The Message That Wasn’t From God – Lamentations 3:22-23

My heart was warmed when I read the Verse of the Day in my inbox, a personal message from God. At least, that’s what I thought.

All the saints greet you.”

2 Corinthians 13:13 ESV

How sweet that God arranged that particular scripture to come to my inbox the day after my birthday. I’d been responding to greetings from people far and wide, thanking them for visiting, sending texts or leaving messages on social media. So the verse was true—many saints were greeting me.

Then it hit me, or I guess you could say, wisdom kicked in. Come on, Kathy, anyone on the internet can see it’s your special day! My emotions slumped with the certainty the verse wasn’t delivered divinely after all.

I wanted to gripe, but the truth is, I am a blessed woman. And there really are non-auto-generated communications that come my way from friendly people every day.

But even if they didn’t, God’s mercy greets me without fail every. single. morning.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

So yes, there is a good reason for me to feel loved. Because God’s mercy is extended toward me, I’m not consumed by anything in this world, including my sin. Thank you, Jesus!

So, whether or not “all the saints” acknowledge me, I can proceed with my birthday dance of thanksgiving. Great is his faithfulness!

Kathy Sheldon Davis

A Prayer for Safety – Psalm 16

Laurie, my friend for more than four decades and my only bridesmaid who wasn’t a family member, easily tucks into the rhythm of my life when we’re together.

She sat with me in Max Porter’s last week, holding a hot drink in one hand and sweeping the air with the other as we caught up on our families’ news. Laurie is a missionary to Uganda, and our discussion led us to her personal safety when she’s away.

My mistake

At one point I harped on a conclusion I’d made from Scripture, that the apostles never prayed for God to keep them safe.

We remembered that in their letters they asked their readers to pray they would be bold in their speaking about Jesus, but never that they’d stay safe. They gave accounts of harrowing experiences as they traveled and preached, and seemed to expect risks with the job.

My presumption was, if the apostles didn’t ask God for safety, then neither should we.

How could I have been so smug, presuming I knew everything the early followers of Jesus brought before God?

The truth

Their teachings and prayers, like those of Jesus, centered on historical scriptures. Here’s an ancient psalm that asks God for safety.


Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.’

I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. (italics mine)

Psalm 16:1, 8-9 ESV

Scriptural takeaway

My heart, my whole being, rejoices because he is always with me, he is my refuge, I will not be shaken, and he will not abandon me.

The truth is, safety is important. Without it, my friend and I would live in constant fear. The need for security drives us in our seeking and following of God and his ways, into his place of refuge where there is peace and safety no matter where we are on this planet.

How to Know When it’s Time to Panic – Mark 4:37-40

Being a new parent was often stressful and confusing. I didn’t know how to juggle decisions about my infant’s care, like when to hold him and when to let him fall asleep on his own. And where should I draw the line for my older children—between intervening in their disagreements and letting them manage without my help?

I may have been overly concerned about doing everything right at first, but I did relax in my role over time. I enjoyed learning and growing with them.

One of my lessons came while chatting with a young mother in her yard one day. As she turned to go into the house I saw her little girl fall off her tricycle and start whimpering. The child clearly wasn’t hurt badly, looking around to see if mom was nearby before letting out a howl. Before the girl drew her next breath mom was running to pour out comfort with hugs, kisses, and coos in a way that I thought was overdone.

But I took her actions to heart and made a deal with God.

I knew there would be times when I needed to act quickly to protect my children or others from danger, so I prayed, “Lord, I don’t want to be overprotective or fearful, but I also don’t want to be foolhardy. Would you tell me when it’s time to panic?”

I finished my prayer asking him to help me listen to his warnings.

I’ve had many situations where the plan to stay calm until I’m told to move quickly worked out well for me, one being when I encountered a large snake in Africa (that’s a story for another time). It’s comforting to know he’s in the boat with me, helping me understand what I should do during life’s storms.

And a great windstorm arose, waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

Mark 4:37-40 ESV

I’m happy to announce that my most current devotions have been released in the Summer 2021 issue of the Warner Press devotional magazine, Pathways—Moments With God. Yes, I’m a little late letting you know, but here’s where you can order your copy.