A RECIPE FOR ENCOURAGEMENT
“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
I think that most of us can quote this Psalm by heart without looking. The question is, do we really understand and believe what we are saying? Many times we memorize Bible verses and don’t really pay attention to what we are saying. It is the same with singing in church. We sing the same hymns so often that we know them by heart and instead of worshipping Jesus while we are singing, we let our minds wander.
When I lived in
East Texas, my pastor preached a
sermon on encouragement and he used this Psalm. He told us that when we started feeling
discouraged to say this Psalm and to put our names in it to make it personal. He said that it had been a source of
encouragement for him many times during his thirty eight years as a pastor. I started doing it the next day.
I said “The Lord is Joanne Lowe’s Shepherd. Joanne Lowe shall not want.” I said the entire chapter putting my name in the right places and I felt such a peace, such an encouragement and such a comfort flood my heart that could have only have come straight from the loving heart of our precious Saviour.
For those of us who teach Sunday school, especially the little children, it is extremely important that we explain the phrase “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want”. Also, for those of us who have children and grandchildren, it is very important that we make sure they know what this verse means. For many years I thought that I wasn’t supposed to want Jesus because of this verse. Don’t laugh. I have had three people tell me they thought the same thing that I did. Instead of pursuing Jesus, I ran from Him. After I started studying the Bible and asked the Holy Spirit to teach me, I understood that the verse means that I shall not want anything because Jesus will provide everything that I should ever need.
If today you are hurting and feeling discouraged and are lonely and frightened, try putting your name in while you say this Psalm. Allow Jesus to comfort and encourage you as only He can. He is our loving Saviour and Friend. Thank You, Jesus, for loving us so much and for putting up with us when we hurt You and fail You so many times. Please plant deep within our hearts a desire to be an encouragement and comfort to our families, our loved ones and to a world that is hurting and desperately needs someone to care about them and love them. Amen.
October 25, 2007