Psalm 23 Mug Challenge- Week 7……. You have been hemmed in

Hi, friends! Welcome to the Psalm 23 Mug challenge, where I encourage you to spend time with your Shepherd from the first sip to the last of your morning coffee (or whatever you drink!) Here you will find prompts from Psalm 23 to pray through.  Feel free to jump in any week, or you can start from the beginning here.

Find Week 1 here.
Find Week 2 here.
Find Week 3 here.
Find Week 4 here.
Find Week 5 here.
Find Week 6 here.

week7

 


Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

Psalm 23:6a


My husband is determined to have our little flock like him the best.  This summer after mowing the lawn every few days, he would dump all the the grass trimmings into the sheep pen.  He has done this so often that every time they see him, they come running, expecting a treat.  His very presence has become synonymous with goodness.

That’s why I love that this Psalm is book-ended with this idea of following, when in the beginning, David spoke most about the Shepherd leading.  It is this never-ending cycle of us following our Shepherd, while goodness and mercy chase us down.

And it isn’t just in the last and first verse of this Psalm that talks about the position of the Shepherd’s presence.  Please take a minute to read it again:

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

4 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.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

6 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.

v. 2- The shepherd leads you- He walks before you, showing you where to go.

v. 3- The shepherd restores your soul- He heals inside of you.

v. 4 The shepherd walks with you- He is beside you.

v.5 The shepherd prepares a table before you- He has planned ahead of you.

v. 5 The shepherd anoints you with oil- He pours over you.

v. 5 The shepherd overflows your cup- God’s Spirit pours out of you.

v. 6 The shepherd’s goodness and mercy follow you- He is behind you.

Isn’t knowing God’s omnipresence the most amazing gift?  As a follower of the Good Shepherd, you have been hemmed in on all sides- beside, before, behind, over, in, and through.

Today as you sip your morning drink, reflect on instances in your life where you have experienced God’s presence in each of these ways.  Pray that when God seems distant, He will remind you of all the ways He has been faithful.

His presence is synonymous with goodness.

You are not alone.

Blessings, sweet friend,

Megan


Screenshot 2017-04-15 21.57.59

 


Please post a photo of your mug with #Psalm23mugchallenge (or screen shot and share my image) to encourage others to join us! I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections from the day’s challenge.

Advertisements

Psalm 23 Mug Challenge- Week 6……. When your cup runs over

Hi, friends! Welcome to the Psalm 23 Mug challenge, where I encourage you to spend time with your Shepherd from the first sip to the last of your morning coffee (or whatever you drink!) Here you will find prompts from Psalm 23 to pray through.  Feel free to jump in any week, or you can start from the beginning here.

Find Week 1 here.
Find Week 2 here.
Find Week 3 here.
Find Week 4 here.
Find Week 5 here.
Find Week 6 here.

week6

 


You anoint my head with oil.  My cup runneth over.

Psalm 23:5b


I’ve read over this Psalm probably hundreds of times in my life, and I just love the way God is always revealing something new about Himself even in familiar passages. I’ll post the psalm in its entirety here and I want to see if you can pick up on a subtle shift that happens between verses 4 and 5.

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
4 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.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 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.

 

First of all, you see David compare God as a Shepherd, and then God as a host.

Secondly, and what I found most interesting, he transitions from talking about God to talking to God.  Why the change?

I believe there is an intimacy that is reached when we go from knowing God, to experiencing Him.  He is not just a provider, an overseer, a guide, or giver of good things. He proves Himself faithful when He walks the hard roads with us.  It is then we call Him Friend and Father.  It is in this verse that David paints a picture of God setting the table, and then sets the scene for what happens when we are sitting there.

He anoints my head with oil. My cup overflows.

Culturally in the East, the guest of honor would have oil or perfume poured over them to symbolize love and respect.  Next, they would be given a choice glass of wine where the host carefully overflowed the vessel to imply that while they remained at the table, the guest would lack for nothing.

While you enjoy your time sipping your coffee today, I would challenge you to reflect on the names of God that you most identify with.  Feel free to use Psalm 23 as a guide.

“God you are my ______________________”

Are there any titles that you feel uncomfortable with?  Any kind of relationship that you wish to develop further? Maybe you feel comfortable referring to God as your “friend” but not as “Father.” Spend some time in reflection asking God for ways that He can draw you closer to Himself so that when you commune with Him, you can experience all the love He has to offer so it can be poured out and shared with others.

Here is my absolute favorite song about how God reveals Himself in different ways in the various seasons of our lives.

Blessings, sweet friend,

Megan


 

 

 

Sheep_Farm_Felt_0079


Please post a photo of your mug with #Psalm23mugchallenge (or screen shot and share my image) to encourage others to join us! I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections from the day’s challenge.

Psalm 23 Mug Challenge- Week 5……. Preparing a Table

Hi, friends! Welcome to the Psalm 23 Mug challenge, where I encourage you to spend time with your Shepherd from the first sip to the last of your morning coffee (or whatever you drink!) Here you will find prompts from Psalm 23 to pray through.  Feel free to jump in any week, or you can start from the beginning here.

