Greater Glens Falls
Bible Baptist Church
"The church that dares
                             to be different" 
   Welcome      Strength For Living

                  STRENGTH FOR LIVING.

                       June-July, 2019

       "Why We Sink In Our Circumstances"

And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
And he said, Come, and when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me (Matthew 14:28-30).

    Peter was already a believer, even a dedicated disciple of the Savior.
Jesus did not save him again spiritually. Rather, Jesus rescued him 
from his circumstances.
    You and I may know Christ as our Savior, but we may still need the occasional rescue from adverse and stormy situations. After salvation, we are expected to mature in our spiritual abilities. This is not an easy requirement, and it requires time of exposure to the Word of God and to circumstances requiring us to apply the principles of God's Word to those circumstances.

    How did Jesus respond to Peter's cry for help? Two words summarize the Savior's response: Rescue and Rebuke.

    Rescue was immediate and sufficient: "And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him..." (14:31). I have been in many dangerous spots in my sixty-five years of ministry, some actually life-threatening. The Lord was sufficient when I needed rescuing.

    Rebuke followed the rescue. We should never get too comfortable after God has had to rescue us. It may be followed by a rebuke. Notice what Jesus said to Peter, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" (14:31).

    Why do you and I sink under our circumstances? We don't trust God in several ways. We do not trust Him to know what is happening; we do not trust Him to engineer events in our lives; we do not trust Him to protect us in the circumstances He allows into our lives.
    Like Peter, we may express that initial faith to step out of the boat. At that point, our focus is upon Jesus, not the boisterous wind and raging waves. However, even when we start out trusting Jesus, we might be distracted by the situation in which we find ourselves. When that happens, expect a rebuke from the Lord.

    Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest, June 18) observes the following:

The wind was actually boisterous, the waves were actually high, but Peter did not see them at first. He did not reckon with them, he simply recognized his Lord, and stepped out in recognition of Him and walked on the water.

Jesus went right to the heart of the problem: Peter's fear of circumstances was caused by doubt. The answer to the question "Why do we sink in our circumstances?" We doubt the presence and power of our Lord who is with us in all of our circumstances.

    Keep your eyes on the Lord. The right focus always leads to the right outcome.

                       March-April, 2018

              "The Bible and Your Enemies"

       Have you ever wondered why God commands us to love our enemies? I have. In fact, for a long time, I actually considered it the hardest commandment to keep.

      It appears that the Book of Ecclesiastes provides a warning about timing and all events in life: "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven....A time to love, and a time to hate..." (Eccl. 3:1-8).

      Jesus warned, " your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).

      The disciples had been taught to love their neighbor and hate their enemies (Mt. 5:43). Jesus was offering a totally different approach to opposition. There are reasons His commandment is a hard one to observe.

      First, it goes against the old nature. We may be saved, but we still have a fallen nature (cf. Romans 6-8). That nature has a sympathetic nervous system which seeks self-preservation in all moments of threat. It is called "fight or flight." When an enemy offers a threat, it is natural to seek either to defend oneself or to attack the opposition.

      Second, each of us is the product of his/her environment. The way of the world, as well as the way of most parents training their children, is to attack or defend. It is difficult to alter what has been inserted into your life by those you love, respect, and seek to please.

      Third, Satan consistently seeks to push us into situations and responses which go counter to the will of God. (1) Satan seeks to remove the Word of God from our minds before it takes root and produces righteous fruit (Mark 4:15);  (2) Satan binds us in conditions which hamper our spiritual development (Luke 13:16); (3) Satan tries to draw us into situations which provide a sifting pressure to discourage us (Luke 22:31); (4) Satan seeks to force falsehood into our performance in order to get us to lie instead of owning up to our unrighteous conduct (Acts 5:3); (5) Satan strokes the old flesh in an attempt to get it to seek gratification (I Cor. 5:5; 7:5); (6) Satan uses unexpected devices against us in order to gain an advantage (II Cor. 11:14; 12:7); (7) Satan lost the battle for our souls (once we have been saved), and that leaves him to look for multiple ways to simply hinder our spiritual growth (I Thess. 2:18).

      Jesus goes against all that most people have known and experienced when He commands us, "Love your enemies." However, as God in the human form, He knows what is best for us, and that best is often expressed in commands. The question remains, Why does He want us to love our enemies?

      I. Loving our enemies presents a challenge to us we probably would not choose willingly.

          Every person is our teacher. We will never encounter a person from whom we cannot learn, and that includes our enemies. I have learned far more from my enemies than I have from my friends.

