The Lord is My Shepherd

By Jeswin Thomas

 

1 Samuel 16:1-13

Ephesians 5:8-14

John 9:1-41

Psalm 23

Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need!

He lets me rest in the meadow grass and leads me beside the quiet streams. He gives me new strength. He helps me do what honors him the most.

Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way.

You provide delicious food for me in the presence of my enemies. You have welcomed me as your guest; blessings overflow!

Your goodness and unfailing kindness shall be with me all of my life, and afterwards I will live with you forever in your homeTLB

 

I scrolled through Bible Gateway looking for a version of Psalm 23 that might appear fresh. It is, after all, one of the most familiar passages for both Jews and Christians. It is read at funerals every day all over the world. It brings peace and comfort to millions.

Why is it part of today’ readings?

John records the event of Jesus giving physical sight to a man born blind; or as Jesus puts it, But while I am still here in the world, I give it my lightTLB The blind man became an illustration of the power of following God. Jesus is light and he gave light to the blind man. We read in verse 1 above, I have everything I need! Why? Because the Lord is my Shepherd. The only way we can see is to follow God always.

There are three elements in this world that make it possible for a person to get things done: knowledge, physical force, and money. The person who has all three has the potential to become great. Look at King Saul. If you read Samuel, you will see the man Saul following God and building up a great Kingdom. But he began to turn away from God, believing that he knew more than God.

Knowledge is the collection of information. Wisdom is knowing how to use that information. In 1939, Hitler had what was the finest collection of military commanders in the world. But he refused to listen to them, instead choosing to do what he thought was politically best and ended up getting his country destroyed.

A better illustration would be Paul who thought he knew that the followers of Yeshua were opponents of God and needed to be eliminated. Once Paul met Yeshua face-to-face, he learned how important it is to wait for the Wisdom of God. The information did not change. God gave him the Wisdom to understand that information.

We, at this writing, are facing a long period of wait-and-see with COVID-19. No one knows how many will die. But we also are in the valley of death economically as businesses face the prospect of bankruptcy. Jobs will be lost and it will be the poor who generally have none of the three sources of power mentioned above who will suffer the most.

Stay focused on God and His Word. If I die it will be in his hands.

 

Read my earlier comments on this theme here and here.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

Old Flames

I read Lawton’s first book (though not chronologically) some seven years ago and enjoyed it. It was called Blackout and had Inspector Troy chasing through bombed London for a murder (short version).

This book is set in 1956 and is a two-for-one murder/spy novel. This time Troy has to wade through a tangled web of spycraft to figure out who committed all the murders.

For you non-historians, 1956 was a year filled with international action of the Cold War variety. Lawton writes numerous chapters regarding Khruschev’s visit to the United Kingdom in that year. As you are reading about that strange visit–Troy is assigned to protect K and takes him pub-crawling–you will wonder what this has to do with the murder Troy is supposed to solve and why is Lawton spending so much time with it. Relax, enjoy the read. All the pieces will fit together eventually.

I’ve read several of the Amason reviews. Some people really don’t like Lawton’s writing. Be warned: he is writing something close to literature in the guise of murder mysteries. He writes great descriptions. Nothing ever just happens, it happens in detail. Lawton thinks nothing of writing ten chapters to set up one minor character. As one person wrote in his five-star review, ‘He goes to the effort of describing what a railway workers voice sounds like even though the character has three words in the entire book.’

If you want a quick and done mystery, give this a pass. If you enjoy reading someone who not only enjoys writing but enjoys writing well, you will like Old Flames.

Mike Lawrence