#65 – But Who Am I?


The story of Moses’ life is one we all know pretty well. Even those with no Biblical knowledge have images of him boldly leading the people of Israel through the raging storm while crossing the Red Sea, or know of his bold, impassioned demand to the most powerful man on earth when he told the Egyptian Pharoh “LET MY PEOPLE GO!”

In fact – if you do an image search for “Moses” here are the top results:

The real Moses is a bit more nuanced. A poor speaker, lacking confidence, with a bad temper – he was a lot more human than the popular version would imply. One thing that is striking about Moses is how much self-doubt he expressed. God directly tells him to do something – and his response (on several occasions) is basically “but what if it doesn’t work? what if I can’t do it?”Each time God essentially reassures him with “because I am God and I am with you”It’s easy to lose contentment when we think we aren’t prepared for some difficult task. When we think we’re underqualified. When we don’t think we have what it takes, one lesson from the life of Moses is:Maybe you don’t – but God does. ​

Read Exodus 3​ Pay special attention to God’s reassurance to Moses. He doesn’t try to fix the problem in the way Moses was probably looking for -but assures him of his presence.
Where are you struggling with self-doubt right now?
What would it mean to hear the God of the Universe say to you:I am good. I am with you. Of those two things, you can be sure.

God who led your people out of Egypt,
who performed miracles.
You used ordinary, flawed, bad-tempered, doubtful people.
I’m not sure I’m up for the tasks I feel called to.
Remind me in real, tangible ways of your presence.
Lord, I believe you are good and are with me.
Help my unbelief.

#64 – Getting Back to Basics


We’ve spoken about this before – but it bears repeating.

(if for nobody other than me)

One way to live a life of contentment is to be aware of the good things in life. Be mindful of the pleasant.
Be conscious of what you do enjoy.

Remember what God has done for us.

That’s it.

I’ll just let the words of the Bible speak for themselves…


Meditate on some of these verses that speak about: thankfulness, being aware of our gifts, perservering, and praising God for what he has already done for us.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I Thess 5:18

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, Psalm 103:2

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. …Psalm 23:1-6

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:19

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.James 1:17

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.Philippians 4:8

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.Malachi 3:10

Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!Psalm 31:19

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.1 Peter 3:9

You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you.Exodus 23:25

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, Ephesians 1:3

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,James 1:2

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.Colossians 3:2

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.Numbers 6:24-26

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!Psalm 34:8

Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.Revelation 2:10

But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.James 1:25

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:6-8

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.Isaiah 41:10

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”Jeremiah 17:7-8

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. …Psalm 118:1-18


You have done so much for me.
Help me remember your goodness,
and Love.

#63 -What if the Sky is NOT the Limit?



I think we’re hard-wired by our culture to hate them – or at least see them as obstacles to be overcome, avoided, or loop-holed. We are told we can only drive so fast, that our bodies actually need so many hours of sleep, that our brains literally cannot multi-task, and that we can’t put both work & family first.

Yet we still try.

Sometimes we disagree with the limit. Sometimes we think it shouldn’t apply to us. Sometimes we believe we’re the exception. Sometimes we tell ourselves it’s a temporary trade-off.

But we are always ALWAYS trying ways to avoid our limitations. Physical, societal, legal, ethical, and practical. No matter what kind of limit – we often tell ourselves it doesn’t/can’t/shouldn’t apply to us.

When we think of the Apostle Paul, we think of a guy who GOT THINGS DONE. He founded churches, preached, taught, wrote most of the New Testament – all after his later-in-life conversion.

Wow. What a power-worker. Talk about superhero-level productivity!

But here’s what he wrote to the church in Corinth:

But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you. For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others.2 Corinthians 10:13-15

Not going beyond limits.
Not overextending.
Sticking to what God assigned to me.

In Romans 12:3 he tells the people in the local church that each of them should “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned”

He speaks of this “thorn in the flesh” that impedes his ability to do all he wants. He admits he is like a weak “clay jar” carrying around the important gospel of Jesus.

Clearly, Paul had a healthy sense of what he could NOT do.

Discontentment is the only end result when we refuse our limits. We will always be frustrated, disappointed, and frantic. We will only find true, lasting contentment when we admit, accept, and live inside the limits that have been placed on our lives.

(today’s reflection was HEAVILY influenced by something I read in Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership:Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry by Ruth Haley Barton. Highly recommended. Chapter 7 “Living Within Limits” – clearly hit home for me)


In Exodus 18 Moses is confronted by his father-in-law Jethro. When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?” Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.” Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Exodus 18:14-18

(Side Note: This entire chapter is worth reading, as Jethro is just finding out how hard Moses is working as Jethro arrives with Moses’ wife and kids – because Moses had been working so hard he had sent them away. Nice work/life balance there Moses!)

