Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Your Shepherd's Calling . . .


"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want . . ."  Psalm 23 must have been one of the first scriptures I ever learned because I cannot remember not knowing it.  And as long as I've known it, I have loved it.  To embrace the impassioned, ocean-deep words of David's soul is comforting.  His heart's voice is like a balm, still giving life after 3000 years with God-breathed language. 

I have lately been pondering Psalm 23.  Something about a valley walk makes their message even more life-giving.  Something about living around shadows, of the need to feast in the presence of trials, of the desperate, exhaustive search for peaceful rest and restoration, lifts Psalm 23 from comforting to miraculous.

Dwelling in the pastures of the 23rd Psalm is drinking from an endless well of calming waters.  Who does not need that today?  I cannot imagine a 21st century Christian who is exempt from the harshness and desert-like terrain of our society.  Most of us live on the fringes of a spiritual heat stroke or wilderness dehydration, and sometimes we are so busy caring for others we don't even hear our own soul's pleas for help.

But, if we stop, simply pause, and listen, if we pull aside and face our exhaustion and fears, if we grasp courage and let the Holy Spirit whisper in our ears, we will let go of our busyness for a time and know our need.  We will see, with godly vision, our real selves, not just the smoke screen that is created with the environments of life.  And seeing with godly vision creates a desire to find the still waters of which David wrote.

In my own seeking, I've been thinking about Elijah.  The prolific Old Testament prophet surely walked close to death and lived in the presence of his enemies.  He expended himself in gut-wrenching ministry.  Elijah prophesied drought for Israel for their embracing of other gods; he ran from the wicked, murderous schemes of Ahab and Jezebel; in obedience to God, he proved to Israel the folly of their idol worship by building a water-drenched altar where Yahweh showed up with His fire and was once again proclaimed the One, true God; Elijah ordered the killing of 450 priests of Baal; he then ran for his life from Jezebel's vow to kill him.  No wonder Elijah became so exhausted that all he could do was sit under a Juniper tree and be nourished by angels.  Empty, exhausted, and depressed, the Prophet needed divine intervention.  Regaining strength, Elijah travelled forty days and nights and finally hid in a cave, and perhaps we might think of that lonely, dark, empty place as the cleft of a rock.  Yes, a cave carved by our Creator for Elijah's need.

We all know the story well.  God showed up again.  This time He was there to prove Himself to Elijah.  Yahweh spoke.  Not in the wind, an earthquake, or a fire, but in a "still, small voice."  The original Hebrew words that describe God's "still, small voice" tell us much about our loving Shepherd.  Their meanings are calm, whispering, very thin, light, peaceful.  A heroic, but fragile Elijah needed a tender Shepherd's voice to speak to his wounded, broken, fearful soul.

Sweet friends, aren't you glad that your God knows you through and through and calls you by name?  Not only does He call you by name, but God also knows how to call you and from where to call you.  He knows the very tone to use and the providential echo that will capture your focus. 

The same Shepherd to David and Elijah is your Shepherd this moment.  He is where you are.  He is what you need. He your NOW God!

Working mom,  Jesus is your path to a quiet place.  Stay at home mom, His green pastures will feed your soul and give you strength and resources to care for your family.  Empty-nester, your lonely spaces will overflow with His joy.  Grandmother, pray in confidence for your children and grandchildren, for you do not have to fear evil.  Weary servant, listen for your Lover's voice, as He whispers truth.

In my quiet time this morning, God led me to one of my favorite scriptures:  Lamentations 3:22-23.  "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."  What a great beginning for this day and everyday of my life and your life!!!  To grasp the reality of God's love, compassion, mercy, and faithfulness is everything we need for every circumstance.

Hang onto His truth.  Praise Him for all the good He's shows you.  Cling to His word and love with all you have, and keep these verses from Lamentations before you, for through their reality in your own world, you will not lack.  You will not be in want.

God is good.  I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for His merciful nature.  Our Yahweh is a giving God.  He is our personal Shepherd, who guides us lovingly through our lives.

Trust in His staff and rod now.  Yield to His boundaries.  Yield to His complete knowledge.  Yield to His hand.  Yield to His tender voice.

I love you, friends.








*NIV scripture references

25 comments:

  1. Andrea, so nice to see your posts again. What a precious voice of encouragement for us today. It's just what I needed:)
    Thank you so much.
    Hugs and blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  2. WOW God must be talking to us today, you posted much of the things I did, guess he is speaking in that still small voice to us today, hugs and good post, go check out mine too, amazing how God touches hearts the same way, hugs and blessings, Barbara

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Andrea, What a wonderful post-yes our God is watching over us, no matter what may come to us, He is there and greater still. Lately I've faced some uncertainty with health and another issue and this reassures me that as my Shepherd He will lead me. Thank you for sharing this.
    Hugs & blessings, Noreen

    ReplyDelete
  4. I can never get enough of this Psalm (or my Shepherd)! I need "fear NO evil".

    ReplyDelete
  5. "God showed up again"--don't you just love the constancy of God? God. Showed. Up. I think that says it all.

    ReplyDelete
  6. So needed to read this on THIS day!

    Blessings,
    Debra

    ReplyDelete
  7. Andrea:

    I read this a couple of nights ago, and then came back to see it again! There is so much here that my heart just says YES and AMEN to!!

    Love you, and as always, am so blessed by visiting you today!

    Hugs!

    Sonja

    ReplyDelete
  8. "Not only does He call you by name, but God also knows how to call you and from where to call you."...amen!

    God is so good!!

    So glad to read your writings again, Andrea....

    ReplyDelete
  9. Andrea...thank you for visiting me today. I'm quite sure God directed you back to me.

    I'm so thankful you all survived the fire and if your little Sachet had not I would have made you another. I'm just so grateful you are all OK and no lives were lost.

    I haven't visited you in a while so I have much to read... Your words always stir so much emotion in my heart.

    Love to you~

    Rebecca

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love you back and I thank you for reminding me of all the wonderful truths about our Shepherd.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "Most of us live on the fringes of a spiritual heat stroke or wilderness dehydration, and sometimes we are so busy caring for others we don't even hear our own soul's pleas for help."

    Only a heart that has been there can write such poignancy. Very raw, truthful, pointed and, yes, restful.

    Blessed Sabbath rest in the pasture of God's plenty, friend.

    peace`elaine

    ReplyDelete
  12. Such a lovely post Andrea, I had a vision of Jesus as "My Shepherd" this week, so it is a sweet confirmation to read your post here. This Psalm as you say goes way way back in my memory too. It is always close in my thoughts; yet this week, I did indeed have a "Rhema" word and picture for my heart to cling to. It is nice to see you posting again. Thank you for your sweet comment on my blog.
    Many Blessings and Much Love,
    Pam

    ReplyDelete
  13. So true. This is why I have a sheep for my facebook profile picture. I love knowing I am a sheep and I love knowing my Shepherd. It's nice to see you, Andrea!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great post, Andrea! Thank you for this blessing in my day!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Pause and pull aside...and He'll show up.

    What great reminders, Andrea. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Your words so well written undoubtedly come from a life well lived. There is so much beauty in the way you express yourself, it truly refreshes my spirit to visit your place. I understand that writing a good blog post is an investment of time and effort.

    No haphazard, careless spewing out of shallow and hastily put together sentences, but rather well-thought out words of life.

    I praise God for blogs like yours that reflect artistry, excellence, and creativity. Truly a tribute to our Masterpiece Creator God.

    Yes, Psalm 23 has always been a favorite of mine as well. It never ceases to be a deep well of comfort and refreshment when my soul is weary from fighting this life's battles.

    I take away one word from this post: YIELD.

    Thank you once again, dearest Andrea.

    Much love,
    Lidj

    ReplyDelete
  17. Andrea,

    You've captured my heart and my soul in your words.

    I love the sentence that Elaine quoted from your post.

    And I love that you talk about God being in the still, small voice.

    Maybe that's why He is taking me through this season of being still. Because maybe that's the only way that I can hear Him.

    "And yield to His complete knowledge."

    You did good, sweet friend.

    Would love to sit across the table and talk to you again.

    Sweet dreams.

    ReplyDelete
  18. "Yea, though I walk through the valley..." You've LIVED there. But not CAMPED there! You've walked THROUGH! It was good to see you standing in your new dining room with hubby & grandchildren. I rejoice with you in your present and future with the Good Shepherd.

    I'm hoping that soon you will post pictures of the LITERAL "beauty for ashes" that God has blessed you with :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Andrea,

    It is so good to read the beautiful and inspiring words of this post which remind us all of God's love and faithfulness. Praise the Lord for all of His many blessings!

    Blessings,

    Kim

    ReplyDelete
  20. Your writing truly shows that you were touched by the Lord in your trial. So happy you shared this post with us today.

    ReplyDelete
  21. sonja's grandchild recited this word perfect
    at his grandmother's funeral. and now to
    read this wonderful teaching on it.

    thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Andrea....Stopping by this evening for a visit. I've been away alot lately and continue to recover from surgery and have missed reading your posts.

    I love every word you've spoken here. I, too, find great comfort and reassurance in Psalm 23. His Spirit ministers something "new" to me just about every time I meditate upon this wonderful Psalm. The imagery of the Shepard loving, caring, feeding, protecting and leading his lambs always speaks to my heart.

    Thank you Andrea for this post!

    HE IS FAITHFUL!

    Hugs and Sweet Blessings!
    Jackie

    ReplyDelete
  23. Just popping in to say "hi", and to let you know you're on my mind today. I hope you're enjoying home, and getting some much needed R&R. Something tells me our Shepherd has a green pasture especially for you.

    Hugs,
    Kathleen

    ReplyDelete
  24. I spent the summer reading A Modern English version of Pilgrim's Progress and the walk through the valley of the shadow of death gave me a new picture of this well known Psalm.

    In your second paragraph which reflected on the dark surroundings of the Psalm and the leading to a place of peace is more than just comforting words....it is miraculous. But God is faithful to take us to those green pastures if we would follow Him and wait.

    This post is filled with a heart that knows difficulty and seeks solace in the presence of her Maker. I continue to yield my desire to be free of pain and hold on to his grace that is sufficient. I'm led to green pastures and still waters as I do so.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I was thinking of that very scripture when I opened your blog....... How much the father loves us.......... Please pray for me the next few days as I am still trying to understand the past few months.. BUT HE if faithful........

    Thank for the uplifting post this morning.. HIS love heals us.........

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting. I cherish your thoughts. You are special to me, but most of all, you are special to God, who loves you with everlasting love. May your life be swept into His joy and peace.

In the Wonderful Love of Christ our Savior,

Andrea