Friday, November 22, 2013

Volume 2 of "Discovering The Shepherd" NOW AVAILABLE

I am so happy to share that volume 2 of "Discovering The Shepherd: A Study of Psalm 23" is now available. As I mentioned in a previous post, anyone who purchased volume 1 will be receiving volume 2 absolutely FREE. Because the book should be read in sequence, volume 2 will not be made available for sale separately. However, check out the sneak peek below to give you an idea of the information packed inside!

NO LONGER AVAILABLE

EXCERPT

Welcome to volume two of the Psalm 23 study! We’ll be picking up with the second part of verse two.

Psalm 23, Verse 2
“He leads me beside the still waters.”

In the second part of verse two, King David continues on to describe another action of Jehovah as Shepherd over his life. Upon first reading this passage, we easily gather that David is being led to a place next to waters that are calm and still. However, as we saw in the previous volume of this study, there is much more to discover about these verses when we look at the original text. So, let’s take a deeper look.

“He leads me beside the still waters.”

“leads” - nahal (Hebrew transliteration) – v. 1) to lead with care; 2) to give rest; 3) to refresh (as with food)

1) To Lead With Care
As we look at this first definition of “lead,” we find that our heavenly Shepherd guides His sheep and directs us in the way that He wants us to go. Not only does he guide us, but he does so with patience and gentleness, insuring that we are safe and in good condition. This reinforces some of the things that we discovered in volume one of the study. Here again we see that God is not using force against His sheep to make us comply. Instead, He leads with a gentle hand of protection. His actions are borne from love and we as His sheep should respond in loving obedience. This loving interaction is the very nature of the Shepherd/sheep relationship.

2) To Give Rest
When thinking of how we use the word “lead” from day to day, this particular definition may seem a little odd. We normally do not associate leading with giving someone rest. However, when you consider the first passage of verse two (“He makes me to lie down…”), we find that God’s leading in this second part is simply a continuation of the peaceful rest that we discovered in the first passage. Though He is leading, and as His sheep we are engaged in the act of following, we are still at rest as we do so. Only through God can we accomplish being in action AND being at rest at the same time!

This sort of active rest is just one of the benefits of being under the yoke of God. (See Matthew 11:30) As His submitted sheep/followers, we allow God to use His authority and power to lead the way while we remain at rest in Him. Does that mean that we never take action? No, not at all. It simply means that we do not try to plot our own paths nor do we run ahead of God and try to forge our way with our own strength. The Shepherd goes first for a reason! It is His job to clear the path of obstacles that can harm His sheep and to scare off any vicious animals waiting to attack. When we get anxious, or leave our state of rest to run ahead of God, we put ourselves in danger.

3) To Refresh (as with food)
So far, we have discovered that the Shepherd’s leading involves His gentle, loving guidance and peaceful rest for His sheep/followers. In this final definition of “lead,” we find yet another benefit – a refreshing! To refresh means “to give new strength; to reinvigorate,” but this particular reinvigoration involves God feeding His sheep as a part of His leading. What does this mean exactly? Consider John 6:25 – “Jesus replied, I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never be hungry, and he who believes in and cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me will never thirst any more (at any time).” (Amplified)  Here we see that Jesus is our bread so as He leads us, we are feeding on Him!

We know that we are not literally eating his flesh, but rather we are being refreshed, strengthened, and reinvigorated by His love, grace, joy, wisdom and all the other attributes of His righteousness. Here is where we begin to really understand that our Christian journey is just as important as our final destination. Yes, there are many wonderful blessings waiting for us at the place where God is leading us to, but being able to partake of His fullness on the way there is an invaluable gift. Take time to enjoy the Lord as He is leading you!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Meet Me In The Pasture: A Psalm 23 Meditation

With the noise of our everyday lives constantly in our ears, how do we find quiet time with the Lord? I know that I personally cannot count the number of times I have settled in to spend time reading my bible or spend time in prayer when the phone rang or I was needed for something in the house. Despite the distractions that we have in our normal lives, it is of utmost importance that we find  the silent time to commune with God and hear His voice.

As I was writing volume 1 of "Discovering The Shepherd," and as I continue to work on the upcoming volumes, I realized that even when we do find the silent time, it may be difficult to quiet our minds sometimes. All of a sudden our inner voice has a million things to talk about and our silent time becomes "loud" again. In an effort to help myself and to help the readers of the book, I recorded a short meditation piece for us to use in order to quiet our minds and prepare for an encounter with the Shepherd.

