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Our Shepherd

About this post: We want to stay connected! This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals for this season. Read them, share them, and pray that they bring God's peace and love to our communities. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text ZPCDevo to 317.768.0600. We welcome your comments and questions each day. 

About the author: Angela Bourff has been attending ZPC since 2005 and has been a member since 2011. She has served as a Deacon and as the Wedding Coordinator at ZPC. She ushers and greets at the main doors once a month. She is a 2nd grade teacher in Zionsville and lives in Whitestown with her 2 dogs. She is the proud aunt to a nephew and 3 nieces. 

Today's Scripture: Psalm 23 

I know that Psalm 23 has already been used, and that it is a popular Psalm, maybe the most common and most popular. However, it’s also the Psalm I keep turning to during this “time of quarantine” we are living in. Many years ago I traveled to Scotland. Just before leaving, I was given the book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23: An Inspiring and Insightful Guide to One of the Best-Loved Bible Passages by Phillip Keller.  Many times during my trip I saw sheep wandering about in the fields. Reading this short book, I Iearned so much about the importance of a shepherd to his sheep and about the true understanding of “the grass is always greener” and its meaning. What a perfect and ideal place to read of the greatest Shepherd of all and how his peace brings us comfort if only we will rely on him.

Only a few months ago so many, myself included, were running around in our busy daily lives. We had over-filled calendars, were rushing from place to place, having to choose between events or activities, and needing more hours in our days. We wanted to be on the other side of the grass. 

And then this pandemic hit. Many of us have found ourselves on the other side. Life has slowed down. Our calendars have cleared. Activities have been cancelled. While so many are struggling, and I don’t discredit that for one moment, I’m choosing to embrace that the Shepherd has his hand in the center of this. We need this! As it says in the book, “I am assured all will turn out well for my best because he is with me in the valley and things are under his control.” I know times are scary. People are unsure and the future is unknown. But I also know that I’m not alone. I have the Shepherd to walk with me no matter which side of the grass I’m walking on. 

Activity:

Take some time over the next few days to think about all the things that are on the “other side of your grass.” Then think about what was on the other side a few months ago. Where was God then? Where is he now?  Has he become more of a priority? How can you make him more of a priority and make sure he stays more so when things get busy again? 

Prayer:

Offer this version of Psalm 23 from The Message as a prayer today:

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.

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.

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

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.

Amen

Posted by Angela Bourff with 1 Comments

Praising God in the midst of the storm

About this post: We want to stay connected! This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals for this season. Read them, share them, and pray that they bring God's peace and love to our communities. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text ZPCDevo to 317.768.0600. We welcome your comments and questions each day. 

About the Author: The Rankins have been members at ZPC for about 12 years. They live just north of Broad Ripple and have a daughter, Hadley, who just graduated from IU, and a son, Ben, who is one of many seniors in high school missing prom, his final baseball season, and graduation. No time is good for a pandemic, but our kids are among those suffering quietly (or not so quietly :) during this time. 

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 57

1 Be gracious to me, God, be gracious to me,
for I take refuge in You.
I will seek refuge in the shadow of Your wings
until danger passes.
I call to God Most High,
to God who fulfills His purpose for me.[b]
He reaches down from heaven and saves me,
challenging the one who tramples me.Selah


My heart is confident, God, my heart is confident.
I will sing; I will sing praises.
Wake up, my soul![c]
Wake up, harp and lyre!
I will wake up the dawn.
I will praise You, Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to You among the nations.
10 For Your faithful love is as high as the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches the clouds.
11 God, be exalted above the heavens;
let Your glory be over the whole earth.

I know several have said this already, but I love the Psalms. When life gets hard, this is where I run to talk to God and to be assured that he is in control and that he always has me. Dozens of the Psalms are wonderful in our hardest times. Psalms 33, 34, 46, 57, and 98 seem especially fitting right now.

In 57, like some of these others, we are simply given that opportunity to praise God in the midst of the storm and to seek his protection. We are reminded that he is definitely in charge and none of this is a surprise to him. He will use it for our ultimate good and to draw us closer to him and to each other. So cry out, pound your fist, look to the sky in confusion. And then take a breath and rest in the Lord, knowing that one day we will understand our journey and its challenges better. In the meantime, we can worship him and sing praises to him because we know that God is always good, he loves us, and will bring us through this and all of our troubles.

Activity:

Just for fun – because we can all use some of that right now – go to this link and see the joy in the faces of thousands of youth brought together to worship the Lord. If you have little ones, put it up on the TV and let them jump along with these big kids! We have sung this at ZPC several times so maybe you can join in. (click the little “cc” in the bottom corner for lyrics)

Prayer:

Dear Lord,
Thank you for reminding me that you are God, and that I can always rely on your love, grace and mercy. Help me to be filled with your joy and to praise you with my whole heart and mind. And I thank you now for the coming victory over this and all of our troubles.
Amen.

Posted by Greg Rankin with

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