-6


Jehovah Raah
The Lord My Shepherd

In these often troubling times, fear is all around us. Many fear for losing their jobs, careers, or homes. Many have fears regarding health issues or insurance issues. No doubt about it, there is an abundance of fear all around us today in America.

With so much talk of "hope" lately, we see very little comfort in the news on television or in newspapers no matter who resides in the White House or when.

One thing is for sure, the Scriptures have always told us not to rely on man for comfort or safety simply because man is finite. Man is a temporary presence here on this planet. We would be foolish to place all our hopes on man.

Please read:

James 4:14

Instead, we are told to place all our hopes on the LORD God who lives and reigns today as He did yesterday.

Psalm 118:8-9

The psalmists knew of what they wrote. They had lived through many rulers of men only to see the LORD God come through in the end for His people. Therefore, it is no real surprise what King David wrote:

"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."

-Psalm 23:4


The Valley of the Shadow of Death

King David knew of which he wrote. He had to live in fear for his life for many months when he became King. He hid out in caves hoping that King Saul would not kill him.

While in those caves, David wrote many beautiful songs to the Lord:

Ps 7
Ps 9
Ps 17
Ps 18

These are just some of the wonderful works of David as he acknowledged God's faithfulness toward His anointed.

How can we acknowledge God's faithfulness toward us during times of uncertainty?

We can turn our eyes upon Him and give Him all the glory:

Ps 115:1

Ps 116:3-9

Ps 27:1

It is far better for us to fear the Lord than to fear death.

Ps 115:13

Ps 18:28

We live in a world where men fear the end of the earth. They try in vain to stop the earth from coming to an end thinking that we can have any influence on its demise.

But we would be wise to fear the LORD who created the earth, sun, and moon. We would be wise to fear Him who allows the sun to shine upon us without destroying us:

Ps 84:11

God is both giver and protector. He allows our sun to shine on us because He knows we need its light. Yet it is He who protects us from its heat. It is He who holds the world in His hands. Yes, it is wise to fear Him rather than the earth.

Is 60:19-20

Micah 7:8

He is our everlasting light! Fear the One who can turn out that light and end our lives. What can death do to a Christian who fears the LORD?


For You are With Me

Remember the covenant promises:


Here King David reminds us that the LORD God is with those who fear Him. We have the promise of His presence in our lives. Praise God for that!

Ex 15:2

Ps 62:7

Ps 118:14

Is 12:2

The LORD God is our strength and song.


Well, that's it for today. I've given you alot of Scripture to look up and read. Carefully and prayerfully read each verse and meditate on them. You have a protector to get you through any difficult time in life.

You have that shield to protect you in any battle.

It is the LORD God who is there to help you in any situation. Call upon His name to be saved from your enemies. He is faithful and true.

He is the Good Shepherd.


"After reading Scripture, we must ask God for light to scrutinize our hearts and lives, then meditate upon the Word. Disciplined meditation on Scripture helps us focus on God. Meditation helps us view our worship as a discipline. It involves our mind and understanding as well as our heart and affections. It works Scripture through the texture of the soul...pray without ceasing."

-Dr. Joel Beeke (as cited in "Feed My Sheep", 2002, p. 117)

Next time we will look at what the Rod & Staff mean to the Christian.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jehovah Raah: Lesson Four

"But as for me, I will come
into Your house in the multitude
of Your mercy;
In fear of You I will worship toward
Your holy temple.
Lead me, O LORD, in Your
righteousness because of my
enemies; Make Your
way straight before my face."

Psalm 5:7-8


Jehovah Raah

When we read the psalms of David, we can easily see how well he knew the Lord God. We read how close their relationship truly was. The psalm above was set to music for flutes. When I think of the music of David and how heartfelt the lyrics were, I like to imagine what his music will be like in the New Jerusalem when there is no more sin nor sadness.

Just imagine the words to his songs of praise then!


A Prayer for Guidance

"He restores my soul;
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for His name's sake." Psalm 23:3

Today we will look at how God restores us and how He guides us as our Good Shepherd.

Please read:

Ez 34:13-15

Here we read about how the Good Shepherd will bring His sheep out from among the peoples and gather them from other countries to their own land.

How this must have been music to His people's ears!