Find a quiet place and click play below. I pray that it helps you as much as it has helped me and I hope to make more in the future.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

NEW RELEASE: Christian Inspirational "Discovering The Shepherd: A Study of Psalm 23"

Hello everyone! I am so excited to announce the release of volume 1 of my latest book project: DISCOVERING THE SHEPHERD: A STUDY OF PSALM 23. Most of my readers know that I write edgy, Christian fiction (no sex, no drugs, profanity only when it fits the character), but this latest book is near and dear to the thing that I love the most - LEARNING MORE about GOD's WORD. Over the last few months I have taken time to really dig into the 23rd Psalm and I discovered some phenomenal things hidden in the ancient language of the text. Read on for the synopsis & an excerpt!



SYNOPSIS
"Discovering The Shepherd" takes a deeper look at Psalm 23, one of the most popular and powerful scripture passages of the Old Testament. The study provides a scholarly overview of the scripture while offering spiritual nuggets to strengthen and inspire the reader. Modern believers will learn more about the ancient Hebrew text and discover revelation hidden beneath the surfaces of the verses. Excellent accompaniment to your regular bible study! 


EXCERPT
Psalm 23, Verse 1
“The LORD is my shepherd…”

“This psalm is probably the best known passage of the OT. It is a testimony by David to the Lord’s faithfulness throughout his life. As a hymn of confidence, it pictures the Lord as a disciple’s Shepherd-King-Host. David… progressively unveils his personal relationship with the Lord.” (Footnote from The MacArthur Study Bible)

It is precisely with the same purpose as revealed by King David that God is calling his people to reacquaint themselves with the 23rd Psalm – to unveil and gain a deeper understanding of our relationship to God, but more importantly His relationship to us. This Psalm is all about His vow and commitment to His sheep - those that belong to Him and hearken to the guiding voice of the Holy Spirit. It is a decree and a declaration spoken from the mouth of David in confidence, and even in warfare, against those who persecuted him under the power of evil influence. There are relationship promises and revelation regarding the nature of God’s relationship to his people hidden throughout each verse. Let’s begin with verse 1:

The LORD is my shepherd…”

King David wastes no time in establishing who will be the subject of Psalm 23 – the Lord. Much like anything that is established by Holy Spirit, the Savior is placed first and properly positioned as the head of any proceeding thing. He is the banner that waves and guides us into the Psalm, then serves as the helm of the multi-compartmental vessel that is Psalm 23. I use the term “vessel” to describe the scripture because of its ability to hold, and store, the Truth and Mystery of the identity of God. It is multi-compartmental because of its ability to hold very distinct pockets of revelation, yet maintain the cohesion of one song or psalm.

The very first word alone – THE - unleashes a torrent of information for the believer engaging in a study of this verse. First, it eliminates any ambiguity regarding to whom King David is referring and establishes David’s faith in the solo God of Israel. This is important because there were numerous false gods being worshiped by the people at that time, several of which are still in existence today. David does not leave it for us to figure out or debate the deity to whom He is referring to in the Psalm. It is THE Lord – the one and only God professed by David and his kingdom.

Second, the use of any other article would have altered the reference to Lord in a way that could have subsequently rendered this scripture ineffective. Imagine reading “A Lord is my shepherd…” or “That Lord is my shepherd…” or even “My Lord is my shepherd….” One could easily insert a deity of their choice, creating a perverted version of the Holy Word of God that was intended.

David could have said “The Lord of Israel is my shepherd…” if he had wanted to be super specific and not leave room for misinterpretation, but the fact that he didn’t can actually be seen as prophetic. Though the coming of Jesus would happen some nearly 1000 years after the beginning of David’s reign over all Israel, David’s choice of “the” as a solo modifier of “Lord” speaks to the coming Lord’s (Jesus) dominion over ALL people, not just Israel and its descendants. Indeed Jesus would come to die for both the Jews and Gentile people and be established as THE Lord over all people. (Romans 3:29-30)

PURCHASE Volume 1 of "Discovering The Shepherd: A Study of Psalm 23" today for only $5 and receive later volumes FREE! Also, gain access to the closed discussion group for the book including additional study material.

Multiple electronic formats available. Thank you for your support!
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