Psalm 23 – Jesus is your Shepherd!

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I ·have everything I need [L will lack nothing].  He ·lets me rest [makes me lie down] in green pastures.He leads me to ·calm [quiet] water.  He ·gives me new strength [T renews my soul].He leads me on paths that are ·right [righteous; or straight] for the ·good [sake] of his ·name [reputation].Even if I walk through ·a very dark valley [or the shadow of death],I will ·not be afraid [T fear no evil], because you are with me.Your rod and your shepherd’s staff comfort me. You prepare a ·meal [L table] for me in ·front [the presence] of my enemies. You ·pour oil of blessing on my head [anoint my head with oil; C oil was a means of refreshment in a hot, dry environment];you ·fill my cup to overflowing [L make my cup overflow; C a cup of blessing].  Surely your goodness and love [loyalty; T mercy] will ·be with[pursue; T follow] me all my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord ·forever [L for length of days].

General Comments

  • David saw himself as a sheep led by God his Shepherd – he knew that he was loved by God and that he would not lack.
  • In a way, this portrays what 1 John 4:18 is saying
  • Key for us to do our best in life, but not in stress. Live life and love, in rest and peace, not stressed out.
  • We don’t need to defend ourselves, neither do we need to fight for open doors. If God opens the door, it is ours. If God doesn’t open the door, it’s not meant to be ours at this present moment.
  • Many think that this is a Psalm for death, however, when we read and understand the Psalm we come to know that it is about our life with our shepherd who loves, leads, cares and is always with us.

Vs 1 –  The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me], I shall not want.

  • Other versions of the bible say, “The Lord is my shepherd; I ·have everything I need [will lack nothing].“
  • As you meditate on this simple verse, begin to realize that the Lord IS (present tense) your shepherd.
  • A shepherd provides for his sheep, feeds them and protects them. In the same way, Jesus your shepherd provides for you, feeds you, and protects you.
  • “I shall not want” = the Lord is our provider! One of the names of our God is Jehovah Jireh, which means “the all-providing One.” He provides more than enough. The God of more-than-enough came in the flesh and walked among His people. And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He did not give His disciples small blessings. That is why He said to Peter, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets [plural] for a catch” (Luke 5:4), and not “let down your net [singular].” And what a catch it turned out to be—a boat-sinking, net-breaking catch! It was such a big and unexpected blessing that Peter and all who were with him were “astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken. He provided while on earth and he provides now for whatever we need.
    • {Health, Healing (“I am the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15:26))},
    • Finances,
    • Direction (Are you groping in the dark, not knowing what to do? He says, “I am the light of the world (John 8:12).) Success.
    • Are you looking for a way out of a bad situation? He says, “I am your deliverer. I will reach down from on high, take hold of your hand and draw you out of the deep waters” (see Psalm 18:2,16).
    • What is it that we are facing? Is it wisdom, favor or provision that you need? Rest assured that Jesus, our shepherd, will surely supply it, and you shall not be in want for anything.

Vs 2 –  He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still and quiet waters.

  • Since the Lord is providing for all our needs, He wants us to lie down and experience abundance (We are receiving based on His completed work!).
  • When you rest, it’s an act of faith. You’re saying, “God, all right, you have finished everything. And if there’s any area not finished, I’m resting so you can finish it in me, through me.” You are resting in work. It is not inactivity.
  • Are you going to work tomorrow saying, “Okay, there’s a deadline. Okay, my boss want to talk to me, or this”? Are you resting in him? Do you believe he will work in you? Or do you feel like nothing is happening? Let me tell you this, even when He’s sleeping, He’s controlling the storm.
  • The place of God’s rest is where you’ll find everything has been done for you. And if something’s left undone, it will be done in you. It’ll be done for you.
  • This is the essence of Jesus’ message in the Sermon on the Mount when he said, “Look at the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t struggle, they don’t strain, yet your heavenly Father clothed them. Are you not much better than those lilies?”
  • This brings to mind Jesus invitation to us in Matthew to follow Him and to leave a life of worry! Matthew 11:28-30 (Message Version) says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Vs 3 –  He refreshes and restores my soul (life); He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

  • Expanded version says this: He ·gives me new strength [ renews my soul]. He leads me on paths that are ·right [righteous; or straight] for the ·good [sake] of his ·name [reputation].
  • Voice version: He makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name.
  • Complete Jewish Bible: he restores my inner person. He guides me in right paths for the sake of his own name.