We in America know nothing about wandering without a land. We know nothing about living among our enemies where we are hated and despised. But our time is coming. We would be wise to heed the words of our LORD written here in Ezekiel so that we can remember that these promises apply to us now.

We have the Good Shepherd to lead us, bring us, feed us, and take care of us.

Remember what covenant means:



Please read:

Jer 23:3-8

The LORD God did provide for us an earthly shepherd who suffered temptations and passed every test so that we can have a perfect example of how to be good servants here on earth.

Jesus Christ called Himself the Good Shepherd as He made Himself equal to God.

John 5:18

We do not have two Good Shepherds, but One.

John 10:11 & 14

Is 40:11

Our Shepherd gently holds us in His arms where we are safest.

Picture that in your mind. Try and feel the arms of Your Lord and Savior around you carrying you through the hardest of times.

Ps 51:12-13

Ask Him to restore the joy of Your salvation within you today!


"He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake."

The paths of righteousness. What are those paths?

1 John 1:6-7

John tells us to walk in the light as He is in the light so that we may have fellowship with Jesus and be cleansed.

We have read so far that the Lord provides for us so that we want for nothing. He makes us lie down and rest and restores our souls.

We have also learned that He guides us in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. His name is the ark of the covenant (2 Sam 6:2-3), His name is written on our hearts. We are His temple now.

What's in a name?

Prov 18:10

Deut 28:10

Deut 28:58

Is 42:8

Matt 6:9

John 10:3

Acts 4:12

Phil 2:9

Rev 2:13

So, He leads us down paths of righteousness that we may be cleansed....and then His covenant is cleansed. His very name is cleansed.

Ps 25:4-5

Yes, show us Your ways, LORD. For our ways are foolish. Lead us in Your truth, for we know no truth apart from You.

Be the God of our salvation this day.

Restore our souls with the joy of that salvation.


Next time we will look at what it means to have the LORD protect us from our enemies and what it means to be punished by a holy God.

"Paul is an example of a loving leader who labored in prayer. Compelled to pray not only for the saved but also for the lost, he burned with love for Israel and prayed for her salvation...Paul's companion Epaphras is another inspiring example of a loving leader who fervently prayed for those he loved...How blessed the believers in Colassae were to have such a faithful, loving shepherd."

-Alexander Strauch (Leading with Love, 2006, p. 118-119)



Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jehovah Raah- Lesson Three

"You visit the earth and water it,

You greatly enrich it;

The river of God is full of water;

You provide their grain,

For so You have prepared it.

You water its ridges abundantly,

You settle its furrows;

You make it soft with showers,

You bless its growth."

Psalm 65:9-10



"He makes me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the quiet waters." Ps. 23:2

As we learn more about the covenant we are in with our holy God, we begin to realize just how merciful and gracious He is to His own. As the Good Shepherd to His flock, he not only provides for us so that we want for nothing, but He leads us to those green pastures and quiet waters where we are fulfilled and rested.


Please read:

Ez 34:12-13

Here we see that the Lord will be good to His people after their earthly shepherds used and abused them. The Lord will bring them out of bondage and provide for them their own land. There He will feed them throughout the land.

"Pastures of tender grass..."

The phrase "green pastures" is translated as "pastures of tender grass"

When the land is in obedience to God, He blesses it. When the land continually sins against God- He curses it.

Think for a moment how our country has sinned against the Lord God. We have allowed 40 million babies to be aborted while we lived in comfort worrying about our houses, children, jobs, materialism, and pleasures of the flesh and eyes.

We have allowed the gospel message to be twisted and misused to exalt man and not Christ.

We have allowed marriage to be made a mockery, not by the homosexuals, but by Christians who have married and divorced over and over again.

We have put more time into our homes and our material things surrounding us than with God Himself.

Ez 14:12-23

The Lord did not withhold his Hand from His own people and His own land. Who are we to think He won't judge this land?

But for those who repent of their sin, cry out to the Lord, and seek His face: mercy is given.

Ez 16:8

Ps 23:2

It is of the Lord that we live and have provisions at all.

Think of it....He will make us lie down in pastures of tender grass. Ahhh, doesn't that sound nice? After walking, working, striving all day. The Lord promises us that He will make us lie down and rest. I picture fields of green tender grass that feels soft and cool on my feet.

Funny how we have to be "made to" lie down and rest at times! We work and work until finally we have to rest. Here we read that the Lord Himself will make us lie down and rest.


