How was your day today? I hope it was all you dreamed it would be! Christmas is such a wonderful time of year: Family, friends, dinners, parties, presents, shopping, hustle and bustle, and so on. Sometimes I think people get so caught up in the concept of Christmas that they forget its true meaning: It is to celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!
I noticed in my own circle of friends and family that everyone had less presents, less parties, people stayed home instead of traveling, and just a whole lot less than usual. So again I ask – How was your day today…really?
I know many people who didn’t buy a single present, who were worried about food, people who didn’t even go to church to say thanks. “But, Dwan, I’m struggling so hard financially what do I have to be thankful for?”
I want you to take a quiet moment and read this and then read what I wrote after:
Psalm 23 – A Psalm of David.
1 The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
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.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
When I was young I used to think this was some creepy Bible verse that people read at funerals. That whole “valley of death thing” sounded scary. As I got older and became a more mature Christian I realized this Psalm is meant for comfort, for times when we feel down, to sooth our weary soul.
I want you to re-read Verse 4 specifically: It says as you walk THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death. I believe in this entire Psalm the word “through” is the key word.
At one point or another we are all on the mountaintop or in the valley. No ONE stays on the mountaintop for life and no one stays in the valley for life. 1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
When you feel like your life is in the valley and everything is going wrong that is the time to be still and listen to what God is trying to say to you. If you will take the focus off of your problems and let God teach you the lesson He is trying to teach; you will find that you can start climbing to the top again.
We have a much higher chance of living life in the wrong lane when we are on TOP of the mountain because we feel invincible. When things go perfect every day it is easy to forget to thank God for all His blessings because you are so busy enjoying those blessings. As soon as the first sign of trouble rears its ugly head we are right back to – “Why God, why me, what did I do wrong, I’ve been so good and so on.” I think God misses you when you are on the mountain top because you don’t speak to him as much. When you are in the valley you tend to speak to Him every day. The best lessons in your life will come from the times spent in the valley.
Verses 5 and 6 refer to God’s protection from your enemies. What is Satan trying to take from you right now? As you walk THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death – what is dying in your life right now: Your money, your health, your family, your self-esteem, your retirement, your dreams and goals, your faith in God, your kids problems, your business, or maybe someone did you wrong?
Regardless of how bad you think things are, there is always someone who has it worse. Remember, Satan spends all day trying to pull you away from God and God simply says…”Just be still, listen, let me carry you through the valley and help you back to the mountain top.”
I challenge you to really think back and make a chart of the past 10 years. I’ll guarantee that you have had highs and lows. Use that chart to see where your life is right this very moment. Are you on your way to the top of the mountain, at the top now, headed down and you can see it coming, or walking THROUGH the valley?
Maybe your Christmas tree didn’t have an many presents as it did two years ago, maybe money is so tight you can’t see how you can make it thru, maybe you have just had the best year of your life and want to make sure you can do it again. Regardless, know that God is always there. Take time each day to be still and wait on God to speak to you. He WILL be with you as you walk through all your valleys as well as when you are on your mountaintops.
Memorize this Psalm as it was written to comfort your spirit and as the Good Word says: God is your comforter. He is always with you.
If you have read this entire letter and are not sure God lives in your heart and you would like Him to, just say this simple prayer:
Jesus, today I open my heart and invite you in. I want you to be my Lord and Savior. From this day forward I am yours. In Jesus name…Amen.
Friends, it is that simple! All you have to do is invite God in, believe his son Jesus died for your sins, and God will send the Holy Spirit to live inside your soul. Then you have the perfect mix: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. You really can’t ask for more than that! You will have an eternal friend with you 100% of the time, someone to talk to, someone to tell your troubles to, someone who wants to hear your voice and comfort you in good times and bad.
Honestly I don’t know how people get through life without Jesus. He should be the epicenter of all that you do. He never leaves you, He always loves you, He loves those of you that don’t even know Him, He loves those of you who have turned your back to Him, and He desires a personal relationship with each and every one of you regardless of where you are right now.
I pray for you every day and I hope that this message will help you have some sort of peace in a crazy world. Remember, Jesus loves you and so do I…
Be a Blessing,
Dwan and Bill
PS – Make 2012 your best year ever: Make more money, volunteer to help others, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses, hug your family and friends one extra hug every time you see them, and be thankful for your good times as well as your hard times.
Remember there are many lessons in life so make sure to take the time to learn them. Otherwise, God can keep you walking around the base of the mountain for years until you get what He is trying to show you. Remember Moses walked around the base of the mountain for 40 years on what should have been a seven day trip…lol.