1 The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.
2 He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.
3 He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.
4 Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with [a]oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.
6 Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.
I knew this day was coming. I have not been caught off guard or by surprise, but I still feel disappointed it did. I knew when we sold our house there would not be another waiting just around the corner in time. I have been to this dog and pony show before. At the same time, I didn’t expect it would take so long to find another house.
I would love to be able to walk into Wal-Mart, ask someone where their ‘Houses for Sale’ aisle is and just pick up what I want and need, land and all! I really didn’t think it would be much harder than that. We sold when God told us to and I just thought we would wait about a month at the most and BAM, there would be our reward for prompt obedience! It isn’t happening exactly like that.
Evidently we are going through a ‘maturing’ phase, a trust phase, and a ‘don’t you dare be jealous of someone else’s blessing’ phase! I have heard in the last month of two couples we know that found MY dream home, and paid next to nothing for it…well they paid what we were looking to pay.
Oh, my eyes turned heavenward and, in all honesty, these thoughts came to my mind, “That is great God, but where is mine? Really? Seriously? They turn a corner, look up one classified, and there it is! I am scouring every resource I can find and coming up with nothing! Forgive me, Father! I am happy for them, but I am the blessed, too and I have waited for 30 years on this.”
I have to be honest, dear reader, I truly don’t know what the lesson is. I have searched my heart and soul, had hubby search his and soul and, not that we are perfect, we truly can’t find anything that is so horrible that it would make us homeless and living in someone else’s backyard in a travel trailer.
I am grateful we have a place to live, be it ever so humble. Many tonight will sleep on concrete and have next to nothing to eat in the days and weeks to come. Nevertheless, this is NOT the blessing of Abraham we have been promised and I know God doesn’t lie.
I think my greatest concern is can I hear Him as I need to? Did He try to tell me about the house in the country that was a ‘steal’, did He try to move us to another state, did He try to tell me what classified to look at, or even what prayer I should have prayed to receive what I need, and was I to ditsy not to hear it? Did I miss Him? I don’t know.
I do take this comfort in knowing sheep are truly stupid animals. They will literally walk off a cliff and accidentally kill themselves if the shepherd isn’t watching closely. We are compared to sheep for a reason. My Shepherd is watching, and oh how I long to feel and know His guidance. He will not allow me to walk off a cliff into a pit of bad decisions, and He will lead me by His Spirit. In the meantime, I pray I can rest in the pasture I have been placed in for this time and remember my Shepherd can always be trusted to do what is best for all the sheep, including me.
New King James Version (NKJV)
24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
And He who formed you from the womb:
“I am the Lord, who makes all things,
Who stretches out the heavens all alone,
Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;
25 Who frustrates the signs of the babblers,
And drives diviners mad;
Who turns wise men backward,
And makes their knowledge foolishness;
26 Who confirms the word of His servant,
28 We are assured and know that [[a]God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
18 The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow….
One of the greatest hindrances to answered prayer is offense. Recently I was perusing a book on prayer and this jumped out at me. It was titled “Unforgiveness Hinders Your Prayers”. The last part of the Lord’s Prayer which Jesus prayed brings to light a very important principle.
Prayer will not work in an unforgiving heart. You cannot hold things against people and be offended and maintain a prayer life that is successful and gets results. It is so important for this to be realized and for it to be a true revelation to our minds!
In Ken Hagin’s workbook on prayer, he tells us this:
It is so natural, so human, to hold things against people; it is part of our carnal nature. I have had people who were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, but who were not walking in the best of fellowship with the Lord, tell me just how badly they had been treated by someone. They would tell me in great detail what So-and-so did to them.
Then they would say, ‘Oh, yes, I have forgiven him, alright. But I will never forget how they treated me” (talking about their brother or sister in the Lord). So, you see, they really hadn’t forgiven that person. Unforgiveness was still in their hearts because it showed up in what they said.
In many cases people need help because they’re frustrated and mentally confused because they are harboring offenses on the inside of them against people. They need to forgive. Their frustration and confusion can many times be attributed to their unforgiveness.
I have read that medical doctors have found that resentment causes some people to be more prone to certain types of diseases. The doctors said that when they could get these people to get rid of resentment, often their ailments cleared up, when before they had not responded to treatment.
We are learning more and more how unforgiveness is connected to sickness and disease and ultimately with unanswered prayer. These things are all related. We don’t want anything to hinder our prayer lives.
As you can see, satan has tied many issues to offense from our health to our power in prayer, or lack thereof. No wonder the Bible tells us to beware of offense for a chance to be offended will come on a daily basis! We will delve deeper in this soon. We will find out why it is important to know the strategy of our enemy and how to successfully counteract it!
God bless you! See you soon!!
