Sunday Thought For The Day

by Lance Ekum on · 56 comments

[ps. 23]
Creative Commons License photo credit: dovetailphotography

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

Even 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.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

~ Psalm 23, the Bible

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
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{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Daphne February 1, 2009 at 4:40 am


I sewed an elaborate cross-stitch picture of this very psalm, and it’s hanging on my wardrobe door right now. Just reading it calms my mind. Your timing is also uncanny as I’m thinking of spending a week in the padi fields of Ubud in Bali, just to slow down and think properly. The picture you chose made me smile – as always it is perfect for the post.

Daphne´s last blog post..The Gift of Community


Rupal February 1, 2009 at 5:35 am

Beautiful Psalm Lance, thanks for sharing.
LOVE: “He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.”

A person of any faith can benefit from these words! I agree with Daphne that it just calms me to read this, such a great start to the day and week!

Rupal´s last blog post..Its the little things that matter most: Running


Miz February 1, 2009 at 5:59 am

we were talking about this last night (longstory) and how regardless of denomination it is just a POWERFUL psalm.

Miz´s last blog post..Let Go Let…BLOG? (Oprah? You listening?)


Miz February 1, 2009 at 5:59 am

oops just saw Rupal said that too 🙂

Miz´s last blog post..Let Go Let…BLOG? (Oprah? You listening?)


Stacey Shipman February 1, 2009 at 6:09 am

The words provide comfort on a Sunday morning…at least in my opinion. We are all guided by some higher being/power – whatever we choose to name it – and believing in that is I think what provides comfort. Comfort that “someone” is watching over me, protecting me.

Happy Sunday!


Tom Volkar / Delightful Work February 1, 2009 at 7:01 am

Even though I believe more in a Spirit within me, that is me, I was easily able to translate these powerful words in order to feel what you wanted us to feel. You are and I am, Namaste.

Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s last blog post..Speak Up – Silence Makes You Poor


Jay February 1, 2009 at 7:18 am

It is always great to remember that we are never alone in this game of life. I also think this psalm speaks to being there for each other as well. We are in this together. Happy Sunday Lance and the the Jungle Community!

Jay´s last blog post..The Sunday Ponder


Liara Covert February 1, 2009 at 7:27 am

This psalm triggers positive memories. Even when a person is surrounded by snow, he can imagine the feeling of lying in green pastures! Each person has the power to restore sol wherever he is. To share this psalm reminds each person he is capable, loved, never alone, and full of untapped potential. Blessings!

Liara Covert´s last blog post..8 ways to stop resisting change


Natalia Burleson February 1, 2009 at 8:11 am

Hi Lance,
Reading these words remind me that I’m not in touch with God enough. Night time is hard for me right now and while everything is still and quiet with the world, my brain is running 90 miles and hour. It reminds me that through all the noise in my brain there is stillness and peace if I choose to ask Him for it.

Thanks for posting these words, Lance!

Enjoy your day! 🙂

Natalia Burleson´s last blog post..LOL, or not…..


Audra Krell February 1, 2009 at 8:13 am

Good morning Lance, It’s only 7:10 out here in the Arizona jungle, but as always, our God delivers perfect peace to begin my day. Thank you for allowing God to speak through you, may your blessings be many this week and always.

Audra Krell´s last blog post..Base Runners


Tammie @ Are You For Real? February 1, 2009 at 8:31 am

I just heard a great message about how God doesn’t promise to remove us from difficult circumstances, rather He promises to stand WITH us and comfort us in difficult times. I see this confirmed in the 23rd Psalm …

Even 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.

Thanks for bringing this to my mind again today, Lance. May the Lord be WITH you and comfort you today.

Tammie @ Are You For Real?´s last blog post..Two Kinds Of Fear, And How They Control Your Life


LifeMadeGreat | Juliet February 1, 2009 at 8:45 am

Hi Lance

I’ve just thought about how one can easily rattle off words without really thinking about their true meaning, but when you see the written words, it is a different story…


LifeMadeGreat | Juliet´s last blog post..Overcoming The Barriers Of Introversion: Starting The Process


Evita February 1, 2009 at 9:45 am

Hi Lance – I have heard once that if we only knew who walked beside us, every step of the way – we would fear nothing in life.

Evita´s last blog post..Movie Review: Wheel of Life


Mark Salinas February 1, 2009 at 10:28 am

Wonderful Lance! Now to start my day! Thank you! 🙂


Diane February 1, 2009 at 11:00 am

Hi Lance,

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters

Thank You so much Lance, this psalm came up for me about three days ago and I needed to hear it all again. It is comforting in a very full and deep way. Our constant companion.