Vs 4 – Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me.

  • We are only walking through the valley we DO NOT STAY in the valley.  So much grace and love shown us.  We see also that it is but the shadow of death and not death itself.  Jesus conquered death for us at Calvary and defeated it forevermore.  No more fears (Psalm 91), instead we have His shalom peace (John 10:27-28).
  • Our Good Shepherd would never lead us into the valley of death (He came to bring life).   What happens is that we ourselves get into the valley of the shadow of death all on our own.  Our Shepherd, Jesus, who is always with us (Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6, Romans 8:35-39) protects us and leads us through and out of this valley.

Vs 5 – You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You have anointed and refreshed my head with oil; My cup overflows. 

  • Some may say, “Lord, how can you expect me to eat now? The symptoms are still in my body! My bank account still shows the lack! Lord, I will eat well and I will celebrate when all my problems are resolved.”
  • But the Bible says that God doesn’t follow human nature. God says, “I will prepare a table. You eat first! You eat in the presence of your enemies, and I will take care of your enemies.”

Vs 6 – Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, And I shall dwell forever [throughout all my days] in the house and in the presence of the Lord.

  • “Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the day of my life” literally means “Surely goodness and mercy shall HUNT ME DOWN all the days of my life!”
  • Jesus is faithful and with us now, right here right now

Pastor Leon Fontaine Sermon Notes – Constantly Renewed and Enhanced

  • Today will talk about being constantly renewed and enhanced
  • Such a mistake in body of Christ – have not recognized our authority as Christians
    • We don’t understand the difference between the new and old covenant
    • Continue to pray defeated “Old Covenant” prayers asking for God to do something – he might say no, or you need his permission.
    • God has already given you all things pertaining to life and Godliness
      • Died for you and given power, health, protection
      • We live in a fallen world that will kill, steal and destroy (Devil) our faith
  • Key is to be constantly renewed every day in the Word of God
  • Ephesians 5:1 “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.  Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”
    • We are to imitate God
    • To imitate God we have to be in the God family – we are children of God, we are in God’s family
      • Some people will say we can’t be like God or there is a formula, etc.
      • We as the new creation have been given authority. We can use the name of Jesus
      • We need to anchor our mind in the word of God and renew ourselves in the word
        • Ephesians 4:23 “ and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude],”
      • Devil wants us to just ask God and accept what comes. If it get’s better it does, if not, it doesn’t.
  • We need to know and understand God’s will
  • Body, flesh has negative things, the spirit has positive things and the mind decides what to do.
    • Ephesians 4:24 “ and put on the new self [the regenerated and renewed nature], created in God’s image, [godlike] in the righteousness and holiness of the truth [living in a way that expresses to God your gratitude for your salvation].”
    • Put on new you by imitating Jesus, do what He did
    • Keep devotion times in your life where your mind can be renewed
      • If not you move back to realistic frame of mind (flesh). The miracles follow those not focused on the flesh but focused on the spirit
      • When God hands you a tool or gives you gifts it is a key of what He wants you to do
      • God took a ordinary rod in the hands of Moses and parted the Red Sea
  • 1 Corinthians 15:34 “Awake to righteousness…”
    • These are all beautiful verses –
      • Be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind
      • Put on the new you
      • Imitate Jesus
      • Awake to righteousness
    • When these words become real to you, you begin to walk in the enhancement that God has prepared for you
    • Some people think that only God holds the authority to the planet
  • Matthew 28:18 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth”
  • Mark 16:15-18 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (This speaks of believers)
    • It doesn’t say check in with me we will have a vote in heaven
    • We are enhanced to do great things for God
    • Matthew 9:29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”
      • If we believe it according to our faith so it will be done.
        • If you believe that God has taken you as far as He can – according to your faith so it will be done to you!
        • Need to strive to believe that God can do great things according to His word
        • What gift has God given you, what has He put in your hand? Use it for God but believe that you will be taken to places you have not seen before and accomplish great things
        • Faith and belief that what He has put in your hand has been put there for a purpose
      • Imitate Jesus
      • Recognize we are righteous
      • Move from old to new covenant
  • When we renew our minds in the word and listen to the Spirit the miracles will happen
  • Jesus never said, “I have decided to make you whole.” He always said, “Your faith has made you whole.”
  • We need to keep believing for the miracle, keep renewing our mind
  • Do not give up, do not stop
    • Don’t stop on family or business
    • Do not look at yourself as retiring
    • Wake up to righteousness
    • Don’t succumb to low self worth or low self esteem
    • We are here to go where no man has gone before
  • Decide whatever God has given you, that it can be used to do incredible things!

