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The Fundamentals: Divine Sustenance Part 2

The Shepherd The Sheep And The Shortage

The Fundamentals:  Divine Sustenance Part 2

Psalm 23

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:  he leadeth me beside the still waters.  3He restoreth my soul:  he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:  thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 23!  I hope you are enjoying studying this as much as we enjoy bringing it to you.  I think this is probably one of the most read and loved Psalms in the entirety of the book.  As we journey through this portion of scripture let us remind ourselves of the spiritual shortage that has taken place in the church world.  Especially in these last days.  But we know the Shepherd who can make up whatever shortage that exists in His sheep.  One of those fundamentals in short supply is Divine Sustenance.  We have discussed the need for Divine Sustenance in our lives as the sheep of His pasture and we continue with this thought.  In verse two we read:

"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters."
It is assumed by verse two that the sheep have been well fed.  THIS IS VITAL!  It is FUNDAMENTAL.  As has been already stated; sheep do not eat lying down.  But they DO chew the cud in that position.  Without proper nourishment the Christian will find himself in a weakened condition and experience a lack of growth, or decrease in immunity against false doctrine, or the infection of heresy.  No wonder it is the first fundamental of the Christian life.  Let me say that we need to lie down in the Word!  Chew on the Word!  It is time to meditate on this powerful Word that will not return void.  Let it become assimilated into your spiritual constitution as it feeds your spirit and renews your strength.  You will find it to be indispensable to your survival in this world and the next.  How vital, and important is this meditating, or ruminating upon the Word?  Why is it important that we do this?  Have you seen the need for doing this?  Have you had a tough situation or an individual that necessitates some divine wisdom from His Word?  Do you have trouble with obedience?  Are you experiencing a lack of joy?  Are your enemies taunting you, or dogging you?  Listen to these scriptures that may bring some insight into why it is so important that we meditate on the Word.
Joshua 1:8 - For our Obedience and Success

"This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous and then thou shalt have good success."
Notice the word above in bold italics, that.  Do you see it?  The Lord tells Joshua that he must meditate in the word day and night, THAT he may observe to do all that is written therein.  AND, he will have good success and be prosperous.  Those are exciting words!  The word THAT means SO THAT, IN ORDER THAT.  There was a purpose, a reason for meditating in the Word.  So that you may observe to do!  To do!  Meditating and pondering the Word is indispensable to obedience to that Word.  Do you have trouble with obedience?  Here is a powerful piece of advice.  “Lie down in the green pastures where you have been fed!”  But He also says it is indispensable to success and prosperity.  Why?  What does prosperity and success have to do with this?  What is this success and what is this prosperity the Lord is talking about?  Look at it.  Joshua's success was dependent upon his obedience to the WORD.  What is the Word?  Please hear this.  This is vital.  His Word is His Will!  As I obey His Word, I obey His Will!  As long as I remain in the will of God, I am successful.  In other words, our success is not determined by how much fame, or notoriety, or popularity, we experience in this life.  No.  Success is determined by whether or not I am IN HIS WILL!  Hallelujah!  You do not have to worry about people's opinion.  God's is the only one that counts.  Are you saved?  If you are, you are in His will.  You are a success.  Are you following His Word and desiring to walk in His ways?  Then you are a success in His eyes.  And as for the prosperity part, well, that is even more amazing.  He tells Joshua that his way will be made prosperous.  Prosperous?  You mean his checkbook will have unlimited amounts of cash?  Actually, no.  The word prosperous has this meaning and connection.  It carries the idea of being brought to a good conclusion; to make it to the journey's end.  Hey, that is so cool!  Let me ask you, when a person's business, at the end of the day, has made a profit, have things not been brought to a good conclusion?  Why, yes!  Spiritually speaking, as we continue to follow His Word and His Will, we may not have all this world can offer by way of things or possessions, but in the end, at the end of the day, we will be brought to a good conclusion; we will make it to the journey's end all in one piece!  How profitable is that?  Hallelujah!  When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!  It is important to observe and obey; it is important our journey be prosperous and successful.  Therefore, it is important that we meditate in His word.  And as we do, we shall be able to discern His will, be successful as we remain in it, and rest assured that we will be brought to a good conclusion and make it to the journey's end rejoicing.  Hallelujah.  So, Lord, make me to lie down in green pastures.
Psalm 63:5,6 - For our Satisfaction and Praise