Henie February 1, 2009 at 11:47 am


I think it was Broderick, who wrote in another comment about “the right blogs appear according to need.”

This is one of them. Thank you, Lance, for always being a selfless and giving guide!

I will mirror Tom…NAMASTE!

Henie´s last blog post..ISayUSay Has Retired – Please Welcome “The WriteShots!”


Connie Arnold February 1, 2009 at 12:25 pm

This is a beautiful scripture that has offered hope and comfort to countless people down through the centuries and such a positive affirmation of God’s presence in all our lives. Thank you for sharing it today, Lance.


Laurie February 1, 2009 at 12:40 pm

What powerful words Lance. To think that the God of the universe watches over me, over you. He restores my soul, He wants me to rest in him. He is trustworthy and good. I only wish I could love him like he deserves to be loved. I only wish my life could honor him in a way that reflects his glory.

I remember when I was a little girl, calling out to my Daddy, “See me Daddy, see me?” I don’t have to call out to my Father in heaven to notice me. He sees me, comforts me, celebrates me, and loves me in a way I cannot even understand. He does this for all of you out there. So give him a heart felt thank you today. Thank him for loving us and taking care of us in a Big God kind of way, because he is a Big God.


Jannie Funster February 1, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Yea, though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death… to me that is the deepest part. He is always with me. Always. It’s easy to forget that as I go about my wordly ways, because it always all about Him and always will be.

Jannie Funster´s last blog post..3 & 1/2 days


Broderick Allen February 1, 2009 at 3:14 pm

I can remember reciting this so many times and not understanding it at all when I was younger. Now just hearing the words can put me in a calm and peaceful state. Thank you for sharing this.

Broderick Allen´s last blog post..Life is Short?


Bri February 1, 2009 at 3:33 pm

One thing I’ve noticed about this passage is that you have to choose it, meaning that while God is always waiting to help us through the dark times, we have to physically and emotionally make the choice to allow Him to lead us. It involves a stepping back on our parts. I used to wonder why God filled the Psalmists cup to overflowing when I go for so long on empty until I realized that I never fully let God have the lead in my life. A rather difficult step to take sometimes.

Bri´s last blog post..Urban Farming Grows Up


Scott February 1, 2009 at 4:09 pm

I have a completely new respect for this Psalm. I’m constantly amazed at how God works in our lives.

As you are aware I’ve been a bit down and distant the past little bit. Today, I asked one of my sisters in Christ what she did when there was a chasm between her and God. She told me she reads this Psalm over and over. I took her advice and did feel a lot of comfort. Not perfect, but just the comfort of his rod and staff and the fact that someday I shall dwell in the house of the Lord (the best comforter of them all) forever.

I think some other wise person left me a comment about starting there. It must be so. Isn’t God just amazing!

Scott´s last blog post..Summary of Week Ending 1/31/09


Wendi Kelly-Life's Little Inspirations February 1, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Hi Lance,
My favorite Psalm of them all. In fact, my brother and I put it to music and turned it into a song so whenever I read it, I hear it as a sweet song in my mind.
Thank you for sharing that.

Wendi Kelly-Life’s Little Inspirations´s last blog post..Field Trip


Karl - Work Happy Now February 1, 2009 at 7:46 pm

When we believe in a higher power it makes life more beautiful.

Karl – Work Happy Now´s last blog post..Your Big Dream for This Year


kathy February 1, 2009 at 8:41 pm

No matter what we believe about God or a “Higher Power”, the powerful poetry of this psalm gives solace to all who read it. Just knowing that we don’t have to navigate the hard parts alone is enough.

kathy´s last blog post..Stealth MSG: How to spot hidden sources of MSG


Lance February 1, 2009 at 9:11 pm

@Daphne – Very cool Daphne! It is, very much, a calming Psalm. Enjoy your week in Bali, getting re-connected with yourself – sounds wonderful!

@Rupal – You’re welcome, Rupal. The idea of our soul being restored – that is so powerful a thought. Thank you, my friend.

@Miz – That’s so true, just as Rupal mentioned also, how this can really apply to so many. And the words, all very comforting. Thanks MizFit…

@Stacey Shipman – I find these words very comforting also, Stacey. Whatever “higher power” we believe in, these words provide a real sense of peace. A very happy Sunday to you also!

@Tom – I think we all have that Spirit within us, and these words fit so well here, too. That Spirit is a real connection to our souls. And this Psalm speaks so well to that. Namaste, my friend.

