Psalm 23

ABIDING, RESTING AND TRUSTING IN JESUS

(September 9, 2021) Geri B encourages remaining in Jesus the vine…

Continuing along my earlier article on the theme of the grape vine (Abiding in the Vine)…

Jesus makes it clear that the Father wants his children to be fruitful and tells us that… ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful… Remain in me, and I will remain in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing‘ (John 15:1-5).

Remaining… to bear much fruit

  • If we remain (abide) in him, we will do just that – bear fruit.
  • And if we bear fruit, the Father will prune us so that we will be even more fruitful.
  • But the warning comes to us twice in this short passage… remain in him, otherwise you cannot bear fruit, you can do nothing!

Not only is it the Father’s desire that we bear much fruit by abiding in him, but there is that oft-missed warning that unless we remain in him, we cannot bear fruit, nor can we do anything of true value!

With all the gifts we have been endowed with there can often be a tendency to take ownership and believe that we can use them whenever and however we so choose… but the truth of it is, we are simply stewards of the manifold gifts of God and to really see lasting fruit from what has been entrusted to us, we must take our direction from the Lord – we must abide in him.

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WHAT A SHEPHERD, WHAT A TABLE!

(January 16, 2021) Maureen McQuillan shares…

In these trying days of the worldwide covid-19 pandemic, its associated troubles, and regular TV bad news, it’s great to relax. Even to take a short break away from home driving around the refreshing open countryside minutes from where we live and enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Often, I spot sheep relaxing round the paddocks, those fleecy animals that cause me to reminisce about them, about shepherds and David’s refreshing Psalm 23.

Reassurance
Some folks have wrongly associated Psalm 23 with death … often Robert has its reading requested by non-churchgoers at funerals. But I see it as an encouraging psalm about life – a good life here and now not just in eternity, filled with the love and kindness of God!

David had been a shepherd in his youth. Although he’s talking about God removing doubts and fears, I see verses two to four of this psalm as reflecting on his own responsibility to ensure the flock under his care would be at rest, need of food and water supplied and, when frightening disturbing threats came along, his promptness to defend using shepherd’s weapons (and muscles as in 1Samuel 17:34-36a).

A thoughtful and fearless shepherd, David knew to care for these emotional animals (Yes, not only are humans emotional… a 2009 report published in Animal Welfare describes sheep are capable of experiencing a whole range of emotional feelings from fear to anger, despair, boredom and happiness). (more…)