Daily Bible Reading

The great pursuit

Psalm 23 is one of my favourite passages in the entire Bible. I attribute this to my mother. While she was pregnant with me, she took up a project to cross stitch the entire chapter. She completed it in the hospital right before I was born. It’s now framed and hangs on the wall in my bedroom and is one of the last things I see before I go to bed every night.

Psalm 23

There is so much packed into these six verses. I can barely begin to scratch the surface, but I want to give you a little bit from each verse.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.

Psalm 23:1 (NLT)

If we follow Jesus like sheep do a shepherd, our needs will be fulfilled. God isn’t a magic genie to see to our needs and whims when we feel like rubbing the lamp. He is there to lead us and guide us. It’s under His guidance that our needs our met.

He lets me rest in green meadows;
He leads me beside peaceful streams.

Psalm 23:2 (NLT)

Turmoil and stress don’t have to be a part of our daily lives. Like being under God’s guidance allows for our needs to be met, if we follow His lead, we will be drawn to rest and peace.

He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.

Psalm 23:3 (NLT)

Strength is required to walk God’s path. There is nothing that says walking with God will be easy, but He does give us the strength to do it. And, if we’re not bringing honour to His name, we’re probably not on His path.

Even when I walk
through the dark valley of death,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.

Psalm 23:4 (NLT)

When, not if. We will go through dark times. That’s pretty much a guarantee. But even in those times, God has promised that He will be with us—guiding us, protecting us, comforting us.

You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You welcome me as a guest,
anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.

Psalm 23:5 (NLT)

Our enemies will not suddenly decide to leave us alone because we decide to put our trust in God. We will still have enemies. They may still surround us. Yet God is there, providing for us in the middle of the battleground. And there, we can even find blessings!

Surely your goodness and unfailing love
will pursue me.
all the days of my life,
And I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23:6 (NLT)

We make a grave mistake when we believe we have to chase after God’s love. His love comes after us. His love is there in peaceful rest. His love is there in the dark valley of death. His love is there in the presence of our enemies. His love is there in His house.

It’s time to stop chasing after God’s love. If we’d only just slow down for a moment, it will catch up to us and overtake us. In His love, we will find peace, rest, strength, guidance, provision, anointing, blessing, and goodness.

We don’t have to pursue God’s love because He is always pursuing us.

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 22-24, Acts 20:1-16

Daily Bible Reading

Respond

Are you ever disappointed by someone’s response to one of your actions? Are they ever disappointed by your actions?

“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked [Cain]. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you respond in the right way. But if you refuse to respond correctly, then watch out! Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you, and you must subdue it.”

Genesis 4:6-7 (NLT)

In pondering my own responses to certain people and their actions, I have to wonder how those situations could have had different results if only I’d responded in a different manner. Often times our first response isn’t the correct one. Like Cain, we get upset as a spoiled child might. Sin waits to destroy us.

But also like Cain, God is waiting to accept us if we come with the correct response. Every situation has the potential for multiple outcomes. Most often, the outcome has a direct relationship with our response to it.

The next time your first inclination is to respond by lashing out, pause. Subdue the incorrect response and ask God to guide you in the correct one.

Daily Bible reading: Genesis 3-5, Matthew 2

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Follow.

When the men brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed Jesus.

Luke 5:11 (NCV)

FOLLOW (Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828):

  • to go after or behind
  • to pursue; to chase
  • to imitate; to copy
  • to embrace; to adopt and maintain
  • to obey; to observe
  • to pursue as an object of desire; to endeavour to obtain
  • to adhere to; to side with
  • to be led or guided by

Am I really a follower? Or do I say that I am because it sounds better than saying I’m just a fan?

Do I pursue and chase after Jesus?

Do I obey Him?

Do I allow myself to be led and guided by Him?

Like the men in the Gospels, have I dropped everything just because He asked me to?

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people he called, because that was his plan.

Romans 8:28 (NCV)

Do I act as though I am a part of God’s plan? Or do I try to fit God into my plan?

God has amazing plans for me, but I will never see those plans come to full fruition until I am willing to drop everything and follow Him. All of those secrets and surprises He has waiting will remain hidden until I get myself into the place Jesus has called me to be.