Thursday, November 07, 2013

November 7, 2013 … Hard Places – Been There!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 311

Devotional Song: Go to this link - Please take the time to meditate on this poignant and powerful song written and sung by Marty Goetz, singing The Lord Is My Shepherd, … retelling Psalm 23 in song much as King David must have when he was trying to express the empathy of having been led through the shadow of death and delivered by the Good Shepherd into green pastures.

Highlight Passage: 2nd Corinthians 4: 12 (with verses 10-12) … [Our hard places give us empathy for those walking there.] … [NLT]  
10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. … 11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.
Highlight Passage: 2nd Corinthians, Chapter 4 … Go to this link … [NLT] … 

Reference Passage #1: Psalm 23 … Go to this link … [The empathy of David for all walking through the valley of death.] … [NLT]

Reference Passage #2: Romans 8: 28 … [God prepares empathy in our souls.] … [NLT]  
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.

My Journal for Today: You’ve probably heard – and maybe, you’ve used – the modern expression, … “Been there, done that; … go that T-shirt,” … which is a colloquial expression indicating that one has empathy for what another person is going through in life. The person “with the T-shirt” is one who’s been where the other person is now and he/she feels what that person is going through. An older expression would say, “You can’t feel where someone has been unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” But both expressions try to depict the quality of EMPATHY, which all humans can feel when they’ve been in a hard place and know exactly what someone is going through who might be in that place currently.

EMPATHY, as we know differs from SYMPATHY because the empathetic person can feel – from experience – what another is experiencing, having gone through that experience. We all can sympathize with one who’s going through a painful experience, perhaps the loss of a child or the painful recovery from knee replacement surgery. But in the latter instance we can only have EMPHATHY with that pain if we, ourselves, have been there, done that, and wear the T-shirt, having had a knee replacement ourselves.

Well, when the Apostle Paul was writing today’s highlight passage to the Christians in Corinth (and to you and me by extension), he could – and did – empathize with his fellow Christians who were going through a lot of suffering for their faith; and He wanted them to be able to understand that their suffering was leading them OUT of a hard place and INTO a far better place. And that’s the message which David was writing about when he penned the poignant and powerful lyrics to his song which we’ve numbered as Psalm23 (which you can listen to as sung by a modern psalmist, Marty Goetz, linked above).

So, perhaps someone who reads here is in a hard place and needs the reassurance from those of us who’ve been there, done that, and wear a T-shirt of empathy, as King David wrote, we’d encourage you to pray for the Good Shepherd to lead you from the valley of the shadow of death, depicted in the attached photo, into the greener pastures He has for all of us when we’re with Him in glory. In fact, we don’t have to wait for Him to greet us there in heaven. We can seek Him and find His peace right here – yes, even in the midst of the hard places, with Him leading us to His greener pastures just ahead.

So, let’s go there today.

My Prayer for Today … Oh, Lord, my Lord, and Good Shepherd, lead me from this hard place to Your greener pasture up ahead. … Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online blog entitled Today God Is First [TGIF], authored by Os Hillman. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read Hillman’s TGIF blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

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