Psalm 23 is one of the best known and loved passages in the Bible. Its words of comfort and encouragement have been a support to many in difficult times. Ken Curtis was diagnosed with advanced cancer with little prospect for survival. He pursued a combination of traditional and alternative medicine, undergirded by a strong spiritual dimension and prayer support team. Psalm 23 was a vital part of his spiritual component. Here are 13 meditations providing a combination of candid personal experience of what it means to battle cancer and the spiritual resources available through this Psalm.
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Won at 2007 International Christian Visual Media Crown Awards
Won at 2007 International Christian Visual Media Crown Awards
Won at 2007 International Christian Visual Media Crown Awards
Won at the 2007 International Health & Medical Media Awards
Won at 2008 Worldfest Houston International Film Festival
The Vital Prescription: Courage + Comfort = Hope
Ken Curtis explores coping with advanced cancer from personal experience based on the inspiration of the 23rd Psalm.
Over 3,000 years ago, Israel's King David--the same one who slew the giant Goliath--wrote what has become the most popular song in the entire history of the world. It is known as the 23rd Psalm. Its words have brought more comfort and courage to more people at more times at more places than any other words ever written. When you combine its comfort and courage, then hope is generated. And hope is one of the most essential and valuable resources to help anyone suffering from cancer or from any major illness or setback in life.
Ken Curtis was diagnosed with advanced cancer with little prospect for survival. He pursued a combination of traditional and alternative medicine, undergirded by a strong spiritual dimension and prayer support team.
Psalm 23 was a vital part of his spiritual component, and for this video Curtis went to Israel, home of David and the Psalm, to be with the shepherds, travel "through the valley of the shadow of death," and explore and enjoy the healing powers of the green pastures and still waters. The resulting meditations provide a combination of candid personal experience of what it means to battle cancer and some of the spiritual resources available through this time-honored Psalm.
Ken Curtis, Ph.D, is founder and president of Gateway Films/Vision Video and Christian History Institute.
Reflections on Psalm 23 is a winner of multiple international awards.
Thirteen 8-minute programs
Study materials in PDF
- David and the Psalms - What Are the Psalms?, Who Wrote the Psalms?, What's So Special About Psalm 23?, Who Was David and What Did He Do?
- Translations of Psalm 23 - New International Version, King James Version, Catholic New American Bible, Jewish Version - The Tanakh
- A Prayer Based on Psalm 23
- Psalm 23 in Song - Welsh tenor soloist Huw Priday, British soprano soloist Lynette Langmead
- About the Music and Nazareth Village
- About Ken Curtis
Vision Video offers Reflections on Psalm 23 for People With Cancer, a DVD featuring the teaching of Ken Curtis and releasing Jan. 17. Filmed in Israel, Curtis finds actual green pastures, still waters and dark valleys in order to gain a more complete understanding of the popular psalm. The DVD features 13 segments, of approximately eight minutes each.
