Although David had labored for years as a shepherd, he needed a Shepherd himself. He said, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” He would not go lacking for anything he really needed because the great shepherd knew his needs. The great shepherd would lead him to good grazing land and give him clear, clean water. Clear water, plenty to eat, rest for his body and food for his soul, made David a happy fulfilled Christian. It will do the same for us!
On less happy days God was still beside David. He tells us life is not always easy. There are storms we must encounter, rainy days, sad days, troublesome circumstances which are unpleasant to face. But the heavenly shepherd tells David in verse four, “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 staff they comfort me.” Even when trouble comes God, our shepherd, helps us make it through.
Even when enemies come against us, our great shepherd will pour out his blessings upon us right before their eyes. He will set a table before us in the wilderness.
David said, “My cup runneth over.” Is your cup running over today? If not, you need to be filled with the same God who put joy in David’s heart, a spring in his step, and a victory in life! When your cup is not running over you don’t even have enough for yourself. When you have an overflowing heart it will splash on everyone around you. Let us not try to run on an empty tank.
God invites us to hold up our empty cup and say, “Fill my cup Lord and make me whole!” I believe he wants to fill your cup today. Are you ready?
Many seniors my age tell about going to our home town and finding more buggies and wagons parked along the avenue, while some people simply walked to town from four or five miles away. Every now and then a Tin Lizzy (nickname for a T-model Ford) would come by making plenty of noise but very low speed! Then we saw the model A-Ford which wasn’t much greater, but it was up to date for that time. You had to be kind of rich to buy one of those cars that sold for less than five hundred dollars. Now, that much won’t pay the tax on one!
In the twenties and thirties we complained about the price of gas, nineteen cents a gallon. We poor kids were fortunate to get a coke several times a year. They were a nickel, and if you wanted an R.C., orange, or other soft drinks, you got a 16 oz. bottle for five cents. When soft drinks finally went up to six cents, there was uproar all over America about high prices. Times really do change things. We have gone from the T-Model to the technology age. We are never satisfied and now we reach the moon and desire to go beyond. Some of our research and development is fine but we can’t even go five years without a war that destroys cities and kills millions. Someday we may even regret having all the weapons of mass destruction! Much of what we call progress is not progress at all.
Just as every train must have an engineer, every plane must have a pilot, every ship must have a captain, and America must have a Master. God is our Maker, Redeemer, Creator, and friend who has given us the guide book called the Bible. In this book we have the instructions for living on this planet and without it we are like a ship without a sail. We do not have real happiness without God. We are only fooling ourselves when we expect abundant life without Him. He came that you may have life and have it more abundantly!
Yes, times are changing fast but there is one who never changes.
Because of His love for sinners, He calls out in the Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” He says in Malachi 3:6, “For I am the Lord, I change not…” Then again in James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” Yes, men may be changing all the time but “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Christ invites us to repent and trust Him. The banquet table in Heaven is set for “whosoever will.” Will you?
Nearly everyone in Wilkinson County, Mississippi, was poor to some extent back in the 1920s. It was a time when people really had to work hard to survive. My mother was no exception to that rule. She had to raise vegetables, hoe corn, raise a pig for meat, have chickens for eggs, and whatever she could find to earn a dime.
My birth was the second day of the New Year, 1926. Shortly after my birth mother would have to resume her necessary duties of trying to raise a crop for food, with the extra burden of caring for the new baby. It was almost an impossible task, to say the least.
But you and I know that a person, when put to the test, can usually do what one has to do some kind of way. As a tiny baby mother would put me in a card board box for a cradle and carried me to the field where she was working. She would place me in about the middle of the row she was hoeing, and if I cried too loud she would run to the box to see about me. I’m sure she worried about me all the time. It was I guess a fine plan if you could kind of forget about all the bugs flying around, perhaps bees to sting and snakes crawling everywhere. It was dangerous to say the least.
But there came a day when she heard me screaming for life, and ran to my box to find me completely covered with ants which stung me from head to foot. A doctor visit was one dollar at that point of time, but mother did not have a dollar. They say that for many days I lingered between life and death, but by God’s grace and with His help, I am here to tell about it. God was merciful to a little baby in a cardboard box.
I’m certainly not comparing myself to Moses, but we do remember he floated in a basket on the Nile River as a baby. But God saved him to be used of the Lord. God delivered that great deliverer of Israel. Listen to the words of Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.” I don’t remember the poet’s name, but he wrote the following words: “Should seven fold bolts of thunder roll, and shake this earth from pole to pole; no storm cloud shall shake my faith, for Jesus is my hiding place.”
I hope today Jesus is your hiding place. If so, you can face a lot of storms without fear. Amen!A Cardboar
In Luke chapter nineteen, we read of a lonely, rich, lost tax collector (publican) who was transformed into a happy receiver of God’s saving grace. Hired by the Roman government to collect taxes, Zacchaeus was doing quite well as far as finances were concerned. Whatever money could buy, this little man could have it. But Zacchaeus had a great need for something that no amount of money could buy. This is true of every person living today.
