The Lord is my shepherd
The Lord is my shepherd
Author - AGRI
Wants or Needs ? Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me down to lie in pastures green leads me beside still waters.
First of all, write down all the things you feel you should have that you can not go without.
If you inherited 1 million pounds, how many people would want to be your friend? How many people would come crawling out of the woodwork and suddenly be nice and friendly to you?, people who you thought were your friends, such as from school, people you used to work with but hardly said a word to, internet contacts who have not communicated with for 8 years, people who lived in same street as you and knew you when you were a child? How many people will say hello to you and knock on your door who are complete strangers?
Why do they suddenly want to know you again? Why are they doing this? Surely It has nothing to do with the million pounds and they see you as a person who can now provide them with what they want? Of course it is!
How quickly will conversation turn to something like , “Hope you don’t mind me asking, but can you help an old friend out with some problems? All I want is for you to give me £50,000 , I have terrible problem with debt, I have 4 credit cards that are at their limit, I am 4 months behind on my rent and I am going to have my electric and gas cut off soon if I don’t pay my 1,000 debt to the company.
What would the response be? To be honest most of us would say “Go Away, why should I just throw all my money at you, a stranger who I do not know?” To give all our money away to complete strangers would be irresponsible, A fool is easily parted with his money comes to mind. I hope we would not be fools and be wise with it .
The same goes for family members who ask money for irresponsible things, would we really give our uncle 100,000 for a trip to Vegas casinos? Would we really be willing to give our money to someone who will just squander it just as the son did with his fortune in the parable of the prodigal son. Luke 15:11-32.
How Well do we know our Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you really think it is right and fair that you will be granted anything you ask for if you hardly know Christ, just as you will not reward complete strangers with your gifts, then why should God reward you?
Sure if you are a bad disobedient sheep who hardly pays attention to the shepherd, you will still be looked after on the basic levels assuming you allow that to happen, you can lead a sheep to water but you can not make it drink. Our Good Shepherd will not let you go lost, some bad shepherds will abandon the stray, especially if it is too hard work to find them, but Our Good Shepherd cares about even the most rebellious sheep and will see that it dose not come to harm.
4"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' 7I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
But I hear you say, God treats me disgracefully!!! Well, I challenge, you with this, just how obedient are you? How often do you roam and stray? If you stray away and go off on your own with out our Shepherd to guide you,
then you will end up lost, You will get in all kinds of trouble, falling in quicksand, slipping down ravines and you will be attacked and even devoured by wild animals, such as the roaring lion, satan.
1 Peter 5 : 8
8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour
who’s fault is it then that you end up lost and in a terrible mess? Not the Shepherds, as if you had taken it upon yourself to keep your eye on the shepherd, stand close to the Shepherd, listen to the Shepherd, Obey the Shepherd, then you would not end up feeling so alone or unwanted.
So what of those sheep who love, follow, listen and obey the Shepherd? Well just as we would give a close loyal responsible family member a good chunk of our 1 million pound inheritance, to spend on what they like and provide for things they may need. This is the nature of all close families, even those families who hate God and love sin,. We are a family under God, therefore just how much will The Lord give and provide to those family members who love Him and are close to Him?
Luke 11 13If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
But will God give us everything we ask for?
11"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[a] a fish, will give him a snake instead?
No of course not, just as responsible parents do not give inappropriate or dangerous things to their children every time they ask for them as Mark writes.
For example if little Johnny keeping on and on about how he wants a bowl of ice cream every few hours even though he already has had 3 that day, that would of course be irresponsible, too much ice cream is not going to be good for that child, even though Johnny can not understand it or see it, which is demonstrated by the constant foot stamping and tantrums.
How many tantrums do we throw Gods way? How many things do we keep asking for but do not get? Are we asking for something dangerous or something we are not ready for? Are we asking for things that are not needs? Are we simpy not yet deserving of such things?