Ever since he founded Vision Video (as Gateway Films in those pre-video days), Ken Curtis has brought dozens and dozens of films to the church, but I suspect none have involved him as personally and passionately as this latest Vision Video release. Not only is Dr. Curtis the on-screen host, speaking to us from the picturesque hills and towns of Palestine, but the entire project grew out of what he described in a note to this reviewer as "an intensely personal experience" - a life-threatening bout with cancer in which he was given small chance of recovering. However, those who have not suffered from this dread disease should not let the title scare them away because this DVD is crammed with insights into the greatest of the psalms, plus moving experiences from the filmmaker's own life. As he says near the beginning of his narrative, he is also addressing "anyone else who cares to listen in." The DVD is divided into 13 meditations, each about eight minutes long, making it appropriate for an individual to use at home or, thanks to the availability now of portable DVD players, for a patient in a hospital bed. A creative teacher could easily get from 6 to 13 lessons for a Bible class, on Sunday mornings or during the week. Congregations whose deacons or elders visit the sick and the shut-in could take the tape to leave after their visits. Preachers will find illustrations and inspiration for a dozen or more sermons, and even for communion homilies. Because of the beautiful footage shot in Palestine, often featuring sheep and a shepherd, the video readily holds our attention - this is definitely not a talking head presentation. Dr. Curtis moves through the Psalm, verse and/or phrase by phrase, extracting life-lessons that will enrich the viewer's faith and life. His cancer experience is brought in from time to time, but by no means dominates his narrative. His basic premise is deeply Scriptural, especially when one calls to mind Jesus' Gethsemane prayer or Paul's words in Romans in 8:28: Don't ask "What did I do to deserve this, but what good can God bring out of all this?" As he discovers, God can bring a lot of good even out of cancer. Curtis does not suggest that everyone with cancer will be healed - although his combination of traditional and alternative medicine plus this psalm did bring him remission, despite the prognosis of his doctors - but does emphasize the deepening of one's faith in the face of death. The meditation on the "table before me" is especially profound, Dr. Curtis bringing in Jesus' Last Supper at which the betrayer (the "enemy" in the psalm) was present, and I loved his use of Victor Frankl's observation concerning his near-starvation in a Nazi concentration camp, that he regarded the ordeal as "just fasting," rather than as being starved to death. The element of hope, both Curtis and Frankl assert, is absolutely crucial in fighting cancer, or any other situation deemed "hopeless." This is a DVD I cannot recommend too highly. It is one that should not be allowed to sit on a shelf, but should be promoted or taken around throughout congregation and hospital. - Edward McNulty
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” The words of Psalm 23 became an important part in Vision Video and Christian History Institute founder Ken Curtis’ spiritual treatment after he was diagnosed with two advanced cancers. In this program, intended for people with cancer seeking spiritual guidance, Curtis – who has defied the odds and lived far longer than his doctors estimated – travels to Israel and visits the site where David, credited with writing Psalm 23, slew Goliath. As you face the giant in your own life, Curtis explains, you can take hope from the journey of a man who took on a giant and won. Although the psalm is often used as a kind of “spiritual sedative” at funerals, Curtis illustrates how these words can mean so much more as he offers an analysis of the psalm as it relates to biblical tales, talks about what it has meant to him personally, and suggests ways in which it can be applied to people coping with cancer. Featuring beautiful images from nature and majestic scenes of the Israeli countryside, combined with soothing music backing Curtis’ insightful and inspirational commentary, this spiritual self-help title is recommended.
Cancer - one way or another, it touches most lives. Ken Curtis, founder and president of Gateway Films/Vision Video, was diagnosed with an advance form of cancer over three years ago. His son Bill encouraged him to fulfill a dream of traveling to Israel, with the stipulation that he would produce a series of mediations on Psalm 23 for others who are searching for calm in their souls as they face this disease. The result is a moving and sensitive set of thirteen segments, each eight minutes long, to uplift the spirit and give the peace that comes with the assurance of the Lord's presence. Creative photography, videography, and background music help clarify and deepen the psalm's meaning. Added features include background information, two beautiful vocal renditions of the psalm, various translations of the text, and even contact information for Dr. Curtis. All church libraries should have this video, and it should be required viewing for pastors, pastoral care volunteers, and those who care for relatives or friends who have been diagnosed with cancer. This video touched me; it will provide spiritual calm and the knowledge of God's presence to all who view it. A companion audio CD by Michael Moricz (available separately) features traditional Jewish and Arabic music.
The 23rd Psalm, only 115 words long, yet one of the most quoted and referred to passages of Scripture. It is read during funerals for comfort; it is read by the weary for strength. Reflections on the 23rd Psalm for People with Cancer is a series of thirteen meditations, each one concentrating on a different part of the psalm. Curtis asserts that getting in to this psalm will "shake us": shake our understanding of the world, shake our understanding of our being, shake our understanding of our place in the world. The video was taped in the Holy Land, in the pastures of Palestine, and along the sea. The tranquility of the scenery assists set the mood for the lesson being taught. Each meditation is 8-minutes in length. Curtis's insight on the nature and role of the shepherd give the viewer a greater appreciation of the truth taught in Psalm 23. Ken Curtis is the founder of Vision Video and the Christian History Institute. He created this video following a battle with cancer. This video would be best suited for public library collections, but could also be included in academic library collections, specifically those serving nursing programs and/or chaplaincy programs. - Rodney G. Birch, MidAmerica Nazarene University.
