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Psalm 23 Part Three
By Pastor Philip Howle
web posted November 16, 2012
RELIGION – We looked last week at how
powerful it is that the Lord is our shepherd. This week we continue to
unpack the 23rd Psalm by looking at the next phrase “The Lord is my
shepherd, I shall not want.” Christmas is around the corner, black
Friday ads are already popping up, some of you are in training to
shoulder smash anything that stands in your way of a great deal on flat
The most popular topic among friends and loved ones right now is, “what
do you want for Christmas?” And I’m sure many of you probably want to
know what you can get me for Christmas. I’ll take one of those new
Kindle Fire’s, they look pretty cool.
And when asked, what do you want, you, probably like me, pull out your
wish list. I am guessing not many of you would respond “The Lord is my
shepherd, I shall not want.” But in theory, if sheep could
talk and you cared to ask one what they wanted, they might say nothing.
Why? Because they know they're under the care of the shepherd. They
know the shepherd gives them what they need.
Now this kind of contentment doesn’t come easily or naturally. Our
sinful flesh lives in a state of want. People sadly thrive in a
perpetual state of dissatisfaction with their current state of affairs
in life, which for most in the US, is pretty good. We live life
as Solomon said “chasing after the wind.” We seek after that perfect
something we think will make us happy, then when we get it, we find it
full of holes and flaws.
That's why Solomon said... Whoever loves money never has money enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. (Ecclesiastes
5:10) Our fallen tendency is toward discontentment, but the sheep in
the shepherd's flock have the luxury of experiencing true contentment.
They can say, "I shall not want."
1. Work on focusing on what you do have as opposed to what you don’t
have. Sadly, we as ungrateful people tend to look at what we don’t have
first. I don’t have a new truck like my friend, I don’t have a job I
enjoy, I don’t have a vacation home to go to! Sadly, many of us look at
our lives and all we see is what they lack. And then when we do look at
what we have, we don’t see it for what it is, but what it isn’t. This
isn’t the stuff that I think would make me happy. Focus on what
you have, not on what you don't have. Enjoy things for what they are
instead of only seeing them for what they aren't. This habit will take
you a long way in the direction of contentment.
2. Work on valuing your true blessing and temporary possessions.
In Traveling Light, Max Lucado told a story about a man that is pretty
relevant to our lives in a turbulent economy. The man came to his
pastor and said "I've lost everything,” The pastor said, "I'm sorry to
hear that you've lost your faith." "No," the man said, "I still have my
faith." The pastor said, "Then I'm sorry to hear that you've lost your
character." The man said, "I never said that. I still have my
character." The pastor said, "Then I'm so sorry to hear that you've
lost your salvation." The man said, "That's not what I said. I didn't
lose my salvation." The pastor said, "So you have your faith, your
character, and your salvation. It seems to me that you haven't lost
anything that really matters."
Sure, when we look at life, there are some people who have lots more
stuff. Good for them! But no amount of stuff can replace the true
blessings of life. Jesus said “Life is not defined by what you
have, even when you have a lot. (Luke 12:15 The Message.) There
is great old hymn worth remembering "Count your blessings, name them
one by one, count your many blessings, see what God has done."
3. Work on trusting that the good Shepherd will provide for you what
you need. Living your life by trusting the Shepherd means that you
don't have to sweat the daily details of life. God is looking out for
you. What you need comes to you when you need it.
Before we finish up today I want you to make a list of ten things you
are thankful for in your life. Then take some time to thank God for
each one of them. Also take some time each day over the next week
to repeat the phrase, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not
want" every chance you get. Think about what it means for your
life throughout the day.
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