“ONLY” what a powerful word!

Psalm 23:6  “Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD as long as I live.” (HCSB)

“Only”…

Somehow that simple word is so powerful in this verse. It means nothing else but “goodness and faithful love will pursue me”. ONLY those wonderful things will come after me to overtake me; ONLY those will work to make my life better; ONLY those will come after me for the rest of my life!

WOW! I’m not quite sure I can wrap my brain around that. Especially in this journey, as I see myself pretty jacked up, and technically speaking, I am. I am working through this journey the best I can with the help that is available. The help God has led me to (still waters and green pastures from Vv 2).

A friend of mine in my monthly men’s group had some great insight when I shared that I was struggling with writing down my feelings of things past. He simply said, “Maybe God has already healed you of those things, so why try to dig them up?”

God does meet me right where I am; He loves me just as I am; but loves me more than to leave me where I am. Thus the journey continues.

I heard this verse this morning – Philippians 3:13 “Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead,”

It was explained that only two things can ruin our focus and the gift of today; the regrets of yesterday, and the worries of tomorrow…both things that we have no control over.

Here’s to today!

Thanks for checking in to One Shepherd’s Stance for today!

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When darkness falls.

Darkness is such a big part of depression, whether we like it or not, we will go through dark valleys.

Psalm 23:4 “Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff — they comfort me.”

Going through it is the key I think. The psalmist did not say, ‘When I get stuck’, he said through. Depression is one thing that many people go through or are in, and as the old cliche’ states, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!”

I am in no way belittling this illness that I and others struggle with. But when I take a moment and make the correlation between this psalm and my journey through depression, I know I have nothing to fear, no danger can overtake me.

He is with me through this. Even His implements for correction, His rod and staff, give me comfort.

I wrote in the third installment of this musing of Psalm 23, “He renews my life.”; this weekend He will be doing that by allowing my Honey and me to get away and hide.

In nine years of ministry, this will be only the sixth or seventh Sunday I have taken off, two of which were when I was in Israel back in ’07. We will be “off grid” for the most part. But with it being Father’s Day, this is how I will honor my Heavenly Father, by getting some rest.

Then I get to come home to a BBQ with my kids and grand daughters…
It’s gonna be a good weekend! Happy Father’s Day to all you dad’s out there!

That’s this shepherd’s stance for today!

Need renewing? I’m not talking face-lift here!

More musing on Psalm 23

Psalm 23:3  “He renews my life;  He leads me along the right paths for His name’s sake.”

What is it to be renewed? And when it is your life…this is huge!

For me to be renewed its kinda like a remodel on a house. The base is still there, but there is a bunch of stuff that needs to be torn out and changed.  Some things can stay, but for the most part its gonna take more than just a coat or two of paint. And in my case, through this journey of discovery and depression…some of it is painful.

If I don’t take the right steps, then I can go tumbling off course in a big mess. That’s the second part of the verse above…

” He leads me along the right paths“. Some versions say “paths of righteousness”. Does this mean that I will be floating along some yellow brick road with no obstacles? Not a chance!

Remember, this psalm was written by a shepherd who wrote about what he knew. If you live in cattle country that has hills, then you’ve seen paths of righteousness, you probably just didn’t know it. While standing on that hill in Israel watching that shepherd and being taught about this psalm, this is what we saw…

He Leads me on the right paths!

He Leads me on the right paths!

See those faint lines on the hill, and there are some in the foreground also. Those are right paths, narrow trails along the side of hill and mountains, one false step and you’re on loose soil. But He leads, so I just have to follow! (And yes, those are camels you see!)

And its “for His name’s sake”, which means He is doing the leading for my good and He gets the glory for it.

Oh that I can follow well during this journey!

That’s this shepherd’s stance for today, thanks for checking in!

 

How green do we need it?

My continued musings on Psalm 23 and its correlation to my journey…

Psalm 23:2 “He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.”

Most people read the above verse and think lush green pastures and a wonderfully serene, meandering stream. Much like the photo below…

Image

If only life was like this all the time!

But it is not always that way. Remember that moment on the bus I wrote about where we had 30 seconds to get off the bus? We were coming out the Salt Sea basin, one of the lowest points on earth,  its a desert wasteland. It has huge wadi’s that can be flooded in a matter of moments if there is rain in the higher elevations. Water does not meander here, grass is not lush here…

The shepherd on the hill ever watching his flock.

The shepherd on the hill ever watching his flock.

I may not always understand where God is leading me, and it may not look like what I need is there when we get there, but then again I’m not in control and really don’t know what I need. I do know what I want; to be through this rough patch of my journey. But just like the shepherd knowing where to lead his flock to get just the right sustenance along the journey, God knows what I need right when I need it…

the sheep get what they need, when they need it.

the sheep get what they need, when they need it.

Some day I’ll even get to hang out at those still waters all the time, not just the occasional moments like now. Now it mostly feels like a rushing river, but God is still in control of my journey through this, I’m just along for the ride!

Even in the white water, God is in control!

Even in the white water, God is in control!

That’s this shepherd’s stance for today!

What is it to lack?

Here begins my musings on Psalm 23 and how it relates to this journey I’m on…

That's me in the middle!

That’s me in the middle!

“The LORD is my Shepherd there is nothing I lack.” Psalm 23:1

How is it that the One who (the Bible tells me) knew me before I was born and planned out my steps,

then gave His life for me, can be a Shepherd to me also?

First off I’ve got to wrap my brain around this concept of shepherd. I see sheep out in a field in the area I live

and they are fenced in. I generally see no one attending to them, they are just free to roam the area

they have been given to graze.

My youngest daughter raised sheep as her FFA projects.

It was penned except when she put a muzzle harness on it to train it for show or to groom it.

Not so when this psalm was written, nor now if you visit Israel. Sheep had pens that they were put in at night but during the day they follow their shepherd where he leads them.

A shepherd with his flock in Israel March 2007

A shepherd with his flock in Israel March 2007

The shepherd is ever present, watching over his flock with protective eyes while they graze.

While in Israel back in ’07, I had the privilege of seeing many shepherds with their flocks of goats and sheep.

Each had a different way of leading their charges. Some had the traditional shepherd’s crook,

others utilized dogs, some used rocks to guide.
Those who used rocks did not throw them at the sheep, just near them. Sheep are rather skittish creatures, and very defenseless as well. So a well thrown rock will keep them from harm or wandering.

It was actually a shepherd throwing a rock who discovered the Dead Sea scrolls.
The most beautiful sound we heard one day was a shepherd leading their flock while playing a flute, it stopped us in our tracks, all of us were willing to follow that sound.

A shepherd with his flock on the streets of Bethlehem.

A shepherd with his flock on the streets of Bethlehem.

The point in all of this is that when I see that the “LORD is my Shepherd” it means that He is with me in the field on this journey. He is ever watching over my safety, even when I’ve got my head down grazing away.

And therefore “there is nothing I lack”, all I need is Him. Even in this journey through depression, He knows what I need. He knows where I am vulnerable, where I need protection, and where I need to grow. Because I did say “through”, I won’t be here forever I’m told, so while here, in this field, at this time, I will trust my Shepherd and not lack.

That’s this sheperd’s stance for today!