Traveling with a Sock – Hebrews 7:25

If you want to be pulled aside by security in an airport, put a sock filled with flax seeds in your luggage. I didn’t expect such a thing to be so interesting to TSA, but it was, raising eyebrows both times it passed under their scanners.

Why the sock? Well, my therapist told me it could help with arthritis pain in my back and neck. Since I had 15 lbs. of flax seed at home to support my vegan diet, and some white athletic socks that no one uses anymore, I followed his advice. I poured a couple quarts of seeds into a sock, tied a knot in the end, and slept on it.

photo courtesy of jeshoots-com at pixabay

I’ve been using my flax seed pillow for months – and it really does help. I couldn’t part with it when I packed for my trip to Ohio last week, so into my carry-on bag it went.

Though I figured it might look strange to security, I didn’t expect it to be a conversation starter. One agent seemed to appreciate encountering something unique during her assembly-line style work day. “Tell me about this,” propping my sock up with both hands as though holding a sleepy kitten.

Another shared his own pillow ingredient for pain relief – rice.

I should have asked what they imagined my sock might contain. At any rate, they did their job seeing to the safety of thousands of passengers flowing through their gates that day.

At one airport, I allowed my wheeled carry-on to be stowed with the checked-in luggage. I didn’t like being without my emergency supplies (change of clothes, Bible, toiletries, you know . . . ) so I bought a tote bag with pink flowers and Ohio printed on the side, collected a few of my most important things, and packed them before boarding the next plane.

I hadn’t thought about the weight.

In Detroit’s international airport I carried my new tote alternately in my arms and on each shoulder for miles, setting it down at every opportunity on the human conveyors sliding me forward. It took me three days to get over the extra, you guessed it, pain exacerbated by the weight of my therapy pillow.


. . . he (Jesus) is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

Hebrews 7:25 ESV

Jesus doesn’t need scanners to know what’s in the baggage I drag through life. And because he’s my high priest and lives forever, as the verses in Hebrews 7 state, I can have no greater security. He is able to save, period.

I like to separate, in Scripture, which parts are my responsibility and which are not. Who is Jesus able to save? The ones who draw near to God through him. Staying close to him, however, might be easier if leave more stuff at home.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

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Speaking of carrying less weight, let me point you toward BibleGateway.com. You can read and study the Bible anywhere you go, and it’s much lighter than books or socks filled with seeds.

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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

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

Stay the Course, Telling the Heart of the Story – 1 Kings 13:15-32

What should I do if someone disagrees with the path I’ve chosen? I know what God wants me to do: Love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, strength, and love my neighbor as myself. One way I express this love is in my writing. Love is his command, writing is my response. But what if a person I trust directs me a different way?

While reading 1 Kings 13 this week I contemplated the part that two prophets played in the story. One, a man of God from Judah, and the other an older prophet. The older prophet disputed what God told the man of God to do. He lied, claiming God told him to instruct the man of God to change his course. The man of God believed the lie and disobeyed God’s command, which led to his death.

Isn’t the older prophet responsible?

What bothers me is that the older prophet’s part in the man of God’s downfall isn’t addressed. Not one word–even though the older prophet confronts the sin that he enabled. Did he carry no guilt for his part in his fellow prophet’s downfall?

I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know whatever God does is just. I can certainly trust him.

Sticking with my story

My takeaway is that I need to stay on course. The writer of 1 Kings 13 focused on the man of God’s path, not the old prophet’s. If there’s another story to tell, it will come in a different chapter, from another writer, or at another time.

I’m to plow ahead in obedience, even if someone more experienced attempts to direct my path differently. Managing my response to the distraction of dissenting voices is a huge part of living. It’s good to listen to the opinions of those we trust, but I need to be careful to only let God change my course.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis