Posts Tagged ‘psalms’

Bible Study: The Lord is My Shepherd

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

By Zina Leone

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

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

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Jesus Our Lord

Jesus Our Lord

Does the 23rd Psalm remind you of death and funerals? It should, because it’s one of the most common passages of the Bible recited at funerals. Maybe it’s the thought our loved ones “walking through the valley of the shadow of death, fearing no evil” that brings so much comfort. Indeed, this thought is very comforting, but somehow when I read it I don’t think of death at all, but of life.

Our life here is a journey and sometimes we must travel through rough terrain and dark valleys. Sometimes those dark valleys can be so difficult we feel as if we’re traveling through the very “shadow of death.” This is because when we’re faced with trials and tribulation we usually feel so apart from God. Some call it “the dark night of the soul” and it truly is. But the 23rd Psalm is a reminder to us to “fear no evil” because Jesus is always there to give us direction and guidance, no matter how dark it may seem. He is there beside us and “His rod and His staff will comfort us.

In the Bible, Jesus is often referred to as a shepherd and we as His sheep. He watches over us the same way a shepherd watches over his flock. A shepherd always carries a rod to clear away rocks or anything in the way that could possibly harm his sheep. Sometimes he might even use it against wild animals that threaten his flock. The staff he carries has a crook on the end of it and is often used to steer wandering sheep back to the flock. Sometimes it might be used to rescue a lamb that has fallen in a crevice or gotten itself stuck in some bushes. When we think of Jesus as our shepherd, keeping harm away from us, it’s certainly a very comforting thought. We don’t even know how many times He may have used His rod to push Satan away from us. And how comforting it is to know His staff is always ready to guide us back to His fold when we have strayed.

God provides for us and gives all we need. Sometimes we have trouble believing that because our idea of what we need is usually completely different than His. Have you ever wanted something really bad and prayed and prayed, but it didn’t seem like He was listening? He’s listening, but He doesn’t always give us what we want because He knows better than we do what’s good for us. We need to learn to accept whatever it is He wants for us and trust it is for our good. “We shall not want” for anything we need.

Life can be hectic at times and we feel as if we have the weight of the world on our shoulders. Traveling through dark valleys can really tear us apart both physically and mentally. It’s very important for us to try to set aside a time for prayer and meditation. As we shut out the world and try not to think about our problems “He will make us to lie down in green pastures and lead us beside the still waters.” As we do this more and more “He will restore our souls and lead us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

In the midst of all our troubles and all the evil influences of the world, He is always there beside us. “He prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies.” His Spirit of love and compassion envelopes us as “He anoints our heads with oil. Our cups runneth over.” When we follow Him He assures us “goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives,” and when our journey here has finally ended “we will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”

This is what I see when I read the 23rd Psalm, a step-by-step guide in all areas of our lives. Maybe my view of it is kind of like the adage, a cup half-empty vs. a cup half-full. While some people seem to only associate it with the comfort it brings in death, I am so thankful for the comfort it brings in life.


Zina Leone is freelance writer and photographer living in southeastern Pennsylvania. She started out in high school, writing articles and poems for the school newspaper and has continued to write about life experiences, opinions, short stories, essays and poems. She published her first book, a storybook for her grandson in 2007 and has recently been chosen to publish an article in a new book coming out in the Fall, Hope Whispers.

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Bible Study: Deep Calls Unto Deep

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

by Mike and Denise Hartmann-Echterling and Hart To Heart Ministries

Psalm 42:1-2 says, “As the hart [male red deer] panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” (KJV)

My mind was flooded with this scripture when I saw a deer drinking from a river in Montana, where Denise and I were ministering in a conference. I was reminded how few saints ever really experience this kind of intimacy and closeness with God. For too many, the price is too high to pay in order to obtain it. It is obtainable. Prayer is just one of the many ways to “draw near” to experience the glorious presence of God.

Close communion with God is found only in the depths of your heart. You can step into a deeper awareness of God’s presence. To do this, you must have a desire, passion, hunger, and thirst that will run like a deer for the water brook. You must ask, seek, and knock until you are at the River of Life.

In Psalm 63:1-2 David wrote, “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. (KVJ)

As you pray you can open the depth of your heart to a place in God few obtain, you will find the deep places of God’s presence. It is the place you will find the anointing, power, authority, glory presence, and deep communion with God that you so long for. It is where “deep calleth unto deep”. It is a place that is a sanctuary, a place of hope, a place of love, a place of rest, a place of power. Once you labored to enter into the rest of “deep calleth unto deep” (Psalm 42:7) you can drink deeply from the River of Life. You can feast on the Living Bread. You will experience the victory that you long for. You will be the overcomer you always dreamed of being. You will do the “mighty exploits for God” once you step into that deep place in your spirit.

Mike and Denise Hartmann-Echterling with passion of holy fire preach the full glories found in the salvation bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus. You can read more about them at:

About the Author

Mike and Denise Hartmann-Echterling founders of Hart To Heart Ministries preach in seminars, conferences and churches around the world. Denise sings, teaches and with a heart of love allows the power of God to touch the hearts and lives of people. Mike has a passion to see people walk in the authority that has been given to them through the cross of Christ. You can visit their web site at: