He Restores My Soul

Saturday, December 20, 2014, 10:16 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “For Our Nation.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 23 (ESV).

My Shepherd

A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

A little over a week ago I got the flu, just two days after my husband. I got past the worst of it after the first few days, but the kicker with this flu bug has been that it has sapped me of my strength, physically and mentally. I get tired very easily now and have to sit and rest even after a little bit of physical exertion. I will even sit and look at a passage of scripture and draw an absolute blank. So, I am definitely completely dependent on the Lord to give me all that I need.

When I read these words this morning, “He makes me lie down,” the word “makes” stood out to me. “What does that mean?” I thought to myself. From what I can understand, it means to cause to lie down, i.e. he brings it about. Literally, he makes us rest in him. This flu bug is definitely doing that, i.e. it is causing me to rest physically, but it is also causing me to have to totally depend upon the Lord for the strength to do whatever he would have me do, because I don’t have it in myself at all. I feel like someone just pulled the plug.

I believe what the Lord Jesus is showing me here this morning is that God allows or he brings about these times of illness or trial in our lives sometimes as a means of getting us to be still before him, to remind us of our absolute dependence upon him, and upon him alone, and so that he can lead us in the direction he wants us to go.

Sometimes we just get so busy with life’s activities or with cranking through whatever work we have to do each day that we fail to just be still and to know that he is God. So, we need these times for our bodies to rest, but also for our souls to be refreshed and renewed, and for us to be quieted before our Lord in the stillness of the moment so that we can hear from him all that he has for us.

No Evil

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

So, even though I (we) go through times of sickness, sadness, grief or pain, I (we) must know that I am (we are) not lacking in any good thing, for the Lord will supply me (us) with all that I (we) need to make it through these difficult times.

Yet, this isn’t just about getting through the sickness so I (we) can return to “business as usual.” I believe he allows or causes to happen these times in our lives so that he can get us to find our dependency in him, and in him alone, and so that he can move us in a particular direction, or remind us that he is the one to direct our paths, when we begin to get off course or we get distracted by all the cares of this life. So, rather than just enduring the trial, whatever it may be, we should allow him to grow us, teach us and restore us during these times so that we walk away from them different from what we were before.

Thus, we should not fear these times, although they may not be pleasant when we are going through them, but we should submit ourselves to God, rest in our Lord Jesus, trust in his love and care, commit our ways to him, and ask him to teach us what we need to learn. He will not leave us or forsake us, even though we may not feel him present at all times. He also has a plan and a purpose for all that we are going through. And, he will use it for good in our lives. We just have to learn to rest in him and allow him to teach us what he wants us to learn during these times when he has pulled us aside. These are teachable moments if we will allow ourselves to be taught by the master shepherd.

A Table

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

If we are true followers of Jesus Christ, we will have enemies, i.e. those who are enemies of the cross of Christ. Some of these enemies may even be in among the church and may even be shepherds of the people. They are those who oppose the full gospel message and who oppose those who proclaim the full gospel message. And, what I mean by the full gospel is the gospel as taught by Jesus and by the apostles, that we must die with Christ to our old lives of living for sin and self, that we must be transformed in heart of mind of the Spirit of God, and that we must now walk in the Spirit in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, and no longer according to the flesh (See: Luke 9:23-25; Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 6-8; 2 Co. 5:15; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; & 1 Jn. 1-5). This is why Jesus Christ died. And, this is the true meaning of his grace which saves us.

Yet, we should also not fear those who come against us. God is absolutely sovereign over all things in our lives. He has a plan and a purpose for it all, and he will see us through all attacks from our enemy Satan and from humans who serve his purposes. They are not more powerful than God! They cannot take our Lord from us, and they cannot rob us of our joy unless we let them. They cannot thwart God’s purposes, either. So, we should never give in to fear, thinking that our enemy has the upper hand.

God will continue to provide all that we need, even in the face of our enemies. If our enemies are within the church, and they say to us “We have no need of you,” that does not alter God’s plans or purposes for our lives. He will still use us. God did this with me many times. When humans reject us, God still receives us. When humans lay us aside and decide they have no need of us, God already has a plan for how he is going to use us despite them. This is how I ended up on the internet sharing my quiet times I have with the Lord each day, and how the Lord ended up giving me over 100 songs to write in a period of 3 years.

The church said, “We don’t need you,” but God, in his great love and mercy, already had the table spread for me, and he anointed me for his service. Again, our enemies cannot thwart God’s purposes. Sometimes their rejection of us actually serves to advance God’s kingdom work through our lives. So, don’t ever give up! Just trust the Lord! He will work it all out for good for those of us who love him and who have been called according to his purposes.

For Our Nation / An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.