35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 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.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 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.
Last week we began a series entitled Satisfaction Guaranteed and I expressed to you that if you live your life for Jesus, if you surrender all to Jesus, if you are saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost your satisfaction is guaranteed. Our guiding scripture for this series is John 6:35 when Jesus told the Jews who were asking for a sign, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. Someone say, satisfaction guaranteed! I told you last week that this satisfaction is guaranteed because God loves us, and because God loves us we get His attention, we get His affection, and we get His action. I don’t know about you but I am so glad the God loves me and my satisfaction is guaranteed! Well today I want to tell you another reason why our satisfaction is guaranteed. Our satisfaction is guaranteed because God leads us. One on my favorite authors, John Maxwell has said many times that everything rises and falls on leadership. What this statement means is that something can be extremely successful or it can crash and burn before it begins and this is all based on the leadership in place. We have all witnessed great leadership, and we have all witnessed terrible leadership. But leadership is a tricky thing. When everything is going well, you’re the best leader in the world, but the minute things start to fall apart you’re the worst leader in the world. But a good leader gives credit to the team when things go well and takes the blame when things go wrong. That’s what good leaders do. If you call yourself a leader and look behind you and no one is falling you, you are just taking a walk, according to John Maxwell. I don’t know about you but that is not the kind of leader that I want to be. But this is what I love about God. He always shows us how to do the things we desire to do. If you want to be a good leader just look at the way that God leads us. In Psalms 23, David gives us an amazing picture of how God leads us. And there are many examples of God’s leadership
in the Bible, but this is the one He brought to my attention. In this Psalm David is pouring out his heart about the leadership of his God. He starts off by stating the Lord is my shepherd. And what exactly is a shepherd? A shepherd is a leader of sheep. So David is saying God is the shepherd and I am the sheep. I could stop right there and end the sermon because if we could just get this idea, this philosophy, this truth engrained in our minds, bodies, and spirits our lives would be so much easier.
God is the shepherd
God is the boss.
God is the chief.
God is the president.
God is the CEO.
God is the captain.
God is the pilot.
God is the general.
God is the the leader.
We do not tell God what to do, He tells us what to do.
God does not follow our lead, we follow His lead.
The lord is my shepherd! We are not His shepherd, He is our shepherd.
We have too many chiefs in the kingdom and not enough indians. Know your role and play it!
Know your lane and stay in it!
Back to the text. The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. Because God is my shepherd I do not want for anything. He takes care of me. He meets all of my needs according to His riches and glory. He maketh me lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. There’s that word lead again. Even in the good times, the calm times, the peaceful times God is leading me. Maybe that is why they are so peaceful, calm, and good, because God is leading me and I am following His lead. He restoreth my soul: when I’m drained and tired He restores me. He refreshes me! That’s what good leaders do. They know when we need a break, and they give us time to refresh ourselves. It’s like a coach giving the team a water break. He leadeth me in the path of righteousness for His names sake.
When I am down.
When I am out.
When I have fallen short God restores me and He leads me on the right path. Not just for me, but for His names sake. So that He receives the glory by what He produces in us. Yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with my. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. If God is leading us and we are truly following His lead, we do not have to fear anything. He will take care of us. He will comfort us. Thou preparest a table for me in the presence of my enemies. Even my enemies have to watch God bless me. Thou anointest my head with oil. His spirit is upon me, and my cup runneth over. If I have His spirit the blessings are overflowing. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Because the lord leads me and I follow His leadership goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I get to spend eternity with my God and my father. Someone say satisfaction guaranteed! And here are three reasons why He leads us.
He has a purpose. There is something that God wants to do in us. There is something that God wants to do through us. And all we have to do is surrender to His will and let the Lord use us. Purpose is defined as the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc. 2. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal. There is a reason why you exist. There is a reason that you were made. There is an intended desired result or end and or aim for your life. God created each and everyone of you for a specific reason. Something that you and only you are supposed to do. Look at your neighbor and say God created you with a specific purpose in mind! And because we have purpose God will do these three things with us.
He will proceed with us.
Meaning He will move forward with us.
He will go through with us.
He will accompany us in the storm.
He will go with us through the valley and up the mountain. Where ever we go He will go.
