PrayerDare2VERSE

Welcome!

 We hope you will enjoy these devotions that Pastor Jeremy wrote to
encourage your walk with God!  
 
This Week’s Sermon is The Lord is My Shepherd 
 
 
 

Day 1

Every day I pass by the gas station going into work. I drive right past it without any thought. Well, that is until I notice my gas gauge is getting low and I am in need of some gasoline. Once I recognize I need it, then all I can think about is going into town getting to that gas station.

            Unfortunately, too often we treat God that way. We go through our day with our list of activities, trying to get everything done without little thought of the One who gave us this day. That is until we find ourselves running low or in the midst of some struggle.  Then all we can do is think about God and our need for Him.

            When we come to those times it seems Psalms 23 is a place to go to. Its familiarity and promise after promise is reassuring as it fills the soul. This month we are going to take a deeper look at Psalm 23 and recognize that this Psalm is one that can be used every day instead of when we are just empty.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 23

What do you think?  How many benefits can you count that one receives from have the Lord as their shepherd?

Today’s Prayer:  Dear Lord, thank you so much for your promises to care for me. Please forgive me for forgetting about you until I need help me.  Help me dwell with you daily and teach me over these next 4 weeks how wonderful you are.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
    He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    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 goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.
 
(English Standard Version)

Day 2

 

1 Samuel 13:14 

“The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart…”

 

            Before we can discover the riches of Psalm 23, it is important for us to know its author, David. David while growing up was an unassuming youngest son of 8 to a man named Jesse.  David lived in a small town and lived life as a shepherd watching his father’s sheep. When you would look at him, you would not assume him as a king but as a simple shepherd. But this shepherd was to be one of the greatest kings of Israel, hand chosen by God because his heart desired God over everything else.

            The interesting thing is that Samuel, God’s Spokesman, didn’t even understand that the heart is most important to God. When he went to Jesse’s house, knowing that one of his sons was going to be picked king, he was thinking about their age and if they looked like a king. This was even after God told Samuel that “the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart.” David was overlooked by everyone except God because God looks at the heart.

            David was a shepherd caring and protecting the sheep given into his care. He excelled at his job but more importantly he excelled in his pursuit of God. His sincere pursuit of God was the reason God chose him. It didn’t matter who he was in his reputation, his work, or his age. It didn’t matter to God the respect he commanded when he came into a room.  All that mattered to God was that his heart was turned to God in a humble and sincere manner.

 

Today’s Scripture:  1 Samuel 16:1-13

What do you think?   God is more impressed with how your heart and life chases after him than with any other accomplishment you can do.  How can your heart chase after God today?

Today’s Prayer:   Take time to examine your heart focusing on whether it is humble and sincere. Then thank God that He is more interested in our heart than our personality, appearance or accomplishments.

1 Samuel 16:1-13

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.”Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord‘s anointed is before him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest,a] but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12 And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.
 
(English Standard Version)
 

Day 3

Psalm 78:70-71

He chose David his servant
    and took him from the sheepfolds;
71 from following the nursing ewes he brought him
    to shepherd Jacob his people,
    Israel his inheritance.

 

Jennifer and I do a lot of online shopping especially for items not available around here. That means we get to see our UPS man quite frequently and have set fair expectations on when a package should come once it has been ordered. Recently Jennifer ordered some books for her upcoming bible study with the online retailer’s promise that they would get here by Monday. She clicked “order” with confidence as that gave her three days cushion. Wednesday evening came and still no package. We checked the tracking information and it said that it was no longer with UPS but was now in a post office over an hour away!

         The next morning I made some calls and there was little hope that they would be here in time for the bible study. At 3:25 we heard our mail carriers horn honk signifying he was delivering a package too large for our mailbox. The books had come; it just took longer than expected.

         David experienced that same thing with God. He was a teenager anointed to be king, victorious over the experienced giant warrior Goliath, and now a trusted servant of King Saul. Did you catch that?  He wasn’t king; he was a servant to the current King Saul. He couldn’t be king until God would act in a way to remove Saul from the throne.  This wait for David meant him being a fugitive of his future kingdom with the army after him. He wandered from hiding in caves to the border towns and even lived with the enemy so that he could stay alive. Yet while this was happening, he became the shepherd of Israel before he was king. Instead of his sheep, he began protecting and caring for the people he would one day rule. While King Saul was preoccupied with ridding himself of David who threatened his throne, David was becoming a shepherd to the people of Israel. He cared for them and protected them from enemy intruders and provided for their needs.  When Saul finally died, David was given the throne with little struggle for the people knew he would be a great shepherd for Israel. God’s promise that he would be king came true.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 37:1-7

What do you think?  When has there been a time where you had to wait patiently for the LORD?  How was he faithful in that circumstance?

Today’s Prayer:  Today pray about the hope you have in the Lord despite the problems you are facing.

 

 

 

 

 

Psalm 37:1-7

Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
    be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
    and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
 
(English Standard Version)

Day 4

Psalm 23:1

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

 

My name would be Joanette if my mother had it her way. Thankfully, in her wisdom in finding out I was a boy she changed her mind and called me Jeremy.  Picking names can be tricky. For our first two kids we had names picked out weeks and months before Emma and Henry were born. It was different for our third child who remained nameless for a day. We scoured through the tattered name books on loan from the nurses station trying to find the “right” name. We kept circling around the name Sarah with an ‘h’. Today Sarah Grace is 8 years old and she is definitely a Sarah, just like Henry is a Henry and Emma is an Emma to us. Why?  Because that is who they have become and their names only represent what their lives have become.