One day Jesus and a number of people were coming down the road, and Zacchaeus ran and climbed up in a sycamore tree to see him. There is a voice in the human heart that cries out for the God of heaven. Some people ignore it, die and go to hell, but not this fellow. “And he sought to see Jesus who he was.” The Bible says in Luke 19:4-10 “And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. Verse 5 says, “And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down: for today I must abide at thy house. Verse 6, “And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. The eighth verse says, “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” Verse 9, “And Jesus said unto him, this day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham.” We then find the real reason Jesus came to earth in verse 10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
I’m so glad that little fellow responded favorably to Christ! Perhaps Jesus is knocking at your heart’s door right now. It may be He has been knocking a long time. He will not force His way in, He waits for your invitation! Will you open the door today and say “Come in Lord Jesus?”
The little man had a heavenly guest that day at his house. Does Jesus abide in your heart, your house, your life? Jesus made a big change for a little man that day. He wants to abide in your house also. Won’t you invite Him in today?
I discovered America on the second day of January back in 1926. Our little shack which was four miles out in the woods from Woodville, Ms., was poor indeed; no indoor plumbing, electric lights, and only the bare necessities. It amazes me now to think about how little of this world’s goods we can live on.
I had one thing however that seemed to be more valuable than gold. His name was “Trouble” the dog. He was friendly, black in color, and constantly wagged his tail to say, “I Love you,” and I certainly loved him too.
Trouble was a perfect dog in my sight, but I must admit he developed a bad habit. Trouble could catch and kill every snake he could find! As a little boy I would try to talk to him about the snakes and how he should just leave them alone, but he would not. He would go after another and get bitten. After being bitten three times, a very big poisonous snake bit him. As he lingered there while dying, I cried my heart out, but it was too late. I never did like to say good-bye to anyone, but on that day it was “good-bye” to Trouble! It was a sad funeral.
Trouble was only a dog who just could not understand my warning, “Leave the snakes alone.” But you my friends are intelligent human beings and I would like to warn you about something more horrible than snake bites, and that is Hell. You are walking in the midst of Satan’s snakes every day. If you are lost and without Christ in your life, you already have been bitten by the serpent of sin.
Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” The word of God says in Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon (in simple faith) the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Yes, we have all been bitten by the serpent of sin. There is no cure for it except to run to Jesus and let Him apply Calvary’s blood. It is a sure cure. Will you do that now?
Some of us old timers can remember when most of the pulpits were ablaze with the fire that comes only from above. There are a few left today; I mean very few! There was an urgency in their sermon for lost men, women, boys and girls, that brought forth tears of compassion. Not only could the preacher shed tears for the lost, but even the people could cry about their lost boys, girls, and neighbors. They were not ashamed to come to the altar and pray for the salvation of lost souls all over the world. They knew for sure that Christians were sheep living in wolf country and they had a great need for God. Some of those old timers knew that, without the Holy Spirit we can have a lot of noise, confusion, and false fire, but no fire from above. Some of us confuse racket with revival. Psalm 126:5-6 tells us, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Do you really care enough about the lost soul to weep over him? If so, Lord help us to sow some gospel seed in their lives. Some of these seed will come up and bring repentance.
Our people weep over their many other problems in life. Why not weep over souls which will live down through the ages of eternity. Nothing is as important as helping some soul miss Hell and spend eternity in Heaven.
I hope all of us in our local churches will not commit the sin of being “A Dry Eyed Church in a Hell Bound World.”
There are only two types of sinners in this world. One type is a sinner saved by the grace of God. The other type is the one who has never repented of his sins and has never been saved. I was a lost sinner for twenty-five years, but now I am a saved sinner because I know the great God of salvation. Do you? If not, why wait?
Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We were born with a sinful nature. Later, when we are older, we become sinners by choice. Jesus said in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” If you are still a lost sinner, He is looking for you. Why not respond to HIm while there is time?
Romans 6:23 tell us, “For the wages of sin is death (eternal Hell); but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” I do not profess to have an IQ as high as Pikes Peak, but there are two things I do know. I am a great sinner and God is a great Saviour. Another thing worthy of mention here is, “His salvation is great.”
The world and most people in it will say, “Do not worry about eternity now, you have plenty of time.” But we see sudden deaths all the time, and it is dangerous to delay.
Today you may be saying, “I’m almost persuaded” , but almost is but to fail. Today is the day and right now is the accepted time. See you in Heaven?
Scripture tells us that Joseph and Mary had a shelter problem, as many do today. God’s word said that Joseph searched for a lodging place, only to be told they were all occupied. Luke 2:7, “And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” What concerns me most in our day is there isn’t much room for Jesus in the hearts of most people. There was no room in the inn. Jesus would have to be born in a dirty, unsanitary stable, where animals lived. Matthew 8:20 also mentions what a hard time Jesus had on this earth, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests: but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” He came to rescue the human race from the bondage of sin and Hell, but very few showed appreciation.
