Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd;

When David was used of God to write this Psalm, he was himself a shepherd.  This was a care and understanding he knew intimately.  It was a relationship he was quite familiar with and was what he was found doing when God sent the prophet Samuel to anoint him king of Israel.

David would be known as the Shepherd King.

But who is “The LORD” that David refers to as his shepherd?

He was referring to Jehovah, the LORD God of Israel.

God incarnate, Jesus Christ, made it clear in John 10:11-14, he was the Good Shepherd.

Jesus was speaking to a great crowd to include the Pharisees not long after he had healed a blind man.  He tells them in verse 9 that He is the door and then in verse 11 says, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”  Jesus then goes on to say in verse 14, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”

David says, The LORD is MY Shepherd.  This makes it personal.

And that is really the starting point to having a relationship with God is that he must be YOUR shepherd.

Of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, it says in John 1:3, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”  So, when you say, “The LORD is my shepherd,” you are saying there is a profound and close relationship between me and my MAKER.

OH, what divine joy this ought to shine upon the field of our heart.  As Psalm 144:3 says, “LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! Or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!”

The more we think of Jesus, the greater His esteem, the deeper the well of our love, the more vital becomes the relationship of our spirit as we commune the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.

David knew far too well, the quality of the life of the sheep was dependent upon the character of their shepherd.  Was he gentle, kind, intelligent, brave, and selfless in his devotion to the fold?  Or was he negligent, harsh, and uncaring?  One will cause the sheep to flourish and find contentment, while the other will find them starving, struggling, with endless hardship.

We are blessed to have the Good Shepherd.  But, as it proclaims He is my Shepherd, it is because he has made us first His sheep.  I grew up on a farm in Texas and although I have been around a few sheep, we raised beef cattle.  And, though I helped my grandfather, they were his cows.  He was the one that sweat and bled in the heat of the sun to grow rice and harvest it, to begin saving the money to buy his first cows.  If we were too aggressive with the cows or treated them in a way he didn’t care for, he would fuss at us real quick.  “The LORD is my shepherd” because I was “purchased with his own blood.”  (Acts 20:28)

We are rightly compared to sheep, for they have a mob mentality, are stubborn, prone to wander off, and act quite stupidly at times.  Yet, even still, we have a wonderful master who calls us each by name and longs to be the good shepherd we so greatly need.

LCDR Richard Wiese
Command Chaplain 22nd MEU

The Road Less Traveled

When we think of Pioneering, we think of Adventure. We think of every young boy’s hero, Daniel Boone, the Trailblazer. There is a lot of adventure with being the first one to discover a new world. It is exciting to be the one making inroads into a new territory that has never been chartered before. What an adventure Daniel Boone had as he blazed the trail into that wilderness!

Pioneer missions is similar. What an adventure it has been to be the first Baptist missionaries into this spiritual wilderness! How exciting it has been to bring Good News from a far country! We have seen God do the impossible over and over again. We have seen God open the door to Greenland and give us the authority to invite others to this pioneer mission field. Wouldn’t you like to join the adventure and claim an unreached village for Christ?!

When we think of blazing a trail, we think of Danger. It is not easy being the first ones. There are always t
hings you never expected or planned on happening. On one of Boone’s trips, his son was captured and killed by Indians. This scared the settlers so much that they went back East. In those early years, most settlers traveled in large groups to better protect themselves against the dangers on the trail. Boone gained his fair share of battle scars to prove the dangers of settling a new territory. How we admire those brave men who sacrificed all to cut a road through the wilderness in hopes to find their “American Dream.”

There are dangers and trials lurking ahead of the pioneer missionary that he can never be fully prepared for, because no one has gone before and helped prepare the way. He can take classes, read books and do all he can to ready himself, but the path is an unknown path with unforeseen hardships. It is by God’s grace and by the prayers of His people that the pioneer lives to tell another day. Greenland has had its fair share of unforeseen trials of which I don’t have the space to go into. Missionaries are not involved in Missions in order to pursue the American dream, but to pursue the mind of Christ and fulfill His last commandment on this earth, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature!” Pioneer missions isn’t about staking land, but about claiming souls for Jesus Christ!

Lastly, when we think of cutting that trail into the wilderness, we think of Loneliness. The men with pioneering spirits were no doubt some of the bravest men to ever live, but sometimes even they got lonely. How many brave men have fallen, been wounded, or lost heart on this lonely path. Boone left family and friends behind and found 30 people willing to cut a trail through the wilderness. It was a lonely feeling being alone in that seemingly “God forsaken” wilderness.

