June 18, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Ray Choi, Gracepoint Berkeley

List the human needs referenced in this psalm, and the ways in which the Lord, the shepherd, meets those needs. There is a human need for guidance and leading, a need to know where to go, restoration for the soul, protection from evil.

If the Lord is my shepherd, what does that make me?  How sheep-like have I been (or am I) to the Lord’s shepherding? That makes me His sheep.  One of the main characteristics of sheep is that they follow, they are very obedient.  Lately, I’ve been following along, but still my followership is slow and w/o passion at times, not fitting the appropriate response of one who has received the entrustment of the Gospel.  The appropriate way of following is to give myself in full sacrifice, physically, emotionally, bearing in prayer and concern the full weight of responsibility and burden of leading people.

What is the basis of human fear?  What am I afraid of?  What is this psalm’s answer to my fears? One of my biggest fears has been and will rise up again to be fear of failure as a minister and leader.  I am afraid of my own weaknesses as a person and leader – my insensitivity to others’ sense of time, sense of willingness.  This psalm’s answer is that “God is with me” – and that it is HE who will take care of our needs of protection, guidance, restoring our souls, in providing a table for our basic needs.  The answer of this psalm to my fears is God Himself, a daily shepherding relationship with God. This kind of relationship is one of utter dependence.

So in some sense, my weaknesses that make me feel more needy and dependent on God are a blessing – it is better than being proud and overconfident.  My weakness leads to God’s strength as I recognize my need and humbly come to Him in dependence on His word, on prayer, and on the body of Christ.

We watched Glory yesterday, and Colonel Shaw had the same fear – recognizing that the 54th consisted of great men and that they could do a great deal of good, but that his weakness could get in the way.  What did he do?  He just did the next honorable and loving thing.  In the end, Colonel Shaw became motivated not by success and failure considerations, but by honor and love for his men.  This must be the same for me as well. Giving into my fears of failure are ultimately self-centered and narcissistic.  In love for God and the people He’s entrusted to me, I must learn to forget myself and just do the next loving thing.

Submitted by Phil Choi, Gracepoint Hsinchu

Psalm 23

If the Lord is my shepherd, what does that make me?  How sheep-like have I been (or am I) to the Lord’s shepherding?

If the Lord is my shepherd, that makes me his sheep. Recently, we heard a message from John 10 of Jesus being the Good Shepherd, how he knows us intimately, and how he is completely for our protection and good. So this picture of the Lord being my shepherd is still fresh in my mind. But hearing a message and actually applying it are completely different. I wish I could say I am always very “sheep-like” but I feel like more times than not I’m “goat-like.” I’m stubborn and proud and try to fight against the boundaries in my life. One of the things I’m challenged from this passage is to be more humble, like the picture of the sheep that lies down in green pastures. There’s no sense of pride or autonomy, just a quiet trust in the Shepherd. The sheep seems to go where the shepherd tells it to go, and do what the shepherd tells it to do. And I’m reminded that this is the best for me because when I have submitted myself under God’s leading in my life, it has always been the best for me. It’s not always the easiest or painless, but it’s always the best.

What is the basis of human fear?  What am I afraid of?  What is this psalm’s answer to my fears?

I think one of the things that make us fearful is focusing on our lack. We focus on what we don’t have, and we become afraid because we can’t bear to see our lives without that thing. And one of the main things when we fear is that we feel like we lack God’s presence of protection over our lives. The psalmist says that he will fear no evil because you are with me. I think about all the times in my life that I have feared, and it always boils down to because I did not recognize God’s presence in my life. I tried to control the situation by myself or find a solution on my own, but the more I tried, the more I realized how weak and frail I really am. But when I have experienced the peace of God through prayer, God’s Word, counseling from leaders, I was reminded that God is my Heavenly Father, that He cares for me and wants the best for me, and simply remembering that helps to put the fears into perspective. They don’t seem that big anymore in light of God’s big presence.

In a little over a week, we’ll be returning to Davis. But even though I’m from Davis, a lot of things are different: many of our old leaders have moved away, different ministry group, and in our personal lives things like unemployment and expecting child, etc. There are many uncertainties in the future, and uncertainty is something that makes me fearful. But in light of this DT, I want to remember that God is greater than all my fears. He has been my source of protection and guidance up to this point of my life, and as I remember God’s faithfulness in the past, it gives me more reason to trust Him moving forward. So even though I don’t have control and there are new environments and situations to look forward to, because God will lead our steps, I don’t have to be afraid.

Submitted by Sara Hong, Gracepoint Berkeley

Psalm 23

List the human needs referenced in this psalm, and the ways in which the Lord, the shepherd, meets those needs. The psalm begins with a simple statement about God’s identity in the psalmist’s life and its consequence: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”  To “not be in want” becomes expanded through the following descriptions of what the Lord does, which is primarily a filling up of spiritual needs.  The psalm doesn’t say that the Lord makes me financially secure and physically well; instead, it states that the Lord restores my soul and guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  The psalm recognizes that human needs are for more than just bread and water; we are more than beasts, and we yearn for things that will replenish our soul.

If the Lord is my shepherd, what does that make me? If the Lord is my shepherd, then I am his sheep. As a part of God’s flock, I receive the care of my heavenly shepherd, who makes me lie down in green pastures, leads me besides quiet waters, restores my soul, and guides me in paths of righteousness.  The journey of life doesn’t have to remain scary and stressful when I allow the Lord to shepherd me, and I can trust that wherever God leads me, He knows what is best for my life.  On my own, I am so restless and directionless; with the Lord as my shepherd, He allows me to experience true rest and purpose.  I’m really struck by the tranquility of this psalm, especially as I lead a very busy life of full-time work, mothering, ministering, etc.  This psalm reminds me that no matter how frantic the pace of life becomes, I have a God who is my shepherd and is one who makes me lie down in green pastures, who ultimately leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. How sheep-like have I been (or am I) to the Lord’s shepherding? I haven’t been very sheep-like in the past when I didn’t give myself enough time to hear from my heavenly shepherd (quick devotion times that I just wanted to do rather than really hear from God), or when I didn’t want to listen to His people (rebelling against corrections I heard about my actions or character).  Basically, whenever I didn’t see myself as a sin-ridden, foolish sheep that desperately needed shepherding, I rejected God as my heavenly shepherd.

One way I’m learning to become more sheep-like is to see that God’s rod and staff ultimately comfort me.  Concretely, these instruments of discipline are things like confession and repentance that are painful for me to face, or stressful situations through which I can learn more about my motives and sins (and make a choice about what to do).


Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Response