It is still the same today because most people will not even celebrate his birthday as it should be! Many will have a drunken party without even the mention of what Christmas is all about. “No room in the inn for Jesus.” Jesus, who created us from the dust of the earth, will have to watch us giving gifts to each other, not Him. Very little time for Jesus, very little love for Him. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Christmas will soon be here. I hope He will have first place in your family, in your life, and in your heart. What will you do with Jesus that is called the Christ? What will you do without Him in your heart at the end of life’s journey? Don’t ignore Him today. He is knocking at your heart’s door right now. The latch string is on the inside. He is not a burglar, and He won’t break in! You will open the door for Him, won’t you?
In this brief period of time on earth most of us worry, hurry, scurry, fret, complain and fuss about things which do not please us. I think it was Abraham Lincoln who was heard to say, “Most people are just about as happy as they make up their mind to be.” In other words, being content and happy is a matter of choice in large measure.
Some of the most miserable people you can find have a lot of money and all that money can buy! But it cannot buy contentment. Some of the richest people I have known do not have much of this world’s goods. Being filled with God who is the source of all happiness is all they need.
A hundred years from now it won’t matter whether I lived in a mansion and had one hundred servants to wait on me. What difference will it make after I’ve gone to my eternal dwelling place? Would it matter that I was poor down here? What if I had to live in a pup tent and had to swim a muddy river to go to work? No, it won’t matter if I went barefoot and lived a primitive life of hardships here. When the things of earth grow strangely dim, we will know that we spent entirely too much time and energy worrying about things that were not nearly important as we thought they were.
All that will really matter one hundred years from now is what you did with Jesus. Did you accept Him as Master, Lord and Saviour, or did you reject Him? If you were born again it will be Heaven forever. If you did not come to know Him, Hell is your eternal home.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The proceeding verse is your passport to Paradise! Today could be the last time you will have opportunity to make that decision to repent and trust Christ as your Savior. Why will you tarry?
After we are born again, saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, washed from our sins, Jesus tells us that we are the light of the world. Matthew 5:14, “Ye are the light of the world, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick: and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Mother gave me the job of cleaning the old kerosene lamp chimneys. She said, “Son, when they are all smoked up with smut and soot, they do not throw any light. You keep them clean for me so we can have great illumination in the room.” The lives of far too many Christians are like old smutty lamp chimneys. They, living in known and unconfessed sin, are more like a flickering torch than a shining light. Our lives must be clean and Christ-like to give the gospel light effectively.
When we name the name of Christ ,people begin right then to watch us. They are anxious to see if your talk matches your walk, and if it doesn’t, they get very little illumination from you. They probably won’t even think you are real.
If we are to reflect Christ to a lost world, we must be like Christ and live a dedicated, consecrated, all out life for Christ who died for us. Careless Christian living can cause many souls to go to Hell. I must ask myself daily, “Am I a shining light or a flickering torch?”
Let your light shine, keep your chimney clean, be a strong witness. One soul is more valuable than all your money, stocks, bonds, name, fame, power, or anything else we might name.
One second after death we will all know how very valuable one soul is in God’s sight. Don’t be a flickering torch!
Rev. A. J. Ogden It is always a joy to know that some of our friends who lived until recently and passed away, were born again believers. Their destination was better than any thing this world had to offer. Oh yes, we miss them, but they are...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Those Things That Might Have Been Rev. A. J. Ogden As I move into the sunset years of my life, I’m very prone to think about a good number of “might have beens.” I mean, just wonder what kind of difference it would have made to...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend by the name of Common Sense, who had been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He willl be remembered...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
They That Sow in Tears Rev. A. J. Ogden In this old world of toils and snares, many tears are shed each day. Some cry for the loss of a loved one. Many shed tears of compassion for an ill relative who suffers great pain. We see weeping many...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
THOSE EGGS WON’T HATCH! Rev. A.J. Ogden Back on the farm we always kept a few chickens for eggs and meat. We could feed them on a little corn, but mostly scraps from the table. Every now and then one of the hens would get ready to set. Now...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
THERE IS A WAY THAT SEEMETH RIGHT Rev. A. J. Ogden Things are not always as they seem to man. For those who know not God, everything sinful seems attractive. The unsaved man or woman will choose the bar room, a six pack, or a bottle of...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
THE WORLD’S APPLAUSE OR GOD’S APPROVAL? Rev. A.J. Ogden Negative news flows like a river deep and wide in America today. It is popular; it sells many newspapers and keeps radio and TV busy. Sin and wickedness is popular because...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
THE WILL OF GOD IS THE WAY TO GO Rev. A.J. Ogden Once in a while someone will ask me, “Who do you think will be in Heaven?” I can answer that question quickly and easily by simply saying, “Whosoever will.” Who will not be...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
THE UNPOPULAR PREACHER Rev. A.J. Ogden If any preacher is in the ministry to be popular with a sinful world system, he might as well hang up the fiddle and the bow right away. We are not called to be popular with people, but faithful to God. We...[ abbreviated | read entire ]