          Daniel was carried away into Babylonia captivity, and he spent eighty years operating in enemy territory. Yet, he maintained his purpose (Daniel 1:8). He learned to use diplomacy instead of constant challenge. He learned to stand fast in a vacillating society. He learned what it meant to be willing to die rather than compromise. He gained the respect of all of the kings under whom he served.

          Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers. In Egypt for a generation, he refused to be seduced into sin; he refused to complain about his statues; he did all he could to help others in prison; he gained such respect that he was made a trustee of the prison. This led to his helping the Pharaoh, eventually being promoted to the second highest position in the nation.

          The apostle Paul certainly illustrates a man who loved those who sought his death. He refused to allow those who hated him to cause him to hate them. He accepted the challenge of loving his enemies, and he became the greatest evangelist and church planter in the early church.

          Loving our enemies is a matter of obeying Christ's command, not a matter of doing something we willingly would like to do. We might not choose the enemies we face, but they are sent by God (or allowed) to develop us in His larger plan for our lives.

         There is another reason we should love our enemies as Jesus commanded.

II. Loving our enemies presents to us opportunities we might otherwise ignore.

      Perspective is important. We usually view everyone and everything from the human perspective. However, God is working in our lives with a supernatural perspective. God sees what we cannot see, and He is working toward what He already knows He has planned for us.

      Enemies, like problems, are opportunities in work clothes. They are tools in the hand of the Creator. They may cause pain, but they are definitely tools used by God to bring us to the image of His Son.

      If we accept God's oversight of our lives, we trust His allowances. Using His perspective to view our enemies minimizes the amount of energy we expend in dealing with those enemies.

III. Loving our enemies also prompts creativity in handling the unpleasant things in our lives.

       If we are not careful, we will allow the enemy to dictate our responses to him. On the other hand, if we follow  God's perspective, we see the enemy as a prompter to creativity.

       The more powerful your enemy is, the more creative your response to that enemy must be. Hebrews 11 is often called "God's Hall of Fame of Faith." In it, many people are recorded as being thrust into hostile environments, places saturated with enemies. Their enemies may have been different, but through faith they learned how to deal with those enemies.

       Joseph in Egypt had to learn to be creative in handling his enemies. The three Hebrew young men in the Book of Daniel learned to be creative with their enemies. Spiritual creativity is the result of submitting to the Holy Spirit in the face of powerful enemies.

       Creativity is not a "one-way-only" approach to enemies or problems. The enemies in Egypt differed from those in Babylon, and they both differed from the enemies Paul faced. Therefore, those men and others who faced enemies responded to the creativity of their enemies with creativity of their own.

       There are certain principles that must govern creativity in dealing with our enemies: (1) Creative responses must not violate the Word of God; (2) 
creative responses should on the surface appeal to the enemy: Joseph's solutions preserved Egypt-Daniel showed Darius how Jehovah could bless the Medo-persian Empire-Paul told Agrippa that Christians were the best citizens and should be protected; (3) creative moves must reflect respect for the position of the enemy (Romans 13:1ff).

IV. Loving our enemies at one level equips us to face and handle greater enemies later.

      One of my favorite conversations recorded in the Bible is the conversation between David and the giant Goliath as David walked into the Valley of Elah.

      David pointed out that, as a shepherd, he had faced the lions threatening his sheep. God gave him power to defeat that enemy. David then referred to the bear coming against the flock. God gave him victory over that enemy. Then David told Goliath that he was in trouble, because the same God that gave him victory over the bear and the lion would give Goliath into David's hand.

      In the wilderness caring for sheep, David was sent enemies that God would use to prepare him for a greater enemy that David never expected to face. You and I do not know the enemies God wants us to face in the future. However, we will be ready if we seek to follow His will in facing our present enemies.

V. Loving our enemies sharpens our sensitivity to our need for the whole armor of God.

    Paul advises the Ephesians facing Satanic enemies, "Finally, my brethren....Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:10-18).

    One of the most devastating mistakes you and I can make is to assume we can defeat all of our enemies with the power of the flesh. God has already prepared our armor, and we would be fools to ignore each part when facing powerful enemies.

    There are many people like King Saul, people who will advise us to take their armor for the battle. David said he had not proved the ability to use for his battle what Saul had been given for his battle. David submitted to God and used what he was familiar with ( a sling and stones). It does not matter how our weapons differ from those of another, so long as what we have has been placed under God's authority.

