Psalm 23

The Lord Is My Shepherd

A Psalm of David

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.

Recommended Reading

Excerpts from A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller:

"I am completely satisfied with His management of my life. Why? Because He is the sheepman to whom no trouble is too great as He cares for His flock. He is the rancher who is outstanding because of His fondness for sheep---Who loves them for their own sake as well as His personal pleasure in them. He will, if necessary, be on the job twenty four hours a day to see that they are properly provided for in every detail. Above all, He is very jealous of His name and high reputation as 'The Good shepherd.'" ~Chapter Two: I Shall Not Be In Want

"...it is no mere whim on God's part to call us sheep. Our behavior patterns and life habits are so much like that of sheep it is well nigh embarrassing." ~Chapter 6: He Guides Me In Paths Of Righteousness For His Name's Sake

"Only the strictest attention to the behavior of the sheep by the shepherd can forestall the difficulties of 'fly time.' At the very first sign of flies among the flock he will apply an antidote to their heads.......What an incredible transformation this would make among the sheep. Once the oil had been applied to the sheep's head, there was an immediate change in behavior. Gone was the aggravation, gone the frenzy, gone the irritability and the restlessness. Instead, the sheep would start to feed quietly again, then soon lie down in peaceful contentment." ~Chapter 10: You Anoint My Head With Oil

Order book: A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23 by Phillip W. Keller

Audiobook Chapter 1 on YouTube: A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23 by Phillip W. Keller

A beautiful rendering of Psalm 23 in English, Swahili and Luo, by Good Dog and Buttercup:

Psalm 23 ~ The Lord Is My Shepherd

And sung in Hebrew:

MIQEDEM - Psalm 23 in Hebrew

Who is the Holy Spirit? – Part Eight: The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Your Prayer Language