Now before I continue, some of you maybe thinking of the new teaching that has come out of the Pentecostal movement of name it and claim it, or blab it and grab it as someone at my church calls it.
For those who do not know, this is a teaching that started off well on the first line, but the rest of the song sheet is terribly off key and totally wrong. This teaching basically says that God will give you anything, and that means ANYTHING if you pray for it in right way and do certain things to invoke Gods pleasure with you. If you do not get these things, then they will tell you that you are not a proper Christian, or you are doing something wrong with your prayer, or that there is some kind of other spiritual problem that is stopping you from getting these things.
Now let us look at Luke 11:11 again
11"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[a] a fish, will give him a snake instead?
Anyone looking at just this scripture can clearly see that this teaching is a false and totally unbiblical. A lesson we all need to learn is “Chapter and Verse” IF someone is preaching something or teaching you something, that can not be backed up by scripture, or the scripture is being used totally out of context, then of course that is a false teaching.
Even if an angel appears before you and starts giving you messages and spouting of a lesson or teaching, then you must test this against scripture as John writes.
1 John 4:1
1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
The Holy Spirit is more powerful than an angel so why relegate the Holy Spirit over an angel, we use discernment and wisdom in such matters, all guided by the Holy Spirt. Then obviously Gods word, The Bible is final authority of word, if any angel or other supernatural being, let alone a mere human, teaches anything that goes against what is written in scripture, then that being is not for God, it is a demon or the influence of a demon if a human is speaking such things.,
All I will say is that if you saw a horrible foul creature with horns and red skin stinking of sulphur , would you hang around to listen to it/ No of course not, however, something appearing to you as a beautiful person/angel bathed in brilliant white, you are not going to be afraid are you? The natural thing will be to fall down in awe of it, but be warned, not all are on Gods side, not all are genuine angels who love God, they are followers of satan, even satan can appear beautiful as a morning star in his natural form.
Many people have fallen for this trap, this is how many of the worlds false religions have started such as Islam, where the prophet Mohammad took down everything from an “angel”. Even in past few years we have had certain ministers and preachers who have claimed they have had visits from angels, telling them to go out teaching a number of things that are supposedly from God, these men have been fooled and did not test the sprits and as a result we have many strange teachings and ministries coming out of places like Florida.
Anyway, as I said that’s another time, but something we must be aware of in our walk with Guide. Know your enemy!
So, We ask can ask God for things, but we might not get them. What kind of things should we ask for? What is a need and what is a want? Look at your lists I asked you write at the start. What do you think you should really get on that list? What is a need and what isn’t?
One persons need is another persons want. What exactly do I mean by that? Well, lets take a common form of transport, we all use , the car.
There is a young man, who is amazing fit, he runs 10 miles every morning for enjoyment. He has no dependants that he is responsible for such as being a taxi driver to teenage children demanding to be driven to the back of beyond at 3am in morning, no sick elderly parents that need driving to countless hospital and doctors appointments, and no wife who demands he makes 200 mile round trips once a fortnight to the mega shopping centre which sells anything you can imagine and at cheap outlet prices.
This fit strong healthy man, who also happens to love God, lives in the road behind the town centre, all the shops he requires are there, as is the doctors , hairdressers, gym and not forgetting his place of work and church.. One day he makes a rare use of his car to visit some friends the other side of town, but on the way he is involved in a crash with a stolen car and obviously an uninsured driver who runs off and never caught. His car is written off and he has no compensation to replace it.
“Oh Lord, “ he prays, “I need a car, you know what happened to my old one, I need a new one a new Ferrari would be nice! Amen.”
He prays this everyday for weeks, then months, and nothing. Eventually after a year of scrimping and saving, he manages to save enough to buy a cheap used car that does the job.
A Vet who also happens to love The Lord and know the Lord, had a rural practice. Many of her clients were farmers with various livestock and most of her days were spent travelling many miles between farms.
