The Lord Is My Shepherd

WMJESUS-MY-GOOD-SHEPHERD

The Lord Is My Shepherd
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: 
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For Thou art with me…” ~Psalm 23:1-4

Several years ago I came down with a simple virus. I thought it would go away in a few days, for I had always been a very healthy person. But after a week my symptoms only grew more alarming and by the end of the month they became debilitating.

I went from a healthy active person who walked 6 miles a day, to a person who could no longer walk, use my hands, or even see to read, write or draw, for my eye muscles would go into spasms if I tried to read anything. I had to stay still in a dark room and be quiet.

This was unbearable to me for I had been so used to being active.

As a working visual artist who drew almost constantly, being unable to use my hands was like being imprisoned in my body.

I was terrified for I did not know if the illness was permanent, or even what the illness was.

Nor did my doctors. They ran numerous tests on me for every horrible disease they could think of.

I was filled with fear and anxiety.

 “Lord, why is this happening? Did I grieve you somehow?”

I prayed constantly and confessed every sin I could think of –and then some, because I was certain I had done some terrible thing to make God mad at me for allowing me to become so ill and lose so many abilities. All I had ever wanted to do was glorify Him.

Now all I could do was sit in silence before Him and weep. My head hurt constantly from migraines.

I listened to audio bibles and sermons and this comforted me tremendously.

The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 119:92 “Lord, unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction.”

During my time alone with the Lord, I grew very close to Him. There is nothing like suffering and affliction to draw you closer to God. He spoke to my heart. He promised to heal me. I clung to His promise.

God’s word promises that “all things work together for good to those who love God” in Romans 8:28. I treasured all of the promises in His word trusting that all would be well, for God had never failed me. 

All my life I had known Him to be faithful, just as His word says in Psalm 36:5 “Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.”

After many tests the doctors determined that I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia~ auto-immune illnesses caused by the Epstein Barre virus.

It took 4 months of physical therapy before I could use my hands again to draw, paint, and write. After about a year I was able to walk almost a mile.

The second painting I did after I regained the use of my hands was a watercolor inspired by Psalm 23, “The Lord is My Shepherd.” 

The painting shows the Good Shepherd, Jesus, His face strong and steady in the

WMJESUS-MY-GOOD-SHEPHERD
The Lord Is My Shepherd Encouraging Card @ Wings Publications on Etsy

midst of a dark, blinding storm. His glowing clothes are billowing all about Him as He presses forward with nothing and no one able to stop Him or His purpose for the little one He has charge over. His frightened little child is crouching close behind Him to escape the blast of the stormy tempest. 

The Lord is the child’s Shield, his Shelter, and Defender. The child clings to the Lord, as Christ leads Him through the Dark Valley of the Shadow; they are as one, they are so close together.

This image truly reflects my experience with my Lord Jesus ~ He was my Good Shepherd throughout my illness and never once failed me through my crisis of fear, worry, doubt, anxiety, weakness, and pain. He led me all the way through that horrible storm and encouraged me with His word, His love, and His presence. 

The Gospel of John says that Jesus is the true light and “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” ~John 1:5

I experienced the truth of that scripture through my affliction.  And the painting is my expression of its truth.

I had my painting printed and made into an Encouraging Card, which I sell in our Etsy Shop.

WM-GOOD-SHEPHERD-(1)
The Lord Is My Shepherd Encouraging Card at Wings Publications on Etsy

The card is like a mini version of my painting. On the front of this card is the verse, “The Lord is my Shepherd…I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” Psalm 23:1,4 (Updated King James Version Bible) On the back of the card, Psalm 23 is printed along with a vignette of the cover illustration. 

 This card has comforted many people through many trials. So I am thankful that the Lord allowed me to experience the terrible affliction that led me to be able to paint the picture. For I would never have been able to paint it had I not experienced the suffering, fear, comfort and faith all found in that image. 

 The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” ~2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son Jesus Christ to be our Good Shepherd to guide us down the path of righteousness, truth, and grace that we might live with You in peace forever. We love You, In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

 

Forget Not


FORGET NOT

Psalm 103:2 says “Bless the Lord, oh my soul and forget not all His benefits…” 
When I looked up the original word for “forget” in the Strong’s concordance, it means to “mislay, cease to care, cause to forget…” 

How often, how easy it is to cease to care, to mislay, to forget, to take for granted even the smallest of God’s blessings. 