Serious health issues are very personal. They fall into one's life and wreak havoc not only physically but emotionally, spiritually, interpersonally, and financially. When Dr. Ken Curtis was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, he felt its impact in each of those areas just like any other cancer patient. Instead of letting the illness take over his life however, he let his life and beliefs take over the illness. During the next few years as his illness ran its course, Curtis utilized various types of treatment but felt his faith and spiritual foundation as the ultimate weapon to help him cope with his cancer. His personal journey led him to consider what others in similar situations might experience and feel. This video series includes meditations derived from scripture that speak of comfort, peace, and offer inspiration, courage, and joy. Even though the meditations are reflections from Curtis's person journey through cancer, each one can bolster the faith of anyone with any type of acute or chronic illness. Curtis traveled to Israel to gain insight into what David may have been thinking and feeling when he wrote the Psalms. From the 23rd Psalm, he created thirteen 8-minute meditations where he shares an interpretation of the scripture and how it relates to the fear and feelings that are frequently experienced by those facing cancer. Using his experience, he shares the inspiration, comfort, and healing that he gained by studying the deeper meaning of the Psalms. Each segment was filmed in Israel's countryside to illustrate the words of the scripture and to remind others that Psalm 23 is full of support and hope.
I have been using "Reflections on Psalm 23" in both my cancer support groups the last two months and the response has been phenomenal! Every single person loves them! They love the music, the scenery, your message--everything! I knew I really liked them, but my groups are quite diverse--men, women, all ages, caregivers, various "levels" of belief, all kinds of cancers and stages of it-so I wasn't sure how everyone would respond. The DVDs make it SO easy for me to do the group now because it's always hard to come up with something rather short but very inspirational. You have don it!
I will be getting my web master to add them to my website and have been listing them on every list of resources I've been asked to make (including the American Association of Christian Counselors and its new DVD series "Challenging Cancer" supposedly coming out any day now.)
Thank you so much. What a blessing these are and will be to so many people. Thank you for your sacrifice to make them. I pray that your health holds up and you are able to keep bringing God much glory. - Blessings!
By the Grace of God I don't have cancer. I watch Australian Christian Channel most days and today I was blessed to see the above program in its entirety! I just have to purchase a copy of the video as it is an absolute must for ALL people not only those with cancer. I am in months of becoming a pastor and I am already working with people in a mentor and pastoral role. I also run workshops on a variety of issues, this will be high on my list for my next get together. Praise God and thank you so much Ken for this wonderful series. I am currently printing up the study notes as I type this. KEN, MY PRAYER FOR YOU IS THAT GOD CONTINUES TO USE YOU IN ALL THINGS. YOU AREN'T GOING TO HEAVEN YET, KEN, WE NEED YOU HERE ON EARTH. MAY GOD BLESS YOU ABUNDANTLY!!!!
We are grateful to Vision Video for producing such a moving DVD which will have far reaching, positive effects in the lives of many people. It draws them closer to the Good Shepherd Himself and helps them realize that they are not alone on their journey. Thank you for the hope, strength, support and inspiration this DVD is offering to people who often feel frightened and alone suffering from cancer. I found it very inspiring for me personally and good for people who do not even have cancer, but would like to reflect on Psalm 23. May God bless Vision Video and the work you are doing.
