“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Give Away: Legacy... Hymns of Our Heritage

Yes, it is FREEBIE time! Today, David Klinkenberg played the fiddle at our church. I think this was the fourth time I've seen him perform. He is an amazing violinist... er, fiddle player. Almost immediately I thought... this would be a perfect FREEBIE for my blog friends...

And then I thought... Wow! How often do I think about you? Quite often, my sisters! (and brothers, too!) Quite often, indeed.

If you're interested in this FREEBIE, please leave a comment on this post... and I will pick a random winner within a day or two. If we haven't met... this might be the perfect time for you to introduce yourself...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Steps to Peace with God: The Sinner's Prayer

I've noticed that there is a lot of "Christian terminology" used in the tract "Steps to Peace with God." Terms like sin, supernatural, regeneration. Words that are not used on a daily basis in our everyday conversation. We try to replace words like repentance with forgiveness or sin with wrong doing. I'm coming to the realization that the reason these words are not used in the everyday... is because they are unique. There is nothing that we can compare to God. Nothing like the sacrifice of Christ. No wonder there are words that are set apart to be used when only speaking about God and His love for us and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Nothing compares. Not even close.

The Final Excerpt from the tract
"Steps to Peace with God"
published by
the Billy Graham
Evangelistic Association

Will you receive Jesus Christ right now?

Here is how you can receive Christ:
1. Admit your need (I am a sinner).
2. Be willing to turn from your sins (repent).
3. Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the Cross and rose from the grave.
4. Through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to come in and control your life through the Holy Spirit.
(Receive Him as Lord and Savior.)

How to Pray:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior. In Jesus' name. Amen.

God's Assurance: His Word

If you prayed this prayer,

The Bible says ...

"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
will be saved. " —Romans 10:13 (NIV)

Did you sincerely ask Jesus Christ to come into your life? Where is He right now? What has He given you?

"For it is by grace you have been saved,
through faith—and this not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God—not by works,
so that no one can boast." —Ephesians 2:8,9 (NIV)

Receiving Christ, we are born into God's family through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit who indwells every believer. This is called regeneration, or the "new birth."

This is just the beginning of a wonderful new life in Christ. To deepen this relationship you should:

1. Read your Bible everyday to know Christ better.
2. Talk to God in prayer every day.
3. Tell others about Christ.
4. Worship, fellowship, and serve with other Christians in a church where Christ is preached.
5. As Christ's representative in a needy world, demonstrate your new life by your love and concern for others.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Steps to Peace with God Step 4

I had a brunch at my house yesterday. I chose to only invite the ladies who sit at my Bible Study table on Tuesdays and two of the women ministry leaders.

I have to admit that I feel a little bad... that is... not inviting you... but the point was to create an environment that was conducive to building strong relationships for this small group.

And even after choosing my guests, some of them decided to refuse the invitation. Yes, they had their excuses... work, doctor appointment, weekly staff meeting. I mean can you believe it? They were invited... but they didn't come! They turned down my personal invitation... for their own reasons... whether justified or not (of course, they all were!)... they did not accept.

They were chosen... but they did not choose to accept.

They had a choice.

You didn't.

You did not receive an invitation. So, you could not make a choice... because there was no invitation given.

Okay... so I've been a little extreme haven't I? You know that I would love for you to come over for a visit... even now I am sitting in my garden wishing you were here... but think about it...

Have you ever wondered why we would have to choose to be chosen? God invites everyone to become His child. To be His chosen. But... He has given us a choice... we need to receive His invitation and accept the invitation. It seems simple. Or does it?

What would be a reason that someone would not accept Christ as their Lord? Could it be pride? or anger? or lack of understanding? or misinterpretation?

We have the privilege and right to vote this year. We get to choose. And in four years, again, and in another four years, again.

But this choice... this "vote" is for eternity. Your eternity. Here is your personal invitation.

Step 4: Our Response: Receive Christ

We must trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and receive Him by personal invitation.

The Bible says ...

