Divine wisdom shepherds me, peace, abundance, love, a time of turmoil, the valley of the shadow of death, comfort, psalm 23, psalms 23, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, green pastures, still waters,

Peace, abundance and love in a time of turmoil

I took a moment today to reread one of my posts from ten years ago: The Lord is my shepherd. It was a collection of thoughts about Psalm 23 and what it means to feel safe in the presence of God.

For these last ten years, I’ve come to understand that our English Bible translation uses “the Lord” as the standard translation wherever the original used YHWH. I’ve distanced myself from the idea of God being a man sitting Santa-like on his sky-throne.

Somehow distant and looking down on us all – rather than Spirit and in each and every one of us. Over these past 22 months, I realise that what has kept me going strong is the Divine presence of inner peace, abundance, and compassion, despite living in a time of turmoil.

So, today I want to share my thoughts on what it means to allow the Infinite to flow through us as Divine Wisdom, peace and love, taking thoughts and ideas from Psalm 23.

Divine Wisdom shepherds me

One of the things about sheep and shepherds is that the sheep get used to the shepherd because the shepherd lives with them twenty-four hours a day. They recognise the shepherd by the sound of their voice and the scent.

And so, as I learn to live in the presence of the Divine, I learn to listen to that still, small voice of Divine Wisdom. It’s often hushed, although occasionally, I get a brutal shake or prod!

Shepherding is about being led, surrendering to the path of Divine Will, rather than what my ego would have me do. And when I listen and surrender, I recognise that I have everything I need.

Divine Wisdom shepherds me, I have everything I need, abundance, peace, love, compassion, Psalm 23, The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want

Everything I need: all the time I could possibly need to get things done, all the love and affection that my heart desires, and all the resources that I need at this moment.

In fact, when I sit with my God Box, which I made at the beginning of this year, I am in awe! All the worries and concerns that I put in my God Box were taken care of. All of them. Not a single one of those worries came to pass this year! I took all those things that were beyond my control and simply said, “you handle this for now, and when I’m ready, gently place it on my plate to take care of”.

Resting in the presence of the Divine

Most of us remember that the shepherd makes us lie down in green pastures; there’s a lushness to this imagery. In addition to having our fill – an all you can eat banquet – do you experience the softness and gentleness of lying down and resting?

How have you rested in 2021?

Are you resting gently and deeply, or do you stay up at night with worries?

To quote my previous post on Psalm 23:

“We have found both ┬áprovender and peace, rest and refreshment, serenity and satisfaction.”

In addition to surrendering to rest and relaxation, we are offered our fill of living water – to be cleansed, refreshed and revitalised.

Can you allow the Infinite to flow through you?

I rest gently and deeply, drinking my fill of living water in safety, relaxation and rest, security, feeling safe, a safe place to be, He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters

My soul is restored and renewed

I wear myself out trying to do it all from my own strength and under my own steam. I forget – regularly – to allow Divine Presence to flow through me and empower me. But, as I let it, my soul and spirit are restored and renewed.

All I have to do is step away from staying business – holding and grasping desperately to doing it all myself.

When I’m doing it all alone, it’s empty and incomplete. My ego’s happy – for a while until it falls and fails. Then it throws a tantrum when I realise that I am not perfect and complete unless I am open to the presence of the Divine.

I am complete when I am One with Spirit. But when I allow myself to be guided by Divine Wisdom, I find myself facing anything and everything. The path takes me back to wholeness.

But it is a soft allowing and opening up. It is surrender and trusting, which I still find challenging.

How are you allowing the Divine Creator to complete you?

My soul is restored, as I am guided by Divine Wisdom along paths of wholeness, I am made complete., He restoreth my soul, He renews my soul, He guides me along paths of righteousness, for His name's sake, I am whole and complete, nothing is lacking in me, Psalm 23

A time of turmoil in the world

Walking through the valley of the shadow of death

These two years have felt like a walk through the valley of the shadow of death. The foreboding of “it’s out there” could be terrifying, and yet I have discovered this fantastic, deep well within me of inner peace. One that genuinely has surpassed all my understanding.

I know, without a doubt, that we are walking through this valley. That means that there is a light at the end: there will be a moment when we are no longer under the shadow of death.

But I feel an intense peace and calm within me. I haven’t feared for myself or those I love in these two years of uncertainty. I have felt deeply protected and shielded despite all the turmoil.

Some of the changes have been harrowing – as an introvert with a slightly extroverted child, I cannot begin to explain the challenges of two years of home-schooling while working from home. And yet, this too shall pass.

And every time she says that these have been the best two years of her life, I am blown away. In my mind, I have focused on my shortcomings rather than how resilient we have both been!

Even when the path I am on is hard, and it seems that there is a shadow of death hanging over me, I walk calmly, with courage, fearing no harm, I live in the presence of the Divine even here, I feel protected and shielded, I am pulled to safety, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no ill, I fear no evil, for Thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me, Psalm 23

We have been abundantly protected and shielded. We’ve grown and changed with the changing times.

And in so many ways, I have been miraculously comforted and found safety.

