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This is The Way

I believe that our lives often run in cycles like the seasons. Just as we do not allow the seasons to dictate how we live we must, like we did this past summer in north Texas, when it was so hot for so long, recognize the heat...or whatever and adjust to that. We still work and play; life still happens. This principle applies in the seasons of our lives as well.

I’ve been experiencing a sadness lately - for a few months. From my vantage point in the body of Christ and in conjunction with my own spiritual gifts, I “see” a lot and sometimes that means lots of joy and excitement. This season, though, has been one of letdowns, sadness and disappointments.

This is a “shaking time” in the body of Christ.

“… now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.’ ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.” (Hebrews 12:26-27)

This is a time in which the Lord has told me that “everything will be seen as it truly is.”

I’m seeing many instances of spiritual courage and solidness but also lots of spiritual compromise and shallowness; hence, the disappointment and sadness. Recently I experienced something that is symbolic of so much in the modern body of Christ that involves the cheapening of things the Lord holds dear. This brought me into a DEEP sadness and for two days and nights I just grieved.

So I prayed almost continually for two days – it yielded no relief. Then, on the second night, I fell asleep and early the next morning, I had a dream that I believe to have been from the Lord. To understand the importance of the setting of this dream you have to know that I really hate being in big cities and in crowds – I’m not afraid of them...I just don’t like them.

In this dream I was in NYC walking in a busy area of the business sector. The sidewalk was very wide and was filled with people hurrying to and from places. The crowds on the sidewalk were crowded and they were jostling me...bumping into me in an impersonal way and the more it happened the more irritated I became.

One man slammed into me and turned me to the left and I saw people behind me that I knew. They were people I know to faithfully follow me as I watch over their souls. The same thing was happening to them: people were bumping into them....jostling them around...not bothering to apologize. Seeing that happen to people I care for made me even angrier.

I kept trudging on…moving ahead. Then, through the people ahead of me I could see a man. It was Jesus and it was happening to Him too. People just kept bumping into Him, knocking Him around. Now I was REALLY ticked and I became more and more agitated and frustrated.

Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and I stopped and I cried out to Jesus. I let loose with a flurry of questions and complaints:

“Is there not another way that we can go?” “Surely there has to be another way.” “This way is TOO hard!” “Why do we have to go this way?”

Jesus stopped walking.

He just stood there a little while...not moving except for the people bumping into Him. Then He turned around and looked into my eyes and He gently but firmly said,

THIS is the way I have chosen just for you. This is the way we will go.”

Then He turned around and resumed walking, still being bumped by people. At that...my irritation, agitation and frustration all evaporated and I kept walking. After He spoke to me the jostling was no longer all that noticeable because now I was concentrating on watching Jesus and following Him.

When I woke up my sadness was lifted.

I believe the Lord would have us see several things in this dream:

1) Sometimes the way is hard.

2) God doesn't condemn us for complaining about it

3) Our complaining won’t make Him change His mind about what He has chosen for us

4) When we see that these things aren’t just happening without the Lord's knowledge, they seem easier to take.

5) Knowing He is going ahead of us helps us a lot.

I’ve thought about the dream for a while now and all this time this passage in the Bible keeps coming to me (Psalm 23):

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1)

The word “shepherd” means “pastor” but it can also mean “companion.” In other words, although I thought I was alone on that street I had Him as a companion and I had all those others and they had one another too. None of us was alone.

The term “I shall not want” means that I “WILL NOT lack.” If we need it....we will have it. If we don’t (at least for now) have it, we don’t really need it.

“He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.” (Psalm 23:2)

Being with me...he can cause me to rest....to get nourishment….to pause near something that will truly quench my thirst.

“He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:3)

I have always loved that first clause: “He restores my soul.” The word “restores” is a rich Hebrew word. My understanding of it is that “He restores my soul” means that He brings my soul BACK to where it was before it was hurt. That sounds VERY refreshing to me. I believe this to be a continual process.

