It takes all kinds of people and personalities to make our world sing. When you put a small group of them together, to do life together, it’s a beautiful thing indeed!
We care for and about each other. We share our good days as well as our not so good days. And there’s never a question of judging – we accept and love each other for who we are. That’s a community small group. Find one in your church or community today. Try it. You’ll be glad you did.
A beloved Psalm throughout the ages, Psalm 23 speaks of devotion from our Shepherd, peace and rest, and protection.
But do we really understand what these beautiful Words say?
And how do we meaningfully apply them to our lives?
Here is my take on these timelessly beautiful and peaceful Words. The Words in Burgandy are Scripture, with my interpretation and a little humor on how I have been applying – or NOT applying them to my life in green.
The Lord is my shepherd
(when I allow Him to be)
I shall not want.
(even though I do want – lots of things – I will try not to want unreasonably)
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
(even though often I don’t see them)
He leads me beside quiet waters.
(even though I tend to stir them up)
He restores my soul;
(time, after time, after time)
He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
(This means He guides me when I seek Him. When I forget to seek Him, or ask for His help, more often than not, I end up on the wrong path!)
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
(Sorry God, I know that not having enough money for the things I think I need, is not actually the valley of the shadow of death, nor is having shoe and boot envy! – but I get what you mean here.)
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
(I know You are with me, God, but sometimes it’s so hard not to worry or be afraid. Bad things have happened in my life in the past, and I keep being afraid they will happen again. But I will try NOT to worry, and trust more that You know what You are doing.)
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
(Yes, God, I have to admit that in probably every tough lessen I have had to learn, I came out better for it. I don’t like tough lessens at all – as a matter of fact, I dread them, but there is comfort in knowing that once through the lesson I will be stronger and a better person for it. And when I let You lead me, my reward is always greater on Your path than my own. Yes, I have learned this.)
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
(Sometimes I don’t get this one – but I know that when I’m around people I don’t know, or those I feel uncomfortable around, or a little scared of – if I just say a quick prayer to You to help me or keep me safe, I always feel reassured. I know from Your Word that You will bless me for my faithfulness and carry me through any danger.)
You have anointed my head with oil;
(and my feet with beautiful shoes)
My cup overflows.
(Yes, Lord, even though I like to “want,” I do realize that I have much more than many, many others. I have a non-leaking, heated and cooled roof over my head; I have a dependable car to get me where I need to go; I have ample and nutritious food in my tummy every day; and I have so much love and support in my life from family and friends – My cup does overflow!
I will be grateful!!
And during those times when the level in my cup begins to lower, yes even when it seems it will dry up – well, somehow just in the nick of time You seem to always fill it back up and then even overflow it again!
I will remember this! I will!)
Surely goodness and lovingkindness (and mercy) will follow me all the days of my life.
(This means God will take care of me, providing for my basic needs and love me forever. This does NOT mean I will always be trouble-free, carefree, or rich! But I promise I will try to remember this and be grateful, even in the tough times.)
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Thank You, God, that I have Your house and Your presence to dwell in, because I, and my house are sometimes a mess!
Thank You God for the Words You give me – that You give to everyone, to help me – us- make it through each and every day. God, please help me remember to start each day saying “hi” to You, and asking You to walk with me that day, and to be with me, no matter what. Show me who You are in my life, God. Give me faith to believe completely in You, and that You have a pre-made plan for me, because You loved me and formed me, and consecrated me even before I was born. Please help me remember this and be faithful. And in this season of Thanksgiving, please help me see and remember how much I have to be thankful for. I love you God – Amen ❤
Have you ever felt blessed?
Hmmm…consider these Words:
5 1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
6 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
7 “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
8 “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
9 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble. Matthew 5 The Message (MSG)
Wow – these wonderful words tell me that
- when I’m exhausted and have nothing left to give, that is when I am most open and accepting of God’s care of me and His guidance. Yes, in reflection, I see that this is true.
- That when I have lost my heart’s desire or a most dear loved one, then that is when I am able to accept God’s embracing and enveloping love of me. When I am too wrapped up and focused on the one(s) I love, I am too full and distracted to receive God’s love (God – who loves me more than anyone else ever would or could.)
- That when I am ready to accept who I am, with humility, with all my little quirks, flaws and all, that is when I receive peace in having all the important things in life that cannot be bought with a price.
- That when I deeply desire to know more about God and things of God, then I will be more fulfilled and satisfied than with anything else.