Making time for self-care

Despite the challenges of these times – the enemies that surround us – Divine Wisdom reminds me to take time out. To sit quietly and eat calmly. To enjoy the food before me.

These past two years have been about re-encountering a relationship with gratitude and pausing, especially around food. I’ve made more time cooking and sitting down to eat, with grace before meals, rather than eating on the run.

And what I’ve realised is that this has a very practical application in our digestive system: as we switch over from “fight & flight mode” to “rest and digest”. It’s a crucial physiological distinction. Divine Wisdom reminds me regularly: stop what you’re doing and just eat. It’s okay to take time for nourishing your body without multi-tasking.

I am also reminded that I have a purpose and calling – and that does not require multi-tasking either! It’s becoming more single-minded about “the one thing” and focusing my energy and attention on what I am called to be and do.

The more I follow this, I count my many blessings! My cup indeed does run over!

Divine Wisdom reminds me to make time for self-care, even in the face of life's challenges, I am blessed, protected & empowered, I have a special calling and purpose, I count my blessings and am content, Psalm 23, Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies, Thou anointest my head with oil, My cup runneth over

Guided by Divine Wisdom, with goodness & mercy watching my back

Who has your back?

We’re promised that both goodness and mercy will follow us wherever we go. Mercy sweeps along behind me, forgiving my mistakes and weaknesses, allowing me to forgive myself.

Can I let go of the guilt and shame that I’ve carried and allow it to be swept away by goodness and mercy?

The final part of Psalm 23 reminds us that we dwell forever with Divine Presence, finally reaching that place of complete Oneness with Spirit.

Goodness and mercy follow me wherever I go, my faithful companions on this journey of life, I will allow the Infinite to flow through me until I am one with Spirit, Psalm 23, 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,

I belong. I am loved and cherished, with an everlasting love.

This is what it means for Divine Wisdom to be omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.

Will you allow the Infinite to flow through you until you are One with Spirit?

this is my prayer, my prayer for you, strong and powerful, filled with God, strong and powerful, filled with the fullness of God, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, indwelt by the fullness of the Divine, the Divine in me, the Divine in you, the temple of the Holy Spirit, indwelt by the Spirit

My prayer for you: strong and powerful – filled with Divine Love

Revised Common Lectionary readings: Colossians 1: 11-20

At the beginning of almost all of Paul or other apostles letters, we find a section of “this is my prayer for you”. So, if you imagine you were writing, or even talking, to someone that you care about, and you are saying to them “this is the intention and space that I hold for you each day”.

What would you say to them?

Consider, for a moment a son or daughter, a nephew or niece, your significant other or perhaps just a friend that you have. What desire would you hold in your heart for them?

As we have a look at what Paul says to the Colossians in his letter, I want you to hold in your mind and prayers one person. Take a moment, before we start, to consider who you will hold this prayer for. And when we finish, I will ask you again to bring this person back to mind and consider how you would change this prayer for this person.

Made strong

Life can be hard and we all pass through difficult situations. Sometimes, we find it hard to find the strength to fight. And when we are told that we are made strong, this doesn’t refer to the physical strength, but to emotional and mental strength and fortitude.

Typically, the strength of something is measured according to the force or pressure that it can withstand! Think, for example, of a flood wall. And I pray that you are made strong — strong enough to withstand whatever flood you are facing at the moment.

Unfortunately, strength comes from experiences, often from tough, cold, painful and raw experiences.

They say that in Japan some scientists were doing an experiment on trees. They gave them perfect growing conditions – airtight, where they would not be subject to harsh winds, or even breeze. They watered them gently. Just enough water. And they made sure that they got the perfect amount of sunlight. All of the trees, sometime between three to four months of growth, all fell over. Without the breeze and the weather… they failed to grow strong!

So, my prayer for you this morning is that you, while knowing suffering, you rise above it! That in spite of the blows of change that you might be facing, may you have the fortitude to stand steady.

Because being strong is both vulnerable as well as fierce. It’s being independent, while knowing that you are supported and loved.

rise up, strength, grow strong, overcome hardship

Powerful

I pray for you that you will be powerful – whether with tears flowing fiercely and freely – or tears of joy and happiness. That you be vulnerably strong.

Know that your power lies in the present moment, in being here, in doing what you can now. Your power does not lie in the past, as it is no more. Know that you cannot ignore the present, it’s not enough to hope and pray for a better future – but in doing what you can today with what you have.

Endure everything with patience

I pray that you understand that strength is patient, it is persevering and enduring. Sometimes, this means having the power to wait out the storm. Know that this too shall pass.

At other times, your patience and strength will be in knowing that you have to keep your eye on the prize and take that small step forward, no matter how difficult and hard it feels. Don’t give up, in spite of the difficulties.

I pray that you have the wisdom to know when to back down and walk away and when to hold your ground or forge forward. That you have the courage to change what you need to change, the compassion and serenity to accept what cannot be changed, and the patience and wisdom that comes from knowing the difference.

Joyfully giving thanks

I pray that in spite of the mixed emotions that come from facing difficult moments, and wanting to complain when life appears to be falling apart, that you find what you are grateful for. Even at this time.

