Monday, April 24, 2017

teach me and give me understanding

33Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.
Psalm 119:33-35

As I was reading this morning, I had to go back and re-read these verses again. I realized that we sometimes rely on our own thoughts and understanding way too much. We try to reason out what we know to be true and try to figure out what God wants from us. We try to talk it out with others, read about it in books and try to figure our what we are supposed to be doing with our lives. I have heard many people talk about their true purpose and whether they know what it is or not, often, it comes from their understanding of who they are at that moment in time. SO, as I read these verses, I realize I have forgotten to ask God to teach me His way.

His way is the one true purpose we should all have in this life. I need to understand and seek out His way more than my own. I need to walk in the path He has prepared for me. They best way I know to find that path is to get to know God even more. He will give me understanding and teach me His ways when I seek him and desire Him above all else.  I will know more about Him and know more of what He intends when I understand more of Him through prayer, fasting and spending time in His Word.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33

When we seek Him and His kingdom, He will direct our paths and provide for us all the daily needs we have. He will give to us and bless us bountifully. He will be our Shield and our Protector, our Guide and our Strength.  May these verse be my prayer and my heart's cry. May I learn His ways and walk in His path. May I delight in God's commandments.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

casting shadows

Psalm 23:4
Yea, 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.

As I realize that I have walked through a bit of a shadowy valley  recently, I was reminded what my husband had spoke to me about shadows. It echoed and reminded me that if I had just applied what he explained to me, maybe my valley wouldn't have felt so dark and lonely. Maybe, I might have moved in and out of the shadows a little quicker. But, just maybe the shadow was cast by my own uncertainty?

My husband,  not too long ago, was talking about this verse and how the shadow of death may appear in life and cause uncertainty, but it is just that, a shadow. Shadows are a part of life. We see shadows cast all the time but have you considered the source of the shadow?  My husband pointed out that a shadow is nothing more than something blocking the light. We often perceive shadows in a different manner. I have seen little kids try to hide from shadows or be scared by them. Even Peter Pan struggled with his shadow. Shadows can stir fear in our beings. Shadows can represent coming darkness or reflect feelings of sadness and loneliness. I have seen and read many instances of literary use of shadows to show sadness, depression, loneliness and even deep fears. But when we recognize that a shadow is only something blocking the light, it really doesn't maintain the same control or fear.

So, spiritually speaking, Jesus is the light as He stated in John 8:12. Life casts shadows. We have shadows of hurt, pain, disappointment, and grief. Sometimes the enemy, Satan may attempt to block the light from us. Sometimes, we even block the light with our own self getting in the way. If we stand with our back to a light source we see our own shadow and not the Light. We may have taken our eyes off of Jesus and got turned around spiritually so we see our own shadow. When we see that shadow, we may feel lonely, scared, defeated, etc. The whole time, we just need to turn to the Light and all that the shadow tries to remind us of is gone. Darkness cannot remain in the presence of light.

John 1:5
And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Just like Peter walking on the water, when he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the waves, that was when fear entered and he began to sink. he called on Jesus  to save him. (Matthew 14). We may become distracted by the shadows life casts over us and around us, but we can keep our eyes on Jesus, our Savior.
We can call on Him when we feel like we are being overwhelmed by the shadow. He will deliver us.

Isaiah 41:10
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Jesus will strengthen and help us in our time of need. I can say there are times when I feel alone and have no one but Jesus to go to. There are times I get my eyes onto the struggles, trials, and uncertainty. I may feel like a shadow has overwhelmed and darkened my world, but I know the only source of light is Jesus.  When I call out His Name, the darkness begins to fade as His Light shines into my soul. I can find that Jesus is still right there, working for my good and I am not really alone after all.  

Joshua  1:9 
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

We do not need to be afraid of the shadows, the Source of Light is right there ready to dispell  the darkness  that tries to creep in and distract us from His goodness. We can trust that God is always good and has nothing but good for us.

Psalms 34:8
Oh, taste and see that the Lord  is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

The next time, you feel you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, remember that Jesus is the light and something may be blocking the light to cast that shadow. Look on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He will finish what He started in us when we keep our eyes on Him, the Light. His light can shine and remove the fears, sadness, and loneliness that we may have found in our hearts. We can find peace, joy, love, and contentment in Him. We can find that He is our friend and the one who cares about everything we face. We can cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us. (1 Peter  5:7)  We can stand facing the Light and all the cares of life are now in His hands. We can find rest. (Matthew  11:28). We do not need to allow shadows to overwhelm us, we can know that we do not need to fear, for He is with us.