Beside Still Waters

July 22, 2014

The Lord is my Shepherd … He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters.”  (Psalm 23:1-2)

David tells us when we have thrown our hands up and offered an unconditional surrender, the Good Shepherd will then lead us “beside still waters.”  Most people think of peace when they read of still waters; however, the realities of sheep management tell us this relates to the fact that sheep can only drink from waters that are still as glass…

When we confess that the Lord is our Shepherd and we are His sheep, He leads us to a cluster of blessings that are tailor made just for us.

In 1979, after serving as the pastor of a large congregation in a big city for over two decades, I accepted a call of a church with 22 members in a small college town.  I have never been more certain of divine guidance than when I made that decision. At the time I was experiencing weird physical symptoms that my doctors thought were caused by the stress of a large church.

After my first year in the small church in the small town, I went to Mayo clinic for a complete work-up.  The doctors there diagnosed multiple sclerosis.  Because the doctor misread my record, he thought I was still the pastor of a big church in a big city.  He counseled me to move to a small church in a small town and learn to find my fulfillment in writing.  I was able to say to him, “Doctor, I’ve already been there for a year!”

I refer to my experience as ‘still waters’ because the small church gave me the time, and my disability gave me the discipline, to write… which led to an international ministry, now in 31 languages all over the world…

There is a stained glass window at the entrance to my home with a dove hovering over blue water and green pastures. Underneath there is a brass plate with two engraved words: Still Waters.  Those two words are not just the name of my home, but the label I write across more than 30 years in this location…

Can you look back over your life and see divine interventions that led to green pastures and still waters?

Dick Woodward,  Psalm 23 Sheep Talk

 Editor’s Note:  When Papa struggled through his last bout of suffering in the hospital on March 8th, his breathing became very agitated. We began reciting Psalm 23.  As we got to, “He leads me beside still waters,”  his face suddenly lit up with peace & his breathing immediately slowed as he passed on to the Still Waters of Heaven.  When we arrived home, I noticed the stain glass – “Still Waters”- and thought, wow.  God made Daddy lie down (literally) in green pastures, providing still waters in his life & even in his death. 

Words God Speaks Through Nature

September 4, 2012

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.”  (Psalm 19: 1, 2)

At the end of summer we approach the threshold of the explosion of beautiful fall colors.  While you enjoy the explosion of color this year consider the words God speaks to us every fall.

Since that beautiful color is produced by the death of those leaves, the word God is speaking to many of us is that death can be beautiful.  In many ways the most beautiful reality you and I encounter in our three or four score years on earth is the death of our Lord Jesus Christ that makes it possible for us to experience salvation and enter heaven.

Paul tells us the Gospel is that Christ died so we might live and now it is our turn.  We must die so Christ might live through us (Galatians 2: 20).  That means our death to ourselves can be beautiful.

Every spring our God speaks another word to us.  That word is seen through all the resurrection around us as we see black trunks and branches of trees we thought were dead sprout to life and bloom.

The Latin root meaning of rehabilitation is “to invest again with dignity.” Do we have the faith to believe God can bring to life that which we thought was dead?  Let’s apply that thought to our own life, to the lives of our children, and to secular people we know and love.