We have made it our weekly objective to share some thoughts about the encouraging Psalm 23. For me personally, this has turned out to be a very precious experience, as I deliberately encounter these familiar words. It is good to take the time and meditate upon God’s word, especially at a time when uncertainty, frustration or perhaps even fear influences our lives.
Here is a short summary
of our thoughts:
The Lord is my Shepherd...
The LORD, YAHWEH, is a personal God. HE is MY personal God. He is my SHEPHERD, he personally guides me and takes care of me (David Hines).
I shall not want...
He cares for you as an individual. Never forget that you are important to him. This shepherd provides for you in such a way that you will lack nothing you really need. There is a difference between the things that I want and the things that I really need. In Jesus Christ I have everything that I need (Martin Buchsteiner).
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul...
Jesus Christ is the benefactor and the Life-giver who wants to lead us to places of rest and healing. The good shepherd who revives and renews the broken and withered souls. Jesus Christ does not invite us to toil away, but rather invites us to listen to his voice and his word in order to find rest for our souls (Heinz Spindler).
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake...
The only thing that matters is to stay with the shepherd. How could we possibly ever get lost if we are with the one who has said “I am the way, the truth and the life?” His name is a guarantee for the right guidance (Andi Reiter).
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me...
It is always about HIM, whether we are on the mountain tops or in the valleys of our lives. In the midst our struggles, there is a person who not only guides me through the dark valley of death but leads me safely to the other side of it. That person is WITH ME and takes care of me, just as a shepherd takes care of his sheep. There is one person whose presence drives out fear in difficult times (Tony Schenk).
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me...
Through Christ, our good shepherd, we will experience protection and comfort during difficult times. His rod and his staff are symbols of guidance, safeguards against our own independent ways and protection against all forms of assaults, such as destructive thoughts. His rod and his staff comfort me and always bring me back to him (Lothar Scherer).
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows...
David was comforted by the very fact that God not only provided a table in the presence of his enemies but also provided the oil of extravagant affection. God points out: I do not always have to fight. Now is the time to sit down at the Lord’s Table because in his presence, I find shelter. A set table and the oil show us that our lives are overflowing with God’s blessings (Martin Buchsteiner).
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life...
When we are in need, his delightful grace and his loving influence will never be lacking. Goodness and mercy will follow us, like a street sweeper, that cleans up the mess up behind us - a mess we could not possibly have dealt with ourselves (Heinz Spindler).
I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever...
The good shepherd invites us to have eternal fellowship with him. We may come home and find rest and safety with our Lord – now and forever (Cor Enz).
On December 12th, 2020, the students from our Fall Bible School left Tauernhof to head home. We thank God from the bottom of our hearts that we were able to bring the school to a good, full end. It was a joy to see how the students enjoyed this special and blessed time.
Ever since then, Tauernhof has remained closed. All of our volunteers went home and the full time staff is on short-time work. For a long time, we had hoped to reopen in March, in order to run at least a few ski camps. We were, however, obligated to cancel these as well due to current Covid restrictions. We have all wondered whether a ski season might one day be canceled due to the lack of snow, but who would have thought that a ski season would have to be canceled due to a virus?
- Martin B.
How do we plan to move forward?
April 18th would have been the official start date for our Bible school. This start date has become less and less realistic as we currently have no further information from the government regarding the possibility of opening up again.
We have therefore decided to postpone the start of school until May 2nd. We are hoping to receive news about easing regulations by the beginning of April. Until then, we continue planning for Bible school.
Travel to Austria from outside the EU/Schengen area remains prohibited, which is why, most likely, only students from the European Union will be permitted to join us. This would reduce the number of applications to roughly 25, but we would be more than happy to run the semester for a group of that size. We would kindly ask for your prayers in this matter.
- Martin B.
What kind of financial implications does that have for us?
THANK YOU TO ALL THE DONORS
We consider it a privilege to have qualified for a government-issued emergency fund for non-profit organizations. This fund, together with the support of many individuals, has helped us to maintain fixed costs and remain financially stable.
At this point, I would like to thank you for all your support. For us staff, it is an enormous and constant encouragement to witness the vast number of brothers, sisters and friends helping to support our ministry. It allows the work here at Tauernhof to continue - Thank you very much.
The loan on our new main building has yet to be acquitted, yet I am confident that we will be able to raise and cover the remaining 700.000- EUR in the coming three years.
If you would like to help us in doing so, you may find further information here:
Martin asked me to write briefly how I was doing because of inquiries. Thank you for your interest and for each of your prayers! Thank God I am fine and after almost a year of sick leave I started working again in June 2020. I'm getting better and better and I'm learning to live with the limitations that are still there due to illness. The quarterly examinations remain exciting but I am very confident.
I would not have chosen any of the challenges I have experienced since summer 2019. Even so, I can say that this time - or Jesus - held unexpected blessings in store for me. For example, I experience life, the giver of life and my body more consciously and more gratefully than before.
Although my physical quality has decreased, the spiritual quality and depth has increased, which makes my life richer and more beautiful. And I also wish that to each of you that all challenges that you would not have chosen for yourselves serve to receive the blessing that there would not be without them. Jesus himself takes care of it. His blessings to you!
- Lothar S.
PLEASE PRAY WITH US
We are thankful
that Lothar is doing so much better and that he can be part of the team again
for this past Fall Bible school
for the financial support
for all staff & volunteers, and their patience during these difficult days
to be able to hold our Spring school
that all registered volunteers would be able to join us