Do you have a Jethro in your life who has said something along the lines of “you can’t keep this up!”

If so – how did you react? Do you admit your limits?

If not – imagine someone coming into your life who sees everything you do – and has care for you like Jethro did for his son-in-law.

What would they say to you?

Sit with that for a while. What limits are you avoiding / denying / pushing?

How can you change your life to live within the limits God has set for you now at this time, stage, and season, of your life?


you have given me good gifts,
but not all gifts.
You have things for me to do,
and so many more things NOT for me to do.
Help me see that, accept that, and live in that.
You are all powerful – I am not.
You can be everywhere at once – I cannot.
You will do everything people need – I wont.
Give me grace to accept these truths.
Help me live in the limits you have made for me.

#62 -Don’t Be a Hummingbird


Earlier this week, I was sitting on a high, steep hill overlooking Kigali. As I looked down, I noticed an enormous bird circling. (It was probably a Yellow-Billed Kite – for you Bird Nerds.) It was amazing to watch how it circled upward without ever moving its wings. It merely rode the updrafts along the side of the hill. In just a minute, it rose from way below me in the valley, to directly over my head. All without ever looking like it was doing anything.

“I will lift you up on Eagle’s wings” from Isaiah is the verse that immediately popped into my head. And I was shocked at how I’ve heard/read/sung this line thousands of times in my life and never really noted it.

Most birds flap their wings quite a bit. Some – like hummingbirds – have their wings in a state of constant frenzied motion just to stay still. Others – like eagles and kites – use their wings like hang-gliders to catch the winds as they ascend.

There are plenty of other birds mentioned in the Bible, and it’s not like the specific reference to an eagle was an accident. God wasn’t telling the people, “I’ll give you wings – then flap like crazy and you should stay airborne”

“you will soar”

How did I not notice that before? It would seem God is saying he is the one doing the work. Sure, the eagle can pull in his wings and crash to the ground. But it sure is depending on its strength to gain altitude.

The last two verses in Isiah chapter 40 are: Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Running, walking, and even the soaring – are not passive. They are not easy. However, here God is promising his people if they put their hope in him – they will find strength. They will be able to soar even when all they can do is hold out their wings.


The verses in Isaiah, just before the above verses, are a bit of a wake-up call. Essentially saying – “God is for you, why are you still discontent?”

I invite you to read the following: personalize it. Make it real to you.

Why do you complain, George,? Why do you say, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”?
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.


You give me strength when I am weak.
You make me soar.
Yet I complain, I think you have forgotten me.
Forgive me for my lack of belief.
Strengthen my faith in you and your goodness.

#61 – What Did You Expect?



We don’t know much about him at all.
He merely occurs in this familiar scene from Luke 2 where Mary and Joseph take their 8-day-old baby Jesus to the temple. In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God: “God, you can now release your servant;
release me in peace as you promised.
With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;
it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:
A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,
and of glory for your people Israel.”

There are a LOT of depictions of this scene, but as I was looking through them this one by Rembrant really struck me.

Simeon’s Song of Praise- Rembrandt – 1631

Simeon is looking up to heaven. As if he’s thinking “OK God you did it. Your Messiah is here. You did what you told me you’d do. I’m good to come now”

It got me thinking. I think if I were Simeon, I would have thought “OK – now can I just wait a bit? See what he’ll do? Hear what he has to say? How can you let me see this baby – and then not see what the Messiah will actually do?”
Maybe Simeon thought when he was told “See the Messiah” he was always picturing a full-grown, warrior-king. Now he has a little week-old baby in his arms.

And yet, he is completely content.

“That’s it God. We’re all good. Let’s go.”

An amazing example of not needing or wanting that “one more thing.” He was perfectly content with what God offered to him. Nothing more was required for Simeon to be content with what God had for him.


The above was not the only work by Rembrandt depicting this scene. He had previously painted “Simeon and Anna in the Temple” a few years before.

And then there was his very last painting. Simeon In the Temple was unfinished when he died in 1669 (Anna was added by one of his students after his death)

When I look at the eyes of Simeon, I see someone who can say with contentment “God you’ve given me what you said…and more.”

