I Shall Not Want//Jocelyn

Growing up in a Christian home, Psalm 23 was one of the first lengthy (or at least lengthy for a child) passages I memorized. I can still remember the chapter being written out in marker on a dry erase board downstairs where I’d play with my toys.
Back then, I didn’t understand the deep meaning of this passage, and the same was true for many other passages that have now become really dear to me. I’m definitely not claiming to now know all there is to know about this Psalm, but over the past few years and even more-so very recently, it has come to life for me as I dive into it more and more.

Although not very long in the grand scheme of things, each individual statement in this passage could probably have its own sermon. I only want to focus on one part: “I shall not want.”

{ Fun fact: When I first memorized this chapter, I seemed to always say the first verse as one fluid sentence, which made me confused. “The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want”? So I don’t want Him? What? Commas and semicolons make all the difference, people. ; ) }

I love how various versions put it:”The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” (ESV)
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.” (NIV)
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need.” (NLT)

How many of us can genuinely say that? I lack nothing. I don’t have a need for anything else. I’ll never be in want. Why? Simply because the LORD is MY Shepherd. The Psalm elaborates from there, but I think it’s interesting to note that “I shall not want” doesn’t come at the end, as if to say “here are all the reasons, and that’s why I won’t be in want.” No, The Lord is my Shepherd, and that’s it. That’s enough. I lack nothing. The rest of the chapter is simply a list of the many other benefits that come along with the Lord being my Shepherd.

I realize how much I want my heart to be able to say this at every moment. I’m convicted that this isn’t the case, but at the same time I’m so overwhelmed in the best way at how much depth this one verse has, and that allows me to sink into the goodness of Jesus.

Something that has recently allowed me to learn more about not only this one verse, but Psalm 23 as a whole, is the book “A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23” by W. Phillip Keller.
A man with firsthand shepherding experience, Keller expounds on the Psalm, each line having it’s own chapter. It’s so eye-opening to read the perspective of this real life shepherd and get further confirmation on just how humorously similar we are to sheep, and how beyond qualified God is in His role as our Shepherd.

“He came to set men free from their own sins, their own selves, their own fears. Those so liberated loved Him with fierce loyalty. It is this One who insists that He was the Good Shepherd, the understanding Shepherd, the concerned Shepherd who cares enough to seek out and save and restore lost men and women.”

In the chapter titled “I Shall Not Be In Want,” Keller writes:

“Actually the word ‘want,’ as used here, has a broader meaning than might at first be imagined. No doubt the main concept is that of not lacking – not deficient – in proper care, management, or husbandry. But a second emphasis is the idea of being utterly contented in the Good Shepherd’s care and consequently not craving or desiring anything more.”

I want. Regularly. {And for those of us who attended Radiate this year, who can forget Paul Tripp’s “I WANT, I WANT, I WANT” portion of his talk?! Again I admit, yep, that’s me.} I find myself being similar in some aspects to a stubborn ewe that Keller describes in his book. “She was simply never contented with things as they were. Often when she forced her way through some such spot in a fence…she would end up feeding on bare, brown, burned up pasturage of a most inferior sort. But she never learned her lesson and continued to fence crawl time after time.” When I seek after other “pastures,” I’m continually dissatisfied. How often do I lose sight of the lush green pastures that the Lord provides me with. Although He doesn’t promise a life with no difficulties, He does promise that He will always be with me (Matt. 28:20b) and will supply all of my needs (Phil. 4:19).

We must understand that as believers, under the loving & compassionate care of our Good Shepherd, we can proudly boast “The Lord is my Shepherd – I shall not be in want. I am completely satisfied with His management of my life.”

If you’ve grown up with this passage or are well familiar with it, it helps to have new and fresh perspectives of it. Being someone who really connects with the Lord through music, here are some songs I recommend. A lot of the lyrics came to mind even as I was writing this:
“I Shall Not Want” by Audrey Assad.“When I taste Your goodness, I shall not want.”

“King of Love” by I Am They.
{HUGE favorite! The whole song is basically all of Psalm 23, but the vocabulary is changed just enough that it might be easy to miss if you don’t pay attention. It’s beautiful.}“The King of Love my Shepherd is, Whose goodness faileth never. I nothing lack if I am His, and He is mine forever.
“The House of God Forever” by Jon Foreman.“God is my Shepherd, I won’t be wanting.”
I’d recommend listening to and meditating on them as you ask the Lord make this statement true in your life!
Hi, I’m Jocelyn! I gave my life to Jesus at a young age, but it was during my college years and involvement with Cru at IUP (Indiana University of Pennsylvania – crazy confusing, I know) that my intellectual knowledge really started to move toward heart knowledge. Jesus grew my heart for ministry along the way, and I joined staff with Cru during the summer of 2015! I’m thrilled that I’ve been placed on the Tidewater Metro team and am currently trusting the Lord to finish my support so I can head there soon! I’m really passionate about ice cream & Chipotle, and I love documenting moments of my life through videos on youtube (and Instagram.. and Snapchat :p). I could probably say more but I’m super indecisive about these things, as with most things. My personal blog is singinghisgrace.com. Stop over there or on social media and say hi at any time! 🙂

The Hope of Later//Heather

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrew 12:11

I love the contrast in this verse—in the moment BUT later.