I highly recommend this DVD. I am a cancer survivor and a Christian. I found this excellent in every respect. After watching it myself, I bought copies to share with other Christian cancer survivors for the purpose of comfort and encouragement. Because it includes an evangelistic message, I have used it to share the Lord with those who have cancer but aren't saved. Production is excellently done. Beautiful scenery set in the Holy Land. Ken, himself a Christian with advanced cancer, truly understands. His testimony is powerful. This DVD brings Psalm 23 alive! Please do not hesitate to try it. You will be blessed!
The Reflections on Psalm 23 class is the most successful class Pastoral Care has taught here at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa ... and we're looking forward to another one with Reflections on the Lord's Prayer. People are gaining a great deal from the class and feel it is effective in helping them with their cancer.
Reflections on Psalms 23 is the love of Christ Jesus at work today, in the life of this cancer patient. It was for me, the heart of the Father reaching out to comfort, as I dealt with a hardship beyond my ability. Ken Curtis is a man acquainted with my suffering and who offered to share this place and time with me, like no one else had. It is an effort to express an understanding, and an offering to share the truth of God's Word as a quiet walk through David's beautiful song. The soothing message, "You are not alone," gave me strength to do battle even as I lay suffering. Beautiful scenery, calming music, and truth that stands eternal, moved me through confusion and fear, with faith. I prayed with it, meditated with it, cried with it, and with it I moved forward. I played it over and over again allowing the Lord to minister to me. It is a tender work of compassion filled with hope that I personally embraced.
I have been using "Reflections on Psalm 23" in both my cancer support groups the last two months and the response has been phenomenal! Every single person loves them! They love the music, the scenery, your message--everything! I knew I really liked them, but my groups are quite diverse--men, women, all ages, caregivers, various "levels" of belief, all kinds of cancers and stages of it--so I wasn't sure how everyone would respond. The DVDs make it SO easy for me to do the group now because it's always hard to come up with something rather short but very inspirational. You have done it! I will be getting my webmaster to add them to my website and have been listing them on every list of resources I've been asked to make (including the American Association of Christian Counselors and its new DVD series "Challenging Cancer" supposedly coming out any day now.) I'd like to see my church offer these DVDs as a quarterly adult class and know that they would bless people in any trial--whether cancer or not. Thank you so much. What a blessing these are and will be to so many people. Thank you for your sacrifice to make them. I pray that your health holds up and you are able to keep bringing God much glory.
I am beginning a spiritual support group for people with cancer. I ordered a copy of this DVD to possibly use during the group sessions. I am amazed at the insights each video session brings into the covered portions of the 23rd Psalm. The script is very soothing and comforting...a must have for people facing cancer. I highly recommend this DVD.
I am teaching the last lesson on the Psalms 23 DVD tonight and it's been a wonderful journey with the ladies in our cancer support group. Your work has been great and I love the pdf files to help guide me. These are great tools to help those who are on the cancer journey. And the most amazing thing happened at last night’s support group; one of the ladies with advanced breast cancer asked Jesus into her life! I still get goosebumps when I say it. We prayed with her and it was amazing. I praise God for bringing her to our support group and being able to walk with her during this journey. The next step is to start the Lord's Prayer and next year we plan to do the Reflections on the Beatitudes and I can't wait. Then I'll start back with Psalms 23.
After watching this video I found that it confirms some insights I have gained from this Psalm also. Although I am not a cancer patient, this video gave me the inspiration to search out people who need encouragement as they go through this difficult time. I do not want any public notoriety or recognition for sharing these videos with people who need to be reached.
this is a wonderful testimony of Grace! Thank you God for your goodness and kindness!
I have long loved the 23rd Psalm but was given many new insights by watching this production. Thankyou.
I have watched the full video and it is a very powerful reflective beautiful video. It is definitely worth owning even for people without cancer.
I watched this beautiful reflection and fell in love with how the producers break down each verse, line by line. This video contains gorgeous imagery and beautiful insight reflecting the great depths of God's love for us expressed through this Psalm. This video encouraged me that the LORD's provision in spite of circumstance is more magnified than my understanding or perception can imagine. I recommend this to anyone whether or not they are a cancer patient. This video is meant for everyone to know how great God's love is.