Tag: Psalm 23

Claiming the Promises of the Psalms: The Promise of Abundance

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever

Psalm 23:4b-6

I often cringe when I see a spiritual article mention “abundance” because it is often a take on “prosperity theology”, but the reality is a relationship with God promises abundance in spite of the valley of the shadow of death (or as one commentator put it, “our darkest valley”); in spite of evil; and in spite of my enemies. The abundance David speaks of is the same abundance Jesus spoke of when He said, “I have come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

The prevailing promise of Psalm 23 is the Shepherd Himself. First (v. 1-3) David describes the Lord as the Shepherd Who provides what we need. Then (v. 4-6) David speaks directly to Him acknowledging that He gives us much more than we need. Christians now live in the abundant provision of our ever-loving, ever-caring, ever-interceding Good Shepherd. In our future is a time when God will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes because of the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne [Who] will shepherd [us] (Revelation 7:17).

God calls His children His sheep. Sheep are not capable of caring for themselves. Neither are we. Sheep and children need guidance – in times of peace and in times of turmoil. It is comforting to know that our Shepherd provides correction and direction for all times.Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Sheep are defenseless and can not ward off an attack by a predator. That’s the Shepherd’s job. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord (Romans 12:19). Leave the situation to the Shepherd. He will take care of it. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. God wants to honor us – undeserving as we are. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one (John 17:22). Our sacrificial Shepherd died so that we might share His glory. What an amazing thought!

This promise is for the present and the future. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Knowing the Lord as our eternal Shepherd is the abundance we are promised. What more could we ask for?

Claiming the Promises of the Psalms: The Promise of the Good Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd….I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep and am known by My own

Psalm 23:1; John 10:14

Maybe knowing the Lord as your shepherd calms your anxious thoughts as it does mine.

God has always promised to shepherd His people. Because He knows me, His care includes:

  • providing what I need – spiritually and physically (I shall not want)
  • refreshment and rest (He makes me lie down in green pastures)
  • calm in a world of turmoil (He leads me beside the still waters)
  • renewing my strength (He restores my soul)
  • guiding me along right paths (He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake)

At one time in America, the expression, “He is as good as his word,” meant one could be trusted to do what he said he would do. In those days, contracts were made “on a handshake” because a man’s name and reputation were more important to him than anything else. That is no longer the standard. But for God, who does not change, He still is as good as His Word. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14a). For His name’s sake, my Shepherd committed Himself to care for me and all His sheep.

We do not know whether David wrote this psalm as a young shepherd or after he occupied his throne. One thing we do know. David was aware he needed a shepherd. The same shepherd who never left David’s side as a shepherd boy is the same shepherd who would lead David through the enormous responsibility of being king and ancestor to the Good Shepherd.

The Lord shepherds His own and assigns people – such as David – to glimpse how that is done. His ultimate example was His own Son – sent to live among His sheep, care for them, and prepare them for an eternal place of peace and security.

These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this!

Isaiah 9:6-7 NLT

God continues to fulfill His promises – for his name’s sake.

He has promised to lead – we just need to follow.

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway.

Psalm 23:3,85:13

In The Shepherd’s Arm

 

f720a6Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand,

and His arm shall rule for Him;

Behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.

He will feed His flock like a shepherd;

He will gather the lambs with His arm,

and carry them in His bosom

and gently lead those who are with young

(Isaiah 40:10-11).

In the Shepherd’s arm, He carries me in His bosom – close to His heart.

For He is our God,

And we are the people of His pasture,

And the sheep of His hand.

Today, if you will hear His voice:

(Psalm 95:7).

Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice 

(John 18:37).

In the Shepherd’s arm, His is the first voice I hear. Even closer than my ear, He speaks to my heart.th-2

I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own .

As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father;

and I lay down My life for the sheep.

And other sheep I have which are not of this fold;

them also I must bring,

and they will hear My voice;

and there will be one flock and one shepherd

(John 10:14-16).

In the Shepherd’s arm, I am part of His flock, the family of God. The Good Shepherd is big enough and strong enough to carry all of us – He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom (Isaiah 40:10). We are all close to His heart.

My sheep hear My voice,

and I know them,

and they follow Me (John 10:27).

“And where I go you know and the way you know…

I am the way, the truth, and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through Me”

(John 14:4, 6).

In the Shepherd’s arm, I know wherever He takes me is the right way to go.

th-1Know that the Lord, He is God;

It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;

We are His people and the sheep of His pasture

(Psalm 100:3).

You are My flock,

the flock of My pasture;

you are men, and I am your God,” says the Lord God

(Ezekiel 34:31).

In the Shepherd’s arm, I know I belong to Him.

The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake

(Psalm 23:1-3).

In the Shepherd’s arm, I can rest in His presence, trust in His protection.

And the glory which You gave Me I have given them,

that they may be one just as We are one;

I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one,

and that the world may know that You have sent Me,

and have loved them as You have loved Me

(John 17:22-23).

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead,

that great Shepherd of the sheep,

ththrough the blood of the everlasting covenant,

make you complete in every good work to do His will,

working in you what is well pleasing in His sight,

through Jesus Christ,

to whom be glory forever and ever.

Amen

(Hebrews 13:20-21).

In the Shepherd’s arm, we can glorify Him.

© Stephanie B. Blake

December 2016

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Situational Awareness: A Life Principle

Situational awareness is a term familiar to pilots. Flight instructors teach their students that it is imperative to hone their observation skills: to be aware of everything around them at any given moment and in every circumstance. They must be prepared to react to anything unexpected in the flight path.

The same is true for operating any moving vehicle. When the operator loses focus or is distracted, he is no longer situationally aware and can put himself and others in danger. That is the reason cell phone usage while driving has been outlawed in many places.

Whenever possible, my husband and I try to start our day with a walk. He is the leader. I follow. I need to observe his every move. If he turns left, I need to turn left. If he crosses the street, I need to go with him. It is not as easy as it sounds because I have a tendency to lag behind. I have on occasion lost sight of him and for a brief moment, have a sense of panic.

I need to keep my eyes on him not only because I want to walk with him, but also because I often don’t know where I am. God neglected to put a compass in my brain. Since I am also inclined to fall, I have to watch the ground and him at the same time. One morning, God provided a big stick for me to use as a walking stick and that did help a great deal. I was able to keep my balance and enjoy the surroundings a bit more since I didn’t have to keep my eyes on the path every second. I enjoy the walks, but I do have to be situationally aware of my husband’s leadership and my surroundings.

A believer also needs to be situationally aware. There are lots of obstacles on the path of life. In order not to be tripped up requires a constant focus on Jesus. As the living Word, He is our guide. It is up to us to finely develop observation skills so that we recognize when we have deviated from the path He has chosen for us. It is possible to ask for help and get back on the right path again, but when we realize we have lost sight of Jesus, there can be a moment of panic. His written word can serve as a rod to guide us. As we hold it dearly in our minds and our hearts, it is easier to keep our eyes on Him.

The Lord is my shepherd. . . He leads me beside the still waters. . . He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His names’s sake. . .I will fear no evil; for You are with me: Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:1,2,3,4).