Psalm 23-You are with Me

“For you are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4b NKJV

“Just as for the sheep of David’s day there was comfort and consolation in seeing the rod in the shepherd’s skillful hands, so in our day there is great assurance in our own hearts as we contemplate the power, veracity, and potent authority vested in God’s Word. For, in fact, the Scriptures are His rod. They are the extension of His mind and will and intentions to mortal man.”

– W. Phillip Keller, “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23”

“Rather than turn to the other sheep, David turned to the Shepherd. Rather than stare at the problems, he stared at the rod and staff. Because he knew where to look, David was able to say, ‘I will fear no evil’.”

– Max Lucado, “Traveling Light”

Perhaps your circumstances seem overwhelming. If so, look where David looked; to the Shepherd and remember how skilled He is.

“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 in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:1-4 NKJV

Psalm 23-Valley of the Shadow

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…” – Psalm 23:4a NKJ

“It is a most reassuring and reinforcing experience to the child of God to discover that there is, even in the dark valley, a source of strength and courage to be found in God. It is when he can look back over life and see how the Shepherd’s hand has guided and sustained him in the darkest hours that renewed faith is engendered.”

– W. Phillip Keller, “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23”

“For what the shepherd does with the flock, our Shepherd will do with us. He will lead us to the high country. When the pasture is bare down here, God will lead us up there. He will guide us through the gate, out of the flatlands, and up the path of the mountain.”

– Max Lucado, “Traveling Light”

What evil do you fear today? Look ahead and see the immense strength of the One leading; and catch a glimpse of the affirmation in His eyes.

“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 in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…” – Psalm 23:1-4a NKJV

Psalm 23-He Leads Me

“He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” – Psalm 23:3b NKJV

“When the desire for self-assertion, self-aggrandizement, self-pleasing gives way to the desire for simply pleasing God and others, much of the fret and strain is drained away from daily living. A hallmark of the serene soul is the absence of “drive”, at least “drive” for self-determination. The person who is prepared to put his personal life and personal affairs in the Master’s hands for His management and direction has found the place of rest in fresh fields each day. These are the ones who find time and energy to please others.”

– W. Phillip Keller, “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23”

“God is righteous. His decrees are righteous (Rom. 1:32). His judgment is righteous (Rom. 2:5). His requirements are righteous (Rom. 8:4). His acts are righteous (Dan. 9:16). Daniel declared, ‘Our God is right in everything he does’ (Dan. 9:14). God is never wrong. He has never rendered a wrong decision, experienced a wrong attitude, taken the wrong path, said the wrong thing, or acted the wrong way. He is never too late or too early, too loud or soft, too fast or too slow. He has always been and always will be right. He is righteous.”

– Max Lucado, “Traveling Light”

When we follow His lead, the destination is right. Are you willing to let Him lead you along His path today?

“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 in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” – Psalm 23:1-3 NKJV

Psalm 23-Restoration

“He restores my soul…” – Psalm 23:3a NKJV

“When I read the life story of Jesus Christ and examine carefully His conduct in coping with human need, I see Him again and again as the Good Shepherd picking up “cast” [fallen] sheep. The tenderness, the love, the patience that He used to restore Peter’s soul after the terrible tragedy of his temptations is a classic picture of the Christ coming to restore one of His own.”

– W. Phillip Keller, “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23”

“Our Shepherd majors in restoring hope to the soul. Whether you are a lamb lost on a craggy ledge or a city slicker alone in a deep jungle, everything changes when your rescuer appears. Your loneliness diminishes because you have fellowship. Your despair decreases, because you have vision. Your confusion begins to lift, because you have direction.”

– Max Lucado, “Traveling Light”

Hope and a sense of well-being are a natural product of His restoration. If you need restoration; it’s available. If you’ve experienced restoration; give thanks. If someone else needs restoration; please share.

“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…” – Psalm 23:1-3a NKJV

Psalm 23-Still Waters

“He leads me beside the still waters.” – Psalm 23:2b NKJV

“All the long and complex history of earth’s religions, pagan worship, and human philosophy is bound up with this insatiable thirst for God. David, when he composed Psalm 23, knew this…‘He [the Good Shepherd] leadeth me beside the still waters.’ In other words, He alone knows where the still, quiet, deep, clean, pure water is to be found that can satisfy His sheep and keep them fit.”

– W. Phillip Keller, “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23”

“He leads me. God isn’t behind me yelling, ‘Go!’ He is ahead of me bidding, ‘Come!’”

– Max Lucado, “Traveling Light”

Is your soul “leadable” today? There is deep, satisfying refreshment to be found in 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.” – Psalm 23:1-2 NKJV

Psalm 23-Green Pastures

“He makes me to lie down in green pastures…” – Psalm 23:2a NKJV

“[For sheep] it is significant that to be at rest there must be a definite sense of freedom from fear, tension, aggravations, and hunger. The unique aspect of the picture is that it is only the sheepman himself who can provide release from these anxieties.

– W. Phillip Keller, “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23”

“Green pastures were not the natural terrain of Judea. The hills around Bethlehem where David kept his flock were not lush and green…hence when David says, ‘He makes me lie down in green pastures,’ he is saying, ‘My Shepherd makes me lie down in his finished work.’ With his own pierced hands, Jesus created a pasture for the soul. He tore out the thorny underbrush of condemnation. He pried loose the huge boulders of sin. In their place he planted seeds of grace and dug ponds of mercy. And he invites us to rest there.”

– Max Lucado, “Traveling Light”

Is your soul genuinely at rest today? His pasture is well-prepared…

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures…” – Psalm 23:1-2a NKJV

The Return of Mommy Guilt

Dear Moms,

Sunday was your day. There was honor and recognition; and as it should be, we celebrated you. By now though, it’s back to the work, worry, and wishing for more time in the day before collapsing on the couch or bed. And with the celebration over, that pesky thing called “mommy guilt” may be returning. Over the years in ministry, I’ve heard moms talk about various feelings of guilt associated with motherhood, and if that’s happening to you, please consider a few thoughts today:

  • There really is only one of you – Contrary to popular belief, there were no extra hours added to the clock when you brought your first “bundle of joy” home. The daily limit of 24 hours forces us all to make choices. The cyclical nature of a day is a creation of God, and is for our benefit. Make your decisions based on the right priorities before the Lord, then choose not to worry over the rest. Once you do, don’t let circumstances or people cause you to second-guess your choices.
  • Don’t give up on discipline – Being consistent with discipline can cause all kinds of anxiety. The fear of being the “mean parent”, or the threat of the “silent treatment” from a teen can bring a strong temptation to give in. And yes, the same kid that gave you a sweet card on Sunday, can also be the one defying you today. Proper discipline is born from a heart of love. The Bible teaches that the Lord corrects us because He loves us, and wants the best for us (Proverbs 3:12). Please don’t give in, (they really will be better off for it).
  • Leave the results to the Lord – There is a natural inclination to feel responsible for the “end-result” of our parenting choices; but the truth is, we’re responsible for the parenting, not the end-result. Our job is to teach, model, and reinforce the truth. There is a point where our children must own their faith, and own their choices. Our culture doesn’t teach personal responsibility anymore, but those of us in the family of God must because it’s a biblical principle. Yes, continue to love your kids and invest in them, but trust the Lord and leave the results to Him.

Moms, thank you for holding our families, our churches and our society together. You’re often the unsung hero behind many personal stories. Please don’t let guilt rob you of joy today, and please keep doing what you’re doing!

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