Christian, women

A Shepherd’s Perspective on Psalm 23

“I have concluded based on my years of experience that sheep are stupid. Not just stupid but mind-numbingly stupid— sometimes I wonder how they manage to breath and eat.” Glenn Brunkow, Rancher¹

Somehow, that quote from Brunkow gives me comfort. God wants to lead us, feed us, and guide us. Our responsibility is to just obey.

*********

I’m re-reading a fascinating book by Phillip Keller called A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.² Keller was a shepherd for years and explains many things about sheep that most people don’t know.The book is eye-opening and provides a deeper understanding of our relationship with the Lord, the Great Shepherd.

I memorized Psalm 23 as a young child and received a glow-in-the-dark cross for a reward. I can still recite it after all these years! I am thankful for my Sunday School teachers who required it and my grandmother who helped me learn it. I consider it a great blessing in my life. (If you haven’t memorized it, I highly recommend that you do!)

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Psalm 23 KJV

The shepherd watches over his sheep day and night. They cannot take care of themselves, and they get into all kinds of trouble. They will drink polluted water, wander off and be attacked by a wild animals, get stuck in the same fence repeatedly, etc.

” … he who watches over you will not slumber” Psalm 121:3 NIV

Sheep are fearful, timid, and skittish. A rabbit hopping by suddenly can send them into a panic. But they calm down when the shepherd walks into view, and they are comforted. So many times in my life, when I was in a panic, the Lord has comforted me and calmed my fears. That’s when I wonder how people who don’t know Him get through tough times.

We do “not want” because Jesus is always with us, in good times and in bad.  Our joy and peace comes from His presence in our life, not in what we have or the way life goes. We are content to be led by Him, doing His will.

One thing I found interesting is the fact that like humans, some sheep refuse to follow the shepherd and instead do their own thing. (Ouch!) This can result in lots of serious problems for the sheep, problems they would have never experienced – if only they had followed the shepherd. (I could write a book about all the times I did my own thing instead of following the Good Shepherd. It never turned out well!)

Without a shepherd, the sheep blindly follow other sheep. When one walks over a cliff, the others follow right behind him!

Keller tells how he would lead his sheep to a clean, clear stream and a stubborn ewe would go off and drink from a polluted, parasite-infested puddle instead. Isn’t that what some people do? We choose the unclean ways of the world instead of the ways of God.

Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:37-38 NIV

A good shepherd provides good forage for the sheep, lush green vegetation, so that the sheep can have plenty to eat, grow, and thrive. However, some sheep will wander off and eat from barren, dry brush instead. Many times, we prefer to feed on the barren ground of the world around us instead of the peace and comfort that comes from dwelling in His Word and walking in His steps.

The final parallel I want to share is the most extraordinary. Sheep must have plenty of pure clean water. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to lead them to a lush green field heavy with morning dew.

The sheep can keep fit and hydrated for months just by grazing right before dawn when the field is heavy with dew. The sheep feed heavily and are most content at this time of day. A good shepherd will make sure his sheep have this opportunity to drink in the “still waters” of dew.

“In the Christian life it is of more than passing significance to observe that those who are often the most serene, most confident and able to cope with life’s complexities are those who rise early each day to feed on God’s Word.” (Keller)

These are just a few of the many insights from A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller.

I don’t know about you, but it gives me great comfort to know that I don’t have to be smart to thrive. I need only to follow Jesus, the Great Shepherd. He leads us by His Word.

Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” Isaiah 53:6 NIV

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11 NIV

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:12-14 NIV

With Love, Cindy

Do you want to know more about Jesus? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

¹https://www.agupdate.com/midwestmessenger/opinion/columnists/glenn_brunkow/the-questionable-intelligence-of-sheep/article_69540f07-7577-5559-bfde-a31ea95acc0c.html

²ISBN 0-310-26790-0 available on Amazon

realchristianwomen.blog  

Christian

Worry Is Like a Rocking Chair

Corrie Ten Boom was a prisoner and survivor of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. If anyone ever had an excuse to worry, it was her. Corrie, her sister, and their elderly father were whisked from their home and sent to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, “the deepest hell that man can create”¹ because they were caught hiding Jews during WWII. Following are some quotes on worry from Corrie.