Be truly, deeply honest with yourself.
What is the thing that you are still waiting for?
That thing you think God has for you?
Maybe even “owes” you?
Remember – Simeon was ‘told by God’ there was one thing left for him, and then he was content to leave this life.
What are the things you are holding out for before you would have that same attitude?

Reflect on them. What does it mean that you ‘need’ to see/experience/acquire them?


there are things that I still long to do,
people I long to serve,
and so much more.
But give me a sense of your goodness,
So that my soul can say with Simeon
“Lord, let your servant depart in peace”
And when that day does come,
May it truly be dripping with peace.


#60 -Did You Notice this Facet of the Diamond?

If you missed any of the reflections – here they all are:

  1. Intro to Psalm 23 – Not Just for Cross-Stich any more.
  2. He Leads Me – Not So Sure about That
  3. He Makes me lie down in Green Pastures – Do What to the Grass?
  4. He leads me – Path to What?
  5. I will fear no Evil – Not Just for Funerals Anymore
  6. For you are with me – Two Sticks of God
  7. You prepare a table for me – Grab a Bite, Wash my Hair, Spill my Coffee
  8. Goodness and Mercy follow me – Seriously! How easy is your life?
  9. Dwell in the House of the Lord forever – Nice place to visit – but wouldn’t want to live there. ​

I was humbled and honored to read what was sent to me. Some asked to not share, others merely commented on how helpful and meaningful it was. Others remembering how this passage was the last thing read to loved ones before their death, or how they have been teaching this Psalm to others for years.

Some who responded I’ve known since I was a child, others I’ve never met. But each response reflects a slightly different facet of the deep, true, beauty of this Psalm. Each of us tends to look at this diamond and focus on one of the particular facets of it. Each one is true, each is part of the whole, but only when we put all the facets together do we begin to see the full beauty of it.

I’ve taken a few snippits from several of you, and shared them below – hoping that your (collective) words speak into the lives of the rest of you as much as they have spoken to me.The part I am still thinking about is “Another way to ask it – do you want things from God – or do you want to be with him?”
​I grew up in a family that did not share personal experiences or thoughts … and a lot of time was spent working. I didn’t play games, sports, or do other recreational activities, with family … I spent most of my time, when I was not doing chores or homework, alone, reading. … But just being with Him is a mystery to me … something I think about but am not very good at. Being without doing.
I like hiding in activity. It feels safer. Life has so much pain. When I can do something, it feels like a positive … I can contribute in some concrete way … ease someone’s path, bring a bit of the order that existed in the garden of Eden. But being … is something I continue to grow towards. I’m not there yet.

​I had always thought of the table in the presence of enemies was almost a spiteful thing, but realized that it could be showing how confident we can be that God is looking after us that we can eat at his table without worry even though enemies might be close at hand.

​I have learned that the Lord has called me to a life of following, trusting, resting and rejoicing, all of which is made possible by faith in and reliance on His goodness, power and mercy.

​I often hold onto the translation that says “surely goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life”. It was a different perspective for me from “will follow me” which always seemed a step or two behind me and I do know for sure that God is never just following behind trying to catch up with me. He is actively pursuing me and those I love. And that is my prayer for those that have wandered that they would see His goodness and mercy pursuing them.

​The verse, “he makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me by quiet waters , he refreshes my soul “ was good to dwell on. The world is in turmoil. We need to listen and be lead beside quiet waters.To know that God wants us to be quiet and peaceful – and knows that is exactly what we need before we pick up and try again when things get crazy. Be quiet, be peaceful, come and rest – be assured that I’ve got this

​When I am suffering from anxiety or restless agitation, that is not God’s will for me. God does not want me to suffer. He wants me to experience healing, even though I resist it, because my flawed human self thinks I can figure it out on my own. I need to surrender to Him and His will for me and allow Him to lead me to peace. In every situation where my soul feels broken, God will heal me. I have to surrender to His will and ask Him for help. Asking for my soul’s restoration and for freedom from anxiety is a fair thing for me to ask God to do, and God is already always working on this in my life.I am struck by being a sheep, and the Lord is the shepherd. As THE shepherd, he is present, he is watchful, he protects, he rescues, he provides (in abundance), he guides, he leads. The key issue is belonging. If we are HIS sheep of HIS pasture, then he is our shepherd, and what do we need to fear? Nothing. His provisioning in every way is given to us. In him we trust. And rest. And find joy and peace. And find the deep satisfaction of being in relationship with Him. And in all of this, we—trusting, resting, enjoying his presence, just being sheep well cared for by the shepherd—point back to him and give him glory and honor and praise.The reflections on Psalm 23 has been reaffirming to me. I can say with King David as expressed in Psalm 16:8: ” I know the Lord is always with me,I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” I will seek to visualize that at all times : “he is right beside me”. That is a blessed assurance and key to contentment for me!I am in the midst of a huge life transition, and Psalm 23 has been so meaningful to help me have patience on the journey.That we need to live by God’s Word always. Pray for peace even when life’s walk is not so easy. And Pray OFTEN 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼A very strong impression that remains with me is the part about mercy at the end. That mercy is there because we need it. And we all need it. And we will ALWAYS need it.
His mercy endures forever.

