The Lord is My Shepherd (But?)

August 1, 2017

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” (Psalm 23)

These are some of the most familiar words in the Bible beloved by devout people everywhere. According to this Shepherd Psalm of David, the key to the real blessings of this life and the next is a relationship with God. The green pastures, still waters, table of provision, God’s blessing of anointing oil and cup that runs over all the time are all conditioned on our relationship with God. That relationship is established in the second verse when David writes, “He makes me to lie down.”

However, the spirit in which we recall these words is often something like this: “The Lord is my Shepherd — but I have a health problem.” Or, “the Lord is my Shepherd — but I have marriage problems!” Or, “The Lord is my Shepherd — but I cannot control my children.”

When we say, “The Lord is my Shepherd — but” we are putting our “but” in the wrong place. We need to get our “but” in the right place and recall the precious promise of these words this way: “I have a health problem, BUT the Lord is my Shepherd! I have marriage problems, BUT the Lord is my Shepherd! I cannot control my children, BUT the Lord is my Shepherd!”

One way the Lord makes us lie down is to use health problems, marriage problems, problems with our children, finances, careers, and any other kind of problems we can imagine to teach us about the relationship with God which is key to all the blessings profiled in Psalm 23.

Will you let the Great Shepherd use whatever challenges you are facing to establish the deeper relationship with God David described so beautifully three thousand years ago?

Dick Woodward, 14 August 2008

Editor’s Note: This was Dick Woodward’s first blog back in August of 2008, which means this Four Spiritual Secrets blog has been sharing devotional truths in the blogosphere for 9 years. Although we miss him, the blog posting elf hopes (& prays) his words continue to yield Kingdom fruit – as long as we have our ‘buts’ in the right place!! 🙂


Faithful Labors & Laborers

October 31, 2014

“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (Hebrews 6:10)

The devotional and practical application of this Scripture shows us that these thoughts are directed to people who have labored long and hard in the ministry without much visible affirmation, encouragement or reward.  These words are instructing them to think about the One for Whom they were doing this ministry to God’s people.

Abraham heard three words from God which are recorded in Genesis 17:1.  “Walk before Me.”  These three words remind us that we need to know Who we’re doing it for and we need to know how He feels about everything we do in the way of ministry to His people.  When there is not much fruit and very few encouraging accolades, it can be a great consolation for faithful servants of the Lord to be reminded of the glorious reality that God has seen and He will never forget our faithful labors.

The story is told of two elderly missionaries who returned to New York after nearly half a century serving in Africa.  They had lost their wives in Africa and were very, very lonely in that large city.   Sharing their discouragement when they met at the YMCA where they were staying, one of them said to the other, “We are not home yet, George.”

Sometimes the recognition and the reward for faithful service may only come when these words are heard: “Well done good and faithful servant.”

If you are a faithful servant without much affirmation or encouragement let these words console you today.

Dick Woodward, 04 June 2010