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 Psalms 23:4 NKJV
It is far sweeter to talk about passing through the valley of the shadow than it is to walk it. But it is also far sweeter to experience God’s presence in the dark valleys than it is to just talk it…
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us Psalms 103:12
Have you ever struggled to forgive someone? I did! First I complained about the offense till God reminded me of my own sins. Ashamed of myself I I did truly forgive. But then came those pesky times when I would see him and then I would turn my head or force a smile. But then one day it struck me that God’s forgiveness worked in quite a different way. He saw my sin, freely forgave and then was delighted every time we met. He has not yet looked away nor forced a smile. Instead He has not only forgotten my offense He has loved me ever since as His dearest friend!
And can it be that even on our darkest days when we face our most difficult people God is giving us opportunity to show mercy? Maybe He leads us through the valley of the shadow so that we can learn to forgive even there. A bit further on and on sunnier days we may discover how merciful and forgiving He has been to us when we were most dark and difficult with others.
Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy Matthew 5:7
This Thursday May 4th is the national day of prayer. In this turbulent time we can run away from our fears and hide or we can run to our God in prayer. Together let’s choose to put our trust in God.
Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” John 1:50
Believing connects us first to knowing that He knows our hearts. This only recorded conversation between Nathanael and Jesus in the Bible is intriguing both because of its smallness and its bigness. Nathanael was astonished to discover that Jesus knew one of the smallest details of His day. That smallest detail led to the biggest decision of his life!
In the movie “The Santa Clause” with Tim Allen, the elf named Judy says, “Seeing isn’t believing; believing is seeing!” That is one of the best descriptions of the miracle of faith in a believer’s life. At the moment that we believe we begin to see who Jesus for who He truly is. As we begin to see Him as He truly is then we begin to follow where He leads. When we follow where Jesus is leading, then we discover that He is going to some astonishing places!
Be prepared for astonishing places along the way as you follow Jesus. Buckle your seat belts and hold on tight. He has promised to show us greater things, if we only believe!
The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” John 1:44
While Jesus first calls us to simply come and see, He also extends a second invitation to those who have come, “Come and follow!” Our seeing is tested by our following!
The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). John 1:41
When we discover a new ice cream we can’t wait to tell our friends about how good it is. We have tasted something great and want others to know. In the same way if we have really seen how wonderful, awesome and loving Jesus is, then we will call others to see as well. What is the first thing we are chomping at the bit to do today? Does it seem like the eagerness you once felt to share the good news has dimmed? Do you feel like you are just stumbling along the way trying to be a Christian? We might need to put on the brakes, come to a complete stop and reset our GPS system for today. Have we seen Jesus as we began our day? If not, then this is the best time to simply come to Him by grace and start over. Feel like you don’t know where you are headed in His call on your life? That’s okay! Following Jesus can be like following a big rig through a thick fog. Keep his lights in sight and trust Him because only He knows where we are going!
Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” John 1:38-39a
Jesus had a way of dealing with new followers which was a lot different than ours. He didn’t say, “Come and do” or “Come and give.” In fact Jesus began the conversation with a question, “What do you want?”
Whether at the door of the church or alone on a mountain trail, God asks us every morning, “What do you want?” Am I following just because someone told me to or do I really want to for myself? His test is not about our ability to serve Him but our desire to know Him.
When we go looking for Jesus we will find Him. He knows us but He waits for us to long to know Him. Then Jesus extends the invitation, “Come and see!” Jesus wants us to get to know Him because He isn’t afraid of what we will find. Every day is an opportunity for a new discovery of His character, His will and His heart. Maybe you have received an invitation that says: RSVP. That stands for the French “Répondez s’il vous plait” – “Respond if you please. “We have received an invitation to come to know Jesus. Jesus waits to see if we will respond. Do we really want to know where He lives? He calls out, “Come and see!”