My Psalm 23

Scholars believe King David penned Psalm 23 as an old man reflecting on his life.  I believe it to be true. When I read this passage I can see David’s gnarled arthritic hands gripping a hand-carved shepherd’s staff. I envision David walking through the pasture, pausing at a babbling stream as he recites these words:flock of sheep by Hans at Pixabay

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters
He restores my soul.
He leads 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 mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23, ESV)

I’ve always viewed Psalm 23 as the Shepherd leading the entire flock of sheep to the green pasture. But this morning I carefully reconsidered that notion. I believe this passage refers to the Good Shepherd singling out one sheep to bring about rest and restoration.

I am that sheep.

Sheep-in-Fency-by-Benjamin-Nelan-Pixabay-300x200For the first time, I realize the Good Shepherd “makes me lie down.” Until today, I never contemplated it was a forced rest. I also am being forced to rest. Resting is against my nature. Yet God has called me out of the noise of the world and forced me to rest.

This morning I pulled my red chair up to the throne of God. Knees touching, He revealed that He is making me to rest. Peering at the stilled lake outside my window, I am reminded “He leads me beside still waters.”

“Why are you allowing me to go through this?” I inquire of the Lord.

He restores my soul” echoes back.

This morning I rewrote Psalm 23 modernizing it to my current situation. (I don’t think God minds).

My Personal Psalm 23:

The Lord is my Shepherd, He provides all my needs.
He makes me to rest with His provision surrounding me.
He leads me to quiet places so He can speak tenderly to me.
He restores my soul.
He guides me in the path He has already planned for me, for His name’s sake.

Even though I awake every morning paralyzed and often unable to walk,
I will fear no evil, for You are with me.
Your shepherd’s staff makes me feel secure.

You serve abundance at your banquet table in the presence of all my problems.
You pour out blessings on my head.Jesus Shepherd sheep
My cup overflows with all that You provide.

Your goodness and Your love pursue me daily.
I will one day dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The Lord is my Shepherd and it is well with my soul.

~April Dawn White

Images courtesy of Pixabay.com

Treasures in Darkness

daisy in the rock pixabay“I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” (Isaiah 45:3, NIV)

I drag my red chair across the floor careful not to spill my coffee. I pull up my favorite chair next to God’s throne of grace. Touching knees with the Almighty, I sit and listen.

Current health issues prohibit me from working. However, God has invited me to enter into His secret place. Here in the darkness of an uncertain medical diagnosis, He has revealed hidden treasures.

Rather than working, I spend hours with God; sometimes talking, sometimes reading the Bible, but mainly listening.

Peace has been the greatest treasure excavated in this darkness.

 

Early one morning, paralysis crippled my body (as it does each morning), yet I woke with the old hymn, “It Is Well with My Soul” etched in my mind. God used this one-hundred and forty-three year old hymn to bring abundant peace to my current situation.rose and treasure box

Even though I sit in the darkness of an uncertain medical diagnosis, God provides a hidden treasure of peace and “It is well with my soul.”

~April Dawn White

Cease Striving

Cease striving with leafAs I climbed into my car, I fastened the seat belt and peered through the sunroof. This solitary leaf appears as though it was floating, but in actuality it is resting on the clear glass of my sunroof.

This image has come to represent my need to rest. My need to “Cease striving and know that I Am God.” (Psalm 46:10, NASB)

Cease striving. Stop trying to figure it all out and rest. These are thoughts that dance in my mind each time I view this photograph.

This image is a reminder that while the leaf appears to float, its resting on the invisible glass. God also calls us to rest in his invisible hands. 

Learning to rest in Him.

~April

Martha, Martha

Cease striving boat pictureBy April Dawn White

I am desperately trying to be a Mary in a Martha season.

Mary and Martha were sisters. When Jesus came to visit their home, Mary (not Jesus’ mother, a different Mary) sat at Jesus’ feet and drank in His presence. “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-41, NIV)

We are in a Martha season. A season of business. Thanksgiving through New Year’s is my favorite time of year. For most of us, it is also our most hectic time of year. A quick glance at my December calendar reveal only three, 1-2-3, empty squares on the calendar. (Yes, I’m old school, I prefer a paper calendar over my Google calendar.)

Sometimes, I think I hear God whisper, Martha, Martha. My family probably wishes I was busy in in the kitchen like Martha, but we’ve been dining off leftovers for days. Last week, on a feel-good day, I will busied myself in the kitchen making and freezing an assortment of Christmas cookies. Chris and kids begged to eat the mint Oreo’s but I’ve threatened to return their gifts. The Oreo’s will be made into mint chocolate white chocolate truffles.

