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Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters,

he restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his names sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil, for you are with me;your rod and staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."



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THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared . . . "
1 Corinthians 15: 3-5a

In this 15th chapter of his 1st letter to the Corinthians Paul is seeking to bring assurance to the Christains in Corinth concerning a doubt which had become a problem about resurrection life after death. Satan is always working to bring doubts in the minds of Christians and Paul is showing in this chapter how our doubts can be healed.

When doubts rise in our minds Paul directs us to the foundation of our faith which is an unassailable foundation. The foundation of the Christian faith is based on facts of history concerning our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul tells us in these verses that these facts are of first importance. This is so because our faith is based on the foundation of historical facts concerning Jesus Christ.

The first fact is that Jesus died for our sins. There is no doubt that Jesus died when he was crucified. The soldiers who came to look at the three on the cross, and hasten their death by breaking their legs, testified that they found Jesus already dead, and proved this by thrusting a spear into his side. Paul goes on to remind the Corinthian believers of why Jesus died. Paul affirms that Jesus died for our sins. I may seem that Jesus had no control over his death, but when the Gospel narrative is read it is plain that Jesus could have saved himself and that he voluntarily gave himself up to death. So why did he give himself to die? The answer to this is that Jesus gave himself; he declared that he was giving his life as a ransom for our sins, as Paul says here that Jesus died for our sins. In other words, according to the revelation throughout the Bible, Jesus died to take the punishment of our sins, so that God could justly forgive all who put their trust in him.

Paul says that Jesus died according to the Scriptures. In other words the Bible testimony throughout the Bible is that this was the purpose God in giving his only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. This is what Jesus explained to two of his disciples after he had risen from the dead in Luke 24: 25-27. One example of this is found in Isaiah 53: 4-6.

Jesus goes on to remind the Corinthian Christians of the other facts of history of great importance concerning Jesus. He tells us that Jesus was buried, and that he rose from the dead, and proved he had risen by showing himself to many different people, and on one occasion showing himself to over 500 believers at one time.

In the resurrection of Jesus God declares that Jesus did make an all-sufficient and complete sacrifice for the sins of all who trust Jesus as Saviour, and this means our salvation from sin and death is on the sure foundation of Christ's work for us and not on our own failing merit.

When doubts assail us the way to kill the doubts is to go back to these facts concerning Jesus as Saviour, and see the sure foundation on which our faith is built. Jesus banished death and hell by his death and resurrection for all who trust him as their Saviour