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.
3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.[b]
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him.
11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart
3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
7 Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy peace and prosperity.
12 The wicked plot against the righteous
and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he knows their day is coming.
14 The wicked draw the sword
and bend the bow
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose ways are upright.
15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken.
16 Better the little that the righteous have
than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.
18 The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither;
in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.
20 But the wicked will perish:
Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field,
they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.
21 The wicked borrow and do not repay,
but the righteous give generously;
22 those the Lord blesses will inherit the land,
but those he curses will be destroyed.
23 The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
25 I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be a blessing.[b]
27 Turn from evil and do good;
then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the Lord loves the just
and will not forsake his faithful ones.
Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed[c];
the offspring of the wicked will perish.
29 The righteous will inherit the land
and dwell in it forever.
30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
and their tongues speak what is just.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts;
their feet do not slip.
32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous,
intent on putting them to death;
33 but the Lord will not leave them in the power of the wicked
or let them be condemned when brought to trial.
34 Hope in the Lord
and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.
35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man
flourishing like a luxuriant native tree,
36 but he soon passed away and was no more;
though I looked for him, he could not be found.
39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
Adapted from rbc.org/
One winter night composer Johann Sebastian Bach was scheduled to debut a new composition. He arrived at the church expecting it to be full. Instead, he learned that no one had come. Without missing a beat, Bach told his musicians that they would still perform as planned. They took their places, Bach raised his baton, and soon the empty church was filled with magnificent music.
New writers are often advised to visualize one person they are writing to as a way of staying focused. I do this when I write devotionals; I try to keep readers in mind because I want to say something they will want to read and that will help them on their spiritual journey.
I doubt that the “devotional writer” David, whose psalms we turn to for comfort and encouragement, had “readers” in mind. The only audience he had in mind was God.
Whether our “deeds,” mentioned in Matthew 6, are works of art or acts of service, we should keep in mind that they’re really between us and God. Whether or not anyone else sees does not matter. He is our audience.
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations…
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the LORD your God, who has set you apart from the nations.
Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call to him.
Do you ever feel lonely, isolated, alone? Do you ever wonder “where have all the people gone”? I think these are natural thoughts from time to time, but we need to think about the root of why we are thinking them, not trying to find the answer to the questions and the feelings they can bring.
When you are a Christian, finding the root of what you are thinking about and who the source of the thought is, is critical. Satan comes as an angel of light, and if we don’t put a hedge up around our minds and our thinking, he can easily come in appearing to be an innocent sheep, when he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing!
I had a pastor’s wife years ago who had struggled with her thought life. She was and is one of the wisest ladies I know. I have never seen anyone in my life hear from God as she does! How did she go from fighting tormenting thoughts to being a loving, praying powerhouse for God? She began to ask a simple question when thoughts began to flood her mind. That question was and still is, “Who’s talking?” When she began to take every single thought “captive” that didn’t bring her joy or honor and praise to God, she knew who the source of that thought was. Soon, she and the Holy Spirit were in control of her thinking and she hasn’t stopped propelling into the things of the spirit since.
Satan loves to come and tell you how useless you are, how nobody ever calls, how you are all by yourself, but have you ever stopped to wonder why you are really alone? Or could you be ‘set apart‘? I have found when I am having extended periods of ‘alone time’ it is because God wants me to be alone with Him. If I will go into prayer and praise during these times, I find there are mighty plans, purposes, and direction God is wanting to talk to me about. He is in the still small voice when we are “set apart” from the crowds, not in the noisy restaurants, shopping malls, or the movies where it is loud and we are concentrated on anything and everything but Him. When we realize we haven’t been left alone by friends and family, but we are being set apart from the crowds for prayer, our whole perspective changes on being by ourselves! We are never alone because God is with us, and that is when He is ready to have time with you!
Take advantage of these ‘set apart’ times, precious reader. This is where you get the ‘mind of Christ‘ and where the Holy Spirit will pray out vital things to your present and to you and your family’s future! You will actually become excited the phone DIDN’T ring, because you know now what that means. A blessing and the instruction you need to have it fully is coming your way!
God bless you, dear reader!! I will see you soon! Simply, Juliana