"He leads me beside the quiet waters."

The phrase "quiet waters" is translated as "waters of rest."

Doesn't that sound lovely? Not only will our Lord make us lie down in pastures of tender grass, but He will lead us beside waters of rest.

Why do sheep need to be led to those waters of rest?

Could it be that they are so dumb that they could enter into rushing waters and be led astray by their desires to quench their thirst? Could be.

We, as the Lord's flock, tend to do things like that. We tend to foolishly walk away from our Shepherd and seek our own comfort without realizing how much danger we are in. That is why we need a Shepherd to lead us. It is God who searches out those quiet still waters for His sheep. The sheep do not have to search on their own, for to do so would bring great danger as there are many predators out there looking for them!

It is the same for us. When we leave the safety and comfort of our Shepherd and our earthly shepherd, we are in grave danger from the predators out there seeking to destroy is.

As wives, the Lord has provided us with earthly shepherds. Pray that yours is honoring to the Lord. Lift him up daily to the Lord that he will lead you appropriately.


Well, today we learned a little more about how the Lord honors His covenant promises and how He will not tolerate sin in His flock. Sin must be dealt with by a holy God.

And the Lord is dealing with His people even now. These promises found in Ezekiel apply to us this day because of what the Lord did for us on that cross. He brought in those from another flock to call His own...that's us!

John 10:14-16

Satan thought he had won the war. He thought Jesus was conquered forever when he watched Him die. But Satan was wrong! Now the Lord is our Shepherd too and all the promises are made "yes" for us because of Christ. Praise God!

Take time today to truly meditate on what it is the Lord does for you daily. All the provisions He brings and all the rest He grants to us should never be taken for granted. Take time to thank Him today.


"Little did the serpant realize that almost four thousand years later, as the nails pierced and bruised the heels of Jesus' feet, that his head would be bruised with the same act and that his power over us broken. The ruler of this world was cast out (John 12:31), yet Satan seemed the victor. The demons rejoiced because now they were sure they had been right in choosing to follow Satan! For three days it looked as if the war had been won. Then the stone was rolled away!"

-Kay Arthur (Lord, is It Warfare?, 2000, p.86)



Monday, November 10, 2008

Jehovah Raah- Lesson Two

"Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,

You who lead Joseph like a flock;

You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth!

Before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh,

Stir up Your strength,

And come and save us!"

Psalm 80:1-2



During these most difficult times in our country's history, it is time for Christians to be in God's word with most earnesty. It is in God's word where we find our solace and comfort during times of uncertainty.

As His sheep, we are safest when under His watchful eye. When we stray, that is when we are in danger of the beasts of the field.

Today we will look more at how God protects us and provides for us during both good and bad times.....


"The Lord is my shepherd....I shall not want..." Ps 23:1

Please read:

Ez 34:4-5

When our earthly shepherds (pastors, fathers, husbands....) fail to do their jobs and protect what has been given to them, we see how easy it is for the sheep to be scattered and left for death in a cruel world.

We also read here that sometimes these earthly shepherds rule over the flock with harsh cruelty.

We see that in today's world as well when we read about priests abusing children, pastors having extra-marital affairs, and when fathers abandon their children.


Ez 34:12

In this day and age, it feels like a "cloudy and dark day". Read the newspapers, internet, or watch the news and it feels like nothing good is coming.

But when we search the Scriptures for the good news of God, He comforts us with His words!

Ps 80:3

Yes, restore us, LORD! Heal our wounds, bind up our broken hearts, gather us to Your strong able arms yet again.

Ps 18:1-2

Be our shield as we enter into battle. Be our strength when we have none. Be our fortress where we stand and watch for the enemy. Be our deliverer when we meet that enemy.

I will call upon the Lord!

Ps 18:46

Because the LORD lives!


"I shall not want..."


As we look at the covenant promises of the Lord, we see that He provides for His flock. David understood this. When hiding from Saul, David's cries were heard by God. When Jesus was tempted in the desert by Satan, the Lord provided His words instead of bread.

It is tempting to think that the Lord will not provide for His people during our times, but we worship an eternal God.

He does not change.

If He provided for His sheep in the past, He will provide for us now.

Ps 37:25-29

King David lived a long time. Yet he never saw the righteou forsaken nor the children of God begging for bread.