- That when I am mindful and caring and merciful to others, that is when I will find caring and mercy given to me.
- That when I set my sights and heart on the right things, good and caring things, pure things, things that truly matter, not just to me, but to others around me, then my eyes will be open to all the good, right, pure and wonderful things in my life and in the world. And it is then that I will see God!
- That when I work to create peace and harmony in those around me, instead of gossip, rumor spreading, or conflict, then I will find my place in God’s plan and kingdom. Meaning I will find peace and joy and contentment in my own heart. And make God’s heart happy as I embrace being one of HIS.
- And that when I take a stand for God, when I take part in worship of God, when I share His Word and love with others, and as a result am made fun of, ridiculed, or even lose out on something I wanted – that’s ok. I can surround myself with Christian people, keep seeking God, sharing things of God, and become more deeply centered in God’s kingdom and His care of me. Some others may not like it, but God does – and He will reward me for it!!! After all – all the great prophets and teachers of the Word have all gone through some persecution. And they held fast.
We all go through persecution of some kind or another.
We just need to choose if it’s for a bad or non-productive cause, or a good and life-changing one.
So, this morning, in contemplation of these verses and words – I feel a little silly and misguided in ever having a pity party. Yes, I get that there will be times when I feel overwhelmed and wonder “why me?” But that’s ok. Because it is those times that I will turn to God and ask Him why?
I will have conversation with God.
And He likes that
Because that is when we have relationship – a 2-way relationship ❤
Instead of me by myself or God by Himself.
Yes, I see that it takes conversation between us – me and God. And my heart being open and willing to hear His leading, and not my own stubborn will. Sometimes that means being empty, broken, harassed, lost, or torn. And if that’s when I find God most intimately and allow myself to feel His presence and love the most – then that’s ok.
Because therein lies my peace, my purpose, my life.
May you each find peace, purpose and an overflowing fountain of life in your day to day living.
And may you feel totally blessed indeed!
Love, peace and joy to you,
Revisiting the salt today to recharge – will you recharge too?
This morning I read something that really resonated with me. The last few months (or maybe year!) I have been sort of hiding out at home, not participating in much outside social activity, and for whatever reason, feeling pretty apathetic. I know – doesn’t sound too smart, but how many of you feel, or have felt this way too?
Well, if you’re in this same pit I am right now, what I read this morning was a good kick start for me today – maybe it will be for you too. And for those of you who don’t really need a good kick start, let’s call it a nice affirmation, or inspired reminder of what life is really all about – or should be.
(God-flavors: love, kindness…
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It’s time! Time to get up and move, that is! Time to dance, time to walk, run, laugh, sing, rejoice, praise!!!
Yes, it’s time to rise up from wherever you are and shine!!!
I’ll supply the words, and you supply the tune, the beat, the drum, piano, screaming guitar, etc!! In other words, dance to the beat of your own drum 🙂
And as we dance, here’s a question to ponder: Do you like to fly under the radar; live simply, don’t make waves, see everything in black and white terms? Do you feel your life is boring or not meaningful?
Well…here are the words to a great song – ponder them in your heart as you sing and dance today!
Are you strong and courageous?
Do you have within you what you need to accomplish what is on your plate today? Are you discouraged, or afraid you might fail?
Well, take heart, my friend – God’s got your back!
7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9New Living Translation (NLT)
For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Trust in that. Believe in that. Look up and reach out to God – raise your hand and give it to Him to hold. Close your eyes and imagine God right there with you, taking hold of your hand – leading you, comforting and guiding you. Giving you strength and courage. No matter how big or little your need. Ask Him to take hold of your hand and pour His strength into you through the joining of your hands.
Go ahead, do this right now.
Then in your mind and in your outstretched hand, grasp hold of His strong and very capable hand, close your fingers tightly around his; hold on and don’t ever let go!
13 “For I hold you by your right hand—
I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you,
‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.”
Isaiah 41:13 (NLT)
“Do not fear, for I am with you.”
“And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Happy Sunday to you!!
Are you happy this morning? Or are you, like me, maybe feeling a little hurting in your heart – from hurt feelings, or maybe sadness from a loss?
A few days ago someone I love slung some very hurtful words at me and in hurt and anger I slung a few ugly and not nice words right back. Words that I thought would never come out of my mouth. Today I feel great remorse (even though I am still reeling in hurt).
However, I read a few Words this morning that sounded so good and reminded me where I always can find healing for my hurt. These words were: