Tag: restore

Jul 30 the Good Shepherd

For many believers, the 23rd Psalm is a passage of scripture known by heart. Many more are familiar enough to recognize the phrases that describe the Shepherd’s care.

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But what do all the references really mean?  I have only seen sheep in petting zoos and on back roads in sheep country.  I really don’t know very much about them.  And the impressions I have are not too favorable toward them being a smart or regal animal.

But I have read a wonderful book written by an actual shepherd who takes each verse and explains it from the perspective of a shepherd, and why the sheep need and value each specific thing in this Psalm.

I understand that You, Lord God, are the Good Shepherd, who plans for, provides for, cares for, calms, protects, feeds, guides, restores, heals, comforts, and sacrifices for, even lays down Your life for, the sheep.  And I am that sheep.

Thank You Father that You are my Shepherd.  Other sheep have masters who do not care about them.  They go hungry and become diseased, living a life without shelter or protection.  But You provide all things for me.  You meet my every need.

You provide a place for me to rest that is full of the nourishment I need and free from pests, aggravation from the rest of the flock, and fear of predators.  You lead me where clean, fresh, shallow water stands still for me to drink from so I don’t become sick from dirty, poisoned water.  Or get dragged down or carried a way in deep, rushing water.

When I become world-weary and feel discouraged, depressed, and are down-cast, You renew me.  You give me hope, and bring restoration to my life

Father, thank You for showing me a good, right way to live that will bring honor to Your name.  Left alone I would go my own way and become entrapped in the selfish, greedy ways of the world.  Thank You that even in the darkest places, where I am the most vulnerable, You go with me and protect me.  You bring me through these valleys to a higher place.

You drive away the predators who seek to devour me with Your rod: a symbol of Your power, authority, and strength.  Thank You that I have Your Word, and that there is power in it.  And that it can also be used as Your staff, to examine, corral, and direct me.  In Your protection and direction I am comforted.

I am blessed Lord, that You have walked this earth before me.  You know every trial, every temptation I will face.  And You have prepared me for it.  Like a shepherd removes the poisonous plants before he brings his sheep to feed, You have prayed for me while I’m in this world.  Even with enemies all around, You stand guard and intercede for me, praying for my faith to be strong.

“You anoint my head with oil” to consecrate and heal me.   For sheep, it is a life saving measure to drive out parasites that would lay eggs causing inflammation, blindness, and death.   The Holy Spirit in my life brings understanding and healing to me.  And overflows my cup with abundance and blessing.

Yet even when there is suffering in my cup, Your suffering on the cross, and the life You poured out for me, pours over into my cup and overflows it with Your strength and vitality and blessing.

Because You are my Shepherd, You bring goodness and mercy into my life.  But You can also help me leave it in my path, as a legacy to others.  I can deposit into other’s lives, blessing, forgiveness, encouragement, inspiration, and peace.   Help me do that.

I choose to be in Your flock, Your household, forever!  I will never leave.  I want to be in Your presence, in Your care, all the days of my life, and then after that, for eternity.  Amen

Psalm 23:1-6; A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller

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Feb 25 Lord have mercy…

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Oh Lord, the commands You give Your people look like the Prime Time TV line up on any given night, or the most popular movies   Our “entertainment” is filled with murder, vampires drinking blood and every form of sexual immorality.  The culture and society of my country have become so profane – I am ashamed.

Looking historically, this nation has become all that Egypt represented in Exodus.  I look at this Psalm, and I pray for the United States: “Lord, have mercy on us, as a nation; heal us, for we have sinned.”

“Deliver us in times of trouble, protect and preserve our life; bless us in this land and do not surrender us to the desire of our foes.  Sustain us on the sickbed of immorality and restore us from our bed of illness” 

“O Lord, have mercy on us; raise us up…Praise be to the God of Israel (and hopefully the God of America) from everlasting to everlasting.  Amen”

Leviticus 17:1-18:30; Psalm 41:1-13

Dec 11 You are the One

michelangelo-71282_1280Father, so many times You sent messages to the people and leaders of Israel to return to You, and they did not. You sent death in famine, drought, blight, locusts, plagues, and military defeats as a way to get their attention. Father, when challenges and difficulties come to me, I will come to You. You are the One who can help and heal me. You are the One who can show me wisdom and how to cope with whatever You allow into my life.

Lord, when it is so easy to fret and worry, and grumble and complain to friends, and look to the world for answers, remind me that the source of all I need is You! Calm my heart when I am anxious. Shut my mouth when I whine. Turn me around when I go toward the world’s solutions. I will pour out my heart to You. I will seek wisdom in Your Word. I will not just talk during prayer, but will listen, so I can hear what You have to say to me. I will open my eyes and ears to discern when You are showing and teaching me; and where You are leading me. I will let go of my own way and humble myself to obey You.

For it is “You who forms the mountains, who creates the wind,  and who reveals Your thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth—    the Lord God Almighty is Your Name.” You are mine, and I belong to You.  You redeem me with Your love, renew me with Your presence, restore me with Your touch. Amen

Amos 4:1-13