“Paul in Ephesus
And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’  And he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ They said, ‘Into John's baptism.’  And Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.’  On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all” (Acts 19:1-7 ESV).
This story recounts that the twelve believers accepted salvation, were baptized in water and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit all at the same time. These three events: salvation, water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, don’t always happen together, and in fact, sometimes quite a long time can pass between them. As with salvation, how and when a person is ready to declare their faith in Christ through water baptism or receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and their prayer language, is as unique to each individual as their heartbeat or their fingerprints. God’s timing is always perfect for each of us. He never hurries and he never hesitates.
In Romans chapter 10, Paul writes that righteousness that is based on faith declares that “…The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (v. 6-9 ESV).
Paul is saying that speaking, proclaiming and confessing are all specific elements of faith and salvation. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we confess it by praying the prayer of salvation. When we participate in water baptism, the pastor or minister who is assisting us will ask whether we have accepted salvation through the blood of Christ, and if we agree to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – to which we must answer an affirmative “Yes!” in order for the baptism to take place – otherwise it wouldn’t be a baptism, it would just be going for a swim. To proclaim our faith, we have to actually say something!
Paul declared that “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, ‘I believed and so I spoke,’ we also believe and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence” (2 Corinthians 4:13-14). Paul spoke what he believed, and he was a man who walked his talk!
We confess Christ with our mouths to be saved, we agree out loud to be baptized in his name, and when we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we speak then, too, but it’s a little different because we won’t be speaking in our native language, but in our prayer language – the language of the Spirit. This language is described in scripture as “speaking in tongues.”
When we first receive salvation, we accept Jesus as our Lord as well as our Savior. We invite him to come into our hearts, and we give him dominion over our lives. We surrender ourselves into his keeping, for eternity. We do this because we realize that we can trust him, because he came and died in our place to accept the punishment for our sins. That, in a nutshell, is the gospel.
When we are baptized in water, we surrender again, but this time, we surrender to whomever is about to dunk us into the river, the creek, or the font.  We surrender to our minister, who represents our church family. Baptism washes away pride as it washes away the past. And just to put it into perspective, please remember that Jesus had to surrender to John the Baptist in order to be baptized in the Jordan River. And even for John, it was a moment of surrender. (See Matthew chapter 3.) We let go and let the river flow.
When we are baptized into the Holy Spirit, we surrender a third time, but this time it is to demonstrate that we so trust in the Spirit of God that we allow him to speak through us, in a language that we do not understand.
Did you know that the author of the book of James was also Jesus’ half-brother? That would be a wonderful topic to explore, but for now, let’s look at what he famously wrote about taming the tongue. He said that all of us stumble in many ways, and only a perfect man or woman is able to control every aspect of themselves.
James wrote that although we can bridle the strength of horses, and steer huge ships with just a small rudder, none of us has the wherewithal to control the power of the tongue, which he says is like a wildfire set loose in a dry forest, and full of deadly poison. (See James chapter 3.) We all know what he means because we’ve all felt the sting of unkind words which can be very painful, leaving lasting scars for the giver and receiver. Solomon wrote that life and death are in the power of our tongues (Proverbs 18:21). With our words we can either build up or tear down.
Therefore we can see that the one, single part of the human body that it is impossible for we humans to control – our tongues, as James said – would be the one part of our selves that God would ask us to surrender for his use and for his glory through the work of his Holy Spirit.
This is why the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. It is allowing God to control what it is impossible for us to control. Complete surrender.
I assure you, as Paul assured the church at Corinth, that God intends for everything, including speaking in our prayer language, to be done decently and in order, and in 1 Corinthians 14, Paul makes a distinction between speaking in tongues in our personal prayer time and speaking in the corporate setting of the church.
Remember that water baptism after salvation? That was where we also surrendered to our pastor. In salvation, we acknowledge Jesus’ headship over us, in baptism we acknowledge our pastor’s stewardship over us, and at the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we acknowledge the Spirit’s guidance and protection over us. All things God gives us for our benefit are used decently and in order, for his glory, through our surrender to his higher authority.
Paul stated that he prays in tongues with his spirit, he sings in the spirit and gives God praise in the spirit (14:15). He said to the congregation, “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than any of you” (14:18), which meant that he spent much more time praying in tongues in private than he did in public. When you read chapter 14, you can make that distinction too. Paul wasn’t speaking against the gift of tongues, he was speaking against using the gifts of the Spirit to show off in the church.
Every person’s relationship with the Holy Spirit is unique, and the gift of a spiritual prayer language that he gives each one of us is unique also. I have a lovely and precious friend who is an opera singer, who sings harmonies straight from heaven in the Spirit. Our wonderful pastor speaks over us in the Spirit when we come to the altar for prayer.  I’ve known mighty evangelists whose voices boomed out prophecies in the Spirit that were then translated for the congregation, and I’ve heard the Holy Spirit speak in almost silent whispers to comfort someone’s soul that were so private that only God could understand.
It is God, our God, who said:
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
(Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV)
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a gift that God longs to give each of us. Our part is to simply pray and ask God to immerse us in his Spirit and help us to surrender to receive our prayer language. Sometimes we are sufficiently ready to receive this gift instantly, and sometimes God takes some time to prepare us to receive more of himself through his Spirit. Either way is perfect, and when we ask God for the gift of his Spirit, he will most definitely answer when the time is right, so just keep praying and praising in faith and you will be baptized.
After all, Jesus promised, “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (Luke 11:13 NLT).

Building A House: Journal Part 7

Wow! The flower above is Bee Balm which grows like a weed, but every time I see it bloom, I think of this verse, because it is just so spectacular. And then I wondered what to say along with this post, so I looked up the rest of the passage and, Lo and Behold, Yeshua said it all, since I sometimes get anxious about completing this project. But He is faithful.

So I Say to you, do not worry about your life--what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn't life more than food and the body more than clothing (and shelter)?

Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your Father in heaven feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And why do you worry about clothing (and shelter)? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They neither toil nor spin.

Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

Now if in this way God clothes the grass---which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow--- will He not much more clothe (and shelter) you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not worry saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear' (or Where will we live)? For the pagans eagerly pursue all of these things; yet your Father in heaven knows that you need all these.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  ~Matthew 6:25-34

Have a Happy and Blessed Fourth of July!!!

Again, a special thanks and Shalom Shalom to Good Dog and Buttercup for their service to Adonai, including their beautiful Psalms Project: Psalm 136 ~ Thanksgiving For God's Everlasting Love

More information on Insulated Concrete Forms- ICFs: Fox Blocks ICF Building System