    We have examined why we should love our enemies because of how it impacts us. Why do our enemies need our love?

First, they are saturated with hate:  "do good to them that hate you" (Mt. 5:44). The only cure for hate is love. Hate is devastating, and our enemies need to understand love. Loving our enemies teaches them to love.

Second, they are takers, not givers: "love your enemies...lend, hoping for nothing again" (Luke 6:35). Haters are also takers; contrariwise, love gives. John 3:16 says, "God so loved that He gave...." Loving our enemies teaches them to give.

Third, they need a new identity. Luke 6:35, referring to loving our enemies, says, "...your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the highest." Our enemies expect us to act like they do. They expect us to act like enemies towards them. We show them the identity which they need. In short, we act towards our enemies like the Heavenly Father acted towards us when we were the enemies of God (Romans 5:10).

       Roll up your sleeves, start loving your enemies, and let's get to work showing them we are totally different than they.

              SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER, 2017
             "Dealing With Panic Attacks"

    Jeremiah 17:5-8 presents two types of people: the person destroyed by anxiety and the person over whom anxiety has no control. Several possible causes of anxiety are indicated.
(1) "Cursed be the man that trusteth in man" (v 5): this is misdirected faith.
(2) "Cursed be the man that maketh flesh his arm" : this is misdirected resource.
(3) "Cursed be the man that departeth from the Lord": this is misdirected loyalty.

    During twenty-eight years in EMS, I was often called to a home to handle "a panic attack." The medical protocols defined "panic attack" and provided treatment for one.
    Actually, the term "panic attack" is best described in the Bible as anxiety. the most common Biblical words are "careful" and distress." In Jeremiah, the Hebrew word is da-ag, "fearful, panicing, full of anxiety."
    In the new Testament, the word "careful" is the Greek word merimna, "distracted, fragmented, anxious, ssometimes translated taking thought." 
In Luke 10:41, at the house of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, Jesus rebuked Martha for being "careful and troubled." The word "troubled" is the Greek turbazo, meaning "turbid, stirred up, disturbed, confused, troubled."

   Anxiety is real, but it can be responded to properly. That is what this article is about. The psychological/medical idea is that the person is a victim of a strong emotion which has attacked him.
   On the other hand, the Biblical idea is that the person is responsible for responding correctly to whatever circumstance he encounters, regardless of the intensity of the emotions involved.

   Another word in the Bible is "distress."The Hebrew word sarah is translated "anguish, distress, trouble, affliction, a narrowing or constraining." Jesus referred to distress among nations when He returns, and Paul used the word "distress" in his letters. The Greek word is sunoche, "anguish, a narrowing or constraining, anxiety, calamity."
   If we look at all of the words (Old and New Testaments), the idea of anxiety or panic includes the following:
* pressure to do something.
* sense of being hemmed in.
* feeling of being overwhelmed by something.
* Narrow, limited options in a tough situation.

   Medical and Psychological symptoms of "panic attack" are as follows:
(1) Difficulty breathing, rapid breathing.
(2) Chest tightness, even pain in some cases.
(3) Wanting to avoid public places and people.
(4) Nausea, lightheadedness, sweating.

   In one sense, there are no "panic attacks" as described by the medical and psychological professions. That does not mean there is no anxiety. In another sense, there is a wrong response to problems and challenging situations in our lives. The anxious response creates more problems: first, there is the origianl provocation; second, there is the wrong response to it; third, there are possible other wrong responses connected to the first wrong response.
   Jesus told His audience, "Take no thought" ("Don't be anxious"). The apostle Paul wrote, "Be careful for nothing" ("Don't be anxious about anything"). Being anxious is a sin because it is a violation of one of God's commands.

   How can a believer in Christ avoid having "panic attacks"?