@Jay – We are in this together, that’s a wonderful thought Jay! We are connected, all of us, all part of something greater than ourselves. The common connection, a Higher power (God), who loves us and is with us always…

@Liara – What jumps out at me here – the idea that we are never alone. And that’s a very life-assuring feeling. To know that He walks with us, comforts us, and cares for us. Thank you, Liara.

@Natalia – In the daily busy-ness of life – I understand what you are saying Natalia. It’s easy to put God on a shelf, and visit Him when it’s convenient. I do this all too often. And still, He sticks with us, even when we put Him aside in place of earthly wants and needs. Yet, when we allow Him in, He really is all we need…


Lance February 1, 2009 at 9:11 pm

@Audra – Good evening, Audra. God is doing wonders in your life. And, I am always comforted by your words, and by your sincere caring. I love how you see God coming in, amongst your ‘jungle’, bringing peace to start your day. Indeed, when we truly allow God in, this is the gift we do receive. And reading this, this really brings peace to my evening tonight. Blessing to you too, my friend…

@Tammie – WITH — a great word that stands out in this Psalm. God IS with us – through it all. And that’s very comforting words. And, may the Lord be WITH you as well, Tammie…

@Juliet – It’s easy to say words. Do they stay with us, though? Maybe…or maybe not. That’s a great point. Seeing the same words written out can give a whole new meaning to them, as we read these written words. This Psalm is a good example, as it’s one that many may know the words in memory – yet do they just get said without meaning? Seeing them written down can become powerful. Thanks, Juliet.

@Evita – Knowing there is someone with us, whoever we believe that to be, can really help to lessen the many fears we have in our life. For me, that higher power is God, and when I really do allow Him in, I find much comfort. Thanks Evita, your words speak volumes to what life can be like if we really know who is with us…

@Mark Salinas – Thanks Mark! May your day be great!

@Diane – Comfort is what I get from this too, Diane. Through God, we have all we need, and that’s a very wonderful thought…

@Henie – Thank you, Henie. Your words are very kind, and I am humbled by them. Thank you. And to you, as well…Namaste, my friend…

@Connie – These are words that have withstood the test of time, whose meaning always have brought comfort and peace. And that’s good news for all of us. Thank you Connie.


Lance February 1, 2009 at 9:12 pm

@Laurie – Wonderful Laurie! Yours are powerful words. And remind me that God always knows what is going on with us, and is always there for us. We just need to let Him in. We ARE loved! Always…

@Jannie – “The valley of the shadow of death” is deep. Even when things are at their worst for us, God is still with us, still caring, still loving… And that is, very much, news that is calming.

@Broderick – Hearing these words are calming. And a real reminder that God IS with us always…

@Bri – God is there with us – yet we do have to let Him in. And when we do let Him into our lives – this Psalm comes to life. In the life-giving wonder of our God! Giving our lives to God can really fill our cup of life – with His everlasting life! Thanks so much for this Bri…

@Scott – God DOES works in amazing ways! This Psalm does provide much comfort, it’s words speak to all that God provides for us. Scott, you are showing just what these words can do to bring peace into our lives. Thanks for sharing this here today, Scott. And may you continue to find peace through our Lord…

@Wendi – This is a wonderful Psalm, for all the comfort it’s words provide. That you’ve put these words to song – what a wonderful way to give this even more meaning Wendi. Peace to you, my friend…

@Karl – It certainly does make life more beautiful – when we have that higher power at work in our lives. Thanks Karl!

@Kathy – Knowing that we have someone with us, God, a Higher Power, whoever we call that – is a thought that is comforting. That is really what makes this Psalm so well-read. The comfort that we all seek is so evident in this Psalm…


Giovanna Garcia February 1, 2009 at 10:22 pm

Hi Lance

Thank you for that, I have always love this part:”Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”

It always bring my comfort.
Bless you,
Giovanna Garcia
Imperfect Action is better than No Action

Giovanna Garcia´s last blog post..The will to win is everything!


Marelisa February 2, 2009 at 9:38 am

Hi Lance: I think it’s important to believe in something greater than ourselves, whether it’s “Spirit” as Tom calls it or God or a Higher Power. Life makes so much more sense when you stop to consider that we’re all interrelated.

Marelisa´s last blog post..Five Creativity Videos on YouTube


Arswino February 2, 2009 at 10:02 am

Hi Lance, the psalm has reminded me that nothing in this world we have to afraid of, because God always be with us.
Thanks for sharing, Lance.

Arswino´s last blog post..The Color Of Friendship


Liara Covert February 2, 2009 at 11:56 am

Each time you read this timeless psalm, you can get someting different out of it. Based on your awareness, your mood, your sense of direction and perspective. We appreciate the chocies you make. What you decide to share reflects part of yourself.

