God shows us what needs to be stripped away— what isn’t meant to be there. Though we can feel raw in the process, God gives us courage and grace to keep following Him on this path to restoration. We can hold onto the promise that, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be]” (1 Pet. 5:10 AMP).
God reveals His perfect plans and His perfect love for His children over and over in His Word. The woman caught in adultery was brought before Jesus with condemnation and a death sentence, yet Jesus freed her from condemnation and offered an invitation to leave her life of sin (John 8:10-11). Encountering His love— a love that is so compelling, so real, and so safe— has a way of bringing humility to our wayward hearts so that God can begin the repairs of our soul. God sent Jesus and launched His plan to restore our identity as sons and daughters, connected to His heart and ways.
It’s almost as if our soul sometimes has to catch up with the Good News. The Gospel is the invitation into the restoration process that acknowledges that “you were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News...” (Col. 1:21-23 NLT). Jesus did all the work and made a way for us to walk in fellowship with the Trinity, but we have to accept the gift and apply it to our lives. He wants to hand us treasure but we have to let go of the junk we hold onto.
God never designed us to live apart from Him, riddled with guilt and shame. The Good Shepherd shepherds us through the entire process of restoration. Our part is to allow God to love us and teach us His ways, believing and remembering the Good News of the Gospel and the victory Christ secured for us. It is finished and He is seated in heaven, awaiting the appointed time for full restoration of all things (Acts 3:21). That day is coming friends so let’s take God at His word. Follow Him through the restoration process and take heart - He’s with us all the way.
“He restores my soul...” Psalms 23:3a (ESV)
In a moment, He addressed the grief I carried from the loss of my earthly dad, and addressed the lie of insignificance harbored in my soul by showing me He saw me and had in fact seen all my days. The healing that took place in my heart was nothing short of miraculous that day, and it gave me an abiding sense of purpose, value and communion with God. I'll never forget it.
In reading Paul’s letters to Timothy, I get the sense Timothy was needing this kind of ministry to stay at his post in Ephesus. Equally apparent is the evidence Paul really saw Timothy - his strengths and weaknesses, his gifts, his fears and troubles. Paul addressed Timothy as a son (1 Timothy 1:2) and expressed deep care, a desire to protect, train up, prepare and set him up for success.
Paul spoke plainly of the hardships to come and the need to stand firmly on the Truth, regardless of the environment. He reminded Timothy of the sound teaching and spiritual inheritance he received from his mother and grandmother, and then reminded him of prophetic words spoken over him by others. All of this had helped develop Timothy into the man of God he was. Remembering gave him strength to stand strong.
We all go through difficult seasons that make us long for God’s personal affirmation and attention. Psalm 139:1 says, “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.” We all desire to know He sees us. It is sheer grace from the Father that assigns us our value and significance (Ephesians 2:8-10), and unfathomable mercy that He will comfort us (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). When He does, it is like adding legs to our faith, releasing us to run as ambassadors of the King.
I hope you have had similar experiences that have propelled you forward in your walk with God. If you can’t recall a specific time He spoke to the deepest parts of your heart, ask Him to. He is a God who gets personal. He is a God who loves you and longs for you to know it. Think of people in your life that have spoken life into you in moments of weariness, like Paul did for Timothy. Thank God for them. Once you do, go forth and be that life-giving presence for someone else. May God receive all the glory!
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.” Psalm 139:1 (NIV)
Not only was she under the same death sentence as her people, she could also be killed for going to the king without being summoned. Esther found the courage to act, and the king granted her favor.
There are some pretty cool similarities in Esther’s story that we find in our own stories. First, Esther herself was saved and shown favor - first through adoption and then by being chosen by the king. As believers, we are chosen (John 15:16) and adopted (Rom. 8:15). Secondly, Esther was invited to partner with God in saving her people. We, too, are invited into a partnership with God to usher the lost into His salvation.
Here’s some mind-blowing good news: we have the favor of a King just like Esther did. There is a beautiful partnership between the God who saves and the people He saves. We aren’t saved and shown favor so we can live a life of self-indulgence or idleness. We are saved and ushered into great purpose and into the work of our Master. He requires something of us - our trust and obedience. The work He has for us to do is the work of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18). We are ambassadors of Christ, working with Him to bring heaven to earth and the lost to the same salvation we ourselves have received by grace.
Salvation is at hand. It’s now. His favor is also now. In Luke 4:18-21, Jesus reveals He was sent “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” I believe that favor is upon us as we work in the family business with Him. By accepting the mantle, we are entrusted with the favor, resources and authority of the King. It’s a partnership - one in which we need to be in close proximity and relationship with our Partner. There is no greater quest, no greater Leader, nor no greater favor than that of King Jesus. Just like Esther, we can step into our role as highly favored daughters of the King. Let’s share the Good News of the Gospel and pray for lost souls to encounter His saving grace.
“For He says, ‘In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2 (NIV)
But God knew it was a tall order and was completely prepared to meet the needs of Moses and the Israelites in order for them to be successful. God knew the process required divine inspiration.
The equipping that takes place in this story is what stands out. God equipped Moses to lead the people; Bezalel and Oholiab to build and create; and others to give possessions as offerings. The whole community was able to contribute and play a role in this beautiful creation of the tabernacle. No one person was overwhelmed because the whole congregation was contributing.