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Not long ago, I observed a young woman who I was very impressed with. She was happy, loved her life, was well-rounded and well-adjusted. She loved her family and took great joy in the simple pleasures of life.
I noticed not long ago she had put something up on Facebook that went something like this, “I get so annoyed by ignorant people.” It wasn’t long until I noticed she didn’t seem as full of joy as she had been. I noticed she wasn’t interacting with others as I had seen her do before. I noticed her posts were getting to be fewer and when she did post, the happiness and joy did not seem to hold the same intensity that was so rich it blessed me to just think about it.
I began to wonder what happened, but I didn’t have to wonder long to know she was offended. My heart was just crushed over this! Why? Because I used to be offended. I know what follows if you don’t deal with it and deal with it quickly.
Offense carries with it a multitude of problems! First comes the offense, then comes anger over the offense, then come walls of ‘protection’ when they are actually prison walls set firmly in place by satan, himself. After the prison walls go up, you find yourself more and more isolated. The more isolated you become the more lonely you are. You find people don’t want to be around you the way they had in the past. Why? Because you have become negative, quick-tempered, and irritable. Gone is your joy, your peace, your gratitude for God‘s great blessings because you are consumed by the one or ones who ‘annoyed’ you! You are miserable and so are the people around you.
Your marriage begins to feel it because your heart has changed. You have literally begun to change. Your children are no longer the joy they once were because you have become negative and satan is sure to make certain the littlest things now get under your skin. You have left your love walk and opened the door to strife.
You are no longer the powerhouse in God you once were. Why? Because you are letting a different voice have precedence in your mind, and without realizing it, it is the voice of the devil! You were baited and you took it and now you are on the hook. He will pull and push you wherever he wants.
He will pull you out of church because the people you once loved and loved seeing now are flashing neon signs of problems to you. He will infiltrate your home and the love of your life will be someone you ‘need time’ away from. You will become exhausted with dealing with the smallest of things, including your children, because you blame their noisy play and refusal to go down for their nap for your lack of peace and your new-found stress. You have been deceived and trapped.
Offense is a poison. It quickly turns into bitterness and when it does it spreads like a cancer! My great-grandmother had a beautiful wisteria bush in her yard. She loved to garden! She would plant different plants in cans and they would thrive! She had planted the wisteria bush quite a few feet from one of her towering oak trees. She had several oaks in her yard and it was beautiful! There wasn’t anything she couldn’t grow, or bring back to life…until the wisteria bush was planted.
The wisteria bush began to grow, and it began to crawl. What started out as a small plant in Grandma‘s yard began to reach out and grow beyond the space she intended for it to occupy. It crept across until it reached the beautiful oak tree. It began to wrap itself around the bottom of the tree, then it began to climb and wrap its vine around and around the tree. It wrapped and wrapped and tightened its grip and with each day it grew. It was not long until the wisteria had literally taken over the towering oak tree and choked the life out it until it was dead. The wisteria dug in and took the tree over and even Grandma could not stop it. God can’t stop it either. You have made a choice and you have been given a free will. He has to allow what you allow because He will not and cannot violate your will. Be careful who and what you give permission to occupy any part of your life!
Offense and bitterness are the same way. What starts as a small seed grows quickly. It spreads from a small annoyance to all out dislike. Soon it isn’t just one person, it is several you have become ‘annoyed’ with and critical of. The root of your offense is growing. Its tentacles are reaching into every part of your life until it chokes the very life of love out of you that once flowed so freely and beautifully! It chokes out your joy. It chokes out your blessings. You no longer look forward to the day, but dread it because you are squeezed and the pressure is uncomfortable instead of being free to bloom as you once were!
God is love. You were full of that love at one time. That is when you felt close to God and now He seems so distant. Why? Because you are bound and the nutrients of His love and Spirit have been blocked. You were destined to be a powerhouse for God and now you just can’t seem to concentrate on God like you used to. Satan knew what you were destined to be. He knew if he could get your eyes on the wrong thing, he could stop your progress and your future and all the mighty works that would have brought great glory to God and all the blessings He had for you would be lost.
No longer would people look and see you shining, but they would look and see someone they pray they will never become. From the palace to the pit is what satan intended and that is what he accomplished. You had it all, and because someone was ignorant, instead of praying for them and walking on in love, you let it become your hindrance and stopping point in God! If you ask me, that is what is ignorant! Knowing you did it and not doing anything about it is just plain foolishness!
Go to God and confess if you have any offense in your heart. Get rid of all malice and wrath as the Word tells us. God will deal with those people, and if they refuse to change don’t let it change you! Allow God to cleanse you and preserve you. Allow Him to bring back your joy and your love for others! You will never be happy any other way.