A Song to the Lord

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

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

He restoreth my soul: he leads 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 my enemies: thou anointeth my head with oil; my cup runs over.

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

This is one of the shortest psalms written and one that so many people are familiar with because it is often read at funerals. However, this is not a psalm of or about death, it is poem to the beauty of life.

I just finished reading a book by Max Lucado called “Traveling Light.” This book and others I have read do an excellent job of expounding on this psalm.

However, none of the books or commentaries I have read about this psalm have ever given me the explanation of one sentence that has always been puzzling for me.

A shepherd is responsible for a herd of sheep. This is a simplistic definition for a very difficult task for the shepherd. For these animals are not very bright and need constant care and guidance. Therefore, it may seem a bit simplistic or even a bit condescending when we are referred to as sheep.

Our shepherd, Jesus, cares for us in such an overarching way that we want or need for nothing; all is provided and cared for.

Yet, one line was always been left unexplained. He prepares a table before me (for me) in the presence of my enemies. One commentary said that the table was the grass to eat but the psalmist already spoke of the green grass. Or it has been said it is a place of safety. Yet, that too is covered under the rod and staff of protection and direction. And in just the line prior it is stated that we need fear no evil.

Therefore, what is this table and why is it prepared for us? I think the answer lies in who we are as a chosen people. We have this wonderful table prepared for us, yet all around us are those who we perceive as enemies, foes, people who have hurt us or wish to hurt us.

Before, I come to the table I must wash my hands, I must bow my head in thanksgiving, and then…

Yet, can I truly come to the table before I have offered forgiveness to those who have hurt me? Can I truly come if I myself am in need of forgiveness?

Not only am I in need of forgiveness but I must forgive before I can come to this table. Furthermore, since this table has been prepared to overflowing then the next imperative is that I must invite those around to join me. I can not take of these abundant blessings unless I am open and willing to share it with all.

Furthermore, we can see that the table was prepared by the shepherd and that it is piled high to overflowing. All is given to us as gifts from above. Therefore, we can rest in the assurance of more.

This is why this remains one of my favorite psalms, it is always fresh and alive and there is always something new to be seen and experienced.

This shepherd is always with us, leading us on, giving us rest, anointing our heads, and challenging us to live with him in harmony with our brothers and sisters.

Yes, there is a bounty in the Lord.

Yes, more than enough.

Yes, to life with the Lord.

My dear friends I ask your forgiveness for a period of quiet with no words from me for a time. I ask that you accept this as an offering of bounty from my heart to yours.

With love,

Juju

BountiFULL Blessings

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Dear ones this is our desire for you:

To know the blessing of God

Blessings are an interesting thing that oft goes unnoticed.

Therefore, dear ones we beseech you to take the time to ask for your blessings to be revealed to you. You have not because you ask not~ this is not the statement you think it to be. You have all and many blessings around you all the time; a constant well-spring. However, you may not know it because you have not asked for them to be unveiled and made seen. 

How often do you go through your day and at the end of it have nothing to be thankful for?

This dear ones is not because you are ungrateful. No, on the contrary. You are grateful and desire to have wonderful things in your life to be thankful for. This is the one true desire of your heart. 

The way to a thankful heart is to ask for the unveiling. To ask for the spiritual eyes to see. For the open heart to feel. And the wisdom to know these things.

With this you can be thankFULL and this fullness will give you the ability to be content and to feel secure in your blessings. So secure that you can share.

Ah, sharing the true beauty of a well-lived life.

May your cup runneth over!

With love,

Juju and the Angels

 

Celestial Figs

Figs

Psalms 34:8 O’ come taste and see that the Lord is good.

Have you ever tasted a fresh picked fig? If you haven’t I highly recommend that you do because they taste heavenly!

We planted our fig tree a few years ago. Unlike other fruit trees, the fig can be planted singularly because it doesn’t require cross pollination to bare fruit. Thus, we have only one fig tree. We planted it in memory of our friend Celeste; this fig tree bears the same name.

Our tree didn’t produce fruit the first year because it was too young. The second year it produced a few. The next couple of years a good crop.

We had a harsh winter this year and most people lost their fig trees or thought they had. If they were lucky, they had to severely prune their trees, forgoing fruit this year, and allow their trees to recover. We were blessed because we have so many pine trees that sheltered and protected our fig tree. In contrast to other  fig trees affected by this winter, ours flourished. In fact, it grew! It is now towering well over eight feet tall.

Reading articles about others’ loss and the pruning process, I have learned that our tree is big; too big. We have let it get too tall and we need to prune it. However, it cannot be pruned until after it finishes bearing fruit.

Each day I go out to look for ripe figs. Today, I needed my husband to get the ladder and assist me in getting the figs that were ripe near the top of the tree. We have never had to use a ladder before. I would look and point and he would pick and hand them to me. There are always some that ripen too much before we can pick them or the birds and ants eat them. Those we throw into the compost bin. Most of the figs are not as big or as sweet as last year. I discovered, that too is due to the tree needing to be pruned.

Pruning will make the tree healthier and produce better fruit next year.

This saga of my fig tree reminds me so much of how God works in our lives. He has a singular relationship with each of us. It is not dependent upon anyone or anything for us to have this relationship. In addition, there is no hierarchy in God’s kingdom, he loves us all the same and sent his son for each of us. Like my fig tree, God has planted fruits in each of us. These fruits take time to grow and ripen, but if not used/shared, they too will rot on the vine. Yet, when picked and used for his glory they are so sweet. We too need pruning to help us grow and be more fruitful. This pruning may seem painful and leave us feeling shorn and vulnerable. Yet, this will make us stronger.

Today I picked some figs. I brought my harvest inside and washed them off. I plucked one from the bowl;  it was so fresh, so sweet.

I pray the Lord finds my fruit as pleasing.

Juju

John 15:2 Every branch in me that bears not fruit he takes away, and every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bring forth more fruit.

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