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Monday: Locations on the Journey — 14 Comments

  1. Our farm in New Zealand was hilly. When you looked at the hills you would see horizontal lines on them. They were the sheep tracks. And in the valleys were swampy raupo (a kind of reed) creeks. Furthermore, blackberries grew rampantly in places. The blackberries were great in summer because they produced beautiful sweet tasty blackberries, but they were a thorny nightmare for sheep. Every day someone had to go around the sheep to check they were ok. Sheep would get caught in the blackberries. They would fall into creeks. Or, when a ewe was fully fleeced and pregnant, they would roll over on their backs to try and scratch in and then find they could not get up again.

    My shepherd grandfather knew the behaviour of the sheep and every day would look in all the places where sheep would get into trouble. He was always accompanied be one of his trusty sheepdogs who knew just as much about sheep ad Grandad.

    Later it was my job to go around the sheep. I remember once having to take the rifle, an old Winchester 22, and go around the flock because we had had "sheep worrying." Other farm dogs would get loose during the night and come in and chase the sheep. They would chase the sheep scattering them into the creeks and blackberry and would often seriously wound some of the sheep. I never found the dog that was causing the problem, but I saw the damage it caused the sheep and we had to put down some of the seriously wounded ones.

    And as I grew up, one of the first scriptures I learned off-by-heart was Psalm 23. You can probably see that when I read Psalm 23, I have a whole set of mental pictures of the shepherd and their sheep. It is not just a set of words but a whole childhood of experiences.

    The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
    He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
    Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Ps 23 KJV

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  2. Study says:
    First, they are the right paths because they lead to the right destination — the Shepherd’s home.
    Second, they are the right paths because they keep us in harmony with the right person — the Shepherd Himself.
    Third, they are the right paths because they train us to be the right people — like the Shepherd.
    Fourth, they are the right paths because they give us the right witness — as we become the right people, we give glory to the Lord. They are “right” or “righteous” paths, whether the going is easy or hard.

    This is a great explaination of the PATHS !
    It is so easy for the mind to play a visual of a literal path as we read methophers, that take us outside of ourselves, and not inwardly.

    For example ..read from Psalm 1:
    Psalms 1:1-2 (CSB)
    1 How happy is the one who does *not walk in the advice of the wicked*
    or stand in the pathway with sinners or sit in the company of mockers!
    2 *Instead* his delight is in the *LORD’s instruction*, and he *meditates on it day and night.*

    We can see (internally) immediately and focuses the contrast in verse 2 disciplining our mind, with the help of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual Food !

    This is obviously apparent to you all, but it helps me focus my mindset on the #substance# behind/within the written Word.

    Shalom in Christ's victory for/in us.
    🙏

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  3. Who can lead?
    If you’re to lead either you have been there or you know the direction to the place.
    He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? Luke 6:39
    Before GPS, I would take the printed direction. Sometimes, I would miss a turn and not even realize, I had missed a turn until I get to the next turn. Making the correct turns to get back on to the right path way was always difficult and very time consuming.
    God has given us his printed direction, very often we digress from the printed direction and end up in a pit. In His mercy, He steps in and leads us back into the path of his righteousness for his name‘s sake.
    22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold resolutely to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.
    Hebrews 10:22-23
    Don’t give up on God who never gives up on you.

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  4. Trials have changed my whole life lately. The pandemic was a total life-changer! It was the second time in my life that this happened. And I hope to have learned the lesson. As Maurice reports, sometimes sheep may act stupid and need their sheperd to help them out... This is who I am sometimes, a reckless sheep... And if it wasn't for my Shepherd, Jesus, I would probably have a whole lot more damage! Thank God He rescued me! And I hope this time for good! Because I do not want to wander around too far from my Shepherd anymore! I know He always cares and is always here for me, but I just do not want to go crazy over "blackberries" anymore! They're not worthy!

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  5. As I read about the different paths, I was thinking to myself, it is also the right path because the Shepherd has gone ahead and walked it before. So He is leading the sheep in a path He knows.

