Today’s guest blogger is Karen Gaul. Karen has been a
biblical counsellor since 1994 and is certified by the Association of
Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC). She is dedicated to bringing
the Word of God to light in the lives of his hurting children.  She considers
it an awesome privilege and honour to be able to walk with brothers and sisters
in Christ to find healing, contentment, joy and peace in the Lord. This
material is reposted with permission by the author. You can find this post and
more of her writing here

We were blessed this past long weekend to be able to spend time in northern Ontario.  The Muskokas are definitely a place where solitude can be experienced, it is the place of rocks and trees and lakes.  It is the place where technology doesn’t work consistently.  It’s the place of no email for me.  It is a place to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
20150517_085957     The weather was perfectly warm and made the lake and being outdoors even more inviting.  The whole thing reminded me of the 23rd Psalm.  “He leads me beside still waters.”             
Then I had to reflect on the whole Psalm, of course.  I was reminded of all the encouraging and uplifting and good things My Good Shepherd does for me.  I was then also reminded of all that He says to me.  I had to think of the words He would use to speak to me and the tone of voice He would use.
First He reminds me that He, the Lord God is my Shepherd.  That suggests that I am a sheep and need taking care of.  He is right, without Him being my Shepherd I need to fear, the world is a dark and dangerous place to live.  I need His guidance, His leading, His correction, His taking care of every angle of my life for me.
Even His correction is comforting.  His correction rescues us from danger and disciplines us when we have gone astray.  We need have no fear, He won’t beat us.  He is a gentle Shepherd.
This whole thing made me think of how we speak to one another, how we interact with one another. What is behind our words? 
Husbands and wives are you speaking redemptively to one another or are you short with each other, annoyed that your agenda isn’t being met at that specific moment?  Does your anger flair up when you are stressed?   Do you then take it out on your spouse? Have you created such an environment with each other that open and honest conversation can happen?
Husband are you thinking about how to lead your wife?  Are you wondering how you can be an encourager (1 Thessalonians 5:11) to her so she will grow in her relationship with the Lord and also in her other relationships?  Are you quick to give praise and gratitude for her or do you spend more time thinking about you?
Wife are you praying for your husband?  Are you encouraging him in his life or do you criticize him often? Do you make it easy for him to lead you?   Do you speak well of him to others?  What thoughts of him bounce around in your head when you think of him?    Do you thank God for him daily?
Parents do your children feel safe with you?  Do they know they can share their hearts with you and you will be gentle with them?  Do they know your correction is loving and not punitive?  Do you lead them so they can grow to know Jesus or is your house full of criticism and condemnation and anger?

…Or are you convinced that because the Lord is your Shepherd you at any given moment have everything that you need to think biblically, to act biblically, and to speak lovingly?

I love how the Shepherd interacts with us.  He makes us lie down, He leads, He restores, He prepares, He corrects.  He creates an environment for growth to happen, for security to be felt and known, for present and future to be looked after.
There is no fear of even messing up because His correction is a blessing and not a curse.  There is no need to beat ourselves up because we aren’t prefect; we will never be faultless.  We need His correction, we need His rod and staff.  We will wander off, we will blow it.  But we need not fear, He still anoints my head with oil, my cup overflows.
We are called every day to encourage and lift up.  That is a deliberate choosing to bless another person.  That is what I see here.  Our loving Shepherd is thinking of us, of me, His sheep and intentionally orchestrating things around me to draw me closer, to make me feel safe and secure, to look after me.
  • What might happen in our relationships with our spouses, or our kids, or our friends and neighbours if we thought about them and what is best for them (Philippians 2:1-4),
  • and how they might draw closer to the Lord Jesus by something we might say or do that would bless them. 
  • What might happen if we asked God to help us think and speak differently to those we love, and those we interact with?
  • What would be different in my relationships if I lived out that I truly believed that He was my Shepherd?
The quiet has a way of bringing Him closer to our reality, we can hear better, we can think more clearly.
Thank you dear Lord for being my Good Shepherd.  Thank you that you have it all looked after, that you have me all looked after.  Thank you for the quiet.