Almost everyone has read Psalm 23, and many have had it memorized from a child:
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; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

This Psalm has been the subject of many Bible studies and yet it may be one of the most overlooked truths in the Holy Bible.  How do we really apply it to our lives?
   Every day our ministry receives prayer requests from all over the world.  Of course, being in the healing ministry, many are asking for prayer to be healed.  Notice I said “many”, and not “all”.  Actually, about half of them are struggling with issues in their lives that have stolen their peace and joy.  Once peace is gone, our health soon follows, so keeping a peaceful heart is vastly important to our overall quality of life.
   Recently I was telling someone how blessed my wife and I are, and this person says, “Well, that’s YOU, because God is watching out for you, but that sure isn’t a picture of MY life.”  That was my cue to offer him some godly counsel.  I got out my Bible and turned to Psalm 23, and said, Let’s see how we can apply this Psalm to YOUR life.  It starts off; The LORD is my shepherd; so let’s start at the beginning.  Is the LORD YOUR shepherd; or are you trying to make a go of it on your own?  He replied, I’m a Christian, I go to church.  I said, I didn’t ask you if you go to church.  Is the LORD your shepherd, or are YOU your shepherd?  You see, if YOU are your own shepherd, you’re automatically going to miss out on God’s blessings.  Maybe you realize the LORD really hasn’t been your shepherd after all, and you can see the need to “switch shepherds” today.
   If the LORD is your shepherd, you shall not want.  That means you shall not live a life of lack.  Nobody likes going to bed hungry, and if the LORD is your shepherd, I mean REALLY your shepherd, lack will no more be a problem in your life.  It all boils down to who the shepherd of your life really is.  Sure, you may be able to do OK on your own, but who wants to be satisfied with OK?  I don’t, especially when there is something better available!  Let’s move on:
   He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: Have you ever laid down in the cool grass and looked up at the sky? Oh, that is so peaceful and relaxing!  Now I’m not talking about laying down in the rocky old dirt with a patch of crabgrass here and there, I’m talking about the lush green grass that is preferred by nine out of ten sheep.  You’re a sheep right now, remember that.  And you have a Shepherd, the LORD, watching over you to keep you protected while you’re enjoying the nice green, cool grass.  About now a nice sip of cool water would be nice, right?  How handy, for he leadeth me beside the still waters.  Still waters are not muddied up by someone tromping around in them.  Are the waters of YOUR life a bit muddied up right now because the devil has been wallowing around in them?  The LORD knows where the still waters are, and if He is your Shepherd, and if YOU are following as a good sheep will, then the LORD will lead you beside the still waters, and you can drink your fill.  Point two: if you won’t follow, the LORD can’t lead you, so you must learn to follow.  Yes, I know that goes against your “I’m free to do what I will” mentality, but sometimes you must be willing to follow, and not lead.  Letting the LORD lead you means HE gets to the trouble spots first and fixes them before you get there.  Or would YOU rather have to deal with the trouble?
   He restoreth my soul: now that’s a biggie.  If you’re all worn down and battle weary, it’s because you’ve been fighting your battles instead of letting the LORD prepare your way before you.  That’s a Shepherd’s job, to make sure his sheep are safe, right?  The Shepherd fights off the wolves and lions, not the sheep.  Actually, I’ve never heard of a sheep killing a wolf or a lion, have you?  Shepherds are real handy, aren’t they?; for they watch over the sheep continually, and the LORD, who is YOUR Shepherd never sleeps or slumbers.  Yet for all that, sheep are famous for getting into every mud hole, every briar, and searching out every hole in the fence.  For that reason alone, sheep need a shepherd, for they are nearsighted and cannot see afar off.  Oh, they think they can, but the mud on them says they can’t.  The Shepherd will pick you up and check you for cuts, bruises, briars and all the other ***stuff*** you manage to get yourself into.  He will restore you and put your heart to rest, if you will stay close to Him.
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.   Without His righteousness being granted you by virtue of the sacrifice Christ Jesus made for you, you have no place in His sheepfold.  Again, His job is to lead you, and your job is to follow. Here I need to make a side trip to John Chapter 10 for a minute before going on:
Joh 10:1  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
Joh 10:2  But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
Joh 10:3  To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
Joh 10:4  And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
Joh 10:5  And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
Joh 10:6  This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.
Joh 10:7  Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
Joh 10:8  All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
Joh 10:9  I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
Joh 10:10  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Joh 10:11  I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
   You need to know the nature of your Shepherd, the Lord Jesus.  He has only your best interest at heart, not just for the “here and now”, but the “hereafter” as well.  And of course, we’re all “here after” all we can get, right?  Why not let the LORD lead you into a life of blessing and abundance, and leave the life of lack behind?  Again, you must learn the Shepherd’s voice and follow Him.  And yes, He knows your name, for He loves you.  Now, back to Psalm 23:
   Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  OK, so you may walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  It doesn’t say for you to forward your mail there!  You’re just passing through.  We all pass through, but notice something: it says “the valley of the “SHADOW” of death.”  It doesn’t say “the valley of death”.  Have you ever been bitten by the shadow of a dog?  No? Why not?  Because the shadow can’t hurt you!  And besides all this, the Shepherd who loves you is with you to protect you, and if the devil sticks his nose too close to you, the LORD himself will thump him a good one. The LORD’s rod and staff shall comfort you, the staff to lead and guide you, and the rod to thump the enemies that rise up against you:  that is, if the LORD is your Shepherd.  Still with me?
   Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  I especially like this part, the LORD prepares a table of feasting for you right in front of all your enemies, and there isn’t a thing they can do to stop Him from blessing you, even though they want to, they can’t!  Your cup runs over with blessings!  Are you living in the place the LORD has been trying to lead you into?  Have you been praying “Lord, ease up a bit on the blessings, I don’t have room for them all, my cup is overflowing!!”?  If not, then you’re still not where He wants you yet, keep following!  While all around you is lack and poverty and depression and sadness and worry, if the LORD is your Shepherd, all that shall not come nigh unto you! (*see Psalm 91).

   Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.   It is impossible for God to lie, my friend.  Picture it like this: the LORD going on before you to prepare your way.  And you are following Him, like a good sheep, right?  Goodness and mercy are following YOU.  So in front, you have the LORD, and behind you have goodness and mercy.  Green pastures under you, still waters beside you, the eyes of the LORD above you watching over you, and last but not least, the righteousness of the HOLY SPIRIT living inside you!  Now here’s something you may have not considered: You will dwell in the house of the LORD forever if you are His, so where does the LORD dwell?  In YOU!  Now where the LORD is, there is restoration and every blessing. Say goodbye to the long face now and forever.  REJOICE!!
For the LORD is good! And His mercy endureth forever!!