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 ❤
Is your heart heavy today? Feeling a little lonesome, maybe missing someone special?
Take a walk down memory lane with a photo album, a scrapbook, an old jewelry box, a closet laden with old clothes, a trunk in the attic, a shelf in the garage – wherever those old, treasured life memories are quietly tucked away. Pull one out – touch it, run your hand over it, feel the texture, smell the fabric, hold it, let it speak to you; close your eyes and remember; live again that moment, that event, that person, that time.
Allow that special memory to kiss your heart with gladness, with warmth, with love! With memory of a special moment in time. Go ahead and let that smile spread across your face. Laugh! Let your heart breathe and beat with treasured memory!
Revive your heart!
Remember those special, heartlifting moments that made life worth living. That’s what life is all about – and what your life yet holds in the future! No matter your age, or stage in life, there are still beautiful memories to create, to live, to savor! To make you smile in reflection in years to come. And to pass down to the next generation.
So go on, relive those past exquisite moments. And then let your mind drift; dream, plan, create! Sing, dance, paint, play, write, cook, shop, make a phone call, travel, work a homeless shelter, babysit, teach, whatever makes you feel good!
Step out and create a new beautiful memory and share your heart today.
After all, the world needs the very special gift that is uniquely
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,
The Greatest Man on Earth? Would you agree?
This video touched me deeply. Convicted me.
What is the meaning of life – is it to help, to give, to share?
Will I help? Will I give? Will I share?
And more importantly, will I love?
Take the high road, have patience, be nice…while making airline reservations??? Ha! I don’t think so!
…Or do I???
I was making airline reservations for my mother and her 2 young foster daughters to come for a visit. Yay- finally, I get to see and spend some time with my beloved Mom!!!!!
However…yep, there’s a however 🙂 Finding flights that you can afford, for 3 people, on a limited budget, can be time consuming and oh-so-frustrating, especially when you add special requirements to the flights, right?
Well, after having spent several days researching flights, times, dates, carriers, etc., I am heartily weary and decide to just get the blasted tickets bought and the trip settled once and for all. I just wanna see my Mom! Know what I mean? So I buckle under and after much deliberation, choose an airline and begin the process of choosing exact flights…and…boom…
…bad weather moves in and keeps dropping my internet, which drops my flight search – every time. When my connection actually holds, but I take too long, the session times out and I have to start over – again! And then I discover that every time I drop or time out, the ticket prices increase! In the space of an hour, the price increases over $100 per flight! Yikes!
Well, I’ve had enough of this so I punch in the customer service numbers and call the airline. (Please, I just wanna get my Mommy here!) Of course I then have to go through an automated call system to ultimately be placed on hold for 15 more minutes before I actually get to speak to someone – someone that I have to strain really hard to understand through her very thick accent, on my very staticky cell phone! Ugghh!
Ok, so my patience is wearing thin, but I am determined – I just want to get my Mommy HERE! The nice lady is very helpful, and books the coveted flights, even though at first she wants to charge me an additional $55 to reserve specific seats for my mother, and for each of her 2 foster daughters– that’s $55 EACH person, EACH WAY! That’s $330 in addition to the ticket prices, and does NOT include any luggage, not even carry on. We simply cannot do it!
However, after almost an hour on the phone and great explanation, I am finally able to get 3 seats in the “handicapped” bulkhead section for Mom and 2 children, at no extra cost. Yay! Finally! My Mommy is coming to see me!!!! Oh yippee yay!! I can’t wait!
Then… much to our heartache and disappointment, that night we find out that one of our beloved foster daughters will be going back to her estranged family the next day. Which means she won’t be coming to see me 😦 So, I get online to cancel her ticket. Well, I can’t find the reservation on their website. Their confirmation email shows they have misspelled my mother’s name. Ugh! So I go through the automated calling process again, this time I hold for over 15 minutes before I get a live person, who also has a super thick accent that I can hardly understand. I spend another hour on the phone with this not very friendly guy only to find out that the seats I thought were reserved on my last call were actually NOT reserved and are no longer available. And he insists that the only way I can get bulkhead seats now is to pay the $55 each person, each leg of the trip. Period. Which I cannot afford. But he says he corrected my Mom’s name on her ticket and tells me if I don’t want to pay for the seats, I have until 9:30 tomorrow morning to cancel all flights without penalty, and that is my only option. Seriously? But I just want to get my Mommy HERE!
