Psalm 23: Divorce Translation

It seems even those who don’t know the Bible have heard at least parts of this passage of scripture. It is one of the most popular and encouraging group of verses quoted and paraphrased every hour of every day somewhere in the world.

I would like to share this version with you. I will quote a verse and then translate it for those needing the hope and encouragement you need now during the divorce healing process.

Psalm 23:1 ESV

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Translation:

Jesus is watching over you. He is looking out for danger and possible attacks against you. If you have Him, you have everything you need to get through this. Don’t think another relationship will give you true peace. It won’t fill that God-shaped hole inside of you.

Psalm 23:2 ESV

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.

Translation:

Jesus will make you rest. He will cause you to take time to be refreshed. He will make sure it is a place still full of life and nourishment (grass and water). As a lamb, you need a safe place to pause and regain your strength. Jesus will allow you to see the lush, green grass between your toes and the mirror-like surface of the freshest water you have ever seen.

Psalm 23:3 ESV

Translation:

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Jesus brings back your soul from the place of brokeness. He fixes the shattered pieces and puts them together again. He will be your ever present help as you make decisions that will affect you and your family from this day forward. It will be a path that glorifies Him as it brings forth transformation in you.

Psalm 23:4 ESV

Translation:

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 staff, they comfort me.

Jesus will calm your fears of what is to come as you choose to walk with him through this valley in your life. Though it may feel like you are near death and being haunted by an evil shadow, He is right there with you. Hold on to Him, because He wants to hold onto you. His rod is an instrument of protection from harm as it displays His strength towards the enemy. His staff is the way He guides you, lovingly rescuing you from those places you seem to find yourself in that are not good for you. Those give you a peace, knowing how much He loves you in those ways.

Psalm 23:5 ESV

Translation:

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.

Jesus is creating a place where you will feast upon God’s blessings while others will be able to see His goodness towards you. He will flood your heart and mind with an abundance of peace and joy as you commune with Him at His table. There will come a day that you will be able to help others from the overflow of His goodness in your life. Your healing will flow out to those around you because of what God has done in you.

Psalm 23:6 ESV

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

Translation:

Get ready for the rest of your life!! You will experience a life where people will see God’s goodness and mercy flow out of you wherever you go. You can experience the life God has for you, as a son or daughter of the King in His house full of love and peace. As you stay in His home, you will.

Don’t let your emotions and self-image cause you to stray. Wolves are waiting for you to be isolated and wounded. God will come to your rescue. Just call on Jesus and rest in Him. He is your shepherd.

Be blessed.

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The Next Chapter

(Please read all the way to the end)

God is always writing a new chapter in our lives. Our life story is being written by an author and creator that already knows how the story will end.

Do we know how it will go?

Of course not. We are living that story and you can’t see into the future. While we can do everything we can to invest, change, grow, and learn to become what we believe is our better self, many things go into the next chapter.

I used to think I wanted to know my future. The older I get, the more I realize that I would not have chosen that future. I wanted to be a rock star. I wanted to see the world. I wanted to have things and be someone that is nothing close to what I have or who I am now.

Saying all of that, I would not change one thing in my past because of what God has done in and through my life to bring me to where I am now.

Do I have regrets? More than I can ever count? Do I wish things would have been different? Only if I would have what I have now, know what I know now, be as blessed as I am now, and know that through everything, God has been faithful to bring forth wholeness to me through it all, in spite of me and my failings.

So, why are we both taking a moment right now to acknowledge the turning of a page in our lives?

Our story is not made up of only a couple dozen chapters. It is a complete rendering of our life on earth. It has many characters, plot twists, and shocking events. It includes love, pain, joy, loss, life, and death.

It is a record for all of eternity that you exist. You matter. You are a part of human history and God’s story.

While most lives will never make the history books in our schools or the shelves of our libraries and Kindles, it still is being written. It is still there. It will always be there, even if nobody ever sees it or reads it.

God has a place for our story. He is recording our daily lives, knowing how it will end. Yet, He is letting us co-write it.

We know that God gave us a free will. There are consequences and results from every decision and action for our whole life. This is our part of the story writing.

