One quick glance at the calendar for this month will show I only have two days with no obligations, today and Friday. Every other day has some form of commitment; Christmas programs, birthday parties, doctor appointments, family dinners, cookie exchange and of course my job. Being sick was not on my agenda for today. I wanted to take a meal to my friend and spend some time with her. Instead, I usher the family out the door and I crawl back into bed, hoping and praying that the Sudafed, Claritin, Tylenol, and Motrin will kick in soon! I hate being sick!
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores 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 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 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.
(Psalm 23 NKJV)
Chilled, I pull on my favorite JMU sweatshirt and burrow in the covers. Guinness, my Jack Russell Terrier, burrows with me and servers as a heater for my chilled body. A verse from Psalms 23 runs through my mind: “He makes me lie down in green pastures…” Periodically, I change positions thinking surely I should get up now. Again, my mind says “He makes me lie down.” I’m like a newborn fighting rest. I recall all those times I stood by our kid’s crib and rested my hand on their back, lulling them back to sleep. I rise my head up off the pillow only to feel a firm but gentle hand on me lulling me back to sleep.
Hours later I woke up craving tomato soup. Before I began looking for the ingredients I actually prayed, “Lord, if you want me to have tomato soup, you will provide tomato soup.” Searching my kitchen, I discovered I had all the necessary items, except one key ingredient: cream cheese. I sent my neighbor a text asking to borrow the key ingredient. She too lacked the key ingredient, but within thirty minutes, her husband grocery shopped for me and delivered the key ingredient. I told him about my prayer and thanked him for being a part of my answered prayer today!
As I pureed the cream cheese with the tomatoes I thought about the verse, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” We have amazing neighbors. If I had asked, any one of our neighbors would have gone to the store for me. Today, God made me rest in the green pastures of my home and neighborhood. I am usually the Shepherdess taking care of my sheep (my family). But today, The Great Shepherd, my Shepherd took care of me. The Great Shepherd always takes care of his sheep, but today it was much more evident to me. Perhaps it took a day of forced rest for God to remind me today that He sees me (Genesis 16:13) and that he wants to give me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4) even if that desire is tomato soup!
Creamy Tomato Soup
· Chop and sauté 1/2 onion and 2 cloves of garlic.
· In a food processor puree 8oz of cream cheese with one 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes.
· In a large stock pot add the puree and sautéed onion/garlic mixture with 28 oz. of crushed tomatoes.
· Add 15 oz. chicken broth.
· Bring to a boil.
· Add fresh basil, crushed red pepper, thyme, oregano, and garlic salt to taste.
· Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.
My Shepherd of Psalm 23 brought comfort to me today. The author David chose to pen the personal pronoun, ‘my’ to describe his relationship with the Lord. Can you make that claim? In our self-taught and self-reliant world it is easy to get caught up in believing a God exists without actually having a relationship with Him. The Lord is my shepherd and He wants to be your personal shepherd too. All you have to do is ask. “Dear God, I am asking you to come in to my heart and take over my life. I want you to be my personal Lord and savior. I believe you sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. I believe three days later, he rose again. Lord, be my shepherd. In Jesus name I pray. Amen”