Liara Covert´s last blog post..4 Tips to expedite self-healing


Annette February 2, 2009 at 12:01 pm

it’s such a beautiful way to be reminded of all of our blessings!

Annette´s last blog post..Weigh In/Days 31 and 32


Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker February 2, 2009 at 12:42 pm

This is one of my favorite Psalms. Your Sunday Thought For The Day is one of the main reasons that I subscribed to your blog. Those and the pictures you use say so much to me and are so uplifting and joyful. Thanks.

Patricia – Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker´s last blog post..Fear Is My Friend


Kristin T. (@kt_writes) February 2, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Just seeing the photo, even before I scrolled down to the Psalm, calmed and refreshed me. Green pastures and still waters are exactly what my soul needs right now. (Also, that was the first Psalm I ever memorized as a child, so it’s as familiar and calming as taking a series of steady, deep breaths.) Thanks so much, Lance.

Kristin T. (@kt_writes)´s last blog post..25 questions part I: Belief, hope & doubt


Barbara Swafford February 2, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Hi Lance – It doesn’t get much better than this, does it?

Barbara Swafford´s last blog post..Blogging Support Forums: Do Your Homework First


Mark February 2, 2009 at 3:22 pm

An incredible meaningful and wise prayer. May we all truly feel this as we transition from here to there.

Mark´s last blog post..Rich Man, Poor Man and Our Spiritual Journey


Lance February 2, 2009 at 4:30 pm

@Giovanna – There is so much comfort in those words – especially the ones you’ve highlighted Giovanna. It reminds me that even in difficult times, God is there with us, and we have nothing to fear with Him by our side.

@Marelisa – Hi Mare. Believing. It’s a word that can open us up. And yet, what else do we have if we can’t believe? And this all does help in a real belief that we are all related – we are all connected to each other through a common source.

@Arswino – Yes, that’s one of the real take-away’s for me too – God is ALWAYS with us. Thanks Arswino.

@Liara – That’s an excellent point Liara. Depending upon where we’re coming from at the moment – these words can speak to us in many different ways. I love that thought, and what it can mean to reading these words in good times and in bad…

@Annette – God is a blessing to us, and He is with us always – beautifully said in this Psalm. Thanks Annette.

@Patricia – Spiritual Journey of A Lightworker — Glad to hear you enjoyed this, and all the other Sunday “Thoughts” as well. Great to have you here Patricia!

@Kristin – The photo choice was difficult this time, more so than usual. I planned to go with an image of a sheep, yet this picture kept coming back to me – the whole idea of “lying down in green pastures” – just resonated from this photo. I happen to think you have a pretty good idea of God working in your life. Green pastures and still waters – He has them for you Kristin.

@Barbara – It doesn’t get better than this! So much peace in these words…

@Mark – This really is so meaningful – the words are so calming and peaceful. In the transition from here to there – and truly feeling this – what a wonderful thought Mark. Thank you.


Tess The Bold Life February 2, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Hi Lance,

It’s amazing what powerful photos and words can do for us!

Tess The Bold Life´s last blog post..Change Your Perception with Fun and Laughter


Davina February 2, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Hi Lance. I love this! My grandmother used to say it when she was worried or upset about something. I was pretty young at that time and didn’t really understand it. But it somehow always comforted me.

Davina´s last blog post..Shopping for Effective Attitudes


Sagan February 2, 2009 at 9:48 pm

There are some great quotes from the Bible… I like how there’s so many ways to interpret it. We can each find out own meanings from it.

Sagan´s last blog post..Poll: What form of exercise do you prefer?


meleah rebeccah February 3, 2009 at 12:29 am


meleah rebeccah´s last blog post..I *Heart* The Internet


Caroline February 3, 2009 at 12:47 am

Always loved this…but I have a burning question about this (and this is really due to my lack of religious knowledge)… Why is the Lord the Shepherd we do not want? Or is it…he is our Shepherd and we follow him, therefor we don’t “want.”


Lance February 3, 2009 at 9:17 am

@Tess – Words, combined with photos – really can have an impact. Thanks much Tess!

@Davina – This Psalm goes well with calming us during times of worry. Your gradmother was wise to use this! The words here are comforting…

@Sagan – Yes, that’s a great point Sagan. Based upon where we’re at in our life, and what’s going on at this moment – the words written in the Psalm can have a different impact on each of us. That’s part of the beauty of it, how they can mean different things – and help us in many different situations.

@Meleah – Thanks much Meleah!

@Caroline – Following the Lord — he is our shepherd, and if we follow Him – He can provide all we need. He will take care of us. If we trust in Him, all our needs will be provided for – and I think that’s great news! Caroline, thanks for this – I’ve never looked at it this way – and in pointing it out, I’ve taken the time to better understand the words as they are written.