I hope looking at these different facets helps you see the beauty, depth and truth in this Psalm as much as it has helped me.

#58 -Have You Learned Anything?

READ THISThe Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths 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 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

we have now looked at Psalm 23 in its entirety, viewing it all through the lens of contentment.

And what have we seen?

“Life without Lack” is what Dallas Willard calls the kind of contentment described in Psalm 23. Lacking nothing.

In the parable of “The Prodigal Son” the wayward younger son returns home when he “begins to lack” or “begins to be in need.”And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. Luke 15:14

That son was disappointed (in himself and others), he was probably bitter, frustrated, unhappy, dissatisfied, full of regret, lonely, isolated, guilty, hungry…

The image painted for us in Psalm 23 is the inverse of all of that.

lacking nothing
green pastures & cool water
restored soul
feasting in the midst of danger
goodness and mercy
dwelling with God


heavenly shepherd,
you have so many good things in store,
give me patience to wait on you.
Give me courage to follow you.
Give me faith to belive in you.
Give me wisdom to know how to follow you,
So that I may dwell in your house,
All the days of my life

#57 – Nice Place to Visit – Wouldn’t Want to Live There.

READ THISThe Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths 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 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

David concludes his Shepherd’s Psalm with this wish to be with God forever. Not just sometimes. Not just an hour on Sunday morning. Forever.

Not only that – David wants to go to where God is. The house of the Lord. For the Jewish people, the temple (and before it, the tabernacle – which is what David is referring to) was the physical place where God lived, where he ruled from. The one place where they believed mankind and the creator were together. Where the people made their offerings to show contrition and atonement for the wrongs they’d done. It’s the place of God’s presence on earth.SIde Note: when Jesus came, he claimed he was the new temple. The place where God and Man overlap. The way for people to be with God. The ultimate offering for our wrongs. So for us in many ways, when we hear Old Testament talk of the Temple, we can think of Jesus. (and also the church…but that’s for another day) This 4-minute teaching from the Bible Project is the most insightful bit of teaching on the temple I’ve ever come across. Do you want to visit God – or live with him?

Another way to ask it – do you want things from God – or do you want to be with him?

David expressed a similar desire in another one of his poem/songs -Psalm 27:One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.

David wanted to dwell there. To live there. To stay there. not just visit, not spend holidays or long weekends there – to move in and take up residence. Change the address on his drivers’ license kind of move.

The other way many of us have seen this played out is more like weekend visitors. We like to hang out with God – on our terms. We visit for a bit but then get to go home. We spend a day or so, but then duck out if we get bored. We can pop in for a bit, but take off if it no longer suits us.

So the question really is:

Do you want to visit God when you need a hand – or dwell with him?

Honestly – which do you want?


Answer this question:
What do you most want God to give you?

Is it a solution to a problem?
A reprieve from suffering?
A way out?
A ‘blessing’ of some kind?

What do you want more: That thing….or God himself?

Do you long to dwell in the house of God – or have him leave a present for you on the porch so you can pick it up?

Do you want that thing…or God himself?

If you could only have one….which one do you really want more?


God of all,
give us hearts that desire you.
Not your gifts, your blessings, your benefits.
But give us hearts that ache to be with you.
Give us hearts that long to dwell with you.
Hearts that long to be with you always.


#55 – Seriously? How easy is your life?

READ THISThe Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths 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 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

Psalm 23 has some lines that feel out of place in our world. But mostly because King David speaks of such sweet, honest contentment. And for us – that feels strange.

At first glance, it’s easy to look at what he’s saying and feel he’s totally out of touch. Or at least his life is not like ours. Really David? How hard is your life that you say “goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life”? Really… that is your everyday? The House of the Lord forever? Really. How easy is your life man?

Just to recalibrate what he’s speaking of from his experience….

While it’s not entirely clear at what point during his life he wrote the Psalm, it was at least after the death of King Saul. Saul, the most powerful man in the nation, the father of David’s best friend Jonathan. Saul – who had David hunted down and repeatedly tried to have him killed. David fled for his life – literally. Not just to save his profession or reputation. The King was trying to have David assassinated.

It’s also possible that Psalm 23 was written later in David’s life. After his own son Absolum staged a rebellion against him. This is after Absolum killed his own brother and staged a coup. Now David is on the run again, hiding in the wilderness just to not be murdered by someone he loves. Again.

Ah yes – where were we “Goodness and mercy follow me every day of my life”

First off- it should be noted that mercy is basically not being punished like we ought. Not getting what we deserve. (compared to grace – which is getting what we don’t deserve). So having mercy follow every day is more of an admission of guilt. I need mercy every day – because I will screw up every day. For someone like David with his well-known Bathsheba incident (a significant adultery-murder combo) – he was perfectly aware of how evil he could be, how much he needed daily mercy.

But – goodness? Every day? Even the days he was literally hiding in caves in the wilderness because he was being hunted like an animal?

Note the Psalm doesn’t say “easiness, and niceness will follow me” or that “pleasantries and kind people”.


Goodness can occur in the midst of sadness. Goodness can be felt in the middle of depression, guilt, and betrayal. In fact – in my life – those are the times I’ve noticed it the most.

Maybe that’s more what David is getting at. Goodness – in the midst of all the hard things. Mercy – because we need it.

Not a promise of an easy life – but a dream of one of contentment. Looking around and seeing the goodness and mercy that are with us in a hard life.


Where is God showing you his goodness – right now? Even in the middle of hardship, and sadness, and hurt.

What mercy are you being shown? Those graces given that you don’t deserve.


Good Shepherd,
giver of mercy,
giver of goodness.
Give us eyes to see the gifts all around us,
especially when our eyes want to focus on the problems.
Remind us of your mercy, make us aware of your goodness.
And let us find contentment in that.


#54 -grab a bite, wash my hair, spill my coffee


The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths 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 comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

We’ve hit another section of this Psalm where we need to remember who was the author of this Psalm.
David was a Hebrew man living in the Middle East about 3,000 years ago. His world was very different from ours. (OK fine – I can’t speak for you – but it’s a lot different than mine)

If a modern, western person were to hear a phrase like: “make a meal for you with your enemy around, put oil on your head and your cup is overflowing” my guess is that the image may be something like “OK – so I’ll grab a quick bite to eat – GREAT…but now I have to wash my hair, AND my latte spilled out of my travel cup”

Not exactly the original intent.

First, we have something more like a feast – as the phrase “prepares a table” indicates. This is not drinking a cup of soup and running off. This is not eating a protein bar as it gets just the nourishment you need to survive. This is more. Remember “I lack nothing” is how this Psalm started. It’s not just enough, it’s more than enough.

Then there is the oil on the head. This is something that was done at the coronation of a king, but also at festivals and times of celebration. Anointing with oil was also something you did for an honored guest who arrived at your home.

My cup overflows. not just a bit of water to drink. Not even a full cup. but literally more than enough. So much that you can’t even hold it all at one time, and it’s spilling over it’s so much. Holding your water bottle under a raging waterfall kind of ‘full cup.’

However, there is one additional phrase in there that causes some difference in interpretation.

In the presence of my enemies

I’ve heard this discussed many ways. Some seem to view it as an almost spiteful way to eat. Your enemies are right there – and are hungry and tired – and you sit down to binge in front of them! That doesn’t seem in line with how God presents himself throughout scripture. The God of the Bible asks us to love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us.

It seems more likely this image is supposed to show God’s protection. Remember, He is the shepherd with the rod and staff. Even though our enemies are there – within sight of us – they can’t hurt us. If God thinks it’s time for us to have a rescue, they can’t stop it. If God decides to spoil us with more than enough, others can’t destroy that. Even though they are close by – they haven’t been eliminated – we still have the feeling of safety to sit down and eat.

What a great image to hang on to when it feels like there are those who consider themselves your enemies, still within striking distance.


What kind of table is God spreading out for you right now?
Even though enemies, evil, sadness, sickness, death…may be right there.
In what tangible, specific ways is the Good Shepherd caring for you?


Good Shepherd,
you give me so much, sometimes I can’t contain it all.
Help me to be generous.
When I have lots
When I have too much.
When I don’t think I have enough.
We pray that you would somehow be preparing tables for the people of Ukraine.
Even though others who act as enemies are in their presence.
Be their rod and their staff.
Help me be mindful and thankful today – and every day – of your protection