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

Understanding a Woman’s Mind – 2 Kings 4:25-27

When relationships are difficult it’s hard to wait patiently for a solution. This might be by God’s design. Sometimes he hides things from us. Perhaps we have trouble understanding our spouse’s mind because God has closed a door. But why would he do that? Why should understanding be locked up?

Maybe it’s all about God’s timing.

It’s so hard when no matter how much we love someone or how hard we try, understanding can remain out of our reach. The most difficult part is remaining in that state without getting angry, casting blame, or withdrawing our love.

I did all of those things when, at the onset of menopause, my emotions became unstable. I would calmly start discussing my concerns with my husband, but discord would escalate to the point where neither of us could sort it out. There was no making sense of it.

I learned in 2 Kings this morning that one of God’s prophets, someone who understands things the rest of us don’t, was befuddled by another’s thinking.

Elisha prophesied that the Shunammite woman would have a son, and it came to pass the following year. But God hadn’t told him everything.

 

So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.

When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Gehazi his servant, “Look, there is the Shunammite. Run at once to meet her and say to her, “Is all well with  you? Is all well with your husband? Is all well with the child?”

And she answered, “All is well.” And when she came to the mountain to the man of God, she caught hold of his feet.

And Gehazi came to push her away. But the man of God said, “Leave her alone, for she is in bitter distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me.”


2 Kings 4:25-27 ESV

 

Why would the Lord hide things from us? In verse 27 we see the prophet told his servant to leave the woman alone. Time needed to pass before her issue and its answer would be known.

It might look like I’m really hung up on this trust thing, but I’m convinced that’s what living life with God is all about.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.

Proverbs 3:5-9 NASB

 

Like the prophet Elisha, my husband and I found it sometimes takes time to reach a place of understanding. When we acknowledge God in all our ways he straightens out the path before us. When the time is right, we’ll understand.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

 

 

 

Help Comes from God – Psalm 121:1-4

We were sick with the flu last week. Both of us. At the same time.

In one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” books there’s a story about Laura being delirious with fever and her mother spooning drops of water into her mouth. As her disease progressed Laura realized her mother’s care had stopped. When she could manage to lift her head, she saw why; both her parents were sick in bed.

He is near

Laura debated trying to slide onto the floor to crawl to the water bucket for a drink, she was so thirsty. She knew she’d have to stop and rest along the way, maybe increase her suffering on the cold, hard floor. Thankfully, a neighbor discovered the family’s need and brought help.


“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”

Psalm 121:1-4 NIV


God sends help

Jerry and I are doing much better. Our dear daughter picked up what we needed at the store and made meals for us. However, during the long night when I lay awake wrestling with my sickness, it was the One Who Doesn’t Sleep who stayed with me and sustained my soul. I’m so glad he doesn’t have down time.

Whether he commands an army to cross mountains to defend us, or sends a kind hand to bring soup for our comfort, the Maker of heaven and earth is never far away.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis