Discovering the Shepherd
Summary: Psalm 23 is a familiar piece of Scripture filled with beautiful descriptions of a kind Shepherd caring for His needy sheep. Delving deep into the original text, there are unfathomable mines to be plumbed; priceless gems to be discovered that open our view to a beautiful and precious Christ.
The one and only Lord is my personal Shepherd who tends, feeds and associates with me. I can expect every provision He has promised, both physically and spiritually. He will even provide me with the weaponry needed to overcome the enemy in my spiritual warfare. He brings peace to my soul so that I might willingly lie in a state of peace and rest where He refreshes me by His love, grace and wisdom. He repairs the damage sin has inflicted on my soul and continues to lead me down that narrow path that leads to eternal rest.
And when life becomes difficult--the unavoidable trials pressing hard, I am reminded that I am but in the shadow of death, and not death itself. My enemy will not triumph over me for the Shepherd has already claimed me for His own. He will always be near, fighting and praying for me. And when I stray from the path, my Shepherd will use His rod to correct me, and His staff to guide me.
My Shepherd also provides me with a feast even though I still remain on this earth, my enemies all around. The very table on which this feast is prepared is an altar and the bread He serves is Himself. He showers me with the gift of His Holy Spirit. Indeed blessings abound! The benefits of being His purchased sheep will last all my life long, until it reaches the ultimate culmination. Yes, I shall reach heaven's blessed shores where I shall remain forever with my blessed High Priest, my Precious Lord and Savior, my beloved Shepherd.
Personal Thoughts: It has been most refreshing to read this book on Psalm 23. Immediately after I started, I knew the book deserved to be read slowly, methodically and prayerfully. The author does a good job of reminding the reader of this fact and breaks up the book into very manageable bite size pieces, complete with points of meditation and prayer.
I really appreciated that the author did not write a personal opinion on the text. Rather, returning to the original text, incredible care was taken to flush out the proper meanings of each word, bringing startling new discoveries and revelations of our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Yes! Christ is revealed in this Psalm! The New Testament references coincide beautifully with this Old Testament psalm, proving once again the oneness of Scripture.
The Light of the Psalms
Summary: This is a devotional on the Psalms. 150 psalms are covered in 150 days. The book is divided into 3 sections: God our Refuge, God our Redeemer, and God our Rejoicing making the devotional Trinitarian in approach. The author talks a lot about the historical context of these psalms and when the Israelites would sing them. The author also makes excellent application in each reading for present day life.
Personal Thoughts: First of all, I really love the Psalms. As a result, a devotional on the Psalms was immediately appealing to me. Secondly, I found this devotional extremely 'doable.' I would read the appropriate psalm bookmarked for the day, read the 2 page exposition of this psalm in this book and finish in prayer. In total, all of this took about 20-30 minutes. Third, most of the devotionals I found very enlightening, There were about a handful that I wasn't very impressed with, and out of that 1 or 2 where I found the content questionable. Overall, I would recommend this book to others.
Quote: "Our modern church is caught up with the idea that the Lord owes us all "personal peace and affluence." If that were the case we would not need faith and Christ's life would not be the pattern for all believers. Our struggles with sacrifice, service, suffering and stewardship ultimately result from a defective view of life. We are not here to "settle down" and get comfortable, but to travel with Christ through this dangerous life to the house of the Lord.
The danger then, as I have already said, is the sentimentalizing of the psalm, shaped by Sunday-school pictures, and, to the extent that the psalm defines our faith, a sentimentalizing of our faith. Let the reader of Psalm 23 beware!" --pg. 127, 128
Seeking the Face of God
Martyn Lloyd Jones
Summary: The book is comprised of nine sermons on select verses from the psalms. They all center on a theme related to seeking the Lord and how exactly that will manifest itself to a believer.
Personal Thoughts: I LOVE Martyn Lloyd Jones! It would have been something to hear him preach! Lloyd Jones really stresses experiencing God. You can't just believe in God--He must also deeply affect you.
Quote: The Bible never teaches a cold, intellectual believism, but an experience that involves the whole person...
Here is a man (the apostle Paul) who has believed for years, a great apostle who has had wonderful experiences but who still says, "that I may know Him..." He says in effect, "I want more and more and more of this." So he is pressing after it: "that I may know him." That does not mean knowing about Him. This word 'know' in the Bible has a strong meaning and connotation; it means the knowledge of personal experience. It is experimental knowledge, through which we enter more deeply and profoundly into the blessed experience of God.
A Voyage of Discovery
Summary: A wonderful exposition on each of the Psalms of Ascent (Psalm 120-134). The book takes an interesting approach to this study. First, one is asked to read over the psalm and then pray. Read the psalm again and make a few personal notes. Next read the chapter and make any notes on anything that stood out to you. Finally answer the 2 or 3 questions at the end of the chapter.
Personal Thoughts: I don't know why it took me almost a year to get through this book. The format was great and the chapters were excellent. This more intensive study really did open up each psalm so that it enriched the reader greatly. However, it does take some dedication to get through this book if you want to reap the full benefit. Generally it took me about an hour to properly complete each chapter, of which there are 15. But yes, well worth the time.