- 2017Jun 14
We trudged slowly back to the car through a crowded parking lot in the Texas summer heat. Hot, humid, full sun bearing down. I noticed my daughter matching my steps, walking close by my side the entire way back. Little legs stretching out as far as they could to match my stride. She smiled up at me and said, "Mom, look, I'm walking in your shade." She'd found the shadow, the safe place to walk. I loved that my side was her shield, giving her protection from the heat.
This reminder came…“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1
We may not always see it, or feel it, we might forget it’s there at times, or even wonder if He's left us to fend for ourselves in the heat of hard situations of life. But His protection is real. He doesn't, He can't, forget us or ignore us. If we belong to Him, His love is too great to leave us on our own.
Is it any coincidence that this is the 9-1-1 verse? In whatever troubles we face today, God is the place of refuge we can run to, He is our safe place.
The word “dwell” used in this verse actually means, “to take up permanent residence in.” He reminds us to stay in His presence, for it’s a permanent place of living. His Word says if we do that, we will “rest” in the very "shadow of the Almighty." Shadows by definition are a place of protection or covering, they provide relief from the direct heat of the sun. If the heat is severe, the shade is the place we run to. It diminishes what we actually feel in the intensity of the heat.
A reminder for us, especially in the tough stuff, that we never walk alone. Full heat of troubles bearing down hard, heavy, it’s a struggle at times to keep trudging through it all. Pressure and stress can seem as stifling as a hot afternoon summer sun. Yet God whispers truth, strong and sure, “Walk in my shadow, up close to my side.” It’s in the safe place that brings confidence; for when we are resting is God’s shadow, we will never face the full heat of our difficulties. He shelters from that pain. His shade, His shadow, diminishes what is actually felt in the intensity of all the heat. Rest, peace, and calm rise up strong, right in the struggling mess of life, and we’re assured, He's in control.
Sometimes, maybe unintentionally, in the busyness or difficulties of living, we might strive to survive on our own. We forget that what we need most, God's protection and the comfort of His presence, are freely available to those who love Him and walk under His covering.
This entire chapter of Psalm 91 is filled with the goodness and power of God. Great reminders that He faithfully works on behalf of those who love Him. And at the end of it all, God gives 8 reasons of why we do not have to fear.
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16
Psalm 91's Promises from God
- "I will rescue him..." (deliver, cause to escape)
- "I will protect him..." (set him on a high place)
- "I will answer him..." (respond to, speak)
- "I will be with him in trouble..." (in afflictions, in distress)
- "I will deliver him..." (rescue, to bring into safety)
- "and honor him..." (to make rich, strong, heavy with honor)
- "With long life will I satisfy him..." (to have abundance in the journey)
- "and show him my salvation." (let him see my deliverance & victory)
There is great blessing as we seek after God, and choose to walk in His ways. In the midst of great darkness in this world, living in it all without His Truth and freedom, would be like wallowing in the pit. Not much hope to be found there. The truth is, this world has been dark for generations, since sin first entered the earth at the hiss of the enemy's lies.
Yet God's reminders are sure, strong, and true, assuring us that in all that we walk through in this journey, His call is always to rise above. He reminds us we're not alone. And though He never says that we won't face hard times, He does say He'll be with us in it, rescuing us, and shining His favor over us.
Don’t ever doubt it. God works on behalf of those who love Him and honor His name. He is so good to us. We may never fully know, this side of heaven, how very much He has sheltered us from in this life.
"Dear God, Thank you for your presence with us, thank you for your Almighty Shadow. Thank you that you go before us, and cover us from behind. Thank you that you are in our midst, and that our future is secure in the place you're preparing for us.
Your words bring such hope and comfort. Remind us of your strength today, may we see glimpses of your glory and blessing along the way as we seek after you. For victory and salvation are found in you alone.
In the Mighty Name of Jesus, Amen."
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/DebbieWebbMcDaniel, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives.
Find her also at http://twitter.com/debbmcdaniel and http://www.debbiemcdaniel.com.
- 2017Apr 24
Don't let the enemy steal your joy today.
He'll try you know.
You may not even realize it until it's too late.
From the moment your feet hit the floor, he'll do all that he can to distract you, to overwhelm you, to frustrate you, and to stir up worry and strife. Often his ways are subtle, other times they're more clear. It’s what he does best. Stealing. Killing. Destroying.
Just say "no."
Don't let him win.
We have a choice of who we listen to and what we believe.
