the valleys Psalm 23:3,4 AMP
He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him–not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake. Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.
Valleys are part of life.  Deep, dark valleys where you’re surrounded by mountains on every side and the shadows are so dark that you can’t see your hand in front of your face.  This is what Psalms 23:4 is speaking about.  It almost feels like you can’t breathe, like you’re not going to make it out of this valley and you don’t even know if you want to make it out anymore.  You’ve been there for so long, you want to give up. Valleys happen to everyone.  Some are brought on by our disobedience to God and some are just part of our journey on this earth. Whether you’ve lost your way or you’re on the right path – know that God will lead you out of the valley you’re in.  You are not alone in your valley.  The shadow of death is looming above you, but it is just there to try to discourage you.  Nothing can touch you.  God’s rod is there to protect you from the real dangers.  The is keeping the devil at bay.  All that you can see is the devil’s shadow and everyone knows that at the right angle, a two year old’s shadow can look 6 feet tall.  The devil is nothing.  His shadow cannot harm you.  God’s rod will protect you. While you’re in your valley, stay close to God.  There will be many pitfalls that will try to trip you up.  God will be there with His staff to guide and correct you.  In Matthew 7:13-14 NIV, Jesus says: Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. The road to our true home is narrow.  Let God’s staff guide you and His rod protect you.  Find comfort in them, don’t from them.  It may seem that you are going through more than your unbelieving friends or family members.  But you are in training.  You have to live out God’s purpose for your life.  God corrects you because He loves you.  Jesus Himself had to walk through His own valleys on earth.  Hebrews 5:7-10 NIV: During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. God hears your cries and He is with you.  You are going through what you’re going through for your own benefit and He wants you to use what you’ve learned to help others.  This journey is not only about you.  We’re all connected.  We all impact each other.  Jesus submitted to God and learned from what He suffered. It’s not enough to get through it – you have to learn from it. Jesus was made perfect from His sufferings.  Let your trials and walk with God mold you into what He wants you to be.  Don’t let your valleys go to waste.  If you take comfort in God’s rod and staff, He will protect you and guide you through the valleys and peaks in your life.  Mark 10:15 NIV Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Accept God and be like a little child.  Put your hand in God’s and believe Him and let Him be your guide.   ♥ Angela

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