Close Beside Us

Even when I walk through the darkest valley,

I will not be afraid,

For you are close beside me.

Psalm 23:4

            You are not alone. Your Shepherd is close beside you. He protects and comforts you in the midst of your darkest valleys. Do not be afraid for you do not walk your path by yourself. It is a great comfort to know that when we face the scariest times in our lives, He is there with us. The Bible doesn’t say that we will never walk through dark times, but it does reassure us that we won’t walk through them alone.

            What great assurance we have in knowing that the Lord our God will not leave us. Do not fear about things that may happen or the possibility of valleys in your life. The “what ifs” need not linger as long as we remember that our good Shepherd will protect and comfort us in the midst. Let us walk in confidence and not fear for the road ahead.

He is our Great Reward

Do not be afraid…. I am your shield, your very great reward.  Genesis 15:1

 God is both a shield and a very great reward.  Notice that He did not say He would give Abram a very great reward, rather He is the great reward. The people of God have the most wonderful blessing, the great reward of the God of all creation participating in their lives.            

What more could we want? What greater reward could there be than experiencing a love relationship with the Lord God who is the creator of the Heavens and the Earth? We are rich indeed when we recognize that we have received the greatest reward in all eternity.  The Lord God is our reward! His Spirit dwells with us. He is our shield. We do not need to be afraid for He is all we need.

Father, thank you for your presence in our lives.

In You we have the greatest reward man can ever receive –

Your gentle and loving Spirit within us.

Let us find joy and peace as followers of Christ, knowing that He is our great reward. In Him we experience gracious love, true forgiveness and eternal life. Oh what a great reward we have in Jesus!

More To Do in 2022!

My dad’s voice still echoes from my childhood every January. It was his tradition to announce his yearly motto to our family on the first day of the year. If he were able to today, I’m sure he would be shouting something like, “There’s more to do in 2022!” Although this year started with the all-too-familiar covid shut downs, I believe we can still push forward with a purposeful and hope-filled vision. We may need to be a little more flexible and creative as we consider what we can do, but let’s move around the obstacles and consider what God wants to accomplish through us this year.

Whether you are a goal-setter or not, you can still create a plan to use your God-given gifts and talents in a positive and productive way. The turn of a new year gives you an opportunity to look for areas of growth, potential and improvement, as well as determining a few bad habits you need to ditch.  

I like to apply the 333 Principle to my planning for the year.

  • 3 Areas of Focus for the Year
  • 3 Accomplishments Each Month
  • 3 Priorities Each Day

Simply put, I prayerfully choose three areas of focus for the year. I thoughtfully consider where God wants me to devote my attention for the year and where I can best serve using the gifts He has given me. Then at the beginning of each month, I not only review my three “focus areas” for the year, but I also write out three goals I want to accomplish during that month. Finally, every night I make a plan for the next day, writing down my schedule and the three priorities for the coming day.

The 333 Principle keeps me moving forward in a positive and purposeful way. It’s a simple routine and easy to apply to my life without getting frustrated by failed goals or unmet resolutions. It also keeps me from needless distractions or saying “yes” to every fun-sounding idea.

What about you? How can you implement the 333 Principle into your personal and/or professional life this year?

If you are looking for a place to volunteer and serve in your community, please prayerfully consider joining our volunteer team at Engage Positive Parenting Initiative. Go to www.EngageParenting.com for more information.

Worship the King

Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked,

“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?

Matthew 2:1

            The Magi traveled a great distance to find the King of the Jews and worship Him.  They brought gifts fitting for a king; gold, incense and myrrh.  The Bible does not tell us much about these mysterious Magi, but we do know one thing, they sought out the king and when they found Him they were overjoyed. They bowed down and worshiped Christ the King of the Jews. Isn’t that a beautiful picture of a believer’s journey? God puts in our hearts a desire for Him. We seek Him, and when we find Him we are filled with joy, for at last we have found the only King who can satisfy our souls.

            What gifts can we bring to the King of the Jews? It seems so often we are seeking what we can get, not what we can give, yet we all have gifts to give Him. As we love and serve others, even the least of these we are serving Him.  Let’s honor the King with our words of thanksgiving and deeds of kindness this Christmas sesaon.

Photo by Morgane Le Breton on Unsplash

This devotional is an excerpt from Pursing God in the Quiet Places

Blessings with a Purpose

I will make you into a great nation,
   and I will bless you.
Genesis 12:2

God not only blesses us, but he blesses us for a purpose.  He blesses us so we will be a blessing.  The word bless means, “to benefit.”  It implies abundantly or greatly. In the Bible we are reminded that God blessed Abraham abundantly by building a great nation through his seed.  He made Abraham’s name great.

God’s blessings are different toward each one of us. Sometimes our blessings may come through the most difficult of trials. The purest gold comes through the most intense heat, and the most beautiful gems are formed through immense pressure. Other blessings may be in the rich joy of family members or friends in our lives.

Everyone can look at unique ways God has blessed their lives. The question is, “Are we focusing on the blessings God has given us or on the frustrations?” Let’s thank God each day for the wonderful ways He blesses us, and then let’s be diligent to use our blessings to bless the world around us.

How does God want to use your gifts and talents to benefit others today?