Forest Lake Talks

Sandwiches are Beautiful: 1/2/23 Devotional from Ed

January 2, 2023

Text: Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I 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 overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.

Devotional: Psalm 23 is frequently heard at funerals, and while the words certainly offer comfort, what if we considered them instructional as we begin 2023? What if we consider them a challenge?

If we're willing to accept God's "path" for us, please do three things this week:

1. Listen to this song.

2. See if you can avoid having it stuck in your head. Sandwiches are beautiful...

3. Read Psalm 23 again, paying special attention to the first few verses (1-3).

As of two weeks ago, I had never heard of Fred Penner, but this podcast episode enlightened me to the many contributions he made to the Canadian culture. However, besides learning about his catchy songs, I learned that he has not had an easy path.

Fred Penner lost his sister and father in the same year, two losses that obviously impacted him daily, but also two losses that reminded him constantly of the fragility of life. His father struggled with addiction, and his sister had a severe heart murmur at the time of birth. When his sister was born, doctors told her parents she would only live to puberty because her organs would not grow.

What do you do when two "landmarks" are gone? What if they're gone at an early age like Fred Penner faced?

Easy. Go into music and sing fun children's songs, right? That's not really what happened. He majored in economics in college - to use his words, he "waffled" for a bit - but as he ultimately realized, he needed to find what his "bliss" is.

Enter a career in children's music. There's some irony here, obviously. A childhood disrupted by tragedy leads to a career to bring joy to other children. Sometimes our "bliss" can be ironic!

When you read the first few verses of Psalm 23, do you feel the comfort? Do you sense some instruction?

Go where the Lord is leading you.

God wants us to find our bliss and to be blissful, so as we start a new year, consider following God's path for you.

Prayer: Holy God, we thank you for leading us down the right paths, thank you for restoring our souls, and we ask that you give us the strength to follow you in 2023. Amen.

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