Think of it as a REAL (not psuedo-real) reality show. As you go through voting people off, back-stabbing, helping your teammates, lifting others up, and striving to be your best, God is putting pen to paper on your story.

How do you think God goes about recording your prayers to Him? Is it like you talking to Him for advice on how to handle a situation or relationship? Do you ignore His subtle and sometimes abrupt requests for just a few minutes to spend time with Him?

Since He knows the whole story, I wonder if we see how advantageous it would be to ask Him about His plans on how our story should go. God has a best plan for us. It is up to us to come into alignment with that plan in order for Him to give us our best life.

How would our life story change if we asked the One who knows how the story ends? How would being obedient to His calling and direction affect our selfish and simplistic look at our lives? Could we see our life actually is a vital part of human history?

What is your next chapter?

Will it be full of disappointment, pain, and selfishness to the point of destruction at the hand of substance abuse, suicide, or just giving up on life and letting things happen?

Will it be full or a restoration of your self-image, a renewing of your mental well-being, and a testimony to God’s redeeming work in your life?

Take a moment right now to decide how you want the next chapter to read. Set a few minutes aside to quiet yourself and honestly talk to God.

Tell Him what you are feeling. Be honest. If you can’t be honest with yourself and others, at least be honest with Him. He loves you and is on your side. Let it out.

Ask Him what this next chapter looks like. It may amaze you that He wants to write about the healing and wholeness He has for you. He is wants to marvel that this will not be a chapter in your life that will look back to the other chapters already written but looks look forward to the life story to come.

Picture yourself at a Panera (where I am right now enjoying a hot Orange Mint Herbal Tea) sitting across from God himself. He has a pad and paper in front of Him and has a nice pen in His right hand touching the paper. On the top of the page reads “The Next Chapter”.

He looks at you with excitement in His heart, wondering what you want written down. His eyes are filled with a love you are just now starting to understand. His voice asks you softly, “My child, what is next? How do you want this to start?”

What is your response?

 

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The Space Between

The word liminal comes from the Latin word ‘limen’, meaning threshold – any point or place of entering or beginning. A liminal space is the time between the ‘what was’ and the ‘next.’ It is a place of transition, a season of waiting, and not knowing.

Author and Franciscan friar Richard Rohr describes this space as:

where we are betwixt and between the familiar and the completely unknown. There alone is our old world left behind, while we are not yet sure of the new existence. That’s a good space where genuine newness can begin. Get there often and stay as long as you can by whatever means possible…This is the sacred space where the old world is able to fall apart, and a bigger world is revealed. If we don’t encounter liminal space in our lives, we start idealizing normalcy.

These thresholds of wondering and not knowing our ‘next’ are inevitable and most are incredibly disruptive. Yet, these spaces are required and necessary for growth that precedes your healing.

From the point where you take that leap of faith until you land on solid ground, it can be scary. It can be lonely. It can be confusing and exhausting.

It is ALWAYS a testimony.

This is the place that scares us. This is the place where our comfort zone has been left for the unknown zone. This is where fear and faith collide to do battle for the future of our life.

Look at the person in the picture above again. Notice a few things about them:

 

They are looking forward —

Unless you are a diver or playing around near a pool, you look ahead when you leap. You are  seeking a place that is in front of you.

Have you ever wondered why God put our eyes on the front of our head? Yes, to look forward. We have to strain to see behind us without a mirror. It should be a struggle to focus on what is already behind us.

God wants us to look at what lies ahead instead of what lies in ruins behind us. You can’t change the past. You can only learn from it and move forward.

13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

They are heading somewhere —

There is movement away from the past towards a new present. A decision was made to embrace change. They trust where they are heading will be better than where they have been, a place of pain.

There is a hope, a desire for more than what has happened to them. A sense of a new beginning that can only happen when they step out in faith.

But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
    nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

 

They are not where they used to be —

The space between is not the place of your past. You are not there any more. Rejoice in that!!

You are now residing in a new space. Liminal space is temporary, just like where you may be living right now.

A nice big house may have become a small 2 bedroom apartment either with your children or all by yourself. The house may be the same, but your family may not be there with you.