Wherever we are He is there also.
We can make it because He proceeds with us.
The Footprints Prayer by Mary Stevenson
One night I had a dream…
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and Across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of my life flashed before us, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of my life, There was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life. This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, You would walk with me all the way; But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, There is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why in times when I needed you the most, you should leave me.
The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child. I love you, and I would never, never leave you during your times of trial and suffering. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you. He proceeds with us!
He proceeds with us. Then He proclaims through us. This is the essence of the great commission in Matthew 20:18-20… Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” We are His vessels. We are His mouth pieces. We are His witness. He proclaims who He is through us!
He proceeds with us. He proclaims through us. Then He prospers us. Jeremiah 29:11 states, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Prosper means to become strong and flourishing, to cause to succeed or thrive, usually financially. Now I was hesitant to use this point because when people hear the word prosper they naturally think of prosperity. And when people think of prosperity they think that they are going to get more money. Now I’m not saying that God is not able to bless you with more money in which you can get more stuff. Because God can do anything. But this is not a name it, claim it, blab it, and grab it point. This is if you follow God’s lead He will make you strong, He will cause you to thrive, He will make you flourish, and He will give you great success in the things of God. What things of God are you talking about preacher.
The things of God. Our satisfaction is guaranteed because He leads us. And because He leads us He has a purpose to proceed with us, to proclaim through us, and to prosper us.
But not only does God have a purpose, He has a plan. Now the purpose is the end goal. The plan is how you get there. For example, becoming a doctor is your purpose going through eight years of medical training is the plan. You cannot reach your purpose without having a plan. I am so glad that God has a plan for us. And not only does He have a plan, but he leads us though His plan. He doesn’t just tell us to go. He leads us in the path of righteousness for his names sake. It’s for His names sake so He wants to make sure we follow the plan to the best of our abilities so He does a few things to help us along the way.
He prepares us. The plan is to prepare us for our purpose. We hear so many times how people rise to the top in record breaking speeds and they soon fall because they were not ready or prepared for that level of success. There was a plan to get them there, but there was no plan to keep them there. Think about all the people that hit the lottery and they’re broke within a year. Or the sports athletes that get the ginormous contracts and are broke within years of their retirement. Think of us and how we sometimes live above our means trying to keep up with the Jones, not knowing that the Jones are trying to keep up with us. That is why God prepares us, and He prepares us by taking us through. This is why it is called the preparation process.
The storm was preparing you…
The set back
All of these things were in God’s plan to prepare you for His purpose.
He prepares us. Then He produces through us. I told you last month Jesus said if I remain in you and you remain in me you will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing. God will produce fruit through us if we are following His lead. If you are claiming to be a child of God and you have no fruit you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Because if there is no fruit you are just going through the motions. What fruit are you talking about preacher. Well you should be bringing people into the kingdom. You should be touching lives. You should be changing lives. You should be helping people and building people up. Fruit! Here is a good example of having fruit. When you’re gone people miss you. When you are down and out, people want to help you. When you die there are so many folks at your funeral there is no room to hold them all because you made such an impact on the world around you, and it had nothing to do with you, but everything to do with God. God produces through us.
So God prepares us, produces though us, and then He proves us! He proves everyone wrong that doubted us.
He proves everyone wrong that thought we wouldn’t make it.
He proves everyone wrong that said we would end up just like our no good daddy or our sorry momma.
He proves the teachers wrong that told you, you weren’t smart enough. One of my teachers actually said to me after I won the MLK scholarship, I didn’t know that you were smart. My guidance counselor told me that college was not for me and I should think of doing something else. Well Mr. Widener, and Mr. Bowser I have a Bachelors degree in Special Education. Hey Mr. Widener I have a Masters degree in early childhood education. Hey Mr. Bowser I have a Masters degree in education administration. Hey haters I have recorded 8 educational hip-hop cds. I have a ministry certificate, I’ve earned my Church of God ordination. I am the Pastor of the great Second Community Church on the Hilltop. And here is the best part I have two amazing kids and I have been married to the woman of my dreams for 18 years! God proves us!
