Friday, January 31, 2014

He Restores My Soul (Psalm 23:3)

Today's scripture: Psalm 23:3

So often I feel weary—to-the-bone weary. My daily pain is sometimes beyond my ability to handle. I have no strength. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to make it through the day.

I’m in need of restoration. In need of strength.

And so I pray for the strength that comes only from my Shepherd. And He restores me.

Even though I, like Paul, would like the “thorn” of pain and weariness to go away, I believe—just as Paul did—the words of Jesus: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” And so I can echo Paul’s words, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Not only does my Shepherd restore my soul, but He helps me to grow more righteous. One definition of righteous is “free from guilt or sin.”

Because of God’s love for me, He sent His Son—part of Himself—to pay the penalty for my sin. And because I’ve been cleansed from that sin, because I’m “whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7), in His eyes, I am righteous. I’m free from guilt or sin.

How amazing is that?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Green Pastures and Still Waters (Psalm 23:2)

Today's scripture: Psalm 23:2

When I read these verses, I have an instant mental picture of a meadow with lush, green grass. I see the breeze rustling the trees and just over a gentle rise comes the song of a gently flowing stream.

I see myself flat on my back watching cotton candy clouds as they wisp overhead.

Quiet. Peacefulness.

And then I hear a voice—powerful, yet kind. It’s my gentle Shepherd.

“Rest, My child,” He soothes. “Shed the burdens of this day, and come to me. Let Me take whatever is causing you pain and share the load.” (See Matthew 11:28-30.)

So many times I let my daily pain and suffering steal my peace. I forget that my Lord wants to give me rest. Spiritual rest. Emotional rest. Physical rest.

And I can go to those green pastures. I can walk beside those still waters. I can experience peace that surpasses my human understanding, if only I let go (see Philippians 4:6-7).

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Our Good Shepherd (Psalm 23:1)

Today's scripture: Psalm 23:1

When I first memorized Psalm 23, I did so in the King James Version of the Bible, so as we spend the next few days meditating on its words, we're going to revisit that (for some of us) familiar translation. Yes, the language is a bit archaic, but there’s something about the dignity of the King James language that soothes my soul … and it could use some soothing!

So we begin …

The LORD is my shepherd. And what does a shepherd do? He watches out over his sheep. He protects and comforts them. He lifts them up when they’ve fallen. He keeps predators at bay. And he searches for them when they wander away.

And my Lord does all that for me—for you.

I shall not want. A good shepherd provides shelter and sustenance for his sheep. He meets their needs.

And my Lord provides for my needs as well.

Days like today when I have nothing to give—physically or emotionally—I’m comforted by the reminder that I’m not alone.

My good Shepherd watches over me. He protects me from the enemy. He lifts me up and carries me. He provides for my needs.

Thank You, Lord God, for being my good Shepherd. Thank You for carrying me this day … and every day.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Let the Whole Earth Be Filled ... (Psalm 72:17-19)

Today's scripture:Psalm 72:17-19

I'm not sure I even need to include any comments with these verses! The words of the psalmist certainly stand alone, and I encourage you to take a moment to just meditate on his words. Read them in several versions. Say them aloud directly to our Lord God.

Then just think about Him and ponder on His attributes.

Our God is amazing. Loving. Gracious. Merciful. Good. Just. Righteous.

He is the Alpha and Omega.

He is Creator. Savior. Redeemer.

He provides. Protects. Strengthens. Heals.

He is the giver of Peace. The lover of our souls. The source of all good things.

And He is worthy of all glory, all honor, all worship, all praise.

Indeed, let the whole earth be filled with His glory.

Praise Him. Glorify Him. Worship Him.

With all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. He is worthy of nothing less.

Amen and amen.

[By the way, if you read this devotional and haven't become a "follower," would you please do so? It's really easy! Also, if you have been blessed by God's words through me, would you consider sharing this via email or Facebook? Thank you! Have a blessed day!]

Monday, January 27, 2014

Praise Him Daily (Psalm 72:15-16)

Today's scripture: Psalm 72:15-16

The apostle Paul wrote that we’re to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). And King David wrote, “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1).

We should be praying and praising all the time … but how often do we do either? We tend to pray when we need something. We praise Him when things are going well.

But think about how different your life would be if prayer and praise were the first things you did rather than afterthoughts? What if you were that focused on God and His will?

Would your thought-life be different? Would you speak differently? Would you act differently?

What if all of us who followed Christ did the same? How would the world perceive us?

More loving? More compassionate? More servant-hearted? More joyful? More peaceful?

This morning, commit to make God your true focus today. Pray throughout the day. Just thanking Him for what He’d doing in your life. Confessing every sin. Interceding for others.

Finally, praise Him continually. For everything and anything.

See what a difference it might make.

Friday, January 24, 2014

True Riches (Psalm 72:12-14)

Today's scripture: Psalm 72:12-14

I’ve never been truly poor—financially, that is. Even when my mom was raising my siblings and me on her own, we never wanted for anything. Oh, we may have shopped for school clothes at thrift stores, and treats like ice cream were few and far between. But we had a roof over our heads. We had clothes and enough to eat.

However, I was poor in another way: spiritually. I spent too many years turning away from God and trying to find my own way. Trying to find peace. Trying to find joy. Trying to find contentment.

It was only when I cried out to God from the deepest part of me when I realized how very poor I really was. And He delivered me from my spiritual poverty.

He helped me. He saved my soul. And He redeemed my life.

What about you? Are you rich in the only thing that really matters? Are your spiritual coffers full of God’s promises?

Our earthly lives are just a blip on the radar in comparison with eternity. And any earthly riches we have will one day be meaningless.

Only our riches in God—our faith and how God has used us to impact His kingdom—will remain.