The Arctic is by far one of the loneliest and isolated mission fields. There are no malls, no Wal-Marts and, of course, no McDonalds. Sometimes we are blessed just to have food on the shelves in the grocery stores. As bad as that sounds, the most disheartening feeling is the lack of Christian fellowship. There are no other missionaries in Greenland! There is no one to share the work with. There is no one to be encouraged by. On most mission fields, there are several missionaries within driving distance of each other. There is no doing that in Greenland – a place where there are No roads connecting the towns. The only way to get in or out is by plane. One plane ticket to the next town costs around $1,000. Imagine coming from the US. The cost of getting here has discouraged many from even visiting this spiritual wasteland. Our town of 5,000 is small in size and sits on the Disko Bay surrounded by mountains. Winter lasts around 9 months bringing with it 3 months of darkness and lots of snow. Imagine being stuck in such an isolated place with no way out! Yes, it is overwhelming. For years, we have begged God to send someone to help and encourage us on this needy mission field. God has answered that prayer! The Wright Family is currently on deputation & we look forward to their arrival on this Pioneer Mission Field!

The Wilderness Road that Daniel Boone carved through the Cumberland Gap was at first
steep and rough and could only be passed on foot or horseback. As more and more traveled this road, it was widened and made to accommodate wagons. Twenty-five years after Boone’s first attempt at trailblazing a path through this wilderness, over 300,000 men and woman followed the path he had marked.

We are slowly making a path into Greenland. The more folks that trod this path, the easier it will be for others to follow. Wouldn’t you like to be a Pioneer and tread where no Baptist has trod before?!

Trailblazing at the Top of the World,

Christopher Shull

Please Pray for the Northcutt Family in Siberia, Russia!

Many I am sure have now heard about the fire that engulfed the dwelling of the Northcutt family in Siberia, Russia.
All Points Baptist Mission has set up a special fund specifically for them as they continue to go through what they were able to save, and look forward to the future. You may read about the details on their website. If you would like to donate to this fund, please let us know! All donations may be made out to All Points Baptist Mission, with a memo included to specify that the donation is for the “Northcutt Fire Recovery Fund.”

All Points Baptist Mission
PO Box 977
New Philadelphia, OH 44663

100% of all funds donated to All Points Baptist Mission are passed on directly to the missionary, without any fees. You will also receive a receipt for any donation given, as it is tax deductible. Please include your email address if you would like that sent to you electronically.

Please continue to look for new updates on the Northcutt’s page, as we will post them as we receive them. We can not thank you enough for the care you have for your missionaries!

 

Jon Black
Missions Office Manager,
All Points Baptist Mission
A ministry of Calvary Baptist Church

New Missionary – Ms. Mickle

We are pleased to welcome Miss Ruth Mickle as a missionary with APBM. Miss Ruth is planning to start deputation soon to work on an in-country Bible Translation project for a people with no scriptures.

Chaplain Joe Martin – Balance in Ministry

The battle for our attention between our ministry and our family is a brutal reality for the Lord’s servants. The Scriptures inform ministers to rightly divide the word of truth (II Timothy 2:15), to study their life and teachings (I Timothy 4:16), and to be an example to others (I Timothy 4:12). The public ministry of preaching, teaching, and counseling (among other activities) must flow from a life well lived for God in the private times of the minister’s life. However, the family of the minister is not to be neglected, but rather embraced. Providing physical support alone is not sufficient; we must also enable them emotionally and spiritually if the family is to be spiritually nurtured.  Any isolation of the wife or children will cause them to become hard-hearted toward the minister as well as the Gospel. Bickering, numbness, solitude, and bitterness will fester inevitably.

Only from the depth of our ministry at home can we expect to develop spiritual maturity in others. Charles H. Spurgeon spoke persuasively on the home in one of his famous lectures to his students. He adamantly believed that the effectiveness of their ministry to others swung on the hinges of the spiritual health of their home. He advised:

“We ought to be such husbands that every husband in the parish may safely be such as we are. Is it so? We ought to be the best of fathers. Alas! Some ministers, to my knowledge, are far from this, for as to their families, they have kept the vineyards of others, but their own vineyards they have not kept. Their children are neglected, and do not grow up as a godly seed. Is it so with yours?”

The critical component for maintaining ministry – both public and private – is gaining balance.

