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Do we really believe this?



As I listened to a sermon this morning based on the 23rd Psalm, I was blown away. I've been a Christ follower for over 35 years and I've heard and read Psalm 23 many, many times. It's a beautiful passage of scripture that flows with poetry, with beauty - it's comforting, peaceful and reassuring. But today I discovered the challenge hidden within it's verses. See if you can spot it.


The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
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.
You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

So where's the challenge? 
The challenge is found in living
as if we really believe the promises
of this passage. 

Do we really believe that we lack nothing?
If so, why do we whine about what we don't have?
Why don't we just trust that whatever we need, God will supply?
Why are we afraid to give generously?
Are we afraid that if we do, God will punish, rather than bless by not giving us what we need?

Do we really believe that God will guide us along the right path?
If so, why do we wrack our brains trying to figure out our next move?
Why do we stress and lose sleep over what we should do?
Why are we afraid of the future? 

Do we really believe that God is able to prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies?
That He could give us enough peace and protection to be able to sit down and enjoy a meal in the midsts of  a dangerous situation?
If so, why are we afraid to minister to the homeless, to those who live in crime-ridden areas, to those who are in prison, to those in foreign countries?
Are we really convinced that God will protect us?

Do we really believe that God will anoint us to do any work He calls us to do?
If so, why do we hesitate when He calls us to step into a leadership position?
To teach a Sunday School class? To lead a Small Group?
Why do we shrink back when He prompts us to reach out to the seemingly unreachable?

Seriously...do we really believe the Word?
With God for us, who can stand against us?
What can they do to us?
Kill us?

Oh, please...don't make us go to Heaven!

This morning, my eyes have been opened.
I'm praying that I never again let fear keep me from doing something brave for God.
I'm praying that I never again let my perception of lack keep me from stepping out in faith.
I'm praying that I never again allow well-meaning people talk me out of doing something outrageous for the One who loves me, protects me, provides for me, equips me and anoints me.

I pray that I will take Him at His Word, for when we are bold enough to do that, to live like we believe it, the world will sit up and take notice...not of us, but of our Almighty God.

God's promise is this...


Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Believe it!
And live like you believe it!



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