"Here I am!
I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."

—Revelation 3:20 (NIV)

"Yet to all who received him,
to those who believed in his name,
he gave the right to become children of God."

—John 1:12 (NIV)

"That if you confess with your mouth,
'Jesus is Lord,'
and believe in your heart
that God raised Him from the dead,
you will be saved."

—Romans 10:9 (NIV)

Where are you?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dreary... No, It's Not the Weather

One thing I learned during the Dark Night of My Soul... the news is not my friend. With all of the political and economic upheaval... it is all any one is talking about... even Christopher.

I was just sharing with a friend of mine about how I'm teetering close to the edge of depression... it's too much to handle. I'm okay when I'm away from it.... I can focus on the fact the God is still God... and that there have been worse times... and the Lord has shown Himself faithful.

But today, my darling sister, Lisa, sent me this e-mail... and it sums it up for me. This is what I can count on... the only way I can live one day to the next... with peace... without being dreary...

Top 10 Predictions
No Matter Who Wins the Election

(or who economically gets bailed out!)

1. The Bible will still have all the answers.

2. Prayer will still work.

3. The Holy Spirit will still move.

4. God will still guide His people.

5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.

6. There will still be singing of praise to God.

7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.

8. There will still be room at the Cross.

9. Jesus will still love you.

10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him.


Steps to Peace with God Step 3

Step 3: God's Bridge: The Cross

Jesus Christ died on the Cross and rose from the grave.

He paid the penalty for our sin and
bridged the gap between God and people.

The Bible says ...

"For there is one God and one mediator
between God and men,
the man Jesus Christ."
—1 Timothy 2:5 (NIV)

"For Christ died for sins once for all,
the righteous for the unrighteous,
to bring you to God."
—1 Peter 3:18 (NIV)

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners,
Christ died for us."
—Romans 5:8 (NIV)

God has provided the only way.
Each person must make a choice.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Thoughts about "The Problem"

I have been thinking about Step 2 of "Steps to Peace with God." The Problem: Our Separation.

You know what I think the "real" problem is? We don't feel separated from God.

Yes, we feel a void in our lives... but we don't keep it very long. Loneliness... perhaps we log on to Facebook? Sadness... we turn on America's Funniest Videos. Distracted... we spend hours working on a Sudoku puzzle. Okay, this is getting personal!

We fill our calendars with activities so that we don't have time to think about our heartbreak.
We eat because it brings comfort.
We gossip or judge others because it makes us feel better about ourselves.
We are so blessed in this country to have so many ways to soothe our pains.

So, how would we even know we are separated from God?

I think the time comes about when all of our resources have been exhausted... we have failed to fill our need... and we then we think... what do I do now? Maybe we finally sit quietly... with our face in our hands... with the tears streaming... and our hearts sobbing... and we have hit rock bottom... perhaps then we might realize our separation from God...

But until we take time to reflect... I wonder... how long would it take to come to this realization on our own?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Steps to Peace with God Step 2

Step 2: The Problem: Our Separation

God created us in His own image to have an abundant life.
He did not make us as robots to automatically love and obey Him.
God gave us a will and a freedom of choice.
We chose to disobey God and go our own willful way.
We still make this choice today.
This results in separation from God

The Bible says ...

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
—Romans 3:23 (NIV)

"For the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
—Romans 6:23 (NIV)

Our Attempts to Reach God

People have tried in many ways to bridge this gap between themselves and God ...

The Bible says ...

"There is a way that seems right to a man,
but in the end it leads to death."
—Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)

"But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear."
—Isaiah 59:2 (NIV)

No bridge reaches God ... except one.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Steps to Peace with God

Have you ever read "Steps to Peace with God"? It's a little pamphlet or -- often referred to as a tract -- published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

It helps to explain how it is possible to have peace with God.

Our pastor has encouraged us to read "Steps to Peace with God" once a day for the next seven days. We are going through a series on Bridging People to Christ... How to Clearly Communicate the Gospel.

