(I’ll continue (and perhaps conclude) my current study of Psalm 23 when I re-appear. My daughter-in-law (Ashley. Tim’s bride) has completed med school and will be graduating this week-end from Virginia Commonwealth University. I’ll attend that proudly and be back in touch soon. May God Himself encourage you in your study own of His Word. . . and may He use you for His own special purpose as you grow. -dk)
If some of the things I write sound a bit ‘personal,’ it is because they are. Before I ever attempt to say anything or write a line for this blog, I try to examine the Scripture as diligently, honestly, and intelligently as I’m capable of doing . . . and I then try to apply the truth to my self. First. If I don’t do that and the message means little or nothing to me, it’s a foregone conclusion that it won’t mean anything to you or anyone else.
The “stuff” about which I write has been hammered out on the anvil of my own experience. My wife and I know what it means to be “sifted.” As late as the morning when I put that item up about being “sifted,” we reminded ourselves who was the author of the “sifting.” And what a powerful defensive tool was placed in our possession when we came to feel that Jesus was praying for us. . .just as He did for Peter. . .Just as He continues to pray today for you.
Once I heard of an old minister who said every time he spoke he did so in the belief and hope that “everyone who heard would give themselves thoroughly to God. And, whether or not anyone else does that,” he continued, “I shall.” These “studies” may resemble a record of my own personal spiritual quest, but it is enriching to my life. Whether anyone else ever lands on the scripturestudent.wordpress.com site or pays it any attention I feel almost compelled to continue.
At the risk of sounding simplistic, I am deliberately seeking God’s words which will offer hope. Encouragement. Strength. Peace and assurance forgiveness. A reason to begin again if you feel you’ve failed or perhaps been left forgotten by the way. If you’ve lost your way and feel you simply need to “be still and know that God is God.” And you are not. If you are looking for the way “home,” perhaps you’ll hear the voice of the Father coming out to meet and greet you saying: “This is the way. Walk in it.” That is not a groundless hope or bravely “whistling in the dark as you pass a graveyard.” In personal experience, I’ve come to feel that even when I was running away, trying to hide, living at the edge of an abyss, I wasn’t searching for Him. He was looking for me. Or patiently waiting for me to come to my sense and come home to Him.
You mustn’t forget the picture of the “Good Shepherd” searching tirelessly, continuously, everywhere for His sheep. As we’ve studied this together, some very valuable thoughts occurred to me: One is the value of solitude, quiet contemplation, prayerful meditation. Could you even imagine David developing such a profoundly significant idea without having time…no, TAKING time to simply “Be still and know that God is God?” Can you imagine what He might do with your life (and mine) if we unhurriedly and thoughtfully listened to His heart and then did as we were instructed??!
Another thought that has been driven deep into my consciousness is this: The “Shepherd” loves you (and me) much, much more than the shepherd tending sheep on isolated, desolate hillsides anywhere ever cared for his sheep. God loves you more than you can imagine. He loves you more than you do. More than you love your wife, or parents, or children! More than all your family or friends love you.
And another: Even when we do not understand…and perhaps can not understand…what He’s doing, or where He’s leading, HE KNOWS. “Through many dangers, toils and snares, I’ve already come.” I can, therefore, conclude the same “Shepherd” will lead me safely through the dark, sinister shadows until at last we arrive safely home. Once, when he was under great, great pressure and being questioned about the wisdom (and even the sanity) of the decisions he made, said: “I do not know where He is leading. But well do I know my guide.
You can find a lot of important information in a lot of other places. I found online, for example, some sites that I could recommend if your interest lies in Bible doctrine, church history, theology, apologetics, and some areas that I’m not even certain I remember how to spell~much less define. While I was doing my own “surfing of the net,” I stumbled on such a site which impressed me. I jotted a note to the gentleman, commending him, and he has since then been a constant source of encouragement and good advice. Neil is his name, and if you click on the icon where some people have taken time to write, you can go to his home page. He has such an incredible variety of helpful, interesting information that I won’t attempt to list all he does. Also, just recently I’ve struck up a conversation with “Brother Dave” who’s an Episcopal minister and has an online presence. I believe they deserve your consideration and prayers. There is also Mary Ellen Bowman who posts responses frequently. With very little material help, she heads up the Wilmington Christian Women’s Job Corps. When you pray for worthy causes, please add her work to your list. You may also enjoy reading her comments as she shares in our study of Psalm 23. It seems sufficient to say there is a lot of good information about a lot of important subjects.
On purpose, my focus will remain deliberately limited. It seems critically important to me that you become “persuaded” and “committed” before you will realize your potential as a Christian. We need to understand, regardless of our past, we are loved and can be useful. You need and deserve to know that you are “accepted in the beloved.” And if you’ve suffered as you’ve tried to serve, perhaps the words of James Stewart of Edinburgh will strike a familiar note. In one of his books, the great Scottish minister said: “You must have felt the foundations tremble beneath your feet before you can sing ‘Rock of Ages’ the way it should be sung.”
Several who’ve visited this site have written to my email address with suggestions, and I’ll listen carefully always. While I appreciate your encouragement, please don’t think of this as “sermons,” and don’t think I’m in any way even pretending to be in any “superior” position. This is intended to be a Bible Study. I’m a fellow student. Hopefully, we’ll be learning and growing together.
On technical matters having to do with the computer, I’m fortunate that two of my sons, Paul Timothy and Mark Jonathan, have kept me “up and running.” They are my mentors in many respects. If you have difficulties getting the site to come up properly, or “navigating” it, just let me know. Then, I’ll let them know. And they can then let you know how to fix it. I’ll always be open to your suggestions about improving the site and will welcome your insights on what we’re studying currently as well as your requests for studies within the scope of our goal. You may enter a response at the end of this read, or address your thoughts to me at the address top, right, on the masthead.
Here’s something I’d sort of like to get down on paper, and make sure it remains clear in my own mind. Your encouragement means a lot to me. I’d be lying if I said otherwise and without having to hook me up to a lie detector apparatus you’d see that immediately. But I keep reminding myself this little project isn’t about “me.” It never has been, and never should be. If you see my ego getting over-inflated, please do me a favor. Prick the balloon. Quick! And it’s o.k. If you get a bit of wicked glee for your mischief! When I’ve gotten sidetracked or felt “under-appreciated,” or “undiscovered” (never over worked)…I’ve reminded myself the MESSAGE is the important thing. Not the messenger. The messenger’s responsibility is to deliver the MESSAGE intact. After that, the responsibility for proper disposition of the truth rests on the recipient.
If you feel the study is helpful and worth sharing, I’d really appreciate your referring friends to the site.
A servant, your friend and fellow student, donkimrey