Did I ever tell you about the Judean hills Matt and I saw outside of Jerusalem? They came with real live bedouins leading sheep.
“See those circles?” our guide said. Yes, we had noticed the spirals going around each hill and had wondered about the unique geology. “Those are paths that have been worn over the years by shepherds leading their sheep. When you read Psalm 23:3 and hear David say that God leads him in paths of righteousness, in the Hebrew it really says in ‘circles’ of righteousness. The shepherds don’t lead the sheep straight up the hillside; they slowly wind them around and around and up.”
We marveled at this.
Continuous circles on flat trails, with a very slow, almost imperceptible climb toward the top. This is how God leads his people toward all that is right and good.
Turn your calendar to the new year, and what do you anticipate? I’ve been struggling with fear, to be honest. All of the “what ifs” have been slamming me in the middle of the night, but as I’ve called out to the Lord, he has been teaching me and leading me out of fear and into wonderful new thoughts of hope, enjoyment of his presence, and anticipation of goodness for the year.
This year is going to be a climb, but the Lord carefully will lead us up, up, up.
Two resources are helping me right now, and I want to recommend them to you. The first is Dallas Willard’s book, Life without Lack: Living in the Fullness of Psalm 23. I never even got past reading the title before I was encouraged and intrigued about what this year could be like if I were to believe Psalm 23.
The second resource is a new discovery, found at growthroots.com. They’ve made an incredible journal and record-keeping book called Growth Book: The Roadmap and Footprint of Your Spiritual Journal. When you invest in something like this, you’re saying to the Lord, “I’m going to seek you with all of my heart this year. I expect you to do good things in my life. I expect you to walk with me and talk to me and guide me through every day. I expect the abundant life, and I’m going to document it as it unfolds.”
What we need to do is to supercharge our belief on the front end of a new year.
Yes we believe we have a Good Shepherd.
Yes we believe he will circle us around to righteousness.
Yes we believe he will be with us, watching out for us all along the way.
Time to get our minds going in the right direction, by reading and memorizing and studying God’s word. We are going somewhere good.
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