Ps 37:16-20

David tells us that we who call upon the name of the Lord will not be ashamed. Meaning, God will be there for us as He has since the beginning of time. We can trust our Good Shepherd to be there to feed His flock.

He will search for those who are lost and scattered.

He will deliver them.

He will provide for them so they shall not want for anything.

Praise God!!

Take time out today to read God's words and praise Him for all He has done and will continue to do in your life until that day of completion.


"We must show repeatedly, by both our manner and our matter, that God is truth. When our Lord says, 'I am the Way , the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me,' He is saying that God is truth. We must show our hearers repeatedly that God is truth."

-John Armstrong (Feed My Sheep, 2002, p. 175)



Friday, November 7, 2008

Jehovah Raah- The Lord My Shepherd

"He heard the sound of the trumpet, but
did not take warning;
his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes
warning will save his life."
Ezekiel 33:5
The Lord My Shepherd
In studying the word of God, a recurring theme reverberates throughout: covenant.
Creation all around us reveals much about God, but not everything. He gave us Special Revelation that sets Him apart from all other beings and gods: His word.
By reading His word, our holy God...the One True God....reveals much about Himself to His children.
In this study, we will look into what covenant means to the believer. We will look at how our God tells us in His word that He is our shepherd who lovingly watches over us and at times has appointed earthly shepherds to watch over us.
Please read:
Ezekiel 34:11
Ezekiel 34: 1-6
Here we see the clear contrast between man's attempts at shepherding God's people and what God says He will do.
Psalm 23
This most beloved and oft quoted chapter in the the book of Psalms reveals how King David understood the covenant he had with his Lord. We should take time to study this chapter in order to learn more about our Lord and Savior. We will begin with the first verse:
"The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not want."
Our covenant with the Lord can be broken up into three parts:
  • Provision
  • Protection
  • Presence

Here David begins with the first part: provision


Jehovah Jireh- The LORD provides

In Ezekiel 34, we have seen how the shepherds were forsaking the sheep in order to feed themselves. So, God said that He Himself will search for His scattered sheep.

Ps 95: 6-7

1 Pet 2:25

Luke 15:4-7

Here we read in the verses of Scripture about how God is our Shepherd. Because He is holy and perfect, He will meet our every need. When we are saved from His wrath by His blood, we enter into that covenant. He is our provider. As He provided for His people in the desert as they wandered, He will provide for us now that He has entered into the covenant with even the Gentile nations.

Acts 20:28

He has appointed over us earthly shepherds or "pastors" who are to be there for the church. As pastors, these men are under a heavy burden not to be taken lightly. They are to "feed" the body God's word because it is perfect. Pastors are to provide for the people and make sure they are learning and understanding what God's word says.

As our opening verse clearly states, a watchman has to sound the warning to save both himself and the people. God's word is that trumpet warning. Our pastors should be preaching God's word and only God's word to the people to warn them about their sins, God's wrath, and judgment.

When a pastor fails to do this, he is not being the watchman. He is not being the shepherd. He is failing to provide for his people whom God gave to him.

Remember, the flocks given to these pastors were purchased with Christ's blood. They belong to Him and have been given away.

Ez 33:30-33

Many people come to hear the word of the LORD but are not doing the word of the LORD. Pastors need to lead by example. Attitude reflects leadership. When a pastor is meeting the needs of his people and showing them love through actions, then the people will too!

To be appointed shepherd over God's people is a heavy burden indeed. We are like sheep. Not too bright and easily led astray!

Pray for your pastors to meet the needs of God's people by feeding them His word.


"Preaching is important as a means of grace not merely because it is used of God to bring about conversions, but also because it is used for our sanctification, that is, our growth in holiness once we are born again. If you look back in your life and ask what it is that God has most used in your life to make you grow, you will find that in that vast majority of cases it is preaching."

-James Montgomery Boice (Feed My Sheep, 2002, p. 43)


Next time we will look more into how God provides for His sheep and also how the LORD protects His sheep.



Running the Good Race


Haven't run in two days due to a head cold approaching. Yuck. I hate getting sick when trying to train for a race. This happened last year as well, but all turned out ok in the end. Better to be sick now than in December!

I did run 8 miles last week for a long run and did a 5 mile run earlier this week. It was hard because I wasn't feeling well, but I completed it.