One morning she is travelling down a country road when all of a sudden a car comes flying towards her, there is a terrible crash, the car is written off, the driver of the other car has stolen it and is uninsured. She gets no money for the accident.
Now obviously this is a serious problem, with many farmers relying on her to get to their injured and sick animals in time. Without any transport she is unable to do her job, get paid and more importantly attend to the sick and distressed animals who need her.
“Oh Lord, “ she prays, “I need a car, you know what happened to my old one, I need a new one a new 4x4 would be nice! Amen.”
A few days go by , she has made do with lifts from people and the odd taxi trip. However one day just out of the blue, she gets a phone call from a complete stranger, this stranger is selling his old 4x4 , he dosnt need the money and has another car, the 4x4 is never used, -and is just taking up an extra space on the drive. He tells her that God told him to call her and give it to her.
Amazing example of answered prayer, and a perfect need met. OF course this is just an illustration, but there are many people with testimonies that this kind of thing does happen.
Why did I use the car illustration, well someone at my church had a similar experience, managed to get a car, it wasn’t nothing like the car he wanted, and was a rather humiliating make of car for him, but he was still grateful as it was a car and provided for him by God.
Was the first man in my illustrations right to feel angry with God for not providing?
Was the vet any better than the man? Why would God provide for the vet and not the man?
Of course the first man may have been angry, but was he right? Well not at all. This man obviously did not NEED a car, everything he needed for his daily life was there on the doorstep, he could walk a few miles or even run it without a problem, then of course nothing wrong with public transport. For whatever reason, God did not grant that prayer, the answer all along was no. This was not a genuine need, for obvious reasons.
The female vet on other hand, her request for a car was an obvious need, it was essential to her job, and God provided her to continue her job, to get to those who relied on her to tend the sick and injured animals.
With this illustration in mind look at your lists again, make any changes you think are genuine needs.
Of Course God can and does provide us with things that are not necessarily needs, but that is up to God. As sheep we would just be content with food water, nice meadow, quite waters and shelter. Be helped when injured and sick and in need of comfort, of course that is another rabbit trail, and something else for another time, we can get another few studies and sermons out of this one as well! Do we allow ourselves to tell God we are hurting and allow God to heal for example? We need to tell God these things, not rely on him to just do it.
Anyway as humans we tend to want more don’t we, I hope your list has changed a little bit, as to needs and wants, but still, I guess many women will still have a lifetimes supply of make up listed as a number of ladies will never dare to even let their husbands see them without make up!
Yes God may very well help you in your make up purchases. As I have drawn closer to God and allowed God to take over my life in a number of ways, I have gained many blessings. Many times I have gone out looking for something I have needed, I have found it, quite often at a reduced price or part of an offer. Food is one prime example, unlike sheep I do not live on just grass, I like meat too!
My freezer is overflowing with meat that God has provided for me. Many times I have been delayed in trips to shop, or prompted to go to my local shop, upon arrival I have found that the assistant has just finished pricing up a selection of meat reduced to half price, due the expiry date, which is not very often as it always seems to sell out before anything reaches expiry date. When it is priced up cheap, most of this will simply fly off the shelves, but being there at right time, I was then prompted by Holy Spirit to take the lot!
It has now got to the point where I do not really have any room in freezer, the other day I was prompted, then delayed and again amazing timing, to come to shop with 4 kilos of quality low fat prime mincemeat was half price, I purchased the lot then wondered how I would fit it all in, I spent half an hour, emptying packets and wrapping contents in cling film to get it all in!
Praise be to God for his provision!
Many atheists and non believers will simply say that its just co incidence, well I don’t see it as that at all especially when you look into the probability of it happening time and time again, but that’s for another time.
When I have needed new clothes, again I somehow have the money or given money, I find cheap bargains in shops or on internet, the list goes on, yes they could be counted as needs, but I have had a number of things given to me and things I have asked for that are not really needs, but they still come to me.
