The Twenty-third Psalm

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

As Hurricane Florence barrels toward the east coast of the United States, my thoughts and prayers are with all those in its paths. I pray the LORD will spare you and your families the devastation and pain I know can come from disastrous storms like this.

I pray God will fill you with his peace and presence and comfort you as only he can.

And for those not in this storm’s path, I pray for you also.

Why?

Because the storms we face in life are not limited to those of nature.

 

The Twenty-third Psalm has been on my mind quite a lot over the past few months. The more I study the words David penned all those many centuries ago, the more I appreciate his words, and find renewed comfort in them.

In my study I’ve discovered several important things to note in the Twenty-third Psalm. Perhaps you understood these points years ago, or like me, maybe they are points to an oft-quoted passage in the Bible we need reminded of.

Because God is our shepherd, we have everything we need. We don’t lack anything, even when we may feel otherwise. When our world is anything but peaceful, our Shepherd pulls us aside where the waters are calm. Away from the noise and strife of the world, to a place of rest in him.

When we walk in the midst of dark troubling paths, even to the valley of death, we don’t need to be afraid, because Jesus is walking that path right alongside us. He is guarding us. Guiding us. Staying close because he loves us, and nothing reaches us he didn’t plan or permit.

 

The rod of his power and strength are ready to protect us from the things that could harm us. His shepherd’s crook pulls us back to him when we go off on our own wayward path like the not-so-bright sheep we truly are.

The banquet set before us is just for us. Our enemies are left outside; staring in. They aren’t invited as we enjoy the goodness, mercy, and unfailing kindness of our Shepherd.

When our time here on earth ends, Jesus, our Good Shepherd, will take us to his home where we’ll live with him forever in the mansion he prepared for us. The mansion will be glorious, yes, but the most wonderful thing will be the fact we will be in the presence of God forever.

Do you have any addition thoughts on what the Twenty-third Psalm means to you? I’d love to hear them.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in fields of green grass and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water. He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths, as he has promised. Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me. Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.

You prepare a banquet for me, where all my enemies can see me; you welcome me as an honored guestand fill my cup to the brim.I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life;and your house will be my home as long as I live. Psalm 23 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Different Yet The Same

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

While at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, I participated in a fiction writing intensive clinic given by Kim Woodhouse, Tracie Peterson, and her husband, Jim. Among our group of learners were contemporary and historical authors. The historical time periods covered were Norman/Saxon Europe, the American Civil War of the 1860s, America during the 1930s, Germany during World War ll, and my historical young adult novel set in 1918 at the end of WWl.

One contemporary work was a romance. The other, an action drama.

As you can see…we each wrote from a different perspective, or Point of View. While our styles and stories are not the same, one thing we had in common was our desire to improve our writing.

We could have concentrated on our differences and not gotten very far, or we could concentrate on what we had in common. Learning the craft. Our choice. We chose to concentrate on what we had in common.

And this led me to thinking…

When I taught elementary school, there was an activity I did with my class at the beginning of the year. I called it Train Wreck.

We formed a circle with our chairs.

Minus one.

To start the game, one person stood in the center of the circle. The goal was to tell something about yourself that others in the group might have in common.

When the person in the center of the circle mentioned their thing, those who shared it, scrambled to find a new chair. Whoever was left without a chair, took his or her place in the center.

And the game began again.

Some of my students liked to stay in the center of the circle. To accomplish this, they named some obscure thing that no one else could possibly have in common. Like…I have a cat named Obediah.

Others in the center would name something that included more people. Like…I’m in Mrs. Quandt’s fourth grade class.

As you can imagine, it was much more fun when more people were included in the scramble.

I believe some of us may be like my students who enjoyed standing in the center of the circle. We like to think we are the center of attention. We like to have a monopoly on who we include in our “scramble” and who we exclude. We like to think we are superior.

Instead of saying something like, “I’m a child of the one true God, covered by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, sinner saved by grace”, which includes everyone who claims Jesus as LORD and King, we say something like, “I belong to such-and-such church on the corner of so-and-so in the town of this-and-that. I attend the first service, sit on the back row, left side, on the end.” The more exclusive, we falsely believe, the more favored.

Do you believe that’s the way God looks at his children?

I believe Jesus includes all of us who claim him as our LORD, no matter where we live, or what story he is writing in our lives. Historical or contemporary. Romance or drama. Buggies or Bonnets.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

So you guys, go all ova da world an teach all da diffren peopos, so dey can learn bout me an come my guys. Baptize dem, an dey goin come tight wit my Fadda, an me his Boy, an Godʼs Good an Spesho Spirit. Teach um how fo do everyting dat I wen tell you guys fo do. An you know wat? I goin stick wit you guys all da way, till da world goin pau.”

Matthew 28:19-20 Hawai’i Pidgin (HWP)

Confused? Try this version…

So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you, and I will be with you always, even until the end of this age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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