"The Protection of God's Presence" - Saturday, September 17th

"The Protection of God's Presence" - Saturday, September 17th

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me: Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

Today's thoughts from today's verses:

Yesterday, I stepped out of my anonymity a bit by referring to my work as a Hospice Chaplain. I thought I might go a little further in that direction today. In case you don’t know me, I am Ken Hart and I have been writing the Devotionals for the last couple of years. In my interaction with Hospice patients, I will often say that God makes our “inner” person more of a priority than our “outer” person. In other words, while it is often the case that he does not remove from us our troubles and their effect on our outer person, it is always the case that he is with us providing peace and comfort to offset the effects of troubles on our inner person.

Today’s Scripture speaks to the difference God’s presence makes. The Psalmist says that because God is with him he will not fear evil, not even death itself. Death is the ultimate bad thing we face in life, whether it be our own or someone dear to our hearts. For the Hospice patient the shadow of death looms large and increases until the journey through the valley is complete and death opens the way into life eternal in heaven. The journey of death is not easy, but the reality of God’s presence and the comfort he provides are sufficient for even this. Psalm 46 begins with these words, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble, therefore, we will not fear” and then later, as if God were speaking, it says, “be still and know that I am God.”

Bad things and their effects cause us to turn to God but we must learn to turn to him more for who is than for what we want him to do. The reason this is so important is because the more we are in touch with the fullness of who he is, the more we will be receptive to and in tune with letting him use bad things in our lives for the good of our spiritual welfare. There is no magic button we push to make this happen when we are in the thick of things. It is a process we are committed to so that in the long run we experience the spiritual protection God provides so that our spiritual welfare is assured. The foundation of our spiritual protection is the protection of God’s presence. The protection of God’s presence is all about making sure we come to know the fullness of who he is so that we readily experience the protection of his grace, his love, his faithfulness, his goodness, and his plan.

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

Lord, I am so thankful that you are the ultimate Shepherd and therefore sufficient for all that comes my way as your sheep. “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” I believe you are with me every moment of every day you give me and that someday I will be with you forever in heaven. It is my goal to fear no evil (bad things) by learning to count on you and the fullness of who you are. I can’t promise that I will do it perfectly, but I do promise to seek you for it always. Amen!

PS - The next three weeks of Devotionals will consist of "Devotional Highlights" from the past. Therefore, they will not correspond with the Pastor's messages in the way they normally do. I hope you will find these helpful. I will be away on vacation the middle week, but a three week break from writing the Devotionals will make everything much easier for me. God Bless, Ken Hart.  

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