The Lord told me to read psalm 23

I said "I've read it a hundred times, what can I possibly get from it?"

He said "Read it like you've never read it before"

I said "How do you mean Lord?"

He said "Read it with your eyes closed"

I was thinking... "how do you read with your eyes closed?"

So I read a line

The LORD is my shepherd,

I closed my eyes and immediately I saw myself in a field with the Lord holding a shepherd's staff
and myself looking towards Him as he gave me instruction.  I remember considering whether or not
to follow His instruction and then thinking... how sad that I even considered not following.  I also
was thinking: I'm so safe... nothing can get past the Lord and get to me.  At times it may appear as
though He is not in control, but it is just that: appearance and not reality.  He is always in control.  I
also remember thinking how beautiful and peaceful everything was.

I opened my eyes and read

I shall not want.

I closed my eyes and I was back in the field and everything I needed was there.  Out past the edge
of the field I could see things that could tempt me.  Things that I may think I want, things that are
beyond the field, and there were storm clouds beyond the field.  It looked as though I could get the
things that would tempt me without going very far from the field and possibly not all the way to the
storm clouds.  Then I thought, how stupid am I with everything
I need in front of me and I still look
beyond the field... foolishness.

I opened my eyes and read another line

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

I closed my eyes and I was back in the field, and the Lord was gently but firmly making me lie
down so that He could inspect me for injury and sickness.  I was thinking: I never could understand
why the Lord would "
make" me lie down in green pastures.  And now I could see.  He makes me lie
down so that He can care for me.  It reminded me of times when I have had to make one of our
pets lie down so that I could care for them.

He leads me beside quiet waters.

When I closed my eyes this time I was standing beside a beautiful stream and as I was about to
drink when I thought of what the quiet meant.  The Lord showed me it wasn't just peaceful
surroundings that made it quiet, but it was the fact that we are vulnerable when lowering our heads
to drink because we are not watching out for danger.  That is what the quiet means.. when we
follow the shepherd we are completely safe even at the most vulnerable times.  The quiet doesn’t
just mean quiet or still, it also means safe.

He restores my soul;

I closed my eyes and saw a human heart sliced in half and sitting on a cutting board.  There was
blood on the cutting board, and a knife, upright, sticking in the board.  On the handle of the knife
was the word “SIN”.  It was a gruesome disturbing image.  Then two hands reached down and
picked up the pieces of the heart and put them back together and began to massage the heart.  The
heart began to heal and the longer the hands held the heart and massaged it the more it began to glow
like bright gold.

He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name's sake.

I closed my eyes and I was following the Lord on a narrow path with vegetation crowding us on
both sides.  He turned His head and gave me a quick look which appeared to be saying “Are you
alright?”, but it was deeper than that.  He was really saying I’m aware of you at all times, I’m aware
of where you are and what is going on in your life.  As I looked to the side and into the vegetation I
noticed a set of eyes , no face, no body, just eyes.  And then I noticed there were pairs of eyes  all
over the place quickly darting from my face to my feet and back again.  Watching me and watching
my walk looking for a mis-step.  And then I thought about that look the Lord gave me and another
thing came to me;  the look also said “Don’t get distracted”.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
   I fear no evil, for You are with me;

I closed my eyes and I'm walking through an area that is completely burnt; charred to the very
core.  It reminds me of walking through the woods as a child, after a wildfire.  The Lord is walking
before me; silent, completely silent and never does He look back toward me.  And I hear weeping...
one sole voice weeping
her cries sound like mourning but the weeping is that of regret.  I also feel
that I'm being watched, watched by an evil presence that knows it will never have me.  Because of
the complete lifelessness that surrounds me the light of the Lord and His spirit within me stand out
like a light in a tunnel.  And although I feel safe with the Lord in front of me, I realize that I could
make the journey without Him so near because His Spirit dwells within me.  Even if I could not see
Him, He is still with me.  I am marked and indwelt with the Spirit of the King

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

I close my eyes and see a rod and staff and the rod moves toward the top of the staff and forms a
cross.  Jesus appears hanging from the cross.  I think about what the rod and the staff represent;
the rod although used for discipline is also used to ward off enemies, and the staff is used for
support for the shepherd as well as to rescue sheep that are beyond the reach of the shepherd.  So
Jesus is being punished by the rod held up by the staff for our sins.  At the same time the enemy  is
being defeated.  Four crows appear on the cross just above Jesus' right arm looking satisfied at the
suffering.  Then a white dove appears and lands on the top of the staff.  Then six more white doves
land on the cross chasing away the crows and perching three on each side.  They are bright white
and glow such that the entire view is that of a menorah.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

I close my eyes and see a large stadium filled with people.  Suddenly the Lord appears along with a
table down on the field.
 As He begins to prepare a meal for me the people start to disappear.  
Eventually only a few are left in the stands.  There are a couple of people and there are a few
creatures that look like demons,
and then there is a serpent looking creature slithering between the
and although he is very long he is also very infrequently seen.  The Lord looks at me as if to
say "Now do you want to see your biggest enemy?"
 He then looks toward the big screen at the end
of the field.
 An image appears on the screen, and it is an image of me.

thou anointest my head with oil;

I close my eyes and see myself from the rear and to the left.  My head is bent down and the Lord's
left hand is resting upon it; with the other hand He starts pouring oil upon my head.  It saturates my
hair and starts to drip down on my shoulders.  Everywhere it drips is like golden honey and it heals
everything it touches.  It keeps dripping all over me until I'm completely covered and completely
healed.  The bright honey gold color of my skin starts to turn bright white; but it is not my skin
color but light shining from my innermost spirit.  I take off and fly up into the air.

my cup runneth over.