So God has a purpose, God has a plan, because God made a promise. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the lord forever. Because David knew that the Lord was leading him he could make this statement. Because God was leading him and He leads us based on a promise. The promise that He will never leave us or forsake us. A promise that He made to us that He did not even make to His son. Because He had to forsake Jesus on the cross. But He never has, and He never will forsake us! That’s why Joshua said not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled? Our satisfaction is guaranteed because God leads, and He leads us because He has made a promise, which includes the following three things.
He protects us. Is there anybody in the room today because of God’s protection?
How many times has He guided you home after a long days work?
How many times did you not receive what you deserve?
How many times has He woke you up just in the knick of time?
How many times has He warned you about going to a certain place?
How many times has He had your back?
How many times has He covered you?
How many times has He controlled your tongue?
How many times has He kept you safe?
He protects us.
So He protects us. Then He provides for us.
We have the provision of God.
We have the provision of the creator of heaven and earth.
We have the provision of our father.
And we all know that when daddy is involved everything is going to be alright.
Because our daddy is a provider.
Our daddy owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
Our daddy speaks things into existence.
Our daddy holds the whole world in his hands.
Our daddy makes ways out of no ways.
Our daddy is the great I am that I am.
And He provides for us. Why are you acting like you don’t know what I’m talking about?
Clothes on your back.
Food in your belly.
Roof over your head.
Job to go to.
Money in your pocket.
Full use of your body.
You’re in your right mind.
You’ve got all your marbles.
You have a pretty good life because God provides.
So God protects us, God provides for us. Last but not least God promotes us. The first will be last and the last will be first! He pushes us to the front of the line. Now we all like to get promotions on our jobs. That means a title, a better position, and hopefully more money.
So we put in extra time for our promotion.
We work extra hard for our promotion.
We come early and leave late for our promotion.
We dot all of our i’s and cross all of our t’s for our promotion.
We train others and see them get promoted before us as we patiently wait for our promotion.
But here is the thing about God’s promotion, there is nothing that we can do or have to do to earn God’s promotion. He just promotes us because He loves us. He promotes us because He has a plan and He’s leading us to our purpose because satisfaction is guaranteed.
Let me share a story with you…
The pastor’s church is called God Tabernacle. On a Saturday night several weeks ago, this pastor was working late, and decided to call his wife before he left for home. It was about 10:00 PM, but his wife didn’t answer the phone.
The pastor let it ring many times. He thought it was odd that she didn’t answer, but decided to wrap up a few things and try again in a few minutes. When he tried again she answered right away. He asked her why she hadn’t answered before, and she said that it hadn’t rung at their house.
The following Monday, the pastor received a call at the church office, which was the phone that he’d used that Saturday night. The man that he spoke with wanted to know why he’d called on Saturday night.
The pastor couldn’t figure out what the guy was talking about. Then the guy said, “It rang and rang, but I didn’t answer.” The pastor remembered the mishap and apologized for disturbing him, explaining that he’d intended to call his wife.
The man said, “That’s OK. Let me tell you my story. You see, I was planning to commit suicide on Saturday night, but before I did, I prayed, ‘God if you’re there, and you don’t want me to do this, give me a sign now.’
At that point my phone started to ring. I looked at the caller ID,
and it said, ‘ God’. I just now got the courage today to call back.
The reason why it showed on the man’s caller ID that the call came from ” God” is because the church phone that the pastor called from is God Tabernacle!!
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow
me.” (John 10:27)
I just want to know if there is anyone in the room today that wants God to lead them?
He will lead you out of…
Jacked up circumstances!
Dead end jobs!
Dead end relationship!
But not only will He lead you out of the bad stuff, He will lead you into the good stuff.
He will lead you into…
A great job!
A wonderful marriage!
A drug free lifestyle!
A happy home!
A Great friendship!
A fulfilling family!
A bright future!
A fruitful ministry!
A new business!
Lead me, guide me along the way.
For if you lead me I cannot stray.
Lord let walk each day with thee.
Oh lead me oh lord lead me.
We have to have a made up mind.
Where He leads me I will follow.
Where He leads me I will follow.
Does anybody in the room want to follow God this morning?
Because He is patiently waiting to lead us.
Our satisfaction is guaranteed because God leads us!