But the simple fact is, what wonderful blessing we enjoy today we might not have tomorrow. How very important it is to be thankful for what we do have today, right now, this very moment. There is always something to be thankful for!

I suffer from chronic migraines and from day to day I do not know how they will affect me. 

As an artist, musician, and writer I have to just trust Jesus that all will be well. 

The other day I lost the use of my left hand for about 18 hours. 

I never know if I will ever regain what I lose during a severe migraine but when it happens I run to Jesus and thank Him for what I do have and trust Him that I am safe in His hands. 

He has never failed me. Thankfully, by the next evening the Lord restored my left hand and I was back to playing my piano as before and doing all the myriad things I daily do with that important hand. 

Psalm 103 goes on ” …who forgives all our sins, who heals all our diseases..” I praise and thank the Lord Jesus Christ today who is the forgiver of all my sins and who heals me every day!

We serve an Awesome God! 

Prayer
Heavenly Father, may I never forget all the wonderful gifts and blessings You shower down upon me each day. For even my very life is a gift from You. Help me not take for granted even the smallest blessing, a gift that perhaps another never had or no longer enjoys due to illness, age, an accident, or for whatever reason. 

Help me realize that all things in this life are temporary, for Thy word declares that this world is passing away. Engrave upon my heart that the one thing we can always count on and forever be thankful for is that You will never pass away, You will abide forever and will never leave or forsake us.

Thank You, Lord, I love You, in Jesus’ name, amen. 


Angelsong © 2016 Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved. Scripture Collage Paintings by Suzanne Davis Harden 

A Healing Prayer

malachi-4-2

A Prayer For All Who Need Healing

 Heavenly Father, please bless all those who are suffering and need healing today, whether in their body, mind, or soul.

Thy word promises “God sent His word and healed them and delivered them…”

King David wrote, “O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me.”

psalm-107-20

Thank You, Lord, that You love each one of us as if we are the only child You have to love.

You dwell in our heart so You feel our pain.

Thy word says, “You have seen my troubles, and You care about the anguish of my soul.”

psalm-31-7

Lord, send rivers of peace and hope to all who are chronically ill, suffering pain and are discouraged physically, spiritually, or emotionally.

May You strengthen and encourage each of Thy precious children today.

May they know that though they have endured a long, difficult night of weeping, they will see a bright new morning come soon, with joy from the streams of Heaven that none can take from their hearts.

For Thy word promises, “Though weeping endures for a night, joy comes in the morning.”

May You give them grace to bear what they cannot in their own strength bear.

Thank You, Lord, for all who are praying this prayer today.

May they know how much You love and value them. May they feel You holding them in Your everlasting arms of love and mercy. May they know that suffering and affliction do not mean that You no longer love us. For Thy own Son suffered when He lived on this earth. “He was a man of sorrows and acquainted  with grief,” Thy word says.

Thy word says that we suffer now so that our faith may be refined, but that someday You will wipe all our tears away and we will suffer no more.

Lord, we praise You for Your wonderful promises and for Thy word that says You keep every promise forever. (Psalm 146:6)

Thank You that though we may suffer for a season, You will never leave or forsake us. And there is an end to all our trials. For Thy word promises, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

psalm-34-19

Thank You that You are going to deliver Thy suffering children who are asking for healing miracles.

Thank You for hearing and answering this prayer.

I love You.

In Jesus’ mighty name, amen and amen.

psalm-30-5

Angelsong~  A Healing Prayer  2016 Suzanne Davis Harden/ Scripture Pictures by SD Harden/ Bible Verses: King James Version, New King James Version©, New International Version©, New Living Translation ©

 

Lord, Help Me Wait

  “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” ~Psalm 27:14

Lord, help me to wait on You, to trust in You, and be patient.

For Thy word promises that “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Help me remember when times are tough that You have never failed me before and You never will. For Thy word promises “God has said, “I will never abandon you or leave you.” ~ (Hebrews 13:5)

Help me to walk by faith and to never lose hope, but to always believe in Thy beautiful promise:“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.” ~ (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Lord, thank You for all of the beautiful promises You give us to encourage us from Thy holy word. 

Help us to treasure them in our hearts and live by them. 