            Sometimes there is a lot to a name.  It might be a story, a family name, a tradition, or an honor. As we start on Psalm 23, we are given God’s personal name instead of the generic name ‘God.’  It is YHWH (Hebrew didn’t have written vowels, but it was pronounced yah-weh) and is represented in your bible whenever you see “LORD” (all capitals).  This name is powerful for it represents an incomparable power that created us and our entire universe. It represents a wisdom and knowledge that is perfect. It represents the one who always does the right thing. It also represents many other desirable traits that no one can match and therefore He sets himself apart from everything (that means holy). By God sharing his personal name instead of a title, He is inviting us into a relationship as our shepherd.

            YHWH knows you and is willing to be the one who will shepherd, tend, and care for you. He is available and relational inviting you into this relationship where he will care for you. How amazing is that?

 

Today’s Scripture:   Psalm 100

What do you think? How does it make you feel that the great YHWH invites you into a relationship with Him?

Today’s Prayer:  Take time today to do what Psalm 100 encourages us to do: Serve God, Give Thanks, Give praise, and Bless His Name!

 

 

 

 

Psalm 100

 

Make a joyful noise to the Lord,                                    all the earth!
    Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.
 
 
(English Standard Version)

Day 5

Psalm 23:1

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

My mom will always be my mom.  When I am in the office over lunch she can’t stand the thought of me missing a meal. So she warms a plate and delivers it to my office to make sure I won’t waste away. Every Sunday as she greets me with a hug she is doing the mom “look-over” just like she did when I was 6 making sure I am not “out of sorts” anywhere.  Even though I am a grown adult, she will always be my mom caring and helping me.

            YHWH doesn’t give up on us either and it is best represented by the idea of a shepherd. A shepherd takes care of sheep who are a lot like a six year old boy.  They know just enough to get them hurt, in trouble, or lost. They don’t know when to shower, brush teeth, or go to bed. They also struggle to figure out how to eat and drink without someone’s help. Most importantly they need someone around to help, support, protect and love them. Yep, that describe what sheep need (except for the shower and brushing teeth part).

            I hope you don’t take this the wrong way but we humans act a lot like sheep no matter what age we are.  It just seems the older we are the more complex our problems and consequences are. That is why David reminds us that we can have a shepherd.  But it is not any shepherd, it is YHWH!  He is willing to come to our rescue and help us wherever we might find ourselves.

 

Today’s Scripture: Luke 15:1-7, Colossians 1:13-14

What do you think?  When have there been times when you found yourself in a situation where you really needed God to come to your rescue?

Today’s Prayer:  Spend some time today either asking God for help for a particular situation or thanking him for how he has rescued you.

 
 

Luke 15:1-7

 

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it,he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
 

Colossians 1:13-14

13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
 
 
(English Standard Version)

Day 6

Psalm 23:1

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

 

            I am fortunate that I have always been able to have a vehicle as long as I have had my license.  Whether it was the 1979 full size van with 200,000 plus mile and bald tires, or the $350 Toyota Corona that lasted 3 months or the 1987 Pontiac 6000 that went over 200,000 miles, I always had something to drive. They weren’t fancy although the ’72 Toyota had a cool warning light dash that made me feel like I was in a space ship until I had to turn with no power steering.  Did I want more? Of Course!  A Corvette, Ferrari, or Jaguar would have been nice but I don’t look back and wish for more.  I am thankful my parents made sure I was able to have transportation for me.

            As a shepherd God gives us this huge blanket promise that we will not be in want. David wrote this out of his experiences with God. He wrote this even though he had to hide in caves, fight for his life, lose loved ones, and even have his wife Michal given to another man in marriage. Yet he recognized looking back in his life that God was with him the whole way. He never found himself without what was essential.

            The Hebrew in this part is literally: not lack.   To make it understandabl, it is that YHWH tends to us like a shepherd where we will not lack anything.  God promises that we will not be without those things which we will need most.  On top of this list is one thing: HIM.

 

 

Today’s Scripture: Philippians 4:14-20

What do you think?   What people has God put in your life to help meet the needs that you have?

Today’s Prayer:   Thank God for the people that have been placed in your life that have helped and encouraged you.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Philippians 4:14-20

 
14 Yet it was kind of you to sharea] my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again.17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.b]18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
 
 
(English Standard Version)

Day 7

                               Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”       

            This past summer my family was able to go to Colorado and spend time celebrating my parents golden anniversary with my sisters and their families. We stayed at a place that had stables and trail riding. It was the one thing we did as an entire family and it was great!  But for my one niece is was great and special.

            She loves animals and has always had an affection for horses. While we were there for four days, Lilly rode on three of those days. She would talk about the ranch hands and the horses non-stop when she would return from her last trail ride. Lilly connected at a deeper level than most of us tourists. She had taken a sincere interest in each of the horses she rode.

            We read that the LORD is our shepherd and makes sure we are not lacking anything. That must mean that he has a sincere loving interest in each one of us. How much interest does He have for us? In Matthew 6:8 Jesus tells us that “your Father [in heaven] knows what you need before you ask him.”  God is not a tourist in our life passing through until we might need Him again. He is here to stay offering His love and care to each and every one of us.

Today’s Scripture: John 10:10-15

What do you think?   God has initiated a relationship with you where He is willing to care for you. How have you responded to this relationship? Do you know his voice? Do you follow him?

Today’s Prayer:   Today pray a prayer that comes from the depths of your heart. It might be something you are struggling with to something you are grateful for.  Reach deep to make sure prayers are not like one of a passing tourist.

 

 

John 10:10-15

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
 
(English Standard Version)