So, I thought you might like to join me.

Today we will review Step 1: God's Purpose: Peace and Life.

Step 1: God's Purpose: Peace and Life

God loves you and wants you to experience

peace and life—abundant and eternal.

The Bible says ...

"We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." —Romans 5:1 (NIV)

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." —John 3:16 (NIV)

"I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." —John 10:10 (NIV)

Why don't most people have this peace and abundant life that God planned for us to have?

Tomorrow, we'll get into Step 2: The Problem: Our Separation... However, if you want to jump ahead, stop by the Steps to Peace with God website. Blessings!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fruit of the Spirit: Living God's Way...

"But what happens when we live God's way?

He brings gifts into our lives,
much the same way that fruit
appears in an orchard—
things like
affection for others,
exuberance about life,

We develop a willingness to stick with things,
a sense of compassion in the heart,
and a conviction that a basic holiness
permeates things and people.

We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments,
not needing to force our way in life,
able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

Legalism is helpless in bringing this about;
it only gets in the way.

Galatians 5:22-23 The Message

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fruit of the Spirit

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

Do you ever have that feeling that someone is trying to get your attention? Perhaps they repeat something over and over again to make their point?

Currently our Ladies' Bible Study is doing the Beth Moore series Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit.

I have recently become an assistant for M's Club (our church's version of Girl Scouts). In the third grade class we are learning about... you guessed it... The Fruit of the Spirit.

Last night the M's Third Grade teacher read the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day...
"I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there's gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day."
The girls sat in wonder as she read the story. She asked them to consider where Alexander might have displayed the fruit of the spirit in the story... and the girls just loved it! They listened intently... picking out when he could have displayed love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

But it is not easy, is it? Sometimes we have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad weeks... months... years... lifetimes. And we're asked to have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? How do we do that?

Well, I have a feeling... we're going to find out.

All I know is that it is called the fruit of the Spirit...
and NOT the fruit of the Sheri.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Psalm 23, The Reader's Digest Version

The Good Shepherd

I thought we were moving on from Psalm 23, too... but on Friday as I visited my friend, Sister Therese, she felt compelled by the Lord to share Psalm 23. And so, with my face in my hands (she was not aware of my pastor's challenge or the subsequent series of Psalm 23 on my blog), she brought out this sketch that was a gift to her (it is a copy... and I did not want it to be duplicated) and what I will call The Reader's Digest Version of Psalm 23, an article from a "real" sheepherder familiar with raising sheep in the terrain of Israel.

And still... all this time... I hadn't really... truly... pondered that Psalm 23 was from a sheep's perspective. We're so often told that sheep are not the most intelligent creatures... and whether true or not... imagine the peace that they have when they are in the presence of their shepherd.

I was able to share my Gardener's Psalm with Sister Therese... where I use the perspective of a plant in the care of the Master Gardener. And she was so touched that she invited herself over to my home so she, too, can visit my garden.

I pray that you will find something in this article that will draw you closer to the Lord. Perhaps a revelation of Himself... or something about yourself... like how truly precious you are to your Shepherd...

The Basque Sheepherder and the Shepherd Psalm
The most requested reprint on the 40th anniversary of the Reader's Digest in Canada. Condensed from "The National Wool Grower" by James K. Wallace

Reprinted in the National Wool Grower, December 1949. This article was published in Reader's Digest in June 1950 and republished in July 1980.

Old Ferando D'Alphonso is a Basque shepherd employed by one of the big Nevada sheep outfits. He is rated as one of the best sheep rangers in the state, and he should be; for behind him are at least 20 generations of Iberian shepherds. But D'Alfonso is more than a sheepherder; he is a patriarch of his guild, the traditions and secrets of which have been handed down from generation to generation. Despite a 30-year absence from his homeland he is still full of the legends, the mysteries, the religious fervour of his native hills. I sat with him one night under the clear, starry skies, his sheep bedded down beside a pool of sparkling water.