One other example, a church prayed for certain items they needed, they wanted something simple, but ended up getting a 2,000 giant wide screen which was given for the specific purpose of putting on the wall to display time notes and announcements, when all they really wanted was a simple overhead projection screen , or something like that anyway.
We can see then, that obviously there is nothing wrong with wealth and gaining these things, nothing wrong with being given the expensive and best stuff. Many people see being rich and wealthy is wrong, but is it? This again is another study, but basically, no, nothing is wrong with being well off or rich.. However if a billionaire is instructed by God to give all money away, then must obey.
However money brings problems, it brings many temptations and all kinds of evils if the person who owns it is not on their guard. 1 Timothy 6
10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
It is easier to live a life as a poor person than a rich person, which is illustrated in point that Christ makes
Luke 18 :25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Therefore although it can be more difficult to be rich, it maybe that God wants a person to be in that position to make use of his money and riches for Gods Kingdom and purpose.
God even raised up people to be rich and prosperous and allowed them to flourish, such as Job, who we shall be looking at in a moment.
Going back to our million pounds inheritance. We have now given out plenty of money to numerous “friends”. How do we know they are genuinlly loyal and friends with us for who we are, and not from our money?
What if we changed our mind and said “no sorry I am not giving you the 30,000, ill give you 30 instead. Or what if we just drew the purse strings and stopped all money and told everyone you were not giving out a penny more? How many would still love you and be with you?
Well is this the same with God? God knows our hearts, and God knows if we are genuinely seeking and being with him, for simply being God, if we go looking to be nice to God for reward and gain then God will see this and deal with us by humbling us and working us until we really know what is a need and what is a want, and that God should be loved for being God etc.
Satan thought the same about Job. Satan saw Job as a person who loved God simply because God bribed Job to love him, due to his wealth, land and popularity. God allows satan to destroy everything Job earns to prove to satan that Job loved him unconditionally and that the riches he had were not as important as his spiritual walk with God.
You can read in Job 1 : 6-22
6 One day the angels [a] came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan [b] also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?"
Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."
8 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."
9 "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10 "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."
12 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
13 One day when Job's sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"
16 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"
17 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"
18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"
20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
and naked I will depart. [c]
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised."
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
How would we cope with having God take everything away from us? Would we blame God or would we be like Job and praise God after loosing everyone and everything. Certainly many people blame God for the loss of just a single person who died unexpectedly, so you have to admire how strong Job was in his faith and walk with God, and did prove to satan what God told him in verse 8, “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."
Even though we may not comprehend what it is like to loose everything and live in absolute poverty, God may reduce us to this level to simply remind us what it is like, especially once we start taking the things He gives us for granted. After all God simply allowed Job to be stripped to nothing simply to prove satan a point and to test Job.
We also must be humbled and give thanks to God for our warm homes, with all mod cons, freezer and cupboards full of food, nice things such as computers and tvs and all other luxuries. There are billions of people in the world who just dream for a solid roof over their head and a hard floor to sleep on.
Many children spend their days not playing but working all day for just a basic meal, or scrabbling about on rubbish tips trying to find a few things to sell and even eat. What do you think their needs are.. Look at your lists and compare what they would want out of life to your list.
We even do not have to look far to find people in dire poverty and without the basics we take for granted. Homeless people are sleeping somewhere rough not a million miles from you, well not even a hundred or 50 miles.
Sheep just need the basics, food, water and shelter, at end of day humans only need these things too, when John was exiled to Patmos by the Romans, his basic needs were met by God, he lived and was sustained by God. So were the Israelites after leaving Egypt, surviving for years on just manna, until they complained and were then sent quails, which they also got fed up of eating. God did not look kindly on them for their complaints.
Therefore, let us be content with what we have, Sure we need things, and think we need things, we should be grateful for the make up toilet paper and other life’s little luxuries, but lets give thanks for them and remember that we can be a lot worse of than we are, and God may humble us to that point. Finally I will simply say that do we give back to God what he provides? Tithing is an important and as relevant today. That is though another topic