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength. It does not enable us to escape evil. It makes us unfit to face evil when it comes. It is the interest you pay on trouble before it comes.”

“Worry is like a rocking chair; it keeps you busy but does not bring you farther.”

Corrie Ten Boom’s book, The Hiding Place, had a profound effect on me as a young adult. Her faith and trust in Jesus Christ will encourage you through any trial you may find yourself in today.

Corrie lived her life, before and after Ravensbruck, serving the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].” Philippians 4:6-7 AMP

So many times, people say, “I’m a worrier. I worry about everybody.” It’s as if they think it’s a badge of honor. It’s not! To worry means we are not trusting God. To please God, we must have faith. We must trust Him.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 NIV

If I have learned anything on my Christian journey of 60+ years, it is this: Seek God with all your heart. Love Him with all your heart. Trust Him with all your heart. Obey His Word with all your heart. If you do that, He will take care of everything else.

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

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Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

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1The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom

Christian, women

You Were Born for Such a Time as This: The Story of Esther

The story of Esther teaches us that God purposely guides His people’s steps even when we are not aware of it, even when things don’t make sense. But God has a purpose in what He does in the lives of those He loves. Every thread woven into the fabric of the Christian life is part of the ultimate tapestry that someday they will view in glory.”

Dr. david jeremiah

The book of Esther tells an amazing story of political intrigue along with the faith and courage of a young, Jewish woman named Esther. We can learn many things from reading it, but I want to focus on this: While deliverance from the enemy looked impossible, God already had a plan in action.

King Xerxes was searching for a new queen. He appointed commissioners to search his vast empire for the most beautiful women and bring them to his harem. Esther was one of those chosen. I seriously doubt that Esther was happy about being forcefully taken to the king’s harem!

The beautiful Esther dazzled King Xerxes more than any of the others. Enthralled with her loveliness, he made her his queen.

This story gets even more interesting when you know a little about King Xerxes and the Persian Empire. Although not in the Bible, history reveals the kind of man he was.

Xerxes was a king of war. He assembled the largest and most well equipped fighting force ever put into the field up to that time in history. He amassed an army of over two million men and four thousand ships. Known to be merciless, Xerxes was not a man to be trifled with.

One day, Mordecai overheard some men plotting to kill the King. Unknown to anyone, including the King, evil was about to encroach the palace and all 127 provinces of the Persian Empire.

This evil sprang from an egomaniacal man named Haman who was a high ranking official in the King’s court. Haman hated Mordecai because Mordecai would not bow down to him. The anti-Semitic Haman devised a sinister plan to annihilate all of the Jews in the Persian Empire.

Haman tricked the king into issuing a decree to all 127 provinces with the order to destroy and kill all the Jews – young and old, women and children.

When Mordecai uncovered Haman’s conspiracy, he urged Esther to approach the king and beg for mercy. He said,

“Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

Esther knew the law commanded that if anyone approached the king without being summoned, they would be put to death. The only exception was if the king extended his scepter.

Esther understood this and knew she would be putting her life in imminent danger. She sent word to Mordecai and requested that all the Jews of the city fast and pray for three days and nights. She said,

“When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4: 16)

On the third day, Esther adorned herself in her royal robes and approached the king in his inner court. When he saw her, he was pleased and held out his golden scepter. He asked her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.”

Esther replied, “If it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come to the banquet I have prepared.”

While they were at the banquet, the king asked her again, “What is your request?” Esther asked the king and Haman to come back for another banquet the next day.

On his way home Haman passed Mordecai, and again Mordecai would not bow down to him. Enraged, Haman went home and boasted to his friends about his vast wealth and all that he had. “And that’s not all,” bragged Haman. “I am the only one Queen Esther invited to attend the banquet tomorrow for the king. But this brings me no pleasure as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.”

At his friends’ urging, Haman built a gallows and conspired to hang Mordecai there. Haman didn’t know it, but his evil pride would soon bring him down.

That night, the King was reminded that nothing had ever been done to honor Mordecai for saving him from a murderous plot.

Haman had entered the King’s palace to speak to the King about hanging Mordecai, but before Haman could speak, the king asked Haman, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?”

Haman thought to himself, “Who would the king possibly want to honor more than me?” So he answered the king, “For the man the king delights to honor, have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. Let the princes robe the man and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’ “

“Go at once,”the king commanded Haman. “Do just as you suggested for Mordecai the Jew!”

I wish I could have seen his face! Talk about shock! Things are looking bad for Haman, but they are going to get even worse!

At the second banquet for the king and Haman, the king asked Esther again what she desired.

She said, “Grant me my life and spare my people. For I and my people have been sold for destruction, slaughter, and annihilation.”

King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who is he? Where is the man who has dared to do such a thing?”

Esther said, “The adversary and enemy is this vile Haman.”

The king stormed out in a rage. Haman was terrified. He threw himself upon the Queen’s couch and begged for his life. Then, the king walked back in and found Haman falling on the couch where Esther was reclining.

“The king cried, “Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?” Haman was immediately taken away and hanged on the Gallows he had built for Mordecai.

King Xerxes gave Esther Haman’s estate. He also gave Mordecai his signet ring and told him to write a decree on behalf of all the Jews and seal it with his ring. The Jews got relief from their enemies and celebrated with joy and feasting. They called it the Feast of Purim and it is still celebrated today.

Perhaps, like Esther, you have also been brought to your position

for such a time as this!

Read the book of Esther here.

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

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Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

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 Photo by Alice Alinari on Unsplash

¹Cartwright, Mark. “Persian Wars.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 06 Apr 2016. Web. 27 Oct 2018.

Christian

Tuesday’s Verse, 4/27/21

“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Corinthians 5:15 NIV

With Love, Cindy

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash

realchristianwomen.blog  

Christian

Sunday’s Memory Verse, 1/3/21

“In your life together, think the way Christ Jesus thought.

He was like God in every way,
    but he did not think that his being equal with God was something to use for his own benefit.
Instead, he gave up everything, even his place with God.
    He accepted the role of a servant, appearing in human form.
During his life as a man,” Philippians 2:5-7 ERV

With Love,

Cindy

This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

realchristianwomen.blog  

Christian

Sunday’s Memory Verse, 12/27/20

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 NIV

With Love,

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

Christian

GPS to the Small Door

Imagine you are sitting in church, listening to your pastor’s message, and he says,

“By the way, a lot of people around here aren’t going to Heaven!” (Everybody perks up and starts to pay attention.)

He continues, “The door to heaven is pretty small. So, many people are going to go through the wrong door. In fact, only a few people will find the right door, only a few.”

The people are thinking, “What? Is that really true?”

He continues, “You better make sure you are studying your Bible or you won’t find the small door. Instead, you’ll follow the crowd through the big door. Some of you tend to do what sounds good, instead of carefully studying your Bible.” (People start to fidget because they don’t have time to read their Bibles. They’re really busy!)

The pastor exclaims, “Now that big door is not only the wrong door, it is the door that, once opened, will take you down a big, wide road that looks like a good road, but it isn’t! It leads to devastation and disaster!” (This isn’t what the people want to hear. They think he is too negative.)

He ends by saying, “Make sure you find the small door. Like I said, study your Bible. It is the GPS to the small door.”

Will the people start studying their Bibles, or will they dismiss the pastor’s warning?

Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14  

That is an intriguing statement, made by our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus and the Apostles gave us many warnings in the New Testament. We would do well to know what they are. We mustn’t only read and study the promises. We must read and study all of God’s Word.

Do you know what God’s warnings are?  Several are listed in my post, Don’t Follow the Crowd. https://realchristianwomen.blog/2019/02/18/dont-follow-the-crowd/

With Love, 

Cindy

This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

All Scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted.

Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

realchristianwomen.blog  

Christian

A Shepherd’s Perspective on Psalm 23

“I have concluded based on my years of experience that sheep are stupid. Not just stupid but mind-numbingly stupid— sometimes I wonder how they manage to breath and eat.” Glenn Brunkow, Rancher¹

Somehow that quote from Brunkow gives me comfort. God wants to lead us, feed us, and guide us. Our responsibility is to just obey.

*********

I’m re-reading a fascinating book by Phillip Keller called A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.² Keller was a shepherd for years and explains many things about sheep that most people don’t know.

The book is eye-opening and provides a deeper understanding of our relationship with the Lord, the Great Shepherd. It’s no accident he calls us His sheep!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Psalm 23 KJV

The shepherd watches over his sheep day and night. They cannot take care of themselves, and they get into all kinds of trouble. They will drink polluted water, wander off and be attacked by a wild animals, get stuck in the same fence repeatedly, etc.

“He who watches over you will not slumber;” Psalm 121:3

Sheep are fearful, timid, and skittish. A rabbit hopping by suddenly can send them into a panic. But they calm down when the shepherd walks into view and they are comforted. So many times in my life, when I was in a panic, the Lord has comforted me and calmed my fears. That’s when I wonder how people who don’t know Him get through tough times.

We do “not want” because Jesus is always with us, in good times and in bad.  Our joy and peace comes from His presence in our life, not in what we have or the way life goes. We are content to be led by Him, doing His will.

One thing I found interesting is the fact that like humans, some sheep refuse to follow the shepherd and instead do their own thing. (Ouch!)

This can result in lots of serious problems for the sheep, problems they would have never experienced – if only they had followed the shepherd. (I think this parallel is pretty obvious!)

Keller tells how he would lead his sheep to a clean, clear stream and a stubborn ewe would go off and drink from a polluted, parasite-infested puddle instead. Isn’t that what some people do? We choose the unclean ways of the world instead of the ways of God.

“Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.  By this he meant the Spirit,” John 7:37-38 NIV

A good shepherd provides good forage for the sheep, lush green vegetation, so that the sheep can have plenty to eat, grow, and thrive. However, some sheep will wander off and eat from barren, dry brush instead. Many times, we prefer to feed on the barren ground of the world around us instead of the peace and comfort that comes from dwelling in His Word and His presence.

The final parallel I want to share is the most extraordinary. Sheep must have plenty of pure clean water. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to lead them to a lush green field heavy with morning dew.

The sheep can keep fit and hydrated for months just by grazing right before dawn when the field is heavy with dew. The sheep feed heavily and are most content at this time of day. A good shepherd will make sure his sheep have this opportunity to drink in the “still waters” of dew.

“In the Christian life it is of more than passing significance to observe that those who are often the most serene, most confident and able to cope with life’s complexities are those who rise early each day to feed on God’s Word.” (Keller)

These are just a few of the many insights from A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller.

I don’t know about you, but it gives me great comfort to know that I don’t have to be smart to thrive. I need only to follow Jesus, the Great Shepherd.

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6 NIV

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11 NIV

“If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:12-14 NIV

With Love, 

Cindy

This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog 

¹https://www.agupdate.com/midwestmessenger/opinion/columnists/glenn_brunkow/the-questionable-intelligence-of-sheep/article_69540f07-7577-5559-bfde-a31ea95acc0c.html

²ISBN 0-310-26790-0 available on Amazon

Photo by Sam Carter on Unsplash