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?

Five Things Friday // Growing with God {Meg}

One thing I became passionate about in my own life starting in college is the concept of self-feeding & my personal growth in my relationship with God.
I think so many times we fall into the dangerous trap of thinking that our growth in our knowledge of God comes primarily through other people.
God certainly uses other people to grow us – I’m well aware and well acquainted with that – but ultimately, people will disappoint you. Your friends and disciplers and Bible study leaders and [gasp!] even Cru staff members will all let you down you at some point.  It’s just true.
But guess what!? Your walk with Jesus isn’t dependent on other people.

Don’t get me wrong – community is SO valuable, and I’ll be the first in line to tell you to invest & plug in & ask for wisdom from older women & share your struggles & pray for your friends & get involved in a church & go on summer missions & pretty much anything else along those lines involving Biblical community, but community with others doesn’t come before community with God on your own. It just doesn’t compare.
A turning point in my life was learning that God created a relationship with me and it wasn’t on my own doing. Sure, he used other people to bring me to himself, but ultimately, He knows me, and He died for me, and He’s a personal God, and it’s good for me to know Him.
It’s always my hope and my dream for college women to embrace the same things. Because as a staff member wisely told me [in the context of discipleship & community, after all that!], the habits you make now – meaning in college, or whenever now is for you – will be habits you continue to hold to after college, and for decades to come.
So, in order to take a step towards equipping you women & challenging you to walk intimately with Jesus in your own personal lives, here’s five things to inspire you to begin, or grow in depth, in that journey – in no particular order:

  1. Know God more by reading His Word.  This one seems of utmost importance to me.  If you’re not sure how to do that in depth, read Jen Wilkin’s book Women of the Word.  I think sermons are awesome and I do love a good Christian book but there’s something unique & imperative about spending time primarily in God’s Wordthat is invaluable. Yes, you can learn from others, but God gave us His Word to know Him more (let that sink in)… and so do it. Passionately.
  2. Start a prayer journal.  I love the basic Moleskine or Target journal where I can fill up my pages with prayers to God.  But, I also love a structured direction with my prayer life. Consider Brooke’s prayerjournal guide she shared with us on this blog.  Also, consider investing inone of these or these.  And pray.
  3. Be willing to be sanctified {which means being made more pure, more like God}. One of the most convicting prayers in Scripture, in my mind, is the prayer in Psalm 139 – Search me, Oh God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  {Insert shocked face emoji here.} But yeah, ask the Holy Spirit to show you your grievous ways, and then be willing to pray and ask Him to grow you in that… And, eek, bigger gulp – if you are having a hard time seeing the Holy Spirit’s conviction for you there, consider asking a friend who knows you well to help you to see areas you are doing well in and an area you can grow in.  And then ask them to help you walk more like Jesus in that.
  4. Learn from others, too, but as a supplement to – and not more valuable than – God’s Word.  God uses others to teach us about Himself, which is beautiful. Don’t let that time overpower your time knowing about Him and discovering truths in scripture on your own.  But, learn from others, too.  Podcasts, books, sermons, online articles… soak their wisdom in in.  Take advantage of all that is literally at our fingertips & let other believers sharpen you, too.
  5. Be willing to be alone with God, and connect with Him in ways that are personally meaningful for you. Going on a walk, being in nature, creating art, singing, writing, cooking, running. Fill in the blank.  You do you, but do it with God.  He speaks often loudest when we’re most quiet.  Make yourself available to Him in ways that bring you life.  Be willing to be alone with Him.

Will you take one step towards this this weekend? I am going to. This afternoon. I’m going to take a stab towards walking with God in a way I’ve been abandoning on my own the past few months.  Join me.  I promise – God will use it.


Happy Friday! Stay awake. Be free. xoxo