Hope to do a short run today and up the mountain tomorrow. Then will do a long run (9 miles) on Monday.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Study: Jehovah Raah The Lord My Shepherd

I have decided to do another Bible study here on this blog. It is titled: Jehovah-Raah which is Hebrew for "The Lord My Shepherd".

For many years I have been intrigued by how God calls Himself the Good Shepherd and how He called David from among the sheep to be the first King of His people. Then, of course, He came to earth as a man named Jesus who cared for His people like a shepherd.

In this study, we will look at Scripture and how God is our loving Shepherd. We will look at His covenant with us and the 3 P's:


In God's special revelation (Scripture) He tells us that He will provide for us, protect us from enemies and ourselves, and how He will be with us and bless us with His presence in our lives.

Praise God!!

He did not leave us here alone but is taking care of us like the Good Shepherd that He is.

We will look at how Psalm 23 parallels with Ezekiel 34. We will look at the many passages of scripture where Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd and how His statements parallel with Ezekiel 34 as well.

I pray you come away from this study having learned more about the Lord whom you serve and how much He has done and will do for you. In these end times, life will get harder and harder for the Christian. We may even have to endure persecution for our faith. What better time than now to read about how our shepherd will never leave us but will fight with us and contend with us.

But our covenant isn't one-way. We, too, have entered into this covenant promise with God. We, too, have pledged to protect Him, provide worship and acts of service for Him, as well as our faithful presence with Him. Now is the time to learn more about this covenant and how we must have fidelity to our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

The time may come when our faith may be tested beyond any testing we may have had so far in our Christian lives.

I hope you will join me on this journey with our Lord and our Shepherd!


Running the Good Race


Did a 6 mile long run last Saturday. Felt great! Decided to do a 7 mile long run yesterday (Oct. 13th) and did great. May run the Phoenix 10k race in November to prepare for the half-marathon.

Need to do some weights today and some ab work. So far, training has been good.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Running the Good RAce


Have been running alot lately. Am up to 4.5 miles easily. Will do 5 tomorrow morning. Wasn't able to run today since I subbed all day then had to take artwork to the State Fair grounds.

Will run in the am and then rest on Sunday. Ran up North mountain last night and it was great. No knee pain, no toe pain.

Training this summer was much better than last. Now, barring no injuries, the New Times 10k race is in Nov. and the half-marathon in Jan. Lord willing!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Seventy-One

"Has a nation changed its gods?

Which are not gods?

But My people have changed their Glory

for what does not profit.

Be astonished, O heavens, at this,

And be horribly afraid;

Be very desolate," says the LORD.

"For my people have committed two evils:

They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,

and they have hewn for themselves cisterns-

broken cisterns that can hold no water."

Jeremiah 2:11-13


Let's begin our time together with prayer...

"Holy Father, God in heaven above, today we will be studying about idolatry, Lord, and I pray that You will speak to me and my fellow sisters in Christ. I pray that You will be glorified as we study Your word this day. Speak to us, teach us, convict us this day so that we may be near to You.

I seek forgiveness of my sins this day, Lord. I know I am guilty of idolatry. I placed things and thoughts, and desires before You. I know this is sin and so I ask for Your forgiveness. I pray that You will cleanse me, wash me, make me whole again.

I lift up each lady reading this study today. I pray that You will speak to her and convict her of her sins of idolatry this day. I pray that You will walk with her and give her that peace about all the many things she needs to accomplish today.

In Jesus' name...amen."


Knowing True- Rejecting False

In this, our last study about 1 John, we will look at the sin of idolatry because that is how John finishes up this little book.

Why would John end this letter with an admonition about idolatry? Let's find out...

1 John 5:21-

"Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen."

The Greek translation of this verse is literally, "keep yourselves from the idols."

Remember to whom John is writing: a group of believers living among false teachers.

Perhaps John, out of love for his fellow believers, is trying to help them safeguard their assurance of salvation with this admonition. Remember that these last few verses are about having assurance of our salvation through prayer, knowing truth, and knowing false.


Our pastor gave a great sermon on idolatry back in June. I took some notes that I would like to share with you here on this blog since we are studying idolatry here in 1 John. At the time John wrote his letter, many of the new Christians were living side by side with pagan worshippers. Does this differ from how we in modern times live our Christian lives?