Find Week 1 here.
Find Week 2 here.
Find Week 3 here.
Find Week 4 here.
Find Week 5 here.
Find Week 6 here.

week5


You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

Psalm 23:5a


I love the imagery of Psalm 23.  The peaceful stream, the green grass, the dark valley.   And then there’s this verse.  From the time I can remember first hearing this passage, I always pictured the Shepherd setting up a table with bountiful blessings, and then making my enemy come and watch me eat so they could see what they were missing.  With me sticking my tongue out in between bites and saying, “Ha ha….the Shepherd likes me more than you.”  Am I the only one who envisioned this scenario?

It turns out that is not what this verse means.

When a soldier is in battle (or David, who spent a good portion of his life hiding and running from a king who was trying to kill him), setting up a table and taking time to enjoy a meal was not on their list of top priorities.  When an enemy can attack at any moment, you must always be on guard.  Chewing slowly, savoring, sipping, and relaxing and conversing at a table is pure luxury that one could not afford.

Psalm 23:5 paints the beautiful paradox of the Shepherd as both Defender and Host.

He prepares good things for you, and lavishes in your company while you sit in His presence, all the while shouldering the burden of anything that should come to try to steal you away.

While you may not have real enemies that are trying to literally destroy you, distractions abound.  They pull your attention so fiercely that it makes it impossible to enjoy the company of your Savior.

Today as you have set aside time to sit quietly with your Shepherd, be comforted that He has prepared good things for you.  As you take each sip, confess the distractions that are trying keep you from enjoying all that God has for you.

Put your own “enemy” in this verse…..

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of ________________________.”

Examples: my unfolded laundry, my need to please other people, exhaustion…..whatever the excuse you use that keeps you from getting to the table.

What are some of the good things you are hoping to receive when take the time to ignore those distractions?

Here’s a bonus challenge: Spend a few minutes preparing a table one time this week. This could mean getting out your fine china, or your tea set that’s collecting dust, or even just setting out a breakfast buffet of cereal for your kids before they wake up.  You can cover the table with brown craft paper and set up crayons and stickers for your kids or grandkids, or make place cards for your family members, or get out some craft supplies, or make an ice cream buffet with all the toppings.  Whatever it is, spend some time preparing to enjoy someone’s company at a table this week.  Watch the delight in your company’s eyes realizing that they are special enough to prepare a table for.

And then let that time be a tangible reminder to you of how excited the Shepherd is to have you at HIS table.

Praise God, our Defender, who has prepared a bounty for you today.


 

 

Blessings, sweet friend,

Megan


 

IMG_2109

Screenshot 2017-04-15 21.55.54

 


Please post a photo of your mug with #Psalm23mugchallenge (or screen shot and share my image) to encourage others to join us! I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections from the day’s challenge.

Psalm 23 Mug Challenge- Week 4……. Little Love Notes

Hi, friends! Welcome to the Psalm 23 Mug challenge, where I encourage you to spend time with your Shepherd from the first sip to the last of your morning coffee (or whatever you drink!) Here you will find prompts from Psalm 23 to pray through.  Feel free to jump in any week, or you can start from the beginning here.

 Find Week 1 here.
Find Week 2 here.
Find Week 3 here.
Find Week 4 here.
Find Week 5 here.
Find Week 6 here.

week4


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.

Psalm 23:4


The staff is a multi-use tool that a shepherd uses to care for his flock. As a nomad, the shepherd had to travel with few possessions, so it was important that what he carried with him, he could use for many tasks.

  • A walking stick
  • A tool for defense against predators
  • A tool to wave and shoo the flock in a certain direction
  • A counting tool: A shepherd would count and examine each sheep as it passed “under the rod”
  •  The crook would be able to grab a sheep if it fell into crevice or climbed a rock higher than the shepherd could reach with hands

But the sheep did not see the staff as a tool.  To the sheep, the staff is a tangible reminder of the truths it knows about the shepherd.

  • He walks with me.
  • He protects me.
  • He shows me where I can and can not go so I stay safe.
  • I matter.  He is aware of my health.
  • Even if I go where I should not, He can reach me and bring me back into His arms.

While you may not look at a shepherd’s staff and be comforted, I believe that God, in his unending pursuit to draw us closer to Himself, gives us all tangible reminders of His tender mercy and care throughout our day in order to keep our eyes away from worry and despair.

You are surrounded by people, objects, and situations that are little love notes that point you towards God’s Word and the truth about Himself.

And I know this may sound very silly, but for me- it’s birds.  The red of a cardinal, the yellow of the goldfinch, the color under the wings of a tufted titmouse… to me they are all reminders of the gift of color. The flutter of small wings speak truth about the graciousness of our Creator to not have us live in a world that is only black and white and shadows.  We could have been given a gray world, and He chose to not only fill it with color, but then gave us the ability to see it.

(Maybe that’s why I love my job so much. )  🙂

Today as you meditate on this verse, I pray that God would give you the eyes to see the truths about Himself that He is trying to reveal to you.  What will your “rod and staff” be?  Today, your task is to go on adventure….start today’s scavenger hunt to find all the ways God is pursuing you and trying to draw you closer to Himself with His little love notes.  I can’t wait for you to start this day, and neither can your Shepherd.

Here is a song of praise to the God of the hills and valleys  who is walking beside you.

Blessings, sweet friend,

Megan


Screenshot 2017-04-15 21.55.23


Please post a photo of your mug with #Psalm23mugchallenge (or screen shot and share my image) to encourage others to join us! I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections from the day’s challenge.