I remember when I was younger, and I would make shadow puppets in the light of the projector in elementary school. As we know, the “puppets” were not real—it was only my hand forming particular appearances in the light. I also recall trying to jump on my own shadow or change my shadow appearance. Yet these shadows are all temporary because they are dependent on light and a particular blockage of this light. Take away the cause the for shade, or the actual light, and it is clear there is nothing there.
Today’s verse speaks about us living lives in shadows, actually as a shadow. This is a difficult concept for us. We certainly can say we accept that life is temporary, and we are but a breath; however, we often live otherwise. We cling. “We gather, we hoard, we cling to our things.” We start building a kingdom here. Yet if we refocus, we are reminded that we are just living in the shadows. Whatever we are building up will not stand. Our better investment is to invest in the Kingdom.
Today, as you consider yourself living in the shadows, take time to focus on the Light. Be reminded that in His Light, with His Light, we can see the Good News and the Truth of God. He will reveal all things. Seek Him out in His Word and in prayer. He will reveal to you hidden things. Instead of clinging to things, cling to Him. May all you do and all you say bring glory to Him.
“We live our lives like those living in shadows. All our activities and energies are spent for things that pass away. We gather, we hoard, we cling to our things, only to leave them all behind for who knows who.” – Psalm 39:6 [TPT]
Today’s fortune cookie declared, “In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true either is true or becomes true.” Isn’t this what we are witnessing in the world around us? We all decide what is true for us, and if something is not yet reality, our belief that it is true results in it becoming true. Our thoughts are powerful which is why God is clear on where we should focus (see Philippians 4:8).
In Proverbs 23, we read, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” This is why it is so important for us to be right with our thinking. It is easy to listen to other people and miss the truth. We have an overabundance of self-proclaimed experts in our midst. We also live in a time period with an oversaturation of data, some of it true and some not true at all. Plus, in this age of social media, we have all found ourselves playing the game of comparing lives which has only reinforced and grown our personal insecurities.
John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” This verse reminds us that when we are seeking truth, we should look to God for truth. When you want to know who you truly are, see what God says about you. When you want to know what is true, ask Him. He will open your eyes to what is true. Today, may you fix your eyes on what is true.
“For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” – Proverbs 23:7a [NASB]
My neighbor always lets his weeds get 2-3 feet high. Sometimes as I am navigating down the footpath, a weed will rub against my leg and I jump in the air and quickly look down to make sure I’m safe. In my mind, I know that he never addresses the weeds. But even still, I look down because there is a small chance that a mosquito or spider or something else is crawling on my leg. I hate bugs.
When I was a pastor, I always encouraged people to look in the Bible to see the verses I was referencing in a sermon. It was important for me to point people to the actual scripture so that everyone could see what God says. Even though most of the time it is only weeds rubbing against your legs, every so often there is a mosquito or spider crawling on your leg. If you are looking in your Bible to see what God says, you can check for yourself. You aren’t trusting it’s a simple grazing of a weed. You’re able to know it is just a weed. This is important for your walk with Jesus—to know for yourself what God says. Yes, you won’t know it all. Yes, you won’t understand it all. But open up His Word and seek Him.
There are a lot of commentators of the Bible. There are thousands of pastors and theologians. Interpretations vary at times because people allow their own misconceptions and traditions to speak into the Word. People read what they want to read. People cherry pick. People have agendas. People are broken. I’m not suggesting that the last sermon you heard was wrong or that commentaries are bad. My pastor shared a great message from God this past Sunday, and my bookshelf is lined with commentaries. My suggestion, my desire for you is to always seek Him and His Word for yourself. Independent Bible reading and study should be a regular occurrence. What is God saying to you today?
“Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” – Psalm 25:5 [ESV]
When we are small, we try to help ourselves. I remember my kids trying to do some things for themselves and making a mess because they did not know yet how to accomplish the task. It is cute. You might find toothpaste all over the bathroom sink. You may find milk all over the kitchen counter. But this behavior continues as we get older. Though we have a God Who is ever-present and loves us with an unfailing love, we try to fix every situation. We think we have the answers. We think we can make it work.