Click to enlarge recipe

I don’t know what happened? I purposefully declined from participating in several events this season, yet the days are still full with Christmas programs (school and church), violin recitals, cookie exchange, and family gatherings.

This year I’ve resolved to simplify. To spend less time fussing in the kitchen and more time fussing over Christ. Except for backing cookies, I have resolved to bring store bought items to any Christmas event.

Don’t judge. I’m simply choosing to be a Mary in a Martha season.

~April Dawn White

www.RedChairMoments.com

 

 

God’s Got Your Back

by April Dawn White
 

“The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. (Isaiah 58:8, NIV)

Last Friday, I punched the time clock at 5:00 pm, eager to drive to Andrew’s post-season soccer tournament. Ten minutes into my drive along route 122, traffic came to an abrupt halt. Vehicles ahead stretched as far as my eye could see. Looking into my rear view mirror, I noticed the car behind me quickly approaching. “They’re not stopping, they’re NOT stopping, THEY’RE NOT STOPPING!” I yelled to myself.
A quick assessment of my surroundings revealed a full size truck in front of me and an embankment with no guardrail to my right. To my left, the oncoming lane was empty. I quickly prayed, “Lord, HELP!” I jerked the steering wheel hard left hoping to prevent a collision with truck in front of me. Behind me the screech of the tires echoed in my ears. I prepared for impact. Seconds before I was rear ended, the truck ahead of me pulled away without further collision. Immediately, I pulled the car over called 911.
I was rear ended. I was safe.  Thank you Lord!
Praise God the other driver was also safe. Her car crumpled like a piece of paper. Hesitantly, I peered over at my car (which I’ve owned for less than a year).  I couldn’t believe it. Her car was being towed away, while my car only had minor cosmetic damage.  
An hour later, we had documented the accident with the state police and I proceeded to the soccer tournament. As I drove, God whispered, “April, what was the message you sent yesterday?” Tears splashed down my cheeks as I remembered writing an email to the ladies in my War Room Bible Study. My email read:

“We never need to worry, who’s coming up behind us, because God’s got out back. “‘Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.'” (Isaiah 58:8, NLT).”

Earlier in the week our Bible study discussed the armor of God. More specifically, we discussed that most of the armor of God is up front:
·         Helmet of Salvation
·         Breastplate of Righteousness
·         Belt of Truth
·         Shield of Faith
·         Sword of the Spirit
·         Shoes of the Gospel
During the time when Paul penned Ephesians 6:10-18 most battles were face-to-face combat. There was no need for full body armor.  The soldiers on the front line were supported and protected from other warriors from behind. 
The day before the accident, I prayed and shared about God being our rear guard. As I stood between our cars, I volleyed my head back and forth. My car possessed only minor cosmetic damage while her crumbled car was towed away. Thank you Lord, for being my rear guard!
Have you experienced a time of divine protection? Please share when you’ve felt God’s got your back. 

~April Dawn White

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First Day of School Lesson: Let Go and Let God

Andrew 7th grade & Rachel 5th grade.

“Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

 
“Hurry up and take the picture.” hissed Andrew and Rachel. The first day of school photo is one I will forever cherish, but the kids dread. Andrew is entering 7thgrade and Rachel 5th grade. After embarrassing my kids with a photo and a hug, I shout out, “I love you! Have a great day!” They run off, hoping no one heard me. I rub my hands together and laugh “My job here is done.”
I have my own first day of school tradition, coffee at Panera, with a group of other moms. This year marked the eighth year of meeting and catching up on summer adventures, the kid’s growth spurts, and overall concerns for the coming year.  Before we disbanded our caffeinated selves to Target and Staples, I asked “How can I be praying for you this year?” Balance was the main concern. These women were sincere in their concern for balancing work, family life, parenting issues, sports, and homework. Oh how I can relate. I shared my own prayer request. My longtime friend Sherrita, laid a well-manicured hand on my shoulder and said, “Girl you gotta let go and let God.”  
Let go and let God. She was correct. Over the years I have seen our faithful God work in her life. I think back to the time when she shared, over coffee at this same Panera, that her company was downsizing. Her secure job was being out sourced to another country. What appeared to be a crisis was the beginning of God’s miracle. After graduating with a degree in business, Sherrita chose to work for a large corporation. However, she secretly harbored a desire to own her own salon. After being downsized, my ever stylish friend enrolled in Cosmetology classes and much prayer. She is now a successful business owner of Fusions Salon and Day Spa.
I am thankful for the truth my friend spoke over me. Each passing day, God has used that coffee talk to remind me to “Let go and let God.”
What situation are you harboring that you need to turn over to Him? Let go and let God!

 

~April Dawn White
 
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