Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

04/04/2018

Randall Caselman

 

Living Life

As Sheep In His Pasture

 

  It’s printed, framed, and hung on hospital walls. It’s scratched on prison walls. It’s whispered by the dying: “The Lord is my Shepherd.”

 

  A shepherd is responsible for his sheep. He cares, provides, and protects them, individually and as a flock. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. As children of God, we need to catch a glimpse of what it means to have the omnipotent, sovereign, transcendent Jesus as our shepherd.

 

  The Lord Is My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want. We are driven to want more and more. More money in the bank, bigger houses, finer cars, more fashionable clothing, new furniture, the latest technological gadgets. Sociologists tell us that a hundred years ago the average American had 72 wants, 16 of which were felt to be necessities. Today we have 484 wants and 94 are considered necessities. When is enough, enough? Never!! Our materialism may not be a sign of the times; but a sign of our lack of faith. Matthew chapter six tells us that we must trust God for all our needs: “Seek you first the kingdom of God and all these things will be provided.” Believe it!.. Live it!!

 

  He Restores My Soul. God knows our souls need restoring–Amen? Mine does daily. Guilt–What a heavy burden! The good news of Christianity is that we can begin each day, each moment, with a clean slate by forgiveness through the blood of Christ. “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from every sin.” The Greek speaks of continual forgiveness as we walk in the light of the Shepherd. Indeed, Jesus is the way the truth and the life–Amen? Rejoice in it!!

 

  He Leads Me In Paths Of Righteousness. His path is always correct, so relax! Here it is: We must allow the Shepherd to guide our marriages. Allow Him to choose our business ethics. Involve Him in raising our children. Let Him decide our recreation and entertainment choices. Scripture tells us that “there is a path that seems right to man, but the end is death.” Let the Shepherd lead!!

 

  It’s For His Name’s Sake. Today’s thinking is dominated by: Narcissism, self-esteem, self-indulgence, personal preeminence, individualism. As believers, we are a blessed people, not for our own praise, but to His glory and honor. Making a name for ourselves is an improper motive for walking in His paths, for obedience, for doing good. The Shepherd is to be praised, glorified, honored, by the life of the sheep, through obedience. “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever; Amen?”... Amen!!

 

  I Will Fear No Evil. The rest of the Psalm is about the good life available because of God’s presence. A presence available to those willing to allow Him to be their guide. If Jesus is our shepherd, nothing can harm us, not even death. To His sheep, death is simply a door into the Father’s house: “To be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord.” In Philippians, Paul speaks of two options: “One is to die and go be with the Lord, the other is to live and be of benefit to the churches he was serving.” Indeed, with Jesus as our Shepherd, life’s cup overflows. It was Jesus who said: “I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly. “ His abundance is not only in this world, but in Heaven: “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you; I will come back and take you to be with me so that where I am, there you may be also.” What a promise!!

 

  The introduction to our favorite Psalm says it all: The Lord Is My Shepherd. The conclusion confirms everything: “His goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Indeed: “He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” What promises! What a Shepherd!! The question becomes: “Are we sheep in His pasture?” Heaven’s invitation is always open. Amen?

 

—RANDALL CASELMAN