Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Revisiting Verses

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
 3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
   for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
   through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
   for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
   they comfort me.
 5 You prepare a table before me
   in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
   my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
   all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

In class a couple weeks ago we were asked to take this scripture and pray over each line. Many things came to mind when I was taking time to break down this, my favorite scripture. Normally I focus on the first initial parts of the scripture. “ He makes me lie down” ....Thank you Lord for giving me time to rest. Or “He leads me beside quiet waters”.... Thank you Lord for filling me up with living water.  But recently I got an interesting picture of his rod and His staff.

I grew up on a farm and for our 4-H project, we raised pigs from the time they were babies till we sold them at the county fair.  As they were growing up we would take them on walks with a walking stick. Sometimes the pig was on its best behavior and the walk was easy.  Sometimes the pig did whatever it wanted to do and we had to use our walking stick to guide it with a tap to the side.
This memory made me laugh because I know I am a little messy, but a pig, God? :)

What does it mean to be comforted by being guided by His staff?  For me, I am reassured that when I am having one of those walks where I feel like I can do anything, even something that might hurt me or do something that is off of the path that God wants for me, He gently (well sometimes gently) guides me back on the path He wants for me.  I am comforted by knowing that He already know where I should go and where I shouldn’t.  Even if the tap on the side hurts sometimes,  I know that He has the best plan for me. 


Thank you Lord for the guidance and refining that you have done in my life.  Father, I give you permission to continue to refine me and mold me into what You would have for me.


A challenge for you today would be to take a favorite scripture, or one you know really well, and reexamine it asking God to show you something new. 


Friday, January 13, 2012

Resting… in Scripture?

Have you ever rushed through something because you felt like it was the acceptable way of doing something? At work, school, even chores around the house seem to need to be done at the speed of light because we are in an instant gratification, all-the-information-you-need-at-your-fingertips kind of culture. Even with the Bible we can experience this feeling that we must read through the Bible in a year or we consume a passage or verse quickly and we pull the life lesson out and apply it so we can move on with our day. There is nothing wrong with these approaches to scripture… in fact, I encourage you to read through the Bible completely and seek out application (even if you are short on time some days). But… we need a challenge to slow down. We may be missing an incredible blessing in “centering down” on one verse or passage… slowly mulling over it, sitting with it, allowing the Word of God to chew on us a little, rather than the other way around.

The next three weeks we will try to slow down. We will have a short series called “Jesus and You” focused on John 4:1-45, the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. In light of this story of the interaction between Jesus and this woman, we will settle down for three weeks on issues of culture, love, relationships, and what we assume to be acceptable behavior. So, specifically, settle in with me on the story of the woman at the well. Read it, meditate on it, memorize parts of it… slow down. Once you are bored with it… go back to it and ask God, “What am I missing because of my own blinders and distractions that you want me to see and therefore be transformed like only You can do?”

Have you ever slowed down and focused on a particular verse or passage for a concentrated time?
How was your experience? How did God transform you as a result?

-Pastor David