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We all want mountain-top experiences. But nothing grows on the mountain-top. The higher the mountain, the thinner the air and the more likely dizziness is. Far better for us to live here below in the fertile valley, even if here we must deal with darkness, dampness, and dirt.
Š I am preaching today for Fairmont Grace Church in Sylacauga, Al, where Bro. Larry Criss is pastor. You are privileged to have our friend, Bro. Frank Tate, pastor of Hurricane Road Grace Church in Ashland to preach the gospel to you today. We are delighted to welcome Bro. Tate and his wife, Janet, back to Grace.
Church Cleaning in March: Evelyn Wang & Shirley Bain
Nursery Duty Today: Shante’ Birchum (AM) — Stephanie Wilkerson (PM)
The Lord’s My Shepherd — Don Fortner
(Tune: #293 — The Lord’s My Shepherd —CM)
1. The Lord’s my Shepherd. — O my soul,
Cease from your doubts and fears!
His hand shall all my foes control,
And wipe away my tears.
2. The Lord’s my Shepherd. — I’ll not want.
His grace is my supply,
Sufficient for my needy soul,
And I on Him rely.
3. The Lord’s my Shepherd. — He prepares
For me a table spread.
In pastures green my soul is found,
And He anoints my head.
4. The Lord’s my Shepherd. — He’ll restore
His wand’ring, straying sheep!
No evil should I ever fear. —
The Lord will keep His sheep!
5. The Lord’s my Shepherd. — I’ll rejoice
In life and then in death.
Held in His hand, cheered by His voice,
I’ll yield to Him my breath.
His Paths, His Rod, His Presence, My Comfort
Commenting on this psalm, John Gill rightly observed, “Christ leads his (sheep) by faith to walk on in him and in his righteousness, looking through it, and on account of it, for eternal life.”
“He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness, for his name’s sake” (v. 3). — Christ leads all his sheep in the same paths. Sometimes the paths chosen for us seem rough and rugged. But they are his paths. They are paths of righteousness. And they lead us home. These are paths (plural) of righteousness. They are paths of faith, self-denial, obedience, and love. And they are always his paths, the paths he has chosen for his sheep. That means — Whatever my paths are, wherever they lead me, they are the best paths possible for me. And he so leads us “for his name’s sake,” for his own glory and the praise of his grace. — “That no flesh should glory in his presence” (1 Corinthians 1:29).
Here is my protection. — “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” (v. 4). If Christ leads me in his path, I must, as long as I live in this world, walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Believers in this world must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. And those trials and tribulations are the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 44:18-19; 107:10, 14; Jeremiah 13:15-17).
Though I must walk through this valley of the shadow of death, “I will fear no evil.” Why? It is the Lord my Shepherd who leads me into it and through it. How can I fear when my Shepherd walks with me? “I will fear no evil.” I will not fear Satan, the evil one, who walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. I will not fear evil men (Psalm 27:1-4) or evil things (Psalm 46:1-4). There is no reason for one whose refuge, strength, and help the Lord is to fear anything.
Child of God, there is no reason for you to fear. “For thou art with me” (Isaiah 41:10; 43:1-2). “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” — The allusion here is to the shepherd’s staff, by which he both counted his sheep and directed his sheep (Leviticus 27:32; Jeremiah 33:13; Ezekiel 20:37; Micah 7:14; Zechariah 11:7). His word is a rod of strength. And his promises are a staff of consolation. By these we are sustained and comforted in the midst of all our trials.
The Shepherd’s rod has many uses. The crook is used to retrieve straying sheep. The rod is used to direct the sheep. The rod is also used to protect the sheep. And the rod is used for numbering the sheep when he brings them into the fold. At conversion, in effectual calling, he causes his sheep to pass under the rod and brings them into the bond of the covenant, sealing to his chosen, redeemed, called sheep all the blessings of his grace and salvation (Ezekiel 20:37). And when our appointed time in this world is finished, he graciously brings his sheep up into his heavenly fold by the rod of his omnipotent mercy.
My Provision and My Prospect
Soon we must pass through the last of our trials. We all must go down to the grave. But remember, it is but “the valley of the shadow of death” for us. And we will pass through it. There is no cause for fear. It is a valley through which believers walk, calmly, confidently, purposefully., fully confident of both the provision of our good Shepherd and the certain prospect of his goodness and mercy for time and eternity.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies” (v. 5). — Because the Lord is my Shepherd and I am his sheep, this is my great, unfailing, constant provision. Through all our days on earth he has furnish a table in the wilderness for us (Psalm 78:19). And in the glory that awaits us he has a table prepared for his sheep. There all his Lazaruses shall fair sumptuously every day forever in sweet, everlasting comfort (Luke 16:19-31).
“Thou anointest my head with oil” (v. 5). — The allusion here is to the custom in those ancient eastern countries to anoint the heads of guests with oil at any feast or celebration (Ecclesiastes 9:7-8; Matthew 6:17). David is saying, “Christ pours out the oil of gladness upon all his people. He gives his Holy Spirit to all his own.” He is talking about the anointing of the Spirit which all believers have (1 John 2:20-27). This anointing seals and preserves us. This anointing teaches us all things. And this anointing fills us with comfort and joy.
“My cup runneth over” (v. 5). — Realizing that Christ is my Shepherd, realizing something of what he has done, is doing, and shall do for me, realizing a little of the fulness of grace he bestows upon me, I must confess, “my cup runneth over!” All the blessings of the covenant are mine. All things in time are mine. All the bounty of heaven is mine. Christ is mine. And if my cup runs over, it is so that the overflow may fill the cups of others.
If I am so over abundantly blessed of God, I ought always to be a man of contentment and peace. Read Psalm 23:6, and you will see my prospect. I hope it is yours, too. This is what I have experienced for 68 years; and this is what I expect to experience tomorrow and throughout the days of my sojourn through this valley of the shadow of death.
Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I must make this conclusion. — “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (v. 6). Goodness pursues me. It has pursued me from the beginning of time and pursues me still. Oh, may goodness follow after me! Spirit of God, give me grace to leave goodness wherever I go. Mercy pursues me, too. Oh, may mercy follow after me, mercy upon all whose lives I touch!
“And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (v. 6). This is my resolution. — “I shall” constantly attend to public worship of my Lord. You can find me in the house of the Lord (John 6:68). This is my assurance. — “I shall” forever abide in the church and temple of God by his grace (Jeremiah 32:17-42). This is my hope. — “I shall” dwell in that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. The whole world is my Father’s house. When I leave this world, I will not change company, or even addresses, I will just move upstairs in the Father’s house. I hope you will all come and join me.
The Grace Bulletin
February 24, 2019
Grace Baptist Church of Danville
2734 Old Stanford Road-Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
Telephone (859) 576-3400 — E-Mail email@example.com
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor
Schedule of Regular Services
10:00 A.M. Bible Classes
10:30 A.M. Morning Worship Service
6:30 P.M. Evening Worship Service
7:30 P.M. Mid-Week Worship Service