You may be thinking that you are not a pagan worshipper of idols, so you are safe. I used to think that way, too, but the fact is we are all guilty of some sort of idol worship. John reminds us of this in this last verse of his letter.

In our opening verse, we can easily see how heartbroken God is as He admonishes His people for their idolatry. He calls Himself the "fountain of living waters" as though to remind them of how He provided life for them in the desert only to be repaid with their betrayal.

What idolatry appears to be to God, our Father, is adultery. He has entered into a covenant with His people who have sworn to be faithful to Him and forsake all others only to be met with infidelity. How heartbreaking that is.

Ps 106:13-15

His people had forgotten all that He had done for them.

1 Kings 14:22

Instead, they provoked God and worshiped idols they had made.

Ez 16:23

They built shrines for their idols and erected them on every street! Here God likens them to harlots willing to give themselves to others whom they did not vow to love. Sound familiar?

You may still be thinking, "yeah, but I do not worship idols...."

That is what I say to myself often. Yet I know it isn't true. I LOVE television. I am a child of the 70's when TV was King of the land. I watched it in the morning, when I got home from school, at the dinner table with my family, and at night before bed. We had TV's in every room when I was a kid! When I was home sick from school, the TV was my comforter because my parents had to go to work. I would lie there and watch TV all was my friend.

So, today it is still very hard for me NOT to watch TV. I sometimes have it on when I am not watching it just to hear the noise in the background. How awful is that?

But with much prayer over the years, I have gotten better at turning the darn thing off. But that led me to the computer. Now I have to be on the computer at least a few hours of the day. You see how easy it is to worship something other than God? It is something I have to pray about daily because it is such a struggle for me.

Is 40:18-20

We try to make our gods as wonderful as the God of the universe. We use the best materials: fine wood, granite, gold, silver, pearl....everything we possibly can to make our idol outshine the sun. Big houses, fast shiny cars, big boats, RV's, incredible stereos, BIG TV sets, fancy computer systems, clothes, jewelry, careers, children, and the list goes on and on and on....

But how can we liken what we have in this world to the God of the universe who has always been?

1 John 2:15-17

Sometimes I want to watch TV more than do my work here at home. Sometimes I want to watch TV more than study God's word. How can this be? I know better than that.

We are told that everything in this world is passing away because the World is passing away! Yet we yearn to stay in it.

Is 44:9-20

God tells us that no matter what we may build to worship, someday soon we will be put to shame because what we build will never compare to God.

Sometimes we watch that movie, "Castaway" with Tom Hanks. He is marooned on a desert island alone. As you watch the movie, you see that everything that is man made is limited. It will only work so well. Yet everything that God made is strong and works perfectly for the man. The island itself lasts for much longer than the flashlight the man brought with him. Even the ocean and the storm conquers the mighty airplane. The movie is a great study on how God's creation is far greater than anything man could ever make.

Even our idols.


Deut 4:15-19

Here God warns us not to even try and make Him into an image. He is God and has no "image" to contain Him. We would be foolish to even try. Yet we do. We, as people, carve statues of Christ, paint pictures of Him, even see Him in a tortilla!

God warns us in Deuteronomy simply because He knows us....and He wants us to know who He is so He tells us how to please Him and how not to.

Here He warns us not to even attempt any image because He knows we are prone to worship. That is how He made us. Had no sin entered into the world, we would be worshipping Him only...and that is how it will be in paradise with Him.....but sin did enter the world and so we worship everything BUT Him.

Take heed! God warns.....


Heb 11:3

With His voice God made the world and everything in it. So now we know that all things seen were made by the invisible...the supernatural.

Today we see that people are taking credit for God's work. Science is now claiming that it was science that created...not a "God" of the Bible.

Rom 1:21-23

But Paul tells us that these men of science know that God is. They know, but still they refuse to be grateful and worship the creation instead of the Creator. They worship the earth and claim to be able to "save" it.

So God will give them up to those futile thoughts.

1 Pet 1:22-25

But we are called to be separate from the world. We Christians know the God whom we serve. We know that His word formed the world and saved us from His wrath. We know that His word shall endure forever even after creation ends.


Well, ladies, this concludes our study of the book of 1 John. I hope you can see in this last verse how sincere John is in his love for fellow believers in that he calls them Little Children. he only wants what is best for them: the love of Christ.