I close my eyes and see myself sitting inside a giant cup. Piled all the way to the top of the cup are
wheat heads.  They are piled so high in the cup that they are falling out  occasionally.  
"I am blessed"
is the best way to describe the feeling I have as I see all the heads of wheat surrounding me.  I feel
the awesome favor of the Lord on my life but another thought also crosses my mind:  that quite
often I am looking outside the cup and not appreciating how full my cup is.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

As I close my eyes I am walking and goodness and mercy are following me , one on the left, and
the other on the right.  They are spreading  something as though they are spreading seeds, tossing it
about from their left and right, and it is raining down... I see the thing they are spreading is light, and
as it falls down I see the faces of people brighten up.  Previously I hadn't even noticed the people
being there.  Now as the light hits them I see them;
I see their frowns turning to smiles, I see them
gaining strength, I see them gaining hope .  I see them going from darkness into light and a great
transformation  taking place.  I feel the gaze of the Lord upon me even though I don't see His face.
His  gaze is telling me that goodness and mercy following me is not for me but for the others in my
life that I will touch, and that God uses His children to spread His light.  A feeling of responsibility
spreads over me, and also a feeling of being ashamed at the times that I have stifled goodness and
mercy from following me.

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

I see myself on a bank that surrounds my “house” in heaven.  I am at my home, it is a very
comfortable log style house and it has a creek that runs beside it.  I'm out tending my landscape
making sure that the landscape rocks are how I want them and making sure that all the plants are
just how I want them.  The sun is shining but it's not hot; there is a slight breeze but it's not windy...
beautiful.  I'm very at ease and feel wonderful.  I am also full of anticipation about the evening
gathering.  I'm brimming over with enthusiasm  and although I don't know the events that will take
place I know it is going to be wonderful because it always is!!! I also know that it takes place every
evening and that although there are other special events that occur, the evening gathering happens
everyday.  Everyday is different and everyday it is incredibly enjoyable.  The Lord plans the event
but yet there is always some type of spontaneous outpouring of praise and song.  And the Lord
always has a surprise or two awaiting... There is no sense trying to guess what it is because it's
always different.   The anticipation is welling up inside me and a huge smile envelopes my face.  I
can barely wait.
Some notes about “Reading with your eyes closed....
            Another 'look' at the 23rd Psalm”

  When the Lord first told me to “Read it with your eyes closed” it was probably late July or early August 2004.  At first
reading the first three visions where given to me.  Then they started coming slower.  The “Rod and staff” vision was written
around August 29th.  Finally the second to the last was written on October 24th.  Then with only one section left the spigot
was turned off.
    I became frustrated but just left if in God's hands and eventually it passed from my thoughts.  God eventually started
bringing it back to my mind and I was somewhat irritated that He had not given me the last vision.  Perhaps it was His way of
teaching me patience and reinforcing the fact that it was from Him and not me.
  Then He let me know that He was going to give me the last vision soon.  I was looking forward to it and when it came on
uly 31st  2005 (at church).   I was thankful but kind of let down.  I had come to expect very insightful visions that really
magnified my understanding of the verses.  The last vision seemed somewhat less that I had hoped for.
  I started to have doubts but God kept replaying it in my head.  It was more than a week later when I was on the phone with
our worship leader (Pastor Rick) and he asked somewhat jokingly “Do you think we'll get bored in heaven”;  I told him of the
last vision and mainly about the enthusiasm welling up inside of me looking forward to the evening 'service'.  It actually
seemed to touch him and bless him.  When I got home I started writing down the vision as the Holy Spirit poured over  me,
and I went from feeling 'let down' to feeling great!  The more I thought about the vision and what it really meant the more I
appreciated it!  It was like everyday is  the best day of your life over and over and over again.  Wow, finally the vision was
meaningful and finally the entire 23rd Psalm was done!  I looked at the date that the file had last been edited and calculated it
had been 40 weeks between the next to last and last vision (10/24/2004-7/31/2005).  Forty, often represents a period of
waiting.  Forty days and forty nights, of rain... forty years of wandering.... Jesus fasted forty days before His ministry
began... etc. etc.  I have read that from inception to delivery for women is forty weeks.
  Anyway, I feel the visions are another way the Lord has illustrated the multi-faceted nature of his word to me.  His word is
deep and wide and we can never in this life (or the next?) reach the limits of it.  In the last vision I mention that the sun was
shinning and I know Rev 22:5 states that we will have no need of the sun, however, I don't think that the light of God in
heaven is comprehensible to me anyway, so He just showed me something I could relate to. The main purpose of the last
vision (at least the way I interpret it) is to demonstrate the wonderful state of peace, and excitement that is part of our
consciousness; not necessarily to accurately portray the surroundings.

So in all the entire visions took about one year.  Hopefully they bless the reader as they have blessed me.  Praise be to the God
of our Salvation.

Russell Ivey 8/9/2005

Reading with your eyes closed...
Another 'look' at the 23rd Psalm