I heard the story of a young girl who had memorized Psalm 23 and was eager to share it in her Sunday School class. With as much confidence as she could muster, she stood up and began reciting the passage.

“The Lord is my shepherd—that’s all I want.”

Though humorous and sweet, that statement is packed with truth.

David’s first occupation was a shepherd, and he deeply understood the relationship between a shepherd and his flock. It’s from this experience he penned the most well-known Psalm in the Bible.

Like a shepherd cares for his sheep, God cares for his people, the sheep of his pasture. He provides for us and protects us. He leads us and guides us. He continually pours out his goodness and love upon us. If one of his sheep goes astray, he will search for it and bring it home.

God is our comfort in times of sorrow, our strength when we are weak, and our hope when we are discouraged. Only God can meet all of our needs. If we belong to his pasture, we will be in need of nothing.

May the Lord our shepherd be all we need and all we want.

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

Crystal Bowman is an award winning, best-selling author of more than 100 books for children. She is a speaker and mentor for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and teaches at several writers’ conferences throughout the US. She is a monthly contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine and writes lyrics for children’s piano music.

 

 

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Have you ever asked, “Why this waste?”

While Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman brought an alabaster box containing expensive perfume and poured it on his head.

“Why this waste?” said the disciples, indignant. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

The woman’s deed was to prepare him for burial, Jesus said. “Wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her” (see Matthew 26:6-13).

In baffling times when I could see no purpose, I’ve asked, “Why this waste?” Someone I loved was disabled by a devastating disease. A friend’s young child died tragically.

What good could come from such waste?

Scripture gave answers.

  • We may comfort others. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
  • Others see our faith. “Then the Lord said: ‘I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you” (Exodus 34:10).
  • We share in the fellowship of Christ’s suffering. “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10).
  • We learn obedience, as Jesus did. “Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8 KJV).

God never wastes an experience. Knowing he’s weaving everything together with purpose satisfies me.

Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned and award-winning I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She serves as secretary of Christian Authors Network and is a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

 

 

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“Your mother is dying.”

My mind understood the doctor’s words, but my heart refused to believe them. Only a few days prior, my ninety-four-year-old mother had taken a day trip to Reno with my husband. How could she be dying?

Why now, God?

This was supposed to be the weekend I would put the final touches on my novel before sending it to my agent.

Too many circumstances in the past six months had kept me from diligently writing. Moving in with my mom after her stroke. Readying our house for sale. Packing the things of my own I wanted to keep. Thanksgiving, Christmas, visiting with my daughter’s family on their return from overseas. Stomach flu – three times in two months.

And now, this.

I was afraid.

Afraid if I don’t keep writing, my agent will drop me.

Afraid if I don’t finish my next project soon, I’ll never find a publisher.

Afraid if I don’t keep blogging and posting on social media, I will lose the tiny bit of platform I’ve gained.

Afraid to watch my mother die.

Like the song from Christian recording artist, Zach Williams, “Fear, he is a liar.”

God’s word is the truth.

“Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established” (Proverbs 16:3).

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16: 9).

Though I’m afraid and overwhelmed, God is showering me with His peace as I meditate on His word. I encourage you to “take His yoke upon you” so He can give you rest.

Jane Daly is a banker by day, blogger by night. She makes her home in Northern California with her husband of forty years and two cats. Connect with her and see her published books at www.janeSdaly.com. Check out her blog, The Caregiving Season.

 

 

 

 

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What item in your closet should probably be thrown out? If somebody rummaged through my clothes, they’d most likely choose the ratty ol’ black sweater. It’s faded, a bit threadbare, and stretched out of shape. But it still hangs in my closet…for a reason.

When my mother passed away, my sisters and I packed up her clothes. We each took a few as mementos. I chose the black sweater, already worn with age.

If I feel a bit down, I slip my arms through the sleeves. It is almost as if my mom is hugging me once again. My mother was a deep believer even though she suffered the death of two children and my father becoming a POW in WWII. Through it all, she used her experiences to God’s glory and comforted many during her eighty-plus years on earth. When I wrap myself in that sweater, I feel her God-endowed wisdom and comfort.

Paul spoke of the comfort God gives us to pass on to others. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 13:3-4).

One day, after I am gone, maybe a family member will go through my clothes and wonder why I kept that old thing. If she feels the urge to slip her arms through its sleeves, I hope she’ll realize why.

Julie Cosgrove

Julie Cosgrove is an editor and writer for Cru Canada’s internet ministry, Power to Change. Her income, like any missionary’s, is dependent upon prayer and financial partners. She is also a professional speaker and a multiple award-winning author of ten novels with four more under contract.

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