Because he knows they are among wolves dressed in sheep's clothing, he wants them to be prepared and to KNOW for certain that they worship the One True God.

That is my wish for you reading this study: that you may know for certain that you have that eternal life and that you may continue in that assurance through Christ Jesus.

I pray that you have enjoyed studying this little book as much as I have. I learned so many new things that I never noticed before! I hope that you will always remember this book when times are hard and you wonder where God is. Turn to this book when you aren't sure if someone is a Christian or not. This book will give you the answers.

And for those days when you may have doubts, read 1 John and remember. Remember all that Christ Jesus did for you. He is your Advocate. He is there for you and wants to have that fellowship with you. Thank you for joining me and for being patient with my long posts, misspelled words, and other editing mistakes. I have truly enjoyed this study and I pray you have too.

Abide with Him: stand, remain, hold fast to His truths. And keep yourselves from idols!


Until next time.....

Psalm 96 O sing unto the LORD a new song; sing unto the LORD, all the earth.

Sing unto the LORD, bless His name; show forth His salvation from day to day.

Declare His glory among the heathen, His wonders among all people.

For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.

Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.



Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The First Epistle of John:Lesson Seventy

"And this is eternal life.

that they may know You, the only

true God, and Jesus Christ whom

You have sent."

John 17:3


Hello again, let's begin with prayer....

"Holy Father our God and Creator, today we seek Your face again in hopes that You will give us understanding. I pray that You will show us and teach us Your precepts in Your word today. Thank You, Father, for the gift of eternal life. Thank You for the gif tof understanding that we may know Your words and hide them in our hearts that we might not sin against You.

I do seek the forgiveness of my sins this day, Lord. I pray that You will search me for the hidden sins of my heart and purge me of these sins. I pray that You will release me of the bondage of sins and set me free.

I lift up to you each lady reading this study today. I pray that You will go to her, speak to her, and give her a peace that passes all understanding. I pray that she will call on You and cast all her cares at Your feet. Walk with her, calm her spirits and fill her with Your Holy Spirit today.

In Jesus' name...amen."


Knowing True- Rejecting the False

As we complete our look into 1 John, we see in here that John is reminding us of what we know for sure to be true. Sometimes it is so easy to turn from the light of God's word and begin to forget what is true and what is false.

The Christian faith was built on the foundation of truth. We know that the Incarnation of God is real. We know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

1 John 5:20-

"And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life."

John yearns for believers to have that complete assurance of our faith and the foundations of our faith. Every teacher gets satisfaction when her students have mastered the skills she has taught them. John is no different. He reminds us of the foundations of our faith so that we can have that comfort in truth.


"And we know that the Son of God has come..."

Remember how John teaches his readers to know truth from error?

1 John 4:2

Knowing who Jesus is may be the most important step of growth in a believer's life. God and Jesus are one.

John 1:1 & 14

Gal 4:4

You would be amazed at the number of professing Christians out there who do not even believe Jesus is God....let alone that He was born of a virgin. As sad as that is, it shouldn't surprise us after reading 1 John.

But to fully comprehend what it was that God did, we must realize that Jesus Christ was sent here to God's own for a purpose.


"...and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true..."

Remember the answer to my question about why did God create?

He has no needs of His own. So we know He did not create to fulfill any needs. Why did He create?

To be known.

Luke 24:44-45

In this familiar passage of Scripture, we see the resurrected Christ walking and talking with some men. But He has not yet opened their eyes to see Himself as He really is. Can you think back on a time when you knew who Jesus was.....but He had not yet opened your eyes to who He truly is?

Now that you know Him, can you see why it was so important for Him to be known by you? Not for any need of His, but for your very existence:

John 15:1-8

Notice in verse 5 what Jesus says...

"Apart from Me you can do nothing..."

God knows that to know Him is life everlasting. Without knowing Him, we can live but for a time.

2 Cor 3:5

Our sufficiency is from God. It is He who opens our eyes to the truths of His word. Why? That we may know Him. For to know God is to know everlasting life. For our God is true.


"...and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ."

Knowing the God who is true requires that we be in Him who is true. This is not done of our own accord. Only God can draw in His children.

Matt 16:13-17

Eph 2:8-10

God created to be known, and He made us to do His works because His works are perfect. Having the knowledge of Christ did not come from our own minds or wills. It was given to us freely through Christ Jesus and of His own will.