As we were preparing to curl up in our blankets, he began to quote the 23rd Psalm. There, in the desert, I learned the shepherd's literal interpretation of this beautiful poem. "David and his ancestors", said D'Alphonso, "knew sheep and their ways, and David has translated a sheep's musing into simple words. The daily repetition of this Psalm fills the sheepherder with reverence for his calling. We take this poem as a lodestone to guide us. It is our bulwark when the days are hot or stormy; when the nights are dark; when wild animals surround our bands. Many of its lines are statements of the simple requirements and actual duties of a Holy Land shepherd, whether he lives today or followed the same calling 6000 years ago. Phrase by phrase, it has a well understood meaning for us."

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

"Sheep instinctively know", said D'Alphonso, "that they have been folded for the night, the shepherd has mapped out their grazing for the morrow. It may be that he will take them back over the same range; it may be that he will go to a new grazing ground. They do not worry. His guidance has been good in the past and they have faith in the future because they know he has their well-being in view."

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.

"Sheep graze from around sunrise until late morning. They then lie down for three or four hours and rest," said D'Alphonso. "When they are contentedly chewing their cuds, the shepherd knows they are putting on fat. Consequently the good shepherd starts his flocks out in the early hours on the rougher herbage, moving on through the morning to the richer, sweeter grasses, finally coming with the band to a shady place for its forenoon rest in fine green pastures, for the best grazing of the day. Sheep, while resting in such happy surroundings, feel contentment."

He leadeth me beside the still waters.

"Every shepherd knows," said the Basque, "that sheep do not like to drink gurgling water. There are many small springs high in the Holy and, whose waters run down the valleys only to evaporate in the desert sun.

Although the sheep need the water, they prefer not to drink from these fast-flowing streams. The shepherd must find a place where rocks or erosion have made a little pool, or else he fashions with his hands a pocket sufficient to hold at least a bucketful."

He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths or righteousness for His name's sake.

"Holy Land sheep exceed in herding instinct the Spanish Merino or the French Rambouillet," D'Alphonso continued. "Each takes his place in the grazing line in the morning and keeps the same position throughout the day.

During the day, however, a sheep may leave its place and go to the shepherd. Whereupon the shepherd stretches out his hand as the sheep approaches with expectant eyes and mild little baas. The shepherd rubs its nose and ears, scratches its chin, whispers affectionately in its ears. The sheep, meanwhile rubs against his leg, or if the shepherd is sitting down, nibbles at his ear and rubs its cheek against his face. After a few minutes of this communion with the master, the sheep returns to its place in the feeding line."

Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil ... Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

"There is a valley of the shadow of death in the Holy Land. It is south of the Jericho Road leading from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea and is a narrow defile through the mountain range. Climatic and grazing conditions make it necessary for the sheep to be moved through this valley for seasonal feeding. "The valley is four and a half miles long. Its sidewalls are over 1500 feet high in places and it is only 10 or 12 feet wide at the bottom. Travel through the valley is dangerous, because its floor, badly eroded by cloudbursts, has deep gullies. Actual footing on solid rock is so narrow in places that a sheep cannot turn around, and it is an unwritten law of shepherds that flocks must go up the valley in the morning hours and down towards the eventide, lest flocks meet in the defile. Mules have not been able to make the trip for centuries, but sheep and goat herders from earliest Old Testament days have maintained a passage for their stock.

"About halfway through the valley the walk crosses from one side to the other at a place where the path is cut in two by an eight-foot gully. One section of the path is about 18 inches higher than the other; the sheep must jump across it. The shepherd stands at this break and coaxes or forces the sheep to make the leap. If the sheep slips and lands in the gully, the shepherd's staff is brought into play. The old-style crook is encircled around a large sheep's neck or a small sheep's chest, and it is lifted to safety. If a more modern narrow crook is used, the sheep is caught about the hoofs and lifted up to the walk.

