He Restores My Soul
Aunt Bertie is the only person I’ve personally known who raised sheep. Her eight sheep used to huddle together in a corner of their lean-to. They were not the white fluffy cloud-looking sheep like you see in storybooks. They were dingy white and often had clumps of fur coated with dirt. So, when I read Psalm 23 and think about the Lord being our shepherd, I often think of these sheep and Aunt Bertie.
My sister and I used to spend weekends at her home from time to time. Honestly, it felt like staying in the most peaceful place ever. Not because of the farmland or the sheep, but because of her kind nature. She spoke with such tenderness and joy to us and her face lit up with a smile when she listened to our chattering. Her home was next door to the church and the way she used to talk about Jesus, you’d think He lived at her house. She spoke of His goodness, His love for us, and how He took care of her and the sheep. Her home was modest at best, and her spirit was the most welcoming, calming presence. We loved staying with her.
We were just kids, so we didn’t know the depth of her pain that had driven her firmly into the tender care of her Shepherd. Four tombstones in the church graveyard give witness of the lives that were once her family—three small ones for her babies, and one large one for her husband. She never got to see her children grow beyond toddler age and yet she lived with such love flowing from her being for us, her sister’s grandchildren. It’s as if God filled the depth of her pain over losing three babies with an equal amount of long-lasting, overflowing love. We weren’t the only children she loved that way. She had six sisters and one brother. The number of nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews was impressive and every single one of us received unconditional, tender love from this woman.
The testimony of her relationship with Jesus Christ was her everyday life. She loved Him and she loved others. Simple as that. Psalm 23 says:
The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3 (NKJV)
To this day, when family gathers from distant places for special occasions or funerals, Aunt Bertie’s legacy of kindness and gentleness is often mentioned. I’d say that He restored her soul. He filled that deep wound with His perfect love that kept her going. The name of Jesus Christ was well-honored by Bertie Brown as she followed Him in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
1 Chronicles 11:9 (NIV)And David became more and more powerful, because the LORD Almighty was with him.
In this summary of the reign of David, we are reminded why he continually increased in power. The LORD Almighty was with him. God is all-powerful, and all power comes from Him and returns to Him. Several other passages in Scripture remind us of this spiritual truth. When God is with you, there is increase. Psalms 84:7 7They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. 2 Corinthians 3:18 18And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
The increase in your life will not be in the ways the world counts increase. David’s increase in strength was influence for the God’s people. We find much of our musical heritage goes back to David and his instruments and positions he appointed at the tent of worship. The Psalms of David have inspired and comforted millions. The world can’t see an increase in glory, but your brothers and sisters in the LORD can. This is an increase in eternal substance, not in temporal passing things. It is the most valuable type of increase, for it is eternal.
We run after all kinds of other increase in the world, but the heart that is after God will seek the increase that comes from the presence of the LORD Almighty.
Consider: Is that the kind of increase you are seeking? It is the only kind worth seeking.
“He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever.” – Psalm 146:6 NLT
Keeping a promise is like a major deposit, a principle taught to millions of people by author and business consultant Stephen R. Covey.
Covey encouraged people to think of their words and actions as investments. Through in-depth analysis of personal and business interactions, he discovered that people only tend to believe people who keep their promises. He realized that every time we keep a promise, others gain confidence in us. They know that we are serious about our words and commitments.
The opposite is also true. Breaking a promise is like a major withdrawal. Those who don’t keep their word find that others won’t believe their promises. They have less credibility.
Covey encouraged us to understand the impact of our habits and then form positive habits. One of the most important patterns we can foster is to keep our promises, to be trustworthy, so others consistently believe us.
These practical principles point back to the timeless truths in God’s Word, which teach that we should always speak the truth (Ephesians 4:25) and “let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no,’ ‘no’” (Matthew 5:37 NKJV). We are also to trust in God and His Word.
God demonstrated His promises were true when He sent Jesus into the world. Remember that all God’s promises are true. And they are true for you. You can count on Him. He keeps His promises forever!
Reflection Question: How can you remind yourself to consistently keep all your promises?
Streams in the Desert – July 19
- 202219 Jul
The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? (John 18:11)
This was a greater thing to say and do than to calm the seas or raise the dead. Prophets and apostles could work wondrous miracles, but they could not always do and suffer the will of God. To do and suffer God’s will is still the highest form of faith, the most sublime Christian achievement.
To have the bright aspirations of a young life forever blasted; to bear a daily burden never congenial and to see no relief; to be pinched by poverty when you only desire a competency for the good and comfort of loved ones; to be fettered by some incurable physical disability; to be stripped bare of loved ones until you stand alone to meet the shocks of life–to be able to say in such a school of discipline, “The cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it?’–this is faith at its highest and spiritual success at the crowning point.
Great faith is exhibited not so much in ability to do as to suffer.
–Dr. Charles Parkhurst
To have a sympathizing God we must have a suffering Saviour, and there is no true fellow-feeling with another save in the heart of him who has been afflicted like him. We cannot do good to others save at a cost to ourselves, and our afflictions are the price we pay for our ability to sympathize. He who would be a helper, must first be a sufferer. He who would be a saviour must somewhere and somehow have been upon a cross; and we cannot have the highest happiness of life in succoring others without tasting the cup which Jesus drank, and submitting to the baptism wherewith He was baptized.
The most comforting of David’s psalms were pressed out by suffering; and if Paul had not had his thorn in the flesh we had missed much of that tenderness which quivers in so many of his letters.
The present circumstance, which presses so hard against you (if surrendered to Christ), is the best shaped tool in the Father’s hand to chisel you for eternity. Trust Him, then. Do not push away the instrument lest you lose its work.