For Thy word assures us, “God keeps every promise forever.” ~Psalm 146:6 (NLT) 

I love You, Lord! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I Will Wait For The Lord

God Keeps Every Promise Forever 

Ask, Seek, Knock

Persistent Prayer (Detail) acrylic Painting © Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved.
Ask, Seek, Knock
Detail Persevering Prayer © Suzanne Davis Harden

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” ~ Matthew 7:7-8

Ask, Seek, Knock 

© 2015 Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved.

Ask and it shall be given you,

Seek and you shall find;

Knock and the door shall open;

Oh trust in Me, My child.

I love you, oh I love you;

And if you ask for bread,

I will not give a serpent

Or something that is bad.

I am your Heavenly Father;

I will give good gifts to you;

Oh knock upon My door and see,

My promises are true!

My promises are true;

Oh seek and you shall find

That I am with you in your heart;

Oh trust in Me, My child.

Oh trust in Me, My child,

I’ll never let you down—

In storm or flaming fire,

My grace for you abounds.

Listen, child, please listen!

Oh know and understand—

Heaven and earth shall pass away,

But My promises will stand.

Oh ask and it shall be given,

Oh seek and you shall find

That nothing is too hard for Me

To do for you, My child.

The things that seem impossible

Are not too hard for Me!

If you but knock on Heaven’s door

I’ll meet your every need.

I’ll not grant every wish or want,

But every need that’s true;

I made you and I always know

The path that’s best for you.

So ask and it shall be given,

Seek and you shall find;

Oh seek My will and You’ll receive

As I have promised, child.

Ask Seek and Find

What Jesus Taught About Prayer

God’s word contains many beautiful promises concerning prayer. Jesus said that whatever we ask for in prayer, if we believe we receive it, we have it.   Jesus also taught many other scripture promises concerning prayer and we must not ignore those very important verses. He told us to pray this way, “Our Father, who art in Heaven, holy is thy name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done…” (Matthew 6:9-10)

In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus Himself prayed, “Father, let this cup pass from me, yet not my will, but Thy will be done.”

There is an interesting scripture in Psalm 25 that I love and one that I cling to.The Lord advises those who fear him. He reveals to them the intent of his promise.” ~ (Psalm 25:14 GW)

We must always pray and meditate over God’s word and ask the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and insight into every promise, weighing scripture against all other scriptures in the Bible so that we don’t take God’s word out of context and end up misunderstanding the true meaning of God’s word. Jesus taught and believed that God would answer every prayer we pray. But He also taught that we must seek God’s will first. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) 

Jesus taught that God knows all about our needs. He said,  “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7

God will answer all our prayers for He has promised to do so. He will answer in His own way and time and according to His will.  Jesus made this very important statement about prayer to His disciples:

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Luke 18:1

We must never stop praying about the things that are important to us. God has put certain desires within our hearts and we must persevere in prayer and pray about them until we see them realized. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven…”

Whether your prayer is for the salvation of a loved one, or for a future spouse, a broken marriage, a healing, deliverance from fear, depression, chronic pain, a need for a job, a home, strength to meet our challenges, protection from harm, the list of needs is endless…but we serve a mighty God who is able to meet ALL OF OUR NEEDS!

God hears and answers ALL of our prayers. Jesus promised this and He never lied. St. Peter wrote that there was no deceit in His mouth. But we must understand that God always gives according to His will.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” ~ Matthew 7:7-8

As Jesus directed, we must keep on asking, keep on knocking, keep on seeking. We must never stop praying.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, holy is Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, in my life and in every life who is even now praying this prayer. May You answer every need and assure every heart that You will give them what they are hoping for at the right time. May You assure their hearts that You are working everything out in their lives into a beautiful masterpiece that will sing Your glory and praise someday, In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Thank God

* Persevering Prayer Illustration: A small 5 x 7 inch matted print is available in my Etsy Shop. Persevering Prayer Small Matted Print

Small 5 x 7 inch matted Persisten Prayer Illustration
Persistent Prayer © Suzanne Davis Harden

“Ask, Seek, Knock” (Prayer Song) © 2015 Suzanne Davis Harden  All Rights Reserved. Detail “Persevering Prayer” Acrylic Painting~ © Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved.  Scripture Quotations: King James Version Bible, NIV Bible © 2011 All Rights Reserved. God’s Word Bible, (GW) © 1995 All Rights Reserved. Angel Song © 2015 Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved.