A psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need.Â He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.Â He renews my strength.Â He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.Â Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.Â You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Psalm 23 (New Living Translation)
Iâ€™ve had several emails and phone calls this week from some folks who are really going through some tough, tough times.Â Thereâ€™s not just one difficult situation in their life but a series of situations that leave a person whirling as if they are in a revolving door and certainly wondering â€œWhyâ€ and â€œHow can I catch my breath?â€
Iâ€™ve prayerfully lifted these folks to God, asking Him for His peace and wisdom to blanket them through every moment of their day.Â I hear His voice responding, â€œYes, Jody, I hear your prayer.Â Keep going back to the basics.â€Â Psalm 23 is probably one of the first Scriptures I ever knew.Â It is basic to me.Â Why?Â Because in its simplicity, I feel Davidâ€™s message: â€œTrust God.Â Trust God.â€
It seems logical to surmise that Psalm 23 might have been one of Davidâ€™s first songs of praise.Â He wrote what he knew about.Â He wrote about God from the perspective of shepherd.Â He saw God as his shepherd who would never do anything or allow anything to harm him â€“ just as he (David) would never do anything to harm the sheep in his care.Â â€œIf I have God for my shepherd, I donâ€™t need anything else.â€
When my life seems to be â€˜poundedâ€™ by adversity, it is in the â€˜simple faithâ€™ that I find my comfort.Â I do not need deep theological meditations.Â God loves me.Â God loves me.Â That is all I need.Â Meditating or thinking about the promises of God, the wonders of God, and the character of God puts the focus of my thoughts where they need to be â€“ up on God.
With all your heart you must trust the LORD and not your own judgment.Â Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow. Donâ€™t ever think that you are wise enough, and but respect the LORD and stay away from evil.Â This will make you healthy, and you will feel strong. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Proverbs 3:5-8 (CEV)
[Jesus said,] â€œWhen you pray, donâ€™t talk on and on as people do who donâ€™t know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. Donâ€™t be like them.Â Your Father knows what you need before you ask.Â You should pray like this:
Our Father in heaven, help us to honor your name. Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven. Give us our food for today. Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others. Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil.â€Â Â Â Â Â Â Matthew 6:7-13 (CEV)
Keep it simple.Â Keep the faith simple like a three-year-old believes his/her parent â€“ just because!Â Press in closer.Â Keep telling God you have faith in what you cannot see; you have â€˜hopeâ€™ because of Him.Â (Hebrews 11)Â Period.