1 John 3:19-24 And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him

Below are some notes and thoughts on a sermon by Leon Fontaine that was titled “Heart Faith.”

All things are possible for him who believes – This was before the cross.

Mark 9:20-27

20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.

21 So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?”

And he said, “From childhood. 22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe,[a] all things are possible to him who believes.”

24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” 26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.

  • Beliefs are more important than actions. What you believe from the heart is the important thing.
    1. You can work at many things, but if your internal beliefs don’t support what you are working on you will not be successful
    2. Belief determines future actions
  • Rather than counsel with the mind and focus on what someone thinks focus on beliefs
    1. People may not know their own beliefs
    2. They may not have even put their beliefs in their hearts – upbringing, experiences, teaching all shape our beliefs
  • Do we believe that change is easy? Jesus never said that change is difficult
    1. Matthew 11:30 “For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
    2. John 16:13 “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.”
  • We need to believe according to what God’s word says not what we see or experience.
  • God had to help many people in the Bible to think bigger.
    1. Gideon was thinking about getting some food and the safety to eat it
    2. Angel appeared and called him a mighty man of valor
    3. God gave him a vision for defeating the Midianites – he felt he was the least the smallest and couldn’t do it
    4. In the end Gideon defeated the Midianites, but only after he believed what God said.
    5. Anywhere God is going to take us in our life, He is going to have to help us to believe bigger, broader and even stretch us.
    6. The Devil can’t destroy us, but he can attack our beliefs and cause us to remain where we are. We have to believe that success is easy, and that we can achieve the things that God has told us we would
  • 1 John 3:19-24

1 John 3:19-24New Living Translation (NLT)

19 Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. 20 Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.

21 Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. 22 And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.

23 And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us.24 Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.

1 John 3:19-24Amplified Bible (AMP)

19 By this we will know [without any doubt] that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart and quiet our conscience before Him 20 whenever our heart convicts us [in guilt]; for God is greater than our heart and He knows all things [nothing is hidden from Him because we are in His hands]. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not convict us [of guilt], we have confidence [complete assurance and boldness] before God; 22 and we receive from Him whatever we ask because we [carefully and consistently] keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight [habitually seeking to follow His plan for us].

23 This is His commandment, that we believe [with personal faith and confident trust] in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and [that we unselfishly] love and seek the best for one another, just as He commanded us. 24 The one who habitually keeps His commandments [obeying His word and following His precepts, abides and] remains in Him, and He in him. By this we know and have the proof that He [really] abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us [as a gift].

Points:

  • Whatever we ask we will receive – every prayer answered
    1. What are the qualifications?
    2. Our heart cannot condemn us. It doesn’t say we won’t receive however. It says that God is greater than the heart
    3. If we keep his commandments
      1. What commandment (not 10 commandments)
      2. Believe on the name of Jesus and love each other
  • Believe what Jesus did for us – we are the righteousness of God through Christ, we have been brought into right relationship with God –
  • Account in Acts

Acts 3:1-16New Living Translation (NLT)

Peter Heals a Crippled Beggar

Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.

Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!”The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene,[a] get up and[b] walk!”

Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.

All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. 10 When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! 11 They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon’s Colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John.

Peter Preaches in the Temple

12 Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? 13 For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release him. 14 You rejected this holy, righteous one and instead demanded the release of a murderer. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!

16 “Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes.

