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Mountains and Valleys

Many of us have read or heard of the very popular Bible passage Psalm 23, where David talks about God being his Shepherd, how he leads him beside still waters and restores his soul.  One part of this verse stirs something deep within my heart in verse 4.

Psalm 23:4 ESV

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,[c]  I will fear no evil, for you are with me;  your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Have you ever had a season in your life you didn’t want to be in, where you asked God, “Why am I here?”  “What am I doing in this place?”  With fists clenched, heels digging in the ground, telling God, “I don’t want to be here!”  Sounds like the valley of the shadow of death is one of those places.  Other versions of this verse also read valley of darkness or death.

What do you think David saw when he walked through the valley of darkness?

The valley David refers to in this verse is a valley in the desert of Judah.  Anyone who walks through this valley is putting themselves at risk of encountering anything lurking in the darkness, wildlife, bandits, even a random flash flood.

What strikes me, David is walking through the valley where there is a shadow of death.  Where there was a lot of unknowns surrounding him.  Anything could attack or happen to him at any moment.  Yet, he didn’t run away from the darkness, he didn’t take a different route, he walks right through it.

Do you think David knew he was going to walk through a valley of death?

I think many of us would have turned around if we knew what lied ahead.  We always wonder why God doesn’t share details with us.  If we really knew, we wouldn’t go where God was asking us to go.  David then says in response to walking in the valley, “I will fear no evil, you’re rod and staff comfort me.”  David knew even if he was in the valley he was safe and protected because God was with him every step of the way.

In Everybody Always, Bob Goff talks about fighter pilots who train in the valleys in between the mountains.  When asked why do they train at lower elevations where winds can get them, their response was, ‘so we can get better.’

God isn't always going to lead us to the safest route forward but to the one where we will grow the most. God knows without risk we wouldn't grow #quote @BobGoff #EverybodyAlwaysClick To Tweet

David knew walking through the valley would be hard.  But he also knew in the valley is where he learned to depend on and trust in God the most.  Walking through the valley will be dark and seem like God is far away.  When we trust in what God is able to do and not in what we see, He walks us safely to the other side every time.

It is so easy to praise God when we’re standing on the mountain but not always so easy when we’re deep in the valleys.

Imagine what would happen if we took the same approach as David?  If we faced our fears, our darkness and walked through them, depending on God for our guidance and comfort when we’re afraid?

In the valley is where we grow the most and receive the sweetest most unexpected victories when we trust God to walk us to the other side of our darkness.

Psalm 23:5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”

God goes and prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies.  God doesn’t promise we won’t have to walk through our valleys in the absence of our enemies, but in their presence.  As our enemies surround us God our Shepherd, the master of provision provides for us everything we need in the midst of our battles.

The enemies in our lives are powerless over us when we praise him in our darkness–when we push through holding onto God’s hand, when we trust and don’t know how everything will turn out.  God’s generosity of mercy and grace then overflows in us, all the days of our lives and we will dwell in his house forever (Psalm 23:6).  In God’s house lies a sanctuary of peace and love like none other that sets us free from the fears of any darkness.

The next time fear gets the best of you, allow God to be your Shepherd leading you through your dark valleys.  Pray Psalm 23 over your situation.  Close your eyes and follow the voice of the Shepherd.  Trust in Him, take His hand, He knows the way.

A voice cries:[a]
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
    make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
    and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
    and all flesh shall see it together,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Isaiah 40:3-5

What season are you in?

How do you allow God to lead you through your valley?

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The 7 Kindest People in the Bible

Kindness.  It is something that touches our hearts and changes live deeply.   Kindness empowers others to be the difference and speaks volumes to those who receive it.  When I think of kindness I think of some of the people in the Bible.  

The 7 Kindest People in the Bible
7.  Niccodemus and Joseph of Arimethea–  These two men are known for preparing Jesus’s dead body for burial after he was crucified.  These two men risked everything;  losing their family, their religion, their status, their friends all to show their love for Jesus.  Even though Jesus was crucified as a criminal they wanted to give him a burial of a king.  Joseph even gave Jesus his own personal tomb! Their loving kindness was all apart of God’s plan.

