February 25, 2016 · 6:09 AM
When I was in high school, one of my teachers was trying to help us understand the difference in the speed of light versus the speed of sound. He used a storm as an example. We see lightening flash and then a few seconds later, we hear the thunder. By our calculations, if there were 5 seconds between the lightening and the thunder, the lightening was a mile away. The closer the sound was to the lightening the closer it was.I still find myself counting the seconds between them during a storm.
Storms can be scary. The flashing lightening, the thunder, the wind, the rain, and possible floods. The storms of life can be scary too. They can knock us off our path, disorient us, confuse us, challenge our faith, and be relentless. For most of us, that’s when we seek God the most. Our prayers are quick like lightening, but God’s answers seem slow like thunder. It seems the farther we are away from Him, the longer it takes to hear His answer.
While we are waiting for an answer from God, we begin to think we are in the storm alone. The longer it takes, the more our faith takes a hit. It can be terrifying to be in a storm that doesn’t seem to end. As we watch everything we’ve worked for get swept away by rising waters, we wonder where God is. We wonder why has He abandoned us or forgotten us. The truth is that He hasn’t abandoned you. He hasn’t turned away from you.
Psalm 81:7 says, “When you were in trouble, you called to me, and I saved you. From my hiding place in the storm, I answered you” (GNT). This verse reminds me that God is in the storm with me. I may not be able to see Him. I may not be able to feel Him. His answers may seem slow, but He is there with me and He will save me. This verse helps me to get my thoughts off of my abandonment issues and onto the truth that God is there with me.
It’s important to win the battle of the mind in a storm. We must remember Philippians 4:8 that tells us to think on things that are true. What’s true is God has not abandoned you. God did not bring you into this place to let you drown. God is working things out for your good even when it doesn’t look like it. Storms always end at some point. You are more than a conqueror through Him. So don’t get discouraged. Get your mind right, call out to God in the storm, and He will answer you from within it.
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May 27, 2015 · 7:06 AM
I’ve never understood why Psalm 23 is solely used at funerals. I believe it is a Psalm for the living. David didn’t write it for a deceased friend. He wrote it to thank God for being his guide in this life. David’s path had twists and turns, ups and downs just like yours and mine.looking back on his life, he realized where God had been right with him in the hardest of times and when God had brought rest when he needed it most. God still does that today for you and me. Let’s look closer at this Psalm today to see how it applies to our lives.
When the first verse says that the Lord is our shepherd, it’s implying that we need someone to feed, guide and protect us. Sheep need help pretty often. The shepherd doesn’t get upset with the sheep for messing up or getting lost. He goes after them and brings them back to safe pasture where they can flourish. It’s a great image of what God does for each of us when we wander away from the path He has for us. He searches for us and returns us to where He wants us and can protect us from the enemy.
I like how the Message puts the next couple of verses. It says, “True to your word, you let me catch my breath and you send me in the right direction.” God knows that there are times in life when we get so busy that we need a break. He intervenes in our lives constantly trying to take us to those still waters causing us to lay down. He wants us to catch our breath and rest from time to time so we won’t burn out. When we’ve caught our breath, He points us in the right direction and sets us loose again.
Sometimes that path goes through the darkest of valleys, but we don’t have to be afraid. The New Living Translation says, “I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” God doesn’t abandon us in the darkness of life. He’s right beside us enduring it with us. When we are in the valley, he is there with his rod and staff to protect and comfort us. He’s not way out ahead of you in the sunlight saying, “Come on! Hurry up and get here.” No. He’s right there with you in the darkness, by your side saying, “I know you’re hurt and I feel your pain. I won’t leave you here in this place.”
In verse five, the Message says, “You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.” No matter who is against you or what life brings in the valley, God has a plan. He has times of refreshing ahead for you. He gives you what you need to sustain you in those times, then He takes you to place where you will know joy once again. He revived our heavy hearts and lifts our spirits. When we look up, we will see that our cup full of blessings is overflowing with God’s goodness. We don’t have to feel forgotten or lost because God still gives blessings in the darkness of the valley.
David wrapped up this powerful Psalm by saying, “I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life. (GNT)” He knew because God had been faithful to him. He could trust God because God had never let him down even in the valley. We too can know that God’s love and goodness will be with us all the days of our lives. The New Living Translation says that God’s goodness and unfailing love will pursue us. He will not stop being with us or pursuing us with His love in this life. So you see, this is a Psalm of the living more than the dead. God is with you right now no matter what part of the path you’re on. Trust in Him and His plan. He’s watching over you like a good shepherd.
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Tagged as christian living, daily devotion, Devotion, god is my comforter, god is my strength, god is our shepherd, god is with me, god will not leave us, hard times, psalm 23, the lord is my shepherd, the valley of death, yea though i walk through the valley