Imbalance results in catastrophic consequences. A sorrowful example is found in
David’s life. Without a doubt, David was a great king. Sadly, he was also a poor father. One of his most glaring failures was with his son, Absalom. Among the many things that David did wrong, one of the primary catalysts to the downfall of his family was due to David’s distraction regarding his assignments (II Samuel 13:1-3). His desire to show honor to Jonathan, David’s greatly beloved friend, resulted in the heartfelt and gracious treatment of Mephibosheth, the only remaining son of Jonathan. David was affectionate with Mephibosheth, but not with his own children. He prioritized his ministry over his family and, as a result, division was created within his home. David failed to realize that despite his success in the kingdom the misdeeds within his home would wound him deeply and enduringly. From David we must learn that the family must become a serious priority.

It’s time to level the scales.  In order to overcome the pitfalls of imbalance, we must turn to the Scriptures for guidance. First, ministers must address the needs of their spouse (Ephesians 5:22-23). A wonderful opportunity exists within marriage to learn about the precious person with whom we are sharing love, life, and ministry!  Those families who have been blessed with children can know a special joy as well.  Though many couples try to simply endure their children’s years of development, their time in our homes is critical to their development of their Christian identity and worldview (Ephesians 6:1-11).  By joining with the Lord to build our homes, we will have a family that is established on the Rock, but many marriages are ravished by Satan and selfishness and end up “dashed upon the rocks” (Ephesians 6:12-20).

Your home is the platform for all other ministries.  All ministry matters, but we prefer to think that our public ministry is separate from our home.  This is simply false.  The ministry of the home is a mirror of ministry in the church. It is foolish to expect our families to simply accept the fact that we must spend time with others when we neglect to spend time with them.  A burden for the welfare of souls begins with our homes and then radiates to other families.  the minister must ensure that both are set on a course to pursue holiness (I Timothy 3:2).

Through the power of the Spirit, the family can be a unified home under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ and serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13-18). By solidifying his family’s pursuit of holiness, the minister will be liberated to invest liberally in the spiritual well-being of other families.  Through the eternal and indwelling Spirit we can experience victory in each area of our ministries despite being pull in this dynamic tug-of-war of ministry!

American by birth. Soldier by choice.
Lt. Joseph Martin

Endorsed by All Points Baptist Mission, serving in the Army

Bro. Russell Holland – A Personality Dedicated To His Purpose

Personalities fascinate me. We all have one and each comes with its own special strengths and weaknesses. Often, the differences between personalities can be the basis of conflict or of harmony. My personality may annoy someone and other personalities may aggravate me. However, our God never ceases to work with each individual to mold their unique personality to fit His purpose.  There seems to be three particular ways in how this conforming and transforming is manifested and three men from the Scripture from whom we can learn these principles.

1. Softens the Edges – Simon Peter

My baby girl reminds me of Peter; constantly trying to shove both her feet in her mouth! In the Gospels, Peter is consistently getting in his own way and opposing himself. Yet God got a hold of his heart and he later became one of the greatest disciples and witnesses for Jesus Christ. Eventually, he was even used by God to pen the books of First and Second Peter, throughout which his compassion and love for the Lord is clearly seen.

Peter is a reminder that no matter how rough my personality may be, or that of someone else around me, God can work and use that personality for His glory. Are we willing to allow him to soften those edges that need it?

2. Strengthens the Spirit – John Mark

John Mark would be the opposite of Peter. This is the guy who, from what we read in Scripture, doesn’t seem to be able to handle the difficult life of service to work with the Apostle Paul. However, through the working of the Holy Spirit and the patience of a man of God, John Mark eventually is built up to the place that Paul says, “…Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.” God strengthened His spirit, and emboldened his will.

May we submit to God for the same. Too often I find my boldness for Christ lacking and my spirit is weak. My hope and prayer then is that, as in John Mark, God might mold and strengthen me to be “profitable…for the ministry.”

3. Sustains the Power – Moses

In Deuteronomy 34:7, the Bible records the death of Moses with some unique observations. The Scripture says: “…nor his natural force abated.” His natural power, boldness, and strength of personality did not fade away as he aged. This is in opposition to the natural flow of life. As we age, our natural force weakens and deteriorates. This is evident throughout our world. This did not occur in the life of Moses. He was as powerful of a man in speech and presence at 120 years old as at 40. How was this possible?  God sustained Moses’ personality for His purpose.

The lesson is this: Those aspects of ourselves which we have “put off” do not ever again need to be put back on.  God can sustain those good fixes. If we will be continually surrendered to Him. As we fulfill God’s purpose, He sustains who we are to accomplish His task.

More and more, I marvel that an almighty God would reach down and continue to work and mold me into His image. Even with all the personality traits that irritate, the prominent faults in temperament, and the battle against the flesh in day to day living, God can and will continue to conform me, and His willing children, to the image of Jesus Christ.

Russell Holland
Missionary to Norway