Recently, my pastor, Rev. Mark Kirby, gave a sermon entitled "My Cup Overflows" and used, for a text, Psalm 23. At his beginning, Pastor Kirby provided the congregation with a copy of the 23rd Psalm with annotations accompanying each of its phrases. I thought they were some good insights to a very familiar scripture, and am pleased to share them with you here. All scriptural reference are from the King James Version of the Bible.
• The Lord is my Shepherd -- THAT'S RELATIONSHIP
• I shall not want -- THAT 'S PROVISION
• He maketh me to lie down in green pastures -- THAT'S REST
• He leadeth me beside the still waters -- THAT'S REFRESHING
• He restores my soul -- THAT'S HEALING
• He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness -- THAT'S GUIDANCE
• For His name's sake -- THAT'S PURPOSE
• Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death -- THAT'S TESTING
• I will fear no evil -- THAT'S PROTECTION
• For Thou art with me -- THAT'S FAITHFULNESS
• Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me -- THAT'S DISCIPLINE
• Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies -- THAT'S HOPE
• Thou anointest my head with oil -- THAT'S CONSECRATION
• My cup runneth over -- THAT'S ABUNDANCE
• Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life -- THAT'S BLESSING
• And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever -- THAT'S ETERNAL SECURITY
Wow! When you look at the beloved Psalm with those insights, it is no wonder Pastor Kirby could entitle his sermon "My Cup Overflows.
Certainly, our hearts go out to the many people affected by Hurricane Dorian as it hit the Bahamas and our eastern shoreline. Frankly, it is almost impossible for me to imagine the tremendous devastation caused by 225 mile-per-hour winds. Only recently, our area received a storm with winds around 70 miles-per-hour, and the result was hundreds of our trees uprooted. Some of our areas even looked like war zones. Multiply that by over three times and you begin to get a glimpse of what Hurricane Dorian must have done to those in its path.
Following the winds that hit our area, I noticed that every tree I saw uprooted did not have deep roots. Not only were their roots very shallow, but they also were very limited in diameter. Huge oak trees, pine trees and other assorted trees all had a shallow root system. Many trees simply had limbs blown off, but we might have expected that to happen. What we probably did not expect was the large number of trees that had such small root systems. Obviously, there must be a solid foundation of rock under most of this area which prevents trees from developing deep roots.
Believe it or not, the Bible addresses this situation in Ephesians 3:17-18 (NLT) through the words of the Apostle Paul as he addresses the Christians living in Ephesus. He says, "And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand ... how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is."
There are a lot of things that want to keep us from putting down deep roots into God's love but, like the trees around us, only those who find a way to develop a strong and deep root system into God's love are able to stand when the winds of adversity begin to blow.
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Robert Box is the former chaplain for the Bella Vista Police Department and is currently the Fire Department chaplain. Opinions expressed are those of the author.Religion on 10/02/2019
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