Thursday, September 19, 2013

He Restores My Soul...

I read it in another translation. Psalm 23:3 said, "He renews my life..." This language sank in deeper with me. As I've always read, "He restores my soul," and often thought, yes, He has and will restore all things lost on a spiritual level, concerning my soul.

When I read, "He renews my life," it made me think of daily renewal and refreshment. Renewal in the midst of life happening. Something the attentive shepherd offers the oblivious sheep. Even the details of my personal sin. He renews, or gives me a new chance, daily, by the moment, if needed.

He certainly renewed my life when His message of sin, grace, forgiveness and love hit me square between the eyes in college and still today those same messages need constant renewal in my life. As I catch myself responding harshly, thinking judgmentally, or being selfish with my time. Not giving of myself as He would have it, but instead trying to make something of myself when He simply wants me to be like Him. He always renews my life when I come to Him with an open and honest heart.

"If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:8-9

It's always available, this renewing, this clean start... Thank the Lord, literally.

He renews my life when...

I feel like I can't go on because I'm simply physically exhausted,

When I fail to see things from other's perspectives, which may be very different than mine,

When I forget to breath as I watch my children grow,

When my husband forgives me over and over and over for too many things to list,

When I come to Him and cry out for wisdom and patience in raising my little blessings,

When I come to Him and cry out for forgiveness because I lost my temper...again,

When I come to Him for protection from evil and wander if He'll work out the plans He's shown me for our future,

When I tell Him I just can't do this right now, but I'm required to,

When I'm honest with Him, the good shepherd, about the things that are weighing on my heart and mind,

I could go on, but I'll sum it up with this.

He renews my life, restores my soul, in the deepest, most convincing way. Showing me His perfect and unfailing love for His daughter whom He knew before I was born.

"Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet, there was none of them." Psalm 139:16

Jesus had a brother who was in great need of restoration and renewal. Peter had a special and significant relationship with the Lord. Toward the end of Jesus' life being seen as one of His followers became more and more dangerous and Peter failed. He didn't fail once, or twice, but three times-in one day. Really, in probably like an hour of time. Can you imagine that? (I sure can) His failure, specifically, was complete denial that he even knew His Lord.

After Jesus resurrects he has several conversations with many different people, but His conversation with Peter speaks very pointedly to that fact the He restores souls and renews life. What I love about His conversation with Peter is that He restores Him the exact number of times Peter denied Him. He spoke specifically to each occurrence of denial by giving Peter a chance to confess His love (agapeo twice, phileo once) for Him.

I also love Jesus' references to sheep and shepherd in this passage. It leads us right back to the 23rd Psalm. God's word is cool like that! Here's the conversation...or at least most of it. If you want the whole thing, open up your Bible to John 21:15-19

"Jesus asked Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?  Yes, Lord, He said to Him, You know that I love you. Feed my lambs, He told him. A second time He asked him, Simon, son of John, do you love Me? Yes, Lord, he said to Him, You know that I love You. Shepherd My sheep, He told him. He asked him the third time,  Simon son of John, do you love Me? Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, do you love Me? He said, Lord, You know everything! You know that I love you. Feed My sheep, Jesus said."

With each question asked, Jesus gives Peter a chance to confess His love and to show it by obeying His command to feed and shepherd His sheep. Both of those things are so important because Jesus taught that if we love Him we will obey what His teaching. (John 14:23, John 15:14) He gives a us chance to confess with our mouths what we know and believe and then a chance to work that faith out in action, by obeying what He tells us to do. Both of which cause us to feel completely restored.

In what areas do I need renewal today? Are there things I need to confess and obey?

Be assured that our God is faithful to respond to our honest pleas toward Him and go to the Good Shepherd today for the restoration and renewal of your soul and your life for He does indeed restore the believer's soul and then leads us along righteous paths for His name's sake... More about that leading soon!

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