Let me envision you finding and maintaining a gratitude practice that brings you inner peace and joy. Even if this week we are celebrating Thanksgiving, that you have a practice of giving thanks each and every day. I pray that you find grateful appreciation for all of your circumstances and not just the great experiences of life.

I know that others might see you as being strong – and maybe your inner truth is that we are just getting through a tough situation the best that you can – but I pray that you find joy and inner peace in all of this moment.

May you recognise that a gratitude practice is called practice, because there are some days that it feels like a workout, rather than a joyful moment. So just keep practising!

joyfully give thanks, giving thanks, thanksgiving, count your blessings,

Rescued from the power of darkness

Today I pray that you remember that you have been (or maybe today you just need to hear that you can be) rescued from the power of darkness. If you are in the darkness of depression and/or anxiety, know that I hold this space for you.

Some days, you simply have to acknowledge and accept the turmoil, sadness, hurt and struggle that you are going through. And after acknowledging and accepting those feelings, be willing to release them and let them go. They do not define who you are – emotions are intended to pass through us. You are not required to hold onto them or store them within you.

Other times, this darkness means accepting the failures, the mistakes of the past, and I pray that you have the strength to stop beating yourself up. My prayer for you is that you recognise that you have the power to choose – or not – whether you are going to continue carrying all that baggage with you into the present and future.

I pray that you recognise that you have been rescued from the impotence of feeling afraid. This doesn’t mean that you will no longer feel fear. The fear will still be there to warn you of danger – but I pray that you also feel the calm inner strength and peace that passes all understanding. Know that the situation does not control you but that you can control how you respond. Choose your thoughts, then choose your words, so that you may choose your actions.

I can’t promise that this will be easy, but my prayer is that you see the light in the darkness.

Received forgiveness

I pray that you remember at all times that God is love, and because God is love, Love forgives. Your part – your role – is to accept forgiveness.

Are you strong enough – humble enough – to accept love and forgiveness? I pray that your pride does not stand in the way – that you get caught up in “I can’t forgive myself”. Because I know that you are not more than Divine Love. I know that I am not greater than Divine Love.

Who am I – who are you – to say that what I did is bigger and more important than Spirit? I pray that we never allow our past to become an idol – to stand between us and receiving forgiveness!

I pray that you always have the strength to let go of your ego, and make space where you can always receive forgiveness.

In the same way that you receive it, I pray that you will give it freely.

made in the image, invisible God, characteristics of God, attributes of God

The image of the invisible God

Genesis may remind us that we were made – man and woman / male and female – in the image of God. But Colossians reminds us that Christ was the walking image of the invisible God – the Way.

This is how you do it.

These are the attributes and characteristics that each and every one of us should have, when we are truly have made enough space in our lives – that WE are filled with the fullness of God.

And so, I pray that you, might have a Christ consciousness, that you show all the attributes of Divine Love. I pray that you be light, love, power, might, strength, wholeness, compassion, mercy and caring in this world.

In whom all things were created

Because you are the image of the Invisible Spirit and Creator of all, may you be made new, making something from nothing, and making more from something. May you speak it into existence, starting with the seed of an idea in your mind, knowing that if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you too might move mountains!

Know that the same Spirit that hovered over the waters of the deep, that separated the land from waters, lives in you. You have that same strength and power to know that relationship with the Divine, through whom all things are created and made new.

I pray that you see the role that you have been playing – that you have an awareness of the power and strength that has been entrusted to you – and that you stop playing small.

In whom all things hold together

Scientists talk about the Cosmic Glue that holds all things together – the force within that they do not yet understand. I pray that you understand that the Divine lives in you, and that the same power that holds all of the Universe together, is holding you together – down to each individual atom within each cell of your body.

You have survived 100% of the days – good and bad – that life has thrown at you so far.

And now, I pray that you consider – on a spiritual, mental and emotional level – what’s holding you together when you are pushed and pulled by life. I pray that you notice that when you want to fall apart, that you notice what sustains you in those times.

Have an awareness of Spirit within you – the Cosmic Glue – that simply allows you to keep it all together, even when it feels that the world is falling apart.

Making so much space for the Divine in your life

I pray that you make so much space for Spirit in your life, that the fullness of all that God is –

  • eternal
  • infinite
  • good
  • gracious
  • merciful
  • loving & compassionate
  • kind
  • whole & holy
  • omnipresent
  • omnipotent, all-powerful and strong
  • omniscient
  • mysterious and yet simple
  • truth
  • faithful, immutable & unchanging
  • wise

be within you. That the same way that the fullness of God was pleased to dwell within Christ, that it be pleased to dwell within you.

Being One with all things

That you truly understand, today and always, that you are One with all that God is. That you see within each other, the way that the Divine sees in you, the potential of what might be. And that you support and sustain each other, so that each and every one of us here, might enjoy that indwelling of the fullness of God.

This is my prayer.

Strong is my only choice. So, today I choose to be strong. I may never know how strong I am, but I am stronger than this.
Strong is my only choice. So, today I choose to be strong. I may never know how strong I am, but I am stronger than this.