"Many wild dogs lurk in the shadows of the valley looking for prey. After a band of sheep has entered the defile, the leader may come upon such a dog. Unable to retreat, the leader baas a warning. The shepherd, skilled in throwing his rod, hurls it at the dog and knocks it into the washed-out gully where it is easily killed. Thus the sheep have learned to fear no evil, even in the valley of the shadow of death for their master is there to aid them and protect them from harm."

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.

"David's meaning is a simple one," said D'Alphonso, "when conditions on the Holy Land sheep ranges are known. Poisonous plants abound that are fatal to grazing animals. Each spring the shepherd must be constantly alert. When he finds the plants, he takes his mattock and goes on ahead of the flock, grubbing out every stock and root he can see. As he digs out the stocks, he lays them upon little stone pyres, some of which were built by shepherds in Old Testament days, and by the morrow they are dry enough to burn. In the meantime, the sheep are led into the newly prepared pasture, which is now free from poisonous plants, and, in the presence of their deadly plant enemies, they eat in peace."

Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

At every sheepfold there is a big earthen bowl of olive oil and a large stone jar of water. As the sheep come in for the night they are led to a gate. The shepherd lays his rod across the top of the gateway just higher than the back of his sheep. As each sheep passes in single file, he quickly examines it for briers in the eyes, snags in the cheek, or scratches. When such conditions are found, he drops the rod across the sheep's back and it steps out of line.

"Each sheep's wounds are carefully cleaned. Then the shepherd dips his hand into the olive oil and anoints the injury. A large cup is dipped into the jar of water, kept cool by evaporation in the unglazed pottery, and is brought out - never half full but always overflowing. The sheep will sink its nose into the water clear to the eyes, if fevered and drink until refreshed.

"When all the sheep are at rest, the shepherd lays his staff on the ground within reach in case it is needed for protection of the flock during the night, wraps himself in his heavy woolen robe and lies down across the gateway, facing the sheep, for his night's repose.

"So," concluded D'Alphonso, "after all the care and protection the shepherd has given it, a sheep may well soliloquize in the twilight, as translated into words by David:

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where Were You?

There are certain events in our lives that mark us. That change how we are. That change how we think... that mature us too quickly... and make us wonder...

I had not been born when President Kennedy had been assassinated.
Two days before I was born Martin Luther King, Jr. had been killed.

But I do remember where I was when I heard about
The Challenger crash in 1986
Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995
Columbine in 1999

and the World Trade Centers.

I was asleep when the first plane hit. I woke up and Anthony had the television on... I watched in disbelief as over and over and over again the first plane hit the building. I remember thinking that there must not have been anyone on board. There couldn't be. That plane had to be empty.

And then it came. The second plane. Well, I just thought they were replaying the first plane. No, a second plane. And within a few minutes someone at the Pentagon saying they felt something. And I thought "What a reactionary... nothing could happen to the Pentagon." On and on it went.

I went to Bible Study that Tuesday morning. I thought we would all be taking the morning to pray. But it was business as usual. I think we came together on Wednesday night to pray... You see living on the west coast... we weren't in the midst of it all. It took some time feel the aftershocks.

We were supposed to get on a plane on Friday, September 14th. Anthony's brother was to get married on the 15th. Anthony and Christopher were to be in the wedding. Could we get there? How about a train or could we drive? Not enough time at this point.

And on Friday the 14th quiet airports started to hum again. Yes, our flight was one of the first to take-off. But our parents begged us not to... not even for a wedding. They could not live with themselves if something happened to our flight. The unknowing. The fear.

We stayed home and grieved. Being away from family during good times and bad... is so very difficult. I remember Anthony's mom telling us that she asked that the wedding photographer not take a family photo... since not all of the family was there.

I had been to the top of the World Trade Center back in 1985. I used to work just minutes from the Pentagon. I would pass it each morning on the way to work. We still fly in and out of Dulles Airport on United Airlines.

It's not the same anymore. Christopher will never know of a world without 9/11. And even though he was too young to remember. He will never be able to forget.

We will never forget.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Father's Eyes

Yesterday I was sorting through some old papers and came across a psalm that I had written over 10 years ago. When my earthly father had passed away. I did not want to post it, but I am not one to entertain coincidences. I knew there was a reason that I came across this paper... at exactly the same time we are finishing up Psalm 23.

It is to encourage you to write a psalm. To write your own psalm. Whether in joy or in pain. Or whether you feel nothing at all. About your circumstances. The daily grind. Your job. Your marriage. Your dreams. In anger or in tears. Especially in tears.

But don't worry, I won't ask you to post it... But you never know... He might...

My Psalm
Father’s Eyes
Lord, You said You are the Father to the fatherless.
I have clung to that promise since I was a child.
You are true to Your word.
You have loved me as only a Father could
Is there anyway to repay You?
I fall so short, yet You accept my love, and I am made complete.

When my earthly father abused me
When my earthly father left me
When my earthly father denied me my inheritance
When my earthly father was laid in the grave….

Lord, You were there for me.
You filled the gap.
You held me tightly.
You are a faithful friend.
Yet You do not let me go on my merry way.
You bring discipline in just ways.
I am never out of Your sight.

You fill me with love overflowing.
You give me beautiful flowers to wear in my hair.
You give me love for Your other children.
You grant me peace.
You grant me quiet.
You shower me with friends.
You have given me abundant life.
I can hardly breathe.
I am so overwhelmed.
I am in awe of You.
May my life reflect You.
May I always be found in Your will.
May I hear those wonderful words…
“Daughter, I am so proud of you!”

One day, when my life is but a memory on earth,
I pray that it will be said of me
“She had her Father’s eyes.”

Written June 6th, 1998 at CPC Oceanside Retreat in memory of my Heavenly Father

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Gardener's Psalm

The Constant Gardener

Today is the conclusion of the challenge to recite the 23rd Psalm five times a day for seven days. I have come away with a new appreciation of waking up and going to sleep thinking of the goodness and provision of our Lord. I have also come to the point of making the 23rd Psalm mine. Personalizing it. As discussed yesterday, this is my paraphrase… and being able to apply it to an analogy that I am familiar with… well, it makes me understand how much God cares for me… cultivates me… helps me to thrive…

The 23rd Psalm SSV*, a paraphrase
The Gardener's Psalm

The Lord is my Gardener,
I shall not wither.

He maketh me to lie as a seed in fertile soil:
he bringeth the still water to me.

He fertilizeth my soul:
he pruneth me in the paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I grow in the valley of the shadow of weeds,
I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me;
thy rake and thy weed eater they comfort me.

Thou preparest a shelter around me
in the presence of bugs and insects:
thou anointest my leaves with organic bug spray;
my nutrients runneth over.

Surely sun and abundant blossoms
shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the garden of the LORD for ever.

*sister sheri's version

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Psalm 23, A Paraphrase

Do you remember your first Bible? I do... and actually I think I still have it... packed away in the attic. It had a picture of Jesus on the front... I think with a lamb... or was it a sheep? The other half of the Bible was a dark olive shade of green. It was "The Living Bible."

The Living Bible (TLB) was supposedly written for children. TLB is a paraphrase which is different than a translation. This paraphrase is basically taking other versions that have been translated into English and reworded to make it more "easily accessible to the masses." Unfortunately, either due to the author's intent or mistake, this version of the Bible is not considered accurate which is extremely important when choosing which version to study.

So, with that caveat... I find this paraphrase of Psalm 23 to be helpful in its simplicity.

Psalm 23 The Living Bible

Because the Lord is my Shepherd,
I have everything I need!

He lets me rest in the meadow grass and
leads me beside the quiet streams.

He restores my failing health.
He helps me do what honors him the most.

Even when walking through
the dark valley of death
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me,
guarding, guiding me all the way.

You provide delicious food for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You have welcomed me as your guest;
blessings overflow!

Your goodness and unfailing kindness
shall be with me all of my life,
and afterwards I will live with you
forever in your home.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Written Almost 300 years ago...

