Perfect Peace

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Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you

When I think of the word “stayed” memories of kite flying come to mind. After a few battles in getting the kite aloft there was nothing more amazing to me than to see my kite flying high across the sky. My kite seemed free, but in reality its flight depended completely on the string holding it back while the breeze lifted it up.

In the same way, my world sometimes calls me to break off my trust in God. But when I fix my mind in an unbroken connection to God, then the winds instead of separating me from Him rather lift me higher. As the winds of my trial blow harder, God pulls back on my kite. It is His almighty hand that holds me to Him through every circumstance and reveals in me His promise of His perfect peace!

Breaking up New Ground

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P1010791Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you KJV

“Fallow comes from the old English word for plowing, and refers to the practice of leaving fields unplowed in rotation––when a field lies fallow, the soil regains nutrients that are sucked up by over-planting.”  Vocabulary.com

One temptation as I grow older is to abandon certain of the fields in my life. Those fields have so long been unproductive that it scarcely seems worth the effort to continue to hope for any sort of fruitful harvest. But God has an entirely different idea. God says that today is the exact perfect time to stop moping around the house, get the plow out of the barn and break up that fallow ground.

Do you have some fallow…

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The Valley of the Shadow – Part Two

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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 23:4

Many of us walk through dark valleys in our lives. The dark valley is not some mistake. The presence of a shadow means that something is standing between us and the light. God leads us through our valley of the shadow as His forgiveness moves us out of our darkest place.

Forgiveness comforts our sorrows

Like the centurion at the cross do we suddenly see what we have done to Jesus? All around us lies the wreckage that our sins have left behind. We’ve seen the pure love of Jesus and we realize that His sufferings have been at our hands. Yet from the cross the centurion heard the words, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” God’s words work in our life like a shepherd’s staff that corrects and guides us. When we feel that staff we know that despite our many failures and sins He has still decided to be our shepherd and he has chosen us to be His sheep!Sept-Oct 2013 037

 

Forgiveness sets a banquet table

“He prepares a table before me” means that God has chosen the time and place of our forgiveness. Just as the father held a celebration when he found the prodigal on the road home, so God prepares a celebration of forgiveness just for us. When God sets the table He is not at all afraid to do so even while our enemies are watching! God doesn’t wait for some hidden private moment. He claims us as His own in full public view and then sits down with us. That is why Paul calls it, “The Lord’s table” P1010180

Forgiveness Restores more than was lost

When Jesus took the cup He said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” That New Covenant cup is God’s offer of restoration. But when God restores He does more than simply return things to as they were. God’s forgiveness is the cup that overflows. God’s forgiveness pours until our cup can’t hold it all. God’s life giving forgiveness is given in such quantity that we have more than enough to give to those people in our world who have treated us badly. There is such a harvest of His mercy and goodness that even after we have given it all away  -there will be enough to follow us all the way to His home!

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The Valley of the Shadow – Part One

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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 23:4

 When I read about the valley of the shadow I sometimes remember driving through a place called Sugar Hollow. Though everything might seem sunny on the approach to the hollow, dark shadows would begin to intrude across the road as it twisted and turned into the entrance to the hollow. The hills on both sides were steep and they cast such a shadow that in the late afternoon drivers quickly put on their headlights. The brightness of the day disappeared as we passed through that mile.

In the same way, God has chosen to lead us through a region called “the valley of the shadow of death”. The presence of a shadow tells us that we are close to the object which is blocking the source of light. The closeness of our sins bring darkness into our lives but Psalm 23 gives us some lampposts to light the way to our Father’s house.

First Lamppost -He is with us

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When Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant he was afraid and ready to quietly abandon his hopes of marriage and happiness at her side. But God told Joseph to not be afraid because Mary’s miracle child was to be called – Immanuel “God with us” Matthew 1:23

 

Second Lamppost – God prepares our table

KIMG0117     On the night that Jesus was betrayed He prepared a table. He served the bread and the wine and then washed the disciples’ feet. Our greatest hope is in the God who prepares a table for us in the wilderness and in the middle of the darkest part of the valley of the shadow. He chooses in the middle of betrayal to offer hope, life and forgiveness. There is no brighter light to shine in our dark places!

Third Lamppost – He anoints our head

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When David remembered the day he was anointed he would have remembered that God had chosen him even when everyone else had forgotten about him. God also remembers us and has a plan of restoration so awesome that it will be so much that our cup will overflow!

 

He leads by walking with us through the valley. He leads by providing all we need in the darkest places of our lives. He leads by choosing the path of restoration for us that will lead all the way home!