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  6. Parallels between the thoughts and ways of David, Paul and John as inspired by the Holy Spirit:

    He restores my soul - He cleanses me from all unrighteousness - He justifies me - His righteousness is imputed to me

    He leads me in the paths of righteousness - He transforms my character to be like His character - we are no longer enemies against God, we are reconciled to the LORD.

    For His name's sake - His name is His character, His reputation, His glory. His plan is for us to be conformed to the image of His Son. Rom 8:29

    Psa 23:3 MKJV  He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
    Psa 79:9 MKJV  Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name; and deliver us, and atone for our sins, for Your name's sake.

    Rom 4:22-25 MKJV  And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.  (23)  Now it was not written for him alone that it was imputed to him,  (24)  but for us also to whom it is to be imputed, to the ones believing on Him who has raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;  (25)  who was delivered because of our offenses and was raised for our justification.
    Rom 5:1 MKJV  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Rom 5:8-10 MKJV  But God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.  (9)  Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  (10)  For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
    1Jn 1:7-9 MKJV  But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (9)  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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  7. I am enjoying this approach to studying the life of Christ, the Son of God already. The blog contributions of testimonies, explainations,
    wounderful texts, quotes, thoughts, and opinions is edifying. The straight Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John is good too, don't get me wrong, however studing symbols of the Son of God, Lord, Jehovah, and Yahweh of the Old Testement, and Christ(the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow) of the New Testiment reveals our Creator, Shepard, Guide, Saviour, and Vessel able to with stand high enough temperatures to melt us as gold being tried and purified, if you will, in the fire, to one day stand before God in clean garments and turbans, white as snow. Revelation 3:18. Zechariah 3:4-5. Psalms 51:7.

    The prayer of Fanny Crosby I do believe will be answered in our behalf this quarter. "Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord, to the Cross where Thou hast died."

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  8. Proverbs 4:26
    Watch the path of your feet
    And all your ways will be established.

    Proverbs 3:5-6
    Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    And do not lean on your own understanding.
    In all your ways acknowledge Him,
    And He will make your paths straight.

    Jeremiah 6:16
    Thus says the Lord,
    “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths,
    Where the good way is, and walk in it;
    And you will find rest for your souls.
    But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

    Proverbs 4:11
    I have directed you in the way of wisdom;
    I have led you in upright paths.

    Proverbs 3:17
    Her ways are pleasant ways
    And all her paths are peace.

    Proverbs 2:20
    So you will walk in the way of good men
    And keep to the paths of the righteous.

    Proverbs 2:8
    Guarding the paths of justice,
    And He preserves the way of His godly ones.

    Psalm 77:19
    Your way was in the sea
    And Your paths in the mighty waters,
    And Your footprints may not be known.

    Isaiah 42:16
    “I will lead the blind by a way they do not know,
    In paths they do not know I will guide them.
    I will make darkness into light before them
    And rugged places into plains.
    These are the things I will do,
    And I will not leave them undone.”

    Micah 4:2
    Many nations will come and say,
    “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord
    And to the house of the God of Jacob,
    That He may teach us about His ways
    And that we may walk in His paths.”
    For from Zion will go forth the law,
    Even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

    Psalm 119:105
    Your word is a lamp to my feet
    And a light to my path.

    Hebrews 12:13
    and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

    Psalm 25:4
    Make me know Your ways, O Lord;
    Teach me Your paths.

    Isaiah 26:7
    The way of the righteous is smooth;
    O Upright One, make the path of the righteous level.

    Psalm 65:11
    You have crowned the year with Your bounty,
    And Your paths drip with fatness.

    Proverbs 8:20
    “I walk in the way of righteousness,
    In the midst of the paths of justice,

    Proverbs 8:2
    On top of the heights beside the way,
    Where the paths meet, she takes her stand;

    Psalm 143:10
    Teach me to do Your will,
    For You are my God;
    Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

    Psalm 25:10
    All the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth
    To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.

    Proverbs 1:15
    My son, do not walk in the way with them.
    Keep your feet from their path,

    Job 13:27
    “You put my feet in the stocks
    And watch all my paths;
    You set a limit for the soles of my feet,

    Isaiah 43:19
    “Behold, I will do something new,
    Now it will spring forth;
    Will you not be aware of it?
    I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
    Rivers in the desert.