It is only when we are brought to our knees that we usually realize we cannot do life alone. We then give up control and ask God to help. We accept that we are frail. We accept that we cannot do everything. We accept that we are not in control. The Psalmist asked that God not be far from him. He understood that trouble was lurking around. He knew that no one else could help. When we understand this—when we accept that we cannot do life alone, and only God can help—then we are more apt to give everything to Him.
Today, recognize that trouble is always near. Evil is all around us. God alone can help us. Whatever we are going through, He alone can see us through. Invite Him to stay near. Seek His presence. Fix your eyes on Him. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord—the Maker of heaven and earth!
“Do not stay so far from me, for trouble is near, and no one else can help me.” – Psalm 22:11 [NLT]
I was driving my son to the dentist when the truck in front of my van suddenly slowed down, but there were no brake lights. As we got to the fork in the road, the turn signal apparently didn’t work either. Without the signals, driving is not as easy. The signals are a way for drivers of the vehicles to communicate to each other. This makes it clear as to the direction the drivers are taking, and when a vehicle is slowing down or stopping.
Signals are nice. I prefer signals. In life, we have signals for driving. We also have signals (or warnings) when the stove burners are still on (or hot) or when bad weather is approaching. There are other signals too, signals that we have from reading God’s Word. As we read the Bible, we receive the Word of God. The Holy Spirit will remind us of His Word as we do life. We will better know how to navigate in life when we are receptive to Him. We will know when to turn, when to hit the brakes, and when we are off course.
Today, dig into God’s Word. Understand that if you aren’t in His Word, the Spirit cannot remind you of what you received. Often we say God is silent, but we don’t intentionally pursue Him. God is not hiding my friend. If you want to know Him, seek Him. If you want to know His will for your life, walk with Him. Spend time in His presence. Sit with Him. Converse with Him. Engage with Him. Seek and you will find.
“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13 [NIV]
In the world, we are taught that we should seek and find—we are to go out there and get what we want because we deserve it. It is considered a way of life. No waiting necessary. Technology has made this even easier as people can reach others more quickly. These technological advancements helped to breed a lack of patience.
Consider how often you were able to have some alone time this week—actual alone time, where you were not on your phone. Time when you can actually hear God speak. Consider how many times you lost your patience this week. I know a short ride from point A to point B may have shown us a side of ourselves we would like so much to hide.
In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah writes that it is good for us to “wait quietly.” Not only should we be a waiting people (patience needed), but it speaks of a “soul who seeks Him.” What are you seeking? Are you seeking God? Are you looking for something else? In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah speaks of the hope in the Lord. He recognized that He alone is our great hope, and he spoke of the importance of seeking Him and waiting for Him. Today, may you stop trying to push things forward, but rather, may you hope in the Lord. Rest in Him. Trust in His plan and His timing.
“The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.” – Lamentations 3:25-27 [ESV]
We all need fed. We all need the Word of God. We all need Jesus. In John 6, Jesus speaks of people who were seeking Him simply because they were being fed (not spiritually fed, but literally fed). They were not seeking Jesus because they saw God in His actions. It was nothing to do with what Jesus truly offered, but having a stomach filled for free.
There are people every week that look to have their stomachs fed rather than partaking in the Bread of Life. There are those who are not too keen to read the Word of God; they want instead to reap the benefits that are received from the body of Christ. It’s sad but it’s true.
Today I want you to ask yourself—are you seeking Jesus because your stomach is being filled or are you seeking Him because you want Jesus and Him alone. Yes, being a part of the body of Christ sometimes brings about an outpouring of other things; however, at the end of the day, if you are not seeking Jesus, whatever you are seeking is settling for less.
“Jesus answered, ‘You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs—and for free.’”
-John 6:26 [MSG]
A singleness of heart . An united heart. An undivided heart. A fixed heart. A heart for God. A single purpose. A tender, responsive heart. An obedient heart. A heart sensitive to God (ISV, GW, NLT, NIV).
God promised this heart to His people. For so long the people were divided. For so long they were sometimes following Him and other times following other gods. There was no true repentance because of their stony hearts.
God has given us the opportunity to be rid of our stony heart and have a heart that is sensitive to Him, a heart that brings us to our knees, that repents, that desires to do the will of God, and that seeks Him and Him alone. If you want God to change your heart and give you His Spirit, ask and be ready to receive.
“And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart.” – Ezekiel 11:19 [NLT]