Psalm 23

It's a verse that most of us can recite in our sleep...something we memorized in Sunday School, and wow-ed our parents upon our first reciting it at age five. When reading our Bibles, it's easy to breeze over this passage and think...Yeah, yeah, the Lord is my Shepherd, what's the big deal?

These six little verses have some amazing, power-packed truth loaded inside of them.

I invite you to join us, crack open your Bible and look at Psalm 23 as if you're reading it for the first time...

I asked several ladies to write about this passage, and what comes to heart when they read their assigned verse. It was so fun to see how God put this together, by speaking similar themes to each girl and weaving our hearts together in what we wrote about...when most of us have never even met before!

We hope that this devotional encourages you to grab your Bible and spend some time with your Shepherd.  

The verse assigned to us was Psalm 23:1
"The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing."

"We could go into the Greek and we could analyze it properly, but no amount of head knowledge can say what my heart knows about this verse and what this verse means to me. My ministry partner grew up a Christian, she grew up knowing Christ. I didn't. I grew up Catholic and I didn't really care about a relationship with God. When I realized the true meaning of the cross, that all changed.

In God I lack nothing, NOTHING! Because I am a new creation. He is my shepherd. That part amazes me, because that means two things: that means my God wants to take care of me and wants to guide me, but it also means He will give me the liberty to go wherever I want. If I go the wrong way, it is His obligation as shepherd to bring me back. How cool is that?! God has put himself in the position of being obligated with us, when He doesn't owe us anything!! If I'm going the wrong way, my Father and my shepherd will bring me back at any cost because He loves me.

He loves me so deeply and so fiercely that it is because of Him that I lack nothing. That doesn't mean I won't lack anything. Surely in life we will lack things physically, materially and emotionally. But to me, in my life, this means that even when I have nothing, nothing to give emotionally, and nothing to share materially, I will still have everything, because I have God. He is the very essence of everything good that I am, I will never lack His presence or His spirit. The amount of comfort that that brings, is absolutely incredible.

My shepherd makes sure I am filled even when all my eyes can see is the emptiness around me." ~ Faith & Dianna at Rise Above It Missions

"He lets me rest in green meadows, He leads me beside peaceful streams." (Verse 2, NLT) 

"First of all, I think this verse is God telling us to relax. He is aware of how hard it is to be a girl--He made us! He knows about the boys, the makeup, the fashion, and all of the struggles that we have. He knows us so intimately that the Bible says He knows us better than ourselves (and that's crazy to think about)! I think He's telling us in this verse to take a deep breath, and know that He is in control of our future.

God knows all about our future--who we're going to marry, which words we're going to say next, and even what dress we're going to wear on prom night! In Jeremiah 29:11, He promises that He will take care of us; there's no need to worry about the boys, the makeup, or the fashion--He's got it all covered. He wants you to rest outside in nature, and He wants you to walk by the creeks and streams that you see. He wants you to know in your heart that He is God and He's going to take care of you. In addition to that, God wants you to know that He loves you." - Bonnie at 1P3Beauty Blog!

"He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake."
(Verse 3)

"Do you ever feel like running away to escape the responsibilities and demands of life? Sometimes I find myself dreaming that Calgon would take me away! I am fully aware that bottles of Calgon bath beads and soothing oil do eventually run dry. At these times I awake myself to the amazing reality that I have something FAR GREATER than Calgon. The supply of the refreshing life of Jesus Christ residing in my very own vessel is ever-present, always restoring the weary soul! I will never run out of the sweet oil of Holy Spirit in me.

Be encouraged sister, that Daddy Jesus restores all things. He supplies what is lacking. He fixes what is broken. He brings luster to those who have lost their shine. He turns a frown to a smile. He joins together what was falling apart. He gives the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that we may be called tress of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified (Is 61:3).

Our restoration was made complete on the Cross! Through His death we became trees of righteousness! Jesus bore our sin and in exchange we became like Him - the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 5:21). We, who were once enemies of God, were restored to a new life in Christ by believing in Jesus, the Son of God! When we choose Him and follow the path of righteousness in Christ we can KNOW He will never lead us wrong.

