Tag Archives: he restores my soul

Psalm 23

If you’re like me, you memorized Psalm 23 as a kid and have been quoting it since. I’m all for memorizing Bible verses and teaching them to children. However, sometimes we can lose the significance of passages when we’ve read them or heard them so many times. Even though I’ve read the Bible through several times, one of the things I do is pray before reading. I ask God to help me see it with fresh eyes, to open my mind to understand it and to give me revelation knowledge of it. I don’t want to skip through stories or chapters just because I know what happens or can recite from memory. On those especially, I take my time pouring over every word and digging through it using commentary tools as well as original language meanings.

Psalm 23 starts with, “The Lord is my shepherd.” First of all, this is a declarative statement. He’s not just saying it. He’s confessing it and making a statement. The Lord IS my shepherd. It’s not might be or could be. Then he personalizes it. The Lord is MY shepherd. Our mind likes to tell us that God cares for everyone but us. That’s a lie! He is your personal shepherd who knows your personal needs and takes care of them so that you shall not want. Quit skipping out on asking God to meet your needs because there are so many others who have more important or desperate needs. He is YOUR shepherd and is able to shepherd others as well as you on a personal level. Their needs are no more difficult to answer to Him than yours. There aren’t levels of needs to Him, but there are different levels of faith and trust in Him as your shepherd.

The next verse says that He makes me lie down in green pastures. God knows you need rest at times because you’re always on the go. He wants to lead us to a peaceful place to just be. It’s a place where you put down the facade and the mask. You don’t have to be “on” all the time. He instituted the Sabbath for a reason. Since we ignore it, He is still trying to shepherd us to rest because our shepherd knows we need it. He also tries to lead us to still waters. These waters are a place of refreshing. He understands that we need to experience times of refreshing. We try to say we don’t deserve it or we have too much to do to stop and be refreshed, but your shepherd created you and knows what you need. Quit fighting Him and let Him lead you. Quit making excuses and trust Him. When you do, He’ll restore your soul, guide you through the darkest places, prepare a table for you and anoint you so that goodness and mercy will be with you all the days of your life. It all starts with declaring and letting Him be your shepherd.

Photo by Sam Carter on Unsplash

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Slowing Down

I like to say that I’m one of the busiest people I know. I hate down time and being unproductive. It’s been that way since I was a kid. I remember hating taking showers or even having to go to the restroom because they were wasting my time. I grew up to work for a company that embraced busyness and expected it. Most people there didn’t just work 9-5. They took work home and did it in the evening and at night at the expense of family time. With high expectations of busyness and productivity, I thrived and felt at home. Busyness has become a badge of honor, not just at that company, but in our world. We’re constantly on the go, juggling more balls than we can handle, and we’re teaching it to our kids.

I think that’s why so many of us are struggling with being quarantined with this pandemic. It’s forcing us to slow down and rest. It has fundamentally altered our life and schedule, and so many people are feeling unproductive because of it. I believe it’s part of God’s plan to make us rest and reset though. He’s the one who instituted a day of rest even before the fall of man, but we haven’t been good about honoring that commandment. To me, this is like God slowing us down to teach us that life goes on even if you’re not busy. The bonus is that you get to rest and reset your priorities in the process.

Psalm 23 is one of the most famous passages in scripture, but have you really listened to the 2nd and 3rd verses? They say, “He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still and quiet waters. He refreshes and restores my soul (life)” (AMP). The way I memorized it said, “He MAKES me lie down…” God’s plan for us is not to be busy, but to restore us and to refresh us. If we won’t take the time to do it, He’ll lead us into those places of rest. If you’re going nuts during this time, change your perspective to see that God is leading you to green pastures so that you can get unbusy and rest. Let Him refresh your life and help you to reset how you live going forward.

Photo by Hector Gomez on Unsplash

If you’d like to read up on how to do that better, my friend Dr. Garland Vance wrote a book called “Gettin’ Unbusy” to help you. Buy it here.

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The Lord Is My Shepherd

  
Psalm 23 has to be the most memorized chapter in the Bible. Like me, you may have memorized it as a child. If you’ve seen any funeral in a movie or TV, you’ve definitely heard it being read. When something like that is ingrained in us, we tend to glaze over it when we hear it. We know we know it, so we don’t really pay attention to what it’s saying. If you stop and think about it, there are some powerful truths just in the first few verses.

In the first verse, we read, “THE Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack” (AMP). Think about that. The Lord watches over you personally like a shepherd watches sheep. He makes sure that you are fed, protected, and on the right path. You have everything you need in Him. There’s no need to panic today because your shepherd is watching over you making sure you have everything you need.

Verse two says, “He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.” God knows we all need times of rest and refreshing. We are constantly on the go, looking for greener pastures. God says to us, “Follow me and I will give you rest.” You don’t have to go looking for them, you just have to be willing to be led by Him. You have to give up your rights and submit to the authority of your shepherd. When you do, you will find the greener pastures and rest you’ve been looking for.

Verse three confirms that by saying, “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.” Not only does God refresh you, He restores you. He gives back what has been taken from you. He also leads you into the paths of life that please Him. He does all of this not because you’ve done anything. He does it because He loves you and cares for you.

Even if you’ve been the sheep that has gone astray or fought against being shepherded, we know that God loves you enough to find you where you are, in the condition you’re in, to lovingly bring you to the fold. He doesn’t wait for lost sheep to find Him. He’s proactively looking for you because He knows your life will be better with His flock. He will leave 99 to find just one sheep. That’s the kind of shepherd we have. He gives us everything we need, He leads us to restful places, and He restores our lives. We just have to be willing to be a part of His flock.

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