                            DECIDE NOT TO BE AN ANXIOUS PERSON
   "Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life..." (Matthew 6:25). Right in the middle of the sermon on the mount, Jesus dealt with anxiety. It is the imperative, a command. The Greek word is merimna, "to be distracted, fragmented, anxious, in anguish."
   From death row in a Roman prison, the apostle Paul faced imminent execution for his faith. He wrote to the church at Philippi, "Be careful for nothing" (Phil. 4:6).
   There is a tendency to become anxious when some problem puts pressure on us. It is a vestige of our old nature, wanting to push its way into our new spiritual life.
   In Matthew 6:25ff, Jesus focuses on those matters which can cause anxiety: preserving life, food to eat, water to drink, care of the body, clothes to wear. In Matthew 6:26, Jesus reminded the crowd that God cares for birds, and people are much more valuable than birds.
   Writing from prison, Paul reminded the Philippian church, "My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19). Focusing on problems cause being engulfed by problems. Focusing on promises causes equipping us to deal with problems.
   In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus gives some things which can cause us to be anxious. We ought to give attention to these, recognize when they are ppresent, and find the promise which gives victory over the cause.
   FIRST, a misconception about what life is all about can cause anxiety. Jesus asked the crowd, "Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" (Mt. 6:25). One's life has greater value than simply sleeping, getting up, eating breakfast, going to work, coming home, relaxing, going to bed, and starting the routine all over again.
   God wants control of our lives so that He can maximize their significance while here on earth.
  SECOND,  a distorted sense of self worth can casue anxiety. Jesus said that birds don't plow, sow, reap, and store up, but God cares for them. then He asks, "Are ye not much better than they?" (6:26). We may be sinners becasue we cannot keep the law, but that soes not mean we are without value. god sent His most valuable possession, His son, to pay for our sins.
 THIRD, trying to change what we cannot change can cause anxiety. Jesus told them not one of them by taking thought could add to his life span (6:27). The most powerful person on earth cannot relive one second from a previous day. There are many things we cannot change. Trying to do so makes us anxious.
FOURTH, lack of faith in God's care for us can produce anxiety. God clothes his fields (6:29) better than Solomon in all of his glory. then He asks, "Can't he clother you, O ye of little faith?" (6:30).
FIFTH, seeking contentment the way the world does can cause anxiety: "After all these things do the Gentiles seek" (6:32). the world tries to find contentment in collecting stuff, accumulating wealth, and having the toys the world offers them.
   If our priorities are wrong, then our patterns will be wrong; when patterns are wrong, what we pursue and promote will be wrong.
SIXTH, having misplaced priorities will lead to a life of anxiety. Jesus said to them, "But seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you" (6:33).
SEVENTH, trying to live in tomorrow today will make one anxious. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus commanded, "Take no thought for the morrow...."
         Focusing on tomorrow's possible problems distracts from seeking         
solutions for today's problems.
         Focusing on tomorrow's problems prevents necessary analysis of the                   problems of today.
   For a person who is a professing Christian, there is no "panic attack"; there is only surrender of control of the situation, leading to wrong responses to the pressures against him.
   Remember the command, "Be careful for nothing" (Phil 4:6).

              SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER, 2016

          "Go Down To The Potter's House!"

"Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words" (Jeremiah 18:2).

     "Seldom do we find God's Word in a workshop," someone might think. But God sends His Word everywhere, and everywhere needs God's Word.
     Jeremiah was about eighteen to twenty years of age when God called him to be a prophet. He resisted the call, just as many before him and after him have done.
     When he did surrender, he experienced what many before him and many after him experienced: opposition, rejection, persecution, and multiple personal attacks on his character and person.
      During the carrying out of his responsibilities as God's man, Jeremiah was told by God to visit a potter's house. It was there that he observed a spiritual lesson.
        Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold he
wrought a work on the wheels.
        And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the                  hand of the potter; so he made it again, another vessel,              as seemed good to the potter to make it.
       Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
        O house of israel, cannot I do with you as this potter?                 saith the Lord, Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand,           so are ye in mine hand, O house of israel (Jeremiah 18:3-           6).
You and I tend to want control of our own lives, which is why we experience so many devastating consequences.
      Jeremiah was sent to Israel because they had gone into sin, had begun to worship idols, had committed the most vicious kinds of sins, and had turned their backs on the Lord who created them, loved them, and sought what was best for them.
      The potter illustrates some things for us to consider for our spiritual welfare:
      (1) Control: God told Jeremiah to tell Israel, "you are clay; I am the Potter." The surrender of self to Him is the key to spiritual vitality, which leads to dealing correctly with our sins.
      (2) Condition: the right kind of clay is wet enough to be malleable. Are you spiritually flexible enough to let God shape you "as it pleases the Potter"? Clay does not dictate to the Potter; the Potter does with the clay as the Potter wishes. His will supersedes the will of clay.
      (3) Conforming: clay has potential only when it submits to the conforming hands of the Potter.  The conforming process involves spinning, thrusting, putting on pressure, and often pulling apart and starting over. Are you ready for this?
God's message: Don't take over my position and expect me to allow you to shape me into the god you prefer over me!
Follow Jeremiah, and "Go down to the potter's house."

