When There’s Fear in the Shadows – Psalm 23:3-4


Sometimes being in the dark is fun. When I’m playing with my grandchildren I allow my imagination to run a little wild. I jump behind a tree or freeze in the shadows so they won’t easily find me.

sun casting long shadows on green earth through a forest of mature trees

Other times the shadows make me afraid.

I’m in a place now where I don’t know the outcome of my struggles. I follow Jesus and I’m learning his ways, but I don’t know why things are the way they are. Being in the dark may sharpen my senses, but it’s not always fun.

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.


Psalm 23:3-4 ESV

Why do I so quickly forget how I came to this place? The psalm starts with “The Lord is my shepherd.” I’m walking through the valley of death shadows because this is where my shepherd brought me. We didn’t come by accident.

It also says he’s the restorer of souls and a shepherd who comforts with his rod and staff. I’m sure if I stop focusing on the pounding of my heart I’ll feel his gentle pressure against my shoulder, directing me down the right path. I’m so glad the psalm doesn’t say we’ll stay long. He’s leading me through the valley, not to it.

This place of not seeing clearly may be uncomfortable, but he won’t abandon me to the wolves that call to my fear.

He is with me, he is leading me, and he uses his tools to comfort me. For now, that’s all I need to know.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Here’s a good plan: Stay close to the shepherd!

The Best Reason to Rejoice – Luke 10:17-20

It’s satisfying to reach a goal, like when I showed sample pages of my manuscript to my dream editor – and he asked to see more. Or when my publisher offered me a devotional contract. It was also rewarding to pose with dozens of other finalists for the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade award, though I didn’t win this time, for a group photo.

But a greater joy comes when the Bible speaks directly to me in the moment. It happened this week while reading from the book of Luke.

I had been second-guessing my writing abilities all week. My lack of progress with my book made me feel like my feet were dragging through wet concrete and getting nowhere.

That’s when the Scriptures clearly spoke to me.

Jesus taught a group of his followers how to approach people with the good news of the kingdom of God, then he sent them out to the towns he planned to visit.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Luke 10:17-20 NIV

This is what I’m hearing from these verses.

Kathy, don’t dwell on your successes. God sees everything from beginning to end, and you’ve only done what he sent you to do. It’s great you made it to the top of a mountain. Enjoy the view, but don’t even think of pitching your tent there. You don’t get to stay. Now it’s time to prepare for the next climb. Wait till you see what’s ahead!

And don’t let yourself feel dejected because you haven’t finished your book. Instead, rejoice that your name is written in his book. Nothing is more amazing than that. Absolutely nothing.

Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Finalists. I’m standing on the right in the green dress.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

A New Way to Enjoy the Bible – Psalm 150

I love studying the Bible. This year I found a new way to help others with their Bible reading. It’s called the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid.

Icon indicating a Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member

The Grid, hashtag #bgbg2, contains a list of bloggers whose posts include references to the Bible and are linked to BibleGateway.com, the most visited Christian website in the world (with over 150 million views per month).

I’ve been using BibleGateway.com as a resource for several years now. It helps me confirm I’m quoting verses correctly, and I can compare multiple translations. And there are many other features on the site as well. I’m honored to link my blog with them.

This morning I stumbled upon Psalm 150 and couldn’t pass by it without responding. (I’m praising quietly, though; someone I love is still in bed.)

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
    praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
    praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
    praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
    praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!”


Psalm 150 ESV

I’m praising him for the ability to read and write and know him. Praise the Lord!

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Will God Answer all our Questions? – Exodus 4:10-12

Have you heard someone say that they’d like to ask God a few questions? Like why he allows children to be traumatized, war, natural disasters, Alzheimer’s, or ?

Let’s say I’m 90 when I die. I enter heaven with a pencil stuck behind my ear, gripping my cane. In my other hand is a long checklist. I shuffle toward the throne of grace ready to get some answers.

No, that doesn’t work. Let’s get rid of the cane because the book of Revelation says God makes all things new.

So I drop the cane and stroll toward God on new strong, confident legs. I mentally cross off two of my questions but there are more. Yes, I realize I’m no longer 90, but I want to understand a few things about my time on earth anyway.

Then it hits me that I’m also not dead.

I have to stop here. Being not dead is more than I can handle, especially when I look up to see my Lord and my God reaching toward my cheeks to rub the tears off. And I can’t explain the tears because the list in my hands is distracting me.

No, that can’t be right. By this point the list would be soaked by my weeping and I wouldn’t care.

I’ve been studying the book of Exodus this month, and it has made me wonder where the idea that God must account for himself came from. He is God and he’s got a lot more going on in his mind than I could comprehend. And he doesn’t have to say anything.

No one’s going to be marching up to his throne for explanations.

When God told Moses to go to Pharaoh and tell him to set the Hebrews free, Moses didn’t like God’s plan. He wanted the assignment to go to someone else. What follows is an example of God choosing to respond directly.

But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak” (Exodus 4:10-12 ESV).

[There are two things that stand out in your story, Moses. First, if you are slow of speech and tongue, God is already aware of it. He made your mouth so he knows if your slowness is by his design or if you’re stalling. Second, he’s with you. You’ll be fine.]

Here’s another scenario about asking God questions.

Instead of toting a list to God in heaven I imagine myself a hungry teen crossing the threshold into the kitchen hollering what’s for dinner Mom. Her tiny kitchen changes to a high school gym-sized banquet hall with dozens of tables loaded with beautiful, delicious foods of all kinds, (I’m vegan but you can imagine all kinds of meats if you want) fruits, vegetables, desserts. Not all cheap stuff, either. I stall, leaning against the doorpost. Am I going to say hey, Mom, what’s for dinner? No. With a spread like this I’m confident there’s no need to ask.

Let’s eat!

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

A Snapshot of Gratefulness – Philippians 4:6-7

I played outside with my family this week. My husband, sons, and grandson shot basketballs in a game of PIG while two other grandchildren sped by on their bikes, launching themselves off the ramp. The youngest sat in the grass.

A couple of times I stopped the ball from escaping, kicking it back into the game. I also offered a lot of verbal support, withdrawing from the ruckus since my chronic pain insists I live more gently. That’s when I remembered that the day our third son, Seth, was born, we thought he might never play with the family.

There’d been concerns during labor. A specialist was called in. Jerry held my hand as I clung to peace by quoting from Psalm 121 between contractions.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth . . . The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life” (Psalm 121:1-2 and 7 ESV).

The hospital tests hadn’t provided answers. One concern was his color, which they described as ashen. He was lethargic. They decided to keep him another day for observation, and I went home with an empty baby carrier. I imagined all sorts of devastating news I might hear the next day–he had a disease, a birth defect, or he was dying.

We left him overnight but decided that was enough. Seth needed to know his family surrounded him and loved him. His two older brothers needed to pat his head and whisper their secrets. He belonged at home.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV).

Now he plays with his nephews in the street, the tall, strong father of a teenager. He’s home. No wonder I rejoice in the Lord who heard my prayers and answered them in ways more beautiful than I could imagine.

These times are precious. We don’t know the length of our days, but He Who Watches Over Us keeps us. As we move toward the end of our days let’s remember to be ever thankful for God’s kindness to us. That he heard our prayers, that he hears us still, and he will see us home.

The completeness, the joy I can’t contain, the certainty of God’s promises – can you even imagine the awesomeness of standing near my son as he shoots baskets with his dad, his brother, and his nephews, when so close is the memory of the time we didn’t know if we’d get to see him grow up?

It’s only a breath of time, me standing with the life of my family swirling around me. For this moment I am grateful.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis