Our Caring Shepherd is Always Beside Us In Our Pain
Scripture is full of images of Jesus as a Shepherd. Psalm 23 has its calming tones. We read in Luke 15 how a shepherd will seek out one of his lambs gone astray and rejoices when it is found. Though often linked with the principle of salvation, this parable can be applied to any of the Lord's own who have gone to seek other pastures.
With this Ezekiel verse, new thoughts came to my mind. I meditated on the challenges that many of us face when we are dwelling with our caring Shepherd, trusting Him and clinging to Him for our strength.
The Lord has countless followers, sheep who depend on Him to meet their needs. In this way, because there are so many, they are scattered – meaning they cover the whole earth. Not one is missed by His watchful eyes even if some choose to wander off.
Those who remain true and do not roam can be crushed with the cares within. These showed up when the day of clouds and darkness sent these sheep into dwelling places unimaginable. Did the Shepherd make some mistake? No.
What I recognize as I read this verse is that our "rescue" is not from our wandering off, nor that we are in need of salvation. Rather we are in specific need of being released from the feelings that can overcome – despair, false guilt, self-condemnation – the things that can bring shadows that may seem to block out the sun of the Shepherd's care.
He is ever near, looking out for each of us as He understands our deepest needs. He is so pleased when we choose to stay near him as well.
Prayer: I lay down in your pasture of care, dear Lord. Help me to receive the light of your love that is ever present. May it shine through any cloud that tries to invade the space that only You can fill. Amen.
About the Author: Lynn Severance is a retired elementary classroom teacher. She lives in Lynnwood, Washington. She writes to encourage others as God has encouraged her during 27 years of living with daily physical challenges. ~~~~~~~~~~
A New Look At Psalm 23
"The Lord is my Pace-setter, I shall not rush. . ." (Psalm 23:1, Japanese Translation)
Would you like to take a new look at Psalm 23? So often we open up our Bible and the words blur past us. When our heart is hurting or our body is in pain, we can quickly skip over certain passages, such as the words for the 23rd Psalm, because we think we know them already and that we won't get anything fresh out of them today to offer encouragement. It's time like this looking at another translation can help us slow down and look again at certain scriptures.
Below are the words to the 23rd Psalm. It was recently read to us and one of my womens retreats, and this translation from the Japanese Bible gives Psalm 23 meaning. In fact, it describes exactly what we need t do with scripture! "He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals, He provides me with images of stillness, which restore my serenity."
I hope you are blessed as well and that it gives you a new explanation of the 23rd Psalm.
Words for Psalm 23
The Lord is my Pace-setter, I shall not rush;
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals,
He provides me with images of stillness, which restore my serenity,
He leads me in the ways of efficiency through calmness of mind,
I will not fret, for His presence is here,
His timelessness, His all-importance, will keep me in balance,
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity,
By anointing my mind with His oils of tranquility.
My cup of joyous energy overflows,
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours,
For I shall walk in the pace of my Lord and dwell in His house for ever.
Author: Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries http://www.restministries.org/
Source: From 'Chronic Illness Pain Daily Devotionals - http://chronicillnesspaindevotionals.wordpress.com/