            "Loving Leadership In the Home"
Ephesians 5:25 says to the husband, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it."
     The submission of the wife to her husband's leadership is actually a response to his love demonstrated to her. It is helpful to remember that "submission" is a term that means to "arrange under," and it is associated with the chain of command in a military environment.
     It does not mean the wife is inferior, nor does it mean that the husband is superior. In addition, submission is not the husband's squashing the wife into a slavery type role. Let's examine the passage.
     THE COMMAND: "husbands, love your wives." Commands from God are expected to be obeyed. While society considers love to be a generic "feeling," the Bible never so indicates. Rather, the husband is to start loving his wife as an act of the will. His obedience will eventuate into the right feeling. Actions come first; feelings come last, not the other way around.
     THE COMPARISON: "...even as Christ also loved the church...." The wives are compared to the church (an imperfect organism), while the husband is compared to Christ (a perfect model). It would seem, then, that the demand on the husband is a more difficult form of compliance than the wife's submission.
     THE COMMITMENT: "...and gave himself for it." The word "give" is from the Greek meaning "to yield up, to give over to, to surrender." Since Christ died for His church, the husband is expected to be willing to die for his wife. We include in marriage ceremonies the phrase "until death do us part."
     THE CONTROL: Shallow believers think that dominating is meant by the word "control." the exact opposite is true. The main idea is management of delegated responsibilities. God gave the husband the position of head in order for him to oversee the production of a loving environment.  In I Timothy 3:4, Paul said a pastor should be one who "ruleth well his own house." The word translated"ruleth" is the word for "preside over, manage, stand before, to rule."
     THE CONCLUSION: The passage presents the husband and wife as a divinely appointed team following a prescribed set of patterns associated with the Sovereign's roles for the two in the home.
     The kind of love mentioned is outlined by Paul in I Corinthians 13 as actions approved by God in the maintenance of the interpersonal relationship of husband to wife. The man (aner) and woman (gune) are to come together in the formation of a new authority structure which will honor God. the words for "husband" and "wife" focus upon the sexual distinctions of male and female (militating against the same sex craze of our modern society).
     Biblical leadership can be best defined as follows: Leadership is responsible management which develops those who function under the leader, and which glorifies God by the methods chosen.
     If you are the husband, be the LOVING LEADER your wife needs.
                            "Fathering With Spiritual Power"
Deuteronomy 6:1ff illustrates how to rear children to love the Lord, respect his Word, and face the challenges of life.
It begins with ABSOLUTES: "Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you..." (6?1). 
It continues with a focus on ACTIONS: "...that ye might DO them in the land whither ye go to possess it" (6:1). 
The passage then moves to ATTITUDE: "That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God...." (6:2).
    The absolutes are essential for clear thinking which is necessary to right action with the right attitude. The fear of God is a "healthy respect for who God is and for what He can and will do about sin" (G. Goodell).
The passage then introduces the AIM: Knowing the purpose is a primary need for accomplishing any goal. The aim is to introduce to their children the holy habits the parents have adopted.
        "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children...." (6:7).
         This is accomplished by using the principle of saturation. The writer says, " of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up" (6:7). 
          The wife/mother has a supportive role (not less important).  Look at the following about the father in the home.
I.   The place of the father.
       Christ is called "the head of the church" and the man is called "the head of the woman." Ephesians 5 expounds on these two principles. The headship speak of responsibility. It is not dictatorial, but supportive.
       The father/husband is the primary meeter of needs in the home, which makes him responsible for teaching God's Word.
II.   The purpose of the father.
        He is primarily responsible for creating the environment necessary for the sanctification process. 
        According to Romans 8:28-29, the sanctification process results in members in the home being "conformed to the image of Christ." 
III.  The principles of the father.
         Deuteronomy 6 lists the different titles referring to the same product: the Word of God. No matter what an earthly father does, he has failed if he has not facilitated his children's conforming to the person of Jesus Christ.
         According to Deuteronomy 6, the father must both model the truth and teach it to his children, and even to his grandchildren.
IV.    The plan for the father.
          He must first internalize the Word of God, then he must practice it in the presence of his children.
          He must also integrate the truth into all areas of family activites: talking, walking, lying down, rising up.
          He must post truth when practical in order to let everyone know where the family stand relative to God and His Book.
V.      The prayers of the father.
          A father should be the primary intercessor for his wife and for his children. He should enlist the help of the primary contractor in home building (God, Psalm 127).
VI.    The product of the father.
          I can say that God's Word worked in my family. I am grateful for a godly wife and godly children. None of us is perfect, but we are all better products than we would have been without God's Word.
          Since we are dealing with humans when we are rearing chldren, we must expect occasional failures. However, it must also be recognized that sins can still be forgiven when genuine repentance and reconciliation occure (cf. Luke's account of the prodigal son, 15:11ff).
VII.   The praise of the father.
          A godly father will at some point receive the praise of his children. I enjoy hearing my children praise me for the way they were reared.
         More importantly, the godly father will one day hear from the Heavenly Father, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of they Lord"  (Matthew 25:23).
Isaiah 40:31 says,
       But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
       An often overlooked skill is the spiritual power to wait effectively. I have some suggestions for those who want to wait profitably.
(1) Recognize that waiting is not tantamount to inactivity. While anticipating the Lord's direction in an area not fully discerned, practice what you know to be His will in areas more easily discerned.
(2) Submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit's direction and guidance while seeking new light from the Lord as to what His continuing will for you might be.
(3) Saturate yourself with the written Word of God in the attempt to expand your spiritual understanding about the working of the Lord in your life.
(4) Associate with others who are experienced in waiting on the Lord for direction, for they will willingly share insights God has given them over time.
(5) Avoid impulsive decision making, for they are based upon emotions, and emotions are extremely unreliable, especially in the midst of pressures and adversities.

