VIEWPOINTS FOR SUNDAY, 30TH OF AUGUST, 2015

THEME FOR THE MONTH: The Shepherd
TODAY’S TOPIC: Valleys of Death
KEY TEXT: Ps. 23:1-5
KEY VERSE: Ps. 23:1
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want”

INTRODUCTION
Since this lesson began, we have viewed the ability and willingness of the Shepherd to grant us peace and comfort. However, there are times when the shepherd deliberately does not make things work out for the sheep. The shepherd can watch while his sheep receives an intravenous injection. This injection, though for the sheep’s good health, could be very painful. The shepherd has the power to stop the vet doctor from going on with the injection, but he does not stop the doctor. He just watches his sheep go through the pain. This is scary, but it is also a quality of our Shepherd.

1. HE SEES THE UNPLEASANT SITUATION AHEAD
The Shepherd (Christ) sees the storm ahead. In fact, He knows that there will be storms ahead. Sometimes we cry and pray to God, as though He does not know what we are facing. Actually, He does. He saw it coming before it came. He knew these problems would come. The psalmist (David) had an understanding of this, when he wrote verse 4 of this psalm. He said, “Yea, though I walk…” It shows that he anticipated the storms of life. The three Hebrew boys in Dan. 3:16-18 told king Nebuchadnezzar the same thing. We must understand that our Shepherd sees every problem we go through. He knows every situation we endure. The ordinary shepherd knows the day of vaccination or immunisation, yet he does not keep his sheep from it. Of course, he does not whisper the date to the sheep, no matter how much he loves them. Actually, that is what we get with our loving shepherd (Christ).
(Ps. 1:6; Isaiah 46:9-10; Ps. 139:1-12)

2. SOMETIMES, HE LEADS US DOWN THE VALLEY HIMSELF
Yes, Jesus does. Do not be surprised when, after you have prayed and fasted, things still turn out the other way round. What if that was God’s best for you? You know, we may never love God’s best, because it does not seem to be ‘best’ for us. However, only the parent knows that ordinary water is much beneficial than soft drinks to the child. Read Matt. 4:1. You see, that we can be ‘led’ down and through the valley of death. Jesus got His training in the wilderness. Through painful injections, the sheep at home is immune against infections. The shepherd takes his sheep to the vet doctor. In times like this (when you go through trying times), please ask yourself:

* is there something I must learn?
* is there something I must have?
* what is the Shepherd trying to say?

In times like these, pray and seek the Lord’s face for His direction.
(Job. 13:15; Heb.12:5-11; Deut. 8:5; Ps. 119:71; Prov. 3:12; James 1:12; Rev. 3:19)

theTASK:
Study the book of Proverbs 13:24. Write a short explanatory note on that scripture.

PRAYERS:
1. Thank God for giving us His word.
2. Ask for grace to be fully committed to the cause of Christ, in both good and bad times.
3. Pray that God grants you the strength to follow Him in obedience through trying times.
4. Seek divine strength from the Holy Ghost for the next trial ahead.
5. Pray that the last blessings of August 2015 rain down on you and your family.
6. Bless your week, and secure it by the Blood of Jesus.

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