The Lord is My Shepherd

I’m reading The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives by Ravi Zacharias.  I came across this elaboration on Psalm 23 and thought it might encourage you all today too.

The Lord is my Shepherd–that’s relationship!

I shall not be in want–that’s supply!

He makes me lie down in green pastures–that’s rest!

He leads me beside quiet waters–that’s refreshment!

He restores my soul–that’s healing!

He guides me in the paths of righteousness–that’s guidance!

For His name’s sake–that’s purpose!

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death–that’s testing!

I will fear no evil–that’s protection!

For You are with me–that’s faithfulness!

Your rod and the staff, they comfort me–that’s discipline!

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies–that’s hope!

You anoint my head with oil–that’s consecration!

My cup overflows–that’s abundance!

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life–that’s blessing!

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord–that’s security!

Forever–that’s eternity!

Author of Elaborated Material Unknown

Zacharias goes on to say, “This broad but specific, sweeping but individual, assurance came from the pen of a man after God’s own heart. Only when you see this pattern for yourself can you see the breadth of God’s care for the cosmic scene and his personal care for your life. ” p. 51

Praise Him, Praise Him

We know that life is often difficult. We encounter trials, we suffer and we struggle with sin.  We understand that we are fighting a spiritual battle. How do we prepare for the battle?

I’m working through a Bible study and today there was a list of ideas of how to praise Him before going into battle.  You may be thinking that it’s strange to praise Him, but really that’s what He wants from us. Praise and thanksgiving…

So here’s some ideas:

  • find a quiet place to pour out your heart to Him. Spend time in solitary worship, sing to Him, praise Him and make your heart glad in Him.
  • study through the hymns and make a regular practice of singing hymns and praise songs
  • learn to use every temptation from the evil one as a stimulus to turn your heart toward Him.
  • Practice worshiping the Lord when you are hit with bad news. Over time, let it become an automatic response to instantly worship the Lord.
  • know your struggle times and have a pre-plan in place
  • count your blessings, read His promises
  • listen to music that lifts your heart up in praise to God.

You will find strength to obey God when you worship Him.

I love that last line…I will find strength to obey Him when I worship Him! Yahoo! So, like the little children’s song says “Praise Him, Praise Him, all you little children.”

Leave a comment and share with us how you praise Him and the difference this has made in your life.

Homeschooling through the Hard Days

I’m not sure about you, but the winter was hard on us. Our family entered the Christmas season with the gift that keeps on giving–the stomach flu. Really, all 5 of us got it, slowly and painfully. It seemed from there, we didn’t ever get healthy all at the same time.  Our oldest daughter especially has been fighting an ongoing battle with headaches, low grade fevers, body aches, fatigue and generally not feeling well. Our middle daughter had a seizure from a fever and had to be taken to the hospital. Even with all these health problems, I realize that we are not unique. Families have far more difficult problems that they are facing. As a homeschooler, how do you handle hard days?

Well, I thought I’d share how I handle them partly to let you know,

  1. you are not alone, and
  2. as a testimony to God’s goodness, faithfulness and provision.

First, I have to say that I did not always handle these bad days very well. Sickness and fatigue can wear down a person.  Discouragement can set in and spread to the rest of the family like an infection.

Through the hard days, I quickly readily gradually learned that God is the only One who can be my constant companion. Yes, my hunny is there to support and encourage and my friends can offer to bring a meal or run an errand, but when it comes down to it…only God can be there with me ALL the time.

I’ve also had to adjust my expectations for the academic side of homeschooling. With hard times comes a realization that the plans I made, the goals I sighted, are probably not going to come to fruition.  Leaning on the wisdom God promises and the experience of seasoned homeschool moms, I have re-evaluated and set new goals. It is a difficult balance–character and academics. I want to teach my children perseverance and diligence, at the same time acknowledging that hard days take a toll on all of us.

Overall, God’s gentle shepherding–leading me, teaching me and loving me has been the greatest lesson that I continue to learn during the hard days.

The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer from The Message

Our Father in Heaven,

Reveal who You are,

Set the whole world right

Do what’s best–as above, so below

Keep us alive with three square meals.

Keep us forgiven with You and forgiving others

Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.

You’re in charge!

You can do anything You want!

You’re ablaze in beauty!

Yes. Yes. Yes.

I often read Scripture from The Message version. I especially enjoy reading familiar passages in this version. Because of the different wording, it really catches my attention.  For example, “You’re ablaze in beauty.” WOW! My daugther and I were amazed by the sunset this evening. The sun streaming through layers of clouds onto the whitest of snow…breathtaking…and yet, nothing near to the beauty and glory of God. He is ablaze in beauty, now and forevermore.

Encouraging Scripture

Luke 24:36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them ‘Peace be with you’. I pray for peace for each of you on this day.

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