6.  Pharaoh’s Daughter (Exodus 2:5-10)-  She is known for saving baby Moses from the river when he was laying in the reed basket.  Even though she knew he was a Hebrew baby (which her father ordered to have killed) she still took him in as her own to raise and care for him.

5.  Joseph (Genesis 37:12-36)-  Joseph is known for being sold into slavery by his 11 brothers.  In the time he was a away from home he had been falsely accused, thrown into prison, became an interpreter of dreams for Pharaoh and became in charge of Egypt.  When famine hit the land where his brothers lived, they came to Egypt to buy grain.  They did not know their brother was still alive and the governor of Egypt.  To their surprise, Joseph was not angry at his brothers but showed them compassion when he saw them again.  Instead of taking revenge, Joseph took them in and cared for them.  Joseph knew it was all apart of God’s plan, what his brothers intended for harm, but God intended it for good.” (Genesis 50:20)

4.  Boaz/Ruth-  (Ruth 3 and 4)
 To truly understand the relationship between Ruth and Boaz you will have to read Ruth 3 and 4.  Their relationship is so unique because Ruth showed kindness to Boaz in a way that truly touched his heart. In return, Boaz dedicated the rest of his life to her by making her his wife.

3.  The woman who washed Jesus feet with her hair (Luke 7:36-50)-  This woman who is not mentioned by name in the Bible, but by her actions showed Jesus one of the most compassionate acts of love by washing his feet with her tears and her hair and anointing his feet with expensive oil.  Even though he was invited to dinner by the Pharisees, not one of them offered to wash Jesus feet or even a drink of water a common custom done for guests.  The woman saw Jesus for who he was and poured out her love to him.

2.  Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)-  The good Samaritan is known for stopping to help a man who was robbed, beaten and left for dead after a priest and a Levite saw him and passed him by.  The good Samaritan saw him, took pity on him, cared for him by bandaging his wounds and paying for his stay at the inn so he could recover.

1.  Jesus-  There is no one is kinder than Jesus.  When he walked upon this earth he showed us how to be kind to others in a way that goes beyond comprehension.  He showed compassion on the lepers, the prostitutes, the lame, the forgotten.  Jesus showed us there is no end to the kindness that can be given and should be given to everyone, everywhere at anytime.  He showed the ultimate kindness by giving us the gift of eternal life by dying on the cross for our sins.

Just imagine if Nicodemus and Joseph never took the time to show lovingkindness to Jesus, we would never have known the true power of the resurrection.

Imagine if Pharaoh’s daughter never took in Moses to care for him, we would never know the power of God’s miracles and the ability to use the unlikely.

Imagine if Joseph took revenge upon his brothers instead of loving them, we would never know the power of compassionate forgiveness.

What if Ruth didn’t show kindness to Boaz?  They would have never been married and Jesus would not have been part of the lineage to king David.  (Ruth and Boaz are the descendants of Jesus).

If the sinful woman never came to wash and anoint Jesus’s feet, we would never have seen the power of forgiveness given through her faith.

Because of the Good Samaritan’s kindness, generations have been able to model him as an example of how to treat others.

If Jesus never showed kindness when he was here, we would never know the love that is given to us from God.  We love because he loved us first.

I could go on and on about all the kind and loving things Jesus and the others in the Bible have done.  We are called to Be Kind and Loving to one another.  The love God gives us, is meant to be given and shared with others.  How will anyone know the love of Jesus if it is not shared with them?

You are loved by a God who loves you!  How has kindness affected your life?  How or in what way?

Do you have a loved one you would like to honor by doing acts of kindness?  Do you like spreading kindness to others?  Kindness is contagious Pass it on!  Would you like more encouragement sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my Blog or like my Author Facebook Page.  

FREE Printable Click Link to download 10 Ways to Show Kindness


Everyone deserves kindness from their Savior!  I would love to hear from you!  Please share how Kindness has affected your life how and in what way?


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