3  And The Daily Life of The Believer"
       David was a shepherd. He understood the principles of shepherding. He recognized the responsibilities associated with the care of sheep. For him, the greatest of all shepherds was the LORD he served. That is why the psalm opens "The Lord is my shepherd" (23:1).
        Every believer belongs to God, and God, the Chief Shepherd, holds full ownership over His sheep, which includes full care of those sheep. That is why David says, "I shall not want" (meaning, there is no lack, no insufficiency).
       The Great Shepherd meets our physical needs ("He maketh me to lie down in green pastures"). We have a broad range of physical needs, and none of them is outside the boundaries of the Lord's resources. As Jesus multiplied the fish and the loaves for the five thousand, the Creator can multiply for us out of His resources. Paul saw this in Philippians 4:19.
       The Great Shepherd also meets our emotional needs ("He leadeth me beside still waters"). Sheep are skittish, and still waters are inviting to them, not disturbing to them. God delights to bring us to places of quietness as opposed to places of disturbances.
       The Great Shepherd meets our spiritual needs ("He restoreth my soul"). All the needs revolve around the spiritual core of man. When the spiritual relationship with the Lord is stable, everything else moves into its proper position. When the spirit of a person is crushed by trials and troubles, God is able to raise that person to the highest possible position of strength. Paul had this in mind when he wrote Philippians 4"13.
        The Great Shepherd meets our intellectual needs ("he leadeth me int he paths of righteousness for His name's sake"). Righteousness is based upon a stated expression: written law from God. God expresses His character in His written word, and He expects us to exercise our awareness by obedience to His truth.
         The Great Shepherd's care for us prepares us for some troublesome times. "The valley of the shadow of death" is thought to be an actual place where a traveler was most threatened. For most of us, it is a reminder of facing death. Paul had this in mind in I Corinthians 15. When I am confident of actual, physical, bodily resurrection, death become only transitional, not final.
         "I will fear no evil" is a reminder of God's ability through promises to remove the power of fear from us. This is reinforced by the promise of His presence ("for thou art with me"). God's rod is disciplinary, but His staff is protective ((used for rescue).
          In the midst of the daily combat zone, God provides a feast ("Thou preparest  a table before me in the presence of mine enemies"). There is no threat from our enemies sufficient to deter God's personal interest in us and provision for us. He also approves us in our relationship with Him ("Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over"). David probably knew each sheep he cared for by name (cf. John 10). God has that level of personal interest in each of His sheep. His knowledge is perfect and unlimited, unlike a human shepherd.
          As our Chief Shepherd, God makes sure we are always attended by "Goodness and mercy" as long as we live. The earthly experience of God's "goodness and mercy" is a preview of what it will be like in Heaven ("and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever").
          As a sheep in His care, I have unrestricted access to Him, and He provides unlimited benefits for me.  When going through your tough times, your troubling encounters, and your painful advisersities, remember that your Chief Shepherd is there....ALWAYS!