Thursday, May 5, 2022

Pastor's Note

“He leads me in the paths of righteousness” (Psalm 23:3)
“He” is the Good Shepherd. Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd in order to contrast all the other shepherds that are out there in the world. We all follow some type of “shepherd” but what are the qualifications and character traits of the shepherds we follow? What is the path that they would have us trod? How does their voice sound and do they lead us in a good direction?
The Good Shepherd leads His people in paths of righteousness. Such a statement sounds rather mundane and simple-hearted. A path is a way of life based on a way of thinking. A path is a lifestyle. Yet to walk in a path means that we are turning our backs on other directions. We are leaving other “paths” behind in order to pursue God’s well designed pathway.
The lifestyle that the Lord Jesus Christ has for us IS the right path; He calls it the path of “righteousness”.  It is the right way as compared to the wrong way. 
THat should be easy to choose the right path, is that correct? Of course we should daily choose to go the way that God would have us go. That is assumed. But we miss the reality that myriads of other voices are in our world, growing ever stronger, leading society and even Christians away from the path of righteousness (Matthew 24:10-11). 
How far will sin drive humanity away from God’s order for life (the path of righteousness)? Sin sprouts and grows; it will cause angrier and larger fists to rise in opposition to what God says is right and true. Sin seeks to push the limits and call into question the validity of God’s directions for life. It is an ancient argument first thrust on mankind in the Garden of Eden - we fell for it then and fall for it now. Sin’s very nature does not want to be told what to do and will squirm and squeeze out any piece of legislation, any loophole to create a niche for what it calls “good and right,” “safe and acceptable”. But anything that opposes God’s eternally pure standard is not just a malformation; it is EVIL. 
I saw this in a headline story this week. It was a news clip that bemoaned the fact a sinful lifestyle and evil, destructive course of action was possibly going to be prohibited by a court decision. In very clever wording it said (paraphrase), “we can’t choose our own path anymore; our rights are being restricted.”
This is an era of humanity that is not being driven good logic or a pure moral compass. We are being led by our emotions; we are being driven by our personal desires no matter how skewed and distorted and wrong they are. We want what we want!
Would that be so bad if we just got what we wanted? Could that be good for us in the long run. What’s society grow? The sinful human heart can only create distraction. The sinful human heart cannot truly lead to a path that is good. We desperately need the Good Shepherd. And in our world today the floodgates have been opened up and even religious institutions are agreeing with the worldly narrative by saying “go for it.” “Do what’s in your heart!”
Every broken creature, every sinful heart, leads in a path toward distraction and eventual destruction.
“He leads me in the paths of righteousness” (Psalm 23:3)
The contrast to a life committed to insurrection is a life governed, enhanced and guarded by the Good Shepherd, Jesus. This is a life of searching out what is pleasing to Him who rescued us from hell. This is a life that recognizes the pain sin brings directly or indirectly to this world and to the very relationships we hope to build, to our own hearts and minds.
Why does the Good Shepherd lead us with His voice? Because He knows how quickly we would turn from him. He knows that we still possess a broken spirit that daily rises in opposition to Him. That part of us is led and coerced by many voices in our surrounding horizons. Blogs and newscasts are never neutral - they lead down a path.  Sometimes they lead congruent to the truth of God. But often they are askew of God’s right path because they don’t know right; they only know the press of a sick, sin stained world. And how can sinful humans find the right path? We can’t! 
We need the shepherd.
Please pray for our world, our neighborhood, our own Christian brothers and sisters. The days are coming when even believers will find it hard to put up with the Good Shepherd's voice (2 Timothy 4:3). Let’s continually get back to center and listen to His pure, perfect Voice; “He leads me in the paths of righteousness” (Psalm 23:3).

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