  • Miracle came about from the name of Jesus
  • Have we mixed law and grace so much that we have come into condemnation, and guilt?
  • We do not and cannot live a perfect life without sin
    1. We rely on the grace of God this is how we were saved through Jesus
    2. Do we feel like we cannot achieve it? Through Christ all things are possible – heart belief!
  • Low self worth – God has made us more than a conquer – Jesus died for us! We have infinite value – we must believe it! There are no limitations to what God has promised us – only our beliefs limit us.
    1. Jesus has qualified us
    2. Jesus has forgiven us
    3. Through Jesus the promise is ours
    4. Do not let any limitation prevent you from what God’s will is
  • God is greater than your heart!
    1. If nothing is changing –
      1. Are you are condemning yourself or do you have a limiting belief?
      2. Pray to God and say “God you are greater than my heart”
    2. When we do this for whatever we are believing for
      1. The Holy Spirits role will lead us into the truth  into God’s promise
      2. What is the heart revealing through pictures? We need to develop mental pictures in our heart. The Holy Spirit will lead and guide us in this.
      3. Ask God to help with the heart because God is greater than the heart
      4. Caleb was 80 and accomplished great things! We too can accomplish great things and it is never too late!

Additional Takeaways:

  • The greatest battle is the desires of the mind verses the beliefs of the heart
  • None of the battles portrayed in the bible are battles against the evil one it is against our mind and beliefs. What we believe will always be attacked by the devil
  • Listen to the word, daily devotional time, declarations – don’t just deal with the mind, deal with the heart. We need to renew our mind.

Reflections on Entering God’s Rest

Hebrews 4:10 – 16 (Amplified Bible)

For the one who has once entered His rest has also rested from [the weariness and pain of] his [human] labors, just as God rested from [those labors uniquely] His own. 11 Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], so that no one will fall by following the same example of disobedience [as those who died in the wilderness]. 12 For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged [b]sword, penetrating as far as the division of the [c]soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, and revealed to the eyes of Him with whom we have to give account. 14 Inasmuch then as we [believers] have a great High Priest who has [already ascended and] passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith and cling tenaciously to our absolute trust in Him as Savior]. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin. 16 Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment].

  • The work is complete, all that we need in life has already been provided by and through the Lord Jesus. As Psalm 23:1 says, “The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me], I shall not want.”
  • This covers spiritual, physical and natural needs
  • We should rest and expect all enemies to be brought under the feet of Christ (Psalm 110:1-2). This is because Jesus conquered sin and death
  • Ephesians 1:20, 22-23
  • Whatever we need God to do for us has already been done at the cross (just as God had provided the Israelites everything they needed in the promised land)
  • When we rest, God works

Additional Resources on Entering the Rest of God

The blood of Jesus gives us the security!

Romans 5:17
For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

  • Righteousness is a GIFT.
    • Why is it so difficult to believe that if we could become sinners through Adam, that we can become righteous through Christ?
  • In Egypt, On the night of the Passover, when God saw the blood, He caused the Angel of Death to pass over that household.
    • The only thing that the Isralites did was to follow the direction and paint the door posts with the blood
    • If we believe this story, why is it so difficult to believe that we are righteous through Christ?
    • It’s not when the angel sees the family’s good works, it’s when it sees the blood!
  • The blood of Jesus gives us the security.
    • Jesus is the measure of our righteousness.
    • Seek intensely to be righteousness-conscious everyday, know that you are righteous through him!
    • Whenever we are self-righteous, we are an abomination.
    • He who condemns the righteous is an abomination to God.
    • What if you condemn yourself? You are condemning the righteous when you condemn yourself?
      • Don’t we do this when we feel we don’t have enough to accomplish something?
      • When we think we are unworthy or can’t do something we are called to do?
      • Those are the attacks of the evil one (1 Peter 5:8-9) who we are called to resist!
  • Let’s choose to be conquerors through Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37-39)!

Dr. Paul Ellis – Escape to Reality Blog

I recently came across the blog “Escape To Reality.” It is written by Dr. Paul Ellis. He says that “Reality is found in Jesus Christ!” I say Amen to that. I spent some time this morning reading about Tithing and also about Paul Ellis’s own story on how he found that grace is a person named the Lord Jesus Christ.

I suggest that you take a look. I am sure that you will be blessed by it. Here is the link:

“Reality is found in Jesus Christ.”

New Blog Name

The Lord Jesus Christ alone is our all in all! As Isaac Wimberley says, “hope has a name, joy has a name, peace has a name, love has a name and that name is Jesus Christ. Praise his name forever!” Jesus alone unlocks the promises of God! Our heart has been moved to rename the blog, “Standing on the Sacrifice of Christ.” This replaces the old name of “Standing on the Promises of God.”

The grace that comes through our Lord Jesus Christ, the love that is of God the Father, and the fellowship that is ours in the Holy Spirit be with you all! (2 Corinthians 13:14)