Week of March 4

Psalm 23

Restore

Day 1: Psalm 23:3, “He restores my soul; He guides me in paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake.” He restores my soul. When has the Shepherd restored your soul? Was it recently or has it been a while? Consider how Jesus goes about restoring one’s soul. Do you remember the green pastures and still waters from verse two? For some, the green pastures are a familiar coffee shop, the back deck, a walk through a wooded trail. Others experience still waters in the middle of a song or in a scripted prayer. Wherever or however Jesus restores your soul, pursue Him. Put yourself in a place to allow Jesus to restore your soul today, maybe even right now.   

Day 2: Travis’s message on Sunday’s was titled, “He Restores Me.” Notice what Jesus does not restore here. He does not a restore a position, friendship, an outcome, a circumstance or even health. Sometimes in life restoration does happen: a relational conflict is mended, a better job is found, a debt is fulfilled, a cure is found. However, David writes that the Shepherd restores his soul. The soul runs deeper than a thought or feeling. We find the soul in our emotional center. It is where peace, love, acceptance, worth, and joy reside. Settle into your chair. Close your eyes. Invite the Shepherd to restore your soul. Play a song. Speak a favorite verse or recite Isaiah 40:31 or 57:10. Pray and allow your Shepherd to restore your soul.  

Day 3: Read Psalm 23:1-4 emphasizing the verbs – makes, leads, refreshes, guides. The Shepherd invites us along the way, along a path. This is a path He knows well. The Shepherd travels this path knowing each twist and turn. He is comfortable and sure on this path. I don’t know about you, but this is not a difficult intellectual choice for me. I want this path. He is a good Shepherd. He has shown Himself caring, wise, and faithful. Yet, I wander from this path. How about you? When in your daily routine do you find yourself off the path? Is there a particular stress or problem that causes you to drift? Become aware of it. In doing so, repeating a word, phrase or verse can bring you back. If you haven’t memorized Psalm 23, try it. If memorizing is new or difficult, start with the first four verses. You will discover, by reciting these verses, He can guide you to green pastures and still waters simply by removing yourself mentally from a situation for even a brief moment.  

Day 4: Psalm 23:3, “He restores my soul; He guides me in paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake.” The paths of righteousness, or the right paths, are where Jesus is guiding you and me. Consider these paths for a few moments. Are these paths well-lit and easy to find? How do we know if we are on the right path or the wrong one? Who or what determines right from wrong? Surely, I can. God has given me a mind to figure out life. Since we’re made in His image, his likeness, there is some truth to that statement. Yet remember the pivotal word from yesterday’s devotional. He guides. It is not God’s design for us to sort this all out on our own. He wants us to follow Him. Write down 1-2 big decisions you are considering. Ask Him to reveal His path. Pray about it several times, not for your solution but for His solution.  Share with another Christ follower who doesn’t have a stake in the decision.  

Day 5: We may be similar. I like simple, easy, straightforward. Give me a list to follow, and I’ll be happy to oblige. Are you like that or not? Maybe you find rules confining. Recall Psalm 23:3, “He restores my soul; He guides me in paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake.” In order to follow these paths of righteousness that align with God’s wishes and desires, just give me the list or the formula. What should I do? What should I not do? Just spell it out, and I will build it into my life. Unfortunately, that leads us down a wrong path. It can look right and appear we are traveling down the right road, however, Jesus warned the religious teachers of the day, that the path isn’t following rules. (See Matthew 12:1-14 for an example.) It is patterning our life after Jesus. We follow Jesus by being in relationship with Him through practicing habits like prayer, serving others, discussing Scripture with other Christ-followers, and committing to take steps together. Who in your life are you specifically encouraging on their journey of following Jesus? What is a step that you are taking? Does anyone else know about it, and are they supporting you? Following the Shepherd on the right paths happens with other sheep.  

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