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Living our life to please the Lord definitely brings the most fulfilling and wonderful life we could ever experience. The joys of knowing Christ and following Him are far greater than the sorrows that would trouble our soul as we wondered what could have become of our life through Christ.  There is truly “no greater joy” than to see our children walk in truth. So… why do we sometimes feel like we are in this all alone?

This world is a big place- and with social media swirling all around us it is easy to see so many go astray and standards dropped by the wayside.  It is easy to sometimes wonder if we are the only family left adhering to old time convictions.  The world is changing- and changing fast. I remember taking multiple steps to be connected to the “world wide web” and getting my free yahoo email address. Now I have children who can swipe through a smartphone or laptop to search for a recipe, buy a new dress, find the right R.C. battery, or register online to go to camp!

Yet, Jesus Himself prayed for us. Not that God would take us out of this world, so we would be physically separated; but that while we live in this world, He would keep us from the evil. We are to be spiritually separated. In John 17:15 Jesus prays, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”  Though we are told to “come out from among them and be ye separate…”  God knows that we still must dwell in this world. Clearly there are thing in this world we are not to have a part of. We are here to be the salt and the light, to live for Jesus, glorify Him, and share the gospel so others may also come to know Him as Saviour.

As we draw lines in the ever shifting sand to keep our life separate from the worldliness that surrounds us we can feel like we are all alone. While we like to think our convictions are firmly set in the Rock- we would all be greatly surprised when we look at what the born again believers of past generations were convicted over. John Bunyan was convicted over spending a little time on a Sunday afternoon to play a game of ball. Many old time books speak out against visiting a carnival, fairgrounds, or circus show. Even just a generation ago it was common for born again believers to take a stand against movie theaters, television in the home, or mixed swimming.

Christian, do you have a line that you must not cross? Our lives are to be a living sacrifice. Is there a sacrifice in your life today? Are you striving to follow God and obey His commands? (Even if it seems a little strange in the world around you?) Do you realize the importance of guarding what enters into your eyes and ears? Oh yes, the things we see and hear do affect our thoughts, words, and actions. Maybe God has been speaking to you about an area of your life that you need to give up for Him. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to the world around you. Maybe it doesn’t even make sense in your Christian circle.

Elijah took a great stand for the Lord when he spoke against Ahab and Jezebel. At the end of a great victory he felt defeated. He felt alone. He felt unworthy. He really thought he was the last man standing for God. Yet God came and spoke to him, comforted him, fed and strengthened him. And what was the message of encouragement? He was not alone. He was not the only one left standing for God, serving the Lord, doing the RIGHT thing. God let him know before He was done speaking with him, “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal.”

Friend, you are not alone. Just as we do not know the sin that may be hiding in someone’s life- we also do not know the sacrifices. God has many children -following Him -loving Him -serving Him. Any yet there is so much more to do! We are to be LIGHT! Our life is to be shining for Jesus like a city on a hill pointing heavenward glorifying our Saviour! I was so blessed this week to get a phone call from a dear woman in her sixties and she was just waiting to see what the Lord has next for her. She wants to keep serving Him.  There are mothers in homes right now teaching and training their children in the way God would have them to go. There are women in the work force abstaining from the worldliness and fleshly lusts of their coworkers. There are young girls keeping themselves pure as they serve God from their homes and families until it is their turn to embark out on their own journey.

You are not alone. We are not alone. We each have a place to fill. The only true pleasure we will find in this world is in a life wholly given to the Lord, holy, acceptable to Him. Do not waste it away in worldliness. Do not listen to the devil’s lies. Pray to God as you draw your mark in the sand for Him and determine to glorify Him in each area of your heart and life.  

Psalm 23 has been read, written, memorized, recited… on and on… sometimes until it seems almost like it is being said in rote. (rote: a fixed, habitual, or mechanical course of procedure)  Growing up many years in church- I have heard many analogies and illustrations. One that always stuck with me is a story of 3 people reciting the 23rd Psalm. One was a great orator, who spoke so magnificently and perfectly accented every line. One was an influential preacher, who had no doubt spoke to crowds all over this world to share God’s Word. And the third was an older gentleman, poor, humble… he didn’t understand why he was asked to join them on the stage, yet was honored to accept.  As he spoke Psalm 23 he needed no paper to remind him of the words, for he spoke them from the heart. Slowly, tears began to fill the eyes of the room- and for the first time that night the people understood the words of that precious Psalm.

Personally, my favorite phrase is right at the beginning. “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Can I truly say that in my daily living? I shall not want.  Is His grace sufficient for me? Can I be content in whatsoever state I am? If the Lord is my shepherd- do I really have lack or need of anything this world has to offer? Or is my day filled with so much “I want...” and “I wish…” that I fail to see the hand of my Shepherd leading, restoring, comforting, preparing, and strengthening me day by day.
I was 18 when I used all of my graduation money to buy an airplane ticket to the mission field. I was blessed to spend 6 months with Teddy & Ligaya Fulfer at Subic Bay Children’s Home in Olongapo City. I left at home a little brother and sister, so naturally as there was a boy and girl about the same age as my siblings back in Iowa I became very close with them.  The boy was born with a severe cataract covering one eye. We made several trips to the eye specialist until the day of surgery finally came. I spent a night I will never forget in a Filipino hospital with an unconscious boy tossing and turning from surgery after having the eye removed. After that, he would come to my little room every night at bedtime to get his eyepiece cleaned. He would lay his head on my lap and though he spoke Tagalog, and I English, together we would softly quote Psalm 23 until his nerves were calm and I could gently remove the plastic to be cleaned and put back in place.  “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.”


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