Laurie February 3, 2009 at 9:20 am

@Caroline- Because the Lord is our Shepherd, he takes care of all our needs therefore we don’t want for anything. Now what you think you need may be (and often is) different than what we really need. You may ask, then why are people harmed by others etc? This is because for us to truly love God he gives us free will or choice. How can love be love if it is forced right? Because we have free will, some choose evil which dominoes into all kinds of things. But what we need most of all is salvation and God provided that, if we choose, through Jesus Christ.

Back in the day this Psalm was written, shepherds would go to great strengths to protect their flock. If there was a sheep that constantly wandered, the shepherd might go to the extreme of breaking the sheep’s leg to keep the rascal from wandering. The shepherd would then carry the sheep across his shoulders until the leg healed. This caused the sheep to learn to stay with the shepherd. Sometimes we must be broken or refined so that we will see that the Lord knows best. But if he allows us to be broken, he will carry us on his shoulders to protect us and love us through the pain. I hope this helps.

Lance I hope you don’t mind me answering her when whe was asking you.


bobbi February 3, 2009 at 10:36 am

one of my very favorite Psalms!


Henie February 3, 2009 at 10:46 am


Have I told you that because of this post, I have come back to this Psalm numerous times in the course of my day?

Thank you so much for what you share on this site! Tremendous not only for me but for many others…of this I am certain!


Henie´s last blog post..PLEASE VOTE FOR ME!!!


Laurie February 3, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Hey Lance!
When I submitted my last comment your response wasn’t on my screen. I see you beat me to the punch. Great answer you gave. I tend to get too wordy (I know you haven’t noticed that- wink, wink!)


Caroline February 4, 2009 at 12:42 am

Hi Laurie and Lance…thanks for the further explanation on this. All makes good sense. I have just finished The Alchemist…and the main character in the story is a Shepherd. Lot’s of interesting parallels with the book and this Psalm.

Caroline´s last blog post..Mindful parenting


Jennifer February 4, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Lance, thank you for sharing this Psalm.

What else could we possibly want if we dwell in the presence of God? We can face and deal with anything when we are in His presence. And not only that, everything somehow seems to make sense when we are in His presence. Just like a quote I read on Tammie’s blog recently… it made the point that if we fear (respect) God [and dwell in His presence], we have nothing else to fear.

When I am closest to God (and I’m growing to be closer and closer) I have an overwhelming calmness (no matter what is going on) that only He can provide.

Jennifer´s last blog post..Thinking Error List


Lance February 5, 2009 at 5:37 am

@Laurie – Thanks for jumping in and providing some clarification – always good stuff, what you write.

@Bobbi – A favorite Psalm of mine too! Thanks Bobbi!

@Henie – This moved me, Henie. Thank you for coming back and sharing this. This is all very tremendous for me as well.

@Laurie – Wordy?? Maybe…it’s that words just flow so easily from you – it’s all good Laurie!

@Caroline – Hmmm…The Alchemist – maybe I’ll have to check that one out. Thanks for popping back in Caroline.

@Jennifer – Your welcome Jennifer – and really, thank you… God does bring calm when we allow Him into our lives. That doesn’t mean we won’t face difficult days – it just means that God will be with us through it all – and that thought is a very comforting one.


Cricket February 6, 2009 at 9:16 pm


Cricket´s last blog post..Frosty the Snowman continues


Lance February 8, 2009 at 4:07 am

@Cricket – Thank you Tammy!


Jared June 3, 2009 at 9:15 am

Psalm 23, in a way, changed my life. While in a treatment center, my chaplain suggested I recite the 23rd Psalm, 5 times a day for 7 days. I didn’t believe in much of anything at the time. But I was desperate and wanted to believe in something. I wrote the 23rd Psalm on a notecard which I carried in my pocket and put 5 rubber bands around my wrist to keep track of how many times I’ve recited it. Throughout the day, I would stop and recite this. I felt and experienced a change in my life. I started experiencing things I could not explain… things that were there all along that I was oblivious to. It’s sort of hard to explain, but it made a difference.

To this day when I see a rubber band, I think of this and I’m reminded that God loves me.

Jared´s last blog post..Learning my fathers love language


Lance June 4, 2009 at 5:13 am

Hi Jared,
I love the message in this Psalm – I feel as though God will never leave me, no matter how far I might wander. And there is much reassurance in this. Thanks much for sharing part of the journey you’ve been on – and just how much the words in the Psalm mean to you. I see a message of hope for all of us in this – in these words, and in your sharing of your story. Thank you.


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