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need

by Isaac Watts written 1719

My Shepherd will supply my need:
Jehovah is His Name;
In pastures fresh He makes me feed,
Beside the living stream.

He brings my wandering spirit back
When I forsake His ways,
And leads me, for His mercy's sake,
In paths of truth and grace.

When I walk through the shades of death
His presence is my stay;
One word of His supporting grace
Drives all my fears away.

His hand, in sight of all my foes,
Doth still my table spread;
My cup with blessings overflows,
His oil anoints my head.

The sure provisions of my God
Attend me all my days;
O may Thy house be my abode,
And all my work be praise.

There would I find a settled rest,
While others go and come;
No more a stranger, nor a guest,
But like a child at home.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What Do You Need?

What do you need?

Do you need to rest?

Do you need peace?



Are you afraid?

Do you need protection?


Are your enemies succeeding?

Do you need healing?

Is your cup empty of blessings?

Could you use a little goodness?

How about unfailing love?

Do you know what your future holds?

Well, I have some extraordinary news for you...

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.

2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.

3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.

4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.

Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.

5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.

You honor me by anointing my head with oil.

My cup overflows with blessings.

6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord

Psalm 23 (New Living Translation)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

And the Winner is...

The winner of my lovingly used copy of the
Sisterchicks Go Brit! novel is...

BP of Raindrops & Rainbows

Please forward me your address... and I'll be putting it in the mail.

And please let me know when you're in the area... we'll enjoy a nice cuppa tea!

He Restores My Soul

Psalm 23 (NIV)

The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down
in green pastures,
he leads me
beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.

He guides 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.

Surely goodness and love
will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell
in the house of the LORD

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

All Scripture is God-Breathed...

All Scripture is God-breathed and
is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and
training in righteousness,

so that the man of God
may be thoroughly equipped
for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

Why are there so many different translations of the Bible?

There are many answers to this question and I'm not a scholar on translations, but I'll give it a try. There are some who translate the Bible word for word from the original language into English. However, some words do not translate well and sometimes the thought or content of the meaning is lost. Others translate the Bible thought for thought. They read the passage in the original language and try to convey the thought of the section they are interpreting. Some use contemporary terminology as opposed to the King James Version which is just majestic, isn't it! And there are versions that are adapted for almost any reading level.

As to the question of which translation to use...

First of all, I would encourage you to have the translation that your pastor uses the most. If you do not know which version it is, just call the church office. I think it is important to have your own Bible when you are being taught. I know the words are on the screen for some of us... but I challenge you with this... when you're at home crying your eyes out and you want to know where that verse was at about Peace that the pastor just spoke about yesterday... it's helpful to have a sense of what page it was on in your own Bible.... and to see verses in their entire context.

And that brings me to online Bibles which are amazing and phenomenal! But I caution you that when you look up a particular verse to make sure you pull up either the whole chapter or at least a section of verses. It is so important to read the Bible in context. It's how God intended us to use it... and it keeps us from twisting scriptures and claiming things that were never promised.

The online Bibles I use the most are BibleGateway and Blue Letter Bible. BibleGateway is great for searching by topic or phrase or verse in numerous versions of the Bible. Blue Letter Bible is awesome especially when you want to compare the same verse in different versions at the same time. It is also helpful when you want to see the original language.

Oh, there is so much more to share! Sisters, all I know is that when you read the words of the Author... you come to know the Author... and even more so... the Author's love for you.

Psalm 23 (New International Reader's Version)

1 The Lord is my shepherd.
He gives me everything I need.
2 He lets me lie down in fields of green grass.
He leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He gives me new strength.
He guides me in the right paths for the honor of his name.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid.
You are with me.
Your shepherd's rod and staff comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me right in front of my enemies.
You pour oil on my head.
My cup runs over
I am sure that your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.
And I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Lush Meadows

Psalm 23
From the Message

1-3 God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

4 Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I'm not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd's crook
makes me feel secure.

5 You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.

6 Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I'm back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.