We so often forget about later and just focus on this moment. It’s not surprising though, is it? We’re surrounded with Carpe Diem, eat drink and be merry, and of course YOLO.

But living for the moment leaves little room

for the difficulties and experiences that seem unpleasant. And discipline? No thank you.

This verse so eloquently and concisely explains why read the Bible more, spend time in prayer, exercise, finally share with that friend, and so many more are on our New Year’s Resolution list every single year. It’s because these things are painful.

You might be thinking, okay obviously exercise is painful (at least when I do it) or maybe even sharing the Gospel with a friend can be painful in a socially awkward kind of way but praying or reading my Bible more? I don’t know about that.

Here’s the thing though, for these things to actually happen we have to give up something else. Something in our lives has to change if we want to change. Maybe it’s more sleep—getting up earlier so you can have time to read and pray before class. Maybe it’s time you usually spend relaxing and watching the Flash (okay or your TV show of choice). Maybe it’s the long trek to the gym when it’s ten degrees outside and all your roommates are still warm in their beds. Discipline is painful because it costs us something. You and I will not change and grow by continuing in the same habits as before.

BUT later.

Discipline is unpleasant at the time but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. As Christians, even though it is easy to forget, we are living for so much more than this moment. We have the hope of eternity. We have the hope of later. This has the power to shift our eyes from just this moment to the grand scope of God’s plan. With the Holy Spirit, this has the power to move us from who we wish we were to more of who God has called us to be.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

How is God calling you today to look past this moment and live for later? How will you let discipline yield its peaceful fruit of righteousness in your life today?

Just To Be Honest//Clark Johnson//CNU

As the New Year has come and gone, I have spent some time reflecting on 2015. Let me tell you, it was incredible. I got to be a witness to some amazing things that God has been doing on my campus at CNU and I feel like my relationship with Jesus has grown deeper than ever. Also, ending the year with Radiate was one of the most refreshing things I have ever experienced. After thinking about all of these things, I have found myself asking these questions about my year. Have I reflected the character of Jesus to everyone around me? Have I loved well? Has my life been about my neighbor rather than myself?
These questions are the biggest part of His will for my life. You can see this in the two greatest commandments laid out in Matthew 22:37-40. When I started to look at my life this past year with all of the great things that have happened, I sometimes feel as though I have seriously fallen short. There have been so many moments of falling into temptation, giving way to sin, and failing at being who God has called me to be. All right, all right… enough with the sob story. But don’t a lot of us find it so easy to reflect on the moments where we messed up? I all of a sudden become really honest about the struggles I faced when they are way back in 2015. But a lot of the time, those struggles were so hard because I was not being honest with God in those moments. I was not fully surrendering my heart to Him like he so rightfully deserves. I want to be a man of God who is honest with where he is really at, in the moments of strength AND weakness. Ok, if I’m going to start being really honest, that last sentence was painful to write. My culture and flesh is screaming “NOOOOO.” As a guy, I really don’t want people seeing me as “weak.” Everything about secular American culture despises weakness. We don’t want to admit that we are flawed and we strive to look like we have it all together. I find myself buying into it all the time. It always fails to succeed. But, I serve a God that calls me to come as I am. Broken, weak, and in need of rescue. I serve a God that takes my brokenness and turns it into something beautiful. That is so refreshing

In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Jesus says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” A moment where I really saw this verse come alive was at Radiate this past week. The days leading up to the conference were rough for me. I was experiencing a lot of temptation and my thoughts were not glorifying to God. As a leader in Cru, I didn’t want everyone around me to be brought down by my little issue going on. I went through the first 2 days all hunky dory and all was well, except my heart. During worship on that second night, the Bridge Band began playing the classic, “How He Loves.” The song was just like normal but then they changed the words to “We love YOU, Oh how we love YOU.” Those words hit me like a pile of bricks. I couldn’t bring myself to sing the words. How could I say I love God, but not be honest with Him about where I am? How could I stand next to my peers and act like I am totally fine when I am not? I turned to my good friend Tyler and began to tell him what was going on. In that moment when I finally turned to someone, I felt an overwhelming peace come over me. It was amazing. The release of guilt and shame was totally gone. Praise Jesus! It was something so small and simple, but I think it was a really cool moment where He was glorified in my life. A little “win-shot” if you know what I mean. God calls us to confess sin in 1 John 1:9 and thats what I did. It’s crazy what happens when we listen to Him haha! So as I go into this New Year, I want my prayers to be laced with these words, “God, I am weak. You are strong. I am broken and I am in need of rescue. I pray for honesty in front of you, myself, and with others. Lord may I surrender all that I am to you.” If you read this, my hope is that you will join me in a movement of honesty. When you are weak, tell God that you are weak. If you are feeling the weight of sin dragging you down, be honest with you friends about what is going on. Know that He is glorified in those moments. Lets go into this semester, and let God wreck our campuses with a Love they have never seen. It’s just like the old adage says, “Honesty is a really great policy”


Hey everyone! My name is Clark Johnson and I am a junior at CNU. I am so excited for what God is doing on my campus. I am a resident assistant, and I am co-president of my Cru chapter alongside the famous Laura Kate. I also recently picked up beat boxing and joined an a capella group. I like long walks on the beach?