This is the intimacy of the relationship of God to His children. How can we boast about this relationship when it came about from no effort of our own, but out of the mercy and love of the Creator?

John works hard to remind his readers that we may have that assurance that comes from knowing Christ and being in Him.


"This is the true God and eternal life."

Let us not forget to whom John is writing: believers amongst false teachers.

John so yearns for us to walk with Jesus as he did. He yearns for us to know Christ as he did. But most of all, he yearns for us to know who God is and that our God is not like the gods of the other religions.

We love and worship and serve the living God...the True God....the eternal.

There are so many world religions. This happened because of man's sin and arrogance. God scattered His people and gave them different languages, but in so doing, He did not remove the desire to worship something greater than ourselves.

In each human being is a desire to worship. Yet it is our sin that keeps us from worshipping or acknowledging a Holy God.

Rom 1:18-23

Instead we worship the creation....ourselves, the earth, the stars, the moon, etc. We worship the creation because there is no conviction of sin in creation. The moon does not punish us for not obeying it. The moon does not punish us for not loving it.

Although many religions teach that storms, low tides, famines do occur when creation us angered....we know these things happen because sin entered into the world. Even in Mexico today, many people will row small boats or canoes out to the ocean and drop fruit baskets and flowers in hopes of making the sea so happy it will not storm or flood the land. And these are Catholics who still have not let go of the pagan practices of the Aztec, Mayans, and Incas of centuries past!

We can see throughout the world man's attempts to create gods in his own image: flawed, imperfect, understanding, and forgiving. This way, man can do what he wants when he is equal to the god he created. We see this in Greek mythology where the gods were vain, adulterers, murderers, etc. just like the men they were ruling over!

Who wouldn't want to answer to a god like that?

But to know the God of the Bible is to know the True God.

Is 9:6

John 18:37-38

A popular TV show in the 1990's was "The X-Files". It's famous tag line was: "the truth is out there..." revealing just how important it is to people to have the truth.

God placed inside His finest creation the desire for truth. We spend so much time wanting and searching for the truth, but when we discover it, we claim there is no is all relative.

So how can we know the absolute truth?

John 14:6

John 1:14

John 8:32

To know Jesus is to know that absolute truth.

And to know that truth is to know the eternal life:

John 11:25-26

John 5:21

As we finish up here for today, we can look back on 1 John 5:20 and know that our God is the one true God and that Jesus Christ and God are One.

It feels good in a world of insecurities and lies that we can know the Truth and have comfort and peace in that knowledge.

We can walk this earth with an understanding now only because of what Jesus has done for us: opened our eyes.

Take time today to thank the Lord for giving you this understanding of the truth and the eternal. Not all people have been given this understanding. But all people have been given the knowledge of the Creator. So we are without excuse.

"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse." Rom 1:20


Life Application

When I first read the first chapter of Romans, it was in a Bible study by Dr. R.C. Sproul. He went into verses 18-24 so deeply that I walked away changed forever. I saw things in those verses that went along with what I was seeing with my eyes.

I took a philosophy course at ASU West thinking it would be atheistic in worldview since so many philospohers are, but I was wrong. The professor was a Christian who was able to teach philosophy according to Romans 1 without even having the Bible there.

He basically took us through all the religions of the world beginning with materialism (or evolution) which is a religion. I was amazed at how he showed us, through creation only, how God exists...and not just "any god" but The God of the Bible.

I sat utterly amazed at how this man was able to show me what Paul was saying in Romans 1:18-24. We are all without excuse because God has made it perfectly clear who He is in creation alone.

That class still encourages me to this day. I am grateful to have had excellent teachers in my Christian life who have shown me what scripture says and how to apply it to my life. But Jesus is the supreme teacher who opened my eyes to His words and gave me an understanding.

And for that I am eternally grateful.


Until next time....

"We have shown what this seeing of God is, and have represented in some measure how great is the blessedness of so seeing Him. And if what we have heard is believed and cordially to any instructions from the Word of God that are to point out the way to us wherein we may attain to this blessedness....we are here told of a much truer and greater blessedness that any treasure of silver, and gold, and pearls can yield; and we are also told of the way whereby we may assuredly become the possesors of it by Him who certainly knows."

-Jonathon Edwards 1703-1758 (Altogether Lovely, 1997, p. 166)