As a child, prior to entering kindergarten, my mother taught me Psalms 23. For years I was able to recite the passage but did not have revelation of it until my adult life. During a stressful day at work, I took a break and began to write Psalms 23. After writing the entire scripture I began to examine what I wrote.
Obviously, David was a writer just as well as a king. However, in review, I realized that prior to becoming king, David was a shepherd and it was his personal experience as a shepherd that enabled him to metaphorically exalt God in his goodness by comparing Him to such. Because of his experience David could decipher a “good shepherd” from one who may have been “average,” or “insufficient.”
Let’s examine the passage. I will highlight insight throughout the reading and the examination will be from both the King James Version and the New Living Translation.
23 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.4 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.5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (KJV)
23 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.3He 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 forever. (NLT)
As the shepherd, God provides our needs. He gives us the best which is indicative by the adjectives David uses (“green” pastures and “still” waters opposed to the pastures or waters most convenient for Him). He does not leave us unattended to guess or make mistakes (leads us in the path of righteousness for His namesake); he guides us and shows us. He is our protector. Even in instances that we should feel anxious, angry, uneasy, etc. we can be at peace and carry on-feasting at the table he has prepared for us in the presence of our enemies. We are beyond blessed (our cups runneth over). David was able to trust that he will remain well taken care of under the provision of the shepherd. Hence, goodness and mercy shall follow and he will remain under the watch and care of the shepherd forever.
Just like David, our experience with God is what allows us to speak- to testify, if you will, of how good He is. God is surely THE GOOD SHEPHERD. Just my two cents, I find it beautiful that David was inspired by the Most High to write about the Most High in a way that is so plain and timeless. I love it.
Grace and Peace,
The beautiful thing about churches is the array of personalities in Christ. There are some Christians that will stand up and share everything leaving some saints whispering that perhaps “that testimony” should have been taken to the grave, while other Christians are so self-contained that the foolish could assume these types of Christians had nothing they had to be saved from. Perhaps it’s just me but there are just some things you don’t tell-unless God says otherwise of course. That’s one facet of keeping it 100.
As a sinner, there was one guy that I met several years ago that stayed in my heart for what I thought was going to be forever. At one point I honestly thought I loved him. My feelings were all mixed up in lust and infatuation. I can’t begin to tell how many times I prayed to be “delivered” from him, or prayed that God would take away my desire to be with him. This guy was goodly to look at. He was intelligent, well-rounded, funny, and driven. I cared a lot about him, and he said he cared a lot about me.
Prior to accepting Christ, I would tongue lash him (to say the least) and tell him I didn’t want anything else to do with him; but each time he called me or texted me my heart would melt. Or times that he didn’t call or text I would contact because I missed him. I jokingly used to sing the old school tune “you really got a hold on me” as I walked throughout my home. Unbeknownst to me I was actually in a strong hold, but more importantly I was in spiritual warfare.
I’ve not found the term “Soul Tie” in the Bible. However, 1 Cor. Chapter 6 v. 16 tells us that we “become one” with whom we become intimate. The person we become one with should be our spouses. This guy and I were fornicators together, which is how the tie developed. After years of not understanding why I could not shake feelings for this guy I became hopeless. There were times that I was depressed because I felt bound: bound emotionally to a guy that made me feel bad and bound spiritually to a strong hold that I did not realize I had the power to overcome in Christ Jesus. Almost a year ago I wrote “What a Soul Tie Feels Like.” After spending some time with God I had to go back and revise that. I changed it to “What the WRONG Soul Tie feels like.” Here’s what I listed:
After I began to seek God, my hopelessness met hopefulness. I thought “God, if I can feel this way about someone who you have not purposed to be my husband, the concept will be something beautiful when I meet my husband;(our feelings will be mutual, and our souls will be tied to each other).” As I said, my soul was tied for several years. It was a wrestle. Even as a Christian I vacillated often. One day God told me that I cannot have both. I couldn’t be in a fruitful relationship with Him and maintain the unequally yoked relationship with my soul tie. I chose God. I made up in my mind and heart that I did not want to go out like a sucker as it related to this soul tie. I repented and prayed asking God to change my heart. I got into the scriptures and read what God said about unequally yoked relationships and lust. My mind was renewed. I went into the presence of God, and after coming out shortly thereafter the guy contacted me and for the first time I told him “no.” Honestly, that was difficult for me. I was rattled. I thought “I just came out of the presence of God and here goes Satan. He just barely gave me time to re-up!” But I believe from the core of my being that my willingness to submit to the will of God and ACT on what he told me in my spirit and his Word was a stepping stone towards my deliverance. Today I am able to testify that I am free. And OMG it is a lovely feeling.
I would not advise or encourage anyone to have sex out of marriage because the repercussions are GRAVE (Romans 6:23). The scriptures bear witness that we as humans are affected by whom we chose to give ourselves to (1 Cor. 6:16). The Bible tells us to Flee Youthful Lust. (2 Tim. 2:22) It also says that it is not good for a man to touch a woman (1 Cor. 7:1). Touching leads to other things. I do advise those who may be in a soul tie now to seek deliverance from God because it is not something you can do on your own. Look to God for strength and allow him to lead you to victory.
Grace and Peace,
In our society a victimless crime is a crime in which no one is “harmed,” insinuating there is no victim-no personal injury of sort. Although “victimless” the acts continue to be considered as illegal and immoral. Common examples of such are gambling and prostitution. While studying this as an undergraduate Criminal Justice student, my initial observation concluded that there was someone indeed being harmed by the offenses-the offenders. As the offenders harm themselves it is very likely that their harm could trigger the harm of another. For example, if a prostitute has a disease they may spread the disease amongst others. Several prostitutes self-report rape and battery. In short, crime begets crime; which in turn affects everyone as we all live in a common society.
On a more familiar scale, the same concepts could be applied to our spiritual living. Is there omission or commission occurring that we believe affects only us? Seeing as how every cause has an effect, I am led to believe that our actions within the body of Christ, despite how insignificant they seem to be, do affect others. In I Corinthians 5, Paul addresses sin in the church. He is addressing an issue within the church that the members are aware of but show no remorse for its occurrence. Verse 6 states (KJV) “your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” The Living Bible translates verse 6: “What a terrible thing it is that you are boasting about your purity and yet you let this sort of thing go on. Don’t you realize that if even one person is allowed to go on sing, soon all will be affected?” Simply put, just as a victimless crime is an oxymoron in our society, one could infer that what we do within the body of Christ also affects our spiritual kindred.
Considerations such as these prove the need for heart checks and fellowship. Let’s continue to strive for perfection and better ourselves in Christ-continuing to lift each other and collectively exalt God and his Kingdom until His promised return.
Grace and Peace,