The world is continually hammering on our minds, wills and emotions. God is continually restoring our souls. This is one reason I have no idea how lost people survive at all. How can they make it without the Lord?

“He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:3)

Let’s not miss this: He leads us. That’s a personal thing. The word “leads” literally means “to flow, to guide...(this is beautiful)...to run with a sparkle” (like a rushing stream.) Where does He lead us? He leads us in the paths....in the WAYS of righteousness.

So, if I find myself on a path that is not righteous....did God lead me there? No! God did not lead me there - someone else did. That can’t be good!

If, in a dream (or real life), I beg Him to bring me to another way...another path....will He do that if He personally chose one specific path of righteousness for me? No! He won’t.

Prior to the dream I wasn’t asking Him to change anything. I was just walking on...my head down...dealing with what was happening. The dream was an encouragement so I would know He was paying attention. I think that’s awesome and something totally uncharacteristic from all the other versions of ‘god’ the other religions have.

OUR GOD cares about us!

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

In verse 2 we saw that God was with us. Verse 3 told is that He is with us AND He leads us. Here in verse 4 we see that God IS WITH us and comforts us with His rod and His staff.

The rod is often symbolic of the prophetic. The rod is used to punish and to protect and as a standard of measurement. The staff is often a symbol of authority and was usually shod with an iron sleeve on one end. It was used to gently nudge a sheep in the right way...to guide him but was also used to kill lions.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

The valley of death represents calamity and is symbolic of the grave. Someone has said that in the valley death is only a shadow. Shadows cannot hurt you. At any rate, the antidote to fear presented here is the recognition that God is with us.

One thing I have noticed in all my years of counseling is that most people who are going through hard times FEEL like they are going through them alone. For lost people, that is true. They ARE alone. However, WE are born again; We are NEVER alone (no matter how it feels). God is ALWAYS with us, comforting us.

That word “comforts” is a delicious Hebrew word: “nacham”. It means to “sigh deeply along with.”

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)

God isn’t just telling us to do that on our own. According to Psalm 23:4, He mourns with us. He sighs with us. Why? Because He is WITH us!

I wasn’t alone on that street; I wasn’t alone in my sadness. I could see it in His eyes when He turned around to look at me. He was sighing too.

He leads us. He walks the way WITH us.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.” (Psalm 23:5)

I never want to miss this. This says that God SERVES us…that He sets a table for us.

Our enemies watch GOD Himself do this for His children. How frustrating that must be for them!

He anoints our heads with oil. There are several reasons to anoint. One is for healing. One is for setting apart. One is for preparing the dead.

Have you ever thought that when Jesus emerged from the tomb He smelled like the aromatic oils with which He had been anointed? We Christians died, were buried WITH Jesus and rose with Him.

He anoints our heads with oil. In Him we are healed and our hearts restored.

He anoints our heads with oil and we are sanctified....set apart. In Him we are made holy.

He anoints our heads with oil.

When the psalmist reflects on all this he makes this proclamation:

“My cup runs over.”

The term “runs over” literally means “totally satisfied.” Whereas, being aware that I am in the presence of my enemies is designed by the enemies to cause me to lose heart - knowing that God leads me and is with me....causes us, instead (if we will receive all this from God) to be satisfied, lacking in nothing.

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1)

He leads. He accompanies.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.” (Psalm 23:6)

He follows us.

God is our front guard. God walks with us. God is our rear guard.

The first and last verses of Psalm 23 both have the word LORD in them. This is translated as “Jehovah” and it means “The Self Existent One”. He has always been, always is and always will be being and He needs nothing or no one to do that.

He simply IS and as long as He will be actively BEING (forever and ever) we Christians will be actively dwelling in His house - members of HIS family.

What we walk through...the crowds I saw in my dream, those are all temporary. As compared to being forever in God’s house with Him, they really don’t matter all that much.

It is my hope that the dream the Lord gave me and what I have gleaned from it are an encouragement to you.

Pastor Mike McInerney

Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.

Decatur, Texas

© October 26, 2011

For use with permission

©2018 by Mike McInerney Ministries