Our Anointing

Psalm 23:5b AMP “You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup flows over.”

 

 

Oil was an important protective agent used by shepherds on their flock in David’s day. The oil protected the sheep from insects and was also used to keep any wounds they may have from getting infections.

Anointing with oil was used for hygienic practice with humans too. People would apply oil or grease to protect their skin from dryness. They also used oil to protect wounds and aid in their healing.

Beyond that, anointing was used as a means to set apart or authorized people for positions of leadership. You can read of an example of this with David, see 1 Samuel 16:1-13. This was common practice in David’s time and culture.

We as Christian have been anointed also. We have been set apart for special service. The apostle Paul tells us about our anointing in 2 Corinthians:

2 Corinthians 1:21 AMP says “But it is God Who confirms and makes us steadfast and establishes us [in joint fellowship] with you in Christ, and has consecrated and anointed us [enduing us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit];

We as Christians were each given the Holy Spirit as a down payment of the resurrection. The Spirit works through us, using His gifts in us to fulfill God’s calling in each of our lives.

We are servants of the Lord, anointed to do His will and fulfill His purpose. Jesus is our perfect example of a servant. He was humble, He demonstrated selfless sacrifice, He touched others with His love, He was obedient to God’s will, and He was willing to suffer even unto death on a cross. That paints a perfect picture of the kind of servants we are to be. We are anointed for the purpose of bringing glory to the Lord.

Serving or being a servant isn’t a very popular concept today. But the Lord calls us to be servants as Christ was. Take time today to ask Him how He wants you to serve. What gift has He given you to use to touch the world with His love? We have been anointed having the Holy Spirit to work in and through us. The Lord wants ro use us, are you available to serve?

David ends this Psalm by declaring that his cup overflows. He is overwhelmed with the abundance that the Lord has bestowed upon him. He has given him so much. His cup overflows with God’s grace and favor.

Is your heart overflowing today in acknowledgment of all that the Lord has done for you? Respond to Him with praise, and worship, and service.

 

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A Feast has Been Prepared

Psalm 23:5a AMP “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”

There is rarely if ever a time or place in life, free of worries, free of struggles, free of stress, or free of something warring against us. The Lord calls us to His banquet, to celebrate His goodness and be filled in whatever state we are in.

He calls us and welcomes us. The Lord reaches out to us in love. We are drawn to Him— drawn to the cross, drawn to the table. We are invited out of God’s mercy, and welcomed in hospitality, the banquet is before us.

The sheep ate in the pasture and drank of the quiet water provided by the shepherd in the presence of their enemies. The shepherd was there protecting them. The Lord, our Shepherd, prepares a table filled with His goodness throughout our lives where we are invited, and it, too, is in the presence of our enemies. He is our protector at the banquet.

David recognized the presence of God’s goodness even in the face of trouble or danger. Do you? I am sad to say that I often don’t. I often grumble and complain and miss recognizing the feast of God’s goodness before me. I neglect to give a sacrifice of praise.

Hebrews 13:15 AMP says, “…let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.

The book of Proverbs has further wisdom for us.

Proverbs 15:15 AMP “All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances].

Do you see the feast of God’s goodness before you, even in the presence of all the trouble this day brings? Or is your mind filled and afflicted with anxious thoughts? Are the enemies blocking your view of what the Lord has for you? All too often we are weighed down with the overwhelming, the interruptions, the fears, the busyness, and we are oblivious to the bounteous goodness of our Lord.

The Lord has been showing me my great sin of discontentment. It is a serious sin. A sin that shows my lack of faith and trust in His ability to meet my every need no matter the circumstances. It is a sin of lack of trust in His ability to act on my behalf, to truly know what is best for me. Is He not all-wise, all-powerful, and all-knowing? He has a perfect plan, yet I, the clay, am arguing with the potter.

Oh Lord, help my unbelief. Open my eyes to the feast of goodness You have prepared. Fill my heart with thanksgiving and praise.

David knew the goodness of the Lord.

Psalm 31:19 AMP “Oh, how great is Your goodness which You have laid up for those who fear, revere, and worship You; goodness which You have wrought for those who trust and take refuge in You before the sons of men.”

Look for the feast of goodness God has prepared and laid out for you today. Offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, no matter what the circumstances of your life are. God is always good and He deserves our praise!

Walking through the Valley

Psalm 23:4 AMP “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

 

David says, Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.”

When you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, the light is blocked, the place is dark and deep and it seems to be very hopeless. When I think of this verse, it makes me think of Job who lost family, belongings, as well as his own personal health. Even so, Job said, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him.” Job 13:15 KJV

Darkness can be a place of fear, but David says that he is not afraid of evil, he is not afraid of what Satan can do to him. He doesn’t fear because he knows the protection and guidance offered by the Shepherd’s rod and staff. David is saying:

though, I as one of the flock, should walk through the most dismal valley, in the dead of the night, exposed to pitfalls, precipices, devouring beasts, I should fear no evil under the guidance and protection of such a Shepherd. He knows all the passes, dangerous defiles, hidden pits, and abrupt precipices in the way and He will guide me around, about, and through them.” (Adam Clark Commentary – public domain)

David knows the Lord, his Shepherd, had often delivered him from dangerous situations. David knows the comfort of the Lord’s presence in the valleys of life and he wasn’t paralyzed there in the valley, he walks through it. Evil lurks in the shadows and impending death is very real to the sheep. Yet David knows the Shepherd is present to protect him from danger and guide him to safety, so he has no need to fear the evil about.

What is it that blocks God’s light for you, leaving you in the shadow of death– a dark, deep, hopeless place? Is it abandonment? A broken relationship? Fear? Pain? How can we know the comfort that David talks about?

David’s comfort is in knowing the guidance and protection of his Shepherd. To know comfort in the valley, we need to trust in knowing the Lord is with us. We must trust that He will guide and protect us. Our fears either grow or diminish in relation to the level of our trust. As fears grow, hope seems to disappear. Fear is more and more present when the Shepherd’s presence seems less and less real to us. It is in knowing the Lord’s presence that we feel at rest. We can find comfort in the valley of the shadow of death because our Shepherd, loves, guides, and protects us.

No matter what evil comes into our lives, no matter when the enemy strikes, we can know a peace within. If you are in a dark valley in your life’s journey right now, seek the Shepherd. Remember, He knows everything there is to know about the path you are on. He knows what lurks around the corner, He knows the pit, the mire, and the muck that you may feel stick in right now. He knows about it all. He has gone before you and He walks with you through it all. He promises to be with us.

Isaiah 41:10 AMP says, “Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes. I will help you, yes. I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice. ”

Find comfort and peace as He guides you through each path of life, whether mountaintops or valleys.

 

The Right Path

He leads me in paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Himnot for my earning it but] for His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3b AMP

Are you on the right path?

The shepherd leads the sheep on specific paths to keep them from danger and out of trouble, to help them find what is best for them. He knows where they need to go. He knows the best path for them.

Our Good Shepherd knows the best path for each of us as well. He leads us as a shepherd leads his sheep. He leads us by His Word and His providence.

Psalm 32:8 AMP “I [the Lord] will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”

God’s Word leads us. Psalm 119:105 tells us “Your word is a light to my feet and a lamp to my path.”  Have you gotten up in the night just to head to the bathroom, your path dark, and although you know your way well, you forget you left your shoes there, and trip? A light or a lamp would have kept you from falling, it would have shown you the way. God’s Word shows us the way in which we should go.

God also leads us by His providence. J. Vernon McGee defined providence as “the hand of God”… “in the glove of human events.”  The Holman Bible Dictionary defines it as ” God’s faithful and effective care and guidance of everything which He has made toward the end which He has chosen.” He brings about all that He has determined. He performs in mysterious ways. Psalm 121 tells us that He is our “keeper.”

The shepherd is the keeper of the sheep, and our Good Shepherd is our Keeper. I find that so comforting. He sees me and He keeps me. He is watching over me and watching out for me. It is because He sees me, because I can count on Him being my Keeper, I can move forward in my day. I know He is there to lead and to guide me.

Proverbs 4:26  AMP says”Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright.”

What paths are you considering? Have you consulted the Lord for His guidance? Do you look to Him to lead you?

The Eastern shepherd always leads the sheep, but he does not always go in front of them. He often will walk along side of them and sometimes he will walk behind them. When the shepherd walks behind them, it is usually at night when they are going into the fold. This way he can gather up the straggler, and protect the flock from attacks of wild animals. The shepherd is where he needs to be for his sheep according to their needs as they walk the path.

Our Shepherd knows where He needs to be, as we go through life, so that He may lead us. He will not always do it in the same way. He knows how we will respond best. He knows how to most effectively fulfill His purposes in our lives.

Our Good Shepherd leads us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. If you are a believer, a Christian, you carry His name. How you live your life is a reflection on Him. He wants us to be on the right paths so that we bring honor and glory to His name.

Seek Him today for leading, so that you can know the way in which you should go.  He is with you, to lead and to guide. He is your Keeper.

 

Soul Restoration

Psalm 23:3a  AMP “He refreshes and restores my life (myself).”

He restores my life, literally, this means He causes my life to return to me. To restore means to replenish.

Jeremiah 31:15 AMP says, “For I will [fully] satisfy the weary soul and I will replenish every languishing and sorrowful soul.”

Psalm 107:9 KJV says “For He satisfieth the longing soul and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”

Do you feel weary? Life can become overwhelming with all of the expectations that we must deal with in our various roles.

Are you filled with sorrow? Has someone dear to you left or passed away?

Are you filled with deep longing? Is their a dream you are waiting to have fulfilled?

Are you hungry with need for love, or for new hope?

The Lord promises to satisfy, or to replenish, or to fill. He knows your souls weariness, the sorrow within, the deep longings you have, and the things you hunger for, where there seems to only be emptiness. He meets us in those places, He restores and replenishes.

He is the God of restoration. Jesus has taken us from sin-sickness to the hope of eternal life through His death and resurrection on the cross. We can have relationship with God, the Father, because of what Jesus did to restore us, if we believe in Jesus, as our Savior.

Satisfying and replenishing are exactly what our souls need for this life. Our Shepherd wants us to know that no matter what the circumstances is, He can restore the condition of our soul. Our souls are restored in knowing the Restorer.

There is nothing more important than knowing the Restorer. All satisfaction is found in what He can do in and through us. All glory and honor belongs to Him for what He has done and what He is yet to do.

His promises are real and true, He is faithful! Look to the Shepherd to meet you, His will is perfect, His love is everlasting. He has all you need to be refreshed and restored.

Still and Restful Waters

Psalm 23:2b AMP “He leads me beside the still and restful waters.”

Still and restful waters, a peaceful place where the sheep can drink and take a rest. This place, that the shepherd takes the sheep to, is a place that they feel safe. Sheep won’t rest if they are fearful. Isn’t that just like us?  The sheep learn to trust the shepherd, and then they can rest in the place he brings them to. They can get a refeshing drink because they feel secure.

A sheep would not follow just any shepherd, they know the sound of their own shepherd’s call. When more than one flock get mixed up together, each shepherd will give call and the sheep, will sort themselves out, finding their own shepherd. They know their shepherd.

You can’t trust just anyone, not every shepherd is the Good Shepherd. Our Good Shepherd really cares for us. He knows us personally. Our Shepherd knows our thirsts, and He knows our physical limits, He knows when we need rest. He also knows that we need to trust Him, to feel secure and have belonging. It takes time. It requires you to see His faithfulness and love, and in time, you realize that He proves Himself. You come to know that He is good, true, and reliable. He is trustworthy. You can count on Him. He leads you safely to a place where your thirst is quenched in Him, and He gives you rest.

A shepherd wants his sheep to drink good, clean water, cool and refreshing. He wants them to be satisfied so that they can rest. Jesus, offers us Living Water, that is His thirst-quenching water. When we are left on our own, like sheep without a shepherd, our thirsts may lead us to seek refreshment in putrid puddle water. Our thirsts are not quenched in the things of this world. We can only be satisfied with the true Living Water.

John 4:14 AMP “But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him, shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life.”

When we know we are safe in the everlasting arms of our Lord, we can truly rest. Come and drink, take in the Living Water, and be refreshed. He is with us to continually replenish our thirsts. Be replenished and find rest in Him today.