“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”  ~Psalm 23:1-3

We live in a day and age where leadership and success are considered to be interchangeable. To be successful in the world’s eyes, one must lead. If you are an ambitious, confident, type A, “take life by the horns” extrovert, you might eagerly agree. Someone has to lead, so why not you? Or you may be a reserved, quiet, “don’t rock the boat” introvert that would rather not assert yourself. Does that automatically make you unsuccessful? Don’t get me wrong, the world needs great leaders to rise up for just causes and take a stand they feel strongly on. However, whether you feel you have what it takes or not, it’s not up to us to decide.  Daniel 2:21 tells us “He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings.”  Proverbs 16:9 says A man’s heart devises his way: but the LORD directs his steps. These verses tell me that we naturally want to lead our own lives, but it’s God who calls and raises up the leaders among us according to His purpose.  Some have been born with the God-given ability to lead, and they realize it early in life. Others feel they’re not called because of a lack of ability, but God equips them with everything they need. There is a most important quality that all must have to lead, and that is a humble heart to serve others.  Matthew 23:11 says “The greatest among you will be your servant.”  Just like Jesus Christ came to serve us by taking our place on the cross and rising again, a true leader has a servant’s heart and seeks wisdom, when he follows after God.

A leader that follows after God takes up their cross daily and submits every area of their life to Christ. It doesn’t take long, before one realizes how much of a challenge that can be.   Some of the obvious things are easy to let go, but some areas stay hidden until a trial brings them to light.  Those are the real toughies.  Recently in my own life, I’ve become aware that a certain sure path that I expected to be on for a few more years, seems to be winding down to an end. I always considered myself to be a humble, quiet person that easily submits to God, until I was put to this test. It’s been amazing and humbling to see how much of my future was according to my plan and trusting in what I see and hear. Faced with an uncertain future, I have to take captive all the worst case scenarios that want to play out in my thoughts, and replace them with God’s promises in His Word that He will provide all my needs, that my life is in His hands and I have nothing to worry about.  Ever heard the phrase “That’s easier said than done.”?  Well, I’ve found that to be the case.  I want to use reason, logic and what I know about the world’s system to guide me as to what to do next, but what I really need is to quiet myself and trust my Great Shepherd to lead the way.  As I reflected on this over the past weekend, I suddenly felt inspired to write a poem about trusting God.  As I wrote it, I began to think of the 23rd Psalm and it became the subject of my poem (which I will post at the end).  The awesome thing has been the confirmation by the Holy Spirit  that has come this week.  At the Wednesday night service at my church, Pastor Lisa’s message was about Jesus being our good shepherd.  I highly doubt that she hacked the documents on my computer to plan her message.  Another confirmation just occurred as I began to write.  Rabbi Schneider’s program “Discovering the Jewish Jesus” was on the television and his message was also teaching on the 23rd Psalm. I don’t think he hacked my documents either, but he may have watched Pastor Lisa online.  I love when God does that!  He speaks a message to your heart and everywhere you turn, people are speaking about the very same thing! It’s one of those cool God things, for sure!

I really believe God is telling the Church to keep our eyes on Jesus and follow Him wherever He leads, especially in the time we are in.  We need to be able to discern His voice and follow the peace through the Holy Spirit to guide us.  Knowing His voice and peace comes through having a relationship with Jesus Christ, by walking with Him daily, praying and meditating on His Word.  As so many of our beloved brothers and sisters in the Middle East have found, we as Christians will walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  Yet, we won’t fear evil because our faithful Shepherd is right there with us and He will lead us through to life everlasting.  I still get tears in my eyes when I think of our 21 brothers from Egypt who were marched out onto a beach to their death.  I read somewhere recently that every one of them with their very last breath gave praise to Jesus Christ. That is so courageous and so heart-grabbing!   What the world couldn’t see on the beach was Jesus right there in their midst and angels gathered around our brothers, ready to escort their spirits to Heaven, where they will one day soon have glorified bodies. Let us remember to lift each other up in prayer and intercession, especially those facing persecution.

Great Shepherd

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring,
But my heart will sing
Just the same.

I know that my steps are planned
That He holds my hand,
There’s no shame.

For He leads me to life everlasting.
Nothing can hold me down.
Whatever comes against me tomorrow
He can turn it around.

For He’s my great shepherd who leads me,
Besides refreshing waters so still.
To green pastures, a table before me
His every promise He’ll fulfill.

My Father’s goodness and mercy
He sends to follow after me.
In His house, I will dwell with Him,
Forever loved, complete, whole and free.

If you haven’t made Jesus the lord of your life and would like to invite Him into your heart, please pray the following:

Dear Heavenly Father,
I confess that I’m a sinner.  I repent of my sins and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You sent
Your Son, Jesus to die on the cross in my place to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I invite You, Jesus, into my heart and ask that You would wash me and cleanse me in Your blood. I thank You for Your love and mercy.  I make You my Lord and Savior.  Amen.              

God bless you.