May 25, 2012

If It Hadn't Been For Love

Psalm 23:1
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."

Death by a thousand little cuts. That's what the liberals, progressives, communists, socialists, pagans, atheists, agnostics and children of Belial are doing to our great Nation. It's no longer "One Nation Under God", but "Many gods Under One Nation". The little cuts are not mortal wounds, but they are serious in that the intended purpose of these injuries is to bring down a mighty Christian power, one cut at a time.

Name one major contribution of communism, progressivism, etc. (aside from moral decay & genocide) and you'll see that these "philosophies" are nothing but cancerous, leprous, & repugnant, void of humanity and decency.

The primary tactic used by these groups is compromise—to force us to slowly compromise away our values, our heritage, our life, and our God until they cease to exist. They are patient, make every cut they can get away with, and absolutely demonize those who refuse to compromise, accusing them of intolerance and extremism. Like I said, death by a thousand little cuts.

So, I got to thinking about what life would be like without Christ. Since the Shepherd's Psalm (#23) tells us believers how we won't lack with Him as our Shepherd, I thought I'd invert the logic and show what we would have in place without Him as our Shepherd.

"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:" (v. 2a)

Rather than repose or resting safely in green pastures, we'd be in harm's way as we toiled in thorns and thistles. Look at Genesis 3:16-19 -

"Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."

"...[H]e leadeth me beside the still waters." (v. 2b)

Instead of being led to the still waters of peace, we would be mired in the stagnant & stormy waters of life. Think of how refreshing brackish waters are to quenching your thirst. Habakkuk 1:3 states, "Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention."

"He restoreth my soul:" (v. 3a)

A tormented soul is what compels a person to therapy, drug use, promiscuity, risky behavior and suicide. Only God can restore the broken soul. There is no other Healer, but Jesus Christ. Thus, a soul without the Great Physician can only grope towards self-destruction. Even God wearies of man's rejection: "Thou hast forsaken me, saith the Lord, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting."  (Jer. 15:6)

"...[H]e leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake." (v. 3b)

Here's another reason why people self-mutilate, self-injure and self-destruct: people need forgiveness. Condemnation is what leads souls to the grave. I Corinthians 6:9 describes clearly the fate of those who reject Jesus - "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:" (v. 4a)

What a picture! Walking through Death Valley alone. In times like these, you feel forsaken and forgotten. It's a terrible time to be alone and lonely. Yes, the heathen will be laughed at by God. Listen up, you scoffers! "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure."  Ps. 2:4-5

"...[F]or thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."  (v. 4b)

In the darkest of dark hours and deepest valleys, there is no one to provide solace & comfort. You feel open to attack from every side and you sense nothing but hopelessness. Isaiah 48:22 states, "There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked."

"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:" (v. 5a)

In the midst of turmoil & crises, you are assailed and have no resources to address these mounting problems. You go through life discouraged and angry.

Going against God means you face serious consequences, according to Job 27:13-23,

13This is the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppressors, which they shall receive of the Almighty.
14 If his children be multiplied, it is for the sword: and his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread.

15 Those that remain of him shall be buried in death: and his widows shall not weep.

16 Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay;

17 He may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver.

18 He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth that the keeper maketh.

19 The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes, and he is not.

20 Terrors take hold on him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night.

21 The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place.

22 For God shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand.

23 Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place.

"...[T]hou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over." (v. 5b)

You lead life running on empty and are joyless, bitter and sarcastic. If you can't be happy then you make  everyone around you unhappy as well. Proverbs 24:34 indicates, "So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man."

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:" (v. 6a)

The wrath of God abides on us because of our wicked waywardness. Every step of the way there's nothing but the foreboding sense that God's justice is just around the corner. In Job 18:12, it says, "His strength shall be hungerbitten, and destruction shall be ready at his side."

"...[A]nd I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." (v.6b)

Friend, you are destined, because of your choice to reject Christ, to spend eternity in the lake of fire. There is no entrance for a sin-stained soul to enter into the holy and glorious presence of God. You'll be left out in the dark where there will be gnashing of teeth (Mt. 13:41-42).

Thus, as the image in the left hand corner indicates, if you're not a sheep then that makes you a goat, my friend. In very telling detail, the Lord states the fate of the goat in Matt. 25:31-34, 41, 46 -

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Reader, the lake of fire is prepared for Satan and his demons. Not you or me. But, you must accept that you're a sinner in need of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as your Saviour (Rom. 10:9-10). There is no other way to heaven. Good works will not do it (Eph. 2:8-9). Only the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.

You see, if it hadn't been for love, we'd be hell bound, too (Rom. 5:8). If it hadn't been for God's great love and mercy, we'd be in the mire of life without any hope of escape. Thank God that He sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross for you and me (Jn. 3:16). What a mighty love!

Settle this matter today! Settle it with Jesus. And you shall surely see that He is the Good Shepherd!

Jesus, Please Be My Shepherd!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

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