Recognize who is at the root of it all, and push past his lies, step over his traps.
God gives us the power through His Holy Spirit to live free from the entanglement of sin. He gives us the power to live strong. He gives wisdom and discernment to make the right choices. He gives joy deep inside. He offers the assurance, that no matter what we face, He is with us.
His truth says this, 8 loving reminders:
"The joy of the Lord is my strength." Neh.8:10
"Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." 1 John 4:4
"No weapon that is formed against you will prosper..." Is.54:17
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Rom.15:13
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Ps.118:24
“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” Is. 55:12
May His grace, peace, and joy cover your day.
He is with you...
At the start of each day, help us to recognize you above all else. Enlighten the eyes of our heart that we might see you, and notice how you're at work through our lives. Give us wisdom to make the best choices, fill us with a desire to seek after you more than anything else in this world. Let your Spirit and power breathe in us, through us, again, fresh and new. Thank you that you are greater than anything we may face in our day. Thank you that your presence goes with us, and that your joy is never dependent on our circumstances, but it is our true and lasting strength, no matter what we're up against. We ask that your peace lead us, that it would guard our hearts and minds in you. We ask for your grace to cover our lives this day. We love you Lord...we need you.
In Jesus' Name,
(This post was first published, Oct. 2015)
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/DebbieWebbMcDaniel, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives. Find her also at http://twitter.com/debbmcdaniel and http://www.debbiemcdaniel.com.
- 2017Apr 18
Some days can seem hurried, pressured, and tense. We know God’s truth, we believe His goodness, and yet we still find ourselves struggling, minds racing, before our feet even touch the floor in the morning.
Our focus gets blurred. We start listening to the lies of other voices that do more harm than good. The constant media headlines tell us how dark and broken our world is. Images and reminders all around us shout that we’re “not enough.” The enemy’s great at heaping on guilt, condemnation, and fear. The problems we face seem more like giants of impossibility than anything good that God can ever bring from it.
The truth is, some days we don’t feel like much of a strong warrior for God’s purposes. We just feel really weak. Afraid. Alone. Defeated.
But often, out of His goodness and grace, when we find ourselves right smack in the middle of huge feelings of defeat, God shows up strong.
"When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior." Judges 6:12
Gideon certainly had no reason to feel strong, mighty, or anything like a warrior at that moment. He and his people were facing great suffering and defeat at the hand of the enemy. He doubted God was even with him. In fact, when the angel showed up, he was threshing his wheat in the pit of a winepress, not up on a hilltop where this was usually done. He was fearful and trying to keep hidden from view of the enemy who’d been raiding their land. Gideon questioned, "If God was with us, then why did this happen?"
Ever been there?
If God is really here, then why?
If God is really good, then when?
If God really cares, then how?
I love how God is so gracious, patient, loving, and kind - even with the questions, even after His people had turned their backs on Him. God still sends an angel to encourage, to strengthen, to remind Gideon and all of the Israelites that He is surely with them.
And yet even while staring straight into a heavenly messenger, Gideon continues to persist in defeated thoughts. He still questions, "But I am the weakest, I am the least...how can God save Israel?"
“And the Lord answered, ‘I will be with you...’" Judges 6:16
Five powerful words. That can see us through anything we face in this life.
“I will be with you.”
God's Presence is real. He gives us strength for every day. The battle can be intense. And some days especially, the enemy seems really strong, and we feel really weary. We can find ourselves wrestling again with the same defeated thoughts that we thought we'd finally laid to rest just the night before. Disappointments come. We struggle with feeling like we haven't measured up, we listen to the lies that we are "less than..."
But God still answers us. Just like He did for Gideon.
He sees "mighty" when we see "weak."
He sees victory when we see defeat.
He gives hope, when we're filled with disappointment.
He's still with us, no matter how we might feel, or what struggles flood our thoughts. He is filling us with the power and grace of His Spirit, just enough for the day.
For this day.
A reminder for your heart, in whatever you might be facing,
"The Lord is with you...mighty warrior."
7 Verses of Strength:
"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Cor. 12:9
"But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior..." Jer. 20:11
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Is. 41:10
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Josh. 1:9
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Ps. 27:1
"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deut. 31:6
"The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing." Zeph. 3:17
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's facebook page,http://www.facebook.com/DebbieWebbMcDaniel, for daily encouragement in living strong, hope-filled lives. Find her also at http://www.debbiemcdaniel.com and http://twitter.com/debbmcdaniel.