"My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips when I remember thee upon my bed and meditate on thee in the night watches."
How awesome is this!  Meditating on Him and his Word brings satisfaction and praise.  Are you having a struggle praising?  Do you find yourself sinking into a mood of dissatisfaction?  Discontentment?  Discouragement?  Sometimes the night can bring this upon us.  Nighttime can be a tough moment of the day.  It is in the night that things mushroom in our minds.  It is in the night that negative thoughts seem to grow bigger and out of proportion.  I want to impress this upon you; do not fear the night!  Use it!  The air is cleaner in the night for it is being washed.  Time moves along at a slower pace in the night.  AND God starts His day in our night.  Really?  Yes.  Look at it and let it bring you to a place of satisfaction and praise as you MEDITATE ON HIS WORD with regard to this very thing!
1.  Genesis 1:5
"And the evening and the morning were the first day."
This is powerful to me.  God's day begins with the evening.  My day begins with the morning.  Wow!  When you are tired and worn out and looking for that place to lie down because you are completely exhausted and finished, that's when God is just beginning!  God's day begins with the preceding nighttime.  God's method is so different from ours.  So, never forget, God works in the dark!  Hallelujah!  Is someone getting this?  There should be a shout of joy reverberating over the entire room or dorm where you are reading this!  Look through the Bible and find the places where God works in the dark.  Here in Genesis 1, it says that "God said, Let there be light."  At least nine times in chapter one it states, "And God said, Let there be..." So, He creates something from nothing, and He does it in the dark.  Listen to it: "And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep."  Listen to it: "and the evening and the morning were the first day...and the evening and the morning were the second day", etc.   What was not in existence today may be in existence tomorrow.  So, do not be discouraged, for out of the night the day is born.  It is in the nighttime that God causes something to come out of nothing.  Meditate on that word.  The Bible tells us "Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning."  Psalm 30:5
2.  Exodus 14:21, 24
"And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that NIGHT and made the sea dry land and the waters were divided...and it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud and troubled the host of the Egyptians."
Woo!  Is this another amazing thing?  When did the waters divide?  In the NIGHT!  The impossible is made possible!  When?  IN THE NIGHT!  Do not look anymore at the evening or the dark as the end of it all, but as the BEGINNING of it all!  Well, one more Hallelujah is in order.  HALLELUJAH.  Meditate on that!

This is a great assignment for you today.  If you have your own Bible, look these scriptures up and read the passage.  Let me give you some scriptures to ponder, and to meditate on.  I guarantee you will begin to sense a satisfaction welling up within your soul bursting forth into an anthem of praise causing you to shout and look at your darkness in a totally different manner.
3.  Exodus 16:4,6,7
"Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no....  And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even[ing], then ye shall know that the Lord hath brought you out from the land of Egypt:... And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the Lord...."  
What do you see?
4.  Job 35:10
"But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;"
Psalm 42:8 – “Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.”  
Psalm 77:6 - "I call to remembrance my song in the night:  I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search."
Psalm 32:7 - "Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.  Selah."
Psalm 16:7 - "I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel:  my reins also instruct me in the night seasons."
What do you see?  What do these songs do for us?
5.  Acts 27:23
"For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,"
What do you see here?

So, Lord, make me to lie down in green pastures.
Psalm 1:1-3 – For our Blessing, Growth, and Development

"Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law doth he meditate day and night.   And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;  his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
Meditating is one of the characteristics of the BLESSED individual.  The Psalm begins with the word "Blessed".  The blessed man or woman is the one who meditates in His law, His Word, day and night.  This word blessed in the Hebrew comes from a primitive word that means "to be straight".  A walk that is straight is blessed.  A straight walk is one that stays within certain marked lines or boundaries.  It is a limited life.  This is where many parents have gotten into a mess with their kids.  How is that?  Because as they were growing up the kids had no boundaries.  The truly happy Christian is the one that walks within the boundaries of HIS Word.  Not in the counsel of those who are ungodly, sinful, or scornful.  How can I walk within those boundaries of the Word of God?  Here it is:  "...and in His law doth he meditate day and night."  Do you see the connection between blessedness and meditation on His Word?  Between meditation on His Word and straight walking?  Between walking within the boundaries of God's prescribed will and meditation on God's Word?  Yes!  So, Lord, make me to lie down in green pastures!

But also, look at the results that follow this.
"He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth its fruit in its season.  His leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
Look at the growth and development as a result of this meditation.  We will be like a:

1. Planted tree - Someone planted it.  God did.  He will be involved in everything that pertains to life and godliness.  And you will see God's hand in your life.  Meditate on that.
2. Steadfast tree - He plants you by the rivers of water.  What is like water to us?  The Holy Spirit, and the Word!  The strongest trees are those by the water.  Get to the water.  And the winds of false doctrine will not take you down.  Meditate on that.
3. Useful tree - When you are meditating on His Word, drinking it in, you cannot help but be fruitful.  Why the fruit?  It is not for you.  It is for others to taste and see that the Lord is good.  That is what makes us useful.  Meditate on that.
4. Abiding tree - Your leaves will not come and go.  Think of the Pine tree.  It is always green!  Nobody really notices the Pine especially in the fall when the leaves of other trees are in their glory and beauty.  But when all the leaves are fallen, then, they notice the Pine!  Meditate on that.
5. Prosperous tree - Ah, prosperous.  Remember Joshua 1:8?  Here the meaning carries the same idea.  Here in Psalm 1, it can be stated this way: "and in whatsoever he doeth, he himself shall prosper."   It is not cash and checks arriving in the mail.  Then what is it?   Whatever I do, whether it fails, falls, fumbles, or turns out phenomenal in man's eyes, I myself will be brought to a good conclusion.  In other words, all things will work together for my good and His glory!
So, grab your Bible and go lay down in those green pastures, chew on the Word over and over again.  Let it feed you, nourish you, and stir you to action.  As you do, you will emerge from that time alone with God and His Word agreeing with the words in Jeremiah 23:28,29
"...he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully.  What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord.  Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?"
How marvelous is this!  As we spend time musing and meditating on His Word, that same Word will accomplish three things.
              1. It will be like wheat to us and not chaff.  It will feed us.  His Word will sustain us.  It will nourish us and be a staple food in our diet.  We will not be able to get along without it. 
              2. It will be like fire to us.  It will kindle a feeling in our hearts.  It will burn inside of us.  Like the men on the Emmaus road in Luke 24.  After listening to Jesus expound the Word to them, they said, "did not our hearts burn within us while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures?"
              3. It will be like a hammer to us.  It will be effective!  It will produce results.  It will break the hard things into pieces.  It will bring about a change in your life.  Lord, we need the hammer of your Word.  Listen to it:
"For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."  Isaiah 55:11

I think I hear the sound of abundance of rain!

A Strong Tower of Comfort

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower.  The righteous run into it and is safe.”  Proverbs 18:10

A Testimony of Praise by Christy

            The Bible says that "God is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort."  When we face difficult trials in life, or times when we are surrounded by darkness, grief, loneliness, confusion, or maybe we even feel that there is NO HOPE, the Lord Jesus, our strong and mighty tower is still there, unmoving, and unchanging.
            A couple of years ago, I faced a "dark night" of my life.  One of those times which we never think we will see and yet it comes.  My young daughter, Maria, unexpectedly passed into Glory.  It was sudden, and even though I knew that she was in heaven with her Savior, my mother's heart was broken at my loss - my empty arms.
            Let me share with you the powerful way the Lord showed His comfort to me.  He faithfully was that strong tower in the middle of the grief that surrounded me.  That very night, as I put my head on my pillow, tears flowing and feeling numb from the day, I began to think of the enormity of what had just happened and all I could pray was, "Lord, Jesus."  AND then God...  Yes, and then God, the One Who is the strong tower, reached down into my heart and poured a song.  This was a song of comfort in my night of grief.  The words "Hallelujah, to the Lamb. King of Glory.  Great I AM.  So beautiful are You, the Holy Lamb" began to well up within my heart.  Praises to Him for who He is began to flow.  I knew that He is the Lamb who died for me and anyone else who confessed Him as their Lord and Savior.  In truth, because of Who He is and what He had done on Calvary's cross, Maria would be with Him forever.  I knew that He was still King and ruler over all, greater than any earthly grief.  And in the middle of it all, He was/is still beautiful and holy, pure, and good.  He at that moment covered my grief with His overwhelming presence and brought comfort to my heart.  That song that He gave to me rolled through my thinking and in my heart the entire night.  When I dozed off and awakened, it was still there.  When the morning light came through my window and a new day dawned His mercies were still new that morning, and "Hallelujah to the Lamb" was still welling up within my heart.  Please do not get me wrong, I was still grieving my daughter, but I was not doing it alone; I had been drawn to and was locked up in that Strong Tower - the One who is the God of ALL comfort to those who run to Him.
Lord, You are good!  Lord, You are still so very good!  I bless Your name!

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