A negative change in your physical home can become a welcome change in your non-physical home. Your soul can be at rest with His Holy Spirit no matter where you live,  in a mansion or in a rescue shelter.

He lives in you. Seeking Him and welcoming Him into your new ‘home’ will mean a closer, more life-giving relationship with the God who will never leave you nor forsake you.

10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly,

 

They are above where they will land —

It seems a little odd, but do you notice in the picture the person is higher than where they will end up on the other side? Why is that?

First, it takes strength to jump out in faith. You need to know that God will be your strength and will give you the power to propel away from your past to land in your future. Go for it!!

Second, you can’t just crawl off the faith cliff. You will fall straight down. The person above put physical, mental, and emotional energy into moving out from their past. You can too.

Third, where you are headed will be a foundation for your future. It will be the solid ground where you can stabilize yourself for the journey ahead. Count on it.

13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

 

Will everything be perfect from this point forward? Of course, not. Will everything work out? I hope so. Will it be difficult? Probably. Will it be worth it? DEFINITELY!!

When you thrust your whole being upwards towards the God who created you and loves you, the picture above is where you will be. You will be closer to Him, away from your past, above your problems, and heading towards a solid rock where your new life will begin.

Be blessed!!

 

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Gain Strength

So many times in our lives, we struggle to find the strength we need.  Whether it is the strength we need to get through our current crisis or the strength to just get out of bed.  We need strength to attack another day of family, work, and whatever comes our way.

Personally, I am not near as strong in my life as I need to be.  I miss going to the gym, I don’t post here enough, and I miss out on getting things done for my family.  To be honest, it is not a lack of strength.  It is a lack of discipline.

I lack building my physical strength when I decide that going to the gym is not as important as another activity.  I lack building up content for those who are looking for help and encouragement in a time of need when I decide that my time focused on something else takes precedence.  I lack building my family’s confidence in me as a provider and maintainer when I do not get things done around the house and furthering my career.  Why is that?

The dictionary has many definitions of strength. Here are the top 3:

1: the quality or state of being strong: Capacity for exertion or endurance
2: power to resist force
3: power of resisting attack

It is interesting in all off these, strength is actually describes and defined in terms of resistance and endurance.

Strength cannot exist without a force purposely being thrust against it.  It has no purpose but to withstand a force dead set on keeping you being better, being more that you are right now.

There is a force that wants you to stay where you are now and not experience what true strength brings.

Is it possible that part of our weakness and lack of strength is not recognizing the force that is coming against us?

 

Ephesians 6:12 (MEV)

12 For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

 

Complacency and weakness are partners.  Ever notice that when you settle for where you are now, it feels like there is more out there?  Why does it seem so difficult when you start to improve yourself?

We pray for God to bless us and help us out of our situations, yet could we be unwilling to build our strength in the areas where God wants us to grow?  Could He know that we are leaving real life on the plate after we have only eaten the junk food live hands us?

As Christians, we have given our lives to Jesus.  He desires to give us all that we need.  He has promised us strength and peace.

 

Psalm 29:11 (MEV)

11 The Lord will give strength to His people;
the Lord will bless His people with peace.

 

Why do we choose not to seek strength whether it is physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual strength?  When we think other things are more important than spending some quality time with Jesus every day in prayer and devotions, we lose out on building our strength through knowing and becoming more like Him.

True strength to win the battle against the forces fighting against our relationships, family, finances, peace, and well-being is only built through the truth of God’s Word and focused time spent communing with Him.

Reading the Bible, praise & worship, devotions, fellowship, weekly worship services, and daily time spent in His presence away from all that distracts us (even for a few minutes) allows Him to build the muscles of faith that we need to grow and have the strength we need to live this life.

 

1 Chronicles 16:11 (MEV)

11 Seek the Lord and His strength;
seek His face continually.

 

Today is a new day.  You don’t have to be focused on the forces coming against you when you focus on the God of the universe who is over all of them.  Even if it is just 5 minutes today, just quiet yourself and focus on Jesus.  Not what He can do for you, but who He is.

He is love.  He is truth.  He is power.  He is strength.  He is all you need.

 

Be blessed!!

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