The NIV for this passage says it like this, “He will guide you along right paths.” Not only does He lead you down the narrow path that leads to salvation and an eternity in Heaven, but in the here and now, He will lead you down the “right” path He has prepared for you. Before you were born, God planned those things you would accomplish and do for Him (Eph 2: 10). Doesn’t that bring you much peace and comfort? Your right path has your name on it! He chose this path just for you, and only you.

REST in knowing God loves you so much that He would determine every step of your journey for you...the places you would go, the people you would meet, the man you would marry, the children you would birth, the business you would start, the ministry you would join, and the time frame down to the specific date and time each would play out. What a Shepherd! He is leading you. Be at peace and follow!"
~Deanna Bridges of Deanna Bridges Ministries    

"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil for you are with me. Your rod and your staff they comfort me." (Verse 4) 

"The fact that I'm writing about this verse is perfect.

In these recent times, I've been poked and prodded and to and fro the hospital being tested for Crohn’s Disease. At times, I feel as if I’m in a literal valley, not sure if I’ll ever surface or reach the opening and catch glimpse of light again. The physical and emotional stress of it all has had me overwhelmed, but I find comfort in the Lord. People often ask, “Don’t you wish you had someone there with you to hold your hand, comfort you during it all?”

The truth is, God has been right by my side, holding my hand, and reassuring me that this is only going to make me stronger. There’s no need for me to fear and cower in this moment of darkness because I find solace in knowing the brilliance of God’s light will outshine all of it.

His light will illuminate my dimmed vale; His love will consistently prevail over the fear that attempts to creep into my heart, and His mighty hand will reach down, pull me out of my valley, and set me on a hilltop once again."

Lindsay at Becoming Esther.

"You prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil - my cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." 
(Verses 5 & 6) 

"Nobody likes hanging out in the presence of their enemies. So often we cry, "God deliver me! Grab my wrists, pick me up, and pull me out of this situation!"
It would be very simple for our Heavenly Father to scoop down and snatch us up with Him, instantly transporting us to Heaven. Our worries would vanish, all fear would cease and things would be blissfully perfect for all eternity!

When I was learning to ride my bike as a little girl - I told my earthly Daddy the same thing. The moment he removed the training wheels, I went into panic mode...I gasped and said, "Put the training wheels back on! Daddy, hold onto my bike...don't let go of me, don't let me fall!"

But you know what happened? Daddy let go of the bike. I crashed onto the hard pavement and didn't understand why I had been totally humiliated in the presence of my enemies. The enemies of fear, failure, and the scrape on my knee told me to give up. These enemies whispered into my four-year-old mind, Why are you even trying? You might as well just quit. There's nothing that spectacular anyway about crossing the street on your bike...just hang out in the sand box.

But my Dad knew the truth. He knew, that if I learned to ride my bike in the presence of my enemies successfully, I would be stronger because of it!

The same is true in our lives. Our Heavenly Father knows just when to take off the training wheels, and encourage us to explore new territory. Whenever we enter a new place in life, we tend to stumble, fall to the ground a little bit, cringe
in the presence of our enemies, and doubt where our Daddy is in all this!

But our Father is not one who carelessly watches from the sidelines, yawning and glancing at His watch, every time we tip and tumble. No, He is right there beside us, cheering us on, lifting us up, and letting us know that He has set a table of victory for us.
He promises that we will get this.
The storm will pass. This season of hardships will soon settle...and we will find ourselves suddenly stronger -
rejoicing in the presence of our enemies!       
 
When we look in the eyes of our strong Savior, Jesus confident gaze gives us the courage we need to move forward. He whispers, you can do this, girl, and challenge us to get up one more time. He reminds us of the hardship and suffering He endured on the cross...and promises that we are not pressing through alone. He is right beside us. He has anointed us with His supernatural strength.

Daily, He pours out His spirit and the tea-cups of our hearts overflow with joy, grace, beauty and courage. He sings us His song of deliverance and tells us of the day we will ride our bikes without falling. He promises that the end is closer than we think. And until that day,
His goodness and mercy are chasing after us , and cheering us on for all the days of our life. We can't escape His rainbow smile. In the midst of trial and hardship, His blessings suddenly overtake us...the stormy skies turn into a rainfall of colorful skittles, and we're laughing because His goodness will always find us! His favor and undivided attention is all ours. 

We know how this story ends. We know who holds the victory. In Heaven, our
happily ever after will be complete and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. "  

-Livy at Crown of Beauty Magazine