    Jeremiah 10:23
    I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself,
    Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.

    Psalm 18:36
    You enlarge my steps under me,
    And my feet have not slipped.

    Proverbs 4:18
    But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
    That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.

    Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Paths

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  9. Last night I had a dream. I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonged to me, the other to the Lord.

    After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints.

    This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it. "Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You'd walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."

    The Lord replied, "My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of suffering, when you could see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

    Moderator Note: You can see the history of this poem at https://poem4today.com/footprints-poem.html
    We would like to remind our readers not to copy and paste someone else's words into our blog as your comment. If you wish to share the words to a song or a poem, please introduce it with your own words, and then give proper credit to the author. If you copied it from another site, please provide the source URL.

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    • Roger, How true it is that Christ carries us in the most difficult times in our walk with him. I remember my father's murder and how I was encompassed in that fog of reality, lost depressed and afraid. It was only through Christ carrying me that I was able to escape that fog. Thank you, my friend,

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    • Thank You Moderator. I will be careful not to exclude a reference in the future. You do a fine service to this outstanding forum.

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  10. I took a moment to reflect on that: “He leads me in right paths for His name’s sake. God desires to establish His Name - that for which or how He wants to be known -, and works diligently to establish it through His faithful, loving and caring ways when reaching out to all who believe Him - supporting and strengthening our faith when we follow His path. Faith goes before us when we follow God’s leading.

    2Tim.1-18 – v.12 paraphrased: ‘Paul knows whom he has believed(trusted), and he is persuaded that He is able to keep that which he has committed unto Him against that day’. To know our guide, our shepherd, our Lord and Savior, our God – this intimate ‘knowing’ is what consistently applied faith will bring about; we will love Him for Who He Is above that which He has done for us.
    I encourage all to stay the course of Jesus’ righteousness by faith . As the lesson writer said: “This is the “right” or “righteous” path, whether the going is easy or hard”. If you think about it, there is really only one path and this path we walk by faith!

    (1)
  11. Locations on the journey. Green pastures. Not bare dirt.

    December 2010 I was staying in New Zealand and I frequently walked trails that were sheep paths, tracts where the sheep had walked over and over again. These were worn down to dirt. (I loved the high, open, pastoral views! A beautiful change for me from the thickly wooded mountain hikes of New England.) It's my understanding that if left by themselves, sheep will overgraze an area until it is desolate wasteland. The land would eventually become a barren desert because sheep pull grass out by the roots.

    The good Shepherd keeps the flock on the move to greener pastures, even if they're not ready to leave yet. I can see a couple applications from this to our spiritual lives.

    (1) We have sinful habits and comfortable old paths we've made that keep us away from the "life abundantly" available to us (Prov. 16:25; Mark 8:34).

    (2) The Good Shepherd is also the Word, so we know that the right paths are always obedient to God's Word. There may be flocks of sheep going in the opposite direction of the Word/Good Shepherd, following a false shepherd (who may even be quoting the true Shepherd), so we need to be ready to sometimes be moving against the crowd on a path that is not obvious or worn in.

    (3) Jesus warns us against complacency (Rev. 3:15-17; Heb. 6:12; Luke 21:34). It may be more comfortable to "hang out" with believers than unbelievers and the "beat up" travelers who need our help on the road (Luke 10:30-37). It may be more comfortable to hear the same Scripture in the same way rather than seeking fresh (not moldy) daily bread (Luke 4:21-22,24,28-29). In our church families we can ask "Have the nutrients been stripped from the pasture where we're feeding?" We can pray to be sure we're actively listening for and following God's will, which will be keeping on the move with Him, rather than slipping into exercising our own wills in a depleted, stuck spot.

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  12. King David probably wrote this Psalm way after God's people had gone through the Red Sea and the 40 years of wandering in the Desert after they failed to enter Canaan and probably even after he himself was persecuted by his own King Saul, and maybe even after he had stolen Uriah's wife and then killed him etc.. Yet this Psalm is only 6 verses long and talks about having God's very presence and protection in the here and now and always!

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