Just as God put His Spirit in the artisans to craft the tabernacle, so the Son gave us the Holy Spirit so we can bear fruit. By His Spirit, we have everything we need to carry out our assignments. He knew the Holy Spirit was the comfort, power, wisdom, courage and truth we needed to stand firm in our identity and calling as His daughters.
Whether it’s raising a family, missions, or leading a Bible study, we can trust that He is going to equip us. Each assignment can feel overwhelming because it’s usually bigger than we can accomplish on our own. I’m pretty sure He designed it that way so we’d remain humbly dependent on Him and collaborate with the community He’s placed us in. We were never meant to do it on our own. My assignment to nurture my children was achievable because God was with me, equipping me each step, and because He set me in community with other moms to find encouragement and help when needed.
In my experience, even if I’m a little intimidated by the assignment, there are a few things I can always look to for a boost in my faith and confidence: the scriptures, testimonies of other believers, and my personal history with God. When you feel the weight of an assignment, seek out a trusted believer that can help redirect your focus to scriptural truth and remind you of all the ways God has moved before. Remember He always provides, His Spirit never fails, and He’s always with you. That, my friends, is good news!
“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 (NIV)
It was at that moment, the Father sent an angel to strengthen Jesus (Luke 22:43). What a good Father! What a beautiful picture of the Father’s heart providing for His child. He knew Jesus needed help in that place of anguish, so He released a helper. As we catch a glimpse into this tender moment between Father and Son, can you sense that God wants to be there for us as much as He was for Jesus?
I think one amazing quality Jesus possessed was His ability to receive from His Father, and because Jesus knew how to receive, He also learned how to give to His followers. In John 14, Jesus shares about the coming gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus saw the sorrow and confusion in the disciples' eyes as He forewarned of His death and departure. He knew there were future generations to consider and was aware of all the enemy would dish out to them, because Jesus also experienced it. He knew we would need a Helper!
God never asks us to do anything without Him. How comforting that He sees, He knows and He provides. How wonderful to know we have full access to a loving Father. We can ask daily for a fresh filling and He loves to give it. His Spirit empowers, comforts, teaches, and reminds us what Jesus said and did for us. Remembering truth is vital as we continue on life’s journey. We need His truth in our marriages, our parenting, our workplaces, our homes - our everything. And just as we don’t withhold good gifts from our kids, He doesn’t withhold from us either (Luke 11:13).
Where do you find yourself needing some help? Maybe you are having a hard time in your marriage feeling like you can’t get on the same page. Maybe you are having a hard time being patient with your two year old. Maybe you are living in a place of isolation because you’ve been hurt, but you are longing to establish some deep friendships. All of these things can make us feel defeated before we even start to address them. Let’s get into the right posture as we move forward...on our knees and hands open expecting the Holy Spirit to come alongside us. Expecting He will help us, teach us, guide us and equip us. And knowing He’s enough for everything we will ever face.
The Helper. The Comforter. He is more than enough for all of us.
Memory Verse: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26 NIV
The more I ponder what David penned in this special psalm, the more I see a picture of salvation in it by a God who is fully engaged with us. Each verse leads you further into God’s plans and purposes. Each verse exposes His heart to save His people and to dwell with us.
We read the elements of Psalm 23 throughout the Old Testament. The Lord pursued Adam and Eve after they sinned. It was The Lord that led His people out of captivity and into the promised land. He was the cloud by day and fire by night. It was The Lord that repeatedly saved them from their numerous enemies, and taught them how to live obediently to remain in that blessed state of salvation.
In the New Testament, we see the ultimate way God revealed Himself as a Shepherd ushering His sheep to salvation. Jesus (God wrapped in flesh) is The Good Shepherd in John 10, laying down His life for His sheep. He held fast to His Father’s words, ways and plans. He conquered the enemy and rose victoriously from the grave so that we could dwell in the safety of His care. Great is His faithfulness, for He is still shepherding us!
“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).
God is still supplying everything we need to be saved, healed and delivered. He has always been the provider and always will be. Salvation is His gift to His people because He values us. He created us for a relationship with Him. He wants us to live life in His presence, fully becoming what He designed us to be. We were made to reflect Him in this world and He takes perfect care to make sure we are successful in that endeavor. Every word in Psalm 23 reveals who He wants to be for us through all of life. David saw it from the time he was a shepherd and all through his kingship, leaning into the fullness of relationship with Him.
I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through these beautiful verses of Psalm 23. No matter what life has thrown at you, He is enough to save, heal and deliver you. To Him, you are completely worth it, so much so that He gave up His life for you. That, my friends, is love. And isn’t it what we all truly long for? To be known fully and loved fully? The Good Shepherd is the only One who can fulfill us and usher us into a place where we lack nothing. He is enough.
Memory Verse: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.” Psalm 23:1 NIV
Devotionals by Author
All Abby McDonald Alexa Gearhart Angi Morrison Anna Bearden Anne Say Audra Powers Breanna Faith Spearman Brenna Kurz Brittany Marlow Caroline Hultgren Courtney Filippin Dana Schaefer Danielle Biddy Debbie Burns Heather Kenny Jannetta Cox Jessica Parker Jess Ridgeway Joan Lavori Katelyn Wilson Katie Gibson Kelly Orlowski Kerri Barfield Keryn Stokes Kristen Williamson Laura Pendley Lindsay McNeely Lonette Baity Martha Rudolph Nancy Ehlinger Renee Robinson Saretta Wells Tara McGill Taylor Watkins Tierney Nashleanas Wendy Gerdes