Tag Archives: Psalm 23

Worship Wednesday – In the Eye of the Storm – Ryan Stevenson

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Ludolf Backhuysen

On that day, when evening had come, He told them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea.”  So they left the crowd and took Him along since He was already in the boat. And other boats were with Him.  A fierce windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.  But He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke Him up and said to Him, “Teacher! Don’t You care that we’re going to die?”

 He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  Then He said to them, “Why are you fearful? Do you still have no faith?”

And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!”Mark 4:35-41

I am spent and it’s only Wednesday. We’ve all had weeks where the hours of the day didn’t cover what we needed to accomplish. Last night I couldn’t sleep thinking of what was done yesterday vs. what needed to be done, and what would have to be finished today.

Just so tired.

Then besides what was on my too-long to-do list, there were the pings to pray. Friends calling out with thrilling news of a new baby; other friends asking for prayer for their sick children or sick puppies. Prayers for their own storms to pass sooner than later.

And I prayed. What didn’t happen was taking a meal to a friend whose husband and children had flip-flopped for days, sick from one thing or another, and she the only caregiver. What didn’t happen was a quick visit to the newest addition to another friend’s family. What didn’t happen was Fall bucket list items I wanted to accomplish with a daughter. What didn’t happen…what didn’t happen…

Sheesh!

What DID happen was the to-do list got accomplished, at least enough for the next step of a huge project. What DID happen was sitting down exhausted to dinner with friends in our mid-week community group, and the load lifted a bit for all of us. What DID happen was that true friends, fierce friends, knew my neglect of them wasn’t because of a lack of love but a circumstance that kept me from them. What DID happen was God, in His mercy, provided for the needs of those dear ones, by other hands. Precious other serving hands.

What DID happen this week, in the storm of responsibilities and interruptions that nearly tipped my boat, was a much-needed remembering. God reminded me, through His Word, through songs, and through the encouragement of others, that none of us are in that storm-tossed boat alone. He is ever and always with us.

We will make safe harbor.

Worship with me to Ryan Stevenson’s “In the Eye of the Storm“.

When the solid ground is falling out
From underneath my feet
Between the black skies and my red eyes
I can barely see
When I realize I’ve been let down by my friends and my family
I can hear the rain reminding me
In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds, me in the eye of the storm
When my hopes and dreams are far from me
And I’m running out of faith
I see the future I pictured slowly fade away
And when the tears of pain and heartache are pouring down my face
I find my peace in Jesus’ name
In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm
When they let me go and I just don’t know
How I’m gonna make ends meet
I did my best
Now I’m scared to death
That we might lose everything
And when a sickness takes my child away
And there’s nothing I can do
My only hope is to trust You
I trust You LORD
In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm
In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm.*
My struggle this week was small compared to many of you – with pressures I can only imagine. However, whatever the season, we can lean hard on God’s true word for us. In Him, we will lack for nothing. In Him, we have nothing to fear. In Him, there is “goodness and faithful love…all the days of [our] lives”.
 The Lord is my shepherd;

there is nothing I lack.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He renews my life;
He leads me along the right paths
for His name’s sake.
Even when I go through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger,
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.
Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
as long as I live. – Psalm 23

In every storm, Jesus is in the boat with us.

*Lyrics: In the Eye of the StormWriters: Ryan Stevenson, Bryan Fowler

Praise Through the Pain: 5 Worship Songs When Times Are Tough – Alannah Francis

Christian Songs for Hard Times – Kim Jones

11 Songs to Get You Through Hard Times – Elise Cleary

Calming the Storm – Mark  4:35-41 – Gregory Crofford

The Shepherd and His Sheep – We Want for Nothing – The Unity of His Word to Us

Blog - Sheep & Shepherd - bpnews.netPhoto Credit: BPNews.net

Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. “As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day.” – Ezekiel 34:11

What a joyful thing to know that God, as our Shepherd pursues us and will care for us through all our days, even the most gloomy ones. We are in a season of life when we really need to hear from God on a time-sensitive matter. There are moments in these days that we strain to hear and wonder if we will. Then a passage, well, a couple of passages, pierces through that momentary silence. Our faith is renewed and riveted on the Good Shepherd…and we wait on Him.

Yesterday, Dave and I were at a leader training through Movement Church. Pastor Cliff led us through this worship exercise. As a group, we stood and read Psalm 23, together and out loud. We read it 5 or 6 times. About the 4th time, he led us to whisper it. I was so moved by this. It was like being with David, the author of the Psalms. I thought of him, possibly whispering these words, as comfort to himself and to his men. Maybe they were in hiding from the murderous hordes of King Saul. Or maybe they were in the quiet of their camp, sorting out the confusing betrayal of David’s son Absalom. I could hear that shepherd-king David, whispering those words to a God who loved him and would never leave him.

Then we read again in a louder voice, almost a battle cry. Then back to regular volume…and done. Done and transformed.

[You might want to take the time to do this as well. A beautiful experience.]BLog - 23rd Psalm

After we finished this, we reflected on the God who shepherds us – who perfectly knows His sheep, faithfully feeds His sheep, leads us and protects us. Psalm 23 points us to that Good Shepherd.

Then Cliff took us to Ezekiel 34. You know those times when you re-read a familiar passage and it’s as if you are reading it for that very first time? That was my experience. To see the glorious unity between Psalm 23 and Ezekiel 34 reminded me all over again how I love how God draws us to Himself through His Word.

In Ezekiel 34, the people of God were in a difficult place (vv. 1-10). Those shepherding them at the time did not know these “sheep”. They did not feed the sheep, selfishly caring for their own needs over that of the flock. They did not lead – leaving them to scatter. They did not protect them. It was a timely warning and indictment for us in leadership if we lead without caring for the people as God cares.

Then the prophet Ezekiel spoke a word of deliverance from the Lord to His people (vv. 11-22). God Himself, who knows His sheep, would gather them. He would feed them. He would lead and protect them. We are His sheep, and no matter our circumstances, we can rest in His Word that He will not leave us in our difficult situations alone.

Finally, the Lord speaks into the future of His people (vv. 23-31).

“I will appoint over them a single shepherd, My servant David, and he will shepherd them. He will tend them himself and will be their shepherd. I, Yahweh, will be their God, and My servant David will be a prince among them. I, Yahweh, have spoken.” – Ezekiel 24:23-24

King David, who penned Psalm 23, had long since died. There would come One from the lineage of David who would be this Good Shepherd. The Word and Promise of God in human form – this glorious anointed one, Jesus. Thus we are taken from the Psalms through the Prophet Ezekiel to the Gospel of John in the New Testament.

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. “ John 10:14-16

This Sunday morning is bright with promise of a God who shepherds us. As we wait to hear His direction in our lives, we can stand on His promise that He knows us and our need, He will lead us, He will feed us, and He will protect us. If that doesn’t lead us to worship, I don’t know what would.

The Story Behind the Psalms