So I am super upset and panicking at this point. I spend 2 more hours online researching flights – I just want to get my Mommy here, but no way do I want to stay with this unhelpful airline. No luck finding anything cheaper though, and I go to bed exhausted and discouraged.
Next morning I resume the search. After 2 more unsuccessful hours, I decide to go ahead and cancel Mom’s tickets before the penalty deadline and take a break to calm my nerves. I will resume the search for new tickets tomorrow, even if I have to pay a little more. I get online to cancel the tickets only to find out they still have Mom’s name misspelled and I can not access her itinerary without opening a new account in the misspelled name. Ugghhh! I give up and try to create a new account, but they won’t let me without using a new email address – uuuuugggghhhh!!!!! I have already used all the ones we have! So frustrating! I just wanna see my Mom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, ugghhhhhhh – unbelievably, I have to call them yet again. Of course, this means another interminable amount of time holding! By now I am so agitated, out of patience and feeling anything but hospitable and am totally afraid I’m going to bite someone’s head off! I am so upset and just want to yell at them to get their stinking act together! I don’t have time for all these ridiculous mistakes! Come on!!!!! Please, I just want to see my Mom!
Yet, in my heart, I hear that soft, peaceful whisper saying that God would like me to take the high road. Um…the high road? Um…seriously? You mean that place where patience, understanding, calm, peaceful, pleasantness – and no yelling abide?
Really God? After all this?
I’m so frustrated and upset, God.
2 Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. (Eph. 4:2 TLB)
Oh…yes…I remember that verse. Hmmm…and some others too.
Because of my love. Because of Your love.
Okay, God. The high road it is.
So, even though at first I don’t want to, while I am holding, I take a deep breath, swallow my pride and ask God for help. I ask Him to help me be gentle and patient, and not rude to whomever answers my call, and to be appreciative of the person’s help.
Then a man answers (whom I can easily understand!) and I patiently tell him my whole messed up story, the misinformation I was given, the reservation mixup, the wrong spelling, not being able to access online, the hours of holding and phone conversations, etc. and inform him I just want to cancel the whole itinerary because Mom can’t take that flight if they don’t have an affordable seat for her as they originally said they did. I was polite, did not raise my voice and was calm and collected and pleasant. The whole time –yes I was 🙂
And guess what – this gentleman was so nice and polite as he listened to my story, read the notes from my prior conversations, and asked me to hold while he quickly researched what his options were. He came back on the line and said no problem, that he re-assigned the special seats to Mom and young companion, at NO additional charge, and everything was good to go!!! He was so nice, and so quick! He provided exactly what I needed without charging me any more money. He even corrected Mom’s name and emailed me the confirmation while we talked to be sure it was correct, and asked me to call him back if anything was not to my expectation. He was calm, collected and very willing to make things right with me. This made all the difference to me, and I thanked him and kept the reservation. I was even smiling when I hung up the phone.
Because I took the high road.
Because I was patient, gentle, and kind.
And it feels good!
And… I get to see my Mommy ❤
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
17 Never pay back evil for evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honest clear through. 18 Don’t quarrel with anyone. Be at peace with everyone, just as much as possible.
Romans 12:17-18 The Living Bible
14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
17-19 Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”
Romans 12:16-19 The Message
Proverbs 20 The Message
Deep Water in the Heart
20 Wine makes you mean, beer makes you quarrelsome—
a staggering drunk is not much fun.
2 Quick-tempered leaders are like mad dogs—
cross them and they bite your head off.
3 It’s a mark of good character to avert quarrels,
but fools love to pick fights.
22 Don’t ever say, “I’ll get you for that!”
Wait for God; he’ll settle the score.
NLT 3 Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor;
only fools insist on quarreling.
22 Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.”
Wait for the Lord to handle the matter.
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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