I love the beginning of a New Year. Time to have a redo on several areas that are lacking. One of the things I try to work on is my relationship with the Lord. Being more consistent in practicing the Lord’s presence is the key to revival in your personal life. When you experience personal revival it is bound to affect others around you. I know that I want to raise the spiritual vitality of any place I am simply because of the presence of Jesus spilling out of my life.
A commitment to this lifestyle is what David describes in the familiar Psalm that many quote.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Sheep are not adept at taking care of themselves. Even when blessed with a good shepherd they still stray. In A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, W. Phillip Keller writes, “A commonly held, but serious misconception about sheep is that they can just ‘get along anywhere.’ The truth is quite the reverse. No other class of livestock requires more careful handling, more detailed direction, than do sheep. No doubt David, as a shepherd himself, had learned this firsthand from tough experience. He knew beyond dispute that if the flock was to flourish and the owner’s reputation was to be held in high esteem as a good manager, the sheep had to be constantly under his meticulous control and guidance.”
The truth is that we don’t have to live very long to realize that people are a lot like sheep. They have a tendency to wander off. Without being under the care of a good shepherd then they could end up in a pretty bad predicament. We have the Greatest Shepherd of all – Jesus Christ. We need to intentionally stay as close to the Shepherd as possible. He is both our protection and our blessing. We can trust that David knew what he was talking about when he referred to the events of his younger years. The former shepherd boy did not hide the identity of his Shepherd. He wanted to stay as close as he could.
Beginning this Sunday I will be preaching a series called, “Inside the Fence.” God has always protected and provided for his sheep and our role is to stay close so He can do so. He even has given us some principles in order to stay close in this up and down world. Come and learn how to